Google Me, maybe?

There’s been a “bit” of a rumour going around that the search giant Google may have another go at creating a social media platform. We all know that these rumours don’t just randomly appear out of nowhere, and after some research it would appear that a simple tweet has snowballed into a huge media-covered wonder.

GoogleThere’s been a “bit” of a rumor going around that the search giant Google may have another go at creating a social media platform. We all know that these rumours don’t just randomly appear out of nowhere, and after some research it would appear that a simple tweet has snowballed into a huge media-covered wonder.

A tweet originating (and then vanishing) by Digg’s co-founder, Kevin Rose wrote, in part, “huge rumor: Google to launch facebook competitor very soon ‘Google Me‘, very credible source.” Soon after this was tweeted, the tweet disappeared without an explanation. What makes this even more interesting is that this rumor was apparently confirmed by former Facebook executive, Adam D’Angelo. D’Angelo stated, “This is not a rumor. This is a real project. There are a large number of people working on it. I am completely confident about this.”

Does this mean Google is actually putting in more effort to create the ever elusive Facebook-killer? I sure hope so, but with recent failed products such as Google Wave and the completely dissapointing Google Buzz, I sure hope Google culminates its best efforts to get this done properly. However, it IS evident what Google’s capable of and I’m pretty sure this can actually be achieved if there IS in fact “a large number of people working on it”.

I for one, am not a Facebook fan as I despise having my personal information and pictures stored on a central server. I am however, waiting for the Diaspora launch which is rapidly growing in popularity. If Google can come up with something as secure and catchy, with a little flare I’ll be sure to give it a bash too. Good luck Google, you’ll need it.

Diaspora set to take on Facebook

Diaspora is a personally controlled, do-it-all distributed open-source social network. Did you get all that? The new Diaspora project, headed by four ambitious NYU computer science students, is set to take the internet world by storm. The concept is simple enough (much like all great inventions); Create a social network that is truly private and secure. Why send your updates a to a central hub to be dispersed to all your friends and connections when you can simply connect directly to your friends. This creates a more secure and private connection.

diasporaDiaspora is a personally controlled, do-it-all distributed open-source social network. Did you get all that? The new Diaspora project, headed by four ambitious NYU computer science students, is set to take the internet world by storm. The concept is simple enough (much like all great inventions); Create a social network that is truly private and secure. Why send your updates a to a central hub to be dispersed to all your friends and connections when you can simply connect directly to your friends. This creates a more secure and private connection.

This project has been dubbed the “anti-facebook” purely because it is a private, open-source social network that puts you in control of your personal data. The idea of Diaspora was conceived when the four  NYU students, Daniel Grippi, Maxwell Salzberg, Raphael Sofaer, and Ilya Zhitomirskiy spent time building a Makerbot (a type of web robot). They started discussing the possibilities of a distributed social network and hence, Diaspora was born.

diaspora-def

We already have a rudimentary prototype of Diaspora running on our machines, and are working like mad to make it all we can be. Our current implementations include PGP encryption, scraping Twitter and Flickr, awesome design aesthetics, and the initial stages of connection infrastructure (“friending” other Diaspora instances).

Although Diaspora hasn’t yet been completely developed, the concept and a simple working model has been completed (Not yet available to the public). This is due to a lack of funds which I believe they have now managed to source. The exciting thing about this project is the fact that they are going to release the software under the aGPL open-source software license.  I cant wait to get my hands on this!

It is our one and only goal to get Diaspora in the hands of every man, woman, and child at summer’s end. September 2010 will signify the release of the project in its first iteration, fully open-sourced under the GPL. This release will be comprised of several key features for Diaspora, mainly:

  • Full-fledged communications between Seeds (Diaspora instances)
  • Complete PGP encryption
  • External Service Scraping of most major services (reclaim your data)
  • Public GitHub repository of all Diaspora code
  • Version 1 of Diaspora’s API with documentation

Once Diaspora has been set up, the software can aggregate your information such as tweets, RSS feeds, photos, etc. When you decide to “friend” another user online, you’ll actually connect directly to that user. This eliminates the need for a central server and therefore eliminates most security risks involved with that process. You and your friends can then share information privately with each other using PGP encryption.

Personally, I reckon this is going to revolutionize the way we connect socially online. I have been constantly trying to think of the “new social media” and it seems these guys have beat me to it.

For more information on this project, go to http://joindiaspora.com. Also, have a look at the blog for updates.

Diaspora: Personally Controlled, Do-It-All, Distributed Open-Source Social Network from daniel grippi on Vimeo.

What’s all this fuss about Real Time Search?

Using a search engine is the fundamental starting point for discovering the worlds information. Real time search makes this information available quicker than ever before. Google and Bing now bring you the information you are looking for, seconds after it becomes available on the internet. This amazing new innovation is made possible by a simple new concept called PubSubHubbub.

Using a search engine is the fundamental starting point for discovering the worlds information. Real time search makes this information available quicker than ever before. Google and Bing now bring you the information you are looking for, seconds after it becomes available on the internet. This amazing new innovation is made possible by a simple new concept called PubSubHubbub.

What are you talking about?

The basic concept of a search engine pre 2009 was simple enough: Have a bunch of web page addresses stored in a database and crawl them as fast as you can to update the information. As simple as this sounds, this is an extremely inefficient method of retrieving information. This method of aggregating information is known as the “pull method”. However, the guys over at Google designed a new concept called PubSubHubbub which surprisingly enough, wasn’t thought of years before. Instead of search engines constantly pinging your website looking for new information, why not rather jut let them know when new information is available? This is known as the “push method” and is a far more effecient method of sharing and aggregating information on the web.

What content is being indexed in real time?

Google has managed to aggregate all sorts of content in real time. Some real time content I have noticed on Google originated from these types of websites:

  • Blogs.
  • Forums.
  • Online News Sources.
  • Social Media (Twitter, Facebook, FriendFeed etc).

How does this affect my website(s)?

From what I already know is that WordPress registered blogs (yourblogname.wordpress.com) have automatically been updated to include this new feature. Therefore, if you host your blog on WordPress chances are, you’re content is already being indexed in real time. However, if you run a standard website, integrating this new technology is slightly more complicated. Due to the fact that PubSubHubbub is still relatively new to the internet, there aren’t many tutorials available to the average Joe. Consider contacting an experienced web developer.

However, it is still unclear as whether or not Google just makes use of PubSubHubbub to gain all this real time information. This was mentioned on the official Google blog:

Our real-time search features are based on more than a dozen new search technologies that enable us to monitor more than a billion documents and process hundreds of millions of real-time changes each day. Of course, none of this would be possible without the support of our new partners that we’re announcing today: Facebook, MySpace, FriendFeed, Jaiku and Identi.ca — along with Twitter, which we announced a few weeks ago.

Real time search in action
If you would like to see real time indexing in action, go to Google. Insert a search phrase and hit enter. Once the results page has loaded, click on the “Show Options” link above the results section. A menu will appear on the left of the screen. Click on the “Latest” link and Google will show you all the latest content is has fetched for that particular search phrase. The page will automatically update with new content as Google indexes it. Very cool!

Real Time Indexing

As you can notice, the world is becoming a far smaller place than we once thought. Information is now literally at your fingertips. Obviously people will have different views on how relevant these results are and I’m sure Google is having a tough time keeping their algorithm up to date. This is a very exciting time for the internet as a whole. One of the things I like about real time content is that it fuels the ongoing advances of augmented reality.

Google Fast Flip goes Mobile

Google’s new toy, Fast Flip, which has been under the “Google Labs” section for the past 5 months has just gone mobile. The mobile version of Fast Flip is now available for the iPhone and Android devices. Simply navigate to the Fast Flip page to use it on your device.

Google’s new toy, Fast Flip, which has been under the “Google Labs” section for the past 5 months has just gone mobile. The mobile version of Fast Flip is now available for iPhone and Android devices. Simply navigate to the Fast Flip page to use it on your device.

Fast Flip Mobile Fast Flip Mobile

For those of you that missed the bus, Google Fast Flip is an online application that lets users “flip” through and share news articles quickly and easily, similar to that of a magazine. How it works is that Google captures images of the articles of their partner’s websites and displays them in an easy-to-read format. There are multiple categories to choose from such as Business, Opinion, Social Media, Technology, Most Viewed, Recommended, and the list goes on.

When Google mentions to “partner” websites, they are referring to some of the most influential online media publications out there, such as: TechCrunch, New York Times, Mashable, Daily Telegraph and even Playboy. The complete list of sources can be found here.

Below is a demonstration of Google Fast Flip.