Opera Next 16 hints at new features

Norwegian browser developer Opera Software has confirmed the switch of its browser development to a rapid release cycle with the launch of Opera Next 16. The new version number comes less than a month after Opera 15 FINAL was released, which saw Opera switch from its own proprietary Presto web engine to the Blink engine used by Google Chrome.

As with all rapid release cycle updates, there are no major overhauls to be found in Opera Next 16, although a number of interesting new features have been showcased as the next iteration starts its journey towards final release.

Opera 16 — which is based on Chromium 29, the engine that powers Chrome 29 (currently in beta) — comes with support for the W3C Geolocation API, a form auto-filler tool and opera:flags, a shortcut to settings that allows adventurous users to play with experimental features.

Users will also find a new setting under Browser > Start Page called “Preload Discover contents”, which allows users to switch this feature off.

Platform-specific updates include support for Jump Lists in Windows 7 and 8, plus the addition of Presentation mode to the Mac platform.

In addition to these existing features, Opera has revealed the next set of features it’s working on, with the promise that early versions of these will be rolled out into the Opera Next build over the next few weeks. These include proper bookmarks support, synchronization via Opera Link, improved tab handling and themes.

Opera Next 16 is considered “alpha” software, which is why — like Firefox Aurora — it’s designed to run alongside an existing stable build of Opera, allowing users to experiment with new features without affecting their day-to-day browsing. Updates are frequent as bugs are discovered and fixed, but users should not attempt to rely on Opera Next as their primary browser, hence the separate installation.

Mozilla ponders blinkers for your browser

Mozilla Labs has outlined an experiment it’s conducting in improving the personalisation web publishers can offer readers who browse their sites using Firefox.

The outfit says it’s been working on the idea since last year, when it “conducted a series of experiments in which a user’s browsing history could be matched with interests in categories like technology, sports and cooking.”

In return for opting in to the trial, lab rats were offered “insight into how they spend time online.”

Mozilla Labs is now wondering “what if these interests were also available for the user to share with the websites they visit to get a better, more personalized browsing experience” so that “content creators and consumers could benefit from Web-based interests”?

Here’s one scenario the outfit has imagined as resulting from this line of thinking:

“For example, let’s say Firefox recognizes within the browser client, without any browsing history leaving my computer, that I’m interested in gadgets, comedy films, hockey and cooking. As I browse around the Web, I could choose when to share those interests with specific websites for a personalized experience. Those websites could then prioritize articles on the latest gadgets and make hockey scores more visible.”

Some publishers have already pressed the API for this kind of thing into service, according to the Mozilla Blog, but the code is not in the wild and is being tested – technically and conceptually – as Mozilla figures out how people will react to websites that dynamically change content based on readers’ past behaviours.

One example of successful personalisation mentioned in the posts announcing the initiative is The Guardian’s offer to ensure its readers see no news about the birth of George Alexander Louis Windsor. That’s a service many will doubtless enjoy. Whether such personalisation can result in readers choosing only to encounter lines of inquiry and opinions they already agree with, and therefore deciding to consume media that re-enforces their feelings rather than offering broader perspectives, is a wider debate for another day. Or the comments.

Facebook Hashtags Not Catching on With Consumers

While using hashtags in Facebook posts might be a fun tactic for brands trying to engage consumers, it doesn’t appear to be paying off, a new study finds.
Research from social media analytics firm Simply Measured revealed that while 20 percent of Facebook posts among top brands now include hashtags (which give users a way to group messages of similar content), there is no evidence that hashtags are influencing engagement.

The study shows that posts with hashtags —a new feature added with in the last several months — perform as well as those without, suggesting that people are not yet discovering brand posts by their tags.

Overall, the study shows nearly all of the companies in the Interbrand 100 — which ranks businesses based on financial status — now have a Facebook fan page, with 60 percent posting something at least once a day.

[No, Really, Facebook Makes Employees More Productive]

The research revealed that visual content is by far the primary driver for engagement on Facebook. Photos posted by top brands average more than 9,400 engagements, which includes likes, comments and shares, per post, while video posts average more than 2,500.

When it comes to text posts, brands must walk a fine line. Analysis of more than 500 status updates from the top brands shows that the longer a status update is, the less engagement it typically receives. However, if a status update is too short — less than 50 characters — it may not be long enough to capture viewers’ attention or provide the necessary context to drive the number of likes, shares and comments a brand would like.

“For most brands, Facebook is no longer just a network; it has become the hub of their social marketing efforts and one of the most effective ways to engage with fans,” said Adam Schoenfeld, CEO of Simply Measured. “This latest research once again proves that knowing your audience, understanding your content assets and measuring your efforts are extremely important to develop the social strategies that will work best for you.”

Businesses that limit Facebook fans from writing on their page might want to reconsider their strategy. The research shows that nearly 30 percent of top brands do not allow users to post on their wall. For those brands, user engagement on their page is limited to likes, comments and shares, resulting in 15 percent less engagement than brands that do allow user posts.

When it comes to drawing the most Facebook fans, no one does it better than Facebook itself. The social media giant claims the top spot with 93 million fans, followed by Coca-Cola and MTV.

Google releases Chrome 28 with Blink browser engine

Google on Tuesday released Chrome 28, the first polished version of the browser to use the company’s home-grown “Blink” rendering engine. On Windows, the upgrade also sported Google’s new notification service that lets developers of Chrome apps and add-ons display messages and alerts outside the browser window.

The upgrade was the first since May 21, when Google shipped Chrome 27 and touted some minor performance improvements.

[ Also on InfoWorld: Bug bounty programs provide strong value for Google, Mozilla. | Get your websites up to speed with HTML5 today using the techniques in InfoWorld’s HTML5 Deep DivePDF how-to report. | Learn how to secure your Web browsers in InfoWorld’s “Web Browser Security Deep Dive” PDF guide. ]

Google announced in April that it was dropping the open-source WebKit browser engine — at the time also used only by Apple’s Safari — and was instead launching Blink, a WebKit variant, to power Chrome. Since then, Opera Software’s Opera has also adopted WebKit as an interim step before it eventually moves to Blink.

Google cited difficulties in adapting WebKit to Chrome, and in the first weeks after the announcement, stripped copious amounts of unnecessary-for-Chrome code from the fork that became Blink. Previously, only the rougher “Dev” and “Beta” builds of Chrome relied on the Blink engine. Users can verify that Blink is present by typing chrome://version/ in the Chrome address-search bar, dubbed the “Omnibox.”

Also included in Chrome 28 is new support for more sophisticated notifications that appear outside the browser pane and display even when the browser’s not running. “Packaged apps” — ber-Web apps that look and behave like “native” code written specifically for the underlying OS — and add-ons can push brief messages and alerts to Chrome users after their developers have enabled the feature.

Only the Windows version of Chrome 28 currently supports these next-generation notifications, but Google promised that the feature would soon make its way to OS X and Linux. On a Mac, Chrome notifications are not integrated with OS X Mountain Lion’s Notification Center.

Along with the debut of Blink and notifications, Chrome 28 contained patches for 15 security vulnerabilities, one of them rated “critical,” Google’s most serious threat ranking. According to Google’s terse security advisory, that flaw was a memory management bug — dubbed a “use-after-free” vulnerability — in the browser’s network sockets code.

But while Colin Payne, who reported the bug, received an impressive reward of $6,267.40, another researcher was handed triple that. Andrey Labunets was paid a record $21,500 for filing several vulnerability reports, including two in the Google synchronization service and an unknown number of others that Google said were “…since-fixed server-side bugs.”

That last phrase and the amount paid were clues that Labunets discovered one or more flaws in a core Google service. In April, Google boosted bounties for vulnerability reports in its core websites, services and online apps, resetting the top reward to $20,000 for remote code executable bugs, those that attackers could use to slip malicious code onto a server or into an app or site.

Labunets is no stranger to large bug bounties. Earlier this year, after reporting a string of weaknesses in Facebook’s authentication protocol, Labunets was awarded $9,500 by the social networking giant.

Altogether, Google this week paid bounties totaling $34,901 to six researchers, including Payne and Labunets, for reporting eight different bugs. Through Tuesday, the Mountain View, Calif., company has awarded nearly $250,000 thus far this year in bounties or hacking contest prizes.

Users can download Chrome 28 from Google’s website. Active users can simply let the automatic updater retrieve the new version.

Launch of Remodeled Website by limoserviceoakland.net

Limoserviceoakland.net, a premier ground transportation provider, has recently launched their remodeled website. Their remodeled website aims to improve the user experience and offer better insight of their business model. Their remodeled website has tons of new features and user-friendly navigation structure to benefit the customers.

“Any business has to keep up with the improving technology in order to stay in the business. The basic idea behind remodeling the website was to make our services and fleet information available to the customers with utmost ease. The customers will find complete specifications and technical details with the images of the fleet in the new website for determining the profitability of the vehicle. Additionally, we have included many features that can help the customers in comparing the vehicles and choosing the best one for the tours. Of course, the best search engine optimization was also the main aspect behind the remodeling of the website.” – said Ruben, a manager of limoserviceoakland.net

They have used dynamic approach to remodel the website to make it visually appealing and informative for the customers. The remodeled website offers the benefit of accessing the required information with only a few clicks. Their remodeled website includes complete information about the services like wine tour, casino trips, airport transfers, concerts, sports events, night on the town and corporate events. Their website has dedicated pages focusing on the luxury transportation options for the occasions like wedding, birthday parties, proms, bachelor parties and bachelorette parties. Their new website has state-wise recommendation about the most popular destinations, hotels and restaurants for the benefits of the customers.

They have showcased their wide ranges of limo collection that includes Escalade Limo, Lincoln Stretch Limo, Rolls Limo, Hummer Limo, Range Rover Limo and Chrysler 300 Stretch Limo in their fleet. Some other fleet information like features available in 20 passenger party bus, 28 passenger party bus and 45 passenger party bus are also listed on their website with the high-definition images. The information about their wide range of exotic cars such as Bentley Flying Spur, Mercedes-Benz S500, Ranger Rover SUV, Rolls Royce Phantom, Ferrari and Lamborghini Gallardo are now available on their new website.

They have also included the complete information about the different tour packages and their features in the website for better understanding. The customers can now subscribe to their newsletter to know about the release of new packages, deals, services and fleet. They have also included the online vehicle reservation facility on the new website to offer the convenience of booking the most appropriate vehicle with utmost ease. The customers can visit http://www.limoserviceoakland.net to check out the new features of the remodeled website or book a limousine for tours and travels.

Facebook rallies 30%, logs best day ever

Facebook shares rallied an impressive 30% Thursday, allowing the stock to book its best one-day gain ever. And while shares remain about 10% below the May 2012 IPO price of $38, analysts are predicting that Facebook is finally on its way to reaching, and even crossing, that threshold.

“Facebook delivered its strongest quarter yet as a public company — results that we think could be thesis-changing for many,” said Doug Anmuth, a JPMorgan analyst who boosted his price target to $44 a share from $35.

Investors and analysts are most impressed by Facebook’s growing strength in mobile advertising — a part of the business they were initially most concerned about since Facebook lacked a clear strategy for mobile advertising despite the rapidly growing number of people using Facebook on their mobile phones and tablets.

“One year into Facebook’s mobile advertising efforts, mobile has increased from zero to 41% of total ad revenue,” Anmuth highlighted in a note to clients.

While the improvements have been gradual, Facebook blew everyone away this past quarter by generating 50% more in mobile ad revenue than what Wall Street was expecting.

Even after that stellar quarter, analysts say growth should remain strong as Facebook continues to shift toward more social ads that will become increasingly valuable to advertisers.

Analysts at JMP Securities, who increased their share price target to $38, said that social media giant’s second-quarter results suggest that “Facebook is increasingly becoming a ‘must buy’ for advertisers.”

Goldman Sachs analysts were also excited by Facebook’s significant improvement in mobile advertising. They put a bullish price target of $46 on Facebook shares.

“We continue to believe Facebook is at the center of the mobile ad revolution and see considerable opportunity for it to drive higher pricing on its ad units as brand and direct marketers alike take advantage of its broad reach and precise targeting,” said Goldman analyst Heather Bellini.

As Facebook (FB) shares surged, a number of investors were getting in on the action. Over 360 million shares of Facebook had exchanged hands Thursday, more than seven times the stock’s average daily trading volume.

The day’s surge pushed the value of Facebook to more than $80 billion, up from just over $60 billion as of Wednesday’s closing bell.

Facebook’s advance was also getting plenty of attention on Twitter.

Google Chromecast Announced, Change Ordinary So Smart TV

In addition to announcing second-generation Nexus 7 and Android 4.3 Jelly Bean, Google today also announced the existence of which is a smart Chromecast shaped dongle instead Nexus Q. Chromecast shaped stick that utilizes an HDMI port on the television to run Chrome OS version is simple and will integrate several Google services such as YouTube, Google Play Music, Play Video, and Google Chrome both applications in mobile, tablet or laptop.
Chromecast works like a second screen. If someone such as looking at a YouTube video on your phone, laptop, or tablet and then touch the button Chromecast available in the Chrome browser, it is a television that has been installed sticks Chromecast will play the video as it is displayed on the phone screen. In addition Chromecast can also accept input from a variety of devices that will be played simultaneously turns, for example, from cell phones and play video from laptop playing a movie. Besides Google Play Music and Video, Netflix app (in the U.S.) are also supported by this Chromecast.
Chromecast control can be done from the phone, for example, adjust the volume or change the video played. Chromecast also allows playback of video ‘removed’ from the phone to the tablet and will be passed from the last time the video is played.
Google Chromecast also able to play music like a DJ. This service can access Google Play Music and Pandora. In addition it can also display tabs Chromecast Chrome on television to view photos or videos on Google+ or Vimeo for example. Chromecast also create opportunities through Google Cast application development SDK for Android, iOS and Chrome. To run Chromecast, the television must have an HDMI port plugs plus a blank as a resource for Chromecast mealui microUSB.
Chromecast can be purchased at a price of just USD 35 and is now becoming available in the United States. In addition Chromecast can also be purchased from the Play Store, Amazon.com and BestBuy.com. Currently no information when this gadget will be available in Indonesia.

7 Months, Google Clear 100 Million Pirated Content

CALIFORNIA – July is almost over and Google has removed more than 100 million web pages containing links content copyright infringement. The removal of the copyright holder hope these links can keep consumers from pirated content sites.

Reported by Softpedia, Friday (27/07/2013), according to TorrentFreak reports, the number of links that have been removed by Google starting this year more than in 2012. Meanwhile, Google decided to be transparent about all removal requests pirated content in search results.

Since January this year, Google has been asked to remove more than 105.3 million web pages that allegedly contain pirated content. A number of sites that claimed to contain pirated contents has also been reported.

Search engine files, FilesTube, is the most hunted with more than 5.8 million links, and Rapidgator.net Torrentz.eu followed, with each more than 2 million links.

Meanwhile, The Pirate Bay, which had become the hunted, now is not in the list of top 20. This is because the torrent sites are changing domains and only has two million links.

Zulu Creative Launches Redesigned Website For MAX’s Wine Dive

Zulu Creative is proud to announce the launch of a new website for MAX’s Wine Dive, the award-winning, rockin’ restaurant concept from Houston-based Lasco Enterprises that combines gourmet comfort food with retail wine sales and features unlikely pairings such as fried chicken and champagne. The new website is mobile-friendly for diners on-the-go and contains unique content for five MAX’s locations in Austin, Dallas, Fort Worth, Houston and San Antonio, plus corporate-specific content. The MAX’s website is the second of three that Zulu Creative is designing for Lasco. A new website for Boiler House, Lasco’s Texas grill and wine garden concept located at the historic Pearl Brewery in San Antonio, was completed in fall 2012. A complete redesign of The Tasting Room site is forthcoming.

(Photo: http://photos.prnewswire.com/prnh/20130723/MN51688)

Taking its design cue from current branding, the new MAX’s site features a black and white color palette with red accents and bold typographical elements. Zulu Creative recommended key website enhancements to better convey MAX’s funky, eclectic brand vibe online. The website reflects each location’s unique ambience and personality through witty slogans on each page, graphical jukebox-inspired elements that evoke the restaurant’s dive-bar feel, and location-specific featured images.

Site visitors can easily make online reservations and access key information such as each location’s address, hours, contact information and menus. In addition, visitors can view each location’s calendar of events, read chef and wine manager bios, see private event/catering options, purchase gift cards online, sign up for MAX’s newsletter and easily connect with MAX’s through their social media channels. Press+Awards pages tout each location’s accolades, while a corporate Employment page lists all job openings by location and serves as a useful recruiting tool.

Designed and built on a content management system (CMS) platform with multisite functionality, the website is scalable, making it easy to manage multiple websites through a single interface and add new sites as Lasco opens new MAX’s locations.

“We are extremely excited about the new website for MAX’s Wine Dive created by the talented team at Zulu Creative,” said Jonathan Horowitz, Chief Brand Officer of Lasco Enterprises. “Throughout the entire creative process, the Zulu team exercised intense attention to detail and introduced a new site that is easy for our guests to navigate, as well as met our goal to produce a product which mimics the energy, look and feel of the MAX’s Wine Dive concept.”

“Designing sites for three award-winning Lasco brands is an exciting opportunity and huge honor,” says Tina Zulu, Founder and Creative Chieftess of Zulu Creative. “Our experience creating websites for other successful restaurants and bars made the Boiler House, MAX’s Wine Dive and The Tasting Room projects a perfect fit for us, and our teams work extremely well together. We couldn’t be more thrilled and congratulate Lasco on their continued success and growth. Cheers!”

About Zulu Creative
Fun! And smart! Zulu Creative is a boutique agency in Midtown Houston, Texas, specializing in marketing and brand development for lifestyle businesses that serve consumer niche markets. The Zulu crew is a dynamic team of intelligent professionals who are energetic, innovative, passionate and reliable. Clients who choose Zulu Creative get a big bang for their buck, benefit from a diverse team of experience and talent, and enjoy a smashing, cutting-edge image in the Houston community, nationally and globally. Whether a brand needs a kick-start, upgrade or extreme makeover, Zulu Creative is known for creating memorable experiences and making an impact. It’s all about positioning brands at the top of the target audience’s mind. Zulu Creative accomplishes it through innovative, integrated marketing. For more information, visit www.zulucreative.com

About Lasco Enterprises
Established by Jerry and Laura Lasco in Houston in 2003, Lasco Enterprises, LLC is the parent company for MAX’s Wine Dive (Houston, Austin, San Antonio, Dallas and Ft. Worth), The Tasting Room Wine Cafés, Lasco Events & Catering, Boiler House Texas Grill & Wine Garden (San Antonio), and The Black Door online wine community, and now has more than 500 employees in five cities. In 2010, Inc. 5000 named Lasco Enterprises one of the fastest growing private companies in the U.S. In 2011 and 2012, Lasco was named as one of the “Best Companies to Work for in Texas” by the Best Companies Group. The Houston Business Journal named Lasco Enterprises to its Fast 100 list of fastest-growing private companies in Houston in 2009, 2010, 2011 and in 2012. In 2009 and in 2012, the publication awarded Lasco the Houston Business Journal’s “Enterprise Champion” award for the company’s commitment to its employees, the communities in which it operates, and for its contributions to its industry. For more information, visitwww.lascoenterprises.com

Google Selects HE-AAC Multichannel From Fraunhofer IIS For Google Play Movies in Surround Sound

Google and Fraunhofer IIS deliver the first movies with a true 5.1 channel surround sound experience from Google Play. The immersive sound quality consumers have come to expect from TV, Blu-ray disc or DVD is now available with movies streamed or downloaded from Google Play directly to their Android devices running 4.1 or later. Google chose HE-AAC Multichannel as Android’s only surround sound codec due to its open-standard nature and excellent bit-rate efficiency.

When connected to a surround sound system and TV with an HDMI cable, Android users will be able to play high quality audio and video from their smartphones and tablets in surround. On the go, Android devices will play movies in great stereo quality and selected Nexus products will also include the Fraunhofer Cingo virtual surround rendering technology, which will play movies in realistic surround sound on earphones or tablet stereo speakers.

Android’s HE-AAC Multichannel implementation includes full support for loudness and downmix metadata commonly known from the broadcast TV world, as well as other features that allow the sound to be tailored for an optimum user experience in any listening mode and environment.

“Google Play movies in 5.1 HE-AAC Multichannel sound are the first realization of our vision of bringing true theatrical surround sound to mobile devices,” said Robert Bleidt, Division General Manager at Fraunhofer USA Digital Media Technologies. “The Google and Fraunhofer partnership creates a tremendous value for consumers by offering one format that delivers a high quality experience both in-home and while mobile. Consumers may experience surround sound over headphones while on their way home from work, and finish the movie in true, exciting surround in their living room,” he added.

HE-AAC Multichannel is part of the Fraunhofer FDK AAC codec library for Android since version 4.1 and a required feature of all Android-compatible devices. This software makes open-source Fraunhofer implementations of the MPEG audio codecs AAC, HE-AAC, HE-AACv2, and AAC-ELD available to the Android community.

HE-AAC is today’s most efficient high-quality surround and stereo audio codec deployed in over 5 billion devices and used in TV, radio, and streaming services worldwide. The codec is natively integrated into most operating systems, streaming platforms and consumer electronics devices. In addition to its unique coding efficiency, HE-AAC has the dynamic ability to change audio bit-rates seamlessly in order to adapt to changing network conditions as consumers stream content to a variety of devices. It can be used with any adaptive streaming technology including MPEG-DASH, Apple HLS, Adobe HDS and Microsoft Smooth Streaming.