News Digest #8

Last week was spent in anticipation of great events, and the excitement was worth the salt. So, this week in Software Informer news digest:

Zuckerberg decides to radically change his face... book and allures new allies; Google starts quite an eccentric advertising campaign after being accused of unfair marketing; Bill Gates remains the richest person, but that's still not enough for him; Mozilla steps back, while Adobe tenaciously clings to its once most profitable product; and - you'll never guess what! - iPhone 5 is getting ready for being released (some say, even twofold).

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The most discussed issue of the week was apparently Facebook's F8 conference that took place on September, 22nd. I guess, this 12-hour marathon brought many more new features to the most popular social network in the world than all the changes that took place in the previous years combined. By the way, these features have, as usual, touched off a real storm among Facebook's users. The major changes that were introduced:

  • The user profile - the new layout (to be introduced to the general public in a few weeks) is called Timeline, and it's going to look like a, surprisingly, timeline. All the user's activities since their very first day on the social network are going to be classified and shown in a form of chronological stories on the front page.

  • Updates and news - the news are no more divided into the latest and the most popular. Now Facebook's going to pick the most interesting issues for you and display them on the front page, be it the activities of your friends or topics related to your place of work. On the right, the user will now see a small block called Ticker. This block shows all the current activities of one's friends and gives a play-by-play of everything these friends do.
  • Multimedia - but what really is remarkable is that Facebook finally created a kind of coalition with multimedia companies like Spotify and Hulu to provide the users with media content without redirecting them to third-party websites. Moreover, your activities will be transmitted to your friends' Tickers to allow them experience the same aesthetic pleasure. That's really great, in my opinion, especially if you disregard the fact that Facebook will never ask if you want it or not.

Well, done with Facebook for the week. Who's our next frequent guest? Right, good old Google. This week it was acting a little bit crazy, I would say. So, everybody already knows the most-awaited social network of the year, Google+, was released to general public and doesn't require any invitations any more. Everything would have been great unless the marketing team had decided to spoil the corporation's record by placing a weird blue arrow pointing to the +Me-link (+you, -you - who cares?) to the search engine's front page. The international community was perturbed. The arrow was, of course, very soon removed, but it left a gall in the mind. In any case, this unpleasant situation doesn't prevent Google's team from celebrating the company's 13th anniversary today.

Maybe that was one of the reasons for Google founders, Larry Page and Sergey Brin, to be ranked only 15th on the Forbes list. They were outrun even by the young Zuckerberg (remember that red-haired Facebook beneficiary), who was ranked 14th. At the top of the list we can once again see the person who allowed our Software Informer community to appear. Viva Bill Gates, congratulations!

As far as his achievements are concerned, we should first of all mention his new Windows, number 8. The week before last brought us the developer's release of the grandiose operating system, and loads of enthusiasts all over the world rushed to try it. Yes, I was among them, and I still wonder how to close an application there: there are no crosses in the upper right-hand corner of the window, and Alt+F4 doesn't function either. But that's not the topic now. I wanted to mention only the fact that the new operating system does not give you a chance to avoid using Windows Live any more, even if you consider it extremely inconvenient. Windows 8 is so closely integrated with the package that if you opt for not logging in, you automatically cut yourself off half of the features available. There are also some advantages of this 'novelty', as in you will always feel at home in front of any Windows 8 machine, as once you log in into Windows Live, all your settings are saved on a remote server and loaded each time you type in your password.

The Microsoft web department doesn't pudder as well, at least when it comes to their search engine, Bing. The big bosses set another goal in reducing the number of clicks the user has to make to find the needed information. They have launched Action Buttons that are to be shown in the search results near the websites where you can complete specific tasks, e.g. book a flight, or rent a car. So far, the Action Buttons embrace seven categories: airlines, restaurants, hotels, rental cars, banks, software downloads and mail couriers. Well, maybe it will really help Bing win some users' hearts.

It's already time to wrap up, but I can't help mentioning two other companies that emerged in the news articles this week. The first is Adobe, which really is stressed by the release of Windows 8 that does not want anything to do with Flash technology. So Adobe's development team is still trying to convince its users that Flash is still alive and is still being invested in. To prove their point, the Flash Player 11 was recently released by the company.

Another issue that makes me jump of joy (as I turned out to be right again) is Mozilla's proposition of not-so-high update rate for its Firefox browser (you can read about their Napoleonic plans in these terms here). Since this moment, one of the most popular web browsers will be updated as rarely as once in 30 weeks. That is done because, as Mozilla claims, some users just cannot keep up with the changes. Well, maybe that is the reason, who knows. But still, as of this moment, you can choose, either you get some minor updates every 6 weeks, or you just get a completely new browser every half a year.

The last, but not the least point I almost forgot to write about is the proposed release of the new iPhone by Apple, which will supposedly to be shown to public on October, 4. The device is drown in mystery, so the only thing I can offer is to wait and observe.

That's it for today. We thank you for your attention, and encourage you to express your opinion on the topics raised in our articles. Stay with us, be updated and share your thoughts with the others!

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