Google grab-bag (and DVD rewinder)

Wow, it's time for IT Blogwatch again, in which we round up a bunch of recent Google news. Not to mention The DVD Rewinder...

John Murrell notes that Google's on a roll this week:

More Red Bull for the boffins! What kind of a sweatshop are they running over there at Google? Just this week, the elves in the trenches have made Google Gadgets available for addition to any site, launched its Literacy Project in conjunction with LitCam and UNESCO, were apparently caught teaming up with Apple on a possible hookup of Google Maps with iPhoto, added another new batch of imagery to Google Earth, and now have released Code Search, a tool for programmers to dig through publicly available source code ... and it still has a day to go. Gee, I hope they're paying those folks enough.
Juan Carlos Perez fills us in on Code Search:

Google Inc. today debuted a specialized search engine designed to find software source code publicly available on the Web. The code search engine is intended to help professional programmers, hobbyist developers and code enthusiasts with the difficult task of finding source code online ... The search results link to the full file containing the highlighted code, as well as to the software license governing the use of the code, which in most cases will be open-source.

Nik Cubrilovic adds:

It does seem that the Google index of source code is a lot broader than those found at competing sites Krugle and Koders. For instance, Google Code Search will index the content of zip and tarball files on open source sites such as openssl.org, while the other search sites seem to return a lot of results from sourceforge and a few other centralized repositories.

The first thing you notice at Google Code Search is that you can use regular expressions in the query field when searching, and there are a lot of search options to help you further refine what you are looking for. On the front page of Google Code Search there is a nice overview with some pointers on using the service.

...

All of these search engines have a long way to go before they become a shortcut way for developers to find code ... Track record would suggest that Google are the company to most likely get this right, by combining the information they have in their main search engine with the source code data for better results (for example, I can see them indexing code examples from MSDN rather easily). This looks like bad news for the startups in this space who will need to further innovate.

Om Malik also notes the competition angle:

Blog based ping services are the new black it seems. Google has just announced a new blog ping service joining an already very crowded space ... Yahoo had entered the space when they bought Blo.gs. Verisign had acquired Weblogs.com pinging service from Dave “The Blogfather” Winer. Automattic owns Ping-o-matic. Anyway the answer to why Yahoo and now Google want a piece of the ping, I channel an old post by my good friend, David Galbraith.
Barry Schwartz picked up on the improved Google Groups:

Google announced a new Google Groups Beta with a new design, added features and some shared features from other Google properties. In short, Google Groups has a new design, added Google Page like features, more customization abilities, file upload and sharing capabilities, member profile pages, Gmail-like "message cards for discussions" and more. Nathan Weinberg calls this a "step backwards" for Google Groups. As Nathan notes, Philipp Lenssen says there is too much confusion and inconsistency felt in the new design. Garett Rogers calls this upgrade an "better overall experience" for the Google Groups user. Finally, News.com reports that it is an overall positive outcome for Groups. I personally rarely use this Google product, so I have no preference.
And Melanie Colburn likes literacy:

Google launches The Literacy Project, a combination of its products framed to promote literacy and aid educators around the globe-- including Bollywood sing-along film Videos, educational Groups and academic Book Search. The project was unveiled at the world's largest book fair in Frankfurt, Germany today--in cooperation with UNESCO's Institute for Lifelong Learning and Frankfurt Book Fair literacy campaign (LitCam) ... also note, some additional editorial choices, in coordination with UNESCO and LitCam, were weaved into the fabric of this project page--it looks like--beyond the work of algorithms certainly, but also with tools requiring discretion above what a typical user might be allowed.
Buffer overflow:

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And finally... The DVD Rewinder: "I dunno know about you, but I just hate rewinding my DVDs manually after watching them"

Richi Jennings is an independent technology and marketing consultant, specializing in email, blogging, Linux, and computer security. A 20 year, cross-functional IT veteran, he is also an analyst at Ferris Research. Contact Richi at blogwatch@richi.co.uk.

Copyright © 2006 IDG Communications, Inc.

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