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Google News & Analysis

Google Price Cuts, Amazon Restructuring Shake Up the Cloud

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An information technology research firm has announced a decline in its cloud price index (CPI), attributing the fall to price cuts at Google and reductions of up to 43 percent on bandwidth by Amazon Web Services (AWS).

451 Research's Cloud Price Index fell 1.32 percent over the past eight weeks to $2.53 at the start of December due to price cuts of up to 79 percent by Google and the AWS restructuring. The London-based research firm created its cloud pricing index last month.

Is Gmail Google's Way to the Future?

Google wants you to keep your files on Google Drive and for you to spend more time in Gmail. So it's raising its game and your experience to help make that happen.

And this is no small deal for Google. The internet sweetheart is suddenly being squeezed by competition on all sides. On one end, it seems that more and more people are going straight to Amazon when searching for products (ComScore says that Amazon’s desktop search queries were up 47 percent between September 2013 and September 2014), which is hurting Google’s core ad search business. And, on the other end, Facebook is not only beginning to woo mobile marketing dollars away, but it may also be in a better position to leverage video in its News Feed.

Can Facebook Crack Search - Without Bing?

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Facebook has quietly stopped including Microsoft Bing search results on its social networking site, Reuters first confirmed. Instead, the social network has revamped its own search offering with a new tool it claims makes it easier for users to filter and search through comments and other information from friends.

On one hand users might find the change limiting. Now, when they use the search bar they are not taken outside of Facebook for results. On the other, the tool is more robust than previous Facebook offerings — and besides, there is always Google for straightforward search.

That, however, may change again as Facebook ramps up its search tool set. CEO Mark Zuckerberg has said search is a growth initiative for Facebook. And as the company's push into mobile has shown over the last few years, once Facebook identifies a growth sector it goes after it.

Search, though, is a very different animal than mobile.

Microsoft Soups Up Office Online with Contextual Search

2014-11-December-Tall-Bicycle.jpgNo one likes dumb anything, least of all technology companies. In a move to smarten-up Hangouts, Google added "smart" suggestions yesterday. Microsoft is on the case as well, making its Office Online app a lot smarter with the addition of contextualized Bing search into documents.

If that sounds complicated, it’s not. The new feature, called Insights for Office, lets users search for information from an inline search box inside a document. The answers include information scraped from Bing Snapshot, Bing Image Search and Wikipedia, among others.

RIP Google Authorship: What It Means and What's Next

2014-11-December-Typewriter.jpgBack in 2012, AuthorRank was a hot topic among the SEO and inbound marketing sect.

Similar to PageRank, which aims to establish authority for domains and pages on those domains, AuthorRank was thought to be the key to measuring individual authority. Although Google never officially referred to it by that name, they patented techniques to use individual reputation as a search ranking suggested as much. Once awareness of the patent went public, the SEO industry quickly began talking about it as individual authority.

Author Authority would have made it much easier to rank people in different areas of expertise. It would reduce spam and scammy behavior, and push reputable content creators up the SERPs. What could possibly be wrong with that end result?

The excitement was nipped in the bud on Aug. 28, 2014 when, in a surprise move, Google’s Webmaster Trends Analyst John Mueller announced via Google Plus that the Google Authorship program was coming to an abrupt ending.

Google for Work Puts Security in the Hands of Employees

Microsoft may be making a lot of noise about additional security features in Office 365, but Google has been working away behind the scenes too, if perhaps in a less vocal way. Yesterday, it launched the Devices and Activity dashboard, which monitors Google accounts on enterprise devices.

The new dashboard provides IT administrators a way of monitoring who has been accessing what accounts, where and why, but adds an underlying current to the security discussion that's becoming increasingly important in enterprises: responsibility.

Would You Pay to Not See Google Ads?

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Who would have thought it? Google will now let you pay to avoid seeing its ads. Through a new service called Contributor, launched last night, Internet users can opt-out of Google ads for a fee of $1 to $3 dollars a month.

Participants will see a thank you message instead of the ads on participating websites, including Mashable, ScienceDaily and The Onion.

Bye-Bye Microsoft Lync, Here Comes Skype For Business

2014-11-12 skype for business.jpgWhen Microsoft paid $8.5 billion in cash for Skype in 2011, it left some scratching their heads where the product would fit in the Microsoft ecosystem. And while Microsoft has since integrated the software into a number of its products, we now have a better sense of its future. As of next year, the Lync name will disappear and be replaced by Skype for Business.

This is not just a rebranding exercise. It involves joining together the Lync infrastructure with Skype, which includes the ability to use on-premises servers, optional integration with external communications networks and the use of the Skype interface on top of Lync.

Office 365 Dominance Grows with New Markets

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Microsoft is releasing Office 365 into another nine countries, bringing its total market penetration to 140 of 196 countries worldwide.

The fact that you can now get Office 365 just about anywhere there is a business culture is not surprising. But the pace at which it has developed is startling.

When it launched just over two years ago, it was available in around 40 markets. A year later it was in 88 markets. By the end of 2013, it was up to 127 markets and now ... well, just about everywhere.

Free the Web From Google, Cage the IT Gorillas #OWF14

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PARIS — The final note for today from Paris and the Open World Forum (OWF): Let’s de-Google the Internet. If that didn’t catch your attention, then this will: It can be done.

It’s almost a given that at any gathering of open source workers there’s going to be a lot of shouting about taking the web back, and putting Microsoft, Google, IBM, Apple and all the other IT gorillas back in their cages.

From previous experience, this usually takes place after about the fifth glass of wine, beer or whatever your particular poison happens to be (OK, after the second glass, if you don’t do it often).

OWF is no different, except the call to free the web from Google came during one of the sessions this afternoon. Pierre-Yves Gosset of Framasoft, a non-profit organization dedicated to the promotion of free, libre and open source software and culture, pointed out that not only should the web be freed of control by the big companies, but that it should also be decentralized.

WordPress, Squarespace Offer Content Management To Google

When Google rebranded its Enterprise Business as Google for Work, it signaled a return to the small business space. Now WordPress and Squarespace have announced they have joined the Google for Work Partner Program — a logical step in this refocus.

The partnerships give Google for Work users access to two of what are arguably the most agile small business content management systems (CMS) on the market.

What it Takes to Become Google's No. 2 Exec

2014-27_15-0ctober-two-llamas.jpgHow does it feel to be Google’s second most powerful executive?

We’ll give Sundar Pichai a few weeks before we ask him that question, after all, Google CEO Larry Page only handed him keys to the company’s product empire late Friday afternoon. This according to Liz Gannes and Kara Swisher of Re/code.

Pichai, whom many of us don’t yet know much about, was already in charge of Android, Chrome and Google Apps. With the promotion Search, Maps, Google Plus, Commerce, Ad Products and Infrastructure fall under his purview as well.

It’s a big job, much of which Google CEO Larry Page was handling until now. But because Page now needs to focus on the company’s “bigger picture,” he’s counting on the ten year Google vet to run the operations of the business.
 

Has Google Just Reinvented Gmail?

Over the past two years, there have been plenty of rumors about something very hush hush at Google, specifically something involving the engineers and designers at Gmail. Periodically, there were sightings of something that became known as Project Bigtop. But everything revolved around a lot of speculation.

Until this afternoon, that is.

Google finally announced the end of Bigtop and the release of Inbox. According to Google, Inbox will ultimately be a replacement for Gmail, although this isn’t going to happen any time soon.

Take a Seat Google, Amazon: Microsoft's Cloud Wins the Day

Though the new mobile-first, cloud-first Microsoft is more open and plays nice with everyone, it also wants to knock the socks, shirt and hat off of the competition. And, if CEO Satya Nadella is right, it has everything it needs to do so.

While mobile, as Microsoft now defines it, is “not about the device” whether it’s a sensor, small screen or large screen, but about “powering mobility with intelligence,” the productivity and collaboration tools are all Microsoft (Office 365 and Dynamics).

And when it comes to the cloud, Microsoft may have one few others can match. We’re not talking only about a super-charged, hyper-scale cloud in the heavens, but also about a new Azure-like appliance that Enterprises can deploy in their own data centers. It has been designed specifically to handle big data workloads (32 cores, 450 gigabytes of RAM and 6.5 terabytes of local solid-state drive storage). Officially named the Microsoft Cloud Platform System (CPS), powered by Dell it is, in essence, an “Azure consistent cloud in a box” with pre-integrated hardware from Dell and software from Microsoft.

Thanks Google, I Can Manage My Own Bills - and Privacy

Google releases some pretty cool apps on a regular basis. But, it just doesn’t seem to get the whole privacy thing. This week, it announced that it is extending its Google Now personal assistant technology to enable it read your bills — and tell you when they’re overdue.

The first thing that will strike most people is that they don’t really need anyone to tell me when they owe money. It's a sure bet that they are painfully aware of that themselves.

The second thing is privacy. Google has already admitted that it snoops on your emails to produce personalized advertising. Why would it want to look at your bills?

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