Articles about Cloud Computing

Google starts testing new domain registration service -- Google Domains

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In many regards, it is rather surprising that it didn’t happen sooner -- today Google announces it is testing a new domain registration service aimed at businesses. Google Domains is currently an invite-only service, and it has taken the search-giant a very long time to get in on the website game. Once fully up and running, "businesses will be able to search, find, purchase and transfer the best domain for their business -- whether it's .com, .biz, .org, or any of the wide range of new domains that are being released to the web".

At the moment, the service is concerned only with domain registration. However, partnerships with the likes of Shopify, Squarespace, Weebly, and Wix.com suggest that storage and web building options will also be in the cards. Few details have been released about just what we can expect from Google Domains, but the About page does give something of an insight. Standard features such as domain forwarding and domain management tools are complemented by customizable sub-domains and email accounts that can be forwarded to existing Gmail addresses.

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Microsoft ups the ante with 1TB of free cloud storage for Office 365, 15GB for OneDrive

cloud-storage

Just three months ago we saw the start of the cloud storage price wars when Google slashed its prices. Today Microsoft has retaliated by offering a massive increase in the amount of free cloud storage available to OneDrive and Office 365 customers. The company's recently renamed storage service jumps from 7GB of free space to 15GB -- although those with reasonable memories will recall that it is not all that since SkyDrive customers were given 25GB free of charge. But it doesn’t end there. Every version of Office 365 will now come with 1TB of free space as standard.

The figure for OneDrive has not just been plucked out of the air. "Our data tells us that 3 out of 4 people have less than 15 GB of files stored on their PC. Factoring in what they may also have stored on other devices, we believe providing 15 GB for free right out of the gate – with no hoops to jump through – will make it much easier for people to have their documents, videos, and photos available in one place."

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Microsoft is cooler than Apple

cool frog sunglasses

Third in a series. In business perception is everything. Many companies succeed or fail not because their products are great but their brands are perceived to be that way. Apple is a remarkable perception manager. Consider iPhone 5s, which features and benefits fall far behind many competing devices. Rather than innovate, the fruit-logo launches an evocative marketing campaign -- "You're more powerful than you think" -- that makes the smartphone look better. Improved. The ads are compelling because they communicate: Your life will be better, you shall achieve your dreams, by buying iPhone 5s.

Meanwhile, competitors like Microsoft truly innovate and take the kind of risks that once defined Apple. Last year I asked: "Will 2013 be another year of Apple iteration masquerading as innovation?" Yes, and halfway into another year, little is changed. The answer is the same. Last month I explained "Why Apple no longer innovates". OS X Yosemite and iOS X 8 are prettier, but so what? Meanwhile, Windows 8/8.1 is a radical rethinking of the platform -- as is Surface, which delivers refreshing change to computing. What's that long-forgotten Yellow Pages tagline? Let your fingers do the walking. They do on Surface.

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New Seismic release gives sales and marketing teams a competitive edge

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Cloud-based sales platform specialist Seismic is launching a new version of its product aimed at giving marketing teams a deeper insight into how their material influences actual sales.

It's focused on increasing conversion rates for B2B sales, shortening sales cycles and boosting customer retention rates.

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Why IT departments will soon be the exception, not the rule

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For many organizations under 100 users or so, there has been a trend on the rise that is either decimating formal IT departments entirely, or trimming them down to bare minimum levels. Many in the IT industry wouldn't notice it, because, of course, they may likely be working for such a department themselves. It's hard to have an objective viewpoint when you're part of the status quo.

As an outside consultant, who works with a variety of organizations small and large, I see my clients and their support structures from a different lens. Being an outsider here has its advantages, namely in being able to see many of these IT departments for what they are.

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What we can learn from Facebook's 30 minute outage

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Facebook is at the heart of delivering applications to a generation of content-hungry consumers, who expect short, intense experiences and flawless execution when they engage with brands. Because of this, companies like Facebook invest millions to ensure their platforms are robust enough to withstand almost any situation.

Apps look simple to the user, but under the hood they are often incredibly complex. When someone Likes a post on Facebook or places a comment, a single click triggers millions of lines of code and activates thousands of servers, so managing these applications is challenging.

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Microsoft, Google to include kill switch in Windows Phone, Android

Smartphone Smashed Screen Hammer

Both Microsoft and Google have agreed to add a kill switch their mobile operating systems. Following an agreement with the New York Attorney General, the next versions of Windows Phone and Android will include a feature that will render handsets useless if they are stolen. The attorney general, Eric Schneiderman, published a report yesterday outlining the importance of such a feature, and revealed that two of the biggest names in technology are on-board.

It's something that authorities have been calling for for some time now, citing the sheer number of mobile phone thefts taking place around the world. Schneiderman's report points to Apple as proof of the efficacy of a kill switch. Thefts of iPhones dropped by 17 percent in New York City after the introduction of a remote wiping and locking feature. The Secure Our Smartphones report took fire at Samsung. The company had opted not to include a kill switch, and thefts of Samsung handsets jumped by 40 percent in NYC. "Reactivation Lock" has since been implemented on a small number of new Galaxy handsets.

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Evernote 5.4 for Windows Desktop adds user-requested features, including shortcuts toolbar option

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Evernote Corporation has released Evernote 5.4 for Windows Desktop, a minor update to its popular cloud-based, cross-platform note-taking and organizational tool.

Version 5.4 introduces two new features based on user feedback: the ability to request additional permissions when accessing shared notebooks, and the ability to view shortcuts horizontally on their own dedicated toolbar.

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The challenges of securing Amazon Web Services

Private secure cloud

Amazon Web Services is the world's most popular infrastructure as a service (IaaS) platform and is built to suit enterprises of all sizes looking to reduce their computing costs by shifting to the cloud.

One of the key considerations in such a move is keeping data secure and AWS has various free and chargeable mechanisms to help with this. A new report from NSS Labs looks at the advantages of AWS as well as some of the challenges organizations face when moving to an (IaaS) environment.

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Birst brings powerful analytics to SAP HANA

Data analytics

The SAP HANA in-memory analytic tool can be deployed in house or in the cloud, but to get information from it users have previously had to choose between aging legacy business intelligence (BI) tools that take months to implement and require large teams to support, or limited data discovery tools that are restricted to analysts.

Now though cloud BI specialist Birst is launching a new product to make data analysis more accessible.

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Ramp up the resolution: Google and Bing can now use more detailed imagery on maps

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If you have ever bemoaned the fact that maps are too blurry on Bing, too grainy on Google, moan no more! US restrictions on the quality of satellite imagery that can be used by online services such as these has been lifted by the US government.

The ban is to be removed after satellite photography firm DigitalGlobe made an appeal to the US Department of Commerce. Security concerns meant that satellite images were limited to a 50cm resolution, but this is to be boosted to 40cm and beyond.

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Dropbox now speaks four new languages

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Cloud storage service Dropbox has previously moved into other nations, attempting to globalize its platform in an effort to gain new users. Now the company is expanding a bit more, with the introduction of four new languages.

Both Dropbox and Carousel, which is the service's photo and video app for iOS and Android, are receiving this language update. Danish, Dutch, Swedish and Thai are all included in this new update.

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Software innovations aim to improve web application performance

Cloud Computing

The move of apps and data to the cloud places greater demands on network infrastructure, and the risk of poor performance affecting the business can put organizations off making the switch.

Cloud delivery specialist Instart Logic has announced a new software product that aims to improve application delivery performance by up to 50 percent regardless of form factor. It does this via a mix of InstantLoad load cache optimization and SmartVision vision-based image analysis.

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Privacy blow -- .UK websites must publicize registrant's name and address

Privacy

It seems there are new privacy worries at every turn. The latest cause for concern relates to websites in the UK. Nominet, the internet registry services provider for .uk domains, has changed one of its policies, and the change means that individuals running websites may have to reveal their home addresses. There are obvious privacy and security concerns associated with this, particularly for websites run by individuals who wish to remain anonymous -- full names of domain registrants must also be displayed.

Nominet's policy on opting out of appearing on WHOIS searches is not immediately clear. Things start off in a fairly simple fashion. "Only domain name holders that are non-trading individuals can opt out of having their address details published on the WHOIS". Great; my website is just a blog. There's no need to advertise my home address for the world to see, you might think. But 'advertise' could be the key word here. If Nominet classifies you and your site as a business, it is a completely different story and your home address must be displayed.

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Microsoft launches OWA for Android

Outlook 2013 Logo

Following the release of the Outlook Web App for iPhone, Microsoft has finally introduced OWA for Android on Google Play. The app, which is currently labeled as "pre-release", is compatible solely with small handsets, and requires Office 365 for business mailboxes.

As OWA for Android undergoes testing, Microsoft says that it collects feedback, squashes bugs and ensures that the app is ready for general availability. However, even as it is, the app allows users to do "everything" that its iPhone counterpart offers, with the only difference being the ability to update contact information directly from Android.

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