New App Categories in Chrome Web Store

Google Chrome Web Store has just received a little change.  As introduced in Chromium Blog, there are new top level categories and sub-categories in the Store, such as Business Tools.

Chrome Web Store New Categories - Business Tools

This is certainly a move to help (and attract) corporate users.  There are also new sub-categories, such as Shopping under Lifestyle.  This is how Google described the benefits of these changes:

The new structure of the store will improve discoverability for apps. For example, users searching for a photo album app can now easily drill down to the “Photos” subcategory level and track down the app they are looking for. At the same time, apps assigned to a subcategory show up in the category page as well giving them wider exposure; an app in “Photos” will appear on both the “Photos” page and the “Entertainment” page.

From now on, an app would only be shown in the primary category the developer chose, to avoid confusion caused.  It would, however, be shown in both the category and sub-category it belongs to.

Web app developers are certainly affected by this change because they have review the categories of their apps after this update.  For web app users, I believe this brings easier app searching.  The new top level categories and sub-categories are, in my opinion, much better and clearer than the original categorization.

 

Source Chromium Blog, via Chrome Story

How to Backup Your Online from Google? Use Google Takeout

No matter how reliable the cloud is, sometimes we do want to save a backup of our data stored online.  Right?  We have introduced how to backup your Facebook data, do you want to do the same with Google?  No, you don’t have to manually save everything one by one.  Let’s have a look at Google Takeout, a handy tool that packs your data stored on Google’s server under your identity.

 

Google Takeout: Backup Your Online Data In Just A Few Clicks

Google Takeout is a native service developed by Google, unlike third-party web apps this one is authentic, so there should be no compatibility issues.  You can choose to create archive for the following services in one go:

Google Takeout: Backup Your Online Data

These are pretty much everything I have ever wanted to download, including Buzz which is no longer active.  You could also choose to download an archive for any individual service:

Google Takeout - Create Archive for Individual Service

For each download, you would be shown the estimated size of the package.  Different services have different configurations to make.  For example, you can choose the format of download for your Google Contacts and Circles in Google+.  For Google Voice, you can download your greetings and recording and specify the file format.

Google Takeout - Configure

It will take a while for Google to pack your data.  Check the “Email me when ready” box to receive notification when it’s done.  Once completed archive creation, you can download the file to your hard disk.

Google Takeout - Download

Google Takeout: http://www.google.com/takeout

Pictarine: All social photos in one timeline, yours and your friends’

Today’s featured web app is Picarine, a tool that pulls photos from various social sites and blends into a single photo gallery.  These photos come from your own social accounts and your friends’.  The best of all, you can download them into your hard drive.  It is both a sharing and back-up tool.

Pictarine: All your photos in one timeline

Pictarine requires registration to use, which is free.  The range of sites you can download photos from include:

  • Google+
  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Flickr
  • Instagram
  • Dropbox
  • 500px
  • Shutterfly
  • Photobucket
  • Twitpic
  • Lockerz
  • Windows Live
  • Mobypicture
  • Yfrog

And your computer too.

Pictarine - Zest of life - All your photos in one timeline

There are two basic ways to view the photos.  Firstly, you can navigate between them by selecting different sources (Flickr, Facebook, etc.).  Secondly, you can use keyword search to find out specific photos like “wedding” and “graduation”.

Pictarine - browse

Photos in Pictarine could be downloaded to your hard drive.  These include your own photos, your friends’ shared ones and those you are tagged in.  This makes Pictarine a useful tool for backing-up your photos in social networks.  Many people have been complaining about the lack of convenient means to download thier online photos frmo some social sites, Pictargine filled this gap.

 

Summary

Who should use Pictarine?  Obviously those who like sharing photos and those who like viewing them.  It has been a growing trend to integrate different social sites.  There are many computer and online tools for centralizing publication and reading of updates on social sites.  Now Pictarine provides a platform for the centralized management of social photos.

(Image source: Chrome Web Store)

 

Chrome Web App: https://chrome.google.com/webstore/detail/hbedofcogklaejflehfloghnidpohipb

Official Site: http://www.pictarine.com/

Use Google Currents Producer to Create Your Own Publication

Many people have already tried Google Currents on their smartphones and tablets.  It is obviously Google’s attempt to challenge the mobile reading market.  While many users opined that Google Currents is similar to its competitors like Flipboard, Pulse, Zite, etc. and did not really stand out from them.  However, ther is one less talked about feature that got my attention: Google Currents Producer.

Google Currents Producer is a tool for all content providers to create their publications for Google Currents users to read.  I said “all” because everyone can do it, even if you are a not-so-popular blog owner.  Let us see how this function works.

 

Google Currents Producer – Create Your First Edition

On the main page of Google Currents (http://www.google.com/producer/currents), click “Publish to Google Currents”.

Google Currents producer - Start Publishing

You would be asked to provide some basic information of your new “Edition”.  The easiest way to create an Edition is to import the RSS feed of your blog or web site.  You can also enter the name of your YouTube channel if you want to create a video-oriented Edition.

Google Currents producer - Create New Edition

You will then enter more details, including an icon and a custom splash image.  As the publisher you can choose to collect reader’s email address.  This means that people must opt-in by providing their email addresses before they could get your Edition.  You can also add Google Analytics code to track the traffic.  You can instantly preview the Edition as on Android phone, tablet, iPhone and iPad.

Google Currents producer - Customization

Your content could be divided into different sections.  Apart from RSS feed and YouTube video, you can put photos, articles, social updates (including your Google+ updates) as well.  The order of sections could be re-arranged.

Google Currents producer - Sections

When you are finished with customizing the Edition, click “Distribute”.  You can preview the Edition on your smartphones and tablet using logging in using the publishing account.  Click “Distribute to Google Currents” and choose a publishing date to pas it to the hands of your readers.  My Edition looks like this on Android phone:

Google Currents producer - Cloud High Club

While Google Currents in its existing form still needs improvements on performance, user interface, etc. I see Google Currents producer as a handy tool for individual publishers to extend their readership.  It could help bloggers to explore the market because they have an extra channel to be known.  The ability to import from RSS feeds, YouTube channels and Google+ updates makes publishing as simple as re-using existing content.

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