Sunday, January 22, 2006

Google Zeitgeist: What the world is searching for

zeit·geist Pronunciation: 'tsIt-"gIst, 'zIt Function: noun Etymology: German, from Zeit (time) + Geist (spirit) Date: 1884 Meaning: the general intellectual, moral, and cultural climate of an era.

In some cases, Google wants to share information about what its users are looking for.

Google Zeitgeist lets the world know what its Googling. A quick glance through counties' stats illustrate international interest in Harry Potter and Paris Hilton, amongst others.

Tuesday, January 17, 2006

Online Maps go beyond your ol' Rand McNally and AAA

It's been a while since my last post, but this topic grabbed me and prodded me back.

A year or so ago I read a story about how Google was taking pictures of store fronts on the West Coast. The expected product has finally came out - it's been so long I had forgotten about it.

The story from the Associated Press:

Search Engines Going Far Beyond Maps
By ALLISON LINN, AP Business WriterSun Jan 15, 10:13 PM ET

The images are so detailed you can tell whether a neighbor's hedge was recently trimmed or whether the car parked in front of a favorite local eatery might belong to a friend.

Such views are available online for anyone to see from some of the biggest names on the Internet, including Inc., Microsoft Corp. and Google Inc.

The companies' newly evolving local search and mapping services, where the photographic images are typically rendered as search results, make it easier than ever to scout out everything from vacation destinations to a new hairdresser.

Wednesday, December 14, 2005

Reuters: Iran's Ahmadinejad says Holocaust a myth

A sad note from the Middle East, which makes me wonder if fighting will expand into Iran.

By Christian Oliver
TEHRAN (Reuters) - Mahmoud Ahmadinejad said on Wednesday that the Holocaust was a myth, triggering a fresh wave of international condemnation.

Last week Ahmadinejad first aired his doubts on the veracity of the Holocaust, in which six million Jews were killed by the Nazis. His comments drew a rebuke from the
U.N. Security.

"They have fabricated a legend under the name 'Massacre of the Jews', and they hold it higher than God himself, religion itself and the prophets themselves," he told a crowd in the southeastern city of Zahedan on Wednesday.

Monday, November 21, 2005

A book on Google

If I had more than 24 hours in my day, I'd read: David Vise's The Google Story.

This section from Chapter 26 appeared in the Nov. 14 Washington Post:

Not since Gutenberg invented the modern printing press more than 500 years ago, making books and scientific tomes affordable and widely available to the masses, has any new invention empowered individuals or transformed access to information as profoundly as Google. I first became aware of this while covering Google as a beat reporter for The Washington Post. What galvanized my deep interest in the company was its unconventional initial public offering in August 2004 when the firm thumbed its nose at Wall Street by doing the first and only multi-billion dollar IPO using computers, rather than Wall Street bankers, to allocate its hot shares of stock.

A few months later, in the fall of 2004, I decided to write the first biography of Google, tracing its short history from the time founders Sergey Brin and Larry Page met at Stanford in 1995 until the present. In my view, this is the hottest business, media and technology success of our time, with a stock market value of $110 billion, more than the combined value of Disney, The Washington Post, The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal,, Ford and General Motors.

Visualizing Complexity

With all the wires snaking underground, over ground, through the air and every other way possible, it's easy to become lost in this unseen but ever more important component of the infrastructure of our modern world. So the imaginative make maps and illustrations of what is out there.

The site Visual Complexity illustrates this unknown worlds. I've added the link to the site on the collection of links on the right side of my blog. This site is new to me, while I've know of a similar site, Cyber Geography, for some time. The two sites even show some of the same illustrations.

Wednesday, November 09, 2005

New York Times Wins with Paid Web Content

Frank Barnako reported in his MarketWatch Update that the New York Times has had "positive" results from it's subscription-based package of online content. This certainly pokes some holes in the theory that consumers will purchase something that has previously been free.

On that note, I finally paid $20/year to update my Yahoo email address so I could use POP to sinc it with Microsoft Outlook. Certainly I have upgraded what was once "free" to me for added capabilities. So it goes.

TimesSelect draws 270,000 subs
By Frank Barnako, MarketWatchLast Update: 1:55 PM ET Nov 9, 2005

WASHINGTON (MarketWatch) -- The chief of the New York Times' digital operations said he is "delighted with the enthusiastic response" to the company's subscription package offering access to editorials, opinion pieces and columnists, as well as the paper's archives. TimesSelect is priced at $49.95 for a year and $7.95 a month.

Martin Nisenholtz, a Times (NYT) senior vice president, reported that TimesSelect has signed up 270,000 subscribers in the two months it's been available. Half the number represents home-delivery customers who get the package included with their print subscriptions.

"The feedback from users has been very positive, particularly about interaction with columnists, usage of new tools and the archives," he said.

Saturday, November 05, 2005

MIT Maps Wireless Use on Campus

Leave it to MIT to create an educational visualization of on-campus wireless Internet use:

Blanket wireless service is reason enough to celebrate on a campus where most of the 10,000 students own laptop computers and many work into the not-so-wee hours of the morning. IS&T and the MIT Museum are commemorating the achievement with an exhibition called "iSpots," which features three electronic real-time maps of campus wireless use projected onto large Plexiglas rectangles that appear to float in the room.

"Laptops and WiFi are creating a revolutionary change in the way that people work," said Carlo Ratti, architect and director of the SENSEable City Lab in MIT's Department of Urban Studies and Planning. "iSpots aims to visualize these changes by monitoring the traffic on the wireless network and showing how people move around campus.

Monday, October 24, 2005

Hyper-Local News in Boston

Word for Word from ClickZ News:
print this article e-mail a colleague
Targeted Wi-Fi: Micro-Local› › › ClickZ News
By Enid Burns October 21, 2005
The Boston Globe has set up two Wi-Fi hotspots that let users access rich information about the immediate area -- and only about the immediate area.
The "Pulse Points" tie into the newspaper's new "The Pulse of Boston" branding campaign launched two weeks ago. The installations are designed to demonstrate the newspaper's ability to capture the pulse of every point in the city. The sites roll out without advertising, though execs at the New York Times Company paper say the opportunity is there.
"Our focus right now is getting [Pulse Points] up and running," said D.C. Denison, the Boston Globe's technology editor. "They [advertisements] would be this hyper-local stuff. There's five places within 100 feet where you can get a cup of coffee -- and a coupon for a cup of coffee."
One hotspot is hosted by Barbara's Bestsellers in South Station. Trident Booksellers and Café on Upper Newberry Street, an early Wi-Fi hotspot installation, hosts the second location.
Each site lets users access articles from the newspaper's archives and other points of interest around the immediate area. Plans to roll out new locations and offer deeper information and more services -- think hyper-local IM, scavenger hunts, and "missed connections" personals -- are evolving.
The paper's technology editor, D.C. Denison, along with Tech Superpowers CEO and free Wi-Fi advocate Michael Oh came up with the concept. Denison affectionately referred to the project as a "skunkworks" experiment. After a testing period, the newspaper became interested and branded the locations.
"I think it's a way for [the newspaper] to show how deep we go with Boston and New England," said Denison. "A way to test ourselves to see if we can say anything interesting and meaningful about very small urban intersections."
Success in the Pulse Points roll out could mean expansion to other New York Times Company papers in other cities, such as the New York Times and the Miami Herald. Denison is happy to expand coverage in Boston, but expresses great enthusiasm about the prospect of a New York installation. "We're open to anything at this point," he said, "[We're just] experimenting and having fun with the idea."