Internet Explorer 6: End of An Era

So, here comes the end of an era …

I was already wondering that how some of the old things we grown up with (even after introduction of many new alternatives) just don’t die. Like Windows XP! do we really had found any real alternative for the same, when the date of support expiration is already near? Now its turn of IE6 to go officially. Thanks for the pics Devilsworkshop

Google just announced that some of features in Google Docs and many other Google Sites and Services wont be available google_dumps_IEover Internet Explorer 6 and it made a big buzz across the blogs that Google made the final push to let this browser die, which still was holding more market share than chrome, IE7 or IE8, around 21% till the last December 2009.

Sure the link goes to the recent hacking incident, which was officially done with exploiting flaws in IE6, for which Microsoft later on released security fixes as well. Still many security experts and companies taken stand against Internet Explorer 6. German Government even issued advice to all of its citizens for not using any version of Internet Explorer including even the recent one Internet Explorer 8.  

Is it really so that only that hacking incident made IE6 pushed away? I don’t think so. Introduction of HTML5 has already pushed IE6 to become obsolete as Internet Explorer till its version 7 didn’t supported HTML5 and like Google sites, many of leading sites have already moved over HTML5 due to availability of wide range of more options. Like Google Gears, many of the services already started mentioning that you can’t use them from IE6. Its just this, Google Docs have became of huge importance in world of cloud computing and by ruling out IE6 shares in it, Google has made it somewhat helpless by now (very few can keep and actively use multiple web browsers).


Internet Explorer 6 was released on August 27, 2001, a few months before Windows XP. This version included DHTML enhancements, content restricted inline frames, and partial support of CSS level 1, DOM level 1 and SMIL 2.0. The MSXML engine was also updated to version 3.0. Other new features included a new version of the Internet Explorer Administration Kit (IEAK), Media bar, Windows Messenger integration, fault collection, automatic image resizing, P3P, and a new look-and-feel that was in line with the Luna visual style of Windows XP, when used in Windows XP. Internet Explorer 6.0 SP1 offered several security enhancements and coincided with XP SP1 patch release. In 2002, the Gopher protocol was disabled and support for it was dropped in Internet Explorer 7. Internet Explorer 6.0 SV1 came out August 6, 2004 for Windows XP SP2 and offered various security enhancements and new color buttons on the user interface. IE6 updated the original ‘blue e’ logo to a lighter blue and more 3D look.


The biggest reason behind the success of Internet Explorer 6, it was shipped with kind of most successful operating system till now, so if the OS was a hit, so was the perfectly working browser Internet Explorer 6. Later as tabbed browsing became more successful and people started shifting to firefox more, Microsoft pushed Internet Explorer 7 with their Windows Vista, but many experienced it slower than even IE6 and was not that well received. Microsoft still hoping the best to get its shares back with a much better Internet Explorer 8.

I expect more services to come forward to drop support with Internet Explorer 6 in next few days as few already done the same from behind silently. As I read in Devilsworkshop.org as well, is Gmail going to drop support for IE6 in next?

 

Google Vs China, Strategy or Real Concerns?

It seems that like the last year went, Google still keeping itself well in news.

| Got to read one tweet @ claymillThe Google /China incident feels ominously profound; it’s an ending and a beginning but nobody knows exactly what ended or began.” |


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Google; A name always found in support of Open Internet and even recently made a precise statement over definition of Open and has a philosophy that believe that “open systems win”. They lead to more innovation, value, and freedom of choice for consumers, and a vibrant, profitable, and competitive ecosystem for businesses. china

China; A nation, who leads in methods of censorship. Internet censorship in China is conducted under a wide variety of laws and administrative regulations. In accordance with these laws, more than sixty Internet regulations have been made by the People’s Republic of China (PRC) government, and censorship systems are vigorously implemented by provincial branches of state-owned ISPs, business companies, and organizations.


Internet Censorship and Google: The History

google-chinaFor the first time, Google found to have started to censor its search results in 2002 in compliance with United States’ DMCA legislation. Although even in that time, this move was taken in innovative ways as banned results were replaced by corresponding DMCA complaint. Later on the similar phenomenon was noticed with other countries like United Kingdom (Since September 2006), Germany & France (Since October 2002) and most importantly with China (Since December 2005) in adherence with their corresponding country policies.

With China, Google’s journey been with troubles since the beginning due to huge difference in philosophy. In fact, there was a time when popular search engines such as Altavista, Yahoo!, and Google were completely banned from use in China, although later the ban was lifted, but filtering remained continued.

Google officially announced its adherence with China’s policy in January 2006 and launched a Chinese-language service that will be stripped of content deemed offensive or subversive. Google somehow managed to devise an interesting solution (must read link) for this technically big problem. Later on other Internet giants including Yahoo and Microsoft’s MSN have also censored material "in exchange" for being allowed to tap a market comprising 110 million Internet users, the world’s second-largest market.


An Example of Censorship could be cited as below:

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Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch strongly condemned Google’s compliance with China’s Golden Shield Project, calling it a form of self-censorship. According to Amnesty,

“ These forms of censorships seem to contradict the very principles that Google — whose unofficial motto is "don’t be evil" — was founded upon. Until January 2006, Google’s Support Center claimed that it "does not censor results for any search term", but removed this claim after reaching its deal with China. ”


By 12th January 2010, Google finally decided to stand against China’s Censorship

The sensational news was uncovered by Google itself by their blog post on 12th January 2010, in which they wrote that they faced a sophisticated attack in mid Dec 2009, where the hackers targeted Google’s corporate infrastructure originating from China that resulted in the theft of intellectual property from Google. Google claimed that a primary goal of the attackers was accessing the Gmail accounts of Chinese human rights activists.

Google said

We launched Google.cn in January 2006 in the belief that the benefits of increased access to information for people in China and a more open Internet outweighed our discomfort in agreeing to censor some results. At the time we made clear that "we will carefully monitor conditions in China, including new laws and other restrictions on our services. If we determine that we are unable to achieve the objectives outlined we will not hesitate to reconsider our approach to China."

These attacks and the surveillance they have uncovered–combined with the attempts over the past year to further limit free speech on the web–have led us to conclude that we should review the feasibility of our business operations in China. We have decided we are no longer willing to continue censoring our results on Google.cn, and so over the next few weeks we will be discussing with the Chinese government the basis on which we could operate an unfiltered search engine within the law, if at all. We recognize that this may well mean having to shut down Google.cn, and potentially our offices in China.


After attacks over RockYou and Twitter, this was a news which would have caused a stir among people for security concerns of cloud with headlines like “Now even Google got compromised”, like one tweet @vicsingh said “google has balls for potential china pullout, but the positive externality is that no one is talking about the vulnerability of their cloud”, but the matter went much more twisted and interesting as Google shared this information with the world saying …

“We have taken the unusual step of sharing information about these attacks with a broad audience not just because of the security and human rights implications of what we have unearthed, but also because this information goes to the heart of a much bigger global debate about freedom of speech.”

BoyThinking More interesting were their next two decisions;

  1. One was a somewhat not that noticed move by Google after around 6 hours of their blog post about attacks, where they made their Gmail and other services using https access by default.
  2. The other one came with the same blog post itself saying “We have decided we are no longer willing to continue censoring our results on Google.cn”


Why Google suddenly became ready to even leave China?

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As per information revealed by Google itself, the attack was mere phishing attacks “These accounts have not been accessed through any security breach at Google, but most likely via phishing scams or malware placed on the users’ computers.

Now, the million dollars question to be asked is, such attacks been common to whole community of internet users and all leading companies since decades and Google itself said (if true) that only two of the accounts were compromised up to an extent (not even completely) then what became the reason of this huge decision, which could impact many things all around the globe in many ways?


questionIts true that for years, Google faced withering criticism for what activists and lawmakers said was a willingness to abandon social responsibility in return for greater wealth. Its true that Google co-founder Sergey Brin shared many of the critics’ concerns about Google’s presence in China (but he publicly maintained that even a censored version of the company’s search engine was better than none at all). Its also true that recent move invited world wide praises for Google.

But still it will be a question to ask that why now after four years? Is the biggest market (around 20% of whole world) became less lucrative suddenly for which many compromises were made? Is performance troubles due to excessive filtering seems to nail down Google’s cloud strategies?

Note that even now  Google is filtering its search results and its operation in China is under a review as per Google itself, not opted out. Google officials said that they will be discussing with the Chinese government the basis on which they could operate an unfiltered search engine within the law, if at all. So, wait and watch.


This link sites Testimony of Google Inc. about China from their blog post in 2006. Have a read. I would also like to invite you all to comment upon what you think about this news.

How Orkut could regain strength in front of Facebook

“ Some find it hard to believe, some find it obvious now; some says that it will regain the place back, some says its just international trend arrived at India now; some wants to see Orkut rising again and some finding ways to shift their profile/ photos etc from Orkut to Facebook. But its true Orkut is loosing the turf in India against the Facebook: Social Network Giant for rest part of the world since long. ”

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The news is not new and been floating around here on web since March 2009 that Facebook is getting a steady rise in India while growth of Orkut getting slower. I thought to write over it, n102452128776_1831when something attracted me to Facebook recently. It was addictive Farmwille application, which got kind-of-craze among my colleagues in recent days and when the craze finally got me, then I was surprised to see many of known faces on Facebook. I was also impressed with this particular application in the way its single handedly keeping users engaged in each hour and also luring more to join.


I had profiles on both of the social networks:

Orkut and Facebook, but Orkut always remained prime for me. In fact, I was logging into Facebook once in a while in month only, while Orkut was part of daily habits from Home, from Office, from Mobile. I kept on hearing about national/ international celebrity profiles on Facebook and getting search results showing Facebook profiles, but still it was not able to lure me as I didn’t thought that its offering me anything more than I getting from Orkut, specially after recent makeover of Orkut.

But after checking out techcrunch article, I thought to gather some info about the same topic and in the same way, I came across few interesting articles like 12 Best Reasons Why People Leave Orkut And Migrate To Facebook & 10 Ways Orkut Can Compete with Facebook and felt that I could come up with a few answers and suggestions of my own:


  1. Privacy: There is a lot of buzz about this and many people choosing Facebook over Orkut, because of this only. Initially, as per generic philosophy privacyof Google, it was to be open for all means one has to be shown as he is with all others. Scrapbook, photos, Friend Network and Profile info, everything was open to all. So, it was an open world, where you could contact and know about others in the way, they want to tell the world they are.

    In Facebook, by default only your friends can see your profile. The others can only see your name and thumbnail (reduced version of the profile picture). Nothing more. In addition, you can always configure the options for privacy as deemed appropriate.

    But many times it happens that you wanted to be open for some people and for some, you want to remain closed shell. Like celebrities or popular people, if everyone is allowed to write to them, then they wont be able to use these social networks coz of spam. So, later on, Orkut added some restrictions like only your friends could write in your scraps or could see your photos/ videos (in case of photos, restrictions could be categorized per person basis). Although somewhere I find these step more of caused by market demands than the original philosophy. More or less, people called it a welcome step, but still Orkut kept it more open than Facebook.

    As a step to answer demands, I think Orkut really needs to provide some more detailed Privacy configuration options. Like scrap book could be managed to open for people/ groups only we want, others could only read their scraps only or not even could write. Same for new feeds, photos, profiles and other features.

    Specially, where Orkut needs to look out is restriction over profile view. Even if I liked the larger profile pics, some might not and moreover, they might not be wishing to roll out their information for all. Although as being a technocrat, I understand the difficulties lying under such a big change as it will require to change the root way, Orkut stores information for users, which will not be a simple task.

  2. Publicity: We really find Orkut keeping itself low profile in comparison to Facebook, which although been a philosophy of Googlepublicity about all of its products. Google always  placed its products on top without too much going into media on the basis of its own unmatched set of features only. While this strategy worked for most of the services, might be reason of failure in case of Orkut. Facebook really has a strong media presence and in other part of world, we really could find many people, who might not even heard of Orkut.

    It’s really high time, Google should think about Media presence of Orkut even if Google doesn’t want it to be a Business Website. Although I also know the implications that it’ll also lead to brining more ads to Orkut in the way Facebook has coz no point in investing in media management, if you are not making high business use of the same. But still I am looking for Orkut to be heard in most part of the world.

  3. Applications: This is really becoming the bottleneck of the equations between Orkut and Facebook. Even if Facebook already been an orkut-appsestablished brand, now in India, its getting an high very much due to its diverse applications. Orkut also has few applications, but those are really few and none are kind of engaging in the way Facebook has some like Farmville and Mafia Wars.

    As I said this is bottleneck, so Orkut should really do something about it, not today, but now.

  4. Restricted Networking: In case of Facebook, if you wished to join Community of your Company Network,restricted then what you need a genuine corporate email id, otherwise, it wont  allow you to join, while in case of Orkut, its maximum level is moderator’s approval, whose task goes tough, if company is spread around world and moderator has no efficient and effective way to evaluate in real time.

    For some it might be, but as per my view, Orkut should not bother about such a feature. Orkut was not an Official Place sort for Corporate and communities were created by users only not from Corporate itself. It was not business world, but was an open and simpler world and I wish it remain open in the same way, coz this was the reason, Orkut was liked and grown even when MySpace and FaceBook were already giants in other parts of world.

  5. Design: Some find Orkut’s design as a benchmark, while some says same for Facebook. When I joined Orkut, then it was due to its decent and simple blue theme and even this was the tagline then. Although as per demands, it changed its way. I really dont know yet, if Facebook has something like scrapbook, where actual conversations flow and sometimes, you could get an idea about people by their scrapbooks, while Facebook kept it around newsfeeds, which might be many at a time as per size of your friend list.

    Though Facebook had an advantage earlier to keep most of the things limited to one page only, but new look of Orkut made it compete in that way as well.
    facebook new look New-Orkut-SnapShot

    I really find nothing to change from the root about Orkut design right now. It should grow with its own learning curve as being done in past. 

  6. Photo Tagging: Although that was an area, where Facebook started, but Orkut got it more better with face recognition. In facebook, you find the face manually, photo-taggingwhile in Orkut  it does the same automatically and recent makeover of Photo updates make it scoring higher over Facebook.

    What I am really looking for as an addition to Orkut Photos system, is its integration with Picasa & Picasa web. I means you could sync your Orkut album with the one you own at your home and upload photos from Picasa to Orkut. I know Orkut could do this due to integration of its services and really looking for, when this change will happen.

  7. Status Updates/ News Feed/ Link Share: This was really an area, where I was looking for an improvement from Orkut orkut-status-updatesside, which Orkut recently heard, by providing Share on Orkut feature. I guess, now we could find Orkut Share buttons spreading among blogs like Facebook/ Twitters share buttons. Although still I am disappointed with its being JavaScript based as WordPress.com doesn’t support that or might be I am not able to find some work around.

    But still I find status updates/ news Feeds an area of improvement for Orkut as now. Status updates a.k.a. News Feeds are more configurable, innovative and richer in Facebook right now than Orkut. A must feature, I will be looking for the next improvement in Orkut.

  8. At the end, I really dont wanna see “Bad Bad Server, No Donuts for you” again.

Not finished Yet …. I really want readers to add up more and more suggestions for betterment of Orkut. Please do write.

How to make your Gmail account easy to recover if hacked

The very first step to take is the same as I discussed in last article.

Keep variations in your username/password over various sites: its of prime importance as how could you think that any random forum or newbie site could be as secure as your Yahoo/ Gmail/ Hotmail? If you use the same username/password combination in some smaller sites/ forum and that one got hacked, then a hacker could try to login with the same in other popular services as well and that could lead in getting your account hacked in a way, where no mistake was from Gmail/ Yahoo/ Hotmail side.


The other steps are for recovery of your email if hacked from Gmail as Amit suggested:

Use your old days pen & paper and note down the following somewhere:

  1. The month and year when your created your Gmail / Google Account.
  2. If you created a Gmail account by invitation, write the email address of the person who first sent you that invite for Gmail.
  3. The email addresses of your most frequently emailed contacts (the top 5).
  4. The names of any custom labels that you may have created in your Gmail account.
  5. The day/month/year when you started using various other Google services (like AdSense, Orkut, Blogger, etc.) that are associated with the Google account that you are trying to recover. If you’re not certain about some of the dates, provide your closest estimate.
  6. Run a Test! Log-out of all your Gmail / Google Accounts. Start the password recovery process. This guarantees that what you set up actually works. You want to be absolutely certain your SMS settings and secondary email addresses are configured correctly. (this is when you have associated your mobile in your Gmail account, do it for sure).
  7. Check your IP Address: From time to time check out the IP address in the footer of your Gmail Inbox. If you see an odd one, change your Google password immediately. Knowing IP addresses may seem too technical to some but it’s good information to know.

Thanks to Amit for listing out these tips.


At the end …

“ I don’t expect from everyone to be smart enough to remember these all minor but common details, but its about knowing your account more better than anyone else. Its like recognizing your bag, when recovered from police etc. You need to tell them that what’s inside it, which only you are expected to know. So, know your account better and keep it noted down in your diary or somewhere secured. ”

photo of Nitish KumarNitish Kumar

Google Transliteration

“ Dec 17, 2009, Google launched it new and improved version of Transliteration, which will remain available via labs and on http://www.google.com/transliterate. In this new version, you can select from one of seventeen supported languages: Arabic,Bengali, Greek, Gujarati, Hindi, Kannada, Malayalam, Marathi, Nepali, Persian, Punjabi,Russian, Sanskrit, Serbian, Tamil, Telugu and Urdu. You can also compose richly formatted text and look up word definitions with our dictionary integration. If the default transliteration is not the word you wanted, you can highlight it to see a list of alternatives. For even finer-grained control, Google has provided a unicode character picker to allow character-by-character composition. ”


Google Transliteration was first introduced to me by one of my colleague Prashant Shukla few weeks back, while working over a regional requirement, then it was Google Labs feature in beta phase. For late joiners of this new technology, let me start with Introduction of Google Transliteration.

transliteration_logoIn daily life, everyone of us might have encountered with issues of regional typing as widely spread keyboards are roman script based only. Google and many other providers decided to tackle the same problem by making it very easy to type phonetically using Roman characters. Using Google Transliteration you can convert Roman characters to their phonetic equivalent in your language. Note that this is not the same as translation — it’s the sound of the words that are converted from one alphabet to the other. For example, typing "hamesha" transliterates into Hindi as: Hindi transliteration example, typing "salaam" transliterates into Persian as: Farsi transliteration exampleand typing "spasibo" transliterates into Russian as . Since the initial launch with Hindi only, Google have been hard at work on improving quality, adding more languages and new features.


“ You already seen this feature as part of your orkut or gmail experiences, if have noticed it. The same feature is just becoming full fledge and standalone now with a new effective and efficient interface. Google Transliteration is integrated into several Google properties and Google also have an API and bookmarklets to extend this capability to other websites. A solution initially built to solve a problem in India is now being used in many other parts of the world as well. “

Google has also launched an amazing offline tool based on the same technology but without using internet at all, named Google Input Method: IME. I have used it and it works in really really cool way. Check out the following snapshot

transliterate

You just need to type phonetically and it will keep on translating it in Indian Language, you might have selected, just in way, you were using the same service online. Do you really think that regional typing will ever be burden again? 🙂

New Orkut for everyone without invite

“ Dec 17, 2009, from today Orkut has opened its new interface for everyone. Till now, it was available by invitation only basis, later they increased the number of invitations per users and now removing the need of invitations at all. ”

So, now no need for waiting for invitations, just click the button “Try New Orkut” on top of your profile and enjoy the new faster face of Orkut.

“Just wondering when the same going to be started for Google Voice and Google Wave :P”

photo of Nitish KumarNitish Kumar

Google Wave – need invites?

Look like I am again late about Google Wave. May be the reason is there are lesser known people inside and not many online on wave to talk to for the same reason. People like me might not be logging into their Google wave account just because they feel that they might get disappointed again by not getting more names in their friend list. After logging into it today, I found the situation been changed a little. Google wave has been opened up more.

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“ Since Dec 07, 2009, Google has not only given one more million Google Wave account to people requesting for them, but also has increased the number of invitations, one could send out for others. Although the exact count is not specified, but I think it must be 17 more invites added in your box, where it was 8 initially. ”


wave

Anyone, who is yet out of luck with Google Wave Account could get it from me by making a nice critic comment here on this post. Obviously, not everyone will get invites, but I have 24 invites in my bag to give out. May be your words get lucky.