Announcing the Digital Lust Google Music Giveaway Spectacular!

Greetings, internets!

I have returned from an unannounced, week-long vacation with some great news for my readers! I’ve gotten into Google Music, and I have 3 invites that I am very excited to give away!

That’s why I am announcing tonight my Google Music Giveaway Spectacular! All this week, we’re giving readers the chance to let their voices be heard, and get something in return! To enter, all you have to do is post a comment, on any Digital Lust post except for this one. Comments need to be well-thought out responses to the post, not a simple “I want the Google Music invite.”. Posts should also be at least 50 words or longer.

On Friday, August 12, 2011, I will announce the winners of the contest. Winners will be selected based on the quality of the content written in their post.

But wait! Theres more! I also have hundreds of Google+ invites to give away too. So, to make things even more enticing, all entrants to this giveaway will receive a Google+ invite, just for making a post (as long as it follows all rules listed both above and below). Everyone gets one. Winning!!!

Now that we have the basics down, let’s take a look at the official rules.

Official Rules
1. Comments posted must be 50 words or more, with relevant responses to the post you have selected to write about. Simply stating “I want a Google Music invite” in your post will disqualify you from the Google Music invite, as well as the Google+ invite.

2. Due to the friendly nature of Digital Lust, anything deemed inflammatory or inappropriate will not be tolerated, and will immediately disqualify you from both parts of this giveaway.

3. All posters must ensure that their Gmail address is listed in either their profile, or somewhere in their post. Failure to provide a Gmail account will disqualify you from the giveaway. Gmail accounts are available for free at <a href="http://www.gmail.com. It takes only a minute to register, and is the only email address permitted for use in this giveaway.

4. Promotion of any other website or product is strictly prohibited in all Digital Lust comments, and will disqualify entrants. Exceptions to this include links to other WordPress blogs that are listed ONLY in their profile (do not include these links in your post).

5. Contest opens August 7th, 2011 at 9:30pm EST and closes on August 12th, 2011 at 5:00pm EST. Winners will be selected after the closing time and will be announced shortly thereafter. For Google+ invites, winners will receive shortly after their post is approved.

I’m looking forward to reading your comments and responses. Be sure to check out Digital Lust all this week for some awesome features that I have planned, and especially check back on Friday evening for the announcement of the winners!

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Google+ Invites Still Up for Grabs!!!!

Google hasn’t stopped letting people in to Google+ in quite a few days!!! Digital Lust wants to invite readers to join the service, so that everyone can join in on the fun.

To receive an invite, you can do one of two things:

1. Submit a comment to any post here on Digital Lust. If you are a WordPress user, make sure your Gmail account is listed as your primary email address. If you are not a WordPress user, make sure to include your Gmail address in your comment (or, just sign up for WordPress).

2. Follow me on Twitter @DigiLust. Send me a Direct Message with your Gmail address, and you’re all set.

That’s all you have to do!!! I’ve gotten several people onto Google+ in the past week, and ready to get several more on. Submit your comments or follow me on Twitter!!!

The Social War Begins!

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A war is brewing in the social front. Google+ is starting to get the people’s attention after invites have opened up and not shut down. Facebook is unveiling new chat services aimed at keeping people on Facebook longer. Twitter is working to implement it’s own photo sharing service. LinkedIn is making it’s presence more well known. It’s definitely not quiet in the social media world, and we may be getting ready to see a massive outbreak of changes as the social empires prepare to duke it out to keep people away from the others.

As you may have seen, in the past week, Digital Lust has been extensively covering Google+, the new social experience created by the masterminds of Google. After a successful “field testing period,” the media empire began to open up invites, closing them as needed. This time around, however, the site hasn’t shut down the ability to invite your friends, and it’s been about 24 hours since it started. People are going crazy, trying to get their hands on a shiny Google+ invite (which, by the way, I’m still having a giveaway for!). It’s very reminiscent of when Google first launched Gmail back in 2004. And if Google+ even gets close to the popularity of Gmail at its launch, then the other social networks should be concerned. Very, very concerned.

Last week, Facebook announced that they were partnering with Skype to provide an all new video chatting service, directly from the browser, and only on Facebook.com. That all sounds well and good, except, Google+ got there first. Google implemented a video chatting service, Hangouts, right as Google+ started it’s launch, and it works well. Very, very well. Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg has signed up for a Google+ account, and has a very serious image as his profile picture. Almost as if he fears what Google is hoping to accomplish with G+. Google+ shows up very less cluttered than Facebook. Posts are better organized. You can organize your friends ij a unique way. In a sense, Google+ is everything that Facebook should improve upon.

And then there’s Twitter. 140 characters of fun every time you want to post. Your friends become your “followers,” and you follow your friends. Google+ has a similar way of “following” people…except your posts can be as long as you want. It has it’s own photo streaming service. In a sense, Google+ is everything that Twitter should improve on (is anyone catching what I’m trying to say here?).

I can’t speak much about LinkedIn, as I find it to be extremely boring. But the point being, is that Google is not just in this to be an extra social experience. It’s here to be THE social experience. If Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn don’t want to become the next Myspace, they really need to get to work to make some improvements. My prediction for the first casualty of this new war: LinkedIn, of course. It’s a service that isn’t used as widely as the others, and I feel like some of the features that G+ has implemented could steer people away. And as for Twitter…it should really get to work. It might be next to go to that great social network resting place in the sky.

App Attack: Google+ (Android)

A disclaimer before beginning this edition of App Attack: As I reviewed it last week, I am currently using the HTC Evo 3D as my new phone of choice. The phone has yet to achieve a permanent root solution, and therefore, I am unable to take screenshots of the Google+ app without having some issues. As a result of this, I have pulled a couple of pictures from various different sources. My thanks go out to the following:

TechStuffs4U
AndroidShine
Pocket-Lint

And now, let’s get on with the review. As you’ve seen in my continuing coverage this week of everything Google+, this new service is poised to help redefine the social networking world by introducing a new set of features that are unlike any other. The Google+ app for Android has already been released, and, at first glance, looks a little bit like the Facebook app. There are only five buttons on the main menu, to access your Stream, your Photos, your Circles, your profile, and Huddle, the chat service offered on Google+. There is also a bar at the bottom to bring up your notifications. Everything on the main menu looks very clean, neat, and uncluttered. The icons are in that new, sophisticated Google styling that has come to life recently. In general, there is a lot less going on here than there is on the Facebook app, and I am completely okay with that. Let’s start to take a look at each of the different pages.

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The home screen on Google+ is incredibly simplistic. It’s very clean, and gets you exactly where you need to go very quickly.

Stream
Your stream is essentially the News Feed of Google+. In the main screen, you can view stories from people you have in your circles. One feature that seems to be missing here is the ability to select which circle you want to view–they all show up together. That functionality is something that they seem to be pushing on Google+, and to have that missing seems to be a little weird. Swiping to the left side of the screen reveals posts made by people that have added you, but you have not added to your circles. Swiping to the right side of the screen will show you posts from people in your immediate area, something that seems like a pretty cool addition. Even with my GPS off, I was still able to get posts based on a 10 mile radius from my house.

Posting onto your Stream is incredibly easy. Just click the pencil at the top right of the screen and you’re good to go. You can add photos or your location to a post, as well. There are also buttons at the top of the main stream page to just add a check-in or to add a photo. When posting, you do have the capability to just share with specific circles, which is definitely a nice feature.

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Your Stream. Swiping to the left side of the screen will pull up your Incoming posts, from people you have not added to your circles that have you in their circles. Swiping to the right will show posts from people in your area.

Huddle
I haven’t gotten to use Huddle for anything just yet, and I’m imagining that I probably won’t until after more people get signed in to Google+. The concept of it though is pretty simple. You can initiate a chat with any of your friends, or even entire circles. Its a really cool concept that seems very easy to use.

Photos
This is my favorite feature of the app so far. By bringing up the Photos section, you can view photos from within your circles (again, missing the option to filter based on circle). You can also view your photos, and do something called Instant Upload. I personally love this feature, as it was able to upload a picture from my phone to the service within a matter of seconds. When I tried this out, I uploaded 8 photos from a concert I recently went to into a Stream post, and they were all there within a couple of seconds. You can then view these photos on your Stream or in the photos section, under “Photos From Posts” under your albums.

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Photo viewing on Google+ is fast, simple, and clean. Just like everything else.

Profile
I won’t spend too much time talking about the profile features, as they aren’t too extremely different from Facebook. Your profile shows your posts, photos, and your About Me section. You can access the different features by the three buttons at the bottom. Posts are organized by time, and you can view who was able to see that post based on the circle they are in.

Circles
Circles are what really differentiate Google+ from other social networks. You can group people you’re connected with into different circles. You can then choose to share posts with different circles. This is especially a great feature if you’re working on a project for school or work and don’t want details getting to everyone. You can just choose to share it with whoever is within a specific circle. The one thing that I could not figure out is how to add email addresses from the app to be able to add to a circle. This is something pretty big right now as people are wanting invites (doing this from Safari on my iPad is sufficient enough, but incredibly slowwww). You can edit your circles in app, which is really nice. I want to see more functionality though when it comes to the circles in future installations of the app.

To summarize everything here, the app is not perfect yet, but, as a first version, it’s pretty damn close. The big deal with Google+ is the Circles feature, and I don’t feel like Google has completely implemented everything that they want to in regards to them. But again, as a first version of the app, it’s really, really good.

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Google+ Giveaway Resumes!

Greetings, internets!

I am happy to announce that the Google+ Giveaway will immediately resume. Last night, I reported that Google+ was now open for all to all with a Gmail account. This appears to no longer be the case, and entry to the site is purely based on invites once again.

I’ve changed the eligibility requirements quite a bit: To win an invite to Google+, all you need to do is post a comment within this post with a Gmail account that I can send the invite to. I will be giving away unlimited invites until the service goes live, so pretty much anyone who asks for one will receive one.

This altered version of the giveaway will resume immediately and go until Google opens the service to all. Invites will be sent all at once at the end of the day.

Stick around, my continuing coverage of Google+ continues with a new App Attack, where I’ll be looking at the Google+ Android app.

Digital Lust Daily Feed: July 6, 2011

Interesting news day today–not too many stories to share tonight, but definitely a couple of big ones in the social media world. Lets get right to it:

Facebook Announces Chat Revamp
Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg announced today that beginning today, a new partnership between the social powerhouse and Skype has formed, giving Facebook an all new video chatting service in-browser. Zuckerberg also announced a new group chatting feature, as well as an easier to use chat interface. The changes went into effect today.

Google+ Goes Live For All With a Gmail Account
As long as you are the proud owner of a Gmail account, Google+ is now open for you. Various media are reporting tonight that the site has opened it’s hypothetical doors to everyone. Of course, we’ve been covering the launch of Google+ all week, and even kicked off a new Google+ Giveaway. With this new level of operation of the new social network, however, the contest has become irrelevant, and has been discontinued. Be sure to check out Digital Lust tomorrow for a rundown of the Google+ Android app.

And Speaking of Google+, No Privacy for You!
Google announced today that at the end of this month, any private Google+ pages will be deleted. The purpose of Google+ is to provide users complete access. You should still be able to hide some aspects of your profile, however, and any content that you do not want shown to the public can just be shared with specific people.

Angry Birds Movie in Development for 2014
David Meisel, the former head of Marvel Studios before the company was bought out by The Disney Corporation, will begin developing a new project based on the epic mobile game of the same name. This is pretty significant for the mobile world–this is the first time that a movie will be developed based on a mobile game. Should the project get the green light and proceed with development, it will release in 2014. Hopefully the Angry Birds franchise will have enough lasting power to make it still relevant in 3 years. Perhaps a Alfred Hitchcock style “Birds” plot will be appropriate for this movie?

Sony Announces PSN Pass
Sony has announced that starting this fall, in order to gain online access to new games, a PSN Pass will be required to be input before playing. This appears to be a new security feature that the company is putting into place following the recent hackings that kept the Playstation Network offline for a month. It was mentioned that if you buy the game preowned, you would have to purchase a Pass on the Playstation Store in order to gain access.

iPhone 5 to Launch in Q3, On Sprint too??
Sources indicate that the next iteration of the iPhone, reportedly titled the iPhone 5, will release sometime in Q3 (which is this quarter, by the way). Other rumors indicate that the phone will also launch on Sprint on the same time as Verizon and AT&T. This could get interesting, seeing as how Sprint is now the only major carrier left with an unlimited data plan. Will the AT&T faithful flock away from the network and head towards Sprint for the cheaper plans and unlimited data? Only time will tell…

And that about wraps it up for tonight’s edition of Digital Lust Daily Feed. Tomorrow on Digital Lust, I’ll be going in depth with the Google+ Android App in an all new App Attack. I’ll also be talking about the increasing popularity of net casting, specifically with Twit.TV. We’ll see you tomorrow!

Facebook Announces New Chat Services

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Today, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg announced some new changes to the popular social networking site, thanks to a new partnership with Skype. In the new partnership, Facebook will provide it’s users with a new video chat service, powered by Skype. Also announced were a new interface to make chatting even easier, as well as a much-anticipated group chat feature. Let’s take a look at exactly what went down with today’s announcement:

1:15pm: Zuckerberg talking about where social networking is 5 years ago compared to today.

1:19pm: Talking about the next 5 years and where social networking is going.

1:20pm: The next five years is not just about active users. It’s about the value, time spent on the network, and how it affects the economy.

1:23pm: Now he’s talking about exponential growth and something about paper going to the moon?? Also mentioned 750 million users on Facebook.

1:26pm: Now talking about the growth of Sharing on Social Network.

1:27pm: 4 billion things shared every day on Facebook.

1:28pm: Group chat announced for Facebook. New design for chat coming, as well as video calling.

1:29pm: Zuckerberg talking about the new design. “Buddy list” style way to chat online is coming.

1:30pm: Announcement of partnership with Skype for video chatting.

1:36pm:
Group chat being demo’d.

1:37pm: Group chat rolling out today. Now discussing new sidebar for chat. Video calling will also roll out today.

1:38pm: New call button to begin showing up on profiles for video calling.

1:38pm: Video calling being demo’d. Video calling already launched to “millions of users.”

1:39pm: Small download required to activate video chat. Downloads within browser and launches in under 30 seconds.

And there you have it. The rumors were true. It wasn’t the iPad app that I was hoping for, but hopefully we will see that coming very soon! The new chat features will launch today on Facebook’s website.