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Is Google on the way out?

After reading a recent article in Fortune Magazine entitled “Google: The search party is over” the author brought up a good point that got me thinking about how fast technology grows and how far ahead of the game you have to be.

When Google was first created in 1998, while Larry Page and Sergey Brin were wandering the halls of Stanford, they could never imagine what their precious PageRank algorithm could bring to life.  The two graduate students, single-handedly changed the way people access information on the internet and how people communicate.  However, that was 12 years ago, and the technology market has changed drastically in that time period.  Google has done some pretty good things over that time period, gobbling up such companies as YouTube, Admob and DoubleClick.  The company’s name has gone from just that to a verb.  When you want don’t know what something is or where something is, nine times out of 10, someone will tell you to just “Google it.”

They have also created a TON of other applications that all filter essentially back into their crowning jewel, the search box.  Whether its Google Adwords, Apps, Docs or any of the other numerous applications they have created, the ability to use the applications via search is always paramount.  According to a number of industry analysts, 91% of Google’s revenue is from Adwords and 99% of their profits from last year was from that same program.  Google is also projected to have an earnings growth of 18% this year which is absolutely ridiculous for most companies but not for a tech conglomerate at the top of the mountain. Read more…

GENeco; Bringing New Meaning to Pee in Your Gas Tank

GENeco refers to themselves as a sustainable energy company. What that means to them may vary, but what it may soon mean to you is a need for more dietary fiber. Currently testing in England is their new design, the Bio-Bug. A standard 2-liter Volkswagon Beetle converted to run on biogas, if successful it stands to make even electric cars obsolete. A regular sewage plant could power vehicles (without performance loss) around 95,000,000 miles each year.

The vehicles are designed so that if they run out of the compressed methane they switch to a backup tank with regular gasoline. Theoretically you could only have to pay for those rare fill ups, as home biogas ‘digesters’ have been on the market for several years. If the Bio-Bug comes through it’s testing on solid footing, it may be time to stock up on Fiber One.

Man Up, Google

The Wall Street Journal and The New York Times are both reporting that Google and Verizon are in talks to allow content to be sent more quickly to users if the creator pays a fee. Unsurprisingly, many people are calling this the end of net neutrality, and signaling the end of the internet as we know it. Of course things are never that simple. Google is denying the reports, claiming to have spoken with several broadband providers about neutrality, also pointing out their long standing mission to keep said neutrality. This is their statement from 2006:

“Today the Internet is an information highway where anybody – no matter how large or small, how traditional or unconventional – has equal access. But the phone and cable monopolies, who control almost all Internet access, want the power to choose who gets access to high-speed lanes and whose content gets seen first and fastest. They want to build a two-tiered system and block the on-ramps for those who can’t pay.”

So we end up with two sides and several angles to this story. Would a deal along these lines really be that damaging? In essence, it would simply allow large, traffic heavy sites to pay to secure the bandwidth needed to stream content quickly.  Assuming it didn’t go beyond that there wouldn’t be too much harm. If one restaurant can afford better ingredients than the next, and has a stronger menu because of it we don’t have people calling it the end of dining as we know it. Read more…

Been Through an Airport Recently?

Well? Have you? Because the US Marshall’s office has admitted to storing THIRTY FIVE THOUSAND images taken by their new body scanners. Now the story gets a little convoluted, as the TSA still claims that the scanners are not capable of storing images. Of course the clarification soon follows.

“While we have said this many times, it bears repeating, TSA will not keep, store or transmit images. Once deleted, they are gone forever. For additional privacy, the officer viewing the image is in a separate room and will never see the passenger and the officer attending to the passenger will never see the image. The officers have 2-way radios to communicate with other in case a threat object is identified”

So how did the marshall’s office manage to collect so many of these images? Turns out they have surreptitiously begun using the wave scanners in courthouses. The entire group of saved pics comes from a single building in Florida. Granted, this story has not yet spread to include airports, but I personally can only imagine it’s a matter of time. If the device is actually capable of saving it’s memory, even in the short term, images will inevitably begin slipping out.

Of course, the TSA has an answer to that as well, claiming the images amount to “blurry negatives”. Yet the images are considered so graphic that Great Britain doesn’t allow minors to be scanned. It’s pretty simple to find samples of scans online, and while they are nowhere near pornographic, they show much more than I’d be happy to have someone viewing of my own genitals. Have a feeling this is an issue that won’t be going away anytime soon….

DeTray

Fetish: Toshiba’s Dual touchscreen Netbook

This is a mighty sexy piece of hardware.  1.2GHz netbook with two 7-inch touchscreens.  Catch a video of it in action at WIRED.

Adios Google Wave

Did you use Google Wave?  Neither did I.  Apparently neither did most people.

Wave has not seen the user adoption we would have liked. We don’t plan to continue developing Wave as a standalone product, but we will maintain the site at least through the end of the year and extend the technology for use in other Google projects. The central parts of the code, as well as the protocols that have driven many of Wave’s innovations, like drag-and-drop and character-by-character live typing, are already available as open source, so customers and partners can continue the innovation we began. In addition, we will work on tools so that users can easily “liberate” their content from Wave.

Wave has taught us a lot, and we are proud of the team for the ways in which they have pushed the boundaries of computer science. We are excited about what they will develop next as we continue to create innovations with the potential to advance technology and the wider web. – Via The Official Google Blog

Oh Kindle 2! Please find your way to me!

The only thing I want more than to see Wicked for my birthday is the Kindle 2, and for this I’ve had many people say “Seriously!? Why!?”.

The first, and most important, reason why is I’m a gadgetophyle.  I usually don’t have the newest or the latest, but I’m not too far behind.  The main argument I’ve heard against the Kindle 2 is “But the IPad’s out. Why don’t you just get an IPad?” Well, mostly because the cheapest IPad starts at $499 while the cheapest Kindle 2 starts at $139.  Seriously…  I’m poor.  On top of that, though, I already have a netbook, smartphone, and handheld gaming device so the IPad would just be overkill.  Sure I can read ebooks on my phone or netbook, but the Kindle 2 is sleek, has a great screen for reading in the sun, and makes me feel just a little bit more like I’m reading an actual book.  Currently I’m carrying around a fairly large fantasy novel.  Every day it goes with me because I never know when I’ll have time to read a few pages.  Dropping a pound or two from my overstuffed messenger bag would make me an exceptionally happy girl.

Reading on the elliptical/treadmill would be a million times easier without paper.  Holding a book open and running is not an easy task, but the Kindle I could just toss on the machine and go.  Clicking a button every once in a while to flip pages.

Kindle books are usually a dollar or two cheaper than their paper counterparts.  Additionally, I don’t have to worry about storage for a digital book.  As previously stated, I’m poor, saving a dollar here and there is important to me.  Especially in the long run, and I’ve become a huge fan of digital media over disc/paper media.

Honestly, I can justify the purchase of a Kindle 2 a million different ways, but deep down I really just want it.  I don’t need it.  I have a library right around the corner if there’s something I absolutely have to read.  I just want it.  It’s been a while since I’ve purchased a new gadget.  It’s time.

How long will the “Blackberry Torch” burn?

So as most of you know by now, RIM & ATT held their press conference yesterday, detailing all about their newest creation, the Blackberry Torch (9800).  My first thoughts without holding the device or even seeing in person are, “Meh, could be good, but could go really bad RIM.”  On first glance, this looks like an amazing device for RIM but upon further inspection of the specs there isn’t really much that has changed from the Bold 9650. 

Read more…