Data Balkanization: Google Updates Cloud-Based App Engine

Google has updated Google App Engine, its cloud-based app-building tool, so that the apps can now be taken to another cloud provider to run. The change is designed to help Google retain customers despite new cloud balkanization rules that limit where data can be stored. Developers will still be able to build their apps with App Engine and they can run the app through Google’s cloud service in North and South America or they can access other data centers through AppScale. Continue reading Data Balkanization: Google Updates Cloud-Based App Engine

Apple Watch Launch: Limited Availability, but Wide App Variety

Apple launched its new wearable last week, and a wide variety of related apps are currently available, but customers are still trying to figure out where to buy the smartwatch and companies are still trying to figure out how to use it. The Watch was not available in Apple Stores, but it was in stock at select fashion boutiques around the world. Companies like Yelp and WebMD, meanwhile, are still trying to figure out how Apple Watch users will use their Watch apps differently from their iPhone apps. Continue reading Apple Watch Launch: Limited Availability, but Wide App Variety

Netflix Beats Projections for User Growth In U.S. and Abroad

Netflix added 4.88 million subscribers in the most recent quarter, exceeding expectations for growth of its user base. The company had forecast 4.05 million new subscribers. Netflix believes its popular original programming like “House of Cards” helped attract more users both in the U.S. and internationally. The streaming service is continuing to expand overseas and plans to encrypt its video streams in order to protect the privacy of its now 62 million-strong user base. Continue reading Netflix Beats Projections for User Growth In U.S. and Abroad

Apple Watch Expected to Increase Foot Traffic in Apple Stores

The highly anticipated Apple Watch will begin shipping April 24, and Apple is hoping for big returns, even if store visitors do not purchase the pricey new wearable. Analysts expect the Apple Watch to draw many curious customers who want to see exactly what a smartwatch entails and whether it is worth the investment. Developers are also anxious to explore the possibilities of a wearable, and Apple received more than 1,000 Apple Watch apps in just four days last week. Continue reading Apple Watch Expected to Increase Foot Traffic in Apple Stores

Global Trade Group Proposes Universal Release Day for Albums

After several months of discussions, the International Federation of the Phonographic Industry has officially declared Fridays as the release day for all new music albums. In today’s digital era, music listeners want to have access to albums the moment they are available anywhere in the world. Rather than staggering the releases on different days in different countries, the universal release approach aims to combat piracy. There is no word yet on when this new distribution model will take effect. Continue reading Global Trade Group Proposes Universal Release Day for Albums

Cyanogen: Microsoft Plans to Invest in New Version of Android

Microsoft is planning to invest in Cyanogen, a startup that is building another version of the Android mobile operating system independent of Google. While Google requires smartphone manufacturers to feature Google apps and Google search, Cyanogen’s new operating system does not plan to have any similar requirements. For Microsoft, that means its Bing search engine and other software has a better chance of succeeding on smartphones with the alternative Cyanogen-built operating system. Continue reading Cyanogen: Microsoft Plans to Invest in New Version of Android

Netflix Plans to Add Original Series, Expand to 200 Countries

Following news of record quarterly earnings, Netflix told Wall Street investors that it plans to expand its video service to 200 countries in the next two years. Netflix added 2.43 million international subscribers in the fourth quarter of 2014 after expanding to 50 countries and its stock jumped more than 20 percent. As part of its ambitious expansion plans, Netflix also wants to start producing 20 original scripted series per year, which could help the company become more successful in international markets. Continue reading Netflix Plans to Add Original Series, Expand to 200 Countries

The Internet of Things: 5G Mobile to Enable Connected Devices

The Internet of Things (IoT) is just a pipedream if the network to connect devices and people cannot handle the traffic. 5G is the fifth generation mobile network that aims to enable the IoT, and at the 2015 CES executives from Cisco, Ericsson and Samsung discussed how the network will be created. Dramatic increases in global mobile traffic are widely anticipated, with an estimated 50 billion connected devices in play by 2020. Cisco predicts an 11-fold increase in global mobile data traffic between 2013 and 2018. Continue reading The Internet of Things: 5G Mobile to Enable Connected Devices

Chinese Smartphone Maker Xiaomi Wants to Go International

Xiaomi is the most popular smartphone maker in China and the third largest phone maker in the world. During the next year, the company hopes to expand its presence outside of China to developing markets in India, Brazil, and Indonesia. The company specializes in manufacturing low-cost, well-designed phones that they sell primarily online. Xiaomi is also hoping to increase profits by selling apps and entertainment for the phones, along with other electronic devices like a tablet and smart TV. Continue reading Chinese Smartphone Maker Xiaomi Wants to Go International

Netflix is Hoping to Take its Original Series Success Abroad

Streaming video service Netflix saw U.S. viewership of its original series jump from 57 percent of domestic subscribers in the first quarter to 72 percent in the third quarter. New shows and word-of-mouth likely helped spark interest in Netflix originals like “Orange Is the New Black.” Now, amid growing competition, Netflix hopes to replicate that success overseas with its upcoming high-budget original series, “Marco Polo,” which is set to make its international debut in December. Continue reading Netflix is Hoping to Take its Original Series Success Abroad

WhatsApp Messaging Service Launches Encryption Protection

WhatsApp, currently one of the most popular messaging services in the world, wants to make it nearly impossible for anyone to snoop on its users. The company announced that it is taking privacy a step further by implementing end-to-end encryption for its 600 million users. This is considered to be one of the largest deployments of this type of encryption, which scrambles messages so that even the company doesn’t have access to its users’ unique cryptographic keys. Continue reading WhatsApp Messaging Service Launches Encryption Protection

Facebook Aims to Connect the World, Starting With WhatsApp

While WhatsApp will continue to be an independent app, its acquisition by Facebook should help it reach up to three billion users, suggests Mark Zuckerberg. WhatsApp had 450 million users around the time that Facebook agreed to buy it for $19 billion, but has now reached 600 million. Facebook currently reaches around 1.3 billion people, which is half of the world’s Internet connected population. The company is focusing on spreading Internet access around the globe. Continue reading Facebook Aims to Connect the World, Starting With WhatsApp

Spotify’s New Serendipity Feature May Make Music Social Again

Spotify’s Artist in Residence Kyle McDonald created a new map feature known as Serendipity that shows when two people in the world are listening to a song at the same time. The interactive map plays a snippet of the song, which both users had to start within a tenth of a second of each other, and spins around to show the two users’ locations in the world. The new feature may help Spotify rise above other music streaming services, and make music a social experience once again. Continue reading Spotify’s New Serendipity Feature May Make Music Social Again

Russian Criminals Obtain Passwords and More in Massive Hack

Hold Security, an Internet security research firm in the U.S., discovered a Russian crime ring has stolen an unprecedented amount of Internet credentials, including 1.2 billion user names and passwords, and more than 500 million email addresses. The hackers targeted websites from multiple countries and a range of businesses, from Fortune 500 companies to small websites. The crime ring is currently using the information to send spam through social networks for a fee. Continue reading Russian Criminals Obtain Passwords and More in Massive Hack

Alibaba Growing, But Not a Threat to Top Cloud Services Yet

In May, Chinese e-commerce company Alibaba filed for a public stock offering in the United States. However, this fast growing company still has a way to go before it will be able to compete with the American tech giants that currently control the multibillion-dollar cloud computing business. For now, Alibaba appears to be focusing on expanding in China, where it already has four data centers and handles up to $5.8 billion in commerce per day at its peak. Continue reading Alibaba Growing, But Not a Threat to Top Cloud Services Yet

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