Google To Take On Amazon Kindle, Will Apple Follow Suit?

Google Enter Ebook Marketplace To Compete With Amazon Kindle

Google [signaled its intent to enter e-book retailing]( at the annual BookExpo convention in New York over the weekend. Google will launch a program by end of 2009 that would enable publishers to sell e-book direct to consumers through Google.

Google’s move takes on Amazon Kindle in the growing e-book marketplace. Google will allow publishers to set the selling price, unlike Kindle’s aggressive pricing strategy by Amazon. Most of Kindle edition of latest best sellers are selling for $9.99, far less than the typical $26 for hardcover version.

Google’s e-book offering will allow consumers to read books on any device with Internet access, including mobile phones. And an offline mode will allow consumers to read cached versions of the e-book when Internet is not available.

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Microsoft Keynote At E3 2009

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Microsoft has a busy day at E3 with a slew of announcements that put Xbox 360 and Xbox Live squarely on the top of the games in term of coolness and features.

* Paul McCartney and Ringo Starr were on stage for The Beatles: Rockband game. Yoko Ono Lennon made appearance as well.

* Microsoft showed off Final Fantasy XIII on XBox 360. The title will be a spring 2010 release.

* Exclusive games announced include Shadow Complex, Joyride, Crackdown 2, Left 4 Dead 2, Splinter Cell: Conviction, Forza 3, Halo Reach and Alan Wake.

* You will be able to add movies to your Netflix queue, no need to go to your desktop. You will also be able to search through the entire Netflix catalog on Xbox itself.

* Metal Gear Solid creator Hideo Kojima appeared on stage to announce Metal Gear Solid Rising for Xbox 360. This is big blow to PS3 as Metal Gear Solid has long been a Playstation exclusive.

* The video store in Xbox Live is now branded Zune, and will add 1080p full HD instant-on streaming with 5.1 channel audio. The service will be available in 18 countries (US, Canada, UK, Ireland, France, Germany, Italy, Belgium, Switzerland, Spain, Denmark, Finland, Norway, Sweden, Netherlands, Austria, Australia and New Zealand). But you need 8Mbps downstream for your internet connection in order to enjoy it.

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Sony PSP Go A Step Closer To The Future

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This week is E3 week (June 2-4 at Los Angeles Convention Center) with Sony’s press conference scheduled on June 12 11am. But [a leak before the event]( gives a glimpse of Sony’s next-generation portable gaming device PSP Go.

One notable ‘feature’ of PSP Go is the lack of UMD drive, which is the disc media when you purchase PSP game in retail store. All future games are downloads only, and people who upgrade from PSP to PSP Go can not replay those games purchased in UMD media.

Removing UMD drive is significant, it is one step closer to a total online and disc-less future. It spells the death nail to Sony’s UMD disc format and will impact Sony’s retailers financially. Whatever, it is a bold move on Sony’s part, and is a step ahead of its rival Nintendo.

Google Unveils New Web Initiatives for HTML 5 Era

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Google today started its largest yearly developer conference Google I/O 2009 with [announcements of new web initiatives and products]( to enable and accelerate web application development. One of the key theme of this year’s two-day event is to promote open web technologies and new functionalities in HTML 5 standards.

HTML 5 standard is still work in progress with some expect the draft spec may not be rectified for years. However the latest build for all open standard browsers (Firefox, Safari, Opera, Chrome) has support for HTML 5 features such as rich animation, canvas 2D drawing, MIME type and protocol handler, offline storage database, in-browser editing and drag-and drop. HTML 5 represents the biggest leap of web standards in almost a decade.

“Bet on the web,” said Vic Gundotra, Vice President of Developer Products at Google. “Its rate of innovation has dramatically accelerated over the past 12 months, giving rise to an open web platform that’s fundamentally more capable and more sophisticated than even a year ago. The combination of HTML 5, a vibrant developer community, and the pervasiveness of modern web browsers is delivering a programming model and an end-user experience that will surprise and delight people.”

Beside unveiling Java support in App Engine and its Android Developer Challenge initiative, Google introduced [Google Web Elements]( to the 4000 strong attendees. Google Web Elements are widgets of contents from Google such as Maps, News, YouTube as well as social networking features of Google Friend Connect. Web Elements make it easy to developer to add such functionality by just copying and pasting few lines of code.

Facebook Crosses 60 Million Monthly US Users But People Over 55 Are Quitting

[Inside Facebook]( has reported that people over 55 are quitting Facebook, citing numbers over the last two 60 day periods. Mark Zuckerberg can still find comfort that Facebook crosses over 60 million monthly users in US, however overall growth for users over 35 is now cooler compared to Feb/Mar period.

However, the number of active users over 55 actually decreased by over 650,000 during this period. In other words, users over 55 who joined the site earlier this year haven’t been coming back as much in April and May, even though the number of active users in every other age bracket has gone up.

We have noticed that usage is down recently for our Facebook friends, but would not attribute it to Facebook’s recent “live stream” interface changes. Getting a large growth rate for new user sign up is one thing, but return rate is the true measure of real worth especially for a social networking site.

Is the drop in return rate a result of its recent interface changes? Is the interface too hard for older people? Is Twitter eating into Facebook’s user base? Is Facebook only cool with kids or is Facebook no longer the hip club it once was? Too many questions but only time will tell if Facebook will become just another AOL.

Keeping Track of Susan Boyle

Susan Boyle is one step closer to her dream, she proceeded to the semi-finals of *British’s Got Talent* last Sat night. We are keeping track of Susan Boyle to see how her career will play out after being a YouTube sensation overnight. Her “I Dreamed A Dream” performance on *British’s Got Talent* is in tracking company Visible Measures’ [100 Million Views Club](

Will Susan Boyle becomes *British’s Got Talent* this season’s winner? Will she release an album and will her singing career be a success? So, we are curious to know if being a hit on the internet means anything at all. Below are some quick links about her, helpful if you find it too much to Google her.

* The YouTube video that started it all

* [British’s Got Talent Website](

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Download Michael Moore’s new film “Slacker Uprising” for free

In an unprecedented move, Oscar winning director Michael Moore (“Bowling for Columbine”,”Fahrenheit 9/11″,”Sicko”) will release his new film “Slacker Uprising” free and online. It will be available beginning September 23 for three weeks as a free download to North American residents. After which a DVD will be released on October 7. Sign up at to receive download instructions.

The 97-minute long “Slacker Uprising” is a documentary on Moore’s 62-city tour during the 2004 election to rally the young to vote. Moore said “Slacker Uprising” cost about $2 million to make and that about $1 million is out of his pocket. The download is offered by BlipTV and will be high-resolution and far better than YouTube quality.

“I thought it’d be a nice way to celebrate my 20th year of doing this,” Moore said. “And also help get out the vote for November. I’ve been thinking about what I want to do to help with the election this year.”

Moore offers the movie for free as a symbol of gratitude to his fans and also to celebrate his 20th anniversary in film making. Moore hopes “Slacker Uprising” will help spur young people to vote this November. Moore last week released a paperback book called “Mike’s Election Guide 2008”.

Google Chrome is the Google Web Browser


Google made a big Labour Day announcement that it would launch a beta version of its Google Chrome web browser in more than 100 countries today. As of this writing, it is not yet available for download, but Google has published a 38 pages Google Chrome Comic Book to illustrate its features.

(Updated: Google Chrome beta for Windows is now available for download.)

Launching a new web browser in a crowded market with MS Internet Explorer, Mozilla Firefox, Apple Safari and Opera would be disaster for other company, but not so for Google. “Because we believe we can add value for users and, at the same time, help drive innovation on the web.”, Google said in its blog post for the announcement.

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