Google launched a new service at the end of June to a limited number of people (allowing it time to iron out kinks, such as the system running out of disk space for 80 minutes earlier this week).
It’s Google’s next enterprise in social media and is made up of several different services, some of which you may already use, including:
Circles – Allows you to group your contacts together in a network, dividing people by the type of information you want to share with them. For instance, you can have groups for family, close friends, acquaintances, colleagues and so on.
Hangouts – This is basically a group video chat service where you can connect with people in your Circles groups.
Sparks – This is a little like Google Reader except it brings content to you automatically, based on your interests. Each topic (football, animals, holidays etc.) will get its own Sparks page and the service will provide links to related articles, videos and photos that it believes will be of interest to you.
Having only launched in late June, the service officially surpassed 10 million users on Thursday 14th July.
Google+ is by invitation only at present; however, everyone with a Google account will eventually have access to the service.
Google also announced during the week that its gross revenue for the second quarter of 2011 was $9.02 billion, up 32% on the same period from 2010. Its net income was $2.51 billion, up from $1.84 billion during the same period in 2010 – pretty tasty numbers which beat analyst estimates by a fair stretch!
Microsoft – Patch Tuesday
Microsoft released four security bulletins on Tuesday as part of their regular monthly roll-out of patches and significant updates.
One fixed a critical hole relating to Bluetooth in Windows 7 and Vista, with three less important patches that fixed issues in all Windows versions and Visio 2003.
Microsoft – Annual Worldwide Partner Conference
Microsoft’s CEO Steve Ballmer encouraged the company’s partners (including OCD) to build more software and services for the web around Microsoft’s various offerings.
The use of the cloud and the next generation of cloud services will only grow.
Like we mentioned in a previous blog article, “Is the cloud right for me” the cloud is great for some businesses but not ideal for others. Depending on a company’s individual needs, a combination of the cloud and on-premise facilities may also provide the correct solution.
OCD and our partners have been providing services and solutions around Microsoft BPOS and other technologies (as well as the newly-released Office 365) for some time now, and we’re happy to help with any advice you need.
Hotmail will now ban users from having very common passwords.
Having a common password makes your account vulnerable to attacks by automated systems that can easily guess passwords like “12345” or “password”. They will also ban phrases which are shared by millions of people, like “ilovecats” or “gogiants” etc.
As an aside, you should make sure your password for all your accounts is strong, with a mixture of upper and lowercase letters and some numbers.
It’s also advisable that your most important accounts do not share the same password, for instance your bank account should never have the same password as your Hotmail or Gmail accounts.
Amazon – Tablets and Kindles
Within the next nine weeks or so, Amazon will be releasing their own Android device which, it’s rumoured, will compete directly with the iPad.
We don’t have details on the specification yet, however it’s likely to ship without a camera but retail at a lower price to the iPad.
Most, if not all of Apple’s competitors have so far struggled to meet or better the price point of the iPad with a device that offers a better user experience.
Amazon will also launch two new Kindle devices; a lower cost model than the present incarnation and one with a touchscreen.
Just a tiny update to say that Microsoft’s new operating system is due to be released sometime in 2012 – most likely around June or July.
The features of the system have remained a closely guarded secret; however, it’s likely to be suited to a variety of devices including touchscreen and standard PCs.
Microsoft has also confirmed that the new operating system will run on the same hardware specifications as Windows 7.
Fun video to watch
Lenovo have shot two videos to show how quickly their new line-up of ThinkPad T420 Windows 7 based laptops boot-up (around nine seconds).
The scene shows a laptop plummeting from an aeroplane and a skydiver switching it on – watch the video to see how it all works out. (There are two films lasting for around one minute and three minutes respectively.)
And to finish…
This is one of the most unusual laptops I’ve ever seen.
It’s called the GScreen’s dual-screen SpaceBook and it features (as you may have already guessed from the name) not one, but two 17” 1920×1080 screens that fold out like wings.
It certainly looks a little different, but I can see where it could potentially be useful for creative types of travel from Client to Client, and the need to work on-site.
The spec is fairly powerful; it packs the following criteria for circa $2,395 (£1,484): 2.66GHz Core i5-560M CPU, 4GB of DDR3 memory, NVIDIA’s GeForce GTS 250M (1GB), a 500GB HDD, DVD burner and a magnesium alloy frame.
For an extra $400 (£250ish) you can upgrade the CPU to a 1.73GHz Core i7-740QM.
No shipping date has been provided yet but you can read more information and marvel at more screenshots at the Windows experience blog.
Would you use it, and if so what would you use it for?
Till next time, thanks for reading (and commenting),