Google Chrome Web Store Launches In USA

The Google Chrome Web Store, the browser based application marketplace that we have been anticipating for quite some time has now launched and is available to all Chrome browser users. In a blog post yesterday Google VP of Product Development Sundar Pichai had noted that the Web Store is currently available only in the United States. However, that only appears to be the case with paid apps as free applications can be accessible from anywhere.

The Chrome Web Store can be accessed from this link on any browser although you will need to access it from the Chrome browser in order to be able to download and install themes, applications and extensions. Applications are organized under a number of categories like Communication, Education, Entertainment, Family,etc. while Extensions are available under headers like Blogging, Fun, Shopping, Sports, etc.

The Chrome Web Store brings another new avenue for developers to build and sell applications from. If you are a developer, you can check out this article to learn how to build and submit your own apps to the Web Store.

Wikileaks Facebook And Twitter Accounts Stay For Now

Wikileaks, the controversial not-for-profit group has been facing stiff resistance from governments worldwide. The site has already been banned in countries like China, UAE and has been shunned by companies like Amazon, EveryDNS and eBay. Yesterday we wrote about Wikileaks trying to keep their data alive by encouraging supporters to create mirror websites. The organization’s switzerland website has currently listed over 748 mirrors overall.

The only positive thing going for Wikileaks for the moment though appears to be its ability to communicate with their supporters through social networks like Facebook and Twitter. Facebook has issued a statement noting that the company shall not suspend the Wikileaks account anytime soon noting that no terms have been violated. A Facebook spokesperson has said,

“The Wikileaks Facebook Page does not violate our content standards nor have we encountered any material posted on the page that violates our policies.”

Twitter has however maintained a vague stance. While noting that the microblogging service is not meddling with Wikileaks trending on their timeline, the service has however been tight-lipped about a possible ban of the Twitter account.

It’s possible that Twitter caves in pretty soon. But we wonder how Facebook will respond if they are approached by government authorities to suspend its ties with Wikileaks.

Wikileaks Mirror Websites Sprout By Hundreds After Organization Asks For Support

As you already know by now, the popular not-for-profit whistleblower website, Wikileaks has been pulled from the web following the publication of several controversial documents in recent times. While the organization has been maintaining several mirror sites themselves, that could prove futile considering that the group is facing resistance from multiple governments worldwide.

Following this, Wikileaks has opened up a new avenue to keep the information alive. The organization has been asking its supporters to host the information gathered on their respective servers. On the Wikileaks Switzerland website, the organization notes,

“In order to make it impossible to ever fully remove Wikileaks from the Internet, we need your help.

if you have a unix-based server which is hosting a website on the Internet and you want to give wikileaks some of your hosting resources, you can help!

Please follow the following instructions:

  • Setup an account where we can upload files using RSYNC+SSH (preferred) or FTP
  • Put our SSH key in this server or create an FTP account
  • Create a virtual host in your web server, which, for example, can be
  • send the IP address of your server to us, and the path where we should upload the content. (just fill the form below)”

This has seen a terrific reception as close to 208 mirrors of the original Wikileaks website are already up and running. You can check out the complete list of mirror websites here.

New Facebook Profiles – Like It Or Hate It?

Facebook has introduced a new version of their profile pages that brings a drastic overhaul of the functionality. You can upgrade to the new Facebook profile by visiting the profile page of one of your friends who has already upgraded and invoking the ‘Get the new profile‘ link on top of the page. If none of your friends have moved in yet, get it from this Facebook engineer’s page.

New Facebook profile

Like with all changes in the past, I am sure that the newly launched Profile pages is sure to invite extreme mixed reactions among the users. Personally, I find the new look profile very cluttered and unnecessarily detailed. A reason for Facebook to migrate users to the new look could apparently be in a bid to dig more information about them – primary details like location and education were until now hidden in the sidebars and are now prominent on the home page. This could instigate the users to keep these details updated all the more frequently.

While I didn’t like it much, that’s just my opinion. What is your opinion on the new look profile page? Do you like them?

Wikileaks Funding Squeezed – Paypal Blocks Wikileaks’ Access

Wikileaks has been going through a turmoil. Yesterday, EveryDNS – the company that offered DNS management service to Wikileaks blacklisted their website thereby bringing the whistle-blower website down. As we had noted, you can still get access to Wikileaks documents using one of the mirror websites.

But tightening the noose further on the whistle blower website, Paypal – an eBay subsidiary – has announced that the company is blocking access to funds for Wikileaks from their customers. In a media statement, Paypal has said

“PayPal has permanently restricted the account used by WikiLeaks due to a violation of the PayPal Acceptable Use Policy, which states that our payment service cannot be used for any activities that encourage, promote, facilitate or instruct others to engage in illegal activity”

Paypal claims that it was under no pressure from the US government to act. But that sound dubious considering the sequence of events that Wikileaks has gone through over the past one week.

What do you think? Do you think the Wikileaks ban was genuine or do you think Paypal was under pressure to act? To Shut Down Music Store Operations

Limewire, the popular file sharing service that was recently ordered by the courts to stop the distribution of the Limewire file sharing software is learned to be shutting down their music store operations by the end of the year. The company was earlier noted to be forging plans to relaunch as a legal music store.

In an email purportedly sent to vendors, Limewire has stated that they “must cease Limewire store operations on December 31, 2010“. The email goes on to note that the company has stopped accepting new customers as of November 30th but shall continue to stay online until the end of December to let existing subscribers to redeem their credits.

limewire shut down

The team is expected to offer additional communication shortly with respect to the delivery stoppage, agreement termination and final accounting.

Preventing US Government Website Seizures With New BitTorrent-Based DNS System

The US Government has been cracking down on a number of websites that it claims contain “misbehaving” content including offering ways to access pirated content. This has been primarily done with the help of ICANN – the organization that is responsible for handling domain names. Thanks to the control that ICANN holds over individual domain names, the US government is noted to be easily able to shut off websites that it deems are unlawful.

Now, a number of internet enthusiasts – including the founders of the popular pro-piracy website, PirateBay are mulling over alternatives that will help website owners host such content deemed unlawful without having to worry about being hassled by government agencies. The group has proposed a new BitTorrent-like DNS system that will decentralize the DNS system over multiple computers that install an application and thereby make it impossible for ICANN to block content. The new system could run on a .p2p domain suffix instead of conventional TLDs like .com or .net.

The proposal is still in the development stages and it will be interesting to see how this moves forward.

You Can See Who Checked Your Facebook Profile, Claims Rogue Application

Did you see either this or one of the variants of this message on your Facebook wall?

OMG OMG OMG… I cant believe this actually works! Now you really can see who viewed your profile! on [LINK]

A number of users are reported to have fallen prey to a rogue application that claims to let you see who checked your Facebook profile. The claim however is not true and what the application basically does is to dig into your profile, steal your private data and post messages on your wall – a message very similar to the one you initially clicked upon – to create a viral scam.

Of course you can block such applications by checking out the privacy settings you have set for the particular app on your Account -> Privacy Settings -> Applications and Websites.But that is not before you have the application post messages on your wall thereby adding to the virality of the scam.

Farmville No Longer Facebook’s Most Popular Application

Farmville, the popular game from Zynga, has for long been synonymous with social gaming on Facebook. The application at one point clocked nearly 84 million users a month making it the most popular application on the social network – a position that the app has held for over fifteen months.

That has finally ended as we learn that Farmville has finally dropped to the number 2 place in the popularity rankings. Phrases, another Facebook app that lets users build DIY quizzes and trivia has now risen on to the top spot.

Interestingly, this rise to the top has been more so due to the decline in popularity of Farmville than anything else. The Zynga game currently has around 53.9 million monthly players that is merely two-thirds of what Farmville boasted during its days of peak popularity. Phrases is noted to now have 54.3 million users.

Pricing For Netflix Streaming-Only Subscription Plan Outed

Netflix co-founder and CEO Reed Hastings has, on many occasions, made it known that he sees the company’s future in streaming content and not in the mail-in DVDs that is exactly how the company got popular in the first place. Now perhaps in a move towards incentivizing people towards the company’s digital offering, Netflix has now released a streaming-only subscription plan that will let users watch unlimited number of movies and TV shows without an alternative DVD rental.

The price for this new subscription service will be $7.99 a month. Along with this new offering, the cost to rent a DVD has risen too. Now the cost for renting one DVD in addition to unlimited streaming will cost the user $9.99 a month instead of the earlier $8.99. The marginal difference between the old and new plan steadily rises with the number of DVDs rented with an 8 DVD subscription service now costing $55.99 instead of the older $47.99.

Check out the complete pricing list below.

Netflix Pricing plan