Google Earth 6.0.0.1735 released

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Date: Tuesday, November 30th, 2010, 04:42
Category: News, Software

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Late Wednesday, software giant Google released version 6.0.0.1735 of its popular Google Earth program. The new version, a 53.3 megabyte download, adds the following new features:

New features in Google Earth 6:

- Integrated Street View: In Google Earth 6, the Street View experience is now fully integrated. You can enter Street View either by dropping pegman in navigation controls or by zooming in all the way to ground level on places that have Street View.

- 3D Trees:Google Earth now has trees. You can enable trees by turning on the check-box next to the Trees layer under the 3D buildings layer folder. You can see trees in several places, and we will add trees to more places over time.

- Easy to use historical imagery:When you fly to an area where historical imagery is available, the date of the oldest imagery will appear in the status bar at the bottom of the screen. If you click on this date, you’ll instantly be taken back in time to view imagery from that time period.

- Ground-level navigation: In Google Earth 6, in addition to flying around features, you can now walk on the ground to explore either 3D buildings and trees or Street View imagery.
3D Measurements in Google Earth Pro:In addition to measuring distances and areas on the ground, you can now measure heights and widths of 3D building and distances from buildings to the ground.

Other changes in Google Earth 6:
- Tour Recorder Improvements:With Google Earth 6, the tour recording feature has been improved in several ways. The tour recorder now incorporates the activation of Sunlight, Street View, and Historical Imagery modes into the recorded tour. Additionally, the quality of the recording has been significantly improved, including better motion fidelity and better synchronization with sound recording.

- Earth on PowerPC Mac:We are discontinuing support for Google Earth builds that work on PowerPC Macs. Users of PowerPC macs can still use the Google Earth 5.2 version.

- Earth on OS X 10.4:We are discontinuing support for Google Earth builds that work on 10.4 version of Mac OS X. Users of this version of Mac OS X can still use Google Earth 5.2 version.
Earth on Windows 2000:We are discontinuing support for Google Earth builds that work on Windows 2000. Users of Windows 2000 can still use the Google Earth 5.2 version.

- Linux Builds:Google Earth Linux binaries are now based on the Linux Standard Base. This improves the compatibility of Google Earth on different Linux distributions, but requires users to have Linux Standard Base installed on their system. If your Linux system does not have LSB, please install it using apt, yum, smart or up2date. As a side effect of moving to LSB, joysticks are currently unsupported.

Issues Fixed:
- Addressed issues related to slow internal browser and balloon performance

- Addressed issues related to broken images in balloons seen in Earth 5.2.

- Linux now handles KML in locales where the radix separator isn’t “.”.

- Linux fixes for Flash-induced crashes. Google Earth Plug-in and API Changes

- Updated API version 1.007

- New class KmlViewerOptions, to set global render state (Historical Imagery, StreetView, and Sun)

- Added ability to enable/disable street view in GENavigationControl

- Added ability to enable/disable automatic transition to ground level view in GEOptions

- Added ability to enable/disable 3d tree rendering through new layer LAYER_TREES

- Added altitudeOffset functionality to KmlLinearRing and KmlLineRing. This allows ability to set altitude for all vertices through a single function call.

- Added ability to enable/disable building selection through mouse input in GEOptions

- Added ability to enable/disable building highlight through mouse input in GEOptions

- Added copyAsLookAt() and copyAsCamera() conversion to KmlAbstractView

- Improved performance on Mac OS X 10.6 (Snow Leopard).

The new version requires Mac OS X 10.5 or later to install and run.

Google Docs editing en route to iOS, Hulu Plus now available for $7.99/month

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Date: Thursday, November 18th, 2010, 05:48
Category: News, Software

Tech giant Google on Wednesday introduced a new mobile editor for its Google Docs productivity service, while Hulu Plus officially launched with a monthly rate of US$7.99, US$2 less than it charged during its “preview” phase.

Per AppleInsider, users of Google Docs will be able to access the service on their iPhone, iPad or iPod touch by visiting docs.google.com in the Mobile Safari Web browser. This will support all iOS devices running version 3.0 or later and be active within the next couple of days.

The service will initially be available to English-language users around the world, though support for other languages is expected to be added “soon.” Users can also edit spreadsheets from their mobile browser with the service.

Changes to documents appear in real time, so that shared documents will show updates for other users on other devices and browsers.

In other news, the Hulu Plus service was officially launched Wednesday with a new monthly price of US$7.99. Subscribers who enrolled in Hulu Plus during its trial period at US$9.99 per month will be given a credit for the difference that will be applied to their next billing cycle.

The company also announced that over the next week it will issue updates for its iPad, iPhone and iPod touch applications, which allow Hulu Plus subscribers to stream content to their Apple devices. The streaming service is also offering one free week trial for all new subscribers.

Hulu Plus launched in late June with a US$9.99-per-month subscription price. It works on an iPhone, iPod touch or iPad with Hulu’s iOS application, and allows users to watch shows over both Wi-Fi and 3G.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available.

Apple finally accepts official Google Voice app for App Store

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Date: Wednesday, November 17th, 2010, 05:57
Category: iPhone, News, Software

Apple finally accepted the official Google Voice application into the App Store on Tuesday, bringing to the iPhone an application that was previously rejected and resulted in an inquiry from the U.S. Federal Communications Commission.

Per the Google Voice Blog, the Google Voice App is a free download available in the App Store, and works for any users of the Google Voice telephony service. Features of the application advertised by Google include:

- Cheap rates for international calls

- Free text messaging to U.S. numbers

- Voicemail transcription

- Display your Google Voice number as caller ID when making calls

The software also offers a number of features that can only be accomplished with a native iPhone application. Previously, Google had offered a mobile Voice service through a website.

The native app will alert users when they receive a new voicemail or text message with push notifications. In addition, most calls will be placed via Direct Access Numbers, making them connect just as quickly as regular phone calls.

Google Voice for iPhone requires iOS 3.1 or later and a valid Google Voice account to use the App. It is currently available in the U.S. only.

Reports that Apple would change its stance on the Google Voice application first surfaced in September, after Apple revised and published its own App Store Review Guidelines. Applications that accessed the Google Voice service were pulled in 2009, after Google submitted its own official application.

Apple refused to accept the official Google Voice app into the App Store, which prompted an investigation from the U.S. Federal Communications Commission. Apple told the FCC that it was reviewing the software, but contended it did not outright reject it.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available.

Apple releases long-awaited Mac OS X 10.6.5 update

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Date: Wednesday, November 10th, 2010, 16:22
Category: News, Software

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After months of beta versions and development, Apple has released its Mac OS X 10.6.5 update for its Mac OS X 10.6 “Snow Leopard” operating system. The update, which varies in size depending on your presently installed version of the operating system, personally weighed in at over a 500 megabyte download.

The update offers the following fixes and changes:

- Improves reliability with Microsoft Exchange servers.

- Addresses performance of some image-processing operations in iPhoto and Aperture.

- Addresses stability and performance of graphics applications and games.

- Resolves a delay between print jobs.

- Addresses a printing issue for some HP printers connected to an AirPort Extreme.

- Resolves an issue when dragging contacts from Address Book to iCal.

- Addresses an issue in which dragging an item from a stack causes the Dock to not automatically hide.

- Resolves an issue in which Wikipedia information may not display correctly in Dictionary.

- Improves performance of MainStage on certain Macs.

- Resolves spacing issues with OpenType fonts.

- Improves reliability with some Bluetooth braille displays.

- Resolves a VoiceOver issue when browsing some websites with Safari 5.

- Improves Bluetooth pairing with Magic Trackpad.

- Resolves performance issues with third-party displays that use InstaPort technology.

- Add SSL support for transferring files with iDisk.

- Resolves an issue when opening 4-up Photo Booth pictures in Preview.

- Addresses keyboard responsiveness issues in the Dock when Spaces is turned on.

- Resolves an issue syncing Address Book with Google.

- Fixes an issue when replying to a Mail message sent by a person whose name contains certain characters such as é or ü.

- Improves performance for users bound to an Active Directory domain.

- Improves reliability of Ethernet connections.

- Systems with a Mac Pro RAID Card (Early 2009) installed can now be put to sleep. For more information, see Mac Pro RAID Card (Early 2009): Enabling system sleep.

- Improves reliability of fibre channel connections, resolving a potential Xsan volume availability issue.

- Adds RAW image compatibility for additional digital cameras.

As usual, just open Mac OS X’s Software Update feature to locate, snag and install the update. The Mac OS X 10.6.5 update requires Mac OS X 10.6 or later to install and run.

If you’ve installed the update and noticed any major changes, either positive or negative, please let us know.

Apple releases iOS 4.2 golden master build to developer community

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Date: Tuesday, November 2nd, 2010, 04:28
Category: iPad, iPhone, iPod, News, Software

Late Monday, Apple released its golden master build of iOS 4.2 for its entire line of iOS-based devices including the iPad, the iPhone and the iPod touch.

Per AppleInsider, the new OS will sport features such as as AirPlay wireless streaming of audio, video and photos to the new Apple TV or other AirPlay-compliant devices and its AirPrint wireless printing architecture, designed to enable users to create hard copies of web pages, emails and photos managed through a new Print Center app.

The new update will also finally bring multitasking features and iOS Folders to the iPad, along with a variety of other features currently only available on the iPhone and iPod touch, such as support for multiple email aliases, a unified inbox, and messages organized by threads in Mail, and the ability to open attachments in third party apps.

New multitasking features will also incorporate the software orientation lock and music playback controls available on the iPhone running iOS 4, which are accessed via swiping to the left from the list of currently running apps. The iPad also presents a brightness control in this section (as depicted below).

The iPad will also lose its hardware toggle assigned to locking the screen orientation; the button will instead work to mute audio, just like the iPhone. This move has generated some controversy because Apple not only refuses to offer customers a choice of how their hardware buttons work, but has also duplicated mute functionality, as the audio down button already works as to rapidly mute audio playback.

The update will also bring Game Center to the iPad, allowing players to invite friends or find new opponents online to play against, as well as track their own achievements and high scores.

Apple has also outlined enhanced enterprise support features in iOS 4.2, including new device management capabilities, the ability to lock down email account settings, and stronger security enhancements.

iOS 4.2 will also include support for more than 30 new languages in keyboards and dictionaries, including Arabic, Greek and Hebrew.

It also strengthens accessibility features including support for navigating VoiceOver using a wireless keyboard and a wide range of refreshable braille output displays in more than 25 languages. On the iPad, larger text options up to 56 point fonts can also be specified for use in Contacts, Mail, Messages and Notes.

Other major changes include support for Google’s revised YouTube voting, a direct link to launching a FaceTime video call from within the SMS messages interface, and new CoreMIDI music APIs for music-related apps.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available.

Apple, Google ink deal to have Google remain default search engine on iOS-based devices

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Date: Tuesday, September 28th, 2010, 05:00
Category: News, Software

Internet search giant Google recently extended its contract with Apple, making the outfit the default option on devices running iOS, including the iPhone.

Per BusinessWeek, Google Chief Executive Eric Schmidt talked about his company’s relationship with Apple. Rose asked about tension between Google and Apple since Google began partnering with smartphone makers for the Android mobile operating system.

“Apple is a company we both partner and compete with,” Schmidt said. “We do a search deal with them, recently extended, and we’re doing all sorts of things in maps and things like that.”

He continued: “So the sum of all this is that two large corporations, both of which are important, both of which I care a lot about, will [remain] pretty close. But Android was around earlier than iPhone.”

Schmidt also characterized the iPhone as a “closed” model controlled by Apple. He portrayed Android as a “turnkey solution with similar capabilities” to the iPhone, but one that gives vendors the “alternative” they seek.

Early this year, rumors suggested that Apple was in talks with Microsoft to make Bing the default search engine for the iPhone. Though that never came to be, the option to utilize Bing search was added to iOS 4.

However, Google has remained the default search provider for iOS devices, and Schmidt’s recent comments would suggest that the company will remain the standard search provider for some time to come.

Official Google Voice app approved, should arrive in App Store in a few weeks

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Date: Tuesday, September 28th, 2010, 04:34
Category: iPhone, News, Software

The official Google Voice application for iPhone has finally been granted acceptance into the App Store by Apple.

Per TechCrunch, a source stated that the application will be released in the next few weeks. Apple reportedly accepted the application submitted in mid-2009, though Google plans to update it to support the iPhone 4 and multitasking capabilities in iOS 4.

Last week, applications that access the Google Voice service began appearing in the App Store, after being banished for more than a year. The first two that became available were GV Mobile + and GV Connect.

The opportunity for Google Voice applications to return to the App Store came after Apple revised and published its own App Store Review Guidelines, giving developers an idea of what kind of software will or will not be allowed for iOS devices.

Google Voice applications were previously available in the App Store, but were pulled in July of 2009 after Google submitted its official application. Apple refused to accept the official Google Voice app into the App Store, which prompted an investigation from the U.S. Federal Communications Commission.

In a letter to the FCC, Apple claimed it was reviewing the Google Voice application, but had not outright rejected it. Google, on the other hand, said the software was rejected. Over a year passed, however, with no word on its official acceptance or rejection.

Instead, Google opted to release a Web-based application for Google Voice, which allows users to access the service from the Mobile Safari browser on the iPhone. Unlike the App Store, where Apple controls what content is available, basic Web content is not filtered or restricted.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available.

Two Google Voice apps receive Apple approval, Google Voice may be forthcoming

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Date: Monday, September 20th, 2010, 04:10
Category: News, Software

In a change on previous decision, two Google Voice applications were accepted into the App Store on Sunday: GV Mobile + and GV Connect. Per AppleInsider, their acceptance marks the first time that Apple has allowed such software since it removed Google Voice apps in July of 2009.

Earlier this month, Sean Kovacs, the developer of GV Mobile +, indicated he had spoken with Apple, and representatives with the company indicated they would approve his software. The change in policy came after Apple published its App Store Review Guidelines for all to see.

Still missing in action, however, is Google’s own official Google Voice application. The “non-rejection” of that application in 2009 caused a controversy and even led to an inquiry from the U.S. Federal Communications Commission.

In a letter to the FCC, Apple claimed that it was reviewing the official Google Voice application. The company said it had not outright rejected the software, but was instead considering it. Over a year passed with no official acceptance or rejection.

Google, on the other hand, said in its own letter to the FCC that Apple had outright “rejected” the Google Voice application from the App Store.

The approval of the two apps would suggest that the search giant could once again submit its Google Voice application, and have it accepted into the App Store.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available.

Google Voice-enabled apps to go through resubmission process for App Store approval

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Date: Friday, September 10th, 2010, 03:38
Category: News, Software

In spite of software companies nipping at each other’s heels, there tends to be second chances.

Google has received confirmation from Apple that its voice-enabled app will “most likely” be re-approved for the App Store.

Per AppleInsider, Sean Kovacs, the developer behind the GV Mobile app, posted the news on Twitter Thursday. The resubmission process may take as long as a week, said Kovacs.

Apple announced Thursday that it had was making “important changes” to its iOS Developer Program license. In response to criticism about the openness and lack of transparency of the App Store, Apple also released the company’s App Store Review Guidelines.

Kovacs posted a Twitter message Thursday speculating that GV Mobile complied with the changes to the license. “Since GV Mobile complies with all 110+ guidelines newly posted by Apple, it should get approved?”

Several hours later, Kovacs received “confirmation back from Apple that it will most likely get back in” once he resubmits the app.

In July of last year, Apple removed third-party Google Voice-enabled apps, including GV Mobile, from the App Store. Kovacs was later contacted by an Apple representative, but was given few details about the takedown. He responded by moving the app to Cydia, an alternative app store for jailbroken devices.

The app removals by Apple prompted an investigation by the FCC. A ‘he said, she said’ debate ensued, with Google claiming that Apple had rejected its Google Voice app, and Apple claiming that the app was still “under review.”

In a filing with the FCC, Apple said it had not consulted with AT&T in reviewing the Google Voice app. Apple took issue with Google Voice because it “replaced the iPhone’s core mobile telephone functionality and Apple user interface with its own user interface for telephone calls, text messaging and voicemail” and uploaded the user’s contacts to Google servers.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available.

Rumored Apple streaming service encountering delays, limited version could appear in 2010

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Date: Tuesday, August 3rd, 2010, 05:44
Category: iTunes, News

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As cool an idea as it may be, Apple’s rumored iTunes cloud service is apparently mired in licensing issues and could be further down the road than previously thought, though a limited version of the service could be released in 2010.

Sources told CNet that if ‘in the cloud’ music features from Apple are released in the next few months, they will probably be “modest in scope,” rather than more robust offerings as previously rumored.

After Apple purchased the online music streaming service LaLa late last year, speculation about the possibility of an iTunes streaming service increased. In January, one music industry veteran went on record saying that an upcoming version of iTunes would make users’ iTunes libraries “available from any browser or net connected iPod/touch/tablet.”

Although the article claims that causes for the delay remain unclear, licensing issues and personnel changes may be a large part of the problem. According to the report, Apple “still hasn’t obtained the licenses needed to store or distribute music from the cloud.”

Additionally, music industry sources said Monday that “one of Lala’s four founding members, someone who moved to Apple after the acquisition, has recently left the company.”

These delays could cost Apple if Google launches a competing service first. Although the company has partnered with music streaming services in the past, it has yet to launch a full-featured cloud music service. CNet’s sources report that “Google’s music attempts have never appeared this concrete before.”

On the other hand, positive evidence that the project remains on track can be found by looking at Apple’s US$1 billion North Carolina server farm project. Several analysts are predicting that the project is being built specifically for a cloud media service. In July, Apple Chief Financial Officer Peter Oppenheimer announced that the server farm is “on schedule” to open by the end of the year.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available.