Google has announced that it is field testing a new social network called Google+, or Google Plus, which it calls a project rather than a product. However, watching Google's happy clappy video demos suggests it's likely to join the company's long string of social failures, which now include Orkut, Knol, Google Lively, Google Answers, Wave, Buzz, Sidewiki, Profile pages and the bought-in Jaiku (Google's not-Twitter) and Dodgeball (Google's not-Foursquare).
News and comment on what's happening in the technology industry, and the direction it's heading.
Jack Schofield spent the 1970s editing photography magazines before becoming editor of an early UK computer magazine, Practical Computing. In 1983, he started writing a weekly computer column for the Guardian, and joined the staff to launch the newspaper's weekly computer supplement in 1985. This section launched the Guardian’s first website and, in 2001, its first real blog. When the printed section was dropped after 25 years and a couple of reincarnations, he felt it was a time for a change....
While you're waiting for a train, why not do your weekly supermarket shop? A subway/tube/metro station might be too small to hold a typical Tesco, but you can substitute pictures of shelves for the real thing.
A small Californian start-up company plans to launch a "light field" camera that will let you refocus images after you have taken them. Users will be able to shift between having a sharp foreground and a blurry background, or vice versa, or having everything sharp.
Apple's retail sales chain, following in Gap's footsteps, has been enormously successful, and breaks records for metrics such as sales per square foot -- $4,406, compared with $3,070 for Tiffany & Co, a luxury store, and $880 for Best Buy. What isn't well known is its low-pressure solution-oriented approach to sales, which staff have been taught to remember using a backronym based on Apple's name.
Linux's failure as a desktop operating system has prompted Adobe to abandon its direct support for the Linux version of AIR, the Adobe Integrated Runtime, which runs programs such as the BBC's iPlayer and Tweetdeck, a Twitter client. In a blog post today, Adobe's Director of Open Source and Standards said: "we will be focusing on supporting partner implementations and will no longer be releasing our own versions of Adobe AIR and the AIR SDK [Software Development Kit] for desktop Linux".
The 15th annual Webby Awards ceremony was held in New York on Monday night, with one of the highlights being the award of Person of the Year to IBM's Watson computer, an expert Jeopardy game player. The event is noted for acceptance speeches limited to five words, and the computer came up with a classic: "Person of the year.
An Amazon tablet -- which is, admittedly, not known to exist -- could help fuel a nine-fold increase in the demand for dynamic random access memory (DRAM) in 2011, according to US-based market tracker iSuppli. With the Kindle generating an estimated (by Caris & Co) $5.
Oracle has just released another big security update, patching 17 vulnerabilities across various platforms -- except for Apple's Mac OS X. All the holes could be remotely exploited without authentication, which means patches should be applied as a matter of urgency, especially on systems where Microsoft Windows is being run with administrator privileges.
Neither Twitter nor YouTube is going to send you emails that lead to phishing or malware sites, but spammers may well be sending you emails that pretend to be from them. This morning, for example, I had one that claimed to be from Twitter (see photo below), with the Subject line: "Unfortunately 1 direct message rejected".
Texas Instruments and Qualcomm, two of the biggest suppliers of ARM-based processors in the smartphone market, have announced chips intended to run Microsoft Windows 8. Their arrival (probably) next year will help answer a number of interesting questions about the relative power, performance, and price of Intel and ARM chips, and the efficiency of modern versions of Windows compared with the Linux-based Google Android operating system.