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Posts Tagged ‘google’

A close look at Google Privacy Policy!

Posted by sureshkrishna on February 13, 2010

For many Google seems to be a very cool Internet company and Google has become synonymous to Internet. For the people who are not in technology/computer industry, it seems to be too hard to believe that Google is more than just an e-mail service and Search Engine.

I compiled few important legal privacy notices from Google Website and you can imagine how your data, emails, chats, mobile apps and Buzz can be used.
Google may know you more than your parents, wife and kids

Google Buzz

Website : http://www.google.com/buzz/help/privacy.html

When you first enter Google Buzz, to make the startup experience easier, we may automatically select people for you to follow based on the people you email and chat with most. Similarly, we may also suggest to others that they automatically follow you. You can review and edit the list of people you follow and block people from following you.

When you use Google Buzz, we may record information about your use of the product, such as the posts you like or comment on and the other users with whom you communicate, in order to provide you with a better experience on Buzz and other Google services and to improve the quality of Google services.

If you use Google Buzz on a mobile device and choose to view “nearby” posts, your location will be collected by Google. If you use a mobile device to create a post which shares your location, then your location will be collected by Google and displayed to other users, as described when you first attempt to use Buzz on a mobile device. You may thereafter opt out of the collection and display of your location on a per-post basis. You can also choose to exclude your location from all of your posts.

If you chose to delete your Google profile, your Buzz posts will be deleted, but the comments and “likes” you have made on other people’s posts will not be deleted. You have the option to remove your comments on others’ posts individually if you’d like. Residual copies of deleted material may take up to 60 days to be deleted from our active servers and may remain in our offline backup systems.

Google Chat

Website : http://www.google.com/talk/privacy.html

Account activity. You need a Google Account to access Google Talk. Google asks for some personal information when you create a Google Account, including your email address and a password, which is used to protect your account from unauthorized access. A Google Account allows you to access many of our services that require registration. When you use Google Talk, we may record information about your usage, such as when you use Google Talk, the size of your contact list and the contacts you communicate with, and the frequency and size of data transfers. Information displayed or clicked on in the Google Talk interface (including UI elements, settings, and other information) is also recorded.

We use this information internally to deliver the best possible service to you, such as improving the Google Talk user interface and maintaining a consistent and reliable user experience.

You can uninstall the Google Talk software at any time through your computer operating system’s uninstall process. You may delete your contacts information or chat histories you have stored in your Gmail account by deleting them through Gmail or by deleting your Gmail account from the Google Accounts page. Because of the way we maintain this service, such deletion may not be immediate, and residual copies may remain on backup media.

Google Mail

Website : http://mail.google.com/mail/help/privacy.html

Gmail stores, processes and maintains your messages, contact lists and other data related to your account in order to provide the service to you.

When you use Gmail, Google’s servers automatically record certain information about your use of Gmail. Similar to other web services, Google records information such as account activity (including storage usage, number of log-ins), data displayed or clicked on (including UI elements, ads, links); and other log information (including browser type, IP-address, date and time of access, cookie ID, and referrer URL).

Google maintains and processes your Gmail account and its contents to provide the Gmail service to you and to improve our services. The Gmail service includes relevant advertising and related links based on the IP address, content of messages and other information related to your use of Gmail.

Google’s computers process the information in your messages for various purposes, including formatting and displaying the information to you, delivering advertisements and related links, preventing unsolicited bulk email (spam), backing up your messages, and other purposes relating to offering you Gmail.

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Posted in Technology | Tagged: , , , , | 1 Comment »

Google Chrome OS : The Next Wave

Posted by sureshkrishna on July 8, 2009

I was happy to see the news that Google announced the Chrome based OS. Soon after a week of my recent blog on Google and the way it transformed every ones life, i was pretty excited to see this announcement. I am particularly happy that Google is entering into the Operating System market and i believe that they will do justification to what they claim.

For many the announcement has been generating mixed feelings. Many technology enthusiasts (and pro-googlers) feel that this is a great step ahead and some are skeptic about the success of this project.

Simplicity : Google has been leading in the simple, usable and intuitive UI. I hope it continues to do so with the Chrome OS. When i see a simple Google Search and Microsoft’s Bing, that the major difference i see (that Bing has a distraction and Google not).

Open Source : Apache and Eclipse have redefined the view of an open-source software. The common concept of “Collaborate on Platform and Compete on Products” is a great idea. Google Chrome’s source code becoming open source, will open up all the channels to improve, contribute and extend the OS.

Competition to Microsoft ? : I don’t think so.  Google has been redefining the way people think of Internet and World Wide Web. Microsoft is the PC Operating System and Corporate IT infrastructure giant. There are lot of articles and blogs about the Google and Microsoft comparison on the Chrome OS and that’s all absurd for me. Comparing Chrome OS and Windows is like comparing apples and apricots. Does it makes sense. ??? Google is the company (in my opinion) trying to make web as a platform and building all it’s applications on web. So, i would see the Chrome OS only as an alternative for the heavy weight Internet users.

Would it be the next Linux ? : (No offense to Linux lovers please) During 1998-2000 time frame i was very excited to know about Linux as an alternative to the existing operating systems. When one compares the time to install a Windows box and Linux box with the same capabilities for a home user, Linux lacked the ease of installation and application support. As a technologist, i took hours to install the Linux and at the end i would abandon it as i don’t find the applications that i want or incompatible drivers. I still remember that installing the CD drivers is a big deal and took hours to find a compatible one. I guess, the story changed a little after the arrival of Redhat, Fedora and Ubuntu distributions. It is still a nightmare for the advanced home users to install and configure a Linux distribution. I really really hope that Chrome OS designers would take care of this issue.

More space on Internet : If Google wants to make the web as the platform, then it may need to increase the email, docs and picture sharing space on the web. Why? It is for the natural reason that if you want to use the web for everything, i don’t want to be restricted by the space in my account. Compared to the 120 to 250 GB of hard disk now-a-days, we are only talking about few gigs of memory on line.

Security and Personalization : As such Google is having problem to fight against the privacy laws regarding the google mail and advertisements. Would it become more controversial with the Chrome OS. If web is the platform and i would use Chrome OS, would my documents be secure ? Would Chrome install/suggest applications/plugins depending on the email, documents or photo content. These are some of the questions that Google for sure has to think about.

ChromeWave : Yes, i think and imagine that the architecture of Chrome OS has the Wave built in. That would be such an awesome thing for the home users and corporates. I could talk, video conference, share documents and pictures with my parents and friends in India seamlessly from the Chrome OS with the Wave capabilities. Corporates can make sure of  the ChromeWave to video conferencing, decision making, pair-programming (?), real time collaboration and others. (Note: ChromeWave is my own creation to combine the Chrome and Wave’s capabilities)

So… It is too early to conclude anything about the success or failure of the Chrome OS. Perhaps once the source code is released and the Architecture is known,  only can one have valid comments. One thing for sure is that Google is gearing up to take on other areas of the computer and Internet industry. Its the time for everyone to be alert and more innovative in terms of the technology, usability and the perceived benefit they give to the corporate and home user.

Some Interesting Reading…

Posted in Technology | Tagged: , , , , | 6 Comments »

Google : A company that transformed everyday life.

Posted by sureshkrishna on June 29, 2009

I would not have written this blog in the year 2000 and by now i am highly opiniated towards Google, of course in a good way. During my graduation years (1996-2000), i highly used Rediff and Yahoo search for my college projects, and ACM seminars. In the year 1996/1998, Google was known but to very few people. At the present day Google is not just a Internet search company but a World Wide phenomenon which changed the way everyone things. Google virtually got implanted in today’s life of everyone. I was quite amazed with the following news from Yahoo CEO in the annual share holder meeting.

When asked why Yahoo continues to lag Google in financial performance and employee productivity, Bartz said it was time to stop comparing the companies to each other because they have different business models. “Please, this direct comparison model to Google is not fair and is frankly not relevant,” she said.
While Google is purely a search-advertising company, search is only part of Yahoo’s business, she explained.

Source : http://www.mercurynews.com/ci_12688924

While i have all the due respect for the Internet Portal company “Yahoo“, i think Google is not simply “SearchAdvertising Company”. Google is the company that revolutionized how people viewed e-mail, blogs, advertising, analysing the web sites and viewing the world with google maps. Of course i am sure others may have other favorite applications. But i personally feel these are the applications that every one uses daily. Everyone means really everyone… my parents use google for everything. Anything my parents want to learn, they just google it. I had difficulty in explaing when i said to my father that i would like to do Computer Science in my under graduation. I still have difficulty to explain the differences between C, C++, Java, Oracle, Windows, etc… but they just used almost all google technologies without any help. This is the amazing part for me.

Technology is one thing that i am extremely fond of with Google. But more than technology the amount of research that would have gone into designing intuitive applications is AWESOME! There is so much of Computer Interaction Design necessary for a company like Google. I don’t recall any technology or product from Google, which i had problem in understanding. All of them are so intelligent and intuitive that everyone feels ease to use the Google products.

Everyday many of us use Google in many ways. Some just use the Search, some use the e-mail, some use the Google’s Android technology to build application, some use GWT to build web applications and so on. The list probably is never ending and a matrix can be established to depict different technologies and users.

I am in no way different from any of the technology savvy guys out there. However, the affinity towards Google and Apple has been tremendous and I just can’t think a day without the help of the applications and gadgets from these companies.

Google and Apple in my Life : I wake up with a morning alarm in my iPhone and  look for any important mails. For me iPhone is the “world’s smallest computer” and does great things. While looking into my closet for the day, i look into the iPhone weather to get the right outfit. Because even though i live 40 miles from San Francisco, the weather dramatically changes there from Fremont. If i get little time before i am off to office, i would invariably open my google mails and connect with my friends, family and my old and new colleagues.  Of course, i don’t have the habit of the reader news paper but i open my google reader and start reading my technology and general news across the world. Google reader helps you to aggregate lot of great sites in the form of RSS feeds. The good thing is that i can share the news that i like with my friends and colleagues.

Mpst of my planning about my monthly expenses and small documents for my personal use happens with the Google Docs. This is a wonderful application  and i love it. The way Google built the Docs application with almost all the features of the Office and Open Office is amazing. The cool thing is the ability to collaborate with multiple people for editing a documents such as Word, Spread Sheet and recently i can save my PDFs and open them from Google itself. This is extremely useful feature for me. A year back, when i was working on a personal project, i collected requirements in Google Word and then shared it and gave the editing rights to my partner and view rights to developers. This was so cool… me and my partner could also do the real-time editing on documents by talking to each other with the google talk. I maintain my personal finances in Google Spread Sheet and my wife has the viewing rights on it (for this time :)).

Sitting in San Francisco, i could nicely see the image of my home in Hyderabad, India. I could see the arial view of the places that i wish and Google Earth made this possible. The great thing is you can search and tag all the places that you roured and share the content like photos. You could also get the historical content from Google Earth.

In the earlier days before iPhone, i had a real dumb mobile; no other features except call and receive. As long as i am hooked onto the Internet i got all the information that i am looking for in an area. Me and my wife are fond of the Italian and Chinese food. So where ever we went, we made sure that there are some good restaurants around. When we went to places like, Napa Valley, Monterey, Carmel-By-The-Sea, Los Angeles, San Deigo, San Francisco, Morrow Bay and many more places, we had to take a printout of the restaurants around or used to catch a local guy there and ask him for good restaurants. But with the invention of the GOOG-411, things have changed. It is so easy to find a local business and get connected in seconds. Just dial 1-800-GOOG-411 from any darn phone that you have and say waht you want, listen to the options and then get connected. Its that simple. After this peice of cake, i never had to bother about printing the restaurants, or addresses of any local businesses.

Google Mail is one of the cool things i like about Google. As i remember Google was the first email provider that gave 1GB of space free for your mails. Till that time people used to struggle with low space and used to create multiple accounts on the same provider to safeguard the data. At the time of writing this article when i looked my gmail account it shows “You are currently using 955 MB (13%) of your 7342 MB“. Of course over the time the cost of hardware has dramatically reduced. However, the credit of providing the premium service goes to Google in the early days. The idea of a “conversation” is so cool and intuitive than the emails sorted by the date or size.

Youtube revolutionized the way people viewed the video content and sharing. A simple concept of being able to upload your videos on to Internet and billions of people can view the quality content is amazing. The ability to share to public or to specific users is the cool thing that everyone liked. There are videos that we wanted to share with world, and some only with family an friends. Youtube is the only reliable solution as i see till now.When my father got cardiac arrest early this year, it was the Youtube that i could get so much of information about a heart surgery. My in-laws who are doctors get so much of information on the Youtube about the surgeries and medical interviews, etc…Of course this product is not the brain child of Google as i know. Google acquired Youtube.

Orkut probably redefined the way friends used to communicate and the way people got connected. Even though i don’t use it now, i was a great fan of it during the year 2003/2004. The purpose of the Orkut by the founders probably is little different. However, it re-united all our school and college friends in a matter of 6 months. Though initially privacy issues was a serious matter, looks like they worked on it now. Orkut was also acquired by Google.

Where ever i go, i make it a point that i get some memories along with me in the form of photos. I take great pictures of the nature, historical buildings and people (i am not a big fan of pets or animals). It used to be a pain to upload on to the Yahoo Photos and then came the Flickr. However, Picasa was so easy and loaded with features, that Picasa actually overpowered the Flickr. I dont use Flickr anymore and all my iPhone and digital photo pictures goes straight into Picasa Desktop to Picasa Web. The recent features of being able to make a movie, colleage, and edit pictures are really really great. Of course we may have Adobe PhotoShop for couple of hundreds of dollars, but Google gives it for free.

With so many applications that i use from Google and iPhone, i just can’t imagine my life without these gadgets. If i plan for a vacation, this starts from using the Google Search to research the places and use Google Docs to store the information then use the Google Maps to look fot the driving directions to that place (could also select multi-route), look for the beautiful pictures uploaded on to  Google Maps then send a Google Calender invitation to my family members about the vacation planning and information.

All the above features from Google are only from a Technology USER perspective. One should remember that i never wore the hat of a technologist. Till now i am only a home user of Google.Though all these applications till now are great and does a great job, i do have some complaints.

Google Talk is one application that i liked initially but not anymore. Google Talk used to be a dll installed and i could see it in the process explorer all the time. I dont like Dlls. However, i am happy user of Skype. Skype i great for messaging, video conferencing and such.

Google Chrome is a sweet thing but i had several problems with major banking and financial web sites. I could not use it after a week and reverted to my good old friend FireFox.

Google Toobar and Google Desktop Search are 2 applications that i would definitely avoid. The Google Update Manger that gets installed and runs in the processes all the time is a bug pain. I just done want Google to update it. I know when to update and I will update.

I am sure many technology an software developers are earning their life on the technology inventions like Google Android, Google Web Toolkit, Custom Search for Google and other things.

Of course, the great thing is that almost all the things that i mentioned above are possible with iPhone :). So, as of now Google, iPhone, Twitter and Facebook seems to be inseparable.

Do you also think that modern technologies are helpful for us ? Do you think we are dependant on these technologies and we are slaves to these technologies ?

Posted in Technology, WebTools | Tagged: , | 7 Comments »

Applications have mysterious processes !!!

Posted by sureshkrishna on December 13, 2008

Even after these many years of software development, there are some applications that still bother user with a lot of processes and memory consumption. I am not surprised if such applications are from the novice software vendors, but the matured technology companies like Google and Real Networks do develop some applications that annoy me.

googleupdate

realnetworks

As soon as i boot my windows machine, these process would start and sometimes i wonder how does my machine hit on the performance. Now, i go and kill both of the Google Updater, Real Networks processes in the process explorer.

kill_both

Recently Google has the Video plugin and it still sucks (:-(). There are so many times that i kill this process and i get the same process spawned multiple times. I cant kill this process for some reason and it always spawns a new process, each time i kill (Google might think it is a smart thing to do) . I was under the impression that Google does some magic by not using any dlls or exes but i was wrong. They do use the gooletalkplugin.exe directly attached to the browser.

googletalk

I am sure that a simple home user would not mind (to some extent) having all these *^$*^$ processes around, but as a programmer i do not feel this is a good practice and as a consumer, i feel cheated. e.g. Google could have just asked users to install the Google Talk and use it for the Video chat, instead of giving an impression that it runs right from the browser.

This is a good example for me how NOT to build products and how NOT to ignore what goes inside the processes and memory. I am sure many of the readers would have seen similar situations and sometimes even would have felt frustrated. Do you think such sort of things from software vendors is fair ? What are your experiences ?

Posted in Plug-ins, Process | Tagged: , , , | 3 Comments »