Google to start selling e-books, give Search a makeover, and more [roundup]

By Abhinav Lal Published Date
06 - May - 2010
| Last Updated
06 - May - 2010
Google to start selling e-books, give Search a makeover, and more...

Google's Search Redesign

Google will roll out its redesigned search page today, and Indian users should see the change after 8 PM. Some believe the reason Google has gone in for a redesign to be an answer to Microsoft Bing and its vivid interface and left-panel filters, while others believe that this change is prompted by Yahoo’s recent tweaks to its own search filtering.

Perhaps it is a combination of both, but the need to provide relevant results is more apparent than ever, in the face of new social networking trends, the new ways in which information is shared, and the many new types of media and content to be found today. The ultimate aim for search engines remains to provide the most relevant results, and to understand the intent apart from the context of the search query. User specific results, and searches based on a user’s preferences and search history are also slowly becoming the holy grails for search engines.

Along with a refresh to the look of the search engine, dubbed as Google Jazz UI, Google will also introduce new layouts and technologies to give its users a more modern and fine-tuned experience.

Design/Layout changes:
a. Newer brighter logo
b. Colourful search filter icons
c. Category-wise homogeneity/unification

Technological/Search changes:
a. New algorithms for search refinement based on search category/query, including:

  • i) New image filters of colour, type and size
  • ii) New blog timelines up to ten minutes ago
  • iii) News timelines for the last hour
  • iv) Books timelines for the past century

b. “Something different” tool, for search expansion and cross-referencing

Check out this video to see Google’s take on the changes, and read Google’s Official Blog on what it calls a “spring metamorphosis” :

Google’s Nundu Janakiram, a Search Product Manager, had this to say about the changes to the site: "The web is continually evolving and adapting, users are continually evolving and adapting, and the search engine needs to do the same…The driving force (behind the redesign) is continuing to find relevant content for the users. We needed to make sure the stuff we were showing in the left-hand panel was relevant to a particular search."

Read on to know more about Google Editions, and Google Chrome’s fastest version [beta] ever.


Google Editions

Google Books

Yesterday, Google informed the world via the Wall Street Journal that it will be starting its online e-book store this American Summer (by June-July), and would call the service Google Editions. While the news does not come as a shock, it has many implications when one stops to consider how Google’s service differs from Amazon’s offering, and how the Google Tablet would benefit from this as an e-reader.

Google confirmed that the e-books will be “device-agnostic” and not browser specific, allowing for cross-platform usage unlike Amazon’s e-books, which are optimized for a small range of devices. Another important difference is that the Google Editions e-books will not just be sold by one Google website, but will also be available from various online (by embedding the store) and offline retailers, who will also benefit with a majority share of the revenue generated. If a embedded widget was put up on an author’s site, they will then be able to earn from both their publishers and Google. Also importantly, publishers will be able to set their books’ prices.

Very interestingly, Google’s Tablet is almost definitely going to be developed as a viable e-reader (certainly more e-book friendly than an iPad), and this might just be the content -technology bridge that the company is looking for, able to leverage its massive multimedia databases on its various technological platforms, including Android and ChromeOS.

The news is also relevant because of the copyright suits that Google is currently fighting, which will give it the right to sell-out-of-print but copyrighted texts, if it wins. Publishers are slowly starting to see the light at the end of that tunnel, and many of them have settled with Google out of court, thinking that they could enjoy revenue from older content without any expense to themselves.

Read on about Google Chrome's new speedy avatar, plus, some cool speed test videos!


Google Chrome Beta

Google showed off Chrome Beta’s speedy new technology with some rather humorous speed test videos (which can be seen below) recording how fast the pages load and on a 2700 frames per second camera. The results, at least on the V8 and SunSpider benchmarks, are conclusively pointed towards Chrome as the clear victor in JavaScript performance, with a 30-35% improvement from the previous version.

A whole bunch of other features were also incorporated into the new beta release, such as new bookmark and browser preference sync features, use of extensions in incognito windows, initial integration of Adobe Flash Player plug-in and auto update, as well as a whole bunch of new HTML5 based stuff, such as: Geolocation APIs, App Cache, web sockets, and file drag-and-drop capabilities. Also check out Chrome against the popular browsers, below:

Download Windows beta release from here, the Mac version from here, and the Linux version from here. Refer to Google’s Official Blog on the beta release here. Check out the Google Chrome Speed Test video below, and if you are interested, the Making of Google Chrome Speed Test below that:

Abhinav LalAbhinav Lal