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Posts Tagged ‘siegler’

Lead Developer Of Facebook’s iPad App Quits In Frustration; Defects To Google

September 26th, 2011 09:53 admin View Comments

Facebook on iPad

Facebook’s widely anticipated iPad app, whose code had been bundled along with the Facebook for iPhone app and later pulled out, was apparently almost ready back in May this year. This piece of information comes from Jeff Verkoeyen an ex-Facebook employee who was working full time on the iPad version of the app. Following Facebook’s decision to indefinitely hold the release of the now-fully-complete app, Verkoeyen decided to quit the company and join Google.

Verkoeyen was working on the app for eight months and had put in a lot of work into the app, sometimes even working 80 hours a week. This was to ensure that the app is ready on time for release, but as we all know the app hasn’t hit the App Store yet, a good five months after it was feature complete. This naturally frustrated Verkoeyen and led to his decision to quit Facebook. TechCrunch managed to grab a few snippets of his blog before it went down:

“It is now nearly 5 months since the app was feature complete and I haven’t seen it released except for when the project was leaked on Techcrunch. Needless to say this was a frustrating experience for me. The experience of working on this app was a large contribution to the reasons why I left Facebook, though that doesn’t mean it wasn’t a difficult decision.

You probably saw the app when it was infamously leaked via Techcrunch. It was feature-complete by then and for reasons I won’t go into details on the app was repeatedly delayed throughout the summer.”

The immediate thought that comes to mind is why would Facebook want to delay the launch of an app that was feature complete five months ago. MG Siegler says that the strained ties between Apple and Facebook ever since the launch of Ping, Apple’s music social network could be one of the reasons.

But why would a third party app that requires no collaboration with Apple except for the approval process bear the brunt of a sour relationship between the two companies? Turns out, Facebook is using the app as leverage in their dealings with Apple knowing that a large portion of iPad users are waiting eagerly for the app. The dealings in question here refer to Facebook’s ambitious “Project Spartan”, an HTML5 platform for apps to work on Mobile Safari.

MG says that Facebook may be working in collaboration with Apple on Project Spartan:

“we’ve been hearing that Facebook and Apple may now be working together on the HTML5 project. Maybe it’s because Apple hates Google that much, or maybe it’s because they realize that HTML5 apps are still no real threat to the native app movement. Or maybe they want Facebook’s wildly popular social games to run inside of Facebook’s apps — including the iPad app. If this is indeed the case, negotiations may still be underway. That could be why we haven’t seen either Spartan or the iPad app yet, even though both are done.”

The question still remains whether web apps can match native apps in terms of performance and smoothness. Joe Hewitt, the developer of the initial version of Facebook’s iPhone app doesn’t think so. After leaving Facebook he was working on Scrollability, a project to deliver inertial scrolling on Mobile Safari. But if his tweets are any indication, he doesn’t seem too happy with the results he is getting:

Can’t believe I’m saying this, but 2 years later, I’m seriously considering developing for iOS (natively) again.

Trying to make Scrollability feel 100% native is driving me back to iOS. I can only hack WebKit so much before I throw up my hands.

You know how loading a PDF in your browser feels like entering an archaic world? That’s what embedded web browsers feel like on iOS/Android.

So until Apple and Facebook arrive at an agreement on “Project Spartan” and Facebook for iPad, iPad owners would be deprived of an official Facebook app.

How much longer can you wait?

[via TechCrunch]

Source: Lead Developer Of Facebook’s iPad App Quits In Frustration; Defects To Google

85 Percent Of Firefox Users Have Installed Add-ons (Oh, And Firefox 5 Is Ready, Too)

June 22nd, 2011 06:46 admin View Comments

I think we all know that add-ons have grown integral to the Firefox experience — and popular, to say the least — but we didn’t know just how popular until now. Today, Mozilla said through its blog that 85 percent of Firefox 4 users have installed add-ons. Mozilla equates this to more than 60 million people using its add-ons every day.

Oh, and before you start rolling your eyes, Mozilla adds on, “This number doesn’t include Personas, and even excludes popular add-ons bundled with other software that the user hasn’t actively agreed to install”. The company then went on to say it had expected the percentage of add-ons downloaded on Firefox 4 (which was released on March 22nd) to drop as time went on, but the figure “has stayed between 89% and 85% since launch”. (I’m surprised that this little self-congratulatory admission didn’t come with 5 exclamation points.)

Mozilla has also found that, on average, users download 5 add-ons, and that Firefox has racked up 2.5 billion total downloads and that 580 million add-ons are in use every day on Firefox 4. (Which is, interestingly, slightly higher than Mozilla’s add-on data available here.)

Back in April, Mozilla announced that it was moving to a rapid-fire release cycle, as well as introducing another channel called “Aurora”, which as my colleague MG Siegler pointed out, is the equivalent of Chrome’s “Dev Build”. Aurora falls in between Mozilla’s “Nightly” build and their “Beta” build, because users had come to expect that “Nightly” (which they had even renamed “Minefield”) would be closer to a beta or ready-to-release build — which it often wasn’t. Aurora is intended to be the version in which users and developers can play a greater role in participating in the building of new Firefox releases.

This announcement also came on the heels of Google’s announcement that it would be releasing a new version of Chrome every six weeks. Now, it seems that Microsoft, Google, and Mozilla have all sped up their release cycles to get new versions of their browsers into the market faster.

Thus, staying true to their promise, Mozilla also announced today that Firefox 5 is available for download on Windows, Mac, Linux and Android.

According to the company’s statement, Firefox 5 “includes more than 1,000 improvements and performance enhancements that make it easier to discover and use all of the innovative features in Firefox”. The release includes added support for “more modern Web technologies” that will enhance developers’ ability to create “Firefox add-ons, Web applications, and websites”.

Firefox 5 also adds its “Do Not Track” privacy feature to Android, “making Firefox the first browser to support Do Not Track on multiple platforms”, the company said. The “Do Not Track” feature was designed to give Firefox users greater control over how their browser footprints are tracked and used across the Web. The feature essentially tells websites that users have chosen to opt-out of tracking — and is now “easier to find in Firefox Preferences”.

However, while Mozilla boasts improved standards support for HTML5, XHR, MathML, SMIL, and canvas, as part of its new support for “more modern Web technologies”, according to PCMag, Firefox 5 is still scoring the same as version 4 on HTML5test.com, which measures the overall level of HTML5 support and performance. Firefox 5 scored 240 out of a possible 400, compared to Chrome, which comes in at 291.

Firefox 5 isn’t going to knock your socks off (the IE team tellingly sent Mozilla a cupcake for this release), but it is, at the very least, good to see Mozilla living up to its promise to keep its release cycle quick and cunning — like some sort of fox.

Source: 85 Percent Of Firefox Users Have Installed Add-ons (Oh, And Firefox 5 Is Ready, Too)

iCloud: Apple Signs Deal With Major Music Labels; Negotiating With Film Studios To Include Movies And TV Shows

May 31st, 2011 05:19 admin View Comments

iOS 5

Apple announced earlier today that Steve Jobs will unveil its new cloud based service called iCloud at WWDC 2011 keynote.

So not surprising after today’s announcement, the blogosphere is buzzing with rumors and speculations about Apple’s upcoming cloud services offering.

MG Siegler of TechCrunch provides some more details about iCloud:

Source: iCloud: Apple Signs Deal With Major Music Labels; Negotiating With Film Studios To Include Movies And TV Shows

OMG/JK: Chromebooks And Droided Out Lightbulbs

May 17th, 2011 05:07 admin View Comments

From Google I/O to Microsoft’s acquisition of Skype, last week was a huge one for tech news.

In this episode of OMG/JK, my colleague MG Siegler and I do an in-depth look at what happened at Google’s annual developer conference, which saw the launch of Google Music Beta, Android’s @home project, and the first Chromebooks. Don’t worry, we’ll talk about the Skype acquisition next time, there was just too much material to pack into one show.

And, yes, this episode is a bit retro — we shipped out the better cameras to New York in preparation for TC Disrupt next week, so we had to shoot this one in SD. But the sounds of our rich voices are as clear as ever, and we’ll be back in HD for the next episode!

Here are some posts relevant to this week’s episode:

Subscribe to us on iTunes!

Source: OMG/JK: Chromebooks And Droided Out Lightbulbs

So Unsocial: Don’t Expect Any Big Google Social Announcements At I/O Next Week

May 6th, 2011 05:39 admin View Comments

I thought I had Google’s PR and launch strategy all figured out a couple of months ago. There haven’t been, and won’t be, any big “this changes everything” announcements around social, I said. Because, well, no matter how great their products are, it’ll be hard to shine next to Facebook. All of my sources in and around Google have said that post was essentially correct and reflected Google’s thinking.

One thing I was probably wrong about, though. I thought that Google would be releasing something at least around their I/O developer conference next week. In particular there’s been chatter that their rumored social video conferencing service that MG Siegler wrote about in December would be announced very soon.

Apparently not. The biggest news at I/O next week may be that there will be absolutely no social product launches at the event, say our sources.

Make no mistake, stuff is coming. There’s a whole product group, led by Vic Gundotra, working on this stuff. Even though they haven’t officially announced any of it, they do keep us busy chasing easter eggs and other creatively controlled leaks that may or may not have something to do with their upcoming social products.

But for now, we have to keep waiting. They are clearly taking their own sweet time figuring all this out. We’ll wait patiently. For at least a little while longer.

Source: So Unsocial: Don’t Expect Any Big Google Social Announcements At I/O Next Week

Facebook Pushes Location: Adds Event Check-Ins, Places Maps

April 4th, 2011 04:20 admin View Comments

If you’ve ever thrown a party and invited all your friends on Facebook, then you’re well aware – RSVPs mean nothing. If you’re on the other end of things and you want to know whether a party’s happening or a dud – again, RSVPs mean nothing. Today, Facebook updated its iPhone app, adding two new features – the ability to check in to events and a map for seeing where all your friends are checked in.

Now, if you’re wondering if that party’s happening or not, you might be able to just look and see if your friends have checked in there. Of course, that all depends on whether or not Facebook can really bring location to a critical mass of popularity. While that still seems to be a big “if,” this update is certainly a push in that direction.

TechCrunch’s MG Siegler first noticed the features, noting that users could only previously check in via Facebook Places. The new feature takes into account the time, the time of the event, and the user location to determine whether or not to allow the user to check in. Once a user checks in, that information gets posted to their wall and their friends’ timelines, as well as shows up in the list of users checked in on Facebook Places.

The most obvious user benefit, it would seem, is being able to see not only where your friends are, but what event they might be at. They don’t simply check in to the restaurant down the street, but to the trivia night that’s happening that they were invited to on Facebook. The real benefit, we have to imagine, will be for the companies and brands throwing events that want to gather data on who actually attended an event. Imagine the possibilities for all of those companies who throw parties at events like SXSW, with thousands of RSVPs. They have a list of people who were interested in the event, but not necessarily those who attended. Now, they could potentially have both.

marshall-off-africa-facebook-places.PNG

As part of this same update, Facebook added the simple ability to view where all of your friends are checked-in on a map. On the Places page of the iPhone app, there are now two options – activity and map. The map shows any friends that are checked in. It’s a simple, but potentially fruitful, feature for seeing where your friends who use Facebook Places are.

Unfortunately, the event check-in appears to be a bit broken, at the moment. We created a test event, checked in, and went to the map, only to find that it had placed the event somewhere in the ocean off the coast of Africa. If you click on the address of the event in the event itself, however, it appropriately takes you to exactly that location in Google Maps. Hmm.

Problems aside, why does any of this matter? It could be another inroad for Facebook to convince mainstream users that checking in, both to places and events, is a normal and customary thing to do. And in doing so, it could offer brands another reason to host events on Facebook instead of the plethora of other invite and event sites, such as Eventbrite or Plancast.

RSVPing only indicates a basic interest, or a desire to hold your place, just in case. Actually checking in to an event means that you were indeed there, which could be a valuable piece of information for event organizers. Beyond that, if people are further encouraged to check in, they may begin doing it at other times to. Something like Facebook Places is, after all, only useful if people actually use it.

Source: Facebook Pushes Location: Adds Event Check-Ins, Places Maps

iOS 5 Launch May Be Delayed: Will Be Previewed At WWDC, Released This Fall?

March 27th, 2011 03:33 admin View Comments

iOS 5

We were expecting Apple to unveil its next generation iOS – iOS 5 at a special event early next month, followed by the public release in June.

However, TechCrunch reports that according to “two solid sourcesâ€, iOS 5 will be unveiled at the WorldWide Developer Conference 2011 in June and released only in fall.

MG Siegler of TechCrunch reports:

Here’s what we’re hearing right now:

Source: iOS 5 Launch May Be Delayed: Will Be Previewed At WWDC, Released This Fall?

TechCrunch Giveaway: A Motorola Xoom #TechCrunch

March 18th, 2011 03:21 admin View Comments

For today’s giveaway, we are giving away a Motorola Xoom. The Motorola Xoom is the world’s first tablet with Android 3.0 (Honeycomb). We’ve written numerous posts on whether or not we think this is better than other tablets, but we wanted to give you a chance to decide and tell us what you think.

Not only does the Xoom have Honeycomb, it has a pretty amazing bootup screen which you can check out here.

If you want a chance at winning the Motorola Xoom, all you have to do is follow the steps below.

1) Become a fan of our TechCrunch Facebook Page:

2) Then do one of the following:

- Retweet this post (making sure to include the #TechCrunch hashtag)
- Leave us a comment below

The contest starts now and ends tomorrow, March 19th at 7:30pm PST.

Please only tweet the message once or you will be disqualified. We will choose at random and contact the winner this weekend with more details. Anyone in the world is eligible, as long as you can receive delivered packages.

Just for fun we included MG Siegler and Jason Kincaid’s OMG/JK episode, as well as Erick Schonfeld and John Bigg’s Fly or Die episode, both discussing the Xoom.

Good luck!


Source: TechCrunch Giveaway: A Motorola Xoom #TechCrunch

TechCrunch Giveaway: An iPad 2 #TechCrunch

March 11th, 2011 03:55 admin View Comments

Today’s the big day. We know you want one. It seems like everyone wants one. MG Siegler wrote a review on it and Greg Kumparak went to the unveiling of it. So without further ado, for today’s giveaway we are giving away an iPad 2.

If you want a chance at winning it, just follow the steps below to enter.

1) Become a fan of our TechCrunch Facebook Page:

2) Then do one of the following:

- Retweet this post (making sure to include the #TechCrunch hashtag)
- Leave us a comment below

The contest starts now and ends tomorrow, March 12th at 7:30pm PST.

Please only tweet the message once or you will be disqualified. We will choose at random and contact the winner this weekend with more details. Anyone in the world is eligible, as long as you can receive delivered packages.

Good luck :)

Source: TechCrunch Giveaway: An iPad 2 #TechCrunch

The Daily Show Takes On The Verizon iPhone Announcement (With A Special Dose Of MG!)

January 12th, 2011 01:27 admin View Comments

The Verizon iPhone is a cause for celebration and the conga line starts behind Jon Stewart of The Daily Show. Throw down your lame AT&T iPhone and join in on the fun! Well, on February 10 that is. You may want to hold on to your semi-functional iPhone until then. But until then, click through for what could be the most honest Daily Show segment in the show’s 14-year history.

“Those us in the iPhone community have sacrificed one thing for the ability to carry around every photo we’ve ever taken — or video we’ve taken — or song listened to — or have a compass. We have sacrificed the ability to make phone calls.”

It’s good, and a 1000 bonus points for spotting MG Siegler in the segment. Really, he’s in there for a fleeting second.

Read the rest of this entry »

Source: The Daily Show Takes On The Verizon iPhone Announcement (With A Special Dose Of MG!)

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