Google have just unleashed Google Music from its beta hold, and have also announced a music store that is built into the Android Market. Google Music is available to anyone in the US without an invitation requirement, and includes the ability to upload 20,000 songs to the cloud for free.
Google Music will have an app for Windows, Mac and Linux devices that will help you upload songs to the cloud, and the songs uploaded to the cloud can be either streamed or "pinned" for offline listening. The Android Market music store will include millions of songs, sortable by genre, sub genre, top albums, and top songs.
There are Staff Picks and a New Releases section, song prices range between $0.99 and $1.29 and every song is 320kbps MP3s with 90 second previews for each song. There will be a new free song every day and the first one is David Bowie's "Sound and Vision", Google have said there will be hundreds of free songs from the get-go. Big major labels have joined in, such as Universal, EMI and Sony music, as well as a number of smaller, independent labels.
Microsoft are set to roll some changes into their Xbox.com site over the next few days in anticipation for the upcoming Xbox 360 dashboard update. "My Xbox" will be replaced by a forward-thinking "Social" area, which will feature Metro UI styling. This new Social section will also give Xbox.com users the ability to be the first to try the new Beacons feature, which lets you mark games you want to play with others, making it easier to find friends who want to play the same game.
Microsoft have baked in a bunch of other extras such as the ability to search the Zune video catalog and buy movies and TV shows directly from your browser. At the top of the replacement of 'My Xbox', which is now "Social", will be the ability to be taken directly to the Social page when visiting Xbox.com.
At the top of the Social page, there will be a group of tiles that you might find familiar, this is the new Metro UI. This is where Microsoft will have Xbox LIVE events, preview articles with all of the latest details on the hottest new items on the Marketplace, new video and game releases, Gamer Spotlight, and more. To the left of these are quick links which display how many friends are online, and how many messages you currently have.
Steam's official forums are currently offline with a message reading "The Steam forums are temporarily offline for maintenance. Your patience is appreciated." Is maintenance the actual issue, though? It is believed that the site's vBulletin forum software may have been hacked, with Valve not yet to comment on the issue, with some gamers noticing a suspicious message on the forum last night that leads most to believe it was a security breach.
Eurogamer was contacted by a Steam user who said a group known as fkn0wned changed the text on the forum and spammed some user's e-mail addresses. Below is what was said:
Ever wanted to dominate the servers you play on with guaranteed results, but you were too afraid to cheat because of ban risks? Visit Fkn0wned.com. It's safe, secure and undetected. Along with hacks, we've also got some general discussion sections, hacking tutorials and tools, porn, free giveaways and much more. This site has been conditioned to meet all of your needs in terms of resources so be sure to take a look and tell us what you think. Thanks again, the fkn0wned team.
Google completed their Caffeine web indexing system last year, which allows them to crawl and index the web from fresh content quickly on an enormous scale. Google have just announced that they're making quite a significant change to their ranking algorithm that impacts roughly 35-percent of searches and better determines when to give you more up-to-date relevant results for these varying degrees of freshness.
Obviously, in today's world, information is power. But information can be from today, last week, the last minute, or thirty years ago depending on the search terms. Google's algorithm needs to be able to work out if a result from a week ago about a TV show is recent, or if a result from a week ago about breaking news is too old.
Google have rolled out their new Reader design over the last few days and it now sports the Google+ features that were mentioned a week ago. Reader now features a new look that is cleaner, faster and nicer to look at. It also includes the ability to +1 a feed item (which replaces "Like"), with an option to then share it with your circles on Google+ (this replaces "Share" and "Share with Note").
Google say that integrating Reader with Google+ helps them streamline Reader overall, so with the rollout, Google have cut away friending, following, shared items and comments and replaced them with similar Google+ functionality. Google are loving the new layout and have also rolled the layout onto GMail also. Personally, I use Reader every single day for my news here at TweakTown and I really don't like the new layout.
Naughty, iiNet! iiNet's recent ad on TV has been taken down after it was found it breached the Commercial Television Industry Code of Practice as it included a subliminal message. The message in the ad read:
Wow. Impressive. You not only spotted this in our TV ad, you found a way to read it. That can't have been easy. This whole page only lasted two frames. That's less than one tenth of a second. Well done, sir or madam. We're going to reward your awesome pausing powers with a little gift. Type this link into your browser: iinet.net.au/2framefreebie. And yes, you can tell your friends. But let's keep it to a minimum of a hundred, OK? And hey, watch for more two-frame freebies in our next TV campaign.
The link sends you here, but the limit of 100 entries has already been met. You can however, still enter your details for the chance to win one of five iPads. The message itself is fine, it won't make you a zombie for iiNet products, but it was enough of a breach to enable Free TV Australia to take it down. The Code of Practice states that information conveyed in a manner that is "below or near the threshold of normal awareness" is unacceptable.
Google and their "Broadcasting Ourselves ;)" slogan are going hard this weekend, with the announcement that Google will have even more talented creators and original entertainment will soon join YouTube's existing channel lineup. This includes channels created by well-known personalities and content producers from the TV, film, music, news and sports fields, as well as some of the most innovative up-and-coming media companies in the world and some of YouTube's own existing partners.
These channels are set to include something for everyone, no matter what style of media you're after. Google's goal with the channel's expansion is to bring users an even broader range of entertainment to YouTube, giving you more reasons to keep coming back again and again. Advertisers also benefit, with new ways to engage and reach their global consumers.
Chinese search engine Baidu posted their earnings today, and they've got some very impressive results. Total revenue in Q3 rocks along at $654.7 million, an 85.1-percent increase from the same period last year, net income was up 80-percent to $295 million. Diluted earnings for Q3 were $0.84; non-GAAP earnings were for the $0.86. Robin Li, chairman and chief executive officer of Baidu says:
Baidu recorded stellar results in the third quarter driven by rapid growth in customer spending and user traffic. In particular, spending by large customers significantly outperformed our expectations as we continued to build strong relationships with high quality companies. China's search industry is still in its early stages, and as the clear industry leader we see enormous room for continuing growth as users and online marketing customers become increasingly sophisticated.
YouTube, if you didn't already know, is seeing 3 billion videos viewed, per day. But, its also seeing 800 million people per month visiting the site, Google revealed in their third-quarter earnings report. Today, YouTube is announcing the ability to sell merchandise, tickets and more via the site. The new feature is called Merch Store, where YouTube partners will be able to sell artist merchandise, digital downloads, concert tickets and other experiences to fans and visitors.
YouTube has partnered up with a number of companies to launch these stores. Topspin is helping power merchandise sales, concert tickets and experiences; SongKick will dabble in selling tickets for concerts; and iTunes and Amazon will power transactions for music downloads. YouTube says the Merch Store will rock out to music partners globally over the coming weeks. YouTube remained silent on what the financial split will be for these sales, but did say that it takes a small percentage of sales just to cover costs.
However, the artist gets the same revenue no matter if they go through the Merch Store or through the affiliate on other channels. The new feature of the merchandise sales, ticket sales, digital downloads and more, really adds a few angle for artists with their fans. YouTube has now transformed from a place where people would visit just to watch music videos, to something that could really change up the industry for both fans and artists alike.
Google have just recently launched Google MapsGL. Google MapsGL takes the normal Google Maps and uses the power of Web Graphics Library (WebGL) to create far richer visuals and animations. WebGL is a new technology that uses hardware-accelerated 3D graphics and brings them into the browser without the need for additional installed software. With WebGL your maps experience is much better with 3D buildings, smoother transitions between imagery and the ability to instantly "swoop" into Street View, all without a plugin.
Google Maps with WebGL is currently working on just supported browsers (Chrome 14+ or Firefox Beta) with compatible video cards, you'll have to opt in to the early beta release, though. Visit maps.google.com and click "Try it now," or visit maps.google.com/gl to learn more. WebGL has been used to create experiences like their Chrome experiment "3 Dreams of Black" and "All is Not Lost", which is all happening within the browser.
Google are shutting down Google Buzz, its non-started Gmail-based social network that paved the way for such things as Google+. Google VP Product Bradley Horowitz wrote today in an announcement post on the Google Blog:
We learned a lot from products like Buzz, and are putting that learning to work every day in our vision for products like Google+.
Old Buzz content is still ok, and will be visible on users' Google profiles, users will also have the ability to export their data from Buzz before it becomes unavailable. This should be in a few weeks. Google is also shutting down some other social products such as Jaiku and iGoogle social features, not only that, but Code Search and a program that gives academic researchers API access to Google Search results.
This news bit is short and sweet, and doesn't add to your love handles, just in case you were wondering. iCloud gives you 5GB of free storage, not bad, eh? Well, Box.net are actually offering [for the next 50 days], iOS users the chance of grabbing 50GB of free storage. Free, that means $0. Not only is the deal bloody amazing, but there is no fineprint. No asterisks, no buts, nothing. Most of these types of offers expire after a certain amount of time, or are only open to fresh, new users, but this one is neither.
It is open to anyone and everyone and lasts forever. 50GB of free storage for iOS users thanks to Box.net, nice one!
iOS 5 is rolling out right now and for those of you who don't have it yet, the pieces of the puzzle are all being put together as we speak. Apple firstly released the new version of iTunes - 10.5, and now Apple have rolled out the red carpet for their iCloud website, where customers can sign up for the service that seamlessly backs up your data to the cloud. In order to use iCloud, you'll need the latest version of Mac OS X Lion or iOS 5.
If you have neither, you can still try and sign into the iCloud site (which requires your Apple ID and password) where you'll be greeted with the message: "To set up iCloud, go to iOS 5 Settings or OS X Lion System Preferences." Most users should be getting close to being able to access iCloud, so let us know how you go.
Google have released a new extension for their popular web browser Chrome, the new extension is called Chrome Remote Desktop BETA and is the first instalment on a capability allowing users to remotely access another computer through Chrome. The BETA is just that, a beta and Google want feedback on the core Chrome Remoting technology included.
This version of Chrome Remote Desktop BETA allows users to share with or get access to another computer anywhere in the world (as long as its connected to the Internet) by providing a one-time authentication code. Access is given only to the specific person the user identifies for one time only and the sharing session is completely secure.
A potential of Chrome Remote Desktop BETA is support roles, a helpdesk can use the Chrome Remote Desktop BETA to help another user, while the user can receive all the help they need all at the comfort of their chair. Additional use cases such as being able to access your own computer remotely are coming soon. Chrome Remote Desktop BETA is fully cross-platform which means you can use it on any computer that has a Chrome browser including Windows, Linux, Mac and Chromebooks.
Unreal Engine, one of the world's most popular 3D engines that powers some of the best AAA titles such as Gears of War and Mass Effects now works in Flash 11. Epic Games today announced that Unreal Engine 3 now works in Adobe Flash, demoing a Flash-based version of Unreal Tournament 3. What this means, is porting existing Unreal Engine 3-based games would definitely be an option.
Of course, the Flash-based version of Unreal Engine 3 is not as powerful as the non-browser-based engine, but its still a very "real" 3D experience. On top of this, developers will be able to migrate their games from say, iOS over to a browser-based environment without much hassle, making it possible to sell browser-based games that play the same games as apps on mobile devices.
What is more exciting, is every game on Facebook runs on Flash, and now Flash can run hardware-accelerated 3D, just like Real Games.
YouTube is finalizing deals with well-known personalities such as skateboarder Tony Hawk, and major media companies to produce original content for its popular website, as it seeks to become a next-generation cable provider that oversees dozens of free online "channels" with professional-grade shows. YouTube is putting $100 million into the deal, directly from cash advances to get some content produced. YouTube will recoup the funds from advertising revenue it sells against the content.
The Wall Street Journal mentions some potential partners such as: Tony Hawk, Warner Bros, News Corp's ShineReveille, FremantleMedia Ltd, BermanBraun, Electus, Everyday Health Inc, Iconic Entertainment LLC, DECA and Verso Entertainment. Oh, and, The Wall Street Journal "may produce news content for a YouTube channel".
The shows associated with some of the companies listed above include, X-Factor, Mob Wives and Ugly Betty - so we might just see similar shows produced for YouTube. Ad rates for YouTube are pretty low, which could pull advertisers away in droves from the cable-TV market.
Microsoft are going to rollout a bunch of new features to their 365 million or so users over the upcoming weeks. These new features include two-way e-mail, contact and calendar syncing, a bunch of update to Hotmail's web interface and also, an Android app. The new interface will allow you to automatically categorize incoming mail as newsletters, and then either trash them or sweep them to a folder.
There's now an "Unsubscribe" feature that also lets you do just that, with Hotmail handling the work of blocking future newsletters from that sender as well as asking that company to stop spamming you. Flagged messages will not sit at the top of the inbox so that they don't get lost in your sea or incoming mail. You can also set Hotmail to automatically flag messages with a particular subject line, from a certain sender, etc.
"Scheduled Cleanup" automatically deletes messages after a certain number of days past, while other updates include the ability to manage and edit folders and apply categories to individual emails - all inline. Instant Actions is also featured, which brings up options such as "delete" and "flag" when you hover your mouse cursor over them.
Microsoft's two-year old search engine, Bing, is losing close to $1 billion per quarter. Since Bing launched in 2009, Microsoft have lost $5.5 billion, but their losses actually pre-date that. And while we're at it, did you know that Microsoft's online services division has never made money? Since Microsoft began breaking out that unit's finances in 2007, they've lost a total of $9 billion. In the past 27 months, Microsoft has proudly claimed that it has gained search market share from Google.
Bing as it stands, has 14.7% of the search share market, up from 8.4% when it launched. Google currently has 64.8% down just two-tenths of a percentage point from the 65% it had when Bing launched. Microsoft has clawed market share traction from third-place rival, Yahoo. The rest of it has come from Ask.com and AOL. Also remember that Yahoo's search is Bing-powered, meaning that half of Microsoft's share growth has come from its search partner.
Microsoft President of Online Services, Qi Lu, said that Microsoft could not and would not try to "out-Google" Google. Instead they must "change the game fundamentally".
Kogan have begun a new phase in their mission to make the latest technology affordable for all. How will they do it? They're now sourcing brands like Canon, Nikon, Apple and Samsung by cutting out the middle man and sourcing the products higher up the supply chain, then selling direct to customers via Kogan.com. Until now, Australian-based customers have been ripped off by consumer electronics with prices significantly above World averages.
Kogan is already globally renowned as the place to go for best value consumer electronics that they design, assemble and deliver, including TVs, Blu-ray players, Digital Internet Radios, Home Appliances and more. The initial products that Kogan will add to their ever-growing list will include popular Digital SLR Cameras and Tablets. As with all Kogan products, they'll come with a 12 month warranty, extendable to up to 5 years.
On August 6, 1991, British engineer and computer scientist, Tim Berners-Lee from the European Organization for Nuclear Research (CERN) unveiled a project for organizing information, which would later result in it turning into what we use today as The Internet. He dubbed it the World Wide Web and posted a short summary on the alt.hypertext newsgroup.
The World Wide Web is really just a system of interlinked hypertext documents accessed via the Internet. Within this, users can obviously access text, images, videos and other multimedia web pages. Navigation of these web pages occurs via hyperlinks. Berners-Lee is now the Director for the World Wide Web Consortium and back in March of 1989, he used concepts from earlier hypertext systems to write a proposal that would essentially become the World Wide Web.
CNN are set to stream its news broadcasts to viewers through the Internet. CNN is set to make its programming available all day, everyday on desktops, iPhones and iPads as well as existing customers who are subscribers to CNN be it through cable, IP or satellite TV. CNN are also launching a new video player that offers simultaneous multi-window HD streams.
The 24-hour streaming will reportedly include both the core station and Headline News. CNN has been providing live streams to iPad users since December but this has only been for major events. Customers who subscribe to either through a provider such as Verizon, Comcast, Cox or Dish will have access to the streamed content. If you're an iPad or iPhone user, hit up the iTunes app store to download the enabling app.
CNN are also re-polishing their online viewing experience by offering up to four live streams of news and events, original video series as well as on-demand video clips with related CNN and HLN show information, both in HD.