Teching in with John Son: Google and Apple release new goods

By John Son

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Newly released technology from Google and Microsoft hints at what communication and social networking could be like 20 years from now.

Google Voice: Google is developing a potentially revolutionary system that allows you to answer all your phones under one number: your home, cell and any other phone line. So if someone calls your home phone, Google Voice will redirect the call to your cell. However, Google Voice is invite-only, so it’s not public yet. But it should be interesting to see how Google Voice affects phone communication because it’s totally free (for now at least).

Google Wave: Google’s obviously seen the value in social networking since the advent of Facebook, so they’re releasing their own social networking service. This has instant messaging, social networking and e-mail all in one. Though Facebook’s social networking dominates right now, its chat leaves a lot to be wished for. Facebook chat sometimes sends messages twice, never sends messages or loads too slowly, to name a few flaws. Though the exact details of the social networking are unclear, if its interface is anywhere as good as Facebook’s and its instant messaging is decent, it should be worth checking out.

Palm Pre: The Palm Pre came out in June, and though the Pre provides some competition, the iPhone still owns the smartphone category. Palm is also slated to release a mini version of the Pre, the Palm Pixi, this winter.

Last, the improved iPod Nano: The Nano officially has a video camera, which oddly the new iPod touch lacks. The video quality is decent, and definitely good enough for Youtube videos, but isn’t quite as good as a designated pocket camcorder. The built-in FM radio is nothing new, except for the fact it has Live Pause, something no other MP3 player with FM radio has. Live Pause lets you pause a song in the middle of listening. The quality of the FM radio reception compares to that of a car since the antennae is built into the earphones, which is awesome. If you haven’t bought an iPod Nano yet and want to, now is a good time, especially since the prices remain the same as the old models.

Keep in mind that Windows 7 is coming out on Oct. 22. Microsoft has received a lot of bad publicity because of Vista’s sub-par performance, but Windows 7 should be what Microsoft wanted Vista to be. Check back Oct. 22 to get a review on Windows 7.

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