Pirates Flock to Google Drive, Other Cloud Storage Services

DMCA takedown requests reveal that pirates of television and movie content are turning to cloud storage services such as Dropbox, Google Drive and Kim Dotcom’s Mega since the demise of many public torrent sites. Last month, almost 5,000 takedown requests centered on activity on Google Drive, with each listing a few hundred links. Although some Google Drive links host full movies, others are empty except for an embedded YouTube video. Google reiterated that it takes copyright infringement seriously. Continue reading Pirates Flock to Google Drive, Other Cloud Storage Services

Microsoft Introduces Windows 10 Update, Mixed Reality Tools

Microsoft’s Windows 10 operating system update will allow apps to work across devices, including those running rival operating systems from Apple and Alphabet. For example, in a feature called “Pick Up Where You Left Off,” a user can finish editing a document on an iPhone that she started on a Windows PC; both devices must have Cortana to work. The company also introduced Windows Mixed Reality motion controller, which enables gaming in virtual worlds and tracks movement via sensors in the device and the paired headset. Continue reading Microsoft Introduces Windows 10 Update, Mixed Reality Tools

Media Player Software Company Plex Debuts Online Service

Online service Plex Cloud, which has been in private beta since September, is now open to all paying Plex users. The new service “eliminates the need for an always-on PC or other network-attached piece of hardware in order to use the Plex media player software for watching your saved TV shows and movies, viewing photos or streaming from your music collection,” explains TechCrunch. Plex Cloud, which initially used Amazon Cloud Drive to host files, experienced a number of technical challenges that Plex says have been resolved. Plex supports Google Drive, OneDrive and Dropbox. Plex Cloud is now “an option for anyone who subscribes to Plex Pass, the company’s $5 per month, subscription-based service offering a variety of premium features.” Continue reading Media Player Software Company Plex Debuts Online Service

BitTorrent Launches Sync as New Alternative to Cloud Services

BitTorrent has developed a data sharing service called Sync that lets users share and sync files between devices without having to store any information on remote servers. Powered by BitTorrent’s peer-to-peer file-sharing technology, Sync reportedly transmits data between devices 16 times faster than today’s cloud services. Because there is no cloud, there are no user accounts or passwords either. Free and paid versions of Sync are now available on Mac, Windows, iOS, Android and Windows Phone.  Continue reading BitTorrent Launches Sync as New Alternative to Cloud Services

Microsoft is Developing New Streaming Game and App Service

A team that is part of Microsoft’s Systems Group is reportedly developing a new technology called Arcadia that will stream games and apps on Windows devices. On separate occasions, Microsoft has posted job openings looking for candidates to join the Operating Systems Group (OSG) Arcadia team. Arcadia is to be built on Microsoft’s Azure cloud and is expected to be a replacement to an ongoing OSG game-stream project called Rio, announced back in 2013.  Continue reading Microsoft is Developing New Streaming Game and App Service

New Direction: Microsoft Offers Office Suite Free for Mobile

Microsoft announced that it will offer the mobile version of its Office suite featuring Word, Excel and Powerpoint for free. This is a major departure for Microsoft, which usually charges a premium for its software. However, with people doing less on their desktops and more on their smartphones, Microsoft is finally focusing on today’s push into cloud computing. The company hopes that the free mobile apps will entice new users to buy the desktop software, too. Continue reading New Direction: Microsoft Offers Office Suite Free for Mobile

Google Chromecast Now Most Popular Connected Device App

According to app analytics firm App Annie, Google’s $35 Chromecast dongle is now the most popular connected device in the U.S. Based on analysis of the top apps associated with connected devices across iTunes and Google Play, the Chromecast app experienced the most downloads, followed by Fitbit, DirecTV, HP ePrint, Kodak Kiosk Connect, Square Register, GoPro, AT&T U-verse, DISH Anywhere, and HP All In One Printer Remote. Gartner predicts 26 billion connected devices globally by 2020. Continue reading Google Chromecast Now Most Popular Connected Device App

QuickFire.TV Transcodes Broadcast Quality Video in Seconds

Startup QuickFire.TV helps news and sports broadcasters encode their videos for playback on 20 different platforms at lightning fast speeds, making it faster to distribute video content online. QuickFire claims its cloud-based solution transcodes video ten times faster than real-time, thanks to its complete stack infrastructure with Intel Core i7 processors. QuickFire also offers a set of APIs that allows video producers to create custom workflows and tools for uploading videos. Continue reading QuickFire.TV Transcodes Broadcast Quality Video in Seconds

Microsoft Makes Opera Default Browser on Android Handset

Microsoft has unveiled its first Android smartphone, the mid-range Nokia X2 Dual SIM, and has made Opera the handset’s default Web browser. The $135 Linux-based device features a 4.3-inch WVGA display, 5-megapixel camera (with LED flash and autofocus), 1GB of RAM and a 1.2GHz dual-core Snapdragon processor. With a tiles-based home screen similar to Windows Phone, the X2 comes with preloaded services such as Skype, Outlook, OneDrive, HERE Maps and the ad-free MixRadio. Continue reading Microsoft Makes Opera Default Browser on Android Handset

Microsoft Combines Laptop and Tablet with New Surface Pro 3

On Tuesday, Microsoft exec Panos Panay unveiled the Surface Pro 3, calling it a potential successor for laptop PCs. The device is not only lighter and thinner than previous versions of Surface tablet computers, but it is also larger. While previous versions measure at 10.6-inches diagonally, the Pro 3 screen measures 12-inches. Along with other Surface tablets, the Pro 3 is powered by Intel chips. Rather than comparing the tablet to others on the market, Panay discussed Apple’s MacBook Air as a competitor.

Continue reading Microsoft Combines Laptop and Tablet with New Surface Pro 3

Microsoft Will Offer Xbox One Without Kinect for $100 Less

Six months after the initial release of its Xbox One, Microsoft plans to offer a new version of the game console for $100 less. Beginning on June 9th, the company will offer a version that does not include the Kinect motion sensor, starting at $399. Microsoft also announced that it will begin offering new features to Xbox One and Xbox 360 owners in June. For example, Hulu and Netflix subscribers will be able to use the apps for free, without the need for an Xbox Live Gold membership. Continue reading Microsoft Will Offer Xbox One Without Kinect for $100 Less