Monday, January 30, 2012

Google is now Apple's biggest enemy

Let’s take a trip back in time. The year is 1994, and two tech giants are going to war over copyright. They are Microsoft and Apple, and they are fighting over a copyright claim by Apple over Microsoft and HP’s use of graphical user interface elements from the Macintosh OS. The resulting court case, Apple Computer, Inc. v. Microsoft Corporation, ended with a ruling in Microsoft’s favor, mostly due to a contractual license agreement between the two.
The matter was never fully settled by the case though. Instead, negotiations that took place several years later resulted in the two companies agreeing to make Internet Explorer Mac’s default browser. Microsoft also agreed to keep developing Office for the Mac. Most importantly though, Microsoft invested $150 million into Apple to keep it afloat.
This series of events, which happened while Steve Jobs was being reinstated as the CEO of Apple, set the stage for what is happening today between Microsoft, Apple, and Google. While Microsoft and Apple are still bitter rivals, several recent events have inadvertently brought them closer together in order to fight their common enemy: Google.
The phrase “the enemy of my enemy is my friend” comes to mind. Let’s explore how we got to this tipping point.

Android: Google Enters Apple’s Turf

When Google CEO Eric Schmidt joined Apple’s Board of Directors in 2006, the move made perfect sense. Here’s what Apple said about Eric in its original announcement:
“Eric’s 20 years of experience as an Internet strategist, entrepreneur and technologist give him a well-seasoned perspective which perfectly complements Google’s needs as a young and rapidly growing company with a unique corporate culture.”
At that time, Google wasn’t in mobile, hardware, operating systems or browsers. Now Google is directly competing with Apple through the Nexus One, Google Chrome, Chrome OS, and even possibly in the tablet computer space.
It all started with Android, though. Back in August 2007, details began to leak about Google building a mobile OS or even a GPhone. It turned out to be Android, the open-source mobile OS that is now the fastest growing smartphone OS on the market.
At first, Android didn’t pose much of a threat, but as more phones utilized the software, the relationship between Google and Apple became very uncomfortable. Eric Schmidt sat out board meetings discussing the iPhone due to conflict of interest, but the relationship only eroded from there.

Watershed Moment: Eric Schmidt Resigns from Apple’s Board

Tensions between the two companies grew worse after Apple rejected Google Voice as an app on the iPhone.
The resulting FCC inquiry, along with an FTC investigation and the announcement of Google Chrome OS were just too much. On August 3, 2009, Eric Schmidt resigned from Apple’s Board of Directors.
In retrospect, this was the moment when Apple, Google and the rest of the world realized that the two companies could no longer be allies. Google’s expanding interest outside of search was pouring over into Apple’s domain on multiple fronts. With the search giant free of its Apple association, it could go all-out on its agenda to bring more people onto the web for longer (read the Google Revenue Equation to learn why).
The culmination of the breaking of the Google-Apple alliance? It was the release of the Nexus One, a direct competitor to Apple’s lucrative iPhone.

Recent Events: Apple and Microsoft Talk Bing

Yesterday we learned that Apple and Microsoft are in talks to make Bing the default search engine for the iPhone. While we’ve heard this rumor before, the talk seems to be heating up. Most of our readers expressed their dismay or shock over the potential deal, some questioning why Apple would ever team up with Microsoft over Google.
Really though, the deal makes perfect sense, given the new competitive landscape. Earlier today, Jim Goldman at CNBC provided some interesting new information on the dynamics of the Apple-Google-Microsoft relationship. According to his source, Steve Jobs hates Eric Schmidt (it wouldn’t surprise us) and Microsoft is offering a bigger cut of iPhone search revenues than Google.
While Microsoft and Apple’s relationship grew cold after the Redmond, WA, company bailed Apple Computer out, it never vanished. Moreover, Steve knows that he can work with Microsoft, especially if it helps Microsoft hurt Google.
Android has become the de facto alternative to the iPhone OS, and the Nexus One is closest thing yet to a smartphone that can stand up to the iPhone’s dominance. While Microsoft and Apple are still in competition over Mac vs. PC, Apple clearly believes that its future isn’t just in computers, but in other Internet devices such as the iPhone and the fabled Apple Tablet. Microsoft poses far less of a threat in these areas than Google does.
It’s time to call it: Google is now Apple’s greatest enemy. Soon Google will be entering its OS turf with Chrome OS. Apple increasingly sees Google as a major competitor over the next few years. While the company Steve built doesn’t particularly like Microsoft, it knows that it has to work with the lesser of two evils in order to succeed.
Say hello to the new dynamic. It’s Apple + Microsoft vs. Google. May the new battle begin.

Facebook's Gift for valentine day

What could be more romantic than playing Angry Birds on Facebook with your sweetheart or with a social network of relative strangers? The highly anticipated Facebook version of Angry Birds will officially be landing in a browser near you on Feb. 14, Valentine’s Day.
Rovio, the studio behind the game, has put out a trailer (above) and dropped lots of little hints that the Angry Birds on Facebook won’t be exactly like its mobile counterparts. Rovio CEO Mikael Hed said the game will have completely new aspects and a more collaborative feel. It’ll also focus more heavily on the hapless pigs.
From the trailer above it looks like the same gameplay that made Angry Birds a viral (and financial) sensation are still the focus: Flinging birds across a screen to knock out pigs and build high scores. This beingFacebook, expect social posts and friend challenges to play a role, though Rovio so far has stayed mum on what those “collaborative” features will be.
It may seem like a bad idea to launch a game on Valentine’s Day, but given Angry Birds‘ success, Rovio can pretty much do what it wants. The game — and its spin-offs — have been downloaded more than 500 million times, prompting Rovio CMO Peter Vesterbacka to say the company was worth more than $1.2 billion.
Angry Birds games have been developed for nearly every major mobile platform or device but this is the first time the game will be coming to a browser on the social network. It’s a move designed to get the game into more hands and more news feeds, but at some point will we just be Angry Bird-ed out?

LG Optimus 3D review

The LG Optimus 3D was one of the first 3D smartphones to become available, and it comes with a range of impressive specifications, we have been testing the Optimus 3D out over the last week.
The first thing you will notice about the LG Otpimus 3D 3D is the size of the device, it isn’t exactly the smallest, lightest or thinnest Android device on the market today, and it features a large 4.3 inch 3D display, and it comes with Android 2.2 Froyo.

Hardware Specifications
The LG Optimus 3D features a 4.3 inch glasses free 3D display that has a resolution of 480 x 800 pixels, and it is capable of displaying both 2D and 3D content, including games, photos and movies.
Processing is provided by a dual core TI OMAP 1GHz processor, there is also 512MB of RAM and 8GB of built in storage, it also comes with a microSD card slot that can take up to 32GB microSD cards.

Other specifications on the LG Optimus 3D include dual 5 megapixel cameras on the back of the device, which can record Full HD video in 1080p in 2D and HD video in 720p in 3D, plus an LED flash.
There is also a 1.3 megapixel front facing camera for video chat, and it comes with a microUSB port for syncing and charging the device, plus a HDMI ports so you can hook it up to your HDTV.
The LG Optimus 3D also offers 802.11 b/g/n WiFi, DLNA, Bluetooth, and it can also be used as a WiFi hot-spot, and it comes with Android 2.2.2 Froyo and a custom user interface from LG.

Design, Display, User Interface

The LG  Optimus 3D isn’t exactly the lightest Android device we have tested here at Geeky Gadgets, the handset measures 128.8mm by 68mm by 11.9mm and it isn’t exactly light weighing in at 168 grams, although this is what you would expect considering the specifications.
It feels like a well made device, although not exactly the most sleek or slender design, you get a range of buttons with a power button on the top of the handset along with a 3.5mm audio jack.

On the right hand side of the device there are up and down volume buttons at the top, as well as a dedicated 3D button that will take you directly to the handsets 3D menu, on the left hand side of the device there are ports for the USB and the HDMI.

The display is pretty good in 2D mode everything looks crisp and clear and the LG custom user interface on the Optimus 3D is very good, similar to what we have seen on previous Android devices from LG, they have kept things to a minimum and it is easily customizable.
The 3D display is interesting, we tested it out on some 3D games which came with the device including Nova, Asphalt 6, and Lets Golf 2 as well as some 3D videos on YouTube and also some 3D photos.

Out of all the 3D options available we would say that the Optimus 3D display is best suited for 3D gaming, the videos were decent on YouTube and the 3D photos were pretty cool as well, but we had the most fun with the 3D games.

Processor And Camera

The LG Optimus 3D features a dual core 1GHz processor, and it certainly feels pretty snappy, and handled everything we tried out on the device with ease, nothing we tried out on the Optimus 3D felt slow and everything ran smoothly and fast, exactly what you would expect from a dual core 1GHz processor.
The Optimus 3D features two 5 megapixel cameras on the back which can record Full HD video in 1080p in 2D and HD video in 720p in 3D, and it can also take 3D photos as well as standard photos.

The camera does a pretty good job at taking standard photos, don’t expect anything amazing though, it is capable of doing the job, but not as good as some of the cameras we have seen on previous Android devices, like the 8 megapixel camera on the Samsung Galaxy S II, and it can also take 3D photos.

Turn Your Facebook Timeline Into a Movie

A browser tool launched Monday transforms content from your Facebook Timeline into a fast-paced movie.
In what will surely incite a roller coaster of flashbacks, Timeline Movie Maker from marketing agency Definition 6 lets you become a filmmaker with the click of a button. Definition 6 collaborated with Facebook.
After Movie Maker “parses nostalgia,” “captures your good side,” and “finds I-Remember-Whens” on your Timeline, the tool allows you to change the movie’s music and replace any image, video or check-in.

“Timeline Movie Maker is evaluating highly engaged content in a chronological fashion, choreographing a user’s personal journey on Facebook, with content that has the most engagement and uses comment analysis to identify key life moments and where the user is tagged,” says Paul Hernacki, CTO at Definition 6. “The result is a powerful example of how the synergy between technology and marketing is crucial in driving complex projects like this to life, ultimately evoking an emotional connection from the end user.”

Android Design: Design Principles

Design Principles

These design principles were developed by and for the Android User Experience Team to keep users' best interests in mind. Consider them as you apply your own creativity and design thinking. Deviate with purpose.

Enchant Me

Delight me in surprising ways

A beautiful surface, a carefully-placed animation, or a well-timed sound effect is a joy to experience. Subtle effects contribute to a feeling of effortlessness and a sense that a powerful force is at hand.

Real objects are more fun than buttons and menus

Allow people to directly touch and manipulate objects in your app. It reduces the cognitive effort needed to perform a task while making it more emotionally satisfying.

Let me make it mine

People love to add personal touches because it helps them feel at home and in control. Provide sensible, beautiful defaults, but also consider fun, optional customizations that don't hinder primary tasks.

Get to know me

Learn peoples' preferences over time. Rather than asking them to make the same choices over and over, place previous choices within easy reach.

Simplify My Life

Keep it brief

Use short phrases with simple words. People are likely to skip sentences if they're long.

Pictures are faster than words

Consider using pictures to explain ideas. They get people's attention and can be much more efficient than words.

Decide for me but let me have the final say

Take your best guess and act rather than asking first. Too many choices and decisions make people unhappy. Just in case you get it wrong, allow for 'undo'.

Only show what I need when I need it

People get overwhelmed when they see too much at once. Break tasks and information into small, digestible chunks. Hide options that aren't essential at the moment, and teach people as they go.

I should always know where I am

Give people confidence that they know their way around. Make places in your app look distinct and use transitions to show relationships among screens. Provide feedback on tasks in progress.

Never lose my stuff

Save what people took time to create and let them access it from anywhere. Remember settings, personal touches, and creations across phones, tablets, and computers. It makes upgrading the easiest thing in the world.

If it looks the same, it should act the same

Help people discern functional differences by making them visually distinct rather than subtle. Avoid modes, which are places that look similar but act differently on the same input.

Only interrupt me if it's important

Like a good personal assistant, shield people from unimportant minutiae. People want to stay focused, and unless it's critical and time-sensitive, an interruption can be taxing and frustrating.

Make Me Amazing

Give me tricks that work everywhere

People feel great when they figure things out for themselves. Make your app easier to learn by leveraging visual patterns and muscle memory from other Android apps. For example, the swipe gesture may be a good navigational shortcut.

It's not my fault

Be gentle in how you prompt people to make corrections. They want to feel smart when they use your app. If something goes wrong, give clear recovery instructions but spare them the technical details. If you can fix it behind the scenes, even better.

Sprinkle encouragement

Break complex tasks into smaller steps that can be easily accomplished. Give feedback on actions, even if it's just a subtle glow.

Do the heavy lifting for me

Make novices feel like experts by enabling them to do things they never thought they could. For example, shortcuts that combine multiple photo effects can make amateur photographs look amazing in only a few steps.

Make important things fast

Not all actions are equal. Decide what's most important in your app and make it easy to find and fast to use, like the shutter button in a camera, or the pause button in a music player.

Google Plus Pages

Google Plus Pages

With Google+ Pages you can have real conversations with the people interested in your business. You can direct them to your Google+ Page with a Badge that you can add to your site (more on that below). You can also extend the power of +1 to stand out in Google search results.
With Google Plus For Business you can easily share breaking news, updates, promotions and more with the different people interested in your business. You can also promote your business, products and/or services with the +1 service all across the Web.

Google+ even allow you to measure how your page is doing, and learn more on how your followers’ interactions affect your business and brand. Google+ also offers ways to improve the page.

Google Plus For Business: How To Create a Page

Creating a Google+ Page only a few minutes. Before you can create a Google+ Page, you must create a Google+ Profile (if you don’t already have one).
Estimated Time: 3-5 minutes
Step 1 – Creating a Google Account
If you don’t have a Google Account, you can create one here. This will give you access to several Google services, incluing Gmail, Google Docs, and of course Google+… After creating a Google Account, log into Gmail and click the ‘You+’ link at the top left of your Gmail dashboard.
Step 2 – Creating a Google+ Profile
As mentioned above, before you can create a Google+ Page for your business, you must create a Google+ Profile (if you don’t already have one). If you don’t have a Google+ Profile yet, the ‘You+’ link on your Gmail dashboard will direct you to the Profile creation page:

Enter your first and last name, or the name of your business, and click the ‘Add your photo’ linkt to add the logo of your business. Click ‘Join’ once done. You will then be offered the option to follow public figures. You can either choose to follow people, or skip this step and choose to follow people later.

Step 3 – Creating a Google+ Business Page
You will then be offered to create a Google Plus Page For Business. If you can’t find how to, click this link:Google+ For Business. You will be directed to a page that allows you to create a Google+ Page dedicated to your business, much like a Facebook Fan Page.

You are then asked to pick a category:
- Local Business or Place
- Product or Brand
- Company, Institution or Organisation
- Arts, Entertainment or Sports
- Other

Then you are asked to add your information. Enter a Page Name, paste your Website URL, and choose who you want to be able to see the page. Most of you will choose: Any Google+ users. Make sure you read the Pages terms and tick the box before hitting the ‘Join’ button.

You can then customise your page’s public profile by choosing a tag line, and add your business logo if not already done. Then click the ‘Continue’ button to proceed with the page creation.

That’s it! Your Google+ Page should now be ready… Google Plus For Business suggests you a series of actions that you can take now or later to finalize your pages, like starting a conversation, connecting your website, and tell the word about your newly created page.