Google announces All Access music streaming service

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Date: Thursday, May 16th, 2013, 07:46
Category: News, Software

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When in doubt, offer some additional competition.

Per AppleInsider, Google on Wednesday introduced its long-anticipated Spotify competitor: Google Play Music All Access, a “uniquely Google approach” to subscription music service.

Google engineering director Chris Yerga announced the new music service during the keynote for the search giant’s annual Google I/O developer conference. As was previously rumored, the streaming service is similar to popular music service Spotify, but it also adds elements similar to Internet radio service Pandora.

“We set out to build a music service that didn’t just give you access to the world of music,” Yerga said, “but also helped guide you through it.”

All Access has a focus on personalized recommendations, using a feature called “Explore”. Explore allows users to start a radio station from an individual track. Once the station is established, users can tailor the tracks that will play to their likes by stopping tracks that they don’t want to hear.

The new streaming service will also suggest new releases and other tracks that Google thinks users will enjoy based on their listening habits. All Access will also allow users to blend their own Google Play-stored tracks in on playlists with All Access songs.

The move into streaming will bring Google into competition not only with Spotify and Pandora, but also potentially with Apple. The iPhone maker is said to be working on its own radio service to debut some time this summer. Much of the negotiations with the major record labels is said to already be done, but holdouts among some labels are thought to be holding up the rollout of Apple’s streaming option.

All Access is available in the United States as of May 15 for US$10 per month. Google is opening up the service to all users in the country, though, for a 30-day free trial. Users beginning their trial before June 30 will be able to take advantage of a special discount, getting access to the streaming service for US$8 per month.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available and if you’ve tried All Access and have any feedback to offer, please let us know in the comments.

Google to launch Maps for iPad, incorporate additional features, this summer

Posted by:
Date: Thursday, May 16th, 2013, 06:33
Category: iOS, iPad, News, Software

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There’s some cool stuff coming out of Google I/O 2013 and this is no exception.

Per Android Central, Google has announced that new features will be coming to the Google Maps for iPhone later this summer and, what’s more, it’ll be getting an iPad-specific interface as well.

Albeit unconfirmed at this point, the new version could also incorporate Google’s new five-point rating system, integrated Google Offers, and more.

Also interesting, Google Maps in the browser will be using WebGL, which could be interesting depending on how it’s implemented.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available.

Google Drive space upgraded to 15 GB for all accounts, transition to take place over next few weeks

Posted by:
Date: Tuesday, May 14th, 2013, 06:25
Category: iOS, News, Software

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You can’t knock healthy competition.

Per The Unofficial Apple Weblog, Google announced that it will be upgrading its complimentary Google Drive storage space from 5 GB to 15 GB.

Google says the changes will be rolling out over the next several weeks to all customers. All that space is shared, so if you are just using Google Drive Photo (for example), that 15 GB is shared with any other Google services that require storage.

With this move, Google has unified its storage system, a similar concept to the Apple pool of iCloud storage, although at this point Apple does not count image storage in Photo Stream against your 5 GB allotment. Google has a free iOS app so you can access this storage space, and it can also be managed through a web browser on any computer.

Take a gander at Google Drive as the upgrade occurs and if you love it or hate it, please let us know in the comments, as always.

Google Drive updated to 1.9.4536.8202, allows for easier cross-platform sharing

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Date: Tuesday, May 7th, 2013, 07:55
Category: News, Software

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Never knock a useful update.

Per iMore, Google has rolled version 1.9.4536.8202 of its Google Drive program for the Mac. The update features better sharing in mind, with the addition of a right-click share menu. Files will naturally have to already be in your Google Drive folder, but quick sharing is sure to be appreciated by power users.

Clicking on the share menu brings up the box we see here. You get your link, privacy settings, people to share with and who can edit the file you’re sharing.

The new sharing menu is beginning to hit users now, and will continue rolling out over the next few days.

Google Drive 1.9.4536.8202 is available as a free 24.9 megabyte download and requires an Intel-based Mac running Mac OS X 10.6 or later to install and run.

If you’ve tried the new version and have any feedback to offer, let us know in the comments.

Delicious Library updated to 3.0

Posted by:
Date: Thursday, April 25th, 2013, 06:16
Category: News, Software

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On Thursday, software company Delicious Monster released version 3.0 of the shareware favorite, Delicious Library. Delicious Monster allows Macs with webcams to scan the bar codes of any book, movie, music CD or video game, then creates an archive based on background information from the Internet. Additional features help keep the library organized and reseller’s tools allow for items to be quickly posted for sale online.

The new version, an 81 megabyte download, adds the following fixes and changes:

Major New Features:
- Fully 3D cover view.

- All items are drawn in full 3D [industry first], with multiple light sources and normal, reflection, and environment maps.

- Books are rendered at actual thickness based on page count.

- Live lighting changes as items are selected.

- Shadows draw dynamically behind all items.

- Many gorgeous woods to choose from for shelves.

- New “Recommended” pane.

- Makes smart recommendations by considering everything the user owns and has ever rated.

- User can now rate items they don’t own to improve recommendations (using search widget).

- Recommended items that user’s friends own have badges so they can be easily borrowed.

- Add recommended items to the wishlist with a single click.

- New “Wishlist” pane.

- New Flexible Smart shelves.

- New global search.

- Displays results in a table/popover like iTunes 11.

- Searches through user’s collection, friends’ collections, and online.

- Can be used to find existing items or new ones.

- Can be used to rate items user doesn’t own but has opinions on.

- User can also search by speaking or selecting a cover color.

- New iOS barcode scanner app.

- New interactive charts mode.

Preferences
- Entire UI redesigned to be bookshelf-centric.

- Show covers, a table, or charts using buttons at upper left of the window.

- Switch between owned items, recommended items, and wishlist items at the upper center.

- Find existing or new items in search widget at the upper right.

- Switch between media types with buttons at the lower left.

- Change sorting at the bottom middle.

- Show and hide auxilliary right pane using button at the lower right.

- Source list is hidden by default but available for advanced users.

Medium-sized New Features:
- We’ve eliminated the “Preferences” panel–all options are set where they are actually used, instead of in a single global panel.

- iTunes books will be read into Delicious Library 3 when iTunes is launched.

- Two new Amazon stores are now accessible: Italy and Spain.

Popover Details:
- Dates entered manually remember their precision, so if the user specifies “Jan, 2000″ for a book’s release date, it won’t switch it to “Jan 1, 2000.” However, dates are still formatted according to the user’s localization settings in System Preferences.

- When editing multi-line fields, the “return” key goes to a new line as users expect (no need to figure out “option-return”).

Sorting:
- User’s favorite sorts are remembered and can be re-applied anywhere.

- Improved per-language article-stripping; e.g., ignoring “a, an, the” in English, “der, die, das” in German.

Publishing:
- Now remembers multiple places; e.g., set up publishing both to Dropbox and FTP site
Live preview the generated web pages.

- Privacy options moved to publishing shelves.

Printing:
- Added “Compact” template to minimize paper use.

- Added “Insurance” template to show fields insurance companies care about in the event of theft.

- Interface cleaned up so template selection is obvious.

Scanning history:
- User’s last 500 added items are shown above scanner window for easy rating or deleting.

- Provides context if a book isn’t found online so it can be entered manually.

- Import from another library.

- Import libraries from other machines without removing current items.

- Importing the same library twice applies the changes but doesn’t duplicate items.

- Can be used to easily sync libraries between computers.

- Multiple people can scan in items on multiple computers, then merge all the items into one collection.

- Importing is now undoable.

Friends:
- Loans now appear in friends’ sidebars instead of in main bookshelf view, to reduce confusion.

- Send loan reminder e-mails with a single click.

- Friends can be re-ordered in source list. If friends are dragged into a sorted order, they’ll stay in that order automatically.

Help:
- The “Search:” field in the main menu’s Help searches our online forums for relevant answers.

Tiny New Features:
- When user first launches the app, most panes explain why they are empty and what to do.

- All item types from Amazon are supported (user prompted for the type if item is from a store we don’t recognize).

- More descriptive titles for most menu items; e.g., “Delete 4 Books” or “Delete Shelf” instead of “Delete”.

- Added expand-on-hover, so if titles or authors are ever drawn truncated they can still be read.

- Cover view responds to some EMACS keybindings for selection movement.

- Items can be dragged from and to more places.

- Items can be dragged to the trash can to delete.

- User can copy media with command-C and paste into text areas or URL-taking places.

New Features from OS X:
- Scene Kit: for fast, gorgeous, interactive 3D graphics

- Sharing Services: tweet, iMessage, Facebook, or e-mail items to friends

- SQLite write-ahead logging: user’s database can no longer be corrupted if machine crashes

- Full-screen mode: added and optimized

- New drag architecture: multiple items can be dragged in or out at once

- Spotlight: Library items are written to Spotlight, can be found quickly in the global Spotlight search pane (command-space) with structured queries like “media:book color:blue” (standard Spotlight keys include: kMDItemAlbum, kMDItemComposer, kMDItemContentCreationDate, kMDItemDirector, kMDItemGenre, kMDItemMediaTypes, kMDItemPerformers, kMDItemRecordingDate, and kMDItemMediaTypes).

- QuickLook: Spotlight items (or media dragged onto the desktop) are viewable in QuickLook with full-color covers and complete descriptions.

- Retina graphics: high-resolution graphics used throughout.

- State restoration: Delicious Library opens up exactly as it was last closed.

- 64-bit: for unlimited memory, and because it’s faster.

- Obj-C 2 runtime: faster, future-proof.

- ARC: eliminates certain categories of crash bugs.

- Constraints-based layout: makes the layout of all buttons and text much more natural
NSSupportsSuddenTermination: quits instantly when it’s safe.

- If it’s not safe to quit, user can force quit if there’s a long operation in progress, or the app will auto-quit when long operation is over.

- Automatic termination: can automatically quit under memory pressure.

- Power assertions: the machine won’t idle-sleep during long operations (publishing, importing, etc.)

Some Bugs Fixed:
- Deleting thousands of items (and undoing that deletion) is now close to instant instead of taking minutes.

Friends:
- Friends’ libraries now download in the background, NOT blocking the program from running. Yay.

- Friends’ libraries aren’t re-downloaded every launch but only if the friend has changed something.

- Friends’ libraries are imported MUCH more quickly.

- If friends are removed from Contacts, the app doesn’t forget their names.

- Undoing the deletion of a friend restores items loaned to that friend.

- Adding a new friend doesn’t spam Google when automatically searching for the friend’s published library.

- Adding friends is undoable.

Delicious Library 3.0 retails for US$40 and requires OS X 10.8 or later to install and run.

If you’ve tried the new version and have any feedback to offer, please let us know in the comments.

Google Earth updated to 7.1.1.1580

Posted by:
Date: Tuesday, April 23rd, 2013, 06:03
Category: News, Software

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Late Monday, software giant Google released version 7.1.1.1580 of its popular Google Earth program. The new version, a 42.8 megabyte download, adds the following fixes and changes:
- Ability to create rich, annotated images from print and save.

- Redesigned print flow.

- Viewshed/Line of Sight analysis tool from a placemark.

- Support for LEAP Motion device.

- Enhanced starfield.

- Google Feedback tool integration.

- Redesigned balloons.

Bug fixes:
- Polygons and image overlays display over the international dateline.

- Performance improvements in Movie Maker and in viewing 3D imagery areas.

- Ocean surface displays across Mac clients with Intel GPUs.

- Full Map names display in Google Maps Engine maps.

- Earth client now supports NTLM authentication for a PAC file.

- Fixed Incorrect “Z-order” in rendering overlapped vector layers.

Google Earth 7.1.1.1580 requires an Intel-based Mac running Mac OS X 10.6 or later to install and run.

If you’ve tried the new version and have any feedback to offer, let us know in the comments.

Rumor: Microsoft working on “iWatch” device of its own

Posted by:
Date: Monday, April 15th, 2013, 06:17
Category: Hardware, Rumor

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You know that rumor about Apple working on an iWatch of sorts?

Microsoft may be working on its own.

Per the Wall Street Journal, Microsoft is apparently working on designs for a touch-enabled watch device, executives at suppliers said, potentially joining rivals like Apple Inc. in working on a new class of computing products.

Earlier this year, Microsoft asked suppliers in Asia to ship components for a potential watch-style device, the executives said. One executive said he met with Microsoft’s research and development team at the software company’s Redmond, Wash., headquarters. But it’s unclear whether Microsoft will opt to move ahead with the watch, they said.

Microsoft declined to comment.

Some investors and big technology companies are betting on a boom in wearable, computerized devices built around the growing power and slimming size of sensors that can detect body temperature, geographic location and voice commands of people on the go.

Some of the new wearable gadgets, like Nike Inc.’s FuelBand, measure physical activity, while others are intended to supplement functions of a smartphone, such as receiving text messages, taking photos or checking the weather. Apple has also experimented with designs for a wristwatch-style device.

Startup Pebble Technology Corp. is selling a watch that syncs wirelessly with smartphones and vibrates to alert wearers to incoming phone calls, Twitter posts and emails. Google Inc. is testing with consumers a device it calls Google Glass, an eyeglass-style gadget that displays certain computerized information in a user’s field of vision.

“We see growing demand for wearable gadgets as the size of the smartphone has become too big to carry around,” said RBS analyst Wanli Wang. “A smart watch that is compatible with a smartphone and other electronics devices would be attractive to consumers.”

Research firm Gartner expects the market for wearable smart electronics to be a $10 billion industry by 2016.

This isn’t the first time that Microsoft has shown an interest in wearable gadgets. Microsoft a decade ago unveiled a “Smart Watch” powered by the company’s software. For a subscription fee, Smart Watch wearers could have news headlines, sports scores and instant messages beamed over FM radio to their wrists. But sales stopped in 2008.

For its potential new watch prototype, Microsoft has requested 1.5-inch displays from component makers, said an executive at a component supplier.

The tests of a computerized watch also underscore Microsoft’s ambitions in expanding its hardware offerings. Last October, Microsoft launched the Surface tablet-style computer, and the company is prepping more homegrown computing devices including a smaller, 7-inch version of a tablet to compete with popular gadgets like Apple’s iPad Mini, people familiar with the matter have said.

Microsoft also is continuing to test its own smartphone, although it isn’t clear whether it will bring such a device to market, component suppliers said.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available.

Independent study finds Bing engine returning five times the as many malware websites as Google

Posted by:
Date: Friday, April 12th, 2013, 07:55
Category: News

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Well, this is a bit awkward.

Per PC Magazine, searches on Bing returned five times more links to malicious websites than Google searches, according to an 18-month study from German independent testing lab AV-Test. Though search engines have worked to suppress malicious results, the study concluded that malware-infested websites still appear in their top results.

The study looked at nearly 40 million websites provided by seven different search engines. About 10 million results came from Bing and another 10 million from Google. 13 million sites were provided by the Russian service Yandex, with the rest coming from Blekko, Faroo, Teoma and Baidu respectively. Of these 40 million sites, AV-Test found 5,000 pieces of malware—and admittedly small percentage of websites.

The study concluded that while all the search engines the lab evaluated delivered malware, Google delivered the least. It was followed by Bing, which returned a disconcerting five times as much malware as Google. Yandex, the Russian website, delivered 10 times as many malicious sites.

Thankfully, the 5,000 pieces of malware the study found are concentrated in Yandex results—which had 3,330 malicious links out of the 13 million the AV-Test looked at. Bing had a little under half that, with 1,285 malicious results out of 10 million pages. Google returned a mere 272 malicious results in 10 million while Bleko had even fewer: 203 out of around three million.

The good news is that if you’re a Google user or even a Bing user, the chances that you would encounter a malicious website in your search are low. Doing some quick arithmetic, it looks like the chance of a Googler hitting malware is about one in 40,118.

Of course, those odds are repeated billions of times a day. “[It] is important to remember that Google alone deals with a phenomenal total of 2 to 3 billion search requests worldwide every day,” reads the study. “If this total is factored into the calculations, the total number of websites containing malware found by the search engine is enough to make your head spin!”

In 2009, Google reported it handled around 320 million searches a day for America alone and around 2 billion worldwide. That’s potentially about 50,000 malicious sites a day.

In an era where malware is becoming more and more prevalent on the Mac, it never hurts to start with the right search engine.

Adobe releases Flash Player 11.7.700.169

Posted by:
Date: Wednesday, April 10th, 2013, 08:15
Category: iOS, iPad, News, security, Software

A hefty update is never unappreciated.

On Wednesday, Adobe released Flash Player 11.7.700.169 for Mac OS X, a 16.9 megabyte download via MacUpdate. The new version adds the following fixes and changes:

Fixed Issues:
- On Retina-enabled OS X devices, Flash applications are scaled incorrectly upon opening (3496539).

-In AIR on iOS, loading a SWF with and embedded video can cause a crash in some circumstances (3514499).

- In AIR on iOS, loading an image from a remote server can cause a crash (3476445).

- On OS X, setting stage.fullScreenSourceRect when renderMode is set to “GPU”, leads to inaccurate mouse position reporting (3512232).

- In the Chrome browser, the copy shortcut (Ctrl/Cmd+C) fails (3496300).

- Attempting to embed a Flash project into Microsoft word can result in a crash (3498002).

- In AIR for iOS, some apps get rejected for missing push notification entitlement (3501744).

- In AIR for iOS, Flex applications running on iPad2 over 3G connections can experience a crash (3435401).

- In AIR for iOS, reloading of pure asset SWFs isn’t allowed (3516971).

- On OS X, some fonts do not rending properly when viewing Flash content in the Google Chrome browser (3506958).

New Features:
- Sandboxing enhancements.

- Prevent Cloud backup for Shared Objects (iOS).

- Use CPU render mode for selected devices (iOS).

- Externally host secondary SWF files (iOS).

Adobe Flash Player 11.7.700.169 requires an Intel-based Mac running Mac OS X 10.6 or later to install and run.

If you’ve tried the new Flash Player and have any feedback to offer, please let us know in the comments.

Google Chrome updated to 26.0.1410.63

Posted by:
Date: Wednesday, April 10th, 2013, 07:32
Category: News, Software

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An update’s an update.

On Wednesday, Google released version 26.0.1410.63 of its Chrome web browser. The update, a 49.8 megabyte download, adds the following fixes and changes:
- Stability improvements.

- A new version of Adobe Flash.

Google Chrome 26.0.1410.63 requires an Intel-based Mac with Mac OS X 10.6 or later to install and run. If you’ve tried the new version and have any feedback to offer, please let us know in the comments.