Fush And Clicks

A Blog On All Things Digital (And Not).

Olympic Searches on Mobile Devices Rising

Google has hailed the London Olympics as the first multi-screen Olympics with games-related searches on mobile devices and tablets during the first week up ten times on the previous seven days.

In Australia the percentage of Olympic related searches made on mobile and tablets in the first two days of the world’s biggest sporting event hit 45%. In Japan 55% of searches were made on mobile devices, with the US at 47% and UK at 46%.

“As users watch TV, or watch their laptops at work, they’re searching for information about athletes, sports, events and records –  on their tablets and smartphones. In fact, at some moments during the Games, there have been more searches performed on tablets and smartphones than on computers,” Google said.

During the opening ceremony, searches on mobile devices for the query Paul McCartney soared in line with his performance of Hey Jude.

Google also found that in popular tourist island destinations, search on tablets were almost as equal to those made on smartphones, which it says is different from other countries where smartphone shares is significantly higher than tablet. It attributes this to the “tablet-toting tourists”.

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Google Hangouts Now On Gmail

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Google is removing the video chat function from Gmail that has been available since 2008 and replacing it with a Hangouts style video feature as seen in Google+.

“Unlike the old video chat, which was based on peer-to-peer technology, Hangouts utilize the power of Google’s network to deliver higher reliability and enhanced quality,” Google’s product manager Fred Brewin said in a company blog post. “You’ll be able to chat with all the same people you did before and with Hangouts you’ll now be able to reach them not only when they are using Gmail but also if they are on Google+ in the browser or on their Android or iOS devices.”

Google said all Gmail users will benefit from the upgrade, but in what has to be a bid to boost Google+ usage, those Gmail users who are also on Google+ will be able to take advantage of additional features.

“You’ll be able to video chat with up to nine people at once, watch YouTube videos together, collaborate on Google documents and share your screen,” Brewin wrote.

The Hangout-inspired video messaging also brings a variety of fun effects using augmented reality such as virtual costumes.

Google said it has already begun rolling out Hangouts in Gmail and will continue to do so gradually over the coming weeks.

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YouTube Adds Face Blur Functionality

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YouTube has added the ability for users to blur the faces of people appearing in videos they upload to the site.

The company said that the feature was designed to protect the anonymity of individuals in potentially dangerous situations, such as anti-government protests.

“As citizens continue to play a critical role in supplying news and human rights footage from around the world, YouTube is committed to creating even better tools to help them,” the company said in a blog post announcing the feature.

“Whether you want to share sensitive protest footage without exposing the faces of the activists involved, or share the winning point in your eight-year-old’s basketball game without broadcasting the children’s faces to the world, our face blurring technology is a first step towards providing visual anonymity for video on YouTube.”

The company noted that the feature is still under development and that in some cases the blurring may not function properly. The blurring option will be offered under the YouTube ‘video enhancements’ tool.

While facial blurring is largely considered to be a tool for protecting freedom of speech and human rights, the technology has also been used as a measure for preserving privacy and anonymizing users whose images are captured in public places – such as with Google Street View.

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Google Buys Email Client Sparrow to Boost Gmail

Earlier this week, Google has acquired the iOS and OS X email client Sparrow. Though a sale price hasn’t been officially disclosed, The Verge reported the price tag as being “under $25 million.”

Sparrow works on iPhone and iPad devices and Mac computers, using simplified interfaces of Twitter clients such as Tweetie or iOS apps as opposed to more traditional email style applications such as Apple Mail or Mozilla Thunderbird.

Specifics of how Google will use Sparrow have yet to be announced but it is thought that the client will help boost its Gmail service and see an improved native email client to compete with Apple Mail.

“The Sparrow team has always put their users first by focusing on building a seamlessly simple and intuitive interface for their email client,” said a Google spokesperson. “We look forward to bringing them aboard the Gmail team, where they’ll be working on new projects.”

Sparrow’s CEO Dom Leca announced the Google acquisition on the company’s website, noting that they will be “joining the Gmail team to accomplish a bigger vision, one that we think we can better achieve with Google.”

Though Sparrow announced it will be working on new things at Google, it also promised that it “will continue to make Sparrow available and provide support for users”.

However, on its iTunes Store listing, Sparrow said that there will be no further updates to its email client, apart from maintenance and bug fixes.

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Google Easter Egg: Search “Conway’s Game of Life”

From Search Engine Watch

 

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A new Easter egg has been discovered on Google. Users who search for “Conways Game of Life” (minus the quotes) will see a cellular automata “game” invented by mathematician John Conway. But you’re limited to being a spectator on this one.

When you arrive on the Google search results page for “Conway’s Game of Life”, you’ll notice several small blueish-gray boxes moving through numerous patterns and spreading over the page.

What is Conway’s Game of Life? Essentially, it’s a game played on an infinite two-dimensional grid of square cells with neither players nor winners or losers. Life’s rules create the patterns in the game, and offer a way to learn about complex patterns and systems.

As Wonders of Math explains, the basic rules are:

A cell can be live or dead. A live cell is shown by putting a marker on its square. A dead cell is shown by leaving the square empty. Each cell in the grid has a neighborhood consisting of the eight cells in every direction including diagonals.

  • A dead cell with exactly three live neighbors becomes a live cell (birth).
  • A live cell with two or three live neighbors stays alive (survival).
  • In all other cases, a cell dies or remains dead (overcrowding or loneliness).

Various life forms or objects (block patterns) can appear, according to Wolfram Mathworld: block, tub, boat, snake, ship, aircraft carrier, beehive, barge, Python, long boat, easter, fishhook, and loaf:

conways-game-of-life-patterns

Googler John Mueller revealed the fun Easter egg on Google+, noting “I remember making a version of this as a kid, trying to find self-sustaining elements, building ‘gliders’ that soared diagonally across the field, and generally just fascinated to see such simple structures evolve into something apparently unpredictable.”

Check out this YouTube video of the Game of Life in action on Google:

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Google Chrome Lets You Build 3D LEGO ANZ

 

 

 

 

 

 

Google has announced Brick, a collaborative 3D building experience with LEGO bricks. Google is working together with LEGO Australia to bring the Bricks to the browser.

Build lets you “explore and build a new world of LEGO creations together online. With 8 trillion bricks, think of Build as the largest LEGO set you’re ever seen.” Google also stated ” We made the bricks with WebGL, which enables powerful 3D graphics right in the browser and demonstrates the upper limit of current WebGL graphics performance. We then mixed in Google Maps (another Aussie invention) so you can put your creation in a LEGO world alongside everyone else’s.”

You can watch the video below on how it works:

 

Currently Build is an experiment that Google has been working on in Sydney. It’s launching only in Australia and New Zealand with hopes to be in other countries soon.

You can play now by visiting buildwithchrome.com and share your creations online on Google+. The top creations and most innovative Bricks will be re-posted by Google.

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Domain rush dominated by .Google and .Amazon

Today, the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN), the governing body of the domain name system, opened up about the nearly 2,000 applications it received for new domain extensions.

It follows on from ICANN deciding to allow anyone (anyone with the cash, that is) apply for the rights to own and operate any generic top-level domains (gTLDs). That means addresses that end not just in a .com or .co.nz but anything from .google to .apple – both of which have been applied for by the respective companies.

On that list are 1,409 unique domain names; Google was one of the largest submitters, putting in 101 applications for domains including .google, .android, .chrome, .gmail, and .youtube.Google domain landgrab

Amazon filed 76 applications, among them .amazon, .buy and .cloud.

Microsoft is gunning for the likes of .microsoft, .bing, .hotmail and .office, while Apple is only after one: .apple.

The most sought-after domain seems to be .app, which 13 separate companies applied for, including Google and Amazon.

That doesn’t mean all of the domains applied for will be awarded, though. There’s a review process to go through before any can be approved, including checks on whether they clash with other trademarks or are too similar to other existing domains.

Originally posted on Idealog.

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Bringing Life To Stock Images

Getty Images and Brazilian agency AlmapBBDo developed a 60 second ad using 873 stock images pieced together to tell a cute story and restoring our faith in the value of stock images.

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