Categories
Internet Technology

Google India Comes Up With Music Service With Search

Finally, Google has also jumped into the music-bandwagon! Google India today launched Google Music India – a fully-blown music streaming service.

The Google Music home page with album listings.

The service, which was launched earlier today under ‘Google India Labs’, is available at http://www.google.co.in/music and is accessible by users all across the world.

Google Music is pretty-impressive – especially the search part. Existing streaming services like Raaga and MusicIndiaOnline have appalling search – and that’s where Google‘s service scores. The search feature is quite comprehensive. You can search with the movie name, the lead actor’s name (e.g. a search for ‘Shah Rukh Khan’ lists songs from his movies), songs according to time period, and what not. You can even use complex queries to find out Guru Dutt track from your childhood that you’ve so badly wanted to catch up with, using some smart search queries.

Fresh from watching the movie, I badly wanted to listen to the songs. Lo and behold, Google comes to my rescue.

The service does not use a native ‘Google‘ player, neither does it host tracks in its server. The songs are sourced from ‘Saavn.com’, ‘Saregama’ and ‘in.com’, says the Google India Blog. Users can choose the player of their choice, for some songs.. The audio quality is decent. ‘Saregama’ and ‘in.com’ players do a good job, while the ‘Saavn’ player quite buggy. The streaming works well in a 2 Mbps+ connection, but the songs stutter in 256Kbps. Another drawback is that the service does not offer playlists.

Currently, Google Music has a comprehensive collection of Bollywood. Tamil, Malayalam, and other regional tracks are yet to make it.

The service is fully legal – since it offers just streaming and not downloading. It is a successor to Google‘s music search service in the US – which offered search and previews of tracks.

Google has also launched its new music service in China.

The extent of Google Music’s success is doubtful since India has a strong ‘downloading culture’. Users prefer downloading songs rather than listening to audio streams online – they would still opt for pirated tracks available for download.  Another major con would be the slow internet connections in the country – the service needs at least 256Kbps (or above) for smooth playback. Besides, a bulk of India’s internet users use internet plans with data-transfer caps – such users would give this service a miss, in all probability. Then again, Google will have to tackle many established players like Raaga.com and MusicIndiaOnline.

However, the service is a boon for all music addicts. Foraging for that long-lost-track, can now be done in just a click. Enjoy! 🙂

Categories
Technology Viewpoint

The Curious Case of Collective Attention Deficit Disorder

It’s a bright, sunny morning. Airily filling up your lungs with a (city variant of) the fresh morning air, you rev up your car and drive to work. As you’re half-way through, you notice a very obvious vibration from your jeans pocket – it’s the usual suspect, the mobile phone. You pick up the call – it’s your soulmate. She rants on and on about the brand-new outfit her dad purchased for her…But you’ve no clue as to what she’s talking about, do you?

Ah, yes. You’re driving – but did you just notice a city bus shave off the side-view mirror and the side-beeding of your car? Oh, okay, you were on the phone.

Yeah, right.

Later that evening, you watch one of those art-house flicks at the friendly-neighborhood multiplex – with your girlfriend as arm-candy. Suddenly, the screen goes dark – it’s apparently a part of the movie which is standard art-house flick material. You jerk your arm into the pant pocket and jerk out your office BlackBerry – can’t miss those mails from your US-based Boss, can you?  It took you a long ten seconds to realize that your arm-candy wanted to make, err, ‘better use’ of the ‘dark break’. You take five more seconds with the BB, before you give in to the girl.

Any of these situations ring a bell?

The second one might be a tad too far-fetched (it’s true though – scene from PVR Mumbai, circa December 2009. ‘Avatar’ was the ‘arthouse flick’, however). But the issue is indeed  a grave problem we all have faced at some point in time

Welcome to the new millennium of Collective Attention Deficit Disorder.

Image Courtesy: http://www.flickr.com/photos/brookhavenlab/

Patients with ‘Attention Deficit Hyperactive Disorder’ would find it difficult to focus on a particular task over a period of time. They get bored with the task fast, and quickly move on to other tasks. They have high tendencies of procrastination and exhibit escalated physical movement.

Today, this disorder is spreading rapidly, directly proportional to the growth of technology in our lives.

It’s necessary evil. We’ve accustomed ourselves to a ‘fast food culture’. We just cannot wait – we want instant results. Be it in any field – we rue traffic blocks, for they don’t allow us to reach our destinations on time. We curse slow computers, ’cause they don’t help us complete our task on time. Our bosses want tasks to be done in unrealistic deadlines. And in this survival of the fittest era, you can’t afford to budge.

Reading is a direct casualty of ADD – first it was hesitation to read long books. Thus, abridged versions were born. Then, people didn’t have time to read even abridged versions; short stories and blogs became the order of the day, for a while. Then came twitter, smashing all existing ‘literature’ with its 140 tiny characters. No, twitter and microblogging is yet to win over traditional publishing – but at this rate of exponential growth, that too could happen.

Even ‘Google’ has moved with the times, pun intended, with Google Instant, for lazybones like us reluctant enough to press the enter key on our keyboard. Remember ‘Google Wave’? It had the ‘revolutionary’ technology that directly posted what we typed (making the ‘enter’ button redundant again) – thus ‘increasing productivity’. In fact, Google’s obsession for fast results was evident by their hiring of the guy who made YouTube instant.

Alright, what’s wrong with shifting attention spans?

Simple – you’d end up wrecking your mind. Accept the fact, we’re not made of Dual Core processors – at least the males amongst us. Women have been multitasking for a while, but they too have a limit. Quoting a friend of mine, “Multitasking IS screwing many things at once.” You may not realize it – but you will, over time. Every time you indulge in more tasks than you can, simultaneously – your mental capacity takes a toll. Your mind’s like any machine – it needs rest. Give it some cool-off time, will you?

With short attention spans, you’d simply reach nowhere.

Here’s a DIY test:

Lay your hands on one of those short stories. Any simple story would do – it shouldn’t be too long. Get a stopwatch, set it on zero. Now, open the first page of your book and start reading – remember to switch on your stopwatch when you start. Once the story is over, note the time spent to read the story. Now that the story is over, choose a second short story of roughly the same length and complexity as the original one. Repeat the process – with one difference. Switch on the music – it should be your favourite track, and read the short story. Record the time taken.

Needless to say, you would have taken at least 50% more time, when you read the story with music on. And trust me, you wouldn’t even remember a lot about the second story – you’d just have a broad idea of what happened. You wouldn’t have enjoyed the music either.

Enough proof, innit?

So how do you tackle this attention deficit disorder?

The sad reality is, there’s no definite solution. You just cannot dump your blackberries and iPhones into the dead sea – they’ve irrevocably become a part of your life. But you can always try to give your full attention to one task at a time. While you are at a critical task, avoid interferences – you’d have the mental push to reply to that text – and if you intend to do that, you may certainly go to hell. 🙂 Spend some time with yourself each day – take a walk, enjoy the beauty of the stars and the night sky (don’t forget to leave that confounded mobile handset in your couch as you go about it. :P). Try meditation and yoga – with time, you’d be more focussed and productive.

Attention definite disorder is necessary evil – but you can’t afford it to ruin your life. Push it to the wall and leave it there. Go about your life, focussed and ready.

And yeah, give that new BlackBerry/iPhone a miss. it ain’t worth it.

P.S.
You CERTAINLY suffer from CHRONIC attention deficit disorder if you did not complete reading this post. 😛

P.P.S.
Watch this video.

Categories
Fun Internet

Idea Star Singer ads in Google Adsense!

Idea Star Singer is  a very popular reality show in Malayalam television. The show is on its fourth season now and is the quintessential ‘best singer’ show, with all the masala and moolah. This very great reality show is the sole reason why yours truly has abandoned television!

I almost died laughing when I saw these ads in my blog a couple of days back!

Idea star singer google ad!

Idea star singer - Google ad

Asianet Idea Star Singer:

Watch ISS Season 4 an Musical Entertainer!

LOL, I thought Ranjini Haridas knew enough crap about articles in English!! At least they could’ve made the ad grammatically correct! 😛

This means just one thing – people have realized that the show’s downright crap! Or is this ad the ‘brilliant’ idea of someone behind the scenes trying to cash in on the free $50 Google AdWords campaign.

Looks more like it!

Well, turns out that the website’s actually a fan site! 😉 Nevertheless, the ad-placement and the ‘grammar’ would only leave a far negative impact about the show rather than a positive one. Maybe there must be some regulation on fan sites and stuff…. 😀

And yeah, Season 4 sucks harder than ever!! 😐

P.S.

Yep, this IS an arbit post. But I do have university exams coming up, and I seriously can’t afford to flunk! 😐

HOT Post alert:

Brace yourself! 😛

Categories
Internet

Google’s environment film project: Home

When the whole world’s concerned about Global Warming, climate change and other perturbing issues, how could Google stay behind? No, I’m not talking about the much-talked-about green initiatives powered by Google.org. This time Google takes the power of mass media through YouTube and Google Maps to pull of this massive awareness initiative. Starting June 5, in cue with the World Environment Day, the ninety minute movie, ‘Home’ will be available to all YouTube users.

The movie, pioneered by Luc Besson and Yann-Arthus Betrand, tries to give a wholesome glimpse of the planet and depicts the very imperative need for change. In a massive online-cum-offline effort, the movie will also be telecast in movie theatres, television channels, et al, trying to create a synergistic and cascading effect in the promotion of a clean, green world.

To get a preview of what you can expect on June 5, check out some of the spectacular footage in the Home YouTube channel, to get some footage on the making of the movie. Trust me, it’s stunning! Google has now added a new feature to Google maps with more layers of images so that people can properly comprehend the movie.

Check out this stunning night view of Los Angeles from the Home channel:

For more details on the Home project, this post from the  Official Google Blog.

Update:

The movie Home has been released!! 🙂 Check this out: