Google unveiled significant new innovation in the world of online photography this morning, continuing their rapid development pace on Google+. All in Google+ pushed out 41 new features today.
Much of the new work is focused on post production photography to make people’s photographs look better than they can straight out of the camera.
Some have suggested that part of Instagram’s success has been their ability to enhance users’ photos with very simple one touch filters. Instagram has focused on a faux film aesthetic which actually highlights the flaws in many photos to give them more of an artistic old school feel. By contrast Google’s easily, and automatically applied post production tools, work to make photos look more vivid, life like and realistic.
By using simple techniques like skin softening, clarity adjustment, smart vignetting, HDR and other enhancements, Google by default now offers an enhanced photo for every photo uploaded by users to Google+. Also with this new tech Google will give you the ability to view the before and after results and decide which you prefer to use. For photographers who do not want their photos altered in any way, these users can turn this default functionality off.
Internet giant Google has changed the tagline on the homepage of its Palestinian edition from “Palestinian Territories” to “Palestine”.
The change, introduced on 1 May, means google.ps now displays “Palestine” in Arabic and English under Google’s logo.
Using the word Palestine is controversial for some. Israeli policy is that the borders of a Palestinian state are yet to be agreed.
In November, the UN gave Palestine the status of “non-member observer state”.
The decision by the General Assembly was strongly opposed by Israel and the United States. Previously, Palestine only had “observer entity” status.
It followed an unsuccessful Palestinian bid to join the international body as a full member state in 2011 because of a lack of support in the UN Security Council.
Palestinians in general seek recognition for the state they are trying to establish and the adoption of the name Palestine.
Israel considers any formal use of the word Palestine as pre-judging the outcome of currently stalled peace talks. In much of Israel’s official terminology the West Bank is referred to as Judea and Samaria.
In a statement given to the BBC on Friday, Google spokesman Nathan Tyler said: “We’re changing the name ‘Palestinian Territories’ to ‘Palestine’ across our products. We consult a number of sources and authorities when naming countries.
“In this case, we are following the lead of the UN, Icann [the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers], ISO [International Organisation for Standardisation] and other international organisations.”
The Palestinian Authority (PA) welcomed Google’s decision.
Some inexpensive Intel-based laptops and tablets will come with Google’s operating system, and others with Microsoft’s, according to sources and analysts.
Intel CEO Paul Otellini earlier this week said touch devices could debut at prices as low as $200, as CNET reported. But the cheapest devices may be based on a non-Windows operating system, according to sources — not necessarily Windows 8, as originally reported.
“There are design wins for Android tablets at that $200 price point. Intel will be participating in that market this year,” a source familiar with Intel’s plans told CNET.
A report in Digitimes on Friday said Intel is promoting “Android convertible notebooks” and that Lenovo, Hewlett-Packard, Toshiba, Acer, and Asus will launch products in the coming months.
That said, IDC’s Bob O’Donnell told CNET on Friday that he has heard chatter about upcoming 7-inch Windows 8 tablets using Intel Atom processors priced as low as $299.
And IHS iSuppli’s Craig Stice doesn’t think $200 to $300 Windows 8 devices are out of the question.
“Spending [three times as much] on a PC vs. a $200 tablet is a big barrier that I feel has been a factor in the struggles the PC market endured the last year,” he said.
Google is using unfair practices to cement its control over mobile internet usage on smartphones, a group of companies led by Microsoft alleged in a European antitrust complaint Tuesday.
The “FairSearch” initiative of 17 companies — which includes Microsoft, Nokia, and Oracle —claims Google is acting unfairly by giving away its Android operating system to mobile device companies on the condition that the U.S. online giant’s own software applications like YouTube and Google Maps are installed and prominently displayed.
“Google is using its Android mobile operating system as a Trojan horse to deceive partners, monopolize the mobile marketplace, and control consumer data,” said Thomas Vinje, the group’s Brussels-based lawyer.
Android operating systems have the largest share of the smartphone market worldwide, followed by Apple’s iOS platform with systems from Blackberry, Microsoft and others far behind.
How does the Internet affect power? How does power affect the Internet?
Factors such as ubiquitous surveillance, the rise of cyberwar, ill-conceived laws and regulations on behalf of either government or corporate power, and a feudal model of security collide to create a circumstance in which those in power are using information technology to increase their power, at the expense of users.
Bruce Schneier—renowned security technologist and author—discusses these issues and more with the Berkman Center’s Jonathan Zittrain.
The actual working panorama gadget is at the link. I do not think I can embed or link directly to it as it’s a flash file. While there is an embed feature, it wants me to promise only to a non commercial site. Not gonna make that promise without asking our kind host.
I can tell you it works fantastic. Science nerds should set aside a few minutes. :-)>
UPDATE-Charles has put the gadget right in the page. Charles thanks for taking a moment to enable that.
For a while now we’ve been sharing photos beamed home by NASA’s rovers on Mars. From panoramas by the old timer Opportunity to selfies by the new kid Curiosity, we’re starting to see more and more of the Red Planet many millions of miles away. Andrew Bodrov, however, has taken it to the next level.
By putting together 407 photos taken by both the Narrow Angle Camera (NAC) and Medium Angle Camera (MAC) on Curiosity, Bodrov has created the amazing 4-gigapixel 360-degree panorama you see below. A panorama so vast it’ll make you feel like you’re using street view on Mars (something Google’s probably already working on … ).
The panorama was put together using 295 images from the NAC (100mm focal length) and 112 images from MAC (34mm focal length). The photos — which include a view of Mount Sharp similar to the one we’ve seen before — were taken on Mars solar days 136-149, with the MAC’s entire contribution coming on solar day 137.
Google is taking a lot of heat for its decision to scrap the popular Reader RSS feed aggregator, leading many to question why it would pull the plug on such a popular service. It turns out that the answer might have a lot to do with the hidden costs of safeguarding privacy. According to a report from All Things D, an unnamed source says that the closure is at least partly because of Google’s reluctance to build out the staff and infrastructure needed to deal with legal and privacy issues related to the product.“UNLESS IT’S GOING TO GET TO 100 MILLION USERS IT’S NOT WORTH DOING.”
The source says that Google is trying to position the company so that it stops getting stuck in expensive privacy lawsuits, like the $7 million Wi-Fi data-slurping case in the US. When the company announced it would be shuttering Reader, the service reportedly didn’t even have a project manager or full-time engineer assigned to it, and it’s said that Google didn’t want to spend the money to build the service out into a tentpole app. And while many longtime users of the service have questioned why Google doesn’t simply Reader off to a third party, its deep integration with other Google Apps means it’s easier for the company to just shutter it. So how many users would have made it worthwhile for Google to keep Reader around? Former Reader product manager Nick Baum tells ATD, “my sense is, if it’s a consumer product at Google that’s not making money, unless it’s going to get to 100 million users it’s not worth doing.”
Google Keep—Save what’s on your mind
Every day we all see, hear or think of things we need to remember. Usually we grab a pad of sticky-notes, scribble a reminder and put it on the desk, the fridge or the relevant page of a magazine. Unfortunately, if you’re like me you probably often discover that the desk, fridge or magazine wasn’t such a clever place to leave the note after all…it’s rarely where you need it when you need it.
To solve this problem we’ve created Google Keep. With Keep you can quickly jot ideas down when you think of them and even include checklists and photos to keep track of what’s important to you. Your notes are safely stored in Google Drive and synced to all your devices so you can always have them at hand.
This sounds like a great, free service, however it’s very difficult for me to imagine heavily investing any of my data with Google, based on their history of shutting down services. Even though this seems like a nice, handy service, you can bet it will serve Google far more than the individual user, giving them access to another whole universe of data to mine.
Almost three years after Google released its WebM video encoding technology as a “free” and open alternative to the existing H.264 backed by Apple and others, it has admitted its position was wrong and that it would pay to license the patents WebM infringes.
Google released WebM in 2010 after acquiring proprietary video compression tools vendor On2; it subsequently released that company’s VP8 technology as a “licensing free” competitor to the International Standard Organization’s established MPEG H.264 technology.
The announcement delighted some members of the open source community, particularly Opera and Mozilla, neither of which wanted to pay licensing fees for their use (or their users’ use) of H.264. Both had previously supported Ogg Theora, an older and even less capable codec.
Google hoped to leverage its own strong position in web video, including its YouTube video sharing service and its popular Chrome web browser, to force adoption of WebM across the web. However, WebM had serious flaws, the largest of which is that it infringed upon H.264 patents itself.
After years of legal maneuvering, Google has now agreed to license the H.264 patents that WebM infringes.
Google Co-Founder Says Smartphones Are ‘Emasculating’
Tom Kludt 3:30 PM EST, Wednesday February 27, 2013
Google co-founder Sergey Brin on Wednesday described his misgivings with smartphones, saying that using them makes him feel less manly.Sergey Brin
During a speech at the TED Conference in Long Beach, Calif., Brin called smartphones “emasculating.”
“You’re standing around and just rubbing this featureless piece of glass,” Brin said of smartphones, according to CNET. Brin talked about his company’s head-mounted device, known as Google Glass, that has been set up to compete with smartphones.