Google gains ground in search

Google’s share of search traffic rose nearly 6 percent in December from the prior year, giving the company 49 percent share of all U.S. Web searches, according to the latest statistics from Nielsen/NetRatings.

Yahoo and MSN experienced slight declines in their percentage of search share over the last year, although all three search engines had double-digit growth year-over-year. Google grew 75 percent to nearly 2.5 billion searches; Yahoo rose 53 percent to nearly 1.1 billion searches and MSN rose 20 percent to 553 million searches.

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Alonso: ‘It was my right to choose a new team’

Fernando Alonso has defended his decision to join McLaren at the end of the season, saying he has no obligation to Renault other than to do his best during his final season with the team.

Alonso became the youngest ever Formula One World Champion last season with Renault. However, two months later he announced that he would be leaving the French outfit and joining rivals McLaren at the end of this season.

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When Mc Laren made the announcement late last year that they have signed up Alonso for the 2007 season, Mc Laren as well as Alonso was criticised. The aim is to win championship and I do not see there is anything wrong to sign Alonso at all. In F1, you need a good driver and a good car ( a good car designer ) to win. To me, Alonso is a very good driver that made little mistake. His result in 2005 where he did not win more races than Kimi and yet able to lift the championship largely due to his driving consistency. Mc Laren has secured the sponsorship of Vodafone for 2007 onwards and naturally, Ron Dennis need to find way to win the championship to bring more exposure to title sponsor.

Visit to Otaru, Hokkaido, Japan

During our recent visit to Hokkaido, we drop by Otaru, a city popular for its glass ware and music box. We were there by noon and spent the whole afternoon visiting some stores selling glass ware and music boxes. It was snowing heavily with temperature in the range of -8 degree C. It was a fruitful afternoon as we managed to get some nice glasswares that are good for house decoration.

Otaru Hokkaido Japan
Otaru, Hokkaido, Japan

Otaru Hokkaido Japan
Long Leg Crab on display for sale. No freezer required. Afterall it is soo cold

Otaru Hokkaido Japan
Snowing heavily just shortly after lunch

Otaru Hokkaido Japan
Music boxes featuring many dog breeds

Otaru Hokkaido Japan
Music Boxes with Merry Go Round. All electric powered and able to play some 30 songs

Otaru Hokkaido Japan
Tons of Music Box on display

Otaru Hokkaido Japan
Forming the ice sculpture outside a restaurant

Otaru Hokkaido Japan
1000 Yen shop

Otaru Hokkaido Japan
Snowing getting worst.

Yahoo to offer incentives for using search engine

In a time where Google is enjoying a much wider users base for its search engine, Yahoo is working to find way to attract more users to use its search services. Offering incentives to users who use its Yahoo search will be one possible way to increase user base, but not necessary an effective one. Most people have turned to Google for its ease to help users to find their require information and is extremely fast. Nevertheless, offering incentives to gain back some market share will be good move by Yahoo !!

Yahoo confirmed on Wednesday that it’s polling some Yahoo Mail users about what they would want in exchange for making Yahoo their primary search engine. The survey was sent to a random sampling representing about 5 percent of its Yahoo Mail users, a Yahoo representative said.

“Yahoo is considering launching a program to reward people who make Yahoo their primary search engine,” the survey says. “Yahoo Mail users will be given early access to this program. You will receive a monthly reward if you make Yahoo your primary search engine. This means that most of the searching you do each month must be on Yahoo Search.”

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Gmail for Domain

Google officially announced a beta program to offer Gmail for Domain for companies which need the service by filling up the form available at Google is also now an ICANN-accredited registrar of domain names.

Yahoo has been offering the services for quite a long time but I still find that Google Gmail is more easy to use and much faster. Many Internet users has signed up and use Gmail for their personal use. Introducing Gmail for domain will increase the usage of Gmail services and many small and medium firms will surely adopt the Gmail services with Domain.

Google has been offering Gmail Solutions to San Jose City College and their login screen can be viewed HERE

Microsoft has also been offering the same service via Microsoft Live but again the Web Email interface is not as attractive as that of Gmail. As the way it go, Google will likely win the keen competition in this area.

Revised 2006 calendar for F1

With Belgium GP due to run on September 17 at SPA this year scrapped, the revised F1 calendar is as follow:-

Mar 12: Bahrain Grand Prix (Bahrain)
Mar 19: Malaysian Grand Prix (Sepang)
Apr 02: Australian Grand Prix (Melbourne)
Apr 23: San Marino Grand Prix (Imola)
May 07: European Grand Prix (Nurburgring, Germany)
May 14: Spanish Grand Prix (Barcelona)
May 28: Monaco Grand Prix (Monte Carlo)
Jun 11: British Grand Prix (Silverstone)
Jun 25: Canadian Grand Prix (Montreal)
Jul 02: United States Grand Prix (Indianapolis)
Jul 16: French Grand Prix (Mangy-Cours)
Jul 30: German Grand Prix (Hockenheim)
Aug 06: Hungarian Grand Prix (Hungaroring)
Aug 27: Turkish Grand Prix (Istanbul)
Sep 10: Italian Grand Prix (Monza)
Oct 01: Chinese Grand Prix (Shanghai)
Oct 08: Japanese Grand Prix (Suzuka)
Oct 22: Brazilian Grand Prix (Interlagos)

The organizer of Belgium GP has been promised to bring F1 back to SPA in 2007. With more than one year from now to renovate the track and facilities, it should be sufficient.

Mc Laren F1 Team

During recent testing, Mc Laren find it hard to keep pace with rival such as Renault. Kimi has since commented that Mc Laren weakest link is now its Mercedes engine. Mercedes has since rush to introduce a new engine recently that is said to have more 60 HP of engine power. Who will dominate in 2006, no one know at this point in time and we shall see which team is able to adapt well to the new regulation and the new V8 engine.

McLaren MP4-21

Martina Hingis is back

Once a sensational tennis player that won many Grand Slam at young age but left the tennis scene 4 years ago due to injury, Martina Hingis is definitely back in action. Her presence is definitely greatly felt. In the first Grand Slam she compete, the Australian Open, she reached the last 8 and finally lost to Kim Clijsters in the Quarter Final. In Toray Pan Pacific Open Tennis Tournament Women’s Singles (carpet) in Japan, she trashed Maria Sharapova in semi final and only lost to Elena Dementieva in the final. What a great comeback.

However, to win any title these days is not as easy as she had enjoyed year back. Firstly, she is now older and secondly, there are so many good players these days. In the women scene, you have the Willian Sisters, many good Russian players like Maria and Elena, Justin Henin, Kim Clijsters, Lindsay Davenport, Amelie Mauresmo, Mary Pierce and more.

The latest ATP Ranking as below:-

1 Kim Clijsters BEL
2 Amelie Mauresmo FRA
3 Lindsay Davenport USA
4 Maria Sharapova RUS
5 Justine Henin-hardenne BEL
6 Mary Pierce FRA
7 Nadia Petrova RUS
8 Elena Dementieva RUS
9 Patty Schnyder SUI
10 Venus Williams USA
11 Anastasia Myskina RUS
12 Francesca Schiavone ITA
13 Nicole Vaidisova CZE
14 Daniela Hantuchova SVK
15 Svetlana Kuznetsova RUS
16 Flavia Pennetta ITA
17 Dinara Safina RUS
18 Elena Likhovtseva RUS
19 Ana Ivanovic SCG
20 Nathalie Dechy FRA

I can see that Martina now ranked 48 will have no problem to push herself back to top 10 of ATP Ranking soon and win some titles. To win a Grand Slam again is definitley not easy. Interesting to note that Serena William now rank at a low 37. Monica Seles has left the scene.

Trying out snow mobile in Hokkaido

During our recent trip to Hokkaido, Japan, we get a chance to try out the snow mobile. The rental fee for one hour was 15,000 Yen which work out to be around RM 500 for two person. Riding the snow mobile through the small jungle was funs but very cold at a temperature of -10 degree C. No snowing at that instant.

snow mobile

snow mobile

snow mobile

snow mobile

Google Auctioning Print ADs

Google’s test of magazine ads began last summer, and involved two computer-oriented publications. Certain advertisers appeared on ad pages with the words Ads by Google and special phone numbers Google used to track the effectiveness of the test.

Google Print ADs Auction can be read at

Google is definitley using its technology and wide client base to venture in new print AD territory

Trillian Web Chat Client

Trillianâ„¢ is a fully featured, stand-alone, skinnable chat client that supports AIM, ICQ, MSN, Yahoo Messenger, and IRC. It provides capabilities not possible with original network clients, while supporting standard features such as audio chat, file transfers, group chats, chat rooms, buddy icons, multiple simultaneous connections to the same network, server-side contact importing, typing notification, direct connection (AIM), proxy support, encrypted messaging (AIM/ICQ), SMS support, and privacy settings.

Installed Trillian and it work beautifully well and I am now able to chat with Yahoo, MSN and ICQ contacts with one single chat client. I am now also able to respond to more than one MSN or Yahoo or ICQ accounts with this single interface. The best of all, it has tab windows for multiple conversations.

Trillan is now part of Google Pack and can be downloaded via

So enjoy !!

Google has blacklisted

Google has blacklisted after the carmaker violated the search giant’s guidelines by using a technique that could artificially boost its search engine rating, according to a Google engineer.

In a blog, Google software engineer Matt Cutts said that Google had removed BMW’s German site (click here to view site) from its Web index after the site included “doorway pages” that would automatically redirect visitors to a different URL.

Cutts explained that when Google’s crawlers visited a BMW page, it saw blocks of text with repeated key search words such as “neuwagen,” which means “new car” in German. However, when a user visited the listed page they would be automatically redirected to another page with less text and more pictures, which was more attractive than the page the crawler saw, but would have scored lower in Google’s PageRank system.

“This is a violation of our Webmaster quality guidelines, specifically the principle of ‘Don’t deceive your users or present different content to search engines than you display to users,'” said Cutts’ blog.

To regain Google listing status, Cutts expects that will have to remove the JavaScript that redirects users around the site in this fashion and then send a reinclusion request to Google’s Webspam team, which Cutts leads. has already removed some of the redirect pages.

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“Free” call to fixed line in Malaysia

As the title suggest, VOIP Stunt offer free unlimited call to all fixed line in Malaysia as long as you purchase a credit of 10 Euro that will expire in 120 days if you do not use it. You can of course use that credit to call any mobile number in Malaysia at 0.04 Euro or RM 0.18 per minute.

Tested the call to fixed line and found that the quality is good and clear, comparable to that of Skype.

Happy Chinese New Year to All, The Year of Dog

I have been away to Hokkaido for a while and did not get a chance to blog. Would like to take this opportunity to wish all a very happy and prosperous Chinese New Year , the year of Dog.

In the year of dog does not mean that one has to get a dog to enjoy good feng shui and good luck. Getting a dog is a long term commitment. A small breed dog can live up to 14 years of age and one that get a dog must be willing to spend time to train their dogs, play with them, walk them and take well care of their welfare and good health throughout their life time. Hence, please think carefully before you get one. If you are not ready for the commitment, you may want to consider buying some dog music box instead 🙂

dog music box
Picture taken in a big Music Box Store in Hokkaido recently