HUA HIN - Internet giant Google never
ceases in its endeavors to make web usersí lives
easier by manipulating a bigger stream of the
planetary electronic data flow. This week it
launched a new way of searching called "instant"
that it claims will save an average of 2.5 seconds
per search by predicting what people want before
they finish typing.
executive Eric Schmidt touted the search shakeup
at a conference, stating that Google is trying
very hard to get you something fast. "Quick,
quick, quick" were the keywords of the day for the
company that keeps trying to re-invent itself.
The new system provides a list of search
results as you're typing the query in an effort to
help you find what you're seeking faster. The
company page (http://www.google.com/instant)
claims that it
will save 11 hours per
second if all current users leave the instant
search option activated.
As soon as you
begin typing, the traditional Google home page is
replaced by a wealth of information and options,
some of it relevant to what you may have been
looking for, a lot of it not.
experimental searches resulted in a typical Google
outcome - huge corporate websites and that
data-eating, omnipresent encyclopedia; simply
typing "wi" into the new instant search bar gives
you 182 million pages, the majority of which are
from Wikipedia. You may have wanted info on
Nintendo gaming consoles or professional female
golfers of Asian descent, but Wiki is all you'll
Naturally, the fewer characters typed
the less relevant the results become, so most
users would probably finish entering the entire
search term to get what they really want or close
to it, and even then they will still have to pick
out from a disproportionately lengthy selection of
It may take some getting
used to and may cause a few problems to websites
and companies that specialize in search engine
optimization, since they are now dealing with
partial search terms instead of keyword phrases.
The system also only truly functions as designed
on high-speed connections. Those not so blessed
are greeted with a message "Google Instant is off
due to connection speed. Press Enter to search".
Telecoms The battle to become
the dominant mobile-phone platform continues to
heat up, with one force in particular showing
significant strength. Google's Android army
marches ahead by capturing a share of every major
player in the smart-phone market last month and
achieving its best month share gain since November
Apple's iPhone, iPod and iPad
continue to dominate the US market but have seen
an 11% fall in share since this time last year
according to industry analysts.
also set to make a surge into the tablet market
when manufacturers such as HP, Samsung, Sony, and
Toshiba get their new slates out in force. A slew
of them should be on the market by the end of the
year, but until then the iPad seems to be the lone
According to research company IDC's
worldwide quarterly mobile-phone tracker, Symbian,
which is primarily used on Nokia handsets, has the
lead with a 40% market share, followed by Research
In Motion's Blackberry OS at just under 18%.
Android has third spot on the global stage with
16.3%, beating out Apple with its iOS falling to
14.7%. Windows mobile has only a 6.8% market
While Apple products still sell
well in America, the predictions are that Android
will extend its worldwide share to just under 25%
in 2014 at the expense of both Symbian and iOS,
which are estimated to fall in share to around 33%
Since iOS is available only on
Apple devices, these figures come as no surprise
considering the queue of manufacturers lining up
their products for Android. They include HTC,
Motorola, Dell, Kyocera, LG and Samsung - choice
is a wonderful thing.
battered US economy has impacted the once-booming
digital entertainment industry, as sales of video
games and hardware dropped over 10% in August to
US$819.9 million from the year earlier's $910.3
million. Despite the doom and gloom, Microsoft
shifted 356,700 Xbox 360 consoles, a 66% increase
on August 2009, according to researcher NPD. The
trend-bucking figures have been boosted by the
release of a number of high profile titles for the
console, including Halo Reach and Madden NFL 2011.
Nintendo and Sony did not fare so well
with 244,300 Wii units and 226,000 PlayStation 3
consoles sold for the month, however Sony's PS3
sales are up 7.6% from August 2009. Sales of
portable devices, accessories and games have
dropped by 25% compared with last August.
Gaming purchases may pick up in November,
when Microsoft's motion-sensing Kinect platform is
due for release, and Sony's Move controller should
be on shelves this month.
Martin J Young is an Asia Times Online correspondent based in Thailand.