While Microsoft continues to attack Google using its "Scroogled" campaign, the company also adds to its corporate user base at a steady, and perhaps increasing, rate. Ironically, less than a week after taking on Google Docs with not one, but two videos, Microsoft adds another major corporation to its Office 365 subscriber list, this time in the form of Telefónica, a major provider of integrated communication solutions.
Telefónica will add 130,000 employees to the Microsoft cloud solution, not only using Office 365, but also Yammer. "Over the past 18 months, we have built very strong foundations and are now ready to move to the cloud," said Adrian Steel, the European production hub lead and global director at Telefónica. Steel goes on to explain "Deploying Office 365 and Yammer is this next step in bringing our global workforce to the forefront of seamless communication and collaboration while still operating at the level of speed and execution we’re known for".
Cloud storage solution SkyDrive is getting additional functionality. Microsoft is banking on the service becoming the primary storage method for those who are part of the company's ecosystem. The software giant has made SkyDrive a focus in both Windows 8 and Office 2013 / 365 Home Premium.
Microsoft's Omar Shahine announces that "starting today and rolling out over the next 48 hours, we're making it easier for you to see all of your photos in SkyDrive across all your albums and folders based on a timeline view". With timeline view you will be able to scroll down to navigate through all of the images. They are organized into groups by event and time.
Late yesterday, cloud storage provider Box released updated apps for Windows 8 and Windows Phone 8. The latest iterations come with new features which are designed to "give users and businesses better control and enhanced security over their content". Let's take a look at the changes.
The most noteworthy feature introduced on Box for Windows 8 and Windows Phone 8 is the ability to manage (add, change and remove) access permissions for any collaborator in any folder, which the user owns. This functionality is aimed at both users, like students working together on an assignment, and businesses, which need in-depth collaboration features to manage a project.
I am long done with rattling on about Google's decision to kill Reader. I get it. RSS is popular with our crowd -- the tech writers and those who follow multiple blogs and wish for an easy way to keep up. That is where the service excels. But, let's face it -- the vast majority of people do not use this technology. My wife and kids, savvy computer users, would not know what RSS was if I asked.
However, the software has a niche, and sometimes a niche is all that is needed for a successful business. We have alternatives in Feedly, The Old Reader, Feedspot and Digg, which has bun in the oven. There are lesser-known options as well, but most users seem to be destined for one of these already established programs. Several have had to beef up server capacity and bandwidth to cope with new-found popularity.
Despite the almost laughable nature of the Scroogled campaign, Microsoft continues to push it. The company slams Gmail, but that is not enough. Jake Zborowski, senior product manager for Microsoft Office, releases not one, but two blog posts that attack Google Docs. Both are accompanied by ads -- low resolution videos that view like someone pulled them from the cutting-room floor.
"Converting Office files into Google Apps is a gamble" Zborowski claims in one post. "Why take the gamble on converting your Office files to Google Docs when you can use Microsoft Office and the Microsoft Office Web Apps to create, share and edit your Office files with your content intact", he explains. A new casino-themed ad accompanies the post and features B-list celebrities Rob Schneider and Pete Rose.
YouTube opened to the public in November 2005, and Google paid $1.6 billion for the service 11 months later. The video-sharing site is the quintessential freebee. No longer. Today Google announced the launch of the first pay-for channels, which is rather strange coming from the company which business model is about profiting from valuable content given away free wrapped with search keywords and advertising. Welcome to the new Internet, with paywalls rising everywhere. To play, you must pay.
In a statement Google says there are "1 million channels generating revenue on YouTube, and one of the most frequent requests we hear from these creators behind them is for more flexibility in monetizing and distributing content". That revenue largely comes from the in-video advertisements. Now you'll pay, too -- as little as 99 cents per month. Here's something: From the sampling I made today, subscription liberates you from advertising, which is something to cheer about.
Are you a music fan? If so, then you have no shortage of solutions for both computer and mobile device. Everywhere from Pandora to Spotify offers an alternative for your PC or mobile device. Plus there are even apps that can identify a track you hear on the radio in a matter of seconds. Shazam is one of the ones that fall in the latter category.
Shazam, like SoundHound, identifies songs, while Rdio plays them for you. The two entities are joining forces in more locations now. "Now anyone with the Shazam app for iOS or Android can listen to entire songs after tagging them by clicking the 'Listen Free on Rdio' link", the music discovery service tells us.
Since purchasing the Vizio Co-Star several months ago, I have become a fan of Google TV. I even considered using online services to "cut the cord". With my Amazon Prime subscription and network TV sites I will miss little. What stops me? The NFL and those networks. The league stubbornly refuses to move into the future, where other professional sports already reside, while many network websites block the Google device.
Today, PlayOn makes the barrier in front me even smaller. This is a huge move for MediaMall software. The company announces it brings full service to Google TV free of charge. It does so because of the slight that Google's living room solution has been shown by networks. "We’ve decided to make PlayOn completely free on Google TV. Why? Well, Hulu and the Networks have been discriminating against Google TV owners by not creating apps that enable folks to watch their content on Google TV", the company tells us.
Late yesterday, Microsoft announced that Windows Phone 8 users from all over the world can now finally take advantage of the complete photo and video backup feature offered by its smartphone operating system. This comes a tad over six months after the Windows Phone 8 release in late-October, last year. A little too late, wouldn't you agree?
Previously, users from a number of regions were constricted to use a dumbed-down backup feature that only allowed automatically upload of low-resolution pictures (no video support) straight to SkyDrive. "We just started to light this up, so be patient if you don’t see it right away. The change could take a few days to roll out around the globe", Aaron Sauvé, Microsoft senior program manager says.
Spotify is the world’s most popular streaming music service with some 24 million active uses, around 6 million of those paying a subscription for premium services. I use Spotify all the time; it’s a great way of finding and sampling new music, and the company’s deals with major labels go a long way to legitimizing the streaming model.
Yesterday though, Spotify acted to change its website player after a Dutch developer released a Chrome extension that allowed MP3s to be downloaded from the site. Google removed the Downloadify plug-in from its site before Spotify applied the fix to the player, which now uses an encrypted format.
Some of Microsoft's greatest battles aren't being fought in the open, contentious field of constant public opinion and media coverage. If there's one thing Microsoft has always done better than the competition, it's blowing open new areas of opportunity and running with the ball on the sly. Apple and Samsung can keep their tactical flags limited to consumer electronics; Microsoft has far greater potential as a rising star in the cloud arena. The war started with its drive to push email to the cloud with Office 365, and the next leg of battle sits in the helm of Windows Azure and XaaS dominance.
If you're under the impression that we are not yet in the era of massive, prevalent 'big data', you're wildly mistaken. Our data needs are already climbing to astronomical levels, with IBM stating that 90 percent of the data in existence today was created in just the last two years. Not surprisingly, much of these growing data needs are being tossed into virtual environments whether it be on-premise in a VMWare or Hyper-V driven route, or my personal favorite: cloud-hosted virtual machines.
I'll admit, I'm a sucker for subscriptions. I subscribe to receive periodic emails with the latest discounts for tech gear, car news or any other bits of useful information (well, at least to me). Maybe there's something nice out there that I want to know about. But because the emails keep coming in at different times of the day, going through each and every one would be a waste of time.
Cloud service Unroll.Me promises to solve the problem of subscription overload by allowing its users to wrap those emails into one big daily digest. Although the unsubscribe option is also available, the idea is to give folks the ability to actually make the best of the stuff that keeps coming in without, likely, losing track of vacation deals or the latest social updates.
Swiss cloud-storage browser tool Cyberduck 4.3.1 has been released for Mac and Windows. This open-source tool provides users with a user-friendly means of browsing FTP/SFTP, WebDAV, Amazon S3, Google Cloud Storage and Rackspace Cloud Files servers.
Version 4.3.1 builds on the recent 4.3 major update – the program’s first in around 18 months, which improved support for OS X Lion and Mountain Lion, plus expanded support for various services, including S3 and Google Storage. However, support for Dropbox and Google Drive have been dropped alongside Microsoft’s Azure Blob Storage connections.
After introducing Android and iOS apps, enterprise social network Unison has shifted its focus from mobile handsets to large team collaboration, introducing the ability to voice chat with up to 250 users straight from the browser. The feature is currently available only through the official Chrome app.
Compared to the traditional way of doing things on Unison -- text chatting -- the latest feature allows users and members of large teams to interact in a more personal way. Voice is also more immediate than writing and can trigger a faster response, something which can be helpful when dealing with fast-approaching deadlines or other critical scenarios. In some cases, businesses can also replace the traditional phone conference and, therefore, rely less on other services for basic but essential tasks.
Instagram boasts 100 million users and it gets media attention, but the photo sharing service is far from being the only camera app available for mobile customers. In fact, while I use the service, I cannot say it is my favorite. That title belongs to Camera360, a photo app that brings all sorts of functionality to your smartphone.
Camera360 recently upgraded to version 4.0, bringing along new shooting modes, scenes, cloud integration and more. The upgrade is a hit and today the company announces that, like Instagram, it now has 100 million customers.