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Author: Rahul (page 1 of 7)

Google’s new Chrome browser and updated Picasa

Its been an exciting week thanks to Google. On Wednesday they released a new browser – Chrome – and also introduced some new features in Picasa – the biggest of which is face recognition.

There’s been a lot of talk and hype about the Chrome browser on the internet. I gave it a spin too and felt that its really fast. It beats Firefox hands-down in start-up times. Javascript heavy sites like Gmail work pretty fast too, though I didn’t think there was too much difference as compared to Firefox.

What I really miss in Chrome, though, is the ability to extend it using plugins. I especially miss the Greasemonkey which makes some sites like Gmail and Flickr much better.

In all the hype about Chrome, Picasa’s new features seem to have been overlooked. I personally found the face-recognition feature really great. I uploaded a ton of party pics from ISB days onto Picasa Web to test it out. And I was blown away…

It automatically detects all faces in the uploaded pictures and asks you to tag them with names. After you’ve tagged a few it gets better at recognising who’s who and gives you appropriate suggestions. It doesn’t automatically tag photos though. There were a small number of false suggestions and non-faces, but not so many that you get frustrated. In about an hour I was able to tag about 700 faces in my photos. Once you’ve tagged photos, Picasa can display the names of the people in your photos on a sidebar and clicking on them takes you to a gallery of all photos of that person.

The privacy features here are cool too and you can select whether you want to show these name tags to the world or not.

I like this feature so much that I’m probably going to upload all my people pictures to Picasa instead of Flickr when I need to share them with others…

Picasa’s desktop software has also been upgraded to version 3 and one of the best new features is the ability to sync folders between your desktop and Picasa Web. Apparently, any changes you make on your computer will automatically be synced with the web galleries.

A replacement to Window’s default picture viewer is also included with Picasa 3. I tried it and am still not too sure whether I like it better or not.

I’m going to test both these softwares more over the weekend so stay tuned for updates…

Firefox 3

Firefox 3 is finally here. While I’m waiting to connect to the Mozilla servers, which seem to be down due to the huge demand, I thought I’ll blog about why you should go download Firefox 3 too.

Firefox 3 has got a ton of new features and is awesomely fast. Especially sites that use a lot of Javascript (like gmail) are much faster than FF2 or IE. I’ve been using the Firefox 3 release candidates for some time now and its great. Here are some links that go into detail about the new features:

And if you’re already using Firefox 3 here’s a Power User’s Guide to Firefox 3.

Now if only we could get our hands on the download and help Mozilla set a world record!

Edit: 0020 hrs IST – Its downloading!

Flickr Photo Time Capsule

Photojojo has an excellent application called “Photo Time Capsule”. Twice a month it’ll send you some interesting shots from your flickr photostream that you uploaded about a year back. It’s fun to be reminded of stuff you shot earlier… Once you get the capsule, you can leave yourself a message that you’ll get back next year.

I’ve been using it for some time now and it’s great to see some old pics I had forgotten all about 🙂

Here’s the link – Photojojo’s PhotoTimeCapsule

Finding photos on the net

Here’s a great site that should make it extremely easy to find photos related to a particular topic. Type in a tag like “beach” and it’ll show you a sun surrounded by planets named with related tags like “ocean”, “sea”, “sand”, etc. By clicking the planets you can drill down to more related tags or click on the sun to get photos with those tags from Flickr!

It shows the photos in a nice sphere where you can click to see a bigger version.

Its worth visiting – Tag Galaxy

McKinsey report on medical tourism

I recently came across this very interesting report by McKinsey on medical tourism. The report totally debunks some of the hype surrounding medical tourism.

Basically it says that the numbers that have been predicted for world-wide medical tourism (or the latest buzzword “medical value travel”) are inflated. McKinsey predicts that the total market for medical tourism is only about 60,000 – 85,000.

Part of this is also based on the fact that only about 40% of all foreign patients actually plan travel for medical needs. They say that the rest of the 60% foreigners getting treatment abroad are either expatriates or regular tourists requiring emergency care.

They have divided medical tourists into 5 distinct segments:

  1. Patients looking for most advanced technology (without regard to cost)
  2. Better quality care for medically necessary procedures
  3. Quicker access for medically necessary procedures (esp. from places like UK where the NHS has long queues)
  4. Lower cost care for medically necessary procedures
  5. Lower cost care for discretionary procedures (like aesthetic surgery)

They’ve also done some research on the flow of medical tourists (from which areas to which areas) and this is presented in a nice map.

The report goes on to discuss the impact of geo-political events on medical tourism. It also discusses some of the strategies that leaders in medical tourism adopt and the changes needed to increase this market.

For anyone who is in the business of healthcare (esp. medical tourism) this report is a must read.

You can find it here: Mapping the market for medical travel – McKinsey Quarterly – You might have to register (its free) to see the whole report.

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