Aside

Being a sysadmin means knowing how to search Google correctly

Advertisements

Can Google+ stand up to Facebook?

So Google has introduced their answer(not their first) to social networking and I’m left scratching my head. I get the concept, its like Facebook, but its Google. My question is, will people use it? Thats part of what makes a social networking site viable is if I can get the people I want in my network to use it. The premise I think is, “Well everyone already has a gmail, so no problem.” I’m still not sure.

Though the “Hangout” feature is something nice that Facebook doesn’t have, built in video conferencing. And so far from the testers, word is its rather good. Better then Skype’s paid option. ¬†Also nice to see is the “Circles” concept. Facebook/Twitter has their lists, but this is conceptually closer to the idea of a network. As a user I should be able to put people into different groups and share content based on who I want to share it with, very much as in real life. In Facebook, this is possible, but its very clunky, and by default it treats everyone I add as a friend as equal. Sadly thats not true, and while I go through the trouble of organizing my contacts, others don’t and so the news is full of people sharing things they didn’t mean for someone else to see.

I’ve yet to apply for the field test, so go and read what the folks at Lifehacker have to say with their hands on experience.

So with the recent hullabaloo over the phishing attack on gmail users, I thought I’d take the time to setup the two step verification process for my account. Its very easy since I already have an Android phone. So first download the Google Authenticator(and the Barcode Scanner from ZXing Team, as thats how the app scans QR codes). Then from your Google account settings page, click the link that says 2-Step authentication. Tell it you have an android phone, then with the app, scan the QR code(which I’m figuring is some unique seed value that allows the app to create a random code without requiring network access). Then the app will give you a code and you use that to login. Very easy. It will give you a backup list of codes to print out in case you lose your phone. Though one thing that isn’t obvious is that once that’s done, you have to setup an application specific password to login on Android. But even that is very easy. All in all, it looks like a rather secure setup. So if your a paranoid or just someone who is aware of the dangers of being online, this is a good thing to have.

Aside

Securing your Google account

Playing with Google Music Beta

So today my invite came for Google’s Music Beta service. so yay on that. I already buy music through Amazon and have used their cloud player to much success. Though I did get hit by the slow down caused by everyone buying Lady Gaga’s latest album. So I’m kinda bummed out that Google’s experience doesn’t include buying music too as a way to have an integrated experience.

So first off the interface on the Android app. Very nice and clean and dark. I have a Samsung Vibrant which has a SuperAMOLED screen, so I like dark themes. I also like how the interface fades in and out instead of simply popping from one screen to the next. Gives it the illusion of a fast fluid interface, which isn’t a bad thing. A GUI is graphical and thus its good to take advantage of illusion.

The web interface is also very nice and clean, what all websites should strive for. And its nice they included free music too. I’m at work and thus don’t have any music to upload, but I am running off of the wifi, so can’t say how 3g performance is just yet. Though when I clicked on a hosted song, it was very fast to start playing. Another cool interface thing is when playing a song and backing out to the list, it shows a two bar sound visualizer. Nice.

So thats about it. Its so far just a nice way to wireless sync music from home to your phone and also as way to have it accessible online. So it gets a thumb up but still has plenty of room to grow in.