Facebook may have been a hunting ground last year for developers expanding their social mobile programs, but their sights are set on growing with Google in 2012, a new study suggests.

According to a new report by mobile platform company Appcelerator and analyst firm International Data Corporation (IDC), developers are more interested in using Google products such as Google+, search, Gmail and the Android Market to implement their social strategies.

The survey — which was conducted among 2,173 developers worldwide — found that 39% of participants said the network effects of Google’s initiatives are more important to their social strategies in 2012 than Facebook’s social graph.

SEE ALSO: Facebook Wants to Own Your Social Graph

“Google is learning some good lessons from Facebook about what not to do and what to do better,” Appcelerator principal analyst Michael King told Mashable. “We didn’t expect Google to expect to do so well against Facebook, but it puts them at an advantage. Many developers now see Google as offering more opportunities for growth than Facebook.”

The report also found that developers have expressed less interest in developing Android apps this year “due to continued fragmentation of the platform” and are looking to expand their iOS efforts. It noted that HTML5 will play a bigger role in the mobile app development space this year.

About 79% of mobile developers who took the survey indicated they plan to integrate HTML5 into their apps in 2012. Not surprisingly, overall mobile app development continues to grow. More than half (53.5%) said they are focusing on mobile strategies compared to 27.4% in 2010.

Do you think that this is a sign that more consumers could leave Facebook to access app programs on other sites? Do you think Google+ could take on Facebook in the future? Let us know your thoughts in the comments.

More About: Facebook, Google, Social Media, trending

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Google began its St Patrick’s celebrations in 2000 with a green logo sporting a jaunty leprechaun’s hat.

Click here to view this gallery.

Top of the morning to you! Today is Saint Patrick’s Day and here at Mashable we’re celebrating with a gallery of all the Doodles Google has ever posted on March 17.

There’s plenty of different shades of green, a good few shamrocks and yes, you guessed it, a leprechaun or two to be spotted in our ultimate Saint Patrick’s Day Google Doodle collection.

SEE ALSO: How to Animate Your Google+ Profile
So, don an oversized green hat, grab yourself a Guinness and take a look through our image gallery. Let us know in the comments below how you’ll be celebrating St. Paddy’s special day this year.

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SXSWi 2012 Pocket Guide

Mashable OP-ED: This post reflects the opinions of the author and not necessarily those of Mashable as a publication.

Serendipity: That was the buzz word at this year’s South by Southwest Interactive conference in Austin, Texas. It was probably the same word as last year — but I wasn’t there so I couldn’t tell you. I’d love to tell you there was one major product announcement or even trend that defined SXSW, but I’d be lying. The experience was akin to being a metal orb in a pinball machine, bounding from one relay to another, having random conversations, seeing oddball sights and making unexpected discoveries. I thoroughly enjoyed it.

Those who know me will tell you I’m not a go-with-it kind of guy. Conferences usually mean a packed schedule of meetings, lots of note taking, a ton of writing and absolute exhaustion. Fun doesn’t really fit in (in all the years I’ve attended CES and Comdex before it, I have never seen a Vegas show).

However, I had been traveling a lot in the weeks leading up to SXSW, (Barcelona, San Francisco), which meant I had less time to prepare. By the time I arrived on Thursday evening, I was in a state of panic: How do I cover this show?

That night, I walked over to the nearly deserted conference hall and picked up my badge. It would be almost 12 hours before I realized how big a deal this was. After wandering the mostly empty halls for a while, I headed back to my room to try and prepare for the day. In my hand I now had a pocket SXSWi schedule that detailed the dozens and dozens of panels I could attend. Some looked interesting, but almost none newsworthy. How do I cover a show without news?

This is Big

The next morning, I learned something important about SXSWi: News or no news, this was one hot conference. Remember how I waltzed in and walked off with my badge? Now there were hundreds of people in that same registration hall queued up for their badges and a line of thousands more that snaked clear around the perimeter of the conference hall. Some told me they waited three hours.

Obviously there was something here. As I had done before, I started walking the halls, taking pictures and tweeting what I saw. Panels didn’t start for a couple more hours, so I had time to acclimate myself. Outside, the driving rain, which had started when we arrived on Thursday, was only intensifying. It served to keep whoever came into the giant convention center inside. This, too, turned out be beneficial and helped me discover the most important part of SXSWi: The people.

Wherever I went, whether I was standing, sitting or walking at SXSW, I found people to talk to. Sometimes they were people I knew. Like a friendly PR rep who has helped me on many a story and actually connected me with Pinterest’s first investor while I was at the show. Other times, it was folks I’d only known through Twitter. I could recognize their avatars, but had never actually met them. There was the occasional Mashable fan and even some people who follow me. In every case, we had amazing discussions where I learned about cool stuff going on or around the show, new products and technologies and how to navigate SXSW. One guy gave me an important piece of advice, which would come in handy later. He said, yes, there are tons of panels, “but if you find yourself in one you don’t like, simply get up and walk out. There is no shame in that.”

Later when I went to a James Franco panel that ended up not featuring the multi-hyphenate actor, I quietly excused myself without even a hint of guilt.

Shuffling, Shuffling

As the morning progressed, I found myself wandering up and down the halls looking for anything that might turn into an interesting story or photo-op. I even hopped across the street — and out into the cold and rain — to check out Jud Apatow’s coffee stand for his new HBO series “Girls,” but mostly because I wanted more free coffee.

Even when I did find some newsworthy stuff, it was almost by accident. I wandered into a panel on documentaries mostly so I could sit down. Soon the panelists were talking about the most controversial doc on the planet: KONY 2012. Back in the halls, the ISIS NFC-based mobile payment system launch, which was news, was unhandled in a most un-news-like manner: They used a magician to show how ISIS worked. No press conference. In fact, I don’t think SXSW had a single press conference. I thought that was weird, but I just went with it.

I attended a couple of panels, but also got shut out of some others. SXSW is not really concerned with reporters. Panels are for everyone and if you’re not there early enough, you’re out of luck. When this happened to me, I just did my best to go with the flow and find other interesting opportunities.


Time and time again, the best parts of SXSW were happening in the halls. I met and chatted with Google’s Vic Gundotra and Bradley Horowitz as they ate breakfast. They seemed genuinely happy to see me, even if I was standing between them and their breakfast tacos. After this chance meeting, I began to focus more closely on the SXSW crowd, actively seeking friendly and familiar faces. I made a conscious decision to approach everyone and anyone I wanted to meet. No one ever ran away screaming.

Clearly others were doing the same. At one point it took me an hour and a half to walk 300 feet. No one was blocking my way, I just kept meeting people (like Robert Scoble, Ed Baig, Guy Kawasaki, Andy Cohen, Tony Hsieh, Steve Case, Tobey MacGuire, Craig Newmark). All the notables were kind, funny and gracious. I also met many people most (or relatively few) people have never heard of, though I bet someday you will.

There was the very young entrepreneur, James Brown, who stopped me in the hall to give me a fast pitch on Goalee, a site that mashes up your social graph and interest graph to create an eHarmony-like matchmaking service for business and networking.

I have a near-perfect memory for faces and spotted Irene McGee, the former reality TV star (Real World Seattle) who now blogs about health-related technology at FYIiving.

I sat with Americans Elect CTO Joshua Levine who spoke passionately to me about fixing a broken political system. The online organization’s grassroots candidate (who will be selected from among 300 drafted candidates via virtual primaries in May and a virtual convention in July) likely has no chance of winning. But don’t tell Levine that.

Then there was startup founder Hajj Flemings who grabbed me in the hall to show off Gokit.me. He said it was like a mash-up between Pinterest and About.me (though neither site is in any way involved with it). The site (an app is coming later) adds layers of identities to help you manage your social personas and content boards. Flemings was not the first to promise me that his product could tap into the best parts of Pinterest.

Later I ran into young food lover David Segall who came up with a way to track chefs and pop-up food experiences on PopGrub.com.

When the weather cleared up, I met more people on the streets, at food trucks and in outdoor event spaces.

All these chance meetings were not just the best part of the conference, they were ultimately what SXSW is all about. When I left the show, I had a fistful of business cards and new insight into how small companies and startups develop and work to grab attention. Many were not above a stunt or intense pitch, but they were also willing to let you come to them.

My plan for a highly organized SXSW never materialized, but I had one of the best conferences of my career. I can’t wait to do it all again.

My SXSW Magical Mystery Tour


A look at the ISIS Mobile Wallet Booth

The mobile wallet software was a sponsor at SXSW.

Click here to view this gallery.

More About: Google, startup, sxsw, sxsw 2012

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If you haven’t noticed, Wednesday’s Google Doodle pays tribute to Akira Yoshizawa, the grandmaster of origami. And to highlight the art form, the designer is encouraging the public to re-create the image by folding paper to create a real-life version of the doodle.

The designer of the origami Google Doodle is Robert J. Lang, considered one of the world’s top origami masters. He walks you through how to create the origami doodle in a post on Google’s Official Blog.

To create a origami doodle at home, simply download Lang’s PDF with the crease patterns for each of the letters and fold along the lines. The red lines indicate a “valley fold” — or downward fold — while the blue lines indicate a high “mountain” fold.

Google Doodle Origami

“To design these (or any letterform in this style), one can take a narrow strip of paper, fold it back and forth to trace the outline of the desired letter, unfold it, mark the creases, then arrange multiple copies of the strip pattern on a larger rectangle,” Lang noted on the site.

“The resulting crease pattern is moderately complex, and it gives a lovely 3-D form when folded, but conceptually, it is quite straightforward.”

Lang also discussed how he approached the design for the Google Doodle.

SEE ALSO: Google Doodle Celebrates Origami Master Akira Yoshizawa
“When I was first approached by Google to help create a doodle commemorating Yoshizawa’s work, I jumped at the chance,” Lang wrote. “Google set the parameters of the design: the Google logo, of course, but to be folded with origami and then decorated with examples of Yoshizawa’s designs.”

He created two logo styles for the company to select from — one was a classic style and the other had a 3-D look with pleats. Google went with the latter.

Google Origami

“The butterflies in the doodle are folded from one of Yoshizawa’s earliest, yet most iconic designs. It is deceptive in its simplicity, but can express great subtlety in its shaping and attitude,” Lang said. “The combination of simplicity and depth is part of the essence of origami, and is key to Yoshizawa’s work and legacy.”

Top 10 Animated Google Doodles


The Christmas Google Doodle

Each package gets larger with a mouse-over, and a click on it returns search results pertinent to a specific country or the particular items featured in a scene. This one is from December 24, 2010.

Click here to view this gallery.

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Google continued its practice of spotlighting innovators who are obscure to the general public on Wednesday with a tribute to Akira Yoshizawa, the “grandmaster of origami.”

Yoshizawa, who would have been 101 years old on Wednesday, is credited with raising origami – the technique of folding paper into decorative forms — from craft to art. For much of his early life, Yoshizawa toiled in obscurity, but he got his big break in 1951, when a Japanese magazine hired him him to fold the 12 signs of the Japanese zodiac. Over his lifetime, he created more than 50,000 origami models and wrote 18 books detailing his designs. Yoshizawa died in 2005.

SEE ALSO: Where Do Google Doodles Come From?
The tribute for the Japanese-born Yoshizawa — in the form of paper figures spelling out the Google logo — comes almost exactly a year after the March 11, 2011 earthquake that devastated Japan.

In addition to being Yoshizawa’s birthday, Wednesday, March 14 (3/14) is Pi Day. Google celebrated that date in 2010 with a Pi Day Doodle. That logo contained not only the famous πr2 formula, but five other uses of π: measuring the volume of a sphere (V = 4⁄3 πr3), computing the circumference of a circle (C = 2πr), measuring the volume of a cylinder (V = πr2h), Archimedes’ calculation of pi (223/71 < π < 22/7), and the periodic function of sin(x).


The Christmas Google Doodle

Each package gets larger with a mouse-over, and a click on it returns search results pertinent to a specific country or the particular items featured in a scene. This one is from December 24, 2010.

Click here to view this gallery.

More About: Google, google doodles, japan

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There’s no denying it: slow page load will kill your conversion. This illustration from StrangeLoop demonstrates that: Just one second and you can lose 7% of sales. Did you know that the original Google +1 button took 2 seconds to load? That’s true…and I don’t know about you, but I would definitely want to do […]

Follow SEJ on Twitter @sejournal

Google is celebrating International Women’s Day today by giving all the ladies out there a flower – the virtual kind, of course, placed in the middle of the latest Google Doodle.

Originally a socialist holiday, the International Women’s Day originated in the U.S., where it was first celebrated on Feb 28., 1909, by the Socialist Party of America.

The date was switched around quite a bit in the following years, and the significance of the event varied a lot in different countries. In Russia, it was celebrated on the last Sunday in February (which fell on March 8 on the Gregorian calendar) since the February Revolution of 1917. In 1949, March 8 was established as an official date for the holiday (for women only) in China, and the date stuck.

Finally, in 1977 the United Nations invited member states to proclaim March 8 the UN Day for Women’s Rights and International Peace, after which the date gained major international significance.

Today, March 8 is a national holiday in many countries around the world, including Russia and China; in many others, it is customary for men to give women flowers on this day. A tip for all you guys reading this: Regardless of where you live, you can’t really go wrong by giving that significant lady in your life some flowers.


The Christmas Google Doodle

Each package gets larger with a mouse-over, and a click on it returns search results pertinent to a specific country or the particular items featured in a scene. This one is from December 24, 2010.

Click here to view this gallery.

More About: Google, google doodle, March 8, women’s day

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Google wants you to help find security flaws in its browser, Chrome — and the search giant is paying a handsome reward.

The company told attendees at the CanSecWest security conference in Vancouver next month they can get up to $1 million in cash and Chromebooks in exchange for revealing the flaws.

“The aim of our sponsorship is simple: we have a big learning opportunity when we receive full end-to-end exploits. Not only can we fix the bugs, but by studying the vulnerability and exploit techniques we can enhance our mitigations, automated testing, and sandboxing. This enables us to better protect our users,” the Google Chrome security team wrote in a blog post.

The prizes include the following categories, and multiple rewards can be issued per category:

$60,000 – “Full Chrome exploit”: Chrome / Win7 local OS user account persistence using only bugs in Chrome itself.

$40,000 – “Partial Chrome exploit”: Chrome / Win7 local OS user account persistence using at least one bug in Chrome itself, plus other bugs. For example, a WebKit bug combined with a Windows sandbox bug.

$20,000 – “Consolation reward, Flash / Windows / other”: Chrome / Win7 local OS user account persistence that does not use bugs in Chrome. For example, bugs in one or more of Flash, Windows or a driver. These exploits are not specific to Chrome and will be a threat to users of any web browser. Although not specifically Chrome’s issue, we’ve decided to offer consolation prizes because these findings still help us toward our mission of making the entire web safer.

Check out the video above to learn more.

Thumbnail image courtesy of iStockphoto, alija

More About: Google, google chrome, security

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The roads in Nevada are ready for driverless robot cars. Earlier this month, Nevada’s Legislative Commission approved testing of autonomous vehicles on the state’s roadways. The cars will be identifiable by a red license plate.

In fact, any company can test its driverless system in Nevada; Google just happened to be the first to jump on the opportunity. Google’s system can be installed on any make of vehicle. The company has been working on their driverless car system for a while and received a patent late last year.

“Self-driving cars have the potential to significantly increase driving safety,” a Google spokesperson told Mashable. “We applaud Nevada for building a thoughtful framework to enable safe, ongoing testing of the technology and to anticipate the needs and best interests of Nevada citizens who may own vehicles with self-driving capabilities one day.”

Even though the cars are driverless, they cannot be tested without two operators inside. Once the vehicles are shown to be safely operated with just one driver, the cars will receive green license plates.

Tom Jacobs, chief public information officer at the Nevada DMV, said this driverless system is “like cruise control on steroids.” Jacobs said he did a radio interview recently in which he was asked if other drivers will ever feel the need to flip-off these cars. His response: no need.

“It had no bad habits,” he said of the system.

Jacobs said he rode in one of the driverless cars. When the road is not mapped ahead, the car may give control to the driver after a female voice says, “please drive.” If the driver does not take control, the car simply pulls over. There is also a display in front of the passenger seat that shows exactly what the car is seeing outside. This feature is for testing purposes only. Jacobs said the ride was so smooth, he couldn’t tell when the driver or car was operating the vehicle besides hearing the automated female voice.

“There will never be any crashes,” Jacobs said.

SEE ALSO: Tackling Self-Driving Cars’ Biggest Questions [VIDEO]
In the future, it’s possible automakers will offer this system already installed in vehicles. Drivers without the system built-in may be able to have their cars retrofitted. Jacobs envisioned a world where one day you can press a button on your cell phone, have a car pull up to your house, put your dog in it and send it to the veterinarian.

Jacobs said Google is also testing its driverless cars “quasi-legally” in California, since there is no written rule specifically allowing or forbidding driverless cars. However, Jacobs clearly has a stake in ensuring Nevada is a hub of testing this budding technology.

Regarding the California testing, Google says, “We have received several opinions from outside counsels who are experts in transportation law. All indicated that the testing in California is 100% legal as the safety driver is in control of the car at all times and is responsible for the operation of the vehicle. The testing involves having two people in the car at all times.”

“Nevada is the first state to embrace what is surely the future of automobiles,” Department of Motor Vehicles Director Bruce Breslow said in a statement posted on the state’s DMV website on Feb. 15. “These regulations establish requirements companies must meet to test their vehicles on Nevada’s public roadways as well as requirements for residents to legally operate them in the future.”

There are several other states that have pending legislation that would allow driverless cars on public roadways.

Would a driverless car make your life easier? How much would you pay for one? Tell us in the comments.

Photo courtesy of iStockphoto, Mlenny

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Your favorite mobile apps should soon be making it a lot more clear when they intend to use your data.

The Attorney General of California, Kamala D. Harris, announced Wednesday a deal with Amazon, Apple, Google, Hewlett-Packard, Microsoft and Research in Motion; the companies agreed to strengthen privacy protection for users that download third-party apps to smartphones and tablet devices.

In the deal, the companies said they would require app developers to clearly spell out what data their apps can access and what the app or company does with that data. The deal also makes app store custodians such as Apple and Google, who run the App Store and Android Market, set up a way for users to report apps that don’t provide a clear-cut explanation of their privacy policies.

According to a statement from Attorney General Harris’ office, if an app developer doesn’t meet these new privacy-policy requirements, they could be charged with a crime under California law.

“California has a unique commitment to protecting the privacy of our residents,” said Harris. “Our constitution directly guarantees a right to privacy, and we will defend it.”

Android users are well aware that developers on the platform are required to ask them for permission before accessing their personal data, but they’re not told how or why their data is being accessed. Apple also doesn’t allow any software on its App Store that takes personal information without asking, but developers haven’t been transparent on that platform, either.

In fact, Harris’ office says, only five percent of all mobile apps offer a privacy policy. And developers across both platforms have come under fire recently for coding software that transmits users’ personal data unbeknownst to them.

That controversy managed to pique the interest of some members of Congress, who sent a letter of inquiry to Apple.

Should lawmakers intervene when the creators of popular platforms like Android and iOS may not be doing enough to protect the privacy of their users? Sound off in the comments below.

Image courtesy of iStockphoto, TommL

More About: amazon, android, apple, blackberry, Google, Hewlett-Packard, iOS, microsoft, privacy, research in motion, RIM, webOS, windows phone

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