Aug 7, 2009 | 3
The same week that the Obama Administration lost its acting cyber security czar, cyber attacks torpedoed several of the Web's most popular social-networking sites, in particular Twitter and Facebook. Although the denial-of-service attacks (which overwhelm Web servers with phony requests) were the latest reminder of the difficulties of defending the Web against cyber threats, it appears that these crashed sites were collateral damage in the ongoing conflict between Russia and Georgia. Or were they?
Jul 29, 2009 | 8
Microsoft and Yahoo today announced that, after months of courting and coyness, the two companies will join forces in the Web search arena to challenge Google's dominance.
Now comes the hard part—ensuring that the two veteran information-technology companies can make good on a deal that should deliver Microsoft's new Bing search engine a much larger audience while restoring relevance to Yahoo's fading star. The 10-year deal, which the companies hope to finalize early next year, calls for Yahoo to replace its own search engine technology with Bing, introduced early last month, and make its search sales force available to Microsoft to attract large advertisers.
Jun 22, 2009 | 10
While it's possible to search the Web for images, there's still no way of searching the images themselves. Google is hoping to change this through a research project that can match digital photos of certain famous landmarks with text descriptions of those landmarks (including their namesname and where they're located) without the need for a conventional search engine.
Google created its experimental landmark recognition engine by developing a list of targeted landmarks (such as the Eiffel Tower and the Acropolis in Athens) and finding GPS-tagged digital photos of those locations. The researchers then "taught" the recognition engine to identify specific landmarks by clustering different images of the same landmark (taken in different lighting and from different angles, for example).
May 20, 2009 | 1
In the market for yet another way to navigate cyberspace? Just days after physicist Stephan Wolfram took his Wolfram|Alpha "computational knowledge engine" live, word is that Microsoft next week will debut a revamped version of its flagging Live.com search engine, the No. 3 Web navigator behind Google and Yahoo.
Microsoft will take the wraps off of "Kumo"—the codename of its new, improved search engine—at the D: All Things Digital technology conference next week in Carlsbad, Calif., the Wall Street Journal reports. (Here's a low-res image of the new search engine, that CNET ran and reports was captured by someone who stumbled across it online while using Microsoft Live Search in the Internet Explorer 8 browser. It looks very different than the Live.com search results page pictured to the left.)
May 19, 2009 | 2
Embattled smartphone maker Palm, Inc. has a date with destiny. On June 6, Sprint will start selling the Palm Pre smartphone, an overdue rival to Apple's iPhone, Research in Motion's BlackBerry Curve, and HTC Corp.'s G1 Android.
Palm, once the leader in the now-quaint category called Personal Digital Assistants, and lately an also-ran in phones, is banking on the Pre to reclaim its former glory.
The phone will retail for $299, with a $100 mail-in rebate for buyers who ink a two-year contract with Sprint to use that company's high-speed Now Network, Palm said today on its blog. The net cost puts the Pre on par with the iPhone, which can be had for $199, after debuting two years ago at an eye-popping $599.
May 18, 2009 | 7
The Wolfram|Alpha Web site went live today, accompanied by a lot of noise and mixed reviews.
Most of the hoopla came from people wondering whether the new site, launched by former particle physicist Stephen Wolfram and his eponymous company, will give Google a run for its money.
Only time will tell. But Wolfram|Alpha and Google aim to do such different things that the services may ultimately prove to be complementary. Everybody knows Google, but once it was just the little search engine that could. Enter Wolfram|Alpha, touted as a "computational knowledge engine" that searches its own extensive database in an attempt to answer a user's question. Think of it as Ask Jeeves with PhD.
May 12, 2009 | 1
Google has a better idea for search. What if you could customize the results, prioritizing hits based on your personal preferences?
Although searching with key words has worked for the first few decades of the Web, some searches are hard to perform that way alone, Marissa Mayer, vice president of Google Search Products and User Experience, acknowledged today. So Google has added a feature called Search Options in an upgrade its uber-popular search engine.
Now searchers can reorganize the result of a key word search to emphasize particular kinds of links, such as video, or to sort links by timeliness.
A Google goal is to highlight more video, images and other multimedia links in its listing of search results, Mayer said. The "universal search" capability that Google built into its search engine in 2007 now provides one multimedia link for every four items on the search results list.
Apr 3, 2009
Web search giant Google may be planning to buy microblogging site Twitter, according to TechCrunch. The tech news Web site, citing unnamed "people close to the negotiations," says that if Twitter bites, it would get cash and/or publicly valued stock from Google. Just five months ago, the increasingly popular Twitter turned down a $500 million offer from Facebook that was reportedly chock full of that company's stock.
Mar 24, 2009 | 5
The new economic stimulus package set aside $11 billion in federal funding for creation of a so-called "smart grid." But it's not clear what this national electricity delivery system will look like, how it will function or who will manage the information required to make the grid intelligent. Local power utilities can install the smart meters in homes that provide data about energy usage and constitute an integral part of the overall smart grid, but it's the cable and telephone companies that have the broadband infrastructure to send this info back to the utilities.
Over the next three years, Progress Energy, a Raleigh, N.C., power company, and the University of South Florida in St. Petersburg plan to equip some 5,000 homes and businesses in west St. Petersburg and St. Pete Beach with special meters, sensors and switches to create one of the U.S.'s largest smart grids, according to Tampa Bay Online. If the $15 million experiment is a success, Progress plans to incorporate smart-grid technology over the next 10 years in its most populated service areas, including Orlando and areas of Pinellas County in addition to St. Petersburg.
Feb 26, 2009 | 49
It's official, Microsoft's Windows Vista operating system gets the prize for being the most overhyped, underperforming information and communication technology (ICT) project. Windows Vista garnered 5,222 of 6,043 votes (86 percent) entered via the Web to snag top honors in the first-ever Fiasco Awards announced in Barcelona, Spain, today, beating out other contenders, including Google's Lively virtual world, the One Laptop per Child computer (developed by the Nicholas Negroponte-chaired One Laptop Per Child Association, Inc.) and Second Life. Second prize went to SAGA, the oft-malfunctioning administration and academic management system developed by Spain's Catalan Education Department for public school teachers in Catalonia.
Vista was announced in July 2005 and hit the market in January 2007 after a mega PR blitz by Microsoft, which promised it would be a slick, secure successor to the company's popular Windows XP operating system. Vista came with an eye-catching graphical user interface, and Microsoft positioned the operating system's Windows Media Center software as a tool that would make the PC the new hub of home entertainment systems. What Microsoft made less clear was that many customers couldn't run Vista without upgrading their PCs.
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