Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Google introduces Google+, enters social networking battle

Google launched its social networking service called Google+ which is available at but is currently available to limited users. Google has promised to make this product available to everyone soon.

"Online sharing is awkward. Even broken. And we aim to fix it," Google's senior vice president for engineering Vic Gundotra said in a blog post. Gundotra further explained, "We'd like to bring the nuance and richness of real-life sharing to software," he said. "We want to make Google better by including you, your relationships and your interests".

"Not all relationships are created equal," Gundotra said. "The problem is that today's online services turn friendship into fast food -- wrapping everyone in 'friend' paper -- and sharing really suffers," he continued. 

Features available in Google+ includes Hangouts, Circles, Sparks and Huddle. ‘Hangout’ is a tool for video chatting among friends while ‘Spark’ is a sharing engine to share content from the web. 

‘Circles’ is another key tool and considered as Google’s enhanced form of Facebook’s ‘Friends’. it gives users to separate online friends and family into different "circles," or networks, and to share information only with members of a particular circle. Google+ describes the feature on the member’s homepage as “The easiest way to share some things with college buddies, others with your parents and almost nothing with your boss.”  

Google+ is considered as a rival of social networking giant ‘Facebook’ which nearly has 700 million users worldwide.

Friday, June 24, 2011

Port Grand - Karachi

Port Grand is a food, shopping and entertainment complex which has been built with over Rs. 1 billion investment by Grand Leisure Corporation. Port Grand project is a 13-acre world-class facility that has been designed and built in collaboration with top international architects / designers who employed the latest technology and building techniques to deliver a state of the art facility. About 40 outlets are being made operational at this stage while more outlets would be opened soon. 

The place is not just linked with food, it has several entertainment concepts that includes free WiFi, shopping, bookstore, florist, Art Lane, gifts and antiques etc.

Friday, June 10, 2011

Facebook Changes Privacy Settings to Enable Facial Recognition

Facebook will soon be able to recognize familiar faces. Facebook will automatically enable this feature for Facebook users but it can be disabled in the privacy settings on the Web site. Facebook initially introduced this feature for its North American users, but now it is rolling out to most countries.

This feature uses facial recognition technology and will suggest labeling friends that appear in photos posted on Facebook. Facebook doesn’t give users the option to avoid being tagged in a photo, people who don’t want to be tagged may untag themselves afterwards. Manual tagging system will still be available.

The company's rollout strategy has raised concerns over users’ privacy. Many Facebook users are reporting that the site has enabled the facial recognition option without giving users any notice. In response to an inquiry, Facebook replied, “We should have been more clear with people during the roll-out process when this became available to them. We launched Tag Suggestions to help people add tags of their friends in photos; something that’s currently done more than 100 million times a day. Tag Suggestions are only made to people when they add new photos to the site, and only friends are suggested. If for any reason someone doesn’t want their name to be suggested, they can disable the feature in their Privacy Settings.”

Other photo software and online services such as Google Inc's Picasa and Apple Inc's iPhoto use facial recognition technology but they have not enabled this feature on the online versions.

Facebook is the largest photo sharing service scanning millions of pictures daily. More than 100 million photos per day are uploaded to Facebook.


HTML5 is the latest version and the fifth revision of the HTML standard. It is solution for the issues found in the previous versions of HTML and an attempt to fulfill the needs of modern web applications. It also has support for the latest multimedia features. HTML5 is still under development. The objective is to design a single markup language that can be written in either HTML or XHTML.

HTML5 has introduced many semantic elements for a more meaningful use, such as <header>, <footer>, <video>, <audio>, <article> etc. It has also introduced several new attributes to various existing elements. Some element and attributes have been dropped. However, HTML5 is designed with backward compatibility.

HTML5 introduces a number of APIs that help in creating web applications. Such as:
  • Offline web applications
  • API for playing audio and video
  • MIME type registration
  • Document editing
  • Drag and Drop API
  • Browser history API
An HTML5 enabled browser will be flexible in handling incorrect syntax. HTML5 is designed so that old browsers can safely ignore new HTML5 constructs with the intent that different compliant browsers will produce the same result in the case of incorrect syntax.

Introducing Hadoop

Today every action we perform is recorded as data with one or more locations as several web applications are integrated with each other and can share data easily. So one action can perform multiple records. We are dealing with petabytes these days. Available technologies are becoming incompatible to process large scale data.

Google was the first to introduce MapReduce, a framework to process large scale data. Doug Cutting developed an open source version of this MapReduce system called Hadoop. Today many web giants like Yahoo and Facebook are using Hadoop for large scale data processing. Large scale distributed data processing has become an essential skill for every programmer. Key universities have included Hadoop in their curriculum.

Hadoop is an open source framework for developing and running distributed applications and data. It is accessible, robust, scalable and simple. Hadoop runs on large clusters of computers including cloud computing services. It is intended to run on commodity hardware, Hadoop is architected with the assumption of frequent hardware malfunctions. It is scalable to handle large data by adding more nodes to the cluster. Hadoop allows developers to quickly write smart parallel code.

Hadoop has a separate file system known as “Hadoop Distributed File System (HDFS)”, which breaks data into smaller parts (64 MB by default) and distributes among several machines in the cluster.
Hadoop uses key/value pairs as its basic data unit. In Hadoop, data can originate in any form, but it eventually transforms into (key/value) pairs for the processing functions to work on. The Hadoop MapReduce platform is very flexible and works generally with scripts and codes as compared to the typical structured relational data.

The MapReduce model works with two methods named ‘map’ and ‘reduce’. The ‘map’ method processes the input data and the reducer processes all the outputs from the mapper. The ‘map’ method runs parallel and isolated which is the secret for good performance.

Once an application is written by using the MapReduce framework, it can scale to run on tens of thousands of machines in a cluster. This has attracted developers around the world towards Hadoop.

Cloud Computing and Pakistan

Cloud computing is the Buzz word these days. Why do business entities need to have their own data centers. It needs huge space, uninterrupted power supply, a big team of server administrators, network professionals and security experts. The objective is just to deal with day to day business operations. Its like generating your own electric power to run the business.
By moving to the cloud, companies just need to focus on business applications and their outcomes without having to be worried about the infrastructure and other hassles. Besides infrastructure, companies providing cloud solutions are also helping to build a business application. Google App and Microsoft Windows Azure are the examples.
Some companies providing cloud computing Solutions are:
  • Microsoft
  • Google
  • IBM
  • Amazon
Some key features of cloud computing are:
  • Flexible
  • Little or no startup fee
  • Usage based cost of services
Cloud computing is a hope for companies in Pakistan where they can setup a business and put their applications almost for free on the cloud without installing a huge IT infrastructure which at times cost more than the actual capital of the business. Secondly, it can save you from the power issues which is a major problem in Pakistan and requires its own arrangement and backup.

Google changes search algorithm to bring good quality on the top

Google made changes in search results by keeping the low quality websites down and the good quality on the top.

Amit Singhal, Google Fellow, and Matt Cutts, Principal Engineer said :

Our goal is simple: to give people the most relevant answers to their queries as quickly as possible. This requires constant tuning of our algorithms, as new content—both good and bad—comes online all the time.

Many of the changes we make are so subtle that very few people notice them. But in the last day or so we launched a pretty big algorithmic improvement to our ranking—a change that noticeably impacts 11.8% of our queries—and we wanted to let people know what’s going on. This update is designed to reduce rankings for low-quality sites—sites which are low-value add for users, copy content from other websites or sites that are just not very useful. At the same time, it will provide better rankings for high-quality sites—sites with original content and information such as research, in-depth reports, thoughtful analysis and so on.

We can’t make a major improvement without affecting rankings for many sites. It has to be that some sites will go up and some will go down. Google depends on the high-quality content created by wonderful websites around the world, and we do have a responsibility to encourage a healthy web ecosystem. Therefore, it is important for high-quality sites to be rewarded, and that’s exactly what this change does.

It’s worth noting that this update does not rely on the feedback we’ve received from the Personal Blocklist Chrome extension, which we launched last week. However, we did compare the Blocklist data we gathered with the sites identified by our algorithm, and we were very pleased that the preferences our users expressed by using the extension are well represented. If you take the top several dozen or so most-blocked domains from the Chrome extension, then this algorithmic change addresses 84% of them, which is strong independent confirmation of the user benefits.

So, we’re very excited about this new ranking improvement because we believe it’s a big step in the right direction of helping people find ever higher quality in our results. We’ve been tackling these issues for more than a year, and working on this specific change for the past few months. And we’re working on many more updates that we believe will substantially improve the quality of the pages in our results.

To start with, we’re launching this change in the U.S. only; we plan to roll it out elsewhere over time. We’ll keep you posted as we roll this and other changes out, and as always please keep giving us feedback about the quality of our results because it really helps us to improve Google Search.