Orkut on Diwali

Saturday, October 21, 2006

This Diwali, Orkut had a special way to wish it visitors a Happy Diwali with this special logo. Ofcourse, Indians are 3rd largest users of Orkut in the world after Brazil and USA.

P.S.: You can view Orkut demographics here.

Web 2.0 and Google

Saturday, October 07, 2006

The internet started with a bunch of small, nice looking, clean websites. Then some more nicer websites were evolved. A few user services like e-mails were added. Websites primarily consisted of static content with some graphics and animations. The dot com boom of the late 1990s gave birth to many internet services, such as eShopping, eCommunities etc. Many new organizations came up and grew in this dot com revolution.

Then, with the advance in time, came the need to do more, do better and grow on the web. It was this motivation that lead to the development of Web 2.0. This phrase was coined by O'Reilly Media in 2004 and refers to the second generation of web-based services. The technologies in Web 2.0 add a new dimension to the Internet. Internet, no longer, is just an isolated silo of mere content, but has evolved into a highly efficient tool which provides incredible functionality to end users.

Web 2.0 applications include blogs, wikis, podcasts, RSS feeds, web APIs, web standards, online web services among others. This is the latest buzzword among various technological communities. Currently, the Web 2.0 standard is not clearly defined and it is difficult make a distinction of a Web 2.0 service. A Web 2.0 website typically involves the use of technologies such as AJAX (Asynchronous JavaScript and XML), CSS (Cascading Style Sheets), XHTML (eXtensible Hyper Text Markup Language), RSS (Really Simple Syndication), Webservice APIs (Application Programming Interface) etc. The key elements of Web 2.0 are supported on the Web Communication protocols such as SOAP (Simple Object Access Protocol), which enable information exchange between different applications.

The web industry is in a race to take full advantage of these new technologies. The major players include Google, Yahoo and Microsoft. There is a heated competition between these companies to come up with the best web-based services. Many other companies such as eBay, FeedBurner, Wikipedia etc are also using the Web 2.0 platform.

Google, the leading search engine, is using the Web 2.0 technologies extensively for creating new services for the users. It offers a horde of services based on the Web 2.0 platform including its popular eMail service GMail. Google also offers services such as Froogle (online shopping cart), Analytics (Website Statistics), Page Creator (WebPage builder), Personalized Home, Maps, Groups, Orkut, Blogger etc which are some of the elite members of the Web 2.0 club.

Google earns most of its revenue from its advertisement program, AdSense. It uses Web 2.0 technologies to display advertisements relevant to the content of the website. It provided Google with a business model, which helped website owners to earn money inturn boosting its own revenue. Google AdSense is one of the most trusted advertisement program on the internet. Advertisers can display their ads using the Google AdWords service.

This is not the end of Google services. Google Labs, which develops most of the Google services recently came up with an online Spreadsheet package similar to MS-Excel. The advantage of this package is that a spreadsheet can be edited in real-time by multiple users. Google has recently acquired an online WordProcessor, Writely. Writely also supports multi-user, real-time editing. Additionally, it also allows you to transfer documents from your desktop and post your documents directly to your blog. Its a great upgrade from the good old MS-Word. Though, it may not include all the fancies of the MS-Word package but remember most of these services are currently in their beta phase.

Google is a company which is exploring the Web 2.0 technology the fullest. There may be a time when Google comes up with its own Operating System based on the Web 2.0 platform. We are living in the era where our lives have been 'Googleized' and 'Googlegiri' would certainly prevail.

P.S.: This document has been typed on
Writely, the online word processor by Google, built on Web 2.0 platform. It was a great experience to type and publish this post directly to my blog.

Building Your First Website

Friday, October 06, 2006

So you have browsed the web for a while. Seen what is available on the internet and what you can do with it. Now you want to make your own website or want to improve an existing one. This article features the various tips and tricks for development and maintenance of a fully featured website.


Before building a website you should know the purpose of the website. Start by planning about the content and features of your site. Depending upon it, choose a language to program it. If you just need a simple content based site programming in HTML/DHTML would serve the purpose but for a site which require user to input information and to save it you need to use server-side programming languages like PHP, ASP, CGI, SSI, JSP and database support like MySQL, MS-SQL, MS-Access.

Domain Name & Hosting

Once you have planned the website, its time to choose a domain name and a web hosting service. A domain name should be easy to remember and should depict the topic of the website. There are many websites which register a domain name for a fee. If you want a domain name which is already registered you can use the Whois Lookup service to find out the owner of the domain.

After registering the domain name you should register with a web server which would host your site. To choose a web hosting service keep in mind the features you require and the programming languages you would use. Also, estimate the amount of space you would require. Usually, there is a fee depending on the features and the space you need. But there are many servers who provide you free hosting, generally placing advertisements on your website.
You can check some hosting providers here.

Organizing Information

Before actually designing the website you should organize the contents of your website. See what content comes where, what should be the sections and sub-sections, where should the user enter the site. The page through which the user enters the website is known as homepage and is generally named as 'index.htm' or 'index.html'.


Once you have organized your content start with the designing of the website. First, design the navigation system of your website. A good navigation system should contain all relevant links on all pages of the website. A navigation system could be made using CSS or JavaScript.

Now, start designing the pages of your website. While designing the pages keep in mind the consistency in design of all the pages. All pages should have the same colour scheme and a similar layout. Also, they should contain links to all major sections of your website.

Uploading the Files

All set with your website, its time to upload the file on the internet for others to view. There are many ways to upload the files which vary according to your webhost. An FTP (File Transfer Protocol) is the best and the easiest way to upload your files. Just copy and paste your files on the webserver. Most hosting providers provide you with an easy to use Control Panel to upload files and manage your website. Helm (for Windows) and cPanel (for Linux) are some of the good ones.


Before spreading the word about your website you should test the performance of your website. Check all links on your website. Check the appearance of your site under different browsers, internet connections and monitor resolutions. If your website uses databases and server-side scripting, check the performance of your script thoroughly to provide a good user experience.

Spreading the Word

Once your website is ready to use its time to spread the word. There are many ways to do so. You must submit your websites to popular search engines or use services to do so. Try to exchange links of your website with other webmasters. It would help you increase your rankings. Also, post a link to your website in common interest newsgroups, forums, directories etc. You can also try some PPC (Pay-Per-Click) ad programs in which you pay for the number of hits you get. Also other conventional advertising methods like newpapers, television, banner ads etc. may be used.


This is the most important part for running a successful website. You must check that your content and design is upto date. Update your website regularly. See what your competitors are offering and try to stay ahead of them. Survey your visitors about their experience on your website and always try to improve.

Monetizing Your Website

You would have worked hard to design and develop your website. So, why not make some bucks from it. Many commercial establishments would pay you for linking to their website. You may register with ad programs like Google Adsense, which display ads relevant to the content of your website. Also, many sites offer affiliate programs, which pay you high commissions if your visitors buy their products.

P.S.: This is an year old article written by me, modified to sublit for the college magazine. The old version is available here.