Archive for the ‘Internet’ Category

Chrome is here – a review

The much speculated Chrome has been launched in a cutsey manner with comic books and press leaks…but hey lets review the product not the launch

Minimalist to the extreme it has no status bar, no menu bar and only a single toolbar for bookmarks. I personally liked Chrome though the interface will take a bit of time to get used to. My advice it you try it over the weekend so that you can explore the features with lesuire before switching over.

High points are the simple design, easy import of FF/IE bookmarks, and promise of greater performance. Low points are beta level completeness in UI, and few of the familiar frills from IE or Firefox. There are big bets in here that challenge existing browsers, but will take several versions to fulfill.

David Progue in says Chrome forgoes many of the menus and bars that are common in most browsers, and it combines into one the two separate boxes where users normally type Web addresses and search keywords. As users type, Chrome figures out whether a term represents a search term or a Web site address.

Individual tabs in the browser are designed to work independently, so if a Web page crashes one of them, the rest of the program continues to run.

Google also claims that Chrome is far faster at loading Web pages and running applications, features that it said would persuade programmers that they could rely on browsers to run increasingly complex software.

Tech Crunch says – My favorite feature so far in Chrome is the homepage. Unlike every other browser on the market, Chrome gives you a list of all the most-visited pages you’ve been to. I found this to be extremely useful. Instead of wasting time sifting through favorites or trying to find a specific page, I had all my most visited pages at my disposal when I opened Chrome up.

Google has produced an excellent browser that is friendly enough to handle average browsing activities without complicating the tasks, but at the same time it’s powerful enough to meet the needs of more-advanced users. The search functionality of the Omnibar is one of many innovations that caught my attention. This is from PC World


Corprates to increase usage of Web2.0 worldwide

McKinsey Quarterly has published an excellent report on how businesses are using Web 2.0 and are going to use it in the coming years. India is one of the countries included in the survey making it more relevant.

The above graph indicates that 80% of Indian companies will increase investments in technology of these 63% of corporates in the financial services feel the need to invest further in technology.

Blogs seem to be popular in India (can we have more corporate blogging?) as are P2P networks

Here is what peeping into the future can show

· Tougher competition. Almost 60 percent of the respondents satisfied with Web 2.0 initiatives (but only 42 percent of other respondents) see them as a driver of competitive advantage. Expect these companies to become more aggressive in the marketplace against rivals that are slower to get on board.

· Higher investment levels. Satisfied or not, all companies plan to spend more on Web 2.0 tools—an opportunity for software developers.

· Building Web 2.0 success. There are few differences in size, region, or even tool use between companies that are satisfied with their Web 2.0 experience and those that are not. This suggests that today’s seemingly insurmountable barriers could be overcome through the adoption of managerial methods that satisfied companies use.

· Innovation. Successful companies already use Web 2.0 for business applications such as communicating with customers and suppliers; soon they may use it to drive innovation.

The Economics of Spam

The dark side of the Web

Spam is flooding the Internet with many copies of the same message, in an attempt to force the message on people who would not otherwise choose to receive it. Most spam is commercial advertising, often for dubious products, get-rich-quick schemes, or quasi-legal services. Spam costs the sender very little to send — most of the
costs are paid for by the recipient or the carriers rather than by the sender.

There are two main types of spam, and they have different effects on Internet users. Cancellable Usenet
spam is a single message sent to 20 or more Usenet newsgroups. (Through long experience, Usenet users have found that any message posted to so many newsgroups is often not relevant to most or all of them.) Usenet spam is aimed at
“lurkers”, people who read newsgroups but rarely or never post and give their address away. Usenet spam robs users of the utility of the newsgroups by overwhelming them with a barrage of advertising or other
irrelevant posts. Furthermore, Usenet spam subverts the ability of system administrators and owners to manage the topics they accept on their systems.

Email spam targets individual users with direct mail messages. Email spam lists are often created by scanning Usenet postings, stealing Internet mailing lists, or searching the Web for addresses. Email spams typically cost users money out-of-pocket to receive. Many people – anyone with measured phone service – read or receive their mail while the meter is running, so to speak. Spam costs them additional money. On top of that, it costs money for ISPs and online services to transmit spam, and these costs are transmitted directly to subscribers.

One particularly nasty variant of email spam is sending spam to mailing lists (public or private email
discussion forums.) Because many mailing lists limit activity to their subscribers, spammers will use automated tools to subscribe to as many mailing lists as possible, so that they can grab the lists of addresses, or use the
mailing list as a direct target for their attacks.

The Economics of Spam

In general, spam is the excessive distribution of messages to as many people as possible.

E-mail is the cheapest form of direct marketing (much cheaper than telemarketing or bulk junk mail through
the post). Andrew Leung (2003) observed observed that the response rate to spam is as low as 0.005% – only 50 in every million people respond to UBE.

But despite this very low response rate spam can make economic sense because the costs of dealing with it
are felt only by those recipients who don’t want it.

And CipherTrust (as reported by John Leyden) says that the response rates for pharmaceuticals is 200 per million, for

“Rolex” is 75 per million, and for porn is 50,000 per million! (Under 1 in 100 click-throughs actually yield a sale).

Fighting Spam

This is an example of negative externalities. Private costs and social costs diverge. Spammers are either unaware or don’t care about the costs they impose.

Anti-Spam Software

We can reduce spam in our
e-mail InBox by installing add-on anti-spam software on our workstation.
The marketplace offers a wide selection of such software that works in conjunction with our e-mail client software. 

The down side of anti-spam software is its expense and ongoing management effort.

A little Help from our ISP

One line of defence against spam can be our Internet Service Provider (ISP).  ISPs that filter spam
have happier customers and avoid clogging their e-mail servers with useless e-mail. 

E-Mail Client Filters

Most e-mail client software
comes with features designed to reduce spam in the InBox by searching for telltale signs in the contents of incoming spam.  For example, in Microsoft Outlook, we can set up various filters using the Tools > Rules Wizard function.

Since spam is rarely sent directly to us but to a list of undisclosed recipients, setting a filter that looks for specific words in the subject line is a good place to start.
More sophisticated filters can search for undesirable originators or selected properties of documents.

The limitations of the client e-mail filter approach are that the spammers are fully aware of the features of
the Rules Wizard and can send messages with misleading Subject lines and document characteristics that bypass our filters.  Also, these filters are not as sophisticated as the add-on software.

Our Behavior

Quite a different approach to controlling spam relies on disciplining our own behavior.  We must resist the temptation to participate in surveys, contests and “free” offers.  All of these ask us for information that greatly increases the
likelihood that we will be spammed.

Definite Don’ts

Don’t ever click on the
Remove button of spam e-mail.  Rather than removing yourself from a list, clicking the Remove button actually confirms that you exist.  Now the spammer will subject you to more spam.

Don’t ever, ever buy anything from a spammer.  Aside from the potential for fraud, we are only encouraging more spam.

Don’t complain.  In my experience there’s no satisfaction to be gained.  We’ll only raise the level of our irritation meter.  Move on.  Life is too short.

If it’s too good to be true…

Needless to say, nobody in Nigeria is really looking for a random person in the US just to do some money laundering.

No national lottery gives prizes to people who don’t buy tickets.

You don’t get refunds on products you haven’t bought.

And no bank or credit company will ever call you up and ask for your PIN. They know it already. They especially won’t call you and ask for your PIN if you had your wallet stolen.

Has Cuil failed already?

The blogoshpere seems to be unanimous in its criticism of Cuil. Huffinton Post has huffed and puffed it out. Tech Crunch has crunched it out and it no longer merits a thought.

Our own readers have commented and the vote seems to be -“good design but where is the relevance”. So don’t sign out of google yet.

The promoters of could take this as an opportunity to improve their product and relaunch it. After all where can you get such frank and accurate consumer feedback for free.

Meanwhile, there is a tool called Surf Canyon which can cut your search time and make it more relevant. Do give it a try it is fairly simple to use. On a initial try I felt that it did add some value but not much. Do give me your feedback.

How cool is cuil – a review

A start-up led by former star Google engineers on Sunday unveiled a new Web search service that aims to outdo the Internet search leader in size, but faces an uphill battle changing Web surfing habits.

Cuil Inc (pronounced “cool”) is offering a new search service at that the company claims can index, faster and more cheaply, a far larger portion of the the Web than Google, which boasts the largest online index.

The would-be Google rival says its service goes beyond prevailing search techniques that focus on Web links and audience traffic patterns and instead analyzes the context of each page and the concepts behind each user search request.

For starters, Cuil’s search index spans 120 billion Web pages.

Patterson believes that’s at least three times the size of Google’s index, although there is no way to know for certain. Google stopped publicly quantifying its index’s breadth nearly three years ago when the catalog spanned 8.2 billion Web pages.

Rather than trying to mimic Google’s method of ranking the quantity and quality of links to Web sites, Patterson says Cuil’s technology drills into the actual content of a page. And Cuil’s results will be presented in a more magazine-like format instead of just a vertical stack of Web links. Cuil’s results are displayed with more photos spread horizontally across the page and include sidebars that can be clicked on to learn more about topics related to the original search request.

A quick serch showed that there were around 70% relevant and 30% spam like posts. I liked the design of the sight. It gives you an option of have a three column page view so you don’t have to scroll down

Available at, the site tells us in its “about us” section that Cuil is an old Irish word for knowledge, and that if you want knowledge, “ask Cuil”.

All in all, it looks like the most exciting new search engine so far, and if it truly is any good, will give Google the impetus is needs to itself take its own search capabilities into the next dimension – being the biggest and best for too long with no true competition is no good for anyone!

Will the real Internet User stand up!

The Indian Internet user numbers have been under review for some time. With varying usership figures confusing the advertsiser, Emarketer has come up with a bird’s eye view and added its own opinion of the number of Internet users in India.

The Indian government declared 2007 the “Year of Broadband,” setting a goal of 20 million broadband users in 2010.

However, according to the new India Online Overview report, eMarketer expects India to reach 10.5 million broadband households, or just over one-half the target, by 2011.

Broadband Households and Penetration in India, by Access Technology, 2005-2011 (thousands and % of total households)

To be fair they have presented the views of other estimates…. which one is right only time will tell.

As one can see the current figures also differ vastly as do the estimates.