No More Free Cr-48 Netbooks; Chrome OS Netbooks Coming Mid-Year

Several thousand users got lucky when Google sent out free Cr-48 netbooks to them. I was one of them too (see Cr-48 unboxing pictures, Cr-48 Easter egg). However, it looks like Google will no longer be sending out free Cr-48 netbooks to users.

Cr-48 Chrome OS Netbook

The Chrome Source saw a tweet from the VP of Product Management; Sundar Pai, where he replied to a user query. The tweet mentioned that Google will no longer be shipping the Cr-48 units. He also said that Google will be coming out with partner devices in mid-year. So you can expect to see   based netbooks coming out somewhere in June or July.

@palmjeff Sorry we have shipped all units for now. Thanks for your interest and we will have partner devices out mid-year.

I have been using the Cr-48 netbooks for few months now, and though it is not perfect (Read: What’s Lacking In Chrome OS Cr-48 Right Now? 100% Cloud Storage), it very well suffices my needs.

Google has not given any indication on with OEM’s it will be partnering with, but you can expect most of the heavyweights to offer Chrome OS based netbooks.

Did you get a free Cr-48 netbook? Do you like it or hate it? Do let me know through your comments.

Google Chrome 10 Released; Gets Password Sync and is Really Fast

Last month Google released the beta version of 10 to the public. Chrome 10 used the new V8 engine which made it 2 times faster than the previous version. In addition to that, it also included a new settings page which is similar to what is found on a Cr-48 Netbook.

Google Chrome

Today, Google has released Google Chrome 10 to the stable channel, making the update available to everyone. Google Chrome 10 also supports password sync, so you can sync your passwords and access it on any computer. In addition to that you can also set a secret passphrase for the sync to secure your synced data. Google Chrome 10 also comes integrated with the latest Flash player, so you will be using Flash 10.2.

If you are using the stable update, this new version should automatically be pushed to you shortly. You can also go to Settings -> About and check for updates. Alternatively, you can download Google Chrome 10 from

So go ahead and experience the latest and greatest browser from Google. It’s fast and you won’t be disappointed.

Microsoft to Launch Windows for Tablets Only by Q3 2012

Despite rumors of Microsoft working feverishly on a Windows tablet launch in 2011, it seems that Microsoft’s answer to Android and iOS for tablets won’t be ready until Q3 2012. A recent report by Business Week says that Microsoft won’t launch a tablet version of Windows until the 2012 back-to-school season, which by all measures will be too late for the software giant.

“If 2011 is the year of the tablet wars, Microsoft will be awfully late suiting up for that battle,said Michael Gartenberg, a New Jersey-based analyst for research firm Gartner Inc. It’s not a good position to be in.”

It has already been over an year since Apple unveiled the iPad and in less than a week, the iPad 2 will be available around the world. Android has also entered the tablet race and is poised to become the leading tablet platform soon, thanks to manufacturers like Motorola, Samsung and HTC rushing to launch tablets running Android.

Even HP’s webOS tablets and RIM’s Blackberry Playbook will be available by the end of 2011. Microsoft will likely be the last major entrant into the tablet arena, and it will probably be too late for it to gain a foothold of the market then. The only hope for Microsoft is if it is able to leverage the huge Windows market share in PCs and the power of the vast library of Windows software already available.

The tablet market is set to explode in the coming years, as consumer focus shifts from personal computers to tablets. By the time Windows tablets are launched, we will probably see the iPad 3 and the third generation of Android tablets in the market. The future of Microsoft’s tablet OS seems very bleak.

Google Uses Kill-Switch to Remotely Uninstall Android Malware, Pushes Update to Undo Changes

Earlier in the week, a Redditor uncovered a large network of malwares masquerading as popular apps in the Android Market, when he stumbled upon one of the apps and noticed its incorrect publisher info. Android Police has a lowdown on the incident, which once again demonstrated how easy it is to infiltrate the Android Market. The fake apps, once downloaded, proceeded to root the phone using the famous “rageagainstthecage” exploit, and called home. It also had the potential to download additional payloads.

Android-Malware-AttackFor its part, Google reacted swiftly, and pulled the apps minutes after being notified by Android Police. However, according to information provided by “lompolo”, the Redditor who uncovered this entire mess, some of the app developers were already aware of this for as long as a week, but their complaints fell on deaf ears. The apps injected with malware, which were dubbed as DroidDream by Lookout, only affected handsets running versions older than Android 2.2.2. Google found DroidDream in 58 applications, which were downloaded onto 260,000 devices.

Google believes that the apps only uploaded device information (IMEI/IMSI, unique codes which are used to identify mobile devices, and the version of Android running on your device), and not user-data. After pulling the apps, and performing its initial investigation, Google is now moving to rectify the damage caused. It is in the process of removing the apps from all handsets by employing the remote kill-switch built into Android. It is also pushing through a new update called “Android Market Security Tool March 2011″ to affected devices. This update will undo the changes made by DroidDream. If you were among the affected users, expect an email from Google soon.

This entire saga raises several questions. Obviously, as Android’s popularity continues to surge, more and more hackers and malware writers will target it. Unfortunately, it’s clear that Google is simply in no position to mitigate these attacks before they occur. The “openness” of the Market is becoming Android’s biggest security weakness. Although most Android users have nothing but disdain for any app review system, I would welcome a change in the Market policy, whereby all submitted apps are screened for signs of malicious or fraudulent activities. Google might also need to give a serious thought to how it deploys security updates. Apple and Microsoft have full control over deploying critical system updates, unlike Google, which is at the mercy of handset manufacturers and carriers. Although the bug that was exploited by DroidDream was fixed in Android 2.2.2, hundreds of thousands of handsets were successfully compromised because Android 2.2.2 isn’t yet available for a substantial number of handsets. Unless Google can reign in the fragmentation problem, it might have to start deploying hotfixes for different versions of Android to patch critical security vulnerabilities, i.e. employ a Windows like model of distributing patches to different OS versions. What is your take on this issue? Chime in by dropping a comment here or in our Facebook page.

Best Mobile Apps Of The Week for iOS, Android and Symbian – #8

Welcome to the eight edition of Best Mobile Apps of the Week for iOS, Android and Symbian. First of all, I would like to apologize to our readers as I did not post the Best Mobile Apps for the last 2 weeks. I had to give my Android phone to the service center, and was using a dumbphone for nearly two weeks.

In this edition of Best Mobile Apps of the week, I will introduce our readers to an awesome eye-candy widget for your Android homescreen, a new unlock screen for you Symbian handset. For iOS owners, I will tell them about an app that will allow them to wake up their PC remotely!

Below are the Best Mobile Apps Of The Week For iOS, Android and Symbian :

Wake (iOS)

As the name suggests, Wake’ enables iOS users to remotely wake up their PC. The app uses WOL Wake On Lan feature which is found in nearly all PCs and Macs computers. Users need to make sure that the WOL’ feature is enabled on their PC. They can do so from the BIOS of their PC.


The app is designed to work with both iPhone and iPad. This app is an extremely useful one for users who want total control on their PC, when they are away from it. iOS owners can purchase Wake’ from the App Store for $0.99 from here.

Maze Lock (Symbian)

In the last edition of BMATW, I introduced our readers to Nokia Bubbles. The app allows users to unlock their phone in a fun and yet efficient manner. Today, I would like to introduce our readers to Maze Lock from ThinkChange.

Below is a video of Maze Lock in action :


Maze Lock for Symbian is similar to the pattern unlock option found in Android 2.1+ handsets. The app is configurable to quite an extent and allows users to change the lock screen background, the date and time display style etc. The app supports all the latest Symbian handsets from Nokia as well as the older S60v5 based ones like the X6 and 5800.

Symbian owners can download Maze Lock for free from the Ovi Store.

Honeycomb Clock (Android)

The tablet version of Android Honeycomb looks stellar! The whole Tron like theme and animations definitely look very cool! Well, Android handset owners are not going to get the next version of Android with all these eye-candies anytime soon. Until then, they can get the Honeycomb look on their phone by using a Honeycomb theme for ADW Launcher.


Along with this, they can download and use the Honeycomb Clock widget from the Android Market. This widget replicates the awesome looking clock widget as seen in Honeycomb OS. Unlike the clock widget in Android 3.0, Honeycomb clock comes in multiple color choices for people who don’t like the blue color.

A free as well as a paid version of this widget is available on the Android Market. Android handset owners can download the app from here.

Android Now the Leading Smartphone OS in US

The Android platform has been growing at an unprecedented pace and has already been the number one smartphone platform in the world since a few months. It had also overtaken iOS in the US and going by the latest data from January 2011, it has now edged out Blackberry to become the number one smartphone OS in the United States as well.

Android Marketshare

According to data from Comscore, Android now has a 31.2% share of the US smartphone market. RIM follows in the second place with 30.4% and Apple takes the third spot with 24.7% share. This data doesn’t cover the effects of the iPhone 4 now being available on Verizon, but I doubt that will change the overall picture much. Android is still growing at an insanely fast pace, and at the expense of Microsoft, Palm and Symbian. Despite the launch of Windows Phone 7, Microsoft has actually lost share.

Android Marketshare

Nielsen’s data shows a similar trend – Android has a 29% share which is way ahead of iOS and Blackberry both at 29%. With more impressive Android devices coming soon, Android will soon dominate the market by a huge margin. Even Apple’s marketshare has been cemented by its loyal fans. With the support from Nokia, Microsoft’s marketshare is expected to rise at least a bit in the coming year. The smartphone wars are going to be very interesting.

via Comscore and Nielsen

Nexus S Android 2.3.3 Update Brings Screen Color Temperature Changes

Google rolled out the Android 2.3.3 update for the Nexus S at the beginning from this week. The OTA update not only brought bug fixes and NFC read/write capabilities, it also featured a new display driver. The new display driver was aimed at adjusting the color temperature of the Super AMOLED screen on the Nexus S.

However, many Nexus S owners are disappointed with this update since the colors on their phone’s screen became too washed out or had a yellowish tint, after the update. In fact, many users are already asking for a fix over at XDA forums and on Code Google as well.


One of the most talented developers over at the Galaxy S and the Nexus S modding scene supercurio has come up with a very detailed explanation behind the color tint issue. According to him, the frame buffer driver of the screen has been updated in the 2.3.3 update.

The new driver is capable of reading’ information from the screen hardware and then it accordingly adjusts the screen temperature. Previously, the driver just used to send data to the S-AMOLED screen from a pre-defined gamma table.

The new driver may not be to everyone’s liking, but according to supercurio, it is better, in fact smart! However, the screen calibration went wrong during the coding of the driver which has led to this problem. Nexus S owners can read more in detail about the issue here. The stuff written there is a bit geeky so please proceed with caution.

There is a twist in the tale here though. While some users are not pleased with the color temperature after the 2.3.3 update, some users report a massive improvement in compared to 2.3.2.

As of now, supercurio does not have any fix’ but he is already working on Voodoo Color’. He will also publish a new custom kernel which will allow Nexus S owners to manually control the color temperature using an app.

Google Silently Kills Reverse Phone Number Lookup

Reverse phone number lookup was one of the earliest services that Google started providing with search. Today, Google killed the reverse phone number lookup service without putting up any official notice regarding the matter. The service could be accessed with the operator rphonebook: which gives information on the owner of a residential phone number if it is listed. The sister service of looking up other phone numbers that could be accessed using the phonebook: operator is also gone now.


The service used the phonebook directory to lookup this information and present it.

Things change, and Google has dropped the phonebook: and rphonebook: operators for finding phone numbers (rphonebook: was for “residential phonebook” and focused on home phones). As you can imagine, this was an endless source of hassles for people (who were surprised to see themselves searchable on Google) and for Google (who had to constantly deal with all of the takedown requests and outraged letters from folks who thought they were unlisted).

With this service gone from Google, there is another service that lists some similar data. It is explained at this page on SearchEngineLand. Apparently, the reason for Google dropping this service is twofold.

Firstly, there were numerous takedown notices and hassles for people and they wanted to opt out of getting listed. Secondly, the service was losing importance and fewer people were using it. Critical decisions like these are hard to take, and  Google has been wise in killing this feature.

How To Find If Website is Penalized By Google

Recently, Google rolled out new algorithm changes to search which would curb out unoriginal content and low quality content from the search engine and degrade their rankings.

Google Penalized Red Card

As such, many users are reporting huge traffic drops for their websites. But are these traffic drops temporary or has Google really penalized your website? What is the best way to find it out? Well, here are some answers to find out whether your website has been penalized by Google or not and how to find it out.

Check Analytics for Statistics

If you use a analytics software like , you should check your stats for the past few days. If your traffic has dropped from what it was since last couple of days and has remained consistent, your website might have been penalized.

However, there could be various other reasons sudden traffic drops so make sure to analyze whether you still rank higher for your best keywords and haven’t lost traffic on them.

Also make sure to check that you are still getting traffic for those keywords for past few days or not. Another thing worth checking is to see whether you have lost traffic from referring sites like and too.

A thorough check of these things should give you a clear idea on whether or not you have been penalized by Google.

Check Google Webmaster Dashboard

Tools provides a good idea about what traffic is coming to your site and which searches are driving traffic to you. Make sure to analyze the data there to see if there have been any sudden drops on your popular keywords.

Google Webmasters provides users with a good way to track search queries through charts so make sure to use those tools to determine whether you have lost traffic or not.

Use Site Search Feature in Google

Google provides users with a good way to search results from a particular site in their index. The site operator should be used to verify whether your content is being indexed by Google or not.

To use site search, head over to Google and search for (replace the site URL with your own blog URL). If you see a drop in indexed content it would mean that your site is being penalized. You can also use the “search tools” available in the left hand side menu to see whether the recent content from your site has been indexed or not.

Don’t base your judgment on posts which have been written a few hours ago as Google crawling can be slow sometimes, instead check if your past days content has been indexed or not.


Though it is very difficult to find out whether your site has been penalized by Google or not, these things will help you at-least get close to finding that out. Things should be ok if you haven’t seen a traffic drop yet, but you have to also continue writing quality content so that the site is not penalized in future.

Have you seen a traffic drop recently? Did you use any other way to find out if you are penalized or not? Do let me know through your comments.

(Image Credit:

Looking To Make That Perfect Biryani? Google Is Here To Help

For those who don’t know what a Biryani means, it is a famous rice dish from South Asia which contains different spices and ingredients with either meat, fish, eggs or vegetables. Biryani is prepared in several different ways. Wikipedia may be able to explain it better. Understanding what a Biryani is easy, but cooking it is not.

Chicken Biryani

I must admit that I cook a lot at home, but more often than not I rely on Google for finding recipes, because keeping a cookbook is just so 1990s. However, earlier finding proper recipes for the ingredients I had was a bit of a pain.


Google has decided to put me out of my misery by introducing a new recipe search which will allow users like me to quickly find recipes and also narrow them down to ingredients that we currently have at hand. In addition to the ingredients you can also narrow down searches to cooking time and the calories you want to consume. So if you want to whip up a quick dish in 10 minutes, Google can help you find the right recipe.

I find this feature extremely useful considering how many time I end up on Google to search for recipes, however, I don’t see it being integrated as part of regular Google search right now. Hopefully, it should be rolled out as part of it soon.

To try out recipe search, head over to and search for your favorite dish. The service is currently being rolled out to U.S. and Japan users with more countries coming up in the future.

So what is your favorite dish? Do you really on search engines to find your recipes. Do let me know about it. Happy Cooking.

Watch a video of Google Recipe Search in action below. Click here if you can’t see it.