This Week in Geek: Google, Microsoft testing new waters
by Whit McGhee
Special to The Star
Nov 11, 2012 | 9555 views |  0 comments | 53 53 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Who is running for president?

While it doesn’t matter much now that the election is over, that question was one of the most-searched terms on Google in the leadup to Tuesday.

Searches for “who is running for president” reached the peak of Google’s search volume on Monday, according to the website. Google data showed that the query had steadily risen in search volume for the past three months and skyrocketed around the first of November.

Regardless of some Americans’ questions over who was running in the first place, Barack Obama’s victory over Mitt Romney was celebrated via Twitter and email before the President stepped to the podium at his campaign’s victory rally in Chicago.

Obama’s Twitter handlers tweeted a short message — “four more years” — along with a photo of the president embracing first lady Michelle Obama. Within a few hours, the three-word announcement had been shared more than any other tweet in the website’s history.

“I’m about to go speak to the crowd here in Chicago, but I wanted to thank you first,” read an email sent from Obama to campaign supporters just before he went on stage to accept his reelection.

The impact of social media on national elections grew this year, with more than one in five Americans broadcasting their voting choices via social networks such as Facebook or Twitter, according to a Pew Research Center study.

The study also found that about 20 percent of respondents encouraged others through social media to vote.

Google to offer universal credit card?

Imagine carrying just one card in your wallet or purse, with that single card containing the numbers of every debit and credit card you own.

It’s an idea Google may soon turn into reality with the Google Wallet Card, according to information leaked last week.

The card would supplement the existing Google Wallet service, which saves payment information to an online account that can be used at various websites and store checkout terminals.

“You can leave all the cards you used to carry at home,” read the text of a Google support Web page that contained the leaked information.

So instead of fumbling through one’s wallet to find the right credit or debit card, a Google Wallet cardholder would simply swipe a single card. Users could likely manage payment information via the Google website or a smartphone app.

The card may feature an additional layer of security, as well. “If lost, you only need to cancel your Google Wallet card (not every card in your wallet),” the support page read.

Though the card has been all but confirmed by Google, there is no indication as to when the card will be available to users.

Microsoft Office is going mobile

Microsoft Office is coming to a smartphone near you.

The ubiquitous document, presentation and spreadsheet creation program is being developed for Android and iOS phones and tablets, according to tech news website The Verge.

Office Mobile will debut as a free set of apps, in which users can view Word, Excel and PowerPoint files on their mobile devices. Editing capabilities will be available in the apps through a subscription plan.

Several apps, such as Quickoffice and Documents To Go, already allow users to create and edit Office-compatible files on iOS and Android. Until now, a Microsoft-branded app has only been available for Windows Phone devices.

The Redmond, Wash., company will release Office Mobile early next year, The Verge reported.
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This Week in Geek: Google, Microsoft testing new waters by Whit McGhee
Special to The Star

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