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StumbleUpon Says Goodbye to Direct Links

Posted on 02/02/2012. Filed under: Business, Internet, PC, Pocket PC, Reviews, Salah AlHajri, Social, Technology-التقنية | Tags: |

StumbleUpon-new-logo-150.jpgWhen StumbleUpon did its big rebranding, reorganizing and redesign late last year, we figured that the 20-million-plus discovering engine was done making big changes. At least, for a little while. Boy were we wrong.

The newest SU update removes all direct links. Previously, once you were inside StumbleUpon, you could “X” out the page and go straight to the original site. Now if you’re logged in, you have to say in the iframed version of the site. There is one way to get out, but it’s super clunky.

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SU-No-X.jpg

As you can see, there’s no “X” option. If you want to go to the direct link, you’ll have to copy and paste out the link above and delete the StumbleUpon URL. Here’s what one of those clunky SU link looks like:

http://www.stumbleupon.com/su/1PrjAd/www.modernarttimeline.com/

Would you really take the time to copy and paste the tail of that link into another tab or browser? That’s what it’ll take to get the direct URL.

StumbleUpon is trying to build up its ecosystem, keeping users inside rather than sending them out to the Web and other social sites. By keeping everyone inside, StumbleUpon will no longer offer prized SEO value that it once did. This will negatively affect referral traffic, especially for sites that rely on StumbleUpon for that nice traffic jolt.

Remember when this happened at Digg? Users revolted, and then-CEO Kevin Rose decided to make the DiggBar optional. Rose even said that framing content “is bad for the Internet.”

http://www.readwriteweb.com/archives/stumbleupon_says_goodbye_to_direct_links_iframes.php

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Five tech industry predictions for 2012

Posted on 01/01/2012. Filed under: Business, Internet, Pocket PC, Reviews, Salah AlHajri, scribd, SlideShare, Social, Technology-التقنية, YouTube | Tags: |

The past year in technology was pretty wild.

The really big Internet IPO returned and the massive venture capital funding bubble inflated, which seems difficult considering that the venture capital industry is far smaller than it was three years ago. But look at some of the crazy valuations on revenue-less photo-sharing startups like Color and Path. And there is clearly another bubble inflating in the cloud computing sector, with every company that uses a distributed architecture now calling itself a “cloud company.” So what does 2012 have in store? Here are my predictions.

1. Social media will lose its sizzle.

It’s already happening in fact, as growth of social media usage has begun to slow for upstarts such asFourSquare and stalwarts such as Facebook alike. Silicon Valley has been obsessed with social media, and investors have funded hundreds of “me too” startups to the tune of billions of dollars. There are social networks for pet owners, all manner of marginal Twitter apps, a ridiculous number of mobile photo-sharing apps, hundreds of apps targeting social media analytics and on and on and on.

Just as location-based applications became a “feature” rather than the “big thing,” social media will live on and become an integral part of what we do. But the party’s over for investors and startups in this space. The big growth is behind us. Revenues from social media have not lived up to the promises, and the vast majority of those thousands of startups are either dying or on the ropes. It’s time to jump on the next bandwagon, folks.

2. The bubble will pop for the current crop of tech IPOs.

LinkedIn and Zynga will probably lose more than half their value. LinkedIn is a great company, but even its current valuation of $6 billion is hard to justify. Zynga’s valuation is based more on hype than business reality. Groupon will probably lose most of its value as well because of the inability of the company to actually make a real operating profit that doesn’t require odd accounting gyrations.

But we’ll see another bubble of inflated IPOs coming in the form of the next generation of social game companies, newfangled B2B technology players (if Salesforce.com CEO Marc Benioff doesn’t buy them all first), and cloud computing companies. And there is little doubt that Facebook will be the IPO of the year — but likely at a lower valuation than is being speculated.

Main screen of the $35 Aaakash android tablet

3. An explosion of the tablet market driven by sub-$100 tablets.

The Kindle Fire made waves with its $199 tablet, but we will probably see a new generation of Android-powered tablets that are priced at $100 or below. Tablet manufacturers don’t have the financial incentive to make these too cheap because profits shrink along with price. Once these devices get in the $100 range, carriers may subsidize them as a way to get customers to buy data plans — just like they have done for years with smartphones. Or tablet manufacturers may offer these devices with internet service bundled for as little as $10-15 per month.

For sophisticated consumers, these cheap tablets will seem rudimentary. But there are many new markets that will embrace these devices. And they enable a quantum leap for education systems, communications and information sharing in the developing world. India’s $35 tablet is already a reality. The current version (pictured), produced by Montreal-based DataWind is underpowered and clunky, but the next versions will be very usable. Imagine the price pressure DataWind will put on the lower end (meaning everyone but Apple) of the U.S. market if it releases the Aakash tablet in the United States.

siri-iphone-4s-ad

4. Voice recognition goes mainstream.

Former Apple CEO and chairman Steve Jobs revolutionized user interaction by popularizing the Windows interface and mouse. With SIRI, he did his magic once again. SIRI is light-years better at handling complex requests than anything on a smartphone to date — and is getting better with each software update. Apple will embed this technology in new devices such as the Apple TV, in future versions of iPads and iMacs. It will probably open the interfaces to other applications and set off the voice revolution.

The type of voice command capabilities that we saw on “Star Trek”will start to become the reality.

5. “Cloudburst” shakes the tech industry.

Cloud computing is advancing faster than our ability to secure systems. Companies are rapidly moving their most critical data and information from file cabinets and secured servers to shared servers on the Web. Cloud computing provides significant cost savings and operational advantages. But it also unleashes a Pandora’s box of security concerns.

We’ve already seen cloud break-ins originating from China. And a number of legitimate Internet companies have suffered when the FBI confiscated a shared server in a cloud hosting facility that also hosted rogue applications. One major security breach could throw cold water over the entire industry and slow down the corporate adoption that is expected to drive cloud growth this year and for many years to come.

No doubt the tech world is in for another roller coaster ride—which will be a lot of fun.

Washington Post columnist Vivek Wadhwa is a visiting scholar at the School of Information at UC-Berkeley, director of research for the Center for Entrepreneurship and Research Commercialization at the Pratt School of Engineering at Duke University, and senior research associate for the Labor and Worklife Program at Harvard Law School.

Full disclosure: Washington Post Co. Chairman and chief executive Donald E. Graham is a member of Facebook’s board of directors.

Copyright 2011, WashingtonPost

 

http://venturebeat.com/2011/12/31/five-tech-predictions-for-2012/

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Facebook Officially Releases “Messenger For Windows” Desktop Client Following Leak

Posted on 30/12/2011. Filed under: Business, Internet, Reviews, Salah AlHajri, Social, Technology-التقنية | Tags: |

Facebook Messenger For Windows

 Facebook tells me it has now made the Messenger for Windows download link publicly available in its Help Center. Users can also learn details about the client there. Still no sign of a Mac version, though.]

The test group for “Facebook Messenger for Windows” just got a whole lot bigger. Israeli blog TechIT has leaked a Facebook CDN download link for the desktop chat client Facebook began testing with a small number of users last month. The client includes notifications and the Ticker which link back to Facebook.com, and therefore could drive engagement with the website. Messenger could also pull market share away from other desktop chat clients like AOL Instant Messenger and Windows Live Messenger.

The client will help Facebook in two core ways:

  • Persistent access to Chat will increase engagement of the primary user, and also draw their friends to spend more time on Facebook
  • Persistent access to notifications, messages, and friend requests that launch Facebook.com may lead to more return visits than users haphazardly stopping by the website to check for these alerts

I just tested the Facebook Messenger for Windows client version 2.0.4373. It’s snappy and functions intuitively. It can float or easily be snapped to the desktop’s sidebar. Similar to the standalone mobile Messenger apps Facebook released this summer, frequently contacted friends automatically move into a favorites section above the complete list of friends who are online. My only gripe is that the log out button is relatively hard to find.

AIM and Windows Live Messenger should be worried. Sorting through a buddy list of cryptic screen names can’t match the user experience of an authenticated identity chat client. Facebook’s client also delivers messages to whatever device a recipient is currently using. That means even if a recipient isn’t currently logged in, they’ll easily be able to access their messages.

AIM and Live Messenger will still be useful for staying in contact with internet pals who aren’t your real friends, but Messenger for Windows seriously reduces the unique value of these services.Clients that handle chat across different platforms exist, but to work with Facebook they take configuring that can confuse and deter mainstream users.

Facebook could potentially kill the download link to prevent the app from reaching more users before its official launch. So, if you want it, download it now. Even then, Facebook could release an update to the app and cease support for this leaked version. However, this would interrupt its test and force those it actually wanted to give access to to re-download.

There might be some unseen security or stability bugs that need to be fixed. Still, Facebook shouldn’t worry too much about this leak as product looks good. Instead, it should consider capitalizing on press of the leak by soft launching now. [Update 12/29/2011 5:20pm: Facebook has done just that. Anofficial download link is now publicly available in its Help Center.]

News SourceThe Verge

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Google Testing New Email Subscription Ad Format

Posted on 30/12/2011. Filed under: Business, Internet, Reviews, Salah AlHajri, Social, Technology-التقنية | Tags: , , |

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Google is experimenting with its Google Adwords offerings, attempting to go beyond regular text ads with Google Email Subscription Ads, allowing companies to buy ads that automatically fill in a “Subscribe to newsletter (or whatever, I’m assuming)” slot with a given searcher’s Google email address during a search.

Emailblog pointed out earlier this month that the ads were running with automaker Honda (ads which I still can’t see), and it seems like those offerings have expanded to results for email marketing services AWeber and Constant Contact (ads which I can see). Clicking on the “Privacy” button next to the subscription button lets you know that your email will be sent to the advertiser — In case that wasn’t clear(?).

When asked to explain what exactly was going on, a Google representative gave me the following statement (which is basically a more official sounding version I just said):

“We’re currently running a small experiment of a new ad format that helps users sign up more easily for email subscriptions or other free newsletters. This new ad format contains a box within the ad that displays a user’s Google email address (if logged in). If a user chooses to click ‘Subscribe to newsletter’ then the email address is sent to the advertiser directly, which is clearly disclosed within the ad itself.”

Something tells me TONS of email marketing companies will be using this once it’s actually official. My requests about whether or not (and when, if so) this will become a permanent feature have as of yet gone unanswered by Google.

http://techcrunch.com/2011/12/29/google-testing-new-email-subscription-ad-format/

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Facebook buys location service Gowalla

Posted on 03/12/2011. Filed under: Business, Internet, Salah AlHajri, Social, Technology-التقنية | Tags: , , , , |

Facebook has acquired the location-sharing service Gowalla for an undisclosed sum, according to a report.

Facebook and Gowalla have not confirmed the deal yet, which was reported by CNNMoney, citing an unnamed source. According to the story, founder Josh Williams and all of Gowalla’s employees will moved to Facebook’s offices in Palo Alto, Calif.

The team will be assigned to work onFacebook’s Timeline feature, which launched at Facebook’s F8 conference. Timeline allows users to document their lives and see all of their most important photos, events, and other memories all in a single vertical page.

Austin, Texas-based Gowalla was in a head-to-head battle with rival check-in service Foursquare and it  lost in terms of user adoption. Gowalla shifted directions and recast itself as a travel guide. The company had raised $10 million including the Founders Fund, Greylock Partners and angel investors. Some Gowalla employees will stay in Austin and work out of Facebook’s local office. It isn’t clear if Facebook will keep Gowalla’s app alive.

Other Facebook acquisitions include Beluga, Hot Potato, Drop.io, Snaput, and Digital Staircase. In most instances, the company is buying the companies not for their apps or technology, but to get access to talented engineers.

From :

http://venturebeat.com/2011/12/02/facebook-buys-location-service-gowalla

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Google Acquires Katango, The Automatic Friend Sorter

Posted on 11/11/2011. Filed under: Business, Internet, Pocket PC, Reviews, Social, Technology-التقنية | Tags: , , , , , |

Back in September we broke the news that Google was in talks to acquire Katango, a small Kleiner Perkins-backed startup that launched this past

summer. Today, they’ve made it official: Katango just announced that it’s been acquired by Google, and that it’ll be joining the Google+ team. We’re also hearing that Google isn’t only acquiring Katango for their talent — it’s interested in their technology as well.

Katango is a logical fit for Google, though their initial product was focused primarily on Facebook.

The startup first debuted an iPhone app in July, setting out to made it easier to selectively share with various groups of friends on Facebook. Facebook’s List feature has long allowed users to share certain pieces of content with different friends, but it did little to automate the process of actually breaking your friends out into different groups. That’s where Katango came in: you’d connect the app with your Facebook social graph, and it would analyze your friends to automatically sort them into different buckets.

It was powerful, but the competitive landscape changed significantly shortly after Katango’s launch. In September, Facebook unveiled Smart Lists, which also help automate the process of separating friends into lists (it offers some pre-built lists, like coworkers and people who live nearby, and its suggestion feature makes it easy to build custom lists as well). In other words, Facebook is solving the problem itself.

But Google+ has a feature that’s analogous to Facebook’s Friend Lists: Circles. And while Google has promoted Circles heavily, both in its marketing and on Google+ itself, it doesn’t do much in the way of automatically helping users sort their friends into Circles — there’s still a lot of legwork involved. Which Katango seems perfectly suited to help with.

Here’s a statement from a Google spokesperson:

“We were impressed by the Katango team’s innovative approach to making your social circles smarter, and we think they’ll be a great addition to the Google+ team.”

Katango

Katango

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LinkedIn by the Numbers: 131 Million Members, 1 Million Groups, 400% Mobile Growth

Posted on 04/11/2011. Filed under: Business, Internet, Reviews, Salah AlHajri, Social | Tags: , , |

LinkedIn‘s growth metrics are up: The professional social network now has 131 million members and more than a million groups, LinkedIn CEO Jeff

Weiner told listeners on an earnings call.

Weiner says more than 15 million people joined the business social network in the third quarter of 2011. That’s a boost of 63% compated to the growth rate this time last year.

And more of those users are accessing the service through mobile. Weiner says mobile pageviews are up by 400% year-over-year. In total, mobile accounts for 13% of LinkedIn’s unique visits.

The LinkedIn Share button is also gaining traction. The Share button is now on 180,000 domains, up from 100,000 in the second quarter. There are now 40,000 developers using the LinkedIn APIs, an increase of 30% from the second quarter.

As for revenue, the company already announced that revenues jumped by 126% to $139.5 million, but broke down the growth of main revenue streams. LinkedIn’s Hiring Solutions product now has 7,400 customers, an increase of 159%.

LinkedIn didn’t say how many people are using its Marketing Solutions, but claimed it is growing at a 113% year-over-year rate. Finally, Premium Subscribers have doubled in the last year and is growing “faster than overall membership.”

Despite the positive numbers (and beating Wall Street estimates), LinkedIn shares are taking a pounding. The company’s stock is down by more than 9% in after-hours trading.

http://mashable.com/2011/11/03/linkedin-numbers-q3-2011/

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Job Seekers Manual

Posted on 04/11/2011. Filed under: Business, Reviews, Salah AlHajri, scribd, Social | Tags: |

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Embedded Audio Gets the HTML5 Treatment Thanks to SoundCloud

Posted on 03/11/2011. Filed under: Business, Internet, PC, Pocket PC, Reviews, Salah AlHajri, scribd, SlideShare, Social, Technology-التقنية, YouTube | Tags: |

SoundCloud wants to make it easier to listen to music and other embedded audio files from any device. The popular social audio-sharing

service announced today that they’ve launched an HTML5 player for audio clips, allowing playback on tablets and smartphones.

Until now, the SoundCloud player, like so many of its kind, was built in Flash. The service has native apps for Android and iOS, which are lovely, but not terribly useful when one stumbles across a sound clip embedded on a Web page while browsing from an iPad or iPhone.

This new HTML5 player changes that, at least for the users that opt to use it. To utilize the new player, one has to go into the “Customize Player” options and choose the HTML5 tab. It’s a little buried, but that’s probably appropriate considering the feature is only in beta.

The advantages of this new widget go beyond cross-device compatibility, although that’s certainly a huge one. Because it doesn’t rely on clunky, proprietary Flash technology, it should be faster and less resource-intensive to playback audio this way. It also provides for more speedy development moving forward.

The new widget has a long way to go before becoming the default player, but this first iteration is pretty impressive overall. It even supports time-based commenting within the audio waveform like the standard player.

SoundCloud is just the latest company to jump on the HTML5 bandwagon, recognizing that tablets and smartphones are only going to continue to proliferate and to stay competitive, companies that specialize in Web content that used to depend on Flash need to adopt the new standard as soon as they can.

The service has had its own native apps for Android and iPhone for awhile, and just launched an iPadapp last week.

soundcloud-html5.jpg

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صدور Google TV 2.0

Posted on 30/10/2011. Filed under: Business, Internet, Salah AlHajri, Social, Technology-التقنية, YouTube | Tags: |

أعلنت جوجل عن إصدار النسخة الجديدة 2.0 من تلفازها الشهير Google TV ، الذي يجسد بوضوح فكرة (تلفاز الانترنت ) أو ( Internet TV) الذي تنتجه شركة سوني بدعم من جوجل ، وتشارك انتل أيضاً في مشروع تلفاز جوجل ، حيث قامت بتقديم المعالج الخاص بالتلفاز .

ويستخدم التلفاز متصفح جوجل كروم ، للتجول خلال شبكة الانترنت ، كما يضم نسخة مخصصة للبحث من محرك جوجل الشهير ، تناسب العرض على التلفاز .

كما يتيح التلفاز تثبيت تطبيق مخصص ، يمكنه من تحويل هاتفك الاندرويد ، أو حتى الأيفون من أبل ، الى أداة للتحكم عن بعد في التلفاز (ريموت كونترول )

الاصدار الجديد يتميز بواجهة سهلة وانيقة للمستخدم ، تطرح كل الخيارات المتاحة للتنقل من خلال شاشة التلفاز ، بالاضافة الى إضافة عدد كبير جداً من التطبيقات الى نظام تشغيل التلفاز .

وتنقسم التطبيقات الى قسمين : قسم خاص بتطبيقات الاندرويد ، والأخر التطبيقات الخاصة بالتلفاز نفسه ، ويوفر التلفاز في المجمل تجربة ثرية عن طريق دمج أغلب خدمات جوجل على الانترنت بالتلفاز ، وعلى رأسها فيديوهات موقع اليوتيوب ، التي يتم عرضها بنقاء بالغ HD

وتوفر جوجل ، من خلال سوني طريقتين للحصول على التلفاز ، واحدة منهم هي الحصول على الشاشة نفسها ، والأخرى هي الحصول على صندوق منفصل باكسسوارات الجهاز ، لتعمل به على تلفازك فائق الجودة HD .

الفيديو التالي يشرح فيه Lead Rishi مدير مشروع تلفاز جوجل ، كل مايتعلق بالاصدار الجديد .

سوالف سوفت 

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