Monday, November 30, 2009

How to Grab Your Share of Publicity?

Every business need publicity whether it is exclusively online, a brick-and-mortar store or a coalition of both. You need to educate and inform the consumers about your products and services. Publicity, whether online, print or broadcast, mirrors visibility worth thousands of dollars. It lets you get the desired results and profits that you aimed for earlier. How do you earn the required publicity? There are number of things that your can do to get the publicity. Some of them includes : -
  1. Writing powerful Press Releases : - An informative press release describing all the uses and benefits of using or hiring your products and services is a sure shot way to desired publicity. This is a low cost formula which don't require much time and effort. You can write it of your own or can hire a professional for a strong impact. Press releases are special announcements for enhancing public relations and they let the public know about new developments within a company. Therefore, if you are going to update a site, launch a brand new product, or you are giving away a freebie, this is a great and established way to easily spread the word out there.

  2. Enticing Freebies : - Offering freebies is an easy way to get publicity and to bring in potential customers. It's a sure way to get publicity. Also you can write a press release informing people about the new things you are offering.

  3. Savvy social networking. LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter are ubiquitous names on the Internet. These social networking sites can prove a helpful tool for marketing if you use them suitably to develop and nurture business relationships. Though this strategy takes a lot of time and effort, you need to be particular about your objectives. You can't show up occasionally and expect results.

  4. Respond to breaking news. Google offers a free service that functions like a media clipping service. It scrutinizes the web and Google News database, then sends you an e-mail as soon as something you're interested in appears in the search results. The e-mail will include the web site address, so you can see where and how your topic is mentioned. It works for any industry.

Good publicity doesn't just happen. You need to spread the word about your unique services or product. Otherwise, it is of no use to anyone if the users are not aware of the uses and benefits. You need to do something every day to publicize your business. Ask industry newsletters and local papers for their editorial calendars or offer to be a guest on local radio shows. Create short videos for YouTube. The possibilities are only limited by your imagination.

Google's Droid : A Potential Competitor of iPhone

Apple’s iPhone has monopolized the smart-phone market since the past couple of years. The existing scenario could soon be reversed with the introduction of the new Droid. The 3.7-inch touch screen Droid consists of two principal parts. The upper part is the large glass display, and the lower portion is a slightly longer keyboard.

Motorola’s new-age design is bit thicker than the iPhone 3GS making it more impressive. Coupled with Google’s open-source software, it sports a full keyboard, a bigger screen than the iPhone and a flash-based camera.

The Droid’s built-in keyboard with click keys, provide its users with an easy experience. Its buttons are relatively large so you wont be hitting the delete button every now and then.

The Droid comes with a 600 MHz Arm Cortex A8 CPU 600MHz, with 256MB of RAM. This much of RAM is enough to browse the Internet, take a call on the speaker phone, while chatting it up on G-chat.

Motorola has decked up the Droid with a 5 megapixel camera with the LED flash. The camera features the Android software that controls auto focus, flash settings, white balance and effects. This is considered to be the sweetest phone cameras able to handle shooting in bright sunlight, at night and even on a rainy day.

Also it is introduced in the market with 25,000; free and paid applications available, ranging from Facebook and Twitter to hundred of games.

Google has launched an excellent and competitive smart-phone with many of the features that a modern user would think of. Moreover, for Verizon customers, there isn't a more action packed device on the network.

Droid makes for a powerful tool, along-with Google’s smooth software, Verizon's killer network, and Motorola’s new-aged design.

Tweetie 2 ,Fast And Powerful Twitter Client For iPhone

The Twitter client that redefined Twitter clients is back, and it's even better. Rewritten from the ground up with a fast and powerful new core, Tweetie 2 offers the most polished mobile Twitter experience around.Tweetie is one of Gizmodo's best iPhone Apps of 2008.

    * Seamlessly handle multiple Twitter accounts

    * Explore all of Twitter, from your own timeline and mentions, to the favorite tweets of your followers and friends

    * Full persistence: more than just caching tweets, Tweetie 2 restores your entire UI if you quit or get a phone call

    * Fantastic new offline mode. Read, tweet, favorite, follow, save to Instapaper and more even when you don't have a connection. Your actions will be synced as soon as you go back online

    * Full landscape support (configurable of course)

    * Live-filter your tweet stream

    * Post photos and videos, even configure your own custom image host

    * Vastly improved compose screen with recent hashtags, @people picker, URL shortening and more

    * Compose screen multiple-attachments manager

    * Drafts manager ensures you never lose a tweet (and you can even send drafts to Birdhouse)

    * Link Twitter contacts to Address Book contacts

    * Follow, unfollow, block and unblock from multiple accounts simultaneously

    * Saved searches sync with and the upcoming Tweetie 2 for Mac

    * Autocomplete recent searches and Go-to-user

    This is just the beginning. Tweetie 2 is already built to take advantage of great new features coming from Twitter, so expect updates turning them on soon!Sail through your tweets with blazing fast scrolling. Switch between multiple accounts. There is no limit on the number of tweets you can load.

Main News :

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Microsoft Gets Silverlight Video Streaming On iPhone With Apple's Blessing

In an unlikely twist, Microsoft has successfully demonstrated streaming video powered by their Silverlight technology playing on an iPhone. The technology uses server-side transcoding and an HTML5 video tag, and displays Silverlight content in a native H.264/MPEG-2 v8 format recognized by the iPhone's built in Quicktime player. Most surprising was the response of Microsoft User Experience Platform Manager Brian Goldfarb when asked how they succeeded with Silverlight where Adobe had failed with Flash: "We worked with Apple."

Goldfarb explained that their users wanted their Silverlight content to play on the iPhone. YouTube served as effective inspiration on making the content device-independant.

"So we've worked with Apple to create a server-side based solution with IIS Media Services," Goldfarb continued, "and what we're doing is taking content that's encoded for smooth streaming and enabling the content owner to say, 'I want to enable the iPhone.' The server will dynamically make the content work -- same content, same point of origin -- on the iPhone. We do this with the HTML 5

BlackBerry Bold 9700 finally on sale in Telstra

RIM's long awaited Bold 9700 has finally arrived in the Christmas season to compete with other smar-phones available in the market. The Blackberry Blod 9700 adorns the similar look and feel except being pretty smaller than the original. It is available from today on the Telstra Next G network from Telstra Shops, dealers and online.

The successor to last year's Bold 9000, the new device sports the latest BlackBerry 5.0 operating system. The companion to the Bold 9000, it comes with added capabilities such as 3G HSDPA support and an optical trackpad.

It also features an optical trackpad below the screen which acts like a laptop touchpad in certain applications, such as the web browser. Also it comes in a lightweight package. The optical trackpad allows you to glide your finger across a trackpad square, as opposed to having to roll around the trackball, originally launched with the BlackBerry Pearl and seen as its white glowing “pearl” at the time.
Research in Motion (RIM) recently informed it has included support for the Mac OS X operating system in the BlackBerry Bold 9700. The phone will be available on an $85 per month plan over 24-months. Rival merged carriers, 3 and Vodafone, are set to release the handset on December 2.

Telstra’s Executive Director of Product Management, Ross Fielding, anticipated the 9700 a winner with business customers and consumers given the Bold 9000’s growing popularity.

For consumers, Fielding suggested that: “Consumers are demonstrating a real appetite for smartphones and we think the BlackBerry Bold 9700 will be popular with these customers. BlackBerry’s seamless email on-the-go experience and the ability to personalise each phone by downloading and running a range of social media applications like Facebook and Uber Twitter are amongst the features we expect will appeal most to consumers.”

For business users, Fielding informed that: “Lighter and more powerful, the new Blackberry 9700 has a full keyboard and push email service which will help customers stay connected to their email, office calendar and the mobile internet. Teamed with Telstra’s Next G network it provides outstanding smartphone performance in more places.”

“A premium finish and a high build quality are carried across to the new model. Battery life continues to be outstanding giving customers the range they need to stay connected on longer trips.”

Friday, November 27, 2009

Google gPhone On The Way

Google has never been a company to rest on it’s laurels. An organization driven by innovation, being the leading search engine was one accomplishment, but Google has branched out in many directions with such products as the Chrome browser, Chrome operating system and Android based phones.

It looks like Google is now readying the troops to make an assault on the mobile phone industry by offering it’s own gPhone or Google phone with “unlimited free calls.”

The Google phone is expected to be one of the most advanced smartphones available and will come with a large screen display and a Qualcomm processor that is significantly more powerful then the current Apple iPhone 3GS. Google phone will be powered by Flan, the latest version of Android. Flan is said to offer superior 3D graphics and gaming that rivals handheld console games.

gPhone may launch as early as next year in the US but as more details become available, we will let you know.

Read more
: Google gPhone On The Way

Apple Opens iTunes LP & iTunes Extras

Apple has opened up iTunes LP and iTunes Extras, publishing Templates, Best Practices and a Development Guide so that anyone has the capability to create interactive content that can be played back in iTunes 9 or on Apple TV.

    * iTunes LP lets you create digital albums that include links to listen to album songs and view lyrics, liner notes, photos and videos (such as artist interviews).
    * iTunes Extras is designed to present a movie with interactive menus, bonus content, and chapter navigation, similar to those supplied by DVD or Blu-ray authors.

Apple has also published information on testing and delivering the new formats.

Complete information on building content for the new formats is available at the Apple site.


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Thursday, November 26, 2009

Motorola passes Apple in brand loyalty among men - study

Motorola has exceeded Apple in brand loyalty among men ages 18-and-up since the launch of its new Droid handset, but the iPhone maker has remained well ahead of competitor BlackBerry, according to one study.

According to new, daily tracking statistics from YouGov's BrandIndex, Apple dropped from a peak score of 48.1 in the month of November to a score of 22 last week. That took it below Motorola, which remained relatively static from its month-long peak of 32.3, finishing last week with a score of 29.3.

The study's scale ranges from -100 to 100, based on interviews conducted with 5,000 people each weekday from a representative U.S. population sample. YouGov conducts more than 1.2 million interviews per year, selected from an online panel of more than 1.5 million unique individuals. The study has a margin of error of +/- 2 percent.

The company said its survey demonstrates that Motorola has likely come out on top of the ongoing advertising dispute between Verizon and AT&T.

"Motorola has seen its brand loyalty unaffected by AT&T's lawsuits against Verizon Wireless and ad war bashing," YouGov said. "But it seems to have taken a toll on Blackberry, which has withered under all the Droid/iPhone marketing and hype."

This week, Apple indirectly joined the dispute with two new ads that tout features available only on AT&T's UMTS/GSM network. The advertisements debuted after the most recent study results from YouGov were released; any potential impact from the ads likely wouldn't be seen for weeks.

It's a similar story to earlier this month, when Verizon's brand perception soared while AT&T sunk in the 18- to 34-year-old target demographic. The study suggested that Verizon and Motorola's advertising campaign for the Droid, which launched on Oct. 18, proved effective. Those ads, along with network-specific TV spots from Verizon, directly targeted both Apple's iPhone and AT&T's coverage.

Source Story & Image:

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

LinkedIn Platform: Open for Business

Over fifty million users entrust their professional identities and relationships with LinkedIn, helping build LinkedIn into the largest global professional network today. However, professionals around the world use a wide variety of applications and Web sites to get their work done, and they have spoken loud and clear that they want the ability to leverage their professional networks wherever they work.

Starting today, developers worldwide can integrate LinkedIn into their business applications and Web sites. is now live and open for business.

The evolution of the LinkedIn Platform

Over the past months, LinkedIn has supported integrations with some of the most prominent and critical software applications in the enterprise. Partnerships with companies like IBM, Blackberry (Research in Motion), and most recently Microsoft, have given us time to invest in both functionality and scalability of the platform.


RIM Unveils BlackBerry Media Sync 3.0

RIM has unveiled BlackBerry Media Sync 3.0, a PC application that can sync photos in both directions in addition to music.

The new app lets users pull files and folders down from the PC to the BlackBerry, and optimize photos for the device along the way (allowing for more storage). It also lets users pull photos off the device, and pops up an alert whenever new pictures are detected.

As before, BlackBerry Media Sync also syncs playlists and random music lists, works with iTunes and Windows Media Player, and works with any recent, media-capable BlackBerry smartphone.

BlackBerry Media Sync 3.0 will be available for download beginning at 12:00 PM ET at


Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Apple And Android Dominate U.S. Smartphone Web Traffic

It is starting to look like just two smartphone platforms "matter" where it comes to use of the mobile Web: the Apple iPhone and the Android devices, a new analysis by AdMob suggests.

AdMob’s October, 2009 measurements show that the iPhone/iPod Touch and Android phones account for 75 percent of mobile Web traffic in the United States.

Apple devices continue to dominate, with 55 percent share, but Android users in October represented 20 percent of all activity, up from 17 percent in September, 2009.

The iPhone and iPod Touch grew their share from 48 percent to 55 percent share over the same period.

The Blackberry ’s mobile Web traffic share went down from 14 percent to 12 percent, and Palm’s webOS shrank from 10 percent to five percent.

On a global basis, the iPhone operating system now accounts for 50 percent of all mobile traffic, up from 43 percent the month before.

Android has an 11 percent global share, which makes it third globally after Nokia/Symbian’s 25 percent share.

Since Verizon launched the Droid about two weeks ago, Droids now make up 24 percent of all Android mobile Web traffic. The HTC Dream, which is the oldest Android device on the market, is the only Android device with more share, at 36 percent of Android traffic. Give it a few more weeks. The Droid is shaping up to be the most-popular Android device so far.

The data suggests that the BlackBerry, though a worthy enterprise device, continues to lag as a smartphone choice for users whose key applications lean to the Web.


Social Media Revolution

Is social media a fad? Or is it the biggest shift since the industrial revolution? Welcome to the revolution.

By 2010, Gen Y will outnumber baby boomers. 96% of them have joined a social network. Social media has overtaken porn as the #1 activity on the Web. 1 out of 8 couples married in the US last year met via social media.

    Years to reach 50 million users:

    * Radio: 38 years
    * TV: 13 years
    * Internet: 4 years
    * iPod: 3 years
    * Facebook: Added 100 million users in less than 9 months
    * iPod applications: Downloads hit 1 billion in 9 months

    If Facebook were a country, it would be the world’s 4th largest.

    1. China
    2. India
    3. United States
    4. Facebook
    5. Indonesia
    6. Brazil
    7. Pakistan
    8. Bangladesh

Yet, China’s QZone is larger than Facebook with more than 300 million people using their services.

A 2009 study by the US Department of Education revealed that on average, online students outperformed those receiving face-to-face instruction. 1 in 6 higher education students are enrolled in an online curriculum.

80% of companies are using LinkedIN as their primary tool to find employees. The fastest growing segment on Facebook is 55-65 year old females.

Ashton Kutcher and Ellen Degeneres have more Twitter followers than the entire population of Ireland, Norway, and Panama. 80% of Twitter usage is on mobile devices. People update anywhere, anytime. Imagine what that means for bad customer experiences.

Generation Y and Z consider email passé. In 2009, Boston College stopped distributing email addresses to incoming freshmen.

Full Story :-

Monday, November 23, 2009

2010: The Year Android Will Shake Its Money Maker

Mobile games publisher Gameloft might have thrown in the towel on Android, but that is a mistake. I certainly understand why they gave up on Android. Since launching in February of this year, our own Whitepages Caller ID app has become a top ten grossing Android application, and yet we’ve seen less than $54,000 in revenue. While our iPhone app download counts are in the millions, our Android app downloads are a mere 17 percent of this volume.

Despite our meager return on investment this year, I believe that the real potential for Android app developers lies in the New Year. Here’s why:

End-To-End Goodness

In addition to being an open platform that facilitates device innovation, Android offers choice and progress when it comes to the marketplace where consumers discover and download applications. While iTunes and The Official App Store are the only places consumers can download apps for their iPhone, Android’s open platform allows merchants like MobiHand and HanDango to set up storefronts, ultimately providing more purchasing options for consumers. Google’s focus on improving its the user experience in its own Android market will also continue to boost revenues for app developers. For example, when the recent 1.6 OS (Cupcake) upgrade provided a much needed facelift for the market, we saw an immediate 18 percent lift in sales for our paid Caller ID application.

Billing Options Get Greener

While Google still has a long way to go in terms of reaching as many consumers as iTunes does, with the power of “what’s hot” and capabilities like in-app purchases, they have begun to enlist an armada of players—including carriers with deep experience in integrated billing—to create better markets for the merchandising and sale of applications. In early November, T-Mobile announced that they will launch their own Android market with integrated carrier billing, giving consumers the ability to charge applications to their phone bill. Also on the Google market roadmap is the ability for publishers to offer subscription purchases.

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Saturday, November 21, 2009

Super Monkey Ball 2 Finally Coming to iPhone

Super Monkey Ball, the iPhone game that set the $9.99 ceiling price for several major game titles that followed is expected to have a sequel launched just in time for holiday. Sega has announced that "Super Monkey Ball 2" will debut with 115 new levels, a local Wi-Fi multiplayer option, highly improved graphics and, most notably the game will feature an enhanced control system.

Despite the huge commercial success of the original game when it launched for iPhone in July of 2008, micro-gamers were critical of Super Monkey Ball's control sensitivity. Causing major frustration for avid users accustomed to rocking the little balled wonder ape on home consoles.

"After playing a late build of the sequel, it seems they've made real strides in the controls," said Arnold Kim for TouchArcade, "In particular, I found turning to be much more precise than in the original."

Mini-games are also expected to be added to Super Monkey Ball 2 with the first game being Monkey Bowling, later followed by Monkey Golf and Monkey Target that will be added as free updates in early 2010. Currently Super Monkey Ball is on sale for $3.99. No price has been announced yet for Sega's long overdue sequel. (sneak peek video after the break).


Verizon now selling the BlackBerry Curve 8530

It might not be fancy or scream “look at me”, but Verizon’s now-available BlackBerry Curve 8530 is a smartphone that gets the job done. Kitted out with a 2.5″ display, 2 megapixel camera, Wi-Fi, GPS and 256MB of flash memory, the Curve 8530 is also the first full-QWERTY BlackBerry from Verizon to feature RIM’s new optical trackpad and OS 5.0.

Other than that, a 3.5mm headphone jack, Stereo Bluetooth, support for microSD cards and dedicated multimedia keys round out the rest of the phone’s features. Of course at $99.99 on contract there are a lot of better smartphones that are similarly priced, but for BlackBerry lovers fond of Verizon and always looking to save a bit of coin, you can’t really go wrong. Plus it comes in two colors: Black and Smoky Violet (imagine the color of your grandmother’s ugliest pant suit).


Friday, November 20, 2009

Official Google Phone confirmed for early 2010?

Ever since Android was first vaunted, people have been asking for an official Google Phone; however the search giant has always said it was only taking the lead in software, not hardware. Now, according to TechCrunch’s sources, that’s all going to change: they claim that an official, Google branded handset will drop in early 2010, with the company dictating every element of hardware and software to put together their own interpretation of today’s smartphone.

Who’s actually responsible for for hardware construction is still unconfirmed, though despite rumors of HTC involvement TechCrunch are saying it’ll be a Korean firm that produces the Google Phone. They’re leaning toward LG, since rival Samsung produces several of the components in the iPhone, a deal could lead Apple to pressure them not to get involved with the Google handset.

According to the sources, Google had hoped to have their phone on the market by the 2009 holiday period, but that timescale has slipped. However we should expect a “big push” in promotion and advertising in January 2010 in the run-up to launch. No hardware or form-factor specifications are known as yet.

New Google News for mobile

At Google, we are committed to giving you a consistent user experience across products and devices, and we really value the feedback you've given us about Google News for mobile. Today we're excited to announce a completely new Google News offering for iPhone, Android, and Palm Pre users. (We already offer a mobile-optimized version of Google News for other phones, such as Blackberry, Windows Mobile, and S60, and more improvements will be coming to those in the near future)

This new version provides the same richness and personalization on your phone as Google News provides on desktop. Our new homepage displays more stories, sources, and images while keeping a familiar look and feel. Also, you can now reach your favorite sections, discover new ones, find articles and play videos in fewer clicks. If you are an existing Google News reader on desktop, you will find that all of your personalizations are honored in this mobile version too.

Google News for mobile is now available in 29 languages and 70 editions.

So pick up your mobile phone and point your browser to to catch up on news anytime and anywhere. Feel free to check out more information or leave feedback in our Help Center.

Official Google Mobile Blog: New Google News for mobile

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Amazon now offering the Palm Pixi for just $24.99

So much for having to head in to Walmart to score a low priced Palm Pixi because Amazon now has an offer of their own. For a limited time, well actually until November 23 customers can get a Palm Pixi for just $24.99. Which means you can save yourself five bucks, but better still, you can do so from the comfort of your own home.

Of course, there are a few catches with that price, but honestly would you expect otherwise. First, like I mentioned that offer is for a limited time only. But more importantly, you will have to agree to and sign a two year commitment with Sprint.

With price drops like this, it seems like it is just a matter of time before the Pixi becomes free on contract. Still $24.99 is not all that bad.

Product [Amazon]


Microsoft Announced Launch of Windows Azure Platform

Microsoft Corp. today announced the availability of the Windows Azure platform at the Microsoft Professional Developers Conference (PDC). In his opening keynote address, Ray Ozzie, chief software architect at Microsoft, described Windows Azure and SQL Azure as core elements of the company’s cloud services strategy. The company also announced a set of new Windows Azure features, Windows Server capabilities, and marketplace offerings that will make it easier for developers to build profitable businesses from their Microsoft-based solutions.

“Customers want choice and flexibility in how they develop and deploy applications,” Ozzie said. “We’re moving into an era of solutions that are experienced by users across PCs, phones and the Web, and that are delivered from datacenters we refer to as private clouds and public clouds. Built specifically for this era of cloud computing, Windows Azure and SQL Azure will give developers what they need to build great applications and profitable businesses.”

In his keynote address, Ozzie described the company’s “three screens and a cloud” vision, where software experiences are seamlessly delivered across PCs, phones and TVs, all connected by cloud-based services. Underscoring the IT industry’s shift toward a hybrid approach of online services combined with on-premises software, Ozzie described the programming model for a powerful new generation of applications for both businesses and consumers, enabled by new Microsoft development tools and technologies. He also demonstrated customer and partner commitment to Microsoft’s development platform with Seesmic, WordPress and Cheezburger Network.

Marketplace and Information Services for Developers, Partners and Users

Ozzie also unveiled the next evolution of Microsoft Pinpoint, an online marketplace for Microsoft partners to market and sell their applications. The company introduced a new information service, Microsoft Codename “Dallas,” also available through Pinpoint and built completely on the Windows Azure platform, that enables developers and users to access premium commercial and reference datasets and content on any platform. Datasets currently available through “Dallas” include those from the Associated Press, Citysearch,, ESRI, First American Corp., Inc., NASA, National Geographic TOPO!, NAVTEQ, RiskMetrics Group, the United Nations, WaveMarket Inc. and Weather Central Inc. Starting today, “Dallas” is available as a limited community technology preview (CTP)

Next-Generation Application Model

Bob Muglia, president of the Server and Tools Business at Microsoft, detailed the company’s strategy and road map for extending the Windows developer platform to the cloud, which is the next-generation application model, according to Muglia.

“Microsoft is converging on a common developer platform for both servers and services,” Muglia said. “Through this convergence, Microsoft will enable developers to continue using familiar .NET Framework and Visual Studio tools and technologies, as well as third-party tools such as Eclipse, to create and monetize applications that run on the server and as services in the cloud.”

Full Story Here:

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Amazon Kindle now available in Canada

The wait for the Amazon Kindle to come to Canada is now over. Effective immediately, the Kindle can be ordered, and delivered to Canada for a price of $259 US. Of course, this does come with a few catches, the books, newspapers and magazines are all priced in US dollars.

Additionally, the blogs and “experimental web browser” are not available. But on the flip side, the Kindle does come with “over 300,000 English-language books.” Canadian Kindle users can also choose from a selection of International newspapers and magazines including the National Post and “all of Canwest’s major daily newspapers.”

Although the Kindle is by no means the first e-book reader to reach the Canadian market — several electronics companies including Sony Corp. sell their own digital book readers — Amazon's wireless distribution system and consumers' familiarity with the company's retail sites could help it stand out.

Finally, for those interested in ordering a Kindle, just visit the US Amazon website.


Explore images with Google Image Swirl, now in Labs

Back in 2001, to give people a new, quicker way to find images, we launched Image Search. When you do a search for [eiffel tower] you'll find an array of images of the tower in the daytime, in black and white, at sunset and more. With Similar Images, which recently graduated from Google Labs, you can click "Find similar images" to narrow your search to, say, pictures of the Eiffel Tower lit up at night. Today, we've launched an experimental feature in Labs called Google Image Swirl, which builds on new computer vision research to cluster similar images into representative groups in a fun, exploratory interface.

For example, if you search on Image Swirl for [washington], you'll see 12 image thumbnails including President Washington, the Washington Monument, a map of Washington D.C. and the Capitol Building:

Once you find the group of images you're interested in, you can click on the thumbnail and a cluster of images will "swirl" into view. For example, here's what you'll see if you click the image of the Washington Monument:

You can then further explore additional sub-groups within any cluster. The interface may look familiar to those of you who have tried Google's Wonder Wheel available in the Search Options panel, which enables you to explore related search queries.

Official Google Blog: Explore images with Google Image Swirl, now in Labs

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

An update to Google Earth for the iPhone

Just over one year ago, we unveiled Google Earth for the iPhone and iPod touch. Google Earth quickly became one of the most popular applications in the App Store, and after only six months, was the second most-downloaded free application overall. A big thank-you to the over 220,000 users have taken the time to write a review!

Today, we're proud to announce version 2.0 of Google Earth for iPhone. We've added some exciting new features, including the ability to view maps that you create on your desktop computer right from your iPhone, explore the app in new languages, and improved icon selection and performance.

View your maps wherever you go

Have you ever wanted to view a custom map with Google Earth on your iPhone? Well, now you can. By logging in directly to your Google Maps account, you can view the same maps that you or others have created, using the My Maps interface. Maybe you're on a trip and want to see where Tony Wheeler, the co-founder of Lonely Planet, most likes to travel. Or perhaps you're walking around looking for a restaurant and you want to see where world-famous chef Ferran Adrià likes to eat. All you have to do is click "Save to My Maps", open Earth on the iPhone, log in with the same account information, and voilà, you have your same collection of My Maps right in your pocket.

It's fun to create and view your own maps as well. Here's an example of a map that I created that shows the two attempts my friends and I made to summit Mount Ritter in the Sierra Nevada mountain range. As you can see, we didn't quite make it (the red line is the intended route, and the blue and green lines are our 2008 and 2009 attempts, respectively). Next year we'll get it for sure! I created this map by using the desktop version of Google Earth to read the tracks directly out of my GPS device, saving the resulting tracks as a KML file, and then importing into My Maps in Google Maps. You can learn more about My Maps here.

Official Google Mobile Blog: An update to Google Earth for the iPhone

Motorola probably sold 250,000 Droids in first week, Flurry says

Motorola probably sold 250,000 Droids in the first week, making it the Android platform’s first legitimate challenger to the iPhone, according to analytics firm Flurry. Those figures are more than four times what HTC and T-Mobile were able to do with the MyTouch phone and about one-sixth of what Apple pulled off with the iPhone 3GS in their first weeks. (Keep in mind that Apple launched that model in eight countries, not one like the Droid, and already had a base of users ready to upgrade from older versions.

Flurry made its estimates through the analytics service it provides for more than 10,000 apps. The company says the apps that it tracks are on two out of every three iPhone and Android handsets worldwide. So it derived an estimate from the number of new Android handsets it detected that week and cross-checked its methodology against actual sales numbers for Apple’s iPhone 3GS.

Flurry’s estimates are also broadly in line with others’. Broadpoint AmTech’s Mark McKechnie said Motorola did 100,000 phones in sales during the first weekend, while Macquarie’s Phil Cusick said the phone had 200,000 sales in its debut weekend.

Flurry’s Vice President of Marketing Peter Farago wrote:

The launch of Droid signals the beginning of a viable platform alternative to the iPhone as Android builds critical mass. As major companies continue to vie for a piece of the exploding Smartphone market, the consumer has never had more choice and innovation in the mobile industry. With Droid, Motorola has raised the bar for Android handsets, contributing to an ever-growing base of Android handsets upon which applications developers can build a business.

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Monday, November 16, 2009

Smartphone Sales Up 12% In Q3

Global mobile phone sales reached 308.9 million units in the third quarter of 2009, a slight increase of 0.1 percent from the third quarter of 2008, according to a new report from Gartner.

Smartphone sales showed solid growth with more than 41 million units sold for a 12.8 percent increase from the same period last year.

"The third quarter of 2009 saw the announcement of many new mobile devices, including several Android smartphones ready for the holiday season in the fourth quarter, but hardware commoditisation and the growth in open platforms will make it harder for them to stand out," said Carolina Milanesi, research director at Gartner.

"Many devices will reach the market in time for Christmas, and mobile carriers will run incentives for consumers during the holidays. We expect sales of mobile devices in the fourth quarter of 2009 to show year-over-year growth," said Ms Milanesi.

"As many vendors and industry watchers call for a decrease in sales into the channel, our sell through data is showing that 2009 performance will be flat rather than down over 2008."

Nokia led the mobile market in Q3 with 36.7 percent of the share, followed by Samsung at 19.6 percent and LG with 10.3 percent market share.

Nokia also ranked at the top in smartphone sales with 39.3 percent of the market, followed by Blackberry maker Research in Motion with 20.8 percent and Apple with 17.1 percent.

"Smartphones continued to represent the fastest-growing segment of the mobile-devices market and we remain confident about the potential for smartphones in the fourth quarter of 2009 and in 2010," said Ms Milanesi.


Palm Pixi now available from Sprint

Without all of the excitement and fanfare seen when the Palm Pre launched this past summer, the Palm Pixi officially goes on sale at Sprint today. With the latest version of webOS under its’ hood. the difference between the two devices is really all about the hardware. The Pixi lacks a Wi-Fi radio, and has a downgraded camera at 2MP vs. the Pre’s 3MP shooter.

The display, at 2.63 inches, is much smaller than the 3.1 inch screen found on the earlier model. But all of this cutting back has allowed Palm and Sprint to offer a webOS device at a lower price. The Pixi costs $99.99 after a $100 mail-in rebate and your signature on a 2 year contract. Anyone looking to spread a little Pixi dust today?


Saturday, November 14, 2009

Apple Creates iTunes Preview

While a strength of Apple's has always been ease of use, direct links to iTunes from a web browser have always annoyingly needed to boot up iTunes before a song could be checked out. Another strength of Apple's has been fixing things, and the simple solution they've created is iTunes Preview.

iTunes Preview works as a website that your browser will go to when you click on a direct iTunes link. The page you're taking to will have all the pertinent information to whatever song or album link you clicked on, from release information to pricing. The page will also have buttons to click on if you do want to open your iTunes and hear some previews or make a purchase.

Like cut and paste for the iPhone, it's been kind mind boggling that Apple didn't have something like this already, but at least it is out there now, helping to save computer processing speed the world over.


Friday, November 13, 2009

Apple lifts veil on App Store approval status

Apple has added a feature to its Dev Center website allowing developers to view the approval status of submitted apps.

In a move that is sure to please many, developers tell AppleInsider that Apple's Development Center website has added the ability for developers to track the status of apps currently under review. In the past, Apple had notoriously kept developers in the dark about Apple's review and approval process.

There are allegedly nine status levels for submitted applications, including "in review," "ready for sale," and "rejected".

While this update to the Dev Center website may not seem like a major change, it is a step in the right direction towards greater transparency and disclosure about the Application review process.

Some still remain unhappy about Apple's overall App submission process. Joe Hewitt, developer of the Facebook app for the iPhone told TechCrunch Wednesday that he has decided to stop developing for the platform, citing Apple's App Store policies. "I am very concerned that they are setting a horrible precedent for other software platforms," Hewitt reportedly said.

Earlier this year AppleInsider was told, "Many developers are pulling their hair out by the roots" over the approval process. Approvals that once took days were taking months and Apple's response to inquiry about the process was a stock answer or no received answer at all.

After weathering a storm of criticism by developers and pundits alike, Phil Schiller, Apple's senior vice president of Worldwide Product Marketing directly reached out to the developer community - sending personal responses to many of its high profile critics.


Google welcomes Gizmo5

Today we're pleased to announce we've acquired Gizmo5, a company that provides Internet-based calling software for mobile phones and computers. While we don't have any specific features to announce right now, Gizmo5's engineers will be joining the Google Voice team to continue improving the Google Voice and Gizmo5 experience. Current Gizmo5 users will still be able to use the service, though we will be suspending new signups for the time being, and existing users will no longer be able to sign up for a call-in number.

We've acquired a number of small companies over the past five years, and the people and technology that have come to Google from other places have contributed in many ways, large and small, to all kinds of Google products. Since the GrandCentral team joined Google in 2007, they've done incredible things with Google's technology and resources to launch and improve Google Voice.

We welcome the Gizmo5 team to Google and look forward to working together to bringing more useful features to Google Voice.

Google Voice Blog: Google welcomes Gizmo5

Thursday, November 12, 2009

More Extra Storage For Less

When Gmail launched five years ago, it came with a gigabyte of storage space. A gigabyte doesn't seem like very much any more, and now every Gmail account comes with more than seven gigs of space (and growing). Still, some people manage to use up all of this (that's a lot of email...), so for over two years we've offered the option to purchase even more storage. This extra storage acts as an overflow that you only start using when you reach the limit of your free storage, and is shared for use between Gmail and Picasa Web Albums. Picasa has always come with a gigabyte of free storage to share photos, but people need even more storage as they start taking more pictures and moving full resolution backups of their photo collection into the cloud.

While storage costs have been dropping naturally, we've also been working hard to improve our infrastructure to reduce costs even further. Today, we're dramatically lowering our prices to make extra storage more affordable. You can now buy 20 GB for only $5 a year, twice as much storage for a quarter of the old price, and enough space for more than 10,000 full resolution pictures taken with a five megapixel camera. And if you need more than 20 GB, you can purchase up to 16 terabytes!

So if you're running out of space in your overflowing inbox, or want to keep full resolution copies of thousands of photos, visit to see all the plans and to buy more storage.


Apple Overtakes Nokia As Most Profitable Handset Maker

Apple has overtaken Nokia as the world’s most profitable handset vendor according to Strategy Analytics. TelephonyOnline reports that Nokia can still claim the largest global market share but Apple has overtaken in profits due to Nokia’s stagnant presence in the U.S. and the economic downturn. Strategoy Analytics estimates that Apple’s iPhone operating profit came in at $1.6 billion in Q3, while Nokia recorded only $1.1 billion in operating profit.

“With strong volumes, high wholesale prices and tight cost controls, the PC vendor has successfully broken into the mobile phone market in just two years,” said analyst Alex Spektor in the research note. It is not all bad news for Nokia.

Even with falling profits, it managed to capture 37.9% market share and ship 16.4 million handsets in the third quarter. Strategy Analytics said that focusing on the U.S., Apple’s high-profit home turf, will be the key to recovering in 2010, but that won’t be an easy fight. Nokia’s profit margin for its handset division has been shrinking during the entire 2009 global economic downturn, and the handset-maker is also facing increased pressure from Google Android devices and other new high-end smartphones planned for the rest of the year and into 2010.


Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Amazon releases Kindle for PC today officially released its free Kindle for PC app, which lets people read Kindle electronic books on Windows-based personal computers. It works with Windows 7, Vista and XP, and Amazon is confirming that a Mac version is on the way (the company also told us a few weeks ago it's working on a Kindle BlackBerry app too).

Amazon is building a multi-device strategy for its Kindle business, looking to sell its digital books, newspapers and magazines across a range of gadgets, not just its dedicated Kindle readers. Amazon also has a Kindle app for the iPhone and iPod touch.

One thing I didn't note when Amazon earlier announced plans for the Kindle for PC app: it lets people read in full color, which may improve the experience of reading things like cookbooks, textbooks and graphic novels (Kindle readers only display shades of gray). People using the Kindle app on Windows 7 PCs will have touch-screen — the ability to zoom in and out of text and turn pages with a finger swipe.

Amazon isn't ignoring its Kindle readers, however. The company is heavily promoting the devices going into the holiday season, as are competitors. Barnes & Noble recently delayed the ship date for some pre-orders of its new Nook e-reader, citing high demand.


100,000 DROIDS And Counting

Estimates are in, and according to Broadpoint AmTech Inc representative Mark McKechnie, Motorola and Verizon Wireless probably sold 100,000 Droid phones in the opening weekend of the device’s launch. Stores were initially stocked with 200,000 and about half of each store’s inventory was depleted, with the 100,000 figure being a logical and unscientific extension.

Check out what Citigroup’s Jim Suva had to say on the matter:

    “It wasn’t as good as the iPhone, but anybody that was expecting that had their expectations too high,” said Suva, who recommends buying Motorola shares. Traffic in Verizon stores through the first three days was “continually good,” he said.

    Motorola may sell 1.3 million Android phones in the fourth quarter and 9 million next year, Suva said. Apple will sell 8 million iPhones this quarter and 28.5 million next year, he predicts.

Are you doing the same math as me? Motorola themselves will sell about 1/3 the number of Android Phones as Apple will sell iPhones next year. And then you’ve got Samsung, HTC, LG, Sony Ericsson and all of the other phone makers driving Android Phone sales.

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Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Microsoft announces Exchange Server 2010 availability

Today at the Microsoft Tech-Ed Europe 2009 conference in Germany, Microsoft Business Division President Stephen Elop announced that Microsoft Exchange Server 2010 is now available worldwide.

During an opening Keynote, Elop also announced the release of Forefront Protection 2010 for Exchange Server. Forefront provides better anti-spam and multi server management tools.

"Exchange Server 2010 customers are already reporting cost savings of up to 70 percent thanks to a simplified high-availability model and support for lower-cost storage. Customers are also seeing productivity gains of more than 20 percent with a universal inbox that delivers e-mail, voice mail, instant messaging and text messaging consistently across virtually any device," Elop said. "Together with Windows 7 and Windows Server 2008 R2, the combined cost savings and improved productivity helps customers generate long-term business success."

Elop said more than 45,000 partners are trained on Windows Server 2008 R2 and Exchange Server 2010, with several partners announcing new services and solutions today, including AMD, Avanade, Dell, EMC, Kaspersky Lab, Symantec and Unisys.


Where should Mozilla go from here?

Five years into Firefox, the Mozilla Foundation’s plans seem mainly geared to an aggressive release schedule, so that the browser can compete with Google Chrome.

There is irony here, because the bulk of Mozilla’s income comes from Google, in the form of royalties on the Google search box which sits on the upper-right corner of the program’s interface.

Thus we have a browser created to stop the Microsoft monopoly pushing what some say is the next dangerous monopoly, that of Google.

Firefox is not Mozilla’s only project. There is the Thunderbird e-mail client, the Bugzilla bug tracking system, and SeaMonkey, which combines Firefox and Thunderbird with Web development tools and chat.

But Firefox is what Mozilla is known for, and most of its work, and that of its add-on makers, is devoted to Firefox and the technologies that emerged from it.

Firefox has transformed the Web, by creating real competition to Microsoft’s Internet Explorer. The question to ask today, however, is where does Mozilla go from here?

  • Can Mozilla expand its funding sources to become truly independent of Google?

  • Can Mozilla create real market share outside the browser?

  • Should Mozilla be focused on browser share, or leave that to Google Chrome and concentrate instead on HTML-related technologies?

  • What is Mozilla, in the end? What does the Foundation want to be?

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Monday, November 09, 2009

Review: Google's Droid could be iPhone killer

Apple’s iPhone has dominated the smart-phone market the past couple of years, tearing down would be “iPhone killers” almost on a monthly basis.

This could soon change with the new Droid. Coupled with Google’s open-source software, Verizon's blazing network and Motorola’s new-age design, the Droid makes for a powerful Apple-directed dagger.

The phone is made up of two main pieces, the large, glass display up top, and the slightly longer keyboard / mainboard lower half. Above the 3.7-inch touch screen -- a full glass display with a large 480-by-854 resolution (slightly bigger than the iPhone).

There are four main buttons at the bottom of the display: back, menu, home and search. The top section slides smoothly upward to reveal the QWERTY keyboard.

The phone also has a 3.5-mm headphone jack and a power / sleep button, and camera button, a micro-USB port; a 5-megapixel camera (and flash), a thin, gold crosshatch strip that hides the Droid's speaker.

The thickness of the Droid is striking. It's just a bit thicker than the iPhone 3GS, which is impressive, considering it sports a full keyboard, a bigger screen than the iPhone and a flash-based camera.


The Droid sports a 600 MHz Arm Cortex A8 CPU 600MHz, with 256MB of RAM. That’s enough to browse the Internet, take a call on the speaker phone, while chatting it up on G-chat.

The phone was consistently responsive to opening and closing applications, switching between landscape and portrait modes, and multi-tasking. Users can further speed up their phone by turning off animations and effects.

The Droid’s built-in keyboard is a blessing for those still not comfortable with the virtual counterpart. The keyboard has shallow, but responsive click keys.

Although the keys can feel a bit cramped, typing on the Droid is an easy experience that will come naturally after a couple of days of use.

If you’re into the onscreen keyboard, you won’t be disappointed. The buttons are relatively large, and most importantly pretty accurate. You won’t be using the delete button as much as many iPhone users complain they must.

Motorola has outfitted the DROID with a 5 megapixel camera with an LED flash. The camera features the Android software that controls auto focus, flash settings, white balance and effects.

The biggest problem is that the camera is e painfully slow to focus and take pictures. Users can tweak the settings between close-ups and landscape photos to try to speed up the camera speed, but it's not an easy thing to do on the fly.

The quality of recorded video is one of the Droid's biggest assets. The Droid shoots at 720-by-480 resolution that produced some impressive shake-free videos and clear videos. The camera was able to handle shooting in bright sunlight, at night and even on a rainy day.

The Droid won’t replace the camera you use for weddings or formal social events, but it’s one of the sweetest phone cameras around.

So what did Google do to support all the hardware pushed by Motorola? The biggest thing that will jump out to iPhone users is the multi-application support.

Users can read their Gmail, while listening to Pandora radio, while the built-in GPS tracks their location.

Gmail and Gchat setup is as easy as signing in to your Google account during the initial setup. After that, the phone will be continually connected to both (unless you choose otherwise). Users can also easily setup POP / IMAP / Exchange email accounts on the Droid.

Facebook account integration is built into the Android, so that all your friends will sync on your contact and calendar list. (Thankfully, this is only an option.) As for the application itself, you get a widget with the news feed, photos, friends list, profile, notifications, and an option to take a picture to post.

The contact list is straightforward. The quick contact function allows users to tap on someone's name and get a menu with jumps to the various ways you can reach out; if you're friends with someone on Facebook, you'll be given an option to message them there, along with SMS, phone, and e-mail choices.

At the opening bell on Friday, the Droid will have about 25,000 (free and paid) applications available, ranging from Facebook and Twitter to hundred of games.

While the iPhone claims over 100,000 apps, it will only be a matter time before the Droid hits the six figure mark. With Google’s Android’s open source software, it will probably be sooner than later.

The Web browsing might be one of the biggest selling points of the Droid. Surfing the net on this thing is virtually painless. Compared to the Apple’s ATNT network, the Verizon 3G network is blazing.

The Droid’s browser had no problem quickly loading graphic intensive sites like

Coupled with the Droid’s massive display, its responsiveness, and speed, browsing and navigating the Internet is pretty easy and painless.

The Droid features fully realized turn-by-turn navigation which integrates with Google Maps. If you're familiar with Google Maps, the navigation is intuitive and easy to learn.

Google has gone all out with the GPS extras, providing a rich mixture of its satellite, map, traffic, and location info with text-to-speech directions.

Google also added layers like parking info, ATM spots, restaurants, and gas station locations like most dedicated GPS devices.

Probably the most important part of the Droid’s GPS services, its free.

My biggest disappointment with the Droid was its relatively short battery life. If you’re thinking of using a lot of screen time or heavy application usage, the phone will let you down.

About 30 minutes of listening to Pandora radio through a headset, pretty much drained most of the phone's battery. If you’re considering the Droid, be prepared to buy a couple of sets of chargers (home, office, vehicle).


The Droid is an excellent smart-phone with many of the features that a modern user would expect, and for Verizon customers, there isn't a more action packed device on the network.

Coupled with Google’s smooth software, Verizon's killer network, and Motorola’s new-aged design, the Droid makes for a powerful tool.

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Sunday, November 08, 2009

Transparency, choice and control — now complete with a Dashboard!

We are excited to announce the launch of Google Dashboard. Have you ever wondered what data is stored with your Google Account? The Google Dashboard offers a simple view into the data associated with your account — easily and concisely in one location.

Over the past 11 years, Google has focused on building innovative products for our users. Today, with hundreds of millions of people using those products around the world, we are very aware of the trust that you have placed in us, and our responsibility to protect your privacy and data.

In the past, we've taken numerous steps in this area, investing in educating our users with our Privacy Center, making it easier to move data in and out of Google with our Data Liberation Front, and allowing you to control the ads you see with interest-based advertising. Transparency, choice and control have become a key part of Google's philosophy, and today, we're happy to announce that we're doing even more.

In an effort to provide you with greater transparency and control over their own data, we've built the Google Dashboard. Designed to be simple and useful, the Dashboard summarizes data for each product that you use (when signed in to your account) and provides you direct links to control your personal settings.

Google Dashboard covers more than 20 products and services, including Gmail, Calendar, Docs, Web History, Orkut, YouTube, Picasa, Talk, Reader, Alerts, Latitude and many more. The scale and level of detail of the Dashboard is unprecedented, and we're delighted to be the first Internet company to offer this — and we hope it will become the standard. Watch this quick video to learn more and then try it out for yourself at

Source :

Saturday, November 07, 2009

Apple opens its first retail store in France

Today Apple opened its second store on mainland Europe at the Carrousel du Louvre in Paris, France. They don't stop there, however; another store in Montpellier, France opens next week on November 14th and one near the Opera Ganier to debut in the summer of 2010.

France's first Apple store opens today at 10AM CET. This is a prestigious location to be sure, right across the famous inverted pyramid inside the Louvre museum
. Just for that it would be worthwhile to visit this store, which spans two floors. 150 employees work in the store to offer the same services, which have made the Apple Store experience a success all over the world. The first 5000 visitors will receive a limited edition t-shirt.

This year, close to 170 million people visited Apple Stores on four different continents. Apple has already opened 277 stores in 10 countries: France, U.S., UK, Italy, Switzerland, Germany, Australia, Canada, Japan and China.


Friday, November 06, 2009

iPhone 3GS vs Verizon Motorola Droid: what has better camera?

Now when it comes to the Apple iPhone 3GS and the Verizon Motorola Droid many are probably wondering what smartphone has the best camera, well here is a little insight with a few answers.

Verizon Droid vs. iPhone 3GS Side-by-Side Camera Showdown is what TiPB are calling it, right first up the Motorola DROID has a 5 megapixel dual LED flash which is better than the iPhone’s 3.2 MP camera, so on the spec sheet the DROID is better, NOPE afraid not.

Well apparently when you put photos up side-by-side of these two phones which you can see over on Flickr it seems the 5 MP is not as good as the 3.2MP. The iPhone produces and consistently produced prettier images and this is down to the software because the Droids software is easily bamboozled by uncooperative lighting.

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Introducing Closure Tools

Millions of Google users worldwide use JavaScript-intensive applications such as Gmail, Google Docs, and Google Maps. Like developers everywhere, Googlers want great web apps to be easier to create, so we've built many tools to help us develop these (and many other) apps. We're happy to announce the open sourcing of these tools, and proud to make them available to the web development community.

Closure Compiler
Closure Compiler is a JavaScript optimizer that compiles web apps down into compact, high-performance JavaScript code. The compiler removes dead code, then rewrites and minimizes what's left so that it will run fast on browsers' JavaScript engines. The compiler also checks syntax, variable references, and types, and warns about other common JavaScript pitfalls. These checks and optimizations help you write apps that are less buggy and easier to maintain. You can use the compiler with Closure Inspector, a Firebug extension that makes debugging the obfuscated code almost as easy as debugging the human-readable source.

Because JavaScript developers are a diverse bunch, we've set up a number of ways to run the Closure Compiler. We've open-sourced a command-line tool. We've created a web application that accepts your code for compilation through a text box or a RESTful API. We are also offering a Firefox extension that you can use with Page Speed to conveniently see the performance benefits for your web pages.

Closure Library
Closure Library is a broad, well-tested, modular, and cross-browser JavaScript library. Web developers can pull just what they need from a wide set of reusable UI widgets and controls, as well as lower-level utilities for the DOM, server communication, animation, data structures, unit testing, rich-text editing, and much, much more. (Seriously. Check the docs.)

JavaScript lacks a standard class library like the STL or JDK. At Google, Closure Library serves as our "standard JavaScript library" for creating large, complex web applications. It's purposely server-agnostic and intended for use with the Closure Compiler. You can make your project big and complex (with namespacing and type checking), yet small and fast over the wire (with compilation). The Closure Library provides clean utilities for common tasks so that you spend your time writing your app rather than writing utilities and browser abstractions.

Closure Templates
Closure Templates grew out of a desire for web templates that are precompiled to efficient JavaScript. Closure Templates have a simple syntax that is natural for programmers. Unlike traditional templating systems, you can think of Closure Templates as small components that you compose to form your user interface, instead of having to create one big template per page.

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Thursday, November 05, 2009

The Flickr App Garden : A Home for Third Party Apps

Flicker has an open and influential API supporting a consuderable count of apps. Decelopers have built a whopping number of lofty applications and nifty toys since its inceptin in 2004.

Earlier the users had to search for apps on the web and developers tend to use their own websited for the promotion of their apps. But now you can riff through and uncover Flicker apps in one principal position i.e. The New App Garden. Apps in the garden varies from stats to importing/exporting to integration with other sites.

Flickr too has gleaned some enphasizing apps on its front page. In this home for third party apps, developers are required to submit the apps themselves as the App Garden does not list all the apps itself. Along with the info you religiously scan on every photo page, you can now recognize which app the photographer used to upload the image.

For developers, there is a plethora of tempations to offer their appss and if you're a Flickr power user, you'll certainly crave to explore what's already been posted.

Verizon to Double Early Termination Fees

It appears that Verizon Wireless is planning on doubling its current early termination fee (ETF) for smartphone customers from $175 up to $350 beginning as of 11/15/09. The prorating-per-month will stay: $10 for each month of service completed, which still means that a subscriber completing almost 2 years (23 months) would still owe an ETF of $120.

What makes this of particular relevance to the PreCentral community, beyond the near-certainty that Verizon Wireless will begin marketing the Pre and/or other webOS devices in January 2010, is that this increased ETF will reportedly affect "customers purchasing an Advanced Device." We're fairly confident that the Pre will fall under that category, so buyer beware.

Hopefully, to the extent that Verizon Wireless is making it harder to leave the service, it will also make it easier to join, with significant subsidies on webOS devices when they hit its network. Dare to dream, friends.


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Wednesday, November 04, 2009

The New MSN Homepage Unveiled

See what MSN Corporate Vice President Erik Jorgensen has to say about it.

Today is an exciting day for our team at MSN because we unveiled the most significant redesign our homepage has seen in over a decade. We spent thousands of hours talking with customers; testing hundreds of ideas; experimenting around the world and carefully evaluating what our users want, and don’t want - to deliver a homepage that is designed to be the best homepage on the Web. We hope you’ll agree.

In our conversations with customers, we consistently heard that you want less clutter, easier access to the information & services you care about, and powerful search integration to help you make decisions faster. So, we started from scratch to cut the clutter on our homepage and reduced the amount of links by 50%. There’s also a simplified navigation across news, entertainment, sports, money, and lifestyle that lets you drill into information topics that interest you, without being overwhelming.

Local information from your neighborhood is important to you and so is high quality, in-line video – so we offer both, right on the homepage. And, you told us you want the latest information not only from your favorite sources, but also from your friends, and the breadth of the Web – so we now offer convenient access to Facebook, Twitter, & Windows Live services and the most powerful search experience on the Web from Bing, empowering you to make more informed, faster decisions. And this is just the beginning - keep visiting our blog for more MSN news in the coming weeks.

The simple, uncluttered environment of our new homepage also affords an advertising opportunity, unlike anything we’ve offered before. Advertisers can create a conversation with customers through engaging, high-performing, rich-media advertising campaigns and know their message will resonate. Advertisers who have seen early previews of the site love the new design and the new ad opportunities have been well received. You’ll see more on this in the coming months.

The new homepage will begin rolling out tomorrow and become widely available to over 100 million U.S. customers early next year. We didn't have a renowned director or cinematographer handy, but we did have a tripod, so U.S. Executive Producer Scott Moore and I did a video that will give you a little more information about the new MSN.


Disney Releases iPhone App to AppStore announced it has launched an app for iPhone and iPod touch on the App Store.

The company said the Disney App features an array of Disney content including areas dedicated to Characters, Music, Video and Games. Content in the app will be updated regularly, providing kids and families with instant access to the latest Disney news and entertainment.

The new Disney App will also offer features including "Click2Life" which allows iPhone users to take pictures of images from the online version of with their device that will then come to life within the app and turn into an animated image, the company said. Additionally, Disney said the App will automatically discover other Disney apps and games available through the App Store, organizing all Disney-branded content within one destination on each device so users can access their favorite games and entertainment content.

"While this app provides seamless access to all things Disney, delivering unmatched entertainment and information directly to mobile devices, we're not simply recreating on your iPhone or iPod touch," said Jason Davis, vice president, "Features like 'Click2Life' utilize iPhone's revolutionary functionality to create exciting new ways to interact with Disney characters and content."

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Tuesday, November 03, 2009

What Is Google Wave, Anyway? New e-Book Explains

Google Wave has generated a lot of interest in the past few months, despite most people I’ve talked to being unclear about what the service is, and how to use it. I confess that after I finally got an invitation, I was somewhat perplexed when faced with Google Wave’s minimal interface.

Tech writers Gina Trapani and Adam Pash have created an online e-book, “The Complete Guide to Google Wave,” which does an excellent job of explaining what Google Wave is and how it can be used. The book provides step-by-step instructions on how to get invited to the service, what to do when you get there, and how to make the most of it.

For those of us who are used to skimming the highlights and jumping around in technical manuals, I strongly suggest that you read the book — at least the first couple of chapters — in full. It’s not that long, and will give you a working knowledge of the service. I suspect that web workers will find Wave to be a very useful collaboration tool once we get used to using it.

The book is written in a clear, straightforward style, and is sprinkled with helpful and sometimes humorous quotes like this one from Wave user Andy Baio: “I keep pushing the New Wave button, but it never plays Depeche Mode or The Cure.”

An electronic version of the book will be offered for sale beginning in November; it’s unclear whether the online version will continue to be available once the book comes out. So if you’re interested in Google Wave, this is an excellent time to learn more about it. But you may need some patience; the book’s web site has been very slow, as I suspect it’s getting more traffic than the authors expected.

Are you using Google Wave?


Skype for Linux set to be released as open source

Skype is very well known software for those seeking to make video and audio calls to those they know, and is even handier considering it's available on Mac, PC and Linux. Now, however, the Linux community is about to get one step better: Skype will soon become open source.

The news, initially reported by Olivier Faurax (link in French) and then Linux Crunch, came in the form of an email to Skype. It stated, "We understand that many users complain that there is no Mandriva version at present. We are happy to be able to inform you that Skype will from now on be part of the open source community.

Therefore Linux developers will be enabled to influence the development of the Skype client for Linux - which will most certainly result in specific versions for the different distributions." Linux Crunch then contacted Skype and received the following reply: "We appreciate our user community's enthusiasm and realize this is something they have been wanting for a while.

We realize the potential of the open source community and believe that making Skype for Linux an open source application will help to speed up its development and enhance its compatibility with different versions of Linux. While it is our goal to make Skype for Linux source code available to the community in the nearest future, we are not at a point to disclose an exact release date yet."


Monday, November 02, 2009

Mobile Phones are the New Computer

The mobile phone is the new computer. The desktop computer is not going away, but the smartphone market is growing fast. Phones are being used as computers by more people and for more purposes. Just as we still have supercomputers today but most people use desktop computers everyday, soon desktop computers will be relegated to the specialist and elite professional, and most people will use their mobile phones for their computing needs.

Already there are more mobile phones than computers connected to the internet. Smartphones are generally cheaper than computers. With their primary role as communication devices, they are often more useful. The smartphone of today will be the standard phone a few years from now. With profits from applications growing, we’ll see continued subsidies of the hardware and operating systems by manufacturers and carriers, keeping new phones cheap or free.

We’re also seeing a change in how people use computers. More often applications we use are centered around communications (more commonly termed “workflow”) than the more traditional personal computer task of document creation. In the business world, we file expense reports, approve decisions, or comment on proposals. As consumers, we read reviews, send short notes to friends, and share photos. Email is the killer app of the late 20th century, rather than the word processor or spreadsheet.

I’ve never been a gadget geek and have skirted getting into mobile application development before now. The actual engineering challenges of working with native code on a device doesn’t scare me, but just didn’t seem worth it. Developing apps for a phone typically meant that you were working for a carrier, directly or indirectly subjected to the whims of a monstrously large company, and often disconnected from the people actually using the application.

Mobile development also seemed to attract the same style of engineer as game development: interested in the tech for itself, with less interest in the end result, and a feeling that the application is “cool” because it runs on a gadget, independent of its usefulness. Mobile apps weren’t attractive to me as a developer or someone who might use them. I always said that I would start using a PDA when they had the resolution and battery life of paper, and the phone was suited for direct communication with another human being via voice.

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