Monday, April 9, 2012

More Google News....

While Google's Project Glass has gotten most of the buzz this week from myself and others, there's are plenty of lesser, but more practical issues buzzing around Googleland!

For instance, as Google tries to continue to make its search box the most relevant spot on the web, it is adding graphing to its capabilities. This push is widely seen as a counterattack to Wolfram Alpha (which is one of the primary behind the scene search engines driving Apple's Siri). While this feature will be of most interest to high school and college students, it seems like this is a clear sign that the war between Google and Apple is growing more overt and hostile. This feature works in modern versions of Chrome, Firefox, (and Safari!). If you want to read more, this article from Read, Write, Web, has details. These folks even have supplied an equation for the more mathematically challenged you can use to try out the new feature (simply cut and paste this formula into your desktop Google search box):

sqrt(cos(3*x))*cos(100*y)+1.5*sqrt(abs(x)) + 0.8 x is from -1 to 1, y is from -1 to 1, z is from 0.01 to 2.5

Google also announced its entry into the world of company surveys. This seems like a natural to me! By allowing respondents to get access to premium content (for participation) and publishers to get paid for providing targeted respondents, everyone wins! To take a look at the process and evaluate how this service might benefit you and your organization, click here.

Ever wonder, or even worry, about your Googling? You don't have to fear that your Google Gmail Account has been hijacked to be curious as to what exactly the search engine giant is collecting on your online life. If you are concerned or curious, Google is now providing an easy way for you to track  your own online activity.

You have to sign up for this service, but once you do you will receive a monthly email providing you with a wealth of information (some of which may be eye opening). Here's how Google describes it:

Today we’re introducing Account Activity, a new feature in your Google Account. If you sign up, each month we’ll send you a link to a password-protected report with insights into your signed-in use of Google services.

For example, my most recent Account Activity report told me that I sent 5 percent more email than the previous month and received 3 percent more. An Italian hotel was my top Gmail contact for the month. I conducted 12 percent more Google searches than in the previous month, and my top queries reflected the vacation I was planning: [rome] and [hotel]. 

If Google Activity seems interesting, you should also take a look at Google Dashboard. (This link will send you to a video which describes this service in greater detail.) In addition to the pure informational value, both of these services can provide detailed clues as to what is going on should you ever be concerned that your online Google Account has been compromised!

If you have ever marveled at Google's ability  auto correct, or auto suggest, spellings in search engine queries, you aren't alone. This "on the fly" corrective ability wouldn't be possible using a traditional dictionary lookup. Well, if you are a Google Docs user, the online dictionary is being thrown out with the proverbial baby's bathwater! Google is now looking over your shoulder and making sure you are spelling "according to Hoyle"  in real time. I would love to see this capability added to Blogger, Android, and other elements of the Google ecostructure. If you are using Google Docs, let us know how you like this feature using the comments section (spell checking is on you, sorry!).

Finally, more patent war absurdity! This war of litigation borders on the insane and is stifling innovation. In today's installment of "How The Patent Turns," Apple is firing a broadside attack against its hated rival, Google. While it is well known that Steve Jobs vowed to go after Google for what he perceived as outright "theft" of many of the iPhone's features in Android, I can't believe Steve at his most apocalyptic would find sanity in this madness. Essentially, this patent awards Apple rights to the rectangle! That's right, a square with four ninety degree right angles! Are you kidding me!? Where does the madness end (and what in the world is our government doing awarding such a patent in the first place)?

More to follow! I hope everyone had a great holiday weekend!

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Companies:   Google, Apple

I have a long positions in $GOOG,  $AAPL

This commentary is not meant as an endorsement of any company or to provide financial advice.  If the author has any financial interest in any company mentioned at the time of this article’s posting, it will be explicitly noted. I welcome feedback and comments. 

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