The world of streaming music is dominated by just a few names. Deezer is a relatively new entrant to the US market, and it is now stretching its wings by purchasing Stitcher, the radio and podcasting service. Deezer currently has roughly 16 million users scattered across 180 countries, and this represents great growth potential for Stitcher.
The seven-year-old internet radio service carries content from 40 countries, giving it a catalog of more than 35,000 shows. Diversifying in this way could be Deezer's ticket to success in a somewhat crowded market, where a unique selling point is needed to stand out from the likes of Spotify.
A new email standard called RRVS (Require-Recipient-Valid-Since) has been unveiled by Facebook. The new standard comes through the social network working in conjunction with Yahoo, and is designed to protect users against potential account hijacking.
It's now over a year since Yahoo decided that the time had come to start recycling email addresses that had lain dormant and unused. Concerns were voiced that little used email addresses could end up falling into the wrong hands and be used for nefarious purposes. With email addresses used for much more than just email communication -- often doubling up as login credentials -- the need for security in this area is apparent.
Anyone who was under the impression that Surface was a failure for Microsoft need look no further than the latest earnings release for proof that they're wrong. In the quarter ending September 30, Microsoft pulled in $23.20 billion in revenue, and $908 million of this came from the Surface division.
All told, FY15 Q1 represents record first quarter revenue for Microsoft, and it can be at least partly attributed to the influence of Satya Nadella, as well as the restructuring surrounding Nokia Devices and Services. There was a strong performance in the Devices and Consumer divisions, with revenue increasing 47% to $10.96 billion, while commercial revenue rose 10% to $12.28 billion.
Saying "the Ebola virus is unlike any health crisis we have ever experienced and needs a response unlike anything we have ever seen," Paul Allen, co-founder of Microsoft, pledged millions of dollars to help tackle the virus. The billionaire philanthropist increased his commitment to "at least $100 million" and called on others to contribute as well.
Ebola has now claimed the lives of more than 5,000 people, and Allen is keen to help fund not only heathcare professionals and treatments, but also the evacuation of international aid workers. Allen's #TackleEbola website is being used as a hub to raise money for a number of individual projects and causes such as household protection kits and hand-washing stations.
There are now a lot of smartwatches to choose from, and many of them need to be tethered to a phone to function properly. Google today rolls out an update to Android Wear that adds support for watches with a GPS sensor, meaning that it will be possible to leave your phone at home when you go for a run.
The GPS update is making its way to the LG G Watch, the Samsung Gear Live, and the Moto 360 over the coming days. It coincides with pre-orders opening for Sony's SmartWatch 3, the first Android Wear device to include a GPS sensor. The smartwatch is available on Verizon right now (yours for $249.99) for shipping on 30 October, and will be making its way to Google Play very soon.
A new survey conducted by Microsoft shows that more than one in four PC owners in the US is suffering weekly, or even daily, attempts by criminals to gain access to their private data. Microsoft found that 22 percent of tablet users suffered similar data access attempts, and that general levels of concern about scams has increased. While "traditional" scams -- such as those asking for upfront payments or relating to fake lottery winnings -- have actually decreased, there are now more social media-based scams than a couple of years ago.
It's not all bad news. While scams might be on the increase, web users are seemingly more aware of the risks involved in using the internet and take proactive steps to protect themselves and their data. As more people use mobile devices to get online, more phone and tablet users are taking precautions.
Out of nowhere, Ello exploded, ninja-style, into the public eye. The social network shot to fame after Facebook's real name policy sent many users scuttling off in search of a new home, and the spartan, "beautiful" (Ello's word, not mine) social network welcomed an influx of new users. In addition to the "use whatever name you want" philosophy, users were happy to find that Ello offered a completely ad-free experience.
Now the lack of ads has been enshrined in law. While pocketing $5.5 million in a new round of venture funding, Ello has converted to a State of Delaware Public Benefit Corporation (PBC). The social network vows to never show nor sell ads, and requires this commitment to transfer to any future owner, should the company be acquired.
We've looked at the two public builds of the Windows 10 Technical Preview -- the initial, disappointing, embryonic build 9841, and the very slightly less disappointing build 9860 -- but of course the best is still to come. There are many features we expect to find their way into the final build, such as Cortana, and there are sure to be many surprises. One interesting inclusion is built-in two-factor authentication.
The presence of this valuable security feature is revealed by Jim Alkove in a post on the Windows blog in which he talks about the importance of identity protection and general security. He explains that Windows 10 will start to move users away from single factor authentication -- the humble password -- in favor of more secure options.
Microsoft is pushing music fans towards Music Pass by cutting off one supply of free streaming music. On December 1st, the free streaming feature of Xbox Music will be no more, leaving Windows 8, Windows 8.1, and web users looking for new ways to satisfy their music streaming cravings.
In an announcement posted on the Xbox website, Microsoft explains that it wants to encourage music fans into signing up for a paid Xbox Music Pass. The posts explains that there is a free 30 day trial available, but once this is up, the charge is $9.99 per month. Is this likely to fly with users who have been enjoying music for free? That remains to be seen...
Kinect has moved on. Once a peripheral that encouraged gamers to dance manically in front of their consoles, it has now evolved into something rather more sophisticated. As part of Kinect's on-going development Microsoft today released Kinect SDK 2.0 following the developer preview program from last November. Developers not only have scores of improvements to enjoy, but they now have the ability to deploy Kinect apps to the Windows Store.
This news goes hand in hand with the release of a new Kinect adaptor. The adaptor makes it possible to take an Xbox One Kinect and connect it to a PC or tablet. There's no need to choose between a Kinect for Windows v2 and Kinect for Xbox One as they both now perform identically.
Hands up if your inbox is out of control? From that quick show of hands, it's clear that the idea of inbox zero has not caught on globally. We all have more email to deal with than ever before, even if most of it is junk. Google has a new solution to email overload. Inbox. This is, Google is quick to point out, not Gmail, although it is from the same people.
Available for your Android phone and the web, Inbox by Google helps to cut through the crap to ensure that you're free to focus on what actually matters. It expands on some of the ideas already found in Gmail, but is a completely separate tool. This is Google recognizing that people use email not only to communicate with others, but also to organize their lives and keep on top of a schedule.
Development of Windows has been criticized in the past for being slow. With the Technical Preview of Windows 10, it's just not possible to level the same complaint at Microsoft. It's only a couple of weeks since we got our grubby little hands on the embryonic build 9841 and tens of thousands of users have provided feedback. Now it's upgrade time. Build 9860 has been pushed out -- through Windows Update, no less... none of this messy ISO malarkey this time around -- so it's time to take a look at the work Microsoft has done.
When build 9841 was released, there was disappointment from many quarters -- including here -- at just how little had changed since Windows 8.1. Jumping up 19 build numbers might not seem like much, but there are now a couple of features that were talked about at the launch of the Technical Preview that were not available in the first release -- but still no Cortana.
Firebase, a company helping developers to produce apps and services that store and sync data in realtime, is the latest Google acquisition. With a user base of 110,000 developers three-year-old Firebase announced that it is joining Google and plans to continue the work it already does, but pointing out it will be possible to "do much more, much faster" with Google's resources and backing.
With Firebase's focus on the cloud and mobile, it is little surprise that Google's own announcement about the acquisition came on the Google Cloud Platform Blog. The two companies appear to be a good match, with Firebase's aim to "continue to be platform agnostic and provide clients for iOS, Android, the web, and more" being very much in keeping with Google's own ethos.
Windows 10 Technical Preview has just been updated. We've been working with build 9841 for a little while, and now it's time for an upgrade.
Today, Microsoft releases build 9860 to people signed up to the Windows Insider Program, and there are a number of key additions. There's the Action Center to handle notifications, new animations, and improved multi-monitor handling.
Two factor authentication (or two step verification, if you prefer) is very a la mode at the moment. Actually, it has been pushed by companies for some time, but a number of high profile security problems recently has brought it back to public attention again.
Enabling the security feature usually means entering a password as normal, in addition to a passcode sent to a mobile device. Today, Google makes things a little easier for, in its own words, "particularly security-sensitive individuals" by introducing support for Security Key.