Google is constantly tweaking the look and feel, as well as the back-end, of the products and services that we have come to love. Just yesterday, Google once again updated the search results page to make the results appear simpler and cleaner. The new design puts a larger emphasis on their knew Knowledge Graph, as you can see below:
The search tools that are needed every now and again have been consolidated into a menu above the results, which still allows access to them if they are needed. The new search design will be hitting US users first, with Google hoping to roll it out to other regions and languages as quickly as they possibly can.
What are your thoughts on the new design?
Amazon Prime used to be an add-on service that would set you back just under $80 a year. With it, Amazon would provide you with free two-day shipping on millions of items, free streaming of thousands of movies and TV shows, and a free Kindle book to borrow each month. However, $80 is a bit steep to pay at once.
Not to mention, you may only want to be a Prime member during the summer when you have free time. Hulu and Netflix, which offer streaming just like Amazon Prime, offer their service at $8 a month. And now, so does Amazon. Amazon will allow Prime users the option to pay $80 a year or $8 a month.
Of course, the yearly option is cheaper, but only if you're going to use it for the full year. If you only need it for a month, it makes much more sense to buy the monthly option for a month. This could also be a great way for users to try an extended trial. Amazon already offers a free one month trial, but you can easily add additional months for $8 until you are sure of the product.
Google has updated their doodle with the obligatory shout-out to the United States election today, but that's not all they've done. Clicking the logo will bring you to a page where you can enter your registered voting address. Once you've done that, it will show you you're official polling place, along with other election information.
Alternatively, you can access Google's Elections page directly. It's important that you get out to vote if you're registered to do so. Every vote counts, so make sure to head to your local polling place and cast your ballot.
The International Space Station have reached a great milestone, of 12 years of enjoying the company of crew continuously onboard. To celebrate, NASA have just unveiled a new service for users.
The new service is called Spot the Station, with the web app featuring the ability to text or e-mail the time that the ISS will pass over a user's location to their phone.
The web app can calculate the location of 4,600 places around the world, all done from NASA's Johnson Space Center, which determines when the ISS will be high enough in the sky to be seen above obstacles such as trees and buildings. The ISS is the second brightest object in the night sky only after the moon, so it will look like a very bright star moving at a nice pace across the sky.
If you want to check it out - visit this site here.
You read the title right, Facebook would like to offer users free internet access at some public places, but you'll have to check-in at the business in order to get access. Facebook has given some special routers to a few businesses that will provide internet once a user checks in to that location. The user is then forwarded to the business's Facebook page.
"When you access Facebook Wi-Fi by checking in, you are directed to your local business's Facebook Page. Some stores may also offer deals or specials when you check in," a Facebook spokesperson said.
Of course, not all users, including myself, will want to do this. Some like their privacy and some just avoid checking-in like the plague. Facebook has offered an alternative, if this is the case for you. Users can ask the business for a password, which will then allow them access to the internet.
The business is responsible for providing the internet, thought currently Facebook will provide the special router that does all of the security. This idea comes from a Facebook hackathon, and as such, it's not clear just how long this small test will last. Of course, if Facebook gets a lot of valuable data from it, you'll surely see an installation like this at a location near you.
NVIDIA have said that they've built a new and improved forum experience, which sports a new appearance. They've redesigned and re-hosted them in order to line up better with the overall GeForce.com experience, which completes a vision set more than three years ago when nZone and the SLI Zone forums merged.
There was no talk of the previous breach of their systems, which is quite strange considering that's what took them down in the first place. Hopefully these forums stand up better than the last ones did.
Google have updated their Maps data to show just how much damage Hurricane Sandy caused on the Eastern coast of the US, where in a post on Google+, the team shared that they now are including updated NOAA data of the New Jersey, Delaware and Maryland coastlines.
Better yet, residents of New York will be happy with Google's latest unveiling. With more public transport options becoming available, Google are quickly updating the transit options in Maps in close to real-time:
Plus, our NYC-specific map has new layers: Find out which subway lines are open and where you can catch an MTA shuttle bus on our new public transit layer. We've also added information about food distribution points. Visit the map here.
According to Internet analytics firm comScore, Gmail has finally overtaken Hotmail as the world's top email service. Gmail enjoys 287.9 million unique worldwide visitors during the month of October, versus Hotmail's 286.2 million.
Google have already claimed victory by their own numbers with over 425 million active users in June 2012, up from 350 million in January. comScore's numbers were 289 million at the time, but comScore's numbers don't include mobile usage - which is a huge, huge chunk of users.
Yahoo Mail came in third place with 281.7 million active users in October, and despite its third position in world ranking, they are still number one in the US. With 76.7 million active users in the US, versus Gmail's 69.1 million and Hotmail's 35.5 million.
No longer will your eyes have to ping pong back and forth as you stalk someone of Facebook. Well, that is if Facebook's new Timeline design tests go well. Facebook has confirmed that they are running a trial design that puts all of a user's posts in a single column. Two columns are still present on a user's page, though.
The second column is used for some of the things it currently is, namely active modules. The left column is made bigger in the trial design, while the right-hand column has been made narrower. Active modules are now taller and thinner and continue to show all of the same information that they did in the old design.
"This is a new design Facebook is testing with a small percentage of people to make navigating timeline even easier," a Facebook spokesperson told The Next Web.
Take a look at the new design and let us know what you think of it in the comments. I, for one, am excited about these changes, though I'm still majorly against the Timeline profile in general.
I'm an avid user of the Gmail platform. I love it for many features that other services don't offer, such as the ability to download e-mail from other POP3 accounts. Google is constantly trying to make the service better, and they are now pushing out an update for how users compose and respond to e-mail.
Instead of going to an entire new window, Gmail will begin to pop-up a compose window in which you can type your e-mail as you normally would. It looks like an oversized chat window, if you've ever used the built-in Gmail chat feature. Google says that the new window is faster and better for multitasking as you can now easily go to other e-mails without closing the draft you're working on.
Google also says the new window is easier to use:
The new compose is designed to let you focus on what's important: your message. The controls are still there when you need them but get out of the way when you don't. We've even added some new features like the ability to easily insert inline images and have more to come.
You can check out a preview of the new compose and reply window today. Google is continuing to add some finishing touches over the coming months, after which they'll "enable it for everyone."
Microsoft has woven Internet Explorer and Bing through Windows 8. The marriage of the two has been done so nicely that Google has produced a website to help users "get their Google back." It seems as though Google might be slightly worried about Microsoft, Bing, and Internet Explorer. Take a look for yourself.
The video is pretty humorous. Whether or not it is effective at conveying the message that Google would like it to remains to be seen. Google has created a search app that will bring with it a user interface that most Googlers will be familiar with:
The Google Search app comes with a clean and recognizable user interface. Our new voice search lets you naturally speak questions. The image search and image previews are built for swiping. And, as usual, you get immediate results as you type with Google Instant. The doodles you enjoy on special occasions will be right there on the homepage and even show up on the Google tile on your start screen.
Chrome has also been updated for the touch interface and now features larger buttons with everything else about it largely unchanged. If you aren't sure how to "get your Google back," head on over to the website Google has put up to help guide you on your way to a search master. Check out GetYourGoogleBack.com
Google has updated the base maps used in Google Maps so that viewers can get a quicker, more comprehensive look of the lay of the land. Terrain will now be depicted on the Google Map's base map, along with color gradients to show varying vegetation, and labels to show natural land formations.
Above you'll see a section of Southern Asia before the update to the base map. It's pretty boring, mostly white, and doesn't show a lot of terrain information. Below, you can see the updated version of the same map. In the updated version, the vegetation is much more pronounced, along with terrain, such as mountains.
I'm trying to decide if the timing of this is to compete with Apple's Maps or not. I'm leaning towards no, and that this is just a simple progression of Google Maps trying to be all they possibly can be. With that said, the changes are a great addition and bring the maps more into line with the paper maps of yesteryear.
Kim Dotcom is working, and has been, on a successor to Megaupload, after it was taken down by US authorities back in January 2012. But, never fear, as Kim Dotcom has come back stronger and more feisty than ever, flying in the face of the authorities by creating a new Megaupload that will encrypt all uploaded files so he will fall into the DMCA safe harbor provision.
Dotcom has now come out on Twitter with an announcement that the new Mega will launch on January 20, 2013, exactly one year after the police raided his mansion. The raid has been very controversial since it took place that fateful morning back in January. Since the raid, the courts have ruled the warrants used were invalid.
Claims that the police used too much force have also been brought. The US authorities aren't exactly pleased, either, as Dotcom's extradition hearing from New Zealand has been pushed back to sometime in March 2013 due to all of the issues with the way authorities handled the case. Extradition isn't looking very promising as US authorities aren't interested in sharing evidence, something the New Zealand court wants.
Apple is probably not one bit happy with the website edit that they were forced to include on their UK website. However, they took it in stride and have added a few details that weren't mandated by the court--a few edits that could possibly get them in trouble. Take a look for yourself and decide:
The part I'm most interested in is the last paragraph in which they talk about their wins in other courts around the world. It makes it seem as though the English courts got it wrong, which I'm sure Apple believe through and through. However, it seems like the English court system might be upset by this addition. You can check it out on Apple's website.
Apple still has to place ads in UK national newspapers and technology-related publications to satisfy the requirements set forth by the English court system. I'd like to take this moment to say that this is something that every court system should do when a company invalidly sues another and basically libels them.
Google is taking another step towards world domination. They have just announced plans to take the Trekker into the Grand Canyon. For those not in the know, the Trekker is a backpack-sized version of the car-mounted Street View camera that is worn, big surprise, like a backpack. This will be the Trekker's first official outing.
The Trekker is a pretty cool piece of technology. They've packed loads of technology into a small, wearable version. The Grand Canyon trip will map the National Park's hiking trails and allow lazy people to take those hikes without having to lift a leg. All they will have to do is click through the tough spots.
It's a perfect place to debut the Trekker. "The canyon landscape is one of the most breathtaking places in the world, is only accessible on foot, and perfectly demonstrates why the Street View Trekker backpack was developed to maneuver narrow trails and rocky terrain," a Google spokesperson told TechCrunch.
It's one more step to being completely pervasive in people's lives. This will be a great tool for those who can't afford to go to the Grand Canyon, too old or frail to navigate the trails, or as a pre-trip planning tool. There is no current word for when the imagery will be available online. We'll be sure to update you as soon as we catch word.
The World's premier overclocking magazine, The Overclocker, has pushed out issue 21 of the online magazine. Included with issue 21 are reviews of Gigabyte's Z77X-UP7 motherboard, Corsair Neutron and Neutron GTX SSD, MSI's Z77 MPower motherboard.
Also on the review table is the Gigabyte's GTX 680 Super Overclock Edition, ASRock'sZ77 OC Formula motherboard, Corsair's Dominator Platinum 2666 C10 Kit of RAM and AMD's A10 5800K APU. There's also a KIngpIn guide to liquid nitrogen preperation for your GPU with the Tek9, an interview with Hazzan Jadid, and the issue also covers the MSI Master Overclocking Arena 2012 event.
You can check out The Overclocker issue 21 right here.
Kickstarter is the new trend in crowdsourcing funding for all sorts of projects. Often times, the people behind the Kickstarter campaign will offer rewards in exchange for pledges. But what happens when the creator of a Kickstarter campaign doesn't come through with what was promised as the end result?
Well, that's something that we're all about to find out. Haunts: The Manse Macabre was a game that got funding through Kickstarter. They reached the original funding goal and surpassed it by $3,500. Now, however, the project creator has announced that the game has no developers or programmers to finish it out due to lack of funding.
It seems as though they ended up finding a lot of bugs. "The game as it stands has all the systems in place, but there are a lot of bugs," Rick Dakan, Mob Rules founder, writes in a Kickstarter update. "I am still determined to get the game out, but I no longer have any way of knowing when and how that will happen."
It's not exactly clear what will happen next. Kickstarter made a recent policy change in order to ensure that backers realize that "Kickstarter is not a store." It's not clear what affect this will have on campaigns and, more importantly, failed campaigns. At least in this case, Dakan is promising to keep everyone in the loop and offering to refund backers out of his own pocket if they lost faith.
You may have trouble accessing some of your favorite websites today as an Amazon Cloud outage is having some detrimental effects on their web services. Many websites are now using Amazon's AWS cloud hosting for their websites and the unfortunate downside to this is that when Amazon has issues, half of the internet comes down with it.
The outage is only affecting one of Amazon's cloud locations, but just that is preventing some web surfers from being able to access their favorite sites. Reddit, Airbnb, Heroku, FastCompany, and Flipboard are just some of the sites that are effected by the North Virginia service issues.
The Amazon Web Services dashboard is reporting "performance issues" on nearly every N Virginia-based service. This isn't the first time that an outage has hit Amazon's cloud offerings. Back in June, Amazon experienced another outage, which resulted in Netflix, Pinterest, and Instagram having issues serving up their websites and video.
Instagram allows you to tag other users in a method similar to that of Twitter. Instagram also lets you link your two accounts together, so that it will automatically post your new Instagram pictures to Twitter. Unfortunately, a user's Twitter and Instagram name may not be the same, so when you tag someone on Instagram, the wrong person gets mentioned on Twitter.
Well, Instagram is fixing that problem. Now, when you @mention someone on Instagram and you have those photos automatically shared to Twitter, Instagram will automatically translate those mentions if a Twitter and Instagram name differ. It will do this based upon a couple of rules, which you can see below:
If the @mentioned user has connected Instagram to Twitter:
- The user's Instagram username will appear in the photo caption
- The user's Twitter username will appear in the tweet
If the @mentioned user has not connected Instagram to Twitter:
- The user's Instagram username will appear in the photo caption
- The @ sign will be removed from the username when shared to Twitter
For @mentions that do not match any Instagram usernames, the @ sign will remain when shared to Twitter.
Major ISPs have agreed to the Copyright Alert System and will begin to roll it out in the "coming weeks." The system doesn't exactly have any real force behind it, but it's more akin to the nag-ware software, such as WinRAR, where they will complain to you if you are pirating, but they never shut you down.
The Copyright Alert System allows content owners to lodge a complaint against an IP and the ISP will then send out a letter to the customer. The content owner never gets any customer information. The letter, at least the first one, is just of the purely informational variety. Subsequent letters may not be so nice.
Repeat offenders can have additional action taken by the ISP, such as throttling data speeds or forcing the subscriber to review "educational material." The CAS does not provide for cancellations, though the ISP can terminate a user's account at their own discretion. If a customer believes he is falsely accused, he can pay $35 for an independent review of his network behavior.
The CAS is "designed to make consumers aware of activity that has occurred using their Internet accounts, educate them on how they can prevent such activity from happening again, and provide information about the growing number of ways to access digital content legally."
Twitter introduced the ability to censor tweets and Tweeter's on a per country basis back in January, but hadn't ever used the feature. That was the case until today, when Twitter banned an account from being seen in a single country at the request of the local law enforcement.
Who was blocked? And why? Well, both are very good questions. Twitter has banned @hannoverticker, an account which belongs to a neo-Nazi group that operates in Germany. They go by the name Besseres Hannover and have been under surveillance since 2008 because Nazi imagery and propaganda is illegal in Germany.
The Germany authorities requested that Twitter block the handle from being visible in Germany. "It is disbanded, its assets are seized and all its accounts in social networks have to be closed immediately," reads a letter sent to Twitter. Late last night, Twitter General Counsel Alex Macgillivray responded with a tweet saying they had blocked the account.
We announced the ability to withhold content back in Jan. We're using it now for the first time re: a group deemed illegal in Germany.