Test driving Chrome OS

chrome_logo_may09After all the buzz about Chrome OS being open-sourced as “Chromium OS”, I had to give it a ride.

I could have compiled the source from scratch, but a quick search gave this page from Gdgt providing a VMWare image of a complete install of Chrome OS. So I created a new virtual machine in VMWare Fusion on my MacBook, selected “Other Linux 2.6.x kernel” as OS type and poited it to the .vmdk disk image. See Figure 1 for how that looks. Continue reading

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Apache Solr 1.4 finally released

apache_solr_logoFinally, after long delays, Apache Solr version 1.4 is released. The long delay was mainly due to very strict quality standards, which made it necessary to wait until some serious known bugs were dealt with. Also read my previous article on what’s new in this version. Here is the official release statement:

Apache Solr 1.4 has been released and is now available for
public download! http://www.apache.org/dyn/closer.cgi/lucene/solr/

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Google competes with iTunes

Picture 2Google has just integrated music search, called “Google Discover Music“, into its search results – in US only so far. Partnering up with imeem, lala, myspace (iLike), Pandora, Rhapsody as well as the major music record labels, Google is striving to help users find and listen to music in just a few clicks. As much as 2 out of the top-10 searches are music related, which really suggests that many people are looking for music at Google.

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Google introduces similar images search

Google similar imagesGoogle “similar images” search is now out of beta (Cnet article), and it looks very promising at first try. The problem with the traditional image search is that it relies on keywords to be found either in image filename or in the text surrounding the image on the web page. With the new feature, a real image similarity comparison is done and can therefore bring back many images that was previously hard or impossible to find.

After doing a normal image search, many of the results will let you click “find similar” (see illustration), bringing similar images. I tried it with the pyramids in Egypt which worked well. Searching for “laptop” brings up many different brands, and clicking similar on a MacBook really brings up other macbooks, on a Dell brings up other Dells (mostly) and on a Vaio brings up other Vaio’s.

I remember that FAST had similar capabilities even 5 years ago, which was piloted in a few showcases and select customer installations. For instance it was utilized for various Police departments to reveal child pornography on the internet. Now Google brings the same kind of technology to the masses, making search one step easier for all of us. Bravo!

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Solr being used by Google’s allforgood.org

apache_solr_logoGoogle runs a web page called AllForGood which helps people find opportunities to volunteer in various organizations in their neighbourhood. In the beginning, the search in the site was updated from Google’s crawlers crawling several volunteer webpages.

However, when designing a tighter integrated, more real-time search, they turned to Apache Solr. On their blog they say

“…our search engine is now powered by SOLR, an incredible open source project that will allow us to provide higher quality and more up-to-date opportunities.”

What a super testimony for Solr’s strenths and maturity!

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