Google Apps for Work and Microsoft Office 365 are the two big beasts stalking the cloud software world, but there are differences in approach between independent software vendors (ISVs) for the two.
This summer the Cloud Technology Alliance surveyed 39 independent software vendors (ISVs) and channel partners about their market strategies for their cloud solutions in both Google and Microsoft environments.
I'm a Gmail user. You are probably a Gmail user. Hell, I bet your dog uses Gmail. Here's the thing though -- unless you are really young, you probably didn't use Gmail as your first-ever email account, right? Right.
If you are like me, you probably pre-date web-based email, and got your messages from an email client. In fact, many people -- especially in businesses -- still do, using such software as Thunderbird, Outlook or Evolution. The unfortunate thing, you see, is that those old emails aren't available and searchable in your Gmail account. But what if they were? What if you could import your archaic email archives (if you were smart enough to save them), saved on zip disks in a closet, into Gmail? That would be neat, right? Well, with the power of open source, you actually can -- maybe.
Google+ is a big joke, right? No one uses it, right? Wrong and wrong. The search-giant's social network is actually quite good and has many active users. I would argue that it is the best such network, superior to both Facebook and Twitter, but I digress. True, it does not have as many active users as the aforementioned competitors, but its focused purpose arguably makes it a better resource. It is brilliant for meeting like-minded individuals by using the "Communities" feature.
With all of that said, the Google+ interface was a bit clunky and confusing. Heck, it was very heavy too, causing web browsers -- in my experience -- to use a lot of resources. Today, Google announces that it is refreshing the service -- a new coat of paint and improved interface. Will this lead to increased usage?
Voice control is becoming increasingly common with the eager adoption of Siri and Cortana. Google has been in the game for some time as well, and today announces that the Google app is growing in intelligence, enabling it to 'understand' ever more complex questions.
Google's ability to recognize the context in which questions are asked is not new, but it has now evolved even further. Rather than just doing simple searches based on keywords, Google believes that it is "starting to truly understand the meaning of what you're asking".
It's hard to have too much storage, and cloud storage is particularly handy. Microsoft may have cut the amount of space OneDrive users have access to, but Google is giving you a way to gain 1TB of Google Drive space for free.
There is, of course, a slight catch. While the storage space is free, you will have to work for it. It's all part of a big push of Google's Local Guides program. Make contributions to Google Maps in the form of uploading photos, writing reviews, and correcting mistakes and you'll be rewarded in a number of ways.
Online attacks take a number of forms, and phishing is one of the more recent problems. Chrome has long featured Safe Browsing to notify people when they visit potentially dangerous websites, and today Google announces that the feature is growing to include social engineering.
Google describes social engineering as being a much broader category than traditional phishing. Typical examples include sites that trick visitors into imparting passwords or credit card details, and those which purport to be an official website when they are in fact malicious. The Safe Browsing expansion offers protection against a range of social engineering attacks that Google provides examples of.
It would appear that mass surveillance of the Internet is here to stay. We can rage against the machine, but ultimately we're powerless to stop the likes of the NSA and GCHQ prying into whatever they want to pry into. More and more people are turning to the dark web to help cover their tracks, but even the supposedly anonymous haven of Tor can be cracked for a price.
Last week in the UK, the draft Investigatory Powers Bill was published outlining proposals for ISPs to retain user's browsing histories for a full year. Governments want to weaken encryption. The FCC ruled that Do Not Track requests are essentially meaningless. The NSA finds and takes advantage of vulnerabilities. It's little wonder that privacy groups are up in arms -- the erosion of online rights continues with terrifying speed. But all is not lost. There are still things you can do to help maintain your privacy. If you're concerned, here's what you can do.
Google, like many other companies, is pushing people towards using secure internet connections. HTTPS is becoming the norm, but not everyone has caught on. To keep the security-conscious informed, Gmail is set to issue warnings about emails that are received through unsecure connections that do not use encryption.
A joint study involving Google, University of Michigan and the University of Illinois found that email is "more secure today than it was two years ago", with an increase in the number of encrypted emails sent. That said, there are still plenty of people who are not using secure connections and Google is keen to keep its users informed when they receive communication through unencrypted channels.
Not long ago LG announced the LG Watch Urbane 2nd Edition -- the first Android Wear smartwatch that offers LTE/3G connectivity. Now Google has officially announced Android Wear's cellular support.
Breaking down one of the barriers to wearable adoption -- the previous reliance on smartphones for a lot of functionality -- the arrival of cellular support means your smartwatch can be used to make and receive calls even when you don’t have your phone with you.
Anyone still desperately clinging to Windows XP only has another six months of updates for Chrome. Google has decided that the time has finally come to sever ties with the ancient operating system, and the same applies to Vista and OS X 10.6, 10.7, and 10.8.
Just as Microsoft has stopped issuing updates for Windows XP, so too has Google set a cut-off point of April 2016 for Chrome support on older OSes. These versions of Windows and OS X have been dropped by Microsoft and Apple, so it makes sense that other companies will move on as well. But as well as not getting new versions of Chrome, there will also be no more security updates.
Whilst most organizations recognize the importance of big data, the tools needed to obtain value from it are often complex and unweildy.
More and more businesses are adopting a container strategy but this leads to problems for operations and security staff seeking to maintain control and visibility.
Container security specialist Twistlock released its Container Security Suite in beta back in May and has now announced general availability of the product along with its participation in the Google Cloud Platform partner program.
One of the biggest problems with Google Maps on your smartphone is that you need an internet or data connection. At least that used to be the case. Today Google announces that navigation is now possible in offline mode.
In a move that has the potential to kill off the likes of TomTom and Garmin, Google is making it possible to download maps to your phone so turn-by-turn directions can be initiated even when there is no connection. It's a feature that people have been waiting for for some time, but Google has more to offer.
My colleague Wayne Williams wonders: "I don’t get the appeal of 'smart' versions of luxury Swiss watches". He refers to today's launch of the $1,500 TAG Heuer Connected Android Wear smartwatch. Over on Google+, journalist Kevin Tofel asks: "Who else doesn't think many people will buy a $1,500 Android Wear watch simply because it's made by TAG Heuer?" Both doubters make good, and related, points.
However, I see TAG Heuer Connected differently. Whether or not anyone buys digital over analog—or nothing at all—is immaterial. The high-end brand is carried in fine jewelry stores everywhere. This watch will make Android Wear visible to millions of buyers who might never see the platform. Demographically, many of these same people might never encounter or consider purchasing Apple Watch, either,
Sixteen of the biggest tech companies out there, eight internet firms and eight telecoms, were analyzed in terms of how much they allow their users to express themselves, and how much they protect their users’ privacy.
None passed the analysis with flying colors.