10 Free iPhone 3G Applications You Need Now

iPhone3G-free-applicationsThe revamped 3G iPhone has everyone buzzing about the cool applications that you can have on your phone, and guess what, while they are great to show-off in front of friends, some of them are actually pretty useful too! Now that the iPhone platform is open to young developers, one can surely expect a wide range of fun games, cool apps, social-networking adaptations for iPhone, and of course, the more important tools for navigation, maps, browsing and search. But not all of them are free, and not all of them are worth it! So here's a list of the 10 free iPhone applications that should start with on your new iPhone. Download them, use them, and tell us what you think! I've left out social networks, as I know you already have them there!

Google Mobile App
This is similar to Firefox 3's "Awesome Bar" for the iPhone. Not only does this search-bar-on-steroids suggest popular query matches for you once you type in a few letters, but it'll also search your phone for any contact names that start with the same few letters. Tapping a search result launches it in a browser window, and tapping a contact name lets you message or call them. The program’s Search with My Location feature taps into the iPhone’s ability to detect your location in order to help you find businesses near you. Easy to use, and backed by Google's tried-and-tested search quality, this is definitely the first thing you need to have on your iPhone.

This is the best application for taking, storing or reviewing notes. You can take notes either by typing them, taking a photo or recording your voice. The best thing about it is the web component which allows you to synchronize your notes and access them from where ever you happen to be. You can use Evernote for lists (to-do, shopping, etc), expense tracking, and more. Check more detials on their website.

Pandora's Music App
Thanks to the iPhone version of Pandora's free music Web site, you may never need to use the iTunes Music Store again...just as long as you like your music to play randomly. Just enter an artist's name, press the Create button, and listen as your selected artist and similar-sounding acts play in no particular order. If you already have a Pandora account, the Pandora iPhone app lets you access your preexisting stations and even sends your listening data to your Facebook profile automatically. One fun use for this app: Put your iPhone on your bedside table and have it play your custom stations through the phone's on-board speakers--it sounds like a clock radio playing all your favorite acts. Surprisingly, this music-streaming app works without a hitch even at EDGE speeds.

Truveo Video Search
Trying to find cool videos to watch on your iPhone? Truveo Video Search lets you find videos from a variety of sites. You can play highest ranked or most popular videos and you can customize the interface with your favorite categories. You can also share videos via email.

Loopt Mobile
This is a location-aware social network that will help you connect with your friends while on the go. You can also use Loopt to discover and explore nearby places and events recommended by your friends and other popular services like Yelp. its good to know that their service is entirely opt-in, and only approved users can track your whereabouts. More for young teenagers, but then, they are the biggest clientele for the new iPhone too, right?!

Remote App
The free Remote app lets you control your iTunes library or on-screen Apple TV action directly with your iPhone via a Wi-Fi connection. Once your iPhone establishes a Wi-Fi connection, you simply select your iPhone from iTunes' 'Devices' list, enter the four-digit passcode on your iPhone's screen, and use it as a touch-screen clicker. It worked seamlessly in my tests with iTunes.

NYTimes & Mobile News
If you are a news-junkie, and would love to remain in touch with what's happening around the world, you need to get the NY Times and Mobile News ; between these two apps, all your daily dose of news fetching and sharing is covered! NY Times has content from the New York Times, classified into a number of sections, including Latest News, Business, Opinion, and a Photos section where clicking on an image will take you to a story associated with that image. Stories can be read in either portrait or landscape mode, and the summary page for each category shows headlines, a small portion of the article, and a photo. Mobile News gives you the ability to set up a number of locations for local news. By default, it will set up your current location as one of your locations, and you can easily add others, read saved stories later, or flip between multiple locations. At the bottom of each news story, there are four buttons—you can SMS or email the story to a friend, actually send in a report on a story if you have personal experience to add, and a button to save the story.

If you are an avid reader who likes reading on the phone-screen, this is a must have app for someone like you. Even if that's not something you do often, you could read something while commuting in a public transportation or waiting in some queue. I often wonder why Apple did not pre-load a similar eReader app itself? maybe there' room for iPhone-3!!:) Anyways, for the time being, the eReader app, courtesy of FictionWise, is going to be available for free at the iPhone app store.

If you are a sports-freak like my husband and need to be up-to-date with the latest buzz, SportsTap is totally for you. Be it MLB, NFL, NBA, international soccer, NHL, car racing, NCAA, PGA, tennis, or anything else, SportsTap covers them all--it's a nice free app that will put these at your fingertips. The interface is clean and intuitive, and the scores load fast, even on EDGE. SportsTap doesn't allow you to select a favorite team or teams to keep an eye on, but even so, the score you're looking for is always a couple of taps away.

This is not an absolute necessity, but these days, the Global Warming is making it very difficult to predict weather based on seasons! So the WeatherBug can help you get satellite weather maps, current radar, detailed forecasts, weather cameras, and severe weather alerts. You can get weather from 45,000 locations all over the world. A weather junkie's dream, if not yours!

The iPhone is not longer a phone; its a device that replaces your mobile phone and your laptop. With hordes of free applications to choose from, it can be hard to decide what you wan the most. Hope this list helps you find a beginning, and do share with us more iPhone apps via your comments!

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RankNoodle - A New Search Engine Reviewed

Yahoo Fire Eagle
It seems like new players are emerging every day in the search engine industry, and one of the recent entries is RankNoodle.com. I stumbled upon their site a few days back, and stopped by to check out if they added anything to the search space. However, I was not really excited at what I saw! Forget competing with the top players like Google, Ask and Yahoo, this one is not even close to its recent peers like SearchCloud, which at least offer a fresh approach to search! Neverthless, here is an unbiased review if you are interested.

First of all, I don't think it makes sense to enter the Search space, unless you have a different algorithm or offer semantic search which would be the only alternative to Google that people would warm up to! In any case, RankNoodle tries to incorporate the "better" features of individual search engines, thereby trying to provide a more appealing user experience. Does it work? You'd have to see for yourself.

The Home page is pretty bland, even in a simplistic way. With just a Search Box at the top, followed by Recently Searched keywords, is still acceptable. However, the list of Top 100 Searches is totally distracting, and definitely not valuable! In fact, I was embarrased to see what "things" people search for the most - and can be extremely unsuitable for kids!!

Once you enter a search term or phrase, you get to a detailed page which is substantially useful, but only if it exists in their database! Yes, I tried 3 different queries, "Recipes", "Diet", "Technology" and "Gadgets", and I only received results for "Gadgets" - can you believe that?! Maybe they should consider more work on their database and search algorithm before they make it live to public!

If your query does return some results, then you get to see the only nice feature of this site. A definition/explanation for your search term, followed by related Conversations, followed by actual Search results. I think they need to make it more user-friendly, and of course, more accurate, but the way they present it is good. On the right sidebar, you have a section for related Articles, images and Videos, again, an asset to few, but will be ignored by most.

If there are no results to match your query, it shows some error message, but you actually have to go "back" to enter a new search term! there's no way you can just type it again on the same page - totally unacceptable! i think they need to fix that. Also, the speed is really slow, but I can give them some slack for being a newly-launched site. There's nothing in the About Us page, but luckily there's some information in the Contact page; again, I would have prefered if they had updated these things before launching the site, as it helps improve credibility.

In any case, I think RankNoodle, like any other new search engine player, has a lot to accomplish before it can even try to lure users. I would give it a second shot when they have a more complete database. You cannot expect people to use your site if 3 out of 4 searches return no results!

Hope they try to address these issues soon enough, or its a No-No game for RankNoodle!

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Yahoo Opens Up Fire Eagle to Public

Yahoo Fire EagleIn March 2008, Yahoo opened the beta version of Fire Eagle, its location-based middleware that allows developers to build services tailored to the user's geographic area. Fire Eagle is now open to the public with 22 launch partners providing their services. Yahoo tries to target the large market of social networking, but as with any other plethora of apps and widgets, Fire Eagle comes with its own sets of perks and problems! But for those inspiring to make some money out of writing cool applications, this could be your newest gig, after the Apple iPhone apps!

Fire Eagle begins by asking users for location data, which can be entered as vaguely as the country or as specifically as the global coordinates. From that point, Fire Eagle's job is done as far as the user is concerned, most of a user's interaction will take place through applications built upon the service.

There are applications available now for a variety of devices and operating systems, though most are not cross-platform. The gallery currently includes location-based social networking applications from Brightkite, Plazes, Loki, and Zkout; travel mapping apps from Dopplr, Map My Tracks, eKit, and Navizon; point-of-interest and event listings from Lightpole, Outalot, and Wikinear; location-based search from Rummble; messaging from Spot and Pownce; and news from Outside.in, and many more that I find hard to list here!

Developers wishing to capitalize on Yahoo's geo-aware infrastructure can freely access the Fire Eagle API through Yahoo's Developer Center. Applications fall into three general categories: Web, mobile, and desktop. Since each provides a different authentication type, developers have to have a general idea of what they're building before they can obtain an API key. Yahoo provides a few walk-throughs and examples for developers as well.

Privacy is of course a major concern for Fire Eagle, as it allows you to update your location across any authenticated partner site. it is like a centralized service that knows your location, and sends out updates to its participating sites that you have authorized. meaning to address this issue, it allows you to give certain permissions to different sites, and these settings can be changed at any point through the site.

So all you young developers-cum-entrepreneurs out there, hop on to Fire Eagle and see if you can fire it on!!

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