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Tag: Google (page 2 of 4)

Google Integrates eBook Sharing in Their Social Networking Site

Google announced that they made a new feature for users to share the books they are reading on the new Google+ social network. Any book on Google books, whether it is a free or paid book, can be shared with your Circles. This feature allows one to share books, passages and details, such as cover art and the description, with friends. To share a book, visit the “About the Book” page on the Google Book listing and click “Share.” While sharing books, one can also “+1” them, and the titles will appear in on the Google+ profile under the +1 tab. http://books.google.com/

Google Now Supports “Author” Tag

Google announced support for authorship markup—a way to connect authors with their content on the web. They are experimenting with using this data to help people find content from great authors in our search results. They now support markup that enables websites to publicly link within their site from content to author pages. For example, if an author at The New York Times has written dozens of articles, using this markup, the webmaster can connect these articles with a New York Times author page. An author page describes and identifies the author, and can include things like the author’s bio, photo, articles and other links. The markup uses existing standards such as HTML5 and XFN to enable search engines and other web services to identify works by the same author across the web. If you’re already doing structured data markup using microdata from schema.org, they will interpret that authorship information as well. http://www.google.com

Google Debuts iOS Translation App

The official Google Translate for iPhone app is now available for download from the App Store. The new app has all of the features of the web app, as well as some new additions designed to improve translation experience. The new app accepts voice input for 15 languages, and—just like the web app—you can translate a word or phrase into one of more than 50 languages. For voice input, just press the microphone icon next to the text box and say what you want to translate. You can also listen to your translations spoken out loud in one of 23 different languages. This feature uses the same new speech synthesizer voices as the desktop version of Google Translate introduced last month. Another feature is the ability to easily enlarge the translated text to full-screen size. This way, it’s easier to read the text on the screen, or show the translation to the person you are communicating with. Just tap on the zoom icon to quickly zoom in. And the app also includes all of the major features of the web app, including the ability to view dictionary results for single words, access your starred translations and translation history even when offline, and support romanized text like Pinyin and Romaji. You can download Google Translate now from the App Store globally. The app is available in all iOS supported languages, but you’ll need an iPhone or iPod touch iOS version 3 or later. http://itunes.apple.com/us/app/google-translate/

Google Grabs Aardvark Social Search

Aardvark, a social media search engine, has announced that it has been acquired by Google. Aardvark is now a tool available in Google Labs, and will remain free of cost and fully functional. Aardvark’s defining characteristic as a search engine is that once the user’s question has been input, it will search that user’s social network and attempt to identify a connection who could best answser the question. Under Google Labs, Aardvark is expected to be further developed. http://vark.com/

FatWire Unveils Integration with Google Analytics

FatWire Software announced that its FatWire Content Server fully integrates with Google Analytics to help customers measure and track the success of their FatWire websites. FatWire customers can download the integration module free of charge from FatWire to automatically generate Google tags and feed data directly into Google, for out-of-the-box monitoring and reporting. The integration will enable FatWire customers to use Google’s free analytics package to measure and optimize online content and campaigns, providing a better understanding of website effectiveness, including traffic, usage patterns and visitor behavior. The FatWire Analytics module, which is natively integrated with Content Server, provides granular tracking of content assets for specific customer segments and across dynamic, targeted web pages, enabling optimization of content on a granular level. Google Analytics provides complementary capabilities for tracking and measuring website and user behavior at a site and page level. With this packaged integration, customers can now combine FatWire’s platform with Google Analytics, thus providing a combination of page, behavior and granular content analytics. http://www.fatwire.com

Observations from Gilbane Boston 2009

The 2009 version of the Gilbane Boston conference was held last week. It was the second one I have attended and my first as a track coordinator (I designed the Collaboration and Social Software track and made it happen.) The event was well attended (c. 1100 people) and the number of sponsors and exhibitors was up significantly from last year’s Boston conference. Many of the sessions I attended offered valuable insights from speakers and audience members. All in all, I would label the conference a success.

The Collaboration and Social Software track sessions were designed to minimize formal presentation time and encourage open discussion between panelists and audience members instead. Each session focused on either a common collaboration challenge (collaborative content authoring, content sharing, fostering discussions, managing innovation) or on a specific technology offering (Microsoft SharePoint 2010 and Google Wave.) The sessions that dealt with specific technologies produced more active discussion than those that probed general collaboration issues. I am not sure why that was the case, but the SharePoint and Wave sessions spawned the level of interactivity that I had hoped for in all the panels. The audience seemed a bit reticent to join in the others. Perhaps it took them a while to warm up (the SharePoint and Wave sessions were at the end of the track.)

Here are some other, high level observations from the entire Gilbane Boston 2009 conference:

Twitter: Last year (and at Gilbane San Francisco in June 2009) attendees were buzzing about Twitter, wondering what it was and how it could be used in a corporate setting. This year the word “Twitter” was hardly uttered at all, by presenters or attendees. Most audience members seemed to be fixated on their laptop or smartphone during the conference sessions, but the related tweet stream flow was light compared to other events I’ve attended this quarter. The online participation level of folks interested in content management seems to mirror their carbon form patterns. Most are content to listen and watch, while only a few ask questions or make comments. That is true across all audiences, of course, but it seemed especially pronounced at Gilbane Boston.

SharePoint 2010: This topic replaced Twitter as the ubiquitous term at Gilbane Boston. If I had a dollar for every time I heard “SharePoint” at the conference, I would be able to buy a significant stake in Microsoft! Every company I consulted with during the event was seeking to make SharePoint either their primary content management and collaboration platform, or a more important element in their technology mix. Expectations for what will be possible with SharePoint 2010 are very high. If Microsoft can deliver on their vision, they will gain tremendous share in the market; if not, SharePoint may well have seen its zenith. Everything that I have heard and seen suggests the former will occur.

Google Wave: This fledgling technology also generated substantial buzz at Gilbane Boston. The session on Wave was very well attended, especially considering that it was the next-to-last breakout of the conference. An informal poll of the session audience indicated that nearly half have established a Wave account. However, when asked if they used Wave regularly, only about 20% of the registered users responded affirmatively;. Actual participation in the Wave that I created for attendees to take notes and discuss the Collaboration track online underscored the poll results. Most session attendees said they see the potential to collaborate differently, and more effectively and efficiently, in Wave, but cited many obstacles that were preventing them from doing so at this time. Audience members agree that the Wave user experience has a long way to go; functionality is missing and the user interface and features that are there are not easy to use. Most attendees thought Wave’s current shortcomings would be improved or eliminated entirely as they product matures. However, many also noted that collaboration norms within their organization would have to change before Wave is heavily adopted.

Open Source: This was the hot topic of the conference. Everyone was discussing open source content management and collaboration software. An informal poll of the audience at the opening keynote panel suggested that about 40% were using open source content management software. Many of the other attendees wanted to learn more about open source alternatives to the proprietary software they have been using. Clients that I met with asked questions about feature availability, ease of use, cost benefits, and financial viability of providers of open source content management and collaboration software. It was clear that open source is now considered a viable, and perhaps desirable, option by most organizations purchasing enterprise software.

My big take-away from Gilbane Boston 2009 is that we are experiencing an inflection point in the markets for enterprise content management and collaboration software. Monolithic, rigid, proprietary solutions are falling out of favor and interest in more lightweight, flexible, social, open source offerings is rapidly growing. I expect that this trend will continue to manifest itself at Gilbane San Francisco in June 2010, and beyond.

Google Wave Protocols: Clearing the Confusion

Today is the long-awaited day when 100,000 lucky individuals receive access to an early, but working, version of Google Wave. I hope I am in those ranks! Like many people, I have been reading about Wave, but have not been able to experience it hands-on

Wave has been a hot topic since it was first shown outside of Google last May. Yet it continues to be quite misunderstood, most likely because it is such an early stage effort and most interested people have not been able to lay hands on the technology. For that very reason, Gilbane Group is presenting a panel entitled Google Wave: Collaboration Revolution or Confusion? at the Gilbane Boston conference, on December 3rd.

The confusion surrounding Wave was highlighted for me yesterday in a Twitter exchange on the topic. It all started innocently enough, when Andy McAfee asked:

Andy1

To which I replied:

Larry1

That statement elicited the following comment from Jevon MacDonald of the Dachis Group:

Jevon1

I am not a technologist. I seek to understand technology well enough that I can explain it in layman’s terms to business people, so they understand how technology can help them achieve their business goals. So I generally avoid getting into deep technical discussions. This time, however, I was pretty sure that I was on solid ground, so the conversation between me and Jevon continued:

Larry2

Larry3

Jevon2

Now, here we are, at the promised blog post. But, how can Jevon and I both be correct? Simple. Google Wave encompasses not one, but several protocols for communication between system components, as illustrated in the figure below.

wave_protocols

Figure 1: Google Wave Protocols (Source: J. Aaron Farr,

The most discussed of these is the Google Wave Federation protocol, which is an extension of the Extensible Messaging and Presence Protocol (XMPP). However, Wave also requires protocols for client-server and robot server- (Web service) Wave server communication. It is also possible, but probably not desirable, for Wave to utilize a client-client protocol.

Jevon was absolutely correct about the XMPP protocol enabling server-server communication in the Google Wave Federation Protocol. The Draft Protocol Specification for the Google Wave Federation Protocol lays out the technical details, which I will not explore here. XMPP provides a reliable mechanism for server-server communication and is a logical choice for that function in Google Wave, because XMPP was originally designed to transmit instant message and presence data.

It turns out that the Google Wave team has not defined a specific protocol to be used in client-server communication. A Google whitepaper entitled Google Wave Data Model and Client-Server Protocol does not mention a specific protocol. The absence of a required or recommended protocol is also confirmed by this blog post. While the Google implementation of Wave does employ HTTP as the client-server protocol, as Jevon stated, it is possible to use XMPP as the basis for client-server communication, as I maintained. ProcessOne demonstrates this use of XMPP in this blog post and demo.

Finally, there is no technical reason that XMPP could not be used to route communications directly from one client to another. However, it would not be desirable to communicate between more than two clients via XMPP. Without a server somewhere in the implementation, Wave would be unable to coordinate message state between multiple clients. In plain English, the Wave clients most likely would not be synchronized, so each would display a different point in the conversation encapsulated in the Wave.

To summarize, Google Wave employs the following protocols:

  • XMPP for server-server communication
  • HTTP for client-server communication in the current Google implementation; XMPP is possible, as demonstrated by ProcessOne
  • HTTP (JSON RPC) for robot server-Wave server communication in the current Google implementation
  • Client-client protocol is not defined, as this mode of communication is most likely not usable in a Wave

I hope this post clarifies the protocols used in the current architecture of Google Wave for you. More importantly, I hope that it highlights just how much additional architectural definition needs to take place before Wave is ready for use by the masses. If I had a second chance to address Andy McAfee’s question, I would unequivocally state that Google Wave is a “concept car” at this point in time.

Postscript: The heretofore mentioned possibilities around XMPP as a client-client protocol are truly revolutionary.
The use of XMPP as the primary communication protocol for the Internet, instead of the currently used HTTP protocol, would create a next generation Internet in which centralized servers would no longer serve as intermediaries between users. Web application architectures, even business models, would be changed. See this post for a more detailed explanation of this vision, which requires each user to run a personal server on their computing device.

Google Search Appliance Gets New Connectors

Google has announced an upgraded suite of GSA Connectors for the Google Search Appliance (GSA)- including connectors to integrate offline company data with information stored in the cloud. GSA Connectors connect the GSA with content management systems and other repositories, so that users can find the information they are looking for in unified search results. With the upgraded Google Search Appliance Connectors, the connector framework is simplified so that it can search content stored across various databases. One of the featured GSA Connectors is for Salesforce, enabling the GSA can search content in Salesforce, providing sales, marketing, and customer support personnel access to the information they seek regularly. In addition, new updates and features have been made to the connectors for SharePoint, Livelink, FileNet, and Documentum. Specifically, the SharePoint connector supports batch authorization and multiple site collection, and has added 64-bit Windows support. Additionally, the Google Search Box can be implemented within SharePoint, which would be powered by the GSA, giving results from databases outside of the SharePoint system. Multiple connectors now support more recent versions of content systems, such as the Documentum v6.5, or the FileNet v4. www.google.com/enterprise/search/gsa.html

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