Thursday, December 20, 2007

Tech News - Goggle Challenges Wikipedia With "Knol"

Here is this week's round-up of tech news and what's hot in the Web :

1. Google Challenges Wikipedia With "Knol"
Google has announced that it will be launching a new Internet encyclopedia, a concept called "knol"- a shorthand for a "unit of knowledge"- that will see it competing with the highly popular user-supported Wikipedia.

The Googlepedia, as some netizens are calling it, will consist of material submitted by users but unlike Wikipedia, there will be no cloak of anonymity and all submissions will be identified. There will be no editing of entries by Google but instead, visitors will rate and comment on them. For now, submissions are by invitation only but will eventually be open to all comers. The resource is free to use and Google will monetize it by placing contextual ads related to the topics covered on each page.
With more than 56 million US visitors eye-balling Wikipedia in Oct alone, making it the eighth most popular website, the concept will definitely pose a challenge to non-profit Wikipedia which has emerged as a widely used reference tool. While lifting the cloak of anonymity to submissions is a step in the right direction, unless it has its own editorial team to vet the entries, Google's "knol", in allowing visitors to rate and comment the submissions, will open it to the same sort of uneven content and the many abuses that Wikipedia has.

2. Flickr Launches "Places"
Flickr, Yahoo's online photo-sharing site, will soon unveil a service called "Places" that identifies on a global map, the latest hot spots for photo contributions and allows users to browse photos from millions of geographically located photos uploaded onto its site. With many of the world's cities, states and countries having their own featured pages, "Places" also allows users to search by geographic location for photos that might interest them.

With more than 40 million monthly visitors to Flickr, the feature will be especially appealing to prospective travellers seeking to go beyond photos of landmarks for places they plan to visit. "Places" will be available in the eight languages that Flickr currently offers - English, Spanish, German, French, Portuguese, Italian, Korean and traditional Chinese.

3. ScanR Revolutionises Scanning, Copying And Faxing Industry
Convert an image of a document, business card or a whiteboard message, captured on your camera phone or digital camera, to a PDF file or vCard format and get it emailed or faxed to you through ScanR, a new US-based startup.

The free-to-use web service is set to revolutionise the scanner, copier and fax industry with its technology that identifies keywords during the conversion process and assigns them as tags that make the file searchable on ScanR or any desktop search software. ScanR also works with any mobile phone.

4. Ultra-Mobile PC - Asus Launches Eee PC
While ultra-mobile laptops, which weighs below 1kg and have screen sizes of 7 inches and below, have been around for about a year, the price tags of the initial releases were quite exorbitant, considering their limited capabilities, costing over US$1,300 each. Not anymore.

Law & Order - 1st Year
Asus has just launched the Eee PC, an ultra-mobile laptop that hit the sweet spot with its low price of around US$400. Designed for affordability, it comes with a Intel Mobile Celeron ultra-low voltage 900 MHz processor, 512 MB RAM, 3 USB ports, LAN port, built-in webcam, SD card slot, 800 x 480 seven-inch display, stereo speakers, Wi-Fi and an impressive 5200 mAh battery which supports 3.5 hours of use.

There is no hard disk drive but has instead, 4GB of solid-state flash memory and while using flash memory means that you get less storage, you get better power efficiency, faster boot times and less heat instead. The launch was so successful that over 300 pieces were snapped up within a day or two at the Sitex show in Singapore recently.

The Asus Eee PC, which stands for easy-to-work, easy-to-play and easy-to-learn, uses Linux instead of Windows and the user interface is extremely well-designed and divided into Work, Play and Learn tabs for easy access to applications. The icons are large and at 920g, decked out in a crisp pearl white body, is aptly suited for students and professionals on a budget, and is likely to be a benchmark for all other ultra-mobile PCs to follow.

*More Tech News :
- Google Opens Up Orkut
- Members Blast Facebook