I went through a few of my Iceland photos and decided to retouch a couple of them. I laugh when I look at some of my first attempts at hdr photos. Most look like I was photographing the Apocalypse. The trick is to balance the hdr affect to resemble what your eye actually sees. You have to remember that no camera comes close to the processing ability of the human brain and eye. It's up to you capture this information and render it as you see fit.
I came across an interesting article last night examining the future of search engines. Apparently Google is experiencing some competition from not only Facebook, on the social networking front, but also from Microsoft's Bing.
For instance, Facebook is banking on a new method of searching. They believe the future of search will be in the social sphere. Instead of searching through Google's conventional algorithm's that focus' on searching the entire public web, Facebook believes people would rather search within the realm of their friend's opinions and suggestions (consider every time someone recommends a site of Facebook or 'likes' something). An example of this would be when one is attempting to find a great burger in NYC. You don't care what company has managed to overcome Google's algo's and find their way to the top of the search results. Instead, you would rather want to know what your friends on Facebook have recommended as their favorite burger in NYC. It makes perfect sense in my mind. Facebook however, needs to learns how to keep this data protected from the corporate world.
Bing, on the other hand is focusing on innovative search techniques in areas that Google has fallen behind on. For instance, I've talked to many people who have found much cheaper flights on Bing than any other site. How did they do this? Google's search engine doesn't have realtime access to flight schedule and fares. Bing on the other hand has used their large bankroll and has purchased a company called Farecast which is "a company that tracks airline fares over time and uses data to predict when prices will fall". Incorporating elements such as this in Bing's search engine has won them some market share (albeit small) against Google.
It appears that Google has come out of their sleepy dominance for the last decade and is wide awake attempting to ward off a rise in competition. The article on the changing search engine environment can be viewed at www.wired.com/magazine/2010/02/ff_google_algorithm/all/1.