Thursday, February 25, 2010
etc: Mac gamers rejoice: Steam may be coming! Files were found inside the latest UI update to the PC-only virtual game store, and they're Mac OS X specific.
Mac gamers rejoice: Steam may be coming! Files were found inside the latest UI update to the PC-only virtual game store, and they're Mac OS X specific.
Social sharing is becoming a big contributor to traffic for many sites. While Facebook and Twitter drive more sharing than any other services, Google is trying to compete with Buzz, which is now part of Gmail but shares links to article and blog posts through Google Reader. Over the past month, according to AddThis, sharing through Google Reader is up 35 percent, with a big jump on February 9, the day Buzz launched. This number only measures sharing through the AddThis button, which is on more than 600,000 Websites and gives you the option to share content through more than 200 services. So it is only a proxy for total sharing on Google Reader, but a decent one.
Google Reader still barely registers when compared to Twitter and Facebook, which account for 31 percent and 8 percent of all sharing via AddThis, respectively. But Buzz is definitely giving it a boost.
You can now chart how different services do against each other on the sharing front via a new services directory on AddThis. For instance, Google Bookmarks does much better than Google Reader, with 5 percent of all AddThis activity. It even beats Digg (which has 3 percent). Google Bookmarks is probably used more for personal bookmarking than for social consumption, but it is smack in the middle of Twitter and Digg when it comes to activity via AddThis.
Another comparison is Tumblr versus Posterous, which suggests that Tumblr is much more popular as a reposting tool, and is about neck-and-neck with WordPress.
An Italian court has convicted three former Google executives of violations to Italy's privacy code early Wednesday morning. The decision comes after months of back and forth on the case, all of which began with a video uploaded by some delinquent teenagers of themselves beating on a classmate with Down Syndrome. Though the judge in the case absolved the executives of defamation charges (and a fourth was found not guilty of all charges), the verdict is shocking and is likely to have serious repercussions for sites that host user-generated content in Italy.
The three-minute video was uploaded in 2006 and had a short lifespan on Google Video Italia, as complaints were quickly lodged and it was pulled within hours. That didn't stop an Italian Down Syndrome support group called Vivi Down from arguing that it should never have appeared in the first place. The group filed a complaint that resulted in a two-year investigation, and eventually, Milan public prosecutor Francesco Cajani agreed that the Google execs had violated Italian law by allowing the video to be uploaded.
Read more of this story at Slashdot.
Wednesday, February 24, 2010
Looking to further its mission of making your software, and your media, free of restrictions, Ubuntu is bundling an Ubuntu One Music Store into 10.04, the next release of the Linux operating system due out in April. The store uses 7Digital as its provider, likely due to its greater international availability than Amazon's own offering, and looks to be integrated into the Rhythmbox music player. The Ubuntu One name implies a likely connection with the cloud-based file syncing service, and a blogger who came across a preview interface says each track purchased can be downloaded 3 times on different computers. Hit up his post for more screenshots and details, and tell us what you think of Ubuntu's move into the music market in the comments. [popey.com blog via Download Squad]
We have to say that you know the end is near when entire countries advise their citizens to move on, but the final kicker comes when Google says that it will no longer support the browser that's been with us for nearly a decade.
Google-owned YouTube will end support for Internet Explorer 6 on March 13, just two weeks after ending support on Google Docs.We suspect that YouTube will affect a larger portion of IE6 users and may be a final tipping point.
Internet Explorer 6 was first released in Aug. 2001, and has since come pre-installed with Windows XP, which still accounted for over 60% of browsers worldwide in December of last year.
Ars Technica explains that Microsoft refuses to force its users to upgrade, even though it "has stated time and time again that it wants to see IE6 disappear as much as anyone else." Currently, IE6 accounts for about 20% of surfers worldwide, with IE8 currently the most popular version.
According to Google, users running IE6 and other old browsers will still be able to watch videos, but will be shown an interstitial every two weeks, as seen above, to remind them to upgrade. Some features will not be available to these users until they upgrade. Google considers "old" browsers to be anything older than IE7, Firefox 3.0, Chrome 4.0 and Safari 3.0.
In other news, we can only hope that this is a signal that we will be seeing some cool new features rolling out in the near future for YouTube. And perhaps more companies will come out against the now-ancient browser and help to put it out of its, and Web designers' everywhere, misery.Discuss
Wednesday, February 17, 2010
Google, after scrambling to alter certain features and add new settings to Buzz several times since its launch a week ago, has admitted that it rushed the service out the door. However, the search giant says it's working hard to adapt to what users want and has set up a "war room" dedicated to responding as quickly as possible. The company told the BBC that while most Google services go through some testing with a small group of beta users, Buzz was released into the wild without this level of testing. Buzz product manager Todd Jackson admitted that many users of Buzz were "rightfully upset" and said Google was "very, very sorry." He added that: "We know we need to improve things."
Within hours of the Buzz launch, users were complaining about a number of features (or flaws) in the service, including the fact that their Gmail and GTalk contacts were publicly revealed for everyone to see, and that the setting for making that public or private was enabled by default and/or difficult to find. Users also said blocking followers wasn't as easy as it should have been, that they couldn't unfollow someone if they didn't have a Google profile, and that it wasn't clear who would be shown in their list of followers.
Many of Google's new products and services first undergo testing with what the company calls its Trusted Testers program, in which a small group of users — primarily friends and family members of Google employees — get early access to the service and provide feedback before it's rolled out in open beta. This was not the case with Google Buzz, the company told the BBC, although it had been used for some time internally by Google employees themselves. "Of course, getting feedback from 20,000 Googlers isn't quite the same as letting Gmail users play with Buzz in the wild," Jackson said.
According to both the Wall Street Journal and the Los Angeles Times, the company has set up a "war room" at Google headquarters that monitors what users are saying about Buzz, and that the company plans to make further changes to the service in response to that feedback. The most recent changes to the service — in which Google switched from an auto-follow approach, where users found themselves following Gmail and GTalk contacts automatically, to a "suggested follow" approach — was made on Saturday by a group of Google engineers and senior executives including VP Brad Horowitz and senior engineering VP Jeff Huber. The changes are being rolled out this week.
While the company has been applauded by many for its rapid response to user complaints and the addition of new features, that doesn't seem to have placated some privacy advocates, who say Google's approach was wrong from the beginning. According to the LA Times, the Electronic Privacy Information Center is planning to file a complaint with the Federal Trade Commission over Buzz. ""The bottom line is that self-regulation is not working," center director Marc Rotenberg told the newspaper. "Google pushes the envelope, people scream and they dial back the service until the screaming subsides."
Post photo courtesy of Flickr user So Gosehn