2008年9月21日 星期日

Android: Google's Dream, Apple's Nightmare?

Android: Google's Dream, Apple's Nightmare?
By Anita Hamilton Monday, Sep. 22, 2008

A new smartphone is debuting on Sept. 23, and, no, it's not just another iPhone clone. The HTC Dream from T-Mobile will be the first handset to run Google's new mobile operating system, Android. And while it won't look as sleek as the iPhone, it promises to give mobile-phone users a lot more freedom and flexibility.

Many of the Dream's features are under wraps until launch, but based on leaked photos and videos along with screenshots released by Google, we already have a pretty good idea of what to expect. The biggest departure from the iPhone design is the inclusion of a physical keyboard, which apparently slides out from underneath the Dream's touchscreen. The Dream will also allow users to run multiple applications at once and more easily share contacts and data between them. And if reports from developers TIME interviewed prove true, mobile-phone users will finally be able to cut and paste text in emails — a function that's frustratingly absent on the iPhone. The Dream, which is expected to go on sale in late October, will also reportedly cost the same as the 3G: $199.

The sweetest part of the Dream is the add-on applications available from the Android Market — Google's answer to the Apple App Store. Whereas many Apple apps cost money (anywhere from $.99 to $9.99), at launch all Android Market apps will be free. That includes Breadcrumbz, a picture-based navigation program that doesn't just give you a drawing of your route, but also includes real-world photos to keep you on track. Another good app, TuneWiki, is a tricked-out music player that encourages mobile karaoke, by synchronizing written lyrics onscreen to the song's YouTube video. It also shows you what songs other TuneWiki users near you are listening to in real time. Since Android can run multiple programs at once, unlike the iPhone operating system, you won't have to choose between apps: As Breadcrumbz helps you find your way to a party, TuneWiki can play your favorite Rihanna video and get you in a groovy mood. When it's time to make a right turn, Breadcrumbz will cut in and alert you.

Android has several other key advantages over Apple. While Apple takes a top-down approach to app development — the company must approve every app that makes it into its App Store — Google will allow creators to upload any application to the Android Market without its review. Sure that means some duds will make it in, but it will also allow for a much more open and democratic way for favorites to evolve. Perhaps more significantly, users will not be limited to a single phone or carrier for long. While T-Mobile's HTC Dream will be the first phone to run Android, Google is inviting all carriers to develop handsets for the platform. Expect to see other compatible devices early next year.

Most of the Dream's other features are expected to go toe-to-toe with the iPhone, including built-in GPS, a tilt sensor for gaming, and a camera. What's more, T-Mobile recently expanded coverage for its 3G data network to 27 major cities. The faster bandwidth promises to make watching videos and downloading websites go smoothly, but if the spotty 3G coverage offered by AT&T for the iPhone is any indication, buyers should treat this promise with deep skepticism.

On the downside, don't expect the Dream to be anywhere near as slick and shiny as the iPhone. T-Mobile may be much loved among teens for its colorful, flip-screen Sidekick, but the HTC Dream has a more staid look that lacks the iPhone's panache. Plus, no one can turn on the hype machine quite as well as Steve Jobs. But whatever the Dream may lack in flair, it's no less of a breakthrough when it comes to giving mobile-phone buyers more ways to connect on the go.


【日經BP社報導】 美國谷歌與美國通用電氣(GE)于美國時間2008年9月17日宣佈,將聯手推動清潔能源普及機制。雙方將利用通用電氣擅長的電氣技術和谷歌擅長的IT技術,從政策和技術兩方面開展活動。





A Googol of Heat Beneath Our Feet

The energy from the heat beneath the earth's surface is essentially an unlimited resource. What if it could be developed to help solve our energy challenges and fight global warming? Enhanced Geothermal Systems, or EGS, attempts to do just that. EGS produces heat and electricity by harnessing the energy from hot rock deep below the earth's surface, expanding the potential of traditional geothermal energy by orders of magnitude. EGS is a big challenge, but with the potential to power the world many times over, it demands our immediate attention. At Google we've launched an effort to advance EGS through R&D, investment, policy and information.


2008年9月10日 星期三

U.S. Mulls Google Suit


Top Lawyer Is Selected
As U.S. Mulls Google Suit


Washington -- The Justice Department has quietly hired one of the nation's best-known litigators, former Walt Disney Co. vice chairman Sanford Litvack, for a possible antitrust challenge to Google Inc.'s growing power in advertising.

Mr. Litvack's hiring is the strongest signal yet that the U.S. is preparing to take court action against Google and its search-advertising deal with Yahoo Inc. The two companies combined would account for more than 80% of U.S. online-search ads.

Google shares tumbled 5.5%, or $24.30, to $419.95 in 4 p.m. trading on the Nasdaq Stock Market, while Yahoo shares were up 18 cents to $18.26.

For weeks, U.S. lawyers have been deposing witnesses and issuing subpoenas for documents to support a challenge to the deal, lawyers close to the review said. Such efforts don't always mean a case will be brought, however.

Mr. Litvack, who was the Justice Department antitrust chief under President Jimmy Carter, has been asked to examine the evidence gathered so far and to build a case if the decision is made to proceed, the lawyers close to the review said.

It isn't clear whether a U.S. challenge would target the Google-Yahoo deal alone or take on broader aspects of Google's conduct in the growing online-advertising business. The agreement with Yahoo, announced in June, gives Google, of Mountain View, Calif., the right to sell search and text ads on Yahoo sites, sharing revenue with Yahoo, which is based in Sunnyvale, Calif.

Display and search-based Web advertising, which are dominated by Google, have transformed the media industry. As a result, a federal antitrust case against Google could set new boundaries for Internet competition, much as the Justice Department suit against Microsoft Corp. a decade ago broke ground applying antitrust law to new technologies.

Google has said the Yahoo deal doesn't violate antitrust law. It has forcefully argued -- in public testimony before Congress and in private meetings with Justice Department lawyers -- that the deal is pro-competition. The companies say they voluntarily delayed closing the deal until early October, to allow the U.S. to complete its review.

"We voluntarily delayed implementation of this arrangement to give the Department of Justice time to understand it, and we continue to work cooperatively with them," Google said. "While there has been a lot of speculation about this agreement's potential impact on advertisers or ad prices, we think it would be premature for regulators to halt the agreement before we implement it and everyone can judge the actual impact."

In a statement late Monday, Yahoo said: "We have been informed that the Justice Department, as they sometimes do, is seeking advice from an outside consultant, but that we should read nothing into that fact. We remain confident that the deal is lawful."

It is relatively rare for the Justice Department to hire a special counsel from outside the department. David Boies was brought in as a special counsel to build the landmark antitrust case against Microsoft in 1998. Stephen Axinn, another well-known New York litigator, was hired to challenge WorldCom Inc.'s proposed buyout of Sprint Corp. The companies abandoned that transaction in 2000 after the department and Mr. Axinn challenged the deal.

Mr. Litvack, who couldn't be reached for comment, resigned last week from Hogan & Hartson LLP, where he was a partner in the Los Angeles and New York offices. A Justice Department spokeswoman also declined to comment.

The Wall Street Journal reported Monday that a group of major advertisers complained to the department about the deal. The Association of National Advertisers, which represents major advertisers such as Procter & Gamble Co. and General Motors Corp., warned that the deal could lead to higher prices and limited opportunities for Web advertisers.

Microsoft also has objected to the deal, saying it would unfairly foreclose competition on the Web. In Senate hearings in July, Microsoft's general counsel, Brad Smith, testified that "if search is the gateway to the Internet, and most people believe that it is, this deal will put Google in position to own that gateway and the information that flows through it."

2008年9月9日 星期二

Google- released Chrome and Backed 'O3b' Satellites

Chrome service with first patches available....

Google-Backed 'O3b' Satellites Promise High-Speed Internet Access

Initially, 16 satellites will orbit near the equator to deliver connectivity to emerging markets in Asia, Africa, Latin America, and the Middle East.

Google (NSDQ: GOOG) is financing a constellation of 16 satellites to bring high-speed low-cost Internet connectivity to emerging nations located near the equator.

Announced Tuesday, O3b Networks said the satellites are planned to orbit near the equator to deliver Internet connectivity to emerging markets in Asia, Africa, Latin America, and the Middle East. The service is planned for activation by the end of 2010.

The endeavor is the brainchild of entrepreneur Greg Wyler, who realized the need -- and the difficulty -- of getting high-speed Web access to emerging nations while he helped to establish early 3G and fiber-to-the-home networks in Africa.

"Only when emerging markets achieve affordable and ubiquitous access to the rest of the world will we observe locally generated content, widespread e-learning, telemedicine and (much) more," said Wyler in a statement. "O3b Network will bring multi-gigabit Internet speeds directly to emerging markets, whether landlocked in Africa or isolated by water in the Pacific Islands."

O3b -- abbreviation for "the other 3 billion" -- is headquartered in Jersey, Channel Islands, with a subsidiary for technical development located in Englewood, Colorado.

Initial satellite development is being provided by French defense company Thales SA. The O3b business plan calls for regional ISPs and telecommunications providers to utilize the satellites for high-speed internet access in their respective regions. The company said the system's more than 2,000 transponder equivalents will be able to deliver Internet backhaul at speeds of 10 Gbps. The system has been configured so additional satellites can be added as needed.

"O3b Networks' model empowers local entrepreneurs and companies to deliver Internet and mobile services to those in currently underserved or remote locations at speeds necessary to power rich web-based applications," said Larry Alder, Google's Alternative Access Team product manager, in a statement.

Liberty Global, which offers telecommunications and Web services in more than 15 countries, will contribute technical services to the project through its Colorado facilities

In addition to Google, O3b is initially being financed by Liberty Global and HSBC Holdings. Investment banking firm Allen & Company is also helping to finance the project, although at a lower level than the three chief financing entities.

2008年9月5日 星期五

Google At Age 10

September 4, 2008, 7:36 pm

Google At Age 10

Google applied for incorporation as a business 10 years ago Thursday, according to a timeline supplied by the company. The application was accepted on Sept. 7, which is Sunday.

In that decade, the search engine company has quickly emerged as the most successful business on the Web, and many expect it to dominate the next era of computing as thoroughly as Microsoft dominated the era of personal computers.

Here’s a quick snapshot of Google by the numbers along with some comparisons to Microsoft. The sources of the data are the companies, Yahoo Finance and comScore.

Google’s age: 10
Microsoft’s age: 33

Google’s revenue in the last 4 quarters: $19.6 billion
Microsoft’s revenue in the last 4 quarters: $60.4 billion

Microsoft’s revenue at age 10: $140 million
($279 million in today’s dollars)

Google’s revenue per hour in the last 4 quarters: $2.2 million
Microsoft’s revenue per hour in the last 4 quarters: $6.9 million

Google net income in the last 4 quarters: $4.85 billion
Microsoft’s net income in the last 4 quarters: $17.6 billion

Google employees, as of June 30th: 19,604
Microsoft employees, as of May 31st: 89,809

Google’s revenue per employee: $1 million
Microsoft revenue per employee: $672,000

Market value of Google: $142 billion
Market value of Microsoft: $241 billion

Number of tech companies with a market value larger than Google’s: 3 (Microsoft, IBM and Apple, in that order)

Worldwide searches on Google in July: 48.7 billion
Worldwide searches on Microsoft in July: 2.3 billion

Worldwide searches per hour on Google in July: 65 million
Worldwide searches per hour on Microsoft in July: 3.1 million

2008年9月2日 星期二

Google Offer Services for Bloggers at the Conventions

Google Will Offer Services for
Bloggers at the Conventions

August 19, 2008; Page A4

WASHINGTON -- Google Inc. will help set up a two-story, 8,000 square-foot headquarters for hundreds of bloggers descending on the Democratic convention in Denver next week, and it will offer similar services at the Republican convention in September, as new media gain influence in politics.

Four years ago, Google wasn't a significant presence at the Democratic and Republican conventions. Its high-profile presence at both conventions this year mirrors the growth of new media, which will provide their takes on events and compete with established media companies via Google's YouTube video site and other social-media outlets.

With its financial support for the "Big Tent" blogger facility at the Democratic convention, Google stands to gain exposure and goodwill from 500 or so bloggers who paid $100 for access to the facility, run by a coalition of bloggers. Google's software and services will be featured, including a kiosk in the public area of the tent where anyone can post videos on YouTube.

[Money] The Money Race: See month-by-month fund-raising and spending totals for the candidates.
[Electoral Vote Calculator] Electoral College Calculator: Your predictions, past results and experts' oppinions.
[Convention ] Convention Crashers: Read about groups planning events for this summer's conventions.
[Go to feature] Mind the -- Age -- Gap: Issues that may surface in the 25-year age gap between the candidates.
[Video] Ad Campaign: Video gallery of television ads run by the candidates and outside groups.
[Issues] Policy Battle Lines: See charts, speech analysis and video on the policy battlefronts.
[Go to feature] America's Next VP: See how possible VPs would help the candidates and vote for your favorites.

With the potential for a blogger around almost every corner and delegates with cellphone cameras everywhere, including private parties that shut out journalists and bloggers, privacy will be hard to come by.

"There's no such thing as off the record anymore. There's no such thing as private moments anymore," says Simon Rosenberg, president and founder of NDN, formerly the New Democrat Network, and the New Politics Institute.

"We saw that with 'macaca,'" Mr. Rosenberg said, referring to an incident in 2006 when a videographer recorded then-Sen. George Allen using a term often considered derogatory to some ethnic groups. "This is the condition of life now in the new media age."

Four years ago, YouTube hadn't been founded yet. Now, it will have booths at each convention to help delegates and bloggers upload videos taken on the floor or at events around town.

"It's an amazing opportunity for us. You don't get all these people in one place but every four years," says Robert Boorstin, director of corporate and policy communications in Google's Washington office and a former Clinton administration official.

Not only will bloggers have Internet access, workspaces and couches for napping in the "Big Tent" headquarters, they will be provided food and beverages, Google-sponsored massages, smoothies and a candy buffet. On the final night of the convention, Google is co-sponsoring a bash with Vanity Fair magazine for convention-goers and journalists that has become one of the hottest party invites.

Google will offer similar amenities for bloggers and new-media reporters who attend the Republican convention in St. Paul, Minn., company officials say. It will demo a variety of new political tools next week, including a search function on YouTube that will offer almost real-time keyword searches of convention speech videos.

At the Republican convention, about 200 bloggers have been credentialed to attend and work from the press filing center. They will have the same access as reporters. That is up from about a dozen bloggers who were credentialed in 2004, according to Joanna Burgos, a convention spokeswoman.

"We recognize it's a whole new world out there with bloggers but we're really embracing it," she said. "It's so many more channels to get our message out."

At the Democratic convention, bloggers from each state were chosen to be embedded with their delegations on the convention floor. Several hundred other bloggers will report from the Big Tent and at events and protests around Denver.

"The paradox is that the events themselves are all news-free, and it's really mostly just atmospherics; there's no real news made after the VP picks are announced," says Micah Sifry, co-founder of TechPresident.com, an Internet site that tracks developments in Internet politics. "On the other hand, it's a target-rich environment for bloggers."

2008年9月1日 星期一

Microsoft Faces New Browser Foe in Google

Microsoft Faces New Browser Foe in Google

Published: September 1, 2008

The browser war is back on.

Skip to next paragraph
Scott McCloud/Google

Google released a comic book to announce Chrome, which is partly based on an open-source rendering engine, WebKit.



This time, Microsoft’s opponent is Google, a familiar foe.

On Tuesday, Google will release a free Web browser called Chrome that the company said would challenge Microsoft’s Internet Explorer, as well as the Firefox browser.

The browser is a universal doorway to the Internet, and the use of Internet software and services is rapidly growing. Increasingly, the browser is also the doorway to the Web on cellphones and other mobile devices, widening the utility of the Web and Web advertising. Google, analysts say, cannot let Microsoft’s dominant share of the browser market go without a direct challenge.

Google already competes with Microsoft in online search and Internet advertising. They both make operating software for cellphones. Google is increasingly competing with Microsoft head-on in software that handles basic productivity like word processing, spreadsheet, presentation and e-mail programs. Google has Web-based software in these markets that are low-cost or free alternatives to Microsoft’s lucrative desktop software.

Despite the frequent clashes with Microsoft — including the role Google played in thwarting an attempted acquisition of Yahoo — Google has come out on top only in search and search advertising. But Google does not have to win the browser war. Strategically, opening yet another front against Microsoft forces it to divert resources to defend franchises.

Now, Chrome heightens the rivalry and marks a shift for Google, which has strongly backed Firefox, the open-source browser that has gained about a fifth of the market against the dominant Internet Explorer.

Google’s browser project has been under way for more than a year, a person close to the company said.

In a brief statement, Microsoft welcomed the new entry and expressed confidence that people would prefer Explorer, which is on every Windows PC sold.

“The browser landscape is highly competitive,” said Dean Hachamovitch, general manager of the Internet Explorer group. “But people will choose Internet Explorer 8 for the way it puts the services they want right at their fingertips, respects their personal choices about how they want to browse and, more than any other browsing technology, puts them in control of their personal data online.”

Google has clashed with Microsoft before, saying it had designed IE to gain ground in search, a market where Google is the runaway leader.

After Microsoft introduced IE 7 in 2006, Google complained that the browser’s search box favored Microsoft’s search service. Microsoft responded and made modifications, and a federal judge overseeing the antitrust consent decree against Microsoft determined that the browser design was not anticompetitive.

The first round of the browser wars in the 1990s led to a sweeping federal antitrust suit against Microsoft for the tactics it used to stifle competition from the commercial pioneer in browsing software, Netscape Communications. A federal appeals court ruled in 2001 that Microsoft had repeatedly violated the nation’s antitrust laws. Microsoft later reached a settlement with the Bush administration, which included some sanctions but left the company free to bundle browsing software with Windows, which runs more than 90 percent of all personal computers.

Microsoft recently stepped up its own browser development efforts, given the increasing importance of the browser and signs that Firefox is nibbling at its lead. Microsoft released a new version, IE8, last week to generally favorable reviews.

Microsoft still holds 73 percent of the browser market, according to Net Applications, a research firm. The market share for Firefox has climbed to 19 percent, while Apple’s Safari has 6 percent.

Chrome also puts Google in competition with an ally, the Mozilla Corporation, which manages the Firefox project. Just last week, Google renewed its deal with Mozilla. Under the arrangement, Google Search is the home page for Firefox and Google is its default search bar, and Google makes substantial payments to Mozilla. The agreement runs through November 2011, and will continue.

Google’s cooperation with Mozilla, however friendly, meant that it was ceding control of the Internet’s vital gateway technology — and the dominant supplier of that technology is its archrival, Microsoft.

Given the increasing importance of the browser and its widening competition with Microsoft, Google’s entry into the market is not surprising, said John Lilly, chief executive of Mozilla.

“It would be more surprising to me if Google didn’t do something in the browser space,” Mr. Lilly said. “After all, Google is 100 percent on the Web.”

Google’s move, he said, would put “more competitive pressure on us to keep coming up with great browser technology. But having more smart people competing to improve browser technology and the user experience is a good thing.”

Mr. Lilly also noted that Mozilla, while a private company, is entirely owned by the Mozilla Foundation. The browser project was begun to provide an alternative to Microsoft’s browser. “The mission of Mozilla is to keep the Web open, a pure public benefit,” he said. “Others have other motivations and Google’s move also serves to highlight our position in the marketplace.”

Chrome will be available to download in a test, or beta, version on Tuesday, Google announced on its Web site Monday afternoon. The browser will run on Windows. Google is also working on Chrome versions for Apple’s Macintosh, as well as Linux, an open source operating system.

In a curious twist, Google made its online announcement after its plans appeared as a digital “comic book” that was posted by Google Blogoscoped, a Web site that tracks the Internet search giant.

According to Google’s Web site post, by Sundar Pichai, an engineering director and vice president for product management, Chrome is designed for speed and ease of use.

But the other design goal, it seems, was to make sure Google could control how well the growing range of Web-based software it is developing will perform, instead of having to run on a Microsoft browser.

“Under the hood,” Mr. Pichai wrote, “we were able to build the foundation of a browser that runs today’s complex Web applications much better.”

Later, he wrote, “we improved speed and responsiveness across the board. We also built a more powerful JavaScript engine, V8, to power the next generation of Web applications that aren’t even possible in today’s browsers.”

Chrome is based on an open-source rendering engine, WebKit, and an open-source version of Google’s Gears technology. Chrome will also be able to run in a privacy mode, InCognito, so that no information about a person’s browsing is collected. With IE8 last week, Microsoft added a privacy mode of browsing, called InPrivate.

The privacy features, analysts note, could undercut the Internet advertising business of Google, but also Microsoft, Yahoo and others that depend on ads aimed at users based on their browsing behavior. But it is unclear, analysts say, how large a share of users will opt for the privacy browsing mode and give up the convenience of having a browser store sites recently visited in tabbed settings for easy navigation.