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I Think Google Has a Crush on BlackBerry

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Last week I gave you an introduction to why BlackBerry’s are far superior to Treo’s.  This week, I’m going to share a few of the applications I use many times a day on my BlackBerry.

For those of you who live in a Verizon-dominant area, have wanted an iPhone because they’re pretty and wanted the business superiority of a BlackBerry, you’re in luck, the Storm is out now!

Google, You Complete…My BlackBerry

Even though Google has released their G1 phone, they continue to develop applications for the BlackBerry, possibly indicating their knowledge that they are incredible business tools and aren’t going away anytime soon.  A few of their killer apps can make your BlackBerry even better.

Google Talk

Point your BlackBerry browser here (https://www.blackberry.com/googletalk) to download Google Talk for your BB.  Place the GTalk Widget on your web site or integrate with Plugoo or Meebo and now you have live chat on your web site that goes wherever you do.  It also saves me a ton on text messages because I know a ton of people who use GMail, which automatically puts them on my GTalk.

Google Maps

Sure, it’s not turn-by-turn navigation, but it’s free and works very similarly to the regular browser-based GMaps. Head here (https://m.google.com/maps) on your mobile browser to download.  For those of you with real GPS* in your BB, it will work automatically.  If you don’t have GPS, it will triangulate off the cell towers to find your approximate location.  Directions (driving, transit and walking), satellite view, traffic information and voice based search are all included.

*Although Verizon tries to be the “most open”, they cripple their GPS. I have a VZW BB Pearl, which has GPS, but it can only be used with the fee-based Verizon Navigator.  So triangulation is all you get unless you buy a separate, external GPS unit.

GMail

Yes, you can (and should) setup your various GMail and Mail for Domains accounts with your push email service, but if you’re like me and strive for Inbox Zero, your BB gets cleaned out regularly, yet you still want to access your messages.  GMail for BB is the answer! Not only will it allow you to connect to multiple accounts at once, it has an offline mode for those times when you can’t get a good signal.  Also, the search is fast and easy so you can always get those old emails even if you’ve deleted them off your push email account.  Here’s the link (https://m.google.com/mail).

Google Mobile App

Sorry, this is probably the most boring of them all, but entirely necessary. This application is a quick search tool, application launcher and auto-updater rolled into one.  Google has mobile versions of news, reader, calendar, docs, photos and notebook – slimmed down web sites, not full fledged applications.  The Mobile App gives you quick links to all of these as well as keeping all of the other apps I’m mentioning here up to date, with the exception of GTalk.  Head over in your mobile browser (https://m.google.com)

Google Sync

The Holy Grail. This is what has made Outlook obsolete for me.  GSync synchronizes your Calendar and now your Contacts too!  So sync your BB with Outlook one last time, then sync it up with Google and all of your contact glory is now pulled into your GMail account.  And it’s a two-way synchronization, so whenever you update on one, it’s done automatically on the other.  Ditto for your calendar.  Check it out (https://m.google.com/sync)!

What’s Missing?

For me, the only thing missing currently is a BB app for GReader.  As soon as that comes out, my BB/Google integration will be complete.

Coming Up

Next week I’ll dip into a few more of what I consider to be must-have applications to round out your BlackBerry as the ultimate business tool (and further push Treo’s into the dirt) 🙂

Nick runs a new media marketing consulting company helping real estate professionals learn how to implement new media tools into their marketing arsenal. He frequently gives presentations on generational marketing, green marketing and advanced online promotion. Nick is active on LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter.

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17 Comments

17 Comments

  1. Mike Stewart, Downtown Vancouver Realtor

    November 20, 2008 at 9:49 pm

    I’ve been using a blackberry for years in my real estate business and I love it. The ability to use Google anytime anywhere is great, but I didn’t know I could get those other apps. Could you post a link for them?

    Also could you tell me more about meebo and google talk and connecting my website and my blackberry for chat? I stopped using meebo as I wasn’t in front of my computer enough.

    Thanks!

  2. Missy Caulk

    November 20, 2008 at 10:09 pm

    Nick, thanks for the suggestions, I am going to check out sync in the AM, too tired tonight. As a outlook person that would be really cool. We already do the sync with the calendar.

  3. Jim Duncan

    November 21, 2008 at 5:29 am

    Pretty much one of the best things about my BB is Google.

    But – I could never get the gTalk to work with my site’s widget – it always tried to open a browser rather than talking within the app. Other than that – perfect.

  4. Paula Henry

    November 21, 2008 at 6:22 am

    Nick –

    You have given me a few more reasons to run to Verizon for my Storm!

  5. Molly

    November 21, 2008 at 7:23 am

    there is an app for reader:

    https://www.google.com/mobile/blackberry/reader.html

    It is the only thing that keeps me sane when I wait (and wait) for appointments and at soccer practice!

  6. Nick Bostic

    November 21, 2008 at 9:11 am

    @Mike – I included links in each product summary, but here there are again for easy reference, all downloadable from the built in browser in your BB:
    GTalk: https://www.blackberry.com/googletalk
    GMaps: https://m.google.com/maps
    GMail: https://m.google.com/mail
    GMobileApp: https://m.google.com
    GSync: https://m.google.com/sync

    Meebo allows you access to GTalk, but if you want a chat on your web site that integrates with you BB GTalk, either look into the GTalk widget (found here: https://www.google.com/talk/service/badge/New) or use Plugoo for direct integration.

    @Missy – I was very excited to see the addition of contacts and it worked beautifully on mine.

    @Jim – That’s definitely odd, although I’ve heard from a couple of other people they had the same issue. The people I know who it didn’t work for just went to Plugoo and it goes to their BB.

    @Paula – let me know how you like it since I have to wait for the GSM version 🙁

    @Molly – Unfortunately, that’s not a true app, that’s a mobile-compatible web site. It does come in handy in a pinch, but I’d like something that downloads a certain number of articles, allows for adding stars and notes, then will sync back up with the full-fledged web-based version when I connect again. But definitely better than nothing!

  7. GeorgeMcCumiskey

    November 21, 2008 at 11:28 am

    Google is always my first choice for apps and why pay for text messaging when the email function on the BB is free. Watch out for AT & T to sabotage that. maybe.

  8. Molly

    November 21, 2008 at 2:43 pm

    You are right, no notes-but I often star things to read when they are heavy on links or images when I get back to the desktop.

    Clears out the “boring stuff”

  9. Danilo Bogdanovic

    November 21, 2008 at 4:59 pm

    There is a Google Reader app for BB. I downloaded a bundled package of Picassa, Docs, Reaader, Sync, News, Gmail, Maps, Search and Mobile Updater all in one click.

    It even updates all of the apps automatically and syncs my calendar with my Google Calendar automatically when I make a change to it on my BB.

  10. Missy Caulk

    November 22, 2008 at 2:42 pm

    Nick, I met a guy from Google at NAR, he told someone in Ann Arbor-Google about me and I got an email from him to go have lunch at Google. He was amazed at how Realtors use Google.

    I am pumped !

  11. Sherry Baker

    November 24, 2008 at 6:24 pm

    Nick, what a useful article — I thought I was using Google on my BB fully, but looks like I have some apps to add. Cool!

  12. Arlington real estate guy

    November 24, 2008 at 8:52 pm

    As a new blackberry Storm user that has spent since Sat. working on his new baby, here are some suggestions for managing your blackberries as some of the native apps suck–but this touch screen and push email do rock!

    https://www.mycaption.com/home/index Do your email and calendar entries by voice….I’ve tried the email and it’s awesome! free trial see for yourself. Perhaps very useful while driving.

    https://www.iambic.com/agendus/blackberry/ still in develop but will leave other calendar apps in the dust– the palm version was incredible and kept many of stuck with treo because we couldn’t bear to leave agendus

    https://www.iambic.com/agendus/winoued/default.asp This incorporates an incredible planner/calendar/contact tool into your Outlook system–literally embedded in Outlook and much better in some ways for customizing tasks, color coding, interlinking, contact history, syncing with blackberry, icons, etc. Check out the page and see for yourself the screenshots.

    Radio–just found out how to get all you want on your smartphone and I love AM talk radio and have been wanting to get accesss for years: https://www.moodio.fm/node/1 It’s free…actually works great!

    I’ll be downloading the google calendar to see if it can act as a good sub for on the blackberry while some of the agendus bugs get worked out, but for the desktop or latptop the Outlook agendus kicks google’s calendar’s arse!

    Good luck pimpin’ out your smartphones 🙂

  13. Jared

    December 3, 2008 at 2:01 pm

    I have a quick question. I had a problem with my BB and had to wipe the device. I backed it up and lost no data, but when I did the reinstall I had to redownload my google icons. Why can’t I get my old reader icon back. I need to go through mobile app to get to the reader instead of just having the reader icon on my BB desktop. HELP!

  14. Nick Bostic

    December 4, 2008 at 12:18 am

    @Jared – Sorry, Google updated their mobile app at the urging of many users to move the links off the home page and into the new Mobile App. Unfortunately, even if you found an old version, it would force itself to update to the new version in order to update the other apps. I liked having the links I wanted on the homepage too, but I’m out of luck with you.

  15. Jared

    December 4, 2008 at 7:39 am

    Thanks. Lets just hope they come out with a reader program instead of a reader link soon

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Tech News

Bet you forgot about them: Yahoo Groups is shutting down

(TECH NEWS) After over a year-long process, Yahoo is finally shutting down Yahoo Groups for good, marking the end of an internet era.

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Yahoo Groups is shutting down.

For a long while, most of us forgot that Yahoo Groups still existed in a very limited way, of course. But now, it’s going to be discontinued for good. Yahoo announced that the Yahoo Groups website will be shutting down on December 15, 2020.

The removal process of Yahoo Groups is one that began in October of last year. At that time, Yahoo decided to no longer allow new content to be uploaded to the Groups site. Features that allowed for sharing files and photos, creating polls, etc. were all removed. However, users could still view and download any existing content. On its website, a statement read, “Don’t worry, though, Yahoo Groups is not going away…” But, we all knew that was never going to be the case.

In December 2019, the Yahoo Customer Care Twitter account tweeted that content on the Groups site would no longer be available or viewable. Users had until the end of January to download their data before it would be permanently deleted. All public groups became private and would require administrator approval to join. Also, admins had limited access to other administration tools, but group members could, at least, still send messages to each other.

Earlier this month, the creation of new groups was disabled. And now, the end of Yahoo Groups is on the horizon. On its site, a pop-up message reads:

Announcement: End of Yahoo Groups
We’re shutting down the Yahoo Groups website on December 15, 2020 and members will no longer be able to send or receive emails from Yahoo Groups. Yahoo Mail features will continue to function as expected and there will be no changes to your Yahoo Mail account, emails, photos or other inbox content. There will also be no changes to other Yahoo properties or services. You can find more information about the Yahoo Groups shutdown and alternative service options on this help page.

Yahoo said, “Yahoo Groups has seen a steady decline in usage over the last several years.” As a result, this is why the company decided to shut it down. “While these decisions are never easy, we must sometimes make difficult decisions regarding products that no longer fit our long-term strategy as we hone our focus on other areas of the business,” Yahoo added.

What became of Yahoo Groups isn’t even a bare-bones version of what it was during its prime. And, frankly, I don’t think it will ever be resurrected. Sometimes all good things must come to an end.

But, if you are a former Groups user and want to stay connected with your groups, the Yahoo Groups’ help page, hopefully, has all your answers.

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Tech News

This app connects music fans with their favorite bands

(TECH NEWS) With the Band, a Nashville-based company, is using tech to reshape virtual concerts and fandom experiences for music fans during COVID-19.

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Music concert crowd no longer safe but can be experienced virtually.

Nothing beats the experience of seeing your favorite artist live – except maybe that moment when you look next to you to see that others are feeling the music just as much as you are. Musical communities are a truly special bond that aren’t location specific. Perhaps that’s why fan engagement platforms, such as Patreon and Memberful, are so successful in cultivating online fanbases.

An app in the fandom world that has been making cutting-edge headway in the COVID-19 concert-less era is Nashville-based With the Band. The fan engagement platform, which connects artists with fans and fans with each other, has found itself in a pivotal position – how can they expand engagement to fill the growing needs during quarantine?

Before COVID, the app was used primarily to empower music fans and artists to create and participate in fan projects and meet ups. Perhaps the most notable example of a With the Band moment was September of 2019, where fans organized for 16,000 signs to be distributed at a Jonas Brothers concert in Nashville.

Since COVID-19, however, the platform has had to adjust to a live concert-less world. How are they doing? Pretty good in my opinion

With the Band has a new (and exciting!) feature called Fan Crews, which is a modern day, virtual version of a fan club that even Dr. Fauci could get behind.

With Fan Crews, artists will be able to engage with their fan bases (and monetize their brand) through:

  • Posting
  • Private messaging
  • Virtual meet & greets
  • Live streams (the modern-day concert?)
  • Exclusive content
  • Special giveaways
  • & much more

The most helpful feature of Fan Crews is that artists and artists teams will have access to an analytic dashboard, where they can see data pertaining to their fan base – all at a zero start-up cost to the artist!

Founder and CEO Sarah Beth Perry – a boyband fangirl – began the With the Band venture from her dorm room in 2017. Now, just three short years and a global pandemic later With the Band has grown in size and scale, and just might be the best thing to happen to fandom since everything went virtual.

Coronavirus has threatened the music industry from all angles – live concerts must abide by CDC guidelines, which means decreased profit for everyone. Fan meet ups and events have had to go mostly digital, putting the onus on tech features that allow for online fan engagement. Artists are losing money during this time, and fans are not able to engage with the artists and each other in the capacity they crave.

If the COVID-induced crumbling live concert industry is a call, With the Band’s Fan Crews is one hell of a response. I’m excited to see what artists and fans do with their new, full-integrated platform.

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Tech News

What is “Among Us”? The meme sensation two years in the making

(TECH NEWS) When a game has invaded even the most focused of social media feeds, we have to figure out what it’s all about. Enter Among Us.

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Among Us game cover, the latest game meme sensation.

If you’ve been seeing bean-shaped characters pop up in memes, on Twitch, or even on Facebook saying words like “Impostor” or “Red is sus”, you’re not alone.

Among Us, an online multiplayer social deduction game has taken the online world by storm as of late. Originally released back in 2018, the game gained a massive surge in popularity during the COVID-19 lockdown. According to Sensor Tower’s data, the game passed 100 million downloads on the IOS App Store and Google Play in Q3 of 2020 alone. While the game is free to play on mobile, users can also play on PC for a small fee of $4.99. As it stands, Among Us is currently the third-most played game on Steam, with a solid chance it breaks into the top spot in the next few months.

Haven’t played the game? Well, let’s cover the basics so you understand the endless number of memes coming your way.

The game is played with 4 to 10 people, all of whom are placed together on a single map. Depending on the game settings, 1 to 3 of these people will be randomly assigned as Impostors, whose goal is to kill a certain number of non-Impostors without getting voted off of the map. The rest of the users will be designated as Crewmates, who can win the game by either completing a set number of assigned tasks in the form of minigames or by voting the Impostors off of the map. Impostors gain the advantage of being able to use portions of the map (like vents) that Crewmates cannot, as well as being assigned fake tasks so it can appear that they are a Crewmate. Impostors can also sabotage areas of the map that will require Crewmates to complete an additional task within an allotted time, with failure to do so resulting in an Impostor team win.

Impostors will be able to move across the map and kill other players they are next too, turning those players into Ghosts who will still need to complete their tasks for the Crewmates to win. When a player finds a dead body, they can report it, which essentially allows for a time-based discussion and the option to vote for someone to be kicked off of the map. Each player can also use one “emergency meeting”, which can call for a discussion and vote at any time. Since players are allotted a cone of vision that allows them to only see other players within a certain distance, the game relies a lot on convincing other users you are not an Imposter.

Among Us was inspired by the party game Mafia, proving that a few adjustments to a classic concept can pay dividends. Due to the mostly chat-based dialogue, memes have popped up of Crewmates accusing people of being suspicious by saying they are “sus” based on their actions. There has also been a rise in memes highlighting a group of people saying someone must be an Impostor and voting them off, only to view the “X was not the Impostor” dialogue from the game.

Hopefully, this helps you understand some of the bean shape images you’ve been seeing recently. With the game rising rapidly on streaming platforms over the summer, it’s unlikely the wave of memes and references to the game will end anytime soon. If you still don’t understand it, then I recommend you take the plunge and play the game—after all, it’s free on mobile.

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