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Google are closing another service, this time its Google Reader RSS aggregator. Google will close the Reader service on July 1st, after being open for over eight years.
Reader hasn't seen many updates in the last few months, with the last update involving integration into Google+, removing Reader's own native sharing service. Google will also end support for the Google Voice app for BlackBerry smartphones, pushing users toward the HTML5-based webapp.
Last week, Facebook announced a new News Feed design that will be rolling out slowly over the coming weeks and months. A relatively unannounced change is also coming. We all know that people don't like it when Facebook changes, so we're warning you about an upcoming Timeline change that will probably have people posting.
As you can see in the picture above, the whole Timeline design has been retooled to have a cleaner look. Major changes include a new box for the About section on the left side. Facebook is looking to introduce some more customization into the profile page by allowing users to adjust the About page.
The new design will be rolling out to users over the coming weeks. After you've checked it out in-depth, feel free to leave comments here, rather than through a Facebook status.
Google doesn't like labeling sites hacked. And, as they say, "friends help friends recover their hacked sites." That's why Google has launched a series of articles and videos to help compromised websites recover from the hack, protect from future hacks, and get their website off of Google's blacklist.
The first video in the series, seen above, answers some of the more common and simple questions: Why would someone ever want to hack my site?; How was someone able to hack my site?; What's the process for fixing it and how long will it take?.
Google has also provided this website which offers more detailed information on various topics. Google offers up the following tips to keep your site safe and secure:
- Be vigilant about keeping software updated.
- Understand the security practices of all applications, plug-ins, third-party software, and so on, before you install them on your server. A security vulnerability in one software application can affect the safety of your entire site.
- Remove unnecessary or unused software.
- Enforce creation of strong passwords.
- Keep all devices used to log in to your servers secure (updated operating system and browser).
- Make regular, automated site backups.
A new infographic by FranchiseGator shows just how long it took Bing to copy a feature invented by Google. The infographic is the result of the FTC investigation into allegations that Google was a monopoly. As you can see, it took an average of 825 days for Bing to copy one of Google's new features:
Of course, some of the bigger features, such as mapping, were copied much quicker than others. However, some features, such as news searching, took over 2000 days for Bing to add after Google introduced it. This means it took Bing over five years to introduce a feature that Google debuted.
It's an interesting look into how the market leader is followed by others in the market. In order for Bing to become a big threat to Google, they will need to start innovating faster than Google can. Only time will tell if Microsoft is up to this monumental task.
This morning at the South by South West festival, Vimeo revealed a new feature that will let content creators monetize their videos by charging viewers to watch. Dubbed Vimeo On Demand, the new service is only available to Vimeo Pro members and will let them charge a fee of their choosing to view their content.
At $199 a year Vimeo Pro is far from cheap, but the new On Demand service will most certainly help offset that by letting content creators keep 90% of the revenue generated from video sales. This service is expected to boost the Independent Film rental industry, something Vimeo has been experimenting with for over a year now.
Vimeo is kicking things off with the independent film "It's a Beautiful Day", which will cost viewers $2 a day or $6 to purchase the movie. "What used to be a confusing and labor-intensive process is now open and simple with Vimeo On Demand," Blake Whitman, Vimeo's vice president of creative development said in a statement. "We always strive to provide our community and visitors with the best experience possible, and this opens up a new world of viewable content and support for creators."
Google have just announced a new deal with Netflix and Microsoft, where HTML5 video streaming is now supported by Samsung's ARM-based Chromebook. Google had previously talked about Netflix support, but never went into any detail, but here we are.
This is the first time Netflix has used HTML5 for streaming instead of Silverlight, but there's no news on whether we'll see this support jump over to other devices just yet.
Netflix has launched a new tool to show what ISPs are best for streaming. Using data collected from its global userbase, Netflix is in a unique position to show which ISPs offer the best streaming speeds...and which offer the worst. The tool shows the data in many different formats, including the chart seen below:
The default tool page shows a quick overview of numerous different countries. The fastest, slowest, and average streaming speed are displayed. Users can then dive into individual country's results and graph how they change over a period of time. The data currently only goes back to November of last year, but the data will be updated each month.
If you want to check out the index for yourself, head on over to Netflix's ISP Speed Index. Currently Google Fiber is the fastest for the United States and has only gotten faster during the time Netflix has data for. Clearwire is the slowest at just under half the average speed.
Facebook's Mark Zuckerberg is currently up on stage talking about how they want to turn the News Feed into the best newspaper in the world. He has pulled up a picture of what the News Feed looked like in 2007. Zuckerberg notes that the News Feed has shifted towards visual content:
Zuckerberg has just debuted the new look:
They are looking to feature the same design across the desktop and mobile environment. The new design will make use of more of the available screen real estate. The current design uses only about 40 percent of available space. The new design features larger pictures that will be the focus of the updated design.
Back in 2010, the Internet Movie Database or IMDb.com was banned from access from within China's borders because of a documentary on Tibet that was prominently displayed on its homepage. The ban was not a popular one among Chinese citizens, but remained in effect until today.
The Chinese government has unexpectedly lifted the ban on the encyclopedic movie website, making it fully available in both Chinese and English. The South China Morning Post is reporting that the removal of the ban is being met with great fanfare with many people thanking China's new leaders.
No official explanation on why the ban was lifted has been released by the Chinese government yet, but in my opinion, that does not really matter. The important story here is that China has removed one of its long standing website bans, and hopefully we will see similar action taken to other internet bans being currently enforced.
A new report by Fortune says that YouTube is working on a music streaming service that will compete directly with competitors such as Spotify. YouTube has long been a source of music, both legally and illegally, so a streaming service is not too far out of the norm for the site.
The current model relies on advertising revenue generated from showing ads during music videos. A portion of this ad revenue is shared with the label or content owner. A new service would likely continue to rely on these advertisements to offer a free service, though a premium service would likely be offered with an ad-free experience.
Fortune cites sources in both the record industry and Google. YouTube's spokesperson said:
While we don't comment on rumor or speculation, there are some content creators that think they would benefit from a subscription revenue stream in addition to ads, so we're looking at that.
It's not clear what YouTube's service will offer over competing services. It's important that they come up with a unique feature, whether that be price, availability, or something else, that will set them apart from the competition. We'll see where this goes, though you might remain a bit skeptical until more information is known.