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Last week we learned that Google Reader would be put out to pasture this coming July, and while Google continues to sever the heads of some of its apps, it seems to be planting seeds for new services to grow.
Earlier today website Android Police spotted some source code that alluded to a new service from Google called "Keep" that would let users easily take, store, and sync notes using one's Google Drive storage space. After some more digging, the sleuths discovered that the desktop version had already gone live at drive.google.com/keep.
The site has since been taken down, suggesting that Google had not meant for the public to see the new service yet. TheNextWeb was able to demo Keep for a few minutes before it was pulled offline and they described the interface as being "basic" and "made for mobile". They said that it did include a search feature, but integration with the rest of Google Drive was nonexistent.
So what does this mean? Well, Google is obviously working on a note taking application, and that it does plan on integrating it into the existing Google Drive product. Will it contend with Evernote? That is still left to be seen, but there is something appealing to having all my productivity apps built into a single easy to manage product like Google Drive.
Google are shutting down Google Reader on July 1, which is causing users to flock to other services, with over 500,000 users jumping over to Feedly. I'm a big user of Feedly, and noticed it was going up and down with the Google Reader shutdown news, which now makes sense - hundreds of thousands of new users were jumping onto the service.
Feedly have noticed this growth obviously, and are said to be increasing their bandwidth by 10 times, as well as adding additional servers. The developers have also said that their main goals going into the next 30 days is to keep the service running, to take in suggestions from new users, as well as to continue adding new features on a weekly basis.
I know many of us are saddened by Google's choice to close down the Google Reader product. Many of the TweakTown staff use it daily. However, some good news has come out of the decision: new competitors are stepping up and developing new products or improving existing ones.
A petition was started on Change.org that asks Google to rethink its plans regarding shutting down Google Reader. Impressively, the petition has already surpassed 100,000 signatures. The Google Reader closure was announced just two days ago. For comparison, it took nearly 30 days for the White House petition regarding cell phone unlocking to gain a similar count.
We're not sure that this petition will have any effect on Google's stance. A Google spokesperson said in a statement, "We've given an overview of our reasoning and plans on our blog posts on the Official Google Blog and the Google Reader blog, and we'll be communicating directly with our users as we make these changes."
That doesn't mean that you shouldn't sign the petition, available here. The more signatures that are put on the list, the better the chances of Google Reader sticking around, at least for a year or two. My name's on the list. Is yours?
Google Reader will soon go out to pasture, but there are multiple replacements either ready to go, or being made right now. Digg have announced their replacement, where they're building their own rich site summary (RSS) reader.
Digg's new product will offer the best parts of Google Reader, and advance them to meet the needs of readers of today. Digg notes that networks and communities like Facebook, Twitter, Reddit and more are great places to find information on the web, but they can be overwhelming, too.
Digg had reportedly been working on their new site, and were going to unveil it later in the year but with Google announcing the axing of Reader, they decided to bring their announcement date forward to now. Digg are asking readers what they want to see in their new reader, what was useful and what wasn't in Reader that you'd like to see Digg's new service include, or exclude.
Microsoft has said that the 14-hour Outlook.com and Hotmail outage was the result of overheating at one of the company's datacenters. The heat apparently resulted during a regular firmware update that ended up functioning in an "unexpected way." The outage was limited to just Hotmail and Outlook.com thanks to Microsoft's automatic safeguards that kicked in.
The outage started at 3:35p.m. PDT on March 12 and lasted until 5:43a.m. PDT on March 13. The outage was unusually long because the fix required both software updates and "human intervention." Microsoft says that the latter requirement made the outage last longer than usual.
Microsoft issued an apology for the extended outage and added that they take outages "very seriously." After all, outages are the last thing Microsoft needs as people continue to flock to competing services like Gmail.
Netflix announced today that it is starting a new contest in which $100,000 in prizes will be given away. The number one web based video rental service is calling the contest the Netflix Cloud Prize. The contest is centered around ten categories that each carry a $10k prize to those who can best "improve the features, usability, quality, reliability and security of computing resources" as part of the internet cloud.
The contest can be entered by individuals or teams. This is not Nexflix's first foray into crowd sourcing innovation. Back in 2009 Netflix paid $1 million to BellKor's Pragmatic Chaos, the winners of the Netflix Prize, who created an algorithm that was superior at guessing which movies Netflix users would enjoy.
The Netflix Cloud Prize begins March 13th 2013 and ends September 15th 2013. Winners will be announced in October and prizes paid out in November at the Amazon Web Services Invent conference.
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.