FYI: I started writing this before the Google announcement today and am writing it as I watch it live and as a product GBuzz looks great.
Google doesn’t want to build, nor is it trying to build a “twitter killer”. What Google wants is your information in order to better target advertising.
Every time you send an email, update your status, chat on Goggle Talk, share an item on Google Reader, post a video to YouTube or a picture to Picasa, Google gets a little bit more information about you that it can use to better tune the advertising you see in the hope that you will click on one of those ads.
Information like your status updates disappear as soon as they are used but by offering timelines where you can see the status updates of your friends Google can keep you on in their service a little longer and in front of their advertising a little longer.
By associating Facebook and Twitter id’s with your Gmail contacts Google learns a little more about both you and your contacts. They have already announced that you will be able to import RSS streams from other services, connect with twitter, and there was a hint of facebook connect. It was driven home that the platform will be made as open as possible and noted that if you tweet and it gets imported into GBuzz then it could end up on somebody elses recommended list.
GBuzz is shaping up to be a wonderful looking social experience, but it boils down to being a content gathering service. It will allow you to pump information into Google from all your other services, consume information there and ultimately spend more time in from of Google advertisements while providing it with the information necessary to fine tune those advertisements to you and your friends.
At the end of the day it all boils do to gathering more information about you in order to target advertising. They don’t need to build a Twitter killer. Twitter and Facebook already do a great job creating the information that Google wants.
What they have built however, is a marvelous looking social experience for those people who already use Gmail and Googles mobile services and given them the means to pour information about themselves and others into Googles servers.
The page itself features a fairly cool short video depicting the differences between bland ordinary browsers and Chrome, but the real fun doesn’t start until near the end of the video where it seemingly expands beyond the confines of the video player and takes over the entire page.
Once the video is ended it continues to scroll through images of the themes changing the background of the page accordingly.
While this is a great way to demonstrate the range of skins available for Chrome, I also wonder if Google aren’t letting us see a possible future feature of user channels, where you can have the background of the page change according to triggers in the video.
Much like setting annotations now, a user could set triggers to alter the background or some other element of the screen as you watched the video on their channel page?
There’s nothing like a quick Google search for bringing information from all over the web to your eyeballs in an instant. However as great as Google is, it doesn’t always give you the complete picture.
Help is at hand and with this collections of greasemonkey scripts and Firefox plugins, I’ll show you how to have the latest Twitter, Wikipedia, Flickr and YouTube results displayed every time you do a Google search.
CustomizeGoogle is one seriously cool extension that allows you to add a lot of extra information (like links to Yahoo, Ask.com, MSN etc) to the search results as well as allowing to to remove unwanted stuff like ads.
There are literally hundreds of options and tweaks for most of Google’s services available in this extension, but to be honest, unless you want to go turning off the ads on the sites then the extension is pretty much configured perfectly out of the box.
Next up you’ll want to download and install the Greasemonkey extension.
For those of you unfamiliar with Greasemonkey, the extension allows you to run small scripts (bits of code) automatically when you visit certain websites and can be used to do everything from tweaking the appearance of a site to adding new functionality.
Once you have Greasemonkey installed (and your browser restarted) you’ll be able to choose from literally 1000’s of available scripts over on UserScripts.org but today we’re only going to be looking at 2 of them.
This über imaginatively named script does exactly what it says on the tin. Every time you do a search using Google the results will come up as usual but now you’ll also be treated to an extra sidebar on the right hand side displaying the associate Wikipedia entry, Flickr image and YouTube video results for that query as well as a Dictionary.com definition (if you happen to have used a single definable word).
To install the script simply click the big black “install” button on the top right of your screen and click install on the resulting Firefox popup. To test the script in action just head off and do a Google search..
This little baby displays the 5 most recent Twitter search results for the query just above the Google search results, allowing you to have both real-time Twitter and indexed Google results on the same page. Awesome.
Again, install the script and head off and do a Google Search but before you hit that search button be prepared for the instant information overload you’re about to subject yourself to!!
(Massive thanks have to go to Sara for introducing me to the two Greasemonkey scripts mentioned in this post! Thanks darling!)
I’m blatantly stealing Blizzards byline for the StarCraft II CGI announcement video but “Hell it’s about time”.
I seriously doubt that there is anybody reading this who doesn’t have at least a passing knowledge of StarCraft so I’m going to save you the back story and just give you a quick run down:
StarCraft II continues the epic saga of the Protoss, Terran, and Zerg. These three distinct and powerful races will clash once again in the fast-paced real-time strategy sequel to the legendary original, StarCraft. Legions of veteran, upgraded, and brand-new unit types will do battle across the galaxy, as each faction struggles for survival.
Featuring a unique single-player campaign that picks up where StarCraft: Brood War left off, StarCraft II will present a cast of new heroes and familiar faces in an edgy sci-fi story filled with adventure and intrigue.
Features of StarCraft 2 include:
Fast-paced, hard-hitting, tightly balanced competitive real-time strategy gameplay that recaptures and improves on the magic of the original game
Three completely distinct races: Protoss, Terran, and Zerg
New units and gameplay mechanics further distinguish each race
Paul O'Flaherty earns his living as an IT & Marketing Consultant, and entertains the unwashed masses as the Co-Founder and code monkey at Scrw Media. Irish and sarcastic, he doesn't like to sugar-coat the truth, and is happiest when fully caffeinated and expounding about all things tech & new media.