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Just like Google's update last month, Google has added an additional 100 ski resort maps to Google Maps. These trail maps can help ski and snowboard enthusiasts prepare for a trip to the mountain and scout the terrain and ways down the mountain before heading off to some distant ski resort.
The trails are represented by green, blue, and black lines, with the color corresponding to the difficulty ratings traditionally used by ski resorts. Lifts are represented by dotted red lines.
This latest update includes Mt. Hood Meadows, Timberline Lodge, and Hunter Mountain. All 100 of the newly added resort maps are for mountains in the United States and Canada. Europe has been largely left out of these updates, aside from when ski resort maps were first introduced. Google Maps has maps for about 225 different resorts around the world.
Google is taking a page out of Facebook's book and is pushing images as a main part of Google+. As part of this initiative, Google has added support for Gifs to be used as Google+ profile pictures. Interestingly enough, Twitter dropped support for Gifs last September. It'll be interesting to see if they reverse their decision.
Animated Gifs will be supported on both the desktop and mobile versions of Google+. As Matt Steiner, the person who first posted that Gifs are now supported, said, "[it is] like newspapers in Harry Potter." We imagine some creative people will make use of this to do some funny and interesting things, much like people did with Facebook cover photos when they were first introduced.
Facebook is continuing to push its mobile-first approach as more and more users become mobile-only users. As means to this end, Facebook blocked desktop access to the social networking site for its employees. This forced them to use the mobile apps and figure out what's wrong with them.
Facebook Product Manager Josh Williams:
To be honest, a couple of weeks ago, myself and a number of other product managers had access to our website internally shut off. Basically it forced us to use only mobile devices for a week ... It forced us to say, 'Hey, we have these features that exist in one place but not in another, and we have to remedy.'
Facebook has previously forced its employees to switch from their iPhones over to Android devices to encourage development of the Android app. At the time, the Android app was far behind the iOS app in terms of performance, design, and overall functionality. This apparently worked well because the Android app of today is much better than it used to be.
Facebook is updating its commenting system with threaded comments and replies, a technology that has existed around the web for sometime. Reddit comes to mind as a site that has focused on threaded comments and replies. The new feature will roll out to Facebook Pages starting today.
This new commenting feature will allow users to more easily interact with Facebook pages and keep conversations more organized. Comments, and their subsequent replies, will be organized according to relevance to viewers. It will base relevance off of positive feedback, connections, and negative feedback.
Pages with more than 10,000 followers, such as ours, are said to have the feature automatically turned on. Other Page owners are able to opt-in to the update by heading to the Manage Permissions section of the admin panel. All pages will be forced into the new commenting system on July 10, 2013. Check it out and let us know what you think of the changes.
After a security hole was discovered in Apple's iForgot password recovery page that allowed passwords to be recovered with just an e-mail and date of birth, Apple has disabled the page for obvious reasons. Navigating to the page now returns a "Currently Unavailable" status message that suggests you "check back later."
Make sure to enable two-step authentication on your account to help protect from future vulnerabilities such as this.
At the time of writing, Apple's page continually timed out for both my coworkers and myself.
YouTube sees more than 1 billion monthly viewers, nearly 15% of Earthlings use the video sharing site
Google have an announcement for us all today, with YouTube now seeing one billion monthly users. Using Wolfram Alpha's estimate of the 6.79 billion people on Earth, this would equate to roughly 14.7% of the world using YouTube every month.
The Mountain View-based everything giant has said that YouTube feeds out to nearly one in every two people on the Internet, a staggering number. Google were once criticized over acquiring YouTube in 2006, where they paid $1.65 billion for the video sharing site. I'm sure now, critics have their lips closed, and tears running down their faces. It was only last year that Google saw their first billion-view video, PSY's Gangnam Style.
Sixty seconds on the Internet doesn't sound like much, but think of all the millions of users on simultaneously, all doing different things and the numbers add up very quickly. In only 60 seconds, around 640TB of data is transferred around the world.
The data comes from an infographic by chipmaker Intel, who breaks it down into even more interesting numbers. Google is a big part of these numbers, where more than two million searches are conducted every sixty seconds. YouTube pushes out around 1.3 million videos, while at the same time consumes 30 hours worth of uploaded video for public consumption.
Moving onto social networks, Facebook sees around 6 million views, and Twitter enjoys around 100,000 new tweets per minute. E-mail is still a huge number, with 204 million e-mails sent out every minute. Most of these are most likely spam, but they still count as data being transferred. Intel has also made some projections looking into the future, where they expect the number of networked devices to double by 2015.
As if we didn't already have enough weird info coming from Google Trends, we will now be able to watch the rise and fall of viral videos. Google has added YouTube searches to the data available through Google Trends to allow curious users and journalists to dig through piles of information.
For instance, goats were the top animal searched for this month, beating out the ever-so-cute dogs and cats that are usually on top. Goats are probably on top because of the hilarious videos of goats screaming like humans that have surfaced online. More interesting information is that searches for Rebecca Black peak every Friday.
Users are able to search Trends for different Google services, such as just Images, News, Products, or YouTube. We'll keep our eyes on the trends and see if anything interesting pops up. Oh, some good news: Harlem Shake appears to be on the way out.
Google suffered a temporary case of dementia earlier today which resulted in Digg being erased from Google's indexes. The deletion of Digg from the index resulted from Google accidentally applying a Webspam filter to the whole site rather than the one link they were trying to disallow.
We're sorry about the inconvenience this morning to people trying to search for Digg. In the process of removing a spammy link on Digg.com, we inadvertently applied the Webspam action to the whole site. We're correcting this, and the fix should be deployed shortly.
It comes at an ironic time. Just a few days ago, Digg's Kevin Rose announced that they would build a replacement for Google's ill-fated Reader. Digg's General Manager Jake Levine added that the accidental removal wasn't too terrible for business:
The good news is that it doesn't really impact us all that much. The vast majority of our traffic is direct (like 90 percent) so it's not a huge deal for us from a business or user perspective.
YouTube is bankrolling an original series created by Reddit. The new series, Explain Like I'm Five, will be getting three episodes released today, one of which is embedded below. The series comes from the subreddit that features the same name.
For us, it's more about encouraging the Reddit community and bigger community of producers, filmmakers and animators out there to create content, video, web series, shows ... based on Reddit content.
It's an interesting idea that benefits both Reddit and YouTube. YouTube gets to host the content and serve ads and Reddit serves as the source of ideas. We aren't sure if this will prove to be an on-going thing or if Reddit is trying to start the ball rolling and allow others to step up. We'll be sure to report more when we know.