Google made a small but important update to Google Analytics that finally makes it easy to exclude bots and spiders from your user stats. That kind of traffic from search engines and other web spiders can easily skew your data in Google Analytics. Unfortunately, while generating fake traffic from all kinds of bot networks is big business and accounts for almost a third of all traffic to many sites according to some reports, Google is only filtering out traffic from known bots and spiders. It’s using the IAB’s “International Spiders & Bots List” for this, which is updated monthly.
Google has acquired music streaming service Songza after weeks of speculation around a potential buyout. Songza uses information about the user and context to determine the best playlists for you at any given time, all of which are curated by music experts (DJs, Rolling Stone writers, etc.). Very few services look to human curation to enhance the music experience — Pandora, Spotify, and other big players rely heavily on algorithms — making this one of the key selling points of the service.
Google lets people click a star icon to flag interest in particular Gmail messages, Chrome bookmarks, Android address book contacts, and Google Apps documents. Now it looks like the company is testing a service called Stars that could centralize the idea. Google+ user and Google watcher Florian Kiersch has spotted graphics, code snippets, and other tidbits about Google Stars since April. On Monday, he posted a Google Stars video showing how some of the service could work, based on access to Google's "dogfooding" test framework.
Google plans to release a software development kit in the next two weeks that will allow third-party developers to create Android software for use on wearable computing devices. The announcement was made Sunday by Sundar Pichai, Google's senior vice president of Android, Apps, and Chrome, during a panel discussion with John Battelle at the South by Southwest conference in Austin, Texas.
Google has acquired SlickLogin, an Israeli security startup that uses smartphones and high-frequency sounds for identity verification at Web sites. SlickLogin's three-person team revealed the acquisition in an announcement posted to the company's Web site.
Google and the European Union have finally come to an agreement over competition in the company's search results. The European Union's competition commissioner Joaquin Almunia announced on Wednesday that Google will now display search results for its own services in the same manner as those of competing offerings. Google will be required to show three competing services to its own products, such as its online Office suite Google Docs.
Blaise Aguera y Arcas, an engineer and imagery expert who played a key role in development of Microsoft's Bing, has left the company for rival Google, according to a New York Times report. At Microsoft, Aguera y Arcas focused on augmented reality, mapping, wearable computing and natural user interfaces, and was an architect of Bing Maps and Bing Mobile. He was named a Distinguished Engineer in 2011 and oversaw development of Photosynth, a 3D panorama photo app.
For a company with as much expertise in running massive data centers packed with computing power, It's got to sting that Amazon Web Service gets all the glory when customers need cloud-computing infrastructure. Which is doubtless why Google is happy that its Google Compute Engine is out of testing and now generally available to all comers. The service offers a pool of servers on which customers can run various versions of Linux, paying for usage and assured that the systems will be up and running at least 99.95 percent of the time.