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Google search changes ‘warp the internet’

Google’s introduced one of its biggest-ever changes to search, tapping Google+ results to give more personal results in a move that some observers suggest may contravene US anti-trust legislation.

Titled Search plus Your World, the new service, being rolled out over the next few days to English speakers, builds on Social Search to highlight personal content from users and their friends.

It also makes it easier to find profiles in search. “Now, typing just the first few letters of your friend’s name brings up a personalized profile prediction in autocomplete,” says Google fellow Amit Singhal on the company blog.

“Selecting a predicted profile takes you to a results page for your friend, which includes information from their Google+ profile and relevant web results that may be related to them.”

And a new People and Pages feature offers a list of ‘prominent people’ who regularly discuss a given topic on Google+ so that searching for ‘music’, for example, offers you pearls of wisdom from the likes of Britney Spears and Snoop Dogg.

However, Twitter’s senior lawyer, Alex Macgillivray, describes the move as a ‘bad day for the internet’ in a tweet.

“Having been there, I can imagine the dissension @Google to search being warped this way,” he says.

By highlighting Google+ results, says Twitter, the company is effectively demoting content from its competitors. And there’s no clear reason why the People and Pages feature can’t offer Twitter and Facebook accounts as well as Google+, for example.

Rather smugly, Google points out that it no longer has access to the Twitter database, making it hard to screen results effectively for relevance.

“We are a bit surprised by Twitter’s comments about Search plus Your World, because they chose not to renew their agreement with us last summer… and since then we have observed their rel=nofollow instructions,” it says on the Google+ blog.

Let’s hope for Google’s sake that’s enough to satisfy regulator

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Posted by on January 19, 2012 in Technology

 

Windows 8 likely to come in October

   Apparently the next major evolution in Microsoft operating systems is about nine months away.

Pocket-lint.com quoted a Microsoft spokesperson during CES when asked about the potential Windows 8 launch window.

“Windows releases come round about every three years and this year will be three years in October since we launched Windows 7. So I think that’s a good guideline to consider,” the company rep reportedly said.

Windows 8 will arguably bring more changes to the operating system than any other iteration.

All the changes revolve around what Microsoft is calling the “Metro UI,” which allows users to have complete customization on their home page, including widgets, RSS readers, weather information, date/time, etc.

Metro UI will also have deep multitasking chops, giving users the ability to easily toggle back and forth between different apps and websites. The prototype unit shown at BUILD looks similar to an iPad, with virtually no buttons on the device itself. Microsoft wants touch input to be the main control mechanism, but in a way that’s new and different – not just tapping, but swiping and gesturing.

When the beta launches, so will the Windows Store – the recently announced digital storefront that will allow users to pay for software and download it right away. The idea is that users will no longer need to jump around to third-party download sites and can get all their content from one central platform.

The Windows Store will launch with only free content at first, but premium downloads will be available in the following months.

 
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Posted by on January 19, 2012 in Technology

 

Microsoft Rejiggers File System for Windows Server 8

  Move over, NTFS — Microsoft (Nasdaq: MSFT) has announced a newly engineered file system, ReFS, for Windows Server 8.

ReFS, or Resilient File System, builds on NTFS, including many of its features but leaving out others.

It will be introduced only as part of Windows Server 8, in line with Microsoft’s standard approach for putting out new file systems.

ReFS will verify and auto-correct data, optimize for extreme scale and provide a full end-to-end resiliency architecture when used in conjunction with Storage Spaces. The two were designed and built together.

“I like the idea of trying to make everything as compatible with NTFS while trying to scale up something large-scale underneath it,” Wes Miller, a research analyst at Directions on Microsoft, told TechNewsWorld.

“An NTFS replacement was overdue,” said Murray Ellis II, director of engineering at Digistor.

Microsoft spokesperson Lacretia Taylor pointed to the company’s blog post on ReFS but declined further comment.

What ReFS Is About

Further, REFS was designed so users won’t have to take the file system offline.

Features and semantics ReFS inherits from NTFS include BitLocker encryption, access-control lists, USN Journal, change notification, volume snapshots and file IDs.

Data stored on ReFS will be accessible through the same file accessAPIs on clients that are used on operating systems that can access NTFS storage Test Drive the Public Cloud for $1. Windows & Linux Cloud Hosting. Click Here. volumes.

Below the NTFS features, ReFS’s code base uses a newly architected engine that implements on-disk structures such as the Master File Table to represent files and directories.

This new on-disk storage engine handles and manipulates on-disk structures. It uses B+ trees as the single common on-disk structure to represent all information on the disk.

A B tree is a tree data structure optimized for systems that read and write large blocks of data. It’s commonly used in databases and file systems. B+ trees are one variant.

Trees can be very large and multi-level or really compact, having just a few keys, and embedded in another structure. This ensures extreme scalability up and down for all aspects of the file system, Microsoft said.

Reliability and ReFS

To maximize reliability, Microsoft uses an allocate-on-write approach that writes metadata updates to a different location in an atomic fashion instead of updating metadata in-place. Transactions are built on top of the allocate-on-write approach.

All ReFS metadata is checksummed at the level of a B+ tree page, and the checksum is stored separately from the page. This lets users detect all forms of disk corruption.

ReFS also offers an “integrity streams” option. When this is enabled, ReFS checksums files automatically and writes file changes using the allocate-on-write method. This ensures there’s always a verifiable version of the file available to check for corruption if power is lost.

ReFS was designed to plug into the storage stack just like another file system. Microsoft expects it to work seamlessly with most file system filters.

Testing, Testing

ReFS has been tested with tens of thousands of tests that have been developed for NTFS. However, Microsoft apparently hasn’t developed any new tests specific to ReFS.

That’s not a problem, Directions on Microsoft’s Miller suggested.

“The number of developers, especially in this country, that focus in on the file system and do the level of testing you need to do … is so small that Microsoft has probably been doing plug fests with them … the EMCs and StorageTeks,” Miller said.

“Microsoft’s coming up with a way that they can bring this new thing out and have it running while not breaking anything,” Miller added.

There are no plans right now to make ReFS available on PCs, only on Windows Server 8 clients.

“ReFS would be used by an application, like Sharepoint, and the client would not change,” Digistor’s Ellis told TechNewsWorld. “There’s nothing very satisfying.”

 
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Posted by on January 19, 2012 in Technology