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Startups: Use Google's servers to launch/host your Sites for cheap

29/06  0339 hrs IST): Google has decided to utilize its spare server capacity. On Thursday, the company announced at its ongoing I/O developers conference in San Francisco, USA, the launch of its Google Compute Engine (GCE),  that allows users to launch virtual servers in Google's own data centers.
 
The same kinda service has being provided for years by Amazon Web Services (AWS) & Microsoft recently announced that it, too, would be launching a similar offering with Azure. Google's latest product is essentially aimed at Startups wanting to launch their own Websites at cost-effective rates.Users will be able to run their Apps on the same infrastructure that Google uses for its Web services, like Gmail, etc.
It plugs into RightScale, a Cloud management platform.
 
The GCE is currently in private Beta.

Zynga launches Social Network for Gamers


27/06  (1218 hrs IST): News agency Reuters has reported that Zynga Inc has unveiled a Social Network for gamers dubbed Zynga with Friends on Tuesday.
 
The Gaming Developer said its new network will pair Gamers with opponents and make features like player profiles, an activity stream & chat available for all users, regardless of whether they play Zynga's Games on mobile devices or on desktop computers. Zynga with Friends is 'one network, one unified experience, & one social lobby that will for the first time connect all of our players, no matter where they are playing,' the report said, quoting Manuel Bronstein, a senior Zynga executive.
 
'The new social features and services are designed for the sole purpose of bringing more people to play together,' Bronstein said. Zynga will also provide programming tools to help 3rd-party developers publish online & mobile Games based on its own software, executives said, in order to foster a Zynga 'ecosystem' that will expand its slate of titles beyond mainstays such as Farmville & Zynga Poker.

It's official: The Microsoft-Yammer deal

26/06  (0438 hrs IST): It's official, finally. As this Website had reported last week, software giant Microsoft has wrapped up its acquisition of enterprises Social Network Yammer for the expected US $1.2 billion dollars. The latter is run by former PayPal COO David Sacks.

Yammer' employees will join Microsoft's Office division & continue to report to Sacks. The company said today Yammer had 5 million corporate users. Yammer's Web-based software lets employees work together on projects & share information.

The enterprise social network had raised US $85 million in February at a reported valuation of $500 million.

Google decides to cut price tag of Google Maps

24/06  (0947 hrs IST): Faced with fleeing clients, Google Inc has decided to cut the rate it charges Websites for high-volume use of its maps by 7/8ths.

According to a company announcement, clients will be charged 50 c for every 1000 Map download compared to the previous US $4. Higher prices for customized maps, which highlight certain geographic features, are being removed altogether.

“We’ve been listening carefully to feedback,” Google said in a Blogpost announcing the price cuts. “We’re happy to announce that we’re lowering API usage fees and simplifying limits.”

Foursquare switched to relying on basic data from OpenStreetMap, which is a collaborative exercise. Apple, too, had announced last week that it would enter the map business this fall, using its own maps instead of Google’s for the next version of its mobile OS.

Cut The Rope on Chrome

 
22/06  (1024 hrs IST): One of the most popular Games on Smartphones, Cut The Rope, has launched in the Chrome Web Store.

A press release put put by Marketwire said one of Google Play's top paid App was now optimized for Google's Chrome Browser. In Cut The Rope, players have to cut ropes attached to a piece of candy & swing that candy to Om Nom, a little monster seen on the screen.

Cut the rope has been downloaded more than 100 million times. While it's most popular on the iPhone & Android, its designers, ZeptoLab, had launched the MacOS version of the Game, equipped with new landscape screen orientation & artwork that retains its striking, crisp images on monitors up to 2560x1400 resolution, recently.
 
"We're constantly working to deliver the best Cut the Rope experience to fans on every major platform, independent of device," said Misha Lyalin, CEO of ZeptoLab. "Google and Android users have fallen in love with the game and our lovable, candy-eating monster Om Nom on mobile, so developing a Chrome-optimized version was a natural next step." 

Mozilla adds more features to Firefox

19/06  (1850 hrs IST): Mozilla has added 3 features to its latest Browser, Firefox, & also made it faster to load tabs from the previous Browsing session at startup time.
 
In an email sent to Whats New On The Net today, Mozilla said the Firefox Home Page is now sporting a new look with quick & easy access to a user's downloads, bookmarks, etc.
 
The new features include Thumbnail Previews. When users open a new tab, they will see thumbnail previews of the Sites they visit the most. They can even pin, rearrange or delete them to fully customize their new tab experience. Or, if they prefer, they can click the grid in the top right to turn the feature off.
 
Users can learn more about the redesigned page:

http://support.mozilla.org/kb/firefox-default-home-page-has-links-to-features

or change their Home Page to something else:

http://support.mozilla.org/kb/How+to+set+the+home+page


Microsoft's Surface - Will it compete with the iPad & Samsung's Galaxy Tab

19/06  (0602 hrs IST): The inevitable question popped up Online almost immediately after the launch of Microsoft's 1st-ever Tablet - Surface. Will it compete with the iPad, Galaxy Tab, Kindle, & so on & so forth?
 
Microsoft will have 2 different versions of the Surface - 1 with its Windows RT operating system, which runs on ARM-based processors, &  another based on Intel's x86 CPU platform that will use Windows 8 Pro. The Windows RT version will use an Nvidia ARM CPU, the Windows 8 model has an Intel Core i5 chip.
 
Before we go further into the details, check out the video below:
 
 
Microsoft has said it is not announcing the price of Surface now. But clearly, from indications available & given, Surface will come with a hefty tag, especially because the company has said pricing will be comparative to ARM tablets & ultrabook laptops.

Features:
 
2 Cameras
Slick keypad
With stylus (like Samsung)
9.3 mm thin
Auto-adjusting screen
Micro SD slot card
3mm cover that doubles up as a keyboard
VaporMg casing for extra protection
5 colors
 
 
Surface clearly will end up in the higher end segment since Microsoft has decided to compete on features rather than price. But will this strategy work for the company which is grappling with lower PC sales with every passing day? Or should it instead have introduced a lower-end Tablet?
 
What will happen to Samsung? How is it going to react to the Surface? Will we see a launch of a new product by Samsung shortly? And of course, the question of the day - What will Apple do now?
 
These & many more questions are being asked Online. In the meantime, we give you below URLs of some of the reports around the launch of the Surface today:
 
http://online.wsj.com/article/BT-CO-20120618-713723.html
 
http://news.cnet.com/8301-10805_3-57455682-75/microsoft-breaks-tradition-with-a-microsoft-surface-tablet/
 
http://www.heraldsun.com.au/technology/microsoft-barely-scratches-surface-with-new-tablet/story-fn5izo02-1226400674923
 

Microsoft launches tablet called Surface

19/06  (0530 hrs IST): The eagerly awaited Microsoft event in Los Angeles, USA, turned out to be the announcement of its 1st Tablet. Launched a few minutes ago, the 10.6 inch HD display Tablet will be called Surface. It will be available in 2 versions, says the company. Check out the photo:
 
 


 Facebook buys Face.com

19/06  (0420 hrs IST): Social Network Facebook has bought over facial recognition service, Face.com for an undisclosed sum.

The announcement was made by Face.com on its Website. Here are excerpts from the Blogpost:
 
Our mission is and has always been to find new and exciting ways to make face recognition a fun, engaging part of people’s lives, and incorporate remarkable technology into everyday consumer products. If you’re anything like us, Facebook is a part of your life every single day.  We keep up with our friends and family, share interesting (or mundane) experiences from our daily lives, and perhaps most importantly for us, we share a LOT of photos.

We love building products, and like our friends at Facebook, we think that mobile is a critical part of people’s lives as they both create and consume content, and share contentwith their social graph. By working with Facebook directly, and joining their team, we’ll have more opportunities to build amazing products that will be employed by consumers – that’s all we’ve ever wanted to do.  :)

 
Thank you to all of our supporters, our amazing dev community, to our employees and to our friends and family who have seen us through many long days and longer nights. The next steps are going to be exciting for all of us.


Acquired for $100 mln

13/06 (0521 hrs IST): This will easily be part of this year's big ticket acquisitions. A Startup called SinglePlatform that helps businesses list their services/products Online has been acquired for US $100 million by small business marketing tools company, Constant Contact.


SinglePlatform's primary service includes helping local businesses get their menu items Online. It has more than 10,000 paying customers.


Under the Terms & Conditions of the deal, SinglePlatform will be keeping its name & service & it will continue to operate out of its NYC office. Its founder and CEO, Wiley Cerilli, is now a Vice President at Constant Contact & will report to Constant Contact's CEO, Gail Goodman.
 
A press note by Constant Contact quoting Goodman said, "There are hundreds of online and mobile sites that consumers use to find local businesses and make purchase decisions. It's literally impossible for time-starved small businesses to keep up with all of them. Almost 50 percent of searches for local businesses happen without a specific business in mind1 so it's absolutely critical that small businesses are listed everywhere to ensure they are found when and where consumers are looking. SinglePlatform makes that incredibly simple - update your information once, and it's delivered to all of the important search engines, apps, directories, and review sites."
 
You can read the rest of the press release at this URL http://www.constantcontact.com/about-constant-contact/press/press_2012_613singleplatform.jsp

Apple launches ultra-thin Macbook Pro

12/06 (0015 hrs IST): Apple fired its 1st salvo at the Worldwide Developers Conference (WWDC) on Monday. Among the 1st of the products announced, the company said it was launching a new version of the Macbook Pro.

The next gen MacBook Pro is ultra-thin & was described by Apple as the “most beautiful computer” that the company’s ever made. The machine is priced at US $2199.

The notebook is .71 inches thin & weighs just 4.46 pounds. It has a retina display, which measures 15.4 inches across & has 220 pixels per inch.

The notebook has a new Kepler graphics chip from Nvidia & a quad-core i5 or i7 processor from Intel. The computer will have a USB 3.0 /USB 2.0 port, HDMI port, two Thunderbolt ports & a new MagSafe power adapter. It will have 7 hours of battery life.

Facebook numero uno in 126 out of 137 countries

 
11/06 (1910 hrs IST): An updated map of Social Networking around the Globe shows Facebook on tops. Social media strategist Vincenzo Cosenza publishes his ‘world map of Social Networks’ twice a week, in which he shows what the most popular Social Networks are. This is based on inputs provided by Alexa & Google Trends for Websites traffic data.
 
The June map shows Facebook with more than 845 million active users has established its leadership position in 126 out of 137 countries analyzed. Europe is the largest continent on Facebook with 232 million users, North America has 222 million, Asia 219 million users (Facebook Ads Platform).

Countries where Facebook is not the leader:

- Russian territories where there is an ongoing battle between the 2 main local players: V Kontakte & Odnoklassniki.

- China where QZone claims 560 million users, followed by Tencent Weibo (337 million) e Sina Weibo (334 million).

- Iran where it’s hard to access Facebook due to state censorship

- Vietnam & Latvia still likely to use local Social Networks,  Zing & Draugiem, respectively

You can go to this URL http://vincos.it/world-map-of-social-networks/ to catch up on the map.

FB's App Centre starts rolling out

08/06 (0819 hrs IST): Social Network Facebook has started rolling out its App Centre from today. Initially, it will be available to FB users in the US, followed by the rest of the world.

Announced a month ago, the FB App Centre is positioned as a hub to help users on desktops & mobile devices find Apps faster. Over 600 specially selected Apps are currently on offer; users can browse Apps by category, find Apps through friends, or receive recommendations.

When a member chooses to download a particular App, the App Centre will direct him/her to the appropriate install page. The App Centre is accessible both via Facebook’s website & its own mobile Apps. If a desktop user comes across a mobile app they want to download, they can click ‘send to mobile’ to have a download link sent to their device via text message.

A BlogPost on the Facebook developer blog said the App Center intends to help high-quality Apps grow by promoting those that people enjoy the most.  It includes all types of Social Apps, including those built for Facebook.com, iOS, Android & the Web.

Some Linkedin accounts hacked

07/06 (0818 hrs IST): Getting your password hacked is one security headache all of us can live without, Online. Hackers based in Russia, it seems, have got their hands on millions of passwords belonging to members of the business/Social Site Linkedin.
 
Acknowledging that some of its members' passwords have got compromised, Linkedin has put out a Blogpost saying those whose accounts have been compromised will find they no longer have access to their accounts. These people will soon receive an email instructing them on how to go about changing their passwords.
 
You may catch up with the rest of the Post by going to this URL:
http://blog.linkedin.com/2012/06/06/linkedin-member-passwords-compromised/

New venture from ex-CTO of Huffington Post

 
07/06 (0728 hrs IST): Ex-Chief Technology Officer (CTO) of Huffington Post Paul Berry is on the cusp of launching a venture called Rebel Mouse.

Rebel Mouse is a Social aggregation platform & has some elements of Flipboard, Tumblr and Pinterest.

Right now, Rebel Mouse is in private Beta, which means it will put you on its wait list & send you an invitation later.


Rebel Mouse is backed by Lerer Ventures. 
 


Google acquires Meebo for undisclosed sum

 
05/06 (0521 hrs IST): Search Engine Google has just acquired 1 more Startup. This time it is Meebo, a company that was originally a Web Chat service primarily targeted at Website owners.
 
It was only recently that Meebo had introduced a new service called the Meebo Bar that could be used for Social discovery.
 
An announcement put out by Meebo in a Blogpost today said following its tie-up with Google, it would roll out "bigger"  ways to help Website owners. There is no mention of the amount that could have exchanged hands, though.

Browser wars are back

02/06 (1730 hrs IST): Its been a month now & for the 1st time, Google Browser Chrome has managed to remain on the top of all Browsers, worldwide, beating even the leader all these years, Windows Internet Explorer. According to StatCounter, an independent web analytical company, Chrome managed to remain on top in May 2012. The firm’s research arm StatCounter Global Stats said in a press release that Chrome had surpassed IE for the first full day back in March.

For the full month of May according to StatCounter data from over 15 billion page views, Chrome took 32.43% of the worldwide market compared to 32.12% for IE & 25.55% for Firefox.

Chrome has gone from zero to market leader on a worldwide basis in less than 4 years. In the US, though, IE remains the main Browser & even in the United kingdom.