Google Applies For Patent On Siri-Like Assistant

Siri has become the most popular feature about the new iPhone and this helpful assistant has spawned numerous articles, reports, and comical YouTube videos. While Siri is the most well-known virtual assistant that responds via voice commands, it is not the first, nor is it the last. Since a Siri for multiple Apple products is expected to be released sometime later this month (along with the iPad 3), competitors are scrambling to catch up.

Not one to fall behind on the latest trends, Google has officially applied for a patent on a Siri like assistant set to be released later this year (around fall quarter) for Google TV’s. The Android team, headed by engineer Amit Singhal, is working on the Google ‘Assistant’. Google Assistant isn’t just set to compete with Siri, the Android team developing it is working hard to ensure that it will go well beyond Siri.

The development of this Assistant will encompass the following:
–          Ensuring that Google Assistant will have all of the knowledge on the internet at its disposal in a format it can comprehend.
–          Personalization of Assistant thanks the research Google has done on how people interact with technology and content.
–          A voice centered engine that is mobile and is more concerned with “real life goals” as opposed to simple search results.

Another thing that is great about Google’s new Assistant is the fact that, very much unlike Siri, developers will be able to use it to create new and innovative apps to further its use in our day to day lives. Imagine the possibilities that will open up once thousands more people are allowed to work with this exciting new Assistant? Assistant is rumored to be able to integrate services such as email, Google+, YouTube, and more into mobile devices making it even more versatile.

The patent mentioned earlier was applied for by Google a few weeks ago and it was a “Siri-like” application that was targeted towards Google TV however it won’t be a surprise to anyone to know that Google will undoubtedly release Assistant for a variety of their services to gain an even bigger advantage over Siri.

Overall the new Assistant being developed by Google sounds incredibly intriguing and should open the doors for both developers and consumers alike while setting the bars high for competitors. Unfortunately an exact release date, price, and more information is not available however when any is available, an update will be posted!

 

What to do About Pesky Toolbars?

Toolbars are the source of so many problems that users complain about for their computers. Here is the lowdown on what toolbars are all about and what you can do about them.

What are toolbars?

When you use your internet browser, do you notice that the size of the pages keeps on reducing and there are half a dozen search boxes on top? Toolbars are a simple bar below your browser’s address bar which contains a search bar and a bunch of icons for downloads functions and links to other websites. Depending on what kind of websites you visit, you will have anywhere from one to a dozen toolbars on your browser.

The search bar offers custom search engines. You can type in search terms on them and get results just as you do on Google, Yahoo or Bing. The icons placed by their side allow you to download things like MP3, screen savers, wallpapers etc.

Where do they come from?

Toolbars can be installed on to your browser from a variety of courses. The most common source is free download sites that you go to for downloading things. You may have been to a site that gives you a free photo editing service or maybe even dating service. These sites automatically install toolbars inside Internet explorer or Firefox.

Toolbars can also come from software that you install on your computer. Many a time, when a website gives you software for free, you are asked whether to install custom toolbar. Although, you don’t require it, you may forget or ignore to uncheck the boxes. This leads to many of the toolbars that magically appear without you even knowing about them.

Why they are bad?

The most visible trouble with toolbars is that they drastically reduce the screen space to view web pages. They make you scroll more than usual just to read content. Another bad thing that happens to your browsers is that they get really slow as there are more and more toolbars. Not only that they take ages to just start and even slow the computer down while the browser is running.

The worst part of toolbars however, is that they often contain links to malware. They download all kinds of viruses, spyware, and key loggers etc., which can track your private data and use them for malicious purposes. Needless to say, unless you know that you want a toolbar from a trusted source, it has no place on your browser.

How to remove them?

If you use Internet explorer, toolbars come installed as separate applications. Use your preferred uninstaller to do this. You can use Revo Uninstaller to complete remove all traces of toolbars as well as other software. If you don’t want to install yet another application, try Iobit Uninstaller, which is a simple executable that you can run even from flash drive.

If you use Mozilla Firefox, toolbars typically are installed as extensions. You can go to the extensions section and then remove them from there. The best solution is to not let toolbars be installed on your PC in the first place. Install an add-on like WOT for both Firefox and Google Chrome. It will give you a warning when you visit a suspicious website.

Google’s Whimsical Tricks

When you think of Google you probably think of the ever helpful search engine that has some nifty tools such as a built in calculator and others. You probably don’t think of quirky tricks such as tilted screens, falling snow, and Chuck Norris jokes however those bright minds coding away at the Google HQ are showing their sense of humor by creating brand new tricks.

If you haven’t ever heard of some of the April Fool’s tricks from Google or seen any of their unmistakable doodles, then you should probably check them out when you’re done here. Google has succeeded in charming their users not only by developing a complicated algorithm for better search results, but they’ve also implemented little tricks that just brighten up your day and make you smile when you discover them.

Here we will go over some tricks from Google that will leave you dying to try them yourself and see. These aren’t all of them so if you find more later then just let us know!

Pacman

Everyone loves Pacman – that little addicting game that is so difficult to stop playing and irresistible to start. Well should you ever want to waste a good hour of your time on that mindless game, you can stroll on over to Google’s Pacman machine, insert a coin, and start playing.

The game can be played here: http://www.google.com/pacman/ and it appears right above the search bar. Simply start the game by clicking “Insert Coin” and start steering Pacman away from the ghosts by using your directional arrow keys. When

Flight Simulator

This is another interactive trick from Google except this one is a bit more realistic and exciting. To start the Flight Simulator simply go over to Google Earth and, if you don’t have it downloaded yet, download it. Once Google Earth is downloaded you can then enter flight mode by going to tools then clicking on “Enter Flight Simulator”.

The flight simulator lets you fly all around the world exploring new places and you can even look at businesses and buildings on your trip!

Recursion

This next little trick is something that you can use to play a joke on your friends with. To activate this trick simply go to the Google search bar and type in recursion correctly. Go ahead try it!

If you didn’t notice Google continuously tries to tell you that you meant “recursion” however you’ll notice eventually that it gives the definition below it and that the actual definition of recursion is something repeating itself. Try this on your friends and see how long it takes them to figure it out!

Christmas/Hanukkah

I’ve combined these two tricks because they are very similar and not necessarily tricks, but just a neat little visual feature Google incorporates. Just go to the Google search bar and type in either one of these terms correctly. When you hit the search button you’ll see that Google has either Christmas lights or stars up at the top. Cute J

Google Gravity

Everything obeys the laws of gravity, even Google! Yes, Google has incorporated a neat new trick that will display exactly what happens when gravity takes hold of the search bar and everything else on the Google page. To find out what happens simply enter “Google Gravity” in the search bar and click on  “I’m feeling lucky”

Askew or Tilt

Don’t turn your head to read the page when you type either one of these in the search bar! Try reading the results when you search these!

Chuck Norris

Yes, even Google obeys the laws of Norris. To find out what Google has to say about this fearsome Texas Ranger star simply type his name in the search bar then hit “Im feeling lucky”. You will then be told why Google won’t search for Chuck Norris and what you should do next.

Nessie

This one is pretty cute and will take a little more effort to view than the others will. If you don’t know who Nessie is then you first need to facepalm yourself then go search what the Loch Ness monster is. Now for everyone else who knows what the Loch Ness monster is you can spot this rare creature on a certain Google homepage theme – the beach theme. So how do you see Nessie? Well simply wait until 3:14 am then go check your computer and you will see the fabled monster swimming about the shores of your Google page. Instead of waiting till 3am you can always change your time settings 😉

Ninja

Remember on video games where you have to type in a specific cheat code to unlock something? Well the Google Reader has the same thing. When you’re on Google Reader you need to type in this secret code to unlock a ninja (also use your arrow keys for directions): up, up, down, down, left, right, left, right, B, A.

 

Google + Failing Miserably – Find Out Why!

Facebook is the largest social networking site on the internet and there have been many failed attempts to recreate something similar in order to tap into the huge user count. Earlier this year Google, one of the biggest names on the web, decided to launch their own version of Facebook coined Google +.

Google + went up and into beta phases on June 28, 2011 and was invite only at first. This exclusiveness of the invite only caught the attention of many and when it went open to the public on September 20, 2011 there was an insane influx of new user registrations. People, dying to see what the famed Google had cooked up for them, were eagerly signing away and checking out the new ‘Hangouts’ and other various features that awaited them. After Google opened up their exclusive social network to the public, in one day there was 1200% increase in membership, however this would soon drop just as fast.

Since then there has been an astonishing 60% decrease (60% of total members!) in members but Google refuses to give up. With annoying +1 buttons sprinkled about everywhere and constant reminders to join up to this failed social network Google + has quickly turned from a novel attempt at usurping Facebook to another pitiful fail.

Surprising right? Especially from Google! Google, what is considered one of the leading innovators of online services, how could you fail so miserably? Perhaps it isn’t the lack of ingenuity for Google +, but rather the formability of Facebook that is to blame? Let’s take a look.

Facebook consists of millions and millions of active users who log in daily (sometimes multiple times a day). These users are then put into contact with all of their friends, friends of friends, family members, neighbors, and anyone else that may be connected with them. On top of that Facebook has provided innovative and highly addictive games, chats, and a variety of other novel ideas that were simply there first before Google.

So if someone already has 500+ friends on Facebook, all of their pictures uploaded, and a variety of other features provided to them why would some copy of Facebook, without all of their friends or photos on it yet, draw them away? Point is it won’t.

Google + simply didn’t come out before Facebook and doesn’t provide enough to be desired to draw users to it. Sorry Google, while you are a great innovator you can put Google + in your fail pile. Please try putting your efforts into something new!

 

 

Google Music Now Up And Running

Google is well known for bringing innovative services to its consumers and while it has its flops, such as Google Plus and others, it will often times bring forth some truly amazing sites for consumers. Google Music is one such site.

Earlier this year Google announced that it would have its new project being tested in Beta stages. Its project, now known as Google Music, was a way for consumers to not only store their music in cloud storage, but also for them to get in touch with artists around the world in a simple and effective interface. Google Music was also aimed to help aspiring artists connected directly to their fans by publishing their own music and marketing themselves. Now Google Music has emerged from its beta testing and is a fully functional music phenomenon.

With wireless devices galore and no time to spare, people often find it a hassle to transfer their favorite music from one device to another over and over and over again. Google Music is aimed at simplifying this process. It allows consumers to store up to 20,000 songs up in their cloud storage and will automatically sync devices to the cloud so the music can be accessed from anywhere at any time!

If free cloud storage wasn’t enough of an incentive, then perhaps the sheer selection of music will be. Google Music offers one of the largest selections of music for consumers to listen to and purchase (at incredibly affordable prices). With thirteen million different songs for people to choose from, there are occasionally songs that are not available there so Google Music allows people to upload all of their songs to complete their music collection.

Another unique feature about Google Music is the fact that Google has managed to get some incredibly exclusive music recorded by popular artists that can only be found on Google Music. As part of their grand premier of Google Music you can find never before heard music from live concerts of The Rolling Stones, Coldplay, Busta Rhyme, and even new music from Pearl Jam and many more!

Last but not least Google Music provides a place for upcoming artists to bypass recording companies and connect directly to their fans. Google Music allows these artists to create and design their own artist page and promote their music either for free or for a profit! If the artists decide to charge, then they can set their own prices.

Overall Google Music is truly an innovative service. Not only are a majority of the features free, but those that do cost are incredibly affordable and worth the price! Now that Google Music is out of beta stages consumers everywhere can enjoy this fantastic combination of music, affordability, and innovation.

Facebook versus Google Plus

With more and more users turning to the internet each day, social networking sites have become highly popular. No site has surpassed Facebook in popularity, but recently a new contender has stepped up to the challenge: Google Plus. There are many features which mimic those of Facebook, but it also has some new ones that many consider vast improvements. Below we will compare and contrast the pros and cons of each social networking site to find out which one is superior.

 

Google Plus

Facebook

  1. Google Plus Circles offer a unique way to group your friends and contacts.
  2. Google Plus games are not obnoxious and are not pushed by everyone, making it easy to go about your business without being interrupted.
  3. Posts can be edited on Google Plus, making it easy and convenient
  4. Better security/privacy features but apparently you cannot use an ‘alternate’ or made up name or your account will be deleted.
  5. Here the chat box can be resized to fit your needs.
  6. No apps here…..yet!

 

  1. Facebook doesn’t have anything similar to circles, people are your friends or aren’t your friends.
  2. Facebook has a wide variety of addicting games but the notifications/invites and spam can be really annoying when you aren’t interested in the games.
  3. Your post is concrete here, forcing you to delete it and repost if you’ve made a simply typo
  4. Here you can have whatever name you want without fear of being banned, however the other privacy features are still lacking and often abused by malicious internet users.
  5. The chat box here cannot be resized, only minimized.
  6. Facebook apps are often spammed and obnoxious.

 

As you can see by the corresponding features there are quite a few elements that are pulling towards Google Plus, but will it be enough to draw die hard Facebook users towards their social networking site? Google Plus is still new and doesn’t have the ‘big name’ that Facebook does, and doesn’t have near enough users yet. While the features for Google Plus are unique, new, and surprisingly fresh, Facebook will surely counter their new threat with upgrades and new features of their own.

Google Plus’s arrival into the social networking site was bold, but only time will tell if Google Plus will make Facebook the next MySpace or will it die off as other contenders have.

Combine Multiple Feedburner Feeds Into One Feed Using Google Reader

This trick is helpful for those who have:

  • Many blogs on the same domain (either in sub-domains or sub-folders) and want to offer a single feed for the complete website, and / or
  • Many blogs on different domains and want to offer one single aggregated feed

Feedburner does not allow you to combine multiple feeds into one, however, you can achieve the same with the help of various other external services.

I recommend you to do a thorough research before you decide which third party service you use. It’s very important to chose a stable service provider, as a wrong one can cost you your complete subscribers list.

After some research, I came across this post at ToThePC.com and Amit’s solution to mix multiple Feedburner feeds.

Which service is best when it comes to Merging multiple FeedBurner feeds ?

If you quickly go through the services list in the ToThePC list, you’ll realize that some of the services don’t exist anymore. It can be a nightmare if you’ve built your business around them.

Amit explains how you can leverage Yahoo Pipes to combine the feeds. Though Yahoo! is a trustworthy brand, a brief look at Yahoo’s history, reveals a long list of closed / defunct services, and hence Google is my safest bet.

How to use Google reader to merge more than one Feedburner feeds and create a single feed:

  • Login to your Google reader account (you may want to create a separate Google account specific for this purpose, as the aggregated feed will display the ‘Name’ of Google Account being used for the purpose. This is an optional step).
  • Add the Feeds (those which you want to merge) through ‘Add a subscription‘  button situated at left top corner.
  • Once you’ve added all Feeds you want to merge click on ‘Manage subscriptions‘ at left bottom corner.
  • You’ll see all all your Feeds listed here. Click on ‘Add to a folder…‘ drop down menu next to each feed and select one common folder where all the Feeds you want to merge will be grouped (You’ll have to create a new folder the first time you are doing this).Note: Ensure all feeds are rightly placed in the same folder.
  • To verify if a ‘Folder’ is created, click on ‘Back to Google Reader‘ and you’ll see a new folder in the left hand side bar. Go back to ‘Manage Subscriptions’ and click on ‘Folders and Tags’ tab.
  • Next to the folder you created, you’ll have an option to make it public. Click on the feed image to make it public.
  • You can ‘Rename‘ the feed with the Rename link.
  • Click on ‘view public page‘ link which gets activated. The public page will open in a new window. In the right hand side of the public page you’ll find ‘Atom feed’.
  • Burn this atom feed in Feedburner and you have your merged  FeedBurner feed ready.

Can I add more feeds or remove any of the existing individual feeds ?

  • If you add a new feed to the ‘Folder’ where other feeds are, it automatically gets merged into the existing merged-feed.
  • If you remove a feed from the ‘Folder’ then the particular feed is removed from the merged-feed automatically.

Let me know what if you use any service – free or paid – to merge your feeds.

Samsung – Microsoft Conflict Over Android Phone Manufacturing – Will The End Users Suffer ?

Microsoft Imposed Royalty Fees on Samsung for Manufacturing Android Based Hardwares

Undeniably, Microsoft has incredible reputation in manufacturing computers and IT industry. The Windows operating system by Microsoft is almost reining the IT industry. However, few of the other giant players such as Google has launched their Smartphone in the market and most of the mobile phone manufacturing companies have started producing Android based devices.

Microsoft has also made its presence felt in Smartphone section with its Windows Mobile phone running on windows operating system. Samsung deals with both the companies respectively, but the sale of the Android OS based Smartphone has increased tremendously, which has made the producer increase the production of phone running on this operating system.

This has come as a setback to Microsoft and they have imposed royalty fees on Samsung. Now let us get some insight on events happening between Microsoft and Samsung, and more:

What’s happening between Microsoft and Samsung?

  • Microsoft has taken a decision to impose royalty charge of 15$ on each of the Samsung Android based mobile phones.
  • Samsung has requested to cut down or lower down this royalty penalty from 15$ to 10$. It is currently being considered by the Microsoft, but they haven’t gone really public about their reconsideration on the loyalty fees as yet.
  • Microsoft has taken this step on the grounds of Patent troll activity or patent infringement. They argue that Samsung has misused its patent by under-manufacturing Windows mobile phone according to the volume as agreed. Samsung has also been accused of misusing the patent rights, in order to get a grip on bigger market shares.

What are the factors and facts behind Microsoft’s BIG decision to charge Samsung ?

  • Most of the people believe that Microsoft has wrongly filed a lawsuit against Samsung and used the advantage of being the most reputed company in the industry. People also think that the main reason behind charging a huge amount of royalty fee on each mobile phone is only to get back at the rival company.
  • There is another partners of Microsoft such as HTC, who only pay 5 $ as the royalty charge.
  • Few market experts argue that Samsung is only manufacturing the android based Smartphone to meet high volume of public demand. However, Microsoft has a valid reason to charge them with the royalty fee or have Samsung completely stop the manufacturing of android be smart phones.
  • The experts also conclude that this could be one of the reasons through which Microsoft is trying to win the market by eliminating their competitors.

How right is Microsoft ?

Critics are objecting Microsoft forcing Samsung to pay $15 huge on each android based hardware. They also state that it is unfair to penalize Samsung under the act of Patent Troll. It is very clear that Samsung deals with both companies and manufactures devices having two different operating systems. However, it is fortunate for Samsung that the android based mobile phones are high in demand. Microsoft must review and revise their terms and conditions before they could reasonably file a lawsuit against the partner company.

Another Google Panda Update Round The Corner ?

I’m not sure if there’s another update from Google waiting round the corner. For last few days I’m tracking the performance of selected few posts, which normally perform well and drive traffic to the blog. I’m tracking the performance of these posts on http://www.google.co.in (that’s geo-speific search) and on http://www.google.com (global search) and have noticed some interesting facts.

Google Constantly Updates It’s Algorithm On Daily Basis:

I’ve always read about it, heard from other bloggers and internet marketers that Google constantly updates its algorithm. After tracking some of my best performing posts, it’s quite evident that what I’ve heard is true ! The rankings of the said posts have been constantly changing their positions in Search Engines.

Another Panda Update?

Nothing can be said about if there’s another Panda update waiting around the corner. It seems like I’m not the only one who’s been affected by the constantly changing Google’s Algorithm. I hope it won’t be as harsh as it was last time around, as we are still working to get out of the previous hit (yes, we’ve been having some tough times since last couple of weeks/months), and another blow will be hard for us to cope up with.

We are trying to over come the Panda effect by concentrating on quality content. Hope all the hard work pays off in long run.

I Think Panda Is Hunting Me, What Should I Do?

Some links that’ll help you understand what Panda update is all about and how to solve it:

Read what is Google Panda update on Webpronews and Wired. If you too were hit by the Panda, then these suggestions should help you overcome the problem.

Google Introduces Voice Search In Search Engines

Google Voice search was available as a standalone application for Android phones, however it’s now integrated into the search bar and is a feature in Google.com . This feature is available in US at the moment, not sure when it’ll be rolled out for other local search engines yet.

You’ll see a small microphone symbol within Googles search bar, pressing it will start recording your voice and the content you speak will be used as ‘Search Query’.

The accuracy is higher when you speak with the microphone held close to you, and also I noticed that it kinda shuts down Chrome (as I’ve tested it only on Chrome as of now), when you speak a lot of content, what I mean is, if the search query is too long the browser kinda hangs.

I’ll verify this in sometime and update if it was just a coincidence that my browser hung up on me, or if it’s a real problem with the new ‘Google’s Voice Search’. It’s possible that it might just be a browser issue or my internet service provider issue that’s acting up on me. I’ll verify this in sometime and report back again.

Till then, I guess you can enjoy the ‘Voice / Speech Search’ Google’s offering 🙂