Google Targets VisualRank for Enhanced Image Search

The world of web search relies a lot of Google's PageRank technology, and until semantic web comes into existence, feeble efforts by Ask may not be able to compete with the PR concept. But the one area where google lacked its credibility was in image search. Using the title or alternate-text associated with images is not exactly the most efficient way to conduct image search. However, Google researchers say they have a software technology intended to do for digital images on the Web what the company’s original PageRank software did for searches of Web pages, which may be the first prototype of this kind that has VisualRank for Images.

As stated in a recent article in NY Times, two Google scientists presented a paper describing what the researchers call VisualRank, an algorithm for blending image-recognition software methods with techniques for weighting and ranking images that look most similar. The prototype solution was demonstrated at the International World Wide Web Conference in Beijing.

Although image search has become popular on commercial search engines, results are usually generated by using text associated with images rather than the image itself. Image analysis remains a largely unsolved problem in computer science, and though automatic face detection has seen some light of the day, finding other objects such as mountains, landscape or small objects is still a challenge.

"We wanted to incorporate all of the stuff that is happening in computer vision and put it in a Web framework," said Shumeet Baluja, a senior staff researcher at Google, who made the presentation with Yushi Jing, another Google researcher. The research paper, "PageRank for Product Image Search", is focused on a subset of the images that the giant search engine has cataloged because of the tremendous computing costs required to analyze and compare digital images. The company said that in its research it had concentrated on the 2000 most popular product queries on Google’s product search, words such as iPod, Xbox and Zune. It then sorted the top 10 images both from its ranking system and the standard Google Image Search results. With a team of 150 Google employees, it created a scoring system for image "relevance". The retrieval returned 83 percent less irrelevant images than those based on text.

Google is not the first into the visual product search category., started in 2006, offers a service that refers users to shopping sites, makes it possible for a Web shopper to select a particular visual attribute (ability to match shapes and objects rather than text), such as a certain style of brown shoes or a style of buckle, and then be presented with similar products available from competing Web merchants.

We all know that an enhanced image search is definitely required, and the current search technique based on text is not 100% accurate. But with the imperfect image-recognition techniques currently available, does Google's claim see too tall?? And will this be a scalable solution, considering the large amount of images foound on the web? VisualRank sure seems like adding value to the quality of image search, but seeing this implemented is something I'd like. However, i hope Google would focus more on semantic web first so web search can get more meaningful!

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The Latest in Designer Cell Phones - Fascinating Figure Mobile Phone

There was a time when cell phones were simply "phones" and nothing else! But thanks to "iPhone", "chocolate" and "music phones", the mobile phone has witnessed a huge revolution and transformed from a phone to a device. You may forget your wallet, but its unlikely that you'd forget your cell phone (unless we are taking about me, of course:)) The phone has also become a style icon these days, and people put in a lot of efforts to personalize their cell phones, whether its the cell-phone faceplates, the ringtones, the themes, cell-phone covers or styles and screensavers, everyone wants a device that represents their identity! So here's something that will simply serve as an answer to all your phone-fantasies (well, almost!) A Shanghai-based designer Xiao Zhihua has come up with the concept of a Fascinating Figure Phone which is both stylish and tranquil at the same time!

The inspiration of this fascinating mobile phone is based on the beauty of reflections on a lake. With stylish cell phone skins, its a beauty to look at. When this phone in the off mode, you can see the screen looks like a still water surface. In operation mode, it's totally a different story! You will see flowing music, film images, pictures, web pages, articles, and user interfaces appearing on the display, reminiscent of the reflections on the water’s surface. As users indulge in the visual experience provided by the large screen, they are reacquainted with the beauty of the lake’s reflections. The display is adaptive, allowing it to automatically adjust the screen settings depending on the user’s environment for optimal viewing. So while you browse and search for stuff, you can still feel relaxed and one with nature:) It also boasts of an adjustable touchscreen interface that can be tailored to a user’s mood. You can change the background to any desired image to fit your preference.

Since this is a concept, you should pretty much be able to do anything with it, right?! Hence it's not a surprise that this cell phone can be operated horizontally, vertically and even diagonally!! Its interface can also be transformed to give it a curved appearance.The user is able to select images according to their moods and preferences, giving a stylish dimension to suit the user’s lifestyle. Pretty neat and funky! Hey, we love all this "lounging by the lake" kind of feeling, but after all, it's a phone and most importantly, it should act like one! I like the concept; its fresh and strikes a chord in this busy world. If it pulls off, it should definitely be able to attract a decent amount of attention, especially because of its looks and style! Apple beware, the next-generation of cell phones may be much more trendier than the iPhone!

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Photoreactive Sun Canopy - A Fusion of Architecture and Technology

Summer has officially kicked in, and people are out buying shades and canopies to beta the heat. But no one would have dreamed of a better canopy than the designers at Milan's 2008 Furniture fair! Made out of funky material that creates illusions of colors on reflecting sunlight, this photoreactive sun canopy is more like a piece of architecture than just a refuge from the sun! Termed as Project OR, this intriguing piece of art wowed the audience at Milan.

Visitors to this year’s Salone del Mobile (Milan Furniture Fair 2008)were in for a treat when they walked into a quaint Italian courtyard on Milan’s Via Borgospesso to witness Christoph Klemmt’s stunning vortex-shaped OR installation. Composed out of polygonal, polypropylene, photoreactive segments which respond to ultra-violet light, OR’s captivating powers lie in its capacity to adapt its appearance to changes in weather and daylight. Its "skin" emits flourishing hues of blue and green when exposed to sunlight and maintains a subtle translucent white when the installation is overcome by shade. Best of all, OR’s effects are not limited to daytime - at night, it generates ample atmosphere by becoming a "psychedelic chandelier" flooding its surrounding areas with a dramatic disco of lights.

OR is the first time that photoreactive technology has been used on an architectural scale. The ecological structure is a step in exploring the possibilities of photoreactive materials in the fields of furniture and design. The beauty of OR is its constant interaction with the elements. Each moment of the day is unique. The installation was a collaborative effort by architect Klemmt and fellow London-based designers Ran Ankori, Francesco Brenta, Maya Carni, Laura Micalizzi and Elisa Oddone. For more details and a photo gallery, visit Project OR.

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A Bike That Runs on Air?? - Now That's Eco-Friendly!!

Gas Prices are sky-rocketing, and driving a car to work everyday is becoming even more taxing that taking a bus and a train, even with an hour-long commute! The tech world keeps talking about "alternatives to fuel" and "green vehicles", but these are not as easily available as we'd like to see. But what if I told you that you could design your own "air-powered bike" without much fuss and money? Before you start thinking I am a jester making funny jokes, let me tell you that this guy you see in the picture has already made one for himself!

After the air-powered watch, let me tell you about the current rocket scientist cum inventor Jem Stansfield who has successfully created an air-powered moped that helps save money and energy. He took a couple of air canisters normally used by firefighters for their breathing apparatuses, and lashed them onto a Puch moped. He claims that this is the world’s first motorcycle powered by fresh air, which eliminates pollution to a great extent.

The two compressed air cylinders drive a pair of rotary air engines that propel the bike to a top speed of 18mph, but it’ll only go about 7 miles until more air is needed. But unlike electric scooters, it takes just seconds to recharge from larger air tanks filled by a diving compressor; just a quick stop at a fill-up shop and you are good to go!. Surely not a bad idea if you live close to work, or use this for shorter distances.

Jem Stansfield built the scooter for a National Geographic channel documentary called Planet Mechanics. He is a true innovator in creating one of the most environmentally sound vehicles today. You can see him test ride it in Bristol when the programme is aired on June 3 at 6pm. No matter how crude it looks, I think this may be a step in the right direction for a greener Earth. Motor companies could actually perfect this technology to produce more air-powered cleaner vehicles, right?! Also check out this innovative hybrid-electric car that is soon to hit california streets.

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URWERK unveils UR-202- The first Air-Powered Watch

Remember the small shops in India with the signs "watch repairing"?? well, they might not be around as long as you think; with the fast progress of technology, there's a great chance manual things like these would become extinct in a decade or so. Fancy wrist-watches already have tonnes of features embedded in them like heart-rate monitors and speed calculators- heck, there are watches that play MP3 and video! The latest to hit the savvy watch scene is a German-mde UR-202, an air-powered watch that uses air pressure for automatic winding and synchronisation.

URWERK has released the world’s first watch that uses compressed air to regulate the winding system. The UR-202 features a 3-position selector switch that controls the level of air compression generated by its miniature twin turbines, which in turn control the rate of automatic winding. For now, it's likely the world's first timepiece to use this method of regulating the winding system. And for all this, is actually looks pretty sleek and cool; check out the UR-202 promotional video. There seems to be no price listed, though given its airy stature, you can expect some pretty inflated figures.

The UR-202 features a distinctive time display using telescopic minute hands operating through the middle of three orbiting and revolving hour satellites. The telescopic minute hands precisely adjust their length to follow the three vectors marking the minutes: 0 -14, 15 - 44, 45 - 60. Extended, they enable the UR-202 to display the time across a large easy-to-read, dial. Retracted, they allow for a very wearable and comfortably sized case; thus providing the wearer with the best of both worlds. This classic timepiece is available in red gold, white gold, black PE-CVD Platinum and TiAlN. Check out more details on the UR-202 and UR-103 on the URWERK watch collection It's stylish and suitable for tech geeks and freaks alike!:)

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Keep Forgetting Your Cell Number? Try a Personal Elite Number!

Mobile phones have become so much a part of our lives that everyone carries a cell phone these days, be it a VP of a large tech firm or the small vendor in india selling vegetables from one neighborhood to another! But still, there are some things only special people can afford, like buying an iphone or ordering a personalised cell-phone number! Yes, its a world of personalisation, to stand out, to make your mark, so why not with mobile numbers, right?

If you are living anywhere in UK, you are in luck, because Elite Numbers can provide you with a special Gold Number which is yours till you die! It is a personal memorable number that you can purchase from them as long as it is any six digit combination (not including the prefix). You can even use alpha-numeric characters for your business purposes. A gold phone number is available on any UK network and can replace your current mobile number. You can even continue your current contract with your cell-phone network; just pay for the personalized number and you'll be sent your new Sim Card or your PAC code and you are good to go! You can even do this on a Pay-as-you-Go service!

With competitive rates, and the largest database of numbers in UK, Elite Numbers is a great site to find your personal mobile number. Their website is clear and easy-to-navigate. You can check for availability of your dream-number and even request for one. It would defnitely be an advisable thing to do for companies that have offices in UK or for private entrepreneurs looking to advertise their business. This has been pretty common in US for years, but its a growing craze in Europe. So don't miss the boat! Order your personal elite mobile number today!

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A Cooling Car Seat Cover For Your Tiny-Tots

As Summer is around the corner, I am sure most people have plans of road-trips and long vacations, camping trips and more, and most of us resort to car journeys for such family events in summer. But for those of you who have kids in car seats, the summer heat can get really irritating, both for you and your precious kid! But here's a cooling car seat cover that will keep your tiny-tot cool and comfortable throughout the trip so he sleeps like a baby, and you can enjoy your trip as you drive rather than trying to keep him pacified!

As summer is on its way, parents are searching for innovative ideas to keep kids cool during vacations and muggy days. The Cold Seat is the perfect product for parents of fussy infants and young children who hate traveling in hot cars.

Cold Seat is an out of the ordinary car seat cover that can cool off kids during summer road trips or even on short rides around town. With cars' internal temperatures reaching beyond 100 degrees during warm weather, this freezable seat will be a favorable alternative to the gas-consuming A/C option. So how does the Cold Seat work? Simple, just keep the seat cover in the freezer before your next car ride, and then fasten it into a standard car seat. You can then take it on the go and use it for soccer games, bbq events, long trips, theme park outings or at a picnic. When you are done with it, simply roll it up and use its Velcro fasteners for convenient storage.

It sounds really simple and probably not-so-cool, but the refuge it can provide to kids against the blaring summer heat will make it really worthwhile children's product, and will keep you less stress-free too! The Cold Seat is available through its official website, or through other fine children's retailers. So get one for your child today!

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Flickr (Yahoo) Finally Launches Online Video Service- But Is It Worthy Enough??

Today Flickr (Yahoo) introduced its online video launching service, which allows its premium users to upload video clips of up to 150MB to their Flickr portfolio. Free members will still be able to view these clips, but will be unable to add their own, at least for the time being. Where YouTube rules the online video world, and Hulu providing a close competition, does Flickr Video have a chance at all?? Plus, it seems like its not a free service like the others, so will people actually pay to upload their "short videos only" when they have so many free options available? Check out what you can do and see for yourself!

Yahoo seems to have adopted a very different path with their video service, limiting user video clips to just 90 seconds duration. It's a far cry from the arms race of higher quality and unlimited length offered by services like Vimeo, Viddler, Hul and even YouTube to a certain degree. That's not to say videos will look poor and grainy, though. The system has been designed to scale any clip you can throw at it, including high-definition from high-end point-and-shoot cameras or your HD-capable camcorder. The frame rate also maintains 30 FPS, which is half the speed of video captured on most modern point and shoot digital cameras.

So why was Flickr Videos necessary?? What Flickr is trying to do with these small clips is provide a place for people to post and share the little videos they're capturing on their digital cameras, the tiny items that are still very watchable, but hardly worth spending the time to upload to a separate service. More as an accompaniment to Flickr Photos, photos and videos sit side by side in your album; Like photos, you can simply click on video thumbnails to go to the page that contains all the usual things like user comments, tags, and metadata, or you can simply view the video in its thumbnail size right in the stream, complete with player controls.

Videos can be uploaded at the same time and the same way you're used to uploading your still photos. The player is a modified version of the one found on Yahoo video with controls that fade away after a few seconds to reveal the full shot. Users can embed clips on third-party sites as they would anywhere else, and developers can pull in them in through the same data API that's helped integrate Flickr into all manner of third-party tools and services.

It has a whole lot of cool features like tagging the videos, categorizing them, direct upload from your camera phone, sharing clips and more standard features that you can check out on the Flickr site. But two things that will blow-off users: a $25 paid annual subscription and the time and size limit on video uploads (90 seconds long and 150MB max) Yeah, if you are into making short-length videos and just want to share it with public, Flickr might be an attractive option, but it surely cannot compete with YouTube in terms of ease of browsing. YouTube also includes pages of categories of similar videos for the users to browse, while there's nothing like that with flickr.

But then again, that was not what Flickr Video was intended to be! It knows it would not be able to compete with YouTube, so it created something a little different and a little more user-friendly. I hope at least a few of us would find it so!

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Samsung's Instinct (Sprint) Ready to Compete with the iPhone

Sprint and Samsung Mobile today announced the upcoming availability of a new wireless device, Samsung Instinct, which offers consumers an industry-leading user experience by combining full touch-screen functionality with fast speeds available on the nation's largest mobile broadband network. This revolutionary device speeds up the user experience like no other touch-screen phone and brings the customer's most-used applications and contacts within a single finger tap. The "Instinct" received the "Best In Show" during the Emerging Technology (E-Tech) Award competition, which took place during the CTIA Wireless 2008 convention in Las Vegas. For those who have been looking ut for iPhone alternatves, Instinct may deserve a look.

The Samsung Instinct was first voted "First Place" in the Mobile CE Smartphones category by a panel consisting of 31 judges. The "Best In Show" award was then chosen by CTIA attendees. Not surprisingly, attendees voted via text message. CNET also bestowed an award on the Samsung Instinct during its Cream of the Crop CTIA 2008 Awards. The phone was given the title "Best Cell Phone" by CNET.

Sprint and Samsung first announced the Samsung Instinct April 1st. The phone is expected to compete with the iPhone because of the touch screen technology used by the phone in addition to its virtual QWERTY keyboard and voice activation features. The phone is also the first EV-DO Rev A device by Sprint which is marketed toward consumers. The Samsung Instinct is capable of accessing a number of Sprint services, including Sprint Navigation (GPS navigation), Live Search for Sprint, Sprint TV, Sprint Exclusive Entertainment, the Sprint Music Store and Pocket Express which provides news and access to weather, sports and movie showtimes based on zip code. The Samsung Instinct is expected to be available in June.

As Sprint's first EV-DO Rev A consumer-centric device, Samsung Instinct also provides access to Sprint exclusive services and multimedia content, including:

* Sprint Navigation, powered by Telenav, with GPS-enabled audio and visual turn-by-turn driving directions, one-click traffic rerouting and more than 10 million local listings
* Live Search for Sprint, powered by Microsoft, provides easy access to directory information on-the-go, GPS-enabled directions, interactive maps and one-touch click to call access
* Sprint TV(R), with an extensive selection of live and on-demand programming
Sprint Exclusive Entertainment (SEE), the industry's only made-for-mobile sports and entertainment video programming network
* Sprint Music Store, allowing users to browse and wirelessly download full-length songs directly to their phone for just 99 cents each
* Pocket Express(R), with up-to-date information on sports, weather, news, movie showtimes and other options customized to the user's zip code

The Samsung Instinct sure looks promising; check out more at Sprint's News Release. It may not be a cut-throat competition to the iPhone, but if it delivers what it promises, Sprint could at least keep its current customer base from moving over to AT&T.

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Dell Inspiron 1525 - A Blu-Ray Supporting Laptop Priced under $1000!!

Now that the fight between HD and Blu-Ray is officially over, with Blu-Ray coming out as the proud winner, manufacturers all over the world finally have a direction! So what's the next best screen target after TV's?? Yes, Laptops, and you guessed it correct! With the cool widescreen laptops available these days, adding an LCD or Blu-Ray playback technology to the laptops used to be expensive. But not anymore! Dell Inspiron 1525 makes it very easy and affordable to enjoy hi-def experience at a low price.

In good news for high-definition video fans, Dell has announced that its colorful Inspiron 1525 line of laptop computers is now available with optional Blu-ray disc playback starting at USD$879. Blu-ray discs offer the advantage of around six times the data capacity of a standard DVD (50 GB of data vs. 8.5 GB) and the drives are fully backwards compatible, so they will play traditional DVDs and CDs.

Dell Inspiron 1525 laptops with Blu-ray disc drives incorporate Broadcom Media PC technology that allows PCs with integrated graphics to play high definition video. The high-definition video playback is enabled through a built-in dedicated accelerator located in a mini-card slot. The Inspiron 1525 laptop features a 15.4-inch high definition wide aspect display with 720p resolution plus a HDMI port for easy connectivity to high resolution displays and HDTVs. On the aesthetic side of the equation, several styles are available in colors like Sunshine Yellow, Midnight Blue and Ruby Red. See Dell for full-specs and further info.

Find a color that suits your style and enjoy high-quality hi-def video playback on your laptop without making a dent in your pocket! I hope they do the same magic for the regular DVD players too!

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