:::: MENU ::::
Browsing posts in: Technology

Google Font Directory & API

Google Font Directory -Font APIIn the Google I/O conference, Google has announced a collection of high quality open source web fonts that they have put inside Google Font Directory and made them available for use by everyone using Google Font API.

The Google Font API gives a webmaster the ability to use a simple, cross-browser supported font from the Google Font Directory on any web page. The fonts have all the advantages of normal text: in addition to being richer visually, text styled in web fonts are still searchable, and doesn’t get distorted like images when they are zoomed, and is accessible to users using screen readers.

“Google has been working with a number of talented font designers to produce a varied collection of high quality open source fonts for the Google Font Directory. With the Google Font API, using these fonts on your web page is almost as easy as using the standard set of so-called “web-safe” fonts that come installed on most computers.”

How to use Fonts from Google Font Directory?

All the fonts under the Google Font directory are hosted in the cloud. You don’t need to download or install anything on your side. In fact your visitor doesn’t need to have that font installed on his computer to view your site.

As a webmaster all you need to do is to add a simple line of code on your website to call the particular CSS file for the font. For example, if you want to use Droid Sans, add this code in the HEAD element:

link href=’http://fonts.googleapis.com/css?family=Droid+Sans’ rel=’stylesheet’ type=’text/css’ >

Then you can use Droid Sans in any CSS rule inside your stylesheet:

h1 { font-family: ‘Droid Sans’, arial, sans-serif; }

And you are all set! Due to the operations being performed behind the scenes, these custom fonts will even be recognized back to Internet Explorer 6! Isn’t that amazing?

Nettuts+ has a great video showing exactly how to implement this. I have embedded the video below:

Example of Google Font:

google font

The only few possible downside of this whole thing:

  • Google font server may go down! However, like any style-sheet, if the first font doesn’t load I’m sure it will point to an alternative. So your users will always see the text on your page.
  • If you are using a very uncommon font, that the user is loading on his browser for the first time, he may experience a bit of slowness. But as he browses more and more pages, all these fonts are going to be cached locally on his browser/computer. Thus things will be really speedy on his future visits

So why do you think Google is doing this? Apart from the fact that this will make the whole web much ‘nicer’, do you think google has any other underlying interest for doing this whole thing? Share your speculations in the comments!


Google Launches “Encrypted Search”

google secured search Google has just launched a new feature that will make your search more secure than ever before! With Google’s new encrypted search page (currently in beta), searchers will have the ability to search on a Secure Socket Layer (SSL) page at all time ensuring that their search terms and google result pages are completely secure from network intercepts & hacking attempts.

Google has this feature already built inside Google Mail (Gmail) and Google docs but this is the first time they are introducing this in their main search platform. Anybody can try out the Google secure encrypted search by going to: https://google.com (yes, don’t forget the ‘s’ after http). Once you add the Https before the regular Google URL, both your search terms and search results will be encrypted as they travel across networks. This makes it much harder for third-parties to intercept them.

“When you search on https://www.google.com, an encrypted connection is created between your browser and Google. This secured channel helps protect your search terms and your search results pages from being intercepted by a third party on your network. The service includes a modified logo to help indicate that you’re searching using SSL and that you may encounter a somewhat different Google search experience, but as always, remember to check the start of the address bar for “https” and your browser lock indicators..”

Google’s Secure search feature is still in Beta. They pointed out that they aren’t changing the default to ‘secure’ because of the following reasons:

  • Confusion: People might think that other pages which aren’t SSL enabled are not secured. But this isn’t necessarily true.
  • Speed: There is a minor speed issue when they add an extra layer of security (encryption) over top of the existing data. However I played with it for a while and I didn’t notice any significant difference in speed.
  • Cross product security: Not all other google products which are linked from the search page (e.g. Google Images, Google Maps) are SSL enabled. Thus even if you use the SSL enabled page for your first search, you might eventually end up in a non-ssl page

Google highlights that using the secure page doesn’t necessarily mean that your ‘search queries’ and your information aren’t stored by Google. The Secure Google page only prevents unauthorized individuals to intercept your queries/data on a network level.

Personally I don’t really see a use for this for normal users. However government, big enterprises might actually find this quite useful. An individual’s search history can tell a lot about that person. And if that person is a key individual of a big corporation or government, the security of that data is really essential.

So test this out and let me know in the comments if you see any significant ‘speed difference’. Is it slower than the regular Google search?

Try it out right now, go to: https://google.com.


Google Fact Sheet

Everyone seems to be always interested in Google. It is so popular among everyone that it became a ‘internet culture’ and then a verb in the dictionary.

Pingdom, an awesome company that provide many free website monitoring services recently posted a nice infographic with a ton of facts and figures about Google. They have gone through Google’s SEC filings, news articles and the trusty old Wikipedia to get plenty of interesting data to include. By a single look at it, I knew that I will have to post it on my blog. So here it is:

(all credits to Pingdom, you can thank them on twitter: @pingdom)

google-fact-sheet


Twitter Analytics – Analytic.ly

analytic.ly PeopleBrowsr, a company that conducts social search, brand engagement and data analysis of social networks has recently released a new tool – called Analytic.ly. The company believes that this tool will be beneficial for both its developers and users.

What is Analytic.ly?

So, what does this tool do? For a start, it shows Twitter conversations – that is, tweets – from users across the world. However, the conversations is not presented in the conventional “raw” form. Instead, PeopleBrowsr shows them in custom graphs as well as fancy reports. These tweets will also be stored as well as indexed. The purpose of this is to help professional and other researchers in getting both historical as well as current data related to their topics.

twitter analytics for brand

The new interface is also very user friendly. Most users will find it extremely easy to search through the twitter conversations. For those users who subscribe to the premium features, PeopleBrowsr will also provide a multi-feature dashboard that is going to take the experience of research to a new level. However, subscription is not free; it costs at least $20 every month. The price increases with the number of features subscribed.

So far, Analytic.ly represents the most developed application designed for analyzing the information available through tweets. The competitive advantage of Analytic.ly is the high number of features it provides. This makes it possible for users to quickly find and record information on how users of Twitter perceive current events and brands. On the other hand, brands can find which users like their brands the most, and which users influence other users about their brands.

However, the benefits of Analytic.ly are not limited to its users only. The developers will have access to the data and tweets of almost a year. This makes it possible for them to keep track of new applications, products and services. In addition, they can know the keywords which are currently popular among users.

twitter analytics


Google Wants to Prevent Suicides

The world’s largest search engine – Google – is popular for making drastic changes to make its site better for its users. Recently, the search engine has attempted to help users who are probably thinking of committing suicide. How? Now every time a person searches for “suicide” or anything related to suicide, Google will show a phone number that the user can call to get counseling. The number will be shown beside a red phone icon. This number is a toll-free one and connects the user to National Suicide Prevention Lifeline.

Google wants to prevent suicide

The word “suicide” or its other form must be present in the search query; for instance, both “suicidal thoughts” and “ways to commit suicide” will result in Google showing the phone number. Google has confirmed that the number will be put above than other results; the number will also be more visible than advertisement content. In this way, the search engine aims to prevent suicide in the country.

Google has conceived the idea for some time now; however, the idea was materialized only recently – on March 31. The main person responsible with this move is Dr. Roni Zeiger, who is the company’s chief health strategist. However, Dr. Zeiger admitted that the idea was not his; instead, it came from a similar action of the search engine to show a phone number (of the national poison control hotline) every time a person searched for “poison emergency”. This idea, in turn, was formed by a user of Google.

However, nobody is certain on how effective the change is going to be. The uncertainty may be attributed to the limited ability of a search engine to know about the true intentions of the user. For instance, the search query must contain the word “suicide” or other forms of the same word.

The service is only limited to United States at this moment.


Bing Now Pull Links from Twitter

Bing is planning to incorporate Twitter updates with its search results. It is currently testing the idea with a select group of users of Bing. These users reported that they are getting Twitter messages along with the results from their search queries. This week, Bing formally announced about its plan to integrate Twitter into its search results. Bing has also shared some details on how it is going to work.

The function of the Twitter integration is actually two-fold. First of all, Bing will try to include “hot/trending” issues related to the search queries. In this case, the tweets received from Twitter will best serve the purpose. The tweets will also be clearly distinguished from normal search results since they would appear under the heading called “Social results about…”.

twitter-in-bing

Secondly, Bing will also try to keep its users updated with the most popular links using Twitter data to show you the most popular shared links for navigational queries. So if you’re looking for the most popular celebrity news on TMZ, Bing will show you which links people are sharing the most on Twitter.

bing search within sites

Bing will make the Twitter integration available to all users in the U.S. as soon as the test is over. Bing and Google are both trying to include Twitter – as much as they can – in their search results. For instance, Twitter “smart answers” – which show tweets from famous users of Twitter – are available on Bing. The site also offers a search interface (bing.com/twitter) that shows results from only Twitter. On the other hand, real-time “tweets” are shown every time a user sends a search query on Google.

The situation clearly demonstrates the fierce competition between Bing and Google, both of which are integrating Twitter to improve their real-time search results.


Google Buzz Buttons for Your Blog

Google Buzz is designed for social networking as well as sending messages to friends. Many users also share interesting web links that they like through Google Buzz. However, unlike other sites where links could be shared directly, users would first have to copy the link from the site and then paste it inside Google Buzz. As a result, they needed to leave one browser window to go to another. This might not seem like a huge problem for people who share one or two links every day. However, imagine the condition of the active users of Google Buzz – who share around 30 to 40 links every day. They must have gotten real tired with using Google Buzz.

In order to make it easier for its users to share links through Google Buzz, popular sites like TechCrunch and Mashable included Google Buzz buttons in their sites. Google followed the lead of these sites and tried to create buttons which could be included in other sites. The result was Buzz buttons that Google made available on its site (buzz.google.com/stuff). Users will be given a simple JavaScript snippet that they can just copy and paste to get the Google Buzz Buttons up and running on their site.

google-buzz-buttons

According to Google, The Official Google Buzz buttons will be visible on several popular sites such as Buzzzy, The Washington Post, The Next Web, The Huffington Post, TweetDeck, Glamour, Vinehub, YouTube, Disqus, Blogger, PBS Parents, MySpace, PBS NewsHour, GigaOM, Social Work and many other mainstream media websites. Even TechCruch and Mashable have dropped out their own version of Buzz buttons that they created, and included Google’s official Buzz buttons on their site.


This is What Twitter’s Revenue Model Should Have Been

Twitter has just announced their revenue model (sort of) via ads which they are calling “Promoted Tweets“.

Basically it will allow advertisers to “promote” their regular tweets for more eyeballs and thus it will show up in the twitter search and also in user’s timeline based on the context. John Battelle has a great post up on his blog where he compares the program with Google Adwords. Like adwords, Promoted Tweets seems to have certain elements/checking that will ensure that only ‘well performed’ ad lives. (Just Like Quality Score of Google Adwords). John also believes that this will be welcomed by developers because they will finally find a way to monetize their efforts!

But What about the publishers?

Who made twitter, “Twitter”? Its Us! Our time, our efforts and our 140 characters of tweets has made twitter this big today. Twitter/Developers by right doesn’t own any of the content, we (publishers) own our tweets.

One of the main reason for which Google’s Advertising platform – Adwords is so successful today is because of its other side – Google Adsense. Thousands of publishers were pretty much promoting Google’s advertising platform for free to the whole world when they opted in to that service. And thats how all the online advertisers eventually got to know about adwords. Because of adsense, the advertisers also believed in the platform — Ad inventory is the key and google is by far the biggest due to adsense. Adsense did our web economy a lot of good too – It encouraged new publishers to come in and produce more content which now powers the whole web.

So when twitter says that they are going to put “promoted tweets” on my stream, it sounds insane. Twitter don’t own my tweets, how can they just insert a paid tweet inside? Imagine if Google didn’t had Adsense porgram today, They could have started framing every website that it sends traffic to from its search and on top of the site they could show contextual ads inside a frame. How irritating would that be?

I’m glad they didn’t do it! Because Google doesn’t own the content of the web. They are just a medium for users to find me. But what google did was smart, they made an option for me to OPT-IN to their program that allows me to show their ads and receive a ‘cut’ for it. That’s fair I’d say.

What Twitter Needs to do

If twitter’s revenue model is really “Ads” (I thought there were other cool ones) they really need to get us (publishers) involved in it. Our tweets combined actually make twitter. So twitter shouldn’t be making money on what we are creating. Well, they certainly can if they get us inside their advertising eco-system.

So will this work? Well I don’t have a full proof plan yet, but this is what I can think of right now. We (publishers) can opt-in to twitter’s advertising platform which will give access of our demographics/profile information to the advertisers. So an advertiser like DELL can choose to promote a tweet to all the tech enthusiasts in “USA & Canada” or the whole world. As a publisher, I’ll agree to auto “re-tweet” the advertisers message to my followers using the twitter’s official re-tweet function. This way my followers will see “Dell” on their tweet stream and not me, but they will know that they are seeing that on their stream because of me.

Since the ads will be engaging, my followers can interact directly with Dell. But twitter should be able to track that “my re-tweet” to my followers actually converted into a conversation between one of my follower & Dell. (a conversion for Dell on this case).

Based on my performance (no of conversions/actions taken), I can be given a small percentage of the advertiser’s ad spend. The percentage may vary depending on my account performance and this will encourage publishers to write ‘better tweets’. I’ll engage more with my audience (my followers), and eventually they will be more supportive of my stream. And its a win-win situation for everyone. If a particular user doesn’t want to see ads, he/she can simply choose to un-follow the publisher.

What do you think? Comment here or reply via twitter – @saadkamal

What others are saying:

The Twitter Ad Model Revealed (What Were You Expecting, a Pony?) – GigaOm

Full Details On Twitter’s Long-Awaited Ad Platform: Promote – Techcrunch

Twitter’s Advertising Scheme is Delightfully Boring – Just As It Should Be – Read Write Web


Work in Facebook Singapore

I know many people from Singapore and Malaysia who always dream of working for a company like Google or Facebook. Google already has well established office in Singapore and they have plans of starting one in Malaysia. But for Facebook to branch out in Asia always seemed like too much of a stretch.

But very recently facebook has expanded into several countries over the past years. The social networking site plans to continue such expansions even in 2010. Now it is focusing on Singapore, where it is planning to open its office before the summer ends. The company has confirmed that it has been successful in obtaining a registered name – Facebook Singapore – from the country’s Accounting and Corporate Regulatory Authority. Laster Chan, a blogger actually went through the trouble of acquiring the BizFile for 5 sing dollers. You can download the document directly from his site here.

According to its ACRA listing, the company’s registered address is at Millenia Tower where law firm Baker & McKenzie.Wong & Leow is currently based. The law firm provides corporate secretarial services to Facebook which is one of several clients of the firm using the same address for listing and legal purposes.

The company has also listed six job openings for its Singapore office. These jobs are in areas such as business development and sales. As a result, the people who will be hired for these jobs may have to work for expanding the business in neighboring countries such as the Philippines, Malaysia and Indonesia. These countries currently have the fastest growing number of Facebook users.

Last March, Facebook has also opened offices in India – in the city of Hyderabad. This sudden expansion of Facebook can be attributed to the growing number of Asian people who use Facebook. There are also other reasons for why Facebook has chosen these two cosmopolitan cities for expansion. Of them, the main reason may be that both these cities can offer a large number of possible employees who can speak multiple languages. This will help Facebook to retain its dominant position in these countries as well as in the neighnoring countries.

In the meantime, Facebook Singapore is planning to look for application developers. For this purpose, it has purchased Octazen, a contact importer firm located in Malaysia. This firm is providing 2 employees to Facebook. These employees will provide services to Facebook Singapore while residing in Malaysia.

(Source: Inside Facebook)


Gmail Nested Labels and Sneak Peek

A few users have always been annoyed with Gmail’s single pane interface as they need to open emails individually in order to view them. Some considered it inefficient & a waste of time. These users will definitely benefit from Gmail’s new move – Gmail Sneak Peak – which shows the users a preview of the emails that they have selected; these users will NOT need to open the emails in order to view them. This is similar to Mac OS X which shows a preview every time the spacebar is hit.

However, users will need to activate Gmail Sneak Peak in Labs before they can use its features. Then, in order to see the preview, they must right click the email or press “h”. The preview will not be comprised of the entire email; however, it will be sufficiently detailed to make the user decide whether the email needs to be opened or not. The user also needs to press “j” and “k” – instead of “y” – to move from one preview to another. If the user presses “y”, he or she can still scroll through the emails; however, the Sneak Peek pane will get closed.

gmail-labs-new

gmail-nasted-labelsAt the same time, Google has started Nested Labels – a feature that makes it possible for users to arrange their labels in an order. Then the user will have to use slashes (/) to organize the messages. For instance, if the user forms a label “Home” and wants to include “Family” and “Vacation” within it, then he or she needs to create a total of three labels using slashes: “Home”, “Home/Family” and “Home/Vacation”. The user may also include other labels then, such as “Home/Family/Kids”. In this way, a total of three labels – “Home/Family”, “Home/Vacation” and “Home/Family/Kids” – will be put under the main label “Home”.

How to Activate Gmail Nested Labels & Sneak peek?

Both these features are still a Gmail Lab’s feature and hasn’t graduated yet to be rolled into the final product. Thus you will need to manually activate these two features individually from your Gmail Labs page. To do so simply follow the instruction below:

Step 1: Login to your Gmail account

Step 2: Click on “Settings” on the top right hand corner.

Step 3: Click on the “Labs” Tab on the settings page.

Step 4: Look for the features that you want to enable and click on “Save Changes” at the bottom. That’s it! You are done.


Apple iAd Mobile Advertising Platform [Official]

apple-iad-mobile-advertisingApple has just officially announced their new iAd Mobile advertising platform in the iPhone OS 4.0 event in San Francisco. Previously many have speculated that apple is baking their own mobile advertising platform in the oven for sometime after acquiring the mobile advertising company Quattro Wireless for massive $275 million early this year.

What is Apple iAd ?

Apple iAd is Mobile Advertising platform for the iPhone OS4 which will eventually power all the iPhone 3GS, iPod Touch (3rd gen onwards) & of course the most talked about iPad. iAd will be a built directly onto the core OS thus developers will be able to use that platform to monetize the apps that they make for all the apple mobile/handheld products.

Steve Jobs raised an interesting point about mobile advertising, he says – unlike personal computers where people go to a search engine to search for stuff most of the time, on a mobile device they are always inside different apps! So advertising on search isn’t very relevant when it comes to mobile advertising.

The average user spends over 30 minutes using apps on their phone. If we said we wanted to put an ad up every 3 minutes, that’d be 10 ads per device per day — about the same as a TV show. We’re going to soon have 100m devices. That’s a billion ad opportunities per day! This is a pretty serious opportunity, and it’s an incredible demographic. But we want to do more than that. We want to change the quality of the advertising. We’re all familiar with interactive ads on the web. They’re interactive, but they’re not capable of delivering emotion

Right now there are thousands of Free mobile apps out there which are ad supported. However most of these ads are poorly designed and doesn’t engage the users. One of the biggest issue previously was – there wasn’t any multitasking on the iPhone OS. So basically if a user takes an action on the ad it would totally interrupt/close whatever the user was doing previously. However iAd can now totally take the advantage of the the new iPhone OS4 Multi Tasking feature and deliver ads that are Interactive & also deliver emotion.

What is in it for Mobile App Developers?

With the launch of this platform, apple will run some sort of advertising inventory. Thus if you are an app developer, you can be sure to find advertisers for your app. Also this might push the ‘freemium’ model more, as developers would want to stop charging for apps to get more user base and eventually make the money off from advertising via iAd platform. Most importantly Apple is being very transparent about the revenue sharing of iAd, 60% of what advertisers pay will go to the publisher/developer of the app.

What is so new about iAd Platform?

You must be thinking, why is this any cooler than the other mobile advertising that you may have already experienced on your mobile device? Well, Steve jobs did show some cool iAd demo and after taking a look at some of them I have to say that I’m pretty impressed. In fact I haven’t seen anything quite like this before. The most intriguing thing about the iAds are:

  • The ads are very interactive: On the first demo, jobs showed off an advertisement inside the Toy Story app and the ad sort of shows up as an integrated microsite in a window. They even included a game inside this ad so the user is tempted to interact with the ad
  • The ads are location aware & allows in ad purchases: This is definitely revolutionary. Imagine buying movie tickets directly from an Ad. The Ad can use your location and tell you that movie “x” is playing in the cinema near you and you can just click buy to get your ticket!
  • The ads are motion sensitive, thus more interactive! Steve jobs shows a Nike ad where it shows dunks progressing through the years. and you just need to shake your iPhone to get another dunk!

iAd Mobile Advertising Demo

Jobs mentions that – “…in addition to ad agencies being able to make these things, there are hundreds of thousands of iPhone app devs who know how to make these things. Emotion plus interactivity. The ads keep you in your app, so you’re much more likely to click on then and explore.”

So now apple seems like a serious threat for Google. They pretty much dominate the mobile industry and now they seem to be getting comfortable in the mobile advertising space as well.

What do you think of iAd Platform? Share in comments!

More iAd Stories:

Apple Announces iAd Mobile Advertising Platform – Techcrunch

Apple Debuts Both Ad Platform and Ad Network: iAd – GigaOM

Mobile Advertising Is At A Turning Point, With Google, Apple And The FTC Determining The Future – Mobile Marketing Watch

Steve Jobs Says ‘Most Mobile Advertising Really Sucks,’ So Apple Is Introducing the iAd Platform – Business Insider

Apple iAd brings ads, cash money to third-party iPhone apps – Engadget

More discussions happening in Techmeme

(Hat off to Ryan Block of GDGT for the awesome coverage. See the full coverage of iPhone OS4 event here.)


Facebook Made Changes to Status Updates

facebook-logoFacebook, the world’s most popular social networking site, has been on the news for some time now. Over the past year, it has been making a lot of changes in its website in order to make the experience of social networking hassle-free for both its users and developers. It is back on the news radar again. This time it has focused its attention on applications which are used for status updates.

There are a number of applications on Facebook through which users can update their statuses – a method called “stream publishing”. Previously, Facebook allowed these statuses to be of as many words as users wanted. However, on April 8, the company announced – through a post published on the facebook developers page – that it was going to making a few changes to the stream publishing method. First of all, the statuses can no longer be of unlimited words. In fact, the word limit is now 420 characters only.

Facebook did not provide any additional information on how it arrived at this figure. Although many users may initially perceive the limit as too low, they would be happy to know that the limit is still much higher than those provided by other social networking sites. For instance, Twitter allows a maximum of 140 characters for each tweet. Many users had not been at all surprised by this announcement since they had started facing the limit long before the announcement came.

Also, users can no longer put any action link or attachment on the statuses – making users more aware of the difference between normal status updates and status updates through applications. However, if the users decide to use the action links and attachments, the status will show as a “regular stream story” – instead of a “status update”. In this case, the users cannot view the statuses on the upper part of their profiles. Neither can their Friends will find the statuses on their States Updates page.

This news may be disappointing to developers of the applications since the move by Facebook removes some of the fun of updating statuses through applications. However, the social networking site believes that the move will allow the applications to be similar to status.set.


Privacy Lovers can now Opt-out of Google Analytics

Google Anlaytics - Opt-OutPrivacy freaks lovers now has the ability to Opt-out of Google Analytics tracking on a browser level. Last week Google announced on a blog post that google analytics team is currently working a browser based plugin that can totally give user control to opt-themselves out from being tracked by Google Analytics. This way users can feel more comfortable about their privacy and can refuse to share any information with the site owners that runs the Google analytics program.

Google already collects massive amount of data about all of us when we are searching the web. But they have been always been upfront about what data they collect. See the video below by Maile Ohye, a support engineer of Google. She pretty much explains what basic data Google collects every time you search the web using Google. She also explains why its important for Google to store certain information on their servers to give users a better search experience.

But none of these so called stored information is actually ‘personal information’. For instance, its not your name, social security number or your credit card number. But still Google has been bashed over an over again about ‘Privacy’. I agree that Google probably knows more about us than anybody else, however we all choose to share that information with them! We live in a very open world.

In fact anybody who has a facebook account shouldn’t even talk about ‘privacy’! You have probably put up all sorts of information up their and sometimes without you even knowing things that you assumed to be ‘private’ becomes public. Not that facebook does this willingly, but it has happened before. And its likely that as we move forward more data about us will be public (e.g. Does PleaseRobMe.com ring a bell?).

I think Google is creating this whole GA Opt-out browser addon, just for their own strategic advantage. They know very well that no one will go through the trouble of installing it anyway. But at least when they get into those big privacy battles, they can show that they do ‘care’ about privacy and users have an option to be totally private.

But I think people needs to change their mentality a bit here. On the internet there is NO PRIVACY. If you care too much about your privacy, you shouldn’t be using the internet. Because your ISP is probably already recording more information that you can possibly imagine.

But do you actually care? I don’t!


My Thoughts on Twitter @Anywhere

In the recent South by Southwest (SXSW) conference, every single soul was expecting the twitter CEO Evan Williams to finally stand up and announce Twitter’s business plan and how they plan to monetize this sleeping monster with such a big user base and mainstream adaption.

But instead, @ev threw a brand new thing to the crowed called – @anywhere (“AT ANYWHERE”). Now what is this @Anywhere? Well I can hardly tell you much about it as twitter themselves didn’t reveal much about the service other than a very vague intro and some logos of partners who are already on board with this brand new feature of twitter.

twitter-at-anywhere (@anywhere)

What is Twitter @Anywhere?

Twitter @Anywhere is basically a platform that hopes to bring the functionality of twitter on different websites & portal rather then keeping them all confined in one place (Twitter homepage). You can compare this with what Facebook has already done with Facebook connect. Basically facebook connect allows developers to build community around their websites by seamlessly integrating Facebook using the facebook API and leveraging the 400 million users base that Facebook already has. But integrating Facebook connect does require a bit of technical skills and its not everyone’s cup of tea.

However, it seems like Twitter @Anywhere would be very easy to implement. You don’t have to be a developer or need to work with APIs to make it work. They clearly mentioned on their post that Twitter @Anywhere will work by simply throwing in few lines of JavaScript on your website. So sounds like this is going to be more like an embedded object (like the Facebook Fanbox Widget) that will probably be located at the end of articles/blogpost or can even be at the side bar. Using this object, site visitors will be able to follow you or your brand, write a comment about your site or an article, and participate in discussions with other readers. Whatever interaction your readers perform via Twitter @Anywhere, will obviously go back to twitter thus creating possibility of your content to be exposed to a much larger audience.

Twitter Co-founder Biz Stone writes:

Imagine being able to follow a New York Times journalist directly from her byline, tweet about a video without leaving YouTube, and discover new Twitter accounts while visiting the Yahoo! home page—and that’s just the beginning. Twitter has proven to be compelling in a variety of ways. With @anywhere, web site owners and operators will be able to offer visitors more.

So what do you think of Twitter @Anywhere? I know this isn’t a new concept, however I don’t see any reason for anybody to NOT use it.


Google Reader Play – Slideshow of News stream

Google has recently launched a cool new service that any news junkie would love. They are calling it – Google Reader Play (pretty weird name, don’t you think?). But anyway, I tried it and its pretty awesome!

What is Google Reader Play?

Google Reader Play is an experimental product from the Google Reader team that makes it very easy to read the best stuff on the Internet. The best part of Google Reader Play is its interface – a really sleek sliding view that makes flipping through news feeds totally child’s play.

Google Reader Play Review

Who should use Google Reader Play?

Google Reader Play is suitable for everyone! Its just a cool way to quickly skim the news and read the good stuff. Google Reader Play doesn’t really require any setup, but the news that you see is personalized to the things that you like (if you are signed in via your Google account).

Even if you are not a Google reader user or you don’t have a google account, you will still be able to use Google Reader Play without any problem.

They have some nice feedback buttons – Star, like & share that makes it easy for you to give instant feedback about the news that you are reading. Based on your input Google will personalize the play stream for you.

How to Use Google Reader Play

Simply head over to the Google Reader Play website. You will notice that items are presented one at a time, and each item is big and full-screen. After you’ve read an item, just click the next arrow to move to the next one, or click any item on the filmstrip below to fast-forward. Of course, you can click the title or image of any item to go to the original version. And since so much of the good stuff online is visual, it automatically enlarge images and auto-play videos full-screen,

Will This Replace My RSS Reader?

Absolutely not! Nothing can possibly replace your RSS reader because it follows an opt-in model. You know exactly which sites you have subscribed to and you know that anytime you open your reader you will have the stories from those sites right there.

However lets be honest here, do you actually follow your RSS reader anymore? I don’t and most of the people I know has gotten sick of it as its very hard to keep up with. If i dont open my RSS reader for day I’ll have hundreds of unread items the next day. Its like maintaining yet another email box! Sometimes we just want to dip into the news stream and pick up stories that everyone else loves. Thats why we all love twitter, don’t we?

So I think with this new service, you can do exactly that. No commitments, no strings attached, no unread news counts – Just dip in and consume the news that you like. Once you are done, close the browser window and there will be no hard feelings!

Give it a try today, no signup required: http://www.google.com/reader/play.

On a separate note: If you are looking for a good RSS Feed Reader that is as easy as reading a magazine, check out my RSS Reader Recommendation.


Pages:1234567...19