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As if we didn't already have enough weird info coming from Google Trends, we will now be able to watch the rise and fall of viral videos. Google has added YouTube searches to the data available through Google Trends to allow curious users and journalists to dig through piles of information.
For instance, goats were the top animal searched for this month, beating out the ever-so-cute dogs and cats that are usually on top. Goats are probably on top because of the hilarious videos of goats screaming like humans that have surfaced online. More interesting information is that searches for Rebecca Black peak every Friday.
Users are able to search Trends for different Google services, such as just Images, News, Products, or YouTube. We'll keep our eyes on the trends and see if anything interesting pops up. Oh, some good news: Harlem Shake appears to be on the way out.
Google suffered a temporary case of dementia earlier today which resulted in Digg being erased from Google's indexes. The deletion of Digg from the index resulted from Google accidentally applying a Webspam filter to the whole site rather than the one link they were trying to disallow.
We're sorry about the inconvenience this morning to people trying to search for Digg. In the process of removing a spammy link on Digg.com, we inadvertently applied the Webspam action to the whole site. We're correcting this, and the fix should be deployed shortly.
It comes at an ironic time. Just a few days ago, Digg's Kevin Rose announced that they would build a replacement for Google's ill-fated Reader. Digg's General Manager Jake Levine added that the accidental removal wasn't too terrible for business:
The good news is that it doesn't really impact us all that much. The vast majority of our traffic is direct (like 90 percent) so it's not a huge deal for us from a business or user perspective.
YouTube is bankrolling an original series created by Reddit. The new series, Explain Like I'm Five, will be getting three episodes released today, one of which is embedded below. The series comes from the subreddit that features the same name.
For us, it's more about encouraging the Reddit community and bigger community of producers, filmmakers and animators out there to create content, video, web series, shows ... based on Reddit content.
It's an interesting idea that benefits both Reddit and YouTube. YouTube gets to host the content and serve ads and Reddit serves as the source of ideas. We aren't sure if this will prove to be an on-going thing or if Reddit is trying to start the ball rolling and allow others to step up. We'll be sure to report more when we know.
Google has climbed some of the highest peaks in the world to bring Street View images so that you don't even have to get out of your seat. While this won't satisfy some of the most adventurous Google Maps users, it will satisfy those of us who may not be physically capable of climbing these mountins.
While there's nothing quite like standing on the mountain, with Google Maps you can instantly transport yourself to the top of these peaks and enjoy the sights without all of the avalanches, rock slides, crevasses, and dangers from altitude and weather that mountaineers face.
Last week we learned that Google Reader would be put out to pasture this coming July, and while Google continues to sever the heads of some of its apps, it seems to be planting seeds for new services to grow.
Earlier today website Android Police spotted some source code that alluded to a new service from Google called "Keep" that would let users easily take, store, and sync notes using one's Google Drive storage space. After some more digging, the sleuths discovered that the desktop version had already gone live at drive.google.com/keep.
The site has since been taken down, suggesting that Google had not meant for the public to see the new service yet. TheNextWeb was able to demo Keep for a few minutes before it was pulled offline and they described the interface as being "basic" and "made for mobile". They said that it did include a search feature, but integration with the rest of Google Drive was nonexistent.
So what does this mean? Well, Google is obviously working on a note taking application, and that it does plan on integrating it into the existing Google Drive product. Will it contend with Evernote? That is still left to be seen, but there is something appealing to having all my productivity apps built into a single easy to manage product like Google Drive.
Google are shutting down Google Reader on July 1, which is causing users to flock to other services, with over 500,000 users jumping over to Feedly. I'm a big user of Feedly, and noticed it was going up and down with the Google Reader shutdown news, which now makes sense - hundreds of thousands of new users were jumping onto the service.
Feedly have noticed this growth obviously, and are said to be increasing their bandwidth by 10 times, as well as adding additional servers. The developers have also said that their main goals going into the next 30 days is to keep the service running, to take in suggestions from new users, as well as to continue adding new features on a weekly basis.
I know many of us are saddened by Google's choice to close down the Google Reader product. Many of the TweakTown staff use it daily. However, some good news has come out of the decision: new competitors are stepping up and developing new products or improving existing ones.
A petition was started on Change.org that asks Google to rethink its plans regarding shutting down Google Reader. Impressively, the petition has already surpassed 100,000 signatures. The Google Reader closure was announced just two days ago. For comparison, it took nearly 30 days for the White House petition regarding cell phone unlocking to gain a similar count.
We're not sure that this petition will have any effect on Google's stance. A Google spokesperson said in a statement, "We've given an overview of our reasoning and plans on our blog posts on the Official Google Blog and the Google Reader blog, and we'll be communicating directly with our users as we make these changes."
That doesn't mean that you shouldn't sign the petition, available here. The more signatures that are put on the list, the better the chances of Google Reader sticking around, at least for a year or two. My name's on the list. Is yours?
Google Reader will soon go out to pasture, but there are multiple replacements either ready to go, or being made right now. Digg have announced their replacement, where they're building their own rich site summary (RSS) reader.
Digg's new product will offer the best parts of Google Reader, and advance them to meet the needs of readers of today. Digg notes that networks and communities like Facebook, Twitter, Reddit and more are great places to find information on the web, but they can be overwhelming, too.
Digg had reportedly been working on their new site, and were going to unveil it later in the year but with Google announcing the axing of Reader, they decided to bring their announcement date forward to now. Digg are asking readers what they want to see in their new reader, what was useful and what wasn't in Reader that you'd like to see Digg's new service include, or exclude.
Microsoft has said that the 14-hour Outlook.com and Hotmail outage was the result of overheating at one of the company's datacenters. The heat apparently resulted during a regular firmware update that ended up functioning in an "unexpected way." The outage was limited to just Hotmail and Outlook.com thanks to Microsoft's automatic safeguards that kicked in.
The outage started at 3:35p.m. PDT on March 12 and lasted until 5:43a.m. PDT on March 13. The outage was unusually long because the fix required both software updates and "human intervention." Microsoft says that the latter requirement made the outage last longer than usual.
Microsoft issued an apology for the extended outage and added that they take outages "very seriously." After all, outages are the last thing Microsoft needs as people continue to flock to competing services like Gmail.
Netflix announced today that it is starting a new contest in which $100,000 in prizes will be given away. The number one web based video rental service is calling the contest the Netflix Cloud Prize. The contest is centered around ten categories that each carry a $10k prize to those who can best "improve the features, usability, quality, reliability and security of computing resources" as part of the internet cloud.
The contest can be entered by individuals or teams. This is not Nexflix's first foray into crowd sourcing innovation. Back in 2009 Netflix paid $1 million to BellKor's Pragmatic Chaos, the winners of the Netflix Prize, who created an algorithm that was superior at guessing which movies Netflix users would enjoy.
The Netflix Cloud Prize begins March 13th 2013 and ends September 15th 2013. Winners will be announced in October and prizes paid out in November at the Amazon Web Services Invent conference.