There have been 3 big things in the tech world as of late that are getting covered over and over and over again. Well, you might not be seeing them all, but I view a lot of tech sites in the day and they all have the same ‘news’ bulletins about the same topics.
The big 3 as I see it are 2 news pieces and one awesome program. The awesome program is one I’ve been using since it was in Beta and recommend to everyone, and that’s Evernote. The 2 big news stories are Knol (by Google) challenging Wikipedia, and Cuil (pronounced ‘cool’) challenging Google Search.
I could write an entire post on Evernote if I so chose. But basically it is the pinnacle of note taking software.
-It takes audio notes, pictures, and text notes, and indexes them all. It actually searches within the pictures for words to be indexed.
-It has a web interface. So all your notes are available online at anytime.
-It has a desktop client as well that provides a nicer, simpler interface.
-It can receive emails and store them as notes. It can receive SMS and MMS messages and store them as notes.
-For some models of phone (iPhone, Java enabled phones, and Windows based phones), it has an in-phone application.
Now wait a minute. If you’re taking notes in all these different places, wouldn’t it make sense if they were all synced up automatically? THEY ARE! You can control when on all but the web application, but what you write on your phone (assuming you’ve synced it to the server) will appear on the desktop and web versions. Fully indexed and ready to go.
But wait, all this synchronization and such has to come at a price. Yes it does. And that price is FREE. Sure, there’s some limitation of 40MB per month uploads. But I use this regularly and have not even come close to this ceiling. And if the ceiling bothers you so much, you can get a paid version that increases it drastically or removes it. I don’t know which, because I don’t pay for it.
The Knol issue is an interesting one. Google is apparently annoyed that no matter what you search for in Google, Wikipedia is almost always the first entry. Well that’s a lot of click revenue that isn’t going to Google. So they decided to squeeze their foot in the door: enter Knol. Knol is distinctly different in the concept of ownership. Anyone can write an article, just like Knol. But the author has the choice of keeping that article protected so only they can edit it, or sharing it with some (hopefully smart) friends, or leaving it open for editing by anyone. Wikipedia currently only offers the last option. With Wikipedia, nothing is sacred, and that’s why there have been campaigns where Stephen Colbert told everyone to change the article about elephants to say something ridiculous. And it seemed for awhile there like a week couldn’t go by without some celebrity or politician going in there and editing their information to put themselves in a more favorable light. With Knol you can see the profile of whoever wrote it originally, and its editing level.
What I found immediately funny about this was when the guy running Wikipedia was asked about this on a radio show, he suggested people go out and COPY all the information being put on Knol, PASTE it into Wikipedia, and cite it. The Creative Commons licenses they both hold to doesn’t bar this, but it does raise an interesting question. With that kind of ‘everything is good for me’ setting to Wikipedia, can it be beaten ever? Unless you could copy out all the information in Wikipedia, clean up the interface and look of it, and get people to start visiting your version because it’s prettier, I don’t see how this free-edit encyclopedia can be beaten.
But kudos to Google for trying with Knol.
The second news story has been in this last week. Cuil was originally setup by some key people in the tech industry. They claim to have a better idea and methodology to search than Google currently does. So they created ‘a larger index of sites’ and present it in their own way.
Overall I think competition can benefit most any industry. So power to Cuil for thinking so highly of themselves. I ran a few tests of my own with a series of odd searches (people’s names, places, etc.), and on a couple occasions Google found everything there seemed to be about the search item. But Cuil found NOTHING. Especially after knowing from Google that the stuff IS out there, Cuil just made a very bad first impression with me. So I might like their look to the page, but I’m still sticking with Google as my default search for everything. Who knows, maybe Cuil is ‘Feeling Lucky’.
Pleasant days to all.