Google Earth 5.1.3533.1731 Released

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Date: Thursday, November 19th, 2009, 05:34
Category: Software

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Late Wednesday, software giant Google released version 5.1.3533.1731 of its popular Google Earth program. The new version, a 15.9 megabyte download, adds the following new features:

- Improved Startup Time. The improvement is most noticeable when users launch the Earth application multiple times.
- Improved overall rendering performance. Changes include faster atmosphere rendering and using compressed textures whenever possible.
- Improved Road rendering Performance: Frame rate at places with dense road networks is three times faster than in previous releases.
- Improved memory utilization in the application.
- Significantly smoother frame-rate and less stuttering in the application compared to previous releases.
- Improved performance with large region based network link KML documents. Some of large KML documents are now processed and rendered at more than twice the speed of earlier releases.
- Improved KML document handling performance. Large regionated KML Image overlays are up to 80% faster than previous releases.
- Support for KML hint = moon or mars to switch to moon or mars based on kml document.
- Availability of one installer that installs both the Google Earth application and browser plugin.
- Desktop Application now works on Windows 7.
- Users can set the memory cache size up to 1024 MB now.

The new version requires Mac OS X 10.4 or later to install and run.

Google Earth iPhone App Reaches Version 2.0

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Date: Tuesday, November 17th, 2009, 05:56
Category: iPhone, Software

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Late Monday, Google released version 2.0 of its Google Earth for iPhone app. The new version lets you add user-created maps from your Mac or PC to your iPhone, adds visual feedback when you select certain locations, provides easier browsing and adds new language support.

The application is available for free and requires iPhone OS 2.0 or later to install and run.

Adium Updated to 1.3.8

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Date: Thursday, November 5th, 2009, 04:36
Category: Software

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Adium, the open source instant message chat client with support for multiple programs (including AOL Instant Messenger, ICQ, Jabber, MSN, Yahoo! Google Talk, Bonjour, etc.) has been updated to version 1.3.8.

The new version, a 21.4 megabyte download, offers the following fixes and changes:

- Updated pidgin-facebook chat, fixing login.
- Corrected the Events preferences not displaying the correct list on Snow Leopard.

Adium X is available for free and requires Mac OS X 10.4 or later to run. The program functions as a Universal Binary and runs at native speeds on both PowerPC and Intel-based hardware.

Google Chrome Web Browser Could Hit the Mac by Christmas

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Date: Friday, October 9th, 2009, 07:00
Category: Software

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A Mac OS X version of Google Chrome could arrive as early as Christmas. According to Macworld UK, Google CEO Eric Schmidt broke the news at a New York press conference responding to a question about Chrome’s market share, which some have claimed is disappointing.

“I see a lot of Macs in this room, and a lot of very sophisticated people are using Macs now and we need to get a version of Chrome out for that, which we’ll have in a couple of months. The key to browser strength is speed.”

Google Chrome is billed as a browser that combines minimal design with sophisticated technology to make the web faster, safer and easier.

The Mac version was expected sometime in 2010.

Google Voice to Hit iPhone as Web-Based App

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Date: Tuesday, August 11th, 2009, 04:42
Category: iPhone, Software

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In spite of recent drama between Google and Apple, Google Voice will soon be available for the iPhone, though as a web-based application according to the New York Times.

The all-things-phone-management application (which was widely speculated to have been rejected for threatening AT&T profits on calling plans) will be rewritten as a stylized Web site that offers everything the rejected app would have.

It’s currently unclear as to whether Apple would reject a repurposed Google Voice app, though considering that Apple’s recent decision to reject the app managed to draw attention from a wide range of people, including some at the FCC, the company probably thought it best to allow a Google Voice variant slide.

Web-based apps can be bookmarked on the iPhone interface and appear like an app purchased from the App Store.
A text-heavy version of Google Voice can currently be tested on your iPhone by pointing Safari to google.com/voice/m.

Rumor: Netflix May Bring Streaming Service to iPhone, Other Handsets

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Date: Tuesday, August 4th, 2009, 05:16
Category: iPhone 3GS, Rumor

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Citing an unnamed source described as “an industry executive familiar with Netflix’s plans,” an article in Multichannel News is claiming that Netflix will soon offer its Watch Instantly streaming video service on the iPhone, iPod touch and the Nintendo Wii.

The brief reportdescribes the move as the next step for Netflix’ content, which currently streams to Windows PCs, Macs, the Xbox 360, TiVo DVRs, the Roku, and certain TV and Blu-Ray players built to support video downloads.

Unlike its DVDs-by-mail service, Netflix’ Watch Instantly library offers much less variety, with limited popular content such as recent movies and TV series. Older titles and oddball independent films are also available for immediate viewing and the Watch Instantly service is also included for viewing at no extra cost over the base Netflix subscription, in contrast to iTunes’ pay per view pricing.

Unlike media purchased or rented from iTunes, Netflix’ streaming content plays back directly with no download. This requires no local storage on the playback device, but results in playback quality that is dependent upon the available network bandwidth. With iTunes and the Apple TV, content is progressively downloaded, enabling users to obtain HD content even with a slower connection, albeit with a longer wait.

The advantage of Netflix’ instantly streaming video is that little or no storage is required. If the iPhone and Wii are powerful enough to decode the live stream, this could add a new customer segment for Netflix, the users not having to worry about their devices storing the downloaded content.

Whether the iPhone or Wii could decode quality video only using software may be an issue, as Netflix playback on the more powerful Apple TV has been cited by some as not practical due to its lack of any Windows Media codec hardware acceleration.

Video playback over AT&T’s mobile network would likely also be prohibited by any Netflix streaming player app, making any iPhone version Wi-Fi only, in line with other video streaming apps such as SlingPlayer Mobile.

As a workaround to the iPhone’s intentionally missing support for Windows DRM, Netflix could also take a page from Google and utilize the native support in iPhone OS 3.0 for HTTP Live Streaming, which plays streaming video to the iPhone and iPod Touch using standard MPEG AAC/H.264 codecs over familiar web-based protocols.

At the launch of the iPhone, Google shifted its Flash-based YouTube service to also support H.264 at Apple’s behest, allowing the iPhone to work around the need for Flash playback while also delivering hardware accelerated video playback using open protocols.

Support for HTTP Live Streaming will also be built into QuickTime X playback for Snow Leopard, and appears to be slated for adoption in the next revision of Apple TV. Third parties will also be able to implement HTTP Live Streaming on their own devices.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available.

Apple Systematically Pulling Google Voice, Similar Applications

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Date: Tuesday, July 28th, 2009, 06:24
Category: News

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Apple is apparently systematically yanking iPhone applications from the App Store that use Google Voice to simplify and reduce the costs of making phone calls, though it’s suspected Apple isn’t the one making the actual judgment call.

According to AppleInsider, developer Sean Kovacs, was surprised on Monday to discover that his GV Mobile client for Google Voice was to be pulled from the App Store as it was allegedly duplicating the iPhone’s calling and text messaging features. Apple representative Richard Chipman contacted him personally but not only wasn’t specific about what could be fixed but wouldn’t provide e-mail to confirm the takedown.

Although individual removals aren’t uncommon, later reports have surfaced that Apple had pulled VoiceCentral, another competitor, and had even denied Google when it tried to quietly submit a Google Voice app six weeks ago in spite of its corporate partnerships with Apple.

The systematic disappearances don’t currently have a larger official explanation but, given the common thread of their using the same service, is now thought less to a matter of Apple guarding its built-in features and more cellular carriers pushing it to keep the service out. Google Voice not only allows users one virtual phone number to call multiple real phones but greatly reduces the cost of outbound long-distance and messaging, all of which potentially deprive AT&T and eventually other carriers of possible extra revenue.

Such an unspoken ban would also go a step beyond normal restrictions on which apps are allowed and what they can do. In the past, carriers have argued against allowing voice over IP apps such as Fring and Skype on the cellular network for technical reasons, such as latency; the lag on even a 3G network is high enough that holding a regular conversation isn’t really feasible, for example. In restricting Google Voice, which still uses the regular voice network for much of its activity, the primary advantage is to eliminate competition.

Neither Apple nor AT&T have offered official comments on the issue.

Apple Changes Newest iPhone Model Name to “iPhone 3GS”

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Date: Tuesday, June 23rd, 2009, 05:01
Category: iPhone, News

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In a move that may seem both a little odd but actually makes sense, Apple has quietly changed the way it is spelling the new iPhone 3GS, which now appears without a space all of Apple’s press materials.

According the Macworld UK, Apple’s website is still using the “iPhone 3G S” term. The general understanding is that it is officially “iPhone 3GS” from now on and that the main website will be updated shortly.

When the iPhone 3GS first launched, there was much consternation amongst the press as to the correct spelling of the new product, compounded by the logo – which places the “S” inside a small square.

Apple helped clarify matters by issuing press releases with the term “iPhone 3G S”. But just four days into the launch it has changed the spelling to iPhone 3GS, and reworked all of its press materials to mark the new change.

One that is that the revised name offers more clarity for Google, and other web search engines, helping avoid confusion between searches for the new and old model of iPhone.

On the other hand, there may be a legal reason behind the move. It may be that Apple’s legal department pointed out that 3G is a generic term, and that S is a generic term and that “3G S” would be difficult to copyright; whereas “3GS” would be more easy to protect.

Or there may be another, unknown reason. An Apple spokesman allegedly commented to media that “we just feel it looks better with the 3GS all together.”

Google Releases Early Beta of Chrome Web Browser for Mac OS X

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Date: Friday, June 5th, 2009, 09:02
Category: Software

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It ain’t for the faint of heart, but according to Macworld UK, the Google team released an early beta of its long-anticipated Chrome web browser for Mac OS X.
Under the heading “Danger: Mac and Linux builds available” the Google Chromium blog warns of the following:
“In order to get more feedback from developers, we have early developer channel versions of Google Chrome for Mac OS X and Linux, but whatever you do, please DON’T DOWNLOAD THEM! Unless of course you are a developer or take great pleasure in incomplete, unpredictable, and potentially crashing software.”
“How incomplete? So incomplete that, among other things, you won’t yet be able to view YouTube videos, change your privacy settings, set your default search provider, or even print.”
“Meanwhile, we’ll get back to trying to get Google Chrome on these platforms stable enough for a beta release as soon as possible!”
Take a gander if you’re feeling brave and let us know what you make of it…

Microsoft Launches Bing Preview

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Date: Tuesday, June 2nd, 2009, 13:59
Category: Microsoft, Software

Having lost the battle to acquire Yahoo! so many times, Microsoft decided it still needed to get into the search engine business, and this weekend they launched a “preview” of the service.

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Called “bing“, the service doesn’t look much unlike Google, except for some prettier formatting. Opinions online seem pretty varied so far, as people try to test the new engine search capabilities. Much like the recent Wolfram|Alpha preview, most users seem polarized from being very impressed, to not at all, with search results of some terms leaving much to be desired. However, as a preview, it seems to do a pretty good job.

Personally, I did not spend a lot of time hammering on the service, but I did find the image search to be very good, and I liked the way the images were displayed where a roll-over would give you the additional details and location of the picture.

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It also seemed pretty fast compared to Google, but maybe bing just doesn’t have enough data to bog it down yet. If there was one thing that really disappoints me about the service, it is that I don’t see anything new or revolutionary. Perhaps that is coming, but it seems like Microsoft is doing the usual thing and just putting their spin on something somebody else has already done. Come on guys, lets see some innovation!

Send us your thoughts in the forums!