Tags Posts tagged with "Google"



    Google is planning to offer kid-friendly versions of its products in the near future, perhaps as early as next year. The mega corporation’s intentions of making itself more kid-friendly were revealed by Pavni Diwanji -VP of engineering at Google- in an interview with USA today. Cyberspace was rife with rumors this past year about Google developing a child-friendly version of YouTube for young kids, so this announcement doesn’t exactly come as a surprise to anyone.

    The company hasn’t revealed any significant details about the project, and neither has it specified a fixed timeline for the release.  Experts believe, though, that Google will probably roll out kid-friendly versions of its most popular products, like Chrome and YouTube, sometime next year. This is the first time Google is planning something on this scale solely for kids. It has hosted events for kids before, of course (like Doodle 4 Google), but kids have never been a major target demographic for the company.

    Catching Them Young

    Google’s new child-friendly stance has been inspired by the undisputable fact that a large number of Google product users are now kids. In the interview, Diwanji explained that kids are exposed to the same content as adults, content that may not always be what they’re looking for and, sometimes, content that may not be suitable for their development either. Google, through its drive, is planning to create a set of tools that will give kids access to suitable content, allow parents to oversee their kids’ use of the content and generally make the experience better for everyone involved.

    Google has also acknowledged the fact that a kid’s view of the world is very different from an adult’s view.  In the interview, Diwanji talked about how children use the internet very differently than adults. She cited the example of her young daughter, who typed in “trains” in Google search, hoping to find info about Thomas the Tank Engine. Instead, she was shown Amtrak train schedules as a result, which left her surprised and doubting Google’s intelligence as a search engine.

    To help it with its task of making its products kid-friendly, Google will probably use research data from the place it calls the Kids Studio. The room is located at its headquarters in Mountain View, California. Here, Google encourages kids of its employees to play with or work on a selection of projects.

    Courting Controversy?

    The FTC (Federal Trade Commission) in the past has shot down attempts by several companies to collect information from young kids without parental consent. Thanks to their efforts, and the efforts of other such organizations, companies have generally avoided targeting products at kids below 13 years of age in the past. The President of the Electronic Privacy Information Center, Marc Rotenberg, was quoted as saying that “young children, as an age group, are the most susceptible to audio-visual targeting and it was everyone’s desire to live in a world where they aren’t being bombarded with useless products.”

    Diwanji was quick to acknowledge that Google’s move to target their products at kids may not be welcomed by most parents. She opined that it is in an unavoidable fact today that even very young kids have access to technology. Google, according to Diwanji, wants to make sure the way that kids use technology is beneficial to them and helps teach them right from wrong. She also promised that Google plans to give parents complete control over their kids’ activities when they’re using Google products.

    The Google Generation

    Google may be entering dangerous waters with its decision to target young kids with its products. Parents are a fiercely protective bunch when their kids are threatened, even if we’re talking about something as (comparatively) trivial as privacy intrusion. Google is infamous for collecting data from its users and selling it to advertisers. Could we safely assume that’s what it will do with the data it collects from its youngest users? Perhaps it will, or perhaps it will use the data to give kids a better experience. However, it’s too early yet to speculate about Google’s intentions. Only time will tell if Google is serious about making kid-friendly products that are all about helping a child develop his or her potential or if it is planning to drive up revenue by targeting an untapped market.



    Featured image: Paul Mayne via Flickr

    Google Einstein Logo at Google Kirkland


    One of the biggest startup success of our times, Google has becomes synonymous with instant information. So much so that today the word “search” is on a brink of extinction with the new expression “Google it” taking over.  The Oxford English Dictionary has Google listed as a verb and a noun, goes to show its prowess and the mind-space it occupies.

    What started on September 4th 1998 as a privately held company, Google became a name to reckon with in all these years and today offers bevy of internet related products and services. It was founded by Larry Page and Sergey Brin while they were Ph.D students at Stanford University. Since its IPO in 2004, the growth of Google has been rapid and has been responsible for increasing its reach exponentially through acquisitions and other partnerships.

    Some of its breakthrough products that have been the lifeline of internet are discussed below.

    Search Tools

    Google Search: The core competency and the blood line of the company, Google search engine is its first and most famous product. Google receives over 100 billion requests on a monthly basis and also serves the regional domains.

    Accessible Search: Built for the visually impaired, the results give accessible websites to minimize distractions and make browsing easy for the disabled.

    Blog Search: This search lists all the blogs and not just the ones listed on the blogger.

    Google Books: This search engine provides full texts or excerpts from the printed books, depending upon its agreement with the publisher.

    Google Custom Search: The user can create a personalized search option for their websites.

    Google News: the search engine is automatically updated by all the latest news in more than 20 languages.

    Web History: web page tracking service that records all the searches, pages, videos, images, music etc.

    Image search: The results on this search engine are based on the file name corresponding to the image.

    Google Alerts: this is an email notification service which notifies every time there is a new result in the chosen items.

    Advertising Services

    Google AdSense: contextual advertising solution is offered to the web publishers that provides Google AdWords relevant to the site content.

    Google AdWords: Advertisement option in the sponsored links section that can boost the website traffic and subsequently sales.

    AdWords Express: easy online advertising option available to the customers

    Google Grants: Charitable organisations get free AdWords advertising as a donation.

    DoubleClick: This service is for the buyers or creators of the digital media which gives them the technology to manage the advertisements.

    AdMob: Mobile advertising service offered to the mobile operators

    Communication Tools

    Google 3D Warehouse: This tool allows the users of Google Sketch Up to hosts 3D models of existing locations which also includes buildings. These models can then downloaded by Google earth or other users.

    Google Apps: This service is available to business owners or education providers to customize the apps under their custom domain name. The service includes Gmail, Google Docs, Google groups, Google sites, Google earth, Gtalk etc.

    Blogger: this is a weblog publishing service which allows the users to create custom blogs with features like comments section, photos etc.

    Google Bookmarks: This free online bookmark service is available to all the Google account holders free of change.

    Google business solutions: These set are services are specifically for the business owners with products that include Google AdWords, Google AdSense, Google Analytics, Google site search, Google website optimizer etc.

    Google Calendar: this free calendar service can integrate your Gmail account. You can share the event and the ‘quick add’ function can be used to add events to the calendar.

    Google Docs: get remote access to documents, spreadsheets, power-points which can be published or collaborated.

    Google Drive: online service that allows backup and storage. This service is also linked to your Google docs.

    Google Hangouts: IM and video-chat portal which has integrated Gtalk, Google+ and Hangouts service into single application.

    Gmail: freeIMAP& POP email service offered by Google. This email service is highly popular because of its elastic storage capacity and search based UI.

    Goo.gl: free service that shortens the Google & Non-Google website addresses

    Google+: Google’s very own social networking site

    Picassa Web Albums: one of its kind online photo-sharing platforms used widely for its easy accessibility.

    Google Fonts: free directory of hosted web fonts

    YouTube: One of the most famous video sharing portals that allows users to share, upload and view videos online.

    Miscellaneous Products & Services

    Google App Engine: allows the users to develop and run web apps

    Google Maps: provides the most accurate driving directions and local business search to people using the mapping service

    Google Analytics: get pure number data regarding the traffic your website generates with the help of AdWords integration into the content.

    Google Earth: desktop based application is a virtual 3D globe that uses the imagery from satellite, aerial photographs and GIS

    Google Public DNS: new entry into the DNS domain can be accessed publicly.

    Operating System

    Android: This operating system is Linux based and powers smart phones and tablets

    Chrome OS: Linux based OS works with web based apps only.

    Discontinued Services

    Orkut: This social networking service was initially available through invitation only which was later opened up to everyone. You can use it create personal and professional networks.

    Google Deskbar: this feature had a built in mini browser in the desktop bar.

    Google Click to Call: One could speak to the businesses free of charge after looking them up Google search

    Google Lively: Animated chat program that ran on 3D model

    Dodgeball: This social networking site was built specifically for mobile phone users. They could text their location to find the nearest friends, interesting hangouts etc.

    Google Rate finder: This service could be used in 14 US cities to get real time rates of taxis, limousines and any other shuttle service.

    Google Buzz: social networking integrated with Gmail to allow users to share photos, videos, updates etc in one go.

    Picnik: online photo-editor service

    Meebo: users could create their personal profile and then advertise on a social network

    Google Talk: IM service for text and video chat was replaced by Google hangouts

    Google Schemer: search allowed to look for activities that can be done at home or globally

    Google notifier: alerted the users of any new messages in their Google Account

    You Tube My speed: now known as Google video quality report

    Google, over the years has been there and done that. It’s offerings extend much beyond this list and continues to grow successfully. It has constantly experimented and brought in innovative solutions to augment the user experience. The newest entrant in the long lineup of Google products, we hear are the driver-less vehicles. Are you ready to get in?




    Image Credit : Danny Sullivan via Flickr

    Google kicked off its annual developer conference, Google IO 2014 in San Francisco on Wednesday. The two day event focused on unveiling the road map for many of its products. The conference which was largely an invitation-only event, concluded today with over 80 sessions on the agenda covering important announcements on its long list of products.

    The keynote, as expected was choc-o-bloc with announcements that’ll cheer billions of android users globally. We round up the big announcements, hits, misses, and things to look forward to from the company that once considered naming itself “The BackRub”!

    Android L : Taking a bite off the Apple?

    Google IO-7

    Google announced its contender to iOS 8, simply called L (Android 5.0) thus moving away from its history of naming its OS after sweet treats. If the end-result is anything like the keynote suggests, it is sure to be lapped by its billion-strong users.

    Android L will feature what Google calls Material Design, with its pixels having not just shape but also depth. This would hand immense power to the developers to create more real world designs that are portable across devices without losing finess or functionality. Other major changes would include lockscreen notifications, and proximity sensing auto-lock to beef up on device security.

    Android Auto : In Top gear

    Google IO-8

    You won’t have to fumble with your phone while driving anymore. Android Auto integrates seamlessly into your car with support for steering buttons, touchscreen and console dials. You also get Google maps incorporated in your car system with other mobile features like contacts, messages, reminders and more. With Android Auto under the bonnet, it’d be like taking your smartphone on a spin!

    Android TV : Stream Entertainment

    Google IO-6

    In its rechristened avatar, Android TV will feature refined scrolling for better user experience. Also on the anvail is the voice search feature that’ll help you search for your favorite movies, tv shows and even stars. It’ll have a native game support that should bring cheer to the Android dev community. Sony, Philips and Sharp are some of the manufacturers on board already. Though, Samsung seems conspicuous by its absence in that lineup.

     Android One : Pocket-friendly ‘droid

    Google IO-2

    An android device costing less than a $100 is a sure-fire way to capture the mass markets. Through Android One, low cost phone manufacturers globally will be able to ascertain minimum hardware requirements for unified Android experience to users.

    The program will launch in India with the arrival of devices for manufacturers like Micromax and Karbonn Mobile.

    Android Wear : Gear up

    Google IO-4

    Google unveiled it Android Wear SDK with LG’s G watch and Samsung Gear Live. The wearable technology will take a quantum leap with users getting a host of smartphone features right on their wrists obviating the need to whip out large screen phones to check new updates.

    Going by the demo, it would support both square and round displays. Android Wear will let users browse Google Now cards-like interface and supported apps from paired smartphone. The wearer can also create notes, reminders, set alarms, and make calls using the “OK Google” command.

    While Samsung and LG are both accepting preorders for the smartwatches from today, Moto G will launch later this year.

    Chromecast Update

    Google's Android And Chrome Chief Sundar Pichai Holds News Event

    Google’s home invasion continues with the new Chromecast update. The most notable feature is that the user doesn’t need to be on the same wifi network to cast content. Users will now have an option of connecting through other available devices nearby or via cloud.

    Android for work

    Google aims to bridge the gap when it comes to Android users personal and work life with Android for work on a single device. It will integrate applications in one place. The users will now be able to access MS Office native edit functions in Google docs.

    For its enterprise customers, Google will introduce a premium Drive with unlimited storage at $10 per user per annum.

     Google cloud : Up and about

    Google IO-10

    Though there were no ground-breaking announcements on the Cloud front, Google demoed improvements that’ll let developers debug a live application running on multiple servers.

    The new suite will include Cloud Save, Cloud Monitoring, Cloud Trace, and Cloud Debugger.

    Google fit : Step on it

    Like its rival Apple, Google too had jumped onto the fitness bandwagon with Google Fit. It’s a multi-OS API for fitness apps and devices. It will partner with Nike, Adidas, and Withings

    Google Play : Game on

    Google Play Games has added 100M new users in the past 6 months alone! It is no wonder then Google is going all out to woo them with new additions like leaderboards and game progress screens. For those who like a bit of challenge there’s a new Quest feature that allows the gamers to set and surpass goals.

     So, what was missing?

    With so many announcements to be excited about, one can easily forget to remember the big ticket items that didn’t get any attention. And Google IO did keep the lid on for some biggies.

    Google Plus didn’t find a place in Google’s agenda this year. According to a Google spokesperson at IO, the social network didn’t fit into this year’s theme of Develop, Design, and Distribute. With this omission Google’s blow-hot blow-cold relationship with the social network continued.

    Also out of focus was Google Glass which hogged major limelight in the same conference last year. Even though, the delegates all turned up in Glass in such large numbers that it seemed like a part of the dress code!

    The bots didn’t find a place in the conference or a mention in the keynote despite high expectations from fans after the Boston Dynamics acquisition last year.

    For Google the focus this year was clearly on the bouquet of products and tools that can help developers enhance the Android experience for its end users.



    Images Credit : Google IO


    Google Earth's Rome RebornHow did people live thousands of years ago?  The University of Virginia’s Institute for Advanced Technology in the Humanities asked this exact same question. As a result, they decided to digitally rebuild the revolutionary city of Rome during the peak of its development (around A.D. 320 – the time of Constantine The Great). They figured this would be the best way to try and understand how humans lived so long ago.

    The very first version of the Rome Reborn product went under construction 10 years ago, and the task was finally finished last year. Included in it were 250 highly detailed structures, and a total of over 7,000 structures in all. They used a 1:250 scale model of Rome that took forty years to create (from 1933 to 1973). This smaller scale Rome was actually constructed out of Plaster of Paris. Using laser scanners they scanned the Plaster of Paris model and created the virtual model. The original use of this model was to be utilized in a theater at UCLA. Since last year the Rome Reborn Project has seen many faces, it’s most recent being Rome Reborn 2.0 which improved the detail significantly. Google then joined in and offered to include Rome Reborn in Google Earth.

    With Rome Reborn in Google Earth, it’s the equivalent of an virtual time machine, which can be used to study the history of Rome and other great cities of the world. If you currently have Google Earth (any version), you can enjoy touring ancient Rome. Not only can you navigate around the structures, but you can also go in them, and enter areas like the Colosseum and even the Roman Senate. With more time, more information will be added researches believe. They also hope that by pioneering this research into the past – other researchers will catch some inspiration and create 3D models of other forgotten cities.


    Alternate browsers are becoming increasingly popular, even though Internet Explorer still has a stronghold when it comes to market share.  Some of the most popular alternate web browsers available include Mozilla Firefox, Safari, Opera, and Google’s new Chrome web browser.

    Still in beta, Google’s "Chrome" has attracted less than 2% of the Internet browser market at its peak, but Google engineers are working to enhance the software to make it more appealing and useful to its users. One very popular idea for improving Chrome is the addition of an extension system, which will enable third-party developers to produce plugins for any number of add-on features, ranging from browser enhancements to RSS readers, calendar/reminder extensions, etc.Chrome users can then install the plugins to complete tasks that Google did not integrate into the web browser.

    Mozilla Firefox, a browser that holds the record for the most downloads in a single day, has the ability to integrate third-party plugins, which has been perhaps the greatest factor in achieving its 20% web browser market share.

    One of Google’s developers made the announcement that Google is looking into integrating third-party browser plugins for Chrome. They also released a design document that provided an outline for what needed to be done in order to add plugin support.  This functionality is certainly at the top of the wishlist for most Chrome users, and Google seems to be working on providing the support as quickly as possible.  The first plugins planned for integration include Flash and an ad blocker (ironic), which are some of the more popular plugins for Mozilla Firefox.

    Unfortunately, Google has yet to announce when this implementation will be complete, but at least we know that they plan on offering extension support in the near future.


    Google Talk with Voice and VideoGoogle is always working to release new and effective Internet solutions.  Continuing in this tradition, Google’s Talk messenger application has recently been updated with video and voice capabilities.  The new release is not meant to be a contender to Skype, as it does not possess the ability to connect to the standard phone network or voice mail support.

    The audio and video is high quality, though.  Since Google Talk’s video traffic goes through Google servers, it’s expected to be more consistent as far as the connection then Skype since Google has endless bandwidth and server space. If you’re using an older computer, the PC may suffer poor performance during usage since the application utilizes a lot of resources.  There are no such issues with any recent system, however.

    Straying from the path of other video chat products, Google Voice and Video uses a proprietary plug-in instead of Flash. A miniscule download of 2MB supports Internet Explorer, Mozilla Firefox, and Google’s own Chrome on a PC as well as Firefox on a Mac.  Details have not yet been released on support for other platforms, such as Linux, but ports for them may come later. Google Video and Voice made its official public debut at midday on Tuesday, November 18th. Now that Google provides Voice and Video, users have access to a vast array of tools with one login, including email, voice, chat, and soon even SMS. If Google ties in Youtube and Google Docs better in the future, the Google account will be nearly unstoppable.

    Google’s Voice and Video is quite simple to use.  When the option is available, a "Video & More" button is shown in the chat messaging window.  Once selected, the plug-in will be installed and immediately accessible for video calls with friends.


    Many of you here are either involved with the marketing of a web site for another company or operate a web site or blog of your own.  For either case, being able to immediately see if a page is cached by Google would be invaluable.  That’s exactly what the Google Cache Checker extension for Firefox offers.

    Gadget Advisor is proud to offer the free Google Cache Checker extension for Firefox.  The extension is lightweight, and high performance, residing conveniently in the statusbar.  It displays a checkmark icon if the current page is Google cached. If it is not, the extension displays a red X.  This makes it very quick and convenient to see if a page is Google indexed. For example, if you’re visiting a directory to see about submitting, you can see if the page you’re going to be submitting into is indexed. Or, pages for advertising, etc. Firefox Extension to Check Page for Google Cache

    If you would like to post about the Google Cache Checker extension, please do not host the extension file on another server.  Instead, link to this page for downloading.

    Download the Extension Here (original version for best performance)
    Download the Extension Here (version that features cache date on tooltip)


    The Geo-Eye 1 satellite, which successfully launched yesterday, is engineered to transmit high-resolution satellite imagery back to Earth for use by Google and the U.S. government. Google’s founder’s attended the launch event, which coincides with Google’s 10th birthday celebration. Information analyzed by the satellite will be reviewed for national security by the U.S. National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency. Google’s arrangement also allows them sole access to the images, which will be used to improve the Google Maps and Google Earth services. The first high-quality images will be available to Google in 1-2 months.


    According to NetApplications, the new Google Chrome web browser release has already overtaken Opera in web browser market share. NetApplications has been monitoring Chrome usage hourly since its release, and reported that it reached a 1.57% market share on 9/4 at 2:00 AM EDT. The usage has dropped some since then, but never below the 0.74% market share held by Opera. At present, Google Chrome is holding at 1.09%. It’s disappointing for Opera since the Opera web browser is considered by most to be a better web browser in the current state. However, it’s not surprising considering Google’s dominance, branding, and coverage. As mentioned here before, Google Chrome is definitely a browser to watch in the coming year. Its usage is likely to skyrocket as the browser matures.


    Google Chrome is a surprise release by Google into the web browser market.  Although many had speculated about a GBrowser, the immediate availability without much pre-release buzz was indeed unexpected.  The first word came yesterday from the official Google blog, with a link to a trailer-style comic book presenting the product.  The beta version has since been released as open source.  The web browser market is not saturated, but is highly competitive, with Internet Explorer from Microsoft, Firefox from Mozilla, Safari from Apple, and Opera from Opera Software being the established solutions.

    Although the new browser is not yet as feature-rich as other browsers on the market, it does offer superior speed and a few unique touches.  Google Chrome will definitely be a browser to watch going forward as it matures.  Unfortunately for Google, shortly after the release, it was reported that the browser has security vulnerabilities.  It’s not entirely unexpected with a new product since both Internet Explorer and Firefox have ongoing vulnerability issues, but I’m sure that’s not what Google was hoping to hear about on the same day the browser launched.

    Google Chrome can be downloaded here for those interested in checking it out.