Google Online Resources to Aid Disaster Relief in Chile

Screen shot 2010 02 28 at 8.49.28 AM 490x222 Google Online Resources to Aid Disaster Relief in Chile

The Google folks are once again up on their toes in making the many Google resources to help disaster relief in Chile, which has just been struck by a powerful 8.8 magnitude earthquake.

First up is Google Map Maker for Chile which is currently available for download by relief and aid organizations. The map data derived from Google’s Map Maker is  a good way to track down damages brought by the earthquake as well as for locationg possible people trapped in rubbles.  Anyone who has knowledge  about the Chilean topography and geography can add data into the Google Map Maker Chile.

Google has also launched the online Person Finder tool which was the same tool used in the wake of the Haiti earthquake. You can use the tool to find someone you know who might be missing in Chile or if you have an information about someone who might be missing in Chile. The tool is available in both English and Spanish.

Google is also monitoring the after effect of the earthquake, tsunami warnings via its search engine results for “tsunami warnings” which would yield both news results in Universal as well as Live Results of social media, news and blog coverage.

And finally, Google has also made a Chile Disaster Relief Support Page where you can find valuable information and links pointing you to the many ways by which you can help, all of us can help in the disaster relief effort for the earthquake victims in Chile.

U.S. Android Phones to Get Firmware Update, Finally

Screen shot 2010 02 28 at 8.33.43 AM 490x205 U.S. Android Phones to Get Firmware Update, Finally

Finally, after being available for Google Nexus One for quite some time now, the latest version of Google’s mobile OS – Android 2.1 will soon be available for all Android phones released in the U.S. so far.  The folks from Android and Me broke the news citing “several inside sources familiar with the matter.”

Now while, all these U.S. Android phones will get their firmware upgrade via over-the-air update in due time, some features of the Android 2.1 may be missing though. For instance, those cool live wallpapers of Nexus one phones will not be making its way to all Android phones. I think, this is one feature that makes the Nexus One feature unique afte all.

Another important point that you should also remember, in case you own an Android phone is that some phones will require a complete wipe when they are upgraded to Android 2.1. Likewise, some phones will require PC-based install and OTA update will not work afte all.

In  case you’re interested to know, only the Nexus One and the Motorola Droid  are curerntly running Android 2.1. And according to Android and Me, around 80% of Android phones are still running on the earlier version of the OS.

And now for the schedule of Android 2.1 updates – expect it to happen sometime in Q2 2010. Owners of phones such as G1 and myTouch 3G will be the among the first gen Android phones will get the firmware update first.

There, hope everyone feels happy with that news. And hopefully, Android and Me’s sources are realiable enough. Google badly needs to spike up interest with the Android OS as well as the different phones that use it. Nexus One could not advance Google’s mobile strategy agenda alone.

Palm Releases WebOS 1.4 via OTA

True to the rumors that have been going around the web the past few days, Palm just announced the availability of their WebOS 1.4 for Palm Pre and Pixi devices. The updated OS will be pushed to current Palm handset owners via over-the-air update. It will be available for Sprint customers in the U.S., O2 UK, O2 DE, O2 Ireland and Movistar in Europe. While those under other network carriers will have to wait a little longer before getting the OS update.

Key features of the new WebOS 1.4 include:

  • video capturing, editing and sharing – you can now do quick edits on videos you’ve capture using your Palm WebOS phone as well quickly share them via Facebook or YouTube or via Email and MMS.
  • enhanced productivity apps – major enhancements to Calendar, Phone, Messaging and Email apps to simplify most commonly done tasks.
  • enhanced notifications – the LED in the gesture are lights up and pulses when new notifications is incoming. The email, messaging and calendar notifications can also be easily customized by selecting new sounds. You can set this up in the Preferences options of each apps.

Other features of the new WebOS 1.4 include improved battery life, faster loading and more responsive apps, accessibility of Microsoft Exchange Server through universal search, more shortcuts for doing various options such as messaging or making a call. You can also now turn text chat into a phone call in one touch.

More details about the WebOS 1.4 here.

Google Now Lets You Navigate through User Photos in Street View

Google has just announced a nice new feature of its Street View service. You know Street View, right? That navigation service whereby you can see real-time images of specific places covered by Google’s roaming vehicle. Now since this vehicle will not be able to cover some hardly accessible areas, thereby rendering them inaccessible via Street View, Google is however doing something to make this possible.

Through the use of user-generated photos which Google is embedding to the Street View layer map of a particular area, you will now be able to explore a particular area similar to other areas which are fully covered by Google vehicle. This will be made possible by two types of orbs which Google is embedding on Street View maps.

In addition Google is also adding a new layer to Google Maps to enable you to get photos using this photo layer.

I was checking this out and it to be really cool. You may not be getting the same interactive elements of Street View, but the panning and zooming feature  is worthy enough of your time.  The navigation is seamless and really gives you a logical way of exploring different locations. And you do that via a familiar Street View interface.

Seesmic Makes its BlackBerry App More Powerful

So aside from releasing their Android app, which is a very good If I may say so, Seesmic is also releasing an improved version of their app for BlackBerry devices.  The latest version of the BlackBerry app now supports multi-Twitter account handling, Ping.fm support as well as a facility for choosing the size of photos you will upload. Plus some other minor enhancements that made the app almost close to its iPhone and Android counterparts.

If you’ve used Seesmic before in any of its versions – dekstop, browser, iPhone and Android phones you’d know that one of its strongest features is the multi-account support. This is one feature that makes Seesmic stand out from the rest of its competitors.  You can now simultaneously verify your Twitter accounts and once you’ve verified them, you can easily navigate from one account to another on your BlackBerry device. You can add as many Twitter accounts as you want, although I’m not really sure why would you have more than 3 Twitter accounts. Seesmic will make one of your accounts as the default and will open that account first everytime you log in to Seesmic on your BlackBerry.

The other feature which is integration with Ping.fm. If you have a Ping.fm account you can easily integrate it to your Seesmic for BlackBerry and engage with your social network friends even if they are not on Twitter. You need to create an account in Ping.fm if you don’t have one yet.

The other new features of Seesmic for BlackBerry is photo sharing/uploading via TweetPhoto service as well as an option for you to select the size of the photos that you are posting on Twitter via Seesmic.

I just installed the app on my BlackBerry Bold 9700, as well as on my Nexus One Phone and in fact, I also have it on my iPhone. So, how do I compare Seesmic for BlackBerry to its versions in the two other smartphones? Quite surprisingly, it does compare well given what the device can handle.

YouTube Overhauls its Video Page, Hoping We Will All Like It

Screen shot 2010 02 27 at 1.23.01 AM 490x255 YouTube Overhauls its Video Page, Hoping We Will All Like It

YouTube is currently overhauling its standard video page view into something that it considers as one of the site’s biggest redesigns ever. Basically once the redesign is finished, you will noticed two major changes – new playlist interface, search queue and integrated comments.

The new playlist interface will now include an option for autoplay mode which if turned on will automatically bring you to the next video once the current video has finished playing. If you don’t want like this feature, you can always turn it off anytime. But if the search results consist of robusts set of videos You Tube will automaticall play these videos one after the other. This will now become a standard in all of the YouTube videos.

As for the search queue, this feature will let you add videos to your queue. While the integrated comments will now lists both text and video responses to trigger conversation around a video.

The new video page view is currently being tested by selected individuals. Once testing is done, expect the new video page view to appear the next time you check out YouTube.

Or, if you can’t wait that long, check out this preview site to prepared yourself for the coming changes in the way you watch video on YouTube.

Hope you like the new page view. Honestly, it’s way cleaner and more organized than the current interface.

Via Business Insider

 

Final Fantasy Games Arrive on the Apps Store!


Final Fantasy fanboys, where are you?  If you’re currently waiting for the release of Final Fantasy XIII for the Playstation 3 you might want to go nostalgic first and play FF1 and FF2 on your iPhone or iPod Touch  to while away time. Yes, two of these two classic Final Fantasy games have just made it to the Apps Store and if you’re a die-hard FF fan and you’ve got $18  to spare, you can enjoy playing them again anytime, anywhere on your iPhone or iPod Touch.

Each game will cost your $8.99 each and considering the current price of a Playstation game right now, I think the that price is a good deal. Well, if you’re a Final Fantasy fan. You have to be a true-blue FF fan to appreciate this game since you won’t get the same cool animation and graphics features of other iPhone or iPod Touch games from FF1 and FF2.

In case you’re not aware, the Final Fantasy franchise is one of the most popular role-playing games of all time.  It’s a turn-based strategy type of game that involves character building, finding items, completing quests and certainly more other fun and addicting game plays.

And the good news is, the FF1 and FF2 for the iPhone and iPod Touch have all those elements that we love from their console versions.

What’s exciting about this is the fact that this might just be the beginning. Hopefully, Square Ennix will bring in more FF games into the iPhone or iPod Touch. But to make them do that, let us support FF1 and FF2 first by getting the games from the Apps store. I’ve included the download link here. FF1 iTunes Link and  FF2 iTunes Link. Have fun!

Screen shot 2010 02 26 at 6.08.10 AM Final Fantasy Games Arrive on the Apps Store!

Via Mashable

Samsung Embeds Skype into LED HDTVs

SamsungTV SkypeCall 1 490x382 Samsung Embeds Skype into LED HDTVs

Samsung has just unveiled their latest HDTV line-up, the LED 7000 and LED 8000 series. Wait, before you stop and say that these are just another one-of-them Samsung HDTVs, well think again because they are actually not just your ordinary HDTVs.  These HDTVs are quite unique because of the fact that they come embedded with Skype software.

Yes, folks this simply means that you can now have the comfort of making video and voice calls through these Samsung HDTVs. Do you have any idea how crisp and clear the person you are Skype-ing with would be? Well, the idea is pretty cool for me and I would love to get one of these new Samsung HDTVs. Although we may all have to wait for quite some time since Samsung is launching the new TVs worldwide sometime before the second hald of 2010.

Going back to the two Samsung LED 7000 and 8000 series TVs. These two products will come with Samsung’s free InternetTV service as well which will let you access selected online content.  And you also need to buy the FreeTalk  TV Camera to enable the high quality video calls.  Voice calls on the other hand will be handled by Skype’s SILK audio codec which is capable of producing super-wideband audio quality.

If you don’t have a Skype account yet, you can create one using the TV’s remote control via the TV’s simple Skype interface. Of course, the bottomline is that voice calls and video calls will be free provide that you are communicating with another Skype user.

Cool? Yes, of course!. So, I’ll watch out for those Samsung LED HDTVs if I were you.

Apple iTunes Scores 10 Billionth Song Download

Screen shot 2010 02 25 at 6.24.37 AM 490x252 Apple iTunes Scores 10 Billionth Song Download

Apple iTunes has just achieved a remarkable feat a moment ago, thanks to a user who just got the 10 billionth song ever downloaded from the music store. The countdown to the 10 billionth song was started earlier this month, and it was Apple’s way of celebrating such a remarkable experience. Meanwhile, whoever got to download the 10 billionth song from iTunes will win a $10,000 iTunes Gift Card.

So while we await for the announcement of the winner, why don’t we all take a look at some numbers after the iTunes was opened in 2003.  Almost seven years, Apple has suceeded in making the iTunes as a premiere online music store despite its exlusivity to Apple music and mobile devices. It only goes to show that while Apple is making the iTunes popular and so were its products. And for that,  we all should commend the company, no matter how much you may like or dislike iTunes.

Last quarter, iTunes generated some $520 million in revenues. In terms of profitability, total revenues generated so far by iTunes barely surpassed the break-even point. But that’s just beside the point since we all know that Apple created the iTunes to support its main business – selling hardwares. And it did while at the same time achieving a commendable feat in selling digital music.

Anyway, in case you’re interested to know the most downloaded song from iTunes happens to be Black Eyed Peas’ I Gotta Feeling. Now this is another an interesting achievement for the band but that’s another story.

Yahoo Becomes a Real-Time Search Engine, Thanks to Twitter

yahootwitter 490x343 Yahoo Becomes a Real Time Search Engine, Thanks to Twitter

It didn’t take that long for Yahoo to achieve what seems to be the trend among search engines today – to become a real-time search engine. And what better way of doing this but by teaming up with Twitter to integrate the 600 tweets posted on Twitter per second, assuming of course that those tweets are public.

In other words, Yahoo and Twitter had agreed on an integration deal with several components. But this is not just plain Twitter streams integration to Yahoo search results, but there are other components  as well.

The integration was quickly implemented by Yahoo as soon as the deal was sealed. So, if you check Yahoo search right now, you will start seeing Twitter updates on your search results.

But that’s just one part of the deal. Once in full swing, the Yahoo-Twitter integration will allow you to do the following:

  • read personal Twitter feeds directly from various Yahoo online properties such as Sports, Mail, Updates and others
  • update your Twitter status as well as share content from Yahoo to your Twitter profile.
  • share your social actions on any website that appears on Yahoo Updates to your Twitter timeline
  • get quick pulse-check on various topics and trending on Twitter related to News, Finance, Entertainment and Sports

Of course as you all know that this is just one of Yahoo’s strategy on making itself social. It has recently sealed a partnership with Facebook as well. But this will have to take effect later this year.

So what’s next, Twitter?