Google Launches Hotel Finder

We have seen how Google is taking over local business by Google Maps and Google Places. Now the search giant — who is no longer a search giant — is taking a refreshing approach to the hotels. Thus, Google launched Hotel Finder.

Just like the name suggests, Hotel Finder is a web-based application that lets you find hotels in any city in the United States. You cannot reserve rooms through this service, at least not yet, but you can only find out the hotel that is perfect for you.

Hotel Finder has an impressive look in the first place. You’ll be greeted with a few options to choose from. You can simply click on the cities listed, or use the search box to find out a city, or set from various options available under “Price” and “Hotel class & user rating” menus.

Another great thing about Google’s Hotel Finder is that you can enable a map view. You’ll be presented with a map of the city you want to go to. You can explore the map and find out information about the hotel you’ll be interested in.

Above all there is an option for you to create a short list of hotels. You can compare reviews and prices later from the short list of hotels. If you have ever bought anything from online shopping sites, you would know how this works.

Up until now there are no ads around the site. But the site is in experimental condition and as soon as it leaves it, you may start seeing ads everywhere. Despite that, the approach is very good if you frequently need to travel to places you’ve never been before.

Is Google’s Hotel Finder going to be helpful for you? What more would you expect from it? Tell us in the comments.

Image Credit: GigaOM.

Study Shows Internet Explorer 6 Users Are Quite Dumb!

A recent study titled “Intelligence Quotient (IQ) and Browser Usage” conducted by Canadian company AptiQuant has shown figures that people who use Internet Explorer 6 have shamefully less IQ score compared to those that use Firefox or Chrome.

While IE6 users have an average IQ score of around 80, Firefox and Chrome users have an average score of 110. But don’t get too excited yet; those who use Opera or Camino have an average IQ score of more than 120.

However, in 2006, IE6 users used to have much better IQ score.

The data was compiled after a test was carried out among 101,326 people older than 16 years. They were divided into groups based on what browser they used.

Internet Explorer version 6 has been a nightmare for both developers, designers and end-users. However, those who still use IE6 is understandably afraid or doesn’t care to upgrade to a latest version. Even though many security firms including Microsoft itself has asked users to upgrade to a new version, certain people didn’t upgrade. Logically they have less knowledge over the whole technology thing.

So, you have to be very careful about what browser you use. Maybe the next time you get into an interview board, you might be asked what browser you use for your surfing purpose.

Now People Can Be on Facebook Before They Are Born

Although Facebook says a person needs to be at least 13 years of age in order to use the social networking site, there are lots of profile belonging to children that are a few weeks old. Now, the social networking giant adds another feature that lets you add your unborn child on Facebook.

The concept is simple. If you have been on Facebook, you already know that you can add/mention other people as Mother, Father, Brother, Sister, Daughter, Son etc family member or relatives. That drop-down menu has a new option called “Expected Child”.

With the new feature, you can show your expected child with a name on your Facebook profile. Not to mention the month that you’re expecting your baby will be shown on your friends’ news feed immediately.

If you are really expecting a child within next year (right now you can’t set an unborn child  that is not expected after 2012), you can show it on your Facebook. To do so, simply do the following:

From your Facebook homepage, click on Edit my Profile from the upper left corner. Now from the right side, choose Friends and Family.

Now click “Add another family member” and set “Expected: Child” from the drop-down menu. You will see the option to set the due date as well as a name for it. Once done, click Save Changes button at the bottom of that page.

It will be shown on news feed just like this:

add unborn children on facebook

So, that’s how the new feature works. Are you going to make use of it?

An important note: ‘Aminul’ is not really expecting a child in any January!

Gmail’s New Approach to Getting New Users

Are you a hardcore Gmail user? Did you notice something different on the Gmail login page recently? Some folks from Gmail team have developed a new method for you to invite your friends who are not using Gmail to move out and switch to Gmail immediately.

email intervention by gmail

The new method is called Email Intervention. Although you can still do it the old way — right from your Gmail, the Gmail team has come up with a brand new address, http://www.emailintervention.com for you to invite your friends and ‘save them from outdated emails!’

The new site notes, “You’ve probably already improved the lives of your friends and family members by helping them switch to Gmail, but what about that one friend who still hasn’t made the switch? It’s time to take a stand and stage an intervention.”

Once in the site, you’ll see a big red button to start the intervention. Clicking on that button will open up a new page with two options — one to provide your friend’s existing Email address along with your name and Gmail address while the other one lets you sign in to Gmail in order to send multiple invitations.

The invitation process is simple. You just have to choose your contacts, create a customized message body and send them out to your friends to ‘help them improve their lifestyle!’ The three-step-process is neatly shown in the Email Intervention homepage with some hotmail and yahoo addresses on it — straightly pointing that these are outdated email service provider.

What do you think of Gmail’s new approach to getting more users? Innovative?

Virtual Characters Can Identify You

Virtually we use many different kind of avatars to connect with people we don’t know as well as take part in social networking sites to make new friends over the Internet. People also take different avatars to play games or explore virtual world such as Second Life. Most of the time, people tend to be someone else they really aren’t. With the power of Internet, it’s totally possible to bully someone with an avatar impersonating someone else. As long as it doesn’t go to Police’s hands, you are clear.

However, scientists believe that a system can be developed by which they can identify who you really are. The system, or technique, will use your characteristic or virtual behavior to find out if you are representing the real ‘you’.

Dr Roman Yampolskiy from the University of Louisville thinks that we seriously need to know more about the person we meet in virtual worlds as people’s participation in Second Life-like worlds are increasing fast.

Therefore, spotting the real persons behind fictitious faces is getting more important. He says finding the real gender of a person controlling an avatar has commercial benefit, too.

Find out more information about how Dr Roman Yampolskiy is developing the system that can even identify your face regardless of how different the avatar you choose is.

Alibaba Faces Apple and Google

In China, everything appears to be its own. Just like Baidu is somewhat more popular than Google. Now here comes a new smartphone operating system from a Chinese company that will compete with big fishes such as Google and Apple.

The new smartphone operating system, called Alyun OS, has been launched by a Chinese company “Alibaba” as it takes part in fast-growing mobile market in China.

Smarphone sales in China is expected to increase significantly. Smarphone is the world’s biggest market for mobile phones where Apple is currently at the top.

Wang Jian, president of Alibaba Cloud Computing, has said that users want a convenient operating system for their smartphones that enables them to enjoy what Internet has to offer. To provide users what they expect from their smarphone, Alibaba has stepped forward with its own version of smartphone OS.

Along with Alyun OS, the renowned company has also come up with a physical device — smartphone — to run the OS on. Called K-Touch, the first smartphone of its kind will be manufactured by Chinese handset maker Tianyu.

According to reports, Alibaba is in talks with other manufacturers to develop a special kind of smartphone device that will cost significantly less than most smartphones in the market. But Alibaba itself is in ‘no ecosystem’ to enter the mobile manufacturing market, said Wang Jian.

In the very competitive field of smartphone market, where Apple and Google are currently in the leading positions, it is very hard to say that Alibaba can take over. But since the company is in China, and China is its first target, we can say that Alibaba may just make it.

Spotify Being Sued

According to reports, PacketVideo is suing music streaming service Spotify in the US and Europe for violating its patents.

PacketVideo claimed in a lawsuit that Spotify has used two music streaming methods that were patented to PacketVideo.

Spotify in UK said it would “strongly contest” the claims PacketVideo made, according to BBC. In the US, it hasn’t been two weeks yet since the service has been launched.