Cybernaut 

Google gets literary

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Google has been in the news a lot lately. First, their chief financial officer predicted that the online juggernaut’s growth would be slowing in the next few months, sparking a 16 per cent drop in stock price that wiped out tens of millions in imaginary money.

Then they accidentally posted a story weeks too early, and on their own online news service no less, that announced the launch of a new service that would offer customers unlimited online storage space. Unlimited!

The latest is that Google has acquired a small company call Upstartle, which owns and operates Writely.com.

Writely is basically an online word processor that lets you save and share drafts online, and offers some powerful editing tools. How is this useful? Imagine you’re a salesperson and you’ve run out of order forms, or you’re an executive and you forget to bring your business plan to a meeting, or you’re a student and notice a mistake in an important paper minutes before you need to hand it in – all you have to do is go to Writely.com, access the file and print it out. Writely also makes it easy to work collaboratively on documents, to share files, and give others access to your projects.

It’s an unusual acquisition for Google, unless you consider where the Internet is going with Web 2.0. Web 2.0 is a concept where we do more and more work on online applications, and save our hard drives for our own personal use.

Many of the most popular software programs will one day exist online, which means we’ll probably be paying for subscriptions to use software that is constantly improved and updated, rather than shelling out for hard copies of programs that can go obsolete overnight.

Microsoft is a big believer in Web 2.0, and is preparing to put many of its popular Office software programs on the Web – like Microsoft Word.

Microsoft is also a big competitor with Google.

The battles are epic: Google vs. MSN Search, Gmail vs. Hotmail, Google Maps vs. Encarta, Google Desktop vs. MSN Desktop, and the list goes on.

It’s safe to assume that Google’s acquisition of Writely has everything to do with Microsoft’s plans for an online Word with an important advantage – Writely already exists, whereas an online Word is still in development.

One safe bet is that when companies of this size and stature compete for your attention, consumers are always going to come out the winner.

Buying a new television? Good luck

If you’re not already confused by the high definition digital television – plasma vs. LCD vs. rear projection HD, vs. 1080p vs. 1080i – Toshiba and Canon are preparing to release yet another flat screen technology. It’s called SED, which stands for Surface-conduction Electron-emitter Display. Not particularly catchy, but they had to call it something.

The benefits are, apparently, clearer and more vivid colours, thinner panels, and improved energy efficiency.

Mass production starts in early 2007, beginning with computer monitors, and the high-definition TVs are expected in the fourth quarter, in time for Christmas.

Around the world about $4.5 billion US was spent on plasma and LCD televisions in 2005, and 2006 will likely eclipse that number.

Website of the Week

www.comedycentral.com – I’ve been spending a lot of time here recently. If I miss the Daily Show or Colbert Report the techies at Comedy Central are great at posting clips online the very next day, and they usually pick all the funniest stuff. By the way, you’ll also be able to download both shows onto your video iPod though iTunes video store www.itunes.com and download application.

While you’re at Comedy Central you can also cruise around the South Park section and download video and audio clips from the show, or even make your own South Park character. In addition, there are some strange and wonderful games on Comedy Central, like David Spade’s Ugly Stick, where you get to slingshot things at celebrities.

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