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IBM Partners With Box

June 29, 2015 by Michael  
Filed under Computing

IBM and BOX have signed a global agreement to combine their strengths into a cloud powerhouse.

The star-crossed ones said in a joint statement: “The integration of IBM and Box technologies, combined with our global cloud capabilities and the ability to enrich content with analytics, will help unlock actionable insights for use across the enterprise.”

Box will bring its collaboration and productivity tools to the party, while IBM brings social, analytic, infrastructure and security services.

The move is described as a strategic alliance and will see the two companies jointly market products under a co-banner.

IBM will enable the use of Box APIs in enterprise apps and web services to make a whole new playground for developers.

The deal will see Box integrate IBM’s content management, including content capture, extraction, analytics, case management and governance. Also aboard will be Watson Analytics to study in depth the content being stored in Box.

Box will also be integrated into IBM Verse and IBM Connections to allow full integration for email and social.

IBM’s security and consulting services will be part of the deal, and the companies will work together to create mobile apps for industries under the IBM MobileFirst programme.

Finally, the APIs for Box will be enabled in Bluemix meaning that anyone working on rich apps in the cloud can make Box a part of their creation.

Box seems to be the Nick Clegg to IBM’s ham-faced posh-boy robot in this relationship, but is in fact bringing more than you’d think to the party with innovations delivered by its acquisition of 3D modelling company Verold.

What’s more, the results of these collaborations should allow another major player to join Microsoft and Google in the wars over productivity platforms.

It was announced today that Red Hat and Samsung are forming their own coalition to bring enterprise mobile out of the hands of the likes of IBM and Apple which already have a cool thing going on with MobileFirst.

Courtesy-TheInq

Yahoo Beefs Up Mobile Search

June 29, 2015 by mphillips  
Filed under Mobile

Yahoo is beefing up its search service on mobile devices, following Google’s lead by highlighting content such as images, videos and reviews ahead of regular search results

The changes will apply to Yahoo search on the mobile web in the U.S., in browsers such as Safari and Chrome. Yahoo’s mobile app and desktop site already provide some additional content within results.

A search on the mobile web for Barack Obama, for instance, displays information about him from Wikipedia, such as his height and birth date, as well as links to news, images and YouTube videos. In one search Thursday, the videos included some curious choices, including “Barack Obama is Illuminati.”

Google already highlights a variety of content related to search queries, including news and related tweets, as well as links to other services like Maps. Microsoft’s Bing does something similar.

Because Yahoo is playing catch-up, the changes might not attract many new users, but they could help it retain people who use Yahoo for mobile searches today.

In the last quarter of 2014, mobile accounted for half of Yahoo’s search traffic in North America, up from 32 percent during the same period in 2013, according to research firm eMarketer.

 

 

Microsoft Officially Releases Office Apps For Android

June 26, 2015 by mphillips  
Filed under Mobile

Microsoft officially released its Office apps for Android, publishing the final versions of Excel, PowerPoint and Word to Google Play.

The three apps are free for consumers, who may use them only for non-commercial purposes; in other words, not for work- or business-related tasks.

Microsoft kicked off previews last month, wrapping up the release of the suite’s apps for the OSes maintained by rivals Google (Android) and Apple (iOS). The gradual rollout began in March 2014 with the surprise debut of Office on the iPad less than two months after Satya Nadella replaced Steve Ballmer as CEO.

Previously, Microsoft released betas of Office for Windows 10 Mobile — the operating system that will launch before the end of this year for smartphones and smaller tablets — and for Windows 10 on desktops, 2-in-1s and larger tablets. Neither of those collections have been completed.

Microsoft’s change in tenor and pivot in strategy have been clearest over the last 17 months as it crafted and then released touch-based Office apps for every major operating system except Windows, turning a decades-long practice of protecting its own OS on its head.

As with the Office apps on other devices, Excel, PowerPoint and Word on Android can be used by consumers free of charge for basic tasks, including viewing, creating and editing documents. A Microsoft Account — the credentials used to access Microsoft’s services, such as Outlook.com and Skype — is required for all but viewing documents, and on larger Android devices, for everything but viewing and printing.

Business customers and anyone who wants to utilize advanced features, however, require a current Office 365 subscription.

 

 

 

Google Launches Free Streaming Music Service

June 25, 2015 by mphillips  
Filed under Consumer Electronics

Google Inc has unveiled a free version of its music streaming service, as it sought to upstage the debut of Apple Inc’s rival service next week.

Google Play Music has offered a $9.99 per month subscription service for two years but Tuesday’s launch is the first free version of the streaming service. It is available online and will be available on Android and iOS by the end of the week, Elias Roman, Google product manager, said.

Apple said earlier this month it would launch a music streaming service on June 30 for $9.99 per month along with a $14.99 per month family plan, with a free three-month trial.

As with other streaming services, such as Spotify and Rhapsody, Google Play Music curates playlists. Users can tailor playlists based on genre, artist or even activity, such as hosting a pool party or “having fun at work.”

“We believe this is a play that will expose a lot of people to the service,” Roman said in an interview.

Unlike Google’s subscription music service, the free service will carry ads, be unavailable offline and exclude certain songs.

Roman said millions of people look at Google Play Music each month but are not ready to pay for a subscription. By offering a free version of the service, he said, the search engine hopes more people will be compelled to pay for an upgraded version.

Ted Cohen, managing partner of TAG Strategic, a digital entertainment consultancy, said the timing of Google’s launch was strategic.

“It’s a smart time to do it with all the attention around Apple,” Cohen said. “If they did it absent the Apple service, it wouldn’t be the same story.”

Google declined to say how many subscribers it has but said they more than doubled in 2014 from the previous year. But rivals Pandora, Spotify and Beats Music had far more mobile downloads than Google Play Music in 2014, according to data from analytics firm App Annie

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Google Seeking Testers For Jump Virtual Reality Video Camera

June 24, 2015 by mphillips  
Filed under Consumer Electronics

If you’re an aspiring virtual reality content producer, Google is looking to give you a chance to test the Jump camera system it developed for recording video to be used in VR environments.

Individuals that are interested in trying their hand at capturing 360-degree video with Jump can fill out a form Google posted on Monday that asks basic biographical questions as well as details on how they would use the system.

Google didn’t say how many “select creators” it would chose, but those who are picked will be able to start using the 16-camera rig this summer.

Google seems especially interested in people with creative backgrounds. The jobs that people can select in the form’s occupation section include filmmaker, director, artist and production staff — but there is an “other” section that allows write-ins if none of the above apply.

There’s also a section where applicants can explain why they want to test Jump — and “awesome answers might put you at the top of the list,” Google said.

Google worked with GoPro to build Jump, which has 16 of the company’s Hero4 cameras attached to a circular frame. Jump’s price and availability weren’t provided when the rig was shown at Google’s I/O developer’s conference in May. However, given that a Hero4 camera retails for approximately US$500, initial Jump buyers will likely have deep pockets.

The first videos created with Jump will appear on YouTube this summer, Google said at I/O. People will be able to experience them via the Google Cardboard viewer.

 

 

Apple Watch Expected To Dominate Smartwatch Market

June 23, 2015 by mphillips  
Filed under Consumer Electronics

The Apple Watch is expected to capture nearly two-thirds of the smartwatch market for all of 2015, according to a new forecast from market research firm IDC.

IDC had said two weeks ago that Apple will ship to retailers about 21 million Apple Watches in 2015. That’s in the mid-range of other analyst forecasts of 15 million to 30 million for the new device.

Then last week IDC said that all smartwatches and a small number of other smart wearables will total 33.1 million shipments in 2015, putting Apple Watch at 63% of that total. Smart wearables are defined by IDC as devices capable of running third party apps, such as Apple Watch and Android Wear watches like the Moto 360.

The IDC prediction comes amidst some other striking analyst forecasts for the Apple Watch, but also amid questions about the overall value of smartwatches.

Financial analyst Brian White of Cantor Fitzgerald recently declared the Apple Watch will “prove to be the best selling product in Apple’s history (within the first 12 months.)” Various estimates say it took one day of pre-orders to sell 1 million Apple Watches, while it took Apple 74 days to sell 1 million iPhones and 28 days to sell 1 million iPads.

Research firm Slice Intelligence told Reuters that about 2.8 million Apple Watches were sold through mid-June, nearly two months after the device first went on sale. Apple hasn’t reported how many Apple Watches it has sold and is not expected to separately report that number in the future. Slice gets its insights by mining e-mail receipts. The entry-level Apple Watch costs $349 and is the most popular in sales, Slice said.

About 20% of Apple Watch customers are also buying a spare watch band, with the entry-level sports band selling for $49, Slice noted.

 

 

 

Facebook Gaining On YouTube In Video Ad Race

June 23, 2015 by mphillips  
Filed under Around The Net

Facebook is catching up to YouTube as a destination for big companies to market their products via online videos, the fastest growing category of Internet ads, a report published on Monday said.

The competition for video viewers opens up a new front in the clash between the two web giants that already compete in other types of advertising given their appeal to young and international consumers, Ampere Analysis said in a study.

London-based Ampere predicts a new advertising “arms race” between the two rivals, neck and neck in terms of audience sizes with around 1.4 billion to 1.3 billion monthly active users, respectively for Facebook and YouTube. That means consumers are likely to be forced to see more ads, but also enjoy a richer range of video programming as a result, it said.

The Internet will overtake TV advertising in 12 key markets, representing 28 percent of global ad spending by 2017, separate research by media-buying firm Zenith Optimedia said on Monday. Ad spending is projected to reach $531 billion this year.

Online video is now growing faster than any other digital category or subcategory, rising 33 percent in 2014, and is forecast to grow 29 percent a year through 2017, Zenith said.

The two reports were released as the week-long Cannes Lions international advertising conference opens this week.

Ampere Analysis argues that Facebook is morphing from a platform most advertisers use for building general brand awareness to one that can deliver “pre-roll” advertisements that marketing companies prefer for ensuring their messages are actually viewed.

Currently, YouTube remains a more flexible marketing platform, offering advertisers the full range of video ads which run before, during or after a video program is shown.

“If the social network’s own video ambitions are to be realized, and if it is to convince content owners it is a viable alternative to YouTube, it must deliver comparable returns,” Ampere Research Director Richard Broughton said.

 

 

Box Integrate Microsoft’s Office Online With Its Storage Service.

June 19, 2015 by mphillips  
Filed under Uncategorized

Box followed competitor Dropbox to integrate Microsoft’s Office Online with its cloud storage service.

“Today, we’re introducing Box for Office Online, making it easier than ever for our customers to create and manage their Word docs, PowerPoint presentations and Excel spreadsheets securely from anywhere and on any device, right from Box,” said David Still, Box’s chief of mobile products, in a post to his company’s blog.

Like the ties between Dropbox and Office Online — the latter is Microsoft’s browser-based app trio of Excel, PowerPoint and Word — Box lets customers open documents from within its service, edit and then save back to the cloud. Box users will also be able to create new Office Online documents.

Dropbox added the same functionality to its browser-based UI in April, part of a broader partnership with Microsoft that kicked off in November 2014.

Still also promised future Box moves to bring it more on par with Dropbox. “Later this year, [Box and Microsoft] intend to further collaborate on integrations with native Office clients on iOS, Android, and Windows,” Still wrote.

He did not provide a release window for updates to Box’s mobile apps.

Microsoft added Dropbox support to its Office apps on iPhone, iPad and Android late last year, and Dropbox released a Windows Phone app in January.

Box took advantage of Microsoft’s Office 365 Cloud Storage Partner Program, an initiative by the Redmond, Wash. developer to extend the influence of Office by letting third-party cloud storage services connect to Office Online and Office for iOS. Box signed up with the program in mid-February.

“By opening up Office Online, Microsoft is showing an amazing amount of proactive enablement for moving the future of work this direction,” said Box CEO Aaron Levie in a separate post.

Although Microsoft competes with both Dropbox and Box with its own OneDrive cloud storage service, the company has aggressively moved toward a more agnostic outlook, whether regarding rival platforms or competitive services.

 

 

 

Are Developers Rushing To The Cloud?

June 19, 2015 by Michael  
Filed under Computing

There are now almost five million developers using the cloud as a platform, according to new figures from Evans Data, which also predicts that a further five million will be using it in the next six months.

The figures state that 4.9 million are using the cloud currently, and 4.1 million say they will in the next six months. A further 5.2 million will use it in six to 12 months and just 4.8 million have no plans to use it at all.

The figures represent a huge surge in use of the cloud in the year to come, representing a revolution in the way developers operate.

The figures are bolstered in the main by independent software vendors and developers working on proprietary corporate software for their company. Currently the biggest users of cloud for development are in Asia Pacific, with Latin America lagging behind.

Speaking about the findings, Janel Garvin, CEO of Evans Data, said: “Not only does it increase productivity and decrease cost, but it provides a level of flexibility unavailable before which paves the way for new technology trends like the Internet of Things.

“That’s why so many developers have embraced cloud as a development platform, and why so many more expect to do so in the future.”

New additions to the cloud model are being introduced on an almost daily basis, and it has become nigh on impossible to ignore the opportunities that virtual development brings.

IBM announced SuperVessel last week to encourage open source cloud development on the Power platform, bolstering the existing and wildly successful Bluemix environment.

EMC has also announced a Cloud Data Lake as a way of pooling cloud resources from businesses like Cloudera and VMWare.

Courtesy-TheInq

 

Twitter To Add Auto-playing Videos In User Feeds

June 18, 2015 by mphillips  
Filed under Around The Net

Twitter has come a long way from its foundation of 140-character messages. The site will now display videos that play automatically in users’ feeds.

Advertisers’ videos and those uploaded to Twitter natively through its new video recording tool will play automatically on the company’s desktop site and in its iOS app, with Android functionality coming soon, the company announced.

The changes also apply to videos recorded with Twitter’s Vine app and GIFs.

Autoplaying videos, though possibly annoying, will help Twitter compete against Facebook, which started placing autoplaying videos, including those from advertisers, in users’ feeds in 2013. Twitter makes the bulk of its money through advertising, and more Internet companies are looking to siphon video advertising dollars away from traditional TV.

On Twitter, the videos will start playing without sound unless they’re tapped on.

Twitter users who don’t want autoplaying videos can change their settings to revert to the click-to-play format. Users can also change their settings so videos only play automatically when they’re connected to Wi-Fi.

Users will not see auto-playing videos if they have a low bandwidth connection on their device, Twitter said.

Twitter is using the same amount of viewing time as Facebook to define a video “view”: three seconds.

Twitter began testing auto-playing videos earlier this year.

 

 

Microsoft Set To Encrypt All Bing Search Traffic By Default

June 17, 2015 by mphillips  
Filed under Around The Net

Microsoft will beef up Bing’s security when it begins encrypting all of its search traffic by default this summer.

Bing has offered HTTPS encryption for the past year and a half as an opt-in feature, but now Microsoft will default to locking down everybody’s search queries.

Providing encryption gives a new layer of protection to Bing users and helps guard their traffic from snooping.

With this move, Microsoft catches up to its peers in the search market. In 2011, Google began encrypting searches by default for users who were signed in to their Google account. Starting in 2013, the search giant moved all search traffic through HTTPS. Yahoo, Microsoft’s search alliance partner, began encrypting search traffic from its homepage by default in early 2014.

With the switch to encrypted traffic, Microsoft is also changing the way that webmasters get information about searches that lead to their websites. The company will still offer a referrer string so that website operators and marketers can see that the encrypted traffic is coming from Bing, but won’t provide the exact search term that led people to a page.

Instead, Bing Webmaster Tools will continue to provide aggregated keyword and ranking data so that website operators can keep track of what draws users to their websites along with how they compare with the competition. Advertisers will be able to see what search queries triggered their Bing ads using the Search Query Terms Report, which also provides information on other performance metrics like clicks, impressions and conversions.

 

 

Facebook Planning New Irish Data Center

June 16, 2015 by mphillips  
Filed under Around The Net

Facebook announced that it has decided to build a new data center in Ireland, the social network said on Monday, becoming the latest technology giant to open an energy efficient center in Ireland’s recovering economy.

Facebook said it had applied for planning permission to build the center, which, after Sweden, is its second in Europe for housing computers that run cloud computing services, where users store data on secure servers instead of their own network or computer.

Ireland is fast becoming a cloud hub helped by its temperate climate and the presence of many of the biggest internet companies, which have been attracted by the country’s low corporate tax rate.

Apple Inc said in February that it would spend 1.7 billion euros on two new data centers in Ireland and Denmark, its largest investment in Europe.

Google and Microsoft also have opened Irish date centers in recent years.

Microsoft is currently fighting a legal battle with the U.S. government over its demand that the software company turn over customer data stored in its Irish data center.

 

Apple To Release ‘Android-to-iOS-App’ This Fall

June 15, 2015 by mphillips  
Filed under Mobile

Apple did not highlight it during the keynote address kicking off its Worldwide Developers Conference (WWDC) last week, but the company will release an Android-to-iOS migration app alongside iOS 9 this fall.

The app, given the prosaic name “Move to iOS,” will help switchers defect Android for Apple’s iPhone or iPad.

“It securely transfers your contacts, message history, camera photos and videos, [browser] bookmarks, mail accounts, calendars, wallpaper, and DRM-free songs and books,” Apple asserted in its iOS 9 online marketing materials.

The migration app shouldn’t come as a surprise, said Carolina Milanesi, chief of research at Kantar Worldpanel Comtech.

“Anything vendors can do to make it as pain-free as possible for users to make [a migration] is a good thing,” Milanesi said in an email. “We are in a very saturated market and sales will come from keeping your clients loyal and engaged, and attracting customers from your competitors.”

Apple’s focus on snatching customers from Android device makers isn’t new.

In a January call with Wall Street analysts, Apple CEO Tim Cook trumpeted his firm’s ability to tempt consumers to dump Android. “The current iPhone line-up experienced the highest Android switcher rate in any of the last three launches in the three previous years,” Cook said.

Apple sold a record 74.5 million iPhones in the three months that ended Dec. 31, 2014, a 46% improvement compared to the same period the year prior. Analysts attributed much of that growth to the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus that Apple started selling in September 2014, when the Cupertino, Calif. finally offered smartphones with screens in sizes previously available only from Android ODMs (original device manufacturers) such as Samsung.

iPhone sales dropped to 61.2 million units in the March 2015 quarter, but that was still a 40% year-over-year increase.

While Cook did not peg an Android-to-iOS switch rate, outsiders have. In January, Consumer Intelligence Research Partners (CIRP) said its polling showed that 19% of U.S. iPhone customers confirmed they had switched from an Android phone.

 

 

 

 

 

Google Launches ‘YouTube Gaming’

June 15, 2015 by mphillips  
Filed under Gaming

Google Inc said on Friday that it is unveiling a live streaming gaming service called “YouTube Gaming”, creating a rival to Amazon.com Inc’s  Twitch service.

The service, to be available in the form of an app as well as a website, will focus exclusively on gamers and gaming.

More than 25,000 games will each have their own page on the site, bringing videos and live streams about various titles together in a single space, Google said.

Users will be able to add games to their collection for quick access, subscribe to channels, and receive recommendations on new games based on the games and channels they follow.

“When you want something specific, you can search with confidence, knowing that typing “call” will show you “Call of Duty” and not “Call Me Maybe,” Google said in a blog post.

Amazon bought Twitch Interactive last year for $970 million, beating a rival bid from Google.

“We welcome new entrants into the growing list of competitors since gaming video is obviously a huge market that others have their eye on,” said Matthew DiPietro, Twitch’s vice president of marketing.

Twitch also tweeted a welcome message to its rival, saying, “@YouTubeGaming Welcome Player 2. Add me on Google +. #kappa”

“Kappa” is an emoticon used mostly by Twitch users to convey sarcasm.

YouTube Gaming will available on the web, mobiles and tablets on both Android and iOS operating systems, according to a tweet from its official account.

The service will launch this summer, starting in the United States and UK.

 

 

BlackBerry’s Embracing Of Android Has Hidden Potential

June 15, 2015 by mphillips  
Filed under Mobile

BlackBerry Ltd’s move to embrace Android, although geared towards lifting revenue from its software and device management segment, could inadvertently give its device arm a new lease on life.

“From the standpoint of marketing, this is a great way for BlackBerry to get visibility. It really doesn’t hurt them much, and the upside is high,” said Rob Enderle, who runs technology consulting firm Enderle Group.

Enderle and other financial and tech analysts agree that the move by BlackBerry does present its own set of challenges as the company would have to support two platforms and potentially put some resources into marketing an Android device, but with little to lose most agree it comes with little downside.

“If Android has one significant weakness it is security and that’s just the thing that BlackBerry can fix, so it could play out pretty well and I am actually quite surprised that they did not try this sooner,” said Enderle, adding that BlackBerry has to deliver a compelling device in order for the gambit to work.

Reuters reported last week that BlackBerry was considering a move to test run Android on its upcoming slider device, as part of a bid to convince potential corporate and government clients that its device management system, BES12, is truly able of manage and secure not just BlackBerry devices, but also devices powered by Google’s Android, Apple’s iOS and Microsoft’s Windows operating system.

“In order for BES12 to succeed it has to be viewed by all as platform agnostic, and what better way to demonstrate that other than by doing it yourself,” said Ramon Llamas, an analyst with technology research firm IDC.

BlackBerry, which once dominated the smartphone market, has seen its market share drop to under 1 percent, as the iPhone and a slew of Android devices from Samsung have captured market share. John Chen, a turnaround expert brought in to fix its slide, is now pivoting BlackBerry to focus more on its well-regarded software and device management business.