All Google Profiles Will Be Public After July 31st, Private Profiles Will Be Deleted

Regardless of whether you have a Google Plus account or not, your Google profile will automatically become public after July 31st. If your Google profile is set to Private, you would have to change it’s visibility to Publicbefore July 31st. All private Google profiles will be deleted after July 31st, as reported in a help document page of Google Profiles.

Here is what the help page reads:

The purpose of Google Profiles is to enable you to manage your online identity. Today, nearly all Google Profiles are public. We believe that using Google Profiles to help people find and connect with you online is how the product is best used. Private profiles don’t allow this, so we have decided to require all profiles to be public.

The argument is loud and clear.

There is No Free Lunch

If you want to have a free lunch (Google Plus and other Google services), there is no way you can go incognitoanymore. You must provide your information to the world and more importantly, to Google.

From the last couple of months, Google’s behavior and action proves that they are now focusing more and more on the biggest asset The People.

google-cartoonFirst they launched their so called online reputation management tool and integrated it on Google dashboard.   The tool is powered by an existing service – Google Alerts and it offers nothing special for that matter. The interesting thing here is that to use the tool, users have to mandatorily create their Google Profile.

Bang on. Here is the hidden pitch Create your profile and get automatic alerts for free. But, please create your Google profile for God’s sake!

Next, they came up with a brand new social network Google Plus. Well this one is new and offers something interesting but if you see from the top it is also geared towards the same objective Information about people

Now they want every Google profile to be public. Where do all these equations meet?

Google wants to know more and more information about you. They already know what you search for, to whom you communicate with and which websites you keep on visiting again and again. Although Google lets user export their data out, but that’s a usability tool and does not intersect with user privacy.

Note that both Facebook and Twitter offers ways to protect their profiles from being found. But with Google, it’s just not possible anymore. Your Google profile will be forcibly made public after July 31st or deleted. Yes, there is an option to control whether your profile appears on search result pages or not but remember the fact that anyone within Google Plus can still track you down, since your Google profile is public.

The big question remains unanswered why user data is becoming so important these days? Why Google wants every Google profile to be public, forcibly? Is it because they want better Ad targeting or is it that they want to measure user interaction across all Google services? Possibly both.

Just wondering where the search giant is headed.

 

Google Maps 5.7 for Android Adds Transit Navigation, Offline Download And Better Search Suggestions

This is the biggest ever update in the history of Google maps app for Android.

Google Maps has released a new version of it’s Android app (5.7) which now supports better transit navigation, improved search suggestion and the ability to save map data locally on your Android device.

Yes, you can download the entire location of a map and save all the data of that map right on your phone. This map data can be accessed offline, regardless of whether you are connected to the internet or not. Brilliant!

Here is a complete rundown of the new features included in updated Google Maps for Android:

Download Map Data For Offline Viewing

To download map data for specific locations, first you will have to enable the Download Map datalabs feature. To do this, open the Google Maps app, hit the menubutton and choose Labsby clicking through the More optionsdrop down. On the Labspage, scroll down and activate the Download Maps datalabs feature.

You are good to go, now open a custom geographical location in Google Maps, highlight the name of the location and pull in the menu to see the option Download Map data for this locationat the bottom. The steps for enabling offline maps in Google Maps and downloading them on your phone has been shown below (in proper sequential order).

download-google-maps-data-offline

Tip: if you can’t highlight the name of the location, try zooming in a little more and then select Download Map data for this locationat the bottom.

Saving the location data and geographical information of a place locally on your phone is immensely useful, especially if you travel to the same city after every 3 months and forget the street directions to your new office or a favorite restaurant. There is no need to fetch the map details of the same place over and over again. With offline Google Maps, you can browse through a city from anywhere or export the map data to other phones or Android devices.

Step By Step Directions Are Just One Click Away

Google has also streamlined the driving directions UI and the updated version offers more comprehensive details to your destination in fewer clicks. If the route to your destination is supported by Google Navigation and you choose either walking or the driving option, Google Maps will show directions in   an algorithmic step by step way.

Here is an example:

map-directions

Notice that Google Maps automatically highlights the terminal points and the stations in between your current location and destination. You can hop over from one point to another or hit the previous and next buttons to get walking and driving directions for reaching a particular place.

This is ideally suited for novice users, who have little expertise on handling Android apps and they prefer asking a passerby to reach their specified destination.  With the new Google Maps for Android, you will feel that a human is sitting next to you and guiding you to reach a specific location. As simple as that!

Better Search Suggestions

Google has improved the speed and the display interface for search suggestions in Google Maps updated Android app.

Instead of displaying the same icons and identifiers for everything, the new app helps you differentiate between different places through appropriate category icons. You’ll see a pin for a Google Places listing, a star for a starred Place or location, a clock for a previously used search term, a person for contacts and a magnifying glass for anything else’, which means you need to further search for that item.

search-suggestions

 

If you have visited a nearby place before, Google Maps will pull in the data from your Google account and show the name of the same location in the search suggestion list. Google knows there is a chance that you are looking for a place you visited months ago, so this is really a welcome feature in the new Google maps app for Android.

It’s high time you update your Google maps app from the Android market

 

Be Careful Of Spammy Google Plus Invitations Spreading Virally All Over The Internet

No doubt Google plus is the new superman of the internet.

For the record, only a small number of users have been able to register for a Google Plus account, yet a large percentage of Internet population is still craving for it. People are going crazy for a Google plus invite and most of them are willing to try out every possible hack, in order to get their Google Plus profile up and running.

Getting into an invitation only system on a new service or social site is sometimes considered as a status symbol. And folks want to proudly declare I have a Google Plus account, I am so special. It’s human nature.

Sadly, Google had to halt the Invitation onlysystem of Google Plus because of insane demand from users across the Globe. Right now, signing up for Google plus is not possible either way, regardless of whether you have an email invite or not. Some users are slipping in while some can’t, it’s highly suspicious and uncertain at the moment.

This viral buzz is helping spammers and survey professionals make some business out of it.

google-plus-spam-cartoon

Here is the deal. Some users are creating a fake email template which exactly resembles the invitation email of Google Plus and they are sending the fake invitation email to random users from an email list they bought. Here is how the fake email invitation of Google Plus looks like [courtesy: Naked security]

google-plus-spam

Clicking the Learn more about Google +link will not take you to the Google Plus sign up page. Instead, you will land upon a spam website which either sells cheap Viagra, pharmacy products or other random stuff that the spammer wants to sell. Here is one such example site:

spam-site

Almost anyone will surely close this browser window but it’s also true that some users are really novice and new to the internet. They don’t know that most of the services provided by Google are available for Free. There is a chance that some people will think that they need to pay something for signing up into Google Plus and they might end up buying those bizarre products, only to find that they have been fooled and looted.

If you encounter such nonsense stuff, tell the truth to your friends. No one needs to pay a dime for a Google Plus account!

There are more ways to lure users into spam sites and take advantage of the buzz about Google Plus. Here is another one.

google-plus-spam-invites-youtube

There is a YouTube video which claims that the person who uploaded the video has some sort of Free key, downloading which will give you a free Google plus invitation right away.

YouTube is filled with such videos about free key generators and software serials and the sad thing is that most of them works as promised. YouTube is a gold mine for finding pirated stuff, since moderation of embedded content within a video is really difficult and takes human eyes. GFI labs has some more insights about the video.

After watching the video, click that shortened link and you will land on a typical survey site, as shown below:

survey-spam

The above page claims that if you complete a two minute survey, you will be able to download a Google Plus key, which is a fallacy in itself. There is no such download and if at all you complete the survey and get something out of it, you won’t be able to sign up for Google Plus using whatever key that site provides.

It’s a MOUSE TRAP.

Keep yourself away and tell as many friends as possible that these are spam sites which should be avoided at all costs. I am very sure that someone will soon create a fake Google Plus signup page and try to hijack Google account of novice users, who do the biggest mistake on Internet believing their own eyes.

Always check the URL of the site which asks you to login with your Google, Twitter, Facebook, Yahoo or other online accounts. remember that if the site is legitimate, they will use the API and never ask for your username or password in the first place.

If you see that the web address of a site is different and not a part of the host service, there is a high chance that you are being targeted by a hijacker or spammer. Never ever use such suspicious third party sites and don’t forget to tell your friends, colleagues and family members about spam and malicious sites that evolve on Internet every single day.

When you are educating users about spammy links and malicious sites, you are contributing towards building a safe internet which one day might get rid of the spam completely.

 

 

Google Wonder Wheel And Google Real Time Search Goes Missing

Google has silently taken down it’s real time search page and another very useful search tool Google wonder wheel.

That’s right, Google real time search is presently not reachable and you will get a 404 page while trying to access Google.com/realtime.

gogle-realtime-search-missing

It has been just three days since Google Plus was launched on a field trial basis and it appears that Google has bigger plans with their real time search feature. Previously, Google real time search used only Twitter results as the source but since Google Plus has now been launched, I guess they have future plans to integrate it with real time Google Plus results.

Question is, will the upcoming version of Google real time search contain results only from Google Plus? Will Google provide exclusive results only from Google circles and ignore micro blogging sites like Twitter? I hope not but since Google is on an overhaul spree, you never know.

On another note, Google real time search was not a very exclusive service, considering the fact that the results were showed only from Twitter.com. Let’s take an example:

realtime-search

The above screenshot was taken when a major earthquake hit the northern parts of India and Pakistan on January 18th, 2011.

Notice that each and every result is from Twitter.com only and Google never shows any other source on it’s real time search result page. Minutes after the earthquake, major news channels and media publications covered the story. But instead of showing their updates on real time search page, Google restricted the results to Twitter updates only.

My point is that anyone can get the same updates from Twitter advanced search. If you’re showing results from another site without any added features, there is no reason why users will use your site instead of using the source. I agree a lot of users did, but Google never offered anything exclusive on it’s real time search page.

Now after they re-launch Google real time search again, it would be interesting to see whether Google provides a feature to filter real time results from your circles. I guess, users might get an option to see real time results from their Google Plus circles, apart from searching the whole web for some keyword or topic of their choice.

google-wonder-wheel-closedNow where is this Google Wonder wheel and why did they dropped it?

No one has any clue why Google took down the wonder wheel feature. Wonder Wheel was a very useful tool for bloggers, webmasters and anyone who needed a way to find similar topics and phrases that generate a lot of user interest. This should not be confused with Google suggest, which merely shows which queries are popular among users searching for a specific keyword or topic.

There is a speculation among webmasters that Google wonder wheel was removed because SEO’s used it to generate content only for search engines. Well, in that case, Google should also drop Google suggest, related searches and the public nature of Google Adword keyword tool.

What surprises me even more is that Google never closes a feature without giving prior notice to users. This is highly unusual, we will have to wait for some time until Google releases an official explanation or re-launches the service again.

 

Breaking: Go Daddy.com Sold Out For 2.25 Billion

godaddy-sold-out

Go Daddy Group Inc, the big daddy of domain name registrar has now been sold to a group of private equity firm for 2.25 Billion, Techie Buzz has learned.

The buyers include KKR &Co, Silver Lake partners, Technology Crossover Ventures and a couple of more investors; the deal was finalized on Friday afternoon, according to a report from LA Times.

In a press conference earlier today, CEO Bob parsons said that he was looking forward to the deal for some time and this acquisition will help the company grow and serve more value to it’s customers and people using their services.

Bob added that Go Daddy wants to go to the Next leveland the company partnered with the firms because of their technological expertise and better understanding of a web based business.

Go Daddy is the world’s largest and one of the most trusted domain registrars till date. Most internet companies and cloud based business prefer choosing Go Daddy for the reputation they hold. And not just domain names, Go Daddy has seen massive growth in web hosting, e commerce and other services during the last couple of years. The company now manages more than 48 Million domain names and has a huge global user base of 9.3 million customers

Now that Go Daddy has been acquired, what changes are expected in the coming days?   Will customers see a rise in domain registration price or web hosting fees? If business strategies take a steep turn, it won’t be long enough when the investors start losing edge because Go Daddy is known for it’s offers and deals. It may also happen that competitors follow suit, but the latter scenario is not so strong.

Go Daddy was established by Bob Parsons in 1997 and he continues to be the operating CEO.

 

After Google Search, Gmail Joins The Redesign Club

Google is on a redesigning spree!

Few days ago, they rolled out a redesigned Google search for everyone and launched their social gig Google Plus on an invite only basis. Previously, we reported time and again that Google is heavily experimenting with the design and overall usability of search result pages. They removed the I am feeling lucky button, added a black navigation menu bar and introduced quite a few search enhancements for more meaningful results.

Now it’s Gmail’s turn.

Google is rolling out a complete redesign of Gmail in phases and here is how your redesigned Gmail inbox is supposed to look like:

gmail-redesigned1

Gmail’s new design aims to gift you a clutter free inbox, more white space between labels, items, individual messages and tries to soothe your eye with bold colors. Red, Blue, Grey, Black…maybe Green and Indigo are next.

If you are still on the older UI and want to test Gmail’s upcoming redesigned interface, follow these steps:

1. Click the Settingsicon at the right top corner of Gmail inbox and choose Mail Settings

add-gmail-theme

2. In the “Settingspage, switch to the Themestab, scroll down and activate the Previewtheme for Gmail. There are two versions: light and dense.

The dense version will give you a compact Gmail inbox with less spacing between different items. If you get tons of email every single day, the dense version will be ideally suited as you will have to scroll a little lesser. However, if you want to get rid of the clutter and want a clean layout – go for the light one.

gmail-redesigned

Gmail says in a blog post that Google wants to provide a unified experience across all Google services. Whether you are using Google search, Google Reader, Google Plus or Gmail – you will see the same design and colors, once the design roll out is pushed globally.

Personally, I am not a fan of boldcolors and I think they distract me a little. But it’s just a matter of time when my eyes gets used to the new Gmail design and I will start loving it anyway.

Note: In order to get Gmail’s redesigned inbox, it is not mandatory to have a Google Plus account. Some users have this confusion that the redesigned Gmail interface is only available to users who have signed up for Google Plus. It’s not true and Google apps users can also test the new dense and light themes of Gmail.

Now considering the fact that Google is rolling out it’s new design across all Google services one by one, how would Google Reader look like in the coming days? One user created a pretty similar mockup of Google Reader here

google_reader_new_interface_mockup

Who’s next? YouTube?

 

Google+: What It is And How it Works [Screenshot Tour]

So you have successfully created your Google Plus profile, still getting the hang of it, and want to know the inside details and working of Google plus. If you haven’t joined Google Plus yet, try requesting an invitation for Google Plus here and read our guide on setting up your Google Plus profile for the first time.

What Is Google Plus And How it Works?

Google Plus is a new initiative from Google, which aims to simplify your social sharing experience and connect with people who matter to you in real life. But wait…don’t we already have Facebook, Twitter and dozens of social sharing sites already?

Yes, but Google plus takes a different approach towards social sharing, and this guy has better privacy control on the features provided.

Don’t you hate it when a random friend adds you to a stupid Facebook group? Do you go mad when you receive tons of spam mentions on Twitter? They are all public and anyone can find it via a simple search [@your_Twitter-handle]. Are you fed up with people who mass tag you in photos and videos, which really gets in the way of your social privacy? You don’t want to remove those friends from your social life, it’s just that you want to prevent them from doing the same nonsense over and over again.

Enter Google Plus same social sharing and connections but no more fiddling with user privacy. In Google Plus, your friends or followers will have to take prior permission from you, if they want you to tag in a photo or video. There is no Wall so the question of spam links and malicious apps being posted on your profile is burned to death.

If you tag someone in a post, and share it only with him, none else can see it. Not even mutual friends !

How Circles In Google + Works

Everything in Google + works through Circles.

A Circle is an identifier for the network you create and it is visible to you only. You can create as many circles as you want, and add friends to one or more circles that you have created. No one except you will be able to see the name and visibility of your Google Plus circles.

google-plus-circles

The best thing regarding Google Plus is that Google will automatically scan your email contact list and Android contacts and suggest you people whom you might want to follow. You may add these people to your circles through a beautiful and intuitive drag-and-drop interface.

If you want to follow a celebrity or a famous person on Google Plus, simply search for his name on the search box and add him to a circle you have created. Again, this circle is visible only to you so you can safely name it anything you want.

find-people

 

Your Google Plus Life Stream

Your Google Plus life stream will contain updates from all the people whom you are following. This includes photos, status updates, videos and comments from people whom you have added to your Google + circles.

google-plus-stream

Filtering Updates From Specific Circles

On the right pane, you will notice that all the circles are listed one after another. Click the name of a circle and you should see the filtered life stream, containing updates from people who have been added to that particular circle only. This is super useful and helps you to stay in touch with family members, and friends, so you never miss out catching up the updates of quietpeople among those who are highly active on Google plus.

filtered-stream

Your Google Plus Notifications

On the top right corner of your Google plus profile, you will notice a sleek notifications button. This little kid will continue monitoring your Google plus activity and alert you whenever someone comments in a post you commented earlier, someone replies to your status update or tags you in a photo uploaded by you.

google-plus-notifications

Further, you will see a brief preview of which of your friends are participating in a discussion within your circle. This is really nice and quite similar to Facebook, the only difference here is that there would be no notification like Mr X tagged you in a photo. Anyone who wants to tag you in a photo will have to obtain your prior permission, which is very very useful and a godsend.

Chat With Plus One Buddies Or Email Them

Every social network has an option to send instant messages to their followers and friends and Google Plus is no exception. The chat widget is placed down the bottom of right pane where you can click the name of a person and send him an instant message right away.

Contrary to Facebook and Twitter, there is no way to send private messages to your Google plus friends and contacts. Instead, there is a handy option called Email’ placed right below the profile photo of your Google Plus friend, click it and you can send a private message directly to his email inbox.

send-email-google-plus-one

Please note that your friends can choose whether he wants to allow you to send him an email or not. In some profiles, you may not find the Email Meoption, this is because the person has customized his email settings to suit his needs.

Controlling Email Notifications

For all your Google Plus activity, you will receive email notifications to the email address you used to sign up for Google Plus. Individual notification settings can be toggled from the notifications page

google-plus-account-settings1

Google plus In Android

Android users can install the official Google plus application using this link. Here are some screenshots of Google plus application for Android [thanks Sathya]

google-plus-android-app-screenshots

There are a lot of other tips and tricks for Google plus which you should learn. We are still digging out more features, settings and shortcuts for Google plus, come back soon!

Google Plus For Dummies: Setting it Up For The First Time

All right folks, calm down.

Google’s latest social gig Google Plus is out and lots of people are jumping in right away. At this moment, Google Plus is available as invite only, we have some invitations to give away here.

Google plus is a new initiative from Google which aims to redefine how social sharing works. With Circles, Hangouts and lots of innovative features, Google plus is definitely here to stay.

Things To Know Before You Setup Your Google Plus Profile

Before you ask anyone for a Google plus invite, here are a few things you should know:

1. Google Plus works only with Google accounts that have an active Google profile. If you haven’t created your Google profile yet, you won’t be able to sign up for Google Plus.

2. Only regular Gmail accounts are supported and you can’t use your Google apps account to setup a Google Plus profile. if you ask anyone to send you an invitation to your Google Apps email address, you will never receive it in the first place.

3. If you have a Yahoo or Windows Live Hotmail account and you have used it to sign up for a Google account, you are good to go. But make sure you have created your Google profile and it’s visibility is public.

Setting Up Your Google Plus Profile

When you click the invitation link sent to your email address, you will be taken to Google Plus where you have to sign in with your Google account. That’s it, you are on board and in full swing to use Google Plus. Here is the first screen:

google-plus-setting-up

 

After you have  successfully completed signing up for Google Plus, you will need to know a thing or two about how Google Plus works and what are it’s inside twists and perks.

Part 2: What is Google Plus And How it Works

We have put up a step by step screenshot tour for Google Plus which will help you learn about the basic features of Google plus. You will learn more on how circles work in Google Plus and how social sharing and conversations happens almost in real time.

Update:  Don’t miss out on some really good articles on using Google+ along with several other editorials we have written for you.

Google TakeOut Makes It Easy To Export Your Data Out of Google

The one thing I really admire about Google as a company is it’s open nature towards the data of it’s users. Google has always said that the biggest asset of their business is peopleand they always want users to control the data that’s stored in their Google account.

You might know that Google already provides an online dashboard feature which allows users to manage or export data out of their Google account. You can export bookmarks, contacts, delete web search history and manage all the information right from your Google dashboard.

Today, the company has unveiled yet another product at google.com/takeout which allows users to export their data out of Google for all Google products they are currently using. Additionally, all the data is made available in open and portable formats so it’s really easy to import them on other services.

google-takeout

Currently, Google takeout works with Google buzz, Google profile, Picasa web albums, Google Contacts and Google circles while support for more products is a work in progress. Using the tool is fairly simple, head over to the Google takeout page, sign in with your Google account and choose the products for whom you want to export the data.

Once you are done, hit the Create Archivebutton and Google will provide a zip download for all the data that’s stored on your Google account.

I tried this tool with Google Contacts and it worked as described. After unzipping the package, all my contacts were shown as a Microsoft Outlook vcard file, as shown below:

download-contacts

After you have downloaded all the stuff from your Google account, you can delete them from your Google account dashboard page. Google explains

We believe that if we make it easy for you to leave Google, we have to work just that much harder to make sure that you don’t want to.

Take that Facebook!

Google Introduces Author Thumbnails On Search Result Pages, Another Step Towards Highlighting “Quality Content”

Google has just introduced yet another update on how content is shown on search result pages. Starting today, you might see a small thumbnail of the author placed on the right of a search result, as shown below:

author-results-google-search

This is a indeed a huge step towards increasing the quality of search results and providing the user substantial amount of trust factor. If you are a well known person in your industry and people trust you for the content you write, there is a high chance that they will see and recognize your image on Google search result pages. In some situations, they will skip the highly ranked pages and will click through the link to read your piece. It’s human nature!

The name and thumbnail image are derived from the Google profile of the author in question. This feature is still in it’s experimental stage but the way Google is rolling up updates one after another, expect it to go global within a couple of weeks.

How Google Identifies the Author of An Article?

Three things are in play here: the content page on the website, an author page on the same domain and an active Google profile of the author.

Google uses a lot of different signals to determine whether a particular author has a substantial amount of authorityon the subject. To ensure that your author profile is shown on Google search result pages, here are a few things you should know and implement:

1. If you haven’t created a Google profile yet, do it right now. Add a profile image and a clear bio describing your areas of interest, previous work experience and the sites for whom you write or contribute.

2. Next, add the links of sites where you contribute articles on a regular basis. When you link your Google profile to the author pages where you contribute content, you are telling Google that you are the person who wrote this piece. And don’t just link to the homepage of the site, link to your author page so Google can find all your articles.

3. Ask the webmaster of the site to incorporate support for authorship markup. The markup uses standard markup tags e.g (rel=author) and (rel=me) to enable search engines and other web services identify content produced by the same author across different websites.

It is important to note that Google will list the identifiedcontent on the +1 tab of your Google profile. This is unlike manual links added by the author and Google will automatically identify Youas the author of an article and show it on your Google profile.

Will following all the best practices for authorship markup automatically guarantee that your profile image will be shown on Google search results? I guess, No.

Users won’t see a thumbnail attached to every link on search result pages. Instead, a few results will be highlighted, showcasing the work produced by Bestauthors writing on the subject the user is searching for. Will this also include social signals? Google isn’t saying but with the introduction of Google plus one button and the very recent +1 social service, I guess it’s just a matter of time when social signals and authorship markup will go hand in hand.

From the past couple of months, Google has been increasingly focusing upon increasing the overall quality and usability of their search results. First, they declared war on content farms by introducing an algorithmic update which was geared towards reducing the rankings of low quality sites and pushing higher quality sites up, so users can find high quality content instantly. The algorithmic update had some serious consequences, so Google is constantly pushing out minor tweaks to it’s search algorithm.

And not just machine learning, Google is also heavily experimenting with the behavior of humans and how their eyeballs react to the design changes.   They introduced a related search feature at the bottom, removed the I am feeling lucky button from the middle and changed the header by introducing a black navigational bar at the top.

With so many design and usability changes in such a short span of time, it is evident that Google is constantly experimenting the overall usability and quality factor of search results.

More information regarding author results on Google search is available on this webmaster tools help page