Friday, November 27, 2009

Google Wave for Dummies

OK, you heard about revolutionary Google Wave and you also got an invitation. You opened it with all excitement, but you are not able to understand the use of Google Wave :-)? Where to start? This article is written for laymen who want to use Google Wave but now sure where to start.

By a general user, Google Wave can be used for two major purposes -

1. Collaborative Document Editing
"Collaborative Document Editing" means more than one person editing the same copy of the document. For example, "Collaborative Document Editing" may be very useful for writing a project report or a research paper where more than one author/ reviewer/ editor are involved.

2. Email like conversation
We all know email. Google Wave is also another way of email like conversation.

I personally find Google Wave is more useful for "Collaborative Document Editing" than "Email-like conversation". I doubt that Google Wave will be able to replace email in near future, as wished by Google.

In fact there is third application as well, which is using Google Wave for chat/ IM like Yahoo Messenger or GTalk. Though at this point of time, I do not find Chat/ IM as an important application of Google Wave, so leaving it for another article.

For the sake of simplicity, let us say that
Wave = Message = Document

Technically speaking, there are few differences, but at this point of time, let us consider all three as synonyms.

You can create a new Wave (aka Document or Message) by yourself, or other person can also share a wave with you.

Creating a new wave

Method 1: Click on a "New Wave" button on the top left side of screen.



Method 2: Whenever you come first time on Google Wave, you also see "new wave" link on the right side like this -


Just click on this "New Wave" hyperlink to create a new wave.

Sharing a wave with others
Once you have a wave (created by you or shared to you by someone else), you can share it with others. There are two primary methods to share a wave with others -

Method 1: Drag the friend's photo or name from the contact list at bottom-left corner and drop it on the opened wave that you want to share.

Note: 'Dragging' means clicking using left mouse button on some object, holding it while moving mouse to some other place. Once you reach to desired place, leave that object on that place by unholding left-mouse button (this process is called 'dropping.' Both these processes together are called 'dragging and dropping'.)

Method 2: Click on the "+" symbol on the right side of your photograph on top of the wave editing screen and select your friends name. The "+" symbol looks something like this -



Edit OR Reply?

If you are using Google Wave for collaborative document editing, you should edit a message. For example, if you are working on a project report with your team members, every member can edit the same wave (document).

If you are using Google Wave for e-mail like communication (or even chat-like communication), you should reply a message.

Editing a wave
Now if you are using Wave for collaborative document editing, you can edit a wave as follows -

1. Open the wave (you can open a wave just by clicking on the name of the wave in inbox)

2. On the top right of the opened wave, you will see time and adjacent to that you will find a downward pointing arrow. Click on that "downward pointing black arrow"

3. Select "Edit this message" from the drop down

Replying a Wave
If you are using Wave for e-mail like communication or blog like communication (comments), you should reply a wave. Here are the steps -

1. Open the wave (you can open a wave just by clicking on the name of the wave in inbox)

2. On the top right of the opened wave, you will see time and adjacent to that you will find a downward pointing arrow. Click on that "downward pointing black arrow"


3. Select "Reply to this message" from the drop down

Some of the advanced Wave users may say that I am missed an important aspect of Wave i.e. Wave as a platform. I also did not talk about Wave robots and gadgets. The reason I didn't talk about that because I wanted to talk about the present applications of Google Wave from a laymen's perspective. I didn't want to confuse people with all complexity of Wave. Once a person is comfortable with the basics of Wave, I am sure he will be able to figure out other applications of Wave by himself.

I hope it gives you enough Google Wave knowledge. Happy Waving.

== End of Tutorial - Google Wave for Dummies ==

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Google Launches Loksabha Election Website

Today Google announced a new website for 2009 Indian general elections. According to the press release today, anyone can check his/ her name in the voters list, can know about his/ her polling booth and search maps of the constituencies.

This website has been created with the help of Hindustan time and some other NGOs and can be found here -http://www.google.co.in/intl/en/landing/loksabha2009/

It is an excellent feature to search voters name in the voter list but it seems that the website is still under development. Right now covers only Delhi, Mumbai, Kolkata, Chennai, Pune and Nagpur. Hope to see Agra in this list soon ;-)

Also note Yahoo is already having it's website at http://in.elections.yahoo.com/. Yahoo India website looks more like a news website.

Monday, April 6, 2009

Rediff, Indiatimes, Yahoo Ad-Rates for Online Advertisement

Today I was searching for advertisement rates of online ads. I was primarily interested in some of the big portal names like yahoo, indiatimes, and rediff etc. It took quite a while to come up with the search results having all these figures. I found two articles having some information and thought sharing with you -
Exchange4media article was written in 2004, so slightly outdated. Business World article is of year 2007 and gives sufficiently latest information.

Here is the summary from the Business World article -

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Switch Back to Old Facebook Design

Facebook has once again become the center of criticism of its users. This time the bone of contention is its new design. Around 1.7 million users worldwide are not happy with it and they’ve formed this group to show their disapproval. Actually, the new design of Facebook is meant to give the Twitter feel and provide more space for advertisements. New and old design, both have their pros and cons. But as far as Facebook is concerned, it has ridiculed the demand of switching back to older one. But if you have become habitual of the older design and want to keep using that, here’s an easy trick for you. You can get your dear old Facebook back in just three easy steps:
  1. Add the “Facebook Developers” application (from here)
  2. Click on “Go to application” and close the page
  3. Follow this link
It’s simple, isn’t it? Those who adore older Facebook should try it out. Although, I rather prefer the new design myself.
(Courtesy: www.hindi2.com)

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Google Noticeboard for Indian Villages

Recently Google India Labs announced Google Noticeboard. Google Noticeboard is an application targeted towards not-so-technical public for sharing information. People can create text messages or record voice snippets and post them to one or more digital noticeboards. Google Noticeboard allows user to engage in public communication with communities without much technical know how.

According to Google's CEO, this could be the "poor man's email." I personally would rather call it "poor man's wiki & email." This seems an excellent idea to me and can do the same to the villages that wiki has done for general Internet collaboration. Communities with access to shared computers can use this application for exchanging messages related to community announcements, social interactions, local buying and selling, and information that is of wider interest to the community. This is probably first social media initiative of its kind which bring collaboration and communication to Indian villages.

It works as Firefox plug-in and I visualize having Kiosks in villages having Google Noticeboard pre-installed more like bank ATMs. Seeing the application design, I can guess that is definitely one of the objectives. Though the success seems a distinct future and the first priority for Google should be create technically better application. User interface and usability is going to be key for this application and more attention is required to make it user friendly. Presently the application seems confusing and difficult to use.

Though we must congratulate Google for such an initiative for Indian villages. I wish Google all the best and success for this application.

International SMS are Free on Google Voice

Today my GrandCentral account is upgraded to Google Voice account. If you don't know GrandCentral, the basic idea around GrandCentral was "one phone number for all your phones, for life." This one number works very well for me as I keep traveling to different places. Also GrandCentral can ring my laptop computer using Gizmo, so I can take calls from my laptop itself.

I was eagerly waiting for it, as I am an extensive GrandCentral user and some of the news features are very useful for me. Some of the new features are -
  • Free Conferencing (Up to 6 users. Though it is not working for me right now)
  • Free SMS (both inbound and outbound, so I can receive SMS on Google Voice phone number, which makes it true replacement of a mobile phone.)
  • Free Voice Transcription, so that I can read the voice messages in your inbox. I hope it is better than me in understanding American accent :-)
  • Free US calling. Not only I can initiate calls from the Google Voice website, but also I can use my regular US phone for making calls using Google Voice account. Also international calling is almost as cheap as skype, though not free.
Coming back to free International SMS, here are some of he key points -
  • International SMS are for free
  • Once you get a response of a SMS, Google generates a unique 406 number. This will connect to their international number but will cost Google Voice rate.
  • This Google Voice 406 number can be saved in your in your contacts and one can initiate SMS, bypassing Google Voice online.
New registration to Google Voice is available on invite only, so if you don't have existing GrandCentral account, you will have to wait for your invite.

Update March 23rd, 2009: Recently my international SMS to Netherlands are failing and I am not sure whether Google has stopped International SMS.

Monday, March 9, 2009

Windows Live Profile, Yahoo Profile and Thousand Other Profiles


Here is another proof of the fact that Internet giants Microsoft and Yahoo are now really scared of Facebook and Twitter. Today my Windows Live Messenger (MSN messenger) asked me to update my Windows Live Profile. On the Windows Live Profile, I’ll be able to share my status, notes and general profile information like my hobbies with my friends or with open public. One important feature that I found missing is that it does not allows you to get a friendly URL. For example, my Windows Live profile URL is http://cid-15e7fb5496616396.profile.live.com/ whereas I would prefer something like http://pandeypunit.profile.live.com/.

Anyways, this is another social networking platform to keep everybody posted about you and what you are doing. There are quite a few social networking tools already competing in this space. Recently, Yahoo also changed its good-old profile pages and changed them into a full flagged social networking platform. Now with Yahoo profiles, which is presently in beta, you can connect with your friends and keep them posted.

Now with so many profiles - Yahoo profile, Windows Live profile, Facebook profile, MySpace profile, Orkut profile, LinkedIn profile etc., maintaining them is becoming almost impossible. Hope there will some tool soon where we can manage all these profile at one single place.

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Blogger 'Followers' Integrates With Friend Connect Now

Blogger had 'Followers' gadget for quite some time which allows you to get updates of other blogs on your blogger dashboard. This is a quicker way than RSS reader to get updates from your frequently read blogs. Now blogger has integrated this feature with Google Friend Connect, another Google service. With this integration, you will not only be able to follow blogger blogs, but also any blog which uses Google Friend Connect service. You can follow a blog using Google, Yahoo, AIM or OpenID account.

Google Friend Connect is an open platform which allows you to create community on your blogs and websites and engage visitors. Now with this feature, you can either publicly or privately follow any blog. If you follow any blog publicly, you profile photo will be visible on that blog. If you are aware of MyBlogLog.com, it looks another way to counter MyBlogLog.com which is a Yahoo product. This also have a new Google profile integrated which is also quite similar to MyBlogLog. MyBlogLog, ready for the challenge?

If you use blogger, you can simply add 'Followers' gadget to your blog to utilize this feature. If you use some other blogging platform (like wordpress and yahoo), you can go to the http://www.google.com/friendconnect/ and add code of 'Members' gadget to your blog. (you will get quite a few other Gigya type of widgets on Friend Connect website)

Also, before leaving don't forget to follow my blog (true, bloggers are selfish). The 'followers' gadget can be found on the right most column of this blog. Please please please follow me. I know you find this blog useless, still follow me for the sake of utilizing this sexy gadget :-)

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Blog Content Copyright Issues

Today Google AdSense Team has published some helping material on what you can do in case somebody copying your articles on Internet. This is the question people frequently ask me and I thought it is good to share it with my friends. Here is the excerpt from the article -

"In a situation like this, where you believe that a site containing AdSense code is illegally copying your site's content, you can let us know by following the process described in our Help Center. It's our policy to respond to notices of alleged infringement that comply with the Digital Millennium Copyright Act and other applicable intellectual property laws."

"Additionally, if you find a site that is scraping (misappropriating and republishing) your content, you can report it for a potential violation of the Google Webmaster Guidelines. To do this, fill out the form at https://www.google.com/webmasters/tools/spamreport (you must be logged into your Google Account to access this form)."

The complete article can be found here -
Inside AdSense: My content, your content, other people's content

Saturday, February 21, 2009

Google AdSense For Domains Available in India

On 18th February 2009 Google made 'AdSense for Domains' available globally. It seems that no formal announcement has been made, but this has been talked about in blogsphere. Moreover, I can also see 'AdSense for Domains' in my Google AdSense Account.

Availability of 'AdSense for Domains' means that now you will be able to utilize all your unused domains by showing google ads on them. It means you can earn money even on your unused domains. Hosting ads on unused domains is generally known as domain parking. There were few others services before like Sedo.com, but I am sure people will be more comfortable with Google. Also reach of Google makes is available to all.

Though I am not a domainer, I own many domains. Some of the domains were parked with Sedo and now I am moving them to Google AdSense for Domains. Sedo payout was not at all good, so hope it will be better with Google like Google's other AdSense products. I have already moved few domains today and earned around 10 cents as of now - not bad - money for a tea I guess :-).

One important feature that I have not fount yet is the reporting on individual domains. In my account, I see aggregated data for the whole day for all the domains, but I can not see which domain is performing better and which one not. It may take some time to generate that report, so I am just waiting and hoping to see that.