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Photos of the month - July 2011
One the most notable events in July came courtesy of Google, which made its most significant foray yet into the social arena with the launch of Google+.
The social service remains in closed beta for now but silicon.com got its hands on a +1 and proceeded to have a poke around.
Pictured above is Google+'s Sparks feature where G+ users can let the search behemoth know the kinds of topics that float their boat - and then get a pipeline of related content delivered to their Google+ Streams. Think of it as RSS for dummies.
For more on Google+, see Inside Google+ - how to use Circles, Hangouts, Sparks and more.
Image: Natasha Lomas/silicon.com
Mute-o-matic Android app
Google software was also under the spotlight in July as we rounded up 20 Android apps for business users.
Among them is Mute-o-matic, an ingenious app that changes the call settings on your phone according to your planned meetings and events.
By entering details of meetings to the app, you can programme your phone to switch itself to silent mode without having to remember to do it yourself. The app also enables you to set a standard reply message to anyone who might call while you're in that meeting.
Mute-o-matic allows different settings to be applied to different callers, so you can set the phone to ring if the boss calls while keeping everyone else on silent.
To find out which other apps made our top 20, see Top 10 BlackBerry PlayBook accessories for business.
Image: YPB Development/Mute-o-matic
Notifications: iOS vs Android
Android also appeared in another photo story, this time by sister site CNET, which examined the most prominent mobile OSes - Android, BlackBerry OS, iOS, webOS and Windows Phone 7 - to see how each platform's homescreen, notifications, multitasking, web browser and app store compare.
Shown above is the notification system used by iOS and Android. The iPhone uses a push notification system that alerts you to new messages, voicemail and notifications from third-party apps through a series of alerts, sounds and badges. It's not very streamlined and can be pretty disruptive, especially if you have notifications enabled for a number of apps.
Fortunately, the system is changing with iOS 5, which is due out this autumn. As shown here, you'll now be able to swipe down from the top of the screen and see all your notifications in one place.
Google got notifications right from the get-go. The pull-down notifications tray was present on the very first Android device, the T-Mobile G1, and it's still present on all Android phones today. Small icons on the top toolbar give you visual cues to alert you to new messages, missed calls and so forth, at which point you can pull down the tray to get more info and launch the appropriate apps.
For more head-to-head comparisons, see Mobile OS face-off - Android, BlackBerry, iOS, webOS and Windows Phone compared.
Photo: Kent German/Bonnie Cha/CNET