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Google

  • Mind your Google language

    While we carry on in our Anglophone world, assuming that English is the general lingua franca of the world wide web, it’s worth pointing out that English accounts for just under 28% in terms of usage in the web as of December 2009. Search interest in “translate” related keywords continues to grow and Google wants to break the language barrier. This is how they are doing it. Google Translate: Now on 57 languages as of this month and counting, Google Translate seeks to help us move seamlessly between Urdu and Swahili with little effort. Enter text, a webpage URL, or upload...

  • When will a search engine understand like a human?

    The blank search box is often a starting point for our journeys into the web. We search when we think it will be the quickest way to get what we want, whether it is on a search engine like Google, or using the search feature on a site such as Facebook. Web searches have been classified into three categories: Informational (the user is searching for some information, not necessarily from any specific website), Navigational (the user is trying to get to some specific website), and Transactional (the user is starting their journey towards completing some form of transaction online, which...

  • How Google search is evolving right now

    When Universal Search was introduced three years ago it was cool, and now it just got better. Google’s "new spring look", unveiled this month, promises to increase the power of search by organising the results using a left hand panel. In Google’s own words, it's “contextually relevant navigation”. This pulls together the genius behind Universal Search, Search Options and Google Squared. Nice, but it kind of looks like Microsoft's Bing. Some of us are already getting this blend of content from images, maps, books, video, and news into our web results, and the walls that traditionally separated our various search properties...

  • Google SA boss quits for new ‘Africa-wide’ venture

    South Africa's Google boss, Stephen Newton, has quit to "pursue other entrepreneurial activities", reports the company. The news that the well-liked Newton is leaving comes as a surprise because he had been in the sought-after position for less than a year. Previous Google boss, Stafford Maisie, had been at the helm for just 18 months, reportedly resigning to spend more time with his family. There have been only two Google country managers in South Africa since the international search behemoth established a local office here about three years ago. Newton told Memeburn that his new role could be described as "Africa-wide"...

  • Are we surrendering our privacy too easily?

    Google Buzz is really messing with my brain. All my other social media activities fit nicely along the private-public continuum we all have to juggle. But Buzz feels like an invasion of my personal space. By infiltrating the most private of online communications (email), it's also daring me to move that privacy line a little bit, and let people in on conversations that they really have no business in being a part of. As Danah Boyd pointed out in her SXSW keynote this year: Google got themselves into trouble by launching a public-facing service inside a service that...

  • How Google Earth played role in historic fossil find

    It has emerged that Google Earth played a key role in what has become known as one of the most significant palaeoanthropological discoveries of recent times. Scientists on Thursday announced the new hominid fossil discovery in the Cradle of Humankind World Heritage Site in South Africa, revealing at least two partial hominid skeletons in remarkable condition, dating to between 1.78 and 1.95 million years. So how did this come about? Back in March 2008, Professor Lee Berger from Witswatersrand University in Johannesburg started using Google Earth to map various known caves and fossil deposits identified by him and his colleagues...

  • 5 reasons why you should kill Buzz

    Within a week of launching Google Buzz, I killed it. Despite my love of the threaded commenting, unlimited by character count and the opportunity it presented to discover new and interesting people, I killed it dead. This is why... Reason #1: The twits made me do it You know who I mean. Those people who saw a really cool tool for sharing and discussing the golden nuggets they found scattered across the interwebs AND THEN PLUGGED TWITTER INTO IT. As my mum says: "A place for everything, and everything in its place." If I wanted a social sharing service that aggregated...

  • The quest for the perfect search result

    When Google launched its search engine a little more than a decade ago, the internet contained less than a billion individual pages. Today, the web grows by several billion pages each day - pages that are ever-more complex, dynamic, and interactive. While organising this information grows more challenging, users' expectations only rise: today people expect the right answer immediately, in the first result and in the language of their choice. People want to be told if there are things about their search that they failed to consider. Don't just tell me what I think I need to know, tell me if you know something that I don't know I need to...

  • Google’s new China approach

    Google has taken the bold step of ceasing to censor their search services — Google Search, Google News, and Google Images — on their China presence, Google.cn. Users visiting Google.cn are now being redirected to Google.com.hk, where the search giant is now offering "uncensored search in simplified Chinese, specifically designed for users in mainland China and delivered via our servers in Hong Kong". "We very much hope that the Chinese government respects our decision, though we are well aware that it could at any time block access to our services," says the search leader. Google says it will be "carefully...

  • Google rolls out real-time search in South Africa

    Google on Friday announced that the real-time search features it rolled out internationally last year will now be available on its South African search results. In December last year, the search giant introduced a string of new search innovations on Google.com, bringing their results to life with a dynamic stream of real-time content. After conducting a search, users can see live updates from people on popular sites like Twitter, MySpace and FriendFeed, including headlines from news reports and blog posts published just seconds before. When they are relevant, Google ranks these latest results to show the freshest information...

  • Google releases new Chrome beta

    Google on Tuesday launched a new beta version of its Chrome browser, which includes a number of new innovations including additional privacy controls for users and seamless integration of translation functionality. Google says the beta release gives users even greater choice and control over their privacy as they browse the web. In addition to Chrome's existing incognito mode -- a handy way to browse the web without leaving traces of website visits or a download history on your computer -- users now have even more in-depth control over their privacy settings in the new "Content Settings" section of Chrome's...

  • Google pedals South Africa

    Google have released new footage of their Street View trikes capturing images of key parts of South Africa, including recently completed Fifa World Cup stadium, Moses Mabhida in Durban. Google Street View trikes arrived in the country in November last year, when they started collecting imagery of historic landmarks, heritage sites, scenic panoramas and sports venues. The search engine giant teamed up with South African tourism authorities to compile a list...

  • Google Fast Flips it

    Google, via Google Labs, reckon they have launched an "innovative service" for reading articles called Google Fast Flip. Fast Flip is an experiment with Google's publishing partners designed to innovate how people discover and consume media. According to Google, it combines some of the best qualities of print and the Web, letting you "flip" through pages online as quickly as flipping through a magazine. The service is filled with news, feature stories,...

  • Teleport your data with Google’s DataLiberation.org

    Google has launched a new website it says helps consumers and businesses "free" data from online products. Apparently, highlighting a commitment to user choice, Google has announced a new website, http://www.dataliberation.org , which provides information on how people can export and import their data quickly and easily from a growing number of Google products for use between Google's products and those of competitors. The website is managed by Google's Data Liberation Front team,...

  • Gmail Labs rolls out ‘Got the Wrong Bob?’

    Last year, Google launched Labs as a forum within Google's free online email product, Gmail, for delivering useful -- and maybe not so useful -- experimental features. A number of these fell into a category Google likes to call "embarrassment-reducers", or features that save you from future regret. Now, Google has announced an additional embarrassment-reducer. Maybe you've received an email from a stranger asking: "Are you sure you meant to send this to...