Google is creeping onto your desktop

Posted by:
Date: Tuesday, May 13th, 2014, 08:51
Category: Apps, Features, Google, Software

Chrome canary logoThis isn’t the first time Google has invaded the desktop space of other operating systems. Who remembers the train-wreck that was Google Desktop? However, this time Google might have it right…or at least close. Some of you may be aware of Chromium, the open-source project behind Google Chrome, which has nightly builds of the app which may squash bugs, introduce new ones, or add new “cutting-edge” features, which may not be ready for the general public. When a particular stable version gets the ok, Google cleans it up and releases it as an update to Google Chrome.

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ComiXology removes in-app comic purchasing

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Date: Thursday, May 1st, 2014, 14:08
Category: Amazon, Android, App Store, Apple, Apps, Google, iOS, Software

Comixology_biteI think it’s safe to say that it was Amazon that did the removing, but the fact remains that a major feature of the iOS app was removed. For the Android version, there were also some changes, but not as drastic. Comic purchases are now routed through comiXology instead of Google. The move is intended to avoid paying Apple and Google a premium for making purchases through their systems.  For Apple, that means loosing 30 percent of each purchase, something it has charged for in-app purchases since 2011. Instead of buying within the app, in the iOS case, customers will now have to make purchases via the comiXology website. Purchases will then be downloaded to the app once the user opens it, much like e-books do on Amazon’s Kindle for iOS app.

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Students hack Siri to do more using Googolplex

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Date: Friday, April 18th, 2014, 08:33
Category: Apple, Google, Hacks, iOS, iPhone, Services, Siri

Screenshot 2014-04-18 02.38.02

Do you ever feel like Siri is just not living up to its potential? Do you wish there was more that Siri could do? Well, you aren’t alone. Some students at the University of Pennsylvania felt the same way and decided to do something about it, and the result was Googolplex. The four students, Alex Sands, Ajay Patel, Ben Hsu and Gagan Gupta, entered their creation into a hackathon and won third place. So, how does this work? Keep reading and we’ll tell you.

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Apple’s Touch ID vs. Samsung fingerprint scanner

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Date: Tuesday, April 8th, 2014, 08:51
Category: Android, Apple, iOS, iPhone, Software, User Interface

touch-id-iconIn three days, anyone who has been longing to get their hands on a new Samsung Galaxy S5 will get their wish, assuming quantities are sufficient. The internet has already been awash with reviews and first looks, but video demos of Samsung’s fingerprint scanner, making its debut on the S5, have been of particular interest. Over on YouTube, user iCrackUriDevice has a pretty thorough comparison between the S5′s scanner and Apple’s Touch ID scanner on the iPhone 5S. (does anyone else see the irony in the 5S vs. the S5?)

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Death knell is coming for Google Voice

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Date: Tuesday, March 25th, 2014, 08:42
Category: Android, Apps, Google, iOS, iPhone, News, Services, Software, Telephony

GoogleHangVoiceAfter five years, it looks like Google Voice is going away…at least as an independent service and app. In 2007 Google acquired GrandCentral (started in 2005) and eventually rebranded it and launched it as Google Voice in 2009. Very little was done for the switchover, from a user standpoint, other than to incorporate the service into Google’s infrastructure. I had a GrandCentral account and it was nearly identical to how Google Voice works and looks today. According to 9to5Google, sometime in the coming months, Google plans to depreciate and eventually phase out the service with its features to be rolled into the Google Hangouts app.

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Maps app gets serious in iOS 8

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Date: Monday, March 17th, 2014, 08:46
Category: Apple, Apps, iOS, iPhone, Rumor, Software

Maps_iOS7Isn’t that typical? We just get a nice, new 7.1 update for iOS and people have already moved on to talk about what’s new in iOS 8. iOS 8?! Yes, apparently details about the next OS for iDevices has been leaking out of Cupertino, and one item of particular interest seems to be Maps. Most should be familiar with the story of Apple Maps by now. Apple dumped Google Maps as the default mapping solution for iOS 6, to be replaced by Apple’s own mapping solution. While pretty to look at, the new solution gets deployed without public transit info and then proceeds to prove that it really wasn’t ready by giving some horribly incorrect directions. Sadly, it still appears to be doing that. With the combined acquisitions of companies like BroadMap, Embark and HopStop, Apple will hopefully be able to shake the bugs out of their mapping data as well as finally provide transit information within the Maps app. Rumors are that the transit info will even include schedules for shuttles and “enhanced” airport directions. A new “augmented reality” view will also overlay local information about the area that you’re mapping.

Personally, I’ve had pretty good results with Maps within the Bay Area, but I wouldn’t mind the security of not wondering if I should double-check everything in Google Maps.

 

 

If you thought Google+ was a joke, maybe the joke was on us

Posted by:
Date: Monday, February 24th, 2014, 08:25
Category: Google, privacy, security, Services, Social

google_plus_04Are you an avid Google+ user? Yeah, me neither, but there are still a few people who seem to actively use it, if for no other reason than to advertise their blog posts. I think for me personally, it was just one social network too many, too late. I was already on Twitter, Facebook, Path, and occasionally Instagram and Tumblr. There was no room for Google+ and I think it dropped off most people’s radar for similar reasons. There was also that nasty business shortly after the launch of Google Buzz (now buried under a rock somewhere) where ALL your contact data on Google was automatically shared with everybody. That probably didn’t exactly encourage people to use a new, similar service.

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Updates: BootCamp, Compressor, and more

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Date: Thursday, February 13th, 2014, 14:36
Category: Apple, Apps, Mac, OS X, Pro Apps, Software

software-updateThere have been a number Apple software updates recently, as well as a few others you may be interested in. Here’s a brief list of what’s new.

  • GraphicConverter 9.1
    • added “Browse Google Drive” menu item to browse local copy drive (if cloud client is installed)
    • added “Extract Images from PDF” as function to convert & modify
    • added attach to e-mail menu item
    • added pressure support to pen tool
    • improved animated gif support (transparency on import and export more consistent)
    • fixed possible bug with selections and core image filters
    • fixed possible hang if folder does contain a recursive link
    • fixed automator issues
    • many more…
  • Apple Compressor 4.1.1
    • Resolves issues installing Compressor on a system where Qmaster was previously enabled
    • improves reliability of Send to Compressor from Final Cut Pro X
    • addresses distributed encoding errors when source files are not on the startup volume
    • fixes errors that could cause a hang when submitting a batch
    • fixes a stability issue that could occur if multiple Compressor plug-ins are installed
    • resolves an issue when viewing a plug-in setting without the plug-in installed
    • includes general stability improvements
  • Apple Boot Camp Support 5.1.5621
    • contains the Windows Support Software (Windows Drivers) you need to support 64-bit versions of Windows 7 and Windows 8 on your Mac
  • NetNewsWire 4.0.0 (Public Beta 16 [151])
    • article scroll position and video play state are no longer reset by a refresh
    • when a folder or site has no article list, the right-arrow key treats it correctly in Sites List
    • should NetNewsWire crash, the app will perform an integrity check and possibly prompt to send a diagnostic email to support
    • the “Find in Article” bar no longer hides on returning to a tab where a search was performed
    • default column widths have been improved
    • additional tweaks, nudges and modifications to make NetNewsWire better and more reliable
  • MacMiner 1.5.13
    • improves update notifications to state current and available version and link to website
    • updates cgminer to 3.12.3
    • bug fixes and improvements

MacUpdate Promo: Email Archiver - swiftly scans your messages in Apple Mail and backs them up as PDFs. Regularly $24, now $12

 

Acquisitions and the annoyance of abandoned apps

Posted by:
Date: Friday, January 31st, 2014, 13:00
Category: App Store, Apple, Apps, Business, Developer, Google, iPhone, Opinion, Services, Software

pirate_skull_crossbones_square_sticker-r77418cb09c3345e7b8854da982e2526a_v9wf3_8byvr_512Yahoo! has just acquired Incredible Labs, which developed the Donna personal assistant app for iPhone. The latest update on the Donna blog makes it clear what the fate of the app and service will be;

“The transaction, which is subject to customary closing conditions, is expected to close shortly. Following closing, Donna will be removed from the app store and discontinued as a service.”

No date has been given, but they are likely to follow the model where users will be given a window of a few months in order migrate their data and find a new solution. I’m not personally a user of Donna, however if I was I’d be pretty upset.

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Motorola Mobility finds yet another new home…minus a few bits

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Date: Thursday, January 30th, 2014, 19:29
Category: Android, Business, Finance, Google, Mobile Phone, Patents

logo-moto-footerThis Wednesday, Google CEO Larry Page announced that they were selling off its Motorola Mobility division to Lenovo for $2.91 billion. Google had acquired Motorola in 2012 to help boost development of Andoid, with speculation that they would use it to create more of its own branded hardware and ecosystem. At the time, Google paid $12.5 billion to acquire Motorola and its cache of patents. Apparently the division was not fulfilling its promise, hence the sell-off. However, what appears to be a huge loss for Google may not be so bad after all.

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