Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Will Google Buzz dethrone Twitter and Facebook?

Google on Wednesday unveiled their Google Buzz platform, which is the search engine giant's newest foray into the social media side of things.

Bradley Horowitz, Google’s vice president for product management introduced the product along with Todd Jackson, the product manager for Google Buzz. According to Jackson, Buzz is 'a new way to communicate within Gmail', and said that it has five major features - Auto-following, Rich, fast sharing experience, Public and private sharing, Inbox integration, and 'Just the good stuff'. It cannot be denied that Buzz is an amalgamation of Google Wave, Twitter, Facebook and Friendfeed. Like in Twitter @replies are supported.

Like in Facebook your posts can be assigned public and private settings. Also, like in Facebook an Email will be sent to you when a comment is posted on your post. Expectedly, comments are updateed in real time. But here's the interesting part - when someone comments on your post in Facebook, an Email which is sent to you shows the comment, while in Buzz the email directs you to the Buzz that you have created along with the new comments.

Google Buzz provides links to websites, content from around the web like Picasa, Twitter, Flickr etc. Thumbnails of pics are also shown automatically. Google Buzz can be used with Gmail, you will find a tab right under the inbox, labeled 'Buzz'. Keyboard shortcuts are the same as the ones in Gmail. Also, Google Buzz can be accessed via mobiles. Moreover, Buzz locates where you are, and sends you your own location, and even asks you if its right. Using mobiles you can use Buzz while talking, as it supports voice recognition.

It remains to be seen if Google Buzz can truly dethrone Twitter and Facebook, its too much to hope for, but considering Google's stranglehold on the market and its funds, the thought doesn't seem that far fetched. Google Buzz, like Wave is expanding via invites.

Kings XI Punjab not sold: Preity Zinta | honda | IPL

The Hero Group has not acquired Kings XI Punjab, one of the eight franchisees of the Indian Premier League (IPL) T20 cricket tournament, the company as well as Preity Zinta, the co-owner of the team, clarified Wednesday.

"Hi everyone! Just want to clarify that we have not sold the team to Hero Honda! Another example of how the media can get it all wrong," Preity posted on her Twitter page Wednesday following TV channel reports that the team had been bought over.

"The reports are absolutely baseless. Neither has the group acquired Kings XI nor was it in talks for such an acquisition," said a spokesperson from the Hero Group.

Kings XI Punjab is co-owned by actor Preity and industrialists Ness Wadia, Karan Paul, and Mohit and Gaurav Burman. Kings XI Punjab is led by Kumar Sangakkara, while Tom Moody is the coach.

"It is not true -- totally baseless. We have not sold Kings XI Punjab to anyone. These are just speculations. We have no information regarding this," added Anil Srivatsa, the chief executive of the franchisee, said reacting to reports.

"I don't know from where this news has emerged. We are also verifying from where these reports have come" .

The group is a sponsor of several major sporting events, including a high-profile golf tournament and has set up the Hero Indian Sports Academy to recognise, build and award outstanding talent within the country.

The third edition of the IPL begins March 12 with holders Deccan Chargers taking on Kolkata Knight Riders in Mumbai.

Girl student dies of suspected Swine flu

A 21-year old girl student of a private college on Avarampalayam is suspected to have died of swine flu on Tuesday. Deepakani had a respiratory track infection and was admitted to a private hospital a few days ago.

The swab test has shown her to be positive for swine flu on Monday.

However, by then it was too late and she had already developed severe complications of the flu.

Deepakani was then taken to the Coimbatore Medical College and Hospital for treatment on Tuesday, sources said. She died even before being admitted at the hospital, they said.

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

"White Ribbon" tipped as early Oscar favorite

Germany's black-and-white entry has won top awards, including the Palme d'Or at Cannes and the Golden Globe in Hollywood, making it the frontrunner, award watchers and critics said.

Other foreign films that received Oscar nominations on Tuesday included France's gritty crime drama "Un Prophete" ("A Prophet") and Peru's mournful entry, "The Milk of Sorrow," which won the top prize at the Berlin film festival.

Rounding out nominations were Israel's "Ajami" and "El Secreto de Sus Ojos" ("The Secret in Their Eyes") by Argentine director Juan Jose Campanella, who is the only director to have a film previously nominated in the category.

"I am superstitious so I don't want to count my chickens before they hatch," Haneke told Reuters by phone from his home in Vienna through a translator. "It's very good for business if you win it -- and of course just the honor."

"White Ribbon" explores a sinister series of crimes in northern Germany on the eve of World War One, and Oscar pundits think its past awards have boosted its exposure among Oscar voters.

"It is the frontrunner and has gained a lot of recognition," film critic Emanuel Levy said. But he was quick to note that the category sometimes yielded surprises.

Israel's "Waltz with Bashir" was expected to win in the foreign language category last year but was beaten by Japan's "Departures."


And the slow-paced "The Milk of Sorrow" was not favored to win at the Berlin festival this year. Yet it scooped up the main award and has proven popular with fans.

"Sorrow" is Peru's first Oscar nomination in the best foreign language film category. It revolves around a girl named Fausta, who is the product of a rape inflicted on her mother during two decades of rebel violence in the country.

"It's such a big thing for us. It's like somehow our country is showing its memory to the world," 33-year-old Peruvian director Claudia Llosa told Reuters. "This film shows that somehow we can pull something beautiful out of darkness."

"Un Prophete" French director Jacques Audiard said in a statement he felt "bewildered" and "immense gratitude" by the nomination of his film about a young man who is sentenced to six years in prison and must use his ingenuity to survive a dangerous standoff between gangs.

Jewish filmmaker Yaron Shani, who co-directed and co-wrote "Ajami" with Palestinian Scandar Copti, said he hoped the Oscar nod would lure fans to theaters. Set on the streets of Jaffa's Ajami neighborhood, the crime drama explores divergent views among the city's Muslims, Christians and Jews.

All the directors said a nomination would give their films a boost in the tough U.S. market for foreign language movies.

"If the film wins the Oscar it will be amazing of course, but it is more important for getting the message out and trying to reach more people," Shani told Reuters.

Perth girl is 'brainiest' Aussie student

A 14-year-old girl's knowledge of neuroscience has led to her crowning as Australia's "brainiest" student.

Uma Jha, from Perth's Shenton College, in inner-west Shenton Park, outsmarted more than 4000 national competitors to win the 2010 Australian Brain Bee Challenge.

The neuroscience competition tests high school students on a range of topics, including intelligence, memory, emotions, sleep, Alzheimer's disease and stroke.

In front of a live audience in Sydney on Monday, Uma competed against other state winners in the national final of the competition, which included a brain-teasing anatomy exam, doctor-patient diagnosis and a neuroscience quiz.

"The competition was tied right up until the end and it was a really nerve-wracking finish," Uma said after the event.

"I've never won a national science competition before, so it's amazing."

As the Australian Brain Bee Champion, she will travel to California for the International Brain Bee Challenge in August.

Competition national organiser and Queensland Brain Institute professor Linda Richards said it would be a fantastic opportunity for Uma.

"She has shown that she has a special talent and passion for neuroscience and we're very proud of her to be representing Australia at the international level," Prof Richards said.

The Australian runner-up was Andrew Li, from James Ruse Agricultural High School in NSW.

Monday, February 1, 2010

Rahul attacks Sena, MNS for tirade against N-Indians

Bodhgaya (Bihar), Feb 1 (PTI) AICC general secretary Rahul Gandhi today attacked Shiv Sena chief Bal Thackeray and the MNS for their tirade against people from Bihar and Uttar Pradesh.

"In Maharashtra, MNS leader Raj Thackeray keeps on saying throw out people of Bihar and UP. But, who killed the terrorists who had attacked Mumbai? They were the NSG guys from Bihar, Uttar Pradesh and from the rest of the country. At that time they did not say throw away Biharis," he said.

Gandhi made the remarks at an interactive session with workers of Youth Congress and NSUI here and while addressing a conference on Dalit youth leadership development in Bihar.

The Congress leader said in lighter vein "if terrorists have to be fought with, let Biharis remain there."

Asking the youth to change Bihar, Gandhi lamented lack of development in the state.