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Google News & Analysis

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?

Microsoft Sweetens Office 365 Collaboration Options

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Think collaboration and you think Google. Maybe. Or Box or Dropbox. You don’t think Office 365 really, even though its enterprise collaboration abilities have greatly improved in the past two years. However, that could change. Microsoft has just made it a lot easier to collaborate using Outlook Web App (OWA).

It is doing that by making it easier to share files using OneDrive for Business. Specifically, it is targeting email attachments and email threads that can lead to all kinds of unpleasant problems around versioning.

Google Counters Office 365 Price Cuts With New Partnership

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Google has responded to Microsoft's price cuts of Office 365 for SMBs by launching a new partnership with Rackspace.

Rackspace is offering US customers fully managed IT services for the Google Apps for Work suite, which includes Gmail, Drive and Hangouts. It will also offer Rackspace's migration, deployment and account management services. 

Microsoft Makes Office 365 Cheap Enough That You Can Ignore Google

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Keeping a schedule set at its Worldwide Partner Conference in July, Microsoft has finally released service plans that will make it cheaper for small and medium-sized businesses (SMBs) to use Office 365.

There is a small sting in the program, which went into effect last week. New customers can access the new and cheaper plans straight away, but those already signed up to Office 365 SMB plans will have to wait until late next year before they will transitioned to the new plans.

Microsoft: Get 'Em While They're Young

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What's the best way to make a lifelong customer? Microsoft apparently believes in getting them while they are young. In its latest assault on the productivity suite market, it is offering Office 365 to students for free.

Yes, yes. They were getting it free already through the Student Advantage program, but that wasn’t quick enough.

Microsoft wants all students signed up lickety-split and that means enabling them to sign-up themselves, for free and without all the rough stuff around licenses and school-based IT departments.

Google Plus Gasps for Breath, Does Anyone Care?

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There's no mourning in cyberspace, no overt sentimental ramblings on social media — despite yet another move by Google to put its struggling social network out of its misery.

This time, Google is dropping the requirement for all new users to create a Plus account when signing up for a Google network.

Typically when Google chops a product, it triggers a storm of protests. With Plus, though, the blogosphere has been largely silent — a sure reflection of how few people care whether the network fades away.

Microsoft Puts Pieces Together with Office 365 Home Page

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Google has been making a lot of ground in recent months with the addition of lots of new functionality to Google Apps, now called Google Apps for Work.

And Microsoft hasn’t been slouching either. However, Microsoft upgrades have been a little more subtle — and it’s often hard to track what has been added or even what tools you have at your disposable.

But now we have something concrete: Microsoft just announced that it has upgraded the portal page for Office 365, which is being rolled out to current SharePoint and Exchange customers as of today.

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