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theodp writes "In 'The Design That Conquered Google,' The New Yorker's Matt Buchanan reports that 'cards' — modeled after real cards — are set to become one of the dominant ways in which Google presents certain types of information to users. The power of a card as a visual-organization metaphor according to Matias Duarte (lead designer of Android), is that 'it makes very clear the atomic unity of things; it's still flexible while creating a kind of regularity.' Hey, maybe that Bill Atkinson was really on to something with that dadgum HyperCard software of his back in the '80s!"

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Megan Geuss

A website built by two programmers, Stephen LaPorte and Mahmoud Hashemi, displays recent changes to Wikipedia in real-time on a map of the world. When a new change is saved to the crowd-sourced encyclopedia, the title of the edited article shows up on the map with the editor's location according to his or her IP address.

Not all recent changes are counted, however. Actually, the website only maps the contributions made by unregistered Wikipedia users. When such a user makes an edit, they are identified only by IP address. This is just as well—a similar website called Wikistream logs all changes to Wikipedia (although not in such a graphically-friendly way), and watching the flood of new entries can get overwhelming, fast.

LaPorte and Hashemi said they built their map using the JavaScript library D3, datamaps-world.js, a service for searching the geolocation of IP addresses called, and Wikimedia's recent changes IRC feed. The two programmers note in their blog that “you may see some users add non-productive or disruptive content to Wikipedia. A survey in 2007 indicated that unregistered users are less likely to make productive edits to the encyclopedia.” Helpfully, when you see a change made to a specific article, you can click on that change to view how the page has been edited (and change it back if it merits more editing).

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Eolas Technologies Inc. acted on behalf of the University of California Regents today to sue Facebook, Wal-Mart, and Disney over four patents related to hypermedia display. The University of California has licensed the four patents to Eolas, who is litigating on behalf of the UC Regents. The company gained notoriety several years ago when it sued Microsoft in a lengthy courtroom battle which ended with a settlement in 2007. Eolas was initially founded to litigate on behalf of the UC system's patents, and has earned critics for its aggressive litigation.

The patents, according to the complaint filed against Facebook in the Eastern District of Texas today, include patent No. 5,838,906 which covers a "distributed hypermedia method for automatically invoking an external application providing interaction and display of embedded objects within a hypermedia document," and patents No. 7,599,985; No. 8,082,293; and No. 8,086,662; all of which pertain to a "distributed hypermedia method and system for automatically invoking an external application providing interaction and display of embedded objects within a hypermedia document."

Reuters reported that, "a University of California spokesman said it considered the patents public assets and 'should be paid a fair value when a third party exploits that university asset for profit.'" Meanwhile, Eolas' complaint did not enumerate which parts of Facebook's website and holdings were in violation specifically, but wrote that, "the acts and practices of Facebook in infringing and/or inducing the infringement of one or more claims of each of the patents-in-suit, Plaintiffs have been, are being, and, unless such acts and practices are enjoined by the Court, will continue to suffer injury to their business and property rights."

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Marc Andreessen was on Charlie Rose this week, and he dropped this super smart nugget on the tech industry:

The core idea we have, the core theory we have, is that the fundamental output of a technology company is innovation and that's very different than a lot of businesses, right? The fundamental output of a car company is cars. Or the fundamental output of a bank is loans. The fundamental output of a tech company is innovation, so, the value of what you've actually built so far, and are shipping today is a small percentage of the value of what you're going to ship in the future if you're good at innovation. So the challenge tech companies have is they can never rest on their laurels with today's product, they always have to be thinking in terms of the next five years of what comes next and if they're good at running internally and are indeed a machine that produces innovation, they tend to do quite well over time. It's when things go wrong internally and they stop innovating, which happens alot, that the wheels at some point tend to come off.

This quote is great insight to the difference between Silicon Valley and the rest of the world.

The reason Instagram was worth $1 billion without any revenue is because people in the Valley look at the company and think, "the value of what it's going to ship in the future is huge." People outside the Valley see a money-losing photo app and think it's worthless.

As for the other part, it helps to explain why companies like AOL, Yahoo, and Microsoft have gone sideways for years now.

It also explains why Google is working on glasses and self-driving cars. It's trying to produce the next generation of innovation. It might make its money from search, but as Andreessen points out, it's really in the business of innovation.

Watch the full interview >

Disclosure: Marc Andreessen is an investor in Business Insider.

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Larry Page Google

It's been just more than a year now since Google cofounder Larry Page re-gained the CEO job and re-organized the company under a handful of top lieutenants.

So, how have things gone for these top executives in the year since?

We've been speaking with a source close to a few of these people, and he or she helpfully dished.

We learned: Who are Page's favorites? Who gets anything they want? Whose organization is considered "a mess"?

Google PR declined to comment on this story.

Jeff Huber's organization running maps "is a mess"

Title: Senior Vice President, Geo and Commerce

Whispers: "Jeff's org is a mess. [There are] constant reorgs and attrition. He is well known to be the weakest and least respected member on Larry's staff. This is the view internally at Google and on the senior staff levels. Also very well known throughout Jeff's senior org."

(We reached out to Huber and Google on these comments, but the company declined to respond.)

Bio, via Google+:

"Jeff Huber joined Google in 2003 and is senior vice president of Commerce & Local, responsible for efforts in Payments, Offers, Shopping, Local Search, Maps & Earth and Travel.  Previously at Google, Jeff led overall engineering & development for the company's advertising products -- AdWords, AdSense, DoubleClick (2003-2011) -- and for Google Apps (2005-2010).

Earlier, Jeff was vice president of architecture and systems development at eBay, where he championed the development of product search infrastructure and expansion of the platform API program, and he was senior vice president of engineering at Excite@Home, where he led consumer product and infrastructure development.

Jeff holds a bachelor's degree in computer engineering from the University of Illinois and a master's degree from Harvard University. He is a board member of Electronic Arts (ERTS) and The Exploratorium."

Ad products queen Susan Wojcicki "gets almost everything she wants."

Title: Senior Vice President, Advertising

Whispers: "Susan is on the top of Larry's list.  She gets almost everything she wants. They built the company out of her garage, remember? Salar Kamangar started Google's ad business. She took it over.  Susan's sister is married to Sergey."

Bio, via All American Speakers:

“The most important Googler you’ve never heard of.” Susan Wojcicki, SVP of Advertising at Google, oversaw the company’s acquisitions of YouTube and DoubleClick, acquired for $1.65 and $3.1 billion, respectively, and is the brain behind crowd-pleaser Google Doodles. Wojcicki leads all new product development including Google’s two main advertising vehicles, AdWords and AdSense, and is responsible for responsible for 96% of Google’s revenues, $28.2 billion in 2010. She is currently focusing on the growing business of mobile advertising. The mother of four, has deep Google roots: she rented her garage to Sergey Brin and Larry Page and their nascent search engine in 1998, was the company’s 16th hire, and her sister Anne (co-founder of personal DNA test 23andMe) is married to Brin.

"Insanely bright" YouTube head Salar Kamangar is also a Larry Page favorite

Title: Senior Vice President, YouTube and Video

Whispers: "Salar is quiet and insanely bright. He's done a great job at YouTube. Salar is high as well [on Larry's list]."

Bio, via Crunchbase:

"Salar Kamangar is senior vice president of YouTube and video. Before that, he was the vice president of Google’s web applications, including Gmail, Talk, Calendar, Reader, Orkut, Blogger, Picasa, Video, Docs, Spreadsheets, Presentations and Checkout. Previously, he was vice president of product management for Google’s advertising and monetization products, including the AdWords program, which he defined with a small engineering team. Today, AdWords is the foundation for Google’s syndication on partner sites and serves as the engine that drives Google’s revenue. Prior to that, Salar created the company’s first business plan and was responsible for its legal and finance functions. From there, he became a founding member of Google’s product team, where he worked on consumer projects including the acquisition of DejaNews and the subsequent launch of Google Groups.

Salar earned his bachelor’s degree in biological sciences with honors from Stanford University.

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In the United States, two out of every three searches go through Google, which serves up a total of three billion search queries per day. "Googling" has become so ubiquitous that the company has become a verb in English (and in other languages, too).

Given that most of us use Google several times a day and may also use it to send e-mail, to plan our calendar, and to make phone calls, questions commonly arise about how all of that data is used. Google has said that it needs access to such large amounts of data as a way to “make it useful” and to sell personalized ads against it—and to profit substantially in the process.

However, a March 2012 study from the Pew Internet and American Life Project found that two-thirds of Americans view a personalized search as a “bad thing,” with 73 percent of those surveyed saying that they were “not OK” with personalized searches on privacy grounds. Another recent poll of California voters recently reached similar results, as “78 percent of voters—including 71 percent of voters age 18-29—said the collection of personal information online is an invasion of privacy.”

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Responsive Book: Google's Chromebook site as seen by a phone (left) and a tablet.

If you’ve been waiting for responsive design to go mainstream, wait no more. While The Boston Globe‘s responsive redesign made a big splash in the developer community, The Globe has nothing on the latest web giant to throw its weight behind responsive design — Google.

That’s right, Google is now suggesting developers use responsive design tools like media queries to handle the variety of screens now accessing the web.

The Google Webmaster blog has posted a new article, Responsive Design – Harnessing the Power of Media Queries, that walks beginners through the basics of creating a responsive website.

It’s not the most thorough tutorial we’ve seen, nor is it the best — Google conflates breakpoints with device width, something we’d recommend against — but nitpicking aside, Google’s official blessing will no doubt help move responsive design to the front burner in many people’s minds.

It’s worth noting that while a tutorial is nice, Google isn’t necessarily making the leap to responsive websites for its own properties. Indeed, sites like Gmail or Reader are excellent arguments for maintaining separate mobile designs. If your “site” is actually a web app as complex as Gmail then we suggest doing what Google does — hiring a fleet of developers to build an maintain separate websites for different size screens.

Chances are, though, that your site isn’t that complex and doesn’t have the developer teams that Google can afford. Even Google uses responsive design when it makes sense. To go along with the new tutorial, Google offers up that the new Chromebook website is responsive, which shows off the company’s responsive design chops.

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sebastian thrunSebastian Thrun, one of the lead engineers behind Google's fringe Google[x] projects, was at the Wired Business conference in New York today.

On stage he answered a few questions about the Google[x] program at Google, which handles outlandish projects like self-driving cars and its computerized glasses project.

Here are some of the highlights:

What exactly is the new Google[X] project?

Sebastian Thrun: Google[x] in a single sentence is Google co-founder Sergey Brin's ambition to complete moonshot-type projects. (Shooting to the moon and bringing the moon to earth.)

The third project is Google Glasses. We know everyone is attached to their phones. We started saying well, that's kind of nice, but not what I want in my life. How can we think of technology as more liberating — how can we make the technology Jack Dorsey calls, "technology that goes away?" Why can't I just take a picture right on my eye so other people can see through my eyes?

So we came up with this concept of building a super lightweight computer. It's a project so far, not a product. It has a display, it has a camera, I took a picture of Charlie Rose. It has an ear-free component by using a speaker that touches your head for making a phone call. In the physical world, Google Glass is our best shot to achieve that, being hands free.

I looked at the feedback we got when we got to the public, distraction was the number one concern. We want to make a device that's there when you want it and not distract you. In addition to being a camera, we use it for when someone texts me I can read it. When I'm in the situation where I don't want to be distracted, I have the freedom to let go. And then I can go back.

The reason we went public, by the way, was to get feedback from everybody who might be our future customers. What are your concerns? We're looking very systematically into this now.

How do you build a team that will land on the moon every year?

ST: My very first conversation is, rule number one, disobey your manager. A year later my employees come back to me, every single one says, now I understand. This is the age of disruption, there's an amazing number of opportunities now. In the execution of disruption, many large companies have problems doing this.

It's hard to get out of this aura of opinions. You have a whole stack of opinions — manager, SVP, VP. I try to shield my team from opinions, give them a vision that I believe in and that they believe in, and let them do their thing. Then they come back a year later and something amazing emerges. 

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