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Better Search Results for All: Google’s Panda Update Goes Global

In its efforts to preserve the quality of its search results, Google rolled out the so-called Panda and Panda 2.0 update to its algorithm for searches in English earlier this year. Until now, however, these changes didn’t impact searchers outside of the English-speaking world. That’s changing today, however. Earlier this morning, Google announced that it has now brought its “algorithmic search improvements” to all other languages, with the exception of Chines, Japanese and Korean.

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ChromeOS Just Got a Bit Faster and More Secure

When Google first announced the idea of Chromebooks, a series of small, Internet (and Chrome)-centric laptops made by manufacturers like Samsung and Acer, its engineers touted the fact that – unlike other laptops – Chromebooks would actually get faster over time. Chromebooks, Google said, would see the same kind of performance gains that users of its Chrome browser have gotten used to. Now, with the release of the latest stable version of the ChromeOS operating system that powers these devices, Google is starting to fulfill this promise.

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Google Seeds Fund To Drive Social Innovation Through IT in Pakistan

Google seems to have a special interest in Pakistan these days. After hosting a number of events for map makers in the country earlier this year, Google today announced that is providing a seed grant of $250,000 for the [email protected] Social Innovation fund. [email protected] is looking for 25 entrepreneurs, social activists and non-profits who want “to use technology to meet social needs in education, culture, medicine, environmental or any other community problem.”

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Google News Gets a Fresh New Look

Over the last few weeks, Google has been slowly rolling out new designs for virtually all of its web-based products, including Google Search, Gmail, Good Docs and Maps. Today, Google News joined these products and the company’s news aggregation service now sports a new design as well. Besides the cleaner look with more whitespace and less clutter, Google also decided to stress the personalization feature by highlighting it more clearly at the top of the page.

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Google-Backed Measurement Lab to Distribute Free Routers for Broadband Testing

Measurement Lab is a Google-backed project that brings together industry and academic researchers who are interested in measuring broadband speed, doing network diagnostics and researching how ISPs throttle and block certain applications and services. The project launched in 2009 and has since released a number of tools for measuring your Internet connection. Now, with the BISMark (the Broadband Internet Service BenchMARK)project, Measurement Lab is taking its efforts one step further by by distributing a large number of free routers to users all across the country. Currently, the project gathers data every time a user runs a test on its website. This new project, however, will give researchers a better idea of how networks perform, as the measurements are done at the router level and hence shielded from problems on a user’s computer and home network setup.

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Chromebooks Take Flight on Virgin America

Google is definitely trying its best to get the word out about its ChromeOS-based Chromebooks. Now, the company has teamed up with Virgin America – one of the Silicon Valley’s favorite (yet perennially money-losing) airlines – to offer travellers to “test-fly” Chromebooks for free onboard their flights and at select gates from July to the end of September. Chromebook users – including those who bring their own ChromeOS-powered laptops on board – will also get free Wifi courtesy of Virgin America and Gogo. Travelers who stay in New York’s Ace Hotel will also find a Chromebook in their rooms.