Update 1:15 p.m. PT: I added information about the addition of real-time quotes on Yahoo Finance.
Real-time stock trading data aren't easy to come by on the Internet, but Google, CNBC, and The Wall Street Journal now can show real-time Nasdaq stock prices on their Web sites, the companies announced Monday.
Previously, the Nasdaq data had been available only with a 15-minute lag on the sites.
"With universal access to the Internet and the real-time nature of the Web, investors need real-time data, and now they don't have to pay for it," said Adena … Read more
A small town in Minnesota has told Google that its Street View feature can hit the road.
North Oaks, a private community of 4,500 residents north of St. Paul, isn't too keen on outsiders traipsing through its privately owned streets--even if is only on the Internet. According to the city's Web site, the roads are privately owned, and a no-trespassing sign greets potential visitors to the city.
According to Android project leader, Andy Rubin, Google might offer an application store--similar to one for the iPhone--for its Android mobile operating system sometime in the near future.
The Register reports that Rubin is interested in a safe-and-secure venue where customers can purchase and download applications so that developers can get paid for their software. Of course, seeing as Android prides itself on being an open operating system, we're sure you'll still be able to get open-source applications for free from other venues, but having one centralized application store would definitely make Android devices more appealing. We certainly … Read more
I'm closing up my quarter today (Not sure who said open source is easy, but.... :-), but wanted to highlight a few of the more interesting stories I read today.Despite my vain imaginings to the contrary, it turns out that Silicon Valley really is the center of the universe. Who knew? Well, except for you Silicon Valley smugsters? Actually, the real news in CNET's article is how much R&D is moving away from the Valley. Red Hat is revealed as the driving force behind The Simpsons, whose writer and co-producer (Joel Cohen) credits Red Hat Enterprise Linux by suggesting that "the volume and speed of material that was created for the movie could never have been done without that Red Hat-fueled system. Cohen also shows a true understanding of innovation by declaring his own inspiration comes from "shamelessly ripping off other people's ideas." TechCrunch's Erick Schonfeld takes a fascinating look at the growth of YouTube relative to Google, but questions its seeming inability to turn popularity into cash: "Either YouTube is unable to make money from a large portion of its user-generated video inventory....Or YouTube just hasn't turned on the money-gushing hose yet." (Sounds like an open-source quandary, no?)… Read more
Update 10:30 p.m. PT: I corrected the description of the old favicon.
Overnight, Google got a new face on the Web--one measuring 16x16 pixels.
The search giant updated its favicon, the eensy little 256-pixel logo that appears in browser locations such as bookmarks, URL location bar, and window tabs. The old icon, a capital G in a multicolored box, has been supplanted by a cuddlier-looking blue lower-case g.
It's a minor change, to be sure. But coming from a company obsessed not only with design choices but also the effect those choices have, I can't help … Read more
OK, all you coders toiling in obscurity, are you wondering how the other half lives--the programmers who live the glam rich Internet application lifestyle, ditching Win32 and C++ for Web-based APIs and Python?
A few hundred of them were to be found at the party this week at the Google I/O conference, and I couldn't resist taking some photos. I've been to a lot of trade show parties, and although this wasn't over the top, it was certainly more lavish than the usual rubber-chicken-and-Heineken affair.
For the event, Google packed Moscone West's third-floor auditorium with … Read more
SAN FRANCISCO--The inner workings of Google just became a little less secret.
The search colossus has shed only occasional light on its data center operations, but on Wednesday, Google fellow Jeff Dean turned a spotlight on some parts of the operation. Speaking to an overflowing crowd at the Google I/O conference here on Wednesday, Dean managed simultaneously to demystify Google a little while also showing just how exotic the company's infrastructure really is.
On the one hand, Google uses more-or-less ordinary servers. Processors, hard drives, memory--you know the drill.
On the other hand, Dean seemingly thinks clusters of … Read more
SAN FRANCISCO--When it comes to search quality, Google has a split personality.
Google uses a method called split A/B testing to measure exactly what changes it should make to its main search Web site--both to its famously Spartan search box and to the results it produces. With the approach, Google shows different versions of the pages to users and measures how they respond, said Marissa Mayer, vice president of search products and user experience, in a speech at the Google I/O conference here Thursday.
For example, Mayer said, the company wanted to find out how many search results to show users--the customary 10, or 20, 25, or 30? When asked directly, users said they'd like more results on a page, but testing showed otherwise.
Specifically, Google found that when the results increased to 30 per page, people searched 20 percent less overall, Mayer said. After much analysis of server logs, the company found it was because it took about twice as long to display the longer results list for the user, and speed matters.
"As Google gets faster, people search more, and as it gets slower, people search less," she said.
The same effect happened with Google Maps. When the company trimmed the 120KB page size down by about 30 percent, the company started getting about 30 percent more map requests. "It was almost proportional. If you make a product faster, you get that back in terms of increased usage," she said.
Split A/B testing also led Google to refine exactly how much white space to pad around its logo and other elements on the search results page. And it changed from the industry practice of a pale blue background behind ads to a pale yellow background. People not only clicked on ads more, they also searched more in general, she said.
The subject clearly is close to Mayer's heart. She's an engineer who also has an interest in the more aesthetic realm of design.
"On the Web in general, (creating sites) is much more a design than an art," she said. "You can find small differences and mathematically learn which is right."
A history of Google's search page Google's search page, with its abundance of empty white space and its almost boastful "I'm feeling lucky" button, looks downright ordinary today. But it wasn't always the case.
When I first heard about Android - Google's "iPhone killer" - I wondered how it would stand up to the leader in the innovative cell phone market. Would it be a best of breed? Would it be a total flop? I didn't know.
After reading through the presentation Google made earlier this week, viewing the screenshots, and spending far too much time poring over the videos, I can't help but wonder why anyone would care. Sure, it's a great little device that uses some neat Google apps in new ways, but is it enough of an improvement over the iPhone that people would actually want this thing?
I don't think so.… Read more