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Facebook’s Mystery Event may unveil Instagram Video

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Facebook seem to be on a roll with new features & products lately. Last month they showed off new features for their Facebook Home for Android, and just last week some users noticed clickable Hashtags on Facebook.

The company is now planning to hold a small Mystery event on June 20th. They didn’t say much about what they are going to announce, but most tech journalists got an unusual plain white snail mail with the following message:

“A small team has been working on a big idea,” the invitation reads. “Join us for coffee and learn about a new product.”

Now what are the speculations? Well initially, we heard that facebook is working on some sort of News reader. Personally I wasn’t very psyched about it. I think feedly does more than a decent job for most of us.

vine-on-iphone

But now Teachcrunch is reporting that, the whole thing might be an announcement for Instagram Video!

Yes, thats right, video on Instagram. Isn’t that cool? Featurewise, its probably going to be a copy of Twitter’s vine which recently got a lot of traction with their 6sec video clip sharing. But with the entire Instagram team behind this, I’m really excited to see what sort of new innovation they can bring in video sharing.


ParaShoot – Wearable live logging HD Video Camera

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Wearable computing is definitely the next big trend in technology. This explains why there are so many different companies trying to open the wearable computing market by creating products in different niches. The health monitors, watch and camera that syncs with your phone seems to be winning at the moment.

So far I am personally rooting for some items myself – Google Glass, Memoto, Apple’s iWatch (??).

ParaShoot is a new Kick-starter Project that caught my attention. ParaShoot lets you record your life’s amazing moments in HD by wearing their tiny (48 x 30 x 11 mm) pendant.

ParaShoot will support all smartphone platforms, but it can also operate standalone device. All images & videos that you will take on the device will be automatically stored on it’s own cloud server. Pricing of storage is unknown but they will most likely have a monthly pricing for “unlimited” storage. (Well, why not just make it free and allow users to link it to their own dropbox or google drive?). It also supports micro-SD cards, so if you don’t have internet connection for a while you can still record and store your data locally. (and i’m guessing it will auto sync once a internet connection is available).

The ParaShoot app (to be released) will accompany the device as a remote control and users can use it to check the view finder, organiser and also share their images/videos via email, youtube or facebook.

parashoot-520x337 The Kick Starter project is currently planning to raise $260,000 in order to cover the cost of its first prototypes of ParaShoots. It has already passed $22,000 mark with 140 backers and has a further 36 days to go.

So how much will the device cost?

The Parashoot team mentioned in the page that the device will ordinarily cost $269, but if you are an early backer, you can get it along with a bundle of other goodies — for only $149 (not inclusive of international shipping charges). Shipment of the first batch will start in late October.

So what do you think? Would you want to wear such a thing? Does it bother you if people starts wearing these recording devices on the street, public trains & even bars? Lets face it, once china & south korea starts mass producing these concepts – there will be so many variation and brands of these sort of recording devices that you wouldn’t have a clue when your nose-picking is being recorded.


Top 5 Web Development Mistakes to Avoid

Everyone has a website these days, but not every website is equal. As the online environment becomes ever more crowded, you don’t just need to have a website, you need to have an outstanding website that implements advancements in web development to introduce features and applications that enhance functionality and customer satisfaction.

To aid you in your pursuit of the perfect page, here are some top web development mistakes to avoid:

  1. Forgetting to take care of the basics: As your company develops and your products and services gain more widespread popularity you may find that the amount of visitors to your website increases dramatically. Before you begin any web development ventures, it is therefore important to make sure that all elements of your website can be adjusted (graphic files that allow for compression in size and dynamic elements that can be replaced for example) to prevent your website crashing with increased traffic or producing slower load times with the addition of new content and applications.
  2. Impenetrable information: As your site grows in the course of web development and begins to cover an increasing amount of topics and contain greater quantities of applications, it may become extremely difficult for visitors to find exactly what they are looking for. Including clear navigation and indexing systems as well as a search tool on your website will allow for easier navigation of pages in the first instance and help to filter information to customers in a way that is relevant and under their control.
  3. Lapses in security: When your website begins to contain an increased amount of information and boasts a greater amount of daily traffic, security risks can also increase. To prevent hacking and unauthorised access to your customer databases and confidential company information, any web development plan must include the establishment and maintenance of secure operating systems and coding.
  4. Immobility: As we progressively use our mobile phones and other portable wireless devices to access websites, it is absolutely imperative that any web developments you implement are compatible with all manner of mobile platforms. Nothing will frustrate your site visitors more than when they try to access information on the go and are constantly stalled by unsuitable display options.
  5. Incompatibility: Another possible problem that must be taken into account with any new web development is a resulting incompatibility with some of the most popular web browsers. New web browsers are constantly introduced and the applications on your website must stay accordingly up-to-date. To make sure that your clients don’t become discouraged, make sure you rigorously test the functionality of your website for cross browser compatibility.

About the Author

John has been working as a freelance writer for Infinite IT Solutions, a Melbourne-based premium web development and online marketing company dedicated to providing personalised web services to ensure that your business stands out from the rest.


YouTube Trends – Watch Trending Videos on YouTube

youtube trends On Youtube over 35 hours of videos are being uploaded every minute! Thats a massive amount of content for anyone to watch and quite frankly out of that 35 hours of video 49% are probably crap and 50% are probably cat videos! So the gem actually lies within that 1% that goes viral and becomes really popular. But keeping track of these youtube memes and trends are often a big problem as there is no central place where you can go to just consume all the “great” stuff.

Well youtube seem to have just solved that problem with their new initiative named :Youtube Trends. The site is basically an analytics hub for the giant video sharing site, featuring a lot of feeds showing all the trending videos and trending topics (which are generated via metadata). In their official blog post they also mentioned a feature called “4 at 4? that will present four buzzed-about videos twice a day. Other features include: a Know Your Meme-esque blog to analyze said videos and a dashboard that breaks down popular videos by demographics (location, age, gender, etc). Youtube Trends also presents videos in billboard-style charts, some cool data visualizations and more.

Read the Youtube Trends FAQ section to learn more about the service and also take this chance to watch a nice YouTube compilation of the most watched videos of 2010.

Kevin Allocca, YouTube Trends Manager writes:

We see YouTube as a way to not just be entertained and informed, but also as place that can help us understand more about the world we live in and the people we live in it with. And that’s what YouTube Trends is all about.

Introduction to YouTube Trends

(video link – for RSS Users)


Tech Support for Your Parents: Google Tutorials

Good news for those who spend a lot of time teaching or helping their parents with their computer or internet issues on a day to day basis. Yes, I mean You! If you are a bit tech savvy, I’m sure you are often the Go-to-guy [ or go-to-gal ] to fix all computer/ IT issues of your parents, grandparents, neighbors, extend family, friends, friend of a friend and the list goes on…

how to copy paste - Google video tutorialsEven though personally I don’t really mind helping out when such occasion arises, sometimes it just becomes overwhelming if you happen to be the tech guy for a lot of people. Dealing with someone’s tech issue is never easy as most of the time you are not in the same location as the person who needs your help. Thus you try to provide help over Telephone or IM and often it does more harm than good. Lately as technology has advanced, I often just use softwares like – Teamviewer, GoToAssist or any other remote desktop clients to get control over their computer remotely so that I can do the necessary fix from my end and they can just sit back and watch.

But what can beat some good quality, short, easy to understand how-to videos produced by Google that covers a lot of those simple (sometimes annoying) problems/questions that often gets thrown at you. Google’s this new initiative can be accessed at: http://www.teachparentstech.org/ which is a really cool way for you to send a “how-to” video on a topic of your choice directly from the site. Currently they have videos on a wide range of topics like: Computer basics, World Wide Web, Communication, Multimedia & Search. Check out some of their sample videos below:

- How to Make a blog

- How to Share Photos Online

- Take a Screenshot

- How to change Desktop Wallpaper

For the rest just go to: http://www.teachparentstech.org/

Also check out Google’s video introduction of this initiative:

My Two Cents:

I think its a great move by Google, but not sure why its called – Teach Parents Tech? I mean parents are not the only people who needs help with tech. But anyway since Google now is into a much wider “consumer market” with their Android, Chrome Browser, Chrome Netbooks etc. overall its a very good initiative from the company to show everyone that they truly cares and in the process they may eventually push more people to their “cloud” of products.

(Via Google Blog)


Google Introduces Social Sitelinks – Dumb Idea?

Google has recently introduced something called “social sitelinks” in the search results. Social sitelinks basically looks like normal sitelinks but includes your friend’s profile pictures/avatar, their name and the link to their profile. Currently its working for sites like: Twitter, Youtube & Myspace.

Mike Cassidy, Director of Product Management at Google wrote that Google Sitelinks are based on the same technology as Google Social Search – they are using the social circle of a user to identify relevant websites and user pages.

Example of how Social Sitelinks may appear in your search results:

google social sitelinks

If you want to see the social sitelinks in action, try doing a search for the term “twitter” in google. Note: This may not work if you are not logged into your Google account and you don’t have Google profiles enabled.

Even though I have both enabled, I couldn’t really replicate the screenshot as posted in the official Google blog. Thus I believe this may not have been rolled out to all users yet. However I just don’t see the point of Social sitelinks. I follow over 2000+ people on twitter, I wonder which 5-6 people are they going to shown as sitelinks and how are they going to pick the most important ones? And why would someone do a search for the phrase ‘twitter’ in the first place?

What Google Social Sitelinks Could Have Been?

Even though I don’t quite understand the current application of Google Social Sitelinks, I don’t totally discredit the idea. If social sitelinks works for other major sites that I read everyday e.g. Techcrunch, Mashable, Search Engine Land, Techmeme, NYTimes etc. then there could be rather an interesting implementation.

For instance, If I could just do a search on google for the term “Techcrunch” and underneath the organic Techcrunch listing get an additional 5-10 social sitelinks, which can basically be the most recent techcrunch links shared by my friends then I think that additional information will be pretty useful to me.

Just a thought…

So what do you think of this new Social sitelinks?4


Facebook Newspaper – Create your own Newspaper

If you have lots of friends in your Facebook then going through all the news articles/videos/pictures from the facebook newsfeed can be overwhelming.

But a new web service from Tigerlogic called PostPost plans to change that.

PostPost – Your own Social Newspaper

Postpost may seem like any ordinary news aggregator that you may have seen or used before. But the big difference here is, instead of gathering links from all over the web, PostPost only looks at stuff that your friends have shared.

So PostPost is essentially a newspaper made from all the links, videos, photos your friends have shared. The reason I keep calling it a ‘newspaper’ is because it does look like one. The formatting & layout looks very much like a magazine, and the recent/important stuff tends to appears on top of the page.

What I have found most useful about this service is it’s search feature. Not only you get a really nice magazine like feel, you can also perform search on all the items your friends have shared. PostPost is integrated with TigerLogic’s yolink search-enhancing technology thus the results it returns is really powerful and accurate.

Use of PostPost is absolutely free and as the service grows I think they will add new features. There are a number of things that I personally want in the service:

- Ability to reorganize the layout (drag-n-drop).

-Marking certain source “Important” so that they get higher priority.

Check out the video to get a better idea of PostPost:

Try out PostPost and let me know what you think about the service!


Microsoft Montage – Create Your Own Online Montage

Microsoft has recently demonstrated a new product of their Fuse Labs (a research-focused division of Microsoft) named “Montage“. According to them, Montage is a new way to organize and curate web’s information. As the name suggests it is basically a ‘montage’ that you can easily create & share online based on any topic of your choice.

montage - jessica alba

As you can see from the screenshot above, I tried the service quickly and made a montage of “Jessica alba”. Basically after you specify a topic, it automatically get relevant news/blog entires/pictures/videos/tweets on that topic and displays them in a ‘magazine-like’ layout. It also allows you to easily change the layout/design & gives you the ability to move things around.

Below is a short video introduction of the service:

So try it out and see if you like it.


Google’s Lesser known Search Operator – AROUND(n)

Amit Agarwal of Digital Inspiration recently blogged about a new Google search operator that totally missed my radar. But according to Googler Daniel M. Russel, who was the first one to write about this AROUND operator in early October 2010 – this operator has been around for over 5-6 years!

Google AROUND(n) Operator

AROUND operator is basically a proximity search operator that lets you find a phrase that happens to be in close proximity of another phrase. Previously if you have searched for a term like: pancake recipe in Google search (without any quotes), what it would basically do is search the entire web for the term “pancake” + “recipe” and will return the pages where both these terms happens to be on the same page (regardless of their proximity).

But then you may sometimes prefer to do a phrase search / exact match search where they can put your search term inside quotes, like “pancake recipe” and then Google will only return results where the word pancake and recipe appears together.

So in this example the results returned via the first technique is often ‘too broad’ and the latter is ‘too specific’. What if you want something that is in between? Even better, what if you could specify the exact proximity of your two keywords (in words) to get more desired results?

With this Google AROUND(n) Operator, you can do just that!

Syntax: Keyword1 AROUND(n) Keyword2 [Where n = number of words (proximity)]

So the same search of pancake recipe can be performed using something like this: pancake AROUND(10) recipe. Here I’m telling google to return all those pages where the keyword – pancake & recipe appears within the proximity of 10 words.

google around search operator

Some Notes:

  • If my keyword1 contain multiple words (e.g. breakfast pancake instead of just pancake), then you can use “quotes” to limit the search scope of your first keyword to only breakfast pancakes. So it will look something like this: “breakfast pancake” AROUND(10) recipe
  • The word AROUND needs to be in CAPS in order for this to work
  • If Google can’t find anything within the limit that you specified, it will just do regular ranking of the terms without the AROUND coming into play.
  • Barry Schwartz pointed out that Microsoft’s Bing also have a similar search operator called “near:n” which works pretty much the same way. You can read more about it here.

Generate Successful Link Bait Ideas [Infographic]

Voltier Creative a SEO company based in florida has created a really interesting infrographic that shows you how to generate successful linkbait ideas. You can view the high-res infographic here or just click on the image below:


Created By Voltier Creative

Note: This itself is the perfect example of how to create a successful link bait. Just see how this company has managed to get me to write about them and link to their website just because the bait itself is too good to not share!

If you want to learn more about linkbuilding then read my linkbuilding guide & some tips for building authority links.


Google Launches Google Demo Slam

google-demo-slam Few days ago there has been a lot of buzz about this really mysterious website called demoslam. It was clearly a Google related website, but there were no official words from the Google team about that.

Today RWW confirms that, Google Demo Slam (http://demoslam.com) is ON and its a place where Google wants everyone to make and submit their creative & entertaining tech demo videos that illustrates any functionality of a Google product. And later some of the best videos will be picked by Googlers and will be showcased on the Google demo slam website for user voting.

So far the videos there are pretty interesting & fun. Check out some of them below:

This is what Google says about Demo Slam:

Google Demo Slam

The Demos Slam preseason will start today and will be on for the next few weeks. If you go to the official website, you will be able to vote for all the weekly winners from the featured demos. I personally love the idea because this site will eventually become really beneficial for anybody who isn’t very tech savvy or for someone who is new to the Google universe.

Check it out today: http://demoslam.com and submit your own tech demos!


How to Position your Blog in the Market the ‘Right Way’

positioning your blog in the market the right way

This is a guest post written by Paul Wallis of Webprofits.com.au, an online marketing agency based in Australia. Full Author Bio can be found at the end of the article.

There are two basic types of blogging- Productive and unproductive. A productive blog is properly targeted to its market. An unproductive blog misses its targets regularly. If you’re a typical commercial blogger, there’s no midpoint. You need to connect with your market effectively and constantly. That means you need to provide information which is useful to your audience and in touch with the most interesting and important issues on the market.

Blogging and Marketing Basics

There’s a basic concept in marketing which defines exactly what all blogs need, and it’s called “Positioning”. For blogs, this includes:

  • Information type, value and quality
  • SEO placement
  • Currency of information
  • “Brand identity”, the process of establishing a presence in your market

The positioning is the public face of your blog, and it’s also your primary point of sale for your commercial interests. It’s also the means of accessing your blog and an interest generator.

For example:

If your blog is about web design:

  • Information type: Value and quality is critical to an audience which will be largely comprised of experts. Your position in this case has to be a source of good information, created to meet the standards and expectations of your demographic.
  • SEO placement: Page rankings in a specialized field have to be earned, using good quality, relevant keywords, and good quality links.
  • Currency of information: In a specialist field, your information must be current, not material the audience has already seen. Stale blogs tend to be ignored.
  • Branding: “Brand identity” is the development of your positioning, establishing your own identity and enhancing the image of your blog.

The Big Don’ts of Marketing and Blogging

It must be noted at this point that blog positioning can go backwards, as well as forwards. There are some very serious “Don’ts” in blog marketing related to positioning:

  • Don’t get repetitive. This is fatal, and simply turns off the audience.
  • Don’t get stuck on a single line of information in your blog. Cover as many related fields as possible.
  • Don’t use lower quality materials in your blog. Keep up your standards, and you’ll keep your audience. If you’re outsourcing materials, get them from the best suppliers and freelancers.
  • Don’t assume your readers will read anything. They won’t. They’ve got the whole world to choose from. Your market position needs to be maintained, or it will inevitably deteriorate.

The Do’s of Marketing and Blogging

To develop and reinforce your blog:

  • Maintain interest: Use new materials, new forms of presentation and new ideas.
  • Ask for feedback: You need feedback to know what’s working and what’s not. Make sure you have a healthy interaction with your audience at all times.
  • Be creative and innovative: If you’ve got a new idea you’d like to try, do it. This stops you going stale, too, and it will generate a lot of interest.

The best blogs are fun, interesting and well positioned in their fields. Get your positioning right, and your blog will always be popular.

About the Author
Paul Wallis is an award winning professional freelance writer, and does a lot of writing in the SEO field. He works in the US, Canada, Australia and Belgium. He’s published 12 books on lulu.com and some of some of his other work can be found at Digital Journal.


Discover Popular Facebook Pages to “Like”

facebook page discovery
Facebook

Facebook just rolled out a new feature called “Facebook Page Browser” that lets you discover new facebook pages that are popular among your friends in 10 different categories and also within both local & global region.

The 10 categories by which the pages are currently divided are: Musicians, Sports, Celebrities, Movies, TV Shows, Media, Publications, Brands, Games & a category called “All” which presumably consist all of the above & other general pages. Clicking on any category displays all the pages of that category and the result seem to be endless as you can always click “show more” at the bottom of the site to find more facebook pages. Moving your mouse over any of the facebook page icons changes your mouse cursor to a facebook like button so that you can easily like a page without having to go inside the page itself. Remember that when you like a page all the latest updates of that particular page will start showing up on your facebook newsfeed.

On the right side of the facebook page browser, you should also see a list of 25 of your friends who has similar interest as you. The list is compiled by calculating how many mutual likes you and your friend have. If you click on any of the names from the list, it will basically show you a list of pages both you and your friend liked.

Interestingly, not long ago facebook introduced their suggested interest list, which had very similar implementation. Now its not clear to me whether the old suggested interest list will be replaced by this new page browser instead.

Check out the Facebook Page Browser: http://www.facebook.com/pages/browser.php

Update:

I must point out that the above feature is only visible if you are logged into facebook. If you want to find & browse facebook pages without logging into facebook you can check out the general Facebook page directory here: http://www.facebook.com/pages/?browse

[via Inside Facebook]


Youtube Instant – Find Videos Instantly

youtube instantIf you like what Google has done with Google Instant, then you are going to like this new Youtube Mashup, “Youtube Instant” – http://ytinstant.com/ created by a Stanford university student – Feross Aboukhadijeh.

yotube instant screen

With the same principle as Google Instant, this new youtube mash up lets you search YouTube videos and get instant results as you type in your search query. Currently only one of the best matched video is returned on the search result page and the video gets played automatically without availability of any sort of traditional YouTube player control (e.g. Play/Pause).

In an interview with AllThingsD, the creator Ferros mentioned that he coded Youtube Instant in 3 hours in order to fulfill a bet he had with his friend.

After the news of this service broke, YouTube’s CEO & Co-founder Chad Hurley informally offered Feross a job via Twitter.

So check out Youtube Instant: http://ytinstant.com/


Google Instant – Search The Web Instantly As you Type

google instant

Google has just rolled out a new product – Google Instant that lets you search the web instantly the moment you start typing your search query in Google’s Search Box. Googler Marissa Mayer called it “search at the speed of thought.”

According to Google, the average search takes about 25 seconds, and about 24 of those tick by while you’re either typing keywords or deciding which result to choose. Google has been working really hard over the years to improve the speed of their server, network architecture, internet backbone, browser technologies to deliver search results faster. And I have to say that they did a pretty good job on that. However there are certain human factors which are beyond Google’s control – for instance, what if the searcher can’t seem to find the right result, or what if the searcher can’t communicate what he wants via a search phrase etc. Google has tried to tackle some of the human factors with products like Google Suggest which is Google’s auto complete feature for search keywords, the auto spelling correction, related searches and so on.

But now with this new Google Instant, they really want to take everything to the next level. Google Instant takes what you have typed already, predicts the most likely completion and streams results in real-time for those predictions—yielding a smarter and faster search that is interactive, predictive and powerful.

Some Cool Features of Google Instant:

Truly Dynamic Results - Google dynamically displays lots of relevant search results as you type in your search query. You don’t need to click anything or even hit enter. This allows you to easily interact with your results and click through to the web content you need.

Auto Predictions – One of the key technologies in Google Instant is that it can predict the rest of your query (in light gray text) before you finish typing your complete search phrase. So if you happen to find what you need, you don’t need to complete your search phrase.

Scroll to search - Google Instant allows you to Scroll through predictions and see results instantly for each as you arrow down.

Google Instant – Demo Video

Check out Google Instant: http://google.com/instant


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