Category Archives: Software

Google Announces Plans To Bake Android-Like Web Intents Into Chrome

There’s a lot of innovation going on in the browser wars these days, with huge strides in features and performance from all the top vendors. And there’s a new feature on the horizon that’s going to make web apps even more powerful and flexible: Web Intents, which will allow web apps to communicate with each other.

Today, Google has announced that it’s planning to integrate Web Intents into Chrome. The news comes on the heels of Mozilla’s announcement last month that it is also working on the project (Google’s post seems to indicate that the two projects used to be distinct, but that they’re now being unified under a single API).

So what exactly are Web Intents? The name and the purpose are both similar to the Intents system that’s present in Google’s Android platform. In short, Intents allow two separate applications to communicate with each other, without either of them having to actually know what the other one is. Instead, they offer and listen for generic hooks.

On Android this means that if you install a new image editing application, the default Gallery app doesn’t have to integrate any special APIs in order to send a photo to that editing app. Likewise in the case of a web app, this means that a new photo hosting site could easily integrate editing functionality from something like Aviary or Picnik, without either of those services needing to implement a special API unique to that photo hosting site.

Yes, it’s slightly confusing, but it’s a good thing, and it means web apps will be able to operate more like native applications.

Via: TC


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Posted by on August 4, 2011 in Android Tablet, Google, Software, Technology


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Android Market Now Supports Multiple APKs

Today Google announced that it’s pushing a significant update to the developer-facing side of Android Market, and it’s one that consumers will benefit from too: Android Market will now allow developers to distribute multiple APKs (the filetype Android uses for applications) that will all be considered the same app, at least as the marketplace is concerned.

Yes, that sounds mundane, but it’s important. Consider this: right now, if you ran a query for “Fruit Ninja” from an Android tablet, you’d have the option to download either the ‘regular’ Fruit Ninja or Fruit Ninja THD, a version that’s been optimized for the Tegra processor found in most Android tablets to date. Obviously you’d want the latter — but then if you went to play the same game on your phone, you’d have to purchase the regular version.

This update fixes that: Halfbrick Studios (the company behind Fruit Ninja) can now list the game once in Android Market, and Google will send the optimal version to whatever device you’re downloading it from.

Of course, Google has always encouraged developers to make sure a single APK works across all Android devices. Menus are supposed to adapt to various screen sizes, images are supposed to scale nicely, and so on. But there are some instances where this doesn’t make sense — a game might only want to include high-res textures for larger screen sizes, for example. Another use case: if a developer implements features that require the newest version of the Android OS, they can now roll that out, while still letting users on older devices access the old version. And under this system developers will be able to consolidate all of their user reviews under one application as opposed to having them spread across multiple mobile and ‘HD’ versions.

Of course, some developers may prefer to ignore the new feature and prompt users to purchase different versions of their apps for different devices. This wouldn’t necessarily be motivated by greed, either — some developers build completely new apps for different form factors, which in some cases warrant separate purchases.

Incidentally, as I wrote this I received an email alert that Halfbrick is now selling a free version of Fruit Ninja (I’m guessing it’s taking advantage of this new feature).

Via: TC



Zynga Partners With Tencent To Launch Localized Chinese Version Of CityVille

Zynga is furthering its presence in China with a new partnership with Chinese internet giant Tencent. As part of the deal, Zynga is launching a beta version of Zynga City, a new localized Chinese version of CityVille. The game will launch in the next few days and features brand-new content and game-play inspired by both traditional and pop culture in China. As reported earlier this year, Zynga City beta will be operated by Tencent on its Pengyou platform and will soon launch on the company’s QZone platform. Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed by either company.

Zynga City beta will include brand-new decorations and architecture the Chinese audience can identify and connect with, in-game events and competitions linked to Chinese holidays and news, as well as culturally relevant game mechanics such as the chance for players to send street peddlers to their friend’s cities. Zynga City beta will also feature quest system, which Zynga says will “quench Chinese players’ thirst for rich storytelling within the games they love to play.”

Zynga is actually building off of Tencent’s Open Platform, which is an operating system of sorts. Using this platform, Chinese players will be able to play Zynga City in their own language. As I mentioned above, it’s unclear what the terms of the revenue share are from the partnership.

The game will first be operated by Tencent in a beta version on its Pengyou platform, which is its social network and game platform, with a wider launch on several Tencent platforms including QZone to follow.

This isn’t Zynga’s first localized game in China. The gaming giant actually acquired Chinese game developer XPD Media in May of 2010 and set up a Beijing office. And in August the company launched Zynga’s first internationally localized game, Zynga Texas Poker, in traditional Chinese.

Via: TC



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Badgeville Raises $12 Million, Celebrates With An Infographic

Badgeville founder and CEO Kris Duggan is one of those people that is so ridiculously upbeat and positive all the time that sometimes you just want to strangle him. No one has a right to be that happy.

He was smiling and happy when I met him at the Fortune Brainstorm conference a year ago and he showed me Badgeville for the first time. He was happy on stage at TechCrunch Disrupt in San Francsico last September while launching his company and taking the audience choice award.

And now he’s a whole new level of happy because he just closed a second round of financing – $12 million from Norwest Venture Partners and El Dorado Ventures, with participation from previous investors Trinity Ventures and Webb Investment Network. Tim Chang from Norwest and Tom Peterson from El Dorado joined the company’s board of directors.

When Duggan isn’t overdosing on dopamine (or perhaps while he is), he’s growing one heck of a company. Badgeville provides game mechanics to websites, giving incentives to users to interact more with those sites. They have 75 announced paying customers, “seven figure” quarterly revenue and are growing that revenue at 40% quarter over quarter. Customers pay a yearly fee for the service. Customers include Discovery Communications, NBC,, Interscope Records, Major League Gaming, LiveMocha, The Active Network, and Deloitte Digital.

Chang from Norwest is a particularly good fit for the company. He’s invested in both ngmoco and Playdom, and understand game mechanics well. He’s also invested in BranchOut, that startup that you keep seeing in your email inbox as people add you to their network.

Via: TC



Google Acquired PostRank

Friday, social engagement data startup PostRank announced it had been acquired by Google.

Specific terms of the deal were not disclosed.

PostRank launched in 2007 in Waterloo, Ontario, Canada. The PostRank staff will be moving to the San Francisco Bay Area to join the other Googlers at Google’s main Mountain View campus.

Last year, PostRank Analytics added Activity Streams, which the company called “a FriendFeed for content.”

The analytics service itself launched the year before as a way to track data on a large number of social media platforms, including Twitter, Digg, Delicious and more.

PostRank CTO and founder Ilya Grigorik wrote today on the startup’s blog, “We are extremely excited to join Google. We believe there is simply no better company on the web today that both understands the value of the engagement data we have been focusing on, and has the platform and reach to bring its benefits to the untold millions of daily, active Internet users.”

Grigorik said more details on PostRank’s progress within Google will be coming up in a few months.

Via: Mashable


Dropbox Users Save 1 Million Files Every 5 Minutes

Four-year-old file storage startup Dropboxhas experienced explosive growth in the past year, jumping from 5 million users to more than 25 million users.

And together, these users are now saving more than 300 million files each day and 1 million files every five minutes. In total, Dropbox users have saved more than 100 billion files, CEO and co-founder Drew Houston said.

Houston, speaking at the Startup Lessons Learned conference in San Francisco on Monday afternoon, shared the massive figures in a presentation detailing how his startup has managed to scale under such enormous demand.

In the past year, Dropbox has added 35 employees to meet demand, growing from a 20-person team to a 55-person company. Roughly 50% of the startup’s team is comprised of engineers, Houston said.

Part of Dropbox’s ability to scale successfully, said Houston, is the startup’s focus on hiring fewer, better engineers and creating an office environment that its employees want to work in. The startup does not force mandatory office hours, nor does it instruct team members on how or where to work, Houston shared.

Another key, stated the CEO, is to set and reset company goals on a quarterly and annual basis in order to minimize overhead and reduce waste.

But when boiling it down to just the basics, Houston’s advice to founders is to, “Build the right thing, and build things right.” If forced to choose just one, founders should build the right thing, he says.

Via: Mashable