Monday, November 30, 2009

Top 10 Mobile Web Products of 2009

Today, we're kicking off the series with a look at the top mobile web products of the past year. This is a subjective list of editorially selected products, but one which includes some of the biggest names in mobile web applications for 2009.

Facebook 3.0 (iPhone)
Although Facebook is an application available on many different mobile platforms, none can hold a candle to the iPhone version, updated this summer to version 3.0. The latest mobile version of this must-have social networking application was so good, some even proclaimed that it was more useful and more usable than the Facebook website itself.

Designed by engineer Joe Hewitt, Facebook 3.0 for the iPhone didn't just deliver a new way to socialize while on the go, but essentially became a portable "little black book" keeping you connected to your friends, events, and communication streams.

For those who don't spend their days behind a computer screen, the new app also made Facebook a more useful service, allowing you to quickly browse and upload photos or videos (the latter if you have the iPhone 3GS). Finally, the simplified layout, which displays just 9 buttons in a grid-like pattern is a testament to good user design, boiling down the complexity of Facebook to one easy-to-use interface that even the newest of mobile users can understand.

If any application deserves an "app of the year" award, it's Facebook 3.0 for iPhone.

Tweetie 2 (iPhone)
Another popular application for the iPhone was this year's revision to the Tweetie application. This "update" was actually a complete reworking of the app which introduced so many new features that the developer, Loren Brichter, decided to release it as an entirely separate application which costs the same as the original. This decision, in turn, led to a vicious backlash of complaints as Tweetie users whined that they now had to "pay twice" for the application. The claims for the most part were just ridiculous - the $2.99 price point was hardly a burden and no one was "paying twice" - you were buying a brand-new application. However, the debate highlighted some of the issues Apple has with upgrade pricing - that is, "no paid updates" are permitted. That left Brichter with no other choice to recoup on his investment of time and energy that went into the building of Tweetie 2.0 but by charging again for the new version.

In the end, after the outcry died down, most everyone just forked over the piddling amount to get the new app which introduced features like video tweets, offline mode, geolocation, and more. And nearly all are happier for doing so, too.

Twidroid (Android)
It's hard to not favor the iPhone in this list given the 100,000 apps now available for the platform, but Android apps deserve a mention too. Among the apps installed first by new owners of Android smartphones is Twidroid, the popular Android Twitter client. This mobile application has improved over time and now offers a clean and easy-to-use interface where the most frequently used features (@Mentions, Direct Messages, etc.) are accessible via buttons available at the bottom of the app, no matter which screen you're viewing.

An updated version just launched today, now takes this application to a whole new level with its brand-new plugin architecture. Thanks to this feature, third-party developers can now extend Twidroid with their own services. This changes the application from being just another Twitter client representing one company's point of view as to what features it should offer to being an app that's completely customizable and tailored precisely to an end user's needs. In fact, it was this last minute year-end update forced us to add Twidroid to the list - apps that support plugins may very well be the next big thing for mobile.

Foursquare (Cross-platform)
Last year, we thought the mobile social network to beat was Brightkite. While we still like that service, there's no doubt that Foursquare is this year's location-based breakout hit. At the beginning of 2009, the service was limited to only a handful of cities, but lately, that list has been expanding quickly to include a number of new cities worldwide.

Essentially, this geolocation-based service turns mobile social networking into a game. You "check in" as you arrive at new places in return for points, prizes, badges, and the honor of becoming the "mayor" of a place if you're the one with the most check-ins there. Additionally, Foursquare users can leave tips for others arriving to that locale so when they check in, they can see recommendations - like the best entree at the restaurant or where the nearest Starbucks is to that hotel, for example.

Some may claim that Foursquare's influence is still limited to the early adopter tech set for now and hasn't really become a mainstream hit just yet. Maybe that's true to a point, but considering the service just got a shout-out on The Simpsons not too long ago, we think Foursquare's days of being an "undiscovered gem" are limited.

Google Voice (Blackberry, Android)
Perhaps most notable for prompting an FCC investigation into Apple's secretive app approval process, Google Voice is one of the year's best mobile applications even if it's not available on the iPhone. According to Google, Apple rejected the app from the iTunes Store because it duplicated the iPhone's core functionality. Meanwhile, Apple claimed they were "still reviewing" the application because it alters the iPhone's functionality and user interface. The general consensus is that Apple isn't exactly being forthcoming here. A slew of other applications already available in the App Store "duplicate" the iPhone's functionality in some way, making Apple's rejection more suspicious.

As of now, Google Voice is still not available in the App Store. However, Blackberry and Android users are able to take advantage of this innovative mobile app which lets you set where your phone numbers should ring to while also aggregating your voicemail from all your different lines. Those messages are then transcribed and emailed and/or SMS'd to you. Via the mobile application, your outgoing calls appear to be coming from your Google Voice number and not the number assigned to your handheld. This mobile app is so popular that it alone has caused some high-profile users to make the switch from the iPhone to Android.

Spotify (Cross-Platform)
Sadly not available in the U.S. as of yet, Spotify deserves a mention for its notable achievements overseas. A complement to the desktop-based music streaming service, Spotify's mobile application lets users access their accounts, make playlists, and listen to music when offline.

Given how heavily this service competes with iTunes, many feared that Apple would reject Spotify as they did with Google Voice (see above). However, the FCC investigation must have made Apple nervous because Spotify for iPhone was readily approved for inclusion in the App Store.

Expected to launch stateside sometime in 2010, Spotify represents the next revolution in mobile music. Instead of purchasing and owning individual tracks, this subscription-based service lets you stream music to your mobile device. And unlike similar mobile music apps, Spotify lets you pick exact songs from a catalog of millions which instantly sync to your mobile device. It even works without an internet connection. Spotify goes where iTunes has not and makes music more of a web-based experience than something requiring disk space on physical hard drives. In other words, Spotify represents the future of mobile music and a threat which Apple will soon need to address.

Google Maps Navigation (Android)
Can we say GPS killer? That was the feeling when Google announced their new product, Google Maps Navigation which mimics the functionality of GPS devices like those from Garmin and TomTom. On launch day, stocks at those companies tumbled to unprecedented lows despite the fact that the mobile application was only available for Android 2.0 devices at that time. It just goes to show that when Google enters a particular market, companies take notice.

Not only does this mobile app deliver all the best features of Google Maps including satellite and street views, it also includes mobile-appropriate features like traffic views, voice search, and turn-by-turn navigation, the latter recently launching on Android 1.6 devices (and up), too.

BNO (iPhone)
Who says you have to abandon the real-time web just because you're going mobile? BNO, short for "breaking news online" is an iPhone application that complements the 24/7 news service available via Twitter, iPhone, email, and as a news wire.

With BNO News (iTunes link) for the iPhone, the app taps into the iPhone's push notification functionality to deliver real-time news alerts that pop up on your device without using up your text messages. This app may be for serious news junkies only, but these days, isn't that everyone?

BNO also uses a unique pricing structure which we're surprised we don't see more of: in addition to the purchase price of $1.99, the app also requires a monthly subscription fee of $0.99.

Layar (iPhone, Android)
Mobile application Layar may have gotten more media exposure than its functionality deserves, but this app represents the next big step for mobile: augmented reality. By displaying data layers on top of your phone's camera viewer, Layar literally "augments" reality with additional information about what you're viewing. Information like restaurant reviews or real estate listings, for example.

Earlier this year, we called Layar the most exciting of the AR apps because of its nature as a platform. That means third-party developers can build their own "layers" for the app using the company's provided API.

While the application doesn't always deliver the experiences it promises, that hasn't stopped co-founder Maarten Lens-Fitzgerald from proclaiming that AR apps will be second only to voice on mobile phones in the coming years. He may be right...eventually, but that time hasn't come just yet. For now, Layar just gives us a glimpse of what's possible and for that, we're grateful, excited, and highly anticipating what AR may bring in 2010.

Your Favorite Mobile Game (Cross-Platform)
Although not an app itself, we have to add "mobile games" as a general category to this "best of" list. To not do so would be to ignore one of the biggest mobile trends of the past year: mobile devices becoming "real" gaming platforms. While most mobile gaming development advances have taken place on the iPhone, these days more people than ever are using their mobile phones for games instead of portable gaming handhelds like the PSP. These games include everything from quick time-wasters to internet-connected multi-player challenges to in-depth "story" games that previously only existed on PCs and game consoles.

While your favorite mobile game will no doubt differ from your friend's, there's no doubt that practically every single mobile device owner has at least one game installed if not more.

Do you agree or disagree with our list? Let us know why or why not in the comments.
Written by Sarah Perez


How to diagnose your site with google advanced search

Here are few suggestions:

Make sure your site is free from any type of filtering issues i.e. search [] in Google; if your sites comes up #1 for this query, you are doing alright. If not, that’s a bad signal.

Make sure there are no duplicate content problems: search for a pretty long citation from your site. With a blog, for example, you have a good chance to see the category page instead of the corresponding post page.

Check how many URLs from your site have been indexed:
search [] and “dig deeper” into the search results:
[ ..etc]

Learn if the site has canonical problems (for sites using www): search [ -inurl:www] and see if any non-www URLs have been stored in the index).

Identify most powerful pages of your site:
[ www]
[ tld site:yourdomain.tld]

Identify most powerful pages of your site (keyword-dependent): search [ inanchor:keyword]

Find sites with most potential:
[ inanchor:"key * word"]
[ intitle:"key * phrase"]

Find most relevant pages of your site (to further promote them for the specified term): search [ keyword] or [ key * phrase]

Check your site is crawled and indexed frequently enough: search [] + play with “date range” advanced search option.

Check who (and what) your site is associated with: search [] to identify your site co-citation.

Thursday, November 26, 2009

What is Social Media?

Social Media is an umbrella that covers your various activities and integrates technology, social interactions, videos, pictures and words. Not all of the above mentioned needs to be shared in one spot, but a few examples of such places that utilize these functions are most likely places you are either using or have heard of, such as; Facebook, Twitter, StumbleUpon, LinkedIn, Mixx, YouTube and countless others. Social Media is the new-aged Media. It has traveled past radio and television, to allow us to connect globally in an interactive way. The difference between Media and Social Media is that we can receive information (what ever form it is in) in real-time and be able to share it with others in a fast fashion. The most significant difference is the social aspect, we are able to be heard, to share our voice, opinions and in some ways become the reporter.

With Media, there is a disconnect, we are the audience and we tune in to what ever news or entertainment news organizations that we’d prefer, with Social Media, whatever Social Network we belong to, we can not only be fed all types of news, but we are connected with one another as a community, with “like” buttons, comment sections and tagging to what or whom we want. We are limitless and in this fast pace society we are enjoying the less time consuming approach to being in touch with our world.

Examples of social media software applications include:

Social Media is not a place to conquer but a place to be involved, to help shape the way we share and to be a member of a non-exclusive growing population.

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Wednesday, November 25, 2009

What Apps Should Twitter Acquire?

According to a statement made today by Twitter's co-founder Biz Stone, the company is interested in acquiring more companies to expand upon their current core set of features. At a news conference held in Tel Aviv, Stone was quoted as saying that acquisitions are "something we are definitely interested in. We made an acquisition last year that turned out to be an outstandingly good decision."

The acquisition he's referring to is Twitter's purchase of Summize, a real-time search engine that has now become Since that original purchase in summer of 2008, Twitter has made no other moves or indications that they were interested in buying other companies, seemingly more focused on quashing bugs, acquiring funding and partnering with major search engines like Bing and Google. Meanwhile, the ecosystem of Twitter applications exploded, and now includes hundreds if not thousands of apps powered by or integrated with Twitter's service. But which of these apps deserve to become an official company offering?

Apparently, there may be a few apps that have already caught Twitter's interest. Stone told the crowd in Tel Aviv that "our attention is grabbed by some of these developers," and the company plans to "take a hard look at them."

What Companies are on Twitter's Radar?

Which applications do you suppose have crossed Twitter's radar? Some insight may be found on Twitter's "goodies" page where the company lists a handful of apps, widgets, and website buttons which Twitter users can browse through and download. Here, desktop Twitter clients like Twhirl and TweetDeck are promoted alongside mobile applications like Twitterific and PocketTweets.

However, the complete app list seems a little out-of-date when compared with what today's Twitterers are actually using, especially on the mobile front. According to a study from August of this year, iPhone apps like Tweetie and TwitterFon are just as popular as Twitterific - if not more so - as is the Blackberry app TwitterBerry. And the one-time popular Twitter app Twhirl, an Adobe AIR desktop client, has long since been overshadowed by the more robust TweetDeck and similar web counterparts.

Among those web counterparts are the new tools from Seesmic and Brizzly, both of which have been garnering attention as of late, especially when they each introduced support for Twitter's new "lists" feature earlier this month.

But client applications are only a small slice of the entire Twitter app universe. There are also games, blog and email plugins, utilities, analytics and search tools, shopping services, URL shortners and so much more. Plus, there are sites that attempt to aggregate the chaos into some sort of meaningful structure, like the website, for example, often called Twitter's unofficial "app store" by its fans.

While we could only guess at which applications Twitter would want to adopt as their "official" clients or services, a good guess may involve some of the media sharing tools that have been popularized by a number of Twitter users wanting to share photos and videos in addition to plain text. TwitPic comes to mind as one of the top photo-sharing clients and TwitVid or Tweetube may be considered for video shares. These sorts of acquisitions seem to fit better with Twitter's goal of expanding upon the core functionality of Twitter. Where before, the company was content with its simple 140-character updates, recent changes, including the integration of the URL-shortening service, Twitter lists, geolocation features and a new implementation of the "re-tweet" structure seem to hint at Twitter's desire to add more layers of complexity to the once-basic service.

More Acquisitions Could be Too Much of a Good Thing

However, Twitter needs to be careful not to add too much. Up until now, the service has grown organically, with a lot of its features and conventions implemented by its own user and developer community outside of the official channels. Bog it down too much with extra add-ons and new behaviors, and Twitter may scare off potential new users who already often struggle with figuring out what to do with the service in its simple form. Plus, longtime Twitterers may also be put-off to see their favorite clients or services ignored in favor of whatever companies Twitter chooses to bless through an acquisition deal. And once acquired, competing companies could wither and fade away, unable to compete, eventually leading their developers to cut their losses and move on.

What Should Twitter Acquire?

Earlier this year, we listed ten companies that Twitter should acquire next. Not surprisingly, some of the companies or their features have already been implemented, including's URL shortening service and the geo-location feature we mentioned. Meanwhile, another app on the list, FriendFeed, has already been acquired by Facebook, leaving our original list much shorter and now in need of an update.

Given Twitter's intentions to start a shopping spree sometime in the near future, we wonder what apps will make their list. We also wonder if more Twitter acquisitions will end up being a good thing for the company and the community as a whole, or if it will end up stifling competition in what is now a thriving ecosystem of innovation and development. We hope Twitter proceeds cautiously and wisely in this area - any major unwelcome changes have the ability to alienate the very community that made Twitter what it is today.

Written by Sarah Perez

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Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Is Android really Open Source and free?

When you buy Indian version of HTC Magic, first Android mobile phone in India, you will be disappointed. I was really disappointed. It runs Android but it is not a real Android phone.

Andoid is open source. You can create a phone with this source code.

But you can not use some services from Google. You can not install some application from Google, which is not open source, closed source. Those applications are:
  • GMail, Google Maps, Android Market, Google sync, etc.
  • Even you copy above application into Open Source version of Android, some of them do not work. Because few features are missing for them to work.
  • Android Market is very important because it is the place to download application. There are 10,000 applications registered.
If you have Nokia phone, or Windows mobile phone, you can install Google Maps. But you can not install Google Maps on Indian HTC Magic. Why?

To have Google Applications on Android, it need licence and fee which either has to be paid by manufacture like HTC or venders like Airtel.


Monday, November 23, 2009

Is Google Chrome OS really free and Open Source?

The Answer is NO.

Chromium OS is Open Source and free, but to make Chrome OS, there will be closed source programs and possiblly licence fee to be paid to include this closed source programs.

Sundar Pichai - Google’s VP of Product Management while speaking at an event says -

"This is all about offering a choice for users.

We’re not going to go into too much detail about going to market today. We’re working on the software right now, but we are also working with manufacturers on the hardware level. For example, we only support solid-state drives and certain types of WiFi cards.

In Chrome OS every application is a web application. There are no native applications. That gives us simplicity. It’s just a browser with a few modifications. And all data is Chrome OS is in the cloud.

You cannot download and install Chrome on any machine. You will have to buy a new one. "

Yes, Chromium OS can be installed on any machine yourself by download. But there will be a very important part missing from Google Chrome OS.

I will explain how is it possible. I can explain from some experience from Android mobile OS.
  • Part of Android is open source.
  • To make real Android, Google's closed source program is needed. And it is not free and someone, like phone manufacturer or network provider need to pay.
Keep logging to our blog to find more about how Android works.

Friday, November 20, 2009

Getting to know Google Chrome OS

In July, Google announced that he is working on an Open Source Operating System named as Chrome. They named it Chrome OS coz it is for those people who live on the web — searching for information, checking email, catching up on the news, shopping or just staying in touch with friends. It is their attempt to re-think what Operating System should be or should do.

Google Chrome OS is an open source, lightweight operating system that will initially be avialble on netbooks. Google Chrome OS will be available for consumers in the second half of 2010.

Key Features of Google Chrome OS:
  • Speed
  • Simplicity
  • Fast and Lightweight, to start up and get you onto the web in a few seconds.
Another Important aspect is - complete redesign the underlying security architecture of the OS so that users don't have to deal with viruses, malware and security updates. It should just work.

We can call it as one of the MAJOR step towards how next generation of computers will be:
  • First, it's all about the web. All apps are web apps, there are no conventional desktop applications. This means users do not have to deal with installing, managing and updating programs.
  • Second, because all apps live within the browser, there are significant benefits to security. Every time you restart your computer the operating system verifies the integrity of its code. If your system has been compromised, it is designed to fix itself with a reboot.
  • Most of all, we are obsessed with speed. You can go from turning on the computer to surfing the web in a few seconds.

If you are a developer and want to get involved in contributing to Chromium (Chrome) OS, click here

For Testers, finding and reporting bugs for Chromium(Chrome) OS, click here


Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Google Translate

Google has announced some great improvements in Google Translate. Google Translate — a service that helps people access information throughout the world by enabling them to automatically translate text and and web pages into their own language. Google Translate offers 51 languages, representing over 98% of Internet users today.

Three New features which are incorporated into this new release:
  • Translate instantly: Google Translate now translates your text right as you type.
  • Read and write any language: Want to say "Today is a good day" in Chinese, but can't read Han characters? Click "Show romanization" to read text written phonetically in English. Right now, this works for all non-Roman languages except for Hebrew, Arabic and Persian. Also new input transliteration feature for Arabic, Persian or Hindi allow you to type words as they sound and convert them to native script.

  • Text-to-speech: When translating into English, you can now also hear translations in spoken form by clicking Speaker Icon.

For more details about Google Translate, click here


Thursday, November 12, 2009

Twitter - follow or not to follow

What do you do when you receive an email stating: ’abc is following you on Twitter!’? This is always an interesting exercise for me as I go through each one manually (there are auto-follow services available too). I realized that I’ve begun a somewhat systematic process of decision making. I thought I’d share it here.

Now, I realize that everyone uses Twitter differently and each way is right. Twitter to me means: A one-stop source of information, updates, articles and posts about social media, internet technologies, Startups, SEO, and Design.

So here are some pointers that you might relate to as a Twitter user:
  • No Profile Pic -
    From the email itself, you can see four things: what tweeple look like, their follower, following and tweet data. If I don’t see a face, I’m already feeling disconnected. In social media, such few touch points exist in the first place. By putting a display picture, people are that much more real.
  • Follower/Following ratio -
    If someone’s following 1000 people and has only 10 followers or some ratio along those lines, then I’m wondering WHO this person really is? A bot? A very desperate person? One of those MLM guys? Either way, none of the questions entice me to click on the link and check out the Twitter account.
  • Name and Bio -
    I’d love to see a name or something, well, human and real about the person. The bio comes next and I absolutely love how each person expresses their individuality in this tiny section. Some are fun, some strictly professional, some monosyllabic. Bios that allow me a little peek into people’s lives and their personalities definitely help me lean towards following.
  • Protected Updates -
    Amusing or frustrating, you decide, but someone follows me and I find their updates protected, I feel bummed. Its like inviting someone to your home and then refusing to open the door when they do show up! Twitter’s really about open conversations so I personally don’t understand the idea of protecting updates coupled with the desire to engage!
  • Content -
    Lastly I go through the first ten or twenty updates on the page and ask myself: do I want these tweets to show up in my feed everyday? Do they add value? Do I enjoy them? Will this person reply if I try to engage? If yes, I’m heading for the ‘Follow’ button alright!
These are my points for following any person on Twitter, share your views on how you decide to follow ....


Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Go - Google's Own Prorgramming Language

Today the search giant Google released Go, an open-source development language that Google believes will combine performance with speed, and one that the company probably hopes will reshape the development and software industries in its favor.

Go is mostly in the C family (basic syntax), with significant input from the Pascal/Modula/Oberon family (declarations, packages), plus some ideas from languages inspired by Tony Hoare's CSP, such as Newsqueak and Limbo.

In its Go FAQ, Google explains the main motivations behind the project:
  • No major systems language has emerged in over a decade, but over that time the computing landscape has changed tremendously.
  • Computers are enormously quicker but software development is not faster.
  • Dependency management is a big part of software development today but the “header files” of languages in the C tradition are antithetical to clean dependency analysis—and fast compilation.
  • There is a growing rebellion against cumbersome type systems like those of Java and C++, pushing people towards dynamically typed languages such as Python and JavaScript.
  • Some fundamental concepts such as garbage collection and parallel computation are not well supported by popular systems languages.
  • The emergence of multicore computers has generated worry and confusion.

Go attempts to reduce the amount of typing in both senses of the word. Throughout its design, we have tried to reduce clutter and complexity. There are no forward declarations and no header files; everything is declared exactly once. If you’re a developer and just want to get started, we suggest checking out the Go Tutorial and writing your first program.

Monday, November 9, 2009

How to install Google Wave extensions

You may come across extensions you like while using Google Wave -- any installable extension is displayed within a wave by a puzzle piece that describes what it does. To install, simply click the Install button. The extension will then be installed and ready to use!

If you'd like to browse through other available extensions, check out the Extensions Gallery wave in your account. You can either search your account for Extensions Gallery, or you click the Google Wave extensions link in your Welcome Wave (also available via search). From there, you can browse through and install a variety of different extensions.

If you'd like to use an extension for which you have the URL, follow these steps:
  • Start a new wave, or open the one you'd like to add to.
  • Go to the section of the wave to which you'd like to add the gadget.
  • In the compose window toolbar, click the Insert Gadget puzzle piece.
  • Enter in the box the URL for the gadget you'd like to add.
  • This will add an external extension to the wave you are editing


Thursday, November 5, 2009

Google Commerce Search

Search is a critical part of the shopping experience; in fact, 71% of online shoppers use keyword searches to find products (eTailing Group). Google Commerce Search addresses this need by offering an easy-to-deploy solution with Google speed and relevancy.

Google Commerce Search is an entirely hosted, software-as-a-service offering. You simply upload your product information to Google Merchant Center, and Google Commerce Search intelligently leverages the product feed and provides your website with search capabilities.

With Google Commerce Search, you are leveraging the powerful Google platform: the speed, relevance, reliability, and certainly scalability. As your customer base grows, you can scale your search solution effortlessly - without adding any servers or other infrastructure.

Google said on their official Blog:
"Search quality is a big factor in changing visitors to buyers online, and in making customers happy too. Visitors spend an average of just eight seconds before deciding whether or not to remain on a website, so having a good search tool is important for turning visitors into buyers.

Today we're aiming to make e-commerce searching as easy as using with a new enterprise product, Google Commerce Search.


Monday, November 2, 2009

With Firefox 3.6, Mozilla Aims to Speed up Web Browsing

The latest update to the Firefox web browser has now been made available. Released Friday evening, Firefox 3.6 Beta 1 promises a number of new features, including built-in theme support and drag-and-drop file uploads, but perhaps most importantly, there is a renewed focus on browser speed. Claiming improved JavaScript performance, better overall

responsiveness and faster startup times, there's no doubt Firefox's development in these areas has been fueled, at least in part, by the speed increases achieved by its rivals, Google Chrome, Safari, and Opera.

What's New in Firefox 3.6

In the latest edition of the Firefox browser, the team has introduced the following new features:
  • Built-in support for Personas, Firefox's themeing system which lets you browse through a gallery of skins and apply different ones with just a click.
  • Plugin alerts: Firefox will now alert users if their plugins are out-of-date, a useful addition since older plugins can lead to performance problems and even security issues.
  • Open native videos can now be viewed full-screen.
  • Drag-and-drop features: In the beta, you can drag and drop files from your computer into the browser allowing you to easily upload files from your PC to web sites.
  • Support for the WOFF font format.
  • Support for CSS, DOM, HTML5, and other developer features.
  • Improved JavaScript performance, overall browser responsiveness and startup time.
Why Speed Matters

Although Firefox and its rival web browsers are all fighting to best Internet Explorer in terms of install base, they still pit themselves against each other with their unique features, being first to offer support for new standards, and of course, web browser performance.

It's in this last area that Firefox has struggled recently. Past builds showed Firefox beaten by the up-and-comer Google Chrome in boot-up, page-loading, and JavaScript performance. Despite Chrome's low market share of only around 4%, no company can safely ignore the competition when that competition is Google (just look at what Google did to the GPS market last week!).

Chrome may be a relatively unknown browser among mainstream users for now, but if Google holds true to their promises to launch their netbook operating system, Google Chrome OS, which uses the Chrome browser to run applications, there could be a whole new user base of Walmart shoppers who rapidly make a browser switch without even realizing it. And with Chrome's primary focus on browser speed, designed from the ground-up with the idea of running intensive web applications, Mozilla knows that one day Chrome could end up being serious least once the large majority of computing moves to the cloud. In fact, that day may have already arrived for some of today's web users.

To improve browser performance, Mozilla introduced a new JavaScript engine called TraceMonkey in Firefox 3.5. Many of the speed increases in 3.6 can now be attributed to this technology. However, TraceMonkey has to go up against Chrome's own system, V8, which Google optimized earlier this year to give their browser a 30% speed bump.

Of course, we'll need to see some formal tests completed before determining where the browsers stand today, but it's likely going to be a situation where the engines are neck-and-neck in terms of performance. While this aspect to the browser war may go unnoticed by most web surfers, it's the sort of situation where everyone wins. And the prize will be a faster web surfing experience, no matter which browser you choose to use.

Written by Sarah Perez

Google Social Search

Most people on the web today make social connections and publish web content in many different ways, including blogs, status updates and tweets. Google Social Search helps you find more relevant public content from your broader social circle. The way google does is by building a social circle of your friends and contacts using the connections linked from your public Google profile, such as the people you're following on Twitter or FriendFeed. The results are specific to you, so you need to be signed in to your Google Account to use Social Search. If you use Gmail, it'll also include your chat buddies and contacts in your friends, family, and coworkers groups.

From the laymen point of view, Google Social Search pulls out relevant content created by the people in your online social circle and includes them into your search result.

The people that make up your social circle include the social sites you join (like Twitter and FriendFeed) and your gmail and Google contact groups. Therefore, to make the social search work, you have to be logged in to your gmail account.

Catch the videos below for the full details.

You’ll need to be part of the experiment before you can try it. Click here to start with this new search function.