<IT WORLD> Google Buzzing to get a greater grip
By Martin J Young
HUA HIN, Thailand - Determined to put the rest of the globe's Internet
companies out of business, Google is now stepping on the toes of social
networking websites Facebook and Twitter by launching its own service, named
Buzz. The social-sharing service will offer Google e-mail (Gmail) users, an
estimated 176 million people, new functionality to share content, pictures and
video and to follow and be followed, in a close resemblance to the successful
format found on Twitter micro-blogging.
Sites such as Facebook, Twitter and MySpace, which allow content and link
sharing-between online groups, are responsible for an increasing amount of web
traffic between them. Google wants that traffic back and, like its rival Apple,
wants everyone to live, breathe, work and play solely in its own digital
Like other social networks, Google Buzz allows users to post
real-time updates from the Google-sphere of Picassa, YouTube, Gmail and its
mobile platform, Android. Also included is the ability to post to Buzz from
competing social sites such as Twitter. In what seems to be adding to the
existing excess of social-sharing websites, Google hasn't really introduced
anything new or revolutionary. The company has simply reaffirmed its position
on controlling everything on the Internet.
Co-founder Sergey Brin had this to say about Buzz, "Extracting signal from
noise is one of our core competencies, it's one of the key things we do in our
web search product every day. And I think that now peoples' personal
communications are getting to be on a scale comparable to that of web search,
so those technologies are becoming far more critical. We're going to see which
articles you like, which ones you comment on, which posts you read, things like
that. And I think we'll be able to try to tailor things to you that you're
likely to be interested in."
In other words, Google wants to know what you are reading, what you are talking
about, to whom, and when, so that it can put more relevant ads on your screen.
This targeted relevancy will net them more dollars from companies that are
seeking niche markets or specific user groups.
Facebook and AOL are collaborating further by developing their instant
messaging systems and real-time chat. AOL plans to integrate Facebook chat into
its AIM (instant message) service, which is used by 17 million people per
month. Since Google has upped its effort in steamrollering everyone else, we're
likely to see more web companies joining forces.
The Iranian government put the anchors on the Internet this week in an effort
to disrupt communications in the lead-up to the 31st anniversary of the Islamic
revolution on Thursday, a traditional day of celebration. Connection speeds
were slowed dramatically and text messaging services were shut down, while
Gmail e-mail services were blocked, according to a report in The New York
The ever-increasing young and tech-savvy opposition had planned anti-government
protests and demonstrations against crackdowns in what has become known as the
Green Movement, which started last June following the disputed election
results. The Internet has been their tool of communication, but with the
government controlling all service providers in the country and censorship
among the most stringent in the world, the protesters have been faced with a
bandwidth bottleneck. (See
Internet hit by US restrictions Asia Times Online, February 10, 2010.)
Another month rolls by and another patch Tuesday shows the results of
Microsoft's techies' recent scramble to release security patches for the
company's software. A record 13 patches for 26 vulnerabilities were available
for download this week to fix Windows and Office; five of them were rated as
These did not include an emergency patch released out of cycle to fix holes in
Internet Explorer that were blamed for the Gmail compromise by Chinese hackers
last month. The usual round of warnings from security experts explained that
simply browsing an infected website could compromise unpatched machines.
No exploits have been reported at the time of writing, so the big patch was
just business as usual. Microsoft has urged people to upgrade from aging
software such as Windows 2000, XP and earlier versions of Office.
Nvidia has been busy promoting its latest intelligent software, which
automatically switches between graphics performance and battery life
preservation modes on laptops. The Optimus technology frees the consumer from
having to manually switch between performance and power-saver settings when
using their laptops on the battery.
"Just as a Hybrid car chooses between the gas-powered and electric car engine
on the fly and uses the most appropriate engine, Optimus does the same thing
for graphics processors," said company spokesman Rene Haas.
The software, which has been seen by many as a revolutionary step for laptops,
could effectively double battery life when performing basic tasks such as
e-mailing or word processing, by simply turning off the Nvidia graphics
processor when not in use. Some laptops, such as the MacBook Pro, at present
even force users to close all applications before making the manual switch.
Nvidia's Optimus technology effectively puts those machines into the dark ages
of mobile computing.
Martin J Young is an Asia Times Online correspondent based in Thailand.