Google Lets Photographer Into Secretive Data Centers

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Look around on the web, and you’ll find plenty of photographs of Google’s colorful offices in Mountain View (AKA the Googleplex) and around the world. Finding images shot from inside the company’s tightly-guarded data centers is much harder, since only a handful of employees are allowed to roam the spaces where the “web lives.” However, Google recently invited photographer Connie Zhou inside a number of its high-tech data centers. Gorgeous photographs resulted — images that show incredible scale, mind-numbing repetition, and quirky colors.

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The massive server rooms house tens of thousands of servers that handle your searches and all of the services offered by the search giant.

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Google says that the rainbow-colored pipes aren’t just for show; the colors help the employees quickly determine which is which.

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Wired’s Steven Levy was also invited to tour the data centers, and has written up a fascinating piece on his experience. In an interview with Morning Edition’s Steve Inskeep, he states,

What strikes you immediately is the scale of things. The room is so huge you can almost see the curvature of Earth on the end. And wall to wall are racks and racks and racks of servers with blinking blue lights and each one is many, many times more powerful and with more capacity than my laptop. And you’re in the throbbing heart of the Internet. You really feel it. [#]

Want to roam around the buildings yourself? Check out this Street View page that provides a virtual tour of the buildings:

You can see high-res versions of these photos and many more over at a new website Google set up, called “Where the Internet lives.”

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Adobe Acquires Behance

American multinational computer software company Adobe Systems Incorporated (Nasdaq:ABDE) just announced last Thursday their acquisition of Behance, an online platform for creatives that provides its members to showcase and share their artwork. The acquisition was part of Adobe’s thrust to improve and strengthen the reach of the company’s Creative Cloud service through the millions of viewers visiting Behance every day.

 

“Behance will play a key role in Adobe’s efforts to serve the creative world in the years to come and will accelerate our efforts to enable a more open and collaborative creative community.” – David Wadhwani, Senior Vice President and General Manager, Adobe

 

The acquisition is expected to be equally beneficial to both companies. First and foremost, Behance will be closely integrated into Adobe’s web tools and later on to its desktop tools. This would provide a great facility for users to seamlessly upload and share their artwork straight from Illustrator or InDesign. This will also provide members of Behance with value added services and tools that will help designers and artists to improve their craft and at the same time provide an avenue to share and promote their work.

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Adobe on the other hand would benefit through the empowerment of their Creative Cloud service and eventually the tools and services incorporated in it. Adobe may also benefit in this acquisition in the future in case they decide to launch a new product or service, especially with Behance’s massive fan base serving as pre-conditioned consumer group that can readily accept their products.

In terms of Behance retaining its original identity as a platform, a post was published by Behance on its blog saying that the website is joining Adobe to advance their mission and vision shared with Adobe. They also said that they will be continuing their roadmap and the process of refining the community and its services. For starters, Behance will still be offered for free to anyone who wants to register.

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Behance CEO Scott Belsky Source

 

Moreover, Behance, along with its staff of 32 will remain in their NYC office, while the company’s CEO, Scott Belsky will be joining Adobe as the Vice President of Community. The only thing that is uncertain for now is whether Adobe would continue to offer Behance’s premium features as a paid service, if it will be part of the Creative Cloud or if it will be made into a service that’s free for all. I guess only time will tell.

So what are your thoughts about this acquisition? Please do tell us by leaving a comment below. You can also find us on FacebookTwitterPinterest and Google Plus. You can also subscribe to our blog for the latest news, features and freebies in the world of design. And speaking of freebies, do check out our print templates page and download our amazing set of blank templates absolutely FREE!

 

W3C completes HTML5 definition, starts interoperability testing

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Long heralded as the darling of the open web, the standards for HTML5 haven’t actually been finalized by the W3C — it was just recently that the international consortium pledged to get it done by 2014. So it’s good to hear the group just hit a significant milestone on the road to that goal by publishing the full definition for the spec this Tuesday. With that accomplished, the next step is interoperability and performance testing to make sure HTML5 plays nice with any and all browsers, servers and other web tools. The W3C hopes that this will bring “broad HTML 5 interoperability” by 2014, which fits right in to the organization’s philosophy of bringing the entirety of the web — however divisive — together.

The specifications for HTML5 and Canvas 2D have been published

Google Snaps Up Snapseed, Now Ready to Battle Facebook’s Instagram

Nik Software announced today that it has been acquired by Google. The company is the maker of Snapseed, one of the most popular photo editing apps in the iTunes App Store and a competitor to Instagram.

Here’s what Nik Software said in the blog post published today:

We are pleased to announce that Google has acquired Nik Software. For nearly 17 years, we’ve been guided by our motto, “photography first”, as we worked to build world class digital image editing tools. We’ve always aspired to share our passion for photography with everyone, and with Google’s support we hope to be able to help many millions more people create awesome pictures.

We’re incredibly grateful for all of your support and hope you’ll join us on the next phase of our journey as part of Google.

It’s unclear whether Google plans to use the acquisition to expand into the mobile photo sharing space, or whether it’s simply intended to beef up its existing Google+ and Picasa photo sharing products.

If it does try to compete against the likes of Instagram, whether by developing the app or by integrating its features into Google+, it has a solid audience to expose the software to: this week Google+ just passed 400 million registered members and 100 million monthly active users. By comparison, Instagram just passed 100 million total users a week ago (though Facebook’s 955M audience isn’t too shabby either).

Despite being a paid app with a price of $5, Snapseed has succeeded in finding a solid user base. In 2011, Apple selected it as its iPad App of the Year, and since then the app has grown to over 9 million users.

Facebook purchased Instagram when it was a 17-month-old company with around 30 million users. The purchase price of Nik Software, which is around 17-years-old, hasn’t been disclosed, but we’re guessing it’s somewhere south of $1 billion.

New Frankenstein Virus Can Build Itself on Any Computer From Stolen Snippets of Code

What if a virus were a shapeshifter, able to change its appearance each time it infects a machine? What if a virus used your own files against you, able to ransack the programs on your computer for the bits of code it needs? Judging from the progress made on the Frankenstein virus, a venture sponsored by the U.S. Air Force, that may soon be a reality.

Developed by two professors at the University of Texas at Dallas, New Scientist says the Frankenstein virus is essentially a program compliler with directions about the algorithms it needs to assemble. Once unpacked and functional, it begins searching the software on your computer for the code it needs—generally taking little snippets called gadgets. These gadgets are written to perform specific actions and thus can be transposed over to another program more easily. The researchers only had the Frankenstein virus create two simple algorithms as a proof of concept, but they believe it can assemble any program, including full-scale malware.

And though there have been other viruses that can change their code, Frankenstein is believed to be more dangerous because it can also change its every aspect of itself to hide on your computer.

Frankenstein is different because all of its code, including the blueprints and gadget-finder, can adapt to look like parts of regular software, making it harder to detect. Just three pieces of such software are enough to provide over 100,000 gadgets, so there are a huge number of ways for Frankenstein to build its monster, but it needs blueprints that find the right balance. If the blueprint is too specific, it leaves Frankenstein little choice in which gadgets to use, leading to less variation and making it easier to detect. Looser blueprints, which only specify the end effects of the malware, are too vague for Frankenstein to follow, for now.

Obviously the military wants this for its ongoing cyberwarfare efforts. But if this ever gets in the hands of script kiddies, we’re in trouble.