Google+ Project: The Future of Social Networking?

Search engine giant Google launched their very own social networking service on Tuesday. The Google+ Project attempts to take a bite out of, and possibly rip the head off of menacing social networking superstar Facebook. Parasitic social networking sites are rapidly invading Google’s territory, as Facebook and Twitter absorb the traffic once reserved for Google. Social networks cripple Google’s infrastructure by depriving important information from the systems used to enhance Web search and Google AdWords.

Google+ Project surpasses any other social networking attempt made by the company in the past. Standard social sharing is taken to the next level, converting the typical social networking mass communication model into a more personalized small group, real-life communication experience.Users can create separate communication groups between friends, family, acquaintances, ex-boyfriends, frenemies, roommates, running buddies, co-workers, etc., into “Circles.” Circles is a Google+ Project feature uses a drag and drop method and simplifies standard practices used on other social networks to dividing friends, foes and co-workers into individual sharing networks.

The iPhone and Android mobile applications for Google+ are very similar to the web version of Google+, making sharing and communicating easy and fluid. Users won’t have to use four different applications to share information or chat with friends in different ways. The magnitude of Google’s Web and mobile presence is enough to make smaller start-ups and mobile developers quiver in their boots. Add the element of social sharing into the mix and Google could potentially destroy its social networking competitors.

Fusing together content sharing, group video chat, video and photo sharing and a mobile app is an impressive start for Google’s social networking future. Google+ Project combines Internet social sharing habits into one centralized place where messages can be controlled and disseminated in real-life fashion. Google+ Project is still in its field trial period and more innovations and changes are expected. It will be interesting to see if Google’s search engine marketing skills will match their social media marketing abilities.

New York Times: Another Try by Google to Take On Facebook

The Google+ Project

Kidney Exchanged for Apple iPad 2

The phrase, “that’s going to cost me an arm and a leg,” typically means something is going to cost a large sum of money. For 17-year-old Zheng, a high school freshman in China, that expression took on a more literal meaning…only a Kidney.

Zheng really wanted an iPad 2, but didn’t have enough money so he did the unthinkable and sold his kidney. I’ll repeat that. He sold his his kidney. The majority of student’s would save up for this kind of purchase but Zheng couldn’t wait. After coming in contact with a kidney-selling agent on the internet he decided that risking his life for 20,000 yen ($3K USD) was a pretty great deal. Zheng had the operation, received his money and returned home with more than one new Apple gadget.

Photo: MyChinaViews.com

His mother became very suspicious and reported her son to authorities, ultimately exposing Zheng’s secret kidney transplant.The hospital Zheng claims to have had his surgery at is denying any connection to the 17-year-old and authorities haven’t been able to contact any one involved in the organ transplant fiasco.

It seems Zheng is getting the last laugh here as he enjoys his new toys. After reading this article I wondered how many illegal organ transplants go unreported? Who are the recipients of these organs? Are the iphone mobile applications worth it? How far would you go to get what you wanted? I just hope Zheng doesn’t find another organ-selling agent online and another part of his body to sell in a year when his Apple gadgets are out of date.

The Next Web: Chinese student reportedly sells his kidney to buy an iPad 2

Starbucks Card Mobile Reaches 3 Million Hits

“Starbucks now offers the nation’s largest mobile payment network,” said vice president of Starbucks, Brady Brewer. In January, Starbucks launched a new iPhone and Blackberry app called Starbucks Card Mobile that revolutionizes the way we buy coffee. Customers are now able to pay for their order via mobile phone by holding up the app’s barcode to the register’s scanner. This application was tested in September and was discovered to be the fastest and most efficient way for customers to pay, understandably. The past financial quarter was the best performing in the 40-year history of the company, according to Howard Schultz, Starbucks CEO. The Starbucks Card app accounts for 22% of all transactions, says Schultz. Schultz also noted that Schultz the Starbucks brand is number one on Facebook, over 20 million fans, and is also a top brand on Twitter and Foursquare.

Many other businesses will most likely follow in Starbucks’ footsteps and create mobile applications for their stores. The app allows for more efficient work on the employees part and allows for a better time efficiency for customers. By allowing customers to use the app, they place their order, scan their phone and receive their coffee. No more rummaging for credit cards or bill and coins, which is a godsend for many. This application will take the business world by storm and be implemented in many businesses

If you would have asked me when I was 10 years old, I would never have dreamed that we would be where we are today regarding technology. It is amazing everything that we have experienced. the iPad, iPhone, wireless computers and applications that do pretty much everything. I remember getting a Gameboy and thinking it was the smallest/coolest thing I had ever seen. Now, we can play games on phones, keep in mind, the phones are half the size of a Gameboy. I am eager to see what kind of technology we will have as I grow up.

Foursquare 3.0 is Here!

It was announced yesterday that Foursquare has finally released it’s 3.0 update. If your a Foursquare junkie like me than this is great news. The service, for those of you who don’t know, allows you to “check-in” at the places you visit throughout the day and show’s you where local deals might be. It’s also a great way to keep tabs on your friends (but not in a stalker way). It’s not only a deal finder, you can also check in to get badges, which are little rewards for visit certain places, or visiting a certain number of places, and duke it out for “mayor ships” of your favorite hot spots. It’s fun.

Anyway, the new update offers many revamps that make it a much more complete and useful app to have.

The first new feature, and perhaps the coolest is the “explore” tab that they’re adding. This will become the bulk of the mobile application as it offers the most content to use. Essentially was it is is a “Yelp” type app that takes where you’ve been and suggests places that you might like in your area. It also allows you to explore the area you’re in for recommended places that are similar with your interests, or just places recommended in general. This is cool because it would make traveling much easier, as well as open you up to places in your area that you might have never heard of. In addition to food it also shows you where there is nightlife, shopping and touristy stuff, so that you can truly explore wherever you are.

Another cool feature, which get’s back to what makes Foursquare an app to have, is that they have greatly expanded their “deals” options for companies. They have added things like Flash Deals (first 10 people after 5 get a free drink), Newbie Deals, Loyalty Deals and many more. This, hopefully, will encourage more companies to offer specials and therefore make Foursquare a great way to save some money as well.

I am psyched about these new features. It takes Foursquare from an almost strictly “fun” app to one that is very functional. So, if you don’t already have it on your phone, get it. It is available for pretty much every platform that exists.

Depositing checks…there’s an app for that…

During Super Bowl 45, I saw a Chase Bank commercial that made me just about freak out. Now, Chase Bank has a mobile application for depositing checks! While I immediately Google searched this topic for more information, I quickly found out that mashable.com published an article about this topic in early July. While the article was published quite a long time ago, I had never heard of this application prior to watching the commercial during the Super Bowl.

I’m shocked that this is even possible. I used to be a bank teller and this article has my mind racing with questions about said Chase application. How do banks uncover the fraudulent checks that are sent in by the iPhone app? Snapping a picture of the front and back of a check on a phone couldn’t possibly allow someone to detect the necessary red flags that one could with the naked eye. What do you do with the check after you take a picture of it and send it on its way; throw it out? Although it would most likely be  impossible for someone else to find the check and try to cash it with ease, it would still leave me with a bit of uncertainty.

All bank questions aside, what is the world coming to? We can now deposit checks without leaving home? What if banks no longer existed because you could do all your banking via the Internet, ATMs and mobile applications. When I was a bank teller, the only kind of human interaction most older people ever experienced was their weekly trip to the bank. Many would get dressed up just to go to the bank every week, and yes, there were plenty of older people that actually “needed” to go to the bank every week.

I can only imagine what kind of things our phones can do for us in the future. Soon there’s going to be an app for just about everything.