First African-American president in the U.S.A. history

5 11 2008

One more time the huge book of history records an astonishing fact and, despite what you think of the political man or of his political program, this time is for the good.

What a better way to say “we’ve finished with all the racist stuff” that making it possible for an African-American to be elected president of the United States of America? Yes because despite all the money pouring, the advertisement and tv manipulation, and the natural desire for a change, this Obama success is the product of a radical change in the Americans mind that was just there in the corner awaiting for the chance to come to the light – and Obama gave it that chance.

So look at this glorious victory recorded in Google 2008 Elections Map

immagine1

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The Google 2008 U.S. Election Map

4 11 2008

Google’s for sure not only the top search engine and advertisement guy but it’s also a map pal. With Google Maps and Google Earth you can explore, search and track down a lot of stuff (not only places!).

The 2008 U.S.A. Presidential Election is the event of the year, especially if we consider that should Barack Obama win it would be a milestone in the history of the United States of America. For the first time ever a black man could lead the most influential country in the world.

Well, google set up a page containing all the tools to follow this exciting presidential race and now there’s a new map designed to keep track of the votes leading to the election of the new U.S. president.

immagine

Go Obama!!





Sightseeing Italy’s major cities with Google Street View

30 10 2008

On October 29th Google Maps Street View hit three Italian major cities plus the area around Como lake in the northern part of the country.

You can now go and have a stroll down Milan, Rome or Florence streets or the romantic coastline of the Como lake.

Google Maps Street View (together with the other geo apps like Google Earth) is the sightseeing killer application as it gives you the chance to visit places you’ve always dreamt to go but, for a reason or another, never managed to fulfill. As GMSV expand in coverage and quality the world gets shrinking and shrinking. These geographic apps make me think of the rift information technologies creates between what once were (and by most educators still are) the regular education tools and the resources that are available nowadays, easily and free. Just think of Google Earth, we X-Generation guys and girls used to see something like this (much more rudimentary though) in 80′ movies or comics. These systems were usually pictures ad high level military resources. Nowadays we used satellite maps to spot our pic-nic place!

Have I already said that I totally confide in technology (and especially in free open source software and open source hardware) for a better world?





Mail Goggles: prevent you from sending e-mails you will regret

10 10 2008

Suppose you are drunk.

Suppose you’re emotional state is a bit broken.

Suppose you go back home and before collapsing onto the floor you manage, by appealing to your last glimpse of will power, to send an e-mail like this:

“honey, I know I left you but I feel alone without you now, please please let’s get back together”

or

“my dear boss, I feel like being completely honest to you. You deserve it. You f…ing d..k head!”

then you pass out

the next morning you wake up and the life you used to live doesn’t exist anymore.

Well, a new feature of Gmail can help you preventing this to ever happen.

On October 6th 2008, Jon Perlow, Gmail engineer, posted an article on the Official Gmail Blog describing Mail Goggles, a new Labs feature designed to check that you’re really sure you want to send an e-mail.

By default Mail Goggles is active during weekend late nights but you can adjust it to whatever timeline you think you need. The working principle is quite simple: you write your message and when you hit send Mail Goggles ask you to solve some trivial mathematics which hopefully you won’t be able to solve if you boozed.

If they’d only invented it before…;)





Google: step by step we’ll rule the world

30 09 2008

Yesterday a friend of mine sent me a link. He didn’t specified the subject; he just wrote “have a look here”. Trusting my friend wasn’t a spammer I did follow the link he proposed.

I know that this isn’t new at all but I wasn’t aware of it and the mere seeing this new brick in Google’s day by day struggle to dominate the world just struck me.

Google Checkout is basically a PayPal’s competitor, thus there’s a service for customers and one for merchants.

First thing I noticed by reading the Terms of Service page is that Google Checkout is owned by Google Payment Corp. a wholly-owned subsidiary of Google Inc.

To customers Google offers basically:

  1. the uniqueness of the account. It’s something like “use also this service from us and you can keep your account and password for everything”. This is what I call integration and I must admit it has its advantages
  2. a solid fraud protection system
  3. the possibility to flag as spam the e-mails coming from the stores you buy from. This seems to me both a weak as customer advantage and absurd with respect to the merchants freed to create a marketing relation with their customer. Taken for grant that a legitimate merchant isn’t a spammer, then it seems to me it’s not Google’s business to promote the “flag as spam” of a merchant marketing communication towards its customers, especially when well often merchants ask their customers an agreement to receive promotional communications and provide them instruments to cancel from that agreement.

To sellers the service offers an integration with Google AdWords providing:

  1. a Google Checkout badge aside the merchant’s AdWords Ads. They say this grant an average of 10% more clicks on the merchant Ad which result in a 40% more conversions (click-and-buy) with respect to shops that don’t display Google Checkout badge.
  2. a free transaction fee for sales up to 10 times the seller’s monthly AdWords amount spent. I have to say that compared with PayPal this is quite convenient for a shop freshly open, even if it implies having AdWords advertisement which is not always the best or more convenient solution to promote products.
  3. they guarantee that at least 98% of the Google Checkout orders are valid. They also say that when an order is evaluated as guaranteed by them, the seller is paid even if the order turns out as a chargeback

As I said Google Checkout is not a new feature as Google launched it on 2006. Furthermore, given that I haven’t heard of an earthquake inside the online payment market, I presume thise service it’s not that though competitor to PayPal. Despite that it’s really fascinating the way Google business strategy is tentacle-spreading throughout our economics and social stage, especially on a world-wide scale. Google doesn’t contempt with making money out of something, they wanna do it by establish their way. During one of the last episodes of TWIT, Leo Laporte made a point by saying that the wonder about Google is that despite all what they do, they’re an Ad company; they go from search engine through maps and geography services to creating an open source mobile phone platform and their core business is still that of an Ad Co.

I’m not one of those hard core Google’s fans but there’s a wonder in what they do and how they do. In the same way I don’t subscribe to the claim that Google’s evil because it collects all our personal information. Ok they do it, it’s true. Anyway first of all I don’t see anything different in their behaviour from what’s probably done by many other subjects on the net even before Google appearance on the stage. Second, until I’m told otherwise I don’t buy the theories of Google’s aming to become a big brother in the sense this term is meant by Orwell’s 1984. Third I think that Google has well contributed to the idea of modern, efficient, solid and free services in a way that has given the net (and maybe beyond the net) society a very important benefit. They set a precedent and are a spur for other companies to produce and offer to the market a similar standard of products. In this sense I buy the theory that part of the reason behind the release of Chrome is to encourage the other browser manufacturers to improve their product. I know that out there there are other and more fitting examples of benefactors in the sense I mean, but Google’s huge, rich and very well known: they’re a flag ship in what they do.

Now I can’t wait the G1 to be released and to hear the first impressions. Mobile phones is another field where I’m flipping hoping Google will bring a revolutionary storm. Not just with a phone device platform but especially as an operator. It seems that in this field Google’s request for a patent, which I will discuss later, can bring hope for a new and more customer oriented mobile communication world.