Convergence. It’s been one of the holy grails of the electronics industry for quite some time. The idea is simple enough - empower one device to act as a central point of reference for multiple devices and/or incorporate those multiple devices into one mega unit that does it all. Depending on what portion of the industry you look at, the ideal concept of convergence might be a single point of control or reference, for multiple devices. By approaching convergence as a many-to-one scenario, it allows individuals to choose their own devices according to preference or need. Instead of being forced into using an all-in-one device that may not have all the features desired, a control device would simply make use of what devices the user has brought with him or her.
As a case in point, Volkswagen has been working on an automobile computer that takes devices such as the iPod and Treo, and provides a single point of control for them. The concept, named Gypsy, is a separate project from the in-car media center project that Microsoft and Volkswagen introduced at CeBIT. Volkswagen’s Electronics Research Lab (ERL) is working with Google to utilize Google Earth as the mapping system of choice, and sees the system as being extensible through the use of widgets. C|Net has an interesting, if lightweight, video of the Gypsy product in action. It only scratches the surface of what is possible, but it brings to mind what will one day be possible. The roadblocks to successfully implement such a wide-reaching device are abundant, but given a common set of communication standards, and a lot of luck, we can hope for the best.
Read More | C|Net
A federal judge has ruled allowing the government a peek into Google’s search engine, but dramatically scaled back from the list of personal information and specific search requests that the government originally requested. Instead, they’ll provide the government with a list of 50,000 randomly selected websites indexed by the search engine. A victory for advocates of personal privacy and freedom of information, Google will not have to disclose specific search terms or personal information.
“This is a clear victory for our users,” Nicole Wong, Google’s associate general counsel said in a statement Friday.
Read More | ABC News
The One Laptop Per Child program was started at MIT and features truly innovative and inexpensive designs, meant to make technology accessible to everyone, and put laptops in the hands of children and communities in developing countries, and rural areas all over the world. The program, backed by Red Hat and Google, would make use of bleeding edge innovations in the technology world, including wireless broadband, DVD capability, and flash memory instead of a hard drive. And, it’s electricity-optional, since it charges with a manual crank, not unlike some emergency flashlights and similar items.
The proposed $100 machine will be a Linux-based, with a dual-mode display—both a full-color, transmissive DVD mode, and a second display option that is black and white reflective and sunlight-readable at 3× the resolution. The laptop will have a 500MHz processor and 128MB of DRAM, with 500MB of Flash memory; it will not have a hard disk, but it will have four USB ports. The laptops will have wireless broadband that, among other things, allows them to work as a mesh network; each laptop will be able to talk to its nearest neighbors, creating an ad hoc, local area network. The laptops will use innovative power (including wind-up) and will be able to do most everything except store huge amounts of data.
This project should be one to watch - it’s great to see technology being put to a use that can contribute to the greater good.
Read More | One Laptop Per Child
On March 14th, Google boldly went where no search engine has gone before: to Mars. With the launch of Google Mars, they extend their Google Maps service to interplanetary lengths, allowing you to search and discover Mars all on your own. Want to play astronaut? You can zoom, pan, and switch between elevation, infrared and photographic views of the Martian landscape. Cool!
Read More | Google Mars
The image above is a shot from Google CL2 Calender web application.
CL2 makes it easy — even effortless — to keep track of all the events in your life and compare them to what your friends and family have going on in theirs. We’ve designed a calendar that works for you — helping you add events from email, friends, and other public calendars — so you don’t have to spend all your time maintaining your schedule. CL2 even helps you discover new events you might be interested in. We think it’s a great tool for managing your daily schedule, keeping track of what everyone in your family is doing, organizing events for a club or team, or creating public events that you can promote to the world.
Of course, this one is going to be tightly integrated with Gmail and Google Talk. The screenshots look smooth and familiar to anyone who has used any of Google applications. Do note that these shots were leaked, and may not necessarily reflect the final product, which he hear is nowhere near launch. Check the link below for more.
Read More | TechCrunch
Microsoft, in their continuing quest to dominate Google, has made available the beta of their new search engine dubbed Windows Live. With functionality similar to that of its arch nemesis, Windows Live is able to search for images, news, RSS feeds, e-mail (Windows Live Mail and Hotmail) and more. For better or worse, some things have been spiced up a bit such as the Image search feature. When you hover your mouse pointer over a search result it increases in magnification and provides detailed information about the image. On the flip side for you minimalists, a nice feature is the ability to disable or hide just about everything on the page short of the search box.
What good would a search engine be anymore without a corresponding toolbar? Microsoft delivers on that angle as well with the Windows Live Toolbar. In addition to the standard search capabilities, it offers protection from phishing and pop-ups.
Read More | Windows Live
So, we have told you previously that Google Base just may be the eBay/Craigslist killer. All they needed was a good, homegrown payment system. Now it appears that the puzzle is coming together, with the appearance of Google Payments. Our friends over at TechCrunch have posted an in-depth look at Google Payments, and how it integrates seamlessly with Google Base. Very nifty, indeed. Our only hope is that Google comes up with a rock-solid method of rating your buying experience. eBay’s reputation model has a few flaws, and this is Google’s chance to capitalize on it.
Read More | TechCrunch