Google just announced that Linux users can now finally use voice and video chat in Gmail. For now, this is an Ubunutu-only feature, though the company plans to add support for other Debian– and RPM-based Linux distributions (like Red Hat and Fedora) in the near future.
Yesterday, Facebook launched Facebook Places, its new location-sharing service. As a location-sharing service, Facebook as about as barebones as they come. The functionality is limited to checking in and sharing your location with your Facebook friends.
Looks like Twitter is launching its own Tweet buttons later this week. While you can already embed the code (see below), not everybody can actually use the button to retweet the post yet.
Just for the sake if it, I have embedded the code (courtesy of Mashable) here.
I’m guessing we will see a new wave of discussions about Twitter’s relationship with third-party developers over the next week, as this move will likely put Tweetmeme (which is more well-known for its retweet buttons than for its core product) out of business in the long run. I know I wouldn’t invest in a Twitter-releated company at this point…
Since its launch 2 years ago, Google Chrome always offered three different builds of its increasingly popular browser: stable, beta and developer. While regular users could always stay with the stable build, early adopters could opt for the beta and developer channel. The developer channel features weekly updates, while beta channel users only see and update or two per month. Starting today, however, Google will also offer more frequent updates through the Google Chrome Canary Build channel.
It’s worth noting that this channel will run separately from your regular Chrome install (and you can install and use both in parallel). As Google notes, these new builds are “highly unstable browser that will often break entirely.”[ref]these updates should come close to daily[/ref]
A few more interesting things to note:
for the time being, the Canary Build is available for Windows only
the Canary Build can’t be set as the default browser
upon installing, the installer will ask you if you want to set Google, Bing or Yahoo as your default search engine
Overall, this looks like a smart extension of Google’s “launch early and often” strategy. It gives those who want to live on the cutting edge a chance to try out features before they become available to other users and gives Google’s engineers a way to gather even more feedback.
Google Earth now featureslocal news-style weather animations for snow and rain drops.
To see this, open up the latest version of Google Earth, enable the weather layer and head for a place where it is currently raining or snowing. Google Earth will adjust the animations depending on how heave the rain or snow fall is.
Obviously, this is not a major new feature (Google Earth had weather overlays for years now – just the animations are new), but maybe this hints are more animations and interactive features in Google Earth for the near future. Maybe we will soon see this feature in the mobile versions of Google Earth, too.
TweetDeck, the popular Twitter client, just celebrated its 2nd birthday. According to the company’s founder Iain Dodsworth, the TweetDeck desktop client has been downloaded 15 million times and the iPhone app has been downloaded 2.5 million times. Overall, TweetDeck now sends out 4 million tweets, Facebook status updates and Buzz messages every day.
That, of course, is a major achievement for any company. Even more impressive, however, is the fact that TweetDeck is now 5 times larger than its closest competitor.
According to Dodsworth, Tweetdeck’s “mission is to help our users manage and harness these information flows. To that end, we are moving towards being truly multi-stream, re-building our clients from the ground-up with multi-stream functionality ingrained rather than simply bolting on new disconnected networks.”
TweetDeck wants to be at the intersection of all of the multiple networks that its users use and ensure that it doesn’t make a difference on which network somebody says something.
Of course, like many of its competitors, TweetDeck is also still looking to effectively monetize its service. For the time being, it still isn’t clear how TweetDeck plans tomonetize its service.
YouTube just announced that it will soon support 4k video – the next-generation HD format with a resolution of 4096×3072 pixels. At almost four times the size of 1080p, the highest resolution HD format currently available in the mainstream market, YouTube’s resolution for 4K videos goes far beyond what most people will be able to watch on their TVs and computers for quite a while to come.
Nice Tech Demo – But Inconsequential for Users
As a technology demo, this is an interesting gimmick. It shows that YouTube is able to handle this kind of material and will be able to support video producers who want to shoot in 4K.
For users, however, this is an inconsequential move for now. On my own fast broadband connection, I was able to easily download 4K videos (you can find a playlist here), but I neither have a screen nor video card that is able to handle this kind of resolution with any grace.
According to Google, the ideal screen size for a 4K movie is about 25 feet – a bit larger than the screens most of us have on our desks and in our living rooms. And – if course – unless you own a Red camera – you can’t actually shoot any 4K video yourself.
So why is Google doing this? Is it just a technology demo to show off at VidCon? With HD, Google was very late to the party, so maybe the company is trying to stay ahead of the curb here.
What’s interesting, too, is that WebM – the open video format Google supports – can’t even display this kind of video.
So if you have any idea why Google is doing this now, let me know in the comments.