Aardvark Shutting Down

According to an email I got this morning:

Dear Aardvarker, 

This mail is to remind you we will be shutting down vark.com shortly, and you will no longer be able to access Aardvark.

We’re sad to say goodbye to Aardvark now, but pleased that this project has inspired so much related activity in this area.
(See http://googleblog.blogspot.com/2011/09/fall-spring-clean.html for the broader story.)
Thank you for your support for Aardvark along the way!

All our best,

– The Aardvark Team

(p.s. You can visit blog.vark.com for information about data portability after Aardvark shuts down.)

I am really bummed. I enjoyed being a part of this community for the last year and a half.

My only solace is the hope that with the fall-spring-clean, that Google can finally deliver on the projects they keep promising (I’m looking at you, Google TV!)

Here is the text of the post on blog.vark:

Goodbye Aardvark

By Max, Zoo Director | Published: September 2, 2011

As part of the shutdown of GoogleLabs, Aardvark will be shutting down at the end of September.

Aardvark began as a small experiment in a new kind of social search, and over a few years blossomed into a service that made millions of connections between people to answer each other’s questions.  It was a great experience in seeking to combine a broad vision for the future of technology with a rigorous user-centered design process.  Over this time, we learned a lot about creating and maintaining online communities, and how to facilitate sharing of knowledge between people.

We’ve been excited to share these lessons within Google over the past year, especially as part of the effort behind Google+.  It has been gratifying to see how well this project is doing — even in these early stages, Google+ has already become a great place to share knowledge online, eclipsing the original vark.com! — and there is much more to come very soon.  In this and other projects at Google, the Aardvark team remains committed to developing powerful tools for connecting people and improving access to information.

Of course, we’re also sad to say goodbye to the original Aardvark here at vark.com.  Who would have thought that a digital version of a nocturnal burrowing mammal would have engendered so much affection!  We’re very grateful to the whole Aardvark community for your support along the way.

Onwards,

Max and Damon

p.s.  In the spirit of data liberation, we want to make sure that any of you Aardvark users who would like to retrieve your past data from the service can do so.  Right now of course you can log in and manually copy anything you’d like to keep.  Or if you prefer, you can email us at support@vark.com and we’ll send you a bulk dump of your data (please allow time for us to process these).  After September 30, there will be no way to retrieve your data, as shortly after that we will delete everything permanently.

Android Security Application

With the recent rash of viruses and malware in the Android Market, more attention is being paid to the need to protect mobile devices. A recent free application is Lookout Mobile Security reviewed on InformationWeek . I have to say I am still partial to WaveSecure, winner of Software of the Year 2010. It does everything that Lookout does, with additional features including tracking, buddies and better updated virus information.

Full Disclosure: I am employed at McAfee who now owns WaveSecure.

Whichever app you decide on, it is obvious that people can no longer wait to get protection on their mobile devices. Not to be “Fox-ish”, but you may already be infected and should at the very least, download a free trial to ensure your device is not compromised.

W3C Mobile Web Best Practices


In reading over the W3C’s mobile development ‘best practices’ there are key steps developers can take for ideal mobile web structuring:

Spare the network
Use appropriate Web protocol features to reduce network bottlenecks and latency.
– Cache AJAX data
– Minimize external resources, applications and data size
– Use cookies sparingly
– Optimize network requests

Set users free
Mobile devices are used in various contexts, from killing time at home to urgent requests on the go. Let users know and control what happens to earn their trust.
– Ensure the user is informed about use of personal and device information
– Offer users a choice of interfaces
– Don’t change focus when dynamically updating page sections

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