Just a few days after the launch of its business and brand pages for Google+, Google today announced the availability of a set of dynamic badges. These new badges allow publishers and brands to allow their readers and users to subscribe to their new pages directly from their own websites without sending them to Google+ first. For now, this is a limited release, however. Only users who are part of the Google+ Platform Preview group can create these interactive badges for now.
Mozilla today announced that version 8 of its Firefox browser is now available. This update makes Twitter Search a first-class citizen in the Firefox search bar. With today’s update, Twitter will appear as a search option for Firefox users on Mac, Windows and Linux. Also new in this version is a new safety mechanism that prevents third-party software from installing add-ons that you likely weren’t interested in anyway, as well as better support for WebGL, a technology that allows developers to render 3D graphics in your browser.
Ever since the launch of Google+, businesses have been wondering when they could finally open up their own outposts on Google+. After a long delay, Google finally pulled back the curtains from its product for brands today. These new so-called Google+ Pages look pretty much exactly like regular Google+ profiles, but with a ‘page’ icon next to the page’s name, a +1 button and the ability to share a page with your friends. While Google isn’t ready to just let any brand onto the service yet, it is launching a number of pages with well-known brands like H&M, Toyota and Pepsi.
The consumer electronics giant Pioneer launched its Zypr platform today. With Zypr, the company wants to offer hardware manufacturers and software developers a single, simplified way to access Internet services like Slacker, Yelp, Facebook or Accuweather. The idea behind this project is that connected devices like phones, laptops, cars and TVs take some lead time to develop, but that there is no way to predict which service users will want use in a year or two (or which ones will still be around). With Zypr, Pioneer wants to allow developers to create “future-proof mashups.” As an additional twist, Zypr mostly focuses on voice navigation to access these services.
Today, Google launched the largest update to Google Reader in a long time. While it brings some new features (especially integration with Google+), it also does away with a number of useful tools that many users came to rely on in the past. Reader’s social features, for example, are now almost completely gone. You also can’t bundle a set of feeds and share them with friends anymore, just like you can’t share comments about stories with your friends in Google Reader.
Given all of these changes – and a new design that isn’t everybody’s cup of team – here are three alternatives that are worth checking out. Most of them don’t recreate the social features that Google Reader used to have, though, but given that those aren't coming back as Google is moving to Google+, now may just be the best time to switch to a new feed reader anyway.
More so than any other site on the Internet, tech news aggregator Techmeme reflects and influences what the big tech news stories of the day is going to be. What started as a small project by former Intel engineer Gabe Rivera in late 2005 has now become the go-to site for tech enthusiast and the writers who write for them. What’s remained pretty illusive for quite a few writers and readers, though, is how Techmeme actually decides whether a given story is worth a full-blown headline, a “discussion” link or not worthy of inclusion altogether. Earlier today, Rivera provided the sites users (both readers and writers) with some insight in how the site works and why he and his team pick the stories they do.
I guess there are three ways to approach Halloween: you can go for cute, scary or sexy. Every year, both Google and Microsoft like to produce something Halloween-themed and this year is no exception. As in so many other areas of their competing businesses, he difference between their attemps’ attempts to bring some Halloween fun to the Internet couldn’t be more different: Google produced a family-friendly video-doodle of its employees carving pumpkins and Microsoft went all out to produce a short horror video featuring its Kinect controller.
With Google TV, Google hoped to make a push into its users' living rooms. It’s launch in October 2011, though, was marred by an overcomplicated interface and a lack of content, as the TV networks and companies like Hulu quickly barred Google TV users from accessing their sites. Now, just about a year later, Google is giving it another try
It's a busy day for the Google+ team. Not only did Google just open its social network to all Google Apps users, but the team also rolled out a number of interesting new features. These include the ability to see what the most talked about posts on Google+ are right now, a very cool visualization tool to see how a story was shared and discussed on the service and the Google+ Creative Kit, which adds some basic photo editing features to the service.
I'm a jaded tech blogger, but Microsoft's HoloLens project is without doubt the most exciting project to come out of Redmond in years. After years of talk about augmented reality, this may be the first project that actually lives up to the hype.