Google

Posted by Kiran

There are many advantages of not using Google as your primary search engine. Escaping incessant tracking across the Internet is just one such benefit. With the recent brouhaha about NSA tracking almost all of us via the PRISM program, it may be a good idea to do with less tracking around the Internet. A search engine we should all consider using instead of Google, is DuckDuckGo.

The USP of DuckDuckGo is that they don't store identifiable information about you along with the searches that you perform. Hence, even if the US Government wanted them to share data, they wouldn't have it! Yes, there is a compromise: they cannot provide you with the kind of personalized search results that Google can. However, for most generic searches, they'll do just fine.

I have personally been using DuckDuckGo for over an year now and the search results are just as great, if not better, than those that are returned by Google.

Most of us don't explicitly visit Search sites — search engines, these days, are usually integrated right into our browsers in the form of the search bar or the "Awesome Bar".

Here are a few easy steps that you can use to setup DuckDuckGo as your default search engine across all your browsers.

Posted by Kiran

Google Glass is in the news these days with everyone either raving about how cool it is or about how idiotic it makes the wearer look. There is even a new term to describe anyone wearing a Google Glass: they are called "Glassholes"!

Is this going to be the view from Google Glass?
Image source: Twitter stream of @57UN
Update (02-Oct-2013): The link to the tweet, from which I originally got this image, just results in a "Page not found" error on the Twitter website. It appears that @57UN's twitter account has either been deleted or has been compromised. However, I was able to obtain a version of the above image off of Google cache and have now put it up on this page directly.

Jokes aside however, Google Glass provides serious indications for the future of augmented reality as well as Google's ambitions in that future. While Google Glass is still nascent technology with only a few niche early adopters using it today, the day can't be far where this technology is as all-pervasive as the Android phone is today.

I did not really pay much attention to Google Glass until I saw a tweet in my Twitter timeline recently with this picture. This picture, though a joke, does make me wonder whether the future will indeed be something similar.

Posted by Kiran

Ever since Google came up with their latest challenge to Facebook in the form of Google+, there has been quite a lot of buzz about this new Social Networking platform.

Having been a person who wasn't too kind to Facebook, Google+ had the two qualities that made me decide to try it out:

 
  1. An ability to control your data; Google call this Data Liberation
  2. An ability to control what you share and with whom; Google call this Circles

Google's Circles feature has generated a lot of buzz as well as confusion. While Google has started off each one of us with a few suggestions for the circles we can organize our contacts into, I have seen numerous other websites also providing their own insights.

I thought, why not share my own insights as well! So here goes…

Posted by Kiran

This post is more a user's rant than an expert opinion. I have used Android for just about an year now and have wondered why certain things were the way they were. Having moved to Android from Windows Mobile 6.0, the first thing that struck me as odd was the lack of flexibility for the users to install their applications into the SD Card. That meant that the users were confined to whatever Internal Storage was available on their phones and more often than not that was very limited.

As soon as I bought my first Android phone, I started fishing around for a solution to this problem and found it in Apps2SD+ (now called Legacy Apps2SD+ or, at times, Apps2EXT). However Apps2SD+ needed root access and was tricky to set up. It took every bit of my technical acumen to understand and execute the steps it entailed. It was also risky and could have easily bricked my phone!

Hence when Google released Froyo with in-built support for Apps2SD I had high expectations. The Froyo Apps2SD turned out to be a disappointment though. I believe that Google got the design of their Apps2SD solution wrong, and although I can think of a few reasons why they might have chosen the design that they did, I cannot help but think that they could have done a better job.

Posted by Kiran

Ever since I moved to Android from Windows Mobile, I have been complaining about the Android Platform's seeming limitation in handling Calendar reminders. The fact that the Android Calendar gave me only one 5-minute snooze option always troubled me and I have written about this annoyance in the past too.

I promptly bought Calendar Snooze, an application available in the Android Market which allows users to choose the duration of time for which the reminder must be snoozed, and even recommended it in one of my blog posts.

When I noticed that Google had neglected to include the feature in their much hyped Android 2.2 (Froyo) as well, I couldn't understand why Google chose to ignore such basic functionality.

However, in all my eagerness to lambast Google at their oversight, I seem to have neglected one design feature of the Google Calendar, which renders the snooze option redundant.

Posted by Kiran

Android is a powerful Mobile OS and it is growing. However, as I had earlier mentioned you'll need to install applications from the Android Market to tailor its behavior to your liking.

Here are some of the applications that I use frequently. These are the ones that have helped me tailor my Android experience just the way I like it.

The applications listed below are those that you can make use of without any tweaks to your phone. You do not need to be Root on your phone to run these.

Posted by Kiran

Early this year, I was looking out for a new phone. After looking around for quite a while, I finally decided to go with the HTC Desire.

Before the Desire, I had another HTC phone — the HTC TyTN running Windows Mobile 6.0. Given that I have always been — right from its Pocket PC days — a Windows Mobile devotee, my PIM is mainly based out of Outlook and Exchange. Windows Mobile 6.0 integrated beautifully with Outlook and using both of these together was extremely convenient.

Hence, moving to Android wasn't an easy decision. However rave reviews received by the Desire and the fact that I was unconvinced about the suitability of future Windows Mobile Platforms, made me take the plunge into Android.

Now that I have had my Desire for almost three months, I thought I should write about my first impressions.

Google Wave

26 Jul 2009
Posted by Kiran

Recently while browsing Slashdot I stumbled upon a story about something new from Google. Google Wave is a new paradigm/product/protocol/service from Google and I just looked at their developer preview video hosted on YouTube. It blew me away!

Here is the video if you want to view it. I must warn you though that it is very long - 1 hour and 20 minutes.

Edit (18-Aug-2010): Video has been removed by Google.