Recent coverage of the January attack on Google by hackers suggests intruders took code for its single sign-on system, while Google and Yahoo square up to Xerox in a court room bust-up over technology patents.

How Bad Was the Google Hack?

Since January when Google first announced that hackers had stolen information from its computers, there has been a deal of speculation as to how much information was compromised.

A recent report in the New York Times, however, citing information from someone with direct knowledge of Google’s investigation into the attack, says the hackers lifted code for the system that controls single-sign-on for users using services like email and business applications.

Just to recap on what single sign-on is, it is software that enables users sign-on just once to access all their Google services. Following the attack, the report says, Google made “significant changes” to the security of its networks, but it begs the question as to how safe is it to store information in the cloud?

The theft began with an instant message sent to a Google employee in China who was using Microsoft’s Messenger program, according to the New York Times' source. The employee clicked on a link sent to them, which took the employee to a poisoned website giving the hackers access to the computers of developers in Google’s headquarters. Code was moved to machines housed by webhost Rackspace before it was transferred to some other, unknown destination.

A small consolation is that the report also says that the passwords of individual gmail users were not taken.

The report also suggests that two-dozen other companies were compromised in the attack, but the identity of those companies is unknown with some analysts suggesting that the companies themselves may not be aware of it themselves.

Office 2010 Release Is Closer

Microsoft Office is on schedule for its business release next month with the release to manufacturing (RTM) last Friday and the first deliveries to customers expected on April 27th.

Volume license customers with Software Assurance will be able to download it on that date in English, while those without the Assurance will be able to get it on May 1st.

If you can’t wait for the general release in June and feel you need to be doing something, you can pre-order copies from Microsoft’s online store, where three editions are listed: Office Professional (US $499.99), Office Home And Business (US $279.99) and Office Home And Student (US $149.99).

Visio 2010, SharePoint 2010 and Project 2010 have also been released to manufacturing too meaning the final code is locked down and ready to be delivered to PC makers and burned onto discs.

Google, Yahoo And Xerox Still Mixin’ It Up!

The ongoing row between Google, Yahoo and Xerox (news, site) over document management patents continues apace with Google, its YouTube subsidiary and Yahoo (news, site) all issuing counter claims against Xerox.

The counter claims insist that neither Google nor Yahoo infringed the two patents in question and that the patents were invalid anyway and can’t be enforced.

The action began in February with Xerox claiming that the two companies had infringed on patents that go back to 2001 covering software that generates queries around information relating to a document as well as methods for integrating information from documents and other data.

Xerox claims the infringements relate to services like Google Maps, YouTube and AdSense. It is looking for compensation for the alleged infringements as well as a court order telling the two to stop using the technology.

Xerox said its patents covered areas such as generating queries for information relating to a document, and methods in integrating information from documents and other data.

iPad v2’s Already!

If iPad was not the initial business tool that many had hoped, the fault lies in some extent with applications that were developed for it by third-party developers.

Evidence that those developers have taken that on board and are addressing it is starting to emerge with second versions of initial apps already being made available to users.

One example is SugarSync, makers of the SugarSync file sync, backup and files sharing service, which has announced that Apple (news, site) has approved the second version of SugarSync for iPad. At the time of launch, users couldn’t directly open files to edit or save them locally -- limiting the ability to easily work on iPad.

However, significant new capabilities have been added allowing users to access files from remote computers via the cloud, edit them on the iPad, save them locally and re-sync files back to SugarSync. The new version is available immediately in the iPad app store, and remains free.

With business users high on the list of customers any company would like to attract, it only remains to be seen who and what other versions are we likely to see in coming months.