After Blackberry, now GMail and Skype will face problems in India

After  Blackberry went into probation for two months, now the Indian government has turned its attention to Google and Skype. Indian security agencies are taking the secure channels of telecom firms and services too seriously and their incompetence to handle insurgency is having a direct impact on the security of general Internet users.

Skype has an excellent VOIP security and Google’s Gmail service has a strong encryption. Both of these cannot be intercepted successfully and thus, they are the next targets of the Indian government scrutiny. Apart from this, VPNs used by company networks will also face the heat in this matter.

A senior government official told the PTI,

The notices to these entities will be issued beginning Tuesday and all of them will be asked to comply with the directive or else they will have to close down their networks.

While Blackberry agreed to setup a server in India to continue providing not all ongoing services, Google and Skype have yet responded officially. Given the population of users in India, both Gmail and Skype will not want to upset a huge customer’s base.


Gmail Priority Inbox’s First Bug, An Invisible YouTube Video

Looks like Google had to rush through to release the Priority Inbox feature to users because of a broken embargo. The release faced a small glitch where a automatic video started playing when a user loaded , apparently only in .


This is happening to users for whom Priority Inbox has been enabled for. Here is what the problem users are (or were) facing:

Whenever I sign into my Gmail using Chrome, music automatically starts playing. This is a new issue. It’s like old time dance music. Occasionally there will be a sound effect like a click, a bubble, cards shuffling, a dog growling. There is no music running on my computer. It only occurs in Google Chrome on one of my Gmail accounts, it does not occur in Firefox on anything.

And what was causing it? Apparently this:

Hey, I figured it out. Weirdly, that little "New! Priority Inbox (Beta)" automatically starts playing a youtube video that you can’t see. when you click on it you’ll see that.

It looks like Google employees are aware of this issue are working on a fix as per this thread on Google support forums and the suggested fix is to use for time being (Hotmail Part Deux?). Nevertheless, looks like Google panicked because of the broken embargo by eWeek and rolled out a code with an auto-play YouTube video. Nothing major, but goes to show that even the biggest company can make mistakes in haste.

(h/t @iVinay)

Gmail Priority Inbox Kills Email Overload

Have you ever woken up in the morning and started to get a headache because you have to check your emails? Have you ever had to go through hundreds of unread emails just to find that 10 of them were important. Of course, there are several workflows and filters you can put in place to make sure that you read only important emails, however, none of them might be perfect.

Thankfully, Google might have got something right, because they have managed to build something that would take away the hassle of reading emails everyday. "Priority Inbox" as the service is called is dubbed as a boon for heavy email users.

The service will help people who get hundreds or thousands of emails everyday to easily figure out what is important and what is not by using smart filters and algorithms. Gmail Priority Inbox allows you to split your Inbox into into three sections: Important and unread,Starredand Everything else.

Gmail Priority Inbox

All new messages are scanned as flagged automatically if they are important. Once that is done, you can quickly scan the unread messages to find the important one’s and then check Everything else at a later point of time to see the other messages. This is definitely a powerhouse feature for users like me who receive hundreds of emails throughout the day.

Does it work? Well several lucky users had an opportunity to try the feature and they have all been singing praises of it. TechCrunch Editor Jason Kincaid says that in his experience he never saw an important email slip away into the "Everything else" category, which is definitely very impressive.

Gmail Priority Inbox will be rolled out to users in the next few weeks, this feature will also be available for Google Apps users. Just keep an eye for a new link which says "New! Priority Inbox".

Watch Venus Williams, Federer US Open Tennis Match Live Online

The US Open Tennis 2010 Grand Slam just kicked out today, and some of the crowd favorites are playing today. US Open Tennis 2010 will be pretty interesting to watch, considering that Rafael Nadal will be able to complete his career Grand Slam if he wins this event.


Though Nadal is not in action today, Venus Williams and Roger Federer will play out today on the opening day. If you are not near a TV, you can still watch the match being broadcast live courtesy of To watch the match live online, head over to and click on the link to Watch US Open Live. This should show you options to watch the ongoing matches live online.

If you are not able to watch the matches online here, you can try and read our earlier post to find more resources to watch US Open Tennis 2010 Online.

Hotmail Adds Exchange ActiveSync Support for Mobile Devices

Microsoft today announced that Hotmail users would be able to access push email, calendar and contacts with the introduction of Exchange ActiveSync for Hotmail.

Windows Live Hotmail

Hotmail has begun making access to emails more easier with the introduction of POP3 for Hotmail, however, they have now moved a step ahead and are on par with in offering email, calendar and contacts through Exchange ActiveSync.

Users can now setup to get push updates from Hotmail on their exchange enabled clients or mobile devices. The introduction of exchange ActiveSync for Hotmail will now allow you to keep your desktop, web and mobile devices in sync. Whatever changes you make in one place will automatically sync with other devices you are using Hotmail ActiveSync on.

Currently Hotmail Exchange ActiveSync is supported for Windows Mobile 6.x, Windows Phone 7, , , , Nokia E-Series, S-Series, N-Series. Support for is still in testing, however, Hotmail ActiveSync does not work in and is reported to be successfully working with .

You can find instructions to setup Hotmail Exchange ActiveSync to your mobile device by visiting this help topic.

Oxford Discards Printed Dictionary, moves to Online Publications only

The Oxford English Dictionary is held in high esteem by everyone. It has established a name for itself over time. However, the presence of innumerable online alternatives has killed the business based around printed dictionaries.

Seeing this trend, the Oxford University Press has decided not to publish a hard copy of the next version of the Oxford English Dictionary (OED). Instead, they are stressing more on the online publication system.

Therefore, the Oxford English Dictionary will now be available only as e-books. The current OED available online receives two million page views per month and is a subscription based service.

Nigel Portwood, the chief executive of OUP, told the Sunday Times,

The print dictionary market is just disappearing; it is falling away by tens of per cent a year.

That is a considerable drop and by that rate, it will take the OED 4 years to drop to a poor 65%. Considering that the next full edition is a decade away and by that time, the figure would have reached around 35% at 10% per year.

Compared to the millions of dollars the OED invests in research of new words and managing lexicographers, its profits from the sale of OED is minimal. The dropping sale figure looks disappointing and moving to an e-book format is the best decision the OUP can take at this time.

Most of the printed media is also trying to maintain a parallel system of digital publications on the Internet. Most newspapers do it nowadays. This system proves beneficial to all and makes the business failsafe.


Digg’s Redesign Fires back, with Reddit Bullets

Has it ever happened to you that as a webmaster, you change the design on your site and your readers hate it so much, they make life hell for you. Kevin Rose is in a similar situation right now because his Digg redesign is firing back on him. It has been quite some time now and Digg is still flooding with Reddit news on the front page.

The new submission system on Digg encourages users to submit their own content and this is saturating Digg just as it was earlier. Digg is notorious for being full of spammers and the submission system on site is in favor of big players like Engadget and CNN.

Funnily enough, the Reddit posts are submitted by the same auto-submission feature introduced in the new version of Digg. Now, as pointed out by many, it is not unusual for a site to get some initial resistance but this is massive revolt from users who are up-voting Reddit posts madly.

Digg is in trouble and it needs to respond fast to retain its dedicated users. People already hate the new but the defacing is what is more worrisome.

(Image source)

Google Acquires SocialDeck, a Mobile Gaming Company

Google is out to set an acquisition record this month and wants to make use of every single day left in the month.

Google has just announced that it has acquired a mobile gaming startup SocialDeck. This acquisition looks like a part of a larger acquisition spree, which has just started. Clearly, Google is taking its Google Me very seriously and the  Slide and Jambool acquisitions are further proof of this.

The acquisition can serve two purposes. Firstly, it can be a breakthrough for Google’s mobile Android devices and secondly, it can be an excellent service for cross platform dominance.

The biggest advantage in using SocialDeck is that it has cross-platform mobile support and this can extend Google’s social expertise over various platforms. The particulars of the deal are not yet known.

Google is taking an unexplored path with this move and this feels so much like the old Google we knew of. Finally, Google is not imitating Bing but even more importantly, it is making a name for itself in a field where there are very few other players who can match its manpower and expertise. If done right, Google will inevitably succeed.


Is Cisco Acquiring Skype?

A first look at  this post on Gigaom and I thought to myself, this cannot be possible. However, after seeing the name of the buyer, I had to change my mind. Skype was already (not) sold to eBay once and this time again, a new probable buyer is Cisco.

Skype, as we all know is the undoubted and undefeated champion in VOIP technologies. Many companies like Rebtel have tried their hand at defeating Skype but have failed miserably. It is definitely a goose with golden eggs in the form of its strong IPO.

However, Cisco was not the only company looking to buy Skype. The acquisition is valued at $5 billion and Google has recently backed out from the list of prospective buyers because of antitrust concerns.

Cisco already deals in state of the art networking technologies. While many have speculated that it wants to enter the word of services with this acquisition, in my opinion, the hierarchical security measures used by Skype VOIP may be of special interest to it. After all, the last thing Cisco would want to do is compete directly with some of its big competitors.

The proceedings of the deal are being kept secret and the news might be a rumor as well. Nevertheless, i guess everyone likes to speculate a bit.

Adios ATI, It Will Be All AMD from Here On

AMD has announced that it will retire the ATI brand later this year. Four years ago, AMD shocked everyone by acquiring ATI for $5.4 billion. The merger almost cost AMD dearly. The massive expense was financed through $2 million in loans and 56 million shares of AMD stock. Most pundits believed that AMD had made a blunder by coughing up so much for ATI, when it was suffering major losses in the chipset business. However, the merger also brought tangible benefits to the chipset giant. ATI’s strong performance in the recent past has helped AMD boost its brand name, and now AMD is preparing to ship Fusion APUs (CPU+GPU on a single die).


Nevertheless, AMD obviously believes that it stands to gain significantly by retiring the ATI brand name. Come 2011, all products from the Sunnyvale based semiconductor company will bear only AMD branding. According to AMD, an internal survey revealed the following key points:

  1. AMD brand preference triples when the person surveyed is aware of the ATI-AMD merger.
  2. The AMD brand is viewed as stronger than ATI when compared to graphics competitors (presumably NVIDIA).
  3. The Radeon and Fire Pro brands themselves (without ATI being attached to them) are very high as is.

The last point suggests that ATI products are well recognized even without the ATI branding. However, even more crucial is the revelation that most of the consumers consider AMD to be a more significant competitor to Nvidia than ATI. The GPU market has long been dominated by ATI and Nvidia.

Much like 3dfx Voodoo, ATI will always be remembered by geeks and hardware aficionados around the world. Hardcore ATI fans might be disappointed with AMD’s announcement, but at least ATI is going out with respect.