Google Trike to Debut in UK

google-trikeIt’s no surprise that Google has made it its mission to map every part of the world in the most detail possible. Checking out Google Earth and its intensive and detailed satellite imagery will convince anyone of this mission. But Google has expanded its project to provide even more detailed and ground level images with its Street View application.

By driving a car with a camera mount through the world’s roads, Street View is a global mission to map the world’s roads. But it has become immediately apparent that this is problematic in certain parts of the world. While the USA has an abundance of wide streets and developed back roads, other parts of the world have notoriously narrow or non-car friendly streets. Just think of the constricted, cobblestone ways of Rome to get an idea of the issue at hand.

That’s why the Google Trike has made its debut. A bicycle mounted with recording equipment, this can gather the necessary footage even on the roughest terrain or narrowest road.

But the trike is also a way to win over reluctant regions such as the United Kingdom. After all, the UK has been notoriously opposed to Street View, especially after several well publicized incidents with the program. For one, the street level cameras caught the image of a naked child, and then a Street View car was actually stopped and harassed into leaving in a small UK village.
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International Pen Pal Correspondence Just Got Easier

google-translationWhile email has undoubtedly helped people connect with international friends, there is still a divide between people who don’t speak each other’s language. But Gmail and its latest features are currently helping its users bridge this gap.

This is because Gmail, already considered by many to be the most superior of all email providers, has recently announced the addition of translation capabilities. With a single click, Google Translate can convert an email from any language into a host of other languages.

While it won’t quite imbue us with the abilities offered by the fabled Babel Fish (Douglas Adams fans of the world unite!), Google Translate will work well enough for any Gmail user to be able to grasp what an email is saying in another language.

The applications for this feature are particularly useful for businessmen and women of the world, who can now communicate at a reasonable level with existing or prospective clients across the globe.

Interested Gmail users will have to activate this service, however, as Google Translate is a lab.

Google Expands Algorithms to the Employee Sector

google-algorithmWhile Google has made a name for itself by implementing its trademark algorithms into its search engine rankings, they have recently taken this number crunching one step further. Now they are applying algorithms to…their employees?

That’s right. Google has had some problem retaining the most creative and influential members of its staff, and they are starting to worry that this will have a negative impact on their long term ability to compete in the online market.

As such, Google has turned to what they know best. They created a multi-element algorithm that incorporates factors such as results from employee reviews, pay history, promotion history, and much more. Still in the testing stages, Google is remaining relatively tightlipped about the exact details of this algorithm.

But, in general, the algorithm is meant to identify employees that are likely to quit for any number of reasons. Google officials have noted that it’s already worked to identify people who say they felt underutilized within the company.

While it remains to be seen how effective this algorithm is for retaining employees, it’s certainly a smart move by Google to identify key employees who may be unhappy and considering leaving. By offering them incentive packages or other benefits, they might just keep the very people that will help them remain a dominant online force.

Pet Safety Site Turns to iePlexus Web 2.0 Program

pet-auto-safety-pic-2For many people, finding success in business means finding a product or a service that they are passionate about providing. And for entrepreneur Dawn Ross, that adage has truly proven correct. An avid pet lover and volunteer, Ross decided to launch her online business PetAutoSafety.com, a website dedicated to ensuring safe vehicle travel for both dogs and cats.

“I have always thought pet auto safety was important,” said Ross. “My dogs have always worn seatbelts, and I am happy to bring these safety products to other animal lovers.”

Converting a lifelong love of animals into a business venture, Ross attributes some of her success to her ability to empathize with her customers. Understanding that these customers demand high quality and effective products, Ross is sure to only carry products that she would trust with the safety of her own animals. This includes pet travel seats, car safety belts, travel barriers, safety carriers, a variety of dog seat covers, and more.

“I’ve always been a pet owner and an animal lover. In fact, the only time I’ve been without a pet is when my dog got out of the fence and was lost for two weeks,” laughed Ross. “I know how much these animals mean to my clients, because I know how much my pets mean to me. I’m proud to provide safety belts and many other products that help ensure pet safety during travel.”
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Sometimes, All It Takes is a Little Insight

weezerFormed in 1992, Weezer is an instantly recognizable name in American pop rock. They’ve won Grammys, they’ve released six full length studio albums, and they’ve enjoyed the sale of eight million of those records in the US alone.

So why would an established band like Weezer turn to viral marketing? Because even highly successful and well known entities can benefit from this powerful means of marketing. As such, Weezer premiered the music video for their new single “Pork and Beans” on YouTube.

Aided by their established notoriety and the video’s use of many internet sensations, the music video became one of the most popular submissions on YouTube the week of its debut. The video’s subsequent popularity helped it take home the Grammy for Best Short Form Music Video.

But the YouTube video did more than further their renown. It also helped them better target their demographic. How? The band used YouTube Insight on their highly popular video. Insight is a free analytics tool that allows YouTube users to gather audience age, video views, and more.
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Google CEO Ruminates on Life in the Information Age

google-foundersWhile Google CEO and multimillionaire Eric Schmidt is best known for his business ventures, he recently demonstrated his humor, poignancy, and ability to dole out life lessons at the University of Pennsylvania commencement ceremony. Delivering the commencement address, Schmidt made some telling observations about technology, information, and the human condition in general.

He began by noting some mundane differences between his graduating class and the current graduating class, including something as simple as the drink of the day. “We had tang,” Schmidt noted. “You have Redbull.”

But his differences quickly revealed a fundamental divide between the mindset of the two age groups.

“We used $700 VCRs. You have YouTube,” which was followed by, “We got our news from newspapers…remember them? You get your news from blogs and tweets.”
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Featured Content Gallery Passes 50,000 Downloads

fcg_wpBack in January of 2009, iePlexus became the new developers of the Featured Content Gallery WordPress Plugin. We were excited to become part of the WordPress development community and certainly had big plans for the plugin. Since that time, 4 months ago, the Featured Content Gallery has become one of the most popular WordPress plugins to date and has accrued over 50,000 downloads from the WordPress plugin repository. We’ve made significant updates and improvements to the plugin since taking over the reigns, and have created a website, instructional video and support forum dedicated to the plugin. We will continue to manage, maintain and upgrade the plugin so it can continue to be a free, useful application for anyone who wants to utilize it on their WordPress website.

The Featured Content Gallery is a WordPress plugin that creates an automated, rotating image gallery anywhere withing a WordPress site. Based on a MooTools gallery script, the plugin is able to display an image attached to a post or page within a WordPress site and display it automatically wherever the gallery code is entered. The plugin is very popular with many high-quality WordPress themes, including premium WordPress themes from StudioPress, where the FCG is commonly included in new theme releases. It was added to the WordPress repository in February of 2009 and has consistently been one of the most popular plugins, averaging over 500 downloads per day. The Featured Content Gallery plugin page on WordPress has all the information for the plugin, including the download, description, installation, screenshots and more.
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Mark Cuban: Keeping it Classy

mark-cubanIt’s no surprise that tempers run high in professional sports, but this becomes especially true when it comes to the playoffs. But tempers did more than run high during game three of the Dallas Mavericks and Denver Nuggets NBA playoff game. After the Nuggets walked away with a referee-aided 106-105 win to make it a 3-0 series lead, tempers finally bubbled over.

After the controversial game came to a close, notoriously hotheaded Mavericks owner Mark Cuban had a few choice words for the scorer’s table. Then, after passing Lydia Moore (the mother of Nuggets forward Kenyon Martin), Cuban informed her that her son was a “punk.”

In the aftermath of the lash-out, reports have become widely varied. But whatever the exact wording of Cuban, there was definitely an exchange that was viewed as inappropriate by the Nuggets camp. As an owner, Cuban was expected not to contribute to the kind of heckling, name calling, and low class shenanigans that usually occur during these heated games. But such is the class of Cuban.

And he continued to demonstrate that highbrow level of sophistication that only $1.8 billion can buy by apologizing to Martin and his mother…via his blog. That’s right. Rather than issuing a face to face apology, Cuban simply posted a halfhearted, more than a little self-serving apology on his personal blog.
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Swine Flu Research Indicative of New Information Trends

swine-fluAlthough some of the initial swine flu hysteria has seemed to subside, search trends indicate that it’s still very much in the public consciousness. After hearing multiple stories and stats from both the local and national news, people fired up their computers and turned to the search engines.

People, of course, turned to their most trusted search engine—Google. Within that engine, queries such as “swine flu symptoms” and “swine flu” rose as quickly as the hysteria itself. The following is a list of the top ten visited websites based on these search terms.

1. CDC.gov
2. Wikipedia.com
3. News.Google.com
4. News. Yahoo.com
5. MySpace.com
6. CNN.com
7. Yahoo.com
8. PandemicFlu.gov
9. Facebook.com
10. WHO.int
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Wikipedia NOT the Most Accurate Encyclopedia?!

wikipediaIt took the loss of a musical icon, but a 22-year-old Dublin student finally proved what just about everyone suspected. Wikipedia may not be the most accurate source of information available on the internet.

When famed composer Maurice Jarre died on March 29, 2009, the world was saddened by the loss of a talented and prolific composer and conductor. Born in Lyon, France in 1924, Jarre was responsible for scoring much-loved films such as Lawrence of Arabia, Doctor Zhivago, and A Passage to India. For his work on these three films, Jarre was awarded three separate Oscars.

But as much as the musical community was reeling from the loss, they were at least left with some comforting words. “One could say my life itself has been one long soundtrack. Music was my life, music brought me to life, and music is how I will be remembered long after I leave this life. When I die there will be a final waltz playing in my head, that only I can hear.”
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