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Published: Saturday, 10/16/2004

Fusion: Google Bangalore, Watching you

GOOGLE BANGALORE

Google billionaire co-founders Larry Page and Sergey Brin seemed more like vacationing college students than newly minted moguls on a visit to India. Mixing business with pleasure, they shopped in New Delhi and rode in a three-wheel motorized rickshaw in Hyderabad. The 31-year-old wunderkinds also called on President A.P J. Abdul Kalam and said they were eager to hire some top Indian computing talent. With business booming, Google has been on a hiring spree. The company employed 2,292 people worldwide as of June 30, nearly doubling its payroll in a year. Page and Brin, who each own Google stock worth about $5 billion, have been traveling abroad for the past two weeks.

ROLLING, ROLLING, ROLLING

Stop & Shop is testing 1,000 rolling computer-equipped shopping carts with wireless computers in 23 stores. The carts are in three stores in the Boston area now; the rest will be rolled out by the first quarter of 2005. Customers will be able to e-mail their grocery list to the store and call it up on their cart s screen. The computers will give shoppers a list of what they bought on their last trip and notify them a product is on sale as they enter the aisle where it s stocked. They can scan items as they shop to get a running total of what they re buying. The computers can create personalized coupons as the carts approach an item. Shoppers can also place a deli order from the cart and get a message from the deli when it s ready. The carts are still in the research phase, so their final price hasn t been determined, said Greg Thompson, a spokesman for IBM, which is creating the carts computers. Final prices for the carts will be somewhere around $2,000 to $3,000, he said. Regular supermarket carts cost about $100 each.

WATCHING YOU

An advocacy group has teamed up with a Massachusetts Institute of Technology researcher to give pedestrians an online map of camera locations in Manhattan. Tad Hirsch, a research assistant at MIT s Media Lab, has adapted a desktop version of the iSee Project for use in handheld devices using Java programming language. Walkers can roam Manhattan armed with information that will allow them to steer clear of cameras if they wish though escaping the cameras unblinking gaze may not be easy. Privacy advocates have added hundreds of cameras to the Manhattan map using a Web-based interface, www.appliedautonomy.com/isee, developed by the Institute of Applied Autonomy, an activist organization concerned about surveillance.

BOOMTUBE

With stereo earbuds sprouting from the heads of millions of listeners, portable music appears to be an entrenched preserve of privacy. But Virgin Electronics, the fledging maker of yet another digital music player, is promising to restore togetherness to mobile music by putting the boom back in boom box. The Virgin Boomtube is a four-watt portable speaker system designed to accommodate the rising tide of digital music players. A player can be plugged into the battery-powered Boomtube, which has two detachable two-inch speakers. The Tube, which weighs two pounds and is 9.2 inches long, packs what Joe Sipher, senior vice president for marketing at Virgin Electronics, describes as a great sound. The Boomtube ($100), with an aluminum skin and carrying case, can be found at www.virgin.com/electronics. A slightly larger 40-watt version ($200) with enhanced bass capability and rechargeable batteries, is scheduled for release later this month.

TOO, SCARY!

Download these strange re-animated pointers to replace your boring Windows mouse pointers. Zip file contains four syringe cursors, including two animated cursors perfect for working in background and busy. One injects the horrible, green re-animation fluid, while the other extracts a fresh sample of human blood! Also, cool retro iron-ons, monster wallpaper and icons.

www.boxofmonsters.com/bites

TOLEDOBLADE.COM

Join country music writer Brian Dugger for a live chitchat this Tuesday at noon. Do you have questions about your favorite country star, tour, or the upcoming CMA awards? Submit a question now, or join us live on Tuesday.

www.toledoblade.com/chitchat

FROM THE BLADE S WIRE SERVICES AND STAFF.

CONTACT FUSION AT kcesarz@theblade.com



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