Articles Posted in New Technology

Mobile WebsiteHave you ever used your phone to search the web? With the ever-expanding mobile market growing with each passing day, it’s important for businesses to realize that having a mobile website to help promote their brand is becoming more and more of a necessity. Aside from the obvious task of making sure that your mobile site properly loads on multiple mobile platforms (typically Apple’s iOS and Android operating systems) and even tablets (such as Apple’s iPad), there are a couple other things to keep in mind when building a mobile site.

For starters, remember to keep your branding consistent across all sites. If you have a logo, be sure to include it somewhere on your mobile site. If all of your websites use the same color pattern, be sure to emulate that pattern on your mobile site.
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Mashable reports that Google unveiled Google+, a social network designed to go head-to-head with Facebook. A very limited test field was rolled out on Tuesday, June 28, and will become available to the entire public at an undisclosed date.

One of the biggest differences between Google+ and Facebook is Circles, in which users are able to sort their friends into different social circles, such as friends, family, co-workers, and more. Users are able to share photos, links, posts, and other content with multiple circles or just one circle. Facebook users are able to limit who can see what, but it is not as easy to manage, nor is it as central of a feature, as it is with Google+. Another significantly different aspect of Google+ is that it has a free, multi-user video chat feature, called Hangouts. Currently Facebook does not have anything similar to this. Within Hangouts, users and their friends are able to search for and watch YouTube videos together as a group. (Google owns YouTube.) All users in the chat are able to search, play, or pause a video.
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A company introducing a new computer mouse is usually no big deal. A new shape, specific application, color, material or innovation seldom attracts much attention unless the company making the mouse happens to be Apple. Apple recently introduced a new type of computer mouse without any buttons to click for a retail price of $69. Instead of using physical buttons to send commands, the new input device is itself the button, according to Apple.

Using wildly popular touch technology which has made the iPhone and iPod Touch huge hits around the world, the top of Apple’s Magic Mouse is a sensor that can detect and execute common mouse commends such as scroll, pan, swipe and click on website links, business software, and a wide range of different applications. While earlier versions of Apple’s mice were criticized for their uncomfortable and sloppy feel and loose fit that wasn’t ergonomic at all, Apple’s Magic Mouse is Bluetooth-enabled for wireless convenience. The company says it is designed to be comfortable to use for both right- and left-handed users.

Windows users interested in buying and using the new mouse will be disappointed. The Magic Mouse will only work on Macs running the Leopard operating system versions 10.5.8 or newer. The company announced recently that the new mouse will ship with a new range of desktop iMacs. During the same conference, Apple also said that a new, bottom-of-the-line MacBook will be introduced soon that will retail for $999.
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Microsoft has announced plans to launch a marketing campaign sometime in the next few months to compel mobile telecommunication device users to use Microsoft software to operate those devices. According to early reviews, the new 6.5 version of Windows Mobile offers a few modest upgrades but not enough bells and whistles to improve market share. Blackberry, Microsoft’s chief competitor for mobile business devices, has gained market share by making phones that are much more user-friendly than those running on Windows Mobile are.

Microsoft has been advertising that the new software upgrade would greatly simplify the user experience. Reviewers do say that Windows Mobile devices are a bit easier to use. Removing the need to use a stylus to select and use features, Windows Mobile devices now have icons that are large enough to activate with a finger. Reviewers applaud the new utility and ease of operation, but say that users wishing to browse the Web on their phones will be disappointed with the upgrade.

They point to the lack of a multitouch screen on Windows phones, which would allows users to pinch, pull and otherwise modify their displays to a preferred size like iPhone and Palm Pre users can. To accomplish these tasks, Windows phone users must press buttons and sliders that make for much more cumbersome and less precise controls. Microsoft executive Greg Sullivan said that in internal tests of the new functionality, users were able to complete tasks far more easily with the new version of the software than on any other mobile browser currently on the market. A reviewer with the New York Times disputed that claim.
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Google recently introduced a free GPS navigation system for some cell phones that provides turn-by-turn instructions very much like subscription GPS services. Industry analysts predicted that if the free service is popular, it could negatively impact sales of GPS navigation devices and subscription-based GPS services provided by cell phone carriers.

“There’s no doubt that those guys are going to be disrupted,” said Greg Sterling, an analyst with Opus Research.

Google’s chief executive, Eric E. Schmidt, said recently that he did not regard his company’s new service as disruptive to the industry. He claimed that it would be a windfall for consumers facilitated by the popularity of Smartphones and easy access to the internet. “Obviously we like the price of free because consumers like that as well,” he said.

He said that he was not concerned that offering GPS service free would create more enemies for his company. “As long as you are on the side of consumers, you’ll be fine,” he said. The new service will be incorporated into the newest build of Google Maps for Mobile, which will be released along with Android 2.0-the latest version of the company’s operating system for mobile devices. Google executives expressed hope that the new GPS service in Google Maps for Mobile would become available on Apple’s iPhone and similar devices. Google did say advertising in the future might support its free GPS navigation system.
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Google’s innovative telecommunications service, Google Voice, allows easy management of multiple phone numbers, blocks telemarketers, makes inexpensive global phone calls and even provides voicemail transcription. However, these conveniences came at a steep price that many people were unwilling to pay: it required users to get a new phone number. In a move to entice more users to the service, Google is offering a less comprehensive version of their services that allows users to keep their existing phone number.

Google says that participants in the new program will be able to use the company’s online voicemail service instead of their cell phone provider’s voicemail. This service is central to the services, as users will be able to read their voicemails online, save them, play them back, forward them to a designated email in-box or receive them as a text message on a mobile device. They will also be able to save these massages, search them and forward messages to others.
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Google Labs has just launched a new search function called Social Search, which allows users to enhance their search experience by providing them with search results that are more personally relevant. Google announced that it is working on implementing Social Search at the Fall Web 2.0 Summit, but doesn’t expect to make it available until later in the season. The personalized search function utilizes a user’s social network profiles to display relative links as well as status updates that members of the user’s social network have shared at the bottom of a page of search results.

People interested in checking out Social Search will need to point their browser at Google’s experimental section and activate the new search feature that is only available to users in the U.S. and only in English. Social Search creates personalized searches utilizing Google Talk, Gmail, Google Reader subscriptions and social networking profiles that a user has added to his or her Google Profile. While participation in Google Profile is not mandatory, based on information in a user’s Google Profile, Social Search can automatically detect a user’s social networking profiles and friend lists on BrightKite, Digg,, YouTube, FriendFeed, Flickr and other networking sites.

Not every search will yield Social Search results at the bottom of a search results page. When it does, however, socially relevant search results will appear at the bottom of the user’s page labeled as “results from people in your social circle.” Users will also be able to start Social Search from the search options panel currently embedded in the search page, and Google will provide a list of the user’s friends that it decides are the most closely related to the search terms. If a user clicks on a name, they will be able to confine search results to see results from that friend.
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Dell’s founder and chief executive, Michael Dell, said recently that people who purchase a new computer with Windows 7 installed and then buy Office 2010 when it comes out next year would experience a “computing catharsis.” While speaking at an event hosted by Silicon Valley’s Churchill Club, Dell said, “You will love your PC again. We have not been able to say that for a long time.”

The well-documented problems of Microsoft’s Vista operating system created a marketing nightmare for the software giant and personal computer manufacturers that pre-installed the Vista OS on their desktops and laptops. After Vista’s release, its shortcomings were shared around the world online and both Microsoft and PC makers went into damage control mode.

Dell knows firsthand how customers’ relationships with their PCs suffered during the Vista years. Around 80 percent of Dell’s business customers requested that Windows XP be installed on their new computers instead of Vista. Since Vista’s release, Dell has resorted to extraordinary measures to distance itself from the flawed operating system. Surprisingly, the company has been an aggressive advocate for Linux-an up-and-coming and far more secure and stable OS than Microsoft’s products.
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Microsoft is hoping to end its 3-year Windows Vista nightmare with the release of Windows 7 in late October. When Microsoft released Vista, that operating system (OS) quickly developed an unenviable reputation for its slowness, intrusiveness and incompatibility with many gadgets. Microsoft altered its operating system many times to make it less dependent on high-end computers since its release, but Vista’s reputation as an overly gimmicky and flaky OS was hard to shake.

As recently as this past summer, at least two-thirds of corporate computers were still running the less flashy, but far more reliable Windows XP OS. However, early reviews of Windows 7 are positive. According to several reviewers, Windows 7 keeps the best of Vista, like security, stability and lots of eye candy and addressed most of what Vista users disliked, such as:

  • Sluggishness Microsoft says Windows 7 offers “faster, more responsive performance” than its predecessor.
  • Hardware requirements Users with older computers cried foul at the time about Vista’s higher-end hardware requirements. The standard edition of Windows 7 only requires 1 GB of memory and 1-GHz processor at the minimum to run, well under the current standards for new computers.
  • Less alarmist than Vista Vista users reported that the OS freaked out anytime any real or perceived security threat occurred. With Windows 7, no less than 10 different categories of warnings accumulate in a unified Action Center and don’t interrupt processes.

Another aspect of the new OS that some users aren’t wild about is the fact that there are five different versions of Windows 7: Starter, Home Premium, Professional, Enterprise and Ultimate. Each version comes with a different set of features and ranges from $120 to $320 in price.
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What started only two years ago as a messaging service with few bells and whistles has evolved into a company with worldwide recognition, millions of Tweeters and the fans who read their tweets. Twitter founders, Evan Williams and Biz Stone, had the business savvy to outsource ideas on how to grow and improve their service to the people who use it on a daily and hourly basis. The company monitors how users use the service and which ideas become popular. Then company engineers transform these ideas into features.

The company has announced that two new features will be rolled out sometime in the next several weeks called Lists and Retweets from users’ ideas.

“Twitter’s smart enough-or lucky enough-to say, ‘Gee, let’s not try to compete with our users in designing this stuff, let’s outsource design to them,’ ” said Eric von Hippel, head of the innovation and entrepreneurship group at the Sloan School of Management at MIT and author of the book “Democratizing Innovation.”

Professor von Hippel said that economists have thought that the people making products and running the companies are natural sources for new ideas and innovations. However, technology companies have turned that model upside-down successfully by allowing others to innovate for them. This works primarily because the Internet lets people around the world share ideas in real time and software allows users to design new products inexpensively. A good example of this is photo-sharing giant Flickr that started out as a small part of a game. When Flickr founders discovered that the photo-sharing aspect was more popular than the game, they shed the game and focused on building Flickr.

This shift favors young start-up companies as older companies tend to rely on proven ideas and techniques, and the structures of their companies may discourage outside-the-box thinking intentionally or unintentionally. Nevertheless, that may be changing somewhat as older companies now try to emulate the methods of new companies after watching how new companies grow to success. One good example is Ford Motor Company-it noticed that users were modifying the voice-activated entertainment and GPS system, Sync, and so invited college students to create new features for the system.
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