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Click to see full-sizeGoogle+ is the big buzz this past week: Take the Tour. Sure, last week Facebook added Skype video calling, but that's no big deal: most chat services, including Google Chat, already have video. In the last issue of CN.Net-News and in the July 19, 2010 issue I've written about Windows Live, Microsoft's effort to pull together many of its services into one online interface. Of course, starting out as a desktop-oriented software company, Microsoft's focus has traditionally been on producing and selling software "in a box" - in your desktop or laptop PC, or in servers... not software that runs on the Internet. So today let's take another look at Google, a company that cut its baby teeth on Web-based software.

Google started as a search engine, and pretty soon it became the Number 1 search engine. Then it began adding more online services: Gmail, the Picasa photo album, Docs, Calendar, YouTube, Maps, News, Shopping, Blogger, Books, Reader, Sites, Groups... and the list goes on... and on... and on. They roll out new apps in beta versions - Google "throws it at the wall to see if it sticks" - and you usually need an invitation to try them out. Sometimes a new app that looks promising and exciting is a bust, like Wave, but most of the time they catch on. Google Docs has "stuck to the wall" and has caused Microsoft to play catch-up, producing online versions of its Office software.

I've already reported on Google Chrome browser, Chrome operating system and the "Chromebook" online computer. It's now available for purchase (online only) for $350 to $499. Several articles commented that it's rather expensive, and you can buy a full-fledged notebook PC for that price. They don't remember, however, that when netbooks first came out just three years ago they were selling for $600, but within six months they caught on, went into mass production and were selling for $300. So I expect that Chromebooks will soon sell for $175 to $250, and I predict that Chrome OS and Chromebooks will "stick to the wall" too.

You may be asking, "What's the big buzz about Google+? Isn't it just Google's attempt to catch up with Facebook?" But several articles forsee it as Google's "Dragon Slayer" - read carefully what Mike Elgan says: How Google+ ends social networking fatigue. And Google+ is already getting the "big guys" in so they can advertise: see Read more: Ford wins a rare corporate foothold on Google+.

Microsoft is Google's arch-rival: Microsoft has invested a large chunk of change in Facebook, and Microsoft has just recently bought Skype. So the battle lines are drawn up: it's a duel between Google and Microsoft-Facebook. Google's '+1' Button (not to be confused with Google+), the equivalent of Facebook's "Like" button, has already passed up Twitter's button in popularity and is catching up with the FB "Like" button. But Google+ is the "stealth fighter" in Google's arsenal. Google+ is being woven into most of Google's leading apps: with Google+ Circles, you can easily define who you want to sent a given status update to (Facebook sends your updates to all your "friends.") If your contacts aren't subscribed to Google's services, it will use any email address they have; otherwise, your status updates, blog articles, photos, chats and video conversations will appear in their "stream." I can hardly wait for my Google+ invite to arrive! [Update: Monday, Jul. 11 - I got my invite! If you want one, just let me know.]

And so, folks, the question arises: if Google slays the Microsoft-Facebook dragon, will Google become the next dragon?

In theory there is no difference between theory and practice. But in practice there is. - Yogi Berra

You've probably heard about Rupert Murdoch's British News of the World newspaper being involved in hacking the mobile phones of England's politicians, celebrities... and now a girl who was murder victim and British casualties of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. This despicable hacking has caused Murdoch to shut down that whole newspaper in order to save his reputation. But how hard was it to hack those mobile phones? Not very: see Kevin Mitnick shows how easy it is to hack a phone. Programs for creating viruses, trojans, cellphone hacking, etc. are readily available on the Internet. So be careful who you give your mobile phone number to!

Click on Online PC Support for our worldwide help   &   Offsite Backup Services for securing your files!

The goal of our CN.Net-News is to share information that we think you'll find helpful as you wrestle with that little monster on your desk, your computer. And we aim to present this information from a Christian worldview. Thanks for your time!

Best regards,

"Dr. Bob the CompuNerd"

Robert D hoskEN
See the "nerd" in my name? (It helps if you're a little dyslexic!)
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