This week, Google continues to provide apps that will help SMBs. In this case their new Gmail and Google Voice Integration is not yet available in Google Apps, but it really only seems a matter of time before it is -- so watch out Skype. Meanwhile, Panda shows security is still a SMB problem.

Google Taking on Skype?

The recent announcement from Google that it is integrating Gmail and Google Voice services probably won’t kill off Skype just yet, but it does give SMBs a new piece of technology that will enable them to make free calls to the phones of Gmail users in the US and Canada.

For the moment the facility will not be in Google Apps, but as most things end up there eventually and as this will undoubtedly be of major benefit to businesses, it seems only a matter of time before that is where it is eventually placed.

As of this week, for consumers, the integration should have happened automatically for US and Canadian Gmail users, and should be available to users without invitation.

So what does it do? Starting this week users will be able to call any phone from Gmail for free for at least the rest of the year. Calls to other countries will be billed at very low rates with calls to the UK. France, Germany, China, Japan and others for 2c/min.

If you have a Google Voice phone number, calls made from Gmail will display this number as the outbound caller ID. And if you decide to, you can receive calls made to this number right inside Gmail.

As to when it will be more widely available Google hasn’t said, but until such a time as it’s universally accessible and available with Apps, it doesn’t seem likely that it will pose a challenge to Skype -- not just yet! Check out the video for more.

Half of SMBs Hit by Cyber Attacks

With all the recent talk about security and acquisitions aimed at providing application security, recent research from cloud security provider Panda Security is interesting.

This week it released the results of the United States edition of its second annual International Barometer of Security for SMBs, which shows that 46 percent of U.S. SMBs have fallen victim to cybercrime, up 2% from last year's survey.

In fact, despite everything, it shows that there has been little to no improvement from last year in SMBs using industry standard protection methods. Included in the figures are:

  • 31% businesses are operating without anti-spam
  • 23% have no anti-spyware
  • 15% have no firewall

Currently, security budgets remain about the same as last year, although when asked if they had anyone dedicated to security management, 63% of companies in the U.S. confirmed they had. Of the companies that do have protection in place, 36% are using freeware designed for home users.

The infection ratio at U.S. companies has slightly increased since last year (46% in 2010 compared to 44% in 2009). It has dropped in Europe to 49% in 2010 compared to 58% in 2009.

If you want a look at the full report you will find it on the Panda Security website.

New Notetaking Features for Mobiles

For mobile devices including iPad, iPhone and Android, Codality's note-taking app Simplenote has just been upgraded to v3.0 with a list of features that will greatly give mobile SMB workers a whole new set of simple tools that range from note sharing to tagging.

If you haven’t come across it before, Simplenote enables users to take notes and sync it directly to the web, while searching through notes is instantaneous. Users can also sync with their desktop too using Simplenote’s open API. Amongst the more useful features are:

  • Sharing: Users can share and edit notes by sending links between each other, as well as sharing it with web, although in this instance it can only be opened as read only. Once shared, it is marked as shared, and turns blue when it has been updated by another user.
  • Versioning: Keeps records of changes to notes and stores its history which is easily accessible.
  • Tags: Like Gmail labels it allows users to file a note in multiple folders at once.
  • Pins: Users can add any number of notes to the list but keep previous notes by date created, modified or alphabetical order.

Launched this week, it also comes with a new interface with support for iOS4.

OMS SafeHarbor Releases New VAM

Finally this week, OMS SafeHarbor has just released a new VideoNow video asset management system deployed over OMS SafeHarbor’s ESD platform enabling SMBs to quickly manage video assets in addition to other digital assets, software downloads and license keys.

Using it publishers can manage videos as corporate assets and includes complete administrative features for customer support, marketing and technical support.

Detailed views into utilization gives users the ability to react to consumer interest while the web-services architecture used by OMS enables rapid integration and flexible change management when connecting to existing CRM, ERP and eCommerce systems. If you want more information, visit the website.