Posts Tagged ‘ Google ’


Google is on track to spend more money this year attempting to influence lawmakers than any other tech company

Google and Facebook continued to pour millions of dollars into political lobbying in the third quarter in attempts to influence U.S. lawmakers and have legislation written in their favor.

Google spent $3.94 million between July and September while Facebook spent $2.45 million, according to disclosure data published Tuesday.

The only tech-related company to outspend Google was Comcast, which is trying to persuade politicians to look favorably on a merger with Time Warner and spent $4.23 million during the quarter.

But Google stands as the largest spender in the entire tech industry to date this year. It has run up a $13 million bill lobbying Washington politicians and their offices on a range of issues as diverse as online regulation of advertising, cybersecurity, patent abuse, health IT, international tax reform, wind power and drones.

If industry spending continues at its current level, 2014 will mark the fourth year that Google has spent more money on federal lobbying than any other technology company.

Facebook began lobbying Washington in 2009 and has quickly risen to become the fourth-largest spender in the tech industry so far this year, behind Google, Comcast and AT&T.

The company’s lobbying hits an equally diverse range of areas including cyber breaches, online privacy, free trade agreements, immigration reform, Department of Defense spending and intellectual property issues.

Another notable spender in the third quarter was Amazon, which plowed $1.18 million into its lobbying efforts. That represents a quarterly record for the Seattle company and is the second quarter in a row that it has spent more than $1 million on lobbying.

Amazon’s lobbying was aimed at many of the same areas targeted by Google and Facebook, but covered additional subjects close to its business, including postal reform, online wine sales, mobile payments and Internet tax payments.

The money is funneled to D.C. lobbying firms that use it to push their clients’ agendas to politicians and their staffers. The lobbying disclosure reports are published quarterly by the U.S. Senate and detail spending in general areas, but do not go into specifics.

Lobbying has long been an effective tool used by major companies, but it’s only been in the last few years that Internet companies have started spending money in amounts to rival traditional tech giants.

During the third quarter, other major spenders included Verizon ($2.91 million), CTIA ($1.95 million), Microsoft ($1.66 million) and Oracle ($1.2 million).

Apple spent just over $1 million in the quarter lobbying on issues including consumer health legislation, transportation of lithium ion batteries, international taxes, e-books, medical devices and copyright.


 

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Fast guide to Google Go programming

Written by admin
September 22nd, 2014

The Go programming language is an open source programming language from Google that makes it easy to build simple, reliable, and efficient software. It’s part of the programming language lineage that started with Tony Hoare’s Communicating Sequential Processes and includes Occam, Erlang, Newsqueak, and Limbo. In the following 14 slides, we’ll demonstrate some of the differentiating features of the language, including its extremely lightweight concurrency. The project currently has more than 500 contributors, led by Rob Pike, a distinguished engineer at Google, who worked at Bell Labs as a member of the Unix team and co-created Plan 9 and Inferno.

Slices
The Go language extends the idea of arrays with slices. A slice points to an array of values and includes a length. []T is a slice with elements of type T. In the pictured exercise, we use slices of slices of unsigned bytes to hold the pixels of an image we generate. With package main, programs start running. The import statement is an extended version of C and C++’s include statement; here we are getting the pic file from a Mercurial repository. The := syntax declares and initializes a variable, and the compiler infers a type whenever it can. Also, make is used to create slices and some other types. A for..range loop is the equivalent of C#’s for..in loop.

Maps
The Go map statement maps keys to values. As with slice, you create a map with make, not new. In the example above, we are mapping string keys to integer values. Here we demonstrate inserting, updating, deleting, and testing for map elements.

The pictured program prints:
The value: 42
The value: 48 The value: 0
The value: 0
Present? false

Structs and methods
The Go language lacks classes but has a struct, which is a sequence of named elements, called fields, each with a name and a type. A method is a function with a receiver. A method declaration binds an identifier (the method name) to a method and associates the method with the receiver’s base type. In this example, we declare a Vertex struct to contain two floating point fields, X and Y, and a method Abs. Fields that begin with uppercase letters are public; fields that begin with lowercase letters are private. Fields and methods are addressable through the dot notation; * and & signify pointers, as in C. This program prints 5.

Interfaces
An interface type is defined by a set of methods. A value of interface type can hold any value that implements those methods. In this example, we define an interface Abser and a variable a of type Abser. Note that the assignments in lines 17 and 18 work, but the assignment in line 22 does not even compile. The Abs method of Vertex, which we saw in the previous slide, has a pointer to Vertex type for its receiver, so a *Vertex implements Abser, but a Vertex does not.

Switch
The switch statement in Go is similar to the switch statement in other C-like languages, except that the case statements can be types or expressions in addition to simple values, and the cases automatically break unless they end with fallthrough statements. The cases are evaluated in the order they are defined.

Goroutines
Goroutines are, to a rough approximation, extremely lightweight threads, in the spirit of Tony Hoare’s Communicating Sequential Processes. Line 16 in the sample above calls the say function asynchronously, while line 17 calls the say function synchronously. Goroutines, channels, and select statements form the core of Go’s highly scalable concurrency, one of the strongest selling points of the language. The language also has conventional synchronization objects, but they are rarely needed. The program to the left outputs:

hello
world
hello
world
hello
world
hello
world
hello

Channels
Channels in Go provide a mechanism for concurrently executing functions to communicate by sending and receiving values of a specified element type. The value of an uninitialized channel is nil. In line 16, we create a bidirectional channel of integers. We could also make unidirectional sending <-c and receiving c<- channels. In lines 17 and 18, we call sum asynchronously with slices of the first and second half of a. In line 19, the integer variables x and y receive the two sums from the channel. In line 7, the underscore _, the blank identifier, means to ignore the first result value from the for..range loop, which is the index. The program output is 17 -5 12.

Range and close
A sender can close a channel to indicate that no more values will be sent. Receivers can test whether a channel has been closed by assigning a second parameter to the receive expression. A loop for i := range c receives values from the channel repeatedly until it is closed. The cap of the channel is the capacity, which is the size of the buffer in the channel, set as the optional second argument when you make a channel, as in line 17. Note the compact form of the assignment statements in the fibonacci function. The program output is the first 10 values of the Fibonacci series, 0 through 34.

Select
A select statement chooses which of a set of possible send or receive operations will proceed. It looks similar to a switch statement but with all the cases referring to communication operations. A select blocks until one of its cases can run, then it executes that case. It chooses one at random if multiple are ready.

Here the main function calls the fibonacci function with two unbuffered channels, one for results and one for a quit signal. The fibonacci function uses a select statement to wait on both channels. The anonymous, asynchronous go function that starts at line 21 waits to receive values at line 23, then prints them. After 10 values, it sets the quit channel, so the fibonacci function knows to stop.

Concurrency patterns, example 1
In this example we are using select to create a fan-in goroutine that combines two input channels of string, input1 and input2, into one unbuffered output channel, c. The select statement allows fanIn to listen to both input channels simultaneously and relay whichever is ready to the output channel. It doesn’t matter that both cases are using the same temporary variable name to hold the string from its respective input channel. The example is from Rob Pike’s 2012 talk on Concurrency Patterns in Go.

Concurrency patterns, example 2
This sample implements a parallel search of the Internet, sort of like what Google actually does. To begin with, replicas …Search is a variadic parameter to the function; both Search and Result are types defined elsewhere.

The caller passes N search server functions to the First function, which creates a channel c for results and defines a function to query the ith server and saves it in searchReplica. Then First calls searchReplica asynchronously for all N servers, always returning the answer on channel c, and returns the first result to come back from the N servers. The example is from Rob Pike’s 2012 talk on Concurrency Patterns in Go.

Package http
The Go net/http package provides HTTP client and server implementations. This example implements a simple Web server that returns the contents of the directory /usr/share/doc to a Web client. The example does not work properly in the Go Playground online environment, but run on a Mac command line, it returns the following to a Web browser asking for http://localhost:8080/:
bash/
ccid/
cups/
groff/
ntp/
postfix/

Package template
The Go html/template package implements data-driven templates for generating HTML output that is safe against code injection. Without all of the escaping added by the html/template package, the example could have produced a runnable JavaScript string, Hello, <script>alert(‘you have been pwned’)</script>!.

 

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Google is drawing from the work of the open-source community to offer its cloud customers a service to better manage their clusters of virtual servers.

On Monday, the Google Cloud Platform started offering the commercial version of the open-source Mesos cluster management software, offered by Mesosphere.

With the Mesosphere software, “You can create a truly multitenant cluster, and that drives up utilization and simplifies operations,” said Florian Leibert, co-founder and CEO of Mesosphere. Leibert was also the engineering lead at Twitter who introduced Mesos to the social media company.
10 of the Most Useful Cloud Databases

First developed by the University of California, Berkeley, Mesos can be thought of as an operating system that allows an administrator to control an entire cluster of computers, or even an entire data center, as if it were a single machine.

Thanks to its fine-tuned scheduling capabilities, Mesos can allow multiple frameworks, such as Hadoop or Spark, to share a single cluster, as well as allow multiple copies of the same framework to run on a single cluster.

The software also has built-in resiliency: If one or several nodes stop working, the software can automatically move that work to other, operational nodes in that cluster.

Twitter, Airbnb, Netflix and Hubspot have all used Mesos to coordinate operations.

Google has modified its new software for managing Docker containers, called Kubernetes, so it can run on Mesos, work Google also announced Monday.

Google has been an ardent user of Docker internally, using more than 2 billion containers a week in its routine operations. The open-source Docker provides a container-based virtualization, which is an alternative to traditional virtualization workloads now being considered by many organizations, due to its putative performance superiority.

Now, Google customers can use Mesosphere cluster to run Docker containers and use any leftover capabilities to run other framework-based workloads.

“You’ll be able to create these modern distributed systems the way that Google does, and you’ll be able to run them side-by-side with all your existing applications,” said Craig McLuckie, Google Cloud Platform product manager.

Users can also move their workloads to any cloud provider that runs Mesos, eliminating the dependencies that can come with writing the applications to run on a specific cloud service, be that Google’s or some other vendor’s.

Google’s Mesosphere cluster package also includes the Apache Zookeeper configuration software, the Marathon scheduling software, as well as OpenVPN for logging into the cluster.

Use of Mesosphere on the Google Cloud Platform is not billed separately; it is included in the price of running a cluster.


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Big tech firms back Wi-FAR for remote broadband

Written by admin
August 7th, 2014

802.22 standard, approved in 2011, promises low-cost broadband for remote areas

Google, Microsoft and Facebook are cranking up an emerging wireless technology known as Wi-FAR to help reduce the digital divide in remote and unconnected regions of the world.

Wi-FAR is a recently trademarked name from the nonprofit WhiteSpace Alliance (WSA) that refers to the 802.22 wireless standard first approved by the IEEE (Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers) in 2011.

The standard shares the underused TV band of spectrum called whitespace to send wireless signals, typically over distances of six to 18 miles in rural and remote areas. It has a theoretical download speed of more than 22 Mbps per TV channel that serves up to 512 devices, according to the WSA. That could result in speeds of about 1.5 Mbps on a downlink to a single device.

While such speeds are far slower than for the gigabit fiber-optic cable services that Google and AT&T are building in some U.S. cities, the speeds could theoretically begin to compete with some 3G cellular speeds, although not 4G LTE speeds. For an impoverished or sparsely populated region where businesses and schoolchildren have little Internet access, Wi-FAR could be a godsend when used to link base stations (typically found at the ground level of cell towers) in a distributed network.
Students in South Africa
Students at the University of Limpopo in South Africa use laptops connected to the Internet using Wi-FAR wireless technology. (Photo: Microsoft)

About 28 million people in the U.S. don’t have access to broadband, while globally, about 5 billion people, nearly three-fourths of the world’s population — don’t have broadband Internet access, said Apurva Mody, chairman of both the WSA and of the 802.22 Working Group.

“This is cheap Internet access and there are dozens of trials underway, with Google in South Africa, Microsoft in Tanzania and other continents, and even Facebook’s interest,” Mody said in an interview. “You have 1.2 billion people in India who need cost-effective Internet access. There’s a lot of enthusiasm for Wi-FAR.”

Wi-FAR will be cheaper for access to the Internet than LTE and other wireless services. The lower cost is partly because Wi-FAR works over unlicensed spectrum, similar to Wi-Fi, which allows network providers, and even government entities, to avoid paying licensing fees or needing to build as many expensive cell towers, that can cost $50,000 apiece, Mody said. “The prices for Wi-FAR service will be very small, perhaps less than $10 per month per household.”

The 802.22 technology can be low cost because the whitespace spectrum is shared with conventional users, including TV stations on UHF and VHF bands. Thanks to sophisticated databases that track when a whitespace channel will be in use in a particular region, a cognitive (or smart) radio device can determine when to switch to another channel that’s not in use. Testing in various Wi-FAR pilots projects, many of them in Africa, is designed to prove that Wi-FAR devices won’t interfere with other existing users on the same channel.

“We have yet to have an interference problem,” said James Carlson, CEO of Carlson Wireless Technologies, a Sunnyvale, California-based company that is working with Google on two six-month trials of 802.22 in the UK, among other areas. The company completed a successful trial with Google serving students in South Africa in 2013. Carlson, in an email interview, said the company is working with five database providers, noting that the “prime purpose of the database is to protect the incumbent spectrum user.”

Whitespace spectrum sharing, coupled with the use of the databases, is generally called dynamic spectrum allocation technology. In January, the U.S. Federal Communications Commission approved Carlson’s RuralConnect TV whitespace radio system for use with a Spectrum Bridge TV whitespace database, effectively bringing the first dynamic spectrum sharing product to market.

In the U.S., RuralConnect is authorized for use in the UHF TV band, running from 470 MHz to 698 MHz. The FCC opened up the band in 2010.

At the time, Carlson said the FCC’s approval would give a boost to global efforts to use whitespace technology. “Providing connectivity to underserved populations worldwide is more than an interest to us,” he said in a statement. “It’s our corporate mission.”

RuralConnect will get competition from products in other companies, including Redline, Adaptrum and 6Harmonics, Carlson said. In addition to other providers, Google has built a whitespace database that Carlson is testing.

In all, Carlson Wireless has piloted dozens of whitespace projects, and expects to start its largest yet for 30 base stations and 5,000 users near New Delhi in the next six months, Carlson said.

“India is the next big boom for online needs, and the rural areas are not getting [Internet service] with [typical] mobile systems,” Carlson said. “So they are choosing to go with the TV whitespace because the UHF band is almost all vacant in rural areas and 600 MHz propagation is superb.”

While Carlson has been working with Google, Microsoft separately announced in June a whitespace pilot project at the University of Limpopo in South Africa. It is part of a Microsoft 4Afrika Initiative to help ignite economic development in Africa.

In May, Microsoft and Facebook joined with SpectraLink Wireless to announce a whitespace project for students and faculty at universities in Koforidua, Ghana. That project brought the number of nations where Microsoft has whitespace pilots to 10 countries on four continents.

In the Microsoft and SpectraLink partnership, Facebook’s Connectivity Lab team will lead efforts to better understand how TV whitespace spectrum can support wireless Internet users, according to a statement.

Microsoft and others believe that TV whitespace technology will best work in combination with Wi-Fi and other low-cost wireless technologies. While much of whitespace technology is focused on building specialized bridge hardware for use in base stations, Mody said some companies are developing fixed wireless 802.22 routers, similar in appearance to Wi-Fi routers, that will be placed inside of homes.

Microsoft also spearheaded the Dynamic Spectrum Alliance, which Google and Facebook joined last November. The alliance is exploring many uses for whitespace spectrum, including Internet of Things device connectivity.

Craig Mathias, an analyst and wireless consultant for The Farpoint Group, said 802.22 devices may compete against or complement a number of other technologies, including cellular and Wi-Fi.

“802.22 is not a pipe dream, but so far there’s not a lot of evidence of its success,” Mathias said in an interview. “It does make sense. The rate of innovation in wireless is so high that you hear something exciting every week. But not all wireless standards are successful in terms of having [successful] wireless products.”


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The downloadable extension works on both desktop and laptop computers

Laptop and desktop users can now do a Google search without typing just by speaking aloud, with a Chrome extension that Google made available on Tuesday.

The browser extension, Google Voice Search Hotword, can be downloaded from the Chrome Web Store and is available both for the desktop and laptops. Google designates it as being in beta.

The tool lets users perform a voice search by going to Google.com and saying, “OK Google,” then speaking the search term. With the Thanksgiving holiday coming in the U.S., Google gave some cooking-related examples in an explanatory video: Users can say, “OK Google, compare olive oil and butter,” or, “OK Google, what is five tablespoons in ounces?” (Answer: 2.5.)

Reminders can also be set with the service, so people can say, “OK Google, set a timer for 10 minutes,” or, “Remind me to buy more olive oil on Sunday afternoon.”

The active tab in the Chrome browser needs to be Google.com for it to work. But people can also conduct a new search directly from the search results page. Users will know they are good to go if the microphone icon in the search bar appears bold. To save on battery life, users can set the feature to stop listening after five minutes of inactivity.

There’s more going on behind the scenes than just talk. Google is working to improve the ranking algorithms behind its search products to provide better answers when users ask more complex questions. When Google Search turned 15 years old earlier this year, the company rolled out some enhanced features such as comparisons and filters.

Google also previewed some of the new voice search functionalities at its I/O conference for developers this past May. The release of the voice search product is part of Google’s larger efforts to build more natural language processing into search, to make the process seem as natural as possible.

During the I/O conference, Google Senior Vice President Amit Singhal likened the company’s evolving search functionality to asking a friend for information.


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New Chromebooks highlight a tight partnership between Google and Intel, and a shift away from only Wintel

New Chromebooks announced this week signal Intel’s willingness to broaden its horizons and work with companies like Google, at the expense of its long-standing Windows partnership with Microsoft.

Three new Chromebooks from Hewlett-Packard, Acer and newcomer Toshiba with Google’s Chrome OS were shown on stage during this week’s Intel Developer Forum. The sub-US$299 laptops will run on Intel’s Haswell chips, and executives from Google and the chip maker said they worked closely to tune the OS at the kernel and driver levels to work with Intel’s chips.

A tighter Chrome alliance with Google is just another example of how Intel, which has been largely left out of the tablet and smartphone markets, is spreading its wings to succeed in the PC, mobile and emerging markets like wearables. In an interview with IDG News Service, Intel president Renee James said the Microsoft-Intel alliance is alive, but the chip maker wants to offer choice beyond Windows.

“Microsoft [Windows] is not the only client operating system anymore. The same way for years and years Microsoft balanced between Intel and Advanced Micro Devices, we’re in the same situation now. Our customers want choice, and we offer choice,” James said.

Intel’s partnership with Google is centered around Android, but the Chrome OS partnership is mutually beneficial. Intel is looking to perk up PC sales following the slow adoption of Windows 8, while Google is trying to expand beyond smartphones and tablets into desktop-style computing with Chrome OS.

“Chrome OS represents a new form of computing,” said Sundar Pichai, senior vice president for Android, Chrome and applications at Google, in an appearance during a keynote speech by Doug Fisher, vice president of the software and services group at Intel, on Wednesday.

Intel sees Google as a partner for a range of devices, and the partnership has been getting stronger since they first started working together on Android two years ago, said Jack Gold, principal analyst at J. Gold Associates, during an interview on the show floor.

That doesn’t mean the Wintel alliance isn’t dead, but it is not close to what it was like four to five years ago, Gold said.

“Microsoft is going off dancing with other partners, Intel has got to do the same thing. Intel is going to go where the volumes are,” Gold said, referring to Microsoft’s decision to make Windows RT for processors designed by Intel’s rival ARM Holdings.

Intel had no choice but to support Chrome OS in the sub-$300 PC market, where Windows 8 does not fit, said Jim McGregor, principal analyst at Tirias Research.

“It’s like netbook 2.0,” McGregor said. “Intel is damned if they do, damned if they don’t.”

Intel’s relationship with Microsoft is deteriorating, which also may have prompted the chip maker to approach Google, McGregor said. Intel tried to develop operating systems like Meego, but failed.

“[Microsoft and Intel] get along in the face of the public, but there’s huge animosity,” McGregor said.

The analysts agreed that Chrome OS won’t sustain fast growth, but Intel had to continue supporting the OS to maintain a presence in the low-end of the PC market. Samsung offers a Chromebook based on a processor from ARM, which is trying to gain share in the low-cost PC market.

Intel will support any OS in markets ranging from PCs to wearables, but only if the customer asks for it, analysts said. For example, Intel has said smartphones based on its Atom chips could support Windows Phone OS, but only if customers requested it.

Intel this week introduced the very low power Quark family of chips for wearable and embedded devices. Intel didn’t say which OSes will run on Quark, but Google has a non-Android OS for Google Glass. Intel also could possibly use a real-time operating system from its own Wind River unit. But the chip maker needs to keep its options open, analysts said.

“It’s a logical business model for Intel,” Gold said.


 

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The last of our three-part how-to series helps you take your Google+ experience to the next level.

Getting started on Google+ may be simple, but mastering the service’s full potential is an art. Thanks to advanced options and third-party extensions, there’s always some new way to give Google+ an extra pinch of power.

Here are 25 tips and tricks to help make your G+ experience as good as it can be.
Work faster and better

1. Put your mouse down, homey: You can get around Google+ almost exclusively by using your keyboard. In typical Google fashion, G+ is loaded with keyboard shortcuts. Just press shift + the question mark key on your keyboard when you’re in the main stream view and you’ll get a list of available commands.

One common command is conspicuously missing from Google+’s keyboard shortcut collection: the ability to open up the notifications window. There is a workaround: From the stream view, press the forward-slash key, press Tab twice and then press Enter. It’s a bit involved, admittedly — sort of like a secret handshake — but if you’re a keyboard shortcut nut like me, it won’t take you long to get in the habit.

2. Need to get back to the top of your stream from the Google+ desktop site? You can always use your keyboard’s Home key, but if you prefer a mouse-oriented approach, clicking anywhere on the top navigation bar will also take you there.

3. When you mention another Google+ user in a post or comment, type a plus sign before you start typing her name. Google+ will then give you a dropdown list of users from which you can select. Doing so will notify the person that you mentioned her; it’ll also let other users hover over the person’s name to learn more about her and view her profile.

When you mention another Google+ user in a post or comment, type a plus sign before you start typing the name and Google+ will give you a list of users from which you can select.

4. Google+ makes it easy to make your posts look good: Surround any text with asterisks to turn the text bold, with underscores to make it italicized, or with hyphens to give it a strikethrough effect. Those formatting commands work in comments, too.

5. Next time you’re trying to find a particular type of photo from the images you’ve got stored on Google+, try the intelligent photo search feature. Just head over to the Photos page (you can find it in the left-hand menu) and type a term into the search box at the top of the page — “dog,” “ocean,” “picnic,” or any phrase that describes what’s in the image you want. The system’s accuracy will surprise you.

Google+’s intelligent photo search feature lets you find your photos by typing in a descriptive word or phrase.

6. You may know that Google+ automatically makes animated GIFs from related images you’ve uploaded, but did you know you can easily find all your animated GIFs in a single place? Just search for the keyword “motion” within the Google+ Photos section to see all the GIFs G+ has generated from your photos.

7. Google+’s automatic photo enhancements work on images uploaded to Picasa, too — even old images uploaded before G+ was around. To check out enhancements made to your Picasa photos, first be sure you’ve signed into Google+ from the same account you use (or used) with Picasa. Then try searching the Google+ Photos section for keywords like “motion,” “hdr” or “mix” to see the enhancements in action.

Streamline your stream

8. If there’s a post in your stream you don’t want to see, move your mouse to the upper-right corner of its card and click the small down arrow that appears. From there, select the option called “Mute post” to banish it from your life forever. You’ll also find options in that menu to report spam or abusive behavior — and, provided the post is from someone you’ve added yourself, an option to remove him from your circles right then and there.

9. Want to get a permanent standalone link to an individual post — either for sharing on another social network or for referencing somewhere outside of Google+? You’ll find a “Link to post” option in that same top-right arrow menu mentioned in the last tip; you can also just hover your mouse over a post’s timestamp and then right-click to copy the link.

10. Social media is all about engagement, but sometimes you may want to limit the ways in which people can interact with your posts. Google+ has you covered: Just click the small arrow on the right side of the “To” box while you’re writing a post. There, you’ll find commands to prevent people from leaving comments on the post and also to prevent users from resharing it.
25 Google+ tips and tricks

Get the word out

11. Track how widely any post is being shared with Google+’s Ripples feature. Click the small arrow at the top-right of a post to find the option; selecting it will show you a scalable chart with detailed info about who shared your post and how it spread.

You can also use Ripples to gauge how widely an external page — a news article or YouTube video, for instance — has been shared on G+; just add the URL to the end of this string:

http://plus.google.com/ripple/details?url=

Paste it into your browser’s address bar or add a bit of code into your browser’s bookmarks to create a one-click Ripples button.

(Note: If a post or page hasn’t been publicly shared on Google+ — in other words, if you’ve limited it to a specific set of people or circles — no Ripples data will be available. So if you do want to take advantage of the feature, it’s best to choose Public on the share dropdown.)

You can track how widely any post is being shared with Google+’s Ripples feature.

12. Think you’ve got some interesting people in your G+ stream? Share the love with a Google+ shared circle: From the Circles page (click on “People in the left-hand menu and then choose “Your circles” from the top menu), click on any circle you’ve created. The circle will turn black and offer three icons: a pencil (to edit), a right-facing arrow (to share) and a garbage can (to delete). Click on the arrow icon and you can then share the entire circle with your followers, who will be able to add everyone you’ve included into their own circles with a single click.

13. Take a minute to make sure you’ve filled in the “Tagline” and “Employment” sections of your Google+ profile. They’re particularly important, as the text you put in those sections appears in a small card every time someone hovers over your name while viewing content on G+.

You can edit both sections by opening your profile, selecting the “About” tab at the top, and then clicking “Edit” in the appropriate areas on the page.

14. If you have your own blog or website, you can put interactive Google+ follow buttons and badges there to encourage visitors to circle you. Google+ doesn’t currently offer a full-fledged widget for showing your latest posts, but you can create your own using a third-party service such as Widgetbox.

15. Google+ doesn’t provide any official tools for creating RSS feeds from your posts — no surprise, given the company’s broad moves away from RSS — but once again, third-party services can fill the void. A free service called pluss.aiiane.com is a solid option that works well.

Customize and control
16. Not thrilled with the way Google+ collapses long posts on the Web? No problem: Install a free Chrome extension called Replies and more for Google+. It’ll make the service automatically expand all posts by default. It offers a number of other interesting options, too, such as the ability to add a two-click command for sharing any post to email, Facebook or Twitter.

17. If you miss the way the Google+ stream used to refresh automatically, grab a Chrome extension called Auto Load New Posts for Google+. The extension does exactly what you’d think: It makes new posts show up in your stream as they’re sent instead of requiring you to click an icon every time they arrive.

A Chrome extension called Favorite Posts for Google+ adds a one-click “Favorites” section into the desktop G+ site for you to use.

18. For a robust post-saving setup, check out a Chrome extension called Favorite Posts for Google+. The extension adds a one-click “Favorites” section into the left-hand sidebar of the desktop G+ site for you to use; it also adds one-click commands within individual posts for you to save the post to Pocket or Instapaper.

19. You automatically see your Google+ notifications at the top of most Google services, but if you use Chrome, you can make it so they’re available anywhere on the Web: Just install the Google+ Notifications extension. It’ll put a Google+ notifications box in your browser’s toolbar area.

20. Ever wish you could schedule Google+ posts for the future? You can — sort of. While Google+ itself doesn’t yet provide such functionality, a Chrome extension called Do Share gets the job done. The catch is that your browser has to be running whenever the post is scheduled to go live in order for it to work.

Beyond Google+

21. You can interact with Google+ directly from Gmail. First, be sure you’ve set up your G+ email notifications the way you want (go into the Google+ settings and scroll down to the “Receive notifications” section). Then, when you get a G+ activity alert in your inbox, look for the commands to moderate comments, add comments or +1 a post. Performing those actions within Gmail will work exactly the same as if you had performed them from the main G+ site — and you’ll save a few precious seconds.

22. You can save content directly from Google+ to Evernote and other similar note-taking services. First, you’ll need to sign into the note-taking service and find the email address associated with your account (for example, here’s how you find your Evernote email address).

Then go to your G+ Circles page. Type that email address into the white box at the top right of the page. You’ll see a box appear with your name and the Evernote address. Click on the box; you’ll see a pop-up that lets you “Add and invite.” When you click on that, you’ll be able to create a new circle called “Evernote.” Now anytime you want to save a post to Evernote, just share it to your Evernote circle and — abracadabra! — the deed will be done.

(Note: By virtue of the nature of this process, you’ll likely receive an automated invitation to join Google+ in your Evernote account the first time you set it up.)

23. Google+ can serve as a note-taking tool itself: Just create a new circle called “Save.” Add only yourself into the circle. Anytime you want to save something for your own personal reference — whether a new note you’re making or content someone else posted — just share it into your Save circle and it’ll be there waiting for you when you need it.

24. If you use Google Docs, you can share documents, spreadsheets and presentations directly from there into Google+. Click the blue Share button at the top right of any open document and then select the G+ icon. You’ll be prompted to choose how public the document will be — either accessible to anyone on the Web or accessible only to those who have the direct link — and can also set whether other users will be able to edit, comment on or simply read the file.

Like with any G+ post, you can share a document with any circles or subsets of users you want. Once shared, it’ll show up in your followers’ streams as a readable thumbnail and will open in Docs when clicked.

25. You can make phone calls using Google Voice right from the Google+ desktop site: Open the service’s Hangouts feature, located at the right side of the main stream. Once you’ve signed in, click the small down-facing arrow in the Hangouts section and then select “Call a phone” to get started.

(While Google Voice is free to use within the United States, there is a per-minute rate for international calls. To find out what they are, click the downward arrow that appears after you’ve selected “Call a phone” and then click on “Rates.”)

You can also conduct video calls and group video chats from the same G+ Hangouts section, though those options work only with other Google+ users.


 

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With Chromecast, Google reveals Chrome as its strategic big gun
The browser is behind Google’s play for user data from as many screens as possible

Chrome is Google and Google is Chrome.

The Chrome browser is Google’s most potent strategic weapon, a former Microsoft program manager said last week.

“Chrome is the focus at Google; Android is an afterthought,” asserted Ben Thompson, who writes on his Stratechery blog. Thompson, who left Microsoft earlier this month, has quickly made a name for himself with insights into the technology market, in particular Microsoft, Apple and Google, ranging from Microsoft’s massive reorganization to the possible role for a larger, 13-in. iPad.

“Chrome shouldn’t be thought of as a Web browser,” Thompson wrote. “Rather, it’s an optimized bi-directional delivery vehicle: the best experience with Google services for users, and maximum user data for Google. And it runs everywhere. This is why Google has been investing millions of dollars in building the Chrome brand.”

Thompson’s latest post was reacting to the debut of Chromecast, the $35 stream-to-TV device Google introduced last week. Chromecast, said Google, is powered by a simplified version of Chrome OS. (Although GTVHacker.com claimed Chromecast is “more Android than ChromeOS.”)

“As a horizontal company, Google wants to be on every screen, and their vehicle to accomplish that across verticals, both from a technical and brand perspective, is Chrome,” Thompson added. By “verticals,” Thompson meant “devices.”

It’s hard to argue with Thompson.

Google has been expending significant resources to push Chrome into as many corners as possible.

Not only is Chrome (the browser) available for all major desktop and mobile platforms — from Windows and OS X to Android and iOS — the major features of Chrome OS are being added to the browser, including packaged, nee “native,” Web apps and the ability to view and edit Microsoft Office documents.

The goal? From Thompson’s viewpoint, control of a “multi-screen world.”

Others have had similar thoughts.

“It looks like Google is defining the Chrome platform as what I’d call ‘Web Platform Plus,’ and intends for Chrome OS and the Chrome browser to be a ‘platform on a platform’ on any device it is permitted to run on,” said IDC analyst Al Hilwa in a May interview, months before Chromecast.

By defining that “platform on a platform” — Chrome on Windows, on Android, on iOS, on OS X, on the television — Google is trying to turn as many devices and screens as possible into ones locked into the company’s ecosystem, keep users loyal to that same ecosystem of sites, service and apps, and entice others to join them.

The ultimate prize is more revenue, which Google generates almost exclusively from online advertising. All Google does, argued Charles Golvin, an analyst with Forrester, is driven by its search for more, and more expensive, advertising.

“Google is advertising driven. All its efforts, including Chromecast, are not just about selling more ads, they’re about aggregating data about the customer to make those ads more valuable,” said Golvin in an interview last week. “The more you can target the ads, the more attractive they are to advertisers, and the more Google’s real customers — advertisers — are willing to pay.”

Thompson dubbed that “maximum user data,” but his meaning was the same as Golvin’s.

Chromecast is Google’s newest blatant example of a Chrome-centric strategy. Not only does it carry the “Chrome” moniker, important in itself as an expression of brand identity, but it heavily leans on the browser for functionality.

Only a handful of dedicated apps support Chromecast out the gate: Google’s own YouTube, Google Play Movies & TV and Google Play Music; and the only third-party entry, Netflix. The rest of the lifting is done by Chrome, the browser.

Content on any Chrome tab active on a device within range of a Chromecast-equipped TV can be displayed on the television. During installation on a Windows or OS X personal computer, Chromecast automatically adds the Google Cast add-on to the browser; it can be downloaded separately from the Chrome Web Store, but again, requires Chromecast.

Not only does Chrome’s ability to cast ease the early adopter pain of too-few Chromecast-supporting apps, but it circumvents the limitations of accumulating data when third-party apps are used to display content on a television.

Instead, the normal data collection rules — as Google spells them out in its privacy policy for Chrome — apply.

Specifically, Google knows what you watch, at least in a general way.

“For Chromecast users, Google may collect system activity, crashes, and other details about how you use Chromecast, including use of apps and domains (but not full URLs) accessed by Chromecast,” Google’s privacy policy states.

Maximum user data, as Thompson put it.

In fact, argued Thompson, Google has bet its strategic coin on Chrome, not Android, the mobile operating system also launched in 2008, the same year as Chrome. Thompson noted that Android was largely absent from last week’s unveiling of Chromecast — even to the point, if GTVHacker.com was correct, fudging the code foundation of the device’s firmware — as it was earlier this year at Google’s I/O developer conference.

That’s no coincidence, Thompson said.

“Android … enables several of those verticals [devices], and keeps Apple honest in phones especially,” said Thompson. “However, by virtue of the hardware world it lives in, it’s not the best vehicle for reaching all users, and Google is fine with that. Now that Android is good enough on phones, there simply isn’t any point in investing in it as heavily as before.”

Put plainly, Chrome is Google … and Google is Chrome.

 


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IT departments won’t exist in five years

Written by admin
June 6th, 2013

Generation gap between new technologists and old is widening, say experts at CITE conference

SAN FRANCISCO — Consumerization of IT and self-service trends will lead to a restructuring of the today’s IT shop, leaving behind a hybrid model consisting of tech consultants and integrators.

“The business itself will be the IT department. [Technologists] will simply be the enabler,” said Brandon Porco, chief technologist & solutions architect at Northrop Grumman.

Porco was part of a four-person panel of technologists who answered audience questions during a town hall-style meeting at the CITE Conference and Expo here this week.

Among concerns raised is whether IT is losing control as consumer technology becomes part and parcel of everyone’s work in the enterprise, and the data center is left behind.

Others said they are not sure how to address a growing generation gap between young and veteran workers, each of whom are comfortable with different technologies.

“Interns coming in for the summer are asked if they’re familiar with Google Apps. They say, ‘Of course we are,'” said Nathan McBride, vice president of IT & chief cloud architect at AMAG Pharmaceuticals. “Then we have other employees coming in who worked for other companies who say, ‘I need Outlook.’ We have to say we don’t use that anymore.”

McBride said 75 Fortune 100 companies now use Google Apps along with most Ivy League schools, meaning that the next generation of workers won’t be users of Microsoft Exchange or Office.

In five years, McBride said, companies will have to ensure they’re matching their enabling technology to the demographic of that time.

Kathleen Schaub, vice president of research firm IDC’s CMO Advisory Practice, said many corporate IT organizations now report to the head of the business unit it’s assigned to.

“The premise is that wherever IT sits in an organization will dictate what they care about,” she said. “If they’re in finance, they’ll care about cost cutting. If they’re in operations, they’ll care about process management. If [the company] decides it wants to focus on the customer, they’ll put it in marketing.”

While the CIO position will likely remain in an enterprise, his or her role will morph into a technology forecaster and strategist, rather than a technology implementer, according to Porco.

John Mancini, CEO of the Association for Information and Image Management (AIIM), agreed with Porco, saying that in the consumer technology era, it’s the business side that has all the tools, so it will be able to trump IT’s desire to control who uses what and how.

While the business can dictate the service or technology it wants, McBride said IT can still decide the flavor of technology.

For example, when AMAG business users asked for Microsoft’s Visio tool set for diagraming and creating flow charts, McBride’s team found a less expensive, web-based tool, LucidChart. “That was only $15 a seat,” he said, adding that users were just as happy.

“We’re not trying to be ahead of the technology curve and we don’t’ want to be behind, but we’re trying to maintain pace in order to know what they’re going to ask for next before they ask for it,” McBride said.

Porco said he takes advantage of university partnerships and take cues from entrepreneurial centers throughout the U.S. such as Seattle and Denver to keep his finger on the pulse of tech innovation.
 


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Microsoft and Google are working together to support the FCC’s free Wi-Fi proposal that might mean you could dump that monthly cellphone bill.

How sweet would it be to dump that monthly cellphone bill in favor of making calls over free Wi-Fi networks, so powerful it would be like “Wi-Fi on steroids”? Microsoft and Google are working together to support the FCC’s powerful Wi-Fi for free proposal. As a bonus, Super Wi-Fi is also “super for improving how we transmit and distribute energy in America.” However, as you might imagine, wireless carriers are fit to be tied and doing their best to put a stop to providing such free access.

Of course, it’s not the first time that the Microsoft-Google team — now there’s a phrase you don’t see very often — joined forces. In 2007, Microsoft, Google, Dell, Hewlett-Packard, Intel and Philips came together to give FCC officials a “free phone” prototype device built by Microsoft. The FCC later rejected the white space device. Microsoft had wanted to be named an administrator to rule the white spaces, but so did Google. Microsoft came up with Wi-Fi over narrow channels which the company called WiFi-NC last year. In February 2012, Microsoft, Google and hundreds of other nonprofit groups and companies urged Congress not to restrict the FCC’s authority to structure proposed spectrum auctions.

Now, the Washington Post, which has jumped on the “Chinese-hacked-us-too” bandwagon, reported that Google, Microsoft and other tech giants “say a free-for-all WiFi service would spark an explosion of innovations and devices that would benefit most Americans, especially the poor.”

The airwaves that FCC officials want to hand over to the public would be much more powerful than existing WiFi networks that have become common in households. They could penetrate thick concrete walls and travel over hills and around trees. If all goes as planned, free access to the Web would be available in just about every metropolitan area and in many rural areas.

The new WiFi networks would also have much farther reach, allowing for a driverless car to communicate with another vehicle a mile away or a patient’s heart monitor to connect to a hospital on the other side of town.

Meanwhile, AT&T, Verizon, T-Mobile and chip makers Intel and Qualcomm are lobbying hard against the FCC’s proposal. In fact, AT&T announced that it, Verizon and T-Mobile had entered into a memorandum of understanding with the Department of Defense “to test the viability of sharing 95 MHz of spectrum that is currently used by DoD and other federal agencies. This spectrum is located in the 1755 to 1850 MHz spectrum band, which NTIA has analyzed in great detail for potential clearing and sharing opportunities.” These wireless carrier companies are opposed to using the spectrum for free Wi-Fi to the public and insist that the airwaves should instead be sold to businesses.

But FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski has designed the free Wi-Fi plan. If you are interested, you can read Genachowski’s Presentation on White Spaces for Wireless Broadband and Genachowski’s remarks to the President’s Council of Advisors on Science & Technology. He told the Washington Post, “Freeing up unlicensed spectrum is a vibrantly free-market approach that offers low barriers to entry to innovators developing the technologies of the future and benefits consumers.”

As Neowin pointed out, Microsoft and Google want more devices connecting to their cloud services such as Microsoft’s new Office 365, dubbed as “Your complete office in the cloud.”

It would seem as if law enforcement would be vehemently opposed to such free Wi-Fi. After all, law enforcement has a gold mine when it comes to spying via wireless carriers. In 2011, the cops collected a staggering 1.3 million customer records. Innocent Americans get caught in dragnet surveillance via cell tower dumps. The ACLU has warned that location tracking is out of control. Additionally, the ACLU uncovered “new” law enforcement/mobile carrier spying deals, such as “voicemail cloning, copying existing voicemail to a different account, resetting voicemail PIN, or the Verizon smorgasbord for law enforcement mobile/landline spying.” It seems the feds hope to replace warrantless GPS tracking with warrantless cell phone surveillance. But on the other hand, even with free and powerful wireless networks, cell phones wouldn’t go away entirely.

Besides, as it stands now with ECPA, the cloud is the cloud and any info stored there is not private, but is a favorite surveillance hunting ground used by law enforcement. Also, keep in mind that when an online service is “free,” it is because you are the product. Just the same, let’s hope the Microsoft/Google “team force” can help bring on the free Wi-Fi on steroids!


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All quiet on the Galaxy S IV front, but plenty going on elsewhere.After a CES week during which the Android world was all a-twitter over a device that wasn’t even revealed at the show, the previously hyperactive Galaxy S IV rumor mill has quieted down, mostly. It’s likely to only be a momentary respite, however, as the device is heavily tipped to be released at the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona next month.

MORE OFFBEAT: The dumbest products of CES 2013

Perhaps the biggest news on the most hotly anticipated Android device so far in 2013 is that an ostensible screenshot of mobile benchmarking results has been published by a Japanese-language blog), which points out that the 1.8GHz CPU speed matches up with Samsung’s Exynos 5 Octa eight-core SoC. (More on the Octa later.)

Given the source, it’s important to remember that this should be taken with many grains of salt – even the inclusion of the point about the Exynos 5 Octa could easily be read as a little too circumstantially convenient. (Like Manti Te’o confessing to Lance Armstrong on Oprah or something.)

Still, I can’t deny that the pairing of Samsung’s two biggest headline grabbing topics makes sense. We’ll see what happens (probably) at MWC at the end of February.

Speaking of the Exynos 5 Octa, Qualcomm CEO Paul Jacobs is unsurprisingly not a fan, according to a report from Unwired View. Essentially, he told reporters in China yesterday, Samsung is just covering for the fact that the four high-performance Cortex-A15 cores drain a ton of power by jamming four slower but less demanding Cortex-A7s into the SoC alongside them, and attempting to reap a publicity windfall by boasting about their eight-core processor.

While Jacobs is correct in noting that all eight of the Octa’s cores won’t operate at the same time, I’m not sure why he’s saying this means the SoC is going to suck. OK, so it’s not a “true” eight-core SoC, but the idea of using the low-power cores for light work and switching to the A15s for more serious tasks still makes sense, and could well back up Samsung’s claims of improved battery life and better performance. Seems like fairly ineffectual spin to me.

The Nexus 4 official wireless charger has appeared on the site of Norwegian store Dustin Home, providing a slick pad on which to charge the Nexus 4 that you still probably don’t have. Presumably, this means that it’ll become available soon in the U.S., but this is a product release story involving the phrase “Nexus 4,” so who really knows?

(Hat tip: Android Central)
But wait! The Nexus 4’s availability problems will soon be a thing of the past, according to an LG executive who spoke to Challenges.fr Wednesday. LG France director of mobile communication Cathy Robin says production of the Nexus 4 is due to increase by mid-February, which could ease the supply crunch. As of this writing, both the 8GB and 16GB models are still sold out on the Play Store.

(Hat tip: r/Android)
Android Police has what it says is an internal Sprint document, which asserts that the company plans to offer a $400 device credit to new family plan customers who port at least one line in from a competitor. The deal’s supposedly set to roll out tomorrow, so you don’t have long to wait, if you’re interested.

All quiet on the Galaxy S IV front, but plenty going on elsewhere.


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On August 9, 2011, Apple’s market capitalization briefly rose to $341.5 billion, edging it just ahead of Exxon, until that morning the highest-valued company in the world. The company Steve Jobs had co-created putting together computers, the one that Michael Dell had suggested shutting down 14 years earlier because it had no future, was now worth more than any other. The stock fell back by the end of the day, but it had made its mark; the transformation of Apple from financial basket case to ruler was complete. At the end of the day it was worth $346.7 billion; Microsoft was worth $214.3 billion and Google $185.1 billion.

Compared to the end of 1998 (Apple $5.54 billion, Microsoft $344.6 billion, Google $10 million), the aggregate wealth of the companies had more than doubled. Microsoft, though, had shrunk by 40%, after being outdistanced first in search, then in digital music and then in smartphones — in the latter category by both companies.
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The companies had changed enormously. Google was soon to celebrate its 13th birthday, having roared from a three-person garage start-up to web giant; it was struggling too with having nearly 29,000 staff worldwide. Larry Page, once more the chief executive, was forcing the divisions to justify themselves, getting divisional heads to explain their projects in soundbite-length memos. His greatest concern was that Google was getting too big and slow to act: “Large companies are their own worst enemy,” he said in September. “There are basically no companies that have good slow decisions. There are only companies that have good fast decisions.”

Where Apple hadn’t heard of Google 13 years before, now it had gone from having a common cause against Microsoft to being just a business acquaintance, and sometimes opponent; Apple and Microsoft bid together against Google for patents covering the mobile business. Apple was seeking to disintermediate Google from search with the cloud-based voice search of its upcoming iPhone. And they were constantly niggling each other in smartphones and tablets. Even so, by September 2011 the majority of mobile search still came from iPhones, according to Google testimony at the US Senate.

Apple had changed. From just under 10,000 full- and part-time staff in September 1998, it had grown to being 50,000 strong, though around 30,000 were in its retail store chain; the core of the company in Cupertino remained small and relatively tight-knit. The old enmity with Microsoft still flickered occasionally, but strategically they almost ignored each other. Apple’s position in PCs was set at 5% of the market. It had won in music. It didn’t do search. Its position in phones and tablets had pushed Microsoft to playing catch-up; yet the Redmond company could rely on the sheer heft of 1.5 billion PC installations to ensure a stream of replacements and of new sales for Office. Apple’s value, revenues and profits had all passed those of its old rival. Its reputation had been transformed from put-upon also-ran PC maker to world-spanning design brand. Tim Cook’s influence was visible in its inventory, whose value was equivalent to three days’ hardware sales.

Microsoft, by contrast, had gone from world-beater to catch-up. The staff at Microsoft (90,000 worldwide, compared to 27,000 in summer 1998) were a little battle-weary too. As Steve Ballmer, still the chief executive, spoke at the September 2011 all-hands company meeting in front of 20,000 employees, some simply got up and left, unhappy at the ‘cloud computing’ strategy, the stock’s lack of movement, and the lack of excitement at their employer. The version of Windows that would truly work on tablets was still a year away. Microsoft seemed mired in its fabulously profitable past – not a leader or innovator in search or on mobiles or tablets or anything. People began whispering that Steven Sinofsky, who had conquered internal politics and got the Windows team to grapple successfully with the future of tablets and chip architectures, might be chief executive material.

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Google starts rollout of Google+ for businesses

Written by admin
November 7th, 2011

After months of waiting, Google+ invites enterprises, brands into the fold

Computerworld – Google is getting ready for businesses to start jumping onboard its Google+ social network.

The social network Monday began to roll out Google+ Pages to help businesses create a presence on the social network platform for connecting with their users locally or worldwide. Vic Gundotra, Google senior vice president of engineering, wrote in a blog post that users can add businesses to their circles, recommend them with a +1 and connect with business team members personally in Hang Outs.

 

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“For you and me, this means we can now hang out live with the local bike shop, or discuss our wardrobe with a favorite clothing line, or follow a band on tour,” Gundotra wrote. “Google+ Pages give life to everything we find in the real world. And by adding them to circles, we can create lasting bonds with the pages (and people) that matter most.”

Google+ engineers appear to be gradually rolling out the new Pages. While some organizations, like the band ColdPlay, already have signed up, not everyone can. Some users clicking on the link to create a business page receive the prompt, “Google+ Pages isn’t ready for everyone, and asks users to “check back soon.” Gundotra said in his blog post that everyone “will soon be able to join.”

Google released its social network last June and a month later was asking enterprises and organizations to back off from using the site for business purposes.

“Right now, we’re very much focused on optimizing for the consumer experience,” said Christian Oestlien, a developer on the Google+ project, in a video blog posted last summer. “But we have a great team of engineers building a similarly optimized business experience for Google+. We are very excited about it and hope to roll it out later this year.”

At the time, Google also put out a call for business that would be interested in acting as a test group so Google engineers could see how users want to interact with companies.

A matter of days after that post, Google said it was accelerating its efforts to develop a business version of Google+. The company also noted that “tens of thousands” of businesses had signed up to be part of their test group.

In Monday’s blog post, Gundotra did not say how the company had optimized Google+ Pages for business use. Google has not yet responded to a request for more information.

Despite the lack of details, Dan Olds, an analyst with The Gabriel Consulting Group, said this is a good move for Google+. “It’s high time that Google delivered on the promise of a more business-oriented social networking mechanism,” Olds said. “This is one area where they can get a jump on Facebook and make a name for themselves.”

Many businesses and organizations use Facebook for marketing purposes, but the social network isn’t optimized for them, Old said. Monday’s announcement could give Google+ an advantage in the lucrative enterprise market.

“With Facebook, companies are using mechanisms that are really designed and geared to individuals,” he added. “While they’re making it work, they’d probably be better served with tools that are designed with companies in mind. Google+ can get the jump on Facebook if they can put together a set of tools that make social networking easier and more effective for businesses.”

A group of businesses, including Macy’s, Pepsi, Toyota, Angry Birds and Zen Bikes, already have set up business pages on Google+.

Google Finally Responds to the Reader Outrage

Written by admin
November 3rd, 2011

After ten days of hemming and hawing, Google is ready to address — but not apologize to — those users upset by the death of Reader’s social features. “We understand that some may not like this change,” a Google spokesperson told The Atlantic Wire. “Retiring Reader’s sharing features wasn’t a decision that we made lightly, but in the end, it helps us focus on fewer areas and build an even better experience across all of Google.”

 

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Related: How to Survive the Switch from Google Reader to Google+
Undoubtedly, some people like Reader’s facelift for the cleaner design, but those opposed are increasingly vocal. As we’ve reported last week, the group of Google Reader evangelists known as the Sharebros did not take Google’s decision to redesign the social RSS-site lightly. About 10,000 disgruntled Sharebros have signed a petition, and some are even working on building their own replacement site, HiveMined, that resurrects the now missing following, sharing and commenting features as Google encourages people to use Google+ for these kinds of things. Francis Cleary, the developer that came up with and has been building the Reader replacement, told us on Monday, “Google+ is a cool idea, but it’s not about content first. It’s about page views — that’s not what people want.”
Related: The World Is Surprisingly Angry About the End of Google Reader

Then there’s the matter of the Iranian freedom fighters. Because Google Reader worked effectively like a social network, and because it existed in the google.com domain, the Iranian government didn’t block access as they had for Facebook and Twitter. The network of Iranian activists protested loudlywhen Google announced the move to Google+, because they were worried that the Iranian government would cut off yet another lifeline used to organize online. In a post on their official Farsi blog, Google addressed the Iranian protesters but not the domain issue. A rough (Google Translate) translation reads:[indent]
We are currently developing solutions to tackle other forms of support for the identity (beyond the common use of real names), but in time we’ll try to post more information that’s not in this report. We believe that support for pseudonyms valuable feature for Google+ and the team is trying to accomplish it. Meanwhile, Google Reader continues to support the RSS feed Subscribe (RSS Feed) to a large group of users in Iran.[/indent]
Pseudonyms could protect Iranians freedom fighters from being identified on social networks, but Iran’s history of blocking freedom of speech suggests that the probably won’t have access to Google’s social network at all. In July, Iran’s culture minister called Google+ “a new spy tool on the Web” andcut off access less than two weeks after launch. But don’t worry, “a large group of users in Iran” can still read RSS feeds. Free speech between the Iranian citizens, be damned.

Users must be alert about having their real identity from Google+ replace pseudonyms in other Google services

Google’s work to integrate its Google+ social networking site broadly with its other services could raise red flags for users who want to closely guard their privacy.

It’s valid to raise concerns over Google’s decision to integrate Google+, which carries a real-name requirement for users, with other Google services people have been using with pseudonyms for years, said John Verdi, senior counsel with the Electronic Privacy Information Center, in a phone interview.

Google’s nightmare scenario would be for a critical mass of users to inadvertently green-light Google+ integrations only to later complain that they didn’t know their pseudonyms in certain services would be replaced by their Google+ real name.

 

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If that were to happen, Google could find itself in a privacy controversy that it can ill afford. The U.S. government has the company on a short leash, having mandated audits of its privacy policies and practices for the next 20 years after a privacy firestorm ignited with the launch of the now-closed Buzz service last year.

Buzz, a microblogging and social networking service, debuted with an integration with the Gmail webmail service that exposed users’ private e-mail contacts publicly and without authorization.

Since launching Google+ this summer, Google officials have been stressing that it makes it simple and intuitive for members to control what they share, with whom and how.

During this initial period, when Google+ has operated mostly as a stand-alone social networking site, consensus has been that, yes, its content sharing and privacy controls work well and as advertised.

However, Google has now started to integrate Google+ with other services, and it remains to be seen whether a critical mass of users will fully understand the interaction, cross-functionality and data sharing between Google+ and other Google services.

Google officials, from the CEO on down, are gung-ho about Google+ and it’s clear that the push to fuse Google+ with other company services will be extensive.

Google has redesigned the interface of the Google Account control panel, whose previous version clearly listed Google services available to users as part of the account, along with links to the services and some of their settings pages. The new control panel lacks that list of services.

Previously found at google.com/accounts, the control panel is now part of the Google+ site domain, another sign that Google+ is becoming the command center for privacy controls and settings across Google services. The new control panel includes a link to the old control panel, but it’s not clear for how long the latter will be available.

The road to propagate Google+ across the Google product line is just starting, and the potential for a misstep at some point seems high, considering that at issue is the online identity of potentially hundreds of millions of people.

In some cases, shielding their real identity is of life-and-death importance for some people, such as spousal abuse victims and political dissidents in totalitarian regimes.

“If Google wants to be the broker in the relationship between pseudonyms and real names, there will be all sorts of ways that that could go wrong across their many services. If you’re a user in Syria depending on your pseudonymity in order to stay alive, that’s not a very comforting situation,” said Peter Eckersley, technology projects director at the Electronic Frontier Foundation, via e-mail.

In other words, now more than ever, Google must make sure that it fully complies its famous “do not be evil” philosophy.

Getting the hang of Google+ and looking for more? Check out these four Google+ tools that let you easily upload photos in bulk, find new people to follow, translate posts and more.

 

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CIO — While rumors continue to swirl about when the Google+ API will be released to developers, that’s not stopping some people from getting in on the Google+ action.

Whether you’re just starting out on Google+ or consider yourself an advanced user, more and more Google+ enhancements and add-ons are popping up across the Web.

Here’s a look at four new ones that do everything from streamlining bulk photo-uploading to helping you increase your network reach.

1. Google+ Photo Importer for iPhone
If you store your photos on multiple sites such as Facebook, Flickr, Instagram or Photobucket, there’s a new download available in the Apple App Store that lets you upload 100 photos in less than a minute to your Google+ account. This tool is especially handy if you plan on shifting your social networking focus to Google+.

The Google Plus Photo Importer by Dropico costs 99 cents, and while uploads I tested generally took longer than the advertised 60 seconds, it was still impressively fast.

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2. Find People on Google+
Looking for more connections on Google+? While its own search feature only lets you find people by name, you can dig a bit deeper to find groups of people with certain characteristics at FindPeopleOnPlus.

Here, you can not only search for people by name, but you can also search by profession, location, relationship status, gender, education, employer, occupation and more, which makes growing your network and tailoring it to your needs a lot easier.

You can also choose to add yourself to its directory. This will keep your FindPeopleOnPlus profile updated and in-synch with your Google+ profile.

3. PlusClout
Akin to Klout.com, a site that measures your social media influence, PlusClout measures the influence a user has on Google+ and rates it from 0 to 100.

When you visit the site, PlusClout will ask you to insert your Google+ ID in order to generate your score. Your ID is the string of numbers that appear in the URL of your profile page.

PlusClout says that while its formula is still evolving, right now it calculates your number based on 15 million public Google+ profiles and items shared, such as posts, comments, +1s, the number of followers you have and the frequency and volume of information sharing.

You can also browse people with the highest PlusClout in categories such as bloggers, designers, entrepreneurs and the most-followed users on Google+. Click on any of these names and you will see their current PlusClout score, a graph of their score over the last five days, and websites associated with that person.
4. Google Translate for Google+

If you want to connect with people from around the world but find that language is a barrier, this is a must-download Google Chrome extension.

Google Translate for Google+ is a powerful tool that inserts a button into your Google+ streams, letting you quickly interpret a chunk of foreign text.

Yahoo said it only had to make one minor adjustment to its website for traffic optimization as a result of World IPv6 Day.

“Yahoo is very excited about how smoothly World IPv6 Day went for everybody. It’s a great testament to the preparation that went into this event,” said Jason Fesler, an IPv6 architect at Yahoo. “The early data says there is minimal risk to pushing forward.”

 

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BACKGROUND: World IPv6 Day: Tech industry’s most-watched event since Y2K

Akamai and Limelight also said they were stepping up their efforts toward full, commercial-grade support of IPv6 due to the success of World IPv6 Day.

“We’re going to look at the data for IPv6 usage and use that to improve our services,” said Andy Champagne, director of engineering at Akamai, which had 30 customers participate in World IPv6 Day using its beta IPv6 service. “Then we are going to work with our customers to roll out IPv6.”

Tom Coffeen, director of global network architecture for Limelight, said it had IPv6-enabled every server on its network for World IPv6 Day and that it had encountered only minor issues that involved some routing policy changes.

“We were surprised and pleased to see no bugs. The few issues we did encounter were quickly resolved,” Coffeen said. “We had many customers choosing to stay IPv6-enabled going forward. We’re ready to move to an opt-out model for our customers, where they have to request no IPv6 availability.”

Despite these successes, World IPv6 Day participants conceded that IPv6 still has a long way to go before it approaches the ubiquity of IPv4.

Colitti said Google estimates that only 0.3% of its users have adopted IPv6. He said it was too early to determine how many of its users suffered from broken IPv6 connections; estimates prior to World IPv6 Day put IPv6 brokenness at 0.03% to 0.05% of Internet users.

Similarly, Lee said that Facebook estimates that about 0.2% of its users were able to reach the website via IPv6.

“Once the world gets to about 1% adoption [of IPv6], then this will be for real,” Lee said. “That’s the initial mass that you need to have for global adoption.”

MORE: What if IPv6 simply fails to catch on?

Content providers are migrating to IPv6 because the Internet is running out of addresses using IPv4. The free pool of unassigned IPv4 addresses expired in February, and in April the Asia Pacific region ran out of all but a few IPv4 addresses being held in reserve for startups. The American Registry for Internet Numbers (ARIN), which doles out IP addresses to network operators in North America, says it will deplete its supply of IPv4 addresses this fall.

IPv4 uses 32-bit addresses and can support 4.3 billion devices connected directly to the Internet, but IPv6 uses 128-bit addresses and can connect up a virtually unlimited number of devices: 2 to the 128th power. IPv6 offers the promise of faster, less-costly Internet services than the alternative, which is to extend the life of IPv4 using network address translation (NAT) devices.

Capturing Logon Trigger Event Data

Written by admin
June 9th, 2011

To capture XML data about LOGON events for use inside logon triggers, use the EVENTDATA function. For more information, see Designing and Implementing Structured Storage (Database Engine). The LOGON event returns the following event data schema:

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<EVENT_INSTANCE>

<EventType>event_type</EventType>

<PostTime>post_time</PostTime>

<SPID>spid</SPID>

<ServerName>server_name</ServerName>

<LoginName>login_name</LoginName>

<LoginType>login_type</LoginType>

<SID>sid</SID>

<ClientHost>client_host</ClientHost>

<IsPooled>is_pooled</IsPooled>

</EVENT_INSTANCE>

<EventType>

Contains LOGON.
<PostTime>

Contains the time when a session is requested to be established.
<SID>

Contains the base 64-encoded binary stream of the security identification number (SID) for the specified login name.
<ClientHost>

Contains the host name of the client from where the connection is made. The value is ‘&lt;local_machine&gt;’ if the client and server name are the same. Otherwise, the value is the IP address of the client.
<IsPooled>

Is 1 if the connection is reused by using connection pooling. MCTS Online Training
MCITP Online Training Otherwise, the value is 0.

Creating, Modifying, and Dropping Logon Triggers

Logon triggers can be created from any database, but are registered at the server level and reside in the master database.
To create a logon trigger

*

CREATE TRIGGER (Transact-SQL)

To modify a logon trigger

*

ALTER TRIGGER (Transact-SQL)

To drop a logon trigger

*

DROP TRIGGER (Transact-SQL)

Apple 300, Microsoft 8

Despite wanting to take on Apple in the retail space by opening more dedicated Microsoft Stores, CEO Steve Ballmer has reportedly had to put his retail plans on hold for the time being.

Business Insider reports that both Ballmer and Microsoft COO Kevin Turner are keen to open lots more dedicated Microsoft Stores to try to catch-up and overtake Apple – which currently has over 300 Apple Stores worldwide.

 

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Microsoft has only opened eight stores since it first announced its new retail plans back in early 2009 and has recently announced plans for two more stores in Atlanta and Seattle.

Apple owns our malls

We are still to hear more about the company’s plans to open a flagship UK store in London with a Microsoft PR rep telling TechRadar that there was “no news on this yet, unfortunately.”

Due to the high cost of building flagship retail outlets, sources are claiming that Steve Ballmer has been convinced to shelve his big plan to take on Apple in our malls and on our high streets.For now, at least.

Of course, if Windows Phone 7 starts to overtake iPhone sales by 2015, as some analysts are already predicting, then we may well see a change in Microsoft’s retail strategy over the next few years.

IaaS is smart choice for ConnectEDU

Written by admin
June 7th, 2011

As most parents and teachers can attest, teenage students have a tendency to procrastinate – not a particularly endearing characteristic, especially if you’re a company that helps students with their college applications.

“You know how students are – they leave everything for the last moment, which for us means millions of students trying to file an application on deadline. That makes scalability a huge issue,” says Rick Blaisdell, CTO at ConnectEDU, a Boston-based education and career management company.

 

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And scalability, in turn, makes cloud infrastructure-as-a-service (IaaS) an enticing alternative to traditional architecture. “The elastic nature of IaaS, the ability to scale up and down and have that directly relate to utility pricing, is the No. 1 reason we decided to go with infrastructure as a service,” he says.

That technology driver dovetailed with a critical business decision. Rather than rebuilding legacy software platforms to meet changing business demands, ConnectEDU decided to break up its products and deliver them via the software-as-a-service (SaaS) model. Blaisdell came on board in April 2009 to help orchestrate that shift. From day one, he says, the plan to move to cloud-based architecture began taking shape.

“From a CIO/CTO perspective, I always look at simplifying things. If you can simplify, clone and reproduce, you’re always in a much better place. So when I started looking at the physical architecture and the number of servers we were maintaining and the number we needed to purchase, I knew from previous experience with virtualization and cloud that that’s where I needed to go,” Blaisdell explains.

But Blaisdell says he didn’t want to deal with management of the cloud environment and so decided to explore managed IaaS options. Three managed services companies came immediately to mind, he says: NaviSite, which Time Warner Cable acquired in February, Savvis (now being acquired by CenturyLink) and Terremark (now Verizon Business).

“I wanted a company that would manage my servers and systems all the way from security to maintenance and, if we had any issues, I needed people there at a 24/7 operations center that I knew would carry out our procedures or, if that couldn’t be done, call in my team. I knew I’d be spending more money for that, but it was a baseline requirement for us,” he says.

When Blaisdell came on board, ConnectEDU was already doing some hybrid virtualization with NaviSite. And while that was working out well, it had neither the true elasticity nor utility features he wanted, Blaisdell says.
Taking a flyer on Cisco’s UCS

He discussed those concerns with NaviSite and learned that his hoster would be one of the first beta and production facilities using Cisco’s Unified Computing System (UCS). “Would he care to be a beta tester himself?” Blaisdell says he was asked.

Already impressed with Cisco’s integrated approach to the cloud, and having further investigated the NaviSite environment and architecture plans, Blaisdell decided to go for it. He tested NaviSite’s UCS-based cloud service in late 2009 to early 2010.