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$10 To Answer This Question

I’m completely unable to find an answer (though this Russian forum might have something), so I’ll give ten bucks via PayPal (or whatever) to the first person to give me a working answer to this question:

How do I force an ATI X1550 card to output YPrPb signals on VGA under Windows Vista?

Even if it’s a stupid answer, if it works, I’ll pay you. It’s probably a registry key, or maybe there’s software, or maybe the Russians know something. If I have to buy the ATI HDTV dongle, and you can confirm that for me, I’ll give you five bucks.

Thanks for the assistance.

November 30th, 2007 Posted by Nathan Weinberg | General | 8 comments



Google Experimental Adds Suggest, Search Digging

Google Experimental, where Google runs experimental search interfaces which you can subscribe to and add to your regular search experience, has added two new experiments.

Keyword Suggestions is Google Suggest, the Google service that offers search suggestions as you type, is now available as an Experiment. This is great, being able to add it as part of your personal search experience, since Yahoo and Ask.com already offer it in their main search engines.

A limited number of users are also being offered this experiment, which allows them to delete and re-order search results. It’s been described as almost a Digg-like system, in that the eventual goal would be to improve Google results through the wisdom of crowds by changing the results for everyone based on a mass consensus in the voting up and down (and deleting) of search results. This feature was originally developed on Google’s SearchMash test engine.

The voting experiment is a tasty one, so much that those who haven’t been offered it are clamoring for it, while the Google Suggest experiment has so much potential appeal, it should be an option in Google’s preferences. One limitation of the Experimental program is that you can only “install” one experiment to your search results at a time. Hopefully, Google will find a way to offer Suggest as an option to all users and let them choose a different experiment to play around with.

November 30th, 2007 Posted by Nathan Weinberg | General | one comment

Hosting sponsored by GoDaddy

Google Announces Highly Open Participation Contest

The Google Code blog is talking about their new “Highly Open Participation Contest“, an effort to get pre-university students involved in different aspects of software development, part of the Summer of Code program. There are all sorts of tasks available, from fixing bugs to writing documentation or doing user experience research. Google is continuing to try to increase its appeal in the developer community, and this program is here to pull in those in the community who might not be into writing code.

Any student over 13 years of age and enrolled in a pre-university program can sign up. That includes high schoolers, as well as those in a secondary school or other educational institution. Parental consent is a requirement.

November 29th, 2007 Posted by Nathan Weinberg | General | one comment

Wait, So I’m Not A Trained Server Technician?

This site has been down for two days, which, you know, is always fun and profitable. The reason? Me and GoDaddy came up with this wonderful sponsorship agreement, which would allow this site to move to a dedicated server and thusly be more stable and not ever go down for two days, as well as allowing me the flexibility to install lots of useful plugins I couldn’t otherwise on a shared host.

Problem is, that didn’t work out so well. Turns out running a server is hard :-)

In the end, I’m glad to say the problem was not my fault, I’m just the one suffering for it. Turns out that GoDaddy’s default server provisioning enables a service called iptables, which manages a lot of NAT and firewall stuff on Linux, but installed it without enabling the ports for HTTP and FTP access (which are kind of important). Also, I have to change a setting in an “A-Record”, whatever the hell that is.

Anyway, I’m going to re-attempts the server move this weekend. Until then, enjoy some speedblogging.

Also, I’m still looking for someone interested in helping me sell some ads for this site. Traffic has been spiking like crazy, and on a 30% commission, it’s a nice way to make some side money. If you’re interested, just hit the contact form or comment on this post.

November 28th, 2007 Posted by Nathan Weinberg | General | 5 comments

Happy Thanksgiving!

Hey all, enjoy Thanksgiving Day (even if your country doesn’t) and eat lots of turkey with no regard for your health. Or tofurkey, or whatever floats your boat. Just have fun today.

I’m watching the parade on NBC with the wife, and I’m shocked at how much Al Roker keeps mispronouncing everything. He was talking with Christopher Meloni, and asked him about his show, Law and Order: SUV. Oy.

Anyway, here’s Google’s Thanksgiving logo for 2007:

I think it’s a lot more festive than last year’s:

Yahoo’s doing an animated Flash logo again:


If you don’t have Flash, they show this image version:

Yahoo’s logo is the same one they ran last year, as far as I can tell.

Ask.com’s doing a full page image again, showing off this giant tasty turkey:

image courtesy Danny at SEL

Here’s the full size high resolution image Ask uses, if you want to download it:

Dogpile’s running this:

Search Engine Roundtable has this logo:

Plus, the Cre9asite Forums did this:

Last two images courtesy Barry at SER

Even Gmail has a Thanksgiving logo:

For some reason, Microsoft’s Live Search still has not run a single holiday logo, ever. They should get with the program.

Anyway, enjoy your Tryptophan!

November 22nd, 2007 Posted by Nathan Weinberg | Ask, Doodles, Culture, Yahoo, General | 5 comments

Google Picks Up GTaxes, Other Domains

Gary has a long list of domain names transferred to Google name servers in the last week, and there are some interesting ones. The most thought-provoking domains:

  • GTaxes.com - Google doing some sort of financial management/tax preparation service?
  • Foogleaddon.com - Foogle? FirefoxGoogle?
  • GoogleSecret.com - I’m thinking Google lingerie :-)
  • NoLimitDVD.com - What could Google possibly need that for? Are we seeing a big hint to a future service?
  • androidalliance.com, androiddevices.com, androidfederation.com, androidhandset.com, androidphone.com,
  • androidsdk.com, androidsoftware.com and many others - Google finally putting the sites for its secret Android project in its own name, now that the news is out.

November 20th, 2007 Posted by Nathan Weinberg | General | 3 comments



Doodle 4 Google 2007 Ends

Doodle 4 Google, the competition where schoolchildren create Google logos and voters determine which goes on the homepage of Google in that country, just wrapped up the British edition for this year. The winning Doodle, by Claire Rammelkamp, 14:

(via Zorgloob)

November 20th, 2007 Posted by Nathan Weinberg | Doodles, Culture, General | no comments

Post-Weekend Update

Here’s everything that’s built up over the weekend, so we aren’t still talking old news on Wednesday:

The Google Android developer blog is up, where Google will talk about application development for its Android mobile phone platform. The Android SDK is on Google Code, along with API demos and other code samples.

You can see the Android UI as it currently exists (or rather, barely exists). It’s plain, but seems comfortable and stable with room to grow into something nice, support for touchscreens, smartphones, larger VGA screens, a Webkit-based browser, Java virtual machine, threaded (conversational) text messaging, playback of MPEG-4, h.264, MP3, and AAC file formats.

Here’s a video showing Android in action, featuring Sergey Brin’s new “hung over” look and some idea of how the UI isn’t fully realized or much in competition with the iPhone. The Google Maps app has some good ideas, the web browser looks like it can’t do anything, the history app is a nice addition, the spinning globe shows that Android can do 3D pretty cool, and Google Maps Street View is nice.

Scoble isn’t impressed. I’ll say that it has a lot of potential, but they aren’t showing enough to make me believe that any of that potential includes significant success.

Gizmodo has an interesting look at the fonts created by Ascender for Android, the Droid family of fonts (fitting name). They seem pretty clean and well thought out. You’d be surprised how important fonts are in operating system design, but if you think about it, you do spend a huge amount of time staring more at the letters than the pretty boxes, so it makes sense that Microsoft and Apple put a lot of work into getting the best fonts and font rendering techniques.

Russell Beattie did a screencast of the Android emulator in action. Take a look:

Looks like there are over 1,000 Google millionaires. Even the ex-masseuse has a million dollars in Google stock. The average employee who joined a year ago is already worth $276,000 and counting.

Larry Page, Google founder and one of the ten richest people in the country, is getting married December 8 to Lucy Southworth, his girlfriend. Richard Branson and SF mayor Gavin Newsom are expected to attend, as well as many former and current Googlers, and, via videoconference, Al Gore.

Google and GoDaddy have teamed up on Google Webmaster Tools. GoDaddy customers will automatically have their sites submitted to Google Sitemaps (and thus rank better and fresher, without any effort) and a customized version of Google’s Webmaster Tools in their control panel.

Google Notebook now has a mobile version.

Google changed the area in AdSense ads that can be clicked by the user, from pretty much the whole ad space to just the title and URL. Publishers are worried that the move, which is really supposed to just decrease accidental clicks, will cost them regular clicks, too. Early feedback is that the effect on earnings is minimal. My clickthrough rate is pretty consistent, though still kind of low.

Google Transit, which lets you get public transportation directions in Google Maps, now shows some European cities. They’ve got southeast of the UK, SBB, Switzerland, VBZ, Zurich, Switzerland, Turin, Italy, and Florence, Italy, but still no New York.

Google has a new widget you can add to your site which users can click on to automatically translate your website into the language of their choice. Microsoft added a similar widget at almost exactly the same time.

YouTube is looking into the possibility of doing higher quality, perhaps even HD video.

Looks like Google is slamming PayPerPost users, dropping their PageRank like crazy.

You can edit addresses in Google Maps now if they’re inaccurate. Check out the video:

Gmail added permalinks, so you can bookmark stuff and even send links to Gmail search results. Gmail’s also now up to 5 gigabytes of email storage.

November 19th, 2007 Posted by Nathan Weinberg | Culture, YouTube, Google Maps, Services, Gmail, General | no comments

Someone Want To Figure This Out?

Over the last six months, I’ve been slowly building my wife a computer on the cheap. In total, I’ve spent maybe $100, plus various collected junk parts, and built a very nice Media Center PC without hurting the old bank account. Problem is, the goal is to connect the PC to the HDTV, and the video card outputs VGA and S-Video, neither of which I can connect to the TV for an HD signal.

I picked up a VGA to component video cable, and summarilly discovered I know nothing about video equipment. As I understand, and please correct me if I’m still wrong, the VGA outputs RGB signals and my TV only accepts over component YPbPr signals, so a cable isn’t enough. I either need an RGA to component converter (not cheap) or a video card that can output a compatible signal.

Now, here’s what I think I’ve gathered: Some video cards can be set to output YPbPr component over VGA, and then my VGA-to-component cable will work. Others output DVI and I can get a converter to plug it into my TV’s single HDMI slot (which I’d rather not do, I’m saving that for the Xbox 360). Also, there are other ways to get component out of my computer, including video cards that take component cables.

I’d prefer to be able to use my VGA-to-component cable. HDMI (or rather, DVI to HDMI) is a last resort. If you understand this better than I do, please explain what I’m wrong about. I have some Amazon referral money I can use to pay for it, but I’d like to spend under $100 for the card and accessories (like cables), and hopefully I can sell the current (unused) video card to make some of that back.

Besides some advice, I’d like to give something back, so if you recommend a video card (AGP, or worst case regular PCI), list it below in the comments with an Amazon referral code, so when I buy it you can get some money back. Consider that the PC has a weak power supply, so if the card requires me to buy a new power supply, it better be cheap enough that both the card and the power supply are under $100.

So, if you know a little about video cards and formats, help me out (earn a little referral cash) so I can finish this thing and my wife can stop borrowing my laptop. I’d really appreciate the advice.

November 19th, 2007 Posted by Nathan Weinberg | General | 4 comments

Republican CNN/YouTube Debates Two Weeks Away

The Republican edition of the CNN/YouTube presidential debates is just two weeks away, and only ten days remain to submit your videos. All the questions asked of the candidates will be YouTube videos played on CNN, so the debate presents a more American, human face and gives YouTubers and opportunity to get on TV.

Participating in this debate are these eight candidates:

  • Rudolph Giuliani
  • Mike Huckabee
  • Duncan Hunter
  • John McCain
  • Ron Paul
  • Mitt Romney
  • Tom Tancredo
  • Fred Thompson

The debates will be Wednesday night, November 28 at 8 pm Eastern, live on CNN from St. Petersburg, Florida. The deadline for submitting videos, which you can do over here, is November 25.

If all goes well, I’ll liveblog the debates, unless a non-partisan reader would like to (I’ve got a bit of a conflict of interest). If you’d like to liveblog them, use the contact form or comment below and let me know.

November 15th, 2007 Posted by Nathan Weinberg | General | 2 comments

Fake Steve Jobs At Google

Dan Lyons, the man also known as Fake Steve Jobs, spoke at Google earlier this month about his book “Option$: The Secret Life of Steve Jobs”. Here’s the video of his talk:

God, he’s pretty funny to listen to. I guess you’d have to be to write a well-known funny blog.

November 15th, 2007 Posted by Nathan Weinberg | General | 7 comments



Rats in Your Soup: Google Maps Adds CleanScores Ratings

Google Maps now integrates ratings from CleanScores, a website which shows you which establishments have failed food inspections. Now, when you search for a place to eat, if CleanScores has it in their database (which for now only includes San Francisco and LA), the Google Maps results will show you the violations the food inspectors discovered in that place.

From experience, I don’t think this is such a great idea, to expose people who don’t know anything about food inspections to raw data about them. I remember writing a story about a food establishment that had been shut down due to health code violations, and when I went to the health department’s website to look up other local eateries, I was shocked to discover that every place I liked to eat had some minor violations.

Even minor violations sound terrible, like mouse droppings and dead flies, but these are so commonplace that many normal, clean restaurants have these on their record, and they don’t get shut down. I don’t pretend to know why places that are on record as having mouse poo are okay, but the health inspectors seem to think so.

Either way, if these places are truly safe, then adding the data to Google Maps will only serve to frighten people, and those people have no context for what violations are no big deal (but sound terrible) and which ones they really need to be careful about before sitting down to eat. Merely listing the violations can sometimes be irresponsible and not at all helpful.

Still, once you understand that not all violations are created equal, the data is useful. Hopefully, Google Maps users will get the message quickly before they decide to stop eating anywhere, ever.

Image by Orin Optiglot under CC

November 14th, 2007 Posted by Nathan Weinberg | General | one comment

Google Announces Open Handset Alliance; There Is No GPhone

Google confirmed the worst-kept secret in tech, that they have developed an operating system for cell phones, called “Android”, and have built the “Open Handset Alliance” to develop open phones that support it. This caps year-long rumors that Google was making a “GPhone”, rumors “confirmed” by every major tech blog.

Will those blogs apologize for getting it wrong?

Lets get to the news, first. According to Google, “Android™ will deliver a complete set of software for mobile devices: an operating system, middleware and key mobile applications”. The idea behind all of this is to be open, so applications will have access to all of the phone’s technology and functions (as opposed to Verizon phones, which disable features except for VCrap/VCast paid application).

Android is built on Linux, making it familiar to many current software developers, and it is open source. Phones will not be able to lock out third party applications, or give special priveleges to their own apps, with users able to change literally anything and everything about their phone’s software.

Android launches with the Open Handset Alliance, a coalition of companies that will put this software on their phones, presumably elminating the need to pay for software licenses in exchange for losing the ability to lock down everything. Partners include HTC, T-Mobile, Motorola and Qualcomm. Phones won’t show up until the end of next year, though an SDK should be available in about a week.

Here’s a video Google put up introducing Android:

This video has kids talking about what a “magic phone” could do:

I like this:

With Android, a developer could build an application that enables users to view the location of their friends and be alerted when they are in the vicinity giving them a chance to connect.

Uh, that’s what Dodgeball did! Does this mean Google wanted the Dodgeball guys as part of the Android project, and they quit the company instead? Or am I reading too much into things?

Meanwhile, Valleywag is all over the fact that they were saying for months that there was no GPhone. I’ve been avoiding the story this whole time, knowing how Google isn’t into the whole hardware thing, writing only a single article on the topic asking why the hell everyone was writing about this mythical GPhone.

I wonder if all the blogs that wrote aboute the GPhone, the ones that had articles claiming it was “confirmed” and that they had concrete information, are going to apologize now and look into how they screwed this one up. Valleywag has been saying for months they were getting it wrong, anyone who wasn’t over-excited and ignoring the facts could see that Google wasn’t making a phone, but they all got it wrong.

Gizmodo still says the Google phone is coming, this time talking about the prototype designs Google commissioned. Microsoft has done prototype designs for many software products, including prototype PC designs, but Microsoft never produces the actual hardware. The goal is to help hardware partners see what they could do, and that’s all Google did, yet even after Google says “There is No GPhone”, we keep hearing the myth of this GPhone coming. Even if it comes from HTC, someone will be calling it a GPhone.

November 5th, 2007 Posted by Nathan Weinberg | General | 2 comments

Google Notebook Integrates With Bookmarks, Add Labels

Google Notebook has been refreshed, adding some new functionality and features. First off, Google has done some integration between Notebook and Bookmarks, making your Bookmarks part of your Notebook. Google Bookmarks isn’t going anywhere (yet), but all your bookmarks now appear in Notebook in a new “Unfiled” notebook. If you add a new note to this notebook, it’ll become a bookmark and appear back in Google Bookmarks.

Also, Google has added Labels to Notebook. Labels, as longtime readers know, are Google’s amalgamation of folders and tags, replacing folders for organization in places like Gmail, but with the more flexible approach of being able to apply multiple labels to the same email/bookmark/notebook/whatever. Despite the fact that we’ve heard Googlers saying they hate using the term “label” instead of “tag”, Notebook now has ‘em, and you can use labels to organize your notebooks under their various tags.

With that, comes the new ability to sort Notebooks by label or filter them by label. You can also now sort them by date. Google Notebook’s web browser extension now lets you select text on a web page and click a star to add it as a note (and since Bookmarks are now in Notebook, if you add the note in the Unfiled notebook, you just used the extension to add Bookmarks, so you don’t need a seperate toolbar for creating Bookmarks anymore).

Take a look at Ionut’s blog for screenshots and details.

November 4th, 2007 Posted by Nathan Weinberg | General | one comment

Web History Adds Blog Search

Google Web History, which tracks all your past searches so you can re-find something you already searched for, has now added Google Blogsearch, bringing the total number of services they cover to ten:

  1. Web
  2. Images
  3. News
  4. Products
  5. Sponsored Links
  6. Video
  7. Maps
  8. Blogs
  9. Books

The history for Blog Search doesn’t go back far, if at all, since I have no indexed Blog queries among all my 18,000+ searches that Web History has saved.

I was looking at my personal search Trends in Web History, and take a look at the bar graphs:

personal-search-trends.png

Can you believe that? I’m working just as much at 2 am as I am the entire rest of the day! And half the time, I get four or five hours of sleep? And my only real break comes around 9pm, probably when me favorite shows are on?

Oy. I wonder what everyone else’s personal trends are like. If you want, link to screenshots of them in the comments or email them to me, and we can compare them here.

UPDATE: Two readers have sent in their Web Trends. Take a look:

Haochi:

Robert Stern:

Looks like Haochi does a huge amount of surfacing in the late afternoons and gets a healthy amount of sleep, and Robert gets less sleep then me most nights!

November 2nd, 2007 Posted by Nathan Weinberg | Blogsearch, History, Search, General | 2 comments

Download gOS, the notGoogle Green Operating System, Right Now

If you’re me (you’re not), you may find the idea of the gOS pretty interesting. As far as I can tell, it’s a lightweight Linux distribution, based on the excellent Ubuntu, that strips everything down to the essentials for the family, with a clean, easy to undertand interface that just does what the hell you need, and nothing else.

The best part? You don’t need the gPC to get it, and you don’t need to wait. Nelson Minar, a former Googler whose blog I read, was chastising the online media for dropping the ball and poorly reporting the gPC/gOS story (especially TechCrunch, which still hasn’t issued a correction), when he gave the details behind the gOS: gOS is a project of Dave Liu, and the official website is thinkgos.com.

The official website doesn’t have the OS for download right now, but fans are uploading it to torrent sites, including LinuxTracker, which has the 728 megabyte ISO available as a torrent. If you want to try gOS and see if it’s the right operating system for your family, download it right now. There are already 11 seeders and 83 leechers, so expect a brisk download.

If you are running gOS, which isn’t a Google operating system, let me know how well it works for you.

November 2nd, 2007 Posted by Nathan Weinberg | General | 11 comments

Google Drops The Bomb: MySpace Joins The Fight

Google formally announced its OpenSocial social network application platform today, and there was a bombshell announcement that they held back till the end: MySpace is in! MySpace, the most popular social network, bigger than even Facebook, is a partner in OpenSocial and will support OpenSocial applications.

Also announced as joining: SixApart, owners of Movable Type, TypePad, LiveJournal, and Vox; plus Bebo, joining previously announced partners Orkut, Oracle, Ning, XING, Tianji, Viadeo, Salesforce.com, Plaxo, hi5, imeem, Hyves, Friendster, Engage.com and LinkedIn. Many complained when word leaked out yesterday that Google’s partners, aggregated, barely register in the U.S. compared to Facebook, but the totality of this group has to have twice the market share of Facebook, with MySpace beating it all by itself.

OpenSocial just went from being an opening shot to a sure-fire game changer. With MySpace supporting it, it’s important; with everyone but Facebook supporting it, it becomes the de facto new platform. Basically, there are now two platforms, Facebook and OpenSocial, and unless OpenSocial fails due to poor infrastructure or implementation, both will be major market forces.

Facebook was offered a place in this group, but it declined, and with “big evil” Rupert Murdoch even joining the movement, they now look like the entrenched anti-user corporate entity, a big blow. OpenSocial won’t kill Facebook, it may not even convince Facebook users to leave, but it does kill Facebook’s network effect. There is no longer a pressing need to switch to Facebook because all the applications are there, the lock-in is pretty much over.

In the long run, this isn’t the Facebook killer, not even close. Facebook will thrive because Facebook users don’t want to switch; they like Facebook. However, Facebook wants to have a thriving developer community, and to get it, there’s still a good chance they’ll join Open Social, or try to compete with it. If Facebook joins, it’ll make switching around easier for users, and if it doesn’t, we’ll have a two-player war here, and those are always exciting to watch.

On one side, we’ve got Facebook and Microsoft, on the other, Google, Fox, and a lot of little guys. Of course, most of the important little guys (the developers, not the networks) already work on Facebook’s side, making them the most important players. The two sides are going to fight over developers, and Microsoft is very good at courting developers. If they can get some integration between Facebook’s Markup Language and Windows Live Spaces, the world’s most popular blogging service, perhaps via Microsoft Gadgets (which also run on Windows Vista), we’ve got a powerful closed solution on Facebook’s side.

The most important thing to remember is that we have no idea what Google supposedly gains from this. Yes, there’s a chance that Google just became the operating system of the internet, but there’s nothing in this so far about monetization. Google can’t sell the platform, and with MySpace in Orkut doesn’t look so important anymore. The programming languages are too standard for Google to sell developer tools.

We don’t know yet what Google stands to gain, except for being important and making no money at it. The only real gain: Google diminishes Facebook’s influence, and thus avoids Facebook becoming a major competitor, if this play succeeds. Things just got so interesting, nobody knows where it’s all going to end up.

Coverage: Mashable, TechCrunch

November 1st, 2007 Posted by Nathan Weinberg | Orkut, Services, General | 6 comments

Google PC: Misunderstanding, Disingenuous, or Strange Turn of Events

gpc-box.jpg

There’s a new PC at Wal-Mart, a $200 pretty decent Linux computer from Everex that you can pick up today. The PC is called the gPC, running a gOS Linux-based operating system, and a lot of people are calling it the “Google PC”.

But is it?

Plenty of websites are calling it a Google PC without a single sentence to the fact that Google did not built the PC, or the software, and is not selling it in any way. For your consideration, I present John Dvorak, the bastion of credible, honest journalism, who has these sentences in his article and his podcast:

$200 “Google PC” is launched today at Wal-mart

Google is also involved in a cheap $199 computer…

I guess it’s a prelude to a kind of Google operating system.

No mention of it not being a PC from Google.

Andy Beal titles his article Buy a Google Computer for $199! and says:

If you’ve been waiting for Google to launch its own computer and operating system, that day is here.

At the end of his article, in ignorable italics, Andy finally mentions that it’s not an actual Google computer. Perhaps a little more help for the readers is in order?

Loren Baker’s article has a similarly inaccurate title, $200 Google PC Coming to Wal-Mart Today, saying:

Everex is launching its gPC “Google PC” today at Wal-Mart stores…

Move over Microsoft, here comes something meatier.

The world has been waiting for a Google PC offering, possibly a free one with search advertising offsetting the price, but for $200, this PC is more or less free and delivers some very useful tools to the masses, who may not usually download such applications.

Absolutely nothing in the article says “This PC is not from Google”. Oy.

But I can’t blame Loren, because he’s linking to a PC World article that says this:

The Everex gPC, goes on sale tomorrow at Wal-mart and is being touted by the company as a close collaboration between the PC maker, the open source community and Google that is intended to “bring Linux to the masses.”

PC World calls it a collaboration, but gives no indication that the PC is not from Google.

ZDNet is the worst, because I may not have all the details, but I know these sentences are 0% accurate:

The GOS (Google Operating System) being shipped is actually just a version of Linux licensed through Google, which includes fast access to things like Google Mail, and Google Documents (although you can also run Open Office for that).

The keys to the story, of course, are the brand names — Google and Wal-Mart. Combine Google’s branding power with Wal-Mart’s distribution and you have a very mighty force indeed.

gOS doesn’t stand for Google Operating System, it stands for Green Operating System. A major selling point of the PC, besides its price, is low energy consumption and free, open-source software. Also, there’s no Google brand name on the box, so branding isn’t a consideration.

So what the hell is going on? It’s certainly not a “Google PC”, it doesn’t say Google on the box, it doesn’t run a Google operating system, it does have links to Google, the letter G is all over the place, and Google creating web applications are all over the desktop as program icons.

Is Everex being disingenuous, hinting a Google connection where there is none? Are reporters being stupid and fact-checking nothing? Or is it something more:

gos-screens.gifDesktop Linux actually talked to the company, and it has the real story:

Although the company claims in a FAQ that it was “created as a conceptual Google PC with a conceptual Google OS,” Paul Kim, Everex’s director of marketing, in a discussion with DesktopLinux clarified that “popular applications such as those from Google are an integral part of our product, however, gOS is an entity entirely independent from Google. Furthermore, while we make use of many applications from Google, ‘Google Apps’ is not bundled with this particular system.”

“There has been a latent demand for a consumer-friendly Linux operating system, generating countless inquires from customers seeking an alternative PC experience,” said John Lin, general manager of Everex. “The vision behind gPC was to provide mainstream users with all their favorite applications wrapped in a no-compromise, low-cost, consumer-friendly product. We’re simply giving the people what they want. Everex enlisted the collective intelligence of users throughout the world. Customers love Google products, so we added them. Hackers want administrative privileges, so we provided it. The ultimate potential of a mainstream, open-source PC is tremendous.”

So, Everex, or someone, designed this conceptual, “possible” Google OS, but it is not owned by or affiliated with Google. The screenshots of the operating system make it look so clean, so easy to use, that this could be the ideal Linux distribution for a normal, consumer household. After all, if it’s easy enough for Wal-Mart customers, anyone can run it.

Don’t be surprised if the gPC is a huge hit with families, and the gOS, thanks to Wal-Mart’s distribution, proves easier and more appealing than the more complicated Mac and Windows operating systems. The PC has a 1.5 GHz VIA low-power processor, half a gig of RAM, an 80-gigabyte hard drive, a DVD/CDRW combo drive and an ethernet port, which without Windows (and, regrettably, without a monitor), makes it a decent deal for $200.

Just, please, try to remember: It’s not a Google PC. It’s a PC with a Google focus, and it’s damn cheap.

November 1st, 2007 Posted by Nathan Weinberg | General | 4 comments