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All posts tagged "google"

Thursday, May 31, 2012

Google Polishes its Chrome

Posted by Hooch Tan in "Digital Home News" @ 02:00 PM

"We often joke Google is like the old Microsoft — getting things wrong, bumbling its way into new markets, and getting things right on the third try. This seems to be quite true of Google’s efforts to develop a cloud PC. Google and its partner, Samsung, are launching a new Chromebook and Chromebox today, targeting them at the educational and corporate customers."

Google likes Chrome. It created a browser named Chrome. It launched a netbook like device called the Chromebook. It looks like they are back, and in addition to updating its portable funtoy, you can say hello to the Chromebox. It does not roll off the tongue like iPad, or iPhone, but I suppose that is the name they are sticking with. I never heard of much success with the original Chromebook, but it appears that the new strategy they are taking, that is, targeting corporate and education markets, makes more sense. One of the biggest benefits of the whole Chrome ecosphere is asset management. A person's profile is not really stored on the computer, but in the cloud. With the ChromeSomethingSomething, someone can switch between two different devices and largely get the same experience which is big karma for large organizations. I am sure that individuals can also get some ChromeLove, but the money is in big markets.

Friday, April 20, 2012

Google Drive to Offer 5GB Storage

Posted by Hooch Tan in "Digital Home News" @ 02:00 PM ree-launching-next-week-for-mac-windows-android-and-ios/

"Sometimes we get lucky, and today is one of those days. I got a draft release from a partner of Google’s upcoming Google Drive service and it gives away a wealth of information about how Google plans to take on the incumbent Dropbox. The short story? 5 GB of storage, and it launches next week, likely on Tuesday at"

Cloud storage seems to be pretty hot these days. With long time storage providers like Dropbox and Box, it looks like Google is finally jumping into the fray. Is what they provide good? Time will tell. I think it will partly be a matter of how well integrated their offerings are and how it plays with other applications. I do wonder just what Google will do with the data you store though, as I suspect, much like most of their offerings, they will use it to data mine everything about you, but for 5GB of free storage, off the bat, instead of after referrals, it is tempting.

This does raise the question about cloud storage in general and where it is heading. It looks to become much more generic, and could pose a threat against more specialized storage providers such as imgur. If Google also better integrates its other services with it, it could also compete against companies like Evernote as well. The next few years will prove to be interesting to see who wins out.

Monday, November 21, 2011

Online Music Stores Compared

Posted by Brad Wasson in "Digital Home Talk" @ 07:00 PM

"Each music store is a little different. This showdown is all about the music stores that these companies offer-not their respective players, applications, or services. We can't help but mention them in terms of usability and integration with the store and the user experience, but we're going to try and focus on the features of the stores and steer clear of the bugs or quirks of each player."

Online music stores have garnered attention of late for a number reasons, including the recent launch of the new Google music store. Lifehacker has done another nice job comparing products, this time focusing primarily on the iTunes store, the new Google store and the Amazon music store offerings. If you are outside of the US you may not even have access to all of these stores and their related services, but the review is still useful as you get a feel for what the offerings encompass, and in the future you may indeed get to use them. There is something unique, positive, and negative about each store. The Read link will provide that insight for you.

Monday, May 16, 2011

Ed Bott's Five Reasons Why Google's New Chromebook Isn't a Windows Killer

Posted by Jason Dunn in "Laptop Thoughts Articles & Resources" @ 03:00 PM

"At Google's I/O conference this week, the audience erupted into cheers when they heard the news that they were getting a free notebook powered by the Chrome OS. It's too bad that the audience was filled with developers instead of the IT pros who Google is counting on to actually buy these things. Something tells me that the latter audience would have been sitting on their hands for most of the session, and they wouldn't have been swayed by that Oprah moment."

Ed Bott comes out guns-a-blazin' against Google's Chromebook - and he has some very legitimate points. If you're an enterprise, the last thing you want is a product that gets updated immediately before you have a chance to test what impact the upgrade has on the tools your employees use. The pricing is also a big question mark - $28 a month over three years is $1008. For a consumer, that makes no sense. For a depends if they can save other costs around software licensing (anti-virus, Microsoft Office), hardware replacements, and IT labour re-imaging systems that get borked. The thin-client computing dream has been around for a long time, just like the tablet dream has, but as we've seen with raging success of the iPad, when the technology reaches a certain inflection point, things can take off. Is thin-client computing at that stage now? I guess we'll see!

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Android and Home Automation: The First Steps

Posted by Jason Dunn in "Digital Home News" @ 02:32 PM

"This morning was day one of Google I/O 2011. Lots of great new technologies and platform advancements were revealed today, but the three our readers will be interested in is Android Accessories, Android @Home, and Project Tungsten. Oh, and I guess Android Market: Movies (compatible across phones and tablets), which provides the ability to stream with a connection or "pin" a movie for instant download to watch later. By the way... everything is "Android" now and apps will - as we've said before - work across various platforms and displays. In other words, one app can support the phone, tablet, and TV via auto-detection and device specific rendering."

Home automation is, frankly, something that I've never bothered with - I like the idea of a smart home, doing things automatically and being able to optimize energy use, but it seems like so much work trying to figure out which technologies to use. Until the industry settles on a single standard, and cost-effective in-home implementations are commonplace, I'm going to stay away from this part of the technology world. And Google wants to step into this mess? Good luck to them!

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Digital Trends Reviews the Sony Internet TV with Google TV (NSX-46GT1)

Posted by Jason Dunn in "Digital Home Hardware & Accessories" @ 04:00 AM

"If every HDMI cable on earth were suddenly shredded to copper threads and you could never connect another device to your TV again, Sony's Internet TVs would be the ones to own. Simply put, no other connected television packs this much content into one clean, self-contained unit. Though the lack of cables and all-in-one approach eases setup and use, Google TV's rough edges will still make us warn non-geeks away from this otherwise sharp connected TV for the time being, but patient tech enthusiasts will find a bevy of content and possibilities built right in."

There's a lot to like about the Sony Internet TV, but ultimately the Google TV part of the experience leaves a lot to be desired. Google TV is a 1.0 product, and Google is known for rapidly improving products - just look at the constant flurry of Android releases - but from the sounds of it most people would feel a sense of buyer's remorse after investing in Google TV at this stage. Or maybe not? I recall there being a few people that were feeling very pro-Google TV in our forums here before the products it was running on shipped. Anyone bought a Google TV product and want to share your thoughts on it?

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Google announces eBookstore

Posted by Andy Dixon in "Digital Home Talk" @ 08:30 AM

"We expected Google to launch its upcoming e-book store before the end of the year, and the company announced Monday that the new Google eBookstore is now open for business in the US. Google is touting the "open" nature of its e-books by making them accessible to the widest array of popular e-reader devices, including the iPad, Nook, and Sony Reader. Google's new eBookstore works a little differently than other stores-at least when it comes to reading via computer. All purchased titles are kept in Google's cloud-based storage and accessed via a browser. When reading via an iOS or Android-based device, a dedicated app can download and cache titles for reading offline. And for devices compatible with Adobe's DRM-protected e-book formats-including Sony Reader and Barnes & Noble Nook-PDF or EPUB files can be downloaded and transferred to your device using Adobe Editions software."

Googles move in to ebook market to compete with the likes of Kindle is no surprise. With the increasing market share of Android phones, and the new growth of Android tablets, this was a move that many expected Google to make. At the moment it isn't compatible with Kindle books, but Google do say they are open to doing this.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Windows Live Photo Gallery Photo Print Ordering Fail

Posted by Jason Dunn in "Digital Home Talk" @ 04:06 PM

I have this dream. My dream is to be able to set my parents and in-laws up with a photo program that will allow them, from within the application, to order physical prints of the photos they have in their collection with a few clicks. It seems like a small thing, but there's a serious psychological barrier to them opening a Web browser, selecting the images they want to print, uploading them, selecting the print size, and placing the order. Too many steps? Maybe. Intimidated by making a mistake? Perhaps. Regardless of the reason, I'm convinced that if it was done from within an application and streamlined, they'd order more physical prints. Picasa has this function, but they only offer one "choice" of providers: BonusPrint, a truly awful service provider that I don't recommend anyone use.

I was hoping that this new version of Windows Live Photo Gallery 2011 would do the trick, but the screen shot above is what I see because I'm in Canada. I've been seeing this "Sorry, we don't care about you as a customer" screen since the first version of Windows Vista in November of 2006. That's damn near four years now, and Microsoft hasn't been able to line up a printing service for Canada? Really? I know we're only a country of 34 million people, but after four years I'd have hoped that someone on the Windows Live Photo Gallery team would have gotten around to arranging a partnership or two.

So, come on Microsoft: either get some partners set up for print ordering, or pull this feature based on geography and hide the button from us so we're not taunted into thinking that this feature actually works.

Friday, September 10, 2010

Social Networking Services Know Who You Are

Posted by Hooch Tan in "Digital Home News" @ 12:30 PM

"In order to use any facebook application, the user must agree to the terms of use, which include accrss to their personal information. Decide not to download the application? Too bad. If your friend decides to use an application, that platform can access your personal information."

Security, privacy and convenience all rarely work together. You usually have to compromise on at least one thing in order to have the others. This is especially true with social networking sites such as Facebook. In some ways, it really makes me wonder why people are complaining about privacy on Facebook and its brethren. The whole purpose of sites like Facebook is to share information, not hide it. You put things up on Facebook so that your friends, family, and maybe even the whole world knows what you have been doing. My general policy follows a quote supposedly from Benjamin Franklin, "Three can keep a secret, if two of them are dead." If there is something you do not want anyone to know, do not post it, do not record it. Keep it tucked away in that little box you have under your bed. Assume that anything you send on the Internet can be copied, altered and redistributed at any time. Assume that anything you do on the Internet is recorded in one fashion or another. When it comes to technology, there is very little in the way of privacy anymore.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Who Will You Invite Into Your Living Room?

Posted by Hooch Tan in "Digital Home News" @ 02:00 PM

"Think about it: unlike so many other sectors of society, the living room is one in which traditional approaches to media still largely dominate. DVD sales still dwarf streaming and online video in both numbers and revenue, while the web has yet to make any serious inroads onto people’s TVs."

I remember when the PlayStation 2 first came out, Sony was touting it as a home entertainment center. Microsoft also made some comments to the same effect when their original XBox was released. Convergence was all the talk. As it turns out, neither really lived up to the hopes of their creators, but it looks as if the battle for the living room is still going strong, but instead of Sony and Microsoft duking it out, two other challengers have entered the ring. Each have their own advantages, though I would think that Sony and Microsoft have an edge, with their well established install base of game consoles. Apple also has some strengths owing to its iTunes empire and iSomething devices. Google seems to have the greatest challenge ahead of them as all they really have is their branding. Of couse, if one company manages to ink deals with a lot of cable companies (something that Microsoft seems to be trying to do, really hard) that may just seal the deal. All I know is that for many years to come, I will have to be satisfied with watching a blank TV screen, in HD, of course, since it will be decades before any of these neat devices comes to Canada.

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Please Welcome Android Thoughts to the Thoughts Media Network

Posted by Jason Dunn in "Thoughts Media Status Updates" @ 02:30 PM

I'm thrilled to announce the newest member of the Thoughts Media family: Android Thoughts. As you can guess, this site will be covering Android in all it's forms - phones, slates, etc. The site is being led by none other than our very own Jon Westfall; he'll be handling all editorial duties on the site, similar to how Apple Thoughts works. Android has exploded in popularity over the past 12 months, surpassing even the mighty iPhone in terms of daily activations according to some. It made sense to cover Android as part of what we do here at Thoughts Media, but I wanted to find someone who was passionate and interested in all things Android...and that person is Jon Westfall. Please go read his welcome message on the site to find out how Android Thoughts was born - and subscribe to the RSS feed and Twitter stream. And, above all, if you're interested in Android as a platform, contribute, share, comment, and become a part of that new community.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Intel Speaks on Smart TV

Posted by Jason Dunn in "Digital Home News" @ 04:00 PM

Pretty interesting stuff; I watched the video and heard some good ideas for how to improve TV, and certainly doing an ethnographic study of how people watch TV is extremely important, but I can't help but feel a little pessimistic about the reality of how the TV industry works. Every big TV manufacturer out there — Samsung, Toshiba, LG, take your pick — has different ideas about how they can differentiate their products, and there's little incentive for them to cooperate with each other and unify around a single TV platform even, if that's exactly what would be best for consumers. We'll see what the next 12 months brings...

Monday, July 19, 2010

Edit Your YouTube Videos With YouTube's Own Video Editor

Posted by Reid Kistler in "Digital Home Software" @ 11:30 AM,281...,2365226,00.asp

"YouTube's new video-editing feature comes at good time. Three years ago, there was a healthy choice of budding new online video editing sites, with names like Cuts, Jumpcut, and Eyespot. Today, most have been abandoned. Video editing is too processing intensive to easily serve a mass audience over the Web. It requires a compelling business model with an enormous audience to make the necessary investments over the long term. Google is one of the few players with the user base and the server power to overcome such obstacles. Google's YouTube is therefore an obvious place to offer basic editing capabilities...."

If you have a YouTube account, and want access to a simple video editor, you can give the new YouTube Video Editor a whirl - just bear in mind that it provides only basic functionality, at least for time being. To be fair, this is still an experimental application, and must be accessed via the YouTube TestTube page, where you will also find a number of other YouTube features that "aren't quite fully baked." Although the reviewer, Michael Muchmore, clearly supports the Google / YouTube effort in creating this new video editor, he also states that he thinks a locally installed application is preferable for most editing jobs, even those that are relatively simple. What is your opinion? Does an online video editor make sense? Or, if your prefer an installed application, is one of free options powerful enough for a video hobbyist?

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Google is a Safe Harbor

Posted by Hooch Tan in "Digital Home News" @ 01:00 PM

"You can read all of U.S. District Court Judge Louis Stanton’s decision at the bottom of the post, where I’ve embedded the ruling. Short version: Stanton buys Google’s longstanding argument–that the Digital Millennium Copyright Act protects YouTube from Viacom’s claims. And he seems to agree with Google (GOOG) on almost every point. There’s very little in his ruling that Viacom (VIA) will be happy about."

YouTube is a busy place. Every day, thousands upon thousands of people upload all manner of videos. Some videos are exciting and interesting, some are boring, and some invariably violate one copyright or another. However, it seems as if Google cannot be held responsible for the violations as long as they follow DMCA takedown requests. I have always seen YouTube as a promotional tool. Sure, it can be used as a distribution tool as well, but fan videos often include songs or clips that get me interested in new artists or shows. It is a great discovery tool that has led me to new material that I otherwise would not have come across. I freely admit that some videos that are uploaded serve no other purpose than to violate copyright, but I believe that the promotional value might just be worth the cost of the occasional freeloader.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Google Explain Google TV

Posted by Andy Dixon in "Digital Home Hardware & Accessories" @ 03:00 AM

"Google's reveal of Google TV wasn't exactly flawless. After technical issues wreaked havoc with the live launch demonstration, many of us found it nearly impossible to focus just as soon as we heard mention of IR blaster control. Fear not, Google has returned with a two and half minute video that breaks it down like we were kindergartners. So grab your blanky and Mr. Tickle, the embedded video is available after the break."

If you're not sure what Google TV is all about or how it's planned to work, then this video should explain it all.

Tags: hardware, tv, google

Friday, June 11, 2010

Google's Pac Man Logo Games Causes Hilarious Support Call

Posted by Jason Dunn in "Thoughts Media Off Topic" @ 03:00 PM

"Google probably thought it was doing the world a favor when it released its Pac-Man logo that doubled as a playable version of the game. But alas, web users are not as sophisticated as Google anticipated. A legion of Firefox users were perplexed by the design decision and headed over to support to learn how they could fix the "problem." Now we have possible audio evidence - in the form of a tech support call uploaded by YouTube user Mrcoolbrad - highlighting just how confusing this was for parts of the online population."

The video (which is just an audio recording) says it all - very funny stuff. Have a great weekend everyone!

Friday, April 30, 2010

Advertising in the Information Age

Posted by Hooch Tan in "Digital Home News" @ 01:00 PM

"Advertising is one of the few industries where it’s virtually impossible to know if money spent is money well-spent. Is a Super Bowl commercial really worth $3 million? Is Tiffany & Co. a more alluring brand if its ad appears in The New York Times instead of USA Today? And what makes a good ad, anyway? These and other questions have plagued marketers for decades as they seek to refine the murky art of persuasion."

I think the writer of the article either has a thing against Google, or is just using the Google name to try and gain a few eyeballs. Google, while excellent at its job, is not the only company that participates in data collection and data mining. In a world where things are increasingly personalized, it seems only natural that advertising takes advantage of that individual connection to improve whatever it is advertising. At first, I worry about privacy, but am I not participating in this voluntarily? When I go to Tim Horton's, the server already knows what I want to order. How is that any different that Google knowing that I like searching for the latest gossip about the next Sex in the City movie? It is only that now becoming economically feasible and technically possible to collect all that data together to create a unified profile of who I am. Something about that still makes me a bit uneasy, but I just cannot put my finger on it. I really do hope that all this will help advertising. The ones that show up for me can sometimes be really laughable!

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Google and Intel To Bring Android To Your TV

Posted by Jon Childs in "Digital Home Hardware & Accessories" @ 12:00 PM

"Google, Intel, and Sony have apparently teamed up (and Logitech too) to develop an Android-based platform for interactive television... It's a space where techies dream, entrepreneurs try, and companies fail. The list of failed convergence companies is notably longer than the list of successes. It's a field where even Apple, the current king of the world when it comes to entertainment technology, can't get a reasonable foothold in the home."

Jeremy Toeman has some interesting things to say about the new Google initiative to bring Android to your TV. Given his experience he would seem to know what he is talking about. I agree with a lot of what he says. My Comcast DVR, while sometimes slow, is "good enough" to make spending hundreds of dollars to upgrade to a 3rd party box unappealing. Especially when considering the amount of trouble people have getting support for Cablecard from their providers. Also, I get a lot of the extras from using my son's Xbox360 to stream Netflix movies, show photos on the TV, play some music, etc. The key to this for Google seems to be getting the TV manufacturers to integrate it into the TVs. Sony seems to be onboard, but Panasonic and Samsung don't seem to interested. They claim that the Intel hardware to support Android would add to much cost to a TV set.

Friday, February 12, 2010

Google to Offer 1 Gigabit Fiber-to-the-home

Posted by Jon Childs in "Digital Home News" @ 10:00 AM

"We're planning to build and test ultra high-speed broadband networks in a small number of trial locations across the United States. We'll deliver Internet speeds more than 100 times faster than what most Americans have access to today with 1 gigabit per second, fiber-to-the-home connections. We plan to offer service at a competitive price to at least 50,000 and potentially up to 500,000 people."

Google is going to lay fiber to up to 500,000 homes and offer 1 gigabit internet access for a "reasonable" cost. They are asking for for interested communities to answer their RFI. Sounds like a pretty nice deal. It seems like they want to use it for experimenting with their next generation web apps. So if you are interested in really fast Internet and using Google's latest software check out their RFI. According to the information they are going to be creating next generation "killer apps". Given the brainpower they employ they are bound to come up with some pretty cool stuff.

Monday, December 14, 2009

Firefox Executive Recommends Bing Over Google

Posted by Chris Gohlke in "Digital Home News" @ 07:00 PM

"Asa Dotzler, Mozilla's director of community development, used his personal blog to urge Firefox users away from Google and to use Microsoft's search engine Bing, instead. Dotzler cited privacy concerns, specifically pointing to comments recently made by Google CEO Eric Schmidt. "I think judgment matters," said Schmidt. "If you have something that you don't want anyone to know, maybe you shouldn't be doing it in the first place." Dotzler then links to the Bing add-on for Firefox, stating that Bing's privacy policy is better than Google's (and notably fails to mention Yahoo at all)."

At the least this is a really poor choice of words by Schmidt, if it is more than that, then it is pretty scary. Whether you just don't want to be embarrassed by someone finding out you spend your days searching Twilight fan fiction or more seriously don't want a potential employer or insurer inferring some of the more intimate details of your personal life based on searches, you should have the ability to keep this information private. Plus, what you search is really just raw data and all sorts of conclusions could be inferred by someone not knowing your reasons for performing the search.

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