Google Instant, Anyone?

I saw quite a significant number of tweets mentioning Google Instant, and decided to check it out. Some people might already be aware of it or heard of it before but I am outdated, that I am willing to admit.

First, I went to the Official Google Blog where I saw Search: now faster than the speed of type.

Next, I tried it myself on Google homepage. It’s really impressive.

google-instant

However, if you use a flaky connection like my Maxis Broadband you might see this:

google-instant-off

It says “Google Instant is off due to connection speed. Press Enter to search”. It’ll behave like normal search.

Which also means that it can be turned off.

The prediction feature is quite nicely programmed too. Notice that its suggestions included the word “mac” because I am on a Mac. Not surprising since this is easily detected by the browser’s user agent string.

I bet the prediction considers many other factors too, including Geo-location.

I find it interesting that I can see this now, since in its tweet Google mentioned that “Google Instant is rolling out to people w/ Instant-capable browsers in France, Germany, Italy, Russia, Spain, U.K. & U.S.

So the next time you see it, don’t be surprised!

… and tell me how you like it!

Battery Powered Server

For real?

googleservermedium

The black box with two terminals is a 12V battery, and it looks like a lead-acid battery. Is it a DELL? Is it an IBM? Is it an HP? No, it is a Google. That’s right people, it’s a unit of many Google’s server inside its data center containers. It’s a 2U thick server, with a Gigabyte mainboard holding 2 CPUs, 2 hard disks, and 8 pieces of RAM.

It’s not really battery powered, but the battery kicks in once the main power is lost. This effectively eliminates the need for more expensive and space consuming giant UPS’s (uninterruptible power supplies) which are batteries anyway. Is this a better solution? You be the judge.

If you ask me, I’d like to have one of those Magnetek power supply unit to install on my PC. The battery can nicely fit in a tower casing, much better than having separate UPS units. However I think the mainboard itself must be custom because the 12V to 5V conversion takes place there. The power supply unit only outputs 12V (approximately 13.65V).

However I can’t find any info on how long can the battery can actually supply power.

Story found on CNET: http://news.cnet.com/8301-1001_3-10209580-92.html

Gmail Gone Offline

I have been actively glancing over to the settings page to see whether “Offline” has been activated for my account. And it was there so I decided to activate it:

The settings for Offline is displayed, but not changeable (except to enable or disable the feature):

I have no idea how the algorithm selects which labels to always synchronize.

Now I have enabled it and synced the emails:

When offline, this indicator is seen:

When using it offline I don’t really notice the difference, except when my Firefox gave me hiccups as it try to connect to the Internet for other websites.

Gmail Going Offline

Read the title again. Gmail is going offline soon and that’s the truth. Scared yet?

Gmail is actually testing out a new lab feature: Offline Gmail

The video featured in the official blog looks really cool, and they are currently opening the lab feature for testing in the UK and US. Seeing how many emails I store in my Gmail account, I am scared to test it out when it comes available for me. One thing for sure, all these emails require storage on the local hard disk.

The feature requires Google Gears to work, where local application files are cached in the local browser for immediate use. WordPress has this feature since the last available version and it has worked well for me.

I wonder if there is any option to only sync emails according to their age, so that I don’t have to sync the whole thing. I’ll wait and see.

Nevertheless, this is a very useful feature. Bravo!

Gmail Stickers!

I was casually browsing the Official Gmail Blog this morning and saw that Gmail is giving away free Gmail stickers. The only thing you need to do is to send a self-stamped envelope to:

Send me some Gmail stickers already
P.O. Box 391420
Mountain View, CA 94039-1420

For International requests, we need to send the envelope along with a International reply coupon.

Unfortunately for me and other Malaysians, Pos Malaysia does not sell IRC. Yes, I called them at 1 300 300 300 hotline and they said they don’t have the service. Bummer! I am so disappointed!

I wonder if Google accept cheques or deduct some from my Adsense account already!

Google @enstek

From conversations I had with my colleagues at work, and from other friends I heard that Google is going to have presence in Malaysia, specifically at @enstek in Sepang. It’s a new flagship area opening its wings to tech companies from all over the globe.

Is this really true? In some stories I even heard that construction work has started at the site. I would really appreciate it if anyone could point me to the right direction. Googling doesn’t help as the keywords are too common.

From my point of view, Google presence is definitely welcomed in Malaysia. There will be new job opportunities and I know for sure people will jump with joy and try their best to penetrate the company. As for me, I don’t think I am well qualified yet to work with a gigantic company like Google. But who knows… I don’t have a crystal ball to show my future.

What about you? Will you try your luck if Google starts recruiting in Malaysia?

Google Chrome: More Findings

Actually, if you really watch the 52-minutes video or read the whole manual you might already know about these cool features. And then again maybe not. I didn’t have the time to go thorough with the documents / videos so I am just documenting based on casual use.

One of most obvious feature would be the “Inspect element” contextual menu. As a Firebug user this screen is no stranger to me.

I have not figured out whether Chrome can display real time resources such as JavaScripts and CSS loading like what Firebug does in its “Net” panel.

Another interesting feature I just discovered is the “Open link in incognito window” contextual menu that will appear every time a right click is done on a link.
Continue reading Google Chrome: More Findings

Google Chrome: My Findings So Far

Like Rizal, I was also thrilled to try out Google Chrome when I saw the posts in nazham.com and dirn.name.

I am simply discussing my initial findings, and we all know it’s Beta. This is by no means an official or detailed review. This is what I have encountered so far while using it casually.
Continue reading Google Chrome: My Findings So Far

Google In Malaysia II

More than a year after I wrote this post: Google In Malaysia, and more than a year after Hanson Toh was appointed as Malaysia Google Consultant, we may actually have a real good news.

I just saw in TV3’s Buletin Utama that Malaysia Prime Minister met Google’s CEO in Switzerland (World Economic Forum) and they do have intention to have a physical presence in Malaysia.

For everyone who have ever dreamed of working for Google (to become a Googler), there might just be a chance soon. A chance is good enough – I doubt that it is going to be very easy to get into Google 🙂

Google Maps Now With Malaysia Map

Yes I know I know… the title sounds weird. Remember the days when loading Google Maps you can only see the satellite images? Well, if you click on “Map” or “Hybrid”, no useful information was shown.

Those days are now over. I jumped up today at the office when I saw that the Map button now will bring you a much needed detail – road names. Behold! The following is a snapshot of Multimedia University in Cyberjaya where even the small roads inside the university compound are labeled.

Google Map MMU

Even the small street where my home is located has a label now (not shown). How cool is that!?

And if you miss that satellite image, you can always click on Hybrid and you’ll see the satellite image with the road maps on top. Following is a shot of the famous crossroad in the Center of Cyberjaya.

Google Maps Cyberjaya

My US readers… please bear with me while I enjoy this new feature that has just been made available in my country. You obviously had yours some time ago 😉

Does PageRank Matter?

As many of us has experienced, Google has finally slapped everyone who has paid links on their site. PageRanks have been stripped off by as much as 2 on most sites. A good example would be this site which has been penalized from PR4 to PR2. I am not complaining, since I never have any good chance to analyze my site to abide by all of Google’s quality guidelines.

This event makes me think on how PageRank really matters for websites. It matters because all of us make it so, by acknowledging the authority of the scheme. Hell, I know I will be happy if my PageRank gets a certain boost.

Google has announced for quite some time now, that they don’t like paid links. This is understandable because this kind of link will effect the PageRank and search results. However this is a critical move for many bloggers who makes money via paid posts where they are not allowed to include the rel="nofollow" tags in the links inside the paid posts. And to make things worst – there is a cyclic dependency: PageRank will be lower for paid bloggers, and paid bloggers are ranked by PageRank.

Being an occasional paid post writer myself I realize that many paid post operators uses and acknowledge the authority of external ranking systems such as PageRank and Alexa. The higher their rank, the better chance they get to grab those high value posts. Alexa is still alright, since it is based purely on traffic but stricter schemes like PageRank is sure a pain for those who have been seriously blogging for money.

And do not forget: advertisers seeking to put paid links on your site will also look at your PageRank! 😉

Once obvious thing for this site is the occasional paid posts, and the sponsored links. For now, I shall only put links from advertisers who agrees to allow the rel="nofollow" tag on their links. This way they will benefit from clicks and not from search engines. When I have the time I think I’ll look into the guidelines and use the Google Webmaster tool to ask for reconsideration.

How about you? How much does PageRank matter to you?

Firebug and Gmail

When I log on to my Gmail today, I received an error bounded by a red box that says “Firebug is known to make Gmail slow unless it is configured correctly”. I didn’t know that!

And as always, Gmail is nice enough to provide a simple workaround.

Firebug is an excellent add-on normally used by web developers so most people will not see this warning at all.

By the way did you notice that there’s a very big improvement in Gmail in terms of UI and also speed?

Google Referrals 2.0

Have you checked in to your AdSense account lately? Try and see the Referral setup page and see whether you have been upgraded to Referrals 2.0. I was surprised by this notification when I logged on to the AdSense account of one of my clients. This is what I saw:

Google Referrals 2.0

Some of us are lucky enough to be given the chance to test this out, like Auntie Lillian a.k.a. 5xmom. I am not as lucky, though. Maybe because my AdSense performance is not so well. 🙁

With Referrals 2.0 you can select targeted ads to display on your site, and not the boring old banners to refer to Google products and services. This opens a lot more doors and endless possibilities for you to customize the ads that will be displayed. They look just like normal AdSense ads, with the only difference is the tag Referrral Ads by Google.