Google Launches Voice and Video Chat
Google today launched Gmail voice and video chat, making it simple for people around
the world to chat in high-quality within Gmail, and free of charge. A webcam and a
small web browser plugin are required. There is no need to switch to another application
or sign up for another account. Voice chat without video is also possible.
To get started, open a Gmail chat window, click on the Options menu at the bottom, and
choose Add voice/video chat. This will activate the installation of a free plugin (a quick
2 MB download).
Opening Gmail will show that the link in the chat window has changed to Video & more.
Open this menu and click Start video chat.
Gmail is the first leading webmail service to include video chat. Gmail voice and video
chat is being made available for PCs and Macs over the next few days. Google Apps
customers will also be able to use this service at no extra charge.
Video chat is the latest of a number of new features which includes, most recently, Gmail
Labs (a public testing ground for experimental features like embeddable gadgets, the
Forgotten Attachment Detector, and Mail Goggles ), a mobile client for Android phones,
animated emoticons, and more.
Hardware requirements are Windows XP or a more recent version, or an Intel-Based Mac
with Mac OS X v10.4 or later. It works in browsers which support the latest version of
Gmail (Google Chrome, Firefox 2.0+, Internet Explorer 7.0, and Safari 3.0).
To learn more go to http://mail.google.com/videochat
A market-led approach to the roll out of super-fast broadband, known as next generation
access (NGA), would probably exclude 40% of the UK’s population, Panel member
Roger Darlington told the Next Gen 08 conference in Manchester. He said that “it matters
enormously at both a technical and social level”. He warned that if NGA roll out was left
to market forces alone “today’s digital divide could become for many a digital chasm”.
He spelt out how this would deny people access to many vital services and products such
as telemedicine, local authority services and the ability to run a business.
The Panel, Roger Darlington said, believes that “We must debate these issues now…We
see a case even now for introducing next generation broadband in those areas, which are
at present struggling to obtain satisfactory performance levels of current generation
Media Adviser Communications Consumer Panel
We were established under the Communications Act 2003 as the independent, policy
advisory body on consumer interests in telecommunications, broadcasting and spectrum
markets (with the exception of content issues).
Based on evidence, we advise Ofcom, the communications regulator, and others on how
to achieve a communications marketplace in which all consumers can confidently choose
and use products and services that suit their needs.
The Consumer Panel sets its own agenda but works constructively with the Ofcom Board.
This enables us to give strategic advice on policies early on in their development–before
they are consulted on– so as to build consumer interests into Ofcom's decision-making
from the outset.
Growth in e-Books Collections
A recent survey in the UK, conducted by NetLibrary; OCLC’s eContent division, has
found that three-quarters of academic libraries and half of public libraries which
responded intend to increase their collections of eBooks over the next year, in spite of the
current fiscal climate.
Nearly 300 libraries responded to the survey, which highlighted key issues in
The perceptions and usage of eBooks in the UK.
Although the survey indicates significant planned increases in the acquisition
of eBooks for both academic and public libraries, other key themes emerging from
the survey provide valuable insights into what is driving use and collection development
in these two key sectors.
A massive 85% of public Libraries indicated that they were most interested in developing
fiction eBook collections, despite recent research which suggests that eBooks are most
often used for reference purposes.
Possibly this trend is being fuelled by the growth in availability of eBook reading
devices, such as Amazon’s Kindle and Sony’s Reader, among public library users.
Similarly a rise in the use of MP3players could be attributed to the fact that 65% of
publics also indicated an intention to further develop
their eAudiobook collections:
“eAudibooks are an area of significant interest to NetLibrary” explained Michelle
Harper, Global Product Manager for eBooks and eAudiobooks. “The imminent
release of our new Media Center application will support libraries in the
promotion of eAudiobooks to users. It’s a free application which will make it
faster and easier for users to search, manage, and listen to NetLibrary
eAudiobooks through a range of devices”.
Of the academic libraries who responded to the survey, half indicated that
their use of eBooks was to support their core reading lists in various subject
areas – the main ones being Business/Management (13%), Medicine/Health
(9%) Education (6%) and Engineering (5%).
Michelle Harper continued: “NetLibrary offers a range of bundled titles in these
subject areas. Our custom collection service also provides titles specifically
tailored to a library’s c0llection development requirements”.
Anyone interested in finding out more about the results of this survey, or how
NetLibrary can help them in their collection development, should contact
Further information is also available from:
Marketing Communications Manager
Tel: +44 121 456 4656
Internet Resources Newsletter
The latest edition of the FREE monthly newsletter for academics,
students and researchers is now available at:
No subscription or registration is needed to access this full-text
newsletter at the above site.
You can also subscribe to the free, full-text email version at:
An RSS feed for the newsletter is available at:
Featured in This Issue:
Internet Resources Newsletter by email and RSS
News items of interest
A-Z New & Notable Web Sites:
About 100 new and notable websites: new services, ejournals,
directories, search engines, publishers, government sites, booksellers, calls for
papers, software, news services, conferences, research groups, plus anything else of
Nice Web Site(s):
CiteULike Current Issues
Selected interesting blogs, RSS feeds and related news items
Recent Internet books in the Library
Get a life! Leisure Time
Published by Heriot-Watt University Library, and edited by Roddy MacLeod
(R.A.MacLeod@hw.ac.uk), Catherine Ure and Marion Kennedy.
Heriot-Watt University is a Scottish charity registered under charity number SC000278.
Software Piracy and Students
The Business Software Alliance interviewed a sample of 400 students in November, and
approximately one third disclosed that they would be prepared to download pirated
software for study purposes.
While many of them owned up to using illegal software acquired from their friends or
family, the vast majority of students consulted mentioned Limewire, BitTorrent, iOffer
and eBay as commercial sites they would also be prepared to use.
Well over half of the students interviewed were aware of the sites listed above, and a
sizeable minority confirmed their intention to use unauthorised suppliers over the
Christmas period to obtain software they needed
Only a small number stated that they were prepared to remain within the law and buy the
software they needed from legitimate suppliers.
Go to http://www.bsa.org.
The Business Software Alliance (BSA) is a nonprofit trade association created to advance
the goals of the software industry and its hardware partners. It is the foremost
organization dedicated to promoting a safe and legal digital world.
New roles for an academic library: current measurements
Author(s): Bill V. Opperman, Martin Jamison
Journal: New Library World
Year: 2008 Volume: 109 Issue: 11/12 Page: 559 - 573
Publisher: Emerald Group Publishing Limited
Abstract: Purpose – The purpose of this paper is to detail the experience of a rising gate
count at a departmental science and engineering library while many traditional user
statistics show the now familiar decline.
Design/methodology/approach – Library and material-use statistics gathered
continuously over an eight-year period along with data from a user exit survey describe
the many changes in the patterns of use at academic libraries.
Findings – Data confirm that the in-house use of print material will continue to decline in
the face of rising gate counts. Discussion identifies probable causes of the continued rise
in gate count.
Research limitations/implications – A description of the environment and causes for
findings are available for future comparisons.
Practical implications – Anecdotal and informal observations were confirmed with the
analysis of data. Taken together, these two forms of reporting support timely
management decision making.
Originality/value – The paper provides baseline data for librarians evaluating “library as
Ask4 the Best – Says the University of Birmingham
Yorkshire-based telecommunications company ask4 will provide internet services to
more than 4000 students living in halls of residence at the University of Birmingham.
The company will design and implement a new network infrastructure across the campus,
connecting all the student halls with fibre.
Over 4000 students have already signed up for a package which includes
a 2mb internet service with an upgrade capacity of 10mb, instant broadband and no
In addition to the University of Birmingham, ask4 also supply Sheffield Hallam
University and De Montford University students with a range of broadband services.
For more information on ask4’s services, visit http:// www.ask4.com.
Google Launches SearchWiki
Google is launching SearchWiki, a tool which helps users annotate search results and
share them with other searchers.
The tool allows customisation by re-ranking, deleting, adding and commenting on search
It should also be possible to see how other searchers have customised any given results.
To use SearchWiki, users have to be signed into their Google account.
The changes to search results will be included on a public comments page.
New Maths Tutoring Package
An official report revealing that 10% of 11 year olds are failing to master maths has
coincided with a new maths tutoring service trial for schools.
As the National Audit Office discovers that 30,000 pupils are leaving primary school
every year with the numerical skills of seven-year olds, Whizz.com has announced a trial
of Maths-Whizz Tutoring for Schools.
Despite speculation on whether the improvement of quality of assessment is key,
Whizz.com is focusing on building children’s confidence in their maths ability.
“Research at Whizz.com suggests that, by the age of nine, children actually make their
own internal assessment on whether they are good at maths,” said Richard Marett, CEO
of Whizz.com. “It’s then very difficult to change their opinion after they’ve made this
“This has major repercussions to their success later in secondary school and even their
future earning potential,” he said.
“In fact, children who achieve level 4 or more at primary school are 80% more likely to
gain a grade C or higher at GCSE. This in turn then equates to an average of £150,000
more in earning potential over a lifetime.”
In response to an email requesting school involvement in a trial of online maths tutoring
service Maths-Whizz, Marett said he had seen demand from hundreds of schools in a
matter of days.
“This comes at a time when government directives for schools are increasingly targeting
personalised learning for students, live parent reporting, parental involvement and
improved school-home links in terms of education,” said Marett.
Personalised learning is an approach which Whizz.com has been championing for many
years, and has found that if done properly, significantly increases performance,
confidence and understanding in maths for children.
Marett also commented on the increasing use of Nintendo DS Brain Training in the
classrooms: “The games console is a popular platform which is useful in engaging and
encouraging enthusiasm in children. However, unlike Maths-Whizz, the Nintendo
software doesn’t teach the maths curriculum.”
Whizz.com services are already being used by over half a million children in 3,000
schools in the UK, and the company won the BETT award for maths in key stages 1 and
2 in 2006.
Following the success of Maths-Whizz Tutoring Plus, Whizz.com will be officially
releasing Maths-Whizz Tutoring For Schools at the 2009 BETT show in January.
Results indicate that children who use Maths-Whizz Tutoring Plus – designed to engage
children in maths learning in different ways – for 90 minutes a week, will improve their
maths age, on average, by two years in just 12 months.
For more info visit http://www.whizz.com