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If you're anything like me, you certainly like to know how the things you use work. Well, I've been dying for a good, brief explanation of how Google works, and apparently I wasn't the only one. RobertvH from Munich did too and sent in a question to Google who produced a video explaining the crawling, indexing, and search portions of the process.
Mountain View's head of web-spam, Matt Cutts takes you through the process in the video. The short answer to the question is a lot of processing power and experience. Matt does a great job of keeping the audience engaged, so I really hope more videos like this get released. It really is a nice view into the inner workings of Google.
With construction completed on Facebook's new datacenter in Forest City, NC, Facebook has flipped the switch in one of the buildings and now it is serving Facebook traffic. The new datacenter broke ground in November 2010 and should be fully operational by the end of the year.
The datacenter is composed of two buildings which house the first major deployment of the v2 Open Compute Project web servers. These servers are based on Intel's lower power Sandy Bridge architecture. The whole of the datacenter was designed to conserve energy, hence the new web servers. The climate in North Carolina will test Open Compute's outdoor air cooling system, as the humidity and temperature is outside of what is normally needed inside a datacenter.
The datacenter stands as a trophy to Facebook's ongoing success as the servers are needed to power Facebook for its 845+ million users. The timing of the opening of the facility is almost perfect because Facebook is nearing an initial public offering which could value the company somewhere around $100 billion.
Dubbed 'The Promo Bay', The Pirate Bay would like to help promote your cool music, video, comedic skill, or other talent provided you allow free, easy access to the material that is being promoted. Submissions are thrown into a pool and occasionally one is picked to have their image replace the default Pirate Bay logo and be linked to the page of their choosing.
Originally they planned to release only a few submissions a year, but after 5000 people submitted applications to be promoted, the plans changed. "Thus far we've done 14 regular campaigns in 3 countries each and 8 worldwide promotions," Pirate Bay's Winston told TorrentFreak. "When we started the project the plan was to do a few worldwide promotions a year, but the submissions have been too good. So now we're gonna do the worldwide promos every weekend and some regulars every now and then."
The infamous term 'blog' has a new competitor. Similarly to how 'facial tissues' became 'Kleenex' or 'copies' became 'Xeroxes', 'blog' is set to become known as 'Tumblr' if the current trends, available here, continue. Usually the names of companies become synonymous with what they do only after they have achieved a majority usage.
This achievement would confirm that Tumblr really has established itself as the most popular blogging platform on the web. Currently, the term 'blog' is ahead of 'Tumblr' but XKCD blogger Randall Munroe believes that 'Tumblr' will see more Google searches by October 12 this year. If you want traffic to your blog, your best bet is to publish it on Tumblr.
As for Tumblr itself, it is looking to capitalize on its explosion of popularity. Tumblr has reiterated its commitment to keep ads off of the site, instead moving towards other forms of revenue generation. David Karp calls the $1 post highlighting "one of [Tumblr's] most successful revenue-generating features."
Many users of the popular Google service Gmail were reporting the service as unavailable this morning. The extent and cause of the outage are not known at the moment. Twitter was abuzz with reports from many users who are unable to access the service. The outage was not a complete outage as some people were still able to access the service.
Other services appeared to be down in conjunction with Gmail. If Gmail was down for you, it is likely that Docs and Google+ were unavailable for you as well. Google acknowledged the problem with a post Google's Apps status dashboard: "We're investigating reports of an issue with Google Mail. We will provide more information shortly."
At 10:40am PT Google Tweeted that, "#Gmail should be back for some of you already, and will be back for everyone soon. Thanks for your patience."
At 10:42am PT A Google spokesperson said, "We're aware that some users are experiencing an error when accessing their Gmail. We are working on a resolution and apologize for the inconvenience. Thanks for your patience."
At 11:00am PT Google's Apps status dashboard said, "The problem with Google Mail should be resolved. We apologize for the inconvenience and thank you for your patience and continued support. Please rest assured that system reliability is a top priority at Google, and we are making continuous improvements to make our systems better."
For all of the Harry Potter fans out there, Pottormore finally opens for all, sort of. You see, you can now register after providing some personal details to find out if you're magical or not, but that doesn't give you access. Your account has to be verified before you can access the site.
Unfortunately for us, the site's management has let it be known that the approval/verification process could be slow even though they plan to verify a steady stream of accounts. They make note that you may not gain access right away. Darn. Currently you will find e-books of all 7 books as well as the audiobook versions.
Once you do gain access, you will be able to have access to interactive tours of locations mentioned in the books and the virtual tools needed to practice your magical arts. The owners plan to add more features over the coming weeks and months. Additionally, after your registration is approved, you will be sorted into one of the four houses and be chosen by your wand.
Last year LastPass was the target of an alleged hacking attempt which forced them to ask users to change their passwords. Additionally, LastPass relies on browser plug-ins whereas this new service does not. With the upcoming release of Internet Explorer 10 and Windows 8 Metro, it will no longer support browser plug-ins which is a major issue.
This new service is set to be more secure than LastPass and work without any browser plug-ins or software installs. It will be more secure since your passwords are encrypted with a secure password phrase which isn't stored by the service. This means that they will be unable to see any of your passwords, not that they want to anyway.
my1login can sign users into any site with one click. Apps for iOS and Android are in the works. The new service has gained $1 million in funding which launched at the beginning of last month. They hope to go viral by allowing people who refer people to the service to get the pro version of the service. I'm not sure what the pro version offers.
Facebook probably knows more about you than you do. They collect and track pretty much everything you do on the site, so it's not that much of a stretch to assume they have more data than they tell you. If Target can predict when a girl is pregnant based upon what she buys, then imagine what Facebook can do with all of your 'Likes' and posts.
Facebook's Download Your Information feature is getting expanded after an audit last year by the Irish Data Protection Commissioner concluded that the company still wasn't doing enough. The feature was first introduced in 2010 and provides a limited archive of the data that Facebook has collected.
The expanded feature should provide more information such as previous names you've used, friend requests, and IP addresses from which you've logged in. The feature is relaunching today and will see a gradual roll out to all users so you may not be able to access it quite yet. Facebook is promising to add more categories of data down the road. The feature is accessed the same way as before.
The Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) has been accepting applications for new generic top-level domains (gTLD). Right now there are approximately 22 gTLDs including com and org. After the application period closes April 12, it is expected that hundreds if not thousands of new gTLDs will be created.
These new gTLDs will be anything from ".Google" or ".YouTube" to ".Pepsi" or ".Delta". Google is expected to pick up all of their trademarks and then some as stated by a company spokesman: "We plan to apply for Google's trademarked TLDs, as well as a handful of new ones. We want to help make this a smooth experience for web users -- one that promotes innovation and competition on the internet."
The new gTLDs could allow YouTube to brand YouTube channels with something like "mychannel.YouTube" as the URL. The new gTLDs have some interesting new uses, but come at a cost. gTLDs have the application fee and operating costs. The initial application fee of $185,000 is quite a bit for most to overcome. A full list of applications will be posted April 30.
Iran will soon be without the public internet. They already have strict filters on the content, but these can be avoided by using programs such Tor. Reza Taghipour, the Iranian minister for Information and Communications Technology released a statement last week: "All Internet Service Providers (ISP) should only present National Internet by August."
The new intranet would prevent access to Google, Yahoo, Hotmail, and similar sites. These would be replaced by alternative services provided by the Iranian government such as such as Iran Mail and Iran Search Engine. The government has already started the signup process for those services. Names and addresses are being verified and recorded.
Iran denies the report: "The report is in no way confirmed by the ministry." They instead blame the report on the propaganda wing of the West. Either way, this new firewalled internet is of serious concern to cyberactivists in Iran because it would give the government an advantage in the battle raging between them.