Google, oh Google, what would we ever do without you?
One may suppose that this question is addressed to the Google founders: Sergey Brin and Larry Page. While one question is fairly rhetoric, the other has a genuine sense of foreboding attached to it.
Larry Page has lost his voice. Don’t fret, people. According to the various sources at Google, he still continues to lead the company. Now, whether this condition of his is serious or not is unclear. He missed Google’s annual meeting and is going to miss two further engagements.
While Eric Schmidt, CEO of Google, is making light about Mr. Page’s illness, there are few in the Silicon Valley who seem to think anything about this matter is funny. The reason, you ask? The demise of Apple CEO, Steve Jobs is fresh in their minds for the reason that very little information was disclosed by Apple about his condition. We wish Mr. Page a speedy recovery and hope that his voice is heard again soon.
Let’s get to the rhetoric bit now. Two words: Google Glass.
It is an augmented reality head-mounted display. It is a hands free display of information that is currently available to all smartphone users and it allows for interaction, via natural language voice commands. Project Glass is under development at Google X Labs, which has worked on other futuristic technologies such as the “Self-driving car”.
Though not a new idea, the very good thing about this product from Google is that it is smaller and slimmer than previous head-mounted displays. Future designs may allow integration of the display into people’s normal eyewear.
Sergey Brin, the showman that he is, decided that the best way to unveil the wearable computing device to the world was by showcasing a live sky-dive by an employee sporting the device. Everyone at Google seems to be pretty excited about the potential of Glass. It isn’t expected to be on sale soon, but when it does, it may soon take the world by storm.
On the other, lighter side of things, Gmail has finally overtaken Hotmail in terms of number of active users. This was long coming and inevitable.
Interestingly, according to ComScore, as far as home and business use of email services is concerned, Hotmail remains at the top with 325 million unique visitors and Yahoo follows with 298 million and Gmail comes third with 298 million. The ComScore numbers do not take into account, smartphone and Internet café users, which cause a discrepancy. And it is this discrepancy that makes Gmail the #1 email client in the world. Good times these, for Google, it seems.
Lastly, Google Maps now goes in-door in the UK. This means that once you are inside the location, you can use Google Maps to find what you are looking for, like in a museum for example, you may find where a certain display is put up. Pretty darn amazing, we say.
While the overall trend suggests that the dominating style of running your company is now passé, and that cooperation and integration is the new ‘in’ thing, looking at how Google is going, one could really say that they still look to dominate our very lives with their revolutionary ideas.Share
Lets look at the chain of events that took place over this past week leading up to the launch of the Facebook IPO.
Monday, 14th May – CNBC Web Producer, Lee Brodie says that the Facebook IPO is a “sign of new revolution”. Venture capitalist John Frankel of FF Venture Capital says that ‘the Facebook IPO is much more than a hot stock coming onto the market – it’s a meaningful sign of the times.’
Tuesday, 15th May - The world’s biggest car company General Motors has pulled $10 million USD of Facebook advertising just days before the social network begins trading on the stock exchange.
Wednesday, 16th May - Encouraged by strong market demand, social networking site Facebook has increased the price band and number of shares for the initial public offer that could garner up to USD 18 billion (up from USD 16 billion, which was earlier upped from USD 12 billion).
Thursday, 17th May – Is Facebook California’s savior? Facebook’s IPO, by some estimates, will turn a thousand of its employees into instant millionaires. So many suddenly wealthy taxpayers in California couldn’t come at a better time, especially when “The Golden State” has a growing budget deficit.
Friday, 18th May - Just hours before Facebook opened on the public market today, a group of Facebook users sued the company in a $15 billion class-action lawsuit over privacy, according to Bloomberg.
This was the working week prior to the much anticipated Facebook IPO launch (at $38), and in all this anticipation Facebookipodayclosingprice.com was born, and it predicted the closing price of the Facebook share to be as high as $54.
So we waited with bated breath to see if this was really going to happen, hoping to witness history being made.
So, what happened in the end was that the IPO opened and closed at roughly the same price.
Conclusion: Everyone added fuel to the fire, and now they say that the Facebook IPO disappointed them. Does this seem logical to you??Share
So many of us have created pages on facebook with a motive to either raise awareness or promote a band, or a short film, or a famous personality, the list goes on and on.
Don’t you wonder what is it that brings people to your page and keeps them interested? When is the iron hot so that you may strike it? Not once, not twice, but as many times as necessary?
Here are a few pointers that should help you maximize the number of people checking in to your page, and getting engaged.
We all know how important it is to get likes and comments on our Facebook page. The reason for that is to keep a good EdgeRank. Facebook admits that the average Facebook page reaches only about 17% of its fans, and since less than 1 to 2% of fans go back to your page, EdgeRank and newsfeed visibility are critical. These statistics are of course based on an average.
Once you get a new fan, if your page makes him happy or intrigues him, he will continue to come back to your page, otherwise he would simply stop.
Now you need to know who you are appealing to and when these people are most active. Therefore, it is necessary to know which days of the week your fans are most and least responsive. This factor differs with every company and industry.
For instance, recent research indicates that the most responsive day for high fashion brands is Wednesday, while the same for outdoor clothing brand pages is Thursday. So, even if you post every day, you should make sure that your most engaging posts are kept for the most responsive day of the week. It’s true that there is no sure way of determining how any post will be received but data from past experiences really helps one to trace a pattern of sorts that works for him/her.
Facebook provides you with methods to study this data for strategic planning for your page. Here are the steps:
- 1. Go to your Facebook page insights and click on likes.
- 2. Click on export data. Choose post level data, and then select at least a two-month range so you have a good sample.
- 3. Save it and open it in Excel.
- 4. There’s not a quick way in Excel to group dates by day of week, but with a bit of manual work, you can find the average lifetime of engaged users per post, per day of the week.
Now you know what happens and why it happens the way it happens, and how to change what happens to something you want should happen. You get it right? That’s good, you’re smart.
Credits: mashable.com, edgerankchecker.comShare
What DO they teach at Harvard and MIT that only geniuses are allowed to get into these world renowned uber-prestigious colleges? While we have only been allowed glimpses into the on-campus lives of such people by means of movies like Love Story, The Social Network, Good Will Hunting, Legally Blonde, A Beautiful Mind, etc., we can only begin to wonder what the whole experience must be like.
We watch in awe, flabbergasted at the sheer brilliance and pace of the conversations that happen between these nearly super human minds in the movies that we never actually get to the part where we imagine ourselves studying there (and that’s why we don’t get into these places).
But the big boys at Harvard and MIT (Massachusetts Institute of Technology) are making a change: they are choosing to embrace the openness and radically democratic accessibility the Internet makes possible by pouring $30 million, each into a non-profit partnership, edX, which they hope will make the top notch facilities and courses of their schools available for free to millions of people around the world. All you will need now is an Internet connection to access the course material being taught in a classroom at Harvard, or MIT, or even both!
The core idea is that the excellence of education available at these schools should be made available, in an online format, to anyone who has the desire and commitment to make it through an online course.
In the meanwhile, here’s a video you should probably watch.
Big things are happening, can you feel it?
Credits: mashable.com, youtube.comShare
Have you guys heard about Pinterest? What is Pinterest? The name definitely invites some interest. Oh look! It happened again.
At first glance, the home page of Pinterest looks like a tasteful collection of eye-catching images put up by users from all over the world. The images range from a picturesque location to a small piece of equipment, from pets or animals to works of art, from landmark events in history to latest trends in fashion, to name a few. Of course, a lot of these categories often tend to overlap one another, making it a more memorable experience.
Pinterest is a pin board style social photo sharing website that allows users to create and manage theme based collections such as events, interests, hobbies and more. Users have the option of browsing other pin boards for inspiration,’re-pin’ images to their own collections and/or ‘like’ photos. Pinterest’s mission is to “connect everyone in the world through the things they find interesting”. Obviously, once it gets put up, it’s not interesting anymore, its ‘Pinteresting’ now!
Founded by Ben Silbermann, the site is managed by Cold Brew Labs and funded by a small group of entrepreneurs and inventors. It draws our attention for the following reasons:
- It is one the fastest growing social services in the world.
- It drives more traffic than YouTube, Google+ and LinkedIn, combined!
- It is extremely viral. Over 80% of pins are re-pins. This means your content goes on autopilot.
- You do not need to repost your articles over and over like on some social sites because your pins can be posted and re-shared over and over.
- It is driving more traffic back to websites than Twitter.
Here’s an info graphic, which will do the rest of the detailing. After all, the site is about images, and writing more about it will spoil the fun, honestly.
Credits: wikipedia.org, mashable.com, socialmediahelp4u.comShare
The recent headlines on a Sports news website –
“Kaka becomes first athlete to pass 10m fans on Twitter”
“The IOC’s ‘Olympic Athletes Hub’ – good idea or social media fail?”
“FIFA launches YouTube Channel”
“Arsenal advises young players on use of social media”
“Liverpool first Premier League club on Pinterest”
“Social Media & Sport – the importance of interacting with, not just talking at fans”
All this points to one, and only one thing: Social Media is big, and it cannot be ignored.
The fact is, social media does not require a big budget and you don’t need millions of fans to see a positive return from your social media efforts. If you could put a few more people in the stands at your games or sell more merchandise at your team store without it costing you anything, wouldn’t that be worth your time?
Every team has fans. Some are more loyal and engaging than others, but every team has a fan base that wants to see your program succeed. What social media does is give you the tools to engage with your fan base and turn them into advocates that will help you achieve your goals. The only thing you have to do is provide value. And, yes, value can be defined in a number of ways. It doesn’t mean you have to give away something that costs a lot of money. Value can simply be providing your fan base with something that they normally wouldn’t experience such as access to behind the scenes action, exclusive offers on tickets and merchandise and creative online contests that encourage participation.
Twitter, Facebook and other social media platforms are having a tremendous impact on the sports world for fans, players, teams and sponsors alike.
Here’s an infographic to better depict the picture (too much reading gets boring, we know).Share
The Earth’s resources are dwindling every day. The planet will soon dry up and sustenance of human life on earth may soon be questionable.
The conservation group WWF said on Wednesday that the Earth’s natural resources are being depleted so quickly that “two planets” would be required to sustain current lifestyles within a generation.
The world’s global environmental “footprint” or depletion rate now exceeds the planets capacity to regenerate by 30 percent.
But, wait a minute. We are only talking about the planet’s capacity here aren’t we? What if our natural resources were not limited to the ones obtained from the Earth? What if we found a rich supply of these natural resources elsewhere other than the Earth?
No, we are not talking about Mars. While possibilities of sustenance of life on the red planet continue to be examined vigorously, the focus this time is on NEA.
Near Earth Asteroids have orbits that lie partly between 0.983 and 1.3 astronomical units away from the sun. An astronomical unit is the mean distance between the Earth and the Sun.
Planetary Resources: This is the name of a company that we may just hear a lot in time to come. The reason is that Planetary Resources is theasteroid mining company that was launched in Seattle, Washington, USA, on the 24th of April, 2012 with backing from Google’s co-founder Larry Page and CEO Eric Schmidt, famed director James Cameron, Peter Diamandis (X Prize) and Microsoft billionaires.
A new brand of spacecraft, known as the Arkyd series will be used to launch new space telescopes that will in turn be used to identify Near Earth Asteroids that are particularly rich in water (for rocket-fuel) and precious metals such as Platinum.
Just to estimate the potential of this business venture, here’s an instance:
Below is an image of the asteroid Amun 3554. It’s a little more than a mile wide and is one of the smallest metal bearing asteroids yet discovered. But here’s the catch: It contains $8 trillion worth of platinum, another $8 trillion in iron and nickel, and a mere $6 trillion worth of cobalt. So that’s a total of $20 trillion. Numerically, that is 20,000,000,000,000 dollars!
These estimates are based on observations by John S. Lewis, professor of planetary science, author of Mining the Sky: Untold Riches from the Asteroids, Planets, and Comets, and now a consultant to Planetary Resources.
And what’s more? Amun 3554 is just one of the few asteroids submitted for rigorous chemical analysis. Another mile-wide NEA, known as 1986 DA, is said to contain 100,000 tonnes of platinum and 10,000 tonnes of gold, making it worth another couple of trillion. Not bad, one would say.
We are aware of the existence of 9,000 NEAs. And a rough guess is that this is about 1% of the total. One thing surely seems to be certain now – we will never be out of money now!
The asteroid retrieval and mining process will be done by robotic aircraft. That much is obvious, given that the project is funded by all billionaires. However, after getting a whiff of the figures above, that does not sound like too much now.Share
Autism is a poorly understood disorder – not only in India, but the world over. World Autism Awareness Day continues to be observed every year since September 19th, 1989 but the United Nations General Assembly formally declared April 2nd as World Autism Awareness Day in 2008. As must be clear, the purpose of this day is to create awareness about autism among people and help children and adults suffering from the disorder live a meaningful life.
Autism (also referred to as Autistic Spectrum Disorder or ASD) is characterised as a complex developmental disability. The condition is said to be the result of a neurological disorder that has an effect on normal brain function which affects the development of the person’s communication and social interaction skills. It is believed by experts that Autism presents itself during the first three years of a person’s life.
Parents of children diagnosed with autism, have to become autism and special needs experts practically overnight. So what do they do? Where do they go? How are they to gather all the information required in a short space of time? Naturally, they want to connect with other parents and learn from them.
This is where social media’s all pervasiveness comes into play, and in a huge way. It gives the parents of autistic children a platform to get in touch with similar people, post their concerns and get impromptu replies from not one, but many sources altogether. While the Internet has managed to perfect the art of providing information, social media perfects the area of exchange of knowledge, in a more two-way traffic manner.
The United States has setup a social network – MyAutismTeam – solely working for the purpose of spreading awareness and providing support to parents of autistic children throughout the year, not only during the Autism Awareness Month. MyAutismTeam officially launched in December 2011, after several months of testing, growing the user base and improving the site. It opened in beta to users last June, beginning with just 30 parents in the San Francisco Bay Area. But when word got out, the site grew quickly. Today, it has more than 22,000 registered parents.
MyAutismTeam believes it should be easy to find the best people around to help a parent when his or her child is diagnosed with autism. With MyAutismTeam, parents can get in touch with other parents, search a directory of more than 30,000 autism specialists and access a searchable Q&A section of 600-plus questions. The chance that a question gets answered is 97.5% – impressive.
While progress is being made at a global level, the situation at home, here in India suggests that there is scope for improvement. At least 1 million people in India live with autism, a condition that is still very poorly understood. For many parents of children with disabilities, the big challenge is teaching the world to adapt.
For those who would like to know more about Autism and its symptoms, a brief description is given below.
Autism is a wide-spectrum disorder – meaning that no two people with autism will have the exact same symptoms. Besides varying combinations, symptoms also vary in severity. Below is a list of the behavioural characteristics exhibited by people with autism:
- Social skills – People with ASD have different ways of interacting with others and are often out of synch with other people or completely uninterested depending upon the symptoms.
- Empathy – A person with autism will find it much harder to understand the feelings of others. Having a conversation with a person with autism may feel very much like a one-way trip. Almost everybody on this planet prefers to talk about himself/herself more than other people; it is human nature. The person with autism will usually do so even more.
- A number of children with ASD do not like any sort of physical contact.
- They find loud noises, sudden changes in light intensity and certain smells quite shocking and offensive.
- The higher the severity of autism, the more affected is the person’s speech. People with autism will often repeat words or phrases they hear – an event called echolalia.
- They cannot tolerate surprises. They love predictability and the concept of a routine. Any changes may cause them to become very upset.
- Learning trends in such people are very unpredictable. They often to focus completely in one direction and ignore all else.
- People with autism often have strong obsessions.
While not knowing the problem can be frustrating, finding out the issue alone can be huge recourse towards healing. We hope the readers continue to spread awareness about autism and experience firsthand the dawn of a more tolerant and understanding community of people.Share
They say that ugly rumours generally have the propensity of coming true. This implies that the good ones generally don’t.
Not true! There had been rumours about the launch of the much awaited Google Drive for some time now. Some rumours suggested that the launch was going to happen in the first week of April and that Google was offering 1GB of storage space for free, while others claimed that the interface for Google Drive looked a lot like the one for Google Docs.
One might ask, though: “All this information sounds interesting. But, what is Google Drive?”
Here’s the answer: Google Drive is a full-featured cloud storage service, which will allow you to access your files from anywhere and collaborate on documents with colleagues. The good news is that Google Drive offers you 5 GB storage capacity as opposed to the rumoured 1GB and the 2GB provided by the ‘Basic’ version of Dropbox. The upgraded version of Drive offers 25GB at $2.49/month, 100GB at $4.99/month and even 1 TB at $49.99/month! The interesting thing is that when you upgrade to a paid account, your Gmail account storage also goes up to 25GB.
The features offered by Drive can be summarized as follows:
• You can work with others in real time on documents, add and reply to comments on all files and receive notifications when other people do so.
• Store everything safely and access it anywhere. All you require is the Drive app.
• Smart tagging – You can tag items stored on your drive for easy recollection.
• Image recognition – If you drag and drop photos from your recent vacation into Drive, you can later search for locations you have visited and those photos will show up.
• Optical Character Recognition (OCR) – This impressive feature enables Drive to recognize text in scanned documents. This means if you have scanned a page from an old book, for instance, you can search for words in that document.
While the list of features makes for a strong first impression, Drive has been launched as an answer to Dropbox. So, here is a small list of the pros and cons of Drive over and under Dropbox:
• Linux users do not have access to drive as they have to Dropbox.
• No desktop support: Drive forces you to go to the webapp as opposed to the right-click file sharing system of Dropbox in the Windows Explorer itself.
• Dropbox has a LAN sync feature, enabling it to transfer files quite quickly on a computer on the network. Drive has no such feature.
• More free space: Drive offers 5GB as compared to 2GB offered by Dropbox.
• Google’s powerful and intuitive search trumps Dropbox.
• Drive makes use of OCR, whereas Dropbox has no such feature.
• Paid versions of Drive are a lot cheaper than the same for Dropbox.
In conclusion, one would say that Dropbox still has the edge over Google Drive, but then those who share a warm relationship with Google Docs will have a ‘love at first sight’ experience with Drive. If one were to ignore the fact that Google has been a late comer in this field, the app is pretty solid for something that has just launched and should do well in the coming days.
So the guy who invented the zipper, the simple object that has caused both great convenience and a lot of suppressed discomfort to the masses, is more popular than the cricketing legend who has diligently served his nation for over twenty years.
Gideon Sundback (April 24, 1880 – June 21, 1954) was not so popular till today, but for the latest Google Doodle, now every Google junky, which is virtually every one of us, knows his name.
Gideon Sundback was a Swedish-American electrical engineer. Born in 1880 in Sweden, he eventually immigrated to the United Stated in 1905. Sundback improved Whitcomb Judson’s 1851 patent for the Clasp Locker, working for Judson at his Universal Fastener Company in St. Catherine, Ontario.
While we wish a very happy birthday to Sachin Tendulkar, the little master, the master blaster, the living legend, and the very lifeline of Indian cricket, the inventor of the zip is simply too hard to ignore now that he has been highlighted by Google. So here we delve into some interesting facts about the simple ‘zipper’.
• Wait a minute, simple? Wrong! The development of the zip happened over a period of 8 years, from 1906 to 1914.
• Sundback filed for a patent for the design of the zipper (or the Hookless No.2 as it was known then) in 1914. It was issued to him in 1917.
• The name “zipper” was created in 1923 by B.F. Goodrich.
• Before the name ‘zipper’ was coined, the device was called “Hookless No.2”.
• Initially, boots and tobacco pouches were the primary use for zippers; it took another twenty years before they caught on in the fashion industry.
• About the time of World War II the zipper achieved wide acceptance for the flies of trousers and the plackets of skirts and dresses.
• Thousands of miles of zipper are manufactured daily.
The inventor of the zipper was pretty much an unknown entity until today. We verily took for granted the existence of the zip and the essential role it has been fulfilling for us for such a long time.
But when Google decided to do a doodle on the zipper, the whole story was suddenly brought to the forefront and everybody took notice. This, folks, is the power of social media to bring to light something that was obscure, to influence minds and to cultivate opinions. Don’t let it pass you by.