Friday, 29 March 2013

Feedly

So Google Reader is ending on July 1st 2013 (Google Reader blog). Google are hoping to focus more on their headline products. Is this a reflection that RSS are becoming less popular?

So what are you going to do with all your favourite RSS feeds?

Feedly has taken full advantage of this situation by allowing you to copy over your feeds from Google Reader directly into Feedly through your Google account. This is extremely smooth and painless and the look and feel of the site is very similar to Google Reader. A little more emphasis is put articles images than Google Reader which was more clinical. Feedly is free (for now) and there is a Chrome add-in and Android and iOS apps too.

Hope that helps :-)

Thursday, 28 March 2013

Stop the Cyborgs!

A new campaign group has been set up to "stop the cyborgs" in response to the Google Glass project. For those of you are aren't aware of the Google Glass project here is a quick summary: Glass is basically a futuristic product from Google which puts Google services such as Maps and Google+ along side photography and video capture into a heads up display within a pair of glasses. They feature voice recognition as the user interace so you can ask glass to take a picture, post a status to Google+ or even to video call with someone right from your glasses. This takes mobile technology to the next level. To find out more about Google Glass click here.

So now you have seen Google Glass are you sceptical? Are you fearful of Glass wearers taking video of you in public spaces? If you are then Stop the Cyborgs is a website fot you: stopthecyborgs.org. It's going to be a huge debate over the potential invasion of privacy when Glass (and similar future products, one assumes) allow wears to record/stream to the internet live video from their perspective. If you are concerned Stop the Cyborgs even offer signage which you can print off to declare your shop/business/cafe etc. a Google Glass free zone.

This may be a case of closing the stable door after the horse has bolted for privacy campaigners though. Mobile technology has moved at such a fast pace in smart phones that many of the potential privacy invasions already exist. A huge proportion of the population now carry smart phones which are capable of almost all of the features of Google Glass, although if you someone is filming with a smartphone it would be more obvious.

Smart phones are also personally identifiable to the manufacturers and include location data by default. Social media such as Facebook and Twitter are constantly allowing your location to be published and some services, such as foursquare, are completely location dependant.  

One of the key concerns on the Stop the Cyborgs website is facial recognition software, but Facebook already does this for pictures that people upload already, although this did cause a stir amongst pro-privacy groups.

As we see the future from todays perspective the technology around may well reduce our privacy but provide will improve our access to information from the internet. The information available will be increasing personalised, local and relevant. Tecnology such as the Nike Fuelband to track your level of exercise and Google Glass to help you get around with directions will be complemented by internet connected cars which take services like Tom Tom's traffic live service and integrate it into your car's dashboard. Smart cars will be able to direct you to a free car parking space in a car park and help you find your destination quickly and easily.

The question is, should Google Glass really be subject to such a negative campaign? Wearable/integrated technology is a progression from smart phones which is not going to be easy to prevent. Comments are welcome below.

Monday, 25 March 2013

Facebook Messenger's Free Call arrives in the UK

The Facebook Messenger app as been a curious addition to the Facebook mobile apps lineup. It's only advantage over the messages section of the Facebook app itself was the loading time. It appeared as though Facebook were trying to 'replace' text messaging with their Messenger app. This was until January when in America and Canada users were able to use the Messenger app to make voice calls to contacts over their data contract or Wi-Fi connection.

This feature now comes to the UK, but without too much of a fanfare as it's more of a beta test and will be rolled out properly once bugs are squashed. To try out the feature for yourself in the UK you'll need the iOS version of the Facebook Messenger app. Then just swipe right to reveal a list of your contacts. Tap a contact for their information and the new 'Free Call' button will be there. If it's got a green phone symbol, you are good to go! If they don't answer you can even leave a voice message.