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App News

The Mac.AppStorm team has done a great job over the past weeks rounding up the best in Mac news, giving our readers a great way to catch up on what’s happening in the world of Mac apps without having to stay glued to dozens of rumor sites. There’s been enough interesting web app news this week, I thought we could do the same thing over here at Web.AppStorm.

So, here’s a quick summary of the past weeks’ biggest web app news for your reading pleasure. We likely won’t do these posts weekly, but if you find it informative and enjoyable, I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments at the end of the post!

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Google+ has been going pretty strong since its launch back in June of 2011. In just a year, it amassed 170 million users — Google is obviously not going to give out the numbers of those who actually use the service, but they like to say 170 million do, so we’ll go with that. Today, Google announced that they are expanding the social network even more with lots of extra customization, a major redesign, better Hangouts, and more.

Not that Google+’s layout was terrible before, but Google thinks they can really enhance it by giving users some customization all around. For instance, with the redesign, you can now customize the new navigation bar on the left by simply dragging the apps around. If you don’t want to see one anymore, then just drag it to the animated “More” button to remove them. Read on for the other notable changes in Google’s redesign along with some opinion on the subject. (more…)

In a recent report, security consultants with Context Information Security revealed that two thirds of web apps are a security risk when it comes to cross site scripting and one in five risk being attack by SQL interjections. The report also suggests that the average number of vunerabilities is up per web app, offering cause for concern.

Should we, web app users, be concerned ourselves over the security concerns? Let’s investigate!

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We’ve collected the top four reviews, roundups and how-to articles from across the AppStorm network in February. Whether you’re interested in Mac, iPhone, Web, or Android apps, there’s bound to be something you didn’t spot over the course of the month. Now would be a good time to explore a part of the AppStorm Network you’ve never seen before!

Thanks for reading AppStorm, and I hope you enjoy looking over some of our favourite posts from last month!

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2011 was a huge year for social media. Granted, since 2004 we’ve seen an explosion of social networks, an insane growth in Facebook users, and Twitter take on widespread adoption. More of my students are using Twitter today that in previous semesters.

But still, in comparison to other years, this year was huge for social media. Not only did Facebook and Twitter see massive changes, but we saw another big tech company enter the social media ring: Google. The big three are all moving decidedly in one direction: mobile.

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There are some of us just love music – we couldn’t do without it. I’d definitely count myself in as one of the music crazy group; in fact, I’m listening to music as I’m writing this post, using my favorite music streaming service, Grooveshark.

Grooveshark is one of the most popular online music search and streaming services, and it has a beautiful web app and extensive catalog of music. The team behind Grooveshark recently updated its interface with a bunch of cool new features, and today I’ll show you the changes. Continue reading to find out what’s better, what’s not, and what should be worked on!

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I always want things to stay fresh, be it groceries I buy or the apps I download. So, whenever there is an update to software I use, I dutifully grab it with both hands. When it comes to web apps, I love Google for keeping things fresh and new. They launch new services and update existing ones at breakneck pace.

Recently, Google rolled out a newer look across the board to all its apps. And two of the flagship apps – Gmail and Reader – got the brand new look rolled out universally, last week. One was welcomed with cheers, while the other wasn’t. Turns out, consistant branding and useful UIs are as easy to roll out as pressing a button and giving all of your sites the same color schemes.

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Like a lot of people, I too believe that these days there is a social overdose online. Even sub-standard apps mask themselves under the social veil to grab some traction. So, when Google launched its latest attempt at dominating the social graph with Google+, it got a rather lackluster reception. And the usage since launch seems to be dwindling exponentially.

There is no doubt that Google+ is a worthy competitor to Facebook, but it arrived a bit too late. Even without having to examine it under a microscope, Google+ is a better social product with a ton of cool features. Privacy issues that haunted Google and the last social product of theirs, Google Buzz, have been fixed for good. Even with that, it’s still hard to grab an audience when everyone’s already on Facebook, Twitter, and 1.5 million other social networks.

To spice up an already awesome product, Google has rolled out hot new features like trending topics, analytics, and image editing among other things. Let’s take a peek at them and see if there’s enough to entice users to Google’s network now.

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Reading is an enjoyable experience irrespective of whether you read a book or an article online. It’s the quality of content that counts and not the mode of consumption. You can always read an article from a magazine at a later time, but it’s hard to do so online. Sure, you can use the bookmarking apps to store the links to read later, but isn’t the most elegant solution. That’s what Instapaper and Read It Later are for.

Instapaper recently released a massive and impressive update for iOS devices, while Read It Later has also recently announced a major revamp. Read It Later is an amazing app across all platforms, but when compared to Instapaper, the buzz it gets is far less. It isn’t like one app is less feature rich than the other. Both of them are used by hundreds of thousands, but Instapaper has an influential and vocal fan base.

After the break, let us take a sneak peek at the first batch of changes about to come to the Read It Later web app.

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Facebook has been chastised a lot over the years for their constant stream of small (sometimes unannounced) changes that they’ve made to the site: moving the chat around several times, modifying the profile, changing how news is displayed, and more. These have each been strongly criticized by people who immediately hate changes. Facebook’s Timeline, when it finally rolls out, is going to be a huge change and I know people will hate it just because.

Here’s a quick overview of the new changes, so you’ll hopefully be more prepared when they’re finally implemented. Quick hint: Timeline looks awesome, and odds are, you’ll love it!

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