Ah, Digg. The memories I have of spending countless hours searching for stories, or just having a read out of sheer boredom. Reddit has now replaced it, and its like going from a cheap scotch to something that is ten times smoother, as well as attracts the ladies.
Digg has just made their "Rethought" redesign live, all after their acquisition by Betaworks, and just 24 hours after the company showed off its v1 preview, which was part of a very, very quick 6-week redesign process. Old features from Digg like the Newsbar and Newsroom have been thrown away in favor of a simpler site that emphasizes top stories, popular stories, and "upcoming" stories.
One major change is that the main page of Digg will now be editorially driven, versus being based on a Digg score algorithm. Because it was an uber quick 6-week redesign, some of the main features have been left out for now, such as commenting. This means that, for now, Digg is more of a news portal, than a community. How would a commenting system work on the new redesigned Digg is another question in itself. Betaworks have said that it plans on conducting "a few experiments in commenting that will inform more permanent features".
Microsoft launches Outlook.com, a new email service with unlimited storage, limited ads, and Skype integration
A new challenger has appeared! Today, Microsoft has launched a completely new e-mail service, Outlook.com, that will exist completely separately from Hotmail, at least for now. The features are nearly the same between the two services, but Microsoft is trying its best to distance itself from the bad rep that Hotmail has acquired.
Outlook.com has very discrete ads as opposed to Hotmail's extremely intrusive banner ads. Furthermore, there won't be any targeted ads on personal conversations, however, newsletters and similar e-mails are still fair game. It also brings a nice, minimalist interface in the hopes of drawing Gmail users away from Google.
Outlook.com is open to the public, no invites or beta keys required. Storage at the new service is "virtually" unlimited as Microsoft didn't want to offer spammers a limitless account. Twitter and Facebook integration are already live and Skype integration will be coming as well. Users can sign in with existing Hotmail logins or create a new account.
Another Facebook update in the course of a couple of days? What a treat! This latest update is somewhat of a unique feature, something I haven't really seen on another social network before. What's the feature you ask? Something Facebook is calling Save for Later. It basically allows you to save posts for later viewing, or up your stalker game, if that's more your cup of tea.
After saving a post, you can navigate all of your saved posts as their own feed. To remove, they have to be physically selected to be unsaved. And for you creepers out there who want to save a post about Jane being single, have no fear as all saved posts are private, meaning there is no way for her to tell that you saved it, other than getting on your Facebook.
On the mobile app, just hold your finger on a post until a popup that says "save" pops up. Click that and the post will be saved. There's no need to download an update to receive this update, so once it rolls out to you, it should be live. The feature is also reportedly present on Facebook.com, however, I have yet to see it on my profile.
Once again, Facebook is unable to leave well enough alone and has produced an update for the appearance of its Photos service. This update aims to make the look of Photos on your Timeline more beautiful, as well as on anyone else's Timeline you happen to stumble upon. The new landing page is just an update and features all of your photos on a single page.
You may not have caught a glimpse of the new page just yet as it is being rolled out slowly to all of Facebook's 995 million monthly active users. "It'll be rolling out slowly over the course of a few weeks," a Facebook spokesperson said in a statement to CNet. The picture above shows what it will look like.
As they say, a picture is worth a thousand words, so I'm not sure what else to say about the new design. Facebook notes that the new design allows "larger pictures that fill up the page." This update is just one of the many that have occurred since the service first launched and appears to be a big improvement. Considering that there are 300 million photos uploaded daily, it's nice to see an improvement.
Google has been doing a lot of updating to numerous services lately and Hangouts is the latest to receive the update. This is just the latest in a series of updates that Hangouts has been getting. Some of the other updates include the ability to add digital mustaches and schedule video chats before a Google+ event.
Google has now added Hangouts to Gmail so that users can video chat straight from Gmail. Wait, they could do that already? Well, now you can group video chat and host virtual meetings right from Gmail. The new addition should provide a higher quality video chat experience along with several other benefits.
For one, using Hangouts will allow users on Android, iOS, or Google+ in a web browser to join in the fun. Furthermore, it will allow users to video chat with up to nine friends, as opposed to the previous option of only one. It may not be one of Google's coolest updates, but it certainly makes sense. Check out the videos above and below if you need more convincing.
Google, not wanting to be outdone by Bing, has updated Google Maps and Google Earth with new high resolution imagery that encompasses 25 cities and 72 countries. Google had previously announced they were taking aerial shots of the globe to include in Maps and Earth and this imagery is finally starting to see the light of day.
Quite frankly, the imagery is gorgeous. Since the Olympics are in town, Google is of course using Olympic Park and Village in London as the poster child, as you can see in the picture above. Hands down, this level of detail makes Google Maps the number one mapping service. If you look at competitors, it isn't even close.
Google has also increased its 45* offerings with 21 U.S. cities and 7 locations internationally. Google explains which locations got what:
It would appear that Google+ could finally be catching on, if comScore's numbers are anything to go on. comScore has been released numbers that count how many unique visits a site gets. This means it doesn't take into account how long a person stays on the site or how many return visits that person makes.
But enough disclaimer, let's get into the numbers. comScore says that Google+ saw 110.7 million visitors worldwide in the month of June. Compare that to November of last year and the number is 66% higher. Furthermore, strictly US traffic over the same period increased from 15.2 million to 27.7 million, a growth of 82%.
Facebook, over the same period, dropped from 166 million US users to 159.8 million. In November, Facebook had more than 11 times the unique hits that Google+ had, but now that number has dropped to only 5.8. However, this is where the disclaimer comes in. More people may be visiting Google+, but it is likely they are still spending much more time on Facebook.
Google has once again proven itself a company to be reckoned with. Today, Google announced the launch of Google Fiber, their first step to becoming an internet service provider. Available to residents of Kasas City, Kansas and Kansas City, Missouri, Google will provide an incredible 1 gigabit upload and download speed for only $70.
While $70 isn't exactly cheap, it's quite a bit cheaper, and faster, than competing services. The average internet speed in the United States is about 5.8Mbps meaning that the Google provided internet is about 100 times faster. If you don't want to pay out $70 a month, Google is offering 5Mbps/1Mbps for "free." All you have to do is pay a $300 construction fee.
"No more buffering. No more loading. No more waiting. Gigabit speeds will get rid of these pesky, archaic problems and open up new opportunities for the web," writes Google Vice President Milo Medin, on the company blog. "Imagine: instantaneous sharing; truly global education; medical appointments with 3D imaging; even new industries that we haven't even dreamed of, powered by a gig."
Google is having issues with it's Google Talk service. For about three hours now, Google Talk has been down. At this point, Google is investigating the matter and has promised an update about 10 minutes from now. Google hasn't provided a time frame for the service to return and they haven't provided a reason for the outage.
The status of Google Talk can be checked on Google's website. We will continue to keep you updated as we learn more about the outage, its causes, and when the service comes back. Until then, you're going to have to find another way to chat with your friends.
It would appear that the United States government is actually doing something useful with its money. The FCC has announced a plan to spend $115 million over the next three years bringing broadband internet access to 400,000 individuals and businesses who don't have access to such services as of right now.
The government's money will be complemented by tens of millions of private funds. This new undertaking is part of the FCC's Connect America Fund project and works to bring broadband access to rural areas that may still be stuck using dial-up. It's a pretty big issue as the United States is an extremely large area.
The FCC realizes that high-speed internet access has "gone from being a luxury to a necessity for full participation in our economy and society." The FCC had the following statement: "Today's action is just the beginning of our efforts to unleash the benefits of broadband for millions of homes and small businesses in unserved rural communities across the U.S."
Google, once again trying to be the one-stop-shop for all of your knowledge needs, has added a 34-button calculator to search results. Now, instead of just spitting out a text answer when typing in a math question, you will be able to process sines and cosines, tangents and logarithms, as well as simple addition and subtraction.
Google had given no heads up about this change, but an official Google Twitter account posted that they had rolled out the latest stage, 3.9, of its Panda algorithm last night. It's not clear whether or not the two events are linked. This calculator is just one feature in the past months designed to change Google away from just being a search engine.
Now what they really need to add is graphing capability. Then college and high school students around the world could rejoice in the fact that they could leave their graphing calculator at home and still easily have access to one.
A feature requested by many Twitter users, and partially offered by other services, will finally be offered directly by Twitter some time in the future. "We're working on a tool to let users export all of their tweets," Mr. Costolo said in a meeting with reporters and editors at The New York Times on Monday. "You'll be able to download a file of them."
However, while users will be able to go through their own Tweets, as of right now, there are no plans for a feature to allow users to dig through all of the Tweets on the site. He explained that the search problems are very different and you "can't just put three engineers on it." As of right now, there is no timeline for when a search or download feature would be available.
EU law already provides this option for users who really want to have a copy of their Tweets and several users have taken advantage of it. EU law requires Twitter to provide a copy of all data they have stored about a user. Those who have exercised that right have found that it includes your account, tweets, favorites, direct messages, saved searches and more information about you, delivered in a ZIP file.
Spotify is marking its one-year anniversary in the United States by releasing an infographic with numbers about the service. It contains some incredible numbers and would appear to be a success due to all the big numbers. First, users have listened to over 13 BILLION tracks. This works out to around 27,000 years or 23.7 million man-hours of listening.
Users of the service have also shared nearly 28,000,000 million tracks. 55% were shared via Facebook and 41% were shared via Spotify itself. For those of you who do not know about Spotify, they offer unlimited music streaming for $5/month or $10/month if you want to have access on a mobile device. They also offer a free service, with some restrictions of course.
In another attempt to make a pointless statement towards Washington D.C., a group of websites and privacy organizations have come together to form the Declaration of Internet Freedom. The Declaration of Internet Freedom is the start of something bigger, a movement to uphold and ensure some basic principles, much like the Declaration of Independence was.
"We've seen how the Internet has been under attack from various directions, and we recognize that it's time to make that stop," said TechDirt, a site involved with the new movement. "The Internet is an incredible platform that we want to grow and to thrive, and thus, a very large coalition got together to produce the following document as a starting point, hoping to kick off a much larger discussion which we hope you'll join in."
As it stands currently, the Declaration of Internet Freedom is composed of 5 basic values:
- Expression: Don't censor the Internet.
- Access: Promote universal access to fast and affordable networks.
- Openness: Keep the Internet an open network where everyone is free to connect, communicate, write, read, watch, speak, listen, learn, create, and innovate.
- Innovation: Protect the freedom to innovate and create without permission. Don't block new technologies, and don't punish innovators for their users' actions.
- Privacy: Protect privacy and defend everyone's ability to control how their data and devices are used.
Over the last few months Apple have been getting hit with negative press over their OS' security, with hackers and the such gaining access to user files in less than thirty seconds, which is a concern as Apple used to always push that their operating system never got PC viruses.
But, Apple continued to run with the "I'm a Mac and I'm a PC" campaign, where they focused on the "fact" that Windows-based systems got viruses, while OS X-based systems couldn't. But now that we know that is complete BS, Apple have done what they do best, marketing and using its legal system to remove any proof so that potential liability for the company is wiped away.
As you can see in the picture above, Apple used to state that a "Mac isn't susceptible to the thousands of viruses plaguing Windows-based computers. That's thanks to built-in defences in Mac OS X that keep you safe, without any work on your part". So Apple more or less said that you just run the OS and you're protected, but for years we've known this isn't true.
If you're based in Hong Kong, Taiwan, or a bunch of other territories then you'll be happy to know that Apple have just opened the flood gates to the iTunes Store.
Even though these territories have had the App Store for a while, now you can grab music and movies, too. Apple singles out Hong Kong, Singapore and Taiwan, as well as Brunei, Cambodia, Laos, Macau, Malaysia, the Philippines, Sri Lanka, Thailand, and Vietnam.
The above-mentioned cities will get local content, as well as the International hits. Music and movies are not the only thing that have been made available, iTunes in the Cloud re-downloads as well as iTunes Match subscriptions in every country.
Have you ever noticed that the views on a newly viral YouTube video seemingly pause at 301? If so, I imagine you've wondered why that is. Well, previously it had just been one of those many internet myths that seemingly don't have an answer. However, thanks to YouTube product manager Ted Hamilton, we now have an answer.
The basic reason behind the views freezing at 301 is the following: Once a video hits 300 views, subsequent views are collected and sent to YouTube's central servers for verification. This verification process takes about one-half day to a day and checks that the views weren't racked up by a bot. Mr. Hamilton explains:
Views, as mentioned, are a currency. When you have a video with very small amount of views you don't need to be too careful about what the view was. However, once it gets to be above 300 and beyond, this currency, we really need to verify and make sure that the number is what it purports to be. So this means that we have to go through a statistical verification process. And that statistical verification process actually takes some time. And thus we go from incrementing one by one, to then saying, OK, now we're incrementing in batch. And all of these views we're adding on have been verified by YouTube to be real views. We are preventing things like bots to go in and add a bunch of views to a video.
A new study by McAfee is showing what teenagers are really doing online and the results are a bit scary. An incredible 70 percent of teenagers in the study say they hid at least part of their online activity and behavior from their parents. What they are hiding could be even more shocking, especially if you are a parent.
43 percent of the surveyed teens accessed some form of simulated violence while surfing the web, and likely more worrying for parents is the fact that 32 percent view nude content or pornography on the internet. Even worse yet is that half of the parents believe that their children are telling them everything they are doing online.
"While it is not necessarily surprising that teens are engaging in the same types of rebellious behaviors online that they exhibit offline, it is surprising how disconnected their parents are," Stanley Holditch, Online Safety Expert for McAfee, said today in a statement. "There is a major increase in the number of teens finding ways to hide what they do online from their parents, as compared to the 2010 study."
The study also found that 15 percent of teens had hacked a social networking account and 9 percent have hacked into another's e-mail account. 31 percent have pirated a movie or music. How are these kids covering their tracks? 53 percent say they clear their browser history and 46 percent minimize their screens when parents walk by. About a quarter admit to lying or omitting details about online activity.
Bing Maps, the major alternative to Google's mapping service, has received a massive update of satellite imagery today. The update consists of 165TB of new data, which, incredibly, is more data than all previous updates combined. Prior to this update, Bing had only received a running total of 129TB of satellite imagery.
The new imagery includes satellite imagery as well as global ortho photography. The update covers parts of Americas, Africa, Australia, Europe and Asia, and, amazingly, covers almost 38 million square kilometers of the Earth. "Just this month, Bing Imagery Technologies hit a significant milestone by completing 100% of aerial photography over the United States," the companys says. "The photography in Europe is slated to be finished by this fall and all updated imagery should be published by the end of 2012."
Let's take a step back and realize just how much data it would take for imagery that covered the entire Earth. It was 165TB for only 38 million square kilometers of area. The Earth has a surface area of around 510 square kilometers, so a couple of quick calculations later, we yield that it would require around 2200TBs. Wow.
Here's a cool new tip and trick for you Google searchers out there, which, judging by the market share, is most of you. If you're anything like me, you're not one to clutter up your favorites list with a bunch of bookmarks. The only downside to this is finding that really informative website you found yesterday while Google'ing.
Have no fear, as Google is using the vast amount of information about you to help you! As long as you are logged in to your Google account, you can filter the results to show only pages you haven't visited or only pages you have visited. There are other filter options as well, but these are the coolest.
After searching on Google, click on "Show Search Tools" on the left hand side of the page. This will pull up a menu with various options. On that menu, all you have to do is select "Visited Pages" and only pages that you have clicked on will show up. Nifty! But what if I want to find something new? Select the option "Not yet visited" and pages you haven't visited will show up.
Some of you probably already know this, but for those of you who don't, it's a great tool to add to your Google'ing arsenal.
As if we don't already have enough internet codes, it appears there will soon need to be one more. A Google employee has offered up one option for the code that will surely soon be necessary. Tim Bray has proposed that the new code be '451' in order to honor the late author Ray Bradbury, whose science fiction classic Fahrenheit 451 warned of a dystopian world defined by government-imposed censorship.
"We can never do away entirely with legal restrictions on freedom of speech. On the other hand, I feel that when such restrictions are imposed, they should be done so transparently; for example, most civilized people find Britain's system of superinjunctions loathsome and terrifying," said Bray in an interview with the Guardian.
"While we may agree on the existence of certain restrictions, we should be nervous whenever we do it; thus the reference to the dystopian vision of Fahrenheit 451 may be helpful. Also, since the Internet exists in several of the many futures imagined by Bradbury, it would be nice for a tip of the hat in his direction from the Net, in the year of his death."
The idea was inspired by someone else's blog post about how they received a '403: Forbidden' error when trying to access The Pirate Bay. The Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF) is set to consider it when they meet late next month. But of course, in life, there are no guarantees so they may decide not to adopt it for several reasons.