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Microsoft Beckons New Consumers to Old Online Services
February 21, 2014
What's in a name? Microsoft is hoping more traffic to two of its online properties. The company has renamed its cloud storage service because of legal entanglements and the website for free versions of its Office productivity apps because of consumer confusion. The name changes, which took effect this week, weren't accompanied by very much in the way of feature changes.
Mozilla Tinkers With Browser Advertising Ideas
February 12, 2014
Mozilla on Tuesday gave its users a heads-up that their browsers would be getting a new feature called "Directory Tiles." Aimed at new or infrequent Firefox users, Directory Tiles fills what has been empty online real estate on the Firefox browser. A new user logging in, or a user returning to the browser after some time will be confronted with a page populated with rectangular outlines.
Google Gives Teleconferencing a Chromebox Sheen
February 07, 2014
Google is moving into a new market with the launch of its teleconferencing system, Chromebox for Business. The system uses the Chrome operating system and is built on Chrome's core tenets of simplicity, speed and security. It marries Google+ Hangouts and Google Apps to allow meeting participants to hold high-definition video meetings with document collaboration options.
Google Axes Adware-Pushing Chrome Extensions
January 20, 2014
Following reports of adware being distributed through extensions for Google's Web browser Chrome, the search giant has removed two applets from it its online store. Pulled from the Chrome Web Store were "Add to Feedly" and "Tweet This Page." Both extensions were mentioned in a Friday report about adware vendors buying popular Chrome extensions and transforming them into advertising hoses.
Google Gives Gmail More Pluses
January 10, 2014
Google on Thursday started rolling out changes designed to further integrate its Gmail and Google+ platforms. The updates make it easier for Google+ users to contact other users without knowing their email addresses. Going forward, when users with both a Gmail and a Google+ account begin typing a contact's name into an email draft, a list of Google+ contacts will appear along with other contacts.
The Healing Begins for Healthcare.gov
December 04, 2013
The troubled Healthcare.gov website seems to have found its sea legs at last. After a botched rollout, the White House set itself a new deadline of Nov. 30 and hunkered down to repair the many glitches afflicting the site, through which Americans in the 36 states it serves must get their health insurance under the Affordable Care Act. By and large, it appears to have succeeded.
Mailplane Gives Gmail a Nice Lift
December 03, 2013
Gmail may not be the prettiest email program in the world. Yahoo Mail is easier on the eye. Microsoft's Outlook online has a clean and modern appeal. Nevertheless, many of us use Gmail -- warts and all -- so any app that adds utility to the Google offering can be worthwhile. Mailplane has been around for six years, but its developers have given it a makeover in this latest edition.
Where Have All the Forests Gone?
November 23, 2013
Earlier this month, researchers published a report discussing global forest coverage, and supplementing their findings was a first-of-its-kind interactive mapping tool that was created in partnership with Google. In this TechNewsWorld podcast, we discuss the research with the study's lead author, geographer Matthew Hansen.
Yahoo to Tie Up Data With Neat Encryption Bow
November 19, 2013
Yahoo said it will extend 2048-bit encryption planned for Yahoo Mail across its entire network. CEO Marissa Mayer reiterated that the company "has never given access to our data centers to the NSA or to any other government agency." However, documents from NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden indicate the NSA reimbursed Yahoo for costs incurred to meet the demands of its Prism surveillance program.
Dropbox Drops In on the Enterprise
November 14, 2013
Dropbox began courting enterprise users with Wednesday's unveiling of Dropbox for Business. It's a paid cloud storage service that offers enterprise users the same features that have made Dropbox a popular file-hosting company among consumers, along with several security and efficiency-focused features tailored for businesses, such as sharing audit logs and efficiently transferring files.
Apple Sheds Maps Humiliation and Gets the Last Laugh
November 14, 2013
Apple angered millions of iPhone users -- and baffled millions more -- when it ditched the generally functional built-in Google-based Maps app in favor of its own. That was last year, when it introduced iOS 6. Howls of anger rocketed across the Web, and fanboys of other platforms -- including some Apple enthusiasts -- started tracking Apple Maps fails.
Thunderbird Lets You Fly Through Your Email
November 12, 2013
Mail clients have lost their luster in recent times. Between social media fulfilling the messaging needs of many people and webmail's growing popularity, desktop email apps are beginning to look passť. Still, email clients have their adherents. I count myself among them. I like the idea of having all my email on my computer, not in someone's cloud where someone I don't know might peruse it.
igHome Offers Cozy Abode for iGoogle Orphans
November 05, 2013
Google birthed its personal portal software, iGoogle, during simpler Internet times. Online applications were few. Clamshell handsets were all the rage. Combining "social" and "media" was an oxymoron. The portal wars began. Online titans like Yahoo, Microsoft and Google vied for eyeballs and the mantle of most visited Internet destination. Personal portals emerged from that competition.
IE Gets Top Props for Thwarting Socially Engineered Malware
November 04, 2013
By duping an Internet innocent into making just one errant click, an online bandit can inflict a world of hurt. Socially engineered malware attacks attempt to deceive a user into downloading malicious software, typically through a link to an infected website. The best protections against those attacks are built into Microsoft's Internet Explorer, according to NSS Labs.
Firefox's Lightbeam Brings Web Trackers Out of the Dark
October 25, 2013
Mozilla has released a tool to show which companies are monitoring your online browsing activity in its mission to make the Web more transparent. Lightbeam, available as a free Firefox browser extension, shows which third-party companies are tracking your browsing activity, and how they are connected. Those third parties often represent brands that want to share your data or display targeted ads.
The Unhealthy State of Healthcare.gov
October 25, 2013
Finger-pointing has erupted among contractors responsible for the Obama administration's troubled Healthcare.gov website. CGI Federal, the subsidiary of Canadian firm CGI that was the lead contractor for the project, blamed another contractor, as well as the United States federal Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, which it said directed and supervised its work.
Consumers Urged to Wait for Healthcare Website to Heal Itself
October 23, 2013
The only upside for the Obama administration in the troubled launch of the health insurance marketplace is that it is still early days for the program. On Oct. 1, the government rolled out its vehicle for providing health insurance to persons currently without coverage. The rollout featured the launch of HealthCare.gov -- a website where consumers can purchase a policy online.
With Pogue Hire, Yahoo May Be Putting Content Horse Before Ad Cart
October 22, 2013
Yahoo on Monday announced the hire of New York Times tech columnist David Pogue to lead "a major expansion of consumer tech coverage." He will publish columns, blog posts, video stories and more, starting later this year, the company said. Pogue and his team "have much bigger plans, too, for all kinds of online and real-world creations," he said.
Google Maps Learns to Multitask
October 10, 2013
Google Maps has become the default source of directions for many users, but one feature it has notoriously lacked is the ability to provide directions to multiple destinations. On Wednesday, however, the company announced that it is now rolling out the feature at last. "One of your most requested features -- directions for multiple destinations -- will begin rolling out today," said Google's Florian Goerisch.
The Hidden Price of Free Webmail
October 04, 2013
No one expects a free lunch. So when people use a free webmail service, many assume they will be bombarded with advertising. Why? Obviously, because the webmail services make money by commercializing the content of the webmail! Actually when you sign up for free webmail, and click "I Accept," contractually you are acknowledging that you have read, and agree to, the ToS and Privacy Policies.
Ford Picks Up Livio on Road to Connected Car Standardization
September 28, 2013
Ford has announced the acquisition of Livio Connect, a 5-year-old Michigan company that wields influence in the car connectivity field out of proportion to its size. That's partly because Livio's technology is used by some major players and partly because Livio's Keys marketplace is a B2B exchange where automakers can execute and manage business deals with partners.
Mail for Yahoo: The Joy of Local Email Without the Client
September 25, 2013
Since Marissa Mayer took the helm of Yahoo, one of her top priorities has been to keep Yahoo Mail relevant to people's digital lifestyles. Yahoo has always been on the bleeding edge when comes to webmail interfaces -- steadily bringing desktop features to its online offering. What it needs is something to attract eyeballs and subsequently, new accounts to the service.
Heavy Attacks Expected as Microsoft Scrambles to Fix IE Flaw
September 18, 2013
Microsoft revealed Tuesday it was investigating a previously unknown security flaw affecting all versions of its IE Web browser. Hackers have attempted to exploit the vulnerability in targeted attacks on users of versions 8 and 9, it reported in a security advisory. "The vulnerability may corrupt memory in a way that could allow an attacker to execute arbitrary code," the advisory says.
Box Unboxes Note-Taking App Beta
September 16, 2013
Cloud storage provider Box has unveiled a private beta of Box Notes, a real-time content creation and collaboration feature, as an add-on to its existing services. Box Notes is designed to let business teams capture and share ideas on the fly. "Box has gotten a reputation as being the most secure enterprise file-sharing service," said Gerry Purdy, principal analyst at MobileTrax.

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