SiliconFilter

Google Docs for Android Now Lets you Collaborate On the Go

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Google Docs may not be as fully featured as a full-blown productivity suite like Microsoft Office, but its collaboration features are something many of its users can’t live without anymore. Until now, though, you couldn’t edit documents collaboratively when you were on your phone. That’s changing today. Android users can now install the latest version of Google Apps for Android and start using Google Apps’ real-time collaborative editing features on the go.

In addition to this new feature, Google also updated the overall interface of the app a bit. You can now, for example, pinch to zoom and focus on a paragraph (or zoom out, of course, to see the whole document). More importantly, though, Google also added rich-text formatting so you can now bold words, add color or write a bullet list.

As usual, Google also produced a nice little video that shows off the power of being able to edit and collaborate on your documents on your phone.

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If you are a big Google Apps user, by the way, you will also appreciate the fact that Google presentations that now features a new editor and the ability to have discussions about presentations.



11:28 am


Woopra 2.0 for iPhone: A Glanceable Dashboard for Your Real-Time Stats

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Not too long ago, Woopra was really the only game in town for publishers who were looking for real-time stats for their sites. Today, the company has numerous competitors (including Chartbeat and Google), but it still remains my preferred real-time stats service. Since the launch of iOS 5, though, Woopra’s iPhone app had become virtually unusable. Now, however, with its new and much improved iPhone app, Woopra has completely redesigned its app and made it the single best way to check your stats while on the go.

Woopra new iPhone dashboard

The new Woopra app focuses on a dashboard view that gives you a glanceable view of all the vital stats for your site (number of current visitors, popular pages on your site, referrers, locations of your visitors etc.). The design makes great use of the iPhone’s high-definition display and manages to cram a lot of information onto the small screen.

Also new in this version is support for notifications. Say you want to be alerted when a user ends up on a 404 page and you want to make sure you correct this situation immediately, Woopra can now send you a push message.

Other new features include support for live chat with your visitors, access to more detailed visitor profiles (only the web and desktop apps made this info available until now), visitor search with filters and support of segmented and customizable reports.



3:00 pm


Ducksboard: One Real-Time Dashboard for All Your Metrics

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If you run a website or web service – no matter whether it’s small or large – chances are you are constantly tracking numerous metrics to see how things are going: visits and pageviews, Twitter mentions, Facebook likes, how fast your pages are loading and numerous other statistics, all while managing customer support tickets and internal communication with your team. It doesn’t take much for this information to become overwhelming and close to unmanageable.

What if you could see all this info on just one page, though, with information that updates in real time? That’s exactly what Ducksboard does. The service provides you with a highly customizable dashboard that allows you to plug in about 45 data points (with more coming soon) and monitor them on just one screen.

If you are publisher, for example, you can monitor your Google Analytics data, your page load times from Chartbeat (or your real-time visitor numbers), the results of your latest email campaign on MailChimp and reactions to your latest story on Twitter all on one page.

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Among the other supported services are Zendesk, Prefinery, GoSquared, Highrise, Lighhouse, Feedburner, Foursquare and Facebook (just showing likes on pages right now). Ducksboard also allows you to have multiple dashboards. This should be especially useful for those who manage multiple sites or services.

Setting up your dashboard shouldn’t take more than five minutes and given that most services now allow you to authenticate without providing your credentials to Ducksboard, your data should remain safe.

Sadly, Ducksboard is still in private beta. You can sign up for an invite on the service’s homepage or take a look at the real-time demo here.



5:59 pm


Google Docs Presentations Get Real-Time Collaboration, Transitions and Animations

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Just about a year and a half ago, most of Google’s productivity apps in the Google Docs suite received major overhauls that brought real-time collaboration and a number of other new features to Google’s online document, spreadsheet and drawing tools. One tools that was left out of that refresh at the time was Google’s online PowerPoint rival Google Docs presentations. Today, Google is changing this by bringing real-time collaboration, animations, rich tables and about 50 more new features to the presentations application.

While the apps feature set obviously can’t quite compete with Microsoft’s PowerPoint or Apple’s Keynote, making easy collaboration the focal point of the product gives it a competitive edge. As Google notes, “the best presentations are made together, collaborating with others to build a compelling story that captivates your audience.” Now, with Google Wave-like character-by-character real-time collaboration, that should get a bit easier for Google Docs users.

It’s worth noting that Microsoft, with its Office Web Apps is also now making online collaboration a focal point of its web initiatives and that the online PowerPoint app does offer a number of features (and great document fidelity) than Google.

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Here are some of the other new features that Google highlights: [list]

  • Transitions: to move between slides with simple fades or spicier 3D effects
  • Animations: to add emphasis or to make your slides more playful
  • New themes: to create beautiful presentations with distinct visual styles
  • Drawings: to build new designs, layouts, and flowcharts within a presentation
  • Rich tables with merged cells and more options for adding style to your data

[/list]

Getting Started

Google notes that these new features were designed for modern browsers. Anything newer than Firefox 4, Safari 4 and Internet Explorer, as well as Google’s own Chrome browser should work fine, though.

To get started, head to the “Document settings” from your document list and check the box next to “Create new presentations using the latest version of the presentation editor.”

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3:52 pm


Google Puts Renewed Focus on Real-Time Search with New Social Search Test

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Somehow I completely missed the fact that those blue “shared by” links on Google’s search results page that I started seeing a few days were new. Given the pace of the search giant’s development cycle, I have to admit that I’m sometimes actually rather confused about what’s new and what’s been around for a while on Google…

But these “shared by” links are clearly new – and more and more people are now seeing them, too, so this seems to be more than just one Google’s many bucket tests and could be here to stay. These links tend to appear underneath links to news items in the OneBox news results section when you search for recent events. Another new feature is a live count of recent updates that now appears underneath the “Recent Updates” box when you search for keywords that are currently popular or trending on Twitter and Facebook.

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All of this points to a new emphasis of real-time search results in Google. Over on Search Engine Land, Danny Sullivan speculates that Google could soon restrict these searches to just your friends, which is entirely possible and would make sense in light of Bing’s recent addition of more social features, but I actually find the new focus on real time more interesting. All of these new links, after all, point to Google’s real-time search feature, which was mostly hidden from sight until now. Instead of just pointing to a somewhat cryptically names “Updates” section in the sidebar, this new test actually explains that these updates come from “Twitter, MySpace, Facebook and more.”



11:06 pm


TweetDeck Goes Real Time – And It’s a Whole New Way of Using Twitter

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Yesterday, TweetDeck’s Richard Barley announced a new beta version of the popular Twitter (and Buzz, LinkedIn and Facebook) client. In this new version, TweetDeck uses Twitter’s new streaming API to display tweets in real time. Until now, clients had to poll Twitter’s servers at regular intervals to update your searches and lists. Now, Twitter just pushes every single new post directly to your desktop. While this seems like a minor change (after all, it’s just a faster way to deliver tweets), it actually changes the way you look at Twitter as a communications medium.

Twitter in Real Time – It’s Different Here

Thanks to this, you can now respond to incoming messages in real time, which makes Twitter feel more like an instant messaging service than SMS. If you are a business, for example, you can immediately respond to a tweet about your product, increasing the chance that the person who wrote it is actually still online. here is also something about just seeing this constant stream of information scrolling down your screen that feels a little bit like you are connected to the Matrix. Overall, though, it’s this new immediacy that changes how using Twitter feels, even though it is hard to pinpoint the exact reason for this.

Limitations

For the time being, the real-time stream in TweetDeck only works for your core columns (all friends, mentions, direct messages), old TweetDeck groups and searches. Sadly, it doesn’t work for Twitter lists yet, which is quite a shame, given that there is so much value in these lists.

Get the Beta

If you would like to apply for TweetDeck’s closed beta, click here.



2:44 pm