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Posts Tagged ‘google’

Revolution In 140 Characters

Revolution is seldom neat. It rarely even makes it out the gate before being brutally repressed. In the upheavals of yore, state controlled media and communications networks typically made information a scarce commodity, but in the age of our good friends Twitter and Facespace there’s a whole lot of potential for organization, sharing, and demonstration with purpose.

We saw the dissemination of information via social media force some ugly moves in Iran some years back. And though there is much debate as to what role Twitter and Co. played in the recent Tunisian protests, no one’s denying that it gave vox to the populi.

In Egypt’s case, Hosni and his regime weren’t able to keep up with the characters and were forced to pull the plug.


Peter Macdiarmid/Getty Images

Lucky for us they’ve sorta been unsuccessful. The eager-to-please-a-protester techies at Google and Twitter joined forces to make a “speak-to-tweet” service happen for any of the Egyptian dissidents wanting access to revolution in 140 characters.

How’s it work?

Anyone inside Egypt can totally use their “phone” to make a “phone call” to a messaging service, leave a message, and the tweet self-generates with an “#egypt” tag. Sans interwebs! And it can (between you and me and the Internet) totally be OVER 140 characters.

Google set up a blog about the new service on Monday. As of Friday morning, @speak2tweet already had close to 3000 submissions.

Viva la revolution!

Giving Hack To Society

There’s an undeniable negative connotation attributed to the term “hacker.”

QUICK! What are you thinking of?

Wikileaks? Sinister e-terror? A mid-90s thriller starring a short-haired Angelina Jolie?

How about saving the lives of those afflicted by natural disasters with free software that leads to faster response times?

That was one of the successful outcomes of last year’s Random Hacks of Kindness, a friendly competition held annually with the aim of creating software to make life better and safer for all humans.

What started as a couple of software engineers having a “hackathon” in Silicon Valley last year has blossomed into a weekend of coordinated competition between 1000 code writers in over 21 cities around the globe. In a rare collaboration, Google, Yahoo, Microsoft, NASA, and the World Bank organized this year’s RHoK. Hackers got into groups and — with the assistance of bottomless coffee and wall-to-wall white boards — tinkered and toyed with application ideas. Winners were showered with electronic gadgets and libations, but the real win is efficiently utilizing the brain trust to change the way we respond to humanitarian crises.

Suffice to say, these cats are hacking away at some of our most pressing problems.

Happy hacking.

Stay (Wasting Time)

There’s something charming about wasting time. Don’t agree? This man said so and made tons of rubles.

There’s something equally — if not more — charming about wasting time on the Internet. Don’t agree? Well, neither does this man, but he’s unwittingly kicking the proverbial can down the inevitable road.

A week ago today, Google did humanity a solid and provided an innocuous, inconspicuous way to waste eons of time, as long as your speakers were turned off. You may have noticed:

You can’t play our image, but man, could you play theirs. According to the CBC, Google’s playable tribute to the 30-year-old Man of Pac squandered five million man-hours. To put that in perspective, the Great Wall of China was built inside a fortnight.

Somewheres in Seattle, there’s a company called Rescue Time that researches time-management to optimize nine-to-five efficiency. I’m sure they have honest intentions. According to their data, googlers were taking significantly more time to execute searches last Friday: A typical Google search takes about 11 seconds; a Pac-Man google averaged around 47. Booya.

Regrettably, Rescue Time’s president estimated that only a paltry percentage of searchers realized that the logo was playable:

I’d wager that 75 percent of the people who saw the logo had no idea that you could actually play it. Which the world should be thankful for.

We here at Goodosphere respectfully disagree.

Also, Rescue Time should be the title of an edge of your seat sci-fi thriller starring Jean-Claude Van Damme.

Questions for Goodosphere III

Canadians are clearly wondering about what in Sam Hill is going through his head. That and the genesis of Donkey Kong’s name:

April Fools?!?

The tradition of unknown origins. The day of tomfoolery. The sucker-punch in calendar manifestation. Yesterday, Goodosphere took the piss. We didn’t allude to spurious spaghetti trees or rename our search engine, but we did post the nasty–something that could only happen in jest. We promise. We feel dirty and regretful about it, kinda like this guy felt after he told little man that he couldn’t be Beyonce:

Questions for Goodosphere II

We should all take comfort in the fact that “how can I help haiti?” is amongst the ranks of the rest of these critical queries. Click to enlarge some good Internet:

Via questions for Google.