3/2/2010

Google Launches User-Generated Street View

Filed under: — Aviran Mordo

Although it continues to face criticism from European privacy authorities about Street View, that hasn’t stopped Google from adding features to the service. The latest to launch is a kind of user-generated layer to Street View that uses photos uploaded by individuals to create a pseudo-3D panorama of a specific spot. Although there aren’t going to be enough user photos to do this for every site or building, it’s an additional way to get different perspectives on popular landmarks.

Newborns’ blood used to build secret DNA database

Filed under: — Aviran Mordo

Texas health officials secretly transferred hundreds of newborn babies’ blood samples to the federal government to build a DNA database, a newspaper investigation has revealed.

According to The Texas Tribune, the Texas Department of State Health Services (DSHS) routinely collected blood samples from newborns to screen for a variety of health conditions, before throwing the samples out.

But beginning in 2002, the DSHS contracted Texas A&M University to store blood samples for potential use in medical research. These accumulated at rate of 800,000 per year. The DSHS did not obtain permission from parents, who sued the DSHS, which settled in November 2009.

Now the Tribune reveals that wasn’t the end of the matter. As it turns out, between 2003 and 2007, the DSHS also gave 800 anonymised blood samples to the Armed Forces DNA Identification Laboratory (AFDIL) to help create a national mitochondrial DNA database.

Google Secures Broad Patent for Location-Based Advertising

Filed under: — Aviran Mordo

Google, the world’s largest search engine and the owner of the world’s largest online advertising platform, has been granted a major U.S. patent for “determining and/or using location information in an ad system.” In other words, Google now owns a key patent for location-based advertising.

The patent, which was first discovered by Venturebeat, was filed nearly seven years ago, in September 2003, but was only granted last week.

Since then of course, location-based advertising has boomed with companies such as AdMob (acquired by Google) and Quattro Wireless (acquired by Apple) leading the charge.

That patent itself focuses on making sure businesses can better target their ads based on location information so that they can do things such as price arbitration (e.g. figuring out prices for items near you and getting the best deal). It also deals with the user interface and defining geographic areas.

Mozilla Is Working On A New Javascript Engine

Filed under: — Aviran Mordo

Mozilla is brewing a new extension to the Firefox JavaScript engine, hoping to fix a flaw in its setup that occasionally sends the open source browser back to 2007.

Dubbed JaegerMonkey, the new extension will operate alongside the much-ballyhooed TraceMonkey - an extension that debuted with Firefox 3.5 in June of last year - interpreting JavaScript code unsuited to “tracing.” With Mozilla’s current setup, code that can’t be optimized with TraceMonkey is kicked back to an aging interpreter that runs JavaScript at speeds reminiscent of the dark ages before Firefox 3.5 or Google Chrome.

The JaegerMonkey project is only about two months old - and it’s a ways from testing in a Firefox beta build - but a blog post from Mozilla programmer David Anderson says it’s already providing a 30 per cent performance boost over that old interpreter on x86 machines.

Powered by WordPress