The Google iPad
Following the recent announcement by Apple to begin manufacturing and selling their iPad tablet computer, Google has decided to release a few mock-ups illustrating what a tablet using Google’s Chrome operating system would look like, if it were to exist.
“On tablets, the UI (User Interface) would be adjusted to handle larger touch targets. Initial explorations have maintained the same basic chrome layout, but enlarged the controls,” says Google. “Icons could be placed above tabs to provide larger, square targets. Panels would be placed along the bottom edge and could be opened with upward dragging motions.”
Interestingly, these mock-ups were actually placed online two days before Apple’s launch of its tablet, but no one really noticed at the time.
According to reports, Google has been working with smart phone manufacturer HTC to produce the tablet, or series of tablets, so it looks like these prototype images may well become reality sometime in the future; potentially giving Apple a run for its money.
Facebook e-mail coming soon?
It’s rumoured that Facebook will soon start offering e-mail services which will give its 350+ million users access to their own Facebook webmail account. Code-named project Titan, Facebook plans to rival popular and established email providers such as Gmail. In an effort to unify and streamline their current messaging system, the Facebook e-mail service will apparently incorporate the messaging and instant messaging offerings currently available.
It’s speculated that e-mail addresses for Facebook users will be based on their vanity nickname, a feature Facebook recently introduced, e.g. email@example.com. The e-mail accounts will have full pop3 / imap support, meaning that users can access their Facebook mail via a desktop client such as Outlook.
It’s a logical step for Facebook to take as its existing messaging service has often been described as unfriendly and unreliable. MySpace previously upgraded their IM service to a full featured webmail offering but has been plagued by significant spamming activities. It’s, however, very likely that Facebook has considered this and will apply vigorous attention to the threat of abuse of its email service.
There’s no doubt that it’ll catch on thanks to Facebook’s pool of just-shy-of 400 million users who will be on the receiving end of aggressive marketing for the new service.
PayPal in South Africa
Could it be that FNB will be bringing Paypal to South Africa later this year? Local online retail has long complained about the lack of a full PayPal service in South Africa. Rumours have recently surfaced on Twitter and the popular online technology news site MyBroadband, however, that this may all change. FNB has thus far failed to comment; neither confirming nor dispelling the rumour.
Paypal has been a much-desired service that has remained out of reach for local online publishers and retailers. At the moment, there is an array of local payment solutions but none are as flexible and cost effective as PayPal.
The current online payment gateway model in South Africa requires hefty monthly fees with additional transaction fees, while with PayPal there are only transaction fees.
Furthermore, PayPal is an international system which has become the de facto payment option for the global online community. It opens up convenient payment opportunities to clients who use and trust PayPal abroad to be able to pay for items or conduct online transactions on South African websites.
PayPal in South Africa would be a much welcomed service and, if the rumour is true, it will definitely boost FNB’s customer base; fulfilling a very significant need in South Africa’s online retail landscape.
Google Map’s ‘drag&zoom’
Google Maps adds experimental new features
The Google Maps service recently launched a ‘labs’ section, much like Gmail and other Google Services, which offers features still under development that can be used by early adopters before they become available for mainstream users.
All the Google Maps lab features are available to try but are disabled by default as they are still beta services. An overview of some of the new lab offerings for Google Maps:
Smart Zoom: Prevents a user from zooming in too close where no images are available for the zoom level.
Drag ‘n’ Zoom: Provides a smarter method of zooming into specific areas of a map by dragging a square with your mouse which will then cause the map viewer to resize and zoom into that area.
Rotatable Maps: Adds the ability to rotate the orientation of the map.
Aerial Imagery: Enables high resolution aerial photography overlays.
LatLng Marker: Add latitude and longitude markers.
LatLng Tooltip: Display the pointer’s latitude and longitude.
Where in the World Game: Play a game that tests your geographical knowledge.
What’s Around Here: A secondary search result that enables you to perform searches within searches or searches of search results. Useful for searching within a specific area.
Check out http://maps.google.com/maps?showlabs=1
Run Firefox 3.6 from your flash drive
Firefox 3.6 Portable is a useful web browsing application as it runs completely and portably from your flash drive, saving its usage data and settings alongside itself on your flash drive.
Perfect for the traveller or internet cafe user, this allows you to take your own browsing experience, along with your bookmarks and settings, anywhere. Firefox Portable is basically the fully featured Firefox 3.6 web browser that has been slightly modified to run itself from a flash drive or any other portable media, and to save its user data alongside itself; leaving no trace of your activities on the host computer.
Portable applications are a great solution for those who need the freedom of portability without the hassle of lugging around a laptop. Along with Firefox there is a superb collection of portable applications available online, like for instance a portable version of Skype and a portable Open Office suite.
Portable Firefox is made available by PortableApps.com, which has taken the initiative to create an entire application suite of portable programs along with a fully featured portable start menu that allows for easy portable application management.
Note: Portableapps.com software is available for Windows only, however many Linux and Mac applications have portable capabilities.