For many, Microsoft Office is the best office suite. It is chock full of features that makes it ideal for power-users. A major corporation cannot realistically depend on anything else. Sure, a small business or student can get by with Libreoffice or Google's web apps, but a Fortune 500 company would be foolish to do so -- at least today.
Not everyone is a power-user though -- having too many features can ultimately become noise. This is where Google's Docs and Sheets shine -- they are simple and meet basic needs. However, that does not mean the software cannot evolve. Quite frankly, Google is a company that is a leader in evolution and forward thinking, so its software is always gaining new features. Today, the search-giant announces an evolution in Docs and Sheets with the ability to utilize add-ons.
Apple is revolutionary through evolution. The company did not invent the tablet, but the iPad sparked the modern trend. It did not invent the touchscreen smartphone, yet the iPhone revolutionized portable computing.
Speaking of the iPhone, last year, Apple introduced the iPhone 5s with a 64-bit processor. The fruit-logo company certainly did not invent 64-bit computing, however, competitors are now playing "me too" and trying to catch-up in the mobile sector. According to a new study, the majority of mobile devices will be 64-bit by 2018. Do we have Apple to thank?
I'm not going to rehash all of the reasons Microsoft has to show concern over rival Chrome OS, but now Google is providing one more to add to that list. It's not major, and likely won't sway someone's decision towards a Chromebook, but it heaps another straw onto the camel's back.
The search giant is offering a 60-day free trial of its Google Music All Access, which normally costs users $9.99 per month -- or $7.99 if you got in very early, as I did.
Early this evening, I exchanged emails with someone writing a blog post about Chromebook. He seeks sales numbers that I doubt are available. Success is a difficult measure despite the hype. In January post "The trouble with new Chromebooks" here and "Twenty-Fourteen isn't Year of the Chromebook" on my personal site, I raise questions about the computer's future.
I extend reservations in the text of my email reply, which follows.
For many, open source is believed to be the future. If you aren't familiar, in basic terms, open source is software that is accompanied by free to distribute source code. By having the source code, users can see the guts of the program they are using. This is in contrast to closed source software, like most of Microsoft's, where the code is hidden to retain intellectual property and make a profit.
Neither school of thought is wrong -- you can't fault a company for trying to make money by going closed source. Bill Gates would not have become the richest man in the world if Microsoft's software portfolio was open. However, not everyone lives for money. Open source allows even the poorest people to potentially access quality software at no charge. Today, Google announces it is looking for college students to work on open source projects for its 10th year of Summer of Code.
It's been a busy week for Microsoft -- and not necessarily for the reasons the company might have expected. For anyone unwilling to wait until April to receive Windows 8.1 Update, a few methods emerged that made it possible to grab a copy of the eagerly awaited update ahead of the official launch. While some of these options appear to have been stopped in their tracks, where there's a will there's a way, and numerous users -- my good self included -- jumped on the downloads as soon as possible. Some were impressed while others -- yep, me again! -- were not. Perhaps it is little wonder that Windows XP usage continues to grow faster than that of Windows 8.x. This lead to analysts suggesting that the decline of the PC will be slowed rather than avoided by the continued popularity of XP.
Windows 8.1 Update wasn't that only Microsoft download that was on the agenda this week. Brian had details of how Windows RT users can update their copies of Office 2013 to SP1. At the top of Microsoft, a quick reshuffle saw a change of faces in a number of key positions as well as the departure of some well-known characters. Skype rolled out to Outlook.com around the world and gained HD video calling as well. It is normally Microsoft that is to be found on the giving-end of a smeary advertising campaign (hello, Scroogled), but after the Oscars it was Nokia poking fun at Ellen DeGeneres' blurry selfie that was taken on a Samsung device.
When people speak of romantic getaways or honeymoons, the conversation often turns to Hawaii. After all, it is literally a paradise, featuring beautiful beaches and awe-inspiring sunsets. However, there is one major downside -- the cost. Not only is airfare and accommodation very expensive, basic goods such as milk and bread have high prices too.
While you can close your eyes and imagine you are there, Google has a much better and high-tech idea. The search giant announces that it is bringing Street View to Hawaii. In other words, you can experience the 50th US state from your computer.
My knowledge of Australia is rather limited. I know of Crocodile Dundee, Outback Steakhouse and Rocko from Rocko's Modern Life. I'll admit, I need to learn more about the world. Luckily, the internet allows me to learn from the comfort of my computer chair.
Google is one of the great resources from which to learn, especially Google Maps. From my web browser, I can navigate to anywhere in the world. Even better, Street View allows me to experience the locations as if I was really there. Today, Google announces that it is bringing Street View down under, to Sydney, Australia. Well, the search-giant is going even further down under than that, into the sea!
The old saying about real estate is that the three most important things are location, location and location. In other words, if you buy a beautiful home next to a garbage dump or angry neighbors, you will be miserable. When it comes time to sell, you will be hindered by the horrible surroundings.
Well, it seems that Auction.com was in the right location at the right time today, as Google Capital invests $50 million dollars in the real estate website. If you aren't familiar, that is a Google-backed growth equity fund.
We all know that backups are important and these days that applies to data stored on cloud services just as much as desktop PCs.
Cloud backup provider Spanning Cloud Apps has announced a major update to its Spanning Backup for Google Apps, offering improved reporting and proactive notifications.
Google's Android distribution charts give us a fresh look at adoption trends with each monthly update. In early-March, we see Jelly Bean and KitKat continuing their rise in popularity, while older iterations of the popular open source operating system are on their descending path.
Based on the number of devices accessing the Play store in the seven days ending March 3, KitKat is running on 2.5 percent of monitored Android handsets. Its distribution share is 38.88 percent higher compared to the previous month, when it accounted for 1.8 percent. KitKat will see a stronger uptake once smartphones like the new Samsung Galaxy S4 are released, and vendors upgrade their existing devices to the latest Android iteration.
This is a personal account of the way I have noticed the technology markets changing over the years. It is not gospel, and you are welcome (encouraged, if you like) to disagree… It's not all that long ago that brand loyalty was a given; it was almost the default setting for many people. If you got into computing -- and it was something you "got into" rather than just having as part of your life -- you stuck loyally to whatever brand you chose at the start. We could go back to the 70s and look at the birth of personal computing, but as this is my personal account, we'll have to start in the 80s.
I did just manage to sneak into the 70s -- being born in 1979 puts me in the difficult-to-comprehend position of being 34 years old but having seen five decades -- but an interest in computing didn't emerge until some time in the late 80s. I remember there being several computing camps: BBC, Amstrad, Spectrum, Vic and Commodore to name a few. My decision was made for me at an early age when my dad decided to invest in a Commodore 16 Plus 4 (the Plus 4 referring to the fact that the OS featured four built-in applications including a spreadsheet tool, the absurd simplicity of which was not lost on me even at a young age).
I'll confess, I'm not a Yahoo user. Well, I do use one of its services -- Fantasy Sports. Yes, I am one of those guys that enjoys pretending I am a coach in the NFL, while sitting on my couch in my underwear, eating snacks.
However, I access Yahoo Fantasy sports with my Google credentials. The reason being, I am not a believer in Yahoo's security. After all, the recycling of email addresses is appalling. Today however, Yahoo informs me that it will no longer be allowing Google or Facebook accounts to be used to access Fantasy Sports. Instead, a Yahoo login is being forced on users.
My first-ever Chromebook was a Samsung. The 11.6-inch laptop was inexpensive and revolutionary. Heck, it looked like a plasticy Macbook Air -- very sexy. However, all that glitters is not gold. While my relationship with the laptop started strong, the dual-core ARM processor and paltry 2GB of ram proved underpowered. Pages would load slowly, and the lag could be extremely frustrating.
While many people think of Chrome OS as being just a web browser, remember, it is actually a Linux distribution running a web browser. The more RAM the better, with 4GB being the bare minimum for an enjoyable experience. Today, Samsung announces two new ARM-based Chromebooks to serve as a follow-up to the original. Not only is the RAM increased, but the CPU is supercharged too.
Chrome 34 comes with the promise of hands-free voice search, plus makes it possible for users to import "supervised" user profiles on to multiple devices. Also added are responsive images, and an unprefixed version of the Web Audio API.