Google+ Hangouts Video Chat Could Challenge Skype

Google+ Hangouts Video Chat Could Challenge Skype

Skype might have a hard time keeping itself relevant now that Google has introduced its new video chat service embedded in Google+ called Hangouts. Google+ Hangouts boasts a slick interface, doesn’t require additional downloads and best of all it’s free … if you can score an invitation, that is.


Google+ is still in testing mode and, like Gmail in its infancy, you need to be invited in. Google is having a hard time keeping its invitation process open, too; because of “insane demand” Google had totemporarily suspend Google+ invitations.


But once Google+ Hangouts launches to a broader audience, Microsoft-owned Skype will have some serious competition when it comes to video chat.


Google+ Hangouts can hold 10 people in the same video chat room simultaneously. While Skype 5.0 Beta 2 can do the same, video conferencing on Skype requires a Premium membership that ranges from $4.49 to $8.99 per month.


Google+ Hangouts Video Chat Could Challenge SkypeWorse yet, Skype 5.0 Beta 2 is Windows-only at the moment, whereas Google+ Hangouts, like Gmail video chat, is browser-based and doesn’t discriminate against any OS or requires an additional download.


Now that Microsoft has acquired Skype and plans on embedding Skype functions into the Office suite, Skype will become even more of a household (and “businesshold”) name. But Google+ should get a lot of traction given Google’s already pervasive Web presence and the fact that many smaller businesses are ditching Microsoft Office and relying on Google’s productivity suite.


Google+ is definitely a work in progress; that’s why it’s called a project rather than a product. But Hangouts is probably it’s most interesting and useful feature — one that Skype will have to keep tabs on.



Can Google+ dethrone Facebook?

Google Guns for Facebook with Google+ Social Network

If any company has the chops to take on Facebook, it’s Google, analysts say


Computerworld – What does it take to fell an online giant?

That has to be what Google has been asking itself about social networking rival Facebook.

On Tuesday, months of speculation about whether Google has been working on its own social network were put to rest when the company revealed the Google+ project. The new service, which mirrors Facebook to a good extent, enables users to post status updates, upload pictures and share links — just like people do on Facebook. It could also appeal to enterprise users.

The big question is whether Google can sing a sweet enough siren’s song to lure users, who tend to be creatures of habit, away from the world’s largest social network.

“There’s no doubt this is going to be an uphill climb for Google,” said Brad Shimmin, an analyst with CurrentAnalysis. “Google has been very good at responding to what consumers want in the market place. But Google does have a ways to go.”

Actually, since Google is starting from square one, it has a really long way to go.

Last summer, Facebook announced that the social network had half a billion users worldwide, making it easily the largest social network in the world. The company hasn’t released a more recent update, but various sources say the number of Facebook users is now close to 750 million users.

And now the company, which has six people onForbes’ billionaires list, is used by the FBI in the hunt for fugitives and serves as a lifeline for people struggling through a tsunamitornadoes and other disasters.

That’s not to mention the hundreds of millions of people who take to Facebook simply to tell friends and family about their latest trip to the beach, upload videos of their sleeping cats or pictures of their kids in Halloween costumes.

Because Facebook has become the go-to social networking site, it may be difficult for Google to convince people to add yet another social network to their list of sites to check every day — or toss Facebook aside entirely for Google+.

One hurdle: Who will go with Google+ when not many people are using it yet? Social networks aren’t much fun when you’re nearly alone.

“I think it’s a long shot,” said Ezra Gottheil, an analyst with Technology Business Research. “It’s not so much that people’s time is totally occupied by Facebook. There’s always some attrition. It’s just that getting the organic growth that any new social network requires is going to be very difficult…. How do you gather a critical mass without being the first one there all by yourself?”

The good news for Google is that Myspace was once top dog in what was then the brand-new social networking sphere. Then Facebook came along and toppled it, leaving behind an online has-been.

“Google has a shot, but only because they’re Google and have a lot of market power,” said Dan Olds, an analyst with The Gabriel Consulting Group. “They can’t be counted out. But it’s going to be very difficult and they’re going to need some luck. Facebook is massive and very well established and Google hasn’t had to fight from behind for a long time. Can they still do it?”

Olds also suspects Facebook won’t make it easy for users to move seamlessly between the two social networks. That won’t help Google’s cause, but will shore up some users for Facebook.

“Do people have enough time for another social network?” asked Olds. “We’ll see, I guess. But it seems if anyone could take on Facebook, it would be Google.”


Google+ Invites: Get Access to Google’s New Social Network [CONTEST]



Weibo, China’s Twitter-like service, hit by worm


Its popularity dwarfs that of Twitter, but most people have probably never heard of the Sina Weibo micro-blogging site.

Weibo is huge in China, with over 140 million users merrily micro-blogging away in Mandarin and Cantonese, and following the latest updates from their favourite celebrities.

But all this popularity, of course, simply means that there’s an opportunity for more users to be hit by malware should one break out on the system.

Sina Weibo says that a worm broke out on their site at 8.20pm on Tuesday night, Beijing time, exploiting a cross-site scripting (XSS) vulnerability in the site to spread quickly.

Fan BingbingAccording to online reports, the worm originated from a Weibo account called “@hellosamy” and worm forwarded itself to other users with a range of enticing subjects to catch out the unwary.

These ranged from claiming to be links to bloopers from a newly-released propaganda movie, nude pictures of popular actress Fan Bingbing, and phrases such as “Move a woman’s heart with 100 lines of poetry” and “Software to listen to other people’s phones.”

Clicking on any of the links meant that your own Weibo account would automatically repost the link, and send messages to your online friends. Some users reported having received thousands of affected messages.

Fortunately, Sina Weibo reports that they patched the vulnerability on the site in just over an hour – a good response, but still not quick enough to stop thousands of people from being put at risk.

The fact that the worm originated from an account called “@hellosamy” certainly caused me to raise an eyebrow. It seems to me that this is an homage to the Samy worm (also known as JS/Spacehero-A) which spread rapidly across the MySpace network in 2005, infecting many users’ accounts via a cross-site scripting vulnerability.

This isn’t the first time, of course, that an Asian social network has been hit hard by malware. For instance, in 2009 Naked Security reported on a cross-site scripting worm which spread across RenRen posing as a video of Pink Floyd’s classic song “Wish you were here”.

As more and more people put their trust in social networks, the sites themselves have to adopt a mature attitude to security and ensure that users are not being unnecessarily exposed to attacks.



FBI searches LulzSec suspect’s home in Hamilton, Ohio

The international investigation into the notorious LulzSec hacking gang continues, with news that FBI agents have searched a house in Hamilton, Ohio.

According to local media reports, federal agents are said to have searched a teenager’s home in Jackson Road, Hamilton, although no-one was charged after the search warrant was served.

Whether the FBI was acting upon information gleaned from Ryan Cleary, the British teenager who was charged last week in relation to a series of denial-of-service attacks, is unclear.

However, there is speculation that US law enforcement officers may have been acting in part based upon information released by the LulzSec group earlier this group, outing members believed to have leaked the group’s private online chat logs.

A June 21st posting by LulzSec on PasteBin claimed to reveal the true identities of members who called themselves “m_nerva” and “hann”. Apparent real names and addresses were given for both individuals by LulzSec who said:

"These goons begged us for mercy after they apologized to us all night for leaking some of our affiliates' logs. There is no mercy on The Lulz Boat."

In m_nerva’s case, his address was listed by LulzSec as being in Hamilton, Ohio.

Part of a statement from LulzSec

A tweet published at the same time as the information was posted indicated that there was little love between LulzSec members and the member they believed had snitched on them.

The Lulz Boat@LulzSec
The Lulz Boat

Remember this tweet, m_nerva, for I know you’ll read it: your cold jail cell will be haunted with our endless laughter. Game over, child.

Hackers, eh? You just can’t trust ’em..

With rival hackers apparently turning on each other, and with law enforcement agencies around the world on their tail, it certainly feels as if those who sailed on the Lulz Boat may not be quite so merry as they once were.





Facebook song: ‘I delete them, but they add me again’

(Credit: Video screenshot by Boonsri Dickinson/CNET)

One Facebook user is expressing her annoyance with the social network–not through a Facebook status update, but by posting a parody song on YouTube.

One of the points Australian singer Madelaine Zammit stresses in the song is the randomness of friendship requests, singing about a 40-year-old man trying to add her as a friend. Zammit, a high school student, sang her song live during an Australian morning show and it took off from there. “I thought only my friends would watch it and like we’d have a laugh about it. Then it got to be over 300,000 hits. I didn’t think it would,” she told the morning show.

Zammit’s second video on YouTube (watch it below) is much better than her first (not even sure what she’s saying in this one). Does she want to be a singer in the future? “I can’t imagine doing anything else because, like, schoolwork, I don’t find very interesting. Music would be heaps good to do in the future,” she told the morning show hosts.

Her rapid-fire lyrics perhaps reflect the frenzied nature of checking updates, poking crushes, and liking the latest cat video. “I get distracted then go scrolling up and down the feed/Then notice all the people that I really wished I didn’t have to meet/I don’t like skinny guys with little muscle who think they’re strong.”

Zammit set out to write a funny song and decided to write about Facebook, in part because she knew a lot of people would relate. Hers is not the first tune about Facebook, however. Lynnea Malley sings about her digital stalker tendencies. And Kate Miller-Heidke sings about a former lover: “You wanna be my friend on Facebook? Are you f*cking kidding?”



MySpace Sold to Ad Network for $35 Million

MySpace Sold for $35 Million

The day that the web has been buzzing about has finally come: MySpace has been sold, to an advertising network called Specific Media for a mere $35 million.

CEO Mike Jones will be leaving the company, and it seems that so will a good portion of the staff.

Says Jones in an email: “In conjunction with the deal, we are conducting a series of restructuring initiatives, including a significant reduction in our workforce. I will assist Specific with the transition over the next two months before departing my role as MySpace CEO.”


SEE ALSO: Justin Timberlake To Take Ownership Stake in MySpace 

News Corp. declared it was ready to sell MySpace in an earnings call in February. The media company was reportedly hoping to get $100 million out of the sale.

In 2005, News Corp. bought the site for $580 million from its original owners, but MySpace’s traffic has plummeted in recent years. All Things Digital reported that News Corp. will still hold a 5% to 10% stake in the company.

Other reports this week indicated that close to 50% of the site’s staff could be cut after the sale, and it’s likely that any further iterations of the service will focus on music.

Hackers shut down Al Qaeda Net communications

Hackers have temporarily shut down Al Qaeda’s online distribution of videos and statements, NBC News reported today.

“Al-Qaeda’s online communications have been temporarily crippled, and it does not have a single trusted distribution channel available on the Internet,” Evan Kohlmann, of Flashpoint Global Partners, told NBC. Flashpoint monitors the extremist organization’s communications.

The attack happened within the past few days and was “well coordinated and involved the use of an unusual cocktail of relatively sophisticated techniques,” he said, adding that it could be several days before the network is up and running again.

No one has claimed credit for the attack, but Kohlmann said it could be government-sponsored.

Earlier this month, British newspapers reported that the UK government hacked an English-language Al Qaeda site and replaced bomb making instructions with cupcake recipes.

Read more:

i am a beggar hood_photoshoot_deadbj_BIJAY ACHARYA movie review

Nepali Documentary movie by “bijay acharya”[DEADBJ]
aimed to be released on 2013-2014 A.D.


Goal of movie : To give Catchy Dailouges,Scenes, and FX effects in Nepali Cinematic Field.
Director : Bijay Acharya [deadbj]
Film Length : About 30-35 Minutes

Google Analytics & Webmaster Tools Now Track the Impact of Tweets, Likes and +1s

Google is getting more social, and its web analytics tools are no exception; Google Analytics and Google Webmaster Tools have added new tools for tracking the impact of tweets, likes, +1s & more on your website’s traffic.

Google Webmaster Tools now has a “+1 Metrics” section, which provides reports on the impact of the +1 Button on search. The new analytics show how +1s affect your website’s clickthrough rate (CTR). It tracks the amount of +1s on a given page, the CTR with +1 annotations and the CTR without +1 annotations. The new tool also graphs out the amount of annotated impressions and annotated clicks your website receives over time.

Google has also added an Activity report and an Audience report to Webmaster Tools. The Activity report displays how many +1s your website’s pages have received. The Audience report displays geographic and demographic data about users that have +1′d your website’s content.

Even more useful is Google’s new Social Plugin Tracking tool for Google Analytics. The tool compares the impact of different types of social actions on your website. It not only tracks +1s, but it also tracks Twitter tweets, Facebook Likes, Facebook Sends and other social actions.

Social Plugin Tracking generates three reports: Social Engagement, Social Actions and Social Pages. Social Engagement tracks behavior changes (time on site, pageviews, bounce rate, etc.) for visits from social plugins. Social Actions tracks the number of social actions users take on your site, and Social Pages compares your pages on the number of social actions they are receiving.

These tools give website owners a great deal more insight into the impact of social on their websites. Tracking social just makes sense, especially as social sites drive more of the web’s traffic. We also suspect that Google also wants to encourage more sites to adopt the +1 Button. Raw data showing that +1s increase web traffic is the most convincing thing Google can provide.

Phishing and YouTube marijuana videos send man to jail for 13 years

FBI logo

A Los Angeles man has been sentenced to a total of 13 years in jail after being found guilty of leading an international phishing operation, and growing marijuana on an industrial scale in his house.

27-year-old Kenneth Joseph Lucas II was sentenced after judges found the Los Angeles man guilty of leading the US branch of an international phishing operation that stole banking login details through spam email and bogus websites.

In addition, Lucas found himself on the wrong side of the law for growing more than 100 marijuana plants in his home, in a set-up which included an irrigation system, fans, indoor lighting and ventilation. He was clearly proud of his industrial scale marijuana operation as he posted videos on YouTube showing off his set-up.

What a plonker.

A fish, a frying pan, a marijuana leafLucas was the lead defendant in part of a multinational investigation known as “Operation Phish Phry”. The operation, which spanned the United States and Egypt, led to charges against 100 individuals in total – the largest number of defendants ever charged in a cybercrime case according to an FBI press release

As a result of Operation Phish Phry, 47 people have been convicted in federal court in Los Angeles.

Here’s how Operation Phish Phry worked.

Egyptian scammers would spam out emails that claimed to be from online banks. Victims would receive the emails, click on the links, and be directed to fake websites that pretended to be the online banks and enter their passwords, account numbers and other personal identifiable information.

The victims’ real bank accounts would be broken into, using the stolen information, and scammers in Egypt would transfer funds from the compromised accounts into other accounts.

Meanwhile, the US part of the phishing ring run by Lucas and two others recruited runners to set-up and use bank accounts which received the stolen funds.

The ring leaders would alert the runners through various methods (SMS, internet chat, and phone calls) to withdraw the cash and send it to them via Western Union. A portion of the money stolen was then transferred via wire services to the Egyptian gang members.

The total amount of money stolen in this way was estimated to be more than $1 million.

So, don’t doubt that the threat is real – and significant amounts of money have been stolen through phishing. Banks and consumers alike need to take security seriously and make it harder for criminals to break into accounts and steal our hard-earned cash.

Sophos has published some best practice guidelines to help you avoid being phished.