Friday, February 24, 2012

Integration of Google+ with other Google Products

Initially Google+ was launched (or at least perceived) as a Social networking site directly competing against Facebook. Tech gurus instantaneously started comparing the two sites based on features, user base, etc. However, Google has been saying for a while that Google+ isn't just as a social networking site, but a well integrated Google product. Little was known what they meant few months back. Here is the breakdown of what they meant by a well integrated product.
  • Any and all pictures uploaded on Picasa are now available in Google+ for you to share with your circles in one click.
  • Pictures taken from you smart phone are automatically uploaded to your Google+ as a private picture which can be shared at your discretion.
  • You can now view contacts/emails in your Gmail based on your Google+ Circles. You can also add any contact directly from your Gmail to your Google+ Circle
  • You can customize call screening and greetings in your Google Voice account based on your Google+ circles.
  • Ability to chat (gtalk) via Google+, and also specify which Circles can chat with you.
  • You can now sort Google search results based on personal connections (from Google+) or from the entire web.
  • +1's received by the websites are shown on search results.
  • And the list keeps growing
One of the questions which was being constantly raised was, will Google+ be able to compete with Facebook or will it eventually have a slow death just like Orkut. I don't think that question is valid any longer. Google+ is no longer directly competing with Facebook, but at the same time it is growing its user base 10 fold by integrating Google+ with other popular Google services.

Friday, February 10, 2012

Google to start competing with Dropbox

There have been rumors floating for several months that Google is going to launch Cloud Storage service called Google Drive. Google is aiming to directly compete with the famous cloud storage, DropBox. Google already provides cloud storage for music and is called Google Music.

Almost every company is moving towards cloud computing. Apple came out with iCloud for music, backup, etc. Google has also launched laptop running on Chrome OS which basically can be touted as a cloud computing laptop as all the application on Chrome OS are web based.

It is yet to be seen if and how Google Drive will be integrated with other cloud based services Google provides. No details have been revealed by Google regarding this service. I will post more information as it becomes available. I would speculate it will initially launch as a invitation only service just like any other launch.

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Mobile Google Docs now available in Offline mode

Google Docs for Android received a major update. It has finally added support for Offline access to files stored in Google Docs. The inability of offline access has been a set back for Google Doc ever since it was introduced.

With this update you can now make any file in your Google Doc available to you offline. Any changes made will be sync'ed up when your connection is restored.

Click here to download the update...

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Apple's Got the Green!

Here is an interesting comparison created by MBAOnline regarding how much cash Apple's got.

Apple's Cash
Created by: MBA Online

Monday, January 30, 2012

AutomateIt: Automate your Android

Have you ever been in a situation where you can't find your phone in your home and calling the phone doesn't help either because you have it on silent? I sure have been in that situation before. AutomateIt provides solutions for such mishaps and more.

You can set various rules to Automate trigger on your Android Phone. For example you can set a rule to turn your ringer on high volume when your phone receives text message "lost phone". You can also set location based rules such as enabling and disabling wifi when you enter or exit your home location. Such rules can help you save some battery charge.

You can also set low battery triggers, so that when your phone has less than 30% charge it would automatically turn off bluetooth, gps, wifi, etc. The options are endless as to what all you can automate with AutomateIt. There is a free version with few limitations and than there is the pro version for $1.50.

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Nokia's marriage to Microsoft is fetching them $250 Million per quarter

Nokia reported a whopping $1 Billion loss in 4th quarter of 2011. In contrast Nokia had reported $900 Million profit in the same quarter of 2010. Thanks to the rise of Apples and Androids, Nokia saw a sharp decline in sales and profits in a year.

Recently Nokia had joined hands with Microsoft to provide Windows based phones on Nokia hardware. Up until now both Nokia and Microsoft were tight lipped about the terms of the partnership. However, Nokia quarterly earnings revealed that it has received $250 Million "platform support payments" from Microsoft in 4th quarter. This would add up to $1 Billion payments from Microsoft to Nokia in a year.

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Netflix Beats Expectations

Netflix in its quarterly earnings today announced that it has added 610,000 DVD subscribers and 220,000 Online streaming only subscribers. Analysts had estimated $857.4M revenue and EPS of $0.54. Compared to the estimates the actual figures for the 4th quarter of 2011 Netflix reported $876M in revenues and EPS of $0.73.

Netflix (NFLX) shares jumped by 15% to $109.71 in after hours trading.

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Android Top Mobile OS, But Making Little Money

Android is installed on about 50% of smart phones worldwide, but is only now starting to make little money according to Larry Page, Google's CEO. In recent earnings call Larry Page called Android a young product with lots of potential. “But we see a lot of potential for us to make money on Android, and you’ll see us increase that a lot over time,” he added. “It’s hard to give you details about that right now, but I’m very, very optimistic.”

Android being a free open source mobile operating system, can be used by any manufacturer for little or no fees. Google generates its revenue by selling ads through the 11 billion app downloads from Android Market. Analysts believe out of the 250 Million Androids activated thus far many of them could be lost cost GPS devices which are not showing ads and hence non-revenue generator for Google.

Source: NYTimes

Friday, January 20, 2012

Google Hotel Finder

Last year Google introduced a experimental tool, Hotel Finder. Basically Hotel Finder allows users to search for Hotels and compare prices from sites across the internet. You can search by star ratings and/or the price. Today Google extended the functionality by adding 'Hotels by Travel Time' to its experimental tool.

You can now filter hotels based on travel time either by public transport or by foot. If you are a tourist visiting a new city for a conference and want to make sure you stay close to the conference center, than Google's HotelFinder is a pretty neat tool to identify hotels in the vicinity.

Source: Google Hotel Finder

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

BlackBerry 7.1 OS Update

Cell Phone providers around the world will start rolling out The BlackBerry 7.1 OS upgrade over next few weeks. Two most anticipated features in this update are using BB as a Wifi hotspot, and enabling Wifi (UMA) calling if supported by your carrier. Full list of features added to BB 7.1 are highlighted here:

  • Mobile Hotspot: Turn your BlackBerry 7.1 OS device into a Wi-Fi® router anywhere, anytime! The new OS seamlessly provides Internet access for up to five Wi-Fi devices, including laptops and tablets.
  • Universal Search: For this new release, we wanted to focus on the intelligence of our system and our apps – in other words, we wanted to create an intuitive experience that does the thinking for you. For example, Universal Search now has a new auto-suggest feature that that intelligently filters Bing® search results to offer you a variety of relevant Web sites based on your search terms.
  • BlackBerry® Tag: Share contacts, media and files, and even invite friends to BlackBerry® Messenger (BBM) through a simple touch. BlackBerry Tag unlocks near field communication (NFC) capabilities for everyday use and makes sharing a lot faster and much more personal.
  • Wi-Fi® Calling (where available): With BlackBerry 7.1 OS, you’ll be able to make Wi-Fi calls using your carrier’s Wi-Fi calling service (aka UMA-lite or GAN-lite). Wi-Fi calling allows you to save your talk time minutes and make phone calls over any Wi-Fi network. Not all carriers offer such a service so check with your carrier for availability.
  • FM Radio: The BlackBerry 7.1 OS update will let BlackBerry® Curve™ 9360 and 9380 smartphone customers enjoy FM radio. The Curve models include a built-in FM radio so you can tune in to local FM radio stations. Simply plug in your headset to boost the reception (it acts as the antenna). Plus, no data usage or data plan required!

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Samsung introduces 2 new dual sim smart phones

Samsung introduced 2 new dual sim smart phones, the Galaxy Y Duos and the Galaxy Y Pro Duos. Both phones will have a 832 MHz processor and a 3 mp camera. The Galaxy Y Duos is a full touch screen phone whereas the Galaxy Y Pro Duos will sport a full qwerty keyboard along with a 2.6 inch touch screen.

Both phones will initially launch in Russia beginning Jan 2012 and than rest of the world. There will be no Ice Cream Sandwich love for the Galaxy Duos as they will run on Android 2.3 (Gingerbread).

Pentagon Approves Android Devices at Department of Defense

For many years BlackBerry has been the only device approved for use at Department of Defense (DoD) mainly due to the security features available in Blackberry. Recently DoD, for the first time, approved the use of Android devices by its staff. Currently the only device approved for use is the Dell Venue running Android 2.2.

Apple's iPhones and iPads are not far behind. iOS devices are also being tested at DoD. I wonder once iOS devices are approved and more Android devices added to the list of approved phones how many staff members will jump the BlackBerry ship?!?!

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Republic Wireless Goes Truly Unlimited

Recently Republic Wireless announced it is going to get rid of the "fair use threshold" on its unlimited plan. Republic Wireless will now offer unlimited talk, text, and data for $19 a month without any restrictions. Back in November Republic Wireless launched its cellular service to offer a hybrid mobile solution. Whenever you are connected to WiFi they will route your calls through the Internet and when you are not connected they will piggy back on Sprint's nationwide network.

Republic Wireless's "fair use threshold" received lot of criticism for marketing a unlimited plan which was in reality not a unlimited plan. According to their blog, “Some of your feedback about our CUI concept and fair use thresholds ranged from confusion to extreme criticism, with a wide variety of thoughts and suggestions in between,” Republic Wireless’s general manager Brian Dally said in a company blog post. “Some judged our marketing to be ‘deceptive.’ Others felt our concepts were just too complicated, and unnecessary to expose to end users.” He continued, “Rather than revising our fair use policy, we’ve decided not to have one at all. There will simply be no thresholds, and no risk of losing service.”

Wikipedia raises $20 Million

Wikipedia, started in 2001, has become one of the most reliable source of information available on the internet. Interestingly Wikipedia is written collaboratively by largely anonymous Internet volunteers who write without pay. Anyone with Internet access can write and make changes to Wikipedia articles (except in certain cases where editing is restricted to prevent disruption or vandalism).

Each year Wikipedia asks its 470 Million users to donate some money to keep the site running. This year the company raised $20 Million from more than 1 millions donors around the globe. Company's operating budget for 2012 is $28.3 Million. According to Wikipedia the remaining money will be collected from additional donations received year-round and grants.

Monday, January 2, 2012

DropboxAutomater - Added features for your Dropbox Account

Automate your Dropbox

Everytime someone puts a file in our shared Dropbox folder,
I get a text message to my mobile - automatically!

Dropbox provides 2GB network space for free. Users can store any type of files and folders on Dropbox which can be synced with all devices. However, Software Engineer Manuel Berger, has taken Dropbox to the next level with DropboxAutomater.

DropboxAutomater is a free tool which allows you to specify custom actions on the files uploaded to your DropBox account. For example you can set DropboxAutomater to convert all files uploaded to folder 'Test1' to PDF format. You can also set DropboxAutomater to upload all pictures saved in 'Test2' folder to your Facebook Account.

Here is the full list of things DropboxAutomater can Automate for you:
  • Documents
    • Convert to PDF
    • Summarize
    • Translate
    • PDF to TXT
    • Upload to Google Docs
    • Upload to Slideshare
    • Sign PDF (electronic signature)
  • Pictures
    • Upload to Facebook
    • Upload to Flickr
    • Downscale
    • Rotate image
    • Write text on image
    • Photo effect
    • Stamp a logo on the image
    • Stamp a map on the image
    • Stamp a "dislike" on the image
  • Any file
    • email
    • Zip file
    • Save it to another Dropbox-folder
    • Rename
    • Upload to FTP-Server
    • Encrypt file
    • Decrypt file
  • Send info
    • Tweet
    • Set Facebook status file
  • And constantly growing...

To sign up for DropboxAutomater simply go to and click on "Login with Dropbox". You will need a Dropbox account to be able to use this service.

Source: DropboxAutomater