Posts Tagged ‘google’

Google Reader Shutting Down

Thursday, March 14th, 2013
Posted in Web · Tags:

I don’t like to reblog popular news online, but since I use Google Reader so heavily I have to put in my opinions.

Apple removed the RSS button from Safari long ago. Most of the other browsers have also, but with Firefox you can still put it back there, but by default its not there. RSS feeds are just too technical for the average web surfer to know how to use effectively. However, the technical users that do know their value, use the hell out of them. I have no doubt that Google Reader has helped many people become early adopters and consume the information-overload of the modern web.

Social Media is not a replacement for Feeds (RSS or Atom), sorry Twitter.

Magazine style feed aggregators with images are not a good replacement for Google Reader. The images slow you down on going through huge numbers of posts. Images are often used to grab your attention and may not reflect the quality or what the post is really about. You could say that about headlines as well, but its much easier to sift through tons of headlines than tons of images. The idea that being “visual friendly” with images is somehow a better way to go through feeds is total crap. Pretty is not a better user interface. It was called Google Reader for a reason, not Google Webshots.

So here are some online / cloud / internet / web alternatives. Because desktop solutions miss items if they are turned off and the feed goes past the amount the feed stores.

Update on some information for these alternatives

  • NetVibes – powers Bloglines, so both are a Feed Reader and a homepage with widgets. The user interface for both is the same. It’s missing the ability to show YouTube video player items like Google Reader did
  • NewsBlur – They have free accounts, but you are limited to a certain number of feeds, Otherwise it’s $2 or $3 a month
  • 1kpl.us – looks very good, although I’d prefer if the sidebar remained open. Going to a pay model – $5 a month.
  • Good Noows Newspaper like grid viewing of RSS feeds, they also have a list view. However, there is no way to go back to a read post
  • Collected – Get your own URL with a blog like listing of feeds
  • The Old Reader – requires Google or Facebook login, also is more about being social than reading posts
  • Skimr – Too simple for my use, but might be for you
  • Feedly’s Normandy project – still in development, but will work online without a need for an app
  • HiveMined – coming soon supposedly

Here is a list of aggregators that are NOT replacements, yet people think they are

Google Adsense requires your Bank Account Information

Wednesday, September 26th, 2012
Posted in Web · Tags:

Google has announced AdSense will no longer mail checks in countries where Electronic Funds Transfer (EFT) are available. Basically what they want is access to your bank account. One of the main reasons people hate PayPal so much is because of their access to bank accounts. Granted I’ve never given PayPal access to that in the ten plus years I’ve used them. This seems to be a good way for Google to bolster Google Wallet, which I believe is the real reason they are doing this. Sure they probably save money from snail mailing envelopes and printing checks, but honestly they want to get people onboard and spending money on their services and growing Google Wallet. AdSense has grown big enough and has been around with enough users that the users will give in. Personally I’m thinking of setting up a bank account for AdSense only and never touching it for anything else. That way I can shut it down on them if anything ever goes foul.

Removing Google from Firefox’s Awesome Address Bar Search

Sunday, May 15th, 2011
Posted in Software · Tags: ,

If you didn’t know already, Firefox lets you search from the Awesome Bar (the address bar) and it uses Google by default. So if you were to type “test” in the Awesome Bar, it will look in your bookmarks and/or browser history (depending on your settings). And as long as you do not select an option you can just hit enter and it will do a Google search. So in a sense you can use the search box for something besides Google. But let’s say you might want to open this search in another tab, if so press Alt – Enter and you won’t even lose what was typed in the address bar previously.

Anyway, let’s remove Google as the default search engine. So in the Awesome Bar type in
about:config and press Enter. You will get a warning from Firefox, but let’s go ahead and click “I’ll be careful, I promise!”. You will see a lot of settings in here; However, let’s make sure this feature is enabled first. So in the Filter textfield type keyword.enabled and you should see only one line show up for keyword.enabled, if you double-click this line it will toggle the value between true and false. Make sure it is set to true.

Now lets type in keyword.URL in the Filter textfield and now you should see just the line pertaining to keyword.URL. So double-click it and it will pop up a dialog box asking for the new string value
It probably has Google by default with this URL

http://www.google.com/search?ie=UTF-8&oe=UTF-8&sourceid=navclient&gfns=1&q=

Let’s change that and depending what search engine you want to use type one of the following:

For DuckDuckGo (non SSL)

http://duckduckgo.com/?q=

For DuckDuckGo (SSL)

https://duckduckgo.com/?q=

For Yahoo!

http://search.yahoo.com/search?ei=UTF-8&p=

For Bing

http://www.bing.com/search?q=

For Ask

http://www.ask.com/web?q=

and then press OK. Then you can close the tab and you are good to go.

Ask.com Web Search Review

Thursday, August 19th, 2010
Posted in Web · Tags: ,

I’ve been using Ask.com‘s web search for a week instead of Google.

Some things I dont like about Ask’s search are

  • The TITLE tag always says “Ask.com What’s Your Question?” rather than putting my search string, so if I have many tabs open I can’t see what is what.
  • Wikipedia links go through a Ask.com template. There is a link to go straight to Wikipedia’s version below the search engline listing and on the Ask.com templated entry.
  • The sidebar has Related Searches and Search History, but why not more a date range option like Google has? Sometimes I want a newer result for what I’m searching for and I’d rather not have to go into settings change it and then change it back later.
  • For some reason sometimes the calculator wouldn’t compute, but if I refreshed it would work.
  • Ask.com does offer search features such as a calculator, weather, conversions and more; However, I noticed the spelling check that it does automatically like Google does, is not as good.
  • Ask’s maps are powered by Bing and always default to New York, but then tries to figure out your location via JavaScript and is slow to update it.

Apparently they just redid their homepage a few weeks ago, but I’ve really never used the site before. I still use Google products (Maps, Reader, Docs), but I think I’ve moved from Google search for the most part.

Alternatives to Google

Saturday, August 14th, 2010
Posted in Web · Tags: , , ,

Due to recent statements from Google on net neutrality, privacy and anonymity, I’m beginning to wonder if its a good idea to use one site for everything. After all organizations like WikiLeaks could not exist without anonymity, plus I believe net neutrality is important for information to remain available, the growth of new businesses, services and websites in general. I like many of Google’s products, but I believe it would be best to spread your “data” around. Plus it’s not that hard, many sites use OpenID or don’t require log ins. If you are looking for alternatives to Google, here are some websites to try.