Google Makes its Move to Become a Player in Cloud Services

Until now, Google has been third, behind Amazon and Microsoft, in the fast-growing market of cloud computing services. That all changed at its NEXT conference in San Francisco when the company showcased a variety of cloud-based services including software for machine learning, a powerful new speech service that challenges Nuance’s dominance, and a recently introduced vision service. Google also plans to expand places where people can purchase its cloud services from four regions to 16 in the next year-and-a-half. Continue reading Google Makes its Move to Become a Player in Cloud Services

Users Seek New Storage and Cloud Solutions as Data Explodes

IBM estimates that smartphones and devices related to the Internet of Things will generate 44 zettabytes (exabytes to the thousandths) by 2020. To handle all that information, IBM is looking at storage solutions that combine machine learning and artificial intelligence, both of which excel at finding patterns. Other companies are looking for solutions, including Pure, which is combining flash storage and engineering to create a storage unit that currently holds 16 petabytes, or five times most storage devices. Continue reading Users Seek New Storage and Cloud Solutions as Data Explodes

Apple, Google, Samsung Battle to Dominate Mobile Payments

Apple, Google and Samsung are all vying to dominate the nascent mobile payments market sector. Samsung, a newcomer to the competition, has already signed up five million U.S. users, who have racked up $500 million in transactions since launching in September. Apple Pay is estimated to have 12 million monthly users and Android Pay has five million. Still, adoption of mobile payments hasn’t caught fire yet. Not all retailers accept mobile payments, which also require later-generation phones. Continue reading Apple, Google, Samsung Battle to Dominate Mobile Payments

Cisco Reveals Unauthorized Cloud Usage Trend in Companies

Cisco released new data that shows some companies may not know the extent of their employees’ usage of external cloud computing services, instead of the employer’s in-house cloud services. The practice of using systems inside organizations without approval is called “Shadow IT.” According to Cisco, there is 70 percent more Shadow IT activity than there was six months ago. Cisco gathered the data by surveying CIOs and running software that could track cloud activity. Unauthorized cloud usage could pose serious security threats. Continue reading Cisco Reveals Unauthorized Cloud Usage Trend in Companies

Amazon Plans to Launch Portable, Lower Cost Version of Echo

Since Amazon had a surprise hit with its tabletop, voice-controlled Echo speaker, released in November 2014, competitors have stepped into the space. Amazon is fighting back with another, smaller, portable and lower-cost version, code-named Fox, expected to debut in a few weeks. Echo, which costs $180, must be plugged into an outlet; its Alexa software answers questions, creates shopping lists, plays music and can control connected lights. Originally a voice activation experiment, Echo has become a popular personal assistant. Continue reading Amazon Plans to Launch Portable, Lower Cost Version of Echo

The Public Cloud is Inevitable, and Amazon Stands to Win Big

The public cloud for software-as-a-service offerings, including back-end business services is catching fire, and Amazon and Google, which already run extensive public clouds, are well positioned to dominate in the arena. That’s despite Dell’s recent purchase of EMC, say the experts, because the two companies under EMC — VMware and Pivotal — although they are cloud computing companies, are not big players in the public cloud. Cloud platform services are expected to become a $44 billion market by 2020. Continue reading The Public Cloud is Inevitable, and Amazon Stands to Win Big

New Analytics Service from Amazon to Make Better Use of Data

Amazon is readying a new service, code-named Space Needle, designed to help businesses better analyze their growing collections of data. The service — which will compete with IBM, Microsoft, SAP, Tibco and others in the lucrative business intelligence space — could help the Amazon Web Services cloud-computing division secure more customers by housing more of their data. Amazon is in a strong position for an add-on service; clients such as Airbnb, Netflix, Nike and Pfizer already store their proprietary data on AWS. Continue reading New Analytics Service from Amazon to Make Better Use of Data

Facebook Builds Pages into Digital Mall for Small Businesses

Forty-five million small business use Facebook Pages, and the Silicon Valley company is now upgrading the app to make it easier for them to make money with the feature by reaching mobile users. The upgrade includes a tabbed mobile layout, so businesses can display storefront sections and let visitors shop for products or look at a list of services. The new Pages also makes it much easier for a user to contact the small business in question, with Call Now, Send Message and Contact Us graphics bigger, more prominent and colorful. Continue reading Facebook Builds Pages into Digital Mall for Small Businesses

Amazon’s New $50 Tablet a 180-Turn From Pricey Fire Phone

Amazon took a $170 million write down in October, largely due to its Fire smartphone, which was priced the same as the iPhone, a fact that drew strong criticism. Despite offering a free year of Prime membership and steep price cuts, the Amazon Fire failed to gain traction. Now, taking that lesson to heart, Amazon will release, in time for the holidays, a $50 tablet, making it one of the least expensive such devices on the market. Experts wonder if the compromises required to achieve that price will leave consumers dissatisfied. Continue reading Amazon’s New $50 Tablet a 180-Turn From Pricey Fire Phone

Netflix Moves Operations to Cloud, Closes Last Data Center

Netflix will be the first large company to move its information technology to a public cloud, more specifically, Amazon Web Services, reporting its plans to shutter its last data center by the end of the summer. After a major hardware failure in 2008, Netflix started moving its operations to AWS in 2009, first shifting its jobs page and, later, its video player, iPhone-related technology, discovery and search, and accounts pages. As a streaming competitor with Amazon, however, Netflix runs its own content delivery network. Continue reading Netflix Moves Operations to Cloud, Closes Last Data Center

Facebook Steps Into Commerce, Building Shops Within Pages

Facebook has taken a leap into commerce by building out shops within Facebook Pages, allowing businesses with a Facebook Page a chance to sell directly to consumers. Although the new move into commerce is in its testing phase, some shops already sport a “buy” button, which keeps the consumer on the page from product browsing to purchase. The “buy” button was introduced last year, but Facebook’s new aim is to make the shopping experience more robust and integrated. Facebook currently does not take a percentage of sales. Continue reading Facebook Steps Into Commerce, Building Shops Within Pages

Users Now Have More Control Over Their Facebook News Feeds

Facebook has announced a new set of features that provide users with more control over what they see in their news feeds. The new controls will include a “see first” list, comprised of the family, friends and followed pages that are important to a user and will show up at the top of his/her feed. Users can now access a single list to re-follow multiple people they’ve previously un-followed (ideal for temporarily muting spoilers of your favorite TV shows). Facebook has also added a feature to suggest pages for avid users who run out of fresh content in their feeds. Continue reading Users Now Have More Control Over Their Facebook News Feeds

Google Makes Push for Android Smartphones in the Workplace

Since last summer, Google has been improving the technology behind Android for Work, an initiative to push the company’s mobile operating system in the workplace. Google wants to encourage employees to use their Android phones as both personal and work devices. To do so, Google built Android for Work to support personal and work profiles autonomously on a single device. The company also launched Google Play for Work, which lets companies manage their very own app stores. Continue reading Google Makes Push for Android Smartphones in the Workplace

Advertisers Opting for Pinterest Influencers Over Pinterest Ads

With nearly 70 million visitors per month, Pinterest is becoming a popular destination for advertisers to reach new audiences, except not in the way that Pinterest intended. Instead of advertising directly through Pinterest via “Promoted Pins,” advertisers have found success in partnering with an array of “Pinfluencers,” individuals that have accrued millions of followers. Advertisers see the influence these individuals have over followers, and are discovering new ways to leverage them as effective marketing tools.  Continue reading Advertisers Opting for Pinterest Influencers Over Pinterest Ads

Google Takes On Amazon with its Same-Day Delivery Service

Google is becoming a major player in same-day package deliveries, taking on the likes of Amazon and eBay this holiday shopping season. The Google Express service — currently available in cities such as Boston, Chicago, New York, Los Angeles and San Francisco — handled 50 percent more toys during the two weeks after Thanksgiving, while book sales jumped more than 30 percent. Analysts estimate that up to 40 percent of Google’s core search business is tied to e-commerce. Continue reading Google Takes On Amazon with its Same-Day Delivery Service

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