Google teases social networking plans

google instant offers predictive searches as you typeGoogle recently went on a spending spree, scooping up social media companies galore, while being coy about its plans. According to the Wall Street Journal, Google CEO Eric Schmidt told Zeitgeist conference attendees in Arizona to look out for new social networking products before the end of the year. While these are expected to be launched as part of Google Me, details are skimpy at this time.

Instead of an all-out Facebook rival, Google plans to introduce social networking add-ons that will integrate with its core products, including Gmail and YouTube. For example, YouTube will share information in real-time about what videos are being watched by the people on your friend-list.

“With your permission, knowing more about who your friends are, we can provide more tailored recommendations. Search quality can get better,” said Schmidt.

Considering the number of gaming companies Google has acquired over the last few months, social gaming will likely be a big part of this offering. Acquired companies include virtual currency company Jambool, mobile games provider SocialDeck, and social game developer Slide. The company is also working on a partnership with social gaming heavyweight Zynga.

Google has struggled in the social networking space, with the long-forgotten Orkut and the more recent Buzz. Even so, Google kept shopping, adding like.com, a “visual search” technology, content aggregator Angstro, question/answer service Aardvark, and microblogging service Jaiku to its portfolio. Its own Social Search moved out of Google Labs earlier this year, as well.

There may be a slight hiccup in Google’s grand plans: Facebook. But not in the Facebook-killer kind of way. Currently, Google allows Facebook to let users pull over Gmail contacts as part of the FriendFinder application. Google wants similar access from Facebook, to pull user data into its platform, said Schmidt.

Considering the odds of that ever happening are not likely, Schmidt has just one thing to say: “Failing that, there are other ways to get that information,” said Schmidt.

Mobile

Rekindled yet again, Nokia’s next-gen phones offer more than just nostalgia

HMD Global, a startup that designs and builds Nokia Android smartphones, wants to put the Nokia brand name back “where it belongs.” It helps that it’s made up of ex-Nokia employees. We go behind the scenes to see how HMD formed.
Home Theater

Cutting the cord? Let us help you find the best service for live TV streaming

There's a long list of live TV streaming services available to help you cut the cord and replace your traditional TV subscription. Each is different in important ways, and this guide will help you find the best one for you.
Home Theater

New TV? Here's where to go to watch the best 4K content available

Searching for content for your new 4K UHD TV? Look no further. We have every major source of the best 4K content, along with the cost, hardware requirements, and features that make each service worth a look.
Social Media

Invite your friends — Facebook Events can now be shared to Stories

Facebook is testing a way to make plans with friends to attend an event -- through Stories. By sharing an event in Facebook Stories, users can message other friends interested in the event to make plans to attend together.
Gaming

Take a trip to a new virtual world with one of these awesome HTC Vive games

So you’re considering an HTC Vive, but don't know which games to get? Our list of 25 of the best HTC Vive games will help you out, whether you're into rhythm-based gaming, interstellar dogfights, or something else entirely.
Computing

The Asus ZenBook 13 offers more value and performance than Apple's MacBook Air

The Asus ZenBook 13 UX333 is the latest in that company's excellent "budget" laptop line, and it looks and feels better than ever. How does it compare to Apple's latest MacBook Air?
Computing

AMD Radeon VII will support DLSS-like upscaling developed by Microsoft

AMD's Radeon VII has shown promise with early tests of an open DLSS-like technology developed by Microsoft called DirectML. It would provide similar upscale features, but none of the locks on hardware choice.
Computing

You could be gaming on AMD’s Navi graphics card before the end of the summer

If you're waiting for a new graphics card from AMD that doesn't cost $700, you may have to wait for Navi. But that card may not be far away, with new rumors suggesting we could see a July launch.
Computing

Is AMD's Navi back on track for 2019? Here's everything you need to know

With a reported launch in 2019, AMD is focusing on the mid-range market with its next-generation Navi GPU. Billed as a successor to Polaris, Navi promises to deliver better performance to consoles, like Sony's PlayStation 5.
Computing

Cortana wants to be friends with Alexa and Google Assistant

Microsoft no longer wants to compete against Amazon's Alexa and Google's Assistant in the digital assistant space. Instead, it wants to transform Cortana into a skill that can be integrated into other digital assistants.
Computing

Microsoft leans on A.I. to resume safe delivery of Windows 10 Update

Microsoft is leaning on artificial intelligence as it resumes the automatic rollout of the Windows 10 October 2018 Update. You should start seeing the update soon now that Microsoft has resolved problems with the initial software.
Computing

Stop dragging windows on your Mac. Here's how to use Split View to multitask

The latest iterations of MacOS offer a native Split View feature that can automatically divide screen space between two applications. Here's how to use Split View on a Mac, adjust it as needed, and how it can help out.
Computing

It's not all free money. Here's what to know before you try to mine Bitcoin

Mining Bitcoin today is harder than it used to be, but if you have enough time, money, and cheap electricity, you can still turn a profit. Here's how to get started mining Bitcoin at home and in the cloud.
Computing

Need a free alternative to Adobe Illustrator? Here are our favorites

Photoshop and other commercial tools can be expensive, but drawing software doesn't need to be. This list of the best free drawing software is just as powerful as some of the more expensive offerings.