Gaming On Google Plus

The internet world is all abuzz with news about Google Plus, the popular search engine’s response to Facebook. Users will be able to keep in touch with friends, chat and upload photos like they have on Facebook, but what about gaming?

Social gaming has become one of the most popular uses for Facebook, as many users solely log on to the website to play games like Zynga Poker and Farmville. Developers and potential users are now wondering if Google Plus will be able to support the same capacity for online gaming as Facebook.

As it stands, Google has yet to announce plans to accommodate external applications. As the platform is still being developed, it will remain to be seen how Google plans on implemening gaming into its social networking repetoire. However, according to PCWorld, developers are already eyeing Google Plus features that may be useful for social gaming

For example, Circles are types of groups that allow you to share only specific information with certain friends. Developers believe that this feature will be particularly useful to individuals who participate in MMORPGs online, allowing them to coordinate their activities through existing social networks.
Developers also think that Google Plus will lend itself well to smaller gaming firms that want to get their products noticed. While Zynga and its poker products seemed to have dominated the social media market, there is still room for independent developers on Google Plus and other social networking websites


Save your friends from outdated email—help them switch to Gmail

I’m writing this note in order to help you. I know you’re still comfortable with your old email program, but I’d like to invite you to try Gmail -- I’m pretty sure you’ll like it better. Gmail has world-renowned spam protection and innovative features that help you filter your mail, get to important messages more quickly, and search your entire mail history in seconds. You can even do cool stuff like video chat or call phones directly from your inbox.  

All you have to do is have the courage to make the change, and I’m here to help.  Are you ready?


Is Google Peeping into Too Many Places?

Some people fear that Google is growing far too nosy, in light of the search engine maven's buyout of face recognition specialist PittPatt, its insistence on "real names" in Google Plus, and its disclosure of the locations of millions of notebook PCs and cell phones worldwide in 'Street View'.
Complaints about matters related to privacy and identity are nothing new to Google. Last year, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) investigated Google's Street View for Google's admitted, but apparently inadvertent, collection of some user passwords -- and even entire emails -- as part of a project around mapping Wi-Fi networks.
Then in February of this year, some folks voiced alarm when Google got a patent for new technology combining facial recognition and social netorking for visual search results.
"[It's] uncertain as to whether [there will be] arrangements for ensuring compliance with the privacy of individuals,"
ow, Google is stirring worries on three new fronts, all in the same week. On Friday, Google announced the acquisition of facial recognition specialist PittPatt.
Then on Sunday, news surfaced that, back in March, Google had been fined 100,000 euros (the equivalent of about $143,000 US dollars) by the French data protection agency, Commission Nationale de l'Informatique et des Libertes (CNIL).
CNIL imposed the fine following an investigation showing that Google's Street View cars had collected the street addresses and unique hardware identifiers (aka MAC addresses) of millions of notebook PCs, cell phones, and other Wi-Fi devices around the globe. Google's cars were supposed to be garnering location data about Wi-Fi access points only, not Wi-Fi client devices.
Street View House Photos Also Tick Off Users

Actually, among the bulk of users, the Wi-Fi client debacle seems to have sparked relatively little outcry, possibly because PCs and phones are less personally identifiable items than faces, names, or houses, for example.
Home owners have long been highly vocal about Google's practice of keeping photos online in Street View for years that show a messy front yard or don't reflect recent property improvements.
"I guess what I find irritating is that when a person does a search on my address, they still see what it looked like when the former owners had the home and it is an absolute disaster area, junk everywhere. We poured a lot of sweat into cleaning up the outside and it won't be noticed until they retake the aerial photo," wrote mebert91 in the Google Forums, back in 2010.
Such concerns are understandable, considering that some people appear to use Street View as a tool for deciding where to live. "I thought about moving to Calgary or Edmonton [in Ontario, Canada] until I saw [them] on Street View. Thank you Google," wrote Oink, in the British Expat Discussion Forum.

Google Plus Dictates Which Names to Use

Right at this moment, users are complaining directly within the Google Plus Forum about a provision of the User Content and Conduct Policy for Google Plus which reads as follows: "To help fight spam and prevent fake profiles, use the name your friends, family, or co-workers usually call you. For example, if your full legal name is Charles Jones Jr. but you normally use Chuck Jones or Junior Jones, either or these would be acceptable.

Your profile is suspended [if after] reviewing your profile, we determined that the name you provided violates our Community Standards. If you believe your profile has been suspended in error, please provide us with additional information via this form, and we will review your profile again."
One user spelled out his reasons for wanting to use a pseudonym instead. "I used the name most people call me on other Web sites. No one I really care about in real life ever bothers to contact me over the computer so I gave up on them. Thus, I never bothered putting my real name up," acknowledged Blaze.

My pseudonym is more original and less common than most name-surname combinations and allows me to be identified by members of online communities with whom I interact

Another user recounted what happened when he tried to use the initials "vm" as his handle. "[Google] forced me to [prove] my identity if I wanted to stay [a] member, continue using my current Gmail 'ID' and stay connected with my friends. They asked for my photo ID, if possible," vm reported.

I think that I don't need [yet] another time consuming community site, especially under [those] conditions," he elaborated.
Google's PittPatt Buyout: 'Ominous News?

Meanwhile, Googe's PittPatt acquisition is now engendering additional qualms. "Ominous news," responded FoxhoundOp, a member of the HardForum online users group.
Quipped cageymaru, another HardForum member: "Google Street View live edition! Track your friends and family entering and leaving your home while [you're] at work. Oh and the pool boy [who] stayed an extra 5 hours making 'overtime' with your wife."
Also in HardForum, a user called stiltner pointed to possible concerns in the antitrust arena. "[Google] won't call it facial recognition. Hence they can say they aren't using facial recognition. They'll call it, 'Google Book of Faces,' and everyone will flock to it and lap it up," he predicted.
"I'm starting to get worried with Google. Phones. Tablets. Netbooks. Search Results. It might be time for the [FCC] to step in on them and pull an AT&T breakup."
Also on HardForum, when dyzophoria suggested that PittPatt's technology will most likely be integrated into Google Plus, WorldExclusive replied, only half-jokingly: "Didn't know I would have to cancel my Google+ account this early."
If facial recognition does get integrated into Google Plus, Google ought to be prepared to inform users first, and to let them opt out if that's what they want to do.
Social networking rival Facebook drew strong ire last year for failing to take these actions with its own facial recognition technology.
How about you don't have a Facebook account? Pick up the phone and call your family with any news that needs to be shared and go out and make real friends?" reacted "Anonymous Coward US ID: 1421131" 

Weekly Window

As Google Plus settles down, new problems are cropping up. The service has exceeded 20 million unique users and is counting. 

However, it is finding it tough to verify its users like Twitter does or as comes naturally with Facebook. Last week, after abruptly declaring that people must disclose their real names, and inadvertently sending termination notices to some celebrities and average users alike, Google managed to peeve businesses too. Several business houses had set up Google Plus accounts using consumer logins to have a share of the pie. Google terminated these accounts but Iater, hastily put out a video to explain that business accounts will be introduced soon on Google Plus.

Mozilla gets on the OS bandwagon
Though it might be reading too much into a small announcement, Mozilla's Developer Group has announced that it intends to build a mobile operating system (OS) and if it fructifies, it could take on the likes of Google's Chrome OS that is finding its way into netbooks in the U.S. Code-named Boot to Gecko, the project, as it stands now, is expected to be a web-based OS that will run Apps. The developer who floated the idea in a Mozilla forum said the intention was to end the stranglehold of proprietary technologies on the world of mobile devices.

HP Touchpad gets mixed reviews
Top technology blogs have had first access to HP's Touchpad tablet PC for more than two weeks now and the first batch of reviews has hardly been encouraging. With its launch just behind Motorola Xoom and Blackberry's Playbook, Touchpad was HP's big entry into the booming market. But if the reviews on Engadget and Gizmodo are anything to go by, it looks as if HP may have missed the mark. Touchpad is the first tablet PC that runs Palm's Web OS.

Android Overload

Everyone Is Guilty Of Patent Infringement, Google Plus Is On The Decline and More
Greetings, Phandroidians. There was a lot of legal news (generally the kind that I hate) so I decided to dump a lot of that into the Android Overload for tonight. This is your one stop – place to shop, for all the little things that didn’t make it onto our illustrious front page. ITC has been busy with all these patent lawsuits. Apparently everyone is guilty of patent infringement in some way. When are they finally going to call a truce and end the madness!? Good night!

One Month In, Google+ Sees A Traffic Minus

Tomorrow, it will be exactly a month sinceGoogle+ was first unveiled.
In that short amount of time, they’ve managed to sign up well north of 10 million users, which is amazing. Of course, the easiest path to tens of million of users is to start with hundreds of millions of users.
Just ask Buzz or Wave. Still, kudos to Google — phase one of G+ was clearly a success.
Now comes the hard part. Keeping those users around and engaged. Some numbers today released by Experian Hitwise suggest that Google+ has already started to experience the sophomore slump. For the week ended July 23 (last week), their data says that traffic decreased 3 percent versus the previous week. It’s important to note that this data is U.S.-only, and that Google+ is still technically in limited beta (though it’s easy to get an invite now). Still, the trend is the important thing: traffic is down week to week.
While it’s totally circumstantial, my own observations and usage seem to support this data as well. After initially checking it several times a day, I now load Google+ about twice a day, mainly to see if I’m missing anything. I rarely find that I am. I +1 a few things here and there, maybe leave a comment. But overall, the content feels fairly stale. Almost everything shared remains about Google (or worse, Google+ itself). And even though I have nearly 1241 people in my circles, very few seem to be sharing anything in any sort of limited fashion with me.
As a “power user”, I know that I’m a bit of a weird use case when it comes to sharing. But others I’ve talked to in the past couple weeks have had similar observations. Google+ started off with a bang — a big one. Part of it was the new car smell, but a bigger part was that expectations were so low for what Google would come up with in the social space (their own doing). When Google exceeded those expectations, people were genuinely surprised. And that also spurred usage. There was a sense of excitement: Could this really be the next big social network?
But now things are calming down. The new car smell is wearing off. And it’s time for reality.


Google Plus One Button Now 3X Faster

The button is now automatically up to 3 times faster and best of all, webmasters do not need to update their code for the speed changes to take affect.

The change is automatic. Google said, “no action is required on your part, so just sit back, relax, and watch as the button loads more quickly than before.

Is 3X faster not enough? Google has also released a new asynchronous snippet that is even faster. This feature allows your web site to continue loading while your browser downloads the +1 JavaScript. 

To get the new asynchronous snippet, just go to this page. The asynchronous option should be the default, but you can check for sure by selecting “advanced options.

 Since its launch, Google‘s +1 button has managed to become as widely known as the Facebook Like button — especially to the over 20 million people who use Google+. To keep up with their stellar service as more websites adopt the platform, Google has made the +1 button 3 times as fast!

Google has been working hard to improve the speed of the +1 button since its launch. They’ve made 2 major updates that helped improve the button’s function. First, they improved the overall speed, making the button’s load time 3 times faster. Second, they’ve added a new feature that lets the whole +1 experience move more smoothly.

Google has managed to cut down on load time for the button by introducing a asynchronous snippet. This allows your Web page to load while your browser downloads the +1 JavaScript, making the whole process faster. If you’ve already implemented the button on your page, you’ll need to update to the new code before you can experience the faster load time. The code for the +1 button update is available on the +1 configuration page.

Google launched their +1 button for websites in June and integrated it into their search to make searches more social. Now users have an incentive, as the pages they +1 are posted in their Google+ feed.

INTERNET SEARCHZILLA: Google has upped the pace of its Google+ social networking web site.
The firm announced two updates to its Google+ service last night, one that makes it faster to load and one that makes it easier for users to express their satisfaction with something.
"One of the 10 things we hold to be true here at Google is that fast is better than slow. We keep speed in mind in all things that we do, and the +1 button is no exception. Since the button's launch, we have been hard at work improving its load time," wrote David Byttow, a software engineer at Google.

First, we've begun to roll out out a set of changes that will make the button render up to 3x faster on your site. No action is required on your part, so just sit back, relax, and watch as the button loads more quickly than before.

Loading buttons might not be the most exciting thing we've ever seen, but the next addition, the introduction of a synchronous snippet, should be better received and easier to identify in practice.

The async snippet allows your web page to continue loading while your browser downloads the +1 JavaScript. By loading these elements in parallel, we're ensuring the HTTP request to get the +1 button JavaScript doesn't lead to an increase in your page load time," explained Byttow.
"For those of you who have already implemented the button, you'll need to update the code to the new async snippet, and then you should see an overall improvement in your page load time."

WATCH: Facebook Or Google Plus? Don’t Choose Yet

Perhaps it’s not yet time to choose whether to use Google Plus instead of or in addition to Facebook — eventually you’ll end up using the search giant’s nascent social network, and possibly both.

That’s the gist of a video created by Epipheo Studios, and we’ve embeded the footage beneath this post. Let us know what you think of it.

LinkedIn CEO: Do We Have Time For Google+

LinkedIn CEO Jeff Weiner recently stated that he believes no one really has time for another social network, after already engaging with Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn. You can see the video of the full discussion below (volume is a bit on the low side).

Currently the social media landscape is divided primarily between Facebook, Twitter, and Linkedin. Between these three, Facebook is focusing more on our personal lives, LinkedIn on our professional lives, and Twitter in between. Visually this looks something like this.

So where does Google+ fit in? At this point it’s hard to say because it’s still early and Google+ is still being developed. Even so, it seems to fall right in the middle of the graph, trying to become a part of both the professional and personal aspects of our lives.

Now going back to Weiner’s question, do we have enough time to integrate Google+ into our lives? He does not seem entirely convinced, but then again he is talking about a new competitor for LinkedIn. From my perspective, I do think Google+ can be integrated into our social lives quite easily, primarily because of Google Talk and Gmail. I’m almost always on Gmail for both my e-mail and because I use Gtalk as my primary instant messenger. Google+ has already integrated Gtalk, and once it does the same with Gmail, I see no reason why I wouldn’t be on Google+ more frequently than any other social network.
Overall, the addition of Google+ may come at the expense of another network, as the social media scene is starting to get a bit crowded, but only time will tell. For now we know that Google+ is growing rapidly, but the question now becomes can it sustain and maintain that growth. What do you think?

How to Customize Google+ & Your Profile

Not crazy about Google's design choices for Google+? Using scripts for Greasemonkey, Extensions for Chrome, Firefox Add-ons, and other browser plug-ins, you can make some pretty wild changes to the look and feel of the site. You can also take a more utilitarian route and take advantage of code that can translate posts from directly within Google+ or port all your Facebook photos to Google+ Photo (i.e., Picasa), where storage is virtually unlimited if you have a Google+ account (photos 2048 x 2048 pixels and smaller don't count toward your 1GB allowance).
Check out these 16 scripts and tools that modify or enhance Google+
1. Google Plus Header Hider (Mozilla) hides the black bar at the top of the screen. Hover over it to bring it back.
2. Google+ Enhancer (Mozilla) adds the number of unread items in Gmail, Reader, and Calendar to the black bar.
3. Google+ Manager (Firefox) and Goo Plus Manager (Chrome) gives you keyboard shortcuts and a table that outlines them all, as well as adding a translation button next to every post.
4. Google Plus Tweaks (Mozilla; also available for Chrome, hides Google+ functions or features that you don't use, expands the page to the full screen width, and lets you toggle comments, preview images on roll-over, and more.

5. Adhik (Safari, Chrome) is somewhat similar to Google Plus Tweaks, streamlining the look and general experience of Google+ with design modifications that focus on the content being shared by people in your Circles. Notice in the image the "linen" background and how posts are more prominently boxed off.
6. Google+ Commander (Mozilla) lets you add keyboard shortcuts for sharing, plus-one-ing, commenting, displaying notifications, and jumping between your homepage, profile, photos, and Circles.
7. Fixed Google+ Notification Bar (Mozilla) freezes the Google+ notification bar for quicker access to notifications and other features on Google Plus and Google Search. Two variations are included: only that freezes the right part of the bar, and one that freezes the entire bar.
8. G+ Friends First (Mozilla) shows your friend stream by default when Google+ first loads.
9. Google Plus Auto Pager (Mozilla) auto-selects the "More" button at the bottom of posts on a profile page, letting you scroll through more updates faster.
10. Nicknames For Google Plus (Mozilla) lets you add nicknames and icons to your contacts in Google Plus, using a Google Doc spreadsheet. (Note that the original spreadsheet adds nicknames for existing users whom you may not know or want to follow. The second link provides details on creating your own spreadsheet.) 11. Show full size links to Google Plus album photos (Mozilla) gathers links to full-sized photos being previewed on a Google+ album page via a button in the menu bar.

12. Google+Facebook (for Internet Explorer, Firefox, and Chrome)—currently in dispute with Facebook and not supported at present--adds a Facebook icon to your Google+ page to the left of the home icon that displays your Facebook feed. This plug-in worked at first until Facebook pulled the plug on it. We can't guarantee that service will resume.
13. Surplus (Chrome)
The toolbar offers plenty of useful functionality, but unlike Mary's little lamb it simply doesn't follow us everywhere we go. Pop the Surplus extension into Google Chrome, and you'll have access to your notifications no matter where you are. Surplus also lets you utilize the Google+ sharing functions even when the bar is MIA.
14. Google+ -> Contrast, Denser, More Features (Chrome) lets you customize scrolling, background, navigation, image size, and placement of other elements on the page.
15. Google+ Ultimate for Google Plus (Chrome) rejiggers a lot of the look and feel of Google+'s UI, such as the making the status bar at the top of the page and the left sidebar float so that they stay in place when you scroll, slimming down the scrollbars, and adjusting the whitespace on the page.
16. Move Your Photos (Chrome) transfers your Facebook photos to Google+ Photos (i.e., Google Picasa).

Make Google+ profile picture & banners

Start by uploading your picture (JPG, GIF or PNG)

 Click here & Choose File for pic

New: Now you can create Google plus banners for profile in 4 Step's =>Click here!