Monday, May 30, 2005

The dullest blog in the world

Don't believe me! check it out

Sunday, May 29, 2005

Gigabyte goes Extreme with SLI

Checkout this pic of the new Gigabyte Motherboard that supports 4 SLI graphics cards:

P.S. SLI is a technology that enables motherboards to run multiple Graphics Cards in parallel, and thus multiplying the Graphics performance with the number of used cards.

Can you believe this? 4 SLI cards on one board, that’s crazy… I can’t think of any game that could utilize this huge power except maybe for Unreal Engine 3 games, or current games running on multiple high resolution Displays, but that’s surely overkill even for the extreme gamers, and I can’t even imagine the power requirements of this setup but absolutely 650+ Watt Power Supply is the minimum.

Is there somebody crazy enough to buy this board?

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Saturday, May 28, 2005

RSS Ads, How they should be done?

This post was intended as a reply to Richard’s latest post about RSS Advertising, but it got so long so I though it was worth a post of its own.

In his latest post on IONRSS Richard MacManus discussed the issue of RSS advertising, and he described how Google contextual Ads are not suitable to the nature of Feeds, I’m not gonna rewrite his words; go read it on his blog.

He mentioned some valid points about the special relation between Publisher and subscriber, and about the per post association of Ads, and I agree with what he wrote, but the beauty of Click through advertising is that it’s intuitive and understandable with constant value across all sites and blogs, and that what made them so popular.

If we want to consider the use of the branding value of RSS Ads in feeds, first we must solve multiple problems:

The one he mentioned about the nature of Textual Ads not helping this purpose, and thus it requires different Ads designed for raising brand or product awareness.

And there’s another problem with the determination of a Site or Blog’s Value, surly the cost of an Ad on Engadget is not like the cost of an Ad in other blogs, who determines the value of a blog? Is it the blogger? (Like magazines) or is it calculated according to hits? But hits don’t always apply because of the nature of blog’s visitors; a very popular blog or site dedicated to gadgets is not worth as much as a blog or site with much fewer hits dedicated to business solutions.

And for the reasons above, it will be a very hard work (if not impossible) to come up with automated system to calculate Ads value, and with the absence of such system this kind of Ads has a small chance of spreading like contextual Ads.

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Friday, May 27, 2005

Google Print is Online

Google has made available the new interface that allows you to search for materials only in Google Print Database, and from my initial experience the existing database is very huge and contains lots of varied books from all categories, and it’s growing by the day.

But don’t get too excited just yet because you cannot read a whole book online, due to copyrights issue you can only browse a few pages from each book (5 pages) in addition to the table of contents, but that works well with Google’s policy as a search engine to help you find a book whose content contains a match for your search terms and if you like the contents of the book and the few available pages you can purchase it from online store.

Also there are a number of books that you can read all of its contents, but they are generally very old so they have no copyright restrictions and are considered public domain.

Nonetheless it’s a very useful service that for the first time brings the powerful online search capabilities to the Physical world of books and libraries.

Go play with it and see what you can come up with.

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Thursday, May 26, 2005

A murdered blogger's final entry reveals the indentity of his killer

This is a sad story of a blogger that got killed with his sister shortly after making his final entry on his blog, and thanks to his post the murderer was arrested.

Here’s the final post:

"Today I missed my Japanese class again, since I have gotten a bad throat. I only went to the class once this week, so I am probably so far behind now. I will catch up in the summer tho so no worries hehe. Anyway today has been weird, at 3 some guy ringed the bell. I went down and recognized it was my sister's former boyfriend. He told me he wants to get his fishing poles back. I told him to wait downstair while I get them for him. While I was searching them, he is already in the house. He is still here right now, smoking, walking all around the house with his shoes on which btw I just washed the floor 2 days ago!"

RIP fellow blogger.

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Google caught Lying, Updated

Everybody now knows about Google’s newest service Homepage Personalization that got released a week ago, and soon after the service got released, everybody discussed and talked about this new move from Google, and how with this service Google is directly competing with other portal services like Yahoo and MSN, then came an official denial from Google CEO Eric Shimdt:
“Google is focused on search and is not a Web "portal." A Web portal is a site which offers a range of personalized services on one page”

Is he serious? Does he expect us to believe him? Of course not, even if the new service is not named My Google (not to compete with My Yahoo), it still count as one.

And this is not only my opinion, but apparently some other Google senior Employees agrees with me on this, as Marissa Mayers Director of Consumer Web Products said that in a recent post in her unofficial (BETA) blog:
Update: It seems like I've been fooled, apparntley this blog is not real just a spoof and made for fun, but that doesn't mean that Eric is right, nonetheless I'll leave my post as it is just for fun.

“Fusion is a very exciting new concept from Company X - it's a sort of way of accessing all sorts of different things from one page, sort of like a doorway page, or a gateway page, but we don't want to call it one of those.
Fusion actually means "the merging of different substances into a union" or "the change of a substance from the liquid to the solid state" - this is what we're trying to achieve - making the interweb a pre-defined structure where everything worth seeing is merged into one place and we provide the way to see it via Company X.”

I think it’s obvious that the above is a definition of Web Portal, even if she didn’t blatantly say so, and to make things more obvious she finished her post with this:

“Well I hope you all enjoy using MyFusion, if any of you have suggestions as to what else we could add to the page be sure to let us know*.”

My Fusion = My Google, need I say more?

I don’t know if Eric is aware of this post, but I doubt that, and it’s not Marissa’s fault to talk about company’s secrets, it’s Eric fault in the first place to deny such an obvious thing and insult the intelligence of everyone.

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Monday, May 23, 2005

Help Determine Search Relevance

It has become known through the time that the default choice for finding things on the Internet is Google, Why? Because a few years ago it was indeed the best one with the simplest interface so we got accustomed to it, and never looked back.
But have you ever wandered if it’s still the best one?

RustySearch is a new ambitious search project intended to find the best search engine that gives the most relevant results, it’s essentially a "blind" engine which gives you results randomly from either Yahoo, Google, Ask, or MSN, then asks you to rate the results (more on the details here).

And according to the first 5000 rated search queries, Yahoo came on top with the most relevant search results, then came the famous Google, followed by MSN and Ask Jeeves.

This result is certainly surprising, as most of us (at least I) assume that Google is the best Search Engine, but apparently Yahoo is constantly improving its search capabilities, maybe I should check Yahoo more often.

But again maybe it’s a too early to judge now, the result could change as the number of rated queries increase, as the difference between Google and Yahoo is small.

This project is our best shot to really find out which search engine is better, because it depends on the Feedback of users, and no one can denies that the user is the best one to decide which of the results is the most relevant to his search.

I urge you to use RustSearch for your next couple of searches, as a way to support the project, and help them (and us) find out which one is really the best.

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Sunday, May 22, 2005

Turn Gmail into a portable hard drive

Today while doing my daily routine of surfing for new interesting things, I stumbled upon this new very interesting service Gmail Hard Drive, this site enables you to use your Gmail account as a 2GB Online Storage that you can access from everywhere, I don’t know about you but I really needed a service like this, only if I could upload at a higher speed.

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Saturday, May 21, 2005

Bloglines to launch new Blog Search Engine this summer

Stephen Baker did a brief interview with Bloglines CEO Mark Fletcher, and he told him that his company Bloglines (part of Ask Jeeves) will release a blog search engine this summer that will surpass the likes of Technorati, Feedster, and PubSub, this seems like a very ambitious one if it aims to surpass the likes of Technorati, I’m very excited by this news, Bloglines is my favorite RSS reader and the addition of blog searh engine is certainly welcomed, but also I use Technorati and support them by tagging my posts and I really find it very hard for any new tool to beat it, but we’ll see.

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Friday, May 20, 2005

My Google launched, Analysis

If you didn’t believe me back then (when I talked about Google's WebOS) I hope you do now, Google has started stitching scattered services and grouping them into something very simple, very useful that you will have a very hard time ignoring it and not using it.

In a move similar to what Yahoo has done with My Yahoo, Google Labs has started offering customized Google home page with a search box at the top, how customized you ask? At the moment not very much, you get to chose between those items:
Gmail Messages, Stock market updates, New York Times, BBC News, Google News, Weather, Wired News, Slashdot, Movies, Driving Information and Quote of the Day + Word of the Day.

IMO this is an excellent selection of items as a start of course, because what this service really needs is Universal RSS Support so that you can choose whatever feeds you usually follow and have it delivered directly to your Google’s homepage, and we’re in luck as full RSS support is only 1-2 months away according to Marissa Mayer.

Strangely Google named this service” Google Personalized Homepage”, when a name like My Google seems a lot more appropriate and well understood among Internet Users (My Yahoo,…), probably they’ll change the name upon official release.

Why this step is very important?
Because 50% of the Internet population uses Google as the default search engine, and more than half of them use it as their homepage, so when you open your browser page instead of being greeted by Google’s normal search box you’ll be updated on everything you want, and later maybe Google will add buttons and links for every other common action on the web, so tell me with all this functionality, simplicity why would you leave Google’s homepage? Why would you ever think of using other services? And is there any need for other competing Companies? I hope you understand what I mean.

“It's part of a strategic initiative we refer to as 'fusion' to bring together Google functionality, and content from across the web, in useful ways”

Is this a bad thing? I’m not sure, it brings much needed functionality to you so easily, so the usual consumer couldn’t be happier than that, and from a consumer viewpoint I liked the interface since I use Google as my homepage, and when they add RSS support and other functionality this service will be simply irresistible.

But companies should be scared, very scared, especially the ones that offer services competing with Google’s recent services or upcoming ones, like RSS reader companies (Bloglines, Newsgator) Email services(Yahoo, MSN), Search Engines(Yahoo, MSN, ASK Jeeves) Shopper Sites and many more.

Google obviously is not gonna stop at this, soon they’ll bring other functionality to the “My Google” service like maybe Picture-Audio-Video uploading, Blogging, Shopper suggestions and maybe Instant Messaging later, and when the time is right they’ll start serving you Ads customized to your interests and start making money, a lot of money.

Google’s Goal is to have a Unified Interface (Portal) for all your Web needs, and they are working towards it very quickly.

Google Web dominance Plan is underway, be warned.

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Nvidia’s new GPU specs leaked.

Looks like information is circling the web right now concerning nVidia’s upcoming GPU codenamed G70 (formerly called NV50), and according to different sources it will be officially called GeForce 7800 GTX, seems like the right name.

According to the Inquirer, it’s going to be very similar to PS3 GPU but of course without the 10MB embedded DRAM Cache memory which is very useful in the Console to supply enough buffer to render HDTV quality frames (with AA), and HDTV displays are rare among PC users so adding this costly Buffer memory is unnecessary.

But AFAIK PS3 GPU won’t have Embedded DRAM on it like Xbox 360 GPU, unless Fuad knows something nobody knows and that’s unlikely considering Fuad’s history.

Also the Inquirer suggests that it will be 90 nanometer solution, but I highly doubt that because 90 nanometer manufacturing process isn’t supposed to be mature enough for High-End High-Volume manufacturing, so probably they’ll use the already tested 110 nanometer process which is IMHO more reliable and can be clocked high enough (look at 6600GT), but again they might surprise us like what they did with GeForce FX.

Here’s the Full Specs taken from multiple sources, so probably 80% of them will apply.

# 256-bit Memory Interface

# 24 Pixel Pipelines
# 8 Vertex Pipelines
# 38.4GB/sec mem bandwidth
# 10.32 billion pixels/sec fill rate
# 860 Vertices/sec (million)
# Core clock- 430MHz
# 260 Million Transistor
# Shader Model 3.0 Support
# CineFX 4.0 engine
# Intellisample 4.0 technology (improved AA and AF)
# PureVideo Technology (Enhances the output of Video playback, requires Drivers Support and Software Support)
# OpenGL 2.0
# SLI Support
# Probably 256 – 512MB versions will be available
# under clocked RAM @ 750MHz from 256-bit 800MHz GDDR 3 Ram
# RAMDACs 400
# Single card requires min. 400W PSU with 12V rating of 26A
# SLI configuration requires min. 500W PSU with 12V rating of 34A

Apparently those cards require insane amount of power requirement, because not any 400W can do 26A on 12V rail it requires quality PSUs from known brands like Vantec or Thermaltek.

I wonder what the cooling solution will look like; I hope they don’t go for a dust buster like GeForce FX 5800 back then.

It will certainly be available as PCI-Express solution only, with an AGP one coming 2-3 months later, so 90% of the market (including me) will have to wait.

Sources say that this GPU is 1-2 months away, so we’ll have to wait and see.

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Thursday, May 19, 2005

Xbox360 GPU is not R520!! Sony is screwed.

Quoted from AnandTech:
“The R520, not the GPU in the upcoming Xbox 360 but rather the next-generation PC GPU, was running in an Intel PCIe system at ATI's booth“

According to AnandTech, ATI was demonstrating working R520 silicon behind closed doors at their booth at E3, and the system was running Remedy's upcoming title called Alan Wake, one of the Next-Gen titles (Xbox360, PS3) and the game wasn't running perfectly smoothly.

Although this came as quite a surprise for me, it also answered some questions I had in mind, specially the One concerning the mentioning of “Unified Shader Architecture” feature in Xbox 360 Specs.

Now it makes perfectly sense that Microsoft chose to include WGF (also known as DirectX 10) class GPU in its upcoming Console Xbox 360, which means that the Xbox 360 will contain a very advanced GPU that is more than a year away from being released for PCs, unless ATI surprised us and had Unified Shader Architecture in R520.
Also this means that Xbox 360 in terms of graphical power is way superior to PS3 which will contain the current Generation Shader Model 3.0 class GPU.

I don’t know if the Developers will exploit this feature from the beginning, but if they do Xbox 360 owners will be treated to Games with Picture Quality unmatched by any Platform (PS3 or PC) for more than 18 months till that type of GPU is available for PCs and PC Developers start releasing games for it.

I don’t know if Sony is aware of that, but apparently they’re screwed… Big time.

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Wednesday, May 18, 2005

Technorati Tracks 10 Million Blogs

Congrats to Technorati on this great Achievement, and while I’m on the subject, I would like to thank Dave Sifry CEO of Technorati for starting the Company and being one of the first people that supported Blogging and built this amazing tool for it, we need more people like him if blogging has to go mainstream.

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Tuesday, May 17, 2005

Next-Gen Consoles war: PS3 and Xbox 360 Face-to-Face.

Now that the Specs and Pictures of both consoles PS3 and Xbox 360 are out, it’s time to do a detailed comparison between them based on the announced Specification, it might not be completely correct but it’s the best prediction I can come up with, Enjoy.

Well it’s a matter of taste, but personally I like the PS3 a whole lot than Xbox 360, it just looks simple, elegant, curved, with a very sexy design and attractive silver finish, for me it’s a clear win for PS3.

PS3: Cell processor at 3.2GHz, capable of 2.18 teraflops of performance.
Xbox360: 3 symmetrical cores running at 3.2 GHz each, Power-PC based, capable of 1 teraflops.

PS3 wins here, as it’s capable of 2.18 teraflops compared to 1 teraflops which Xbox 360 offers, Cell Processor is probably the most advanced CPU in the world, it has 9 internal cores (1PPE + 7SPE + 1 redundant SPE) and it’s designed to favor Vector calculations which are perfect for gaming and running codecs and predictable processes.

PS3: 512MB total, 256MB XDR system RAM at 3.2 GHz; 256MB of GDDR3 VRAM Graphics at 700MHz.
Xbox360: 512 MB GDDR3 RAM, 700 MHz DDR.

It’s a tie here as both consoles will have 512MB, but maybe there’s a slight advantage for the PS3 because of XDR system RAM which has more bandwidth than GDDR3.

PS3: RSX "Reality Synthesizer" by nVidia, 550MHz Core frequency, 128 bit pixel precision and 1080p support, 300 million transistors, 90nm process, Said to be more powerful than two GeForce 6800 Ultras (I’ve seen the power of 2 6800 Ultras and believe me it’s extraordinary).
Xbox360: ATI Chip (probably R520), 500MHz Core frequency, 10MB Embedded DRAM.

I guess it’s a tie here, because both consoles will have Next-Gen Graphics Chips, PS3 Chip will come from nVidia and Xbox 360 from ATI, so I’ll assume that they’ll have similar performance like the last generation, until proven otherwise.

Backwards compatibility
PS3 is said to be compatible with both PSone and PS2 games.
It’s unknown yet whether Xbox 360 will have backwards compatibility, so I’ll ignore this for now.
Update: Xbox 360 appears to be backward compatible with some of Xbox games (probably the popular ones), according to Robbie Bach, senior vice president and chief Xbox officer.

Media Support
PS3: Blu-Ray (BD) discs for media; also supports CD – DVD
Xbox360: Support all versions of CD – DVD.

PS3 wins here by offering the same media support as Xbox 360 plus BD support for High-Density Media that will probably come out in the next couple of years.

PS3: Ethernet, Wi-Fi (Wireless Networking), Bluetooth.
Xbox360: Ethernet, Wi-Fi.

PS3 wins here, with amazing wide range communications capabilities, especially Bluetooth that the Xbox 360 lacks; it will enable people to move data like Sound Files, Video Files, and Photos from their mobile phones to the console, a true Media Center capability.

PS3: It will support 7 wireless controllers on Bluetooth.
Xbox360: Will support only 4 controllers.

PS3 supports more Controllers and thus it's better, but the good thing is that they're both wireless.

PS3: Detachable 2.5" HDD
Xbox360: 20 GB Detachable 2.5" HDD (can be upgraded)

Xbox 360 wins here because it has 20GB HD included, but with PS3 it’s not included with the console and has to be bought separately, no specific sizes were defined but probably there will be different sizes starting from 20GB the same as Xbox 360, seems like Hard Disks have become a standard for consoles.

PS3: USB2.0 - Memory Stick - SD - Compact Flash.
Xbox360: USB 2.0, 2 memory unit slots (Proprietary)

PS3 wins here with wide range of Media support that makes life easier moving stuff from other appliances like Mobile Phones, Digital Cameras, PDAs, to the console, and this clearly outdone Xbox 360 which only offers USB2.0 and its own Memory unit.

Release Date
Xbox 360 will be released at the end of this year, and PS3 is slated for spring 2006 release date which means it’s a whole year from now, undoubtly this will give Microsoft a big advantage to sell its console for Next-Gen early adopters (believe me there’s a lot of them), and also benefit from the Christmas Boom in addition to have enough time to release a lot of hot exclusive games to draw gamers.

Games are the most important factor in deciding the fate of both Consoles, and it's exactly the reason of PS2 supremacy over Xbox.
I wish I was able to compare launch Titles between the two consoles, but Sony has not announced any of them yet, so it’ll have to wait a few days till we can see what Game Companies have to offer in E3 Expo.

Sony really surprised me this time in a good way; I wasn’t expecting such amazing specs with lots of features, I expected a new console with some added functions but from those specs we can expect a very powerful Game Console and a full-blown Media Center that promises to give Microsoft’s Xbox 360 a very hard time.

I'm very excited about both Consoles, and I'll be following them very closely in the time to come.

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PlayStation 3 Revealed!

Isn't it gorgeous, I'd have a one just for its Design.

Backwards compatibility with both PSone and PS2 games.
Blu-Ray discs for media; also supports: CD+RW, DVD, DVD-ROM, DVD-R, DVD+R
Cell processor at 3.2GHz
2.18 teraflops of performance
512MB total: 256MB XDR system RAM at 3.2 GHz; 256MB of GDDRVRAM at 700MHz
Chip is called RSX "Reality Synthesizer" by nVidia
128 bit pixel precision and 1080p support
300 million transistors; 90nm process
Said to be more powerful than two GeForce 6800 Ultras

Taken from HardOCP:

Expect a full comparison between PS3 and Xbox 360 soon, come back later to know who is the winner.

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Monday, May 16, 2005

XM Subscribers reach 4 Million

WOW, it’s really amazing how they managed to get so many subscribers, the Company has added 1 million new subscribers in five months, and it predicts the number will reach 5.5 million by the end of 2005.

XM is the first Satellite Radio Company in the US that offers more than 130 different Digital Channels, broadcasted naturally using a Digital Signal, the company offers different receiving appliances and there are a number of Cars that have compliant receivers.

It’s good news, because it’s a sign that Satellite Radio is at last kicking off, and as the number of potential customers increase we’ll see other companies enter the market, and it’s not far that we (at least people in the US) will be able to receive custom Radio Channels depending on our interests, I’m pretty enthusiastic about this.

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Signs You're Spending Too Much Time on Your Computer

This is something funny for a change, I read it few days ago.

11. You tilt your head 90 degrees to smile.
10. You try to switch views while driving.
9. You wait for Linux to crash before taking a break.
8. You use PayPal to give your kids their allowance.
7. You miss your friends when you're away from the computer.
6. Just before the accident everything goes blue and you see "YOU.EXE caused a General Protection Fault in module YOURLIFE.EXE at 0011:000000a0".
5. You have monitor "tan".
4. Your spouse has to IM you for dinner.
3. You start using expressions like AFAIK or LMFAO during face-to-face conversations. 2. You set a power supply up in your bedroom, so you can fall asleep to the familiar hum of the fan.
1. You're arrested for punching monkeys at the zoo.

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Friday, May 13, 2005

Xbox 360 Revealed!

Yesss, that’s right, yesterday Microsoft at last blew us away with the full official announcement of its Next-gen Console Xbox 360 (yes it’s the official name) only few days before the big event E3 (Electronic Entertainment Expo.) that also will witness the official announcement of Sony’s new Console PlayStation3.

The announcement covered Technical Specs, Design Decisions, New Features and Launch titles, but also it left much unanswered questions.
But the release date was confirmed to be in Fall this year maybe around Christmas time, but no price was yet announced.

What are you waiting for…, Head over to GameSpy or IGN for full coverage about Xbox 360, later perhaps I can share my thoughts about it but now I’m too busy catching up with all the info and scoop circling in the Web.

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Thursday, May 12, 2005

More improvements coming to

Well that’s good news; apparently Google is working on various new improvements to my favorite blogging service, the announced coming improvements are:

1- Native Image uploading
The most annoying problem in Blogger right now is the lack of Native image uploading, and Hello is too buggy and requires various steps to upload a photo which makes it frustrating, I’m glad they listened to the community and decided to add this feature.

2- Gmail Integration
Another good feature that enables users to update their blogs and submit new posts from their Gmail accounts without the need to do it from inside

3- Enterprise Blogger Version
It’s a required feature if Google wants to attract more serious business-companies bloggers, it will add some native privacy features which eases the creation of private groups and thus be able to control who can view their blogs.

In addition to the continuing work on improving the performance.

It’s Good to know that they’re working on adding those important features to the already excellent, the market is getting more competitive by the time and they need those improvements and many more to keep the lead they have now over other services.

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Wednesday, May 11, 2005

Google Web Accelerator Halted

Google has stopped allowing downloads of its Web Accelerator, and the reason as they claim is because the service reached the maximum capacity of users, and they’re working to increase the number of users supported on this service.

I highly doubt that reason, as I’m sure Google has the hugest computing power on the Web because of its numerous demanding services and gigantic number of users, and surly a new service with a small adoption rate is not gonna put pressure on Google’s computing resources.

Whether the alleged reason is right or not, it’s a wise move because apparently the service has a number of bugs that demand instant attention and debugging, especially the one that resulted in users wrongly logging into other users accounts which allowed them to read their private messages and post as them.
The negative community Feedback also might have contributed to the decision, as the browsing time saved from using this service does not warrant the amount of data gathered about the user and the potential violation of privacy that might happen either accidentally by the mean of bugs or intentionally by using this data to extract certain info.

So this time might help Google further study this service and look at the Feedback the community provided and maybe work on improving this service like save more time, or provide less privacy-violating means used in this service, or at least provide some more assurances about the secrecy of gathered info.
Google has a great history in listening to Feedback and acting by it, and I believe in their abilities, so hopefully they’re gonna reach a settlement with the community.

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Monday, May 09, 2005

Google Web Accelerator Part III: Hidden Objectives

Where does Google Web Accelerator fit in Google plans? How is Google going to benefit from this new tool? From looking at the facts and with a bit of imagination I can summarize the benefits in two sections:
1- Another step in taking over the web
2- Priceless Data Mining Source

1- Another step in taking over the Web

Google Web Accelerator represents another service Google released that’s irrelevant to its Search nature, despite what a representative said that this tool is in-line with Google’s Mission to organize the world's information and make it accessible, because this tool speeds the Internet through interfering with the work of different things (Browser and ISP) and such thing has never been done before, not by a search Engine or any company else.

What most people don’t realize is that this new service is just another step in the direction Google heading that will result in conceiving a Google Web OS (or Platform) or what I like to call a "unified Web Portal" that will allow users to perform just about everything they might possibly want in the Internet from one interface that is Google.
Think about Google’s actions:

- Buying Picasa Company and then releasing Picasa 2.
- Hiring Ben Goodger, lead programmer of the Firefox Web browser.
- Hiring experts in negotiating deals and setting up fiber-optic networks.
- Updating Google Toolbar to contain AutoLink feature which sparked a lot of controversy.
- And now releasing Google Web Accelerator, in addition to lots and lots of other tools and services that were released under Google Labs for testing, mentioning them and discussing hidden objectives behind them requires a whole article.

It’s not very useful for Google (financially speaking) to release those incoherent services unless they plan to test them now and group them later in Web OS that transforms all your web experience into Google, those small pieces of services and tools will be joined, each specific service handles what it's good at, and most of them are definitly the best in their category, and then Google will make money from displaying Ads on the interface, those Ads will be accurately customized to suit your interests based on your Surfing habits, or possibly it will allow you to pay a monthly or annualy subscribtion fee for premium services or removal of Ads.

2- Priceless Data Mining Source
Also this new service will allow Google to obtain priceless info about the world's surfing habits beyond search, they'll be looking at what people are doing on the Internet, what they're reading, what they're buying, just imagine what Google can get from running endless analysis on that data.
This will grant Google a tremendous advantage in planning their future projects and moves, and this info if handled right (and I’m sure of that) will give Google the desired Edge over their competitors: Yahoo, MSN, and Ask Jeeves.

Marissa Mayer, Google's vice president of Web products said to Cnet that they don’t plan to do anything with the gathered data, but I highly doubt that
"To date, we're not doing anything with this data in terms of market research. We have no plans, but should that change we would aggressively notify our users and give them some escape hatch,"

The most obvious thing is that Google is moving ahead very quickly in different directions, and it’s competing in different grounds, and if you look at big picture of Google history and available services, you’ll realize how I am close to the truth in my speculation.

And it’s not only Google in the scene, but also Yahoo and MSN realized where internet is heading and they’re definitely preparing themselves and releasing services similar to what Google is doing, and sometimes even outdoing them in the case of Yahoo’s excellent move in buying Flickr with its huge community and tagging system.

What does the future hold for us? Nobody knows (Well except the guys at Google) but I tried here to speculate what might happen, but again I could be wrong and only time will tell.

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Saturday, May 07, 2005

Google Web Accelerator Part II: Worries and Concerns

Since the introduction of this service two days ago there have been a lot of feedback mostly negative in the form of complaints concerning bugs and privacy issues, one user reported that when visiting his discussion group page he saw the name of another group member and he was identified as that member, apparently this is due to a bug in relating cookies to IP addresses, Google recognized the issue and they’re working on a fix.

Also this service sparked a lot of debates and complaints about privacy issues and what is allowed to be used in the sake of accelerating the internet, as Google not only will have info about the user similar to his ISP but also its servers will contain some of the data that normally stays on the user’s machine and I mean here Caches and Cookies.
No one denies that Web history, Caches and Cookies are one of the most feared things among Internet surfers, they represent a log of every user’s action in the internet and for that reason there are more than a dozen of programs that is designed to completely delete them and remove any trace of them.

But now they’re being moved to Google’s servers, and although they’re protected and secured according to Google representative, no one can guarantee that they will always stay this way, and not be exploited later by some script or hack.

In another word this service is moving another function that browsers usually handle to servers on the internet, and IMHO it’s just a step in transforming everything to the net.
I see the future as browsing the net through online browser (or interface) that does everything on distant servers (Google’s maybe?); and your browser will be a mere plug-in in your computer, more on that in Part III.

Another thing noted by Benjamin Adam, is that when he mistyped the name of his blog he got a Google branded Error page instead of the usual page that one gets from IE or Firefox, not only that but that page suggested doing a Google search to clear up the problem, Well… it seems like Google has outdone Microsoft in its own game as in IE you still get the same old error Page you always have.

You tell me it’s no big deal; I agree in this particular case, but in the general sense this is a taste of what Google can do with this kind of power and control over one’s connection, maybe someday it’ll act as a proxy, blocking access to certain sites or giving the advantage of speed to certain websites and services, or maybe not. But this kind of power sounds scary.

The next post will be the last episode (and the most exciting one) in the Google Web Accelerator series, and it will be about conspiracy theory and the hidden objectives behind Google moves, till then.

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Thursday, May 05, 2005

Google Web Accelerator: seeing the Web through the Eyes of Google

Google Web Accelerator, The latest Beta Service from Google Labs is a web accelerator software that’s designed to make surfing the internet faster, but take note that it’s useful only for broadband users and not for Dial-up users (like me ), but don’t get upset that Google left Dial-up people with nothing, because the problem (bottleneck) is in our slow connection not the web, and they can do nothing about that.
Google Web Accelerator is a client software that comes with a plug-in that will be installed on your computer; it’s available for Windows users only and it works on both IE and Firefox (good move from Google).

How it works:

This service will accelerate your web browsing using different means such as:
- Sending your page requests through Google machines dedicated to handling Google Web Accelerator traffic.
- Storing copies of frequently looked at pages to make them quickly accessible.
- Downloading only the updates if a web page has changed slightly since you last viewed it.
- Prefetching certain pages onto your computer in advance.
- Managing your Internet connection to reduce delays.
- Compressing data before sending it to your computer.
- Parallel downloading: Download multiple parts of the page (images for example) at the same time.

But beware there’s also some privacy concerns along with this service, because when you use it Google will have information on you similar to your ISP and that’s a lot of info if you know what I mean, for example:
- Google will have all the URLs you visit along with the time of the Request, your IP address and information about your computer and connection
- All the information you enter in web forms will go through Google
- Google will temporarily cache cookies that as some of you know might contain valuble information (Username, Passwords, Account information, …)
- Google Web Accelerator will store caches of websites you frequently visit on your system in addition to prefetched pages that you did not visit, and it has nothing to do with your browser’s cache.

But Google promises to never rent or sell a user's personal information to third parties without a user's explicit permission, so hopefully your personal information will be safe, I wouldn’t worry about this if I were to use it, but there’s some paranoid people out there.

Tomorrow I’ll talk about my speculation of Google’s purpose in introducing this service in particular and Google’s recent moves and other services in general, stay tuned.

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Tuesday, May 03, 2005

50 Million Downloads for Firfox

Congratulations to Firefox team on this very amazing achievement, they managed to get 50 million downloads in less than six months after its official launch last November.
It proves how committed and enthusiastic community can affect a product; it’s a fruit of a joint work from Programmers, Artists, Marketers, and Fans.
Somewhat I feel proud because I contributed as much as I could in spreading Firefox (Recommended all my friends to use it, Wrote about it couple of times in the magazine)

If anybody is still using Internet Explorer… shame on you, switch to Firefox immediately and get rid of all Pop-ups, Adware, Spyware,… and get many many more features.
Celebrating this achievement, here’s a Firefox new tweak guide for startups and veterans alike.

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Sunday, May 01, 2005

Google Ads to target (pollute) RSS

RSS (Really Simple Syndication) in undoubtley the best thing that occurred to Internet since its creation, and IMO we haven’t seen a bit of its full power, it literally holds the future of the internet, and it’s especially important for the huge number of blogs that you want to keep following.

And since the first days of its introduction a couple of years ago, companies rushed to support it and embrace it, and a whole firms was created to releases products dedicated to it like aggregators, and worth mentioning here is Yahoo as it was the first big player to fully embrace RSS and customize its services to support RSS, and just recently Yahoo delivers Web search results via RSS.

But Google… despite being the biggest portal on the web, it completely ignored RSS like it never existed and they haven’t put anything in RSS or supported it neither in their existing services nor new ones, at least they should’ve customized Google News to support RSS feeds which is less than a week’s work for one programmer.
Possible Reason IMO for Google’s behavior is the threat that RSS poses to the way Google make money (Ad Sense system).

What brought me to this subject in the first place?
A few days ago Google at last started to recognize it but with what? With targeting Ads for it!!!
I’m not against making money, especially for a company offering great services, but at least they should support the technology first before they utilize it for making money, but obviously they waited till they came up with working “Ads System” and then decided to acknowledge RSS.
But whether they’re intending to support it with REAL services is still unknown and only time will tell.
I know I’m going to be criticized for it but I’ll say it: I see Google is slowly turning from Search Engine Giant to Ads Giant.

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