Google has always had a very special place in my browser heart, and for that reason, I thought I’d do a little update post on some new Googly things out in the wild.
GMail Inbox Preview
First of all, for those of you who use Gmail, you know it can be a real pain in, well, a pain, when it comes to loading your inbox, which for you geeky folks, is nothing but the entire AJAX like program for your mail.
There’s simply nothing as slap-on-your-face-ish as waiting for 4 minutes to load your Gmail inbox, and then only to realise that you have only 2 emails, one from a free Colon Cleaner and some other mail with a whole lot of Chinese (Ok, I’m kidding, they’re in my Spam).
Anyway, Google has blessed us with a new Gmail Labs feature called Inbox Preview.
Here’s how it works: Right after you sign in, and you start getting that Loading Gmail progress bar, during which time you usually leave the room to make some hot tea and come back, you can now see the latest 10 of your emails. You can now decide within nanoseconds (Ok, I exaggerate), whether or not you want to continue.
“I want it, how do I get it?”:
K, first of all, you need to endure that Gmail loading thing (I promise, just this once).
Go to Settings (that’s in the top right of your screen)
Go to Labs. You’d need to enable the Labs features to continue.
You’ll see a whole lot of Labs features, which will probably change the way you look at Gmail.
Anyway, scroll halfwayish till you find the Inbox Preview option (its right above the Multiple Inboxes, look for the big red M with little child M-lings on the right)
Enable, and then scroll down and save.
There you go. If you want to test, I’m going to advise you wait until the next time you need to check your mail.
Also, while we’re here, if you always use the same computer for checking your mail, you might consider Gmail Offline, which installs itself into the browser, allowing you to access your mails even when offline, and spare you the downloading time.
Google Chrome 2
For those of you who like fast things (Lamborghini, ASUS Graphics Cards, me running towards chicken), you certainly won’t be disappointed in the brand new Google Chrome 2.
Holy crap, middle mouse scrolling. Yes!
Full Fullscreen. Press F11. Go ahead, I dare you. Yup. Now thats Real Fullscreen alright.
Its still super hyper fast at loading up. Its still like opening up notepad. And that, I like. 🙂
Check out more wierd, fun, and useless things you can do with Chrome at the ChromeExperiments.com site (yes, thats the site)
Alright, this may be old news to some, but I‘ve only just heard about it, so I figure since nobody mentioned this to me, then nobody I know knows about it. Or something like that.
Anyway, Google India has launched, quite recntly, a pretty nifty (and free) service: SMS Channels. With this, you can now receive (free) SMS updates from various live feeds that have been created, or you can create yourself.
So check this out, I’m now getting (for free), a couple of sms everyday, from the latest Google News Technology updates, another set from BBC International News (yes, its true, shoot me). There’s a whole lot of other channels for other SMS jokes, etc, so be sure to check it out.
Useful? Well, its an Opt-in service. This means that while you can certainly address a large group of people for free via sms, and even automate it through smsing an RSS feed, you need to get people to sign in and subscribe first. Just an little initial setting up difficulty for some, but otherwise cool.
Alright, what is Wolfram|Alpha, and why is the title of this post so enthusiastically indicating it could murder Google, our beloved search overlord?
Wolfram|Alpha, publicly released today, is the brainchild of the Stephen Wolfram and co, the creaters of Mathematica, the world standard program for any kind of mathematical research. They’ve got 20 years of experience in crunching all kinds of numbers and data, and thus created Alpha as a web application to get neatly processed information from the huge data banks that they presumably have.
So what does this mean? Using Wolfram|Alpha, for instance, you can find out:
How many people died due to Swine Flu: 69 so far. 0 in India. Interestingly, it remembered that I was searching for Indian data, and appended that to world data. 🙂 Lovely, I hope this data isn’t going to the history books like with Google.
Where our college website is: Visakhapatnam, India
How far it is from Hamburg, Germany, to Visakhapatnam, India: 7340 KM
Hey, it can also generate CAPTCHAs:
Though I have to wonder why it has this feature…
Alright, after digging W|A for a few more minutes I began to get a feel for what it was, and more importantly, what it wasn’t:
Really good with statistical data, and interpreting it, as long as it exists in some public database somewhere (National census, etc)
Even More Awesome with mathematical searches. Try searching for Integrals or Transforms of equations. Not Only will it solve the issue at hand, but it’ll also very neatly graph the result and give you the intermediate steps. Its Mathematica roots really show well in these queries. I recommend any maths student check it out. For sure.
Good with historical data, perhaps introducing some new ways of looking at it.
NOT A “Search Engine”. They say so on their website:
It’s a computational knowledge engine: it generates output by doing computations from its own internal knowledge base, instead of searching the web and returning links.
NOT A live, updated-to-the-minute ‘computational knowledge engine’, meaning that it doesn’t have all the latest ‘data’ as other search engines. This is a good thing, perhaps, as it relies on verfied data banks for factual data.
NOT A Google Killer. Google is designed to help people find webpages, that may contain the relevant data for their queries. Wolfram|Alpha is designed to interpret existing data into knowledge for you.
All in all, its a fine software from the Wolfram stable. It still has some way to go before it becomes as truly useful to us in our daily lives. As more data is fed into the system, it shall prove to be more useful. Till then, mathematicians and researchers will love this to bits.
To wrap things up, this post has roughly 525 words. According to Alpha, it should have taken you 2 minutes to silently read this, 4 minutes to read it out loud, or 9 minutes to type it. (Hmm… damn, took me waaaay more than 9 minutes to type 🙂 )
Comments? Do check out Wolfram | Alpha and see if you can turn up any really interesting queries, and share ’em here. 🙂 [BTW, comments are on the top. Click here, if you are too lazy to scroll.]
The actors were mostly female, to fit the costumes
They were shot at 20 frames per second for the ‘animated’ look.
The average height of a Zoozoo is 6 feet 4 inches (calculated on basis of statement that the average human would reach a zoozoo’s mouth)
They are made to look small by shooting in a large set
The videos were shot in Cape Town, South Africa, in 10 days
There are some 30 videos planned for showing
Vodafone spent 4 months worth of marketing money for this 1 month
The company responsible is Nirvana Films, which also directed the pug ads, and Ogilvy & Mathers (O&M) created the ‘aliens’
[Edit: Thanks to Sam for commenting the making of video. See his comment below for link]
Popular isn’t quite the term for it. Vodafone really picked the perfect time (IPL – Indian Premier League cricket), and the perfect thing (30 ads of really cute white aliens).
They (Vodafone..I think), are also really spreading out the Networking Love. The current offcial ZooZoo Facebook Page has around 160,000 Fans. And Growing quite well. Orkut, India’s most popular social network, has some (cumulatively) 40,000 fans in various fan clubs in a handful of fan clubs. Oh, they’re on Twitter too. Savvy.
K, let me wrap up with my favorite Zoozoo ad so far, one of the first ones (and one of the best) I’ve seen: