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Thursday, July 21, 2011

Your Daily IT News

Your Daily IT News

Google Hangouts Getting Big Boost: Even Michael Dell Is In On The Action

Posted: 20 Jul 2011 07:55 PM PDT

Google Hangouts is one of the features of Google+ that is seen as the real Facebook killer. But there's one problem: where do you find people to hang out with?

Google+That question was unanswered, well, until the launch of gphangouts.com. The site aggregates all the public hangouts on Google+ and lets you filter on your interests. If you can't find a hangout that interests you, the site allows you to create your own public hangout. It's not clear who's behind the site (it could be the big G), so far the site has been steadily climbing in popularity.

This brings us to the popularity of Google Hangouts itself. Since the launch of Google+, the Hangouts feature has been winning faithfuls from virtually every kind of user imaginable. From journalists to CEO, Google Hangouts is very popular indeed. So popular that Dell CEO, Michael Dell, uses it (according to him) for "customer service". If Google ever wanted a powerful endorsement for its multi-person video chat service, then it doesn't get any bigger than Michael Dell.

We can expect complimentary sites like gphangouts.com to grow as Google+ itself grows. Much like the ubiquity of third-party apps on Facebook, these complimentary sites will definitely help Google+ to grow and reach a wider audience.

What do you think of Google Hangouts? Watch the video below to see how it works.


Facebook Terminates Google+ Ads

Posted: 20 Jul 2011 07:55 PM PDT

It looks like Facebook doesn't want anything to do with Google+ on its site, even if the content is a paid one. An app developer learned this the hard way and it has caused his other campaigns to be suspended by the social network.

The said app developer is Michael Lee Johnson. He ran a Facebook ad that asked people to join him on Google+. It has a simple message stating to add Michael to Google+. What seems to be a harmless ad was banned by Facebook.

Aside from removing the offensive ad, Facebook also suspended his other campaigns. He received a message from Facebook that all his ads has been stopped and would not return in the web site. It didn't provide a specific rule that the ad violated.

Facebook doesn't want people promoting rival products with Facebook ads. According to its Terms of Use and Advertising guidelines, the company can refuse ads at any time for any reason if they determined that the ad promotes competing products or services.

Facebook could have just removed Johnson's Google+ ad and left his other ads running. Suspending his other campaigns might be a little too much punishment for the ad. This could serve as a warning for others who might want to run their Google+ ad on Facebook.

Google Maps Terminates Estimated Time Feature

Posted: 20 Jul 2011 07:55 PM PDT

Four years after it launched its traffic feature in Google Maps, the company decided to remove it. Google made the move without announcing it to the public. The company didn't provide an explanation for its action.

Some speculate that the move was done because Google Maps had been misleading the public from the start. Since the traffic feature was rolled out in August 2007, it provided two estimates for a travel route. One estimate shows the time without while another with.

Daniel Mabasa, Google Community Manager, said that the company decided that the information system responsible for the traffic feature was not as accurate as the company hoped it would be. This is the reason why it was removed and is currently working to make it better.

There are users of Google Maps who didn't like the removal of the feature. Some relied on it when planning for the best route around the city. Some are curious as to how the information is not good enough for Google. They want to know what the flaw is within the system.

Google is mum about the actual cause of the removal of the traffic feature. Some attest that it is more accurate than the other services available.

Incoming search terms:

Import Your Facebook And Twitter Streams Into Google+ With StartG

Posted: 20 Jul 2011 07:55 PM PDT

Moving your social networking "personality" over to Google+ just got a bit easier. I say "a bit" because only people using Google's Chrome browser will have this capability—for now.

Not content with having his Facebook and Twitter streams outside of his Google+ experience, computer programmer, Zane Claes, has done a bit of coding and created StartG. This little innovative gem will let you import not just your photographs, but also lets you post directly to Twitter and Facebook. The extension also lets you integrate Gmail notifications directly into Google+. Want your Facebook and Twitter streams to show up in Google+? StartG will help you do that too!

For those people looking for seamless integration, this extension is handy indeed. The only downside is that at present, this level of integration is only available to Google Chrome users. Firefox, Opera and other browser users will probably be irked some, but hey, computer programmers can't be all things to all browsers can they?

Even if you are not a Chrome user, it is well worth downloading and setting up StartG for the benefits of importing Facebook data. If Facebook's anti-Google+ team are alert, this extension won't be useful for long, so it is definitely a case of early adopter exports the most photos. The extension's author plans to add more features in the future, including the ability to tag and URL shortening capabilities.

I am sure more platform-syncing extensions will crop up, but for now StartGooglePlus.com is the handiest tool around.

Not sure how Google+ works? Watch the video below to see some of the really cool features.


Google Removes Travel Times From Maps

Posted: 20 Jul 2011 07:55 PM PDT

Google quietly took off a service that estimated the travel times from the browser-based version of Google Maps. Community Manager Daniel Mabasa said that the company decided to remove the data because the technology behind it was not accurate enough.


The travel time feature was only removed from the browser-based version of Google Maps. The Google Maps for iOS and Android both can still predict the travel time with traffic. The Google Maps Navigation Android App was recently updated to inform users where traffic jams are located. The information comes from other users of Google Maps on Android.

In a blog post last 2009 Google stated that a smartphone with an active Google Maps App sends anonymous data back to Google that describes how fast a user is moving. The company would then combine the speed with the speed of other smartphone users on the road.

This would give Google a picture of the traffic conditions in a particular city. The company combines all the data and sends it back to the users via the Google Maps traffic layers. It looks like it got the science to predict where the traffic jams are located but not enough technology to tell the users how long it would take from one point to another.

Google Wants To Be Even More Open Than Facebook

Posted: 20 Jul 2011 07:55 PM PDT

Google is looking for ways to make its Google+ social network more open than its rival Facebook. The latest development from the search giant lets users export a list of web sites that they've recommended via the +1 button.

This new feature highlights how the company is using its openness to separate itself from the more established social network. Google Takeout is a feature launched last month. It lets users move to rival services simple.

Facebook on the other hand has employed a different approach in securing user data on its network. Last week it blocked a tool made by developer Mohamed Mansour that lets users extract contact data that their friends shared with them. And this week, Facebook blocked another tool called Open-Xchange. This allowed people to export their Facebook contact list on Google+.

Google tried to persuade Facebook to be more open with regards to the ability to search within the social network last November. This issue has been the bone of contention between the two companies as early as 2008.

Facebook has the advantage of being part of the lives of hundreds of millions of users each day. The inconvenience of rebuilding your social network on a rival service can be a major obstacle for Google+'s success.

Google+ Gets the NY Times Thumbs Up On Privacy: Facebook Gets Thumbs Down

Posted: 20 Jul 2011 07:54 PM PDT

Google+ and its innovative feature called Circles, has been voted number one when it comes to how privacy is handled. That's according to the NY Times. The number two position goes to the other social networking giant on the block, Facebook.

This news is hardly surprising given Facebook's nonchalance when it comes to user privacy. For years users and critics alike have chided Facebook for not working harder at making privacy the driving force behind its development. Well, Google has obviously been paying attention to Facebook user complaints and the integration of "circles" into Google+ is a powerful pull for would-be users.

But there is perhaps a subtext to Facebook's nonchalance, and it has to do with the "viral" nature of how Facebook works. At present, something shared on Facebook, due to the lack of friend-specific filtering, has a strong chance of going viral. Contrast that to circles, and anything shared will likely remain in a tight alcove of connected people.

Perhaps Facebook has taken its position on privacy settings in favour of viral growth? That's just one theory on the matter, though. It could very well be that Facebook doesn't really care. After all, Facebook is the biggest game in town—for now at least.

At any rate, the ultimate judge of how well Google+ handles privacy will be its user base. For now, "Circles" is a great idea and should serve Google well. Let's hope the feature doesn't transform into something less appealing as tries to grow the network.

Not sure how Facebook privacy settings work? Watch the video below for a handy tutorial.


New software removes “naked” body scans (airport security)

Posted: 20 Jul 2011 07:54 PM PDT

Anti-X-ray body scan

Airport security is never easy. Ever since the rise of aircraft-related crimes in recent years, the country has taken serious measures to ensure the safety of its flight crew and passengers on planes. One of the measures implemented to counter this problem has been full-body x-ray scanners that reveal everything about a passenger, most importantly: what's underneath their clothes. Unfortunately this means that passengers are left in plain view, totally naked, to the officials manning the security booths.

Bike Guide concept: a solar-powered tour bus with onboard bicycles

Posted: 20 Jul 2011 07:54 PM PDT

Bike Guide

While tour busses are a necessary part of most tours, they don't always stop where you want them to stop at. And when they do, most of the time you don't get to go out of the bus; you're forced to just look out the windows. After awhile, the bus will move on to the next stop on the tour and then the same thing happens. Now wouldn't it be great if tourists had the opportunity to explore the stops if they wanted to?

SOUL headphones by Ludacris available now

Posted: 20 Jul 2011 07:54 PM PDT

SOUL by Ludacris

Everybody's got their own line of headsets today. Dr. Dre, Bob Marley, Lady Gaga – pretty much any star worth their salt in the limelight has their name stamped onto a pair of headphones that can be purchased in the market today. Ludacris introduced his lineup of headphones at CES earlier this year dubbed "SOUL", and while the models and prices have been revealed, there were no release dates then.

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