Google not only reserves the right to take away or vaporize our data for any reason, but it also reserves the right to discontinue services, the means to access it, whenever it wants. It does this more often than you probably realize and most recently with Google Reader, which disappears on July 1.

The first underwater panoramic images were added to Google Maps with the help of Catlin Seaview Survey scientific expedition, which hoped that the up-close view of underwater wonders would inspire people to protect them.

Last week, Google announced a new, simplified privacy policy. They did a great job of informing users that the privacy policy had been changed through emails and notifications, and several experts (including Ontario’s Privacy Commissioner Dr. Ann Cavoukian) have praised the shift toward a simpler, more unified policy. Unfortunately, while the policy might be easier to understand, Google did a less impressive job of publicly explaining what in the policy had actually been changed.

In fact, it took a letter from eight Representatives to persuade them to provide straightforward answers to the public about their new policy.

Here’s what you need to know about the substantive changes in the new policy:

Want the latest and greatest that Chromium OS has to offer? Weren't one of the lucky ones to receive a Google Chrome Notebook? Vanilla is for you! Each day at around 6PM GMT the latest code is downloaded automatically and compiled into images you can try out, containing the latest changes. You can get images in either USB, VirtualBox or VMWare format. For the best experience, it's recommended you use the USB images. If these don't boot on your device then go ahead and try the VirtualBox or VMWare image. These should always work (assuming the build wasn't broken at the time they were built), but you'll find they're quite slow, because there's no graphical acceleration.

Today, the X PRIZE Foundation announced the official roster of 29 registered teams competing for the $30 million Google Lunar X PRIZE, an unprecedented competition to send a robot to the Moon that travels at least 500 meters and transmit video, images, and data back to the Earth. This group of teams signifies this new era of exploration’s diverse and participatory nature as it includes a huge variety of groups ranging from non-profits to university consortia to billion dollar businesses representing 17 nations on four continents. The global competition, the largest in history, was announced in September 2007, with a winner projected by 2015.

Briefly, the solution works as follows: the crawler finds a pretty AJAX URL (that is, a URL containing a #! hash fragment). It then requests the content for this URL from your server in a slightly modified form. Your web server returns the content in the form of an HTML snapshot, which is then processed by the crawler. The search results will show the original URL.

Users could sue websites for invading their privacy and would have a right to be “forgotten” online, under new proposals from the European Union. It has drafted potential legislation that would include new, unprecedented privacy rights for citizens sharing personal data.

Aimed in particular at the users of social networks such as Facebook and major sites such as Google,

the move marks another step in the ongoing battle between information commissioners and major websites. Google in particular has been criticised recently by privacy groups around the world for collecting Wi-Fi data while it was mapping roads for its Street View service.

mod_pagespeed is an open-source Apache module that automatically optimizes web pages and resources on them. It does this by rewriting the resources using filters that implement web performance best practices. Webmasters and web developers can use mod_pagespeed to improve the performance of their web pages when serving content with the Apache HTTP Server.

mod_pagespeed includes several filter that optimize JavaScript, HTML and CSS stylesheets. It also includes filters for optimizing JPEG and PNG images. The filters are based on a set of best practices known to enhance web page performance. Webmasters who set up mod_pagespeed in addition to configuring proper caching and compression on their Apache distribution should expect to see an improvement in the loading time of the pages on their websites.

Google Instant

is a new real-time search service from Google, which for some reason does not seem to work in Opera even though it supports all the other major browsers.

But on closer inspection, it turns out that it does work in Opera! All you need to do is to work around Google's browser sniffing and spoof as a different browser, as demonstrated by Bruce Lawson.

Carry your Google Calendar in your pocket! GCalSync is an open source application that lets you do a two-way synchronization between Google Calendar and your phone's built-in calendar. Download events to your phone, or add an event on your phone and upload it to Google Calendar.

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