Samfra – Indian Local Search Engine

Samfra Logo- Indian Local Search Engine

Samfra is a local search engine made for India. Currently it provides local search facility in 20 cities and movie search in 6 major cities.

About Local Search…

Local search is to find places like ATM, banks, restaurants, hotels, clubs, etc in any of the 20 cities currently covered. It also allows users to write reviews, view maps and give ratings to their favorite places. User can also edit details of a place if he find some mistake.

Select your city from drop-down menu and just type name of a shop or a service. You will get highly relevant result, fast & clean like Google. Below is screenshot of search results, when I searched for pizza in Pune.

Samfra - Local Search

You may find number of results are quite less, but that is something will improve over the time automatically. What you should note is clean interface to search results.

>>Cities Covered: Ahmedabad, Amritsar, Bangalore, Chandigarh, Chennai, Delhi, Faridabad, Goa, Gurgaon, Hyderabad, Jaipur, Kolkata, Lucknow, Ludhiana, Mumbai, Mysore, Nagpur, Noida, Pune, Rajkot

About Movie Search…

Currently limited to only 6 cities, movie search help you find top-rated, currently running and upcoming movies. Samfra also help you book tickets via there partners Inox, PVR and Fun Cinemas. Samfra shows timings of next 4 days as well wherever available. Users can also review movies, rate them, read storylines, watch trailers of all movies.

Following is screenshot of search for Bhoothnath movie in Pune…

Samfra - Movie Search

>>Cities Covered: Bangalore, Chennai, Delhi, Hyderabad, Mumbai, Pune

Samfra on Mobile

Just access www.samfra.com from your mobile and the mobile version will show up. Any shop owner or person can add a new business to Samfra through his mobile. Latter is worth noting, as many major sites till date provide view only access in mobile versions and for any useful editing require you to visit from PC.

Samfra Mobile has following features:
1. Search local addresses like restaurants, hotels, banks, ATMs, hospitals, clubs etc. in 20 cities
2. Search movie show timings in 6 major cities
3. Read and search latest news across a wide range of categories
4. View movie details and details of local businesses
5. Read reviews of local businesses
6. Read reviews of latest movies
7. Write reviews of movies
8. Give ratings to movies and local businesses
9. Add a place or shop for free
10. View advance movie show timings up to 4 days (whenever available)

Whats More…

If you are a shop or service owner, please add your site/service to Samfra database. Its free and quick. Link is here.

Thanks Jeet for PR. :-)

Link: Samfra

Check Google Adsense Premium Ad Unit In Action!

In my last visit to one of my favorite blog, Digital Inspiration, I came across an unusual Google Adsense Ad. At first I though it might be some mistake, but I checked many pages and found same ad format all over the pages.

Curiously I went to, Google Adsense Ad format page to check if any new format has arrived but I failed to find anything near to following ad running on Digital Inspiration.

Google Adsense Premium Ad Format

Its dimension is around 480×128. Curious enough, I opened a new topic on DI forum. And as I suspected, Amit answered saying, "its a premium ad format". Yes Google Adsense do have premium membership limited to few websites which receive more than 5 million search queries, or 20 million content page views per month.

Coincidentally, I read about Adsense premium publishers on Digital Inspiration only. Here is list of some perks which premium members get. More details are here.

  • Size, color, fonts of Ad-unit are all configurable. This means you can create ad which suits best for your site.
  • Option to remove "Ads by Google" text shown around ads.
  • Creating direct links to Adsense for search results. Sort of having text-links!
  • Dedicated Adsense account manager to help you optimize and answer your all Adsense query. Of course his salary will be paid by Google. ;-)
  • They can negotiate revenue share/percentage with Google.
  • Ads are allowed on adult-content, gambling related sites. Hmm so Google do evil when it comes to big bucks! ;-)

Only thing still surprising me is, why Amit did not post about his new success on DI. May be he don’t want to get undue attention, specially from income-tax guys! ;-)

Zivity – A Social Network Promoting Beauty 2.0!

Zivity Logo.jpgZivity is a new social network startup hosting user generated adult content. In their terms, “Promoting Beauty 2.0".

Zivity offers a social networking platform focused on “sexy models and beautiful photography.” Do not confuse it with adult dating site to hook-up. May be it is a reason, it became first adult content site to get venture capital funding in silicon valley and that’s too $8,000,000.
Zivity » My Stuff - Screenshot.jpg

Zivity has a unique business model that pays models and photographers directly based on the number of user-votes they receive. With a minimum $5 subscription, members receive 5 votes that they can cast for models and photography they find appealing, with $0.80 out of every $1 vote being distributed to the model and photographer. Out of $0.60 goes to the model and $0.20 goes to the photographer. There is no limit on the amount of money that a photographer or model can make; as long as a photo remains popular, models and photographers will share in ongoing royalties whilst retaining full ownership of the pictures.

Cyan Banister“I started Zivity because I believe in empowerment business models that enable people to be entrepreneurial,” says Cyan Banister, founder of Zivity. She is also modeling on Zivity and in her words, “I don’t take my clothes off just to promote Zivity. I also do it for the model community and for myself. I want to change how people view nudity and beauty… I really enjoy being on Zivity and being nude and sexy in photographs is enjoyable!” Notably, Cyan won the “Sexiest Geek Alive” award, in 2000, when she was just 22.

Currently in beta, Zivity is open to top models, photographers and a group of beta testers. If you are interested, you can apply for beta testing here.

Link: Zivity (Warning: Not Safe For Work)

Update: Just noticed, I can invite 1 friend to zivity. If anyone interested please let me know via comment only. If I get more than one comment in next 48 hours, 1 person will be choose randomly. :-)

Foxmarks – Best Extension To Synchronise Firefox Bookmarks!

Foxmarks - Synchronize firefox bookmarks.jpg Two days back, I reviewed Google browser sync, a firefox extension to synchronize bookmarks, history, saved passwords, cookies & session. Now you must be wondering why I am reviewing another extension which sounds similar. Although sounds similar foxmarks is essential if you use bookmarking heavily.

There is a problem with Google browser syncs’ bookmark synchronization. I have noticed that if I delete some bookmarks, they get added again from server in next synchronization. I have a temporary bookmark folder which I use for bookmarking articles which I want to read later. I keep cleaning such temporary bookmarks whenever their purpose get served.

Foxmarks clearly win battle here and records all changes to bookmarks without any error, so I depend heavily on it. Plus foxmarks give web-based access to all bookmarks. Even though Google have a bookmarking service, it doesn’t show bookmark synchronized via browser sync extension.

Also foxmarks offers some more features…

  • you can use own server to store bookmark if you concern about privacy
  • you can force overwrite either copy server or local
  • logging feature
  • sharing your bookmarks via feeds (available from web-based foxmarks)

Here is screenshot of web-based foxmarks panel

my.foxmarks.com - web based foxmarks-1.jpg

Links: Foxmarks | Download Firefox

Related: Google Browser Sync – Get YOUR Firefox From Anywhere In The World!

Domain Hacks Tool To Find Del.icio.us Like Domain Names by Xona.com

image One of the most tedious part while starting a website is finding a right & unique domain name. Everybody loves domain name which ends in .com, but for the same reason finding a short and simple domain name becomes a painful task.

Thanks to del.icio.us, a new trend in domain name started! If you haven’t noticed it, .us is country level domain for United States. Similar creative domain name are owned by wordpress founder ma.tt and IndiBlogger team member anw.in. Here .tt is country level domain for Trinidad and Tobago, similarly .in is for India.

Now trying your favorite keywords against 100’s of country level and other top-level domain name can be tedious task. Also most country-level domain can not be registered with famous domain registrars like GoDaddy!

So to take care of all this problems at one place, visit Domain Hacks tool provided by xona.com.

Xona’s Domain hack tool allows you to search your favorite keyword in all top-level domain names, also tries all valid subdomain combinations, gives link to wiki entry of domain name as well as corresponding domain registrar.

Also a list of suggested domain name available, sorted in three categories – Alphabetized, Word Length & Top-Level Domain.

Links: Domain Hacks by Xona.com

Related: Best Free and Paid Web Hosting Service on Internet

Google Browser Sync – Get YOUR Firefox From Anywhere In The World!

One of the oldest firefox extension I am using from long time is Google’s browser sync. If you access internet from multiple location like home, college, office, etc, you can install this firefox extension at all places.

Once installed it keeps synchronizing your firefox bookmarks, history, saved passwords, cookies & session (i.e. tabs & windows).

Google Browser Sync Settings-2.jpg

Do not worry much about security. The extension itself is protected by your Google account login and password plus a 4-digit PIN. Also sensitive data like cookies and password are by default encrypted.

The extension is free as like most Google services. If you have large number of bookmarks you may notice slight delay at first synchronization, but after that it works like a charm! :-)

Additionally, if you have a dual-boot machine with any OS combination you can use this extension to sync firefox in every OS. Although on dual-boot machine there is slightly geekish way to do this which also sync installed add-ons, greasemonkey scripts and anything else which this extension skips.

Links: Google Browser Sync | Download Firefox | How to install firefox extension?

Related: Geekish (and faster) way to synchronize firefox in dual-boot environment

Google Adsense Rotating Ad – A Crazy Experiment!

Last month many top bloggers talked about Google Adsense’ new rotating ads. Like most fellow blogger we are strongly against this Adsense experiment and in this post I am presenting my argument which is divided into 2 parts – economics & aesthetics!

First Economics as $ matters…

Google Adsense Rotating Ad.jpg

Before directly pointing to reasons why do I think this new feature is crazy, its necessary to have a look at the whole adverting process. For that we need to go through few adsense terms first.

  • Ad Unit – Every instance of adsense code count as one ad unit. Maximum 3 ad units are allowed on any webpage. Above image contains 1 ad unit.
  • Ad Slot – A text ad unit contains max 4 slots. Number varies as per ad-unit dimension, content of page and many other factors. Above image contains 4 ad slots.
  • Bidding – It is a process in which advertisers competes for available ad slots. Its a very complex process internally but you can think as advertisers paying more, more likely to get an ad slot.

Now also have a broader look at the process of displaying adsense ads. Note that following is just outline and may not be technically complete and accurate, but enough to highlight the part which matters to us…

  • A page with adsense code on it is requested (from a browser which support javascript).
  • As the browser executes adsense code, keywords from page is sent to adsense server.
  • On server bidding takes place and winners’ ads are sent back to the browser.

Now coming back to the rotating ads, one thing if you have noticed it, is increase in number of ad slots, which can directly affect the bidding process. A simple demand-supply rule can easily highlight this. More the availability, less is the demand. Advertiser may try with lower bids as now max 8 or 12 can get an ad-slot, oppose to 4 in the past.

Well, the loss may not be significant, because if as a advertiser you loose some revenue then as your partner Google will also loose some bucks! Then why I am crying?

Now lets turn to Aesthetics…

Two arrow indicators will make ad stand-out differently. Our goal is to blend ads with overall site design as much as possible.

One open secret everybody knows but no one talk out is – Most people clicking on adsense ads dont know that they are clicking on ads! Thats where text-link unit works better than image ads and that may be a reason why Google uses text-ads everywhere.

Also Google expecting site visitor to interact with ads raises many questions…

  • Does Google think ads should be prima-focus of a website?
  • Won’t two arrows will increase clutter on a page, although by small amount?
  • Who should be responsible for websites’ inter-activeness, ad agency or site designer?

Bloggers represent large chunk of adsense population and most blogging software are highyly interactive in erms of related posts, blogroll, link to previous posts, etc. So why the Google think ad needs to be rotating (interactive)? What do you think?

Claim Your Twitter Page as A Blog On Technorati [New Feature]

It has been while, since team has technorati made it to news. Seems they noticed it too and now started indexing twitter pages. This means you can claim your twitter page like a normal blog on technorati.

Twitter indeed is a kind of micro-blogging, and so twitter pages on technorati will have authority, favorites, reactions and other stuff just like a normal blog.

Steps To Add Your Twitter Page To Technorati Account….

  • Log into your technorati account.
  • Go to blog tab under My Account section. (link)
  • Type your twitter page URL to start claim process. (e.g. http://twitter.com/rahul286)

Technorati - Claim a blog-2.jpg

Once claimed you can add description and tags for your twitter blog. I don’t know how technorati will make use of tags added for twitter pages, as small tweets do not have facility to tag them.

Also as most links on twitter are shared via tinyurl, tweets about your blog posts will not help increase your blogs authority (technorati ranking).

Anyway there seem a rush on technorati to claim twitter pages, as I got following server error page when I first clicked “Begin Claim” button. But it worked just after refresh. :-)

Technorati is borked right now!!.jpg

(via: Fun Filled Blog)

Steve Jobs: “Stay Hungry, Stay Foolish” [Video, Editorial]

This is not a tech-article but I hope most geeks will like this.

Following is video footage of Commencement address by Steve Jobs, Apple CEO, delivered on June 12, 2005, to the graduates of Stanford University. In his speech Jobs talked about 3 small stories from his life. They are really motivating and inspiring to all geeks who want to swim against the stream…

(Download this video)

Also if you like to read text of his speech, its here. [ PDF Version ]

I specially like his story about connecting the dots…

Orkut Community Search Feature is Broken

Looks like orkut is having really tough time maintaining their codes after quick launch of so many new feature in last few days.

After recent bug in communities page, another related feature, community search is broken. Following is screenshot of a community search I performed

orkut - Community Search Feature.jpg

If you have noticed it, the navigation links are missing, so you can not check all search results. Shown below is screenshot of working navigation links…

orkut - Community Members Navigation.jpg

Technical Stuff…

Problem is in CommMembers.aspx file which is responsible for navigating and searching community members. Also there seems small error in code, as navigation works with view all members options but it breaks only when you do a search on members list.

Related: Check some new features launched by orkut recently