00:38 AM

Tuesday Newswatch: Customized search, Wi-Fi cells, more Sony recalls

Customized search from Google

Google has launched a customizable search engine for websites. Google Co-Op lets you define the sites you want to search and define typical keywords. The results can merely be weighted towards those sites or completely limited to just those sites. And the search engine is meant to be a collaboration with public users, or just those you invite, able to add more sites to index. Allowing all users to contribute seems like a recipe for spammers.

Custom Search also has the Google Marker tool, which allows sites to be immediately added or restricted from the search index. This tool can be set to allow only the site's publisher to exercise this option while surfing the Web, or invite a few people, an entire community or random visitors to do the same. (News.com)

OK, I set up a basic search engine for SVW. To try it out, search in the box below. Results are set to open a Google page, although you can have the system create a results page on your site.

The future of mobile phones

In Seattle, T-Mobile is now selling phones that work both over their cell network and Wi-Fi connections, the NYT reports. The phones cost about $50 with a two-year service plan and there's another $20 in service fees. Yes, that's less than the $25 bucks you were spending on Vonage and you can use the same phone for home and mobile. It's a bit unclear from the story, though, whether you can use any Wi-Fi hotspot or just T-Mobile hotspots. The latter would really detract from its attractiveness. It's also unclear whether you have to replace your home wireless router with one from the company.

Customers also need a wireless router, which is free with a rebate. The router is then connected to any available broadband line for home or office use. The phones connect not just to the wireless router, but also at any of 7,000 Wi-Fi hot spots that T-Mobile operates at Starbucks coffee shops, Hyatt Hotels and other public locations.

Sign up at www.theonlyphoneyouneed.com

Sony recalls more batteries

You knew this was coming. Sony voluntarily recalled 3.5 million more batteries, the company made in an announcement with the Consumer Product Safety Commission. The batteries being recalled were sold in Sony, Toshiba, Fujitsu and Gateway laptops. USAToday has a list of the affected batteries and notes that consumer uptake of the free replacement offer is amazingly low - if Lenovo's experience is indicative, less than 2%. People just don't mind hot laptops - until they explode, I guess.