Google+ I’m in, baby

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I finally got access to Google+. After Facebook announced and launched Skype videochat, Google unlocked Google+ overnight, to presumably steal a little bit of the spotlight back. Once I got in, my first major task was to contend with Circles, the feature that groups people by categories. Who goes where? I decided to get rid of the “acquaintances” circle and start off with friends, family, and people I follow. I uploaded a few photos just so people can have something to see and that was about it. I’ve ordered a headset so I can use the group videochat function called Hangouts, which means I haven’t tried it yet. People seem to like it. Anyway, I did a lot of reading and one idea stood out: Google+ is where you can restart your social network. More

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Google introduces search-by-image

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Google today will make widely available a new “search by image” feature. It’s up and running and I typed “Ed Rendell,” former Guv of Pennsylvania. This was the first image that came up. I did a search-by-image and came up with this. Pretty cool. The Google Goggles image-recognition function on its mobile app is very impressive: Analyze a picture of, say, a Coke bottle, and you get a link to a Google search for Coke. There are limitations. With the new image-search feature, it would be interesting to search a photo of an unidentified person you are trying to identify. However, Google is not keen on such a feature, according to Wired.com:

Google says it won’t be using any facial recognition technology and that the search works best when an image has some sort of “fame” — so that for instance, Google wouldn’t be able to tell you who lived in a given house in a photo, unless it was something like Graceland.

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PlayStation Network hacked – what does it mean?

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Credit: Image via g4tv.com

I don’t own a PlayStation, so the PlayStation Network being down since April 20 doesn’t impact me. But it is making life suck for a huge number of other people. There are 77 million PlayStation Network registered accounts. And it has been confirmed by Sony that the multiplayer-gaming network was hacked. The company also confirmed that user data had been illegally obtained. This is a huge blow for Sony. I’m not saying disaster yet because because PlayStation gamers are invested in that system, so it would be costly for them to switch to another system. But everyday the network is down, some small fraction will jump. If users start to find their personal data are being illegally used, that will be a PR back-breaker. Sony is already being sued and subjected to regulatory inquiries. Sony is a quality company. I’d really hate to see it go down in flames. The best read on the situation is from Kevin Poulsen of Wired. He went to federal prison for hacking. He knows what he is talking about. Here are the highlights of his take on the situation: More