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Archive for June 23rd, 2009

All For Good: Google Takes Volunteerism To The Next Level

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all for goodAll For Good is the latest initiative by Google to bring volunteerism to the next level. Many organizations offer community service, but the problem is that it takes much time and effort to find all these organizations across many sources. All For Good helps to ease this problem by providing a search platform for users to help you find these volunteer activities within their community as well as share these events with their friends. We liked this initiative as it is a great open and free platform for people to find volunteer activities and for organizations to reach out to them. The ability to connect with social networking as well as search also makes All For Good a good model on how Web 2.0 can improve charity. What is your take on All For Good: be sure to comment and tell us.

all for good pic

Written by straw000

June 23, 2009 at 2:27 am

Google Taking A Leap Forward By Identifying Landmarks

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googleTechnology is advancing faster than you can think — the web, social networking, blogging has helped people to find information, communicate and interact with each other faster and better than ever. Now Google is taking a leap forward in the age of search through a new technology that allows landmark recognition. Google describes it as follows:

How did we do it? It wasn’t easy. For starters, where do you find a good list of thousands of landmarks? Even if you have that list, where do you get the pictures to develop visual representations of the locations? And how do you pull that source material together in a coherent model that actually works, is fast, and can process an enormous corpus of data? Think about all the different photographs of the Golden Gate Bridge you’ve seen — the different perspectives, lighting conditions and image qualities. Recognizing a landmark can be difficult for a human, let alone a computer.

Our research builds on the vast number of images on the web, the ability to search those images, and advances in object recognition and clustering techniques. First, we generated a list of landmarks relying on two sources: 40 million GPS-tagged photos (from Picasa and Panoramio) and online tour guide webpages. Next, we found candidate images for each landmark using these sources and Google Image Search, which we then “pruned” using efficient image matching and unsupervised clustering techniques. Finally, we developed a highly efficient indexing system for fast image recognition. The following image provides a visual representation of the resulting clustered recognition model:

google recognition

As you can see, it’s a research paper and not a new product yet (don’t be disappointed), however it might become a reality in time to come. This technology currently enables computers to quickly and efficiently identify images of more than 50,000 landmarks from all over the world with 80% accuracy. If Google can jack it up to 90-95%, then it will be the next big thing since text search. Maybe next on the list: video recognition?

Written by straw000

June 23, 2009 at 2:05 am

New Facebook Update: Alternate Names

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facebookMaybe you have 2 names — both a English name and a name in another language, but Facebook previously only allowed you to use one of your names. However, Facebook is changing all that. Last week, Facebook added the ability for users to display such alternate names on Facebook. Now they are taking it a step ahead — now you can further choose to also display your alternate name so it is visible on your profile, in search results, in friend requests and on other places on the site. It also will appear in parenthesis alongside your primary name.

Also, “In addition to names in different languages, you may want to include an alternate name if you have a maiden name, a different married name or are otherwise known by more than one name. To enter an alternate name, go to your “Account Settings” page here. Check the box for displaying your alternate name if you also want it to be shown on the site.” This is a great feature as you can now connect with you buddies through a better identity in many languages — this is also a big step that Facebook is taking towards internationalization.

Written by straw000

June 23, 2009 at 1:44 am

Tumblr Testing New Feature: Sharing Posts You’ve Liked

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tumblrTumblr is a great micro-blogging service and it has a lot in common with Twitter like reblogging and liking other posts, but it’s always great to let people know what stuffs you have liked recently, so Tumblr is now testing a new feature: Share posts you’ve liked. By enabling it in your Tumblr preferences, you can let your friends know what posts you have liked recently. This is  a very nifty features which only friends can have access to — permission to access the content will be denied to anyone who are not your friends. Try it out and tell us what you think.

Written by straw000

June 23, 2009 at 1:22 am

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