2/7/2006

Google to unveil new chat feature

Filed under: — Aviran Mordo

Online search engine leader Google Inc. is wedding its instant messaging and e-mail services in the same Web browser, hoping the convenience will lure users from the larger communications networks operated by its chief rivals.

The new chat feature to be unveiled Tuesday will provide users of Google’s Gmail service with a list of contacts drawn from past e-mail exchanges and then signal who’s available for online conversations.

Automatic status reports about the online availability of friends, family and co-workers have been a hallmark of instant messaging services for years.

Google hopes to make it even simpler to connect with an online contact by allowing users to initiate an electronic conversation within the same Web browser showing an e-mailbox, bypassing the need to switch to a separate instant messaging application.

The new chat feature will begin to show up in some Gmail accounts Tuesday and should reach all users within the next few weeks, said Salar Kamangar, Google’s vice president of product management.

Source: AP

BitTorrent to crack down on use of name

Filed under: — Aviran Mordo

The creators of the BitTorrent file-swapping application will soon begin cracking down on how other software developers use the BitTorrent name, company President Ashwin Navin said Monday.

BitTorrent’s creator, Bram Cohen, has long allowed other people or companies to use his work freely under an open-source software license. Over the past several years, that has led to an explosion of software programs that claim they are compatible with BitTorrent downloads.

However, now that Cohen has created a company aimed at using BitTorrent to distribute movies and other media legally, that unregulated software world is looking more worrisome. The company will soon start enforcing a trademark policy that ensures people using the BitTorrent name are producing safe software, Navin said.

People who want rights to use the BitTorrent trademark to market or brand their own products will have to pay a “nominal” fee to the company, which will review the software to ensure it is in compliance with a set of security standards.

The program is aimed at keeping BitTorrent software secure, and is not expected to be a substantial profit center, Navin said.

Source: News.com

Neb. Professor Uses IPod for Lectures

Filed under: — Aviran Mordo

Psychology students and fans of Apple’s popular iPod can now listen and learn at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. Calvin Garbin is one of the first instructors at the university to harness iPod’s versatility and use it as an educational tool.

“For 30 years, I’ve said if I could just touch my forehead to theirs and pass on the information …” Garbin said. “This technology, to me, is an approximation of that.”

Garbin uses a wireless microphone hooked to his shirt to record the 50-minute lecture, then downloads the recording onto his computer. He cuts the lecture into short audio chunks and puts it on his Web site for downloading.

Students confused about certain parts of the lecture can click on a link and listen again. And podcasting makes studying for tests easier for those students who are auditory learners, Garbin said.

Source: AP

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