Fresh Off The Block


Oct
14
2011

Google Buzzing No More

In a move that will shock absolutely no-one who actually paid attention to the service in the first place, a Friday post on Google Inc.’s blog revealed that Google is finally planning to pull the plug on its ill-fated Google Buzz service.

Buzz was a Social Networking component users could add to GMail to send status updates to their regular email correspondents and any other followers – but is more likely to remembered as a botched attempt by Google to build a strong Social Networking product of its own; and one with major privacy concerns. Buzz’s integration with GMail caused trouble when it was discovered that, after it was activated, Buzz automatically created social circles that exposed users’ most frequent GMail contacts for everyone to see. That kind of transparency didn’t go over well with people whose contact lists included secret lovers, ex-spouses, doctors and prospective employers – and despite overhauling the service to give people more control over their information, the changes came too late to placate outrage users and privacy watchdogs; and Google would later be reprimanded by the Federal Trade Commission.

In a conference call Thursday to discuss Google’s third-quarter earnings, Page promised the company will be weaving more of the company’s products into Google+ to ensure that users get an “automagical” experience – a move that makes sense, given that the Google+ Social Network already matches a lot of Buzz’s feature set while remaining much more privacy-orientated; and has attracted more than 40 million users already. The closure of Buzz will mean that after 20-odd months of lukewarm reception, Buzz will join more than 20 other products and services that Page has closed since he replaced Eric Schmidt as CEO in April. Page says he wants to “put more wood behind fewer arrows” as Google tries to maintain its dominance of Internet search and advertising while it duels with Apple Inc. for supremacy in the increasingly important smartphone market.

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    Previous Articles


    Sep
    24
    2011

    Google +1 Buttons Temporarily Removed

    Here at Technically Motivated, I take a lot of pride in trying to remain at the forefront of technology, while also keeping the Tips, Reviews, Gaming Coverage and various other articles – whether written by myself, Techie Jinji (TM’s founder and sole staff member); our partners; or by the very visitors who frequent our blog – relevant to the wider audience. Which is why I love it when me and my partners see people spreading word about the site and sharing our works with their friends and more – in fact, the Sharing buttons underneath every post exist purely to make doing this much more easier and more intuitive.

    Some few months ago, Google launched a new sharing platform called +1, which allows you to mark content that you like on a web page or in search results and have your recommendations show up to your friends in their own searches or (lately) in the Google Plus social network. After investigating whether this new service suited Technically Motivated, the site was quickly modified to add +1 buttons to the large set of sharing options available on each post.

    Unfortunately, recently I discovered that the +1 buttons are not working out in their current form. Their occasional slowness to load and the multiple JavaScript calls required to make them appear on each post has been causing performance hits to the TMWeb Server, making the site load slowly – sometimes to the point that parts of the site, most notably on the front page, were not loading at all! Because this was having a negative impact on the site, I have decided to take the drastic measure of removing them from the website completely for an indefinite – though hopefully temporary – length of time.

    My hope is that I’ll be able to find another, better method to add the button to posts and pages across the site – in which case it will be added back. However, I cannot guarantee this, so in the worst case scenario it may be the buttons do not make a return whatsoever. Even without them, though, we still have a large number of other sharing options available so there’s no big loss either way. Thanks for reading.

    Apr
    25
    2011

    Google Offers Easier Way to Transfer Video From Google Video to YouTube

    Google Video is shutting down. That’s no surprise. Having been surpassed by YouTube for the longest of time, and Google subsequently acquiring YouTube in 2006 making their own service almost redundant, Google stopped accepting new videos to the site after May 2009 and urged people to move to YouTube instead. Now Google have announced the official death of the site – videos already on the site will no longer be available after April 29, and the site is shut down completely after that.

    You’d expect, if Google’s reason for closing Google Video is that YouTube has made it unnecessary, that therefore Google would allow a quick way to move from Google Video to YouTube in order for users to take advantage of the superior platform and not be forced to lose anything. But, originally, Google hadn’t even planned to do such a thing. The original message about Google’s Google Video closure stated that users would be allowed to download their video manually until May 13 and keep it to hand to do as they wished with it; but there’d be no automatic migrations, and the service – and all data on it – would be taken permanently offline some time after that date.

    Numerous voices spoke out, asking why Google couldn’t just create a quick way to transfer videos between the two services. Google listened. And now, good news: The company’s backed away from its original plans and done just that. Read the rest of this entry »

    Nov
    16
    2010

    Important: Technically Motivated is no longer available at .co.cc

    I am sorry to announce that I have today officially removed www.technicallymotivated.co.cc as a domain for Technically Motivated, due to constant failures with the domain – it just hardly ever seemed to work. As a result of this change you can no longer use this link to access Technically Motivated.

    From now on, Technically Motivated is ONLY available at http://technicallymotivated.projecthangman.com. If you have any bookmarks to other links, please update them!

    I am hoping that I will be able to obtain a working domain soon, and thereby allow people to access this site from a more traditional address. This doesn’t seem to be something that will happen in the near future, though…

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    Oct
    09
    2010

    Google to Disconnect GOOG-411 Service

    Google is to shut down 1-800-GOOG-411, a directory-assistance service that uses voice recognition to connect callers to businesses in the U.S. and Canada, on November 12.

    GOOG-411 paved the way for today’s relatively refined speech-recognition tools for Android phones, including voice search, which lets you search Google by speaking rather than typing. In addition, voice input lets you fill a text field by speaking. And you can call a business simply by saying its name (into the phone). Because these features now significantly better the 411 service, and (so reports claim) because of it falling into disuse, Google has decided to kill off the 411 service, an automated version of the old 411 directory assistance of days past.

    Considering that many people these days own a Smartphone and thus can take advantage of much better, more advanced services like the ones mentioned above; and considering the service was only available to Americans anyway, the loss of GOOG-411 is not likely to draw many tears. However, not everybody uses a smartphone, of course. If you’re stuck in the flip/feature phone era, Google offers a somewhat clunky alternative to GOOG-411 and its successors. To call a business, send a text message with the business’s name and location to 466453 (“GOOGLE”). Google will text you the information.

    Digiprove sealThis informative article has been Digiproved © 2010
    Sep
    29
    2010

    Bad news, XMarks Users – XMarks confirms service shutting down on January 10, 2011

    For the past four years now, over a million users – myself included – have been using XMarks, a brilliant free service that syncs bookmarks, passwords and other data between other computers – and browsers – automatically, only requiring that the XMarks add-on is installed on the computers and you log in to your XMarks account (which can be made automatic after the first time).

    Today, however, I am sorry to report that there is bad news regarding the service. In fact, probably the worst news you could hear if you’ve made heavy use of the service. If you, like me, have been a loyal XMarks user until now, you either already have, or will shortly be receiving the following email which explains what I’m talking about: Read the rest of this entry »

    Digiprove sealThis informative article has been Digiproved © 2010
    Sep
    15
    2010

    Google retires “Older version” interface in GMail

    Google today have officially retired the original web-based interface for GMail, their own-brand email service, previously served to browsers unable to support the current interface or those who clicked the “Older Version” link at the bottom of the page.

    Browsers incompatible with all the features of the modern interface are now forced to use the Basic HTML view, and the “Older Version” link no longer exists. Attempts to load the Older Version manually, by typing in the URL to it yourself, also fail.

    Since the HTML version is incredibly limited in functionality, this change effectively means that Google has forced all GMail users into an “all-or-peanuts” situation – either having to use the default interfacer, with ALL of Google’s various features and tweaks if they want to use any feature not standard to email (such as Chat, Labs Features…); or going back to the dark ages. In this reporter’s opinion, expect to see a number of complaints in the upcoming weeks.

    Digiprove sealThis informative article has been Digiproved © 2010