Picasa Web Albums Extends Sharing Options

We all love to share pictures online. Whenever we return from a picnic, vacation or a holiday, we share our pictures with our friends and colleagues online. Sharing pictures online has become so much fun with the help of services such as Facebook, Twitter and Blogger. Picasa Web Albums is another great way to share and save your pictures on the cloud.

Picasa Web Albums now gives you better ways of sharing your pictures with just a single click. Upload your albums to the cloud (Picasa Web Albums) and share your pictures easily via Twitter, Blogger or even Google Buzz.

Picasa Web Albums now has a new option in the sidebar – Post on. The ‘Post On’ option allows you to share a single picture or even a complete album on the above mentioned services.

The ‘Link to this Photo’ option is updated and you could allow your friends to view a particular picture only, without revealing the complete album.

LabPixies Acquired by Google

LabPixies, a leading developer of personalized web gadgets “widgets” including iGoogle, Android and the iPhone has been acquired by Google. Widgets help users improve their experience with a website and LabPixies was the very first developer to develop widgets for iGoogle. Later on, with the coming of the Android platform, LabPixies even started to invest in it and contributed by developing widgets for the Mobile platform by Google.

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Android 2.2 Will Support Flash

Google’s Andy Rubin in an interview with The New York Times has confirmed that Android 2.2 will support Flash. The next Android release, codenamed Froyo, for frozen yogurt would support Adobe’s Flash.

A giant leap for Android, a mobile OS with a mission to combine Web and Phone. Android would once again try to overcome the iPhone by putting Flash on its devices. According to Steve Jobs, CEO of Apple, Flash only makes devices buggier, slower and eventually leads to crashes. This is quite true and by putting Flash into Android, Google is even playing with security.

A very surprising move by a company that believes in open standards. HTML5, a new version of the Hypertext Markup Language is completely open source and plans to eliminate Flash. Rubin also commented on Google’s commitment to keeping Android open — open for developers, open for API access, simply and completely open. According to Rubin, Google’s definition of openness “means not being militant about the things consumers are actually enjoying.”

XSS Vulnerabilities Patched in Chrome

Google Chrome’s highly critical Cross Site Scripting(XSS) issues have been solved in the recent 4.1.249.1059 update. Chrome is becoming popular these days and therefore is the target of malicious people. Cross Site Scripting is a security concern and only Internet Explorer and Mozilla Firefox (using add-on) prevent you from these attacks.

The critical vulnerabilities detected in Chrome suggested that Chrome could be exploited by malicious people to conduct cross-site request forgery and cross-site scripting attacks or potentially compromise a user’s system. Fortunately enough, these loopholes have been covered and Google has released a new Stable version of Google Chrome thus fixing these and some other ‘critical’ vulnerabilities.

An unspecified error caused pages to load with privileges of the “New Tab” page and chrome://downloads could have been exploited to conduct cross-site scripting attacks. As soon as NoScript is available for Chrome, at least Chrome would be somewhat protected from XSS attacks.

Top 5 Google Wave Extensions

Google Wave, a complete collaboration tool launched by Google has reached a point from where neither success nor failure is guaranteed. Though many users including Google fan-boys hate the collaboration tool launched by Google, there are still some who seem to use it regularly. The slow, buggy and incompetent UI brought sadness to a lot of users. Google still seems to be working on the project. It has brought in Extensions for Wave in the hope that it would improve the user interaction and would probably win back the hearts of at-least some.

The Top 5 Extensions for Google Wave which could improve your experience ONLY a bit with Wave are –

1. AccuWeather.com – Install this extension and you could share the weather of your location or any other location with your friends and colleagues. The extension would ask you for a zip code, on entering which it would display the weather of that area. By determining the weather of a location, you and your friends could decide whether to meet there or not.

2. Goo-gly – This Extension uses the Google URL Shortening Service to shorten URL’s inside Wave. Highlight a URL in Wave and use this to shorten it. Works flawlessly!

3. Word Count – An excellent little extension which displays the word count of the selected words. If you are writing an article with your friend and need to put a Word Count at the end, nothing could be better.

4. Grocery List – Allows you to create the list of products which you have to purchase. Has three bars – Quantity, Name and Notes. This could also be used as a task manager for managing your daily tasks.

5. Draw Board for Google Wave – Let’s you draw in Wave, just like paint. Share with users and even draw together. It offers basic features like brush, pencil, eraser, paints etc.

Do let us know about your favorite Google Wave Extension.

Gmail – Drag and Drop Attachments

Now you could drag and drop attachments from your local computer to Gmail without ever hitting the attach button and then browsing for your file. This feature is also available on the Mail application on a Mac. Just open the folder which contains your file and drag the file to the compose mail box. Gmail would recognize your attachment and would come up with a message advising you to drop your file in the box. Just drop it and the file would be attached.

The Gmail Team plans to enable this feature on other browsers too, but currently it is only active on Google Chrome and Mozilla Firefox.

Google Docs Improved

Google Docs, a free web based online word processor, spreadsheet, presentation, form and even cloud storage just got updated. Google is releasing preview versions of the new Google document and spreadsheet editors and a new standalone drawings editor, all built with an even greater focus on speed and collaboration.

The new version tries to make Docs faster and brings real time editing experience to documents. Google has even brought another feature from spreadsheets to documents : Sidebar chat, which lets you chat with your friends and colleagues and together work on a document. Spreadsheets is now faster than before with speed and performance improvements. Also, Google says that come May and for the foreseeable future, users will no longer be able to work with Google Docs offline.

According to Google, faster browser technologies such as faster JavaScript processing helps them make Docs faster. The new collaborative drawing editor gives users the ability to collaborate on drawings and make them accessible directly from the docs list. The acquisition of DocVerse by Google has further helped Google improve Docs. DocVerse was a company that focused on creating collaborative tools within Microsoft Office. The antagonism between Google and Microsoft is increasing day by day.

Buzz integrated with Gmail for Mobile

Google Buzz is now incorporated within Gmail. If you go to Gmail from your Android or iPhone browser you would see a Buzz bar below the inbox bar, just as you would observe in the desktop edition of Gmail. When Buzz was launched, Google had a web app of Buzz for mobiles, but now you could access it right from your inbox.

When you open a Buzz post from your inbox, you can perform all the standard functions, such as liking the post or commenting, just as you can from the desktop Gmail inbox.

You could try it by simply navigating your iPhone or Android browser to gmail.com .

Google Acquires Episodic

Episodic, a complete online video platform for broadcasting, measuring and monetizing live and on-demand video content to the web or any web enabled device has now been acquired by Google.
Add Episodic to the list of recent Google acquisitions which include Aardvark, reMail and Picnik.

Episodic brings great video experience to the web, mobile phones and IPTV. This acquisition could possibly be for Google’s rumored Google TV.

Here’s what the Episodic team has to say :

We are thrilled to announce that Episodic has been acquired by Google. The entire Episodic team is extremely excited about this new partnership and what it means for our customers and the evolution of online video.

The Episodic team will join Google and continue its work to bring a great video experience to the Web, mobile phones and IPTV devices. There will be no interruption in service for existing Episodic customers.

At Episodic, we have always felt that these are the very early days of online video and that there is far more growth to be had. To put it in perspective, our industry is barely 15 years old. We’ve just received our learner’s permit, we still can’t drive without adult supervision and we’re certainly not old enough to buy a drink…legally.

From our earliest discussions with Google, it was clear that the teams shared this belief and together we obviously see huge potential in online video. Our product visions were also complimentary and together we will continue to produce innovative video technology for our customers and their viewers.

Speaking of our fabulous customers, we want to thank you all for your support and your willingness to experiment and sit on the bleeding edge with our team. We can’t wait to show you all what’s coming.

Google’s Next Steps Towards its Possible Grand Plans

The Google mobile blog has announced its plan about Google services on the iPad and other tablet computers. As the shift of interest of the people from desktops and mobile phones to tablet computers is evident, Google has chosen to optimize the interest to give people a better Google experience.

All Google services including YouTube, Google Docs and even gmail are now optimized for the iPad and other tablet computers. gmail looks exactly like the default iPad mail and has your inbox on the left and the mail selected is on the right. There is no better experience than using the native mail app on the iPad to check your mail; so gmail optimization is nothing very exciting. There is already a default YouTube app on the iPad which gives a better experience than the web app.

Then comes in Map. You even have a maps app for the iPad which is very robust and has a great UI.

Google plans to use and promote the new HTML 5 web standard and is encouraging people to use it. The optimization of Google services for tablet computers would rather not be a success for Apple’s iPad, but yeah, it could help on other upcoming Android based tablets.

This gives us a hint that maybe – just maybe Google is coming out with its own tablet.