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Facebook held a keynote at their f8 conference yesterday, demonstrating a bunch of new stuff, most importantly Timeline, the new face for profiles. Timeline is changing Facebook’s approach to user-centric pages drastically. It’s concentrating on showing a view of a person’s life, as shared through Facebook and a bunch of associated apps. I’ve been playing with the developer release of Timeline since it was announced, and have got to say, I love it!
The design changes Facebook is currently undergoing are fantastic, and look great on the site, but we shouldn’t forget the humble, dorm-based beginnings of the world’s largest social network. As the company has grown with more and more (and more and more and more) members, the design has seen many refinements. We’re going to have a look at it’s design timeline today, to get a glimpse of where it started and where it’s headed, at least for now.
Change is good. It helps keep things fresh and keeps boredom away. But too much of anything is good for nothing and that holds good for changes too. So, the folks at Facebook have been quietly busy and rolled out few notable updates to the World’s largest social network. At times I think if there is a wager between Google and Facebook to see who rolls out more updates in a calender year!
I don’t use a lot of features of Facebook, just like thousands of others. But from changing the way the feed looks like to sharing and privacy, everyone will feel the changes for sure this time. Predictably, there are loud voices complaining about yet another change, but at the end of the day, these new additons make Facebook more fun to use.
If you do a lot of traveling, you’re no doubt familiar with services like Kayak and Hipmunk that let you quickly and painlessly book flights on the cheap. This past Tuesday, Google threw it’s hat into yet another ring with a relatively quiet launch of Google Flight Search.
Built right into the search engine (as many Google apps are), Flight Search lets you search using standard terms like “flights from Cincinnati to San Francisco” to access a customizable list of flight results. But how does it stack up to the tried and true competitors in the realm of flight search engines?
“The best camera is the one you have with you”, the old adage goes, and with the proliferation of smartphones with high quality cameras, it’s more true today than ever. Even though I only have an aging phone with a 1.3 megapixel camera, it’s still the first thing I’d grab when I need to take a picture.
The same is true for photo editing. Sure, Photoshop is powerful, and many of us couldn’t live without it. Love it or not, Creative Suite is one of the first things many people install on their computers, right after Microsoft Office. Aviary’s advanced web apps have made it possible to kick Adobe’s apps to the curb to a degree, but they’re still often more trouble to use.
But what if Aviary’s tools were built into every app you ever use? That’s exactly what the future might hold. Let’s take a look at Aviary’s new APIs, and how it might be the best photo editor just because it’s the editor you’ll always have with you.
Apple is set to debut iCloud sometime over the next couple months, their fourth try at cloud-based services after iTools, .Mac and MobileMe. iCloud will feature some pretty major changes to Apple’s software lineup, mainly centring around the syncing of data between devices and iCloud.com. Although the lineup of iCloud services is radically different from MobileMe, the premise is the same: “Exchange, for the rest of us”.
However, I put forward that iCloud is, in fact, a completely different use of the cloud. This isn’t bad, and may actually be a more preferential one for the reasons I’m about to set forward. Change isn’t always bad, and in the realm of cloud data, Apple is pushing an interesting new precedent.
Google’s always had a minimalist design, one of the simplest designs on the web. And for the most visited website in the world, that’s provided a very user-friendly approach making searching somewhat of a breeze. The problem is, Google is no longer about search since, with the arrival of a plethora of additional services, that part of Google’s business has become so much less significant.
As Google has added new products, services and apps, they’ve featured their own unique interface so, while the main search page became refined, the other sites got left behind. However, Google has recently started a full, unified redesign process across their sites connecting them all up with similar design trends: a modern, minimalist red and white scheme.
I’ve just finished designing a website, and I used a ton of CSS: everything from laying out my content, to styling elements like the headings. Then, Twitter released Bootstrap, and I’m pretty disappointed I didn’t delay starting to design it.
Say you’re a web designer new to the scene and don’t know all the ropes. Bootstrap from Twitter is aimed at providing a bunch of really useful CSS classes and IDs in a single library that’s simple to use, removing a lot of the load of designing a website from scratch. Bootstrap is a package, and includes a ton of user interface elements styled to be usable in any web app, or site.
Amazon blazed the trail for eBooks with their Kindle platform, starting with the original Kindle device and the Kindle store. Since then, they’ve broaden their scope, and released native reader apps for almost every platform available: Windows, Mac OS X, iOS, Android, Windows Phone 7, and more. Even still, that didn’t cut it. If there wasn’t a native app for your platform, you simply couldn’t read your Kindle books. Linux and Chromebooks, among others, were out of luck.
That’s all over now. Amazon just released their new Kindle Cloud Reader, a full-featured Kindle web app so you can read your Kindle books right in your browser. It’s got all the features you’d expect, lets you save your books for offline reading, and even works great on the iPad. After the break, we’ve got screenshots and more info about the newest Kindle app, the app that just might be the main future of the Kindle platform.