#Facebook, #Twitter, #Google change face of Indian #elections

The three American social media giants, Facebook, Twitter and Google, have emerged as major players in the ongoing general elections in India, with political parties and candidates competing with each other in breaking the news, spreading their message through these outlets in addition to those via the traditional media.

M_Id_469744_Social_MediaWhile the impact of these social media on the elections could be known only after May 16 when the results are declared or could be a matter of another academic research, all the three major players have seen substantial increase in their India traffic and usage.

For instance, Facebook has now 100 million users in India, its largest outside the US, while that of Twitter has more than doubled since January this year.

After the 7th round of polling, there were 49 million Indian elections-related conversations on Twitter, more than double the 20 million Indian elections-related conversations on Twitter for all of 2013.

In 2009, Shashi Tharoor was the only Indian politician to have a Twitter account and had 6,000 followers. Five years later there is hardly any major political leader who does not have an account on Twitter.

Tharoor is now the second most popular politician on Twitter with 2.16 million followers, after Narendra Modi, the BJP’s prime ministerial candidate with 3.89 million followers.

Modi now also has nearly 14 million fans of Facebook. Barack Obama is the only other politician to have more Facebook fans than Modi.

With political parties, leaders and candidates putting their advertisement on social media to reach out to their voters, all the three major players are reported to have made substantial addition to their revenue.

Though none of the companies are willing to discuss the advertisement revenue this election cycle, all of them have put in several months of tireless efforts and diverted substantial amount of their resources in the elections, many of them working thousands of miles away from India.

Facebook started working on the Indian elections towards the end of last year, says Katie Harbath, manager for policy at Facebook, adding that the company started doing a series of things beginning March this year when the elections were announced.

This includes launch of election tracker so that people can see in real time. Candidates are now using Facebook and Twitter for breaking news.

“We are really seeing the entire country discuss the issues (related to elections), Harbarth said in a recent interview.

“Facebook is really the key place of the conversation that is happening,” she said.

Adam Sharp, Head of Government and Nonprofits at Twitter, who has been involved in participating in elections in various countries of the world, said Twitter is a powerful way to return to retail politics. He conceded that elections have helped Twitter expand in India.

While the majority of the users of social media are concentrated in urban areas, the elections have also helped them expand their reach to the rural areas too.

Before the elections, the use of social media was generally restricted to the national political parties, but as the general elections gained momentum, even regional parties joined the social media bandwagon.

In a recent interview, Raheel Khursheed, head of news, Politics and Government, Twitter India, said the electoral landscape of social media has changed forever in India.

“Twitter has now become an integral part of Indian elections,” Khursheed said.

The sheer size is a major challenge for them, concedes Harbarth.

“It is just exciting to see, how much social media is being used in the election,” she said.

In addition to the volume and size, Twitter officials said the nine-phased elections are another major challenge.

“Twitter gives you a front row seat to the Lok Sabha #Election2014 in India and is the #1 place to go to stay informed about the latest elections developments.”

“This election is turning out to be the country’s first Twitter election; candidates, journalists and citizens have been using the Twitter platform extensively to discover elections content, converse with others in real time, and express their views,” Adams said.

On the other hand, Google provided platforms to politicians to reach out to their supporters through hangouts.

Google also created a Google Elections Hub for elections-related news and information created to help 800 million Indian voters stay informed and updated about the elections. The site also includes features such as elections related News Videos, Search Trends, G+ Hangout Series, and an interactive Pledge to Vote campaign.

“We want to make sure Indian voters have quick access to information to help them make informed decisions on election day. This is part of our commitment to bring essential information to Indians as they head to the polls in this historic election,” Rajan Anandan, VP, India Country Manager, told in an email interview.

“Google created its first elections tools seven years ago when our engineers noticed a huge increase in search traffic around the election period in the United States,” Samantha Smith from Google said.

“Today over 20 countries including Malaysia, Thailand, and now, India, have elections pages that aid voters during election periods.

“Google aims to encourage people to be more participative and engage with candidates. It also allows voters to have a deeper understanding of politics and governance through engagement with the candidates,” Smith added.

Several American media outlets have described the 16th general elections as the first social media elections.

“Social media has become the new election battleground for India’s nationwide parliamentary elections,” a CNN news report said.

Both officials from these social media outlets and experts are unable to predict this time the influence it would have on the election results. However, the Internet and Mobile Association of India estimates that a well-executed social media campaign can swing 3 -4 per cent of votes.

In 2009, the popular vote of the BJP was 78 million and that of the Congress was 119 million. In 2014, the total numbers of Indians on these social media outlets are matching these figures.

#Facebook launches #newswire for #journalists

Facebook said that it has created a newswire tool tailored to journalists, part of a broader effort to be the go-to place for conversation for its 1 billion users.

Called FB Newswire, it is designed to help journalists share and embed newsworthy Facebook content that is made public by its members such as photos, status updates and videos.

Facebook is teaming up with News Corp’s Storyful, the media tool that verifies and manages copyright of news and video on social media platforms like Twitter.

“News is finding a bigger audience on Facebook than ever before, and journalists and media organizations have become an integral part of Facebook,” wrote Andy Mitchell, director of news and global media partnership at Facebook, in a blog post announcing FB Newswire.

Social media platforms have become a gold mine for journalists. Facebook, Twitter, Google’s YouTube and others are rich in source material, as many people around the world use them to communicate, including during periods of upheaval.

Acknowledging that many journalists use Twitter to uncover material, Facebook is also providing a Twitter feed, @FBNewswire.

“We work closely with our news partners and as we look at the opportunities clearly Facebook was being used as a place to gather news,” Mitchell said in an interview with Reuters.

Facebook’s newsfeed, where people post stories, status updates and photos, is an integral part of the company’s revenue growth and it injects paid marketing messages straight into the news stream.

On Wednesday, Facebook reported a 72% increase in revenue to $2.5 billion during the first quarter because of a surge in advertising.

7 #memorable #April #Fools’ Day #jokes

On All Fools’ Day, most of the world lets their hair down and tries very hard to pull each others’ legs. We relive some of the best attempts to fool us in the recent past.

7 memorable April Fools' Day jokes

From the days of Ancient Rome to the Internet Age, mankind has enjoyed getting its funny bone tickled at least once a year. We aren’t new to the custom of April Fools’ Day, and are more likely to walk with trepidation on April 1 every year, lest someone pull the wool over our eyes and leave us embarrassed beyond hilarity.

We’re all used to watching technology companies being at their creative best by trying to ‘fool’ us with outlandishly innovative or silly ideas that will have us bemused or in splits. Increasingly, some of these tech companies — like Google, for example — have become notorious for coming out with ingeniously authentic and believable April Fools’ Day prank ideas that successfully throw dust into the eyes of a lot of its followers.
However, the focus of this story is to not only look at some of the recent April Fools’ Day hoaxes executed by tech companies, but go further back in time and look at some of the all-time best pranks. Here goes…
Military working cats
Nobody messes with the US military, except the US military. And nothing exaggerates the point better than the US military’s April Fools’ Day press release from 2013. It goes something like this: “The 3rd U.S. Infantry Regiment (The Old Guard), is doing its part to cut down on military spending with the implementation of a new cutting-edge program which will use military working cats to work alongside military police.” With this initiative not only would America have the most cost-effective military personnel, but also do its bit to give homeless cats a renewed purpose to live than to just flood the Internet with stupid memes. Right?
The spaghetti harvest
According to CNN, this was “the biggest hoax any reputable news establishment ever pulled.” And we have some devilishly ingenious minds at BBC’s Panorama series to thank for The Spaghetti Harvest. This was a three minute news report aired back in 1957, where they showed women carefully plucking strands of spaghetti from a tree and laying them in the sun to dry. The result? An entire nation (and more) was deceived. Watch:
<iframe width=”560″ height=”315″ src=”//www.youtube.com/embed/27ugSKW4-QQ” frameborder=”0″ allowfullscreen>
YouTube shutting down
Exactly a year and a day ago, YouTube announced in an official blog post that it wasn’t really a video-sharing or broadcasting service, but actually a covert video contest started back in 2005. And after eight years of video submissions, with 72 hours of video being submitted every minute on the popular video sharing site, YouTube was shutting down the site. And it would remain closed for many years until the winner of the YouTube contest was announced. Many a video-enthusiasts’ hearts were shattered!
The isle of San Serriffe
On April 1, 1977, British newspaper Guardian ran a story that had beach vacationers tingling with excitement. It came in the form of a seven-page travel supplement titled “San Serriffe”, a small archipelago situated somewhere in the Indian Ocean, with its main islands grouped roughly in the shape of a semicolon. The story had a collection of puns and wordplay on typography related to San-Serif. There were exquisite images of the fictitious place and the ensemble was successfully executed with hoax advertisements — Kodak, for example, had a full-page ad asking people to submit their photos of San Serriffe after the vacation. It was one of the most elaborate hoaxes ever executed in recent history.
Gmail paper
Apart from the fact that Google’s release of Gmail on April 1, 2004, wasn’t an April Fools’ Day joke, the announcement of Google Paper on the exact same day three years later in 2007 most certainly was. In an age where Gmail more than just supersized the web email’s inbox sized by giving users a 1GB inbox, its announcement of giving users freely printed copies of all their emails wasn’t initially suspected to be an April Fools’ Day joke. It was deceptively brilliant!
Virgin buys planet Pluto
The smallest planet in the solar system’s ignominious exit from Sun’s family was followed by a bold press release from Sir Richard Branson’s Virgin corporation, which claimed the British billionaire had bought the planet for an undisclosed sum. The press release further went on to justify Branson’s absurdity by stating “As a firm supporter of small businesses Sir Richard is hoping to set an example for struggling entrepreneurs facing setbacks by having Pluto reinstated as an official planet, after its declassification by the International Astronomical Union in 1996.” Branson planned to send a special probe to Pluto to bulk it to the correct mass for it to be re-classified as a planet. That guy!
Alaskan volcano erupts, starts burning
Geothermal events are difficult to simulate and be the subject of April Fools’ Day, simply because they’re such involuntary events that they can’t be predicted. But that’s exactly what happened back in 1974, when one man decided to pull a rabbit out of the hat and fool a nation, and he largely succeeded. OliverBickar had planned the stunt for four years by carefully packing in the MountEdgecumbe volcano’s crater with over 100 tyres and then setting them alight on this very day exactly forty years ago. The result? A plume of smoke hovering above the mountain which attracted national news attention, and not to mention the ire of local law-enforcement agencies, too.

Source: ThinkDigit

Gmail gets quick action buttons for YouTube, Dropbox, Google Docs and more

Google has added new features to its “quick action buttons” for Gmail users.

Gmail gets quick action buttons for YouTube, Dropbox, Google Docs and more

Gmail gets quick action buttons for YouTube, Dropbox, Google Docs and more

Google earlier this year introduced ‘quick action buttons’ for Gmail users, allowing them to manage digital to-do’s directly from the inbox. These quick action buttons appear next to certain types of messages in the inbox and let users to take an action on an e-mail without having to open it. For example, users can directly RSVP to any Calendar invite or rate any restaurant they visited recently. Google has now broadened the ‘quick-action buttons’ to include more useful features.

The latest update to “quick action buttons” now incorporate messages from YouTube, Dropbox, Google Docs and several other online services. OpenTable has also been included, allowing users to modify any reservations they’ve made directly from the inbox.

Those who are avid uploaders on YouTube and Vimeo can view the finished uploads with the new “View video” button. There’s also quick buttons for viewing a Dropbox folder or Google Docs, Sheets, and Slides shared with users.

Google has also expanded new feature to the third party developers. “The list goes on, and we’re continuing to add even more buttons to make it easier for you to get things done in Gmail. If you’re a developer looking to add this feature to emails you send, check out our Developers site to learn more,” says Google in a post.

View finished uploads with a single click

Credit: http://www.thinkdigit.com/Internet/Gmail-gets-quick-action-buttons-for-YouTube_18378.html

 

Top 10 Funniest YouTube Channels

funny on YouTube

funny on YouTube

YouTube is a great place to kill time watching something interesting, informative, or funny. I hope that you enjoyed the Olympics 2012 on YouTube and smiled at the crazy tech songs we’d collected for you. This time we prepared a roundup of 10 most humorous YouTube channels. I bet you are already subscribed to some of them and never miss a new video. Still this is a great chance to discover new creative YouTubers delivering you their best comic content for free!

1. RayWilliamJohnson 

5.7M subscribers

Ray William Johnson is an American actor and comedian best known for his YouTube series Equals Three (=3), in which he provides quick sarcastic commentary on viral videos. RWJ posts new episodes twice a week, and somehow his new videos manage to attract much more views than the original ones he talks about! The channel is currently the most subscribed on YouTube, plus it has been recognized by Guinness World Records.

2. NigaHiga 

5.5M subscribers

NigaHiga is another comedy channel, and the majority of the videos are made by one guy, Ryan Higa. Higa experiments in different styles: bright parodies (Daily Life of Rustin Hieber, “Movies in Minutes”), hilarious how-to guides (How To Be Gangster or How To Be Emo), the so-called “Off the Pill” rants, “Dear Ryan” Q&A videos, and much more. NigaHiga is the second most subscribed YouTube channel.

3. Smosh 

5.2M subscribers

Smosh is a channel where the dynamic duo of Ian Hecox and Anthony Padilla post their skits and funny videos every Friday. It’s hard to define their style, as it has everything – spoofs, silly commercials, lip-synching clips, etc. Still most of all I love Smosh sketches where Ian and Anthony brilliantly do as scenarists and actors. The channel is the third most subscribed on YouTube.

4. ShaneDawsonTV

2.8M +1.8M subscribers

Shane Dawson is an American comedian and musician known for his YouTube comic sketches featuring many recurring characters (Shanaynay, Ned the Nerd, S. Deezy, and Aunt Hilda), impersonations, and spoofs of popular music videos (Telephone Dude’s Version and Last Sunday Night ). In 2010, upon the reach of 3rd most subscribed channel threshold, Shane opened his second channel where he posts his relatively new series “Ask Shane On Mondays” and “Shane and friends”. Now both Shane Dawson’s channels are in the Top 20 of the most subscribed ones.

 5. JennaMarbles 

3.8M subscribers

JennaMarbles, otherwise known as Jenna Mourey is one of few female channel-owners in the Top 20. Mourey gained popularity in 2010 with her hilarious video “How to trick people into thinking you’re good looking” and since then Jenna updates her channel once a week with a new video bomb. Marbles’ videos almost always feature her sitting in front of a white wall in her bedroom having a random conversation with herself or her dogs. Her rants cover dozens of entertaining topics such as “How To Get Ready For A Date”, “How To Avoid Talking To People You Don’t Want To Talk To”, What Girls Do On The Internet, etc. Although these videos aren’t ground-breaking material, they are highly entertaining.

6. CollegeHumor 

2.9M subscribers

This YouTube channel features popular videos from College Humor, one of the top comedy video sites online. The YouTube channel carries comic videos where everyone is mercilessly pranked and made fun of. College Humor also hosts popular series like “Jake and Amir” and “Hardly Working”, user-submitted viral videos, bizarre sports highlights, parodies, and numerous sketches.

7. The Annoying Orange

2.5M subscribers

The Annoying Orange is a comedy web series channel created by Dane Boedigheimer. The main character is an anthropomorphic orange with human eyes and mouth awkwardly edited on, who annoys other fruits, vegetables, and various other objects by using crude-humored jokes. Each video is pretty much the same: the orange encounters somebody or something and starts irritating them. If you are a fan of slapstick, this is an ideal channel to kill time. A new episode is added every week. Today this channel ranks 10th in the top YouTubers list.

The Philip DeFranco Show 

2.1M subscribers

Philip DeFranco, also known as PhillyD or by his YouTube username “sxephil”, is an American video blogger and a YouTube celebrity. His videos are centered around current world events, politics, and celebrity gossip in which he gives his ironic commentary with frequent jump cuts. DeFranco started his YouTube channel in 2006, his videos regularly surpass one million views.

Fred 

1.9M subscribers

Fred is a fictional character created and portrayed by American actor Lucas Cruikshank. Fred is a dysfunctional 6-year-old boy living with his drug- and alcohol-addicted mother and going to nursery school. The main Fred’s gimmick is his loud, shrill, fast and really irritating voice. There’s little plot and few supporting characters, the videos are solely based on Fred’s daily adventures.

Rémi Gaillard

1.5M subscribers

Rémi Gaillard is a French humorist and YouTube celebrity. After losing his job, Rémi began to use his free time to have fun and run pranks on the public. He gained popularity after his famous appearance disguised as a Lorient football player in the 2002 Coupe de France final match (“Final Cup”), during which he took part in the winners’ celebrations and was greeted by the president of France J.Chirac. He achieved further YouTube notoriety through his Rocky Balboa parodies, Mario Kart pranks, large animals dress-ups, his football and gymnastics videos.

And who are your YouTube stars? Share your favorite funny channels in the comments below.

YouTube moves away from anonymous comments, towards Google+

YouTube commenters will have to mandatorily sign in using their Google+ IDs helping Google clean up YouTube comments and gain user information for marketing purposes.

YouTube moves away from anonymous comments, towards Google+

YouTube moves away from anonymous comments, towards Google+

In a move that should have surprised absolutely no one, Google has announced that YouTube comments will start being powered by Google+ from this week onwards. This means that in order to comment on a YouTube video, you will have to own a Google+ account. However, this does not mean that you cannot comment anonymously, since you can still do so provided you make a Google+ account under a pseudonym. One of the main reasons for moving to Google+ is YouTube’s long desire to put faces to names when it comes to commenters, in order to reduce the amount of spam and vicious comments that plague YouTube comments and also to provide video creators a recognizable audience to reach out to.

The shift to Google+ comments isn’t just to cull offensive comments but also, to organize the thousands of comments that can be found on popular videos. Before this update, comments were arranged chronologically, with the most recent comment showing up first, right under the highest rated ones. This is not really helpful to anyone except for perhaps the commenter himself and may be to the person he is addressing. Under the new Google+ system, comments will be arranged as per the people who are in your circles, the video’s creators and what Google calls “popular personalities”. Also, comments will be threaded so that all replies can be collapsed into the main comment itself, which will vastly reduce the clutter in the comments section and will also make it easier to follow conversations. Video creators and commenters can also allow their comments on a YouTube video shared on Google+, to show up in the comments on the main YouTube site.


The new YouTube commenting system with Google+ identities & threaded replies

There could be a backlash against the new commenting system though. Google is obviously not establishing this system entirely out of the goodness of its heart but also to breathe some life into Google+, a social networking site that has resolutely failed to achieve any sort of user traction when compared to social networking behemoths like Facebook or Twitter. By appearing to force users of one its more popular services to sign up for its underwhelming service is not a move that will be seen in a positive light. Also, one of the big proponents of removing (or at least reducing) the anonymity of YouTube commenters, have been brands who want to know who their audience is. As a result, by making users reveal their identities through their Google+ profiles, Google will have a vast database of potential consumers that will be invaluable to brands.

At the end of the day, there’s no denying the fact that YouTube comments needed to be cleaned up and the commenting system required streamlining. Whether the new Google+ system was the right way to go about it, is an answer that will only be answered in the future.

Source: YouTube Official Blog via The Verge

 

India now has the world’s third largest Internet population: ComScore

The study shows India is the second fastest growing Internet population with an overwhelming 31% year-over-year growth, which is six times of the global online population growth.

India now has the world's third largest Internet population: ComScore

India now has the world’s third largest Internet population: ComScore

India has gone past Japan to become the third largest Internet population, rising to 73.9 million users – a 31% growth as compared to the last year. India is now behind China (second largest) and the U.S. at the top. The new statistics were revealed in the ComScore study India Digital Future in Focus 2013.

According to the study, about 75% of Internet users in India are under the age of 35, making it the youngest skewing online population among BRIC countries. Across all age and gender groups, Women between the ages of 35-44 are the heaviest internet users in the Indian market.

The study further says the Indian blogging audience has risen by 48% in the past year to 36 million visitors. About 26% of category traffic comes from mobile phones and tablets. About 54 million internet users in the country watch online videos on their computer, showing a 27% increase over the past year.

Revealing the growth of e-commerce websites in India, the study says about 60% Internet users in India visit online retail websites. Myntra leads the segment in terms of users, while Flipkart has the highest per-user engagement. Jabong, Amazon sites and Snapdeal make it to the top five online stores in India.

Social networking websites are still favourite online activity in India. Facebook is the top social network in India with a 28% Internet traffic growth and reach of 86%. On an average, Indian spend 217 minutes on Facebook every month. LinkedIn has emerged second top social networking site in India while Pinterest and Tumbler are the fastest growing networks.

Audience for online videos in India rose 27% with YouTube continues to be the top video property with more than 55% share.

“This past year saw digital media’s continued rise in prominence as part of peoples’ personal lives and in business environments. Consumers are quickly becoming platform agnostic in their digital media consumption and in today’s world they can choose when and how they’d like to consume content. It might be that they started watching a film at home on their TV, continued watching it on their smartphone on the way to work, and finished watching it in bed at night on their tablet. It’s the pinnacle of convenience for consumers, but an utter headache from an audience measurement and advertising analytics standpoint,” says the study.

“comScore has adapted to thischanging digital world to become a trusted resource for understanding cross-platform consumer behaviour and enabling multi-platform unification of all data.Consumers have already adopted multiple platforms and devices – now it’s the businesses who need to follow if they desire a unified, platform-agnostic view of consumer behaviour.”

You can download the ComScore study India Digital Future in Focus 2013 from here.

Embedded Posts: Facebook adds web embed support for public posts

Facebook makes a new attempt at connecting the network with the wider media sphere. Embedded Posts is another feature copied from Twitter. Earlier, Facebook had introduced hashtags, a feature massively popular on Twitter.

Embedded Posts: Facebook adds web embed support for public posts

Embedded Posts: Facebook adds web embed support for public posts

Facebook has introduced Embedded Posts, which allow users to embed a public post on third-party sites. Currently, Facebook’s new feature is available with CNN, Huffington Post, Bleacher Report, PEOPLE and Mashable. Broader availability is expected later this year.

“Today, we are beginning to roll out Embedded Posts to make it possible for people to bring the most compelling, timely public posts from Facebook to the rest of the web,” says Facebook in a post.

“Embedded Posts let people add public posts from Facebook to their blog or web site. When embedded, posts can include pictures, videos, hashtags and other content. People can also like and share the post directly from the embed.”

Facebook’s Embedded Posts is very similar to embedding features on Twitter, Vine, Instagram and YouTube. Embedded Posts display just like they do on Facebook, and come with support for pictures, videos, hashtags, and other content. Read Vine allows web embeds and Instagram adds support for web embeds

To embed a post, you need to first check if the post is set to ‘public’ by hovering over the audience selector (the globe icon). If the post is public, click on the “Embed Post” option in the drop down menu:

In the dialog that pops up, simply copy and paste the code on your own web page:

Users can share and Like the Embedded Posts directly from the web pages as well. There’s also option to visit the post’s comments, photos, hashtags and other content on Facebook. To learn more, visit Facebook’s Embedded Posts documentation

Facebook’s new Embedded Posts is certainly going to help the company have greater visibility on the third party sites. Currently, Facebook has buttons such as Likes, Share and Recommend for third party sites.

It’s notable Facebook has of late increased its focus on the public sharing. The social networking giant recently introduced hashtags, another popular feature on Twitter, in a bid to encourage public sharing on the network. However, a recent study claims the hashtags have failed to drive engagement on the social networking.

What do you think of Facebook’s Embedded Posts? Will it help connect Facebook with the wider media sphere? Let us know in the comments section below:

Hands On With Google Chromecast

Google announced Google Chromecast on Wednesday, a new pint-sized $35 device streams content to your television from your computer, Android and even iOS device.

Google  Chromecast

Google Chromecast

The box dubs it “the easiest way to watch online video on your TV.” During its press conference, Google demonstrated a wireless device that not only connects to your television while hiding behind it, but also is exceptionally easy to operate.

After Wednesday’s event, I tried out Chromecast and found that it’s just as easy to use as it appears.

Cast Away

Much like Airplay on Apple devices, sending content to your television is as simple as tapping the Cast button on the screen. That sends content from the app to your television, where it begins playing.

I fired up Netflix on a Nexus 7 and began an episode of House of Cards on a nearby TV without direction from the Google’s friendly demo staff. Once the episode started, I was able to stop it using another device — a Nexus 4 smartphone — and then start it again on my tablet without unlocking the now dormant screen. Pretty slick.

Google is currently working on adding support for streaming from the Chrome browser as well.

Google is currently working on adding support for streaming from the Chrome browser as well. I tried out the feature, which is currently in beta; it doesn’t work nearly as well as the Netflix and YouTube integrations. The feature uses WebRTC, a new standard for browser-to-browser communication, and essentially engages your TV in a video chat with your Chrome browser.

In its current form, scrolling lags a bit and video is choppy — both issues you might face when video chatting with friends. The issues were likely intensified by the poor data connection at the demo event space.

After casting content, it streams to the Chromecast dongle from the cloud, not your device. So you can use your tablet freely while a movie plays without fear of stopping the movie.

Queue It Up

If you’re settling in for a movie night, Chromecast supports a video queue to line up a playlist for the evening. Similar to Google’s ill-fated media streamer Nexus Q for music, the device allows your friends and family to add their own contributions to the queue, creating the ultimate playlist.

Once a video is playing onscreen, you can add to the queue by tapping the Cast button and select “add to TV queue” — again, an exceptionally simple process. Once one video in the queue is completed, the next one automatically begins.

The steps were so simple that I’d be confident leaving it to a child or elderly grandparent (without fear of receiving the familiar “the TV isn’t working!” call). It only takes the press of a button.

Limited Selection

For now, Chromecast’s biggest downfall is the amount of content. The options you can stream to your TV with Chromecast are fairly limited. For an app to work with Chromecast, developers must first build in the functionality; since the device was just released this morning, many of your favorite apps aren’t there yet.

For now, streaming is restricted to Netflix, YouTube, Google Play and Chrome (in beta). Those services certainly provide a decent selection of content — during its press conference,

Google mentioned that almost 50% of content streamed from the web comes from YouTube or Netflix

Google mentioned that almost 50% of content streamed from the web comes from YouTube or Netflix — but it’s still not everything. I also suspect we’re not going to see support for iPhoto or movies from your iPhone anytime soon.

Google sent us home with a review unit of the Chromecast, so we’ll have a more in-depth look at the device, including setup, in the coming days.

What do you think of Google’s Chromecast? Let us know your thoughts in the comments.

Updated Chrome for iOS brings improved Google Apps integration

Chrome for iOS update brings better voice search, app links and allows users to automatically sign in to other Google services.

Updated Chrome for iOS brings improved Google Apps integration

Updated Chrome for iOS brings improved Google Apps integration

Google has released an updated version of the Chrome app for iOS. The new version allows users to integrate apps with the Chrome browser. The new app allows users to sign in to other Google apps automatically once they log in to Chrome.

You can also set a preference to open Google Maps app while following directions without opening it in the chrome browser. Similar preferences are also available for Google Drive apps, YouTube and Google+. Software engineer Peter Lee stated on the official Chrome blog that similar functions will be added to more apps soon.

Google has also ensured that toolbar controls are always available when using voice search controls for voice search. The new update has added text-to-speech support for all variations of English, Spanish, French, and many more languages.

The update allows users to access their browsing history from the browser menu and will also allow full-screen browsing for iPad users. Google also added that it will be rolling out a new experimental data compression service in the next few days that will load pages faster, Reduce data usage and make browsing more secure. The users will also be able to view data savings in Bandwidth Management settings. Google has also added some security improvements and the usual bug fixes in the chrome update. The new updated can be downloaded from the Apple iTunes App Store.

Source: CNET