September 08, 2010

Google Instant

So, its out.

Google releases a major change to the UI after the autocomplete and spell-suggest addons, which is called Google Instant. It supposedly borrows its name from the Instant Coffee ,which is quite popular in the corporate world and Instant Noodles, which is very popular in Japan and among couch potatoes/geeks/kids. Google's innovations are also like these - Fresh, fun-filled and utilitarian.

With the release of this change, you don't need to press the Search Button for any of your queries any more. Google will search while you type by combining an old technique called 'Incremental Search' designed by an engineer Amit Patel, and Google's now popular Autocomplete feature. When you start typing itself, Google predicts a list of possible queries and in addition, brings you the results of the top ranked query among that.

Its kinda weird after all these years of conventional search that we have been doing. But it helps out a lot when you are not so sure about the query that you need to give in , to get to the data you want. You can straight-away decide whether you need to type the whole story , or just the first few words are enough. This definitely is an improvement, and not a revolution, because all it does is add to the overall user experience and reduce search time.

I was just watching the Live Streaming of its release and talk by the famous Marissa Mayer (VP of Search ,Google) and the product managers and technical leads behind this quirky innovation, that is Google Instant. They showed some really cool search examples in the video, and I was excited to watch it all. But a tweeple friend of my Chetan Gole also tweeted out the additional capability of Google Instant to be morally conscious. It won't support any kind of swear words or profanities in its predictive real time searches. Wow!!

Currently, this feature is released on in the US version of the page, and will be rolled out for signed in users in other versions like Spain,Russia,UK, France and Italy. It will be available on the IE8,Firefox, Safari and of course Chrome.So keep your eyes peeled out for its release to Indian version and the default search page of your browser as well.

The new age of search is here...

September 02, 2010

Revisiting the wave

I was reminded of the Google service called 'Wave' when I saw the article: Joined the wave.
So I just went over there to see whether it looks any different from what it used to be. I had read some tweets and news about Google discontinuing the development on wave ,some time back.So, I wasn't really expecting anything above the slow and unresponsive windows and cluttered boxes which is my memory of Google Wave.

Though the activities and presence (or lack of) of online contacts in wave supported by expectations, the interface and its responsiveness looked better than it used to. Maybe if, initially itself, they had released it the way it is now, it wouldn't have had this sudden death. Considering the hype that surrounded it during its beta release time, it has been a real nail in the coffin for the internet giant, that is Google. With this and some more failures and partially successful ventures, Google has been gaining on the negative opinions scale, competing with the likes of Microsoft and Facebook.

Coming back to wave, the thing that caught my attention was the 6 boxes under "Start a New Wave", namely 'Blank Wave','Discussion','Task Tracking','Meeting','Document' and 'Brainstorming'. As there weren't any contacts online, I was not interested in any of these, except 'Task tracking' and 'Brainstorming'.

But, each of them turned out be something like a custom template from Google Docs.Brainstorming had this extra feature of flash component that allows drawing. So, for collaborative brainstorming, this might have been a good tool. I liked that.

Speaking of the task tracker, I being a person of low brain retentivity, tend to use task trackers and notes extensively. And hence, I find such tools very useful and amusing. Here also, the availability, of categorization of tasks based on priority caught my attention. Apart from that, it is not interesting at all. I would any day prefer a proper task planner software on my desktop, or for that matter, even gmail's task list over this.

Overall, I felt good that Google stopped wasting time on this. Maybe they will enhance something else worth using. It was rightly discontinued, as it is a big failure from Google. So waving goodbye to Google Wave again..adios

Echofon breaks in Linux

One fine day,when I logged onto my Ubuntu, and started firefox, I got a message box with no contents in it other than an OK button with the message box title reading 'Echofon'. As I couldn't figure out what was causing this error, I executed Firefox from the terminal in background mode. The error message that was printed on the terminal is :
"Can't get OAuth signer. Use Basic Auth instead. / Cc[';1']"

I googled this, and came to Echofon for Firefox, where many people have put their comments that Echofon is broken for Linux or has been discontinued for Linux from version onwards.

Mine was that version, and so as per the suggestions in that page, I reverted back to version,and voila echofon is working fine.

Morever I saw that Twitter has sent me a mail regarding discontinuation of basic authentication and enforcement of "OAuth" authenatication method. This might prove useful in centrally controlling all applications which have access to twitter timeline.

But the news of rolling out of "" url wrapping doesn't sound so good, in spite of their claims of providing protection from potentially malicious website and reducing obscurity in URLs provided over twitter.

With this in place, I wonder what would happen to services like which provide realtime analytics for such shortened links. Anyway it will be deployed in a beta mode in a couple of weeks, and made mandatory by end of the year. So, have to wait and see what happens, and how tweeples react to these new regulations and rules in twitter,.