Aardvark: Google’s new baby.

For a while, I went rampaging around the internet looking for exclusive betas I could sign myself up for. One such site was “www.vark.com,” which was something like Yahoo Answers, but operated through your IM client. I signed up for the beta, and never heard another word.

Sure enough…

Two or three months later, I found out that the site had been bought by Google, and that registration was now open to the public. Hmm. So, I gave it a shot. Aardvark is a self-defined social search engine, helping you find people rather than web pages. The site is really, really simple. There are two tabs; one for “Ask” and one for “Answer.” To ask a question, simply type it in the big huge “Ask” box, and wait a little for an answer. For most questions, answers come in a few minutes. For some more obscure ones, answers come in a day or two. I’ve honestly yet to have a question successfully answered.

The other tab, the “Answers” tab, allows you to answer other people’s questions quickly and easily. I thought, “Why would I want to do that?” But, sure enough, answering is so quick and easy, I found myself answering more questions than I asked, in no time at all (Heh, just checking now, I’ve answered 62 questions and have asked 5). You are sent specific questions that fits a self-selected list of interests, although you can still view random questions, in sets of 15, just to see what people are asking.

If you can’t answer a question, but know someone who can, you can refer the question to a friend via email, or via Facebook, if you choose to connect your Vark account with your Facebook account (which is as easy as a click). They really make it easy.

Now, what’s this about IM?

Oh yeah, I totally forgot. Aardvark is different in that it can also operate through your IM client. Remember those totally useless AIM chat bots for when you were bored or had no friends (sob)?Well, Aardvark is a lot like those, except actually useful. When there’s a question that you might be able to answer, it sends you an IM asking you if you are interested. You can answer it directly via IM, send follow-up messages, add topics, or even browse through questions you might be able to answer, all while within chat. I’d be willing to say that the IM interface has almost all the functionality of vark.com in some way, shape, or form.

In conclusion?

Check it out. It’s been really helpful to me, and I’m sure you’ll agree. Besides, Google bought it, so it can’t be that bad, right?

Spotify to come with Google’s Nexus?

Do you like my shoddy photoshop work?

Rumor has it that Spotify, the free-for-all music service, might be releasing service to the USA on the 5th of this month, the same day as Google’s Android Phone, the Nexus One, is said to be released. Damn.

What is this nonsense?

First, some backstory. Spotify, the service for streaming and downloading music for free, has, for a long time, been just out of reach, thanks to a network of red tape and copyright laws here in the US. The service, to be supported by ads or with a 10 euro plan, has been around for about a year or so. Click here to learn a bit more about it and see a cool video about how it works.

Now then, Google’s Nexus One is the first phone released by Google. This isn’t T-Mobile’s G1, which ran Google’s Android software. This is a phone completely designed by Google, with the hardware provided for by HTC. It promises to be very fast, run a yet-to-be-seen version of Android (2.1), and will have an option to buy it unlocked (i.e. without a plan or provider) for a little more cash.

Rumor has it…

Back to the rumormill, its been said that Spotify will be released not just on the same day as the Nexus One, but with it, as a mobile app. This means that every Nexus One user will have access to Spotify before a good bit of Americans. It has even been said that Google might subsidize the Spotify App, waiving the fee for the no-ads subscription. However, there is no guarantee that Spotify will be on the new Android 2.1 firmware, and we won’t know for sure until tomorrow.

Check out more on the Nexus One

Visit Spotify.com

Download, Try out Chrome OS, Free!

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Chrome OS, here at last.

Everyone’s heard tons and tons of hype about the new Chrome OS, and I’m no exception. Recently, the device-site “GDGT” announced that they had a working version of the OS on their site, for free (Chrome is said to retail at roughly $40). They are offering Chrome’s “developer preview” for download on their site.

Before you ask, yes, this is 100% legal. Why, you may ask? The OS itself requires very, very specific hardware (for example, you need a solid state drive, not a hard drive, if you want to run the Chrome OS), and is said to be a “proprietary” operating system, meaning that, as of right now, not all computers can run it.

Wait, can I run it or not?

“Wait!” you may ask. “Why should I download it if I can’t run it?” There are two ways to try out the Chrome OS. The OS download comes in the form of a VMWare Image. There are two way to run the image; One way is to download VMWare Player (PC) or VMWare Fusion(Mac). These allow you to run alternate operating systems in virtualized windows on your computer. In other words, you can run the Chrome OS in a window on your computer, just like any other application. Alternatively, you can try Virtualbox, which can read VMWare images, although not 100% perfectly.

If you’d like to try booting into Chrome from a USB drive, GDGT does offer a bootable version on their download page as well. You need to be running a distribution of Linux to run it, though.

Where can I get it?

To download the VMWare Image or the flash drive distribution, you’ll need to create a GDGT account by clicking here. Then, follow the links below.

Download Google’s Chrome OS

Read up on Chrome OS here.