All posts by Joel Fernandes

Joel Fernandes (G+) is a tech enthusiast and a social media blogger. During his leisure time, he enjoys taking photographs, and photography is one of his most loved hobbies. You can find some of his photos on Flickr. He does a little of web coding, and maintains a tech blog of his own - Techo Latte. Joel is currently pursuing his Masters in Computer Application from Bangalore, India. You can get in touch with him on Twitter - @joelfernandes, or visit his Facebook Profile for more information.

Users Can Now Upload Full-Size Photos to Google+

Good news for photo fans on Google+ as the tech giant has now enabled users to upload full-size photos to Google+. That is, you’ll be able to upload your photos with highest resolutions and not lose any details. Tough time for Flickr and other popular photo sharing sites.

However, users are limited to 2048 pixel-wide photos, and any photo beyond this threshold (over 2048 x 2048 pixels) will take up space on your Google Drive (5GB free storage) included with your Google+ account.

In December last year, Google enabled full-size backups of Android photos, and today Google’s John Emerson announced in a post about the latest addition to the desktop site. “Today we’re making it possible upload full-size photos from your desktop — whether you’re updating your profile photo, creating a new album to share, or backing up pictures from a recent vacation,” Jon Emerson explained.

To enable full-size desktop uploads, all you need to do is visit your settings at www.google.com/settings/plus, and enable “Upload my photos at full size” by checking it. Please be aware that any photo that is larger than 2048px will count towards your Google Drive storage. However, photo storage at 2048px or smaller remains free and unlimited. Additionally, you can buy more Google storage capacity at $2.49 a month for 25GB or $4.99 a month for 100GB.

Enable Google Plus Full Size Photo Upload

The full-size photo uploading feature will now complement the pan and zoom feature that was launched in January this year. Users have to simply open a large photo in the lightbox and then, depending on how they want to view it, can either use their mouse wheel to zoom in or out and/or click and drag to pan right, left, up or down.

Google+ is getting better with very new feature added to it. With full-size photo uploads, Google+ will now compete with popular photo sharing sites Flickr and 500px.

Facebook Android Launcher to Be Announced Tomorrow [Leaked Details]

Last week, Facebook teased the tech community with a mysterious invite to “Come see our new home on Android” event, which is scheduled for tomorrow (no, it’s not an April fool prank) at its headquarters. There have been some clues and information about what the event is all about.

According to the folks over at Android Police, Facebook is all set to launch a Facebook Home app, which could be a customized launcher for Android devices. Previously, rumors indicated that the company would be launching the HTC-built Facebook Phone, and the leak by Android Police has further strengthened the notion.

Android Police has also obtained a system dump of the ROM from a mid-range HTC phone codenamed “Myst.” According to the system dump, the phone will come with a dual core MSM8960 processor with 1GB of RAM, a 4.3-inch display, a 5-megapixel rear camera, a 1.6-megapixel front-facing camera, and powered by Android 4.1.2.

Here’s the complete build.prop specification obtained:

  • Manufacturer: HTC
  • Model: MYSTUL (Myst_UL)
  • Carrier: AT&T
  • Platform: MSM8960 (Dual Core)
  • Ram: 1GB
  • Display: 4.3 inch @ 720p resolution
  • Android Version: 4.1.2
  • Sense Version: 4.5
  • Rear Camera = 5M
  • Front Camera = 1.6M
  • No SD Card
  • Bluetooth 4.0
  • Wi-Fi a/b/g/n
  • It is specified that the device will launch on AT&T’s network.

Facebook Android Launcher

Overall, the smartphone is likely to provide Facebook’s new launcher, a home screen and app drawer setup for a smartphone. It is said that some of the home screens will function as feeds, for news, updates from friends, photos and so on.

The basic intention is to integrate Facebook into every aspect of the phone and make it always available. We’re eagerly waiting for the event to go live tomorrow. Stay tuned, and we’ll keep you updated with more information.

Also Read: Facebook Phone, Do You Really Need One?

Users Can Now Buy Music on Youtube via Flipkart, iTunes

YouTube India viewers can now purchase and download legal digital music content as the video streaming giant has integrated Flipkart along with Apple’s iTunes and Amazon’s MP3 store with the site. Viewers can simply click on the link provided in order to buy the music.

YouTube was selling content owned by EMI and Universal through digital stores like Amazon and iTunes prior to this. The iTunes integration has been there for some time, however, it’s only active with the EMI catalogue.

YouTube Integrates Flipkart

Free pirated music downloads are ever increasing in India and worldwide. Selling digital content in India is not just a difficult task, but a tricky one too. In the recent years, online music streaming services have seen rise in users in India. Sites like Gaana, Saavn, and Dhingana are some of the popular sites that provide free online music streaming. However, none of these offer a download/buy feature.

According to a survey by Google, almost one-third of the YouTube viewers in India access videos on their mobiles and spend over 48 hours a month on the website. Integration of Filipkart’s Flyte with YouTube is yet another route to gain traction for Flipkart.

Interestingly the download links are not just restricted to the official music channel. The links are available on music videos uploaded by any user. For instance, this song from the album The Great Ghazals – Pankaj Udhas by Pankaj Udhas was posted by a random user and is outside the official YouTube channel of Universal.

The story was first reported by Medianama earlier today.

Twitter Starts Charging $5 Per Month for Tweets with Vowels

In a bizarre move, Twitter announced in a blog post that users can use the micro-blogging service for free only by using consonants in their tweets. Yes, you read that right. You can no more use vowels — A, E, I, O, U — in your tweets and if you want to continue tweeting using vowels, then a fee of $5 per month will be charged.

The change is effective from April 1st onwards. Twitter has been struggling hard to generate revenue and has failed terribly to sell ad slots for advertisers. Hence, the company has come up with this amazing concept which it thinks is the best for not only increasing its revenue, but also to make interaction between Twitter users a meaningful one.

Twitter April Fool

Here’s what Twitter had to say about the disruptive approach to scl ntwrkng:

We’re doing this because we believe that by eliminating vowels, we’ll encourage a more efficient and “dense” form of communication. We also see an opportunity to diversify our revenue stream.

In addition to that, Twitter has also announced that it is now offering “a single character extension, expanding the length of a Tweet to 141 characters, for those moments when you need just one more character to finish your thought.”

You can read more about the new service Twttr here. Hppy twttng

 

 

 

P.S. Happy April Fool’s Day ;)

List of Google’s April Fool Jokes for 2013

Every year the first of April is celebrated as April Fools’ Day across many countries. It is widely recognized and celebrated as a day where people play practical jokes and hoaxes on each other. Google is perhaps best known for playing such pranks on the Internet on this day and today is no exception.

Here’s a list of Google’s April Fool Jokes for 2013:

Google Maps Treasure Hunt Mode

Google has created a new treasure map mode on Google Maps. Google announced in a blog post about finding a treasure map belonging to the infamous pirate William “Captain” Kidd. The map was found on a recent expedition in the Indian Ocean to expand its underwater Street View collection. It is said that the map contains a variety of encrypted symbols, which are not easy to decipher:

Google Maps Treasure Hunt Mode

To access Captain Kidd’s treasure map, click here or on the “Treasure” button in the top right corner of Google Maps.

Google SCHMICK

Google Australia blog announced Google SCHMICK — Simple Complete House Makeover Internet Conversion Kit. It definitely is a joke, but according to the post, the Street View service enables users to decorate their houses with any of “hundreds of themes or features.” You can find out more about the launch of SCHMICK here ;)

Google SCHMICK

YouTube Shutting Down

Not sure about the others, but this is one of the best pranks played. Google posted a video on YouTube stating that the company is going to shut down the world’s popular video sharing site YouTube. On that note, the tech giant also announced that YouTube was an eight-year competition to find the best video that was ever uploaded.

YouTube will re-launch in 2023 when a winner is announced. There’s even a video stream where all nominees will be announced starting tomorrow.

Google Nose – Smelling is Believing

Go beyond type, talk, and touch for a new notation of sensation. This is probably something that you will notice when you visit Google’s homepage. A link at the bottom of the search bar says, “What’s that smell? Find out with Google Nose.” The idea behind Google Nose is “smell-based” search.

Here’s the video explaining Google Nose search:

Google+ Photos +Emotion

The Google+ team too has come with a joke called as the “Google+ Photos +Emotion.” The tool lets you add emoticons to your uploaded images. That because “when it comes to expressing yourself, nothing beats the richness and elegance of a few properly placed colons, parentheses, letters and hyphens.”

Google+ +Emotion

Go to your uploaded photos on Google+ and open one of your pictures in the lightbox, click the “Add emotion” button at the top left of the screen, and then watch how Google figures out everyone’s emotion in the photo and adds an “emotion icon” to each.

Gmail Blue

The entire Gmail interface has been made blue in color. All buttons, menus, characters are blue now. Watch the video to learn more:

We’ll continue to update this roundup as the day goes along. Feel free to check back.

Google Doodle Celebrates Cesar Chavez Birthday, Generates Controversy

Today Google is celebrating the birthday of Cesar Chavez by honoring the American farm worker, labor leader and civil rights activist with a Google doodle on its homepage.

Google Doodle Celebrates Cesar Chavez's Birthday

The doodle featured on Google’s homepage illustrates a photo of Chavez in the third letter, honoring him on his 86th birthday.  Chavez is known for co-founding the National Farm Workers Association (later the United Farm Workers union, UFW) along with Dolores Huerta.

In the year 2011, U.S. President Barack Obama proclaimed March 31 as “Cesar Chavez Day” to celebrate the work done by the American labor leader. Google frequently celebrates major U.S. and international holidays through the doodles, however, it is a bit surprising that the company did not want to celebrate Easter with an Easter Egg-type of doodle, since it is one of the most observed and celebrated religious holidays for Christians around the world.

Google doodles are something that users on the Internet enjoy a lot. However, in this case, the doodle has generated a lot of controversy. Users on Twitter are expressing anger over Google since the doodle features the labor leader instead of honoring the holiday. Bing, one of Google’s search engine rivals, is celebrating Easter by featuring Easter Eggs as the background image on its homepage.

Bing Celebrates Easter 2013

Angry twitters have gone on rage and are threatening to make a switch to Bing for what Google has done. Here are some of the tweets:

Tweets Over Google Doodle

Facebook Phone, Do You Really Need One?

Rumors about Facebook Phone are back again, however, this time they might be true. With Facebook holding an event on April 4 at its headquarters, inviting the media to “come see our new home on Android,” the question still remains: Does anyone need a Facebook phone and does it actually make any sense?

In the last one year, the Internet was in a state of confusion with rumors surfacing about the Facebook phone. It was said that the phone will be developed by HTC and running a customized version of Android. This, however, has continued to persist till today. On the other hand, Facebook has constantly been denying about building a phone and CEO Mark Zuckerberg himself stated last year that building a whole phone “really wouldn’t make much sense.”

Facebook Phone - Concept Design

However, even if the company is working on a specialized Facebook phone powered by Android, how different would it be from the rest of the smartphones? Not much. According to 9to5Google’s sources, the phone will look a lot like the iPhone 5, and will feature all of Facebook’s services like photo uploading, messaging, contacts integration, and many more. This is pretty much the same what a non-specialized Facebook phone offers. It makes even less sense for users to buy it.

Why Facebook Needs a Phone?

Facebook is currently focusing more towards mobile, and revenue is the only reason I can think why the company will want to have a phone. The company hasn’t figured out a way to monetize the apps and offer mobile ad units to advertisers. With the new Facebook phone, there’s plenty of room for the company to think of generating revenue.

Business for both Facebook and HTC is pretty much clear with the Facebook phone. Facebook on one side wants to boost up its service usage on mobile, and perhaps it even wants its Messenger service to replace normal phone calls and text messages -more advertising opportunities here. HTC on the other side has completely lost its market share in smartphone.

Why Facebook Users Won’t Need a Facebook Phone?

The answer to that question is very obvious. As stated earlier in this article, the Facebook phone will pretty much offer the same services what a current smartphone offers except that it will be branded as a “Facebook phone.”

If a user has a smartphone, he/she probably has Facebook on it already. Facebook is one of the most-downloaded mobile apps in the entire app market. Even if you don’t have a smartphone, you can get access to it.Facebook Dislike

I feel that Facebook is making it hard and is pushing its users to use the social networking site on mobile rather than on a desktop browser. Facebook needs to realize that it is not Twitter where users will frequently put up status updates or post photos on the go.

Today the smartphone market has become saturated. More than 70 percent market share is taken over by Android, and Samsung’s Galaxy phones are selling like hot cakes. The major part of the rest of the market is taken by Apple leaving several other smartphone providers to fight for the third spot. What will HTC and Facebook do about this if they come up with a new phone? I have no idea.

What Must Facebook Do Instead?

What I feel is that Facebook should focus more towards its existing apps. Improvise and optimize them in a better and faster way, and also come up with an idea to monetize them. Alternatively, as many others suggest, a more sensible approach aside from building apps would be to release a custom Android launcher. This will enable users to change the device’s stock home screen and setup a customized home screen.

Facebook LikeFacebook could also think of an app store very much like what Amazon has. Not that they should a build a cloned version of Amazon’s app store or Google Play store, but could build something similar. This will enable mobile application developers to build apps on a deeper level that can interact with Facebook.

Nevertheless, if Facebook comes out with a customized Android phone, then they’re very late for the party. With a crowded mobile market, there’s absolutely no chance of survival unless it stands out from the others.

What do you think about Facebook phone? Do share your views with us in the comments below.

Facebook Testing New Compose Button on Navigation Bar

The social networking giant Facebook continues to experiment and add new features to the site. It appears that the company is testing a new compose button next to the user’s profile picture and name on the blue navigation bar on the top.

The new button enables users to post an update directly to their Timeline irrespective of what page they’re on. It is just similar to the notification buttons that remain intact throughout the site. Upon clicking the button, a prompt window opens up, which is similar to the one currently being used for posting a Facebook status. A screenshot of the same is shown below:

Facebook Compose Button

With the status update button that is being tested, users can post updates even when visiting another profile or Facebook Page, which is generally only allowed from the homepage or your own profile.

The button was first noticed by Mashable reporter Alex Fitzpatrick. He says that “the new feature was spotted on a page that has yet to be switched to the new Facebook news feed or be given access to Graph Search, its smarter search engine. We haven’t seen any other pages with the feature just yet.”

The button may also come to Pages giving managers the ability to update their Timelines regardless of where they are on the site. Additionally, if this becomes a permanent fixture, Facebook for Android and iOS apps might be updated with the same.

The button looks very similar to the button provided by Twitter on its top bar. The new button on Facebook could be an inspiration from Twitter’s button, and Facebook might have realized the importance of having a “compose” button on the top blue bar.

It isn’t surprising that Facebook was inspired from Twitter’s button because quite recently, Facebook renamed “subscribers” to “followers” on user profiles after it changed the name of its “Subscribe” button to “Follow.” This change, however, came after Facebook built their own button similar to Twitter’s Follow button.

Who Viewed Your Profile – Introducing the New Feature on Facebook Scam

There’s no way to know who’s viewing or looking at your Facebook profile or Timeline, or how often it’s being viewed. Facebook does not allow its users to track profile views or post updates.

Not even third-party apps can provide you with this information as there is no such functionality that exists on Facebook. Yet Facebook users will never stop searching for ‘ways to know who viewed their Facebook profile or Timeline.’

Scammers have taken advantage of this and are tricking users into clicking malicious links that leads to a bogus site. Users are prompted to download and install a browser plug-in, which claims to track and display information about Facebook profile views.

A similar scam that is spreading on Facebook is the “Who Viewed Your Profile – Introducing the new feature on Facebook!”

Who Viewed Your Profile – Introducing the new feature on Facebook - Scam

The scammers have made use of profile pictures of users to make the scam appear legitimate. Clicking the link provided in the scam message takes the user bogus site and is prompted to install a browser extension shown below:

Who Viewed Your Profile – Introducing the new feature on Facebook Scam

It is advised not to install this extension. Browser extensions like this are designed to extract available information from your system and send them across to the scammers who in turn may use to hack into your Facebook account.

As a precautionary measure, avoid clicking on short URLs on Facebook. Also, check the applications that are associated with your Facebook account and remove the ones that are unwanted. If you aren’t sure how to do it, you can always check our guide on removing apps from Facebook. In addition to that, don’t forget to check out our article about Avoiding Facebook Like-jacking and Click-jacking scams.

Bookmark Techie Buzz Facebook Scams. We always keep you updated with the  latest scams spreading on Facebook.

Amazon Acquires Goodreads, a Social Reading Site With More Than 360 Million Books Catalogued

The Web’s giant retailer Amazon has said it will buy the popular book-recommendation and social networking site Goodreads for a undisclosed amount.

The San Francisco-based Goodreads was founded in 2007, and currently has 16 million members. It is one of the most prominent online communities for readers to review and rate books. It also enables users to follow friends and others with similar interests and have discussions about books with them. The 16 million members have contributed more than 23 million reviews and the site has catalogued nearly 360 million books.

The acquisition will provide Amazon with another way to get readers to buy books from it, both digitally and from its warehouses. It will not just revamp Amazon’s book reviews and recommendations, but will also boost up the sales.

Here’s a look at the spike in books added per month in a graph from last August as shared by TechCrunch:
Goodreads - Books Added by Month

“Amazon and Goodreads share a passion for reinventing reading,” said Russ Grandinetti, Amazon Vice President, Kindle Content. “Goodreads has helped change how we discover and discuss books and, with Kindle, Amazon has helped expand reading around the world. In addition, both Amazon and Goodreads have helped thousands of authors reach a wider audience and make a better living at their craft. Together we intend to build many new ways to delight readers and authors alike.”

Goodreads co-founder, Otis Chandler, said the deal would allow the company to move faster in bringing its user experience to more people around the world.

One of the most prominent features of Goodreads is the books recommendation technology. Although Amazon has its own recommendation engine, Goodreads’ technology adds a bit more value to the growing self-publishing industry.

The best part about it is that the service enables authors to create their own author pages. Readers and fans can follow this page and interact directly with the authors using the comments section. Authors can also run private blogs, send out giveaways, and publicize events using the service.

The acquisition in every possible way is certainly good for Amazon. The complete details of the acquisition including the financial terms were not disclosed, however, it looks like it is worth every penny. The acquisition is expected to be completed in the next quarter.

Facebook to Show off Its “New Home on Android” on April 4

Facebook has sent out invites to media and bloggers to an event on April 4 at its place in Menlo Park, California. It is unclear what the event is going to showcase, however, the email invite reveals that the company will be showing off its “new home on Android.”

The possible guesses at the moment would be that Facebook is either launching a new refreshed Android app or a Facebook-specialized Android operating system.

Facebook Invite - April 4, 2013

According to a report by TechCrunch, it is said that Facebook will unveil smartphone software based on Google’s Android operating system. The software will have “extra Facebook functionality built in.” Also, the reports indicate that the software will run on hardware made by HTC.

It is known that Facebook and HTC have been working on a marketing campaign for the phone. Back in 2011, HTC released a phone that had Facebook branding included with specialized Facebook software. However, the phone received poor reviews after it was released to consumers.

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg stated that the company is more focused on mobile, however, he denied the existence of “Facebook Phone.” Back in 2012, Zuckerberg shot down rumors about a Facebook smartphone by stating, “There are a lot of things you can build in other operating systems as well that aren’t really taking, that aren’t really like building out a whole phone, which wouldn’t make much sense for us to do.”

No matter what Facebook is going to announce, a Facebook smartphone or a refreshed Android app, we will have it all covered here for you. Stay tuned, and we’ll update you next week!

Catholic Church Announces New Pope Francis on Twitter for the First Time

The whole world was waiting for a cloud of white smoke to come out of the chimney of the Sistine Chapel, and is it did a loud cheer emerged out from the thousands of people gathered at the St Peter’s Square. It was a similar situation in the online world when the official and verified Pontiflex Twitter account tweeted “HABEMUS PAPAM FRANCISCUM.”

Within a matter of time, the tweet was retweeted and added to ‘favorites’ by thousands of followers, with several replies pouring in every second. The tweet “HABEMUS PAPAM FRANCISCUM,” is roughly translated into “We have a Pope Francis.”

New Pope Announcement on Twitter

This is first time ever a Pope was officially announced on the social media site, simply proving how informative and important Twitter can be in terms of spreading breaking news as quickly as possible to the world.

The Catholic Church set up the official and verified Pontiflex Twitter account during the service of Pope Benedict XVI. Pope Benedict, immediately after he stepped down due to health issues, deleted all of his tweets. We are yet to be clear if the Catholic Church will follow the same procedure every time a new Pope is elected.

Twitter Music to Be Launched on iOS Very Soon

A year back Twitter acquired We Are Hunted, which was one of the World’s leading music discovery services. Now, the social media company is planning to offer music as a service alongside the micro-blogging service with the use of same technology used by We Are Hunted.

Since the acquisition, Twitter has been working on the technology used by We Are Hunted to develop a standalone app called “Twitter Music” on iOS, a person familiar with the situation told CNET. The app is designed to suggest artists and songs to listen to, and it personalizes music based on the Twitter accounts the user is following.

The songs will be streamed to the app via SoundCloud. Earlier in February, We Are Hunted founder Stephen Phillips tweeted the following test message, perhaps using the test version of the app.

Twitter Music

According to CNET writer Casey Newton, explained that:

“Twitter Music uses four main tabs. ‘Suggested’ recommends songs and artists based on a user’s follower graph — artists they are following, and artists that other people they follow are following. #NowPlaying brings in links to songs tweeted by people you follow who tweet using that hashtag.”

The app is expected to be launched by the end of this month, and will directly compete with Facebook’s music section of its new News Feed.

Update: We Are Hunted is now taken offline and visitors to the site are now greeted with a message stating, “We Are Hunted is not available at the moment.”

New Timeline Update – You Can Now Customize Your Facebook Timeline

Less than a week after rolling out a brand new News Feed design, Facebook has now announced a new update for its Timeline, which features a simplified layout and redesigned sections for things that ‘users care about’.

The new update will enable users to customize their Facebook Timeline and will make it easier for them to organize the things they like on their “About” page. Along with the photos and friends, the new redesigned sections will give users one place to add music, movies, TV shows and books that interest them.

For instance, “if you’re a movie buff, you can add your favorites to your movies section or use apps like Flixster and Netflix to share what you’re watching”, says Facebook. Users can manually tweak their pages on what apps they want to be displayed. Also, apps now get extra space on the page in other areas, with some now appearing under a user’s “About” tab.

Customize Facebook Timeline

Here’s a look at what the new timeline officially looks like. Facebook says that the new updated Timeline will be rolled out to a random set of users before they make it available to all users across the globe.

New Facebook Timeline Update

The “About” section, including friends, photos, and application activity are all placed on the left hand side of the Timeline. This is, however, customizable according to the user’s liking. The right-hand side of the Timeline now consists of the new status update box along with the latest posts.

Facebook has stated that the new update will only be reflected to user pages and no change is being made to business or fan pages as of now.

Facebook described how the new timeline will change the way users interact with apps:

The update makes apps more prominent by giving them new sections in the left column of timeline and on the About page. The new visual sections give you a way to add content from apps like Pinterest, Quora, Instagram, Etsy, Fab, and Foursquare, directly to your timeline. You can also collect stories from movies, TV, music, book and fitness apps into sections. It’s easy to organize your app stories into boxes on your profile, rearrange the boxes, and add content inline from desktop or mobile.

Facebook also stated that new Timeline users will begin to see the latest version of Timeline in their native iOS app immediately. However, as usual, Android users will have to wait a little longer as the it will be updated in the coming weeks.

Pinterest Launches New Web Analytics Tool

Pinterest has launched a new web analytics tool for webmasters that will help them monitor how pins that come from their site perform on Pinterest. The new service enables site owners to view how many people have pinned from their site, including the reach of those pins across Pinterest, and the amount of traffic generated to their sites from Pinterest.

Much like Facebook’s Insights for Facebook page owners, the new analytics tool provides basic measures of the most important pins. The tool displays information about the most clicked, most recent, and most repinned pins giving them an insight that will help them decide what kind of content is most popular in the different sections.

“For example, if you have a travel blog, you’ll be able to see whether people are pinning your ski vacation posts or beach vacation posts more,” says Tao Tao, a Pinterest software engineer.

Pinterest Web Analytics Tool

Pinterest announced the following in a blog post:

“Today’s announcement builds on the set of tools we offer for website owners including business accounts, Pin It buttons and board widgets. We think that these tools will help website owners understand what’s working for them and what’s not so that they can create even better pins in the future. We even updated our business site with new tips and case studies to make things easier. Over the coming months, we hope to add new tools and more detailed insights, so let us know what else you would like to see,”.

The new Pinterest Web Analytics tool is only available for verified websites. To get access to the new analytics, you’ll need a verified Pinterest website, and you’ll also need access to Pinterest’s new look.