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Google Maps adds real-time traffic for 130 additional US cities

Google is incredible in the wide array of services that it offers for free. Google has just increased the number of cities where real-time traffic data is provided by adding Bogotá, Panama City and San Jose (Costa Rica) to the list. They have also included 130 new United States cities in this increased offering.

 

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The cool part about how all this works is that it relies on people using Google Maps. Google Maps then reports back anonymous speed and location data to Google where it is combined into traffic data and sent back for free. The issue is that this crowdsourcing needs lots of users to provide reliable data. Thanks to the widespread adoption of Android, this has become easier and Google can provide information for more locations.

 

Google Maps will now be able to show data for side roads and arterial roads that don't get as much traffic as the main highways. In addition to the 130 new US cities that Google has added, they have also added support around the world in countries including "Brazil, Canada, China, Czech Republic, France, Germany, Italy, Mexico, Russia, Spain, Sweden, and the United Kingdom."

Microsoft doesn't want to rely on plug-ins for realtime communication in browsers anymore

Microsoft have announced their proposal to bring realtime communication in browsers, all without plug-ins. The W3C WebRTC working group received "Customizable, Ubiquitous Real Time Communications over the Web" (CU-RTC-Web) proposal from Microsoft, which is the first step toward creating a standard that would be key in creating a browser-based version of Microsoft's expensive acquisition, Skype.

 

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Other companies have already laid out their plans for HTML5-based communications, with Google and Mozilla already doing so. Microsoft, on the other hand, are waiting to make it publicly available until it's a fully formalized standard. Stopping the software giant right now is the choice of codecs being used, with Google and Mozilla wanting to use the open sources VP8 as default, with Microsoft wanting to be more flexible.

 

Outlook.com is getting eyed at by Microsoft to get some Skype integration, which is something the company has been planning for quite a while now. This would require a plug-in and would not use WebRTC, but it could change somewhere down the line when the standard is complete. The WebRTC standard would allow cross-platform audio- and video-based communications, potentially allowing services such as Google Talk and Skype to work together.

Wikipedia suffers outage after networking issues

The outage you may have seen on Wikipedia earlier this morning was not another SOPA-style blackout, nor was it any sort of foul play by upset teachers. The cause was a simple networking glitch with servers in Tampa. As of now, the site should be back up to its fully functioning and fully informative state.

 

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The outage started around 6:30 a.m. PT with a simple error message that the "servers are currently experiencing a technical problem." The site was somewhat navigable, with pages only partly loading and much of the content style and layout being stripped out. Just about an hour later, the site was back to normal.

 

The Wikipedia status page was aglow with orange and red which notated warnings and service disruptions. As of now, almost every single one is back to green or orange, showing that the site has recovered. The outage is said to be "due to networking issues with servers in Tampa, Florida," but no further information is available.

 

"We certainly haven't been hit by a denial of service attack." Further contributing to the story of networking issues rather than a bunch of angry teachers teaming up.

Google's PageSpeed Service gets updated, websites now load even quicker

Google launched their PageSpeed Service last year with the aim of improving the experience of web surfing, without making them a dime. The idea sounded great, as it worked like similar services such as Akamai, where it would boost web browsing speeds by caching pages in the same way, but as always, there's always improvements that can be made.

 

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Google's latest PageSpeed beta uses some simple techniques that improve performance even more, using a new rewriter called "Cache and Prioritize Visible Content". Using this new tool, your browser will load content before it even appears "above the fold" before fetching text and photos that would be initially hidden on the page, all while prioritizing other content ahead of Javascript, which isn't needed as much as more basic elements.

 

Also, for pages that include HTML that isn't cacheable, such as personalized info, is returned, standard portions of the side and cache are displayed immediately, whilst other content loads in its normal fashion. This new tool isn't the best for every website on the web, but it's great to see these changes, all for free.

The OverClocker Issue 20 is now available

Issue 20 of The OverClocker is now out, for your viewing pleasure. This month's issue has a great 8-page feature covering Computex 2012, and much, much more. Another stand-out feature of the issue is Kingpin's Z77 LN2 guide.

 

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There's also a one-on-one with overclocker Hondacity. There's also a bunch of reviews, with Issue 20 of The OverClocker covering ASUS' Maximus V Extreme, Plextor M3 Pro 256GB SSD, GIGABYTE's Z77X-UD3H, and MSI's R7970 Lightning card.

 

There's plenty more, as well as a review of slow-mo third-person shooter Max Payne 3, Corsair's Vengeance 2000 and more. Be sure to check it out right here.

Facebook to force Timeline upon all users this 'fall'

Start cleaning your Facebook profile in preparation for this fall. Facebook has said that they will be moving everyone to a Timeline this "fall" much to the dismay of almost the entire user base. For those of you who have managed not to get a Timeline for this long, you won't have much of a choice after this move.

 

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Timeline, originally introduced at Facebook's f8 developer conference last September, breaks away from the traditional and instead puts all content branching off a single trunk, which happens to be a timeline. This has the unfortunate consequence of allowing easier access to your virtual past, allowing content you previously thought deleted to be easily viewed.

 

Once the time has come for Timeline, Facebook will give you a mere 7 days to review it, and clean it in many cases, before it goes live to all of your friends. Facebook has refused to give a specific time frame for the transition other than "fall." A recent survey shows a large amount of users don't like Timeline with as many as 17% of users actively deleting previous posts.

Google improves Play Store by clamping down on dodgy Android apps

Google have updated the developer program policy page, which has now made the platform more secure and easier to navigate for users. Google had sent out an e-mail to its developer community with the news that Google Play would be undergoing some changes to clamp down on suspect behavior in the Android market.

 

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Google outlined the types of apps that aren't allowed on the platform, with apps that disclose personal information like credit card and social security numbers without authorization are now, not allowed. Google are also restricting developers from using names, or icons that are similar to existing apps, which should cut down on piracy and dodgy apps that look the same as real apps, but aren't.

 

Google have said on their policy page:

 

Don't pretend to be someone else, and don't represent that your app is authorized by or produced by another company or organization if that is not the case. Products or the ads they contain also must not mimic functionality or warnings from the operating system or other applications.

Continue reading 'Google improves Play Store by clamping down on dodgy Android apps' (full post)

Google launches official Android blog, finally

Google have finally opened up an official Android blog, as up until now, all of the Android-based news had to find its home in the Google Mobile blog. Now, it has its own home, its own man cave, dungeon and experimental lab. Call it what you will, but Android has its own home within a blog.

 

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The Google Mobile team had some words to express for the new home for Android:

 

A few months ago, we asked what content you wanted to see more of on the Google Mobile Blog, and the answer was quite clear: more Android! We launched +Android on Google+ and now we've launched the Official Android Blog, a new place for you to find all the latest news from the Android team.

 

Going forward, the new Android Blog will be a must-read for anyone interested in the latest news like today's Google Wallet announcement. Thanks for being such a great audience over the years.

Microsoft's Outlook.com email service sees 1 million users in 6 hours

Microsoft must have done something right with the launch of Outlook.com, their new e-mail service designed to replace Hotmail and lure users away from Gmail. In a mere six hours, Microsoft has said that Outlook.com saw 1 million users sign up. These sign-up numbers were Tweeted by @Outlook six hours after the service was first announced.

 

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Users of the new service will receive a new domain for their e-mail address--"@outlook.com"--which replaces the older "@hotmail.com." Users can, however, upgrade now and keep their current e-mail address. Eventually, the service will feature Skype integration, something designed to rival Google's Gmail and Talk integration.

 

All that remains to be seen is how many users will change from Hotmail over to the new service. Microsoft needs to create enough buzz around the new service in order to keep users from jumping over to Gmail. Google has the lead with 425 million users, while Microsoft has just 350 million at last count.

Digg's "Rethought" redesign goes live, all hail the new Digg

Ah, Digg. The memories I have of spending countless hours searching for stories, or just having a read out of sheer boredom. Reddit has now replaced it, and its like going from a cheap scotch to something that is ten times smoother, as well as attracts the ladies.

 

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Digg has just made their "Rethought" redesign live, all after their acquisition by Betaworks, and just 24 hours after the company showed off its v1 preview, which was part of a very, very quick 6-week redesign process. Old features from Digg like the Newsbar and Newsroom have been thrown away in favor of a simpler site that emphasizes top stories, popular stories, and "upcoming" stories.

 

One major change is that the main page of Digg will now be editorially driven, versus being based on a Digg score algorithm. Because it was an uber quick 6-week redesign, some of the main features have been left out for now, such as commenting. This means that, for now, Digg is more of a news portal, than a community. How would a commenting system work on the new redesigned Digg is another question in itself. Betaworks have said that it plans on conducting "a few experiments in commenting that will inform more permanent features".

Continue reading 'Digg's "Rethought" redesign goes live, all hail the new Digg' (full post)

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