I still don’t particularly like the fact that Google decided to bundle Adobe Flash with their Chrome web browser about a year ago. Apple preference aside, the last thing I want is the buggy, often insecure, and performance killing plug-in shoved in my face. More importantly, I think it’s a maneuver that will only serve to slow the transition to HTML5. But Google has their reasons. And today, we see one of the good ones.
Google has maintained since they started bundling Flash that it was mainly to ensure they could make it more secure for their Chrome users. They do this by both sandboxing it and auto-updating it when the security patches regularly appear. But a new feature has just hit the Chrome dev builds which also now allows users to easily clear Flash cookies from within the browser.
Normally, when Flash is run as a standalone plug-in (as it is with all other browsers), users have to visit an Adobe website to clear Flash Local Shared Objects (LSOs). In other words, almost no one ever did that. Worse, the vast majority of users probably didn’t realize you even could do this — or that you perhaps should.
The newest builds of Chrome now bring this Flash cookie clearing right within the browser settings. In the “Clear Browsing Data” menu area (found at Wrench > Tools > Clear browsing data) you’ll now see the option to “Delete cookies and other site and plug-in data”. Selecting this will include Flash cookies.
Better, you can also set up Chrome to clear all plug-in cookie data every time you close Chrome. Other plug-ins will be able to work with this browser feature too if they use the NPAPI ClearSiteData API baked into Chrome (Adobe is now using it with Flash 10.3).
So, credit where credit is due — this is a solid move by Google (and Adobe) to further clean up the Flash experience. If they’re going to bolster the plug-in to the detriment of HTML5 (and ultimately, I think, the web itself), at least they’re improving it as well.
Information provided by CrunchBase
Google Chrome Can Now Clean Up Flash’s Cookie Mess
Tue, 26 Apr 2011 23:35:55 GMT
Filed under: Browser News, Google News
Facebook is gunning for Groupon serving up deals to you and your Facebook friends.
Facebook Launches Deals to Compete With Groupon
Wed, 27 Apr 2011 01:30:10 GMT
Filed under: Facebook, TechBits
Announced back in February, the Microsoft-Nokia agreement that will result in Nokia using Windows Phone for its high-end smartphones has finally been formalized.
Microsoft/Nokia Phone Deal Officially Signed
Fabian A. Scherschel
Wed, 27 Apr 2011 09:34:18 GMT
Filed under: Microsoft News
Chicago-based startup SitterCity has raised $22.6 million in funding led by New World Ventures and Baird Venture Partners, with Apex Venture Partners, I2A, and Point Judith Capital participating in the round. This brings SitterCity’s total funding to $30 million. Benedict Rocchio, BVP partner and Adam Koopersmith, partner with New World Ventures, will join the company’s Board of Directors.
SitterCity goes beyond just connecting families with child care. The site also offers access to caregivers for pet care, eldercare, home care and tutoring. Sittercity guides clients through an in-depth screening process of potential caregivers, which includes background checks, references and parent reviews.
To date, Sittercity has more than 2 million caregiver profiles across the nation, and has helped connect hundreds of thousands of parents find an in-home caregiver.
Sittercity has also built out a corporate program, where organizations and companies offer a branded Sittercity portal as a benefit to their employees. For example, the U.S. Department of Defense uses Sittercity to help military families, including active duty, reserve and guard, across the nation find in-home care. The Department of Defense actually provides these families with a paid membership to Sittercity. Other corporate clients include MasterCard, Avon, Sega, Fox and Northwestern.
The new funding will be used to develop additional corporate partnerships as well as for expanding the site’s services internationally.
Information provided by CrunchBase
Sittercity Raises $22.6 Million To Connect Families With Caregivers
Wed, 27 Apr 2011 14:07:41 GMT
Filed under: Caregiving, Resource
RIM has picked up another company today—social calendaring application Tungle.Me. The startup taps into your social graph and simplifies the process of finding and connecting with friends and colleagues.
Tungle.me, which we’ve previously written about here, offers users a free web-based application that lets you share calendars across companies and platforms, schedule meetings with individuals or groups inside or outside their company and propose multiple meeting times in invitations. The service currently syncs with a number of calendar applications, including Outlook, Google Calendar, and Apple iCal.
Since Tungle’s launch in 2009, the company’s scheduling offering was being used at 800 Universities around the world, by 40% of Fortune 1000 companies, and users from over 150 countries.
Terms of the acquisition were not disclosed, but on Tungle’s website, the company states that entire Tungle team is joining the ranks of RIM. Tungle.Me has raised $6.36 million in funding.
Information provided by CrunchBase
RIM Acquires Social Calendaring Application Tungle.Me
Wed, 27 Apr 2011 13:19:47 GMT
Filed under: TechBits
Viewdle is a computer vision company that has been quietly working on science and technology that enable machines to “see.” The startup’s first consumer release comes in the form of an Android application that can see faces and will surely make it more conspicuous.
SocialCamera, being released for Android Wednesday, is a camera application that recognizes faces and tags friends in photos. Users can then easily share the photo with a tagged friend via MMS or email or post it to Facebook and Flickr with associated people tags attached.
“We want to take the tagging out of sharing photos and make it as automatic as possible,” says Jason Mitura,Viewdle‘s chief product officer.
SocialCamera users will need to create “faceprints” — for example, teach the application that a particular face is your friend Joe — for friends in photos. Once a face has been tagged, the faceprint is saved and the app user will no longer need to tag that friend again. Eventually, faceprints will be able to be carried over to future Viewdle applications or shared with friends, which should eliminate redundant tagging.
The SocialCamera application is only for photos. Mitura, however, says that the startup already has the same tagging features for video capture working, so users can expect video support to be included in a future release.
“SocialCamera is the first in a series of applications that leverage true computer vision to build new social experiences and gaming experiences,” Mitura says.
Lest you confuse Viewdle as just another facial recognition company — an easy mistake considering SocialCamera’s faceprint features — Mitura describes the company as working on “computer vision-powered augmented reality.”
“The first object that we’re doing is faces,” he says, “but we’re not limited to just doing faces.”
Viewdle’s technology is capable of identifying any object as seen through a computer or mobile lens, so long as it builds accompanying object detectors and recognizers, Mitura says. The company will be adding edge detection and plane detection to its SDK, for instance. The technology would enable users to rotate and augment real-world objects.
Viewdle’s raised $12.7 million in funding. Investors include Best Buy, BlackBerry Partners Fund, Qualcomm and Anthem Venture Partners.
Android App Sees Faces & Tags Friends in Photos
Jennifer Van Grove
Wed, 27 Apr 2011 12:46:23 GMT
Filed under: Android, App News, Photography
Apple has just announced the availability of the white iPhone. Unlike the black iPhone, it is able to reflect all colors of the visible spectrum, thereby making it white. It will be available tomorrow at Apple retail stores, AT&T, and Verizon wireless. It will also be available in the following countries on Thursday, April 28:
White models of iPhone 4 will be available in Austria, Australia, Belgium, Canada, China, Czech Republic, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Hong Kong, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Luxembourg, Macau, Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Singapore, South Korea, Spain, Switzerland, Sweden, Taiwan, Thailand, UK and the US
Standard pricing. Our long national nightmare is over.
The White iPhone Is Official, Available April 28
Wed, 27 Apr 2011 12:39:39 GMT
Filed under: Apple News, iPhone
With Nokia’s agreement with Microsoft signed, the big work of restructuring the company accordingly has begun. Nokia said today it will outsource Symbian development to Accenture, transferring 3,000 employees who worked on the development of the platform. It also announced its largest jobs cuts in history with plans to shed another 4,000 jobs by the end of 2012, mostly in the UK, Denmark and Finland, where 1,400 jobs will be cut.
The jobs cuts and restructuring, largely in research and development, will help Nokia cut its Devices & Services operating expenses by 1 billion euros ($1.46 billion) for 2013. It will also prepare the company for its future as it pins much of its hopes on a strategy around Windows Phone 7 for its top smartphones. By outsourcing Symbian, Nokia is distancing itself from its longtime operating system, which until recently was the world’s best-selling smartphone platform.
In November, it took back control of the Symbian platform, demonstrating a commitment to the operating system. Now it will now look to long-time partner Accenture to push Symbian development ahead. Under the deal, Accenture will be a preferred partner for Nokia’s smartphone development activities and will also provide mobility software, business and operational services around the Windows Phone platform to Nokia and other ecosystem participants. Accenture has worked with Nokia since 1994 and in 2009 acquired Nokia’s professional services unit which provides engineering and support for Symbian for device manufacturers and operators.
“This collaboration demonstrates our ongoing commitment to enhance our Symbian offering and serve our smartphone customers,” said Jo Harlow, executive vice president for Smart Devices at Nokia. “As we move our primary smartphone platform to Windows Phone, this transition of skilled talent to Accenture shows our commitment to provide our Symbian employees with potential new career opportunities.”
The move to outsource Symbian is not surprising. With Nokia migrating to Windows Phone 7, it makes sense to focus its efforts there and offload research and development to Accenture. But it’s still pretty amazing to see Nokia transferring what has been a market leader for so long and a key to its success for many years. But it shows how committed Nokia is embracing a future beyond Symbian. An internal memo obtained by the Register shows Nokia’s larger strategy for the platform.
“The aim is that Symbian software development-related activities would [sic] continue within Accenture for as long as needed, as well as other mobility projects serving other Accenture clients. In addition, Nokia’s portfolio of Symbian devices will gradually be reduced and eventually be discontinued, in line with the ramp up of the availability of Nokia devices based on the Windows Phone platform,” the memo said. ”Towards 2013 and beyond, activities will focus on the maintenance of the remaining products on the market.”
Nokia will retain the Symbian intellectual property and will continue to make it available to platform developer partners. Nokia still plans on selling some 150 million more Symbian phones. But the writing on the wall is clear: the future is not in Symbian. Now Nokia needs to nail its Windows Phone 7 strategy, which is a tall order in a world led by Android and iOS.
Nokia Moves Symbian To Accenture, Cuts 4,000 Jobs
Wed, 27 Apr 2011 12:38:11 GMT
Filed under: Symbian, TechBits
Websites that convert files between a variety of formats are nothing new. But Convert Files is perhaps the simplest such sites available, and it does a lot. It will convert between a variety of text, audio, video, picture, and other formats and uses a clean and very accessible interface. Files can either be uploaded to the site or retrieved from a URL. We successfully converted an RTF file to PDF and then converted an online Youtube video to MP3 with no issues. A link is given to download the file, and the option to delete it from the server is also available once you’re done. If you’re looking to convert a file in a format that’s not supported by your digital book player or mobile device such as epub or CHM to something more manageable, or transfer books to an Amazon Kindle in a format it actually recognizes, this site is worth a look. It won’t unencrypt protected epub files or licensed music, but for most file formats, it gets the job done efficiently.
Convert Files: An Online Free and Simple Text, Audio, and Video Converter
Tue, 26 Apr 2011 16:34:08 GMT
Filed under: Accessibility, Service, Tech Tip, Tips and Tricks
Researchers at the University of Utah are studying the efficiency of infrared light impulses on cochlear implants and vision implants to allow for life long use and more effective hearing and vision. Scientific research is really changing the quality of life for people with acquired disabilities. Read more information here.
Infrared light to replace electrical signals
Mon, 25 Apr 2011 16:01:46 GMT
Filed under: Blind, Cochlear Implants, Deaf, Hard of Hearing, Low Vision, Research
BALTIMORE, April 26, 2011
LSAC Will Make its Web Site Fully Accessible to the Blind
The National Federation of the Blind (NFB) today announced that it has settled a lawsuit with the Law School Admissions Council, Inc. (LSAC) regarding access to the LSAC Web site (www.lsac.org) by blind people. As part of the settlement, LSAC will provide full and equal access to its Web site for blind users by September 1, 2011.
Changes will be made to the LSAC Web site that will allow blind users utilizing screen access technology, which converts what is on the computer screen into synthesized speech or Braille, to read and interact with it. The accessibility requirements extend to all parts of the Web site on which services or products are made available to prospective law school applicants or to LSAT and Credential Assembly Service registrants, including, but not limited to, the process of applying to law schools through lsac.org and the documents and practice tests LSAC makes available online.
Dr. Marc Maurer, President of the National Federation of the Blind, said: “Access to Web sites is critical to the full and equal participation of blind
people in all aspects of modern life. In this instance, access is especially critical, since without it blind people experience significant barriers to
entering the legal profession. The National Federation of the Blind is pleased to have reached a settlement with the Law School Admissions Council and
we look forward to working with its officials and technical staff in the coming months.
It is our sincere hope that other educational entities and credentialing organizations that provide vital services over the Internet will follow LSAC’s example and take affirmative steps to provide full access to their Web sites by blind consumers.”
Deepa Goraya, a named plaintiff in the suit, said: “As someone who has gone through the law school application process and struggled to use the Law School Admission Council’s Web site, I am pleased to see that the Web site will be made fully accessible and the process of gaining admission to law school will now be easier for all blind people who are interested in entering this noble profession.”
Under the settlement, the National Federation of the Blind will perform semi-annual accessibility testing of the LSAC Web site until September 1, 2012.
The National Federation of the Blind is represented in this matter by Daniel F. Goldstein of the Baltimore firm Brown, Goldstein, and Levy; Laurence W.
Paradis, Anna Levine, and Karla Gilbride of the Berkley firm Disability Rights Advocates; and Scott C. LaBarre of the Denver firm LaBarre Law Offices.
With more than 50,000 members, the National Federation of the Blind is the largest and most influential membership organization of blind people in the United States. The NFB improves blind people’s lives through advocacy, education, research, technology, and programs encouraging independence and self-confidence.
It is the leading force in the blindness field today and the voice of the nation’s blind. In January 2004 the NFB opened the National Federation of the
Blind Jernigan Institute, the first research and training center in the United States for the blind led by the blind.
SOURCE National Federation of the Blind
Reproduced from http://www.digitaljournal.com/pr/288261
National Federation of the Blind and Law School Admissions Council Agree to Settlement
Tue, 26 Apr 2011 17:03:45 GMT
Filed under: Access Issues, Legal Briefs, NFB
Chances are, you’ve got more than one iDevice hanging around, and it can be annoying to sync them one by one. The duaLink USB splitter lets you plug two iOS gadgets into one USB ports and sync them at the same time. More »
The duaLink USB Cable Syncs Multiple iOS Devices at Once [Stuff We Like]
Mon, 25 Apr 2011 21:00:00 GMT
Filed under: Accessories, iOS
State regulators make plans to continue telephone service for deaf Floridians
Palm Beach Post
The service provides access to basic telecommunications services for more than 3 million Floridians who are deaf, hard-of-hearing or speech-impaired. Several companies have expressed an interest in providing the service. They include AT&T Services, …
State regulators make plans to continue telephone service for deaf Floridians – Palm Beach Post
Tue, 26 Apr 2011 16:00:18 GMT
Filed under: Deaf, Government, Hard of Hearing, Service, Telephones
If it’s true that Google is set to take over the world, we should probably all get to know our online overlord a little better. After all, the Mountain View giant moves more than 65 percent of the world’s search traffic, and dominates the rest of the web with a broad swath of free services. Since it’s almost impossible to get through a day on the Internet without crossing Google’s path, we’ve created this comprehensive guide to all things G.39 Google Apps That Matter We break down and evaluate the most essential Google services and offer helpful tips for the most important ones Google Alerts
Want to know what people are saying about you (or anything else, for that matter) on the web? Set up a Google alert. Type any search string into the field—the more specific, the better. Be sure to use an exclude operator (-) to cut out common words that are likely to clutter your results with false positives. Or, if you’re only looking for results from a few common sites, follow your search term with the “sites:” operator, listing the sites you are interested in after the colon. Next, narrow your results further by selecting the type of content you want alerts about, such as news, blogs, or video, frequency you’d like to run the search, and the address you’d like results sent to.Google Books and eBookstore
Thanks to the Kindle, Amazon has made digital books commonplace. Now Google is working to make them ubiquitous with Google Books and eBookstore. A convergence of two distinct services, Books is a massive collection of scanned volumes served up as PDFs as well as ebook files from books and magazines on even the most obscure topics dating from the 19th century to the present day. The eBookstore sells current releases at prices comparable to those of Amazon and Apple’s iBooks. The service now pairs with reader apps on Android, iOS, and the desktop.Google Checkout
On the heels of PayPal’s breakout success, Google jumped into the online payment game with Checkout, a basic payment service that lets you buy stuff online via a credit card linked to your Google account. Like PayPal, Google Checkout securely automates payments on a wide range of retail sites, including tech retailers like TigerDirect.com. In typical Google fashion, Checkout buttons are now integrated directly into Google ads and search results, urging users to make one-click purchases just about everywhere in Googleland. A word of advice: Linking your credit card account to your Google account gives you even more reason to keep your password ultra-secure.Google Maps
Google has emerged as the leader in online mapping. Integrating conventional street maps with comprehensive, surprisingly up-to-date satellite imagery, flyover images, 3D cityscapes, traffic alerts, and street-level views of even the most outlying suburban neighborhoods, Maps can give you a pretty accurate picture of just about any spot on the planet.Google Apps for Business
For business users, Google offers a multi-service package known as Google Apps Premier Edition. Consisting of slightly tweaked versions of Gmail, Google Docs, Sites, and an additional selection of services from the Google Apps Marketplace, this enterprise-grade suite of tools runs $50 per user per year. Unlike standard Google accounts, which work with all Google services, Google Apps business accounts support a relatively narrow selection from Google’s collection. As a trade-off, however, they support a broad array of third-party business plugins.
If you think downloading and installing Picasa on the desktop seems like too much effort, try Picnik, a simple online photo editor that Google bought last year. Upload a photo to Picnik and you can autofix lighting problems, crop, resize, adjust colors and exposure, remove red-eye, and share the finished product via Flickr, Facebook, Twitter, Photobucket, MySpace, and of course, Google Buzz and Picasa Web Albums. A basic account is free, and a premium account adds a truckload of additional features for between $2 and $5 per month (depending on the subscription term).Translate
Paste or type any text into Google Translate’s text box, and the service will detect the language it’s written in, then translate it into one of more than 50 languages, complete with an awkwardly robotic audio transcription.YouTube
YouTube needs no introduction. It precedes Google’s ownership, and led the company to kill off its own Google Video service after the buyout. If you’ve ever uploaded or watched a video online, you’ve almost certainly used YouTube.Google Latitude
Built on Google Maps, Latitude is a location-sharing service for mobile devices. Install the app on your phone, and you can invite your friends to share their locations with you (and vice versa) in real time. It’s a fun idea, and useful for families and companies that want to keep track of their people, but also deeply creepy and stalkery. Everyone we know who’s ever tried Latitude disabled it long, long ago.Panoramio
If Picasa Web Albums and Google Maps had a tawdry little fling, their progeny would be Panoramio, a simple photo-sharing site built around Google Maps. In short, it collects and displays photos taken at specific locations, so you can explore pictures from around the world in Google Maps or Google Earth. Upload a pic and Panoramio will ask you to select the location where the photo was shot. If you enable location tracking with Google Latitude, Panoramio will use Latitude’s location history to match the time the photo was taken in an attempt to pinpoint the photo location automatically. It’s a kludgy setup, and one that’s easily foiled by an incorrect time setting in your camera. Panoramio is still in its infancy, and it’s not at all clear that Google has figured out what to do with it yet.Google Talk
Google’s entrant in the instant messaging arena is Google Talk, which lives mainly within Gmail but also appears on iGoogle pages and the Orkut social network, as well as in a stand-alone desktop version. Google Talk integrates with AIM accounts, but works best with other Google Talk users, enabling video and audio chat through the Gmail interface. Oddly, the desktop version doesn’t support video, though—so if you use Gmail regularly, that’s typically the best option for Google Talk.Orkut
Now in its seventh year, Orkut never gathered much traction with American users, but remains huge in Brazil and India. It’s basically a Facebook clone.Google Health
As part of an industry-wide push to move health records online, Google Health aggregates all of your medical information in a single, Googley interface. You can input your vitals, such as blood pressure, weight, vaccinations, and so on, and import medical records from 25 different pharmacies and healthcare providers. The idea is to give you an easy way to track your healthcare and share information with your physician. Whether you really want to trust all this information to Google is another matter entirely.Blogger
If you blog at all, you’re probably familiar with Blogger. Google’s blogging service is the sixth-largest in the world, serving up blogs to some 400 million active readers worldwide. In recent years, Blogger has been looking a little stale compared to competitors like WordPress and Drupal, but Google has been hard at work revamping the service with a new template designer, real-time stat tracking, mobile-friendly templates, and other welcome updates. At press time, the new features had yet to launch, but they’ll be worth a closer look when they go live.Google Groups
Google’s earliest foray into the world of social networking was Groups, which it bought and rebranded in 2001. It’s a massive collection of user-created forums on just about any topic. Very little differentiates Google Groups from Yahoo Groups or any of the other online forum sites. You can join an existing group, or start your own.
In yet another attempt to make headway in the social media game, Google launched Buzz in May 2010. Early adopters immediately pounced on the service, which is integrated directly into the Gmail interface. Buzz had been heralded by Google as a smarter approach to social networking that would reduce unwanted noise in your social stream and surface the most relevant posts from your best buddies. In reality, it did almost exactly the opposite. Most early adopters quickly abandoned the service citing concerns over privacy and usability.Picasa Web Albums
Despite the name, Picasa Web Albums is more than just an online extension of the Picasa app. It’s more like Google’s answer to Flickr (which we’re pretty sure lost its relevance a year ago). With or without the desktop app, Picasa Web Albums gives you a gigabyte of online storage to share photos and videos. Unfortunately, a gig isn’t a lot of space for pictures, so it won’t be long before Google starts pressuring you to upgrade your storage to 20GB for $5 per year. Is that a lot of money? No, it’s not. Is it enough of a hassle that you’ll just want to stick to Facebook for photo sharing? Yes, it is.SketchUp
An interesting departure from Google’s standard fare, SketchUp is a free 3D modeling tool that’s insanely easy to use. Even with no background in graphic design, you can start creating 3D graphics in just a few minutes by simply drawing a shape, pulling it into three dimensions, and then drawing more shapes. Google provides more than 100 how-to videos on the SketchUp site to help you get started and master the tools.iGoogle
Remember when web portals were all the rage, and everyone was supposed to have a personalized home page preloaded with news, weather, email, and whatever else? Yeah, iGoogle is a holdover from that era.Google Storage
If you need more storage for any of your Google services, Google abides (for a price). A 20GB upgrade costs $5 per year, 80GB will cost you $20, and so on, with options all the way up to 16TB for $4,096 a year. Your upgraded storage becomes available to all of your various Google accounts, in addition to your free quotas on each service, so you can load up your Picasa Web Albums with as many pics and videos as you can afford the space for.
Easily one of the best free photo tools anywhere, Picasa has evolved from humble beginnings into a robust photo editor complete with organization features, advanced editing tools, and built-in sharing options. During installation, Picasa will sweep your hard drive in search of images, and integrate them into its photo browser to get your pictures under control. From there, you can open them up, autofix problems, fine-tune lighting and effects, export your pics to a blog, create a collage, or quickly create a slideshow video to upload to YouTube.Google Search Power Tools Find what you’re looking for with Google’s core toolset
Once upon a time, search was all Google did. Life was simpler then, and Google Search’s simplicity beat out the growing bloat of rival Yahoo in the span of a year. Does anyone ever say, “Let me Yahoo that for you”? No, they don’t. The Search feature set is constantly changing, but generally consists of six integrated services.Web Search
To get the most out of Google Search, it’s still best to familiarize yourself with the engine’s operator strings, such as quotes to find an exact phrase, “site:” to search only a specific site, or “–” to exclude a term from your results. You can also use the Advanced Search interface to add criteria like reading level, language, file type, and date, and turn SafeSearch (the content-filtering option) on or off.Image Search
As its name implies, Image Search scours the web for pictures that match your search string. The results appear as a cascading page of thumbnails that enlarge when you hover over them. To narrow results, use the options in the left sidebar to select a size range, image type, or dominant color.Video Search
Google Directory is a throwback to the early days when sites were indexed by category and presented in a browsable topic tree. It’s an absurd way to surf the 21st-century web.Google Trends
Looking for stats on what the world is searching for? Google Trends tracks the most popular search terms to give you a barometer of what’s hot on the web. It’s very handy for search engine optimization.Custom Search
Whether you’re a blogger or a business with a large site, you can add Google’s search engine to your pages with Custom Search. Enter your site’s URL and Google will give you some code to embed on your site, complete with text autocompletion in the search box (if you enable it). The free version includes Google ads in the results. An ad-free version is available for $100 per year.Explore More with Google Earth Five easy ways to see more of the world with Google’s interactive globe Mark Your Places
Google Earth is loaded with cool data, but to make it personally relevant, you should add your own places to it. To add any location to your list of places, punch the address into the Fly To field to zoom to it, then right-click the crosshairs on the map and select Save to My Places.Work with Layers
All data in Google Earth is presented in layers laid over the base map. Major cities and other frequently visited locales will tend to house dense layers of data. You can make the map more navigable and useful by enabling or disabling layers of data. For instance, if you’re trying to get a feel for the layout of a city you’re about to visit, but the map is covered with little data points for all the pictures people have uploaded to Google Earth, uncheck the box for the Photos layer to get a clearer view. To see what the climate is like in the location you’re viewing enable the Weather layer.
Google Earth now includes Street View images wherever they exist on Google Maps. Just zoom down to street level to activate them.Check Out the Gallery
At the top of the Layers box you’ll find a button marked Earth Gallery, which will take you to a large collection of additional layers you can add to your app. Some of them are really practical, like the near-real-time snapshots of active flights in the U.S., which can actually help you locate your inbound flight or track a friend’s flight. Others are just plain awesome, like the Shipwrecks layer that shows you the exact locations of known shipwrecks.Add Geotagged Photos
You can add your own photos to Google Earth’s Photos layer by geotagging them in Picasa and exporting them to a KML file that you can open in Google Earth. To contribute your pics to all Google Earth users, upload them to Panoramio in Picasa and, if Google approves, they’ll eventually appear in Google Earth’s Panoramio layer.Add Your Own 3D Buildings
Google Earth includes 3D models of significant buildings in many major cities, and you can add your building to the map with Google Building Maker (google.com/buildingmaker). Based on SketchUp, Building Maker lets you select a building in Google Earth, then drag shapes onto the image to line up the various facets of the structure. When your 3D model is complete, submit it to Google for approval to have it added to Google Earth.Google News and Info Services Search services for research, investing, news, and more
These services will let you dig a little deeper into specific topics or dimensions of Google’s wide-ranging information services.Google Reader
Regardless of where you get your news, Google Reader is an indispensible RSS feed aggregator, with mobile versions for Android, iPhone, BlackBerry, Symbian, and Windows Mobile.Google News
For quick access to news from all over the web, Google News is tough to beat. It collects stories on hot topics into clusters, often bringing hundreds of sources together into a single cluster to help you find a multitude of perspectives on the day’s news. Unfortunately, many news sites now target hot Google News topics so aggressively that it can turn any given topic cluster into an echo chamber, but the multisource approach is great.Blog Search
Google Blog Search does for blogs what Google News does for news sites.Google Scholar
If you’re doing scholarly research, Google Scholar should be on your list of reference sites. It weeds out general web content to focus strictly on scholarly journals to give you sources worth citing.Google Finance
Doing some investing? Google Finance is a one-stop shop for market analysis and business news.Knol
Like Wikipedia, Knol is a user-created reference site with articles on just about everything. Unlike Wikipedia, Knol is poorly monitored for the veracity of its content. While the site has attracted the contributions of some real experts in their fields, much of Knol’s content is mind-bogglingly incoherent.Google Voice Secrets Six ways to turn Google Voice into the ultimate digital receptionist Set Your Schedule
If you use your Google Voice number for business, or just don’t want to be disturbed at certain times, you can set custom days and hours when the service won’t ring your phone. Click the Settings icon in the top-right corner of the window and choose Voice Settings. Then click Edit under the phone you want to set hours for, and click “Show advanced settings.” Under Ring Schedule, you can either choose a preset schedule or click “Use a custom schedule” to set the time range that works for you.Go Lite
Rather not give up your existing mobile number to get Google Voice’s transcription and voicemail features? Use Voice Lite. During sign-up, just click “I want to use my existing mobile number instead,” and you’ll get the essential features without another number to remember. Note: This feature will port your mobile number from your wireless carrier to Google Voice.Record Incoming Calls
To start recording an incoming Google Voice call, press 4 at any time during the call. The recording will be saved to your Google Voice inbox for later retrieval. Sadly, this feature isn’t available for outbound calls.Annotate Your Voicemails
Want to jot a few notes about a voicemail so you can refer to them later when you call the person back? Click More at the bottom of the voicemail bubble and then choose “Add note.”Change Your Number
Getting too many annoying calls on your Google Voice number? Change it. Just click Port/Change next to your number at the top of the window, and choose “I want to get a different Google Voice number.”
When you select a Google Voice number, you have the option to choose a number containing an acronym.Turn on ‘Do Not Disturb’
Need an hour or two of peace? Enable Do Not Disturb by clicking Settings, then Calls, and check the radio button for Enable “Do Not Disturb.” Choose the amount of time you want calls to go straight to voicemail, and your phone won’t ring during that time.Power Up Google Calendar Five essential productivity tricks
Google Calendar is so straightforward, its basic features need very little explanation. But you can supercharge your productivity by adding these awesome tools from Google Calendar Labs. Click the little green flask icon in the top-right menu to get started.Event Attachments
Premium calendar apps like Outlook let you attach documents to scheduled events so everyone has the same materials for the meeting. By default, Google Calendar doesn’t. But if you enable this handy Lab extra, you’re in business.Automatically Decline Events
Whether you’re taking a vacation or just want to block off a few hours as a no-meetings zone, this add-on saves you the trouble of having to manually turn down meeting invitations when you’re unavailable.Smart Rescheduler
Always getting invited to meetings at times when you’re already booked? Use Smart Rescheduler to automatically analyze your group’s schedules and find a time when everyone can make it.Dim Future Repeating Events
When your schedule’s really packed, it helps to clear the view a little. This Labs add-on renders next Thursday’s weekly status meeting in a lighter shade than other events so you can focus on less mundane stuff.Who’s My One-on-One With?
Someone invited you to a meeting and inconsiderately named it “Call with you.” Why do people still do this? No matter. Enable Who’s My One-on-One With? to automatically display the names of people you have meetings with to the right of the event name.
The Who’s My One-on-One With add-on from Google Calendar Labs helps you fill in the blanks when your event descriptions are less than descriptive.Google Platforms: Android, Chrome, and Google TV Google pushes beyond the cloud with mobile, desktop, and embedded platforms
A few years ago, you might have been forgiven for doubting Google’s ability to threaten Microsoft’s OS dominance. But now that the company is aggressively branching out into traditional Redmond territory, the competition is heating up.
In the span of two years, Google’s Android mobile operating system has managed to do what Microsoft couldn’t: go toe-to-toe with Apple’s iPhone. Android is currently neck-and-neck with iOS in smartphone market share, and the platform’s app selection is growing fast. Many analyst projections show Google leading the smartphone market within the year, thanks to its multidevice strategy of open development, and the new 3.0 Honeycomb release could signal gains on tablets.
Meanwhile, the Chrome browser has gained roughly a quarter of the global browser market, further eroding Internet Explorer’s slice of the pie chart. And, while it’s still very much in development, the browser-only operating system known as Chrome OS shows that Google has its eye on unseating Windows from the desktop environment.
Constantly hedging its bets, Google has begun a push into the living room with Google TV, an embedded OS for surfing the web from your couch. If you’ve been keeping up with Maximum PC, you know that we haven’t been impressed by the first generation. Whether this platform will succeed or fade into obscurity like MSN TV remains to be seen, but the surge of app-driven HDTVs this year could give it a boost.Overclock Google Docs Five ways to work smarter with Google’s online office apps Connect to Microsoft Office
Prefer to work in Microsoft Office but want the sharing features of Google Docs? Yeah, us too. Google Cloud Connect is a simple Office plug-in for Windows that automatically syncs your documents to Google Docs as you work.Manage Collections
Once you’ve been using Docs for a while, your Documents List will become massive and unnavigable. To make files easier to locate even when you can’t remember what you named them, use Collections. They’re basically just folders, but Google seems to want to have a different name for everything. You can share entire collections with other Docs users to make collaboration easier.Go Mobile
Google Docs lets you edit documents from a phone with Android 2.2 or later, or iOS 3.0 or later, installed. No need to download third-party apps. Just browse to docs.google.com and you’re in. If you’re using some other kind of phone, try using Documents To Go.Talk About It
Collaborating with a colleague on a document? When you’re both viewing it at the same time, you can start a chat session by clicking their name in the upper-right corner of the window. Alternatively, just use the comments feature, which—thanks to a recent upgrade—now acts more like an IM session.OCR Your Image Files
Google Docs can now scan PDFs and image files for readable text when you upload them, turning them into fully searchable, editable documents. Just check the radio button for the “Convert text from PDF or image files to Google Docs documents” option in the upload menu, and select the appropriate language from the drop-down.Trick Out Gmail Seven serious efficiency secrets for managing your inbox Use Hotkeys
Mousing around your screen like a newb is no way to get things done. Gmail supports a variety of hotkeys to help you navigate through messages quickly, and you can enable them near the top of the Settings menu. At the very least, you should be using the K and J keys to move up and down your conversations list, R to reply, and C to compose a new message.Canned Responses
Tired of typing the same message every time someone asks you the same question? The Canned Responses add-on in Gmail Labs lets you prepare a variety of messages that you can insert by clicking a little drop-down in the editing menu. It’s also good for folks who use more than one email signature.Send & Archive (at once)
The Send & Archive feature in Gmail Labs is one of the simplest timesavers you’ll find. As its name implies, it sends your reply and archives the conversation with one click.Signature Tweaks
Why does Gmail insist on putting your signature after the quoted text in your reply? We don’t know. But we don’t put up with it, either. Enable the Signature Tweaks add-on in Gmail Labs to place the signature above the quoted text, where it belongs.Make the Icon Column More Visible
Google places little icons to the right of the message subject line in your inbox, but half the people we talk to never seem to know about it. To make these icons more useful, move them to the left of the subject by enabling the Move Icon Column feature in Gmail Labs.Superstars
It’s nice to be able to set messages apart by clicking a little yellow star, but once you’ve clicked a few hundred of those stars, the significance begins to fade. The Superstars Gmail Labs add-on gives you as many as 12 different icons in place of that single yellow star. What you use them for is up to you.
The Superstars add-on in Gmail Labs gives you up to 12 different icons with which to mark your messages.Silence Conversations
Some guy you don’t know is leaving the company, and your inbox is rapidly filling with the insincere farewells of a few hundred well-wishers. Use the Smart Mute add-on in Gmail Labs to automatically bypass your inbox on future messages in that thread.10 Coolest Apps in Google Labs Like living on the edge? These awesome experimental apps will give you a glimpse into Google’s future—or fade from memory like Google Wave 10. Search Keyboard Shortcuts
Often the best ideas turn out to be the simplest ones. Just as Gmail supports hotkeys for faster navigation through your inbox, the experimental Search Keyboard Shortcuts adds several useful hotkeys to your search results view. The shortcuts themselves are similar to those in Gmail: J and K move your cursor up and down the list. 0 or Enter open a result. / puts your cursor in the search box, and Esc removes the cursor from the search box.9. Aardvark
Got an obscure question that none of your friends can answer? Ask Aardvark, and it’ll use accumulated profile data to find the best person to send your question to. Aardvark claims to answer most questions within 10 minutes.8. Short URL for Google Maps
Want to share a map with a friend? Enable the Short URL feature in Google Maps Labs and it’ll convert the contents of the Link menu into a short goo.gl address that won’t take up all your character count on Twitter.7. Android App Inventor
Want to break into the mobile development game but lack actual programming skill? No problem. Google’s App Inventor gives you simple building blocks that you can drag and drop to create your own simple apps. You can work directly with your own phone over USB or use the tool’s Android phone emulator to work entirely on the web. When you’re done, package the app and load it onto any Android device you want.6. WalkyTalky for Android
Want to use Google Maps on your Android phone without actually looking at the device? WalkyTalky is an experimental app that makes Google Navigation more useful for walking directions by verbally guiding you and speaking street addresses to you as you pass by them to give you a clearer idea of where you are.5. Open Spot for Android
Looking for a parking spot on a busy downtown street? The Open Spot app for Android might just give you an edge. The idea is that users who are leaving their spots are supposed to mark their location in the app so that users who need a spot can find it. Each time you mark a spot, you’ll get karma points, which are exchangeable for nothing at all but can give your ego a boost.4. YouTube Leanback
Leanback is just a massive video window that automatically runs through a sidescrolling list of preselected popular videos. You can use your mouse or keyboard to move between them, but the best way to navigate is by using your Android phone as a remote.3. Google Scribe
You’re already accustomed to using autocomplete in search fields. Why not take the next step? Google Scribe is an odd little app that attempts to autocomplete everything you type. Start typing anything, and Scribe will attempt to complete not only the word itself, but also the rest of the phrase. Once you get a few characters on the screen, keep hitting Enter to let Scribe compose its own text. The resulting text might not be useful, but it’s a fascinating process to watch.2. Google Squared
Forget Wikipedia. Google Squared lets you compile your own information page about any given topic. Just type a search term (say, “Disneyland”) into the field and click Square It. Squared will then grab information from a variety of online sources and arrange them in a grid with pictures.1. Google Goggles Explore the world through your smartphone’s camera
Typing is so 20th century. Google Goggles is a mobile app for Android and iPhone that lets you search based on pictures. Launch the app, take a picture, and Google Goggles will figure out what to do with it. On Android, Goggles is a stand-alone app, and on iPhone it’s now built into the Google Search app. Here are a few cool examples of what Goggles can do.Scan a Business Card
Take a picture of a business card and Goggles will analyze the text so you can call the person, email them, and add them to your contacts.Find a Book or Product
Take a picture of a book or product and Goggles will search for it on the web so you can buy it, download it, or just get more information from the manufacturer’s site.Explore Landmarks
Shoot a landmark, like a bridge or a building, and Goggles will compare it to other images online to tell you what you’re looking at, map it for you, and give you quick access to navigation information.Discover Art
Whether you’re at a museum or a poster shop, Goggles can take a picture of a painting or sculpture and identify it by name, tell you who created it and when, link you to scholarly works about it, or help you find a reproduction to buy.
So this is that Play-Doh stuff all the kids are talking about.
A Complete Guide to 39 Google Apps and Services
Mon, 25 Apr 2011 20:14:32 GMT
Filed under: Google Tip, Guide, Tech Tip, Tips and Tricks
Facebook announced Monday updates to its Group feature that aim to make the platform a better place to share content within small networks.
Since private photo sharing platform Path and a host of group messaging companies have highlighted the importance of sharing within small groups, it seems Facebook is taking selective sharing more seriously as well.
In October, one month before Path launched, Facebook unveiled a new Groups feature that creates shared spaces where members can participate in communal group chats, email lists, document sharing and photo tagging.
Now the platform is improving this feature, as well as launching a “Send” button that creates a more specific sharing alternative to the all-friends “Like” button.
You can expect to see these updates on Group pages starting Monday.
- Admin Control: The Group admin now has an option to maintain new member approval power.
- Questions: You can now use Facebook’s new poll-like Questions feature within groups.
- Photo Albums: Members of Groups can already share photos with each other easily. Now they can share entire albums the same way.
- Group Search: Like Gmail, you can now search through the posts in a Facebook Group to easily find content. This feature will roll out slowly throughout the next week.
What do you think of Facebook’s new Group features? Are there any other features you would like to see? Let us know in the comments.
Facebook Updates Groups: What’s New
Mon, 25 Apr 2011 19:15:35 GMT
Filed under: Facebook, Social Networking
“Send” is intentionally similar, in look and feel, to the Like button. Click on Send and a pop-up appears, allowing you to send that article or page to friends, groups or any email address. You can then add a message and send the page to friends’ inboxes or post it to a Group wall.
The button is designed to make it easier for users to share content with close groups of friends, Facebook product manager Austin Haugen explained to Mashable. He cited an increasingly popular trend: users posting a commerce site to a Group to figure out what gift to buy for a friend.
Another important detail: Send counts toward the total number of Likes a page has. The Like total is now calculated by adding the number of Likes, shares, comments and inbox messages containing a URL.
More than 50 websites are launching the Send button, including Gilt Groupe, 1-800-Flowers, The Wall Street Journal, Orbitz, Last.fm, The Huffington Post, People.com and The Washington Post. The Send button’s code is also now available on Facebook’s Developer Website. And as with the Like button, it only takes a few lines of code to get the Send button running on a website.
If the implementations we’ve seen so far are any indication, Send will become Facebook’s next Like button — which celebrated its first birthday last week and is installed on more than 10,000 websites every week. The Send button is designed to be Like’s companion, focused on private sharing rather than public sharing features. And since Send includes the ability to share articles via email, the classic “email to a friend” functionality available on millions of websites is rendered obsolete.
Will the Send button become as ubiquitous as the Like button? Let us know in the comments.
Facebook Launches Send Button, Replaces Email to a Friend
Mon, 25 Apr 2011 19:04:42 GMT
Filed under: Facebook, Social Networking
Google Acquires TalkBin, A Feedback Platform For Businesses That’s Only Five Months Old (Jason Kincaid/TechCrunch)
Jason Kincaid / TechCrunch:
Google Acquires TalkBin, A Feedback Platform For Businesses That’s Only Five Months Old — It’s been a good day for Y Combinator. Hot on the heels of news that YC portfolio company Wufoo landed a $35 million exit, YC alum TalkBin has just announced that it’s been acquired by Google …
Google Acquires TalkBin, A Feedback Platform For Businesses That’s Only Five Months Old (Jason Kincaid/TechCrunch)
Tue, 26 Apr 2011 00:10:02 GMT
Filed under: Google News
Remember watching those time-lapse videos of growing plants in science class? They look pretty dated once you’ve checked out the same sequence through Google’s new
Google Launches the Closest Thing to a Real Time Machine
Sun, 24 Apr 2011 16:23:32 GMT
Filed under: Google News
Google’s listening. After notifying the world last week that Google Video was shutting down with no videos viewable after April 29, and giving users until May 13 to download them before they would be removed, Google’s backed away from that.
Besides eliminating that ominous April 29 deadline, Google says it’s “working to automatically migrate your Google Videos to YouTube.” In the meantime, Google’s added an “Upload Videos to YouTube” option, making it easy to send videos from a Google Video account to an associated YouTube account.
Here are the details from Google, posted on Google’s Webmaster Central blog on Friday and sent out to all Google video users early on April 23:
Dear Google Video User,
Last week we sent an email letting you know we would be ending playbacks of Google Videos on April 29 and providing instructions on how to download videos currently hosted on the platform. Since then we’ve received feedback from you about making the migration off of Google Video easier. We work every day to make sure you have a great user experience and should have done better. Based on your feedback, here’s what we’re doing to fix things.
Google Video users can rest assured that they won’t be losing any of their content and we are eliminating the April 29 deadline. We will be working to automatically migrate your Google Videos to YouTube. In the meantime, your videos hosted on Google Video will remain accessible on the web and existing links to Google Videos will remain accessible. If you want to migrate to YouTube now, here’s how you do it:
If you’d prefer to download your videos from Google Video, that option is still available.
As we said nearly two years ago, the team is now focused on tackling the tough challenge of video search. We want to thank the millions of people around the world who have taken the time to create and share videos on Google Video. We hope today’s improvements will help ease your transition to another video hosting service.
Thank you for being a Google Video user.
Mark Dochtermann Google Video Team
It’s great to see Google taking action on this, but we’re wondering why the company didn’t offer this option in the first place.
Google Offers Easier Way to Transfer Video From Google Video to YouTube
Sat, 23 Apr 2011 17:56:03 GMT
Filed under: Google News
Google Chrome is a browser that combines a minimal design with sophisticated technology to make the web faster, safer, and easier. This is the latest beta for those who want to see what the next version will look like. [License: Freeware| Requires: Win7/Vista/XP | Size: 21.1 MB]
Google Chrome (BETA) 12.0.742.9
Tue, 26 Apr 2011 15:30:56 GMT
Filed under: Browser News, Google News