IT Digest: Google I/O, Virtual Money, Augmented Reality, Chrome Experiments and Much More!

May 17, 2013

What is the freshest news from the world of informational technologies? Find out in our weekly digest from the 17th of May.

 

Top Seven News

Google I/O conference was held this week, having covered all the key innovations in Google platforms. So, let's meet new maps, new design of Google+, Google Hangouts, Samsung Galaxy S4, paid music service and much much more.

islands-from-yandex
Islands from Yandex

Big changes on Yandex - Islands platform: interactive responses in the search results. Yandex SEO DOs and DON'Ts in 2013, an interview with Ilya Segalovich.

virtual-money
Virtual money

Electronic payment system Bitcoin, Bitcoin: Humble Harbinger of Monetary Revolution, but the Department of Homeland Security shut down Dwolla payments to Bitcoin Platform. In addition, Webmoney now supports Bitcoin. Virtual currency is becoming more and more common, and while Bitcoin is gaining momentum, the large companies are creating their own currencies: Amazon launches its own virtual currency called Coins and Google launched the functionality that allows to send money with Gmail.

Websites are made by people for people. However, the robots.txt file exists but humans.txt does not. Is this right? A group of developers have got the idea to meet people on the other side of the website using the file that contains information about the people involved in the website development.

about-facebook
A few words about Facebook

HTC First, the Facebook smartphone, is completely murdered by AT&T, Facebook interview questions & reviews, Request to add WebP image support from Facebook to Firefox. Restaurant's Facebook goes nuclear over reviews & Gordon Ramsay.

Augmented reality is increasingly gaining popularity and nowadays the attention of developers to AR technologies is growing rapidly. We offer you some results of researches on the technologies of augmented reality, their influence on marketing and development of various markets. Also, the founder of Best.ua launches X-Rift, a mobile game on Augmented Reality. Meanwhile, Capri should be noted separately as Kinect ideas are implemented there based on Nexus 10 tablet.

chrome-experiments
Chrome Experiments

Do you want to know how smart modern browsers are? Run Google Chrome and just try: Google Racer, freeciv, as well as a small selection.

News:

Google I/O:

  1. Google I / O 2013. Day One — on Tuesday Google launched its annual Google I/O developer show with a number of exciting announcements that had absolutely nothing to do with developers, but the same time very interesting for potential users. Traditionally Google I/O always represents what Google is busy with at the current moment and the show 2013 is already rumored to be one of the most impressive in history. New Android capabilities, Google Play Store, Samsung Galaxy S4, Google Play for Education, Google+ are far from the only topics introduced during Google I/O day one.
  2. Google+ redesign — the look of Google+ is changed again and became more attractive now.  In addition, Google provides pop-up notifications for Google+ users to be able to learn what's new in Google+. Within the latest redesign Google divides zoom which was originally only one line into two with a smaller size. On the left there is a row of buttons for accessing tools and other pages, such as profile, people, photos up to Hangouts on Air. Since its release a few years ago Google+ looks more attractive for its users who will easily recognize a new design of Google+ to be similar to Facebook.
  3. Google Hangouts review — a free video chat service from Google that enables both one-on-one chats and group chats. Each hangouts session can hold up to 10 people using video. When creating a hangout, users can choose which group of contacts they want to invite to their video chat. A post will then appear on all relevant streams letting participants know that a hangout is happening and it will list all the people currently participating. Similar to Skype, FaceTime and Facebook Video Chat, Google Hangouts focuses more on face-to-face-to-face group interaction using advanced technology to seamlessly switch the focus to the person currently chatting.
  4. Google improves photo handling in Google+ — according to senior vice president Vic Gundotra Google has added several new features to automatically enhance photos uploaded by users, including tools that automatically soften wrinkles on faces and reduce "noise" in grainy photographs. Given a file of hundreds of vacation photos, Google will also choose the best ones automatically, based on factors like blur and whether people are smiling. It has even used machine learning to detect esthetics, such as a good composition.
  5. Samsung Galaxy S4 ‘Google Edition' to be unveiled with stock Android — a new version of Samsung Galaxy that runs a stock version of Android 4.2 Jelly Bean was finally announced by Google. The smartphone will be sold with 16GB of memory for $649 starting from June 26th supporting T-Mobile and AT&T networks as well as AT&T's LTE network.
  6. Google Wallet is integrated with Gmail by Google for money transactions — this integration allows users to send payments as a mail attachment even if the recipient doesn't have a Gmail address. According to Travis Green, Google Wallet product manager to send money through Gmail, the user who is making the email should hover over the attachment paperclip clicking a $ icon to attach money to the message then enter the amount and send the mail. The operation seems to be quite fast and easy even for inexperienced users.
  7. Updated Google Maps have a new UI, 5-star rating system, the offers and much more — a new version of Google Maps for Android and iOS phones is announced by Google. The software has an entirely new look and feel for the as well as the ability for companies like Starbucks to offer a new product or deal to searchers. Bernard Seefeld from Google called the application like "a map built for you". According to him the updated version is easier to use, more customized, and more immersive, but it's not clear yet when the software would be released.
  8. Streaming Music Service is unveiled by Google — on Wednesday Google launched a streaming music service called All Access that is set to compete with such products as Spotify, Xbox Music, Rdio, Pandora and others. The facility blends songs users have already uploaded to their online libraries with millions of other tracks for a monthly fee of $9.99 US with a 30-day free trial period.  For those consumers who sign up before June 30 Google offers a special $7.99 monthly fee.
  9. Google Play game service is unveiled for Android, iOS and the web — Google Play game service that will use the Google+ social network to create leader-boards in competitive games is similar to the Game Center app on Apple's iOS platform and GameCircle on Amazon devices, but much better. According to Google 900 million smartphones using the Android operating system will be activated by the end of 2013. More than 48 billion app downloads all around the globe were made via Google Play in 2012.
  10. Google I/O 2013 keynote — the most detailed report about the most anticipated Google I/O 2013 conference held in San Francisco on Wednesday, 15th May 2013. The event is scheduled to begin at 9:00 AM PDT, but the keynote starts at 08:41AM PDT just before the doors were officially opened.
  11. Google I/O 2013 data: 900 million activated Android devices and much more — the annual Google I/O conference is held by Google to unveil official stats about its recent achievements. The key data points include Android device activations, Google Play. Google Cloud messaging, Google Chrome and Google Maps.
  12. Google CEO Larry Page explained the cause of his voice problems — the post published on Tuesday on Google Plus profile of Larry Page includes the info that unveils the reasons Google CEO lost his voice a year ago and had to miss Google Inc.'s annual shareholders meeting in June and a conference call to discuss the company's quarterly earnings in July 2012. Now it's clear that his vocal cords were paralyzed after a viral infection 14 years ago, and the second was left with limited movement after a cold last summer. According to voice specialists such kind of disease is still incurable and remains to be extremely among their patients.
  13. Day 1 Chrome Sessions — in case if you are a developer or just interested in development, but failed to attend Google I/O you are welcome to watch the Chrome technical sessions from day 1 of Google I/O 2012. Only a few videos from the Chrome and HTML 5 developer session are available at this time. The playlist will be updated as soon as more are available.
  14. Google+ Games will be unavailable after June 30 — according to a page on Google Plus Help, the games hosted on the social platform will become unavailable after June 30, ,while some games may still be playable on other websites. Such decision is explained by the launch of Google Play Game Services at Google I/O that aim to completely change gaming, across three platforms – Android, iOS and the web. Some games already take advantage of the new features.

Google News:

  1. Google Play developers now can reply to user reviews — at last Android developers are able to divide their opinion with potential app reviewers. This week Google added the ability for developers to respond to those reviews left on the Google Play store via the Google Play developer console. The replies will be shown publicly on the page of the application while users will be notified via email when a developer responds to their reviews.
  2. 15GB of shared storage for Drive, Gmail, and Google+ Photos from Google. In addition, apps customers to get 30GB — having unified space across Gmail, Google and Google Plus Photos Google announced that all users would get 15 GB free storage space across three mentioned products ( 10 GB for Gmail and another 5 GB for Drive and Google+ Photos). Moreover, enterprise users of Google Apps are promised to get 30 GB of unified storage between Drive and Gmail.

Samsung News:

  1. Samsung is offering 5G service by 2020 — when the others have just started to equip devices with 4G connectivity Samsung has already proclaimed the development of a technology leading to ultra-fast '5G' mobile broadband in its future devices. Based on the millimeter-wave Ka radiofrequency bands and using an adaptive array of transceivers, Samsung's technology promises to bring 5G mobile broadband to users sooner than expected - and with it data transmission speeds several hundred times faster than currently possible using 4G networks like that offered by mobile network EE.
  2. Samsung sales four million Galaxy S4 smartphones in just 5 days —  Galaxy S4 has all the chances to become the fastest selling smartphone to date as more than four million units were shifted in the first five days of shipments. For comparison, Samsung Galaxy S took 85 days to reach 4 million handsets, the Galaxy S II took 55 days and the Galaxy S III took 21 days. Really rapid growth!

Amazon News:

  1. Amazon launches its own virtual currency called Coins — the customers of amazon.com can now use Amazon "Coins" to purchase software from the Amazon Appstore, and for the Kindle Fire. On Monday all USA-based Kindle Fire owners were given 500 free Amazon Coins – worth $5. The virtual money is available for US customers only, who can use it to buy apps, games and in-app items from the Amazon Appstore, and for the Kindle Fire. Each coin is worth $0.01. Meanwhile, the usefulness of this currency is still questionable.
  2. Amazon launches Cloud Drive Photos app for iOS — Amazon has launched an iOS free version of its Cloud Drive Photos app to give users 5GB in free storage space for backing up or offloading photos and images which occupy too much room on their own devices. Extra storage is competitively priced: 20GB of storage just for $10 a year, 50GB for $25 and 100GB for $50.

Other News:

  1. HTC First, the Facebook smartphone, is completely murdered by AT&T — Android-based but skinned with Facebook Home, HTC First was designed exactly for numerous Facebook fans a la smartphone users. In reality not everything happened so as it had been rumored before. The first sign was a price drop to $0.99 just in a month after it was launched, but now it's becoming even more clear that the HTC First is not more than a massive flop. According to unnamed resources sales of the device remain to be rather negative as only 15,000 units were sold across the U.S.
  2. Microsoft confirms Windows 8.1 to be a free upgrade available soon — according to Tami Reller, the CMO and CFO of Microsoft's Windows Division at JP Morgan's Technology, Media & Telecom Conference the upgrade named Windows 8.1 will be free and available from the home screen when it launches, while a preview version will be opened up to the public at the beginning of Build 2013 held June 26-28 in San Francisco.
  3. Photo management in SkyDrive is improved by Microsoft — as Microsoft officials stated the most common files stored on SkyDrive are photos. Thus, the company made a decision to give its cloud storage service a facelift with a few highly-requested photo-centric features. As a result, a combination of server code and application code alterations allow users to upload photos to the new SkyDrive up to 3x faster than before.
  4. PayPal receives a license for payment business in Russia — finally PayPal obtained the right to operate as a non-credit banking institution in Russia, furthering eBay and PayPal's move to the fast-growing market. According to eBay, the process of obtaining the license from the Central Bank of Russia has taken more than two years. The licensing requirement was included as a provision of Russia's 2011 National Payments Law.
  5. 75% of smartphone shipments in Q1 2013 were running Android — the mobile platform belonged to Google now accounts for nearly 75% of all handset sales having covered 20 percentage points more in comparison to a year ago state. Thus, the total amount of Android devices sold in the -months period equates with 156 million units. In general, smartphones sales increased by 63 million units to 210 million for the quarter, having amounted to nearly a half of all mobile phone sales overall, at 425 million.
  6. TechCrunch launches online learning destination CrunchU — on 15th May TechCrunch, the leading media property devoted to startups and tech, announced about its partnership with online learning provider Udemy to launch CrunchU, an online learning platform for startups and tech companies. According to Ned Desmond, COO at TechCrunch, CrunchU offers tech-driven learners around the world an exciting opportunity to learn from some of the greatest minds in today's tech and startup world.
  7. Bitcoin — created in 2009 by pseudonymous developer Satoshi Nakamoto, Bitcoin was released under the MIT license. Nowadays It became the most widely used open-source peer-to-peer "cryptocurrency" the users can pay or send over the Internet without a bank or any intermediators, but with extremely low or zero processing fees. Meanwhile, it became clear that on Tuesday the Department of Homeland Security shut down Dwolla payments to Bitcoin Platform.
  8. Nokia unveils new Lumia smartphone with aluminium body — on Tuesday Nokia unveiled its new Lumia 925 smartphone during a press conference in London. Among Lumia 925 special features there is an aluminum body instead of the polycarbonate case used on the Lumia 900 and Lumia 920. The phone also includes Nokia's enhanced PureView with improved low-light shooting. In addition, Lumia 925 includes a new “Smart Camera” function and it comes preloaded along with the popular photo filter app Hipstagram.
  9. YouTube launches paid subscription channels — YouTube has officially launched a paid subscription service in 10 countries n 10 countries, including the United States, Canada, the United Kingdom, Australia, Japan, Korea, France, Spain, Russia and Brazil. Monthly subscription fees will start at $0.99 and range as high as $7.99. Each channel offers a 14-day free trial, and subscribers pay using Google Wallet. In addition, channels have the option to feature advertisements.
  10. Tablets are going to be replaced by hybrids in 2-3 years — last week at an AMD event AMD U.K. Retail Business Development Manager Andrew Muscat expressed his own point of view that the market would move away from ordinary tablets because of hybrid devices. Muscat agrees that such devices as Nexus 7 and iPad mini are super popular, but according to him their functionality is quite limited in comparison to hybrid laptops.

Browsers:

  1. Internet Explorer 10: the best for malware protection — according to NSS Labs analysts IE 10 surely surpasses both Mozilla's Firefox and Google's Chrome when it comes to blocking malware downloads. Having tested 754 samples of real-world infected links the researchers found out that Microsoft's browser appeared to be far ahead of its close competitors. It became clear that Internet Explorer 10 offered a mean malware block rate of 99.96%, while Chrome is ready to provide its users with a mean block rate of not more than 83.16%.
  2. Google I/O: Chrome Browser has over 750 million monthly active users — according to Sundar Pichai, Google's senior vice president for Chrome and Android in 2013  Chrome has 750 million active users (includes both desktop and mobile users) in comparison to 450 million users announced at I/O in 2012.
  3. Firefox 21 release — Mozilla has officially introduced release of Firefox 21 as well as a mobile version of Firefox 21 for Android. Firefox 22 branch is entering beta testing soon. Firefox 23 aurora-branch will be separated as well. In accordance with the six-week development cycle, the release of Firefox 22 is scheduled for 25th June, and Firefox 23 on 6th August.
  4. Google shows interest in ASM.js — some low-level benchmarks show ASM.js software exceeding ordinary JavaScript in both Mozilla's Firefox and Google's Chrome, and coming close to the speed of native software. At least some at Google would like to accept a Mozilla-backed project in order to hasten Web apps created on JavaScript - even though it competes directly with Google's own Native Client and Dart programming technology.
  5. Ubuntu 13.10 to replace Firefox with Chromium by Canonical — at Ubuntu Developer summit the developers have talked about replacing the default Mozilla Firefox browser with Chromium. According to Desktop manager for Ubuntu, Jason Warner a lot of users are asking for Chromium. While another good reason that seems to be the most important one is that Ubuntu Touch, the version that is set to arrive on tablets and phones, make use of WebKit. A Chromium solution would be in Canonical's best interest.
  6. Google adds voice search to Chrome browser — at Google I/O opening keynote, senior vice president Amit Singhal was the first to show public the way the updated Google Search answers, converses and anticipates users' questions. With Google voice search everyone will be able to say your questions to Google loudly and receive contextually-correct answers whether you're using the Chrome Web browser on a smartphone, tablet or desktop PC.
  7. A kind of light trolling from Microsoft or "Don't get scroogled" — a video from Microsoft employees who mimic Google's Chrome advertisement at Google I/O conference held in San Francisco recently. The original shows a bouncing Chrome icon that takes you around all the devices and places on the Internet that Chrome connects you. Microsoft's version, however, has that same icon showing you all the places Google tracks you and makes advertising revenue with your help.
  8. VP9 Codec Nears Completion — Google announced the final stage of the VP9 video codec development process within which innovative coding techniques for the WebM project are developed. The mentioned techniques can compete with the future standard for video compression called H.265/HEVC (High Efficiency Video Coding). Currently bitstream format of VP9 is enetering beta testing phase. The code of libvpx library with VP9 implementation is available for free download via Git-repository of the Chromium project. Experimental implementation of the VP9 decoder is already included in the latest version of Chrome and Chromium browsers + Google is going to support VP9 on YouTube starting from 17th June.
  9. Request to add WebP image support from Facebook to Firefox — Facebook developers highly estimated Google's WebP image format and encourage Mozilla to support it in Firefox. In its turn, Google will try to hasten Web performance with this image format, which seems to be more powerful than both of today's JPEG and PNG.

Amazing Websites' Design:

  1. A website by Daft Punk with variety of effects.
  2. designembraced.com — a website with vertical and horizontal creative navigation.
  3. colouredlines.com.au — another website with custom navigation.
  4. c-roots.com — and another one + consumerbarometer.com.
  5. 15 awesome websites that tell a story as you scroll.
  6. https://www.zfort.com/go/https://www.zfort.com/go/http://www.ifc.com/back-to-portlandia/ — where to go without parallax.
  7. herrlich-media.de/team/— a funny animated effect to add mustache in the photo as well as to pull-out panel with buttons of social services.
  8. xoan.in — nice effects and non-standard geometry.
  9. weareapartments.org — interactive infographics with JS animation.
  10. playgroundinc.com — funny animation using SVG.

Design It:

  1. goodui — a Good User Interface.
  2. Web design trends of video backgrounds.
  3. New layouts for the multi-device web.
  4. Web design trends of video backgrounds.
  5. Meet the new Google Maps.
  6. New layouts for the multi-device web.
  7. SuperPNG — a free Adobe Photoshop plug-in for using PNG ("ping") files.
  8. Flat design inspiration.
  9. Making your own custom shapes in Photoshop.
  10. iOS 7 concept designs: welcome to the future of the iPhone.
  11. guifff.com — animated GIF showing the work with design or interactivity.
  12. sketchmine.co — files to create sketches from the design community.
  13. Windows 8 Design handbook.

A Bunch of Design Freebies:

  1. What's New in the latest version — Font Awesome 3.1.1.
  2. 40+ free PSDs and actions for mock-ups.
  3. Impressive painting wallpaper for your desktop.
  4. Avatar Icons.
  5. Textures: Grunge graffiti wall textures, Wall textures for your designs, High resolution blurred backgrounds.
  6. Fonts: 20+ best free comic fonts, Before breakfast - a free hand drawn typeface, Idealist Sans font.
  7. Icons: Flat style icons in PSD format, Attractive and free flat icon sets, Publicons - a growing collection of finely tuned publishing & platform icons.
  8. Free technical PS brushes.

Services:

  1. Picozu — online image editing tool.
  2. Wikipedia recent changes map.
  3. hoverboard.io — a space for coders, designers, writers & makers.
  4. Red Pen — a service that lets you upload your design, share a short URL, and get live, annotated feedback super-fast.

Demo:

  1. 5 awesome Chrome experiments.
  2. CSS3 Pong - with scoring.
  3. Play a chord.
  4. Freeciv — a free and open source empire-building strategy game inspired by the history of human civilization.
  5. Google Racer: a Chrome experiment.
  6. CSS only MacBook Air.
  7. GeoGuessr - let's explore the world!

Development:

  1. humans.txt — we are people, not machines.
  2. JPEG vs. Google's WebP.
  3. Google's VP9 vs. H.264.
  4. Photo Swivel — a simple technique to "rotate" the subject of a photo simply by hiding and showing multiple stacked photographs taken at different angles.
  5. Optimizing Google web font.
  6. Speeding up your web fonts.
  7. Make the most of ARIA landmark roles.
  8. Migrating a website to WordPress is easier than you think.
  9. Improving your 2013 productivity with the Chrome DevTools.
  10. 10 tips for learning a new technology.
  11. 10 bookmarklets for front end web development.
  12. Sublime text resources for Front-end developers.
  13. Responsive Inspector to inspect page media queries.
  14. Using forms in Email.
  15. IntelliJ IDEA Community edition — the open source version of IntelliJ IDEA, a premier IDE for Java, Groovy and other programming languages.
  16. Try Dart in your browser.
  17. How effective are CDNs for mobile visitors?
  18. How to avoid duplicate downloads in responsive images.
  19. Responsive images from BBC News developers.
  20. 10 easy accessibility tips anyone can use.
  21. Creating image galleries with clipped images using CSS pointer events and SVG.
  22. True-Color GIF example.
  23. An interview with Harry Roberts.

CSS:

  1. Magic numbers in CSS.
  2. CSS Counters.
  3. An experimental morphing devices slideshow with CSS Transitions for showcasing responsive web design screenshots.
  4. Handy Sass mixins.
  5. Multiple background CSS animations.
  6. Make a kinetic typography video with CSS.
  7. Firefox button height fix.
  8. .Fitgrid - a lightweight responsive grid.
  9. Paul Irish: Fast performance CSS on mobile.
  10. Replacing images when printing.
  11. Toward Maintainable style sheets using SASS.

JavaScripts:

  1. Introduction to Node.js with Ryan Dahl.
  2. W3C published Raw Socket API draft.
  3. nouislider — jQuery range slider.
  4. Media Query change detection in JavaScript through CSS animations.
  5. Brain.js — a trainable JS neural network.
  6. Cesium — a JavaScript library for creating 3D globes and 2D maps in a web browser without a plug-in.
  7. 3D Carousel using TweenMax.js & jQuery.
  8. windows — a handy, loosely-coupled jQuery plugin for full-screen scrolling windows.
  9. jquery.swatches — a jQuery plug-in that turns a one-line div into a sweet color swatch.
  10. Accessible buttons jQuery plug-in.
  11. Unveil.js — a Lightway version of Lazy Load with support for serving high-resolution images to devices with Retina displays.
  12. Grunt JavaScript automation for the lazy developer.
  13. Master Developers: Addy Osmani.
  14. Query Markup — a jQuery plug-in for assembling, pre-compiling, expanding and then DOM-injecting HTML markup code fragments based on plain HTML or an arbitrary template language.
  15. Polymer — similar to the previous one another plug-in to work as Shadow DOM and HTML Imports.
  16. AngularJS: managing feeds.

Fun & Entertainment:

  1. Bill Gates: “Steve Jobs was always steeper than me”.
  2. Google Glass:. Google Glass in action: the wearable camera + New apps arrive on Google Glass + What you can and can't do with Google Glass. And what the future Of Google Glass could look like. As a bonus: Google Glass: Ergonomics, Performance and Practicality. But… Google Glass has already been hacked by Jailbreakers.
  3. X-Rift — augmented reality mobile game: walk around the city and shoot enemies and monsters.
  4. BBC: Why city transport is set to become 'smarter'.
  5. Facebook interview questions & reviews.
  6. Firefox OS Simulator 3 is now available.
  7. 10 technologies which will change the world.
  8. Liquavista shows first prototype of flexible electronic displays.
  9. Windows 8: beautiful and fast — international social video.
  10. Commercial space transportations by NASA.
  11. Augmented Reality will be here sooner than you think.
  12. Restaurant's Facebook goes nuclear over reviews & Gordon Ramsay.
  13. Why death is not the end of your social media life + if i die - Facebook app (video).
  14. German court says Google must act if autocomplete makes defamatory suggestions.
  15. Robbie Williams promotes Megaupload in New Dizzee rascal video.
  16. Skype with care – Microsoft is reading everything you write.
  17. Google Images lets you play 1976′s Atari Breakout.

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