Google's web-based application revolution continues as it announces expanding Chrome Apps reach to the mobile platforms (iOS and Android). The new innovation works with a developer preview of a toolchain based on Apache Cordova, an open-source mobile development framework for building native mobile apps using HTML, CSS and JavaScript.

It follows on an earlier introduction of new version of Chrome Apps that works offline by default and act like native applications on the host operating system.

Analysts had criticized Chrome Apps as a "breaking of the Web", because of the restriction to Chrome environment, as Chrome Apps can't function without it. Hence, Google's opening up of the Apache Cordova "toolchain" for wrapping Chrome Apps in code native to Android and iOS.

The toolchain wraps Chrome App with a native application shell which then, enables developers to distribute their apps on Google Play and Apple App Store.

As the toolchain is in developer preview mode, however, improvements are expected in the coming months based on users feedback.

Chrome Apps lands on Mobile (iOS and Android)

The African e-commerce space is witnessing tremendous growth in recent years and already boasting of significant number of local and international players. And the increased availability of broadband access offered by mobile operators and the consistent development of mobile devices, online shopping is gaining great traction in Sub-Saharan Africa.

The repeated success stories of local e-commerce start-ups like OLX (Ghana), part of MIH Internet, is a case in point.

OLX has grown into a global brand and is internationally renowned, now in more than 90 countries, making the free classified web space the main point of attraction for adventurous online shoppers.

The pros includes the possibility for a potential buyer to arrange to meet the seller before completing any given transaction.

However, prompt delivery is seen as an obstacle for buying products online. While, convenience featured highly as the biggest advantage for shopping online. Nigeria is projected to lead the continent's e-commerce sector by reason of its population and impressive internet usage stats.

Albeit, these are early days in the continent’s e-commerce landscape, it is interesting to see the huge growth potential as indicated by the increasing awareness by locals on the advantages of online shopping. Meanwhile, preference for “credit cards” as a means of payments highlights the area in which much work is needed, especially in Nigeria.

The Evolution of E-commerce in Africa

Google is currently implementing tremendous changes in its search results along the semantic search technology, Knowledge Graph, and will now incorporate site's owners information, including origin and founding history along the search results.

The Knowledge Graph feature roll-out which started yesterday, will provide background information on the person or organization behind any Website listed in the search result page and possibly affords another level of authentication to results and help cut down on exposure to malicious sites.

This extra information will be available when a site is widely recognized as notable, and when there is enough information to show or when the content may be handy for users, according to the official Google Search blog.

Google has equally promised to implement more relevant site data from the Knowledge Graph to the search results page in the coming days.

Semantic Search: Google adds Website's background Information

LinkedIn announced a new hub for volunteering opportunities, allowing users to explore the world of nonprofit positions in organizations worldwide. The new service comes as a part of its ongoing effort to create what it calls "economic graph" - connecting the dot of professionals around the world through skills, educational background and organizations.

Volunteer Hub will serve as a networking center for job seekers who may not require remunerations for their services and opportunities for nonprofit workforce sourcing.

The LinkedIn Volunteer marketplace aims to help the social sector by connecting talent with opportunity at massive scale according to the company blog.

It will avail non-profits relevant members of the social network who have expressed interest in volunteering opportunities. In addition, the members will now be able to browse hundreds – and eventually thousands – of specific, high-quality volunteer opportunities that nonprofits are seeking to fill.

In a recent survey on LinkedIn, 42% of hiring managers stated they consider volunteer work equivalent to full-time work experience. 20% said they’d hired someone because of their volunteer experience. So, the company's vision is to create economic opportunity for every member of the global workforce.

LinkedIn Volunteer Marketplace: Connecting Professionals to Nonprofit Opportunities

Google on Thursday announced the integration of Google+ connections with Gmail, allowing users to email contacts on the service, even when they've not exchanged email address. The feature comes handy when you are caught halfway into sending that important message and realize that the Google+ user is not on your contact list.

The feature auto-suggests Google+ connections when a Gmail user is typing in recipients email, and avails you the ease to email any of your Google+ contacts without knowing their email address.

It comes as an extension of some earlier improvements that keep Gmail contacts automatically up-to-date using Google+, Gmail will suggest your Google+ connections as recipients when you are composing a new email.

The feature will be rolling out over the coming days to all Gmail users who have Google+ profiles, and a notification will be sent to users with a link to the setting when available.

Google+ Connections coming to Gmail

The next generation of internet users have been traced to the mobile web, and 2014 will witness a major shift in that direction. As internet usage becomes more personalized with the proliferation of mobile devices, privacy will increasingly become a focal point.

Semantic web technology will find a suitable bride in the mobile ecosystem and shaped by machine learning algorithms –  an intelligent model that will be able to learn from the data they process and improve as they process more data.

Below are the top 5 trends to watch in 2014:

Semantic Search Technology: Google's underground works along semantic search technology will become more evident in 2014 will arrays of innovative voice-aided search products. And the shift to semantic algorithm is expected to reach an advanced stage in 2014.

Real-time Analytics: The demand for social media actionable analytical report is expected to reach the highest level in view of marketers huge adoption of social media in executing their online marketing efforts in 2014.

Web-based Applications: As HTML5 evolves into including detailed processing models to encourage more interoperable implementations; and many features built with low-powered devices such as smartphones and tablets in mind, will engender broader adoption of web applications.

mCommerce Technologies:  Mobile commerce will experience a great boost with the proliferation of smartphones and mobile devices armed with increasing number of internet connectivity across the world. And personalized information as obtainable through mobile devices will aid targeted advertising, hence the issue of privacy will still remain on the drawing board.

Internet of Things: IoT for short, is a term used to describe uniquely identifiable objects and their virtual representations in an internet-like structure. What started with personal computers, notebooks, tablets and mobile phones, now including TVs, cars, glasses and watches. Who knows what’s next?

Let us know your own predictions in the comment section below. And may 2014 bring you happiness and prosperity as we keep watch on the web space.

Predictions: Internet Trends for 2014

Snapchat has released a follow up to the widely circulated vulnerability in its private API that was exploited to expose the phone numbers and usernames of about 4.6 million users, citing that a new feature called "Find Friends" is responsible and as such, will go ahead to release an updated version of Snapchat app that will allow users to opt out of appearing in "Find Friends" after they've verified their phone numbers.

In the blog post, the company acknowledged the possibility for an attacker to use the functionality of "Find Friends" feature to upload a large number of random phone numbers and match them with Snapchat usernames.

The breach on the network was purportedly posted on, which site has long been taken down, exposing a core database containing paired usernames and phone numbers of over 4.6 million Snapchat users.

The company, however, have dismissed the claims as feature aided function and not an outright vulnerability, refuting any need for apologies to its users, but rather had promised making an opt-out provision for offended users instead.

Snapchat Exploit: Security gaffe or Feature bug?