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YouTube Channels A Billion Subscriptions, Launches New Widget

youtube YouTube Channels A Billion Subscriptions, Launches New WidgetThe boys and girls at YouTube are celebrating reaching a billion subscriptions over various channels by releasing a new widget for web masters and bloggers alike.

Early on (we’re talking ’06 here, people!), the yellow subscribe button made its debut so the latest videos from your favorite channels could make a beeline to your inbox/eager eyes. Today, the button that’s been immortalized as a throw cushion hits an important landmark: it’s been clicked over one billion times. And who was the lucky channel to get that billionth hit? It was MachinimaSports, who are, not coincidentally, on our homepage on Friday. [...]

So what’s next for subscriptions? Turns out, we’ve got a spankin’ new widget that any video-maker can embed on his/her website or blog. It lets people subscribe to your YouTube channel with a single click, without having to leave your site to log into YouTube or to confirm their subscription. The entire process happens in the widget. (Official YouTube Blog)

YouTube seems to borrow a page (no pun intended) from Facebook, in which the company removes any barrier that may hinder a reader from subscribing to your videos.

Being the geeks that they are, the Google folks provided users with the raw html in order to create a widget upon one’s blog or website, although over the next few days we will hopefully see various widgets, plugins or modules created by third party developers (or perhaps even YouTube themselves).

YouTube’s billion subscriptions puts the site well ahead of Facebook (who currently boasts 500 million users), and with the social video king experimenting with live streaming we may see the day where YouTube reaches its 2 billionth subscriber in the not too distant future.

Google To Android: Place Search Reviews Now Included

androidplacesearch 180x300 Google To Android: Place Search Reviews Now IncludedAfter gracing the world with Place Search for Mac and PC lovers, Google is now porting the feature for Android fans everywhere.

Lately, we’ve been working on giving you even better ways to find nearby places with Google Maps for Android, such as the Places icon and rich Place pages. Today, we are launching Google Maps 4.6 with a new design for Place page reviews, more options to filter search results, and a Google Latitude real-time updating option. (Google Mobile Blog)

There is still no word on whether Google will consider porting Place Search for Blackberry fans as well as webOS users (especially now that Palm Pre 2 is out in the wild).

Although I would love to see this feature released for the iPhone, Google will probably create a web app version instead rather than add this feature within Google Maps (as since the latter is heavily tied into iOS which means updates have to come from Apple).

Thus far the feature is available for Android fans running 1.6 and above (which should be the vast majority of users), although for those of you seeking Google Latitude integration you’ll need to be sporting version 2.2 of Android.

Dear Gmail, We Need A Native iPhone App

gmailmobileui Dear Gmail, We Need A Native iPhone App

Taking a cue from the YouTube team, the boys and girls at Google recently updated their mobile Gmail web app in order to make it behave more like a native iPhone app.

Go to gmail.com from your iPhone and you’ll notice two improvements we’ve rolled out over the past few weeks. First, scrolling is snappier: the speed of scrolling reflects the speed of your swipe gesture. This is helpful for long conversations where a few quick flicks will get you to the information you need much faster than before. Second, the toolbars stay on screen while you’re scrolling rather than moving down into view after each scroll. Being able to access your toolbars from any point on the page should make it easier to triage your email and move around the app. (Official Google Mobile Blog)

While the web app is much better than its predecessor, it still has all of the short comings of an iPhone web app, chief of those being the inability to upload content (like images) into a message, something our Android brethren can do via Chrome.

Despite the fact that Apple already provides users with a default mail app, truth be told it’s rather clunky and inefficient (especially when it comes to “starring” emails via IMAP).

Hopefully Google is seriously considering creating an official native Gmail app as that would allow users to check their messages while on the go, regardless of how strong their carrier’s signal is.

Google Makes Search Personal With Place Search

placesearch 490x197 Google Makes Search Personal With Place Search
It looks like Google is once again revamping their search product by helping users easily find businesses, venues or (in my case) restaurants to dine in without having to manually visit their Google Maps page.
Today we’re introducing Place Search, a new kind of local search result that organizes the world’s information around places. We’ve clustered search results around specific locations so you can more easily make comparisons and decide where to go. [...]
The new results are marked with red pins, and each one is a unique restaurant with relevant information and links from across the web. I can see that Stubb’s has live music, and I can click citysearch.com, tripadvisor.com and other sites to read reviews. (Official Google Blog)
Although similar to companies like Yelp in several areas, Place Search seems to be more of a way for Google to improve its bread and butter business than disrupt an industry (something they are attempting to do with Google Voice).
It may also help Google more effectively compete against both Bing!, the latter which has not only assimilated Yahoo! search, but has also been able to successfully forge partnerships with Facebook (unlike the search engine king).
Google is rolling out Place Search to the masses over the next few days (in over 40 languages nonetheless), although you can get a “taste” of what Google Places feels like by clicking here (which will highlight results from Chicago).

HP Launching 5 New Palm Smartphones In 2011?

palmpixipluspalmpreplus 255x300 HP Launching 5 New Palm Smartphones In 2011?I personally taking this news with a huge grain of salt, but there are now rumors that HP will launch 5 additional Palm Pre smartphones in 2011, which apparently does not include the Palm Pre 2 (which is already selling in France).

The informed sources indicated that Palm, which halted production of most of its smartphones early this year due to financial crisis, has recently resumed its orders to contract suppliers, with Foxconn to supply four to five new types of Palm’s smartphones for sale in 2011, and Commpal Communications to deliver one new type. (CENS.com)

Although I personally expect HP to launch 2 new smartphones next year (the Palm Pre as well as the Palm Pixi), 3 additional smartphones sounds rather odd if you ask me.

Palm phones already boast physical buttons as well as a fairly large touchscreen (at least on the Palm Pre that is), and unless HP is planning to roll out the phones in different sizes and features (similar to Motorola’s Droid phones) its best to file this in the rumor department.

Smartphone rumors aside, CENS does go on to confirm the PalmPad’s arrival in 2011, so either way it looks like HP will be making a huge entrance into the mobile scene next year.

(via MobileCrunch)

Google Seeking A Few Good Ideas (Tasks)

googletasksgmail Google Seeking A Few Good Ideas (Tasks)Although not as popular as services like Google Voice, Google Tasks is apparently used by many of the search engine giants loyal fans.

Unfortunately Google’s home bred application has remained rather stagnant when compared against rivals, prompting the search engine giant to request new ideas from their loyal fans.

If you’re using Tasks, you’ve probably thought about something you’d like us to improve or an additional feature you wish you had. Well, we want to hear your ideas — whether they’re for Tasks in Gmail, in Google Calendar, or on your phone.

For the next few weeks, we’re running a poll for Tasks feature requests. We really appreciate the feedback we’ve already received about syncing, sharing, Calendar integration and more, and we’re looking forward to hearing more details within these topics as well as any new requests you have. The poll will remain open until November 19th, at which point we’ll take a careful look at all of the feedback and prioritize your requests. (Official Gmail Blog)

Users are already populating the poll with some really great ideas, ranging from SMS reminders/alerts, the ability to convert emails into tasks as well as providing a better API for developers.

Ironically many users do not seem to realize that third party developers have already built native mobile apps that sync with Google tasks (which seems to be a popular request), although Google might want to consider releasing an official one in the future (outside their default iOS search app that is).

Are you a heavy Google Tasks user? What should Google do to make Google tasks more appeal? Feel free to sound off in the comment section below!

RIM Offering Free Blackberry Playbook’s To Developers?

After rebutting Steve Jobs for dismissing Blackberry as a serious mobile contender, Mike Lazaridis (co-CEO of RIM) made a surprising announcement after publicly demoing the Blackberry Playbook abilities (which appears at the end of this video).

RIM President and Co-CEO Mike Lazaridis showcased some amazing BlackBerry PlayBook apps yesterday at the Adobe MAX conference with Kevin Lynch, CTO of Adobe. The above video highlights some of what Mike and Kevin demoed during the keynote, such as the BlackBerry PlayBook’s multimedia capabilities (including web based videos using Adobe Flash), multitasking and the eUnity healthcare application. All apps demoed during the keynote were built by developers working with the BlackBerry Tablet OS SDK for Adobe AIR as part of an early access program. (Blackberry Developer Blog)

Although this move may help the company acquire some developer mind share, its still unclear whether consumers themselves will leap at the chance of owning a Blackberry Tablet, despite the fact that it supports flash (unlike the iPad).

While allowing developers to keep a Blackberry Playbook is a smart move for RIM (as it will help grow RIM’s anemic app store), the company may want to consider allowing developers to “borrow” a Playbook in order to test out their apps (as simulations can only take you so far).

Either way it’s great to see RIM actually demo the device in public, although only time will tell whether the Playbook will help revive RIM’s app store (which currently pales in comparison to Apple’s iPad app store).

Another Day, Another Android Lawsuit (Google)

android robot logo2 Another Day, Another Android Lawsuit (Google)With Android poised on supplanting iOS as the dominant mobile operating system in the west, it looks like another company has come forward with a lawsuit against the search engine giant (who is currently in the midst of battling Oracle).

Gemalto NV sued Google Inc. and phonemakers HTC Corp., Motorola Inc. and Samsung Electronics Co. Ltd., claiming the Android mobile-phone operating system used its technology without permission.

The manufacturer of digital-security technology filed the patent-infringement suit against the companies in Texas federal court on Oct. 22, according to the complaint. Gemalto said the development platform for Android improperly includes its Java Card technology, which allows software written in Java and other “high-level programming languages” to run on mobile phones. (Bloomberg)

Although it’s not surprising that Germalto NV is suing Google (who truth be told receives a lot of lawsuits in the US, many of them frivolous), Germalto NV’s strategy of suing manufactors seems to be aimed at thwarting Android’s expansion by scarring off potential partners.

Germalto NV surprisingly isn’t going after other manufacturers (like Dell) who also make Android smartphones (although truth be told HTC, Motorola and Samsung are the top 3 selling Android devices in the US).

While it’s doubtful that this legal squabble will thwart Android’s path towards global domination, Germalto NV’s latest lawsuit could slow down adoption by smaller manufacturers (the latter who probably lack the money to burn on patent attorneys).

Windows 8 Launching In 2012?

microsoft logo Windows 8 Launching In 2012?After first coming across hints of Windows 8 by Microsoft, it seems as if the software giant is pondering launching the OS a few years from now.

Microsoft is working on the next version of Windows, the blog says in Dutch, but it will be about two years before Windows 8 is on the market. [...]

The presentation also said that Microsoft wanted to improve startup times and the time it takes to resume from sleep, improve power efficiency, as well as work more closely with computer makers to better differentiate their respective computers. While these are all needed things, it’s going to be a very long two years for Microsoft if it can’t better address Apple’s moves in the tablet and notebook models before Windows 8. (CNET)

Note: Emphasis mine

Unfortunately for us it looks like Microsoft has removed  all references of Windows 8 upon the Dutch blog post CNET pointed towards earlier and even a Google cache fails to reveal the original post.

WhileAlthough Microsoft launching a new OS isn’t Earth shatterning news, the fact htat the company is flirting with the idea of allowing PC manufacters to alter the user interface is (as Microsoft in the past has been very adamant about Windows looking the same upon every computer).

Whether Microsoft is merely referring to merely themes or allowing PC manufacturers to drastically alter the Windows UI has yet to be seen, but hopefully its the former as drastic changes could lead towards fragmentation (which probably would not be in Microsoft’s best interest).

(via LifeHacker)

Apple To iLovers: Flash Not Included (Macs)

macbookair 490x173 Apple To iLovers: Flash Not Included (Macs)

While Apple’s war against all things Flash isn’t surprising regarding their iOS devices, it looks the company is no longer installing Adobe’s favored program upon their notebook and Macs either.

I asked Apple whether this change would be applied across the entire the Mac product line, and they confirmed to me that it would. Existing Macs currently in the retail channel naturally still have Flash Player preinstalled, but in the coming weeks, all new Macs will begin shipping without Flash Player. (Daring Fireball)

This change also affects the new Macbook Air as well, although unlike iOS devices like the iPhone and iPad, users will be able to install flash upon their computer, although truth be told they could simply download Google Chrome (which bakes Adobe flash right in).

While the lack of Flash will probably not slow down the demand of Apple’s computers (especially with Cupertino finally rolling out a Mac Store for its iFans), it may signal Apple’s whole hearted embrace of the HTML5 gospel (which Apple’s CEO has been heavily promoting in place of Flash).