The new version of the Google search algorithm is called “Hummingbird”. It has already been released. For whatever reason, Google decided not to make a specific announcement about the release of the new algorithm before switching over to it. For good or ill, it has already affected how your blog is placed in order of the results that appear whenever someone does a Google search.
The purpose of Hummingbird is, in short, to keep up with how people use the internet. Many people will type an entire phrase into the search engine, instead of just one word, when they are looking for information about something.
This means that the algorithm has to “understand” the entire meaning of each word in the phrase, and how they relate to each other. Once it “gets” what you are looking for, it can show you websites that match what you are hoping to find. Things have gotten too complex for a “Boolean” type of search system.
In other words, “Hummingbird” has been designed to give us better results when we do a Google search. This is because it is going to “get” the meaning and context of what you typed in the search engine.
Overall, I see this as a good thing. My hope is that this will bring the blogs, articles, and websites that have the best content (based upon your query) to the top of the list. I cannot help but wonder if the blogs that have been crafted in ways that were designed around SEO, but that lack quality content, will notice a drop in their page clicks soon as a result of Hummingbird.
15 years ago two Stamford students launched their project — a search engine built on new algorithms and with a goal of organizing the quickly growing piles of information appearing on the web. At the time, rivals like Yahoo, AltaVista, Lycos, Hotbot, Dogpile and more were all ahead of the California-based startup.
It did not take long for that change, as Google quickly surpassed its rivals en route to going from a noun to a verb and launching countless products in numerous categories. Some thrived, such as Gmail and Maps, while others, like Reader and Buzz, are now just memories.
On the occasion of the 15th birthday, the search giant has done what it has become known for over the years — launched an Easter Egg. Over the years, there have numerous of these — remember “do a barrel roll” and “ponies” (type it in YouTube search if you don’t)?
As part of today’s celebration users can now head to the Google homepage and type “Google in 1998″ and get results from that bygone era, complete with the company’s first logo. Happy birthday Google.
Yesterday on the Chrome blog, Google announced that new Chromebooks from Acer, Asus, HP and Toshiba were on their way. Arriving in the next few months the new Chromebooks are based on Intel’s Haswell chips rather than the current ARM processors and the chip’s low power consumption will double the battery life.
These new Chromebooks are (roughly) the third iteration of the laptops and it’s great to see new entrants, Asus and Toshiba, joining the party. HP’s new Chromebook 14 will be out before the holiday season, cost $300 and come in a range of colours. Although Acer will be bringing out a new model as well, there’s no news on whether Samsung will be refreshing its line-up. The eye-wateringly expensive Pixel seems to remain the only touch-screen model in the range but that could change as details emerge on the new models.
Google quotes that in the sub-$300 computer segment, Chromebooks have taken a little less than a quarter of the market and around 5,000 US schools have also provided Chromebooks to students. For a product that’s just 2 years old, it’s pretty impressive.
I’m looking forward to the new models as I’m currently using a Samsung Chromebook to write this article and I’m bought into a web and cloud-centric view, especially for people who actually want to get stuff done wherever they are. Neat, low-cost, instant-on devices with a keyboard make Chromebooks very handy to have around. More apps are appearing, particularly business ones and if you haven’t considered a Chromebook in the past, you might want to consider one.
The upcoming version of Android (4.4) will be called KitKat. Yes, it really is named after the popular candy bar that is made by Nestle. This is the first time a version of Android was named after a particular brand. Typically, they have used names that were more generalized.
We all know that the different versions of Android have been named after sweet foods that most people would consider to be a dessert. Android 1.5 was called Cupcake. This was followed by Donut (1.6), Eclair (2.0), Froyo (2.2), and Gingerbread (2.3).
Honeycomb (3.0) refers to the type of Honeycomb that is created by bees (and not Honeycomb cereal). It was followed by Ice Cream Sandwich (4.0), Jelly Bean (4.1), and now, KitKat.
It turns out that Google and Nestle are in a partnership. The Google Android announcement starts with a cute Android figure that has been made out of a KitKat bar.
The announcement notes that KitKat is giving people the chance to win a Nexis 7 or Google Play Credit. Next time you want a snack, visit a store and look for a package of KitKat that has an image of the iconic green Android figure who is trying to eat a KitKat bar. Somewhere inside the package, the label may say that you have won.
When I went to L.A. in July, I used Uber to travel back to the Airport. Of course, that was during rush hour, which is not a smart move. But the driver – an L.A. native – knew the shortcuts to get me from Venice Beach to LAX in a faster time.
So how would a driverless car do it?
Local independent transportation company Uber announced today they want to invest up to $375 million for 2,500 driverless cars from Google when they become available toward the end of the year. Their investment also included a commitment to share data with Google for the trips.
Google – who has been developing driverless cars since 2008 – just showed the GX3200 earlier this year at the Detroit Auto Show. The GX3200 is a four-person, 3 suitcase car with built-in Wifi and a charge that can get up to 750 miles.
For Uber, this could mean faster rollouts in cities they never planned to be a part of. Having 1-2 cars in towns with populations less than 10,000 is a reality. You don’t even a dispatcher living there, since the app takes care of the process.
Uber is in 24 cities in the U.S. – Just adding Honolulu last week – and 18 worldwide locations. Of course, major hurdles in some areas as labor unions petition this service and new regulations trying to shut down the Uber Taxi service.
Still, the question begs – do you want a driverless car? I would be more happy to have a car show up for me to get in and drive to my desired location. Having some control at this stage in the autonomous car period will make me feel safer.
With newer Google Maps – including the recently purchased and implemented Waze software (predictive software that finds alternate routes) – I could see a driverless car act just like my Uber driver from July.
Would you get into a driverless car?
If you like to follow the ever-growing integration between computers and home theater, then the recent innovations have been a welcome, and quickly, growing surprise. Boxes like Roku, Apple TV, Google TV and others have made life much easier than the days when I built my first HTPC and looked for the best ways to stream my home media to it.
Then Google unveiled Chromecast, a surprise, as it came at an event where everyone expected only the new Nexus 7 to be unveiled. The tiny stick plugs into a spare HDMI port and allows customers to “cast” media to their TV from compatible web sites, as well as Android tablets and phones.
But what about your home media — all of those ripped DVD’s and music that you have stored on your home network. That too is easy enough, though you need to be using the Chrome web browser.
- Open a new tab
- Press Ctrl + O
- Open a file (video or audio) that Chrome can play
- Click the cast button
That is all there is to it to get your own media up and playing on your big screen.
Just a quickie….Samsung UK have an offer on at the moment that if you buy one of their Chromebooks during August, you can claim a free smartphone. Don’t get too excited as the phone is only a Galaxy Mini but it’s better than nothing and you can always flog it on ebay. There are further goodies if you buy a 3G Chromebook.
Pay attention to the small print as you have to wait 14 days from the date of purchase before you can apply for the phone.
Great news for people who love to hang out in Starbucks, or who are using the local Starbucks as their “office”! Google has teamed up with Starbucks in order to bring a faster WiFi connection to all 7,000 company owned Starbucks stores that are located in the United States. Best of all, you will be able to use the newer, faster, WiFi at Starbucks for free!
According to Google, soon you will be able to visit Starbucks and surf the web at speeds that are up to 10 times faster than before. Do you live in a Google Fiber city? If so, Google is hoping to be able to make the WiFi connection at your local Starbucks to be up to 100 times faster than it used to be.
Of course, there is a bigger, more altruistic reason for offering faster, free, WiFi at Starbucks than to make things a bit easier for freelancers who use the coffee shop as an “office”. In times of trouble, such as in the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy, people went to a Starbucks so they could use the store’s WiFi and connect to their loved ones. The upgrades to the WiFi will make that easier.
Google says that they will start rolling out the new, faster, WiFi starting this month. You will be able to tell when your local Starbucks has had the WiFi upgraded when you visit the store and notice you can log into the “Google Starbucks” SSID.
The Lollapalooza music festival has been around for quite some time, originating with Perry Ferrell and Jane’s Addiction. The concert series persists, and will take place this weekend in Chicago — in fact, starting today at 2:30pm CST, taking place from Grant Park and featuring more than 20 artists.
The entire festival will be broadcast live on YouTube. The Google-owned video site announces “From Friday’s kickoff with Icona Pop (we love it), to Nine Inch Nails’ first U.S. performance since 2009, to Steve Aoki and The Cure closing out the weekend on Sunday, it’s all on YouTube”.
Best of all, those who didn’t, or couldn’t get tickets or travel to the Windy City need not worry. because sitting on the sofa will yield the same live action as the expensive tickets and trip to the city. Now the difficult part is up to you — spending your weekend being lazy! Personally, I plan to utilize my Google TV for the big screen experience.
For Android fans there is perhaps no bigger news than the rolling out of a brand new version of the Google Play store. This weekend version 4.2.3 hit the web, with a few alterations to the software coming along for the ride. Sadly, this latest iteration is built for the Nexus 4 — the LG manufactured handset which became available in late 2012.
At this point it is unclear if this latest build is set to be part of Android 4.3, which we expect to be called Key Lime Pie, or if this will simply be a new version of the store that is available across all devices — or at least perhaps Ice Cream Sandwich (4.0) and newer.
Google is holding an event this week, which is billed as breakfast with Android chief Sundar Pichai. Sadly, while GNC did receive an invitation, we will not have a writer in attendance. Hopefully, we will still learn all of the details of Android 4.3 at this event, which could be a very interesting occasion indeed, if rumors and reports of what is in store bear any fruit.
You can download the Google Play Store App version 4.2.3 APK from here. I have not tested it on either my phone or tablet, so I can not verify compatibility with anything more than the Nexus 4.