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Google's 1st retail store

30/09 (0800 hrs IST): Guess what? Virtual world players get back to 'Real World'. Search Engine Google has gone ahead & opened its 1st retail shop, like Apple, in the United Kingdom.

A report in the 'London Evening Standard' said as of now, it is just a small store within a U.K. computer retailer called PC World. What you can get there are Chromebooks & headphones. The store will remain open till Christmas after which the Google guys shall take a call on whether to go all the way into retail.
We guess life, be it Real or Virtual, comes a full circle, wot?

A new Browser is born

29/09 (1841 hrs IST): Along with its tablet computer Kindle Fire, Amazon also unveiled Silk, a new Web Browser for its tablets. Plus, it will also reside in the Cloud, more specifically the Amazon Web Services Cloud.

The Browser, claims Amazon, cuts down on load times & request times by splitting the workload between the tablet & Amazon’s EC2. This reportedly is the secret sauce that makes Amazon Silk load pages faster than other Browsers. When you first open Silk, you will see a selection of pre-populated bookmarks in tile form. You can touch any of these to navigate directly to one of the bookmarked sites.  As you begin to use the Browser more & more, this view will become customized to display your most frequently visited sites, allowing for fast navigation to the sites you visit most often.

Amazon Silk was shown for the 1st time at the Amazon press event in New York on Wednesday. 
 
To learn more about this Browser, you may click on  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_u7F_56WhHk

Google+ reaches the Top 10 list of Social Networking Sites & Forums:Experian

27/09 (0757 hrs IST): Google+ has emerged as the 3rd largest Site in the Social Network & Forums category last Wednesday, according to a report by Online intelligence collection agency Experian Hitwise. This happened barely a day after the Social Site went from 'Invitation only' to publicly 'Live'.

Obviously, so stated by Experian itself, the decision to make Google+ available to all led to a massive spike in its membership numbers & thus, its market share.The Site recorded a 1269% growth from the week ending September 17th to the week of September 24th. The site also received nearly 15 million total US visits last week. In just one week, Google+ went from the 54th to the 8th rank in Experian's 'Most visited Site' list under the Social Networking & Forums category.
 
Click on this link
http://weblogs.hitwise.com/heather-dougherty/2011/09/google_opens_the_floodgates_to.html?nr_email_referer=1%29
to read the entire report.


No dinner? That's ok but give my daily fix of the Internet

23/09 (2012 hrs IST): Believe it or not but a recent survey by Cisco has revealed that Gen Y think the Internet is as important as life's basic necessities.

According to a report in Asia One, the worldwide survey had 2,800 respondents. One in 3 college students & young professionals believed that the Net was a fundamental resource for humans, as much as food, air, water & shelter. 49% of college students & 47% of employees said they could not live without the Internet as it was an "integral part of their lives."
 
You may click on http://www.asiaone.com/News/Latest%2BNews/Science%2Band%2BTech/Story/A1Story20110923-301071.html to read on this highly incisive study. 

The day after: Web Community still absorbing Facebook changes

23/09 (0700 hrs IST): Hours after Mark Zuckerberg announced a slew of changes to his Social Networking site Facebook, Netizens around the world were still absorbing the changes. Initial reaction to the addition of new Apps to FB has been mixed. Click here to catch up with the complete coverage.  

Now, you can do everything on FB - Read books/News, watch movies, listen to music, the works

23/09 (0110 hrs IST): It seems getting off Facebook is going to be difficult for its fans. CEO Zuckerberg's announcement of new Apps integrating FB's 'Open Graph' now means FB users can read books, listen to music, watch videos, read News, check out a whole lot of lifestyle changes...the works. The thrust seems to be to ensure that FB users don't leave FB ever.  

New Apps integrated with 'Open Graph', Facebook changes yet again

 22/09 (2330 hrs IST): Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg today in his keynote address at the F8 conference in San Francisco, USA, announced the much-anticipated changes like new Apps & 'Timeline'.
 
He dubbed it as "The story of your life," claiming Timeline changes the way Facebook presents users' information. "It presents all your stories, all your Apps, and a new way to express who you are," Zuckerberg said.

Timeline features several new sections including visual tiles, ways to get all your apps, a cover photo, and ways to "express who you are."
 
Then, he spoke of  additions to Open Graph & the fact that henceforth, one can listen to music or watch movies on FB.
 
So far, there has been mixed reaction from the online community with some dismissing the additions/changes as "rips off" from similar available Apps/services.
 
WATCH THIS SPACE FOR REGULAR UPDATES


Twitter buys an analytical firm

21/09 (0820 hrs IST): TechCrunch reports that microblog Twitter has acquired Julpan, a social analytical firm, for an undisclosed sum. (http://techcrunch.com/2011/09/21/twitter-julpan/?nr_email_referer=1%29.

Julpan is a Startup that aims to analyze social data shared on various networks. The guy behind Julpan is Ori Allon who had sold a proprietary search algorithm called Orion to Google in 2006. Google integrated Orion into its own search algorithm where it still plays a major part.

Digg launches Newsrooms

 
 
21/09 (1920 hrs IST): Last year it had changed avataar but got quite some flak for it. Content sharing Website Digg, once the leader of the pack, saw its stock among the Internet community plummeting following that attempt. Now, two days ago, Digg has launched a new feature that will pull in Content from publishers, sort it by topic & rank it according to the opinions of some of the site’s most reputable users, all of this automatically.

Called `Digg Newsrooms', the objective is to find news that matters. Explaining the change in a Blog Post, Matt Williams said when Digg users now visit a Newsroom, they will find the "best news" for a given topic as measured by popular opinion & ranked by top contributors onDigg. Topics range from Technology to specific ones like Lady Gaga. There is a 3-step algorithm to help the most meaningful stories rise to the top – leveraging our greatest asset, the Digg community," said Matt.

Sourcing: Digg will locate Content for each topic & display in a real-time feed called `Newswire'. Signals: Stories will be ranked automatically by an algorithm that looks at recency and popularity including Likes on Facebook, Tweets & LinkedIn sharing, to name a few.
Curation: The news will then be filtered by the Diggs & Comments of passionate users who have gained reputation as top influencers in each Newsroom topic.
 
There are more features & readers can go to Matt's Post to check it all out. All we can hope is that things turn out better for Digg after this round of change.

Edit home videos with panache 

 
 
21/09 (1546 hrs IST): For many of us, shooting videos is a breeze but editing them still remains an issue. Yesterday, an Israel-based Startup called Magisto was launched. It promises to make even editing now a simple task, almost automated. Magisto takes raw footage & turns it into a short video clip, sound track, et all.

You need to register for Free to use this. Once you do that, you can upload up to 16 video files, add a title & soundtrack. A few minutes later, Magisto churns out a video clip consisting of some of the best shots from your raw footage. A user is then free to share it.

The guys behind Magisto say it is not for very very professional film makers but the average Joe who does not have a clue to video editing. 

Facebook announces a faster, better 'News Feed'

21/09 (0524 hrs IST): It's seems like  neither is pulling any punches. Social Networking site Facebook has gone ahead & announced changes to its 'News Feed'. A blog post by Mark Tonkelowitz, Engineering Manager, Facebook, said it has been tweaked in a manner that now, 'News Feed' will act more "like your own personal newspaper." All the news will be in a single stream with the most interesting stories featured at the top. 
 
Also, an addition called 'Ticker' which will help members to join in a conversation right away.  Until now, said Mark, there hasn't been an easy way to see & chat with your friends about photos, articles, & other things they're posting in real-time. The new Ticker helps members do just that.
 
Looks like all changes are geared to making members spend more time on Facebook & perhaps not go around the Web doing other things....like checking out Google+?

Google+ is no longer "By invitation only"

21/09 (0400 hrs IST): Google+ went 'Live' today. In a surprise move, the new kid on the Social Networking block, Google+ announced it was now open to all members of the Internet community, catching almost everyone in the Web World by surprise.
 
For almost 3 months now, membership to Google+ has been on a "By Invitation" only. " For the past 12 weeks we've been in field trial, and during that time we've listened and learned a great deal," wrote Google senior Vice President of Engineering Vic Gundotra in a blog post.

"We're nowhere near done, but with the improvements we've made so far we're ready to move from field trial to beta... Anyone can visit Google.com/+, join the project and connect with the people they care about."

Vic's announcement came as part of a list of the 10 latest improvements Google has made to its Social Network, launched on June 28. Under it, members can now take part in video-chat Hangouts using camera-enabled Smartphones or tablet computers.
 
More so, it also comes at a time when there are unconfirmed reports floating around the Web that its rival Facebook is all set to usher in changes on Thursday at the F8 conference. Facebook is expected to launch the 'Read' button. Click it & members will be able to read news from CNN, Wall Street Journal (WSJ) & others. Another round fired in the Google v/s Facebook war?

German Groupon clone acquired by Google

19/09 (1803 hrs IST): TheNextWeb has reported that DailyDeal.de, a German Groupon clone launched in Berlin in December 2009, has been acquired by Google Inc. The German co. has said in a message on its website. DailyDeal has not disclosed the financial terms of the agreement. DailyDeal was founded by two brothers, Fabian and Ferry Heilemann, who will both stay on board, it is learnt.

Google Wallet to be launched today?

 
 
19/09 (0920 hrs IST): So, will new mobile payment system Google Wallet from Google be launched today? Yes, says a report in TechCrunch (http://techcrunch.com/2011/09/18/google-wallet-launch/?nr_email_referer=1%29. There is no official announcement on the Wallet website,though.

TechCrunch says vendors who are participating in Google Wallet have received memos from Google saying the program will go live on September 19. Let's wait & see.

Middle East surfers go online largely to socialize

18/09 (1900 hrs IST): A report in the Albawaba has said a survey to investigate internet usage in the Middle East by Bayt.com, a jobs site in the Middle East & YouGov, a research and consulting organisation, has revealed that the predominant reason for going online is to participate in social activities.
 
The survey results showed that 70% of UAE respondents spend over 3 hours online every day. About  38% of UAE-based respondents claimed to connect with friends via email. 41% of the same demographic connected with friends through Social Networking Sites. Watching video clips & listening to music were also popular daily online activities, said the survey.
 
You may click on http://www.albawaba.com/business/pr/baytcom-and-yougov-survey-reveals-main-usage-internet-uae-social-purposes-392561 to read the complete report.

Google's tribute to India's legendary comic book editor

17/09 (1745 hrs IST): Google is celebrating India's well-kwon comic strip designer, the late Anant Pai’s 82 birth anniversary. Pai or Uncle Pai as he was popularly known, was the man who introduced India to mythical stories through engaging comic strips. He became famous for his Tinkle & Amar Chitra Katha comics.

Google's doodle drawn in classic Tinkle style shows Uncle Pai sitting at his desk surrounded by numerous copies of the famous comics. The man, who revolutionized the comic scene in India way back in 1970s, was a born on September 17, 1929 in Karkala, Karnataka. In 1967, the educational comics series Amar Chitra Katha was launched, which was Pai’s brainwave. Through Amar Chitra Katha series, he narrated stories of Indian history, mythology and religion. Uncle Pai died on February 24, 2011 at the age of 81 following a heart attack. 

Startups meet in Mumbai, India on Sept 24

 

16/09 (0918 hrs IST): India's professional networking portal SiliconIndia has organized a Startups-Entreprenuer meet in India's financial capital, Mumbai, on September 24. Called 'Startup City 2011', the event will see live product demos, speeches/key-note addresses by some of the leading entrepreneurs from India including Alok Mittal, Managing Director, Canaan India & Sameer Brij Verma, Vice President, Nexus Venture Partners.
 
Among the exhibitors who will be demonstrating their products here will be CMO Axis, Web Techno, DefineLabs, MyCloudKey, among others. Registration is on so those of you interested can click here for more details.

World gets 1st glimpse of Windows 8

14/09 (1653 hrs IST): It's the first-ever official glimpse of its latest Operating System & prima facie, the product seems to have gone down well with members of the Internet community. Software giant Microsoft demonstrated the next-gen OS called Windows 8 at the D9 Conference in Los Angeles in the US late yesterday. The company called it a “re-imagining of Windows, from the chip to the interface”. Windows 8 is said to be able to scale from touch-only small screens through to large screens, with or without a keyboard and mouse.
 
The demo showed some of the ways in which Windows 8 “reimagined” the interface for a new generation of touch-centric hardware. Two taglines were oft-repeated by Microsoft executives at the demo were No compromises. Windows re-imagined.

Judging by the response of those in attendance and then, from the software experts, Microsoft seems to have hit upon a sparkling product, with some experts predicting of its bringing the bang back to Microsoft. That's good news for a company which in the recent past has seen its performance eclipsed by  Apple & Google Chrome OS.
 
There were the occasional hiccups even at Tuesday's demo. Presenters had to grapple with features that refused to work. But as Windows chief Steve Sinofsky took pains to explain,  the software on show was a "developer preview build", designed to give the thousands of companies that build Apps for Windows an early look and feel of what was coming up next.
 
Developers will be able to download the Windows Developer Preview via the new Windows Dev Center later this week, Microsoft later announced. Microsoft also handed out 5000 Samsung tablets carrying Windows 8 as the OS during the conference.

The company promised that the new OS would boot up in seconds & feature a tiled interface similar to those seen on most mobile OS'. The test Samsung devices were also reportedly using Internet Explorer 10 as their browser.

But there was no answer at the conference to the million-dollar question - when is Windows 8 going to be officially released?

Go on an adventure with this new Game

 
 
12/09 (1602 hrs IST): 'Adventure World' is Gaming portal Zynga’s latest Game for Facebook, released recently. This is a new Indiana Jones-inspired Social adventure game. Compared to Zynga's earlier Games like 'FarmVille' & 'CityVille', this is a straight forward adventure Game.
Here's the link http://www.facebook.com/adventureworld

Windows 8 super-boot speed sends tongues wagging

10/09 (0725 hrs IST): For the last few hours, one of the talking points in the Web community is the announcement by Microsoft that the boot-speed of the upcoming Browser Windows 8 will be much, much faster that all previous versions.
 
Windows chief Steven Sinofsky has said in a blogpost that Windows 8 will boot so fast it will make the relatively spry Windows 7 seem Vista sluggish.

Shorn of all the technical mumbo jumbo, this is the layman's interpretation of what Sinofsky has posted - the way Windows 8 gets its "super-fast booting" is that it doesn't quite shut down completely. Instead, it stays in a hibernate-kinda mode. It uses a fast boot that's a hybrid of "cold" booting & this  hibernation. The method also does not draw any extra electricity.
For those among you who want to read up on Sinofsky's post, click here.

Hotmail, other Microsoft services go down but are now on track

09/09 (1824 hrs IST): Microsoft did not need this kinda adverse publicity. For well over 3 hours or so, its Hotmail email service & other stuff such as SkyDrive & Office365 were knocked offline late on Thursday. All services had fully recovered by Friday morning.

The reasons for the outages are unknown although Microsoft is said to be investigating. One reason floating around on the Net was "server problems", another was "DNS entry".

Whatever the cause, there were howls of protest across the Net community, & of course on the Social Networks. However, they are coming back online. It also sparked off yet another round of speculation on the safety of putting all data on a Cloud-based system. Experts questioned whether this was really turning out to be a "safe bet" for software companies.

The Windows Live Blog gave some details on today's outage. "If you've been trying to use Hotmail, SkyDrive, or our other Live properties in the last couple of hours you may have noticed problems accessing our services. We're aware of these issues and actively working to resolve them. We apologize for the inconvenience and appreciate your patience," wrote Blogger Chris Jones.


OS Ubuntu's 11:10 version Beta launched

 
 
 
08/09 (0824 hrs IST): Heard of Ubuntu, we hope? It is a computer Operating System (OS) based on the Debian GNU/Linux distribution. For the uninitiated, it is a "free" competitor to Windows. It is distributed as "open source software" & is named after the Southern African philosophy of Ubuntu (humanity towards others).
 
Committed to the principles of free software development, Ubuntu has been working on a new version called Ubuntu 11:10 Oneiric Ocelot. The point is that the 1st Beta of this was out a few days ago. Which means the program is well on track for its official release on Oct 13, 2011.This release is being widely followed by a large section of the Internet community. 
 
Ubuntu is sponsored by the UK-based company Canonical Ltd., owned by South African entrepreneur Mark Shuttleworth. (Canonical generates revenue by selling technical support and services related to Ubuntu). We have written about Ubuntu in the past too, like the time when it had launched its 10.04 in April 2010.
 
The 1st Beta of U-11:10 can be tested by anybody on the Internet (that's the purpose of a Beta version, anyway). Here's the link

Carol Bartz, Yahoo! CEO sacked

07/09 (1526 hrs IST): It was expected for some time but when it came, it still caught many in the Web Community by surprise. Carol Bartz, the controversial Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Yahoo! Inc. has been fired from her position as per her own admission.

The major shakeup was announced by Yahoo! on Tuesday. Bartz will be replaced by Chief Financial Offier, Tim Morse as the new interim CEO of Yahoo.

Online reports said Bartz, in an email to the Yahoo! staff, said that she "had just received a phone call from the Yahoo's Board Chairman", who told her about her the decision of the board to fire her from the company. The email went out late on Tuesday. Bartz also wished staffers the best for the future.

According to a report BeaconEquity, the announcement of Bartz's departure from Yahoo! had a positive effect on the company's stocks, with the shares rising above 7% on the Nasdaq stock exchange in after hours trading. She had held the post since 2008, when she replace Jerry Yang, the co-founder ofYahoo!

28% American adults use mobile/social location based services

07/09 (0530 hrs IST): Over a quarter, i.e. 28% of all American adults use mobile or social location-based services of some kind. This figure came up from a new national survey by the Pew Research Center’s Internet & American Life Project.
 
28% of cell owners use phones to get directions or recommendations based on their current location.
A much smaller number (5% of cell owners) use their phones to check in to locations using geosocial services such as Foursquare or Gowalla. Smartphone owners are especially likely to use these services on their phones, with 12% doing so, said the report.
9% of Internet users set up social media services such as Facebook, Twitter, or LinkedIn so that their location is automatically included in their posts on those services.

Taken together, 28% of U.S. adults do at least one of these activities either on a computer or using their mobile phones—and many users do several of them.

“Americans are not currently all that eager to share explicitly their location on Social Media sites, but they are taking advantage of their phones’ geolocation capabilities in other ways,” said Kathryn Zickuhr, Pew Internet Project research specialist and co-author of the report.
 
Click here to read the complete report
 
 
 
 

Chrome steals a march over Firefox in Taiwan

06/09 (1356 hrs IST): Google Inc.'s Chrome Browser has overtaken Mozilla's Firefox to become the 2nd largest browser in Taiwan barely 3 years after its launch, the Internet search engine said on Monday.

Released in September 2008, the Web-based Chrome Browser accounted for 15.1% of the local market in July 2011, surpassing the 14.22% of the open-source Firefox for the first time, Google said in a statement, citing statistics compiled by web analytics firm StatCounter.

 
Click here to read the entire report. 

French blog raises almost a $1 million

05/09 (1933 hrs IST): The FrenchWeb, a blog & mini-media empire focused on the fast-growing world of French Startups, has raised an angel round of almost US $1 million from 17 French web entrepreneurs, reports Business Insider.

Founded only in 2010, FrenchWeb says it had 270,000 Google Analytics unique visitors in June
2011.

Read more: http://www.businessinsider.com/french-startup-media-company-frenchweb-raises-almost-1-million-from-french-entrepreneurs-2011-9?utm_source=alerts#ixzz1X4oqI8ZI

Spring cleaning at Google

03/09 (1900 hrs IST): The G Men or Google guys have decided to do one heck of a spring cleaning this year. A blogpost tells us that Google Inc, over the next few months, will be shutting down a number of its products or merging others into existing products as features. The list includes Aardvark, Desktop, FastFlip, Sidewiki, etc etc etc. The idea is to devote more resources to high impact products—the ones that improve the lives of billions of people, says the post. Many have hailed the move for Google had become somewhat unwieldy with its many products.
Catch up with the rest of the post by clicking here

Now, tweet on Facebook

03/09 (1001 hrs IST): Microblog Twitter has joined hands with another Social Networking giant, Facebook. This move could help a lot of fans from both sides of the fence. What Twitter essentially has done is to add a Post Tweets to Facebook button. You can find it in the 'User Profile' section. Once users have linked both their accounts, they can then post their tweets on to Facebook as status updates.
Go, check it out.

Chrome finishes 3 years

02/09 (0901 hrs IST): Its been 3 years since Google launched its Internet open source Browser Chrome. To this, Google has put out an info graphic which you can click here to see.

Mexico's Internet traffic is growing

01/09 (1007 hrs IST): comScore recently released a report on the top online properties & activities in Mexico from its comScore Media Metrix service. The report showed that Google Sites led as the most-visited Internet property in the market reaching more than 90 % of all online users, followed by Microsoft Sites & Facebook.
 
The study also found that Social Networking now ranked as the most popular online category by total minutes, accounting for nearly 30 % of all time spent online during July. These & other findings were presented via a live webinar, 'The State of the Internet in Mexico', on August 30.
 
During the webinar, the following aspects were introduced: That Internet penetration was growing faster in Latin America than in the rest of the world, & this was especially true in Mexico. According to comScore’s figures for May 2011, the number of people over 15 years who accessed the Web from home or from work had increased by 21% year-on-year in Mexico, compared to the average global growth of 10%. With 25.8 hours per month, Mexican users also spend two more hours online than their international counterparts. These numbers reflect the fact that more & more Mexicans had gained access to the Internet at home.