video in chatGoogle is at it again by adding more features to Gmail Chat.

Pretty much everyone that has ever used Gmail Chat has sent the person they are talking to a YouTube video to look at.  While fun, it can be annoying as it means changing to a different tab or window to watch it, leaving your conversation behind.  According to the Gmail Blog, they have now released a new feature that will solve this issue.

Whenever some shares a YouTube or Google Video link in Gmail Chat, you will now receive a preview of the video that you can play right in the chat window.  You will be able to continue your conversation while checking out whatever the clip may be.  This will certainly save you the troubles of changing tabs and the inevitable pause in conversation as you take a look at it.

While all of these recent additions to Gmail Chat are nice, SMS Texting Support and Video Chat being the biggest, one has to wonder why these features are not making the transition over to the stand-alone version of Google’s chat system, Gtalk.  I, for one, much prefer using the desktop application as I don’t have to watch my Gmail window 24/7, but I am starting to feel a bit left behind by all of the nifty new features that are missing from it.  We don’t even the ability to appear offline while logged in, something the Gmail version has had for quite some time.

Come on Google, where is the Gtalk love?

Categories: Google, News, Opinion   

google logoGoogle, the leading search engine in the marketplace, has come up with a new tool that gives you more control over what you see in your results.

According to Google Operating System, the search giant has launched a new service called “Preferred Sites”.  The new service is currently in early testing, so it is not yet avaialble to every one, but you can read more about it on a help page Google created.

Essentially what the service does is allow you to dictate sites that you would like to have priority anytime you conduct a search.  Say you would like to include your local newspaper any time you went to search on a news story, it would now be given priority to show up on your first page of results with a marker underneath of it that says “My preferred site”.

preferred site

If this feature ever goes live to all users, which seems likely, you would be able to make a list of sites that you find authoritative and trustworthy, and this could possibly be used to influence their regular rankings in the search results based on the number of people who choose each site.

While there are certainly some uses for such a service, we at StarterTech find it a bit worrisome that it might someday influence search results.  While it could be bad enough that individuals use it and just continually go to the same sites over and over again, never discovering new sites, this becomes really bothersome when you think of everyone on Google being influenced by this.  Say that gets listed by thousands of people, and their ranking in search results goes up because of it, what happens when starts up in the same niche topic and can’t get a toehold on their area of expertise because the other site has been pushed up so far in the results?

This certainly may be useful to some individuals, it could also possibly unbalance the way the Web works today, making it even harder for new blogs to ever be discovered.

Categories: Google, Opinion, Web 101, Web Browsing   
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