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.
When Google first announced plans to shut down its popular Google Reader service, the web was set ablaze with millions of users scrambling to find a new RSS reader to call home. Amidst all of the hustle and bustle, three big names arose out of the noise and offered up awesome solutions to this new found problem.
Digg announced that it would begin building an RSS reader, while RSS reader veteran Feedly welcomed Google refugees with open arms. Finally, The Old Reader started to get major attention as it kept things simple and truly felt like the old Google Reader we were all about to lose. Unfortunately, it appears that the developers behind The Old Reader were flooded by the massive influx of users and as a result, were overwhelmed by the issues that come along with running a project used by millions of people daily.
Today, the developers behind The Old Reader announced that they will be closing all public access to the site in two weeks and will only be allowing a select number of users access to the private site. Currently, new user registration has been disabled and the site is not accepting any more new user accounts at all. Current users have two weeks to export their feed's OPML file that can be used to migrate to another service. I have posted the full release from the developers below.
In the last 7 months, copyright holders have asked Google to remove over 100,000,000 links to infringing sites. The 100 million site figure is double what Google removed in the entire of 2012. Google are processing an average of 15 million "infringing" sites per month at the moment.
Companies are hoping to get consumers back, and in order to do that they need to take the temptation of pirate sites away. This is the reason Google are receiving millions upon millions of DCMA takedown requests. Since January of this year, Google have been asked to remove a staggering 105,300,000 links to 'pirate' websites.
If you take a look at the graph above, things have really escalated in the last twelve months. Which site got hit the most? That would be file-hosting search engine FilesTube with 5,801,661 URLs. Torrentz.eu saw 2,508,595 URLs gone, and third, Rapidgator.net with 2,166,977 URLs.
YouTube's Comedy Week has widely been considered a smashing success and the company is now looking to follow up that success with another week of themed, highlighted content. On August 4, YouTube will kick off its first annual Geek Week event in which the video sharing service will highlight more than 100 channels that feature Geeky and Nerdy content.
Participating channels include heavy hitters such as Chris Hardwick's Nerdist, the UK's Channel Flip, Machinima, and Felicia Day and Wil Wheaton's own Geek and Sundry. Additionally, Schmidt and Co will be hiding easter eggs over the event and will give users collectable virtual badges if spotted. Some big time players in the motion picture industry have taken notice as well, and an exclusive trailer for Thor: The Dark World will premier on Wednesday, August 7, right in the middle of the event.
Yahoo has announced that it will be taking Flickr offline tomorrow, July 25, between the hours of 4pm and 10pm Pacific. The downtime is scheduled so that the company can perform some much needed maintenance on the now quickly growing photo sharing site. Yahoo did not specify what maintenance would be performed, but we assume that it has something to do with networking hardware.
Yahoo says that the outage will affect more than just its Flickr property, and any and all sites that use the Flickr API for image sharing will see the images go offline during this time. This means any Flickr image that has been hotlinked on any website will not work for six hours or so. Once the service is back online, everything should return to normal. The service will be unavailable across all platforms including Mobile, Web, Smart TV, and any other device that can access Flickr.
Just how powerful are Google in the US, well, according to the latest data from analytics firm Deepfield, very powerful. The Mountain View-based giant provide over 25% of all North American Internet traffic.
Just three years ago, Google accounted for just 6% of North American traffic, and is now driving as much traffic in as Facebook, Instagram and Netflix, combined. This is something that truly astounds me. Deepfield says that 60% of all Internet-connected devices connect with Google at least once a day. These devices include PCs, mobile devices, consoles and other devices.
This number would be even bigger if it counted just PCs and mobile devices.
Today Verizon launched its fastest Internet package ever on its FiOS Cable and ISP service. FiOS' new Quantum Tier is capable of 500Mbs downstream and 100Mbs upstream, which is blazingly fast when compared to any other Internet connection package offered by Verizon. In true form the company has placed a premium on the new service which will set you back $369 per month. When combined with a residential cable package the new Quantum service will only cost you $309.99.
The new uber fast service would not be from Verizon if it didn't include a two-year service agreement although the company does say that users can purchase the service in a month-to-month basis without an annual service agreement but they failed to provide any pricing structure for that plan. Verizon says that the new Quantum tier will be available in all markets where FiOS is installed but not everyone will have the service until sometime next year.
As far as Internet-based corporations go, Google is about as big as they get, and rightfully so as the company offers up so many useful tools that many of us use in our daily lives. Today, we learned just how big Google actually is; a new report from Deepfield that was recently released says that based on the numbers Google represents 25 percent of all North American Internet traffic. This means that it is bigger than Facebook, Netflix, and Instagram combined in terms of bandwidth served.
"What's really interesting is, over just the past year, how pervasive Google has become, not just in Google data centers, but throughout the North American internet," says Craig Labovitz, founder of Deepfield, the monitoring company that did the study. Just three years ago, traffic to Google only accounted for about 6 percent of all Internet traffic.
Over the past year, Google has had to add tens of thousands of servers to its ranks to handle this massive growth and has built data centers on four continents within the last few years. Google has even gone as far as adding thousands of servers to ISPs around the world, called Google Global Cache Servers, that store the most popular content from Google's network such as a YouTube video that might be going viral, popular apps on the Google Play Store, or even a trending topic on Google+. These allow this content to be served to you faster than it would if it was all stored in a central location.
ICANN, the governing body behind all the domain names on the Internet, has released today the very first new generic top-level domain names (gTLDs). Those added to the list include: the Arabic word for web (.شبكة), the word for game in Chinese (.游戏), as well as the Russian word for online (.онлайн). More importantly, these are the first TLD's that do not use Latin-characters, a process that has been the standard since the Internet's inception.
The announcement was made today at the 47th ICANN Meeting in which a committee meets to approve or deny top-level domain name requests. Unfortunately for Amazon, this meeting marked the end of their quest for the .Amazon domain. ICANN struck down this request as it is likely to cause confusion with the Amazon region and South America. This means that Amazon washed over $185,000 down the drain which accounted for their application fee.
Hot on the heels of Google's public beta of its refreshed maps, the company has now updated its Street View service to include views from atop the Eiffel Tower. Google says that they worked with the Eiffel Tower Operating Company to gather a fairly large stack of panoramic imagery from all three of the Eiffel Tower's viewing platforms. Additionally, Google has built an online exhibit that depicts the story of the Eiffel Tower through 50 archival images, plans, engravings, and photographs.
"In order to capture the imagery, the Street View team followed in the footsteps of 7 million annual visitors and ascended multiple floors of the Tower," Mark Yoshitake of the Google Cultural Institute wrote in a blog post introducing the new material. "Using the Street View Trolley (designed especially for monuments and museums) they filmed 360-degree views of the monument's architecture and its views over Paris."
The Eiffel Tower is 324 meters tall and held the title of tallest construction in the world for 40 years after it was built in 1889 until it was dethroned by the Chrysler building in New York City. It is comprised of over 18,000 separately made pieces and is one of the most photographed structures in the world.
In case you haven't heard, Google has been completely overhauling its web-based map service and unveiled the first beta edition just two months ago at the company's I/O conference. Up until now, you needed to be invited by Google to participate in the beta program but as of today, Google has opened the doors and allow everyone to experience the new Google Maps.
Obtaining access to Google Maps Beta is a simple as visiting maps.Google.com. Once there, you'll be prompted to try out the newly refreshed maps via a box in the left sidebar. The new Maps provides a fullscreen experience and appears to be much quicker at loading than its previous iteration. The zooming is fast and smooth and Google has integrated a new, much smarter search box that is able to display your recent searches, directions, transit, traffic, and bicycling info.
Yes, this means that Google can now show you real-time traffic data right from your desktop at any point in the day. To use this feature, users can simply type a search string similar to "Traffic Near Las Vegas, NV" and the map will pop up and highlight roots with green for fast-moving areas and red for very slow congested areas. Users can use similar search strings to find restaurants, shopping venues, and even entertainment in areas anywhere in the world.
aEdward Snowden is probably the most wanted man in the world right now to the United States, with every single slither of information he releases has huge repercussions for every citizen. Today's revelation? Outlook.com has a backdoor, and Microsoft built it for the NSA.
When Microsoft starting testing Outlook.com, the NSA asked for access. Microsoft were forced to work, asking the FBI for some assistance, which took five month of collaboration to build a workaround that gives the NSA full access to encrypted chats on Outlook.com. The backdoor access began two months before Outlook.com went live.
There is a workaround, supposedly, where enabling encryption on Outlook will stop the NSA and probably half the governments of the world from looking at your private data. An NSA newsletter states: "For Prism collection against Hotmail, Live, and Outlook.com emails will be unaffected because Prism collects this data prior to encryption."
I've been loving the refreshed Google Play Store on my various Android-based devices, but now the web enjoys the same thing. The refreshed, card interface design is now on the web.
Videos can continue to be rented and purchased, with the same going for books and devices. Subscriptions to magazines and Android app installations to your Android-based devices can all be done with the click of your mouse. The benefits of the refreshed look of the Google Play Store on the web include larger screenshots for Android apps and content, and it's all done on Google's webP format which loads much quicker than the previous site.
The menu sidebar is also identical to the usual Google apps on Android, which is a nice touch from Google.
Last month, I reported that Yahoo would begin resetting inactive user accounts today, July 15. As expected, the company has started following through with this plan. This morning, Yahoo announced that it has launched its username wish list notification page (Source #2) where users can go and list up to five usernames they have always wanted associated with their Yahoo account. If and when these names become available, and after the reset process is complete, Yahoo will notify you of which names you were granted.
Some of you may be wondering how Yahoo plans on determining which accounts get deleted and which accounts stay. The answer is quite simple: if your Yahoo account has been inactive for at least twelve months, your name, account, and all emails will be deleted. More than likely this has already taken place, but reports say that the process could take a few weeks.
Yahoo says that those first in line for a username will be emailed a link which allows them to claim them sometime in mid-August 2013. After that, Yahoo will allow you to add usernames to a watchlist so you the first to know when they become available. This leads us to believe that the inactive account deletion process will be an ongoing thing, and accounts will be deleted as they pass the 12 months of inactivity milestone.
Google's Latitude service is about to enter the way of its now-defunct brother Google Reader. Today, Google announced that it would be canceling its Latitude service effective August 9 as a result of a Google Maps for mobile update.
Google Latitude is a location-aware application that allows users to share where they are with others. This has long been a major feature of Android and allows the friends to share their locations with each other. Google says that any third-party application that made use of the Latitude API will cease to function on August 9 as well.
This morning, Google announced that it will once again allow users to make phone calls from within Gmail through the use of Google Hangouts. The company says that it doesn't matter whether its users are on Gmail or on the web; all users will be able to call the US and Canada for free.
Google says that it heard the cries from many users who were disappointed that they could no longer make calls from within Gmail and this was the major factor in their decision to return the service. Calls can be made to anyone in the US and Canada for free from any country in the world where Hangouts are available. Calls can also be placed outside of North America through the use of Google Voice. A call to India will cost users $0.02 per minute while a call to Mexico will run users $0.15 per minute.
Users do not need to make calls through Gmail alone as Google+ and Chrome extensions also support the feature. The company tells us that with Hangout calls up to 10 people can converse through the video chat while up to five people can participate in voice only. This gives the ability for 15 people to be on the same call it one time.
When it comes to US electronics resellers Newegg.com only comes in second to retail giant Amazon.com. Up until now The Egg as is affectionately known, has only been available in the US, Canada, and China. That is about to change as the company has just announced an expansion into Taiwan that will take place between July and August of this year.
Newegg.com already operates an office of around 200 people in Taiwan and is expected to expand their employment to around 300 to 400 employees in the next few weeks. The company says that it will initially offer its existing range of products and will eventually expand to incorporate more local goods as time progresses.
Website Bit-Tech.net is also reporting that it sources have confirmed that Newegg will begin expanding into the UK shortly as well. There sources however state that the UK expansion will take place before the Taiwanese launch which means that we can see a Newegg.co.uk domain pop up any day now.
A few months back, Yahoo announced the creation of a new menu bar that would be shared across all of its desktop website services such as mail, search, and photo sharing. Many scoffed at the idea, but others pointed out that Google has been doing the same thing for some time. This morning, Yahoo rolled out the new menu bar to its recently reinvigorated photo sharing service Flickr.
While the new menu bar is technically a useful feature, many Flickr users are not so convinced and as a result, they have taken to the Flickr help forums to vent their disdain. One user wrote "Gosh, what a design disaster...if that annoying bar would at least fit the site design wise at little. Yahoo has learned nothing in the last decade as it seems. Dropping pro account now. Sorry guys, this is just too much."
Historically, I have not been a major fan of Flickr, but have recently flipped a 180 when the service began offering 1TB of free storage to its users. As an ex-professional photographer who still does small shoots on the side, this new amount of storage was very appealing to me. The new integration of this menu bar in its current form is definitely not appealing to the eyes, nor is it in any form inline with the refined, dark theme that Flickr has been sporting since the update.
Facebook first brought its stickers to its mobile applications back in April. Those same stickers will soon be available to web users. Stickers are larger pre-made images that are similar to the simple smiley but can be animated and are quite a bit larger. Stickers are just another way for Facebook to ensure that users don't head to alternative messaging platforms.
To use stickers on the web platform, simply click the usual smiley button to open the smiley menu. Click the basket icon to open up the Sticker Store where you can select from up to 16 different sticker packs. Contrary to what the name might suggest, all of these sticker packs are free. Facebook could possibly charge brands to put sticker packs into the Sticker Store, bringing in more revenue for the company.
In related news, TechCrunch is reporting that the person behind the whole sticker idea has left Facebook. Sophie Xie has only been with Facebook from 2012, but it appears that she will be moving on to bigger and better things. She originally conceived the idea during one of Facebook's famous hackathons. Her team will have to carry on without her.
Google has added new and updated 3D imagery for 50 cities in the United States. Google has promised to bring 3D buildings to the majority of large United States cities, and today's update appears to be a great step towards that goal. Today's update brought new or updated imagery for 50 US cities. New additions include Las Cruces, NM and Bend, OR, while San Francisco, CA and others received updates.
The full list directly from Google:
Anniston, AL; Auburn, AL; Barstow, CA; Bastrop, TX; Bend, OR; Birmingham, AL; Boulder City, NV; Buffalo Core, NY; Cape Girardeau, MO; Casper, WY; Cheyenne, WY; Chicago, IL; Chico, CA; College Station, OH; Delano, CA; Desert Hot Springs, CA; Dubuque, IA; Edmonton, NY; Enid, OK; Farmington, NM; Grand Forks, ND; Grand Junction, CO; Great Falls, MT; Hanford, CA; Healdsburg, CA; Helendale, CA; Hot Springs, AR; Idaho Falls, ID; Kelso, WA; Killeen, TX; Las Cruces, NM; Lawton, OK; Leeds, OK; Madera, CA; Malibu, CA; Merced, CA; Modesto, CA; Ocala, FL; Odessa, TX; Ojai, CA; Picture Rocks, AZ; Pittsburgh, PA; Prescott, AZ; Rapid City, SD; Redding, CA; Riverside, CA; San Angelo, TX; San Francisco, CA; St George, UT; Texarkana, TX; Twentynine Palms, CA; Victoria, TX; Winnipeg, TX; Yuba City, CA.
Today, Microsoft announced that it has added a "Search by Rights" filter to its Bing search engine. This new feature will allow users to search images by use rights so users do not have to worry about copyright infringement when using them in blog posts, presentations, and other non fair use work.
Before this feature was implemented, when searching for an image, users had to individually cycle through the details of each photo to verify if there was any license information provided. Now the process as simple as clicking a drop-down and sorting by the license type attached to the photos.
In the image above, you can see that there are multiple options: All, public domain, free to share and use, free to share and use commercially, free to modify/share/use, and free to modify/share/use commercially. Microsoft says these choices should cover bloggers, teachers, students, publishers, and small business owners.
[Editors note: Google has had this ability for a while now]