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Google has really been stepping up their game when it comes to what they capture using their Street View cameras. With recent treks to the top of mount Fuji, the tallest building in the world, and even the Eiffel tower, the company has taking thousands of photos that were never used or were shots of behind-the-scenes activities.
Instead of letting these images go to waste, Google has put together a behind-the-scenes site that offers a plethora of extra information about the shoots which include photos, videos, audio tours and actual accounts of how the imagery was gathered by those who put in the footwork.
"Our first two multimedia adventures enable you to experience the Canadian Arctic in Iqaluit, Canada, and the world's tallest building, the Burj Khalifa in Dubai, UAE," Street View program manager Deanna Yick says in a post introducing the new material. "We also invite you to enjoy photos and videos from our past journeys to the Grand Canyon, the base camp of Mount Everest, the Amazon Basin, the Great Barrier Reef and the NASA Kennedy Space Center - minus the extreme temperatures and long plane rides!"
The way Microsoft's Bing search engine displays results may be changing soon. A recent report over at Search Engine Land confirmed that Bing is testing displaying website favicons to the left of search results.
I tried to duplicate the results pictured above in every web browser I have installed and was unable to get any favicons to display, which is consistent with the results that Search Engine Land got. They were, however, able to obtain confirmation from Microsoft that Bing is indeed testing out this new feature.
In a statement to Search Engine Land, Microsoft had the following to say.
We're constantly updating and refining the Bing search experience, and before any changes are implemented they undergo intensive testing and experimentation to ensure the best possible user experience. We have nothing further to share at this time.
It looks like Edward Snowden might have another e-mail service to use in a little while, as Kim Dotcom is working on a secure, encrypted e-mail service that will launch under his Mega service.
The new Mega e-mail service will include most of the luxuries of modern cloud-based e-mail services, all while your data and e-mails are kept safe. Mega's CEO, Vikram Kumar, has confirmed rumors that Mega is working on an encrypted e-mail service, where he told ZDNet that the service is still a work-in-progress, and that it's difficult to provide the same functionalities of something like Gmail, but keep it encrypted.
He continued: "The biggest tech hurdle is providing email functionality that people expect, such as searching emails, that are trivial to provide if emails are stored in plain text (or available in plain text) on the server side. If all the server can see is encrypted text, as is the case with true end-to-end encryption, then all the functionality has to be built client side. [That's] not quite impossible, but very, very hard. That's why even Silent Circle didn't go there."
For many of our readers, Google Drive is a staple in their daily productivity workflow. Some use it for keeping notes in meetings, some use it as a drop box of sorts, while still others use it for collaborative efforts which require real-time editing. Google has decided to make using Drive easier than ever and has decided to implement updates requested by users for sometime now.
The first major update involves the service's spell checking feature. Users can now spell check the entire document or presentation all at once instead of having to individually resolve each error. Additionally, Google has added new presets for numbered and bullet lists. Users can now change the color, size, and style of individual bullets and even create their own.
Today, Google launched a digital textbook section in Google Play Books. The new section is only available in the US and is available through the Google Play website, Android, and iOS apps. Many of the textbooks are available for rental, but most must be purchased outright.
Website GigaOM is advising returning students to be cautious and still shop around as both Amazon and Barnes & Noble also rent digital textbooks and prices varied across the stores on the same books. They found that a psychology textbook rented for $66 for 180 days, while a print version from Amazon can be rented for $25.23 per semester with the option to extend the rental period by 15 days for $5.
Until just recently, NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden used the e-mail services of Lavabit. But now Lavabit has shut its doors, with the owner of Lavabit, Ladar Levison, leaving a very cryptic and scary message stating he walked away from his business as he has "become complicit in crimes against the American public."
It gets a little scarier, with the Lavabit owner saying that until real reform happens, he "would _strongly_ recommend against anyone trusting their private data to a company with physical ties to the United States." This includes most e-mail services, like GMail, Hotmail, and more.
The full message reads:
Today, Amazon launched a new online fine art store named Amazon Art. This new marketplace will give customers direct access to more than 40,000 works of fine art from over 150 galleries around the world. Amazon says that the new store will showcase artwork from more than 4500 artists and is one of the largest online marketplace collections of original and limited-edition artwork in the world.
"We are excited to bring one of the largest selections of fine art direct from galleries to our customers. Amazon Art gives galleries a way to bring their passion and expertise about the artists they represent to our millions of customers," said Peter Faricy, vice president for the Amazon Marketplace. "We're thrilled to bring the excitement and emotional connection of art to our customers."
Amazon says that the new store provides easy searching discoverability that enables smaller art galleries to get their collection seen by millions of people, which in turn will lead to higher sales numbers and will allow the small galleries to grow. Head over to Source #2 to visit the online art store for yourself and let us know if you pick up something such as a work from one the old Masters.
And it's about time: Google have just allowed YouTube to live stream to anyone with 100 or more subscribers. This is a great step, as it puts the smaller creators on nearly the same playing field as the big boys on YouTube.
YouTube previously reduced the number of subscribers required to 1,000 just three months ago, and have now reduced it to just 100. YouTube says that this feature is rolling out gradually, so don't feel bad if you don't see an "Enable" button for YouTube Live any time soon. Smaller creators are also getting some more benefits, with the ability to add custom thumbnail images to video, link out to online stores or other sites in their videos' annotations, and place viewers inside video playlists.
Crytek's official website is down right now, with the German developer stating they were hit with "suspicious activity" which means hackers have most likely infiltrated the site. A bunch of Crytek's websites are down right now, including:
But, some of their sites are ok, such as:
We should expect the sites to be back up shortly, with an explanation from Crytek.
This morning, many webmasters awoke to emails and phone calls from clients and users informing them that their website was not reachable. Unfortunately, I was on both sides of the story. Shared hosting giant BlueHost announced this morning that they were experiencing "networking issues" that were affecting a good portion of their client base.
Sometime around 9AM EST, websites hosted with BlueHost began dropping offline, while others continued to function periodically. An hour later, BlueHost officially addressed the issue via Twitter and said that the company ran into networking issues during an upgrade the night before and the issues were still persisting into the morning. The latest tweet from the company says that the networking issues are still popping up, but most sites should be back online. It appears that my personal sites fall into the niche that remains offline and a call to BlueHost support resulted in a busy signal. You can follow updates on the outage by visiting the company's support Twitter account at Source #1 below.