Twitter Strikes a Deal with Yandex for Real-time Search

The popular micro-blogging site Twitter has partnered with Russia’s biggest search engine company, Yandex, in a move that will help boost the site’s real-time search and eventually help it compete with rivals, including Google and Bing search.

The partnership gives Yandex access to Twitter’s public tweets, and enables real-time searching at twitter.yandex.ru, giving its users access to the huge amount of data streaming off the messaging service. However, this deal does not include any of the private tweets, which the user has specifically chosen to “protect” them from being accessed by search engines and other Twitter users.

This will enable Yandex users to see the latest tweets on any subject, by using Yandex’s specific ‘Blogs’ search engine. The results will also include tweets of those users tweeting from Russia, Ukraine, Belarusian or Kazakh, as well as top feeds in other languages.

Anton Pavlov, Yandex’s blog Search Manager, said that it will also allow the Russian based company “to improve the quality of the search,” and users will be able to find tweets “just moments after they have appeared.”

Twitter Yandex Deal

Both companies have declined to disclose the financial details of the deal, however, a similar partnership between Twitter and Microsoft was closed at $30 million.

Twitter currently has more than 100 million active users, nearly 400 million visitors per month, and more than 250 million tweets are posted every day. The total valuation of Twitter is estimated to be $8 billion, although the company has not yet established a proper revenue generating model.

On the other hand, Yandex has about 60 percent market share in Russia, and this deal will perhaps open several doors for the company to come up with new strategies to do more in social networking. The company currently offers features similar to that of Google to share news and other information.

Yandex also mentioned in a press release that the company is currently focused on social networking search and trying to enhance its features. Anton Pavlov adds, “People share news, exchange opinions and discuss all sorts of matters in real time all the time. This kind of information will help us enhance our search results.”

Yandex also states that it has updated its Blog Search API, a tool for webmasters for creating services based on micro-blogging content.

Celebrating 22 Years of Adobe Photoshop – Timeline

Adobe’s Photoshop has been a part of every web designer out there and I’m sure that they would agree with me on this. Adobe Photoshop has not only made a designer’s life easier with the new features and technologies that are released in new versions, but has also helped in expanding the peripheral vision of creativity, art and imagination.

For the last two decades Adobe Photoshop has been the world’s most popular image editor and today the Adobe team is celebrating the editor’s 22nd anniversary.

The story of the World’s most popular image editor began in 1987, when Thomas Knoll programmed a pixel imaging program he called Display. Primarily, the tool displayed grayscale images on a black-and-white monitor. However, Display did create a strong foundation for what has now become the world’s most popular image editing tool.

Knoll Brothers

Adobe licensed the software in 1988 and renamed it Photoshop, and shipped the very first version of Photoshop on February 19, 1990, at a price of $895.

Adobe predicted that they would sell 500 copies of Photoshop per month, but with the unique features it offered, Adobe managed to beat those projections. Today, the software is being used by over millions of people worldwide.

Here’s a timeline of how Photoshop kick started and went on to become the world’s popular image editing tool –

1987 – Thomas Knoll, a PhD student at the University of Michigan, develops a tool called Display for his Mac Plus with a capability ofAdobe Photoshop 1.0 displaying 256-share grayscale images on black and white screen.

1998 – Adobe licenses Display and renames it to Photoshop. Approximately 200 copies of the version 0.87 were shipped in bundle with the scanners.

1990 – Photoshop 1.0 is released with system requirements of an 8MHz processor and 2MB RAM. The main features of Photoshop 1.0 were color correction, image optimization for output, Curves, Levels, and the Clone tool. The software could easily fit on 3.5-inch floppy disk.

1991 – Photoshop 2.0 (codenamed Fast Eddy) is released with CMYK support, Path tool, and the rasterization of Illustrator files. Abode also released an SDK for third-party plugin developments.

1993 – Photoshop 2.5 (codenamed Merlin) is released for Windows as well as Mac. It ships with 16-bit image support, Quick Mask, Dodge and Burn Tools, and visual color-correction tool.

1994 – Adobe releases Photoshop 3.0 with key feature – Image Layers, one of the most important features ever added in Photoshop. In the same year, Alien Skin Software developers the first drop-shadow effect plugin for Photoshop.

1996 – Adobe Photoshop 4.0 (codenamed Big Electric cat) is released with key features including, adjustment layers, macros, Actions, grids, Free Transformation tool, and a new user interface.

1998 – Adobe releases Photoshop 5.5 (codenamed Strange Cargo). Includes features like the History palette, layer effects, spot colors,Adobe Photoshop 5.5 and the Magnetic Lasso tool. This is first ever version of Photoshop that supported integrated online updating.

2000 – Adobe Photoshop 6.0 (codenamed Venus in Furs) is released with feature including Layer Styles, layer-based slicing for HTML development, Liquefy filter, and a redesigned user interface.

2002 – Adobe ships Photoshop 7.0 (codenamed Liquid Sky). Photoshop 7.0 introduces new features like, Healing Brush tool, custom workspaces, and a spell checker.

2003 – The release of Adobe Photoshop CS (a.k.a Photoshop 8, codenamed Dark Matter). This version features layer groups, Lens Blur Filter, keyboard shortcuts, and JavaScript support.  This is very first version to require activation, and came with a PDF manual.

2005 – Photoshop CS2 is released (codenamed Space Monkey) with Bridge, Smart Objects Spot Healing, HDR merging, and Lens Correction filter.

2006 – Adobe released a beta version of Photoshop Lightroom, an image management tool basically created for professional photographers.

2007 – Photoshop CS3 (codenamed Red Pill) is released with Smart Filters, the ability to import and process videos, Black and White conversion tool, and a improved Clone tool.

Adobe Photoshop CS4

2008 – Adobe Photoshop goes online. Adobe creates a Flash based Photoshop Express app on Photoshop.com, offering limited image editing features. In the same year, Adobe release Photoshop Lightroom 2.0. Adobe also released Photoshop CS4 (codenamed Stonehenge) offering features like Content Aware Scaling, RAW image processing, and auto layer alignment tools. A 64-bit version for Windows Vista was also released.

2009 – Photoshop.com is available for the iPhone as a free mobile edition image editor. Adobe releases a public beta of Lightroom 3.0

2010. Adobe Photoshop turned 20 years. Releases Photoshop CS5 with better Edge Detection and Masking, Straighten and Multilayer Opacity, improved Content Aware fill, and improved Spot Healing tool.

2011 – Adobe releases Photoshop for Android and the iOS operating system. Also, Adobe Photoshop CS5.5 is released in May.

2012 – Adobe celebrates 22 years of awesomeness.

UK Student Jailed for Hacking Facebook Despite ‘Ethical’ Claims

Trying to hack ethically into Facebook without any proper documentation can land you behind the bars. That is what happened to 26-year old Glenn Steven Mangham.

Glenn, a software development student in the UK, has been jailed for eight months for hacking into Facebook from his bedroom at his parents’ house in York in northern England.

Glenn was found guilty and admitted to infiltrating Facebook in May last year. According to Alison Saunders, London’s Chief Prosecutor, the incident was the most expensive one, where Facebook had to spend $200,000 (£126,400) dealing with crime. It is being termed as a “concerted, time-consuming and costly investigation.”

Student Jailed for Hacking Facebook

When Facebook learnt that someone was trying to hack the site, they alerted  the FBI, who then took over and traced the roots all the way back to the UK.  He found his way in by hacking into the account of a Facebook employee.

Glenn defended himself to the Southwark Crow Court by stating “It was to identify vulnerabilities in the system so I could compile a report that I could then bundle over to Facebook and show them what was wrong with their system.”

Facebook introduced the Bug Bounty Program in an aim to encourage security researchers to report loopholes and glitches on the social networking site, and as a token of appreciation, Facebook offered them a monetary bounty of $500.

Since Facebook pays ethical hackers for disclosing vulnerabilities, Glenn states that his intentions were not wrong, but were to help the social networking giant find a solution. However, the judge decided that this was not Glenn’s intention at the time.

Glenn has earlier helped search engine site Yahoo to improve its security by hacking into the Yahoo’s system and reporting the same to the authorities. He wanted to do the same for Facebook, but was probably out of luck this time.

The judge stated “You accessed the very heart of the system of an international business of massive size, so this was not just fiddling about in the business records of some tiny business of no great importance”. He also noted that Glenn had risked “putting in danger the reputation of an innocent employee of Facebook”.

The student was also given a serious crime prevention order restricting his access to the internet and confiscating his computer equipment.

We really don’t know if Glenn was telling the truth, but lack of evidence did land him in trouble. So, if you’re an ethical hacker or working for any bounty program, then make sure you have everything documented accordingly. It can definitely save you from trouble or landing behind the bars.

Facebook Launches Verified Accounts

Following the lead of Twitter and Google+, Facebook too will begin verifying accounts of celebrities and other public figures. After the account has been verified, Facebook will enable these users to have pseudonyms or use an “alternative name” or nicknames as their Facebook name, and will appear in lists of “People to Subscribe To.”

According to Facebook’s “real name policy”, users have to use their real birth names only. However, with the new verification system, verified users can use nickname while displaying their real names in the “About” section of their Facebook profile.

Facebook will begin the verification process very soon, reports Josh Constine of Tech Crunch. The verification process will start with users who have many subscribers. If you have a good number of subscribers, then you should be seeing a prompt message on your profile asking you to verify the account.

Facebook Verify Account

In order to verify a user profile, the user must upload a scanned form of photo identification and require either one government issued photo ID (driving license, passport, or similar) or two other forms of photo ID (work or school ID). Once the verification process is complete, Facebook will permanently delete the file and the scanned photos.

However, after a profile has been verified, Facebook will not provide a badge indicating that the account has been verified, unlike Twitter and Google+.

Verify Facebook Account

Verified accounts will start appearing on the “People to Subscribe To” list. Facebook announced Subscription in September, 2011, with an option feature that allows users to control what type of stories you can read from your friends and non-friends in your News Feed. In a way, Subscriptions help users to keep a track and stay up to date with people they’re not friends with.

As a matter of fact, verification of profiles is quite necessary, since an increasing number of scammers on Facebook are taking advantage of the popularity of celebrities by creating fake accounts. Currently, other users will have to wait a little longer to verify their accounts, since Facebook plans to verify accounts of celebrities and public figures first.

Twitter being so popular among celebrities, will verified accounts help Facebook get celebrities to use the social networking giant? I really don’t think so. It might end up something like Google+ where celebrities have a verified account, but hardly update anything.

The All New Content-Aware in Adobe Photoshop CS6 is Awesome

The new Content-Aware feature in the upcoming Adobe Photoshop CS6 just blew my mind. Adobe’s Senior Product Manager, Bryan O’Neil Hughes, came up with a video demonstrating the latest feature in the CS6. With the new Content-Aware feature, you can seamlessly move or remove objects from an image. The new feature includes a whole lot of improvements to the CS5 Content-Aware technology.

All of the tricks shown by Bryan in the sneak peek guide can be recreated in the earlier versions of Photoshop. However, to accomplish the end-result the task certainly is time consuming. With the new features added to CS6, it clearly makes work much easier, faster, and more flexible.

In the demonstration, Bryan uses the concept of Content-Aware that was introduced in the CS5. Added to this is the Content-Aware Move, Extend, and Patch tool in the Adobe Photoshop CS6.

In the video, Bryan wants to move an entire object to the center of the image. Using Content-Aware fill certainly is not a good option. He showcases the new option provided in CS6 – Content-Aware Move Tool. With this, Bryan first selects the object that he wants to shift and then with the Move tool, moves the object to the desired location. The Content-Aware tool then magically removes the original object and adjusts the background by filling in the white spaces. All of this is done effortlessly and in seconds!

Adobe Photoshop CS6 Content-Aware

Other changes we notice is the Photoshop interface, which is much darker compared to the earlier version.

So, how do you find the new Content-Aware feature? I can’t wait to get my hands on this feature and try it out myself!

Twitter Makes HTTPS Default

Last year Twitter implemented a security feature that allowed its users to browse the site via a secured HTTP connection (HTTPS). This feature was not enabled by default and users had to go to their Settings and enable the feature. However, Twitter now wants to secure user profiles and has made the feature enabled by default.

Using HTTPS will not only help protect the privacy of millions of users, but also offers greater protection when accessing the network over unsecured Wi-Fi connections. Websites with a HTTPS connection is much preferred, since it is one of the most secure ways of sending and receiving content on the web. Many Google services including Gmail make use of the HTTPS protocol by adding up an extra layer of security.

Using a site over an unsecured Wi-Fi connection and without having HTTPS enabled, could let hackers gain access to your account with the help of a session cookie. In this case, if you’re using Twitter via an unprotected connection, then the hacker can possible post tweets and read all your Direct Messages without your knowledge.

Also Read: How Safe is Gmail, Twitter and Facebook? Is HTTPS Safe? We Show You How It Isn’t

With HTTPS enabled, it now makes Twitter secured and encrypts your login sessions. That way, no hacker can sneak into your account or gain access to it.

Twitter posted an official statement on its blog explaining the new feature –

Last year, we added the option to always use HTTPS when accessing Twitter.com on the web. This setting makes your Twitter experience more secure by protecting your information, and it’s especially helpful if you use Twitter over an unsecured Internet connection like a public WiFi network.

Now, HTTPS will be on by default for all users, whenever you sign in to Twitter.com. If you prefer not use it, you can turn it off on your Account Settings page. HTTPS is one of the best ways to keep your account safe and it will only get better as we continue to improve HTTPS support on our web and mobile clients.

As the feature now comes enabled by default, users, however, can opt-out if they prefer not to use it. Simply go to your Twitter Settings page and uncheck the “Always use HTTPS” option –

Twitter HTTPS Enable

It is recommended that you keep this feature enabled in order to keep your account and data safe. If you’re always using Twitter out and about, it is highly recommended that you use the HTTPS setting and leave it that way forever.

Facebook too has an option for its users to enable HTTPS, but this is yet to become a default feature.

Cyfe – All-In-One Monitoring Tool

It is often a time consuming job for bloggers to monitor their blogs with respect to visitors count, uptime, rankings, and so on. Most bloggers rely on free services provided by different companies to monitor thier blogs, which is not only time consuming, but also a tedious job.

Welcome Cyfe, a cloud based service that enables bloggers to monitor their blogs in one single dashboard. Cyfe offers an integration of a series of third-party services under one roof and prepares a report, while you can sit back and monitor every service all at once!

Cyfe - All-In-One Business Dashboard

According to Deven Patel, a serial entrepreneur and the man behind this app, “Businesses spend up to 80% of their time collecting data and creating reports. Cyfe helps them solve this problem by allowing them to easily monitor and share all of their vital business data from one single location in real-time”.

Cyfe offers several pre-built widgets available, including Google Analytics, Facebook, Twitter, Salesforce, YouTube, GoToWebinar, Pingdom, and several others, so that blog owners can avoid spending time by individually accessing these services to learn how their blogs are performing.

Cyfe - All-In-One Business Dashboard

To use these widgets, all you need to do is select the service (or the widget), configure it and you’re done. Cyfe will fetch all the required information and instantly display a colorful graphic report within the dashboard. If you have multiple blogs, then Cyfe allows you to create different dashboards for them. This way, you can individually monitor each blog in an individual dashboard.

Apart from these pre-built widgets, you can also create customized widgets which will securely fetch data from your blog’s internal database. You can as well share all of this data and reports with your team members, customers and “virtually” anyone else.

When I first tried the service, I installed the Alexa widget and found a difference in the ranking shown by Cyfe and Alexa itself. However, I was then made clear that Cyfe displays a real-time rank, unlike Alexa which shows you a three months aggregate rank.

Cyfe is not just about monitoring your blog’s visitors counts and uptime, but also provides you to integrate your Google AdSense account, Emails, Zendesk support tickets, and so on. It also supports both smartphones and tablets. There are four plans for you to choose from – Free, Basic, Standard, and Pro. The free version, however, has a limit over the number of widgets you can add, but can be increased with the paid plans.

Cyfe Pricing

Overall, it’s a great tool and every blog owner must consider trying it once. I’m sure, Cyfe will leave you impressed.

Google to Unify Privacy Policy Across All Services

When you’re bored to death, do you end up watching some nasty videos on YouTube or search for Poonam Pandey’s pictures on Google Image search while you’re logged in to Gmail or Google Plus? If yes, then it’s time you start using Incognito mode in Google Chrome (or private mode in other browsers), because according to Google’s new privacy policy update, the search engine giant is going to store all of this information and may put to some use in the future.

In a recent blog post, Google announced that it is planning to replace 60 policies of its Web services to a unified privacy policy. This would allow the company to share data between any of the services the user is using. In other words, it will begin tracking users universally to gather information from its services, including Gmail, calendar appointments, location data, search preferences, YouTube, contacts, device information and search queries. All of this will all be used to integrate into its services to serve you better. This change will go into effect starting March 1, 2012.

However, service like Google Books, Google Wallet and Google Chrome will be excluded from this policy due to different regulatory and technical issues.

Our new Privacy Policy makes clear that, if you’re signed in, we may combine information you’ve provided from one service with information from other services. In short, we’ll treat you as a single user across all our products, which will mean a simpler, more intuitive Google experience.

With the new updates, Google is planning to get rid of over 60 different privacy policies across Google services and plans to replace them with one that’s shorter, easier to read and something that will enable it to “create an intuitive experience across Google”.

Google Privacy Update

This move from Google is perhaps more or like a competition to the social networking giant, Facebook, over personal data. Facebook has an unmatched amount of information, which includes every little data that a user shares on the network. Not to forget, Facebook boasts to have over 800 million users on its network. That’s certainly is a huge amount of user information.

Google has never before collected much of personal information from its users, but as Facebook continues to grow ahead leaving behind its competitors, Google has stoked up the competition with this privacy change.

On the other hand, Google plans to unify its privacy policies in order to target appropriate advertisements to you. Google personalizes advertisements by filtering out unwanted ads and displays only those ads that are specific to your search queries. Now, with the new changes, it will enable Google to gather more information and display more relevant ads that match your queries. However, one can easily opt out and turn off personalized ads.

Simply go to your Ads Preferences Manager, click “Opt Out” under “Ads in Search and Gmail”, and then again under “Ads on the Web”. This will disable personalized ads being displayed on your search results as well as in Gmail.

As promised, Google has not changed its policies on sharing user information with third parties –

We don’t sell your personal information, nor do we share it externally without your permission except in very limited circumstances like a valid court order.

To understand better, here’s a video that Google posted on YouTube –

Does Google’s new privacy policy worry you? Let us know by adding your comments below.

Google Celebrates 63rd Republic Day of India

Google India is celebrating India’s 63rd Republic Day by featuring a Google Doodle on its homepage highlighting the theme of Indian Tricolor – Saffron, White and Green.  The logo depicts the National Bravery Award winning children riding on the backs of decorated elephants holding (tricolor) umbrellas, much like the actual parade on Rajpath, New Delhi. The Google logo, however, appears in the background with the ‘O’ of Google appearing like the Ashoka Chakra.

Republic Day of India - Google Doodle

India’s Republic Day commemorates the date when the Constitution Of India came into force replacing the Government of India Act 1935 and thus became the governing document of the country.

The 308 members of the Indian Assembly signed two hand-written copies of the new Constitution (one each in Hindi and English) on 24 January 1950. Two days later the Constitution became the law. Drafted by a committee headed by B. R. Ambedkar, the Constitution replaced the Government Of India Act Of 1935, and declared the country a sovereign, socialist, secular, democratic republic.

This short film depicts the journey of an Indian flag from sunrise to sunset, where it confronts the social evils plaguing our country. From poverty to corruption to discourteous youth, the flag is in desperate search of a sailor to take the nation towards the wisdom of light.

Worth a mention, every Indian loves listening to A. R. Rahman’s Maa Tujhe Salaam from the album Vande Mataram, which is the largest selling Indian non-film album to date.

Google often comes with such colorful doodles to observe the birth anniversaries of important personalities, festivals like Christmas and other significant dates. Google recently announced the revamp of its Doodle site (www.google.com/doodles) which houses all Google doodles from the very first back in 1998.

On behalf of the Techie Buzz team, I wish each and every Indian a very Happy Republic Day!

Access Facebook on Any Mobile Without GPRS or Internet Connection

Accessing Facebook without Internet or GPRS on mobile is nothing new. Back in May 2011, we reported that a Singapore-based software applications development company, U2opia Mobile, had developed an application for mobile phones that will allow users to access Facebook without paying for a data connection and works well on all handsets.

Now, the application is fully functional, and the company is marketing the product with the name Fonetwish. Facebook India has teamed up with U2opia to allow its Indian user base to access the network for free without requiring any Internet connection. Yes, you can now use Facebook with your old Nokia phone (Including Nokia 1100).

The application has been developed using Unstructured Supplementary Service Data (USSD) technology. Technically, USSD is a protocol used by GSM telephones to communicate with the service providers. The best example for this would the balance inquiry system.

Fonetwish works in a similar fashion. There is no graphical user interface as such, and you cannot view any graphical content. The service can only be used to read/send text based updates.

How to Enable Facebook Fonetwish

Please Note:  Fonetwish says that this service is currently available for Airtel, Aircel, Idea and Tata Docomo users in India. Unfortunately, other subscribers will have to wait a little longer.

Dial *325# (*fbk# for non-qwerty phones) and you will see a welcome message and after a few seconds you will be prompted with another message asking you to enter your username and password.

Access Facebook for Free on Mobile

Once you have entered the username and password correctly, you will the following screen –

Fonetwish - Free Facebook via Mobile

  • News Feed
  • Update Status
  • Post On Wall
  • Friend Request
  • Messages
  • Notification
  • Account Settings

You can select any of the above options by replying with the appropriate option number.

Here’s how you to update your status –

Reply with option 2 and wait for a few seconds. You will see the message “Whats on your mind?” Reply the message with your status message. You should immediately see the message updated on your Facebook profile.

Free Facebook Updates via Mobile

Facebook Update via Fonetwish

Likewise, you can also read your News Feed, manage friend request, read Facebook Messages, change account settings, and so on.

How to Deactivate or Disable Fonetwish

If in case, you did not find the application user-friendly or if the service is being charged, then you can always disable or deactivate it. Simply dial *325*22# from your mobile and the service should be deactivated immediately. If not, call up your service provider’s customer care and they will take care of it.

Also Read: Get Free Access to Twitter on Airtel