Tuesday, 13 November 2007

Android Apps

android emulator - web browser based on WebkitI've just got hold of Google's Android SDK, which includes an emulator of the Android platform. I must say I'm pretty excited about this, it looks like Android has the potential to create the "ideal" PDA OS - that is, one based on open standards (Linux), and that doesn't lock anything down (quote from the Android website:
Android does not differentiate between the phone's basic and third-party applications -- even the dialer or home screen can be replaced.) This is really going to be great for everyone who loves the iPhone's features but wished it wasn't locked down so much.

So, I started up the android emulator, and was extremely impressed with the sleekness of the interface. It's also very responsive - even with my CPU going 100% and no graphics card. The interface is very smooth and polished, with the capability to create translucent windows and animation effects.

I'm certainly looking forwards to writing apps for the Android. It uses a pseudo-Java VM called "Dalvik" (can anyone hear an "exterminate!" here?) to run third-party apps, and although there are a few new UI concepts (Activities, Views, Intents...), the API is overall very easy to learn. To encourage developers to write "great apps" for the Android, Google is offering USD$10 million worth of prizes for the most promising apps. This should create a huge incentive for developers, and I expect to see plenty of Android apps by the closing date of March 08.

Overall, the Android looks pretty darn good - it's not just the iPhone opensourced, but a whole new concept of open, integrated phones. I'll give you updates as I get used to the API and OS, but for now, rest assured that all the hype about the "gPhone" has been justified - and doubly at that. I just can't wait for the "official" release in late 2008!

Monday, 12 November 2007

Google Translation Widget and Templates

Well, I'm now back! I've finished exams, so you should be seeing a bit more of me now. I've started adding some improvements to my blog template (as you can see, it still needs a lot of work - the logo still needs to be fixed :D), and in the course of renovation I discovered this handy Google translation widget.

Google recently changed over to using their internally developed language translation system, and they will now automatically translate 29 different languages. So far my tests have proved Google Translate to be a reasonable translation system, certainly better than a lot I have tried. If anyone is reading this who speaks another language, I would greatly appreciate it if you could tell me what you think of the automatic translation tools.

Actually I think I'm going to have to change templates again. This template just doesn't allow you to customize it much, and I think I'd prefer a 3-column one anyway. What do you think? If you've got any thoughts please post a comment or email them to me - there's no way of me knowing what you want unless you tell me! :)

Friday, 2 November 2007

MySpace joins Google OpenSocial's sponsors

google opensocialThis Thursday Google announced that social networking giant MySpace will be joining the supporters of their new OpenSocial API. This makes OpenSocial into a very serious threat to Facebook, who just opened their platform to developers recently.

"OpenSocial is going to become the de facto standard (for developers) instantly out of the gates. It is going to have a reach of 200 million users, which is way bigger than anything else out there," Chris DeWolfe, chief executive and co-founder of MySpace, told reporters.

Google lost out to Microsoft last week in a bid to invest in Facebook, but now they look like having something even bigger than MySpace and Facebook combined. When OpenSocial goes live early Friday morning, it's going to be the biggest thing in social networking since Facebook was launched earlier this year. Not only will this new platform give Google a huge boost in the area, but OpenSocial will also allow anyone from small start-ups to big multi-million-dollar companies to use a standard programming interface to interact, store and manage about the user.

Update:As a testimony to the worldwide belief in the success of OpenSocial, Google shares surged to an all-time high of $713.72 on Nasdaq on Thursday, before closing at $703.21, down $3.79. This shows the investors' support of Google's operations, and the future looks bright for Google's latest addition to their online strategy.

Keep posted for more info on OpenSocial when it is released on Friday.

Thursday, 1 November 2007

Google OpenSocial Launched - A New Era for Web Integration?

google opensocialAlthough it's still unofficial, many reports show that tomorrow Google will release their new "OpenSocial" developer API. But it's more then just an API. Google plans to "out-open" Facebook with a totally new strategy of integration by opening their entire platform to third party developers. TechCrunch says:

"On November 5 we’ll likely see third party iGoogle gadgets that leverage Orkut’s social graph information - the most basic implementation of what Google is planning. From there we may see a lot more - such as the ability to pull Orkut data outside of Google and into third party applications via the APIs. And Google is also considering allowing third parties to join the party at the other end of the platform - meaning other social networks (think Bebo, Friendster, Twitter, Digg and thousands of others) to give access to their user data to developers through those same APIs."

This looks like it could turn into something big. I'll give you more reports on it over the week (if I can fit it in-between exams!), but for now rest assured that Google has the beginnings of something really big here. And I mean big. It just depends on who adopts it, but this has the potential to revolutionize the whole social and consumer-based development model of the web.