The New Year is already by the corner, and perhaps, it may not be utterly out of place to present our analysts predictions on the internet technology trends that will dominate 2011. The past reviews on top trends for 2010 has, however, painted a vivid picture on some of the innovations that will herald the new year. The social web experience will definitely take a center stage in defining the overall web trends for the coming year, however, the major trends to watch are as follows:

Mobile Web: The social web experience is expected to shift to the mobile web as the center stage in the coming year, given the fact that over 85% of  mobile phone shipments in the coming year will be smartphones, and about 70% of the world populations having internet access. Also, the easily availability of free mobile apps via Android, iPhone and Symbian that enhance the social web experience of Facebook and Twitter are on the rise.

Third-Party Authentication Services: Now running for the third year, this internet trend will see more implementation, as more online users will turn to Facebook Connect and Google Friend Connect instead of direct registry and log-in.

Real-Time Analytics: Applications that comes with data and real-time capabilities, as associated with the social web, have accelerated the demand for this service. And 2011 will see more application of it, even as Twitter is set to introduce a real-time analytic service.

Social Web TV: As the quest for real-time access to information heightens, and Twitter purported interest in bridging the connection between online users and the offline world in real-time, allowing TV viewers to interact via tweets. Twitter had earlier stated at the MTV Awards that it wants to be the real-time TV channel of the decade.

Location-Based Service: Location services will experience a major boom following the mainstream of the mobile web and applications, which may prove a success for mobile advertising and monetization schemes.

However, given the predictability of technology, to the extent to which they are true, remains the real question. Let us know your part of the predictions for the new year in the comments.

Internet Trends: Predictions For 2011

The internet world has witnessed the phenomenal rise of the social networking hubs, Facebook and Twitter, with Facebook now accounting for almost 30% of online users time worldwide according to Internet World Stats. And as the quest for real-time information sharing deepens, also came in, location-based technologies and collaboration tools such as MediaWiki (which is the software that powers WikiPedia).

Google Wave project, the erstwhile unsuccessful collaboration venture of the internet search giant, also stressed the growing need for instant information sharing. Albeit, that the project suffered mainly due to the exclusion of a standard messaging system, even more stressing the vantage position of messaging system is any would-be successful collaboration tool.

Now, the year 2010 has heralded lots of promises in the social web, incorporating new technologies such as Cloud Computing, and the entrant positioning of HTML5 in the core web media technology.

The social web is indeed the network of the future, given an open platform and worldwide distribution of data sharing networks linking people, organizations and ideas. User generated contents and community building is perhaps what is driving this trend. Instant information has also given the mobile web a great boost, as users invariably want prompt access to these information.

Internet search services, too are not left out of the growing trends in social web, as new search technologies like instant search (introduced by Google), natural language introduction to travel search (Bing) are all geared to enhance local information and prompt access, even so, more applicable to the mobile web.

In summary, the whole of 2010 can be said to be the year of the social web, a triumphant of the open standards against conventional internet technologies. And the proceeding year will see these trends taken to greater heights, as the social phenomenon is a futuristic timeless quest.

Internet Trends: Year In Review

As applicable to booking flight online, natural language search, eliminates the need of manual selection of airport, flight destination, and other options in conducting a flight search. In other words, whereas, under the conventional method, your query parameter for a flight schedule will include: date, airport and destination, the new flight search technology will include the scheduled date, possible fare predictions and cheapest options.

Given instance, entering 'flights from Boston to Los Angeles in June' will fill in the flight search forms with the parameters you need, making you only one click away from a list of results that match your query.

Microsoft search engine service, Bing in a blog post on Monday announced the introduction of the new feature to enhance users access to flight information and enable faster web experience.

Although, online flight search is desperately seeking an enhanced technological improvement, as occasioned by the purported deal by Google to acquire ITA Software, which none-the-less has met stiff opposition from different quarters - Microsoft's latest move, may perhaps turn the travel search tide on its favor.

The quest for travel search perfection is still on going, and the next move will definitely be Google's, however, the overall winner will be online users.

Application Of Natural Language To Search

The first release candidate of Internet Explorer 9 (IE9) scheduled for first quarter next year will feature an opt-in 'tracking protection' mechanism, that will enable users eliminate websites tracking their browsing sessions, according to a report on Microsoft's IE Blog Tuesday.

The tracking protection system comprises of  a 'Tracking Protection Mechanism' and 'Tracking Protection Lists': whereby, the mechanism identify and block many forms of undesired tracking, while the Lists will enable users control what third-party contents can track them when online.

The underlying technology mechanism, however, tends to offer new option in empowering online consumers with an open platform, complementing their awareness and control over who can track their online activities.

Dean Hachamovitch, VP Internet Explorer development, explained further that the 'Tracking Protection' feature will not replace InPrivate filtering, a feature that made debut on IE8, but will serve a complimentary purpose. And that the Tracking Protection mechanism will only be active when a user turns it on.

The incessant security issues associated with the incumbent web browser has taken center stage in almost every users considerations, and have perhaps given the late entrants ample chances of success. However, the dominant question on the mind of analysts has been, is Microsoft refocusing its technicality on privacy concerns over security?

IE9 Tracking Protection: Privacy Or Security?

Google has announced the integration of Adobe Flash player to Chrome sandbox as a measure to tighten the porous security issue with the media player. It follows the technology advancement in the new sandbox capability which started with incorporation of  HTML and JavaScript into the Google browser.

This latest move by Google, demonstrates the vantage position of the ace media player and its growing significance in the area of animations and video rendering. However, Google has stressed that the move is a milestone in making Chrome safer, and improve protection against additional attack vectors, by providing full implementation of sandboxed Flash player.

Sandbox amongst other functions help prevent applications and its exploitation in accessing protected computer resources. It protects sensitive resources from being accessed by malicious code, while allowing applications to use less-sensitive ones.

The initial implementation of the Flash player sandbox for Chrome dev channel users will run on Windows XP, Vista and Windows 7. Chrome is currently the only browser on the XP platform that runs Flash player in a sandbox.

Adobe, however, have demonstrated its willingness to mitigate the maligning security concern on its media player, as can be seen in its earlier project, Reader X for windows with sandboxing technology. And Google on the other hand, has made an ample use of the opportunity in curtailing the security breach in the Flash, to jump-start its purported Chrome Web Store project.

Sandbox For Adobe Flash Player

Indeed cloud computing is here to stay, and spells the next generation of shared resources, software and general web experience. And as applicable to office documentation, Google has brought the trend to the indomitable MS Office by a service termed Google Cloud Connect.

Google Docs success has stemmed from the fact that the service is 100% web, real-time accessibility from anywhere there is an internet connection, without the need for a software. Given the incumbent nature associated with Microsoft Office, being integrated on the de facto Operating Systems of many corporations, and the fact of enabling the new information age which Google represents; has deemed the choice of a collaboration tool necessary.

The Google Cloud Connect for Microsoft Office is the accessibility answer for those who have not made the full move to Google Docs and are still using Microsoft Office. Cloud Connect has given users the benefit of still using the familiar MS Office interface, but with the advantage of great accessibility.

Microsoft Office 2003, 2007 and 2010 users can now sync their Office documents to the Google Cloud, and ensure access even out of Office. Documents synchronized are backed-up and given a unique URL, making it accessible from anywhere (including on mobile devices) at anytime through Google Docs.

All a user requires to access the feature is having a Google account, as Google Cloud Connect is available free to everyone.

Mac users, however, will have to wait awhile, as the service is not yet available for the Mac OS X. The full program subsequently is still being tested, and will be generally available soon.

Office On The Cloud

Mark Zuckerberg, at the Facebook Media Event in San Francisco on Monday unveiled a new messaging service which rumors had tagged a 'Gmail Killer'. The messaging system, however, is basically not an email service, but comprising Email, IM, SMS and other messaging services delivered in a seamless platform, albeit that users will be given an email addresses

The Facebook messaging uniqueness stems from the fact that such messages can be received in any medium or device that is convenient for the receiver.

It offers seamless messaging across different forms of communication mediums: in addition to aggregated conversation history between two Facebook users, and what seems like a copy of Gmail's 'Priority in-box' termed 'Social in-box'. The 'Social in-box' weighs messages based on user priority alongside conversation history and will help in filtering out spam.

According to an official blog post, the actual service launch will follow gradually along with making an email address available to everyone over the next few months.

Indeed, social messaging capability holds the key to the next generation messaging system, as attested by Google's earlier foot print on that domain with its Buzz service. Also, implicit as it where, all communication will happen within a single domain, but as to the extent of success the Facebook trip will go, only time will tell.

Is This Next-Gen Messaging System?

The open source Chromium project has heralded a new social experience in web browsing technology, called RockMelt, that aims to bring to the fore the new social networking capabilities and integrations that will drive the next generation of web users. The innovative approach of the browser is built upon a massive shift from the conventional focus, integrating social tools as a core browsing experience.

RockMelt web browser features a cloud-based backup to store users' bookmarks, thereby making users' data accessible from any location. It's the first browser to be fully backed by the cloud.

The overriding idea, however, is to ease communication and interaction on social networking platforms, as it incorporates social applications. It does not just navigate the web, but enables you to share and interact with friends, stay up-to-date in news and search information.

It is fast and secure from architectural point-of-view, been based on the Chromium project that gave rise to Google Chrome browser,  also riding on the WebKit layout engine to which Apple subscribe.

Tim Howes,  RockMelt co-founder, has dubbed it a 'personal experience' on the web wherever you go and stated categorically on the peculiarity of the login feature, feeds and bookmark preferences according to its official blog.

However, similar projects have been undertaken previously on that line as in the Flock web browser released in 2005, based on Mozilla Gecko engine. But given the actual timing and massive shift in user behavior driving the current social web, may perhaps serve a credible challenge and ensure the success of the RockMelt project. Also, the renowned pioneer of web browsing technology, Marc Andreessen, co-author of the Mosaic browser, has endorsed the project.

Enter Social Web Browser - RockMelt

Opera Software release for Android running devices, Opera Mobile 10.1 beta is reported to feature in-built geolocation support according a release note on the official blog Tuesday. The free mobile browser release is the first product for the android platform, following the company's fully endorsed version, Opera Mobile, as against the erstwhile Opera Mini versions.

Opera Mobile for Android also feature notable improvements in the area of speed owing to its renowned Opera presto rendering engine. It is packed with these additional Opera signature features: Speed dial, Visual tabs, Sync bookmarks, Password manager, Zooming and Panning and many other add-on as available to Android users.

Opera, however,  promised to add support for HTML5 video and Flash in the coming months. As well as upgrading to the Opera Presto core, thereby enabling standards like application cache and web storage.

Its main focus will be on platform optimization like hardware acceleration and JIT compilation to further improve both usability and performance.

The browser is available in 16 languages for now, namely: Chinese, Czech, Dutch, English, French, German Italian, Danish, Japanese, Korean, Norwegian, Portuguese, Polish, Russian, Spanish and Swedish. And now available for download by searching for 'Opera Mobile' in the Android market place, or direct on your PC.

Opera Mobile Adds Geolocation

The streaming search technology, Google Instant, introduced September by the search giant is now available on mobile devices according to a report on the company's blog. The technology afforded users faster search experience by predicting the actual search term even as the user type-in the query.

Google has made the beta version available to Android devices (running Android 2.2) and iPhone/iPod (iOS 4) in the U.S. in English language and accessible through the Google search portal, simply tap on the Google Instant 'Turn On' link beneath the search box to begin.

The mobile application of the new search technology has again demonstrated Google's support for open standards, as the implementation runs on HTML5, thereby eliminating the need to load a new page for each query based on the dynamism of the platform.

Google Instant on mobile devices works better on the 3G network or across Wi-Fi hotspot. However, given that wireless connections fluctuate, Google has made it easy to enable or disable the feature without leaving the search page.

The predictive input on the Google Instant feature came as a result of the pool-of-information users are generating through the search query, by analyzing the number of queries, Google is able to come-up with the word combination a user intends.

Google has stressed the value for the new feature as saving users more time and to search more efficiently, it however, expected minimal impact on its bottom line by the new technology.

Mobile Application Of Streaming Search

Firesheep, the open-source Firefox browser extension, generated lots of attention the previous week owing to its insidiousness, enabling it users on public Wi-Fi networks to log into other peoples account on unsecured websites. It accesses users vital information through cookies, and wired to identify some dozens of popular websites known to be vulnerable to attackers such as social networking portals.

A glaring instance of how unprotected Wi-Fi networks can make sensitive data available to anyone with the technical ability to decode them is the Google Street View Wi-Fi data gathering, that almost marred its public trust.

Eric Butler, Firesheep creator, in a blog post stressed the need for more caution on the part of users as to the extent of their sensitive information they make available online and calls for websites to take more responsibility in protecting their users.

However, the best possible solution has been presented by end-to-end data encryption, which is generally denoted by HTTPS or SSL.

Firefox users over Wi-Fi networks are thereby enjoined to employ the inbuilt HTTPS Everywhere extension to counter the threat, albeit that the feature works only when the given website has implemented HTTPS. And major websites as a matter of urgency must implement HTTPS completely, as new hacking tools continue to exploit the unprotected medium through which data is transmitted to victimize users.

Online Security: Data Encryption Prioritized

Google search technology has announced Place Search, a kind of search that organizes information around local places according to a post on the company's blog on Wednesday. The new technology present clustered search results around specific locations whereby users decide their destinations.

Google intends by the service to organize searches to focus on local places, particularly as it concerns users conducting searches on mobile devices.

Place search is automatic when the Google search system determines that a user is looking for local information, or specifically selects the places pin-icon on the left-hand column of the Google search menu. It includes a pin-icon that takes the user directly to the Google Map page, incorporating traditional search links that lead to specific websites.

The Google Map display showing the location of the search places is listed on the right-hand side of the search result page.

The roll out of the new service commences immediately and will be globally available in 40 languages in few days time according to reports by Google.

Place Search: Geo-centric Search Technology

The open web platform has become a major point of attention in the drive to enhance the installation and use of applications, based on compatibility with all standards. As championed by Mozilla, it tends to ensure that apps created this way will run across all platforms.

Mozilla, recently made it public that it has built a prototype of a system for open web apps, running on HTML5, CSS and JavaScript that work on both computers and mobile devices, with the many characteristics that users find compelling in their native apps. Also providing app developers with open and flexible distribution options, with support for paid apps and authentication features.

The project, however, is not a Mozilla app store nor a payment infrastructure, but rather a platform necessary to support free and paid app distribution and installation by developers.

The technical documentation has been released according to a report monitored on the company's blog last week, and a developer preview prototype, that enables installation, launch and manage of web apps on any modern desktop or mobile browser.

The open web app system will among other things address the issue of  lack of choice for developers, platform lock-in, and approval processes as experienced with the Apple's iTunes ecosystem. Also, it will limit the proprietary walls on mobile platforms.

Open Web: Application Centric Web

As a counter-measure to the heightened security issues facing the social networking hubs, Facebook on Tuesday announced a one-time access password for users, particularly as it affect users who make use of internet facilities in public places. The public Wi-Fi connection hotspot posed serious security problems, as users data are transmitted unencrypted, leaving it open to possible interception.

The one-time password feature on the other hand, will enable users to minimize the extent of break-in on exposed accounts, as it lasts only 20min. And it can only be accessed by users who have incorporated their mobile phone number to their account, pass is sent through mobile text message.

More security conscious users therefore are hereby enjoined to avail themselves of the new feature whenever they intend to make use of public computers in places like Hotels, Cafe, or Airports.

The one-time pass is obtained by texting 'otp' to the mobile number 32665 and the password can be used only once par session, it expires 20min in idle status.

However, analysts have argued that given the possibility of  a mobile phone getting into the hand of a wrong guy may as well serve the opposite effect, making a person who normally would not have access to your account to get one by simply following the text message guide line.

The above observation therefore calls for extra precaution on the part of users. And perhaps the feature may as well be the tool hackers had long clamoured.

Facebook One-Time Password: Pro And Con

Mozilla has announced the release of  Firefox 4 beta for mobile in the company's blog Thursday, making it the first ever version of the open-source browser for mobile devices. According to the release note, the Firefox 4 beta is built on the same technology platform as the desktop version, optimized for browsing on mobile devices.

The first version for Android offers users browser interface comprising very new smart features, however it also witnessed few weaknesses.

The interface runs on a separate process from the one rendering web content, resulting increased performance and responsiveness. Also improvements is witnessed in the overall graphic areas like scrolling, animations and zooming.

The weaknesses observed by early adopters included: problem with the zooming feature, similar to that of iPhone, zooms into a column of text when double-tapped. Also, another complaint is in the area of tab with an 'x' to close it, hardly fits big thumb in selecting it, and its easier to close instead. Other problems include fonts being less readable compared to other mobile browsers.

However, the problems is not much an issue with mobile-optimized sites like Facebook and Twitter. But, given its the first beta, the solutions is definitely shortcoming.

Developers on the other hand, have been called upon to utilize the latest web technologies like HTML5, CSS and JavaScript to improve the features by building fast and powerful mobile apps.

Mobile Edition: Firefox 4 Beta Debut

Google has commenced positioning its browser as a tool to take on slow websites by incorporating 'False Start' into its Chrome Browser. False Start - a technology with the potential to reduce the round it takes to initiate communication between a browser and a web server when establishing an encrypted connection, will naturally form the command-line for the new Chrome.

The technology, unlike protocol improvement to communication, doesn't require changes on both sides of the network connection, only the browser needs to be changed.

The potential to reduce one round of back and forth communication, which translates to about 7 hundredths of a second of communication across the United States, as afforded by False Start, represents a significant time saving.

Chrome, according to the Chromium Command-Line Switch, will feature a backlist to disable the False Start acceleration for websites where its not applicable. However, Google intends to subsequently reach such websites owners for possible upgrade. The overall aim being to get websites to catch-up with browser communication encryption technology standardized a little over a decade ago.

Chrome As Tool For Web Reform

Google WebM technology has metamorphosed a new image format for the web - WebP, which will serve as an alternative to the renowned JPEG file format. And given Google's obsession for speed, WebP is perhaps much more faster than JPEG according to a release note on the chromium blog Thursday.

WebP is an improvement on the compression that JPEG provides, based on the open-sourced VP8 codec, applied through the intra frame coding to push the envelope in still image coding. Also, it adopted a light weight container based on RIFF.

WebP is derived form a sample of one million images (comprising 90% JPEG, PNG and GIF shared 10%) re-encoded without perceptibly compromising image quality, resulting an average 39% reduction in file size.

The lower file size translates to faster file transfer and lesser burden on network. And hardware eventually may favor WebP, as any hardware that supports WebM also supports WebP. Also making its mobile application very possible.

Google WebP: Faster JPEG Alternative

Facebook has announced a new feature termed 'Page Browser' according to a post on Friday on its official blog. The page browser feature give Facebook users quick view of community pages on the social networking platform and news feed information from such pages.

The idea conceived by Ben Blumenthal, a Web designer at Facebook, is to create a tool that will enable exploring of pages on the service - as browsing the web or browsing movies for rent, users can now browse Facebook pages.

The page browser is accessed at Discover Facebook Pages; it presents an array of thumbnails of user pages. Hovering over the thumbnail with the cursor, will pop-up a like button, and clicking the button will automatically add the news of the given community to your news feed. Also available are list of your friends and links to the community that you mutually like.

However, Facebook is quick to add that it awaits users feedback, even as the new feature evolves.

Facebook Feature Page Browser

A recent speed test benchmarked by Christopher Black, a Minnesota-based Web Apps developer, scored the evolving open web standard HTML5 low on speed performance on mobile devices against Adobe Flash. The test-run benchmarked an HTML5 animation made using the canvas tag against the same animation running on Flash.

The mobile devices used in the test are Nexus One, iPhone 4 and iPod Touch - While canvas performance on the new iPod Touch and iPhone 4 is unbelievably at 22FPS in rendering simple animation, the Nexus One put-up a decent 40FPS.

Flash Player v10.1, blows HTML5 out rendering 57FPS on the Nexus One - with all tests done by benchmarking in-browser performance. However, native applications using Adobe AIR for Android yielded even better performance.

In as much as the current test-run may hold some water, given that the HTML5 standard is still very much evolving, performance will definitely improve. Even as HTML5 have been proven to be better suited for basic video and simple transitions.

Benchmark Test: Flash Beat HTML5

Facebook Places - a location-based service introduced by Facebook last month has been marred by privacy issues. It allow mobile device users broadcast their specific location to others on Facebook - a development which scammers have taken hold-on to monitor users movements.

Criminals monitor when users 'check in' to places through Facebook, as reported in a scam that occurred in the U.S, whereby 50 homes were burgled.

The trigger then points to the fact that users will have to maintain control over Facebook Places by adjusting their privacy settings. The feature which is enabled via Facebook application for iPhone and logging on to: from your mobile browser, and its currently available in the U.S, Japan and the UK, while its launch in other regions will follow subsequently.

A comprehensive tutorial on how to configure your privacy settings to maintain control on facebook places have been made available here.

Facebook Places: Another Privacy Concern

Twitter on Tuesday at the Big Night event at San Francisco unveiled a redesigned UI for the micro-blogging platform. The new design supports a two-pane user interface, whereby multimedia enhancements like photos and videos capabilities are enabled. It's built around a second pane on which users will be able to view contents, such as: pictures and videos in user profiles and geolocation information.

However, Twitter CEO, Evan Williams hinted that the new version will be made available to some users immediately, while the general implementation will follow-up in the coming week.

Evan Williams, sited the purpose of the redesign as to make the service easier and faster for users. It's centered around seamless implementation of features for users convenience - thereby making users spend more time on its pages. And users have the option to opt-out of the service completely if they so chose during the preview period.

The new interface rich media features: embedded image and video capability is perhaps the most attractive of the offer, making access to pictures and videos possible within the timeline page.

General opinions, however, points to the fact that Twitter indeed lends a listening ear to users suggestions and recommendations, as to the new enhancements.

New Twitter: Two-Pane User Interface

The sixth version of the Google Chrome that made debut on September 3 - the stable release for Windows, Mac OS X and Linux is acclaimed to be 17% faster than the previous version, Chrome 5. The benchmark score as obtained by Computerworld Support, makes Chrome 6 the fastest version of the browser with JavaScript capabilities.

According to the report, Chrome 6 is treading a little behind the browser-speed leaders - Opera and Safari latest versions, Opera 10.61 and safari 5.

Chrome director of product management, Rakowski, asserted the value of speed performance on the launch, and as one thing Google values, stated that speed really matters.

As the speed race tightens with Opera, Safari and Chrome closely tied, and Mozilla Firefox beta 4, also not left-out, being only 29% away from the speed evaluation of Chrome - may perhaps spell another browser wars, given the scheduled release date of Microsoft IE9, September 15. The developer preview of IE9 have been competitive with Opera, Safari and Chrome in JavaScript trials.

And Mozilla plans on-the-other-hand included that the next version of Firefox will work to score within 20% of Chrome 5, Google's Chrome previous version on SunSpider.

Google Chrome 6 Speed Hits Top

Facebook has announced a new security feature that enables user monitor different login sessions on their account and to remotely log-out from any device according to a release note made available on Thursday. The new feature allow users to know if they are still logged into a different computer or device, and enables them to remotely log-out, thereby eliminating the risk of account hijacking.
The feature affords users log information on recent account activities: last time of login, device logged into, location and the operating system of the given device.

To access the new feature, users are enjoined to view the account tab - then navigate to account settings, and click on change option by the side of account settings. Facebook advices users that in a situation whereby any foul-play is noticed on an account, they should click on 'end activity'.

The remote log-out feature is not yet available to all users; however, Facebook have indicated the planned roll-out to all users in the coming week.

Facebook Security: Remote Log-out Feature

Earlier in the news, Microsoft expressed intent to acquire Yahoo! Inc., however, a search alliance deal has now been arrived instead as postulated by Questechie. Yahoo announced the search alliance milestone on its official blog on Tuesday, stating that later this week, they will commence transitioning the back-end technology for Yahoo search in the U.S. and Canada (English versions) over to the Microsoft platform - Bing. And the transition will comprise both web and mobile searches.

Microsoft's platform will among other features provide the ranking technologies that generate search results, and on-the-other-hand Yahoo in turn will be responsible for presenting such results on search pages.

Yahoo Search product, BOSS - build your own search service, will continue according to the report, whereas, the Search Monkey service has been discontinued. Instead of having apps developed by application developers, publishers are now required to add enhanced listing information using standard format, before they can be displayed on search results.

Also, paid search transitions begin this week and more information are available for advertisers on Yahoo Search Marketing blog.

However, webmasters still have the option of using Yahoo search explorer for Yahoo listed sites and Bing webmaster central for Bing pages. How the search technology alliance will be welcomed by Google remains a million dollar question.

Yahoo Search Alliance With Microsoft

Twitter now feature alerts via Mobile SMS according to a report on its official blog post on Tuesday. The new enhancement allow users to receive tweets via their mobile devices of Twitter accounts they follow.

Leland Rechis, Mobile UI designer at Twitter, in the blog post called this new capability 'Fast Follow' and stated that even without a Twitter account anyone can receive Tweets on their phone (available only for US users). However, sending tweets via SMS requires an account, and Fast Followers are not indicated on the accounts they follow.

To set-up SMS Tweets alert from your computer requires going to the Twitter users account you wish to follow and click on the phone icon that is displayed on the hovercard.

Also, its just as easy to set-up via your mobile device, simply send: on (username) or off (username) to 40404 in the United States. Turn SMS alert on or off by adding on or off to the username and text to 40404.

For activation codes in other countries, checkout embedded link on list of numbers for each country. Also additional information on Twitter mobile developments can be found on @twittermobile.

Twitter Features: SMS Alert Via Tweets

The fourth platform preview for internet explorer 9 is now available for developers according to a release on the IEBlog. The platform preview earlier unveiled mid-march, promises extensive support for modern web standards - notably: HTML5 and CSS3, on the premise that the next generation web will deliver experiences that feel like native applications rather than mere websites.

This fourth preview will afford developers the opportunity to test-run Drive samples that show scalable vector graphics and native JavaScript integration, building on hardware accelerated SVG (xml based file format for describing two-dimensional animated vector graphics interaction).

The new browser offers consistent, fully accelerated text, graphics and media: both video and audio with HTML5 and hardware acceleration.The deep JavaScript integration in IE9 makes it the first browser to have a shared DOM between the browser and the script engine based on ECMAScript5, thereby enhancing its real-world performance and consistency.

IE9 preview 4 is stated to be the last preview before the Beta release according to Dean Hachamovitch, GM Internet Explorer. Though Microsoft has declined to say the exact release date, its quite obvious that the platform is nearly complete.

Developers: IE9 Preview 4 Now Available

An open source based alternative to the social networking power-house, Facebook, is purportedly in the works by four students at New York University's Courant Institute Of Mathematical Science, branded Diaspora. The decentralized network will among other things address the much debated privacy issue that have marred the terrific social networking hub.

The Diaspora project aims to create an open-source social network where the user will maintain total control over their privacy. The idea is that Diaspora will not hold users information - termed 'seed' and that only people to whom you give a 'key' can access your information.

The project website states that a prototype portal is about now ready for release. However, the main project is billed for launch on September, under a GPL license. And the funding is also almost ready according to the report.

Indeed, the timing is right, given the recent face-off between Facebook and Privacy Advocacy Groups, including the EFF and consumer groups. Albeit, some people are still willing to sacrifice their privacy for the credible possibilities of Facebook, however, given an equally powerful tool and less privacy worries, bet the exodus will be en masse.

Open Source: Diaspora Takes On Facebook

The Classic Snake game is now part of YouTube video feature, making it possible to play the game in most videos on the streaming content service. Though not particularly a good version of the dot-eating game, its placement is welcome as passing time on dragging videos.

The Snake Game, however is worth trying next time you are caught-up watching a video that drags on, launch a game to pass the time.

The YouTube video of a plain black screen, are more recommended if you intend to try is out yourself, based on simplicity and astounding performance. And for videos with the new playback style (with red progress bar that narrows when you move the mouse away from it), click on the video window, then hold left on the keyboard.

The video can be playing while you do this or paused. Perhaps, you might find out that the game is not too boring to stop watching altogether.

Snake Game Feature - YouTube

YouTube announced support for 4k-resolution video (4094 x 3072 pixels) at the 2010 VidCon Conference in Los Angeles, California which commenced Friday according to a report on its official blog. A resolution which is about four times that of most HDTV (1080p), and slightly above IMAX projected films at 2k format.

Ramesh Sarukkai, YouTube Engineer, in the report stated that such high resolution requires considerable high bandwidth for the needed speed. And to view any video in a source resolution above 1080p, tab 'Original' in the video quality pull-down menu most be selected.

As most home users with the right connection will require a projector capable to run 4k-resolution video, in other to enjoy the service. However, there is the possibility of lowering the bit rate as obtainable in the HD video compression hoop.

Although, resolution of 1080p remains the top rate in most HDTV, higher pixels are apportioned to filming hardware. The original video projection being 360p is now a  far cry to today's standard, sure a sign of the pace of technological breakthrough.

YouTube Video Resolution Hits 4K

Google has extended support for its Docs viewer service to Android, iPhone and iPad according to a report announced on its official blog on Monday. The document formats supported includes: pdf, .ppt, .doc, and .docx (Ms Office 2010 format that replaces .doc).

Google Docs offers Cloud-based data storage, thereby making it accessible from anywhere, provided there is an internet connectivity. And thereby eliminating the need to download files. The feature will definitely endear the service to many business professionals.

The service can be accessed by going to portal from your mobile device. And with the mobile viewer you can quickly switch through pages, pan/zoom within a page.

Google is perhaps taking its battle for Office suite functionality to Microsoft by this latest release, as it strives to make Google Docs an effective alternative to Microsoft Office. And given the extension of the service to mobile devices and its web-based application, may well be the magic wand it required.

Google Docs For Mobile Devices

Google has commenced revision on the VP8 codec released June according to a report on the WebM Project blog on Thursday. In a bid to making it more stable and to finding ways to speed up encoding and decoding of  the VP8 codec, Google has opened it up for WebM community to contribute by making available an 'Experimental Branch' of the source tree.

Though VP8 debuted as a developer preview, Google aims to arrive at a fixed format for the technology to be incorporated into hardware.

The VP8 bit-stream (sequence of encoded information) represent the area of change in the experimental works. And the changes to VP8 that will produce the best video codec possible will eventually adopted in the new version of the codec.

Also, works are included that aims to translate VP8 into low-level programming instructions for faster performance.

Google is perhaps mindful of increasing competition it faces from H.264 in the area of quality and speed. And especially, in building into it camera to record the video.

WebM Video Codec Now Open

Opera Mini latest browser release, Opera 10.60 beta for Windows, Mac and Linux is bundled with HTML5 related improvements emphasizing on speed according to the Changelog. And also additional HTML5 features included in the alternative browser are next generation video and audio codec (WebM), geolocation, App Cache, and Web Workers.

The release note also added that Opera 10.5x final have been skipped, but all its new features are included in Opera 10.60.

The company in the release note claimed an improvement of 50% speed compared to the older version. However, benchmark test result are yet to be added as to whether the result is obtained in speed comparison to the Opera 10.60 Alpha or the current stable version, V10.53.

The alterna-browser new beta also got an interface tweak, which includes: custom thumbnail, Icons for Opera Features, More visible menu button and new search suggestion for selected providers.

HTML5 Speed Compliance - Opera Mini

Microsoft's much publicized web-based office went live late Monday according to a release on its official blog by the Principal Lead Program Manager, Jason Moore. The web apps comprises browser-based versions of OneNote, Word, Excel and PowerPoint programs. It allows for basic viewing and editing of Office based documents right-on web browsers and sharing same.

The Office web apps are designed to work on PCs running on Windows, Mac and Linux. Also supporting major browsers such as Internet Explorer, Firefox, Chrome and Safari (other browsers may as well be compatible).

The basic tools are available for consumers free with 25GB storage as part of windows Live and possibly ad-featured. While businesses can host their own full version of the web apps using the latest version of SharePoint. However, using the browser-based apps require an instant-on internet connection.

And for the the mean time the services are available on SkyDrive for people in US, UK, Canada and Ireland through the web portal Other regions, however can access the service by heading to this portal.

The web apps will be built into the new version of Hotmail and feature in labs known as by Microsoft. 

The launch of the Office web-based apps is seen by analysts as Microsoft encroaching the Google Docs innovations and challenging Google's earlier call for businesses to skip the old version of Office and migrate to its Google Docs service.

Microsoft Office Web Apps Launched

The new Chrome dev build launched Thursday came bundled with support for WebM - an open-source web optimized video format, according to a release on the Chrome blog. The open source video technology enable browser to feature cutting-edge video streaming capabilities without publishers paying for the service, a technology which many have touted as the standard codec for HTML5.

Video streaming is now a core web experience, and as not much open standard video format is available to meet the commercial implementation calls for the Chromium introduction of WebM, making it the third major browser to include support for the next-generation technology.

Also, Google have included support for VP8 video codec and Vorbis audio codec - loyalty-free as part of the Chrome dev released Thursday for Windows, Mac and Linux.

Google also published an update to the beta channel to fix bugs that affected its stability and crash when changing network. However, it fails to indicate when support for WebM will be extended to the beta version.

Developer preview of WebM and VP8 have been made available, including source code, specifications and encoding tools, at the WebM project Portal. For guide on getting involved in the project see Chromium project release.

Chrome: Developer Build Supports WebM

Mozilla developers' new site for Firefox 4 in a release Thursday confirmed the purported inclusion of HTML5 standards in the new version of the open-source browser slated for launch on June. According to the release, Indexed Database API (IndexedDB) - the proposed standard for HTML which provides local database store for web application will be included.

The IndexedDB addition to HTML standard is opening new possibilities for web developers. It gives web applications way to work even without a network connection. Mozilla in addition mentioned a full list of new technologies still under development on its developer page.

Mike Beltzner, Director of Firefox, stated that works are going on in collaboration with Microsoft on the implementation of IndexedDB as well as on the specification, and aims to ship it with Firefox 4.

Mozilla is moving to a new parser to handle the task of bringing improvements to the rules on how to interpret web pages. Indeed, the HTML5 standard is exerting competitive pressure on Adobe Flash Player, albeit that its specifications are not yet finalized.

HTML5: IndexedDB Support For Firefox 4

Google Doodles had surfaced on its homepage at virtually all holiday celebrations adorning the logo of the commemorated occasion. And to mark the 30th anniversary of Pac-Man (an iconic video game launched 1980), comes a very creative and interactively playable Pac-Man game as its homepage logo.

Google has built from scratch, a fully-playable version of the game with the complete 255 levels and authentic sound and graphics.

Now, the catch: the Pac-Man clone on Google homepage is built on HTML, CSS and JavaScript - three open standard tools, purportedly tipped to replace Flash.

Could Google intends an open endorsement of the open standards, by creating a widely accessible version of the game without the intensive Flash technology? Or is it a take-on on Apple at its game?

However goes the answer, guess HTML5 game development may definitely catch the fancy of rather erstwhile conservative mobile game developers.

Google Pac-Man: Open Standard Rules

Google Wave, a web collaborative and chat service launched by the internet giant mid 2009 is now available to the public as part of Google Labs according to a release on its official blog on Tuesday. The service when made debut was available only by invitation to individuals and a handful of Google Apps customers.

The service is now much more faster and stable than the preview version, making it easier for users. Added features include: email notifications, extensions gallery and permission management options.

Stephanie Hannon, Wave product manager, described the social platform as a place to get work done, particularly for team working on a project that involve close co-ordination.

Google Wave API for developer now have additional components and several other improvements according to the report. Beyond the API release, the wave code, including the rich text editor, is now open source. Developers can also extend the code to build their own alternative Wave clients.

The APIs are in Labs as a measure to stay flexible when creating a whole new paradigm in web based communication and collaboration according to Google.

Simply sign-in using your Google account goes the public invitation, and for Google Apps administrators at a business or school, you can now easily enable Google wave for all your users at no extra cost.

Wave Gone Public - Google

The Android app, Google Goggles, now has a new feature: image-based text translation, according to an official announcement on the Google Mobile blog on Thursday. The feature comes with the newest version of the app, Goggles v1.1.

Whereas, the initial prototype, unveiled at the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona earlier in the year could only read German text, the full feature enhance by improved barcode recognition can read English, German, French, Italian and Spanish. Also able to translate to many more languages.

It allows user to point mobile phone camera at any image-based text and get it translated into selected native language. Through the advanced capabilities of the new Goggles v1.1 which includes enhanced barcode recognition, large artwork collection, recognition of Logos, and improved user interface coupled with the ability to initiate visual search using images in phone picture gallery, adds more to the functionality of the new app feature.

While extending the recognition to other latin-based languaged are expected to follow shortly. However, works are going on to make it avaialble for non-latin language variants like Chinese, Hindi and Arabic.

Google Goggles text translation demonstration is made available thus: Get a direct barcode link, after downloading the latest app version, v1.1. (which is available for devices running Android 1.6 and other higher versions). Then open the app and aim your phone camera to a text. And for a better translation, you can crop to the specific words you need translated by using a simple crop tool via the on-screen icon.

Google Goggles Feature Translate

The much rumored Google TV plan is now near reality as reports from Google insiders tipped the official unveiling of the Android-based Television at Developers Google l/O Conference in San Francisco on 19 - 20 May. A plan which is purportedly a follow-up to Yahoo's move earlier last year.

Google TV is an internet enabled TV run on the Android operating system, the unique Android platform is known as Dragonpoint OS and its believed to deviate from the dessert-themed versions already available. And it will come with Google search integrated to the system, and possibly running Chrome browser and open source platform. It is designed to bring internet contents: web search, App support and video streaming capabilities to the big screen.

Its hardware is believe sourced from Intel's atom processor and the technology is made dynamic - able to run in numerous formats: Set-top boxes, Blu-ray Players and TVs. Google TV software will come embedded with game consoles and next generation internet technologies.

Also Qwerty keyboard and remote is said to be in-the-build by Logitech for the new device. However the plan works, Google TV may perhaps revolutionize the big screen into a multi-task capable web terminal.

Google: Internet-Enabled TV Plan

Google has extended additional support for Skype by enabling exchange of Google Voice number as Caller ID for Skype. Skype users can now set Google Voice number as their Caller ID and have the recipient see that as their number.

Also the feature of receiving SMS found on Skype for mobile devices which before now was not available for Google Voice has been resolved.

The new feature can be activated as follows: access the Skype Feature page and sign-up for making outgoing calls using Skype. Then go to the Account page and click on Caller ID, there you have an option to set your Google Voice number for Caller ID. Then enter your Google Voice number and Skype will send an SMS with a verification code to your Google Voice. Enter the verification code in the Skype Caller ID page.

And after that you can then make outgoing calls with your Google Voice number set as Skype Caller ID. Alternatively, you can forward your Google Voice calls to Gizmo and then to Skype, which eliminates the need to purchase a Skype number.

Android users can utilize its native App to enable the feature. While iPhone users have a web App for Google Voice.

Skype: Google Voice Support

The recent developments across the social networking big-wigs, Twitter and Facebook have called for more caution on the part of users. As Twitter sets to make its vast pool of data available for third parties and its API made accessible to developers, also working on Analytical products for advertisers, what place does users privacy occupy in the present scheme of things?

In the same vain Facebook earlier last week introduced 'Open Graph' - a platform enabling the social networking site and other websites to mesh users information and automatically personalize it for public experience. The Open Graph API enables Facebook and its participating sites to blend their respective users social graph to customize their site experience for individual visitors. And users are opted-in to the social sharing service by default.

The partnership driven service automatically enables a personal and social experience on certain external web-portals. When Facebook users for instance, visits a participating site, the partner website can use the public information available for that user, which includes name, gender, occupation and pictures.

Granting access to raw users data is perhaps not without perils, given the growing concern on privacy issues online. And as such many users will definitely not wish to have their informations publicly disclosed.

The following steps, however, will stem the extent to which your information is made available: Go to> Applications and Websites Privacy settings on Facebook, check for the option 'instant personalization' at the bottom of the page, uncheck 'Allow' box, and then confirm you want to opt-out. Also ensure you effect same changes to what your friends can share about you.

In conclusion, the web have indeed shifted focus to a more connected social hub, where users with real identity occupy the center stage - quoting Zuckerberg, however, failing to quantify and identify the security implications.

Social Networking And Privacy Concerns

As if treading the path of collective-information sharing pioneered by Wikipedia - Facebook have announced two new features to its social networking services, Community pages and connected profiles service, according to its official blog post on Monday.

The new features aim to linking profiles to pages of interest and affiliation, with profiles now serving as a map of users interests. The service according to the blog report will initially run by displaying information gathered from Wikipedia, with users subsequently contributing to the service information.

The Community pages feature will serve as a shared knowledge base - page dedicated to topics or experiences that are owned collectively by the community connected to it. Facebook users will be able to learn more about a given topic of interest or experience, as in the instance of cooking or learning a new language. They can also connect to community pages of their school or location based on the interests they entered in their profiles.

How Facebook intends to scale through the massive information generated by users to arrive at an individually suitable and useful contents remain an illusive task. However, given the possibility of tremendous world information locked-up in Facebook, such a drive into accessing and harnessing them becomes impeccable.

Facebook: Connected Profiles And Pages

Gmail users finding it hard to attach files through the traditional upload system now have something to cheer about as a new easy file attachment feature termed 'drag and drop' has been launched for the email service. According to a report by the official Gmail blog on Thursday, the new service allow users to drag files from desktop and drop direct into their email messages.

The procedure involves dragging a file from hard drive or any open application into a green box within the compose menu, the service then uploads it in the message background. It tends to follow the same pattern as the system implemented in Google Wave service for images and other medias.

The drag and drop attachments feature, however, is restricted to users running Google Chrome and Mozilla Firefox for now, with a later extensions to other browsers as soon as they can support the feature.

Mozilla Firefox users with pre-installed Mozilla Prism who are running Gmail as a stand-alone desktop app gets a whole new functionality, serving as a whole new software. The feature makes file attachments easier and more integrated into the Gmail calendar service.

Gmail: Drag And Drop Attachments

Coming as no surprise, Google Webmaster Central blog on Friday announced the introduction of a new signal in Google search algorithm - Website Speed. In line with Google's philosophy - the faster the better, website loading speed reflects how quick it responds to query.

Real-time contents streaming has called for increased demand for site speed - and generally, a variety of free speed evaluation tools have been afforded to check and improve on site performance. Such free speed evaluation tools includes: YSlow - site speed evaluator from Yahoo, and Firefox/Firebug add-on called Page Speed. Also, the site performance log thats part of the Google Webmaster Tools labs.

Webmasters on-the-other hand have been called upon to avail themselves of these free tools to improve on the speed of their websites. As failure to optimize site speed will inevitably results poor ranking on Google search.

However, Google was quick to add that the speed signal does not carry as much value as the relevance of a page, stating that only 1% of search queries are affected by the site signal in the current implementation and that the speed signal only apply for search queries in English on

Google Search Site Ranking By Speed

Google's effort to scale massive data set, an approach to design a highly scalable learning system statistically on a small training set, solving what it called a 'hard predictions problem' which idea it conceived several years ago is back-in-project according to it official Google Research blog post on Tuesday.

The project is code-named 'Seti' on the notion that it searches for signal in a large space. It's set to scale massive data, which helps in information retrieval and machine translation - improving translation algorithms and semantic understanding.

The system is typically employed in places where machine learning will provide significant improvement in accuracy over the existing system.

It is perhaps less academically interesting to design an algorithm that is slightly worse in accuracy, but that has greater ease of use and system reliability stated Google. However, it's useful in places where there is a good chance of significantly improving predictive accuracy over the incumbent system.

Machine learning on the other hand remains an interesting area of research, as it can be applied to several real world problems comparable to modern classifiers.

Google Research: Machine Learning System

Mozilla have announced an update process for stability and security issues with its browser, according to the Mozilla developer center blog post on Thursday. And thereby have made Firefox 3.6.3 available as a free download for Windows, Mac and Linux. The vulnerability - a memory corruption flaw, that could allow a remote attacker run an arbitrary code on a PC.

The release note has it that the flaw does not affect earlier versions of the browser, however, Mozilla had advised users of older version to upgrade, and recommending that all users should get this latest release.

And users already running Firefox version 3.6 will receive an automated update notification within 24 to 48 hours.

The list of changes to the new version have been made available here. Also, the major fix in the memory corruption reported by security researcher Nils of MWR InfoSecurity at the 2010 Pwn20wn contest last month.

Security Fixes: Mozilla Firefox 3.6.3 Available

The Chromium Blog on Tuesday announced plan of incorporating Adobe Flash into its Chrome browser through the integration of a plug-in API. Google intends to distribute Flash with its Chrome browser, integrated into Chrome sandbox.

Flash Player have been the major platform on which a wide range of applications like games, video and enterprise Apps are run on the internet. But, given the high rate of security vulnerability and incompatibility issues of current browser plug-ins, Google have embarked on a partnership project with Adobe to help define next-generation browser plug-in API, with the sole aim of addressing the shortcomings.

Analysts have viewed the move as a plus for Adobe, given the steep competition from HTML, JavaScript and CSS standards. On the-other-hand, Google VP Engineering, Linus Upson, added that the project is expected to encourage innovations in both the HTML and plug-in landscapes, improving the web experience for users and developers alike.

The Flash Player experience in Google Chrome integration have been initially made available in the developer channel, with the full functionality to all chrome users to follow later. And developer are advised to run Chrome with the enable-internal-flash command line, to enable the built-in version of Flash.

Chrome: Nex-Gen Browser Plug-In API

Michael Richter, DG Counsel of Facebook on a blog post on Friday announced a new proposal for revision of Facebook privacy policy and statement of rights and responsibilities to allow access to location information and permit general information sharing with approved websites on its platform.

He further added that the change is to make way to accommodate new products, and also improve ways users share and connect with the people and things in their lives.

Given the controversy trailing its earlier privacy reviews, it had afforded users the opportunity to review the proposed changes in its entirety and provide their thoughts on its Site Governance Page. And users have till April 3 to give their feedback.

However, as the changes also applies to access to third-party-sites and applications, whereby users data: comprising name, pictures, videos, general information and list of friends on their account are make public really calls for caution. And given the possibility to tagging friends location in pictures or video, as well as name, may pose some identity theft issues.

While Facebook intentions are not clearly stated-out, the possibility of opting out as contained in the proposed changes - applying to third-party-sites and applications, required to 'delete all data' if a users so requests is quite assuring.

Geolocation: New Facebook Privacy Policy