Web Apps

Revamped Google Images brings carousel style results to iPad

Google has revamped Google Image search results and implemented a new carousel style user interface making it much easier to navigate. Gone are the days of viewing the full resolution image and having to go back to the results to see the next one; here are the days of simply swiping to the next full resolution image! Need more information on a particular image? Not a problem as all you have to do is tap the link in the lower left corner and the site begins to load. From the outside it looks exactly the same, but the new functionality is another page in Google's redesign book.

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Walmart's VUDU streaming video service goes web app for iPad

Add Walmart's VUDU streaming video service to the growing list of content companies creating HTML5 web apps for iPad to neatly step around Apple's revenue sharing requirements.

Beginning today, iPad users can go to VUDU.com and browse through VUDU's entertainment content library, which includes more than 20,000 blockbusters, Hollywood classics, independent films and TV episodes, then rent or purchase and watch them instantly. For one touch access to VUDU, customers can add a VUDU icon to their iPad desktops by clicking the "Add to Home Screen" button when on VUDU.com.

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Amazon announces Kindle Cloud Reader web app for iPad, Mac, Windows

Amazon just let us know that their Kindle Cloud Reader is now live, and lets you read any of their over 950,000 Kindle books right in Safari on iPad, Mac, or Windows, or Chrome on Windows, Mac, or Linux, without needing the Kindle app or hardware.

“We are excited to take this leap forward in our ‘Buy Once, Read Everywhere’ mission and help customers access their library instantly from anywhere,” said Dorothy Nicholls, Director, Amazon Kindle. “We have written the application from the ground up in HTML5, so that customers can also access their content offline directly from their browser. The flexibility of HTML5 allows us to build one application that automatically adapts to the platform you’re using – from Chrome to iOS. To make it easy and seamless to discover new books, we’ve added an integrated, touch optimized store directly into Cloud Reader, allowing customers one click access to a vast selection of books.”

While there's no iPhone or iPod touch (it tells you your browser isn't supported and you should download Safari or Chrome, though hopefully a better intercept screen is in the works), it's a full HTML5 web app and includes offline storage. I've tried it out on iPad and it works quickly and cleanly. The Kindle Store is built in, so there's no jarring transition to the Amazon.com version of the store, and all the menus and options work really well. Likewise, the text is just a legible as it is in the app, and the WhisperSync works perfectly. Hopefully it keeps up that level of performance when personal libraries get really big.

With the controversy that arose in the wake of Apple's App Store subscription service, and the requirements to match pricing (since dropped) and remove links to external stores (still in effect), it felt like only a matter of time before Amazon would go this route. It will be interesting to see how many others follow.

Details and screen shots after the break. Anyone going to stop using the app and switch to the web app?

[www.amazon.com/cloudreader]

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iCloud.com, iWork for iOS 5 beta apps go live

iCloud.com is now live... if you have an Apple ID that works with iCloud. Here's the thing -- it's meant for developers right now, and Apple IDs are still fragmented to the extent that for some people, iCloud might not be too useful yet.

For example, you may try to login with your MobileMe ID and be told it hasn't been migrated to iCloud yet. You might try to login with your iTunes ID and then, once you're in, be told you need a MobileMe address to access Mail. You can set up a new, free iCloud ID, but then all of the content you have connected to your existing Apple ID(s) won't be there.

So, yeah, meant for developers. Still, it's nice to see it up and running, and get a preview of the design (which we're guessing is a fairly straight front-end port of the SproutCore web app code from Me.com, now running on the all new iCloud backend.)

Current web apps available include Mail, Contacts, Calendar, Find my iPhone, and the new Documents, which currently offers Apple's iWork formats for Pages, Numbers, and Keynote. (The last three of which require the new iWork for iOS beta apps, downloadable via Apple's developer site.)

Gone are iDisk and Gallery. iCloud is no doubt an attempt to abstract away the file system-like behavior for the former, but will a web front end for PhotoStream be made available to replace the latter?

Meanwhile, on iPhone you just get a placeholder card, nicely rendered, and the ability to get more information and a link to the developer beta.

Gallery of screenshots after the break.

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TiPb Picks of the Week

Every week a few of us from team TiPb will bring you our current favorite, most fun and useful App Store apps, WebApps, jailbreak apps, even the occasional accessory, web site, or desktop app if the mood strikes us. As long as they’re iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch related, they’re fair game.

To see what we picked, and to tell us your pick, follow on after the break!

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Google+ iPhone web app gallery

Google+ is the search giant's take on a social network, and while it will get its own iOS app eventually, it's already got it's own world-class web app (would you really expect anything else from the company that's defined the modern web?). Here's a quick look at it, primarily the profile, circles, and friends elements.

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Google announces social network Google+, should Facebook worry?

Google has finally taken the wraps off their long awaited, highly-anticipated (what?) social network, Google+ and it looks like a really clever take on the age-old problem of mapping personal relationships to a virtual space. It will eventually roll out across Google's web properties, but rather than one monolithic service, it's comprised of several parts:

  • Circles, which let you define your relationships and how much you want to share with who and when. These are usually annoying to set up so no one uses them. Google aims to change that.
  • Sparks, which brings you content based on your interests and hopes to strike up conversations
  • Hangouts, which is multi-person video chat. FaceTime is currently only one-to-one...
  • Mobile, which lets you share and upload from your devices (iOS app in the works?)
  • Huddle, a group messaging platform now in competition with the mature BBM on BlackBerry and nascent iMessage on iOS

Google hasn't had much luck with previous projects like [http://www.imore.com/tag/wave/) and Buzz, but this feels both more ambitious and far better considered. Whether it will be enough to put a dent in Facebook's 750 million member and growing dominance of the social space remains to be seen. (See how I snuck them into the post? I thought you did.)

One thing is clear, with Apple integrating Twitter into iOS and introducing Game Center, Ping (no snickering), and replacing MobileMe with iCloud, they're getting more serious (if not yet more adapt) at Social. And Google's just re-entered, once again, that game in a big way. Are you going to switch?

Videos after the break.

[Google blog via Android Central]

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Google Swiffy converts Flash to iPhone, iPad friendly HTML5

Google has an interesting tool up called Swiffy, which converts Flash FLV files to "HMTL5" formats which should be compatible with iPhone, iPod touch, and iPad. (I put HTML5 in quotes because it represents not just the HTML5 standard itself, but typically and conveniently includes CSS3, JavaScript, H.264 video, and other technologies).

Swiffy converts Flash SWF files to HTML5, allowing you to reuse Flash content on devices without a Flash player (such as iPhones and iPads).

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iPad Live 57: Punch and pie

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Poll: Do you prefer Apple apps or Google web apps?

Do you prefer Apple apps or Google web apps?customer surveys

While the iPhone, iPod touch and iPad come with built in, Apple made Gmail, Maps, and YouTube native apps, Google also provides Google made Gmail, Maps, and YouTube web apps. Apple native apps gain all the benefits of being part of the OS, including attachments, contact integration, etc. but Google updates their web apps quickly and keeps the experience the same regardless of the device you're using.

Do you have a preference? Do you prefer Apple's design and the unique iOS look and feel of Mail, Maps, and YouTube, or you prefer the Google vibe and want everything to look like the web regardless of where you're accessing it from?

Apple vs. Google. Native vs. Web.

Vote in the poll and give me the details in the comments!

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