Youtube Slam

Google has come out with YouTube Slam. YouTube Slam is what facebook initially was for photos, youtube slam is for videos now. If you didn't get what I meant read on.

What is youtube slam ?
Youtube slam is the new service by Google. It just throws two random videos from a category. They are pitted against each other and user need to vote for one of the videos.

Currently there are four categories in the slams. Bizzare slam, Music slam, Comeday slam and cute slam.

What is in it for google

  1. An interactive way for select popular videos.
  2. The average online time of a user increased on youtube.
  3. Since the inappropriate flag is adjacent to the "Huh" voting button, Google can use this to crowd-source the Youtube pruning.
  4. And don't forget that once it is tested and catches on, it will have direct interaction with Google+

Blogger prompts you to share a post when you create a new post of blogger

A few months ago Larry mentioned  "we will start shipping the Google part of Google+". This only seems to be getting more evident with every passing day. We saw circles in gmail, hangouts in youtube and now we see default prompting "to share on Google+" directly from the admin interface, when you create a new post on Blogger and click on share link.

Looks like there is no way you can shy away from Google+ in a few months of time. If you are a google user(the answer to which is "Yes" for may tech savy people), you will be a user of Google+ too.

Here is what The Oppurtunistic Google(Blogger) did as soon as I created a new post.

Google comes out with sliders for Google+ circles

Google has come out with sliders for Google+ circles which control the amount of posts that are displayed in your main stream from particular circles.

Currently you have four values in the sliders.

  1. Show everything from this stream in my stream.
  2. Show most things from this stream in my stream.
  3. Show fewer things from this stream in my stream.
  4. Show nothing from this stream in my stream.

Noise controls had to come to Google+ at some or other time. Why google took so long is still a mystery. Google slider seems to be a direct rip off of Facebook style of "All updates, Most updates, Only important", noise control mechanism. But however the google slider seems to much more simple and user friendly not frightening the users, unlike face-book. Google seems to be betting big on keeping things simple and making them more intuitive.

The major difference is that facebook has the noise controls at individual user(friend :P) level, whereas Google has it at the circle level. To a certain extent this highlights the difference in user perception of the two networks. But I strongly feel that Google+ should also have noise controls at the user level too.

Let us wait and see as usual :)

Google let it snow

Type let is snow in google home page and hit enter.

Sit back and rest for the magic to begin. And thats your christmas gift by google. If you are not impressed yet, then use the left click of the mouse and then drag it like you do on ms paint or gimp for defrosting.

If you want to remove the whole frost, click search button or the new "Defrost" button.

How Amazon is taking on the whole world?

Amazon is taking on the rest of the world(internet). Check out this infogram to find our how, who are its competitors and what are the verticals that amazon is trying to capture.

Amazon Infographic

Isn't it Smart way to compete with well established and deep routed companies. Brace yourself ,change is about to happen.

Source: CPC Strategy Blog

Adobe flash player update on Ubuntu

Go to Applications -> Accessories -> Terminal

You will go to the command prompt. Then type "sudo apt-get install flashplugin-installer"

Goto the web-page and refresh to check if the player is ready :)

Mr.Propreitor meet Mr.Open Source on Cloud

Cloud computing has always been seen as a game-changer. If not today at-least a few years down the line Cloud is definitely gonna change the way we function. A developer, an entrepreneur, a end user and a common man will all have their own version of how the CLOUD changed their lives. But however, as the title suggests, my motivation for writing this article is completely different.

I was at the OSI days 2011 on behalf of Azri solutions, which was held at Nimhans convention center Bangalore. There were a good number of informative sessions and a few workshops which did help many attendees to get a hands on about the the technology being discussed. There we companies : big and small, developers : novice and  pros, marketing teams : strategic and in your face types, students : studious and get-swags, opinions : pro and anti. But all in all, there was a lot of activity happening(business cards being exchanged ;) ) and the awareness about Open Source was raising. Everybody there had a reason and by the end it looked like most of them were happy with the outcome of the event.

But  there was one thing that I could constantly observe behind all this hungama. The marriage of proprietary and open-source software(or their makers) and cloud was the match-maker. Be it the key-note by Gianugo Rabellino, Microsoft or the session "Using Open Source to commoditize your technology" by Gil Yehuda, Yahoo message was clear. 

Remember Gandhi's lines? First they ignore you, then they laugh at you, then they fight you, then you win. If we modify this quote for the current scenario it would be First they ignore you, then they laugh at you, then they fight you, then they accept you as in integral part and the world wins. 

They = Proprietary and you = Open-source

First they ignore you : They did this for too long. They behaved as if open-source didn't exist. Reason? Open-source didn't eat into their pie yet, at that time.

then they laugh at you : Yes that is exactly what they did. They called it ridiculous. They asked "Why would somebody write code for free".

then they fight you : Yes they did fight too. But not directly. They said the features sets of open-source are not exhaustive. They questioned the credibility. They cautioned about business continuity taking a hit. "Lack of support has a ripple effect across an Open Source CMS project", a Sitecore white paper pointed out (You should check out the interesting debate between site-core and Dries here).

then they accept you as in integral part : Though I consider most of the points they point out(in the last paragraph) as not true concerns, that last one is something which I feel the open-source should handle well. And that is exactly the void that proprietary software based companies like microsoft, yahoo can fill. Support is something which is number intensive and big guys can do better. Other areas which have space for collaboration are 3rd party integrations, standard compliance and security measures. These are the ways in which the open-source can benefit from biggies like microsoft and yahoo. What about the reverse direction? The inertia of bigger companies generally prevent them from innovating quickly and the need for standard compliances prevent them from embracing the newer technologies. This is where open-source can be of great help to them.

Though the above mentioned factors have been pushing for the union of proprietary and open-source for quite a few years now, the pace has picked up only recently. The reason? You guessed it right, its cloud computing. Having realized the true business potential of cloud, all the companies are pushing the concept of cloud. (Did I tell you that microsoft was giving away blue tooth handsets for registering to Azure? at #osidays ?)  Now the question still remianing.  How does cloud computing motivate the union? The answer yet again is a simple one. The very concept of cloud has led people to imagine that most of the technologies are supported in the the cloud services that they choose. If the support for proprietary softwares are not provided, the cloud computing providers have a valid reason(the licencing fee), but they have no valid reason for not supporting a open-source CMS, CRM or any software for matter as they come free. And hence naturally the users expect the support for all the major open-source software for free and for sure ;) To provide support for these softwares they need at-least a small team who are well versed with these technologies as then need to provide at-least the basic support once they are providing it in their cloud stack. And the good thing is that it doesn't stop with the small team :)

    Open source has more reasons to thank the cloud.

Running a Drupal firm in India

Dries lighting the lamp. Image : Vasudeesha

After an early morning flight from Bangalore to Delhi, and a ride in the Delhi Airport Metro Express (DAME) and the Delhi local metro, I was late for Drupal Camp Delhi. Unfortunately I missed the Dries' keynote speech. But however the Panel discussion was still in progress and the volunteers ushered me to the Panel Discussion Hall. Being a speaker at the camp did help after all.

The room boasted off  CXO's of most popular small and medium scale Drupal houses from India. [For those of you those who don't know what CXO is, basically X can be replaced by a meaningful letter. So CTO, CEO, CFO, CLOs ... all fall under CXO]

These were the following points that caught my attention during the panel discussion.

Lack of Drupal Talent : This was one issue that every CXO in the room agreed to. Being a Drupal developer myself, I could not agree more. The number of calls I keep getting regarding the new opportunities to shift is just a testimony.

The response from Dries & Ron was that even Acquia faces the problem, and their solution was to start the drupal training by themselves and then create a in-house talent pool. The CXOs too felt that this is the only viable option that was available to them. But since training a talent pool in-house is not cheap either, most of them felt that a group of companies coming together to have a common training was something that they were willing to try out.

Specialization is the key :  It was interesting to see the CXOs swear by their companies that they would not work on the projects that don't pay them well (read as 15$/hour projects). Looks like they have learnt their lessons the hard-way. The problem with the 15$/hour projects is that they don't give the companies enough scope to innovate but takes up the resources of the company. One of the CXO went ahead and said "I would rather have people on bench rather than working on one such project". 

Irrespective of the companies and the regions, it is a know fact that Drupal houses in India work very cheap. Their per hour rates are abysmal. Not many India companies are in a position to charge more than 50$/ hour for the development. The key here is specialization. The companies can cross this border only if they have a niche and they can promote themselves as specialists. Specialization doesn't come cheap and companies have to invest their time and resources on them. But the results are worth the efforts. The other advantage of the specialization is that it gives the companies an easy exit from the projects. So the companies have a definite deadline. They know when their entry is and they can plan when their exit should be. "Don't be a slave of your own creations" somebody from the panel rightly quoted.

Scaling Drupal Companies :  Drupal is good for a freelancer. It is good for the startups too. But what next. How can Drupal companies scale? This was the question. Partnerships, Mergers and Acquisitions was the answer. Most of the Companies have European and UK partners who bag the projects and these companies take care of the executions. There was a CXO in the room, whose company was recently acquired. (Rahul mentioned this after taking his permission.) 

Few of the CXO's were of the opinion that Acquia should partner more with the India companies and give them the much needed credibility, which the bigger corporations expect. But Acquia was of the opinion that they can only partner with the companies in India if they have a particular niche. Acquia also made it clear that they were not partnering with any companies in India, as most of them were into the whole development cycles and didn't have a niche of their own.

Exit strategies : This was something which I had never thought of until I attended the panel discussion. The fact that these people are thinking about the exit strategies proves that these people are considering Drupal seriously as a money making instrument, which is good for Drupal in particular and open source in general. I was just wondering if Acquia also has an exit strategy and what would that be .

Lack of visibility :  Visibility of the Indian Drupal houses to me seemed to be Abysmal as always. Drupal houses from India not even featuring in the top ten for searches like "Drupal Companies India" only makes the things much worse. One of them brought this to the notice of the panel saying that when he actually wanted to give out a project to a Indian Drupal team, he was not able to find the names of most of the companies in the panel room. Pity! . The only SME that everybody felt had a better visibility was Srijan.

At-least in this angle, Drupal India still has long way to go. I have just reserved a domain called www.drupalenterprise.in I am planning to make it like a portal where drupal companies can list themselves, their details and their projects, so that it will be easier for the clients to find them. If you have any ideas or want to contribute to this project, write to me nkgokul at gmail dot com

Use your public Google+ profile on your blogs

In short : Go to http://draft.blogger.com/switch-profile.g and do the necessary changes. Make sure to read all the caveats on the page.

In long : Google now lets you use your public Google+ profile on your blogs. What are the advantages? Google lists the below

SEE ALSO: Facebook's technical clairvoyance.
  • Get access to upcoming Google+ features on Blogger
  • Highlight your posts in Google search results for your social connections
  • Maintain one identity

So what will happen if I enable the post? 

My profile will start looking what is on the right of the image below, unlike what you see now: that is on the left of the image.

What are the caveats?

Google lists the below two.
  • Upon switching to your Google+ profile, you will have the option of reverting back to your Blogger profile for 30 days. After that, your Blogger profile data will be deleted.
  • Information on your Blogger profile won't be transferred to your Google+ profile, so copy your Blogger profile information to your Google+ profile before switching.
But what about the real life scenarios?
   When you are maintaining more than one blog, you may prefer to have different biographies for different blogs. However even the current blogger profiles don't allow it :P Or do they allow? If true leave a comment how to enable it. I will switch back.

Why should I enable this feature ?
    Google is selling the idea of Identity big time now. Though they have their own perks for doing it, it can be advantageous to the end users like us too.
  1. Maintain one identity : Maintaining a single identity on the net(at-least google for the time being), will reduce the amount of efforts we put into this menial task. Having a single identity can help your audience to have a better understanding of you. You don't need to remember who you are at a given instance ;)
  2. Highlight your posts in Google search results for your social connections : So what this means is : When a friend of yours(anybody in your circles) is trying to search for anything, post written by you will get a preference over others in the google results. Google author tag is not popular yet, but as it gets popular having a unique identity on google helps as others will start using the tag to display that you are author of some piece of work and that greatly enhances the chances of your articles turning up in searched that include your name. It can also add a slew of followers to your Google+ account, who were actually looking for just some content written by you. Remember Google is gonna make adding the authors from google search to the your circles, one click process.
  3. Get access to upcoming Google+ features on Blogger : This is the list important according to me. But it will be good to have the similar interface on both Google+ and blogger. And more over we can see the new features of Google+ on blogger which is nice.

Iris - Siri competitor for Android

If you are a Apple phone-boy, I am sure you have already started bragging to your friends about the Siri : your personal assistant on your iPhone. But its time to get over Siri. Come Iris, now your Android friends can brag about Iris. Yet it is Siri read backwards and with similar features. Albeit it seems to be much more intelligent than your Siri.

"Quickly, I created a decent layout and design, and we added all shiny little things to iris, and what came out was a really good app (for an 8 hours effort that is). When we posted the first screenshot, we got a nice feedback from people around, and that is when we realized that this is something people are going to be excited about.", Narayan Babu of Dextera wrote on his company blog.

If you are not impressed with the above image, then check out this video 

Coming from dexetra who have been working on heuristics for around an year, Iris is naturally expected to make Siri look like an amateur in long term. Be cautioned the App is still in Alpha phase and hence you might get some weird answer. But be happy as answers will only get better with time. I have already started liking Iris, just by watching this video. I am off to downloading the app. More reviews later.

Google kills Google Buzz

Google buzz has been a failure, and everybody knows it now. But what we don't know is that Google Buzz was more valuable to Google, than many other successful products that Google has come out with.

With Google Buzz, google was able to find all the reasons why a social-networking can fail. Google buzz was like a play ground for Google. It made all the mistakes and it learnt from them. Then Google got into the business mode and thats when we saw Google+

These are the few lessons Google learnt from Google Buzz.

  1. People take Privacy seriously. Remember even after fixing all its privacy issue, Google Buzz has kind of become a synonym for Privacy Issues.
  2. Multimedia forms an important part of sharing needs of people.
  3. Different people have different sharing needs and different target audience.
  4. Though people prefer to see the feeds, not having a dedicated profile is not such a great idea.
  5. Releasing an API  before actual people start engaging can make the platform a dumping ground.
Lessons 1 and 5 were the most important lessons for Google.

Though Google is planning to take down Google Buzz now, Google Buzz is still helping Google in a major way. Enter data liberation and Google Take out. Google is making the message loud and clear. 
    Google Buzz is going away, but your posts are yours to keep

Through this statement Google is making a statement that data belongs to the user. This will definitely make many Google+ users happy. Compare this to the Facebook's claim that not all the data that users provide on Facebook belongs to users. Google is taking this as an opportunity to promote their Google Takeout and earn few brownie points with the end users. Thats a good start. Keep going google.

Preview Google+ theme for Google Mail

You must have observed all the Google services getting a new minimalistic, sleek design to have a unified design and interface, that matches with Google+.

Docs, bloggers, login page, so on and so forth. Its been quite a some time since Google release the preview theme for Gmail too.

Here are the simple steps to enable the preview theme on your account.

  1. Click on the wrench symbol on your Gmail account.
  2. Select theme from the tabs.

    3. Scroll down and select Preview or Preview Dense.
  4. And thats it now you will be able to see a Google+ themed inbox like

5. Now please don't tell me that you didn't see the Android theme in the Image of step 3. Go ahead and try it too :P

Why google should come out with some form of !tagging and why they should do it quick

For any platform to be successful both the publisher and subscriber should be empowered.

A platform should empower a publisher simplifying the process of content creation, content sharing and greater control over distribution. Google+ handles this very well as they have a sleek interface for creating posts and Circles are intuitive enough to make the online sharing very similar to our real life sharing.

A platform should empower a subscriber by giving him enough number of choices to consume content, ability to find good content and control over what content he consumes. The first half of this statement was important in the era of newspapers and magazines. In the current era of online publishing and social networking there is so much content that is getting created the focus shifts to the second half : ability to find good content and control over what content he consumes. This is where tagging comes.

I won't call them hashtags, as Google may not use hash symbol. Personally I would prefer ! as ! has always meant excitement and amazement to me. And this symbol would make more sense as people would search for and subscribe to what they find amazing and exciting.

Introducing !tags in itself is no big deal, but what additional functionalities google will add around !tags would make a difference to the community. Here is my wishlist regarding the !tagging

1. !tags should get higher preference in the search.

2. !tags should be links, so when I click on !startups in a +Robert Scoble article, I should be taken to a search for the !startups which will list all the posts for the !startups with +Robert Scoble posts at the top, from others in my circles next, posts from extended circles next and then the public posts.

3. Subscription model.Lets call this (None + !tag1 + !tag2 model) Ability to subscribe to !tags. So when I visit +Chris Messina I would subscribe to !technical. But the potential danger here is that what if he writes a very good technical article but forgets to add the !technical tag or does a type like !technocal(its very likely that Google+ will add the autocomplete option)? This brings us to Wish 4

4.*Unsubscription model*. (All - !tag3 - !tag4 model) Ability to un-subscribe from !tags. As mentioned in 3, since there is a danger of loosing out on good posts, I would rather subscribe to +Chris Messina and un-subscribe from !family and !UncommonInterest Moreover this model will encourage careful use of tags and reduces the chances of people using !tags just to increase their findability.

5. Keep it simple Stupid To keep it simple for the non-technical crowd, the circling should be as it is now and subscribe, un-subscribe model should be built as a next layer of Circles.

6. The other potential danger is that when I subscribe to only !GoogleUpdates of +Bradley Horowitz I am not sure how many posts about !technical or !interesting I am missing out. So beside every post of +Bradley Horowitz that is appearing on stream there should be a message like (4 posts of +Bradley Horowitz were not shown to you) When I do a mouse over that message, I should get a list of !tags followed by posts for the !tag that didnt appear in stream and list of untagged posts.

If I cicle +Chris Pirillo and un-subscribe from the !lego, for every post that appears on my screen there would be a message (100 posts with the !lego didn't appear on your screen)

This message greatly helps us improve our subscription or unsubscription model continuously. So that like facebook we wont end up with the missing update problem.

The advantage Google has is it can get a fair idea of a person by the tags that he is following and hence provide him with better Google Ads ;)

Share your Google+ circles now

Now Google+ allows you to share your circles.

  1. Click on circles and go to the circles page.
  2. Click on the circle that you want to share.
  3. Click on the link "Share this circle" at the top right.

Though sharing your circles, seems to be a minor feature. It will have a great effect on growth of Google+ in the short and long terms.

In the short term, since Google+ has gone public all the newbies will find it really helpful. So if I have newly joined Google+ all I need to do is a find a circle of my interest that is shared by somebody and just add it to my circles. Bingo! like magic Google has solved the problem of empty stream in one go. What  Google has is it has taken the smart way of crowd-sourcing the  featured lists. 

In long term what happens is people have a reward for discovering new people who are interesting, who share great content. A person who can share a great list of people to follow will definitely start garnering more followers. This will help Google to prune Google+ and more people will have more interesting guys to follow, which is great for the community.

Facebook announce Timeline

Facebook today announced their timeline. Timeline is the new profile. Facebook timeline is the facebook's way of telling your story. It collects your status messages, photos, video and apps from facebook to tell your story.

Though it appears to be innovative, I am not sure if it can add much value and if it can help Facebook retain its user base.

SEE ALSO: Facebook - A Life Saver.

Google+ search explained

IF you can see the above on your Google+ profile, then Google+ search has been enabled for you. If you still see the old "Find people " text, you have to wait for some more time, as Google rolls out the search to you.

With search Google made an entry into the web. Now with search in Google+, google has made real entry into social networking.

Google announced a slew of changes that makes Google+ such a better platform. Google+ going public, Hangouts API and Google+ search. But if you measure these improvements by impact they can have, Google+ search definitely stands out.

With search coming to Google+ now, I have more reasons to spend time on Google+.

1.) When people don't know what to do, they generally visit networking sites ;).
And now when they don't know what to do in Google+ they have a search box.

2.) For the first timers Search Google+ is a much better option when compared to the feature lists. Its hard to find the strangers whom you can circle. But now you can search for your interests and then circle the people who have written or shared those interesting articles.

3.) It is easy to find your own old Google+ posts. This was really frustrating as it was difficult for me to find my own posts, when I wanted to link them or read myself.

4.) It is easy for others to find your posts. With search coming now, the floating traffic for your posts will increase for sure. And you might be surprised to find out that your old posts which were inactive for long(that has to be less than three months as of now), getting revitalised again.

5.) Best of search can help find good content. Nobody will search for their interests in Facebook. But in Google+ they will start doing it more frequently. This might in turn become a major plus point for Google+

6.) Most recent : This will help you find the latest content regarding your search term. But if Google+ has to make use of the full potential of this.If Google+ can spice up this feature with the real time updates, it has all the potential to make twitter obsolete.

7.) Save this search : Find the content you want easily, every time you want it. That is what this save this search will do. It will be added as a spark left column.

8.) With search coming up there is more reward for becoming more public. So public will be the default option for many from now on.

9.) Mind my words, search web is not gonna come to Google+, until Google+ starts supporting Ads. Remember that Google makes most of its bucks from Ads.

10.) If Google+ cannot come out with noise controls, the kind of noise that will be generated, will drive out many users from Google+

Compare this with my article I had written just after a few days of Google+ release. http://www.socialbucket.net/2011/07/social-search-what-google-is-really.html

Facebook and Heroku tie up to boost facebook developer activity

Cat Lee of facebook wrote on the facbook blog in an article titled "Facebook and Heroku: an even easier way to get started" wrote "We continue to make it even easier to get started building apps on Facebook Platform. We know that one of the most difficult things to getting started is setting up a place to host your app. As a result, we are starting to partner with some of the top cloud service providers to make it simpler for you to have your first app up and running in a few clicks -- all from within the Dev App. "

This is definitely seen as a move by facebook to grab the attention from the developers as Google+ is going to release their full version API shortly. This seems to be strategic move by Zuckerberg. But what needs to be seen will it be a master move or just another attempt. What is interesting is recently Google hiked the prices of the Google App Enigne, which came as a surpise to many developers.

Two things to note

  1. Programming languages supported : Php, node.js, Ruby and Python. All open source programming languages.
  2. And how do you push the code? Git ofcourse...

So now you now why we like it so much

Google says that gmail is cooler in the cloud

David Jacobowitz, Program Manager, Green Engineering and Operation stars of the blog with "Cloud computing is secure, simple, keeps you productive and saves you money. But the cloud can also save energy".

Google uses this image to show us how using the cloud can  be efficient.

To give you an idea regarding the amount of energy used in serving a general user the data for  gmail and youtube, Google gives these illustrations.

We do agree that the cloud is the trend now. But two questions that are bothering the companies small and large alike are

1. How safe is the data that Google is handling. We did check out their enterprise blog for this and this is what we found.

2. Can we trust Google ?

We don't have a definite answer for this, all that we can say is Its your personal choice. :)

Read the Google blog on this topic here

Are Airpush ads controversial?

The air-push Google ads make tall claims that developers can earn 10X more. So I just visited their site and Googled a little bit about them.

Airpush basically provides Notification ads. These ads sit in the notification bar of your android phone. So an from an application that uses Airpush will look like this.

This is a video from Airpush explaining about their service.

So far so good. But the problem with Airpush ads is that there is no way you can find out which app is pushing this ad. And there seems to be no way users can find this out. Check out Airpush happy to support developers who deceive their users. What we are not sure is how long these ads will sit in the notifications tray. It appears that these ads will sit in the notification tray until the users click on clear notifications(not verified).

Since these push ads have more visibility and shelf life when compared to the inapp ads, naturally these ads are generating higher CPMs. The developer page of their site claims these statistics for the day.

The android terms and condition only mentions this

17.1 Some of the Services are supported by advertising revenue and may display advertisements and promotions. These advertisements may be targeted to the content of information stored on the Services, queries made through the Services or other information.

Since it doesn't say about the location we are not sure whether Air-Push is violating android terms. But the problem here is that since the notifications bar is a common area there should be a way of co-relating the ad with the app that is publishing them. Looks like it is time Google should change this clause appropriately.

The video says that the users can opt out at any time. But the process doesn't seem to be very intuitive either. 

You either need to download an android app that keeps all Air-push ads away from your notification bar. Or you need to enter the EMEI number of your phone manually to keep this ads away.

Though there are few things fishy about the Airpush ads. This seems to be like a natural flow. We had similar development in web too with respect to the hard-to-find-unsubscribe link. But Unsubscribe Compliance helped us out. Considering the growth in mobile technology its time to have Unsubscribe policy for Ads on Mobile Apps too

Google+ Circles, Sparks, Huddle and Hangout

CIRCLES : Google+ circles make sharing online very similar to the real life sharing. Share what y
ou want only with whom you want.

SPARKS : Facebook is family(social) graph while Google+ is for interest graph. Sparks are an other way of finding data about your interests. They are not awesome as of now. But once Google+ starts incorporating best google+ feeds into them, they will definitely be a feature to watch out for.

HUDDLE : Huddle seems to like a group chat with your circles on Android. I am trying it out now.

HANGOUTS : Hangouts are group video chats with your freinds. It is a great way to hangout with your friends.

SETTINGS : If you are a kind who feels Google+ is difficult to use watch this video.  

Freddie Mercury Google Doodle

Google is celebrating the birthday of  Queen’s legendary singer Freddie Mercury with this animated Google doodle.

 If you are thinking that Golden pendant at the center of the Google doodle is just for decoration, look again. It is a play button for the animation.

And as usual if you want to know more about Freddie Mercury click on the Doodle once again :)

Gmail Inbox Styles Tabs

You can use the Gmail Inbox Styles Tabs to your advantage to be more organised and effecient. You have five Inbox styles Classic, Important first, Unread first, Starred first and Priority Inbox. Each one of them useful in its own way. So the best option is to use them all, and that is what Gmail Inbox Styles Tabs exactly.

To enable Gmail Inbox Styles Tabs
  1. Mouse over on Inbox.
  2. Click on the Drop down arrow.
  3. Click on "Try the tabs again".

Once you are done with the above steps you will see this in your mail.

Note :
  1. Don't click on the X mark. If you click on the X the tab might go away and there is no assured way to get it back.
  2. Moreover Google say "After you've settled on a style you like and used it for about a week, these tabs will go away, You can always change your inbox style from the drop down menu next to the Inbox label or from the Settings page." So if the tab goes away after few days try changing the Inbox style a few times and it might as well come back.

Google Blogger gets a new upgrade

The designers at Google looks to be having some work of late ;) We all know that google generally gives very little work to their designers. But of late it seems that google is paying more attention to the design and it surely is paying off large dividends for them. There minimalistic designs go with current trend and moreover they are getting most of the things right this time with respect to their design. All their services have standard look and feel now, making all the services of Google more like a blended unit. The latest upgrade to Google blogger is one more example of how small intuitive changes add considerable value to the user experience.

The home page gives you details about the most happening blogs in your account. The reading list and the View in Google Reader links only suggest that Google might be looking upto ramp up their Google Reader as well. The image at the top right suggest that we might find a link to the Google+ profile once Google+ is out of beta stage.

The home page for each of the blog has all the important  information aptly fit into a single screen. This new layout definitely reduces a few clicks at least. The major links on the left are less cluttered now and look more elegant.

 Clicking on the posts link takes us to our edits posts page. Adding comments and number of views here is definitely adds to the feel. And the revert to draft option beside publish was one thing I had been looking forward to. It definitely reduces your work when you want to un-publish a group of posts at once.

Looks like Blogger is gonna give some stiff competition to Wordpress. Let us sit back and watch...

Facebook Page Vanity Url

Every user on facebook can have vality url like http://www.facebook.com/yourname. If you are half geek you must have already have had a vanity url of your own. 

Similarly if you are an administrator of a page, you must have a vanity url for your page too. But the catch is that your page needs to be popular. The earlier limit was 1000 and it was not reasonable. However Facebook brought down the limit and your page can now have a vanity if it has got more than 25 likes.  So head right away to http://www.facebook.com/username/ and register a name for your page like we did. http://www.facebook.com/socialbucket

How to keep my google stream buzzing...

If you think that Google+ is a failure just because your stream is empty, you are wrong. There are so many blogs out there which brag that Google+ is a huge success already one two  or those that reason why Google+ is going to become ubiquitous one. Go read them. What I will do here is give you some small tips to keep your Google+ stream buzzing....

0. Google+ is not facebook. Google+ can be used like Facebook but it will take time. Until then start circling some interesting people and discover some interesting content. Google+ has already replaced twitter for many. It will eventually get popular amongst Facebook fans also. Believe me you can Google like Facebook but it will take some more time. May be 6 months or so.

1. Don't rule out Google+ without circling at-least 10 popular profiles that match your interests. Find the right people to circle. But since you guys will find it tedious I am posting the links to some of the profiles that you should circle straight away.
  • If you want all the nonsense and lighter update circle  Chris
  • Circle some guys at Google start with Vic Gundotra he posts most of the updates about Google+

2. Play with circles they are fun and they will help you keep organised.
  • Create as many circles as you want so that you can keep your contacts organised. Create one each for friends, family, each of the companies that you have worked before, each of the schools or colleges that you have attended. The benefit of having many circles is as Google+ matures we will have the option to overlap circles and perform set like operations on them. So that later you can create a circle called colleagues and all the circles related to your previous companies to that circle.

  • Always keep the count of Number of people in your circles more that Number of people who have circled you(Unless you are a celebrity or you have crossed the 5000 mark). The simplest way to do this is regularly go to Circles, click on people who have added you tab and select "Not yet in your circles" as the sort criteria. Add them all to the "My followers" circle if you don't know them.

  • Create some interesting and funny circles like these. So when Google+ adds an option of remove option while sharing data, you can say share with "Public" - "Loosers". And don't fret while adding people to negative circles like these. Google+ is not gonna let them know to which circle you added them. So you are safe unless there is a security breach at Google+.

  • Edit and add some juicy descriptions to your circles. Adding meaningful descriptions makes circles more interesting though only you can see them.

3. Try out hangouts. It is fun.
  • Start a hangout and invite your close friends. Hangouts are on the right sidebar below the invites. 

  • If you are not sure whom to invite and just be a part of hangout, find some interesting hangouts here  or become a part of the longest hangout on google+ 
  • And remember if you are starting a hangout and you want to make it public just select public from  the invite option.