Online Biz

Posts Tagged ‘latest news

Debate is still raging about how many people are really using Google+ and whether it can ever overtake Facebook. But at least one prominent user was making active use of the site Wednesday: President Barack Obama.

Obama’s profile, which just gained a “verified account” tick mark, appears to have been launched first thing Wednesday morning. Naturally, it isn’t being run by the President himself, but by his reelection campaign — a fact that the profile’s posts makes no attempt to hide.

“Welcome to the Obama 2012 Google+ page,” reads the first Presidential post. “We’re still kicking the tires and figuring this out, so let us know what you’d like to see here and your ideas for how we can use this space to help you stay connected to the campaign.”

One one hand, Obama’s arrival is an important stamp of approval for the nascent social network. Obama has been active on Twitter and Facebook since he was a U.S. Senator running for the highest office in the land; his social media savvy is often credited with boosting his first presidential campaign, helping to recruit an army of young campaign workers and small donors. The President held a Town Hall with Twitter in June, and another at Facebook in April.

On the other hand, the relative lack of fanfare surrounding Obama’s arrival may indicate just how far Google+ has to go. His first post was arguably the most historic thing to happen on Google+ this week; more than 12 hours later, it boasts just 110 shares. (For comparison, one of our more popular Facebook stories this week has been shared more than 3,000 times in a day.)

Since that first announcement, Obama’s campaign has posted twice more Wednesday — once to tout the President’s tax credits for unemployed veterans, and once to push a campaign contest where winners get to have dinner with Obama. It has posted nine scrapbook photos, and no videos.

We’re looking forward to the President’s first Google+ hangout, which may supplant the meeting of Desmond Tutu and the Dalai Llama as the most historic hangout in Google+’s young life.

 

Provided by Chris Taylor

Does the requirement that you must use your real name onFacebook and Google+ make you shy away from saying anything risqué on those networks?

If so, you might want to sign up for Anybeat, a social network that aims to become a hub of conversation about controversial subjects. The site is officially out of beta as of Monday.

Founded by Dmitry Shapiro, the former CTO of MySpace Music, Anybeat separates itself from other social networks by encouraging its members to use pseudonyms. The hope is that not using their real names will embolden users to participate in conversations they’d never have on Facebook.

“We, as humans, have different needs when it comes to socializing,” says Shapiro. “One is to communicate with people we know, and that’s Facebook. But we need a place to get away from family and friends, and a place to get away from work, a place to socialize with people we don’t know. We want to create an open social place that’s inclusive.”

That sounds good in theory, though anyone who’s ever skimmed the comments on a YouTube video is familiar with how anonymous discussions can get ugly quickly. Shapiro emphasizes that what Anybeat is really offering is “pseudonymity,” which is subtly different from anonymity.

While a user’s real name is hidden, his or her profile name stays consistent, and reputations are created over time.

“YouTube is less of a social network,” Shapiro says. “A lot of it is culture. If [ignorant comments] are what you see, then that’s what it becomes. For us, every profile has ‘Cred’–it’s like a Klout score, or feedback on eBay. And we have moderation tools in place, like you’d find in the old BBS days.”

What sort of content would be off limits to a social network that prides itself on controversy? Shapiro says hate speech, threats, and porn would all make the list.

As Facebook and Google+ have risen in popularity, so have their real-name policies, leading the Web to move away from the anything-goes anonymity of decades past. Shapiro believes a total loss of online anonymity would be a bad thing.

“I think pseudonimity, using the Internet for casual conversations and not just formal ones, is critical.” he says. “It was the reason I fell in love with the Web: AOL chatrooms. I found the conversations I had there to be extremely meaningful. If you ever had a conversation with a stranger and you found that the stranger might have understood you in a way that your closest friends didn’t, that’s what we’re trying to facilitate.”

 

ipad-3-concept

Next models of iPad and iPhone could get a boost in size to go along with improved specs.

While the normal tendency is to make each iteration of a product slimmer, a new rumor suggests that the next generation of iPads and iPhones could actually be a step up in both specs and size.

Citing the site’s “most reliable source,” iLounge has posted some details about the next generation of iPads and iPhones that suggest both product lines will gain a little size when new models are released in 2012.

With the iPad 3, the size increase will only add about .7mm of thickness to the tablet computer. The change is necessary to support a second light bar for the higher-resolution display — rumored to be an impressive 2048 x 1536 pixels. The site indicates that that the iPad 3 could debut sometime in January for a March release.

As for the iPhone 5, the site’s source says the phone will need an extra 8mm to accommodate its new 4-inch display. Upgrades to the phone’s battery could also play into the size increase.

The report suggests that the iPhone 5 will debut sometime in the summer, and that it’s still in the engineering phase (as opposed to early production).

 

Provided by Rick Marshall

gmail-logo-good

The fix is in: Google returns the Gmail iOS app to the Apple App Store bug-free.

 

After a very public screw-up, Google has re-released the Gmail app for iOS devices into Apple’s App Store. The app is currently available for download. (Though, for some reason, it’s not showing up in the iOS App Store app, as of 3:30pm ET.) Users who managed to snag the earlier version of the app, which contained a number of bugs that rendered it inoperable, will have to either log out, or completely uninstall the app, before installing the updated version.

A native Gmail app for iOS has been a long time coming. For the past few years, users of Android-based smartphones have boasted their ability to access added functionality of Gmail which was lost when using the email service on iOS, through its app client. With this release that perk is no longer exclusive to Android users.

At the top of the new-features heap is the addition of Push Notifications, as well as greater speed, efficiency and touchscreen functionality. Better search, email address autocomplete and the ability to upload and send photos are also part of Gmail for iOS.

Google says that, since releasing the original version, it has begun to work on adding a number of additional features, as well. These include the ability to use multiple accounts. Notifications and “mobile specific” touchscreen gestures will also be getting an upgrade. “Many more” new features are on their way, says Google.

The Gmail app is free, and will work on any device that runs iOS 4 or above.

amazon-phone

This week we saw Facebook get a nasty virus, both Apple and Google release cloud-based music services, and heard a rumor about Amazon entering the smartphone market.

 

Didn’t have time to keep up with every ripple in the technology pond this week? We’ve got you covered. Here are some of the most noteworthy stories from the last week.

Facebook gets hacked, users subjected to hardcore porn

Earlier this week we learned that some Facebook users were seeing news feeds filled with images of hardcore pornography and violence. It was originally suspected that the hacker group Anonymous may have had something to do with the attack, but that assumption has since been debunked. The spam attack is now mostly under control and the company has said that someone exploiting a browser vulnerability, not Anonymous, is responsible for the breach. A Facebook spokesperson has maintained that no user information or accounts were compromised during the several-day attack.

 

Google and Apple launch cloud-based music services

This week we saw two of the most important and notable releases in the domain of cloud-based music services from both Google and Apple. We covered the announcement of the public version of Google Music on Wednesday, which now includes the ability to purchase songs through the Android Market, and gave our own hands-on impressions of the service. Apple also launched its counter-attack with the release of iTunes Match, a similar cloud-based music service that users can purchase for $25 per year. We took a first look at the new service to see if it’s worthy of all the hype.

 

Nokia introduces MixRadio for Windows Phones, Lumia may be carried at AT&T in the US

This week Nokia revealed more of the specs of MixRadio, a music service that will be included in its new Lumia 710 and 800 Windows Phone 7.5 handsets. The service will offer users access to an MP3 store, pre-made playlists, streaming, and more. We also confirmed this week that carrier AT&T is looking into carrying both Nokia Windows Phone handsets starting sometime in 2012.

 

Amazon may jump into the smartphone market

In one of the more exciting news developments of the week, we are hearing from Citigroup analysts that Amazon may jump into the smartphone market with an Amazon phone in the next year. Rumor has it that the phone will be priced in the $150 to $170 range and will run on a heavily-modified version of Android, much like the Kindle Fire.

 

iPhone surpasses BlackBerry in business, Apple preps for record sales

In a surprising but somewhat inevitable occurrence, it seems that Apple’s iPhone has finally surpassed BlackBerry as the preferred handset of business users. BlackBerry has had a corner on this part of the market for years, so it’s a success that Apple shouldn’t take lightly. According to recent estimates, Apple is also on track to sell a record number of Macs this quarter, which will likely only increase with the possible release of a 15-inch MacBook Air in March.

 

Provided by Kelly Montgomery

primer_v2_s35pWe’ve shown you robots completing various tasks in the past, but this new model, a small hobby humanoid, can ride a bicycle like a human being. It’s not the first of its kind (Murata’s robotand Panasonic’s EVOLTA robot come to mind), but the model that’s pictured on the left costs just US$2,220 in its standard configuration.

Dr. Guero [JP] from Japan modified KHR3HV, a bipedal robot made by Japanese maker KONDO that has been available in many robot stores for years. The humanoid can even stop for a moment and continue riding the bike on his own, which is pretty cool.

PRIMER-V2 weighs 2.5kg, stands 495mm tall and can reach a top speed of 10km/h. This video shows the robot in action: