Google has a new tool that they are testing. PowerMeter will show home energy usage in real time on your PC. You set the rate of your electricity charge, plug in your appliance and a monitor will calculate the cost. Forty million trackers are already in use and Google predicts that another 100 million will be bought in the next few years. Studies show that those who have access to home energy information can save up to 15% of their electricity bills. PowerMeter is not yet available but should be soon.
Read More | CNN
YouTube has begun testing a sub-set of their partners with a charge for download. Most of them are available for about $.99 but only as MP4 files. They can be purchased through Google Checkout. This may put an end to the problems that site has had with studios like Warner. If the program is successful, look for them to allow all of its partners to charge for movies and TV shows on the site.
Read More | Read Write Web
Google Latitude can help you keep track of friends and family on your cell phone. Find your buds and their status on a map, then contact them with a call, IM or SMS. You have to have a compatible phone with images enabled such as Android-powered cellies, BlackBerrys, Nokia smartphones and Java-enabled devices. If you have an iPhone or iPod, there are plans in the works for those, too. Google promises privacy but you might want to think about how much you want your friends to know about where you go and when. This is a free service but carrier charges may apply.
Read More | Google Latitude
Google has added 3D renderings of the ocean floor in its latest update since 4.3. Google Earth 5.0 is still free to download. Track gray whales, explore shipwrecks and see what the water looked like up to 50 years ago. Also in the new Google Earth are maps and satellite images of Mars, including probe landing spots, and you can save your toured places to share with other GE users.
Read More | Google Earth
Even Google can screw up. If you noticed yesterday that when you hit a search you got the error screen “may harm your computer,” you weren’t the only one. The period only lasted about 40 minutes but we guess that was long enough to freak a few Googlers out. Their engine works with stopbadware.org that helps find malicious software then sends a list to them. After updating Saturday, Google accidentally flagged all of their sites. The company attributed the problem to “human error.”
Read More | BBC
Word has come down that after the Chinese government decided to limit Internet usage, 3 of the sites in question decided to apologize. Gaming sites NetEase and SINA were two of them. Baidu also issued one “to the netizens at large for the negative impacts we brought upon the society.” They also claimed that they had deleted the content and links in question. The oddest remark came from the BBC’s Micky Bristow who said China is trying to protect its young people. We will see where this goes and get back to you “youngsters.”
Read More | BBC
China has decided to cut back on their country’s Internet access to porn and obscene content by blacklisting 19 portals and sites. Included in that list are Netease, Baidu and Google. The deputy director of the State Council Information Office, Cai Mingzhao, said “Immediate action is needed to purify the Internet environment.”
Supposedly the Chinese Google has links to porn sites and although China’s Internet Illegal Information Reporting Center asked them to take them off, nothing was done. A spokesperson there said, “Google is neither the owner of those Web sites and porn nor does it spread (that) information intentionally.” We figure if someone wants to find that sort of content, there is always a way.
Read More | CNN
On the eve of MacWorld 2009, Google has finally gone and released a Mac version of Picasa. Picasa 3 for OS X is a beta version of the massively popular Picasa photo management software that Windows users have been enjoying for about five years now. If you are unfamiliar, unlike iPhoto, Picasa doesn’t wrangle all your images into one area - instead, if finds them and leaves them where they are. If you move an image, it will know where it went. You can do simple editing, and since Picasa is a Google product, it ties in to all the other Google offerings in exactly the ways you are thinking. Yup, emailing photos using your Gmail account, uploading videos to YouTube, and sending both photos and videos to the free Picasa Web Albums service, where you can then share them with friends, the world, or keep them private.
Picasa is free, and you can grab it immediately.
Read More | Picasa for OS X
The number 1 search on Google yesterday morning was “ihop.” We guess that it wasn’t enough to gorge on holiday roast beast. Or maybe some just wanted to get an omelet before last minute shopping, since the #2 search was “stores open on Christmas day.” Included on the list was “Waffle House” (#9,) Denny’s (#10,) “Wal-Mart Christmas Day hours” (No. 16,) and “Is Best Buy open on Christmas” (No. 18.) Find the complete list via the link.
Read More | LA Times
The folks over at Google Labs have been hard at work, trying to tighten the grip of your virtual leash, and today introduced a new way to feed the desire for instant gratification: SMS text messaging for chat. How often have you tried to chat with somebody, but they don’t respond because they “just walked away from their computer?” Well, Gmail chat will now send those messages along to your intended recipient’s cell phone so it’ll be that much harder to ignore you; and if you’re in the middle of a conversation you want to continue, but they need to leave their computer, you can now do that seamlessly.
Just go to the Labs area in Preferences to turn it on - you can type any US phone number into the search box in the chat window on the left, then select “Send SMS.” You can also select the contact you want to SMS first and then add their phone number. You can send messages to US numbers from anywhere in the world. If you’re on the receiving end, when you get a text message from Gmail on your phone, messages from each contact will come from a unique number with a 406 area code (406 spells G0O…), reply like you would to any other text message and the reply will be routed through Gmail’s servers straight to your friend’s Gmail chat window.
If your recipient REALLY doesn’t want to talk to you, it’s easy enough to reply to the message with the word BLOCK and you’re just out of luck, no more SMS delivery to that contact! If you’re someone who doesn’t have a text messaging plan or are limited in the number of messages you can receive for free, you can simply reply with the word STOP and you won’t receive texts from anybody using Gmail. Another awesome innovation that makes it that much harder to hide…
Read More | Gmail Blog
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