Google Announces Local featuring Zagat reviews, Samsung Chromebooks

Looking for local eateries? Well, here in Rochester, we can always rely on for the most relevant reviews, but it isn’t always like that everywhere. Google has dabbled in the local search results thing for many years – Froogle used to allow you to shop locally, though they discontinued that service a while ago; Google search results on Android and mobile web have been tailored to local results for the past few years.

Now Google is bringing the power of social to the table by creating Google+ Local. And apparently, they’ve teamed up with the Zagat folks to provide reviews. The new “Local” tab is basically just a search engine for now, pre-filled with local restaurants, stores and other attractions based on your current location. Hard to imagine what Zagat brings to the table in this era of trusted recommendations and social networking, but I guess we’ll have to wait and see.

Samsung Chromebooks

You may be wondering: didn’t Google just buy Motorola? Yes, they did. So why is Samsung building Chromebooks? Good question. And even better: why is the new Chromebook build on Intel processors?

Don’t know. But the Chromebook is not built around hardware at all: the paradigm seems to be a more robust version of the mobile application world we’re slowly moving towards anyway. Rather than installing apps, however, the Chromebook relies on cloud services such as – da dum!!! – Google Drive to manage your software and content.

Price is pretty reasonable for this small form factor laptops – the most powerful of which comes in at $379 on NewEgg. Though I don’t suppose there’s much reason to want more hard drive space on a computer built to not use the hard drive?


Patent Fights Are About Hearts and Minds

As much as I talk about Imaginary Property on the blog and on Twitter, I don’t often get a chance to really lay out the problem with Intellectual Property and copyright quite as nicely as this article does. Discussing the latest round of M$ / Google / Oracle / Samsung arguments over patents, the author gets into the really important bit for everybody else:

Google vs Microsoft Isn’t Just A Battle of Products, But A Battle of Ideas | Epicenter |

Don’t underestimate the reach of these caricatures. This spring, I was playing Angry Birds with a seven-year-old who patiently explained to me why he liked Apple more than Verizon, because Verizon’s Droid phones just stole all its ideas from Apple’s iPhone. (I still haven’t told him that I have a Verizon iPhone now.)

My young friend may have been mixed up on the details, but he was lucid, he was deliberate, and most importantly, he was absolutely convinced. That’s what Google’s fighting here, in public — and that’s why Microsoft and others will be fighting back.

The question of why copyrighting does or does not hurt innovation is a topic which I have yet to address on the blog. I’m thinking I should start doing better with that.