This week during the GSMA’s Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, Google showed off its software platform Android for cell phones in solid form. Acquired in 2005 and launched last year, the company rounded up a team to show how it may look. They also announced the formation of the Open Handset Alliance, 34 handset manufacturers, carriers and chipmakers that will support Android. Based on open-source coding, Google is counting on the prototype to give the competition, including Microsoft, Nokia, and RIM a run for their money. Hooray for free enterprise.
Read More | c/net news
Magellan has premiered their newest GPS unit for autos, the 5340+GPRS, the first GPS unit with Google Local Search. Users can search their area for events, businesses and services, receiving real-time results from Google based upon the user’s current location or a specified location.
The wireless GPRS service also enables the unit to deliver up-to-the-minute information on traffic and weather. Additionally, users planning trips in advance can send addresses or other information directly to the unit using the wireless service. In case a change to an itinerary is needed while the trip is in progress, third parties can send changes to the unit using the Magellan website.
Like the rest of the recently-introduced Elite line, the 5340+GPRS features voice command, a USB port and 6 million points of interest. It also features a 533 MHZ S-Media 3362 processor and and a 5-inch WQVGA widescreen. The Maestro 5340+GPRS will be available for puchase in March for and estimated $1299. Full press release available, after the break.
After months of talking and testing, Wikia Search has announced that it will be open to the “general public” next week. Founder Jimmy Wales is sending it the way of Wikipedia, i.e. allowing volunteers to improve on its technology as it develops. The site will open with about 50 to 100 million Web pages indexed, as opposed to other search engines that run in the billions. Interestingly enough, Google is planning to launch its own version of Wikipedia, knol, where authors actually get credit and share in its advertising revenue.
Read More | ABC
For those of you who admit to googling yourself or others, you are not alone. An actual study shows that 47% do it, up from 22% in 2002, with 74% having only done it once or twice and only 3% doing it regularly. When queried about how much information is released, 60% of Netters are not concerned about the amount that is out there. The survey was done by telephone and contained data from experts in the field of privacy, identity management, and searching.
Read More | Pew
Keeping track of multiple projects? Gmail has now made it even easier to keep your inbox straight. The newly introduced colored labels make it easy to see at a glance what’s on your plate. Easy to create and edit, and even easier to add to existing filters, consider it another way to manage your email without actually having to look at it.
AOL has decided to give up its pay-for-download service and allow Amazon to sell the movies via its Unbox service. Although AOL’s service has only been around a year, it let everyone know last Friday when it displayed a banner for Unbox after a click on its movie tab. We are certain that Amazon is thrilled that it has one more coup and AOL must be relieved to be following in the footsteps of Google, who discontinued the same service in August to concentrate on its baby, YouTube.
Read More | Post-Bulletin
Google is back with more mapping fun. This time they have created a new mobile phone technology for those without GPS. My Location is now in more than twenty countries and lets you in on real-time traffic conditions, detailed directions, integrated searches, satellite images and interactive maps. It will work on most web-enabled phones, including Java, BlackBerry, Windows Mobile, and the latest Nokia/Symbian. iPhone and Treo users will just have to wait their turn.
Not quite as accurate as GPS, Google says that locating the user’s phone is still in transition and hopes that will change in time.The company claims that it will not use any personal information on the user. No ads will be posted on the service, but we suspect it won’t be long before that becomes a reality, too.
Read More | Google My Location
Want to know how intelligent your readers have to be to get you? Critics Rant has devised a Blog Readability Test. Just paste in your URL to find out how much education is needed to understand it. It also works on MySpace, Livejournals, Facebook, and most other profiles and Websites. We plugged in Google, which came out rated “Genius,” MySpace and Facebook ranked “High School,” but you only need a “Jr. High” background to handle Yahoo. We’re not exactly sure of the method to determine the outcome, but we found it to be a pleasant enough diversion for about the length of time it takes to read the average blog.
Read More | Critics Rant
Maps and directions are available on cell phones, PDA’s, GPS units, Onstar, or heaven forbid: actual paper maps. This doesn’t stop people from getting lost from time to time, so Google is partnering with gas companies to embed the Google Maps application into gas pumps at 3,500 gas stations across the United States starting next month.
The newly teched-out gas pumps will feature an Internet connection and the Google Maps application. By providing this at the pump motorists will be able to both fill up on gas and get directions to their destination. The participating gas stations will likely get a boost in business from drivers too stubborn or embarrassed to ask for directions from anything other than a shiny, all-knowing machine. This sounds like a win for retailers, motorists, and Google alike.
Read More | LA Times
The U.N. has gotten together with Google and Cisco Systems to launch a site this week that they say will let us know of the planet’s poverty fighting efforts. The Millenium Development Goals site gives statistics on health, education, malnutrition and women’s equality. Google Earth maps will show by satellite where the areas are established.
The U.N. is hoping that by 2015 the MGD Monitor will aid in accomplishing such goals as beginning to reverse HIV/AIDS, cutting child mortality by 2/3, and reducing people without safe drinking water by half. While we applaud the plan, we hope any money spent creating the MDG is justified by not spending it on the project itself.
Read More | Googland
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