Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Samsung Wheels of hope bus starts it journey in Delhi

This morning, J. S. Shin, President & CEO Samsung South West Asia has flagged off 'Wheels of Hope' bus in India. This bus program is part of Samsung's CSR initiative. Wheels of Hope bus is a mini computer lab containing  Samsung netbooks, notebooks and tablets and will give a first hand experience of technology to approxmiately 7500 students from 35 municipal schools and government aided schools in Delhi. 



Speaking about the initiative,  J S Shin said, “Education is one of the key focus areas of Samsung’s Corporate Social Responsibility program. Our new project, ‘Samsung Wheels of Hope’ aims to open the doors to technology for a number of young students who do not have access to computers and internet in their schools and at their homes .
 Source

Xperia handsets get WebGL support


It looks like engineers at Sony Ericsson are working really hard to make their devices stand apart. The above video is a demo of WebGL running on Xperia Arc S. Xperia's stock android browser is now part of the elite group of browser that support WebGL (Firefox mobile, N900's stock browser, WebWorks in Blackberry Playbook OS 2.0)


WebGL (Web-based Graphics Library) is a software library that extends the capability of the JavaScript programming language to allow it to generate interactive 3D graphics within any compatible web browser. WebGL code executes on a computer display card's Graphics Processing Unit (GPU), which must support shader rendering. Definition taken from Wikipedia
In  short, with WebGL enabled, users can have interactive graphics (3D) without the need to install plugins or 3rd party applications.

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R.I.P. Charles Walton, Father of RFID


Charles Walton, inventor of RFID technology died yesterday, at age of 89 and it is really sad that this news was out almost a month later (death happened on 6th of November). It was in the year 1973 that Charles Walton invented the swipe-read-unlock technology that every entrance to secure or restricted area uses. Best examples are those badges that IT employees use to enter the office (employee swipe at the reader -> door unlocks -> person enters -> door swings shut and locks). Charles was among the first to get patents for RFID and in fact, the tag Radio-frequency identification was first used in his patent application. In today's world, RFID is used everywhere and if you are still scratching your head what this RFID is, read this:

"RFID is expected to generate $6 billion in worldwide revenue in 2011, according to ABI Research. The chips are used in access control, theft control, car immobilization, electronic toll collection, electronic document identification, dog tags, asset management, baggage handling, cargo tracking, contactless payments and ticketing, and supply chain management." quote from http://venturebeat.com/2011/11/27/charlie-walton-inventor-of-rfid-passes-away-at-89/
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Introducing the new Google Bar



Soon, the old top black bar will give way to drop down menu and this is to provide more space on the browser for main content while the notifications are integrated into the header (on the right side). This change is not rolled out to the users yet but I have a feeling that the top bar is way better than the drop down list as it required less clicks. 

Samsung Exynos 5250 is a 2GHz dual core monster


Samsung has taken the wraps off Exynos 5250 SoC and it does seem to be a monster. Here is a button list of features:

  • Dual Core 
  • Two Cortex-A15 chips inside, clocked at 2GHz
  • 32nm-low power HKMG process
  • Support for stereoscopic 3D display and display resolution upto 2560×1600 (WQXGA)
  • 2x times faster than a 1.5GHz dual core Cortex A9 based chip and 4x times better graphics performance than Cortex-A9 based APUs
  • To be used in high end tablets (first batch of devices will be out in mid 2012)

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Adobe to support AIR and Flash on Galaxy Nexus

Adobe has confirmed support for both AIR and Flash Player for Google Samsung Galaxy nexus smartphone and also mentioned that these two apps will be available from next month. There was confusion regarding the same when Galaxy Nexus was released in UK without AIR and Flash Player support. We hope that the update (to let users install AIR and Flash Player on Galaxy Nexus) will give enough time  for Google and Samsung to release Galaxy Nexus bundled with AIR and Flash Player in USA.
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Sony Ericsson Xperia users get 50GB of space at box.net


If you are an owner of any Xperia device, you better install the Box for Android application now on your phone, create an account and get 50GB of cloud storage space free for life(5GB free by default for all box users). What can you store here? Well, here's the list

  • Upload, access and view content on your Android phone or tablet
  • File caching for faster access to key content
  • SSO for simple login process
  • Easily share files and folders with links
  • Find files fast with built-in search
  • Save files you create in other Android apps to your Box account      

Nielsen report Q3'11: Android and Apple on top in USA

As expected, Android has maintained it's lead with 42.8% marketshare with iOS in second place with 28.3% markethsare. Apple has maintained it's position as top smartphone maker with 28.3% marketshare, with HTC in second place, with 20.3% marketshare. Microsoft seems to be struggling to improve on Windows Phone 7 marketshare. Also, It will be interesting to see how the landscape changes in Q4, given the explosive rise of Samsung, decline of sales for HTC, the fresh batch of Windows Phone 7.5 devices.
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Google Maps 6.0 for Android released, comes with Indoor maps



Google Maps for Android version 6.0 is now available on Android market. The feature updates first:

  1.  Indoor maps (beta) are now available for select airports, shopping malls, and more. Learn more at g.co/indoormaps
  2. Menu added to the top toolbar for easy switching between common features.
  3. Updated home screen for Places, now with popular searches based on your location.
  4. Option to disable automatic screen dimming for Navigation.
As you can see, the most interesting part is "indoor maps".  With this feature, you will now be able to view the building layouts (for selected buildings). For example, the next time when you are heading to airport that is added to indoor maps, you can zoom in to the airport building to see what's availalbe in the airport, the floor plan etc. It seems that Google will even recognize which floor you are on and thereby giving better detail on what is available nearby.
Here's a short video showcasing Indoor maps:


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Look who is using Microsoft's cloud services (infographic)

Below is the infographic that Microsoft released giving detail on how and where thir Office 365 cloud services are being used. It is indeed nice to see that Office 365 has such a large user base. 



Windows Phone emulator site for iOS and Android users

Now, this is interesting. I remember seeing Windows Phone 7 demo videos available for desktop browser. Microsoft has now released Windows Phone 7 Demo site that is compatible with Android and iOS browsers. What does it do? Well, if you are using an iOS or Android device and are desperately waiting to try out a Windows Phone 7 device, you can open this site in your mobile phone's browser and get a feel of Windows Phone 7.
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Motorola Milestone 2 and LG Optimus 2X get Gingerbread in Europe

In two separate news, Gingerbread updates are announced for Motorola's Milestone 2 in Europe and LG Optimus 2X in UK. While Milestone 2 users will be receiving the update starting tomorrow, LG has already made the update available for Optimus 2X users in UK. Do note that Optimus 2X will be getting Icecream Sandwich update later this year or in early 2012 (confirmed by LG)
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Microsoft Security Essentials beta ready for download


It is well aware that Microsoft has been working on a new version of Microsoft Security Essentials security suite and today, there is a beta version of this tool available for download at Microsoft's Connect site. The following are the enhancements in this new version:

  • Enhanced protection through automatic malware remediation: The Beta program will clean highly impacting malware infections automatically, with no required user interaction.
  • Enhanced performance: The Beta includes many performance improvements to make sure your PC performance isn’t compromised.
  • Simplified UI Simplified UI makes Microsoft Security Essentials Beta easier to use.
  • New and improved protection engine: The updated engine offers enhanced detection with cleanup capabilities and better performance.


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Internet Explorer 10 Platform Preview 4 is out now


Microsoft has released IE 10 PP4 yesterday which is available for download now. Do note that this works only on Windows 8 developer preview OS. The highlights first, courtesy MSDN blog:

  • Cross-Origin Resource Sharing (CORS) for safe use of XMLHttpRequest across domains.
  • File API Writer support for blobBuilder allowing manipulation of large binary objects in script in the browser.
  • Support for JavaScript typed arrays for efficient storage and manipulation of typed data.
  • CSS user-select property to control how end-users select elements in a Web page or application.
  • Support for HTML5 video text captioning, including time-code, placement, and captioning file formats.
There is lot more detail and a video showcasing IE10's HTML5 capabilities in this MSDN blog article. Go dig it. And do submit your feedback on Connect.

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CyanogenMod 7 on Kindle Fire, first photos


Yes. The popular CyanogenMod 7 is getting ready for Kindle Fire, given that Fire is rooted few weeks ago. The above shot is the first picture taken after JackpotClavin from XDA successfully booted CM7 ROM. The ROM is not available for download as it is way too far from being stable. This is only to let you folks know that the Kindle Fire will be getting CM7 soon. The below picture shows the working Wi-Fi settings.


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Apple vs Samsung patent battle updates

We all know the ongoing patent battles between Apple and Samsung and there are two interesting events that happened yesterday.


  1. Apple was successful in getting Samsung Galaxy Tab (10.1,8.9 and 7.7) in Germany and as a workaround, Samsung has slightly modified the design of Galaxy Tab 10.1 and released this under the name Galaxy Tab 10.1N. It seems that Apple is not yet happy with the redesign and they have filed a motion for preliminary injunction on the 10.1N. The hearing might happen on 22nd of December. 
  2. Australian Federal court has reversed the ban on Samsung Galaxy Tab that was applied in October. But sale of Galaxy Tab will not be allowed till Friday evening as Apple won stay on decision to lift ban on Galaxy Tab till Friday afternoon.

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Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Twitter on Playstation Vita demoed by Sony


The above video is a demo of Twitter app on PS Vita. Animations look good, so is the feature set. It seems that the app supports lists based twitter feed roll. We do hope that Sony pushes this app to their Xperia line up of smartphones.

ARM DS-5 Community Edition Android dev kit released


ARM has just launched their own Android development toolkit, Development Studio 5 Community Edition. The reason for this release is the fact that most of the Android devices are powered by chips that are based on ARM architecture. Here is a list of features of this new toolkit
  • Customized Eclipse IDE, with ARM compiler, C/C++ editor and integrated productivity utilities.
  • DS-5 debugger
  • Performance analyzer for system-wide performance analysis for Linux and Android systems
  • Real time simulator (for Cortex A8 and A9)
DS-5 will be available in three different packages as explained below:


  • DS-5 Application Edition: Affordable professional solution for native language (e.g. C, C++) Linux and Android user space development. No debug unit required.
  • DS-5 Linux Edition: End-to-end software development tool suite for Linux-based systems. It includes bootloader and kernel level debug and trace capabilities when used in conjunction with DSTREAM.
  • DS-5 Professional Edition: Leading-edge software development tool-chain for bare-metal, RTOS, and Linux-based projects. It includes all features of the other editions plus the highly-optimizing ARM Compiler.
You can download the toolkit from here but before downloading, make sure that your host is compatible (details are provided below).

Host System Requirements

Minimum Configuration

  • Dual core 2 GHz processor or equivalent
  • 2 GB of RAM (4 GB recommended)
  • Approximately 1 GB of hard disk space

Operating System

  • Windows XP Professional service pack 3 (32-bit)
  • Windows 7 Professional and Enterprise (32/64-bit)
  • Windows Server 2003 (ARM Compiler toolchain only)
  • Windows Server 2008 (ARM Compiler toolchain only)
  • Ubuntu Desktop Edition 10.04 LTS (32-bit only)
  • Red Hat Enterprise Linux 5 Desktop and Workstation, option Standard (32/64-bit)
Source

Amazon Kindle sales are off the roof

Large user base. Very good content. Early announcement to create buzz. Great hardware. Terrific price. Holiday season launch.

This is the path that made Amazon's Kindle lineup sales go off the roof. Amazon has announced that this year's sales increased four times over last year. There is no doubt that Kindle Fire has been influential in sales figures (which are not out yet)


"Even before the busy holiday shopping weekend, we'd already sold millions of the new Kindle family and Kindle Fire was the bestselling product across all of Amazon.com. Black Friday was the best ever for the Kindle family - customers purchased 4X as many Kindle devices as they did last Black Friday - and last year was a great year," said Dave Limp, Vice President, Amazon Kindle. "In addition, we're seeing a lot of customers buying multiple Kindles - one for themselves and others as gifts - we expect this trend to continue on Cyber Monday and through the holiday shopping season." 
Do we finally have a worthy competitior to iPad? Yes! Will Kindle Fire continue the charge in coming months? Yes. Do we now know how to tackle Apple's dominance in tablet market? Yes, Yes and Yes! Period!


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Google I/O event pushed to June but will be longer


Google I/O 2012
June 27-29, 2012
Moscone Center West, San Francisco


These are the new dates for Google's I/O 2012 event. The event was supposed to happen on 24th and 25th of April but is postponed to June and will be a three day extravaganza. So, edit your calendars now and mark the new dates.

Source

AMD memory sticks are official

Yesterday, AMD has announced retail availability of AMD Memory branded RAM modules for desktops (in partnership with Patriot Memory LLC and VisionTek Products, LLC).

“Patriot Memory will bring over two decades of experience and expertise into this ecosystem,” said Paul Jones, CEO of Patriot Memory. “Our proven ability to deliver the best technology at the most competitive prices will help pave the way to success for this memory line.”
AMD memory will be available in three different categories, each category will have 2GB, 4GB and 8GB sizes.

  • Entertainment :  1333 MHz and 1600 MHz speed RAM
  • Performance : 1600MHz low latency (comes in pairs)
  • Radeon Edition : 1866 MHz. Tuned, tested and certified for specific AMD platforms. 
AMD Memory is already available at select retail stores in USA and we hope that they will spread to other parts of the world. 


A six minute history of Google


The above timeline based video showcases how Google developed since its early days and has interviews of key members of Google. To be short, this the best way to learn about 'The Google Story'  in six minutes time :)

LG announces ICS update to their Optimus lineup

This should bring a broad smile to those who are using LG Optimus lineup of smartphones. LG has announced on their facebook page that they are working on updating  Optimus 2X, the Optimus Black, the Optimus 3D and the Optimus LTE to Icecream Sandwich version of Android (4.0).


In December this year, the forthcoming upgrade schedule and additional specific models for the ICS OS upgrade will be posted on our LG Mobile Global Facebook page (www.facebook.com/LGMobile) and on our local LG websites. Please stay tuned for more updates from LG.
LG will also evaluate the possibility of updating their other Android devices to Inecream Sandwich.



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Glowball, the first Tegra 3 app is available at Tegra Zone


Glowball, the first application that can make use of Tegra 3 superchip is out now on Tegra Zone. The above video is a demo of the same that was put on youtube by Nvidia. Here's a quick feature list of the app:
  • Designed specifically for devices using NVIDIA® Tegra 3™, quad-core mobile superchip
  • Carnival level includes nine concurrent cloth simulations running in real-time
  • Sea Floor level includes 300 simulated kelp plants, 1400 other moving plants, and 2 million triangles of scene geometry
  • Interaction of scene objects using NVIDIA PhysX®
  • Dynamic scene lighting that can be changed by tapping on the ball
  • Particle, reflection, and skinned animation effects
  • Caustic lighting, fog, and schooling fish in Sea Floor level
  • Custom vertex and pixel shaders make for shiny fish and a wavy sea
  • Splitscreen mode allows you to turn visual effects on/off and compare the results

Bada OS 2.0 powered Samsung Wave 3 released in France

Samsung has launched the much awaited Bada OS 2.0 device, Wave 3 in French market and will be launching the same in Germany, Italy, Russia and other markets by end of this year.
   "The Wave 3 is a smartphone to benefit from the power of the bada 2.0, as well as a newly expanded suite of Samsung applications and services. We will continue to enhance our bada platform and its eco system for Wave smartphone line-up by developing more innovative features, application and content services," said JK Shin, President and Head of Samsung's Mobile Communications Business. "We believe the Wave 3 is a smartphone that will truly deliver Samsung's commitment to the bada platform in the mobile industry, and I hope customers around the world will enjoy it and take full advantage of its many innovative features."
If you are not fully aware of Wave 3 smarpthone, here is a brief list of specs:

  • 4" SuperAMOLED display with 480 x 800 resolution
  • 4GB internal memory, 1.4GHz processor
  • 5mp camera with flash and 720p video recording
  • VGA front facing camera for video calling
  • Bada OS 2.0
  • Bluetooth 3.0, Wi-Fi 802.11 b/g/n, Wi-Fi direct support
  • Digital Compass, Samsung ChatON app, DivX/Xvid support, TV-Out
  • 1500mAh battery
Additionally, Samsung is hosting a global app contest, the 'bada 2.0 Power App Race'. The competition is designed to encourage the bada developer community by rewarding the best bada 2.0 apps with a $1,000,000 cash prize. 'bada 2.0 Power App Race' winner will be decided by the public, with the top 10 best-selling applications in Samsung Apps determining the result. Developers can participate via the bada developer site (developer.bada.com/) after registering for the contest by Dec. 31.
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N900 runs Icecream Sandwich, thanks to NITDroid


There. N900 once again create envy among Droiders. This is the video of Android Icecream Sandwich running on Nokia N900, thanks to NITDroid project. As of now, the ROM is heavily buggy and is in pre-pre-alpha stage. The ROM is unstable too and we wouldn't suggest you to try it unless you are sure about what you are trying and are ready to accept a dead N900 (in case something goes wrong).
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Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Facebook Messenger for Windows available for testing

Ah ah. Don't get too excited. This testing is available for limited number of users. Messenger for Facebbok is new app that lets you use facebook without opening a browser. With this application, you can:

  • Chat and message with your friends on Facebook
  • See the latest updates from your friends in ticker
  • Get quick notifications about what’s going on 
Once the testing phase is over, the application will be rolled out for public use.
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Google shutting down a number of products/services

However big Google is, there are lot of products from Google that failed to win hearts of customer and over the next few months, Google will be shutting down a good number of them. Here's the list
  • Google Bookmarks Lists ends on December 19, 2011. 
  • Google Friend Connect ends for non-Blogger sites on March 1, 2012. 
  • Google Gears  ends on December 1, 2011
  • Google Search Timeline no specific date. 
  • Google Wave will be read-only from January 31, 2012 and will disappear on April 30. You’ll be able to continue exporting individual waves using the existing PDF export feature until the Google Wave service is turned off.
  • Knol will be accessible till April 30, 2012. From May 1st till October 1st, you can download your knols to a file and/or migrate them to WordPress.com, after which Knol will be completely shutdown
  • Renewable Energy Cheaper than Coal (RE

HTC HD2 does it yet again! Runs ICS via AOSP ROM


What you see above is Android 4.0 Ice cream Sandwich ROM running on HTC HD2, is a port from Nexus One's AOSP ICS ROM. Here's a list of what's working and what's not:
Working:
  • Calling (mic works they can hear you)
  • Audio (partially)
  • SMS
  • Data: 3G/HSDPA (RMNET has connect/disconnect issues. Not test PPP yet.)
  • Wi-Fi
  • Bluetooth
  • GPS/AGPS
  • Touchscreen
  • Vibration
  • Charging
  • Compass
  • BMA150 3-axis Accelerometer
  • AK8973 3-axis Magnetic field sensor
  • AK8973 Orientation sensor
  • CM3602 Proximity sensor
  • CM3602 Light sensor

Not Working:
  • USB Mass Storage
  • Camera
  • HW acceleration
For more detail on how to download and install this ROM, head here.

And this is a demo video:



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Kinect for Windows to launch early 2012


Few weeks after announcing 'Kinect for Windows SDK', Microsoft has today announced that 'Kinect for Windows' commercial program will launch in early 2012. And there are few changes that the PC edition will have like:

  • Shorter USB cable
  • USB dongle
  • The depth camera to see objects as close as 50 centimeters, graceful degradation from 40cms. 
  • New mode enables use of 'close up' applications (probably tailor made for win8 metro apps)
  • Licensed customers to get access to ongoing updates in both speech and human tracking. 
"Another thing we’ve heard from our pilot customers is that companies exploring commercial uses of Kinect want to operate with the assurance of support and future innovation from Microsoft. As part of Microsoft’s deep commitment to NUI, we designed the Kinect for Windows commercial program to give licensed customers access to ongoing updates in both speech and human tracking (where Microsoft has been investing for years), in addition to providing fully supported Kinect hardware for Windows. We’ve been captivated by the countless creative ways companies worldwide envision how their businesses and industries can be revolutionized with Kinect, and are proud to be helping those companies to explore the profound implications NUI has for the future." said Craig Easter, GM, Kinect for windows.

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Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Nvidia demos ICS on Asus Transformer Prime





This, my dear friends, is the video of Icecream Sandwich running on just released ASUS Tranformer Prime tablet, powered by Nvidia's Quad-core beast Tegra 3. Less talking now, just enjoy the video.

When it comes to ad impressions, Android is uncatchable

According to Millennialmedia, Google's Android now commands 56% of smartphone advertising market for the month of October. And it's twicethe share of iOS. When it comes to hardware manufactures, Apple takes the top spot with their devices gobbling up 23.5% of share. HTC took the second spot with 18% share while Samsung took third spot with 17% marketshare.

Guess who the no.2 is in tablet marketshare?




Yes. Even I am surprised. HP is the officially the second largest tablet maker. The webOS tablet, Touchpad, grabbed 17% of marketshare, thanks to the fire sale that happened after HP discontinued the device and ended production. Now that the HP Touchpad is out of stock and since HP has no interest in restarting production, this position will soon go to Kindle Fire or other Android based tablets.

Monday, November 21, 2011

Chromebooks price slased to 299$, comes with new interface

Google has announced that both Acer AC700 and Samsung 5 series chromebooks will be available for 299$ (not applicable for 3G capable chromebooks though).
Also, Google has added new features to Chrome OS
  • New login screen to make use of 2-step verification
  • Offline apps like Gmail offline
  • NTFS filesystem support
In case you are one of those that never heard of Chrome OS, head here for complete information on this lightning fast OS. And for those who are already aware of this OS, here are few funny videos that highlight best features of this OS.

Microsoft sets up Kinect Accelerator program to help Kinect based startups


Ten Startups. Three Months. Unlimited Innovation.

Microsoft has started this program to allow entrepreneurs, engineers and innovators like you to bring to life a wide range of business ideas that leverage the limitless possibilities Kinect enables. Those are selected for the program will receive $20,000, an Xbox development kit, Windows Kinect SDK, an office space for which they have to move to Seattle, all the resources of BizSpark, technical training and support, and mentorship from entrepreneurs, investors and Microsoft executives intensely focused on making their business a success. 

The developed product will be allowed to be demoed at Investor Demo Day to investures, venture capitalists, executives, media etc.  If you want to know more about this program, head here and if you want to apply click here. Good luck! 

Nook tablet rooted

Not a month since it's release, the Android based tablet from B&N, Nook tablet is successfully rooted. If you already own the Nook Tablet, you can find the full guide to root the device here.

Nexus owners facing issues related to volume and muting

Galaxy Nexus went on sale last week. And the following video shows the issue:

The issue is that sometimes the phone mutes itself while on call and in some instances, the volume rocker key press is erratic. These issues are heavily discussed at XDA and you can follow the discussion here

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Google+ gets 'trending topics' and face recognition

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Noticed something in the right pane in the above picture? Yes. That's 'trending topics' (lifted from twitter) that is introduced recently in Google+. Also, you can now tag persons in photos (similar to how you do for picasa) and let G+ find photos in which that person is in and blah blah blah. It works the same way as in Picasa. 

Google Swiffy extension for Flash professional to convert Flash to HTML5



What you see here is an extension provided by Google that can convert your flash programs to HTML5. And it's called Google Swiffy beta.
With the Swiffy Extension, you can publish to HTML5 right from Adobe Flash Professional. This makes using Flash to develop HTML5 animations much easier. The extension accesses Google Swiffy as a web service, so you always use the most recent version of Swiffy. 
Currently compatible with Adobe Flash Professional CS4 or newer, with one click you can convert your existing SWF files to HTML5.  Head here for more information on this tool.