If Google does not already rule your internet world, then it is still aiming to do so. Gmail, Calendar, Drive, Docs -- the company aims to offer you everything. Now it looks at integrating more of these features to make things a bit easier for customers, adding better Calendar options right into the email app.
"If you do a lot of scheduling over email, it's now a little bit easier to create events directly from your Gmail. Now available: dates and times within emails are lightly underlined: click them to schedule that conference call or lunch date without ever leaving Gmail" says Google product manager Boris Khvostichenko.
Email remains one of the most popular forms of communication in the world, currently fending off the unwanted attentions of Twitter, Facebook and Skype after effortlessly swatting away the threat of SMS and the printed letter. Yet we’re increasingly happy to entrust our email to the cloud, accessing through a web browser whenever we want to stay in touch.
Whether or not your email is with a cloud-based provider like Gmail or Hotmail, there’s always room for a decent email client. And if you want something that’s simple, elegant and feature-packed, we suggest you take a closer look at eM Client 5.0.
Here's a question for you: Is a company-provided device a benefit? You don't pay for hardware, software or service but might get older gear as hidden personal cost. I ask, because if Gartner is right, you'll soon pay, whether or not you want to. A survey of CIOs finds that 38 percent of companies plan to stop providing employees with devices by 2016. Wait a bit before reading on and think about what that really means.
"We're finally reaching the point where IT officially recognizes what has always been going on: People use their business device for nonwork purposes", David Willis, Gartner vice president, says. As someone working from home full time since May 1999, I must confess to rarely using company-issued computers or other devices. But that was my choice, and one often not supported by IT departments. Now, for many workers, there will be only choice of bringing their own.
Microsoft is on an update streak with Windows Azure, introducing significant new features at a steady pace. For the past couple of months we have witnessed an overwhelming number of changes meant to improve the company's cloud platform, including the Iaas (Infrastructure as a Service) support announced two weeks ago.
Microsoft's latest move in this never-ending chess game with its rivals is the Windows Azure SDK (Software Development Kit) 2.0 for .NET which now features improvements for websites, cloud services, storage, service bus and PowerShell automation. Let's take a look at what's new.
Digg hopes to capitalize on Google Reader's unceremonious execution, scheduled for July 1, and no last-minute reprieve from the governor appears to be coming. Today the social-sharing site released more details about its plans, including a timeframe for the beta and results from its survey of RSS users.
The new Digg reader app will arrive in June, at least in beta form. However, the company promises that this is only the start of the work. "Our beta release in June will be just the beginning, a product built with experimentation in mind by a team eager to work with you to build something you love", Digg says in an announcement today.
Some days, I look at Google and my mind's eye sees Microsoft. This is one of them. Developers adopting Google+ Sign-In will get a big benefit in search results. The tie-in -- to monopoly search -- feels oh-so like Microsoft tactics to woo and keep developers on Windows during the 1980s and 90s. Yeah, I feel déjà vu right about now.
In February, the search and information giant added Google+ Sign-In as an option developers can include with their apps. In my news analysis then, I called the authentication service "bold and disruptive" and a "Facebook killer". The direct search tie-in makes my early sentiment a gross understatement. Google gives developers every reason to prefer its authentication mechanism, which hugely benefits the social network. The monopoly product is used to extend reach into an adjacent market. Say, didn't trustbusters on two continents prosecute Microsoft for tying together Windows and browser?
After using the Android and iOS counterparts, Facebook app for Windows Phone 8 feels rudimentary and out of place by comparison. Even though the interface takes some design cues from the operating system, it is not very intuitive, wastes too much screen estate and displays content in a visually unappealing way. The app would be rather nice, except 2010 has long passed.
Now Microsoft wants you to love the Facebook experience on Windows Phone 8, releasing a beta app that stands up against the Android and iOS alternatives. Gone is the infinite horizontal scrolling, now replaced by tabs that you might actually find useful. Swiping to the right reveals a tab to the left of the screen, containing a link to your profile, favorites, groups, friends, apps, settings, the usual policy information and a log-out button.
Windows Phone customers have options for driving apps -- both Bing and Nokia produce excellent solutions. Now one of the most intriguing options for Android and iOS is preparing for a push to the Microsoft mobile platform and impending competition with the existing solutions already in place.
Waze, which happens to be my GPS app of choice on Android, announces early beta testing on Windows Phone 8: "We are now opening a beta program for Windows Phone users and we'd like you to join" says the company in its announcement.
One way to gain loads of free online storage space is to mix and match storage providers, taking advantage of each to quickly build up tens of gigabytes of cloud-based storage for backup, sync and sharing purposes. The downside of such an approach is the fact you need to manage each provider using its own dedicated app.
Nowhere is this frustration more evident than when using a tablet or phone to access your data, as you have to switch between apps to try and locate where you’ve stored a particular file. But help may be hand in the form of an app for Windows 8, iPad and Android calledRainbowDrive 2.0.0 that attempts to bring multiple providers together under one roof.
Cloud-based storage provider SpiderOak has released SpiderOak 5.0.1, a brand new version of its desktop client for Windows, Mac and Linux. The chief highlight of version 5 is a new feature called SpiderOak Hive, a new centralized folder for quick and easy sync between devices.
Version 5.0.1 also implements integration in Windows Explorer, support for passwords in ShareRooms and remote diagnostic tools to help SpiderOak’s support teams resolve issues with end users.
While it did not grab a lot of attention, this week Google rolled out version 1.9 of its Drive app for both Windows and Mac users. The cloud storage service adds a number of new features that should improve the experience for its customers -- and that is anyone who has a Google account, because Drive and 5 GB of free storage come along with that account.
The latest version contains added-features in the right-click context menu available from within your file system explorer, including sharing and also the ability to view the file on drive.google.com.
Twenty-sixth in a series. Windows Store app growth has slowed down a bit in the past two weeks. The overall increase dropped below 2,000 new apps in both periods. The overall app count increased by 1,877 this week to 44,355 apps in the US Windows Store. Free apps increased by 1,372 to a total of 34,802, and paid & trial apps by 505 to 9553 apps.
The Windows 8 news app received an update this week that added support for RSS feeds to it. To add an RSS feed click on the Add a source link after you have opened the news app and add the RSS URL at the top of the source field on the page that opens up. You should not expect "Google Reader"-like controls but if you follow a couple of sites, you can add them here to do so using the news app.
One of the big advantages of cloud storage is that most services make it easy to use themselves as a tool for effortless syncing of data between computers. Update a file on one device, and it quickly becomes available to everyone else.
The problem with syncing via the cloud is that you usually have to pay for any meaningful amount of storage space, and that’s before you consider the potential implications of having a copy of your sensitive data stored in the cloud. However tight your cloud provider’s security is, there is always the nagging doubt that your files could be accessed by someone else.
The fight to keep brick and mortar commerce subsidizing e-commerce is in a crucial stage today.
You never heard of that fight? It also goes under the guise of fighting "Internet sales taxes". A bill (the "Marketplace Fairness Act") is moving along in the Senate that requires merchants with $1 million or more in revenue to collect any sales taxes due in the state of the buyer.
Back in January, I was fortunate enough to get an invitation to test the alpha version of the new BitTorrent Sync app -- an opportunity that excited me, given that I had recently learned my beloved Live Mesh would go away, thanks to Microsoft's own version of "Spring Cleaning". This left me in the market for a replacement.
Now BitTorrent announces that private testing is done and, while the app is still alpha, the company is ready to unleash it on the public. "We’re really excited about opening up this Alpha. The feedback has been universally positive. Those in the closed Alpha have already synced more than 200TB since we started the program on January 24", says BiTorrent's Christian Averill.