Facebook.. Facebook..Facebook…Finally its F8, 2011.

Ok.. It’s a day of “For the Facebook….by the Facebook… and to the Facebook”… The news is finally here after a lot of hype and speculation in the past week. Loads of information on the internet regarding F8,2011.

In short, you can see the following features rolled out in Facebook in the coming months:

1. Timeline – Its a book about yourself where facebook gathers information about you, based on your activities and provide a very nice timeline. This timeline should tell you how your life has been for the past x years (after you have started using facebook). Pretty interesting! – Good, not that exciting, bad ?

Any normal user (not just Developers) can currently try out Google timeline in an “independent” mode. If you are interested, go through the steps here.

If you are lazy , here is a sample page for you as released by Facebook.

2.”Like” button will be accompanied with “Read”, “Listen” and “Watch” buttons. What is the “READ” button used for? According to Facebook, if a particular user is reading a webpage, Facebook ticker is his friends login will be updated with saying “Mr XX is reading website.com”.. Well, this sounds funny !

Also it plans to understand to introduce “Pause”  and “Undo” buttons.. “Pause” and “Undo” does not sound like a good option though and might try to complicate things to users.

3. As I have told in the blog yesterday about the new feature “Listen with a friend” in Facebook Music, I guess the “Listen” button would be used for that purpose.

4. Smart lists that is already rolled out.

In short, facebook is really gearing up for the next phase of Facebook and I think they are going to have a lot of goodies for its 500M+ users. Given the major transformation happening in Facebook and the amount of information that it processes to provide a better user experience, it has to keep in mind that it just need to provide information in a very “SIMPLE” manner and does not clutter the wall with loads of information. This exactly was what I felt when I saw the new facebook update couple of weeks back with automatic scrollers on the right half pane”, page getting dumped with lots of info etc..

On the other hand, it is indeed a very bad day for Google. Google was trying to compete with the previous version of Facebook and need to now geared up with plans to complete the brand new FACEBOOK. All the very best Google !

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Amazon offers borrowing books from public libraries.

Amazon and Overdrive (Digital Distribution company) partners to allow users to borrow books from public libraries for its Kindle users. Overdrive has access to 11000 public libraries and Amazon offers this service to all its Kindle owners – Kindle readers, apps etc.

Here is the procedure:

  • Visit the website of a U.S. library that offers digital services from OverDrive.
  • Check out a Kindle book (library card required).
  • Click on “Get for Kindle.” You will then be directed to Amazon.com to redeem your public library loan. You may be required to login to your Amazon.com account — or create a new account — if you’re not already logged in.
  • Choose to read the book on your Kindle device, free reading app, or Kindle Cloud Reader.

Kindle eBook users can download the books using active WiFi connection (not supported on Kindle 3G connection). Later the user can apple for extension for reading the book or buy the book from Amazon.

One interesting feature is that it supports Amazon’s “Whispersync”, where it preserves all your bookmarks done to the book, so that it will be available for users reading the book at a later point of time.

I am not an active book reader. But if you are, checkout here for more details.

Why should Google be questioned on its Search Algorithms?

Eric Schmidt has been questioned by US Senate Judiciary Committee today, about its search algorithm indicating that it intends to redirect its search traffic to Google’s related websites (Google Shopping, maps, reviews, offers etc). None of us outside Google can comment on whether the search algorithm is biased and provides priority to its own websites when compared to other websites. As per Eric, Google is not biasing its search results. As a user, I appreciate the fact that Google is able to integrate their products and provide a better user-experience. I have not experienced a situation where Google is not trying to be fair with its search results for business transactions. The most sought after “Review” platform now-a-days is Yelp and a recent survey has indicated that Google search brings in 75% of Yelp’s traffic.

Having said that I do not find a reason as to why Google should not bias the search results. Google has around 65-70% of the  market share in desktop search and approx 90% in the mobile search. Biasing the search results would certainly enable them to boost the growth in various other Google portfolios. Although biasing the search would help Google, it is up to the end user to continue using Google products depending on the user-experience.  People who use Google search for business transactions and personal experience always have the option to choose among the best.

In my opinion, as long as Google provides appropriate credit to the Web owners in its search results and does not play around with public data anymore (as the data captured for the street views) , they are doing a fair job.

If you have time and want to know more on what went during the Senate’s meeting, here it is.

Facebook “Listen with your friend”.

    Creative director of Facebook, Ji Lee tweeted about its latest update to its the Facebook Music platform. This feature named as “Listen with your friend” will allow users users to listen  to what their friends are listening.. Seems to be interesting, but how would it be different from a normal post being done as status updates? If the answer is that the friends will be notified automatically whenever a user is hearing to any specific music, Wouldn’t that raise privacy concerns?

Let’s wait till the official news comes out.

“Sub-conscious” mode for cell phones

Researchers Kang Shin and Xinyu Zhang from University of Michigan have come up with a “sub-conscious” mode to enhance the battery life of the mobile phones. This mode can be set to the mobile phones when the data transfer is not active, but with WiFi / Bluetooth option turned ON.

The cell phones consume energy even if the is no data transfer using WiFi / Bluetooth. This mode of operation is called “Idle Listening Technology”. Apparently “Idle Listening Technology” consumes more energy for operation. The new technology  is called “Energy Minimizing Idle Listening Technology” (E-MiLI). E-MiLI is the new technology where the cell phone monitors for any incoming radio signals by enabling it to be in “sub-conscious/sleep” mode. According to the researchers, it is possible to monitor the header information in the radio signals even if the cell phone is 90% sleep.

The operating speed for the wireless card during the “sub-conscious” mode is reduced  to 1/16 of its normal speed. Based on the experiment done, the new technology enhances the battery life of the cell phones by approx 54%. Incorporating the new technology in the cell phones requires firmware upgrade.

These technologies help to reduce the burden for  the chip manufactures while they fight for high powered devices in this age of “Energy-Hungry” applications.

Apple iPhone5 to be released on Oct 5.

The much awaited iPhone5 is getting ready to be released on Oct 5. Tim Cook will take over the stage along with other Apple executives (as it used to happen for any Apple events when Steve used to show-off with the latest gadget from his stable) for making the announcement.

There are rumors that iPhone5 will have a better, wider and a thinner body, larger display (display extended till the edges) and a 8MP camera. To maintain its tradition, apple is releasing its iPhone, this summer.

There are also speculations that Apple would release its next gen iPod this fall. Apple is now trying to reduce the push for iPod as the sales numbers have dropped. Would people having iPhone still carry an iPod when its iPhone can offer everything that an iPod can offer?

Anything else that is planned to be released on the Apple event on Oct 5?

The Big Social Networking Battle ..

     Vs    

There are lots of talks around the corner in the “World of social networking” these days. Every business user trying to link their business to the social networking sites to gain more attention in the age of social media. Not to say that it helps to keep in touch with your friends whom you have not met for even more than a decade. They really make even an introvert human into a social animal.

Today Google announced that its Google+ platform is now open to the users across the globe. Also it has announced a whole bunch of updates to its Google + Platform – starting from minor corrections to some really cool stuffs.  There were not much talks or rumors about this announcement. Has Google rushed to make announcements just before Facebook’s big day – “Facebook F8” Developer conference, this Thursday? Well, May be!

The new features which interests me the most are “Mobile Hangouts”, “Hangouts on Air” and “Screen Sharing”.

Mobile Hangouts: Hangouts using your phone (App for Android released today. IOS App expected to be released soon)

Hangouts on Air:  Hangouts session through broadcast. As of now, 9 broadcast sessions are allowed, but moving forward,  the number of sessions would be increased.

Screen Sharing: This is yet another cool stuff … With integration to Google Voice, Talk and Docs, this will further strengthen their unified communication space.

But do we still have the question as to is who is going to emerge as a Winner in this space? Well may be not…

With the tight integration of Google+ to all of its products including its android platform, Google is trying hard to grab its piece of share. Not to mention Google homepage now has a Big BLUE arrow pointing to its Google+ platform from its Google homepage 🙂 to make sure that users go and login to Google+ atleast once.

My thought (as most of you would agree) is that “Facebook” is still going to lead the space just because it has entered the market quicker and grabbed a major chunk of market share (did we ever talk about social networking when Orkut was there?) and its a big pain to be in more than one social networking site.   The number of people signed in for Google+ really does not mean that Google+ is a success one. The initial hype and the craze for Google made everyone to sign-in to Google+ and post messages for few days, but they switched back to Facebook quickly.

Although Google is not going to miserably fail as it has happened for Google Wave, its still going to lag behind Facebook. The only magic which can turn around the ranking in scoring card for Google is it’s  integration to mobile platform .  In any case, the way it has built those smart applications within Google+ will help them fight against some of the tough competitors in those space. Example: Hangouts clubbed with Google talk will strengthen their competition against Skype and others in that space.

Hey ! Did I mention about Twitter? Well, that’s silent for now, so most probably last in the ranking.

Facebook redesigned its homepage today with newsfeed on the top of the page and updates on the right side… On a first look, the facebook page looks so congested now after the new update released today.The image viewer seems to be copied form Google+ 🙂

With due appreciation to the Google+ team, let’ wait for Facebook F8 conference to see what they announce.