Instead of waiting until the end of the year for Google’s annual Zeitgeist, you can now find out what’s trending in any given month with a new Top Charts feature from Google Trends. Updated monthly and going back to 2004, Top Charts is built on the Knowledge Graph, so it’s smart enough to house related keywords under one term for more accurate rankings. For example, searches for “giants baseball” and “sf giants” would go toward pushing “San Francisco Giants” up the ranks in a sports-related chart. Right now there are more than 40 top ten lists with more than 140 time periods available for your perusal. In addition to the charts, the Trends team has also rolled out a new visualization tool for “hot searches” that displays trending topics in a large colorful layout — as seen below, you can customize it to display up to 25 searches at a time that endlessly shift and refresh, thus consuming our attention for the entire day.
The I/O keynote may be a fading memory, but Google’s work isn’t done just yet. Today its various services are getting little more tightly knit as Offers comes to your Google+ stream. A select few brands (Zagat, Hello Kitty, Art.com, NOOK and Adafruit) will be part of the pilot program, which will allow businesses to post special updates that include discounts you can save directly to your Offers queue. Obviously, you can also share these offers with people in your circles who you think might be interested. It might seem like a small tweak, but it’s one companies are likely excited to embrace as a way to simplify their digital coupon offerings and increase engagement on Google+. You should start seeing in-line offers pop up today, so long as you follow one of the pilot brands.
Skobbler has had some success in the mobile mapping market, thanks in part to iOS’s historical first-party weakness in the area. But, with Apple offering its own solution and Google breaking Maps free from the OS-update chains, it’s facing a more difficult landscape in which to make its mark. So it only makes sense to beef up its offerings on other platforms, and Google-fans are reaping the benefits. An update to Skobbler’s Android app is finally adding the turn-by-turn directions and offline maps, which have been offered on the iOS edition for sometime. The full version has a starting price of just $ 1 (with one free map download), and the company is even offering a free light version for those who aren’t sure they want to part ways with a Washington (or a Sacagawea) just yet.
Interestingly, the update is actually an entirely new app called GPS Navigation & Maps +offline, though existing users of ForeverMap 2 will be able to upgrade for free. Navigation & Maps also makes the move to OpenStreetMap to provide data, which has both its problems and its perks. Going open source means that Skobbler can undercut competitors like TomTom and Navigon, but there are lingering questions about the accuracy of the database. You’ll find both the full version and the 14-day trial light edition at the source links if you’re looking for an alternative to Google Maps.
PayPal just announced a new Android SDK for developers. Previously released for iOS, the kit lets app devs integrate mobile payments via both PayPal and credit card. As the mockup above demonstrates, it’s very straightforward — and we’re pretty sure that’s the point. The SDK will support Android 2.2 (Froyo) and up when it becomes available to US developers on May 15th.
Have an older mobile device collecting dust around your house? Starting tomorrow, AT&T will introduce a new trade-in promotion that could give you at least $ 100 credit for your older gear.
Often enough, trading programs only accept a few limited models of phones for trading, but AT&T’s promotion is much less restrictive. The carrier will take any mobile hardware, as long as it isn’t older than three years. That means you can bring in a slightly older smartphone, netbook, tablet, data card or even a feature phone.
AT&T assures that all accepted devices will receive at least $ 100, but some newer devices might even fetch more than that. What makes this deal truly unique is that AT&T is giving customers flexibility in how to use the credit. The most obvious use is for those looking to get a newer phone. As long as you sign a two-year contract, the $ 100+ trade-in credit can be used on any smartphone that AT&T sells. This means that newer phones like the HTC One or Samsung Galaxy 4 will only end up setting you back $ 99.
Don’t need a new handset? You can also use your credit for picking up mobile accessories, or your trade-in amount can be applied to your monthly bill. If you are feeling charitable, you can also donate the credited amount to the Cell phones for Soldiers charity.
Many times these promotions seem too good to be true, but we admit this is a pretty impressive sounding deal for those that don’t mind committing to a contract.
Software developers looking to kickstart (or simply brag about) their security have a common trick up their sleeve: give away prizes to successful crackers. Redact is trying just such a strategy with its Secure Messenger app for iOS. It’s offering £10,000 ($ 15,482) to anyone who can visit London and successfully intercept an encrypted message delivered through the company’s peer-based, PIN-to-PIN communication system. Entrants have until June 1st to prove that they’re worthy of making an attempt. Redact has more reason to hope we lose beyond its pride and a big fat check, however — it wants approval for handling the UK government’s secure data, and it wouldn’t hurt to have proof that the app design is airtight. If you’re convinced that it’s all just bluster, you can challenge the company yourself at the source link.
YouTube just keeps adding quality content. Last week it was comedy, and this week it’s bulking up on its sporting chops with a Major League Baseball partnership. Always among the most tech-savvy of major sports leagues, MLB has beefed up the offerings on its YouTube channel to include highlights from every game of 2013 (two days after they’ve occurred), and a vast archive of full games from as far back as 1952. Plus, should you reside outside the US, Canada, South Korea, Taiwan and Japan, you’ll get to watch two live games every day during the regular season for free. So, seamheads, head on over to the MLB.com YouTube channel — your digital field of dreams awaits.
AT&T has introduced a new way for customers to schedule an in-store appointment. This new method is available online and may seem familiar to those who have scheduled an appointment with an Apple Genius. Basically, with this new method you will be able to make an appointment or reschedule an appointment.
Those interested will be able to find this on the AT&T website and it can be used to schedule appointments at a retail location or at a device service center. The process seems simple enough. Things begin with choosing whether you want to make, or change an appointment. From here you enter your local zip code and chose whether you want a retail store or device service center.
After locating the store you are planning to visit you move into whether this is for a consumer or small business issue. After this you enter your personal details, choose a date and time and then compete the process by confirming the details. Aside from general questions, AT&T has said this can be used to schedule appointments for items to include signing up for, or upgrading your wireless service as well as for discussing, reviewing or changing your current wireless plan.
Of course, if you are out and about and happen to visit an AT&T store — you can still get some help without having an appointment. Nonetheless, it seems like those who have appointments may have a bit more control over how much time they have to sit and wait before being seen. Well, that is assuming those handling the appointments with AT&T are not running behind.
We all love a good discount, and if you are living in Europe and have been thinking of purchasing a Sony product from its website, this might be the perfect time.
The Sony European website has been down for a couple of days, and to apologize for any inconveniences, Sony is offering a 10% discount code for ALL products on its site. Yes, “all” does include the very nice, very “glassy” Xperia Z and a preorder for the Xperia Tablet Z.
To redeem your 10% discount, just punch in the code: “SORRY2013″ But be quick, the offer is valid until April 23rd! The offer seems to be valid in countries across Europe. For a high-end device like the Xperia Z, that can cost in excess of €500, the 10% discount is nothing to scoff at.
Will you be looking to capitalize on the savings? Let us know in the comments.
Although SimCity has become relatively stable following its problematic launch, there are naturally still ongoing bugs that the folks at EA Maxis have been working to fix. Thankfully, that version 2.0 update that was teased just over a week ago now has an arrival date of April 22 at 4PM ET. Included in the update are 26 bug fixes, along with data map color filters, a color-correct HUD for the colorblind setting and the action of mayors traveling from their mansions to their jobs. Sadly, an offline mode is still no more than wishful thinking, but at least that OS X version should still be on track for a June 11th release. You’ll find all the details about your virtual city’s soon-to-arrive enhancements at the source link — expect some server downtime, by the way, when the update itself hits.