Some of us have been using Google Voice (GV) for the last few months and loving it! All the while, the GrandCentral service – the precursor to GV – was still alive and well. Today, however, GrandCentral account holders began receiving emails informing them that the service will be closing its doors December 31, 2009. To us this means Google thinks enough GrandCentral users have migrated to Google Voice that it can safely wind down the old service. Here’s the full email from GrandCentral:
Dear GrandCentral User (alexluft16):
We’re writing to let you know that we will be closing down the GrandCentral website as of December 31, 2009.
All GrandCentral accounts were upgraded to Google Voice earlier this year, but since that time, you’ve still been able to log-in to your GrandCentral account and listen to old messages there. You will no longer be able to log-in to your GrandCentral account after December 31. Because of this, we strongly suggest downloading any messages or contacts that you want to keep in the next 43 days.
We will send you another reminder before closing down the site, but we suggest you take action now to download any information you want to keep.
- The Google Voice Team
For anyone who needs invites to Google Voice, we have a few left – so please leave a comment and we’ll send them out on a first-comment-first-served basis.
Posted in Breaking
Facebook has announced its acquisition of real-time social network site FriendFeed. Financial details of the deal were not disclosed.
This is unmistakably a move to become more “real-time” and more competitive with Twitter. FriendFeed never caught on with the mainstream public like Facebook has, instead being used by passionate tech fans the world over. The social network was the first to deploy true real-time updates – which didn’t require a page refresh to update information. It did so all while maintaining a very clean interface. Sites like Facebook regularly “adopted” (read: aped) these features.
As part of the deal, FriendFeed will continue to operate on its own and all FriendFeed employees will join the Facebook team. Most importantly, Facebook will be able to call on FriendFeed cofounders — ex-Google executives – Bret Taylor and Paul Buchheit. As Facebook realized the true power of real-time networks (real-time search), it tried to acquire Twitter. That deal fell through.
I expect FriendFeed to operate independently for the next six months to a year, at which point the stand-alone service will be discontinued and FriendFeed’s features be rolled into those of Facebook. To become more relevant in the land of real-time, however, Facebook will need to do much more on the side of mobility, giving users a bigger incentive to plug information into the social network on their cell phones. Currently, Twitter dominates that space, with an abundance of mobile apps for multiple mobile platforms.
Full press release: Read more »
Posted in Acquisitions
, Social Networking
, Web 2.0
Friday, August 15, 2008. That was the day Comcast confirmed rumors that it will be implementing a 250GB monthly cap for downloads and uploads for users of its residential internet service. The cap was set to go into effect on October 1, 2008. At first, the internet was rabid with rage, throwing all sorts of negative names and adjectives Comcast’s way. With time and thoughtful discussion, most understood that the 250GB cap won’t harm most users. In fact, it might do more to increase the consistency of speed and throughput on Comcast’s network.
Shortly thereafter, reports began to circulate that Comcast would make available a bandwidth meter to its customers to track their bandwidth usage. Comcast confirmed that such a tool is indeed coming, but didn’t say exactly when. And here we are now, a full ten months after the 250GB cap has been set in place. Yet we still don’t have an official bandwidth meter!
A quick tweet to Comcast’s friendly customer service rep (Frank), yielded that there is no ETA at the current time and that the meter is currently in testing. So what’s the hold up? Does it take a multi-billion dollar company a full year to develop what appears to be a relatively simple piece of software?
If you’re concerned about the amount of bandwidth you are using, there are a number of third-party programs that can do the job on Windows, Mac OS X, and Linux. Click through for the Cnet video for the Windows and Mac tools.
In a later post, we will explore the best way this meter application should be built. Stay tuned! Read more »
Posted in Comcast
How strong are your passwords for cloud services?
Cloud computing is awesome? Don’t think so? Here’s some information that might change your mind: computing is steadily becoming – if not has already become – dependent on internet-based services (cloud computing for all you buzz-work lovers). So, unless you’re a “hater” of cloud computing or John C. Dvorak, who seems to have trouble coming to terms with today’s “cloud reality”, there are certain things that require attention as data moves to the cloud: besides well-known issues with cloud-computing (such as the needs for security, redundancy, and off-line access, to name a few) the issue of authentication is becoming the most important, yet is not getting the coverage it deserves. So let me break it down: ever forget which user name and password combination you used for a web service? So have I. I have come to the conclusions that, as users make the migration to the cloud, they are led into one of the following bad habits: Read more »
Posted in Cloud Computing
, Web 2.0
I’ve been testing (more like playing around) with Plaxo Pulse – Plaxo’s social-networking/life-streaming service. I added the Pulse feed/badge on the bottom of the left column and depending on how it goes, it might crop up to the top of the page.
Plaxo now solves one big problem: life feeds. It takes all the web feeds of online services such as Flickr, Twitter, Pownce, Facebook, Jaiku, and so many others, and consolidates them into one life feed. This way, my friends don’t have to go to ten different web sites and services to see what I’m up to: they can just go to one.
I heard Leo Laporte and Amber MacArthur talk about a similar service – Friend Feed – on Net at Night (episode 45) and I just happened to come across Plaxo Pulse before giving Friend Feed a try. I will do so soon. Also, Plaxo still does the thing that it does well at its core: connects you with people in your address book. It takes this info and syncs it back to your address book on the desktop and mobile. And it does this for other PIM data like calendars, tasks and notes. Come to think of it, Plaxo is doing everything really correct here: it leaves an online version of the apps and gives you the ability to sync them up and down to your desktop apps while sharing all of this PIM stuff with your friends and colleages.
In any case, this entire social networking aspect is new for Plaxo and I really like it so far. I will be writing more about it after I explore it some more.
Posted in Social Networking
, Status Update
, Web 2.0