As of now, Google isn't making it easy for developers to create apps that can write status updates to the service, but that didn't stop Nadan Gerdeo to build iSatus+, a little iPhone app ($0.99) that lets you post to Google+, Facebook and Twitter at the same time. I'm a big fan of simple apps that only do a few things, but do those right. iStatus+ is exactly that kind of app. You enter your account information for any of the networks you want to use - and if you are in the market for this kind of app, you'll probably put in all three anyway - and start posting. It really couldn't be any easier.
Using the iPad to display sheet music isn't new. Tonara, however, adds some much-needed functionality to these scores which its competitors just can't mach: it listens to you while you play and automatically flips pages. I think Tonara will set the benchmark for 21st century sheet music apps for those of us who play piano, violin, flute or other polyphonic and monophonic instruments (indeed, its flexibility is what makes it so great).
Social search is, without doubt, one of the hottest topics in the search engine business today. Google and Microsoft have made it the central focus of their latest search engine features and numerous small players are also trying to get a foothold in this nascent business. Among these smaller players is Wajam, a Canadian startup that lets you easily add social search results to virtually all of the search engines and shopping sites you use today, including Google, Bing, Amazon, Tripadvisor, Wikipedia, and Yelp.
Today, Microsoft made the first developer previews of Windows 8 available to all who would like to try them out. I couldn't help myself, of course, and immediately grabbed a copy once it was available to install it on my test PC. During its public keynote demos, Microsoft mostly focused on showing the Windows Phone-like Metro UI and tablet devices. How does this first public build of Windows 8 work on a traditional desktop (or laptop), though?
When it comes to location-based services, check-in apps like FourSquare and Gowalla are probably the ones that have gotten the most attention. For the most part, though, the usefulness of these apps is still not quite clear. After all, there has to be more to location than discounts, virtual badges and mayorships. One service that has been trying to bring some much-needed attention to actually helping users solve a real-world problem through your phone’s built-in location features is EchoEcho. The service, available for iOS, Android, Symbian, Blackberry and (soon) Windows Phone, wants to make it easier for you to find and meet up with your friends. EchoEcho does so without forcing you to sign up for yet another social network (it just uses your existing address book) and its inherent usefulness means it doesn’t have to resort to “gamification” to get you to use it.
Trover, which quietly launched earlier this month, takes some of Color’s most basic ideas and puts them into an easy to use free iOS app (iTunes link). The app is based around the idea that you want to share photos of cool places around you with the rest of the world. There is also a location-based social networking aspect to the app, but you could easily ignore this aspect of the service without losing it’s basic functionality.
Google Music, the beta version of Google's new music service just launched at Google I/O today and we just got a chance to take it for a test drive on the Web (look for our review of how it works on mobile devices later). After testing it for a little bit, it's clear that this could be a major hit for Google. Indeed, among today's music locker services, Google's efforts come the closest to recreating the convenience of Lala, the service that Apple bought last year and promply shut down.
Every month or so, somebody will proclaim the death of RSS and feed readers at the hands of Twitter and Facebook. Indeed, interest in feed readers like Google Reader, NetNewsWire and FeedDemon has declined rapidly over the last few years as users switched to social networks and smart aggregators to consume news (and as consumers grew frustrated with the usability issues surrounding feeds). Feedly, however, is one service that grew out of this era and continues to thrive by making its Google Reader-based magazine-like feed reader easy to use for newbies and powerful enough for power users. The company just launched its iPad (iTunes link) and Android tablet apps, as well as an update to its iPhone app.
One of the most over-used words of the last year is “curation.” For the most part, though, while writers and reports are in love with the idea of curating Internet content, this concept has not really caught on with mainstream users. Scoop.it, on the other hands, wants to make curation as frictionless as possible and allow anybody to easily create magazine-like pages with curated content in just a few clicks. I’ve tested many curation services over the last few months, but thanks to this ease of use, Scoop.it has been the only one that I’ve really stuck with.
One of last year's hottest company's of 2009 was Aardvark - the mobile Q&A service that Google acquired in early 2010. Aardvark routes your questions to the most appropriate person in your expanded social network and ensures that you get the highest quality answer possible. RandTxt (iTunes link) is the exact opposite of this. With this service, which launched its free iPhone version today, your questions, comments or obscene observations are routed to a random user on RandTxt's network.
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.