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Google just published another very interesting analysis and visualization of one of its data sets. In this case, they have processed data from their Google Play store. Based on the number of downloads and popularity, they have visualized on a time axis the “relevance” and “popularity” of each music genre as time progressed, putting together what they call Google’s Music Timeline.

I really love this kind of projects at Google. At first sight, you might think it is useless. But I think it is extremely interesting and very useful. Moreover, I love it allows you to “zoom in” to see the timeline of the sub-genres within a given genre. For example, I gave it a try with Metal. The result shows many interesting trends… including the raise and fall of Hair Metal. The good old times of good rock!

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The analysis also shows examples of the most relevant albums of each music style as time progressed. Here is were I realized that this analysis is based on a quite incomplete data base. For example, I saw no mention of any Metallica album. Not even when zooming into Metal. There are no AC/DC albums to be found either.

All in all, very interesting given the data set it has been derived from. And definitively a yummy candy for us music lovers!

Edit:

There are AC/DC albums! But the system does not consider them among the most influential ones. Things would have been differently if I had worked on that project! 🙂

By the way, another very interesting application is to search for one of your favorite bands and see how their popularity grew or decrease or fluctuated. I am attaching the example with one of the greatest punk rock bands ever (NOFX) (how is it possible they are declining?!?!) and probably the best electronic music band ever that was not rightfully recognized until they released a poppy album last year (Daft Punk) (yes, that catchy song by Kanye West had a catchy part that was actually by Daft Punk and many did not know until last year).

nofx

daftpunk

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This morning, when I opened my Gmail, I got a notification of a newly improved inbox, which can be customized and lists among your emails stuff from your social media and other things. I checked a bit to see what it is and how it works. A minute later, I disabled it.

Then I realized about something. For the last few years, every time Gmail has introduced a new feature, I have disabled it. In today’s case, I do not want my Inbox to look any different than what it looks now and, specially, I don’t want anything else listed in my inbox. No social media. My inbox is where I want to have my incoming emails.

Recently I also disabled the new (and terrible) compose window. And, unlike many people, I did not activate any custom theme on my inbox. It still has the same basic colors it had over 6 years ago when I created my account.

I am curious. What do you guys think? Are you actually using any of these new Gmail features?

My apologies to Apple, the iPhone and the iPad, but the new maps applications is terrible and pretty much everyone agrees with me. Well, problem solved. The Google Maps app for iOS is already available. Go download it now from the App Store here.

I am afraid this will finally prove to Apple that they need to do a low of homework on their maps app. I wonder how many people will download Google Maps and the decrease in traffic Apple will see from its native app.

Anyhow, glad to have decent maps back on my phone!

From Google’s official blog:

People around the world have been asking for Google Maps on iPhone. Starting today, we’re pleased to announce that Google Maps is here—rolling out across the world in the Apple App Store. It’s designed from the ground up to combine the comprehensiveness and accuracy of Google Maps with an interface that makes finding what you’re looking for faster and easier.

The app shows more map on screen and turns mobile mapping into one intuitive experience. It’s a sharper looking, vector-based map that loads quickly and provides smooth tilting and rotating of 2D and 3D views. The search box at the top is a good place to start—perhaps by entering the name of a new and interesting restaurant. An expandable info sheet at the bottom shows the address, opening hours, ratings and reviews, images, directions and other information.

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I was just told this morning during an early morning coffee with a friend about a new vulnerability found in Google Wallet. I was going to try to find information on it at work but it was not necessary. It was highlighted in the daily news digest of the industry that we get. Everyone out there is talking about an unbelievably simple and, in my most humble opinion, absurd vulnerability in Google Wallet.

The presented threat does not even require hacking skills or complex tools. You just need somebody else’s phone – either second hand bought or stolen/”found” -. Apparently, the way Google Wallet works is such that the system gets synched with your device – the phone – instead of your Google Account. Despite there is a PIN to add an extra layer of security, if somebody erases all the data of the Wallet app and runs it again, it asks for a new PIN and allows you to use the Google Wallet Account and funds the previous user/owner had. Just as simple as that.

Google has acknowledged the threat and are offering a quick initial fix, consisting on providing a phone number to call to cancel the account linking for people who lost their phone or wants to sell it. They are also working on an automatic fix to happen with an update of the app.

Read about this incident on the NYTimes, Electronista, TechCrunch and The Smartphone Champ.

WordPress just notified me that I have posted so far 199 entries and suggested me to go for the 200th. Who am I to disobey WordPress?

I’ll just comment a couple of things that happened over the last few days:


And now, in case I get lazy and do not post again before the Christmas break, Happy Holidays everyone!!!

 

When I first read the headline of this news I pictured a “path” somebody walked plotted on Google Maps spelling the famous question. Something like this (apparently it turned out to be a hoax as you can read here and here) but on the map of NYC… because this kind of things always happen here.

Anyways, back to topic. I read in the Barcelona newspaper (La Vanguardia) this weekend about a Google SW Engineer who proposed to his girlfriend in a very special way. He got his girlfriend’s boss to give her a Nexus S phone with a custom pre-loaded Google Maps app. From there, she had to go to different locations were they had their first few dates and such. At each spot, one of his friends would be waiting for her with a hint for the next location, that would be automatically revealed on the phone. The seventh and final stop was at the lighthouse on Roosevelt Island, where they had their second date. There was him, a geeky SW Engineer, on his knee, popping the big question.

You can read all the details on the Google Blog he posted.

Congratulations to the recently engaged couple.

This morning while having breakfast I was reading the news, as I always do. I found out about a very good news and a very interesting news. The very good news is that there will be a 4th Austin Powers movie – hooray! – and the interesting news is the one I talk about here…

Google has reached an agreement to acquire Motorola Mobility for 12500$ million. With this operation Google is aiming to strengthen its mobile OS Android. The operation comes after a series of disputes on patents that Google went through recently and after the unsuccessful attempt to acquire the patent portfolio of Nortel.

Larry Page commented on the acquisition on Google’s official blog:

Motorola is also a market leader in the home devices and video solutions business. With the transition to Internet Protocol, we are excited to work together with Motorola and the industry to support our partners and cooperate with them to accelerate innovation in this space.

Motorola’s total commitment to Android in mobile devices is one of many reasons that there is a natural fit between our two companies. Together, we will create amazing user experiences that supercharge the entire Android ecosystem for the benefit of consumers, partners and developers everywhere.

This acquisition will not change our commitment to run Android as an open platform. Motorola will remain a licensee of Android and Android will remain open. We will run Motorola as a separate business. Many hardware partners have contributed to Android’s success and we look forward to continuing to work with all of them to deliver outstanding user experiences.

We recently explained how companies including Microsoft and Apple are banding together in anti-competitive patent attacks on Android. The U.S. Department of Justice had to intervene in the results of one recent patent auction to “protect competition and innovation in the open source software community” and it is currently looking into the results of the Nortel auction. Our acquisition of Motorola will increase competition by strengthening Google’s patent portfolio, which will enable us to better protect Android from anti-competitive threats from Microsoft, Apple and other companies.

The combination of Google and Motorola will not only supercharge Android, but will also enhance competition and offer consumers accelerating innovation, greater choice, and wonderful user experiences. I am confident that these great experiences will create huge value for shareholders.

There is still a lot of details to be revealed but I am wondering what are Samsung and HTC going to think about this deal. Both of them partnered strongly with Google to release the G1, G2, Nexus One and Nexus S.

Read more about the deal in Engadget, Forbes and Wired Magazine.

Google presented on Tuesday its new attempt to compete with Facebook. After the failures achieved with Orkut, Buzz and Wave, this time it seems they are in the game for real. I am unaware of the details other than what I could see in their tour at Google+ website, but it seems a very interesting proposal. Mainly because it will allow you to organize your contacts in circles, so you share things with your buddies independently from your relatives and work colleagues – in my case, I have very cool work colleagues that would go straight into the buddies circle, though -.

Other than that, other fancy stuff that, despite being good ideas, is not that impressive. An app or something in your Google phone that automatically uploads all the pictures and videos you take to your Google+ account and then you just choose whether to share them or not – so, it looks to me it is another photo/video cloud solution similar to the iCloud presented by Apple recently -. An application that allows to chat with users – like the BlackBerry chat -, a quite useless hang out application where I log in and claim to my contacts that I am hanging out by my webcam and then they join and you have a multi-point video-chat – I would much rather announce to my circle or on Facebook that I am down for summer evening beers and meet my friends in person rather than on a video-chat… -. And a couple more things…

All in all, this time it seems Google is in the battle for social networking for real. As my childhood beloved Super Nintendo’s Street Fighter II would say “Round 1, Fight!”.

I read in the news yesterday that some initial details on the new Google phone, due to be release next Fall, had been leaked. It is expected to have a huge 720p display and to be fueled by a double core 1.2GHz or 1.5GHz processor. It is also expected to be already LTE-compatible, hence the rumored name: Nexus 4G. It will run Android 4.0 (ice cream sandwich).

This new Google OS for mobile devices is expected to be equipped with Near Field Communications (NFC), so it might be the first phone that can really be used as a wallet for all kind of payments and transactions. And you might be able to use it to open doors for which you usually require a card.

Read more about it at BGR.

Additionally, we can expect a 4G LTE radio, 1GB of RAM, 1080p HD video capture and playback, a 1-megapixel front-facing camera, and a 5-megapixel rear camera. The 5-megapixel camera, however, is said to be an advanced 5-megapixel sensor delivering class-leading image quality in addition to superior low-light performance. The Google Nexus 4G will run Android 4.0 (Ice Cream Sandwich) and hold everything together in an ultra-thin package. We were told that Google is aiming to make the phone available around Thanksgiving, and our source couldn’t confirm a carrier, leading us to believe this might be one of the first AT&T 4G LTE smartphones. It’s also possible that this device will just be the flagship/reference Ice Cream Sandwich device — just like the Motorola DROID and Motorola XOOM were for Android 2.0 and Android 3.0, respectively — and not a Google Nexus-branded product, so we’ll have to wait and see. In either case, this sounds like an incredible phone regardless of what label is under the dress.

More information at Gizmondo and PC World.

I feel a bit bad when I use a catchy title for a post that will not be what people expect… Anyhow, yesterday I got the June issue of IEEE Spectrum magazine. I wanted to go for a run in Central Park but, given that it was 94F – it was still 88F by midnight -, I flaked and stayed home. Before, during the commercial breaks and after the movie Taken – such a good action movie produced by Luc Besson – I read almost the entire magazine. It is a special issue with very interesting articles about Google, Facebook and the future of the social web.

Anyhow, one of the articles was so interesting that I decided to share it here. It is not really about technology, but almost. IEEE sent the famous food critic Sheila Himmel to try the food at Google’s and Facebook’s campus.

And the food is pretty remarkable, too. Both Google and Facebook go way beyond simple sustenance with menu items like venison, boar, and Kobe beef, and wheatgrass shots and variously infused spa waters. Without a doubt, these workplace cafeterias have better food than most cruise ships.

Google food is synonymous with its former chef Charlie Ayers. He once cooked for the Grateful Dead, wrote Food 2.0: Secrets of the Chef Who Fed Google (2008), and now runs a trendy café and a to-go market near Stanford University. At Google, Ayers redefined corporate cuisine by bringing it into the multicultural, locally sourced organic age. Facebook head chef Josef Desimone is proud to have taken lots of staff from Google, and his approach evolved out of the Google tradition.

I strongly recommend that you read the entire article. Apparently Facebook makes sure that “middle-American palates” are happy by serving pizza, roast turkey and other similar things. However, Google’s menu is exceptional. Facebook’s is too, but Google’s chefs would never serve pizza.

Everything seems delicious, but the author has special words for Google’s desserts:

The desserts are amazing. Even those who can resist the popular bread pudding and the oatmeal cherry chocolate chip cookies I encountered at Charlie’s one day still have to make it past a freezer case of Google-labeled It’s-It ice cream sandwiches, a local brand beloved by generations of San Franciscans.

Read the entire article here.

About me:

Born in Barcelona, moved to Los Angeles at age 24, ended in NYC, where I enjoy life, tweet about music and work as a geek in security for wireless networks.
All the opinions expressed in this blog are my own and are not related to my employer.
About me: http://rogerpiquerasjover.net/

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