Google this week confirmed its acquisition of online entertainment company Slide, PC World reports. The purchase rehashed speculation that the search giant is interested in working its way into social media, possibly with a game-centered service called “Google Me.” Although there isn’t any word on specific product details David Glazer, engineering director at Google confirms the company will invest more effort to make its services more “socially aware” in a recent blog post. This shouldn’t come as any surprise to anyone. Google has repeatedly expressed interest in the past year, starting with the announcement of Google Wave at the 2009 I/O Developer Conference. If Google plans to dethrone Facebook (or at least become a contender in the world of social media) it needs to learn a few things from its past social endeavors, most of which haven’t ended so well. However, it’s clear that Google is keeping at this mission……Read More
Google CEO Eric Schmidt had some scary things to say about privacy, reports PC World. In a nutshell, he said there’s an almost incomprehensible amount of data out there about all of us–much of which we’ve generated ourselves via social networks, blogs, and so on–and we are totally unprepared to deal with the implications of that fact. Schmidt was speaking at the Techonomy confab, currently underway at California’s Lake Tahoe, where large-brained people gather to talk about how technology and the economy intersect. Schmidt wasn’t really trying to draw disaster scenarios. He noted that a lot of positive benefits can come from the information explosion, and he’s right. Personally, if not for the internet, I might be in another line of work. I’d almost certainly live in another city. Being able to access vast amounts of data without lifting my butt from this ergonomic chair has transformed my life in dozens of ways, as I’m sure it has transformed others’. Of course, Google is in the business of monetizing that data, for which it seems to possess an insatiable appetite. And sometimes it screws up big time. Schmidt didn’t really talk about that. The good side of all this data: instant information about virtually anything. The dark side? Vast potential for personal profiling by your employer, your insurer, and The Man……Read More
While very few of you may be shedding tears over the demise of Google Wave, or even knew what it was, we probably haven’t seen the last of this service, PC World reports. The search giant says the technology behind its ill-fated collaboration tool will live on in new products that have not yet been announced. Google isn’t giving any hints about what new those new products might be or how they would benefit from Wave features. But company CEO Eric Schmidt recently said the Wave team would be moving over to other products that are “like Wave but applied in some other areas,” according to a YouTube video posted by TechCrunch’s MG Siegler. So what might those other areas be that could benefit from Wave technology? The most likely candidate could be Google’s rumored Facebook competitor, Google Me. It’s unclear at this point what Google Me would be like or how it would differ from Buzz and Orkut, Google’s other two social applications.…Read More
Perhaps there is finally something to deter Chatroulette.com users from their more offensive behavior, PC World reports: University researchers say that users of the popular video-chat site might not be as anonymous, or as private, as they think. In a paper posted online this week, researchers from the University of Colorado at Boulder and McGill University outline three different types of attacks that could be launched against Chatroulette users. Founded last year by 17-year-old Russian entrepreneur Andrey Ternovskiy, Chatroulette links web surfers randomly into one-on-one video chat conversations. The site has come under fire, however, because of nudity and inappropriate behavior. The new research doesn’t expose any gaping privacy holes, but it does show how the service could be misused by determined criminals. For example, researchers describe a type of video phishing attack, where the criminals would simply play a video of an attractive woman who appears to be chatting with the victim, with audio disabled. The novelty and apparent intimacy of a chat session could make it easier to con people into friending scammers on Facebook or even visiting malicious web sites, said Richard Han, an associate professor with the University of Colorado who co-authored the paper. An and other researchers also found a way to make Chatroulette’s anonymous chats much less anonymous……Read More
Hewlett-Packard has put its own spin on Intel’s Classmate PC concept, offering a $300 netbook aimed at students in elementary schools, PC World reports. Designed to handle juice spills and other perils in the life of a young student, the Mini 100e bears a striking resemblance to Intel’s Classmate PC reference design, a netbook intended for classroom use. Both the Mini 100e and the Classmate PC are based on the standard netbook configuration, with an Atom processor, 1GB of RAM, and the choice between a 160GB hard disk or a small SSD. Like the Classmate PC, the Mini 100e comes in a beefy plastic case with a built-in handle and a 10.1-inch screen. The machine, which goes on sale next month, comes with a choice of three operating systems: Windows 7 Starter, Windows XP Home, or SuSE Linux Enterprise 11. It also comes with Microsoft Office 2010 and Microsoft Math, an application that helps students work through math problems……Read More
Citing the strong integration between its upcoming mobile phone software and its popular business-oriented products such as Office, Exchange, and SharePoint, Microsoft is actively pitching Windows Phone 7 to IT pros and developers at its TechEd 2010 conference, which got underway June 7 in New Orleans, PC World reports. With a touch-oriented interface that borrows elements from the Apple iPhone and Microsoft’s own underappreciated Zune HD, Windows Phone 7 clearly has strong consumer appeal. However, its tight hooks into Redmond’s bread-and-butter business apps also make it a smart buy for enterprise customers, Microsoft argues. Windows Phone 7 will “combine a smart new user interface with familiar tools such as PowerPoint, OneNote, Word, Excel and SharePoint into a single integrated experience via the Office hub,” writes Microsoft’s Paul Bryan in a June 7 post on the Windows Phone Blog. Businesspeople would rather carry a single smartphone for office and personal use, and a new crop of Windows Phone 7 devices coming later this year will suit their needs, he asserts……Read More
I have seen the future of home computing, and it is the iPad. I’m convinced of it, PC World’s Kenneth van Wyk reports. Yes, iPadurday has come and gone. Many of us have Wi-Fi iPads in our grubby little mitts. Early reviews have been mostly stellar. The device–and more importantly, the software running it–is superb, but certainly not perfect. And now we’ve seen Steve Jobs outline the next release of the operating system, iPhone OS 4.0. That’s all well and good, but largely secondary to my point. I’ve discussed the app store model here a couple of times , and the security ramifications it carries. Well, let’s consider the iPad in that light, now that it has been released. When I got my iPad, I immediately installed several software packages on it. Most of it was for entertainment (e.g., Netflix, ABC Reader), but I also installed a couple of apps that could at least ostensibly be used for business (e.g., Pages, Keynote). Each installation was simple: I ran the App Store application, found the tools I wanted, and clicked the purchase icon. Within moments, each package installed……Read More
Imagine controlling Apple iTunes from inside Microsoft Word without having to switch applications. That could be possible, PC World reports, thanks to the efforts of researchers at the University of Washington who are working on a project that could essentially make any proprietary software act like open source. “Microsoft and Apple aren’t going to open up all their stuff. But they all create programs that put pixels on the screen. And if we can modify those pixels, then we can change the programs’ apparent behavior,” said James Fogarty, a University of Washington assistant professor of computer science and engineering. Almost everything seen on a display is made of prefabricated blocks of code, and the tool, called Prefab, looks for those blocks as often as 20 times per second and alters their behavior. Prefab doesn’t actually reveal or manipulate the source code for programs, because it can’t see this in proprietary software. It can only manipulate and combine what’s visible on the computer screen. “Even if it’s in a menu six layers down, if your eyes can see it, so can Prefab,” Fogarty said. Making changes to software from Microsoft, Apple, and other companies could lead to legal problems, but Fogarty argued that “there’s a lot of value we can provide these companies.” He plans to show the software on April 14 in Atlanta at the Computer Human Interface conference……Read More
YouTube today introduced a new content filter that helps users screen out offensive content, such as news videos with graphic violence, or sexually suggestive clips that don’t exceed the service’s Community Guidelines, PC World reports. The optional filter, named Safety Mode, also hides all text comments by default. Google’s YouTube has long banned family-unfriendly content, including pornography and videos that show gratuitous violence, animal abuse, underage drinking, and the like. But Safety Mode adds another layer of protection to keep kids and sensitive adults away from more provocative material. “An example of this type of content might be a newsworthy video that contains graphic violence such as a political protest or war coverage,” writes Associate Product Manager Jamie Davidson on The Official YouTube Blog. The setting is being rolled out Tuesday. To opt in, you scroll to the bottom of any YouTube page and click “Safety Mode is off” on the bottom left. Click “On” and “Save” to activate the filter.…Read More
If Apple is really considering price cuts on its just-introduced iPad, the best advice is to make them before launch, not after, according to PC World.
Not today, or tomorrow, but a price drop a week–or even a day–before it goes on sale might give the iPad an incredible boost. I will also describe what other businesses can learn from Apple’s troubles.
The iPad has been gradually settling back to early after a less than stellar Steve Jobs introduction on Jan. 27. The truth is that, for many, a supersized iPod touch just isn’t too terribly interesting.…Read More