“Giant waves coming, rush 1,000 meters away from the beach.” These 10 words, if sent to mobile phones in the Bahasa, Malay, Sinhala, Tamil, and Telugu languages, might have saved thousands of people from the Indian Ocean tsunami of 2004. But even if South Asia [...] authorities would have had little chance of distributing such a message, given the variety of languages and writing systems used in the region. Now, Geneva Software Technologies in Bangalore, India, has developed software that will translate English text messages into multiple languages and send a translation to any cellular phone or mobile device in the world.
Source: Ganapati Mudur, Technology Review, August 7, 2006
The suspicion that search engines exacerbate online inequalities, by directing more traffic to websites that are already popular, appears to be misplaced. Rather than simply boosting traffic to big sites, the research suggests search engines help smaller, less popular sites get noticed.
Source: Kurt Kleiner, New Scientist, August 7, 2006
Google has won a bidding war to provide search services and advertising to MySpace.com, the social networking phenomenon, and other Web sites owned by the News Corporation. The deal promises to pay the News Corporation a minimum of $900 million over three and half years.
Source: Saul Hansell, The New York Times, August 8, 2006 (Free registration, permanent link)
Residents of Barcelona, Turin and the Camden district in London will soon be talking to a computer when they call their local council for information or carry out a phone transaction. But instead of receiving scripted responses they will be conversing with a state-of-the-art platform that enables natural dialogue.
Source: IST Results, August 8, 2006
As of Tuesday afternoon, Adnan Hajj was the most-searched term on the Technorati Web site, which tracks what is being discussed in the blogosphere. And a rendering of his work was one of the most viewed videos on YouTube. Hajj, a Lebanese photographer based in the Middle East, may not be familiar to many newspaper readers. But thanks to the swift justice of the Internet, he has been charged, tried and convicted of improperly altering photographs he took for Reuters.
Source: Katharine Q. Seelye, The New York Timas, via CNET News.com, August 8, 2006
In the Darwinian evolution of electronic companions, first came the speaking doll, then the Tamagotchi virtual pet, then Sony’s short-lived AIBO dog. Now, it could be the dawn of the Wi-Fi rabbit era.
The plastic bunny[, named Nabaztag,] with ears like TV antennae can read out e-mails and mobile phone text messages, tell children to go to bed, alert one to a stock collapse and give traffic updates by receiving Internet feeds via a wireless Wi-Fi network.
Source: Astrid Wendlandt, Reuters, August 10, 2006
The “Blogmobile” plying the streets of New York City this week enables the public to carry on Internet conversations with celebrities while at the same time the traveling Wi-Fi hotspot is proving the concept that terrestrial IP links can deliver Web access to moving vehicles.
Source: W. Gardner, Techweb, August 10, 2006
Cyworld, a site based in South Korea, kicked off a beta in the U.S. on July 27 and later this month will formally begin a nationwide tour to encourage Americans, particularly those in the age 18 to 29 demographic, to create personalized Web pages, or “mini-homes,” on the site.
By contrast [to MySpace.com,] Cyworld attempts to facilitate communications between people who know one another: new parents who want a site where relatives can go to see the latest pictures of their baby; friends at different colleges who want to stay in touch. Overall, the demographic on the service skews slightly older.
Source: Michael Kanellos, CNET News.com, August 11, 2006