Straight from the heart!

27 May, 2010

BOOM, Apple beats Microsoft

History was being written yesterday … when by 4 p.m. NY time in NASDAQ Stock Market, Apple’s market value was at $222.1 billion, higher than Microsoft’s $219.2 billion. It’s also the second-largest U.S. stock by market value, behind oil company Exxon Mobil Corp., valued at $278.6 billion on the New York Stock Exchange.

A New World Order has arrived…

Apple Incorporation became the Most Valuable Technology company in the world, pipping Microsoft Corporation, which held the crown for very many years.

Culturally speaking, this is a strong indication that “Consumer tastes” have overtaken the “Business needs” as the leading force shaping technology.

Apple: A Stunning turnaround

Apple was on the verge of bankruptcy when Steve Jobs assumed  leadership in 1997. So much so, Michael Dell suggested that Apple should just shut shop and return the money to shareholders. Today, Dell is worth barely a tenth as much as the Mac maker. In the very same year, Apple accepted a $150 million investment from Microsoft in distress.

Steve transformed Apple from the maker of Macintosh personal computers into a trendsetter in consumer electronics with the release of  iPod music players in 2001 and made the popular Sony personal music instruments go virtually extinct. Then came the iPhone in 2007 which upset Nokia in a big way. The latest mega release of  the iPad tablet in April this year is again beating Apple’s own projections and sold more than 1 million tablets in the U.S. in the first 28 days after its April 3 debut which is interestingly, Double of their iPhone sales in its 1st month of  launch.

Microsoft: Betting big on the Cloud?

Both companies have comparable revenue, with Microsoft at $58.4 billion and Apple at $42.9 billion. But in their most recent fiscal years, Apple had net income of $5.7 billion, while Microsoft earned $14.6 billion. Microsoft still leads the race with nearly 9 out of every 10 new computers sold, whereas Apple’s Mac is less than 1. Microsoft has poured billions into its cell phone, online advertising and other new businesses that have yet to emerge as significant revenue streams.

The next battle for businesses, amongst Tech Titans is foreseen in the Clouds – and literally so. Microsoft’s banking big on Windows Azure and the launch of Office 2010 & Office Web Apps are paving the way as against the Google Apps engine. Cloud computing is projected to create over 300,000 jobs in India alone and provide the subcontinent another advantage for managing the world’s back office.

As for the users, Apple helped create “The best desktop computer”, “The best portable music device”,  “The best smart-phone and now also “The best tablet PC” and …. it’s not yet done with innovations !

11 May, 2010

Goggles by Google

Imagine you a are pure vegetarian, traveling to Tokyo, want to pick up a fancy looking food-item from a local store but can’t really make out what the label reads . You reach out to the store attendant who cannot speak in English and you don’t know what to do. Imagine you’re rushing to find a toilet in Moscow, but cant figure out what the label on the door means and passerby’s neither have the time nor the will to guide you. Imagine the same while buying a medicine from a local chemist in a small by-lane of Paris or even visiting a landmark building, unable to recollect its name or significance.

I’m sure you could relate to so many such anxious situations.

All you need to do is take a picture from your mobile phone and you’ll get the answer, instantaneously.

No kidding! Google has introduced the next level of innovation to make our lives easier, called Google Goggles.

Google Goggles a new way to search by sight, with your mobile phone’s camera.The latest version has built-in translation capabilities. Earlier, one could either type or call for a local query, Google has opened a completely new dimension in Local search.

Here’s how it works:

  • Point your phone at a word or phrase. Use the region of interest button to draw a box around specific words
  • Press the shutter button
  • If Goggles recognizes the text, it will give you the option to translate. Press the translate button to select the source and destination languages.


That’s not all, in addition to Text, it supports ‘landmarks’, ‘images’, ‘books’, ‘contacts’ (visiting cards), ‘Artwork’ & ‘logo’s’

So, just how does Google collect such detailed information for Google Maps?

Primarily, by using Street View cars!

The feature provides users 360° horizontal and 290° vertical panoramic street level views within Google Maps. Google collects these images using special cameras usually mounted on vehicles and equipment that capture and match images to a specific location using GPS devices. Once the images are captured, they are “sewn” together to create a 360° panorama. Faces and license plates are claimed to be blurred before the panorama images are served and become viewable in Google Maps.


Update (16th May 2010): Google says Sorry for Privacy violation


Seems Mr. Pegman wanted more than just pictures!

Google’s Street View cars have been capturing more than just images and co-ordinates. They even captured personal information from unprotected Wi fi connections. Google announced that it is profoundly sorry for the mistake and didn’t realize this depth of data collection due to a communication gap between teams who were programing and executing, but promises to mend ways. The extent of damage goes beyond 30 countries where Street View cars were used and Google is said to have captured personal information such as PC details, email snippets, images, etc. They claim to stop collecting Wifi information with immediate effect for now and are putting in a 3rd party based governance model to avoid any such future blunders. The reactions have started pouring in from all quarters. Greece has already gone a step ahead and blocked Street View unless some guarantees are put in place.

Privacy jitters, anyone?

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