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Say hello to Google’s answer to the iPad

BriefMobile posts pictures of what it says is the Nexus 10, the new tablet from Google and Samsung.

LINK TO ARTICLE

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Windows 8

Windows 8 is dramatically different, in both look and user experience, from any PC interface that’s come before it. The first thing you notice when you fire up Windows 8 is that the familiar Start button is gone. The new Start Screen is an interface that’s built for touch where tiles instead of menus are used to get to the programs you want. To enable you to access the Start Screen on a touch device Microsoft introduced a little something called Charms.  Its overall purpose is to provide quick access to several commonly-needed features, including search, sharing, the Start screen, hardware devices, and settings.

Microsoft also created the Microsoft Store, offering both desktop and Modern UI apps, both free and paid.

With its sight on helping multi-taskers, Microsoft  overhauled  its desktop management which makes using multiple monitors more efficient. Another useful addition to Microsoft 8 is the integration with cloud capabilities.

All these changes seem pretty nice and I do like most of them myself. But are they to much? I for one am not a fan of the multiple interfaces which arise due to programs which cannot run in the new interface. What do you think?

Windows Evolved: 20 Years of PC Progress

Microsoft has launched Windows 8 today! This article looks back at the history of Windows’ user interface.

From the early days of MS-DOS, when mice were considered unnecessary, to the introduction of the Start button and the various tweaks since, it’s incredible how far Windows design has come over the years.

Are you going to use Windows 8?

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LINK TO ARTICLE

The upcoming TV war

A lot has been written about the Apple TV, and many had expected it already. Now there are many other forms of set-up boxes that you can use to stream media onto your TV. I have build a FreeNAS server very easily from which I can stream media content across my house. You can stream it through your television, if it has that functionality (check this BIM post), through your Blu-ray/DVD player (again if…), or through set-up boxes like the Xtreamer, or from Eminent for example. Google also has launched their Google TV. (See post by jordydebruijn) Now Apple has their Apple TV already for quite some while, and they state it is more of a hobby project than serious business, but is it? Everyone who can still remember the VCR players that were a pain the bottom to set-up might know the feeling that the current solutions are just not it. Steve Jobs has said in his biography that he cracked the code, meaning he found the next best thing for television.

But there is more in your home entertainment system besides your TV and Media-player. You might have an Playstation 3 or Xbox360. The latter has come up with Xbox SmartGlass, your interactive remote control: (source with video!: Gizmodo)
Another video:

Android apps security issues!

 

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German research showed that from 13000 apps from the playstore more than 1000 are vulnerable for hacker attacks. Information like log in combinations and even credit card numbers can be obtained by external parties because of this. The SSL-connections are not safe enough in most of these apps. I’m wondering if this is the result of Androids ‘open source platform’ and whether then iOS apps would not have these problems because of more strict regulations?

Reference: http://tweakers.net/nieuws/85086/veelgebruikte-android-apps-kunnen-gegevens-lekken-door-ssl-gaten.html

Google launches Samsung Chromebook: A new type of PC?

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The chromebook is now available and Google is promoting it as the new type of PC. You won’t have to worry about backing up your data, because everything is synced to Google drive. Also virus protection is build in, as are all the google apps, and everything is always ready to use since all the software is updated automatically. And on top of this, it only costs 349 euro’s. But what makes this different from the ipad or the android tablets? Isn’t it just a tablet with a keyboard stuck to it? 

Reference:

http://www.google.co.uk/intl/en/chrome/devices/landing.html

Google’s driverless car the future?

After having learned so much about Google in this course I thought I would add a fun fact to this: Google’s driverless car! 15 of Google’s engineers are working on this innovative project, and you might think this is a ‘ver van je bed show’, as we would say in Dutch, but think again! A Toyota Prius modified with Google’s driverless technology has been driving around the state of Nevada, and has travelled 300,000 miles without getting into accidents! Also in 3 states in the USA it is now allowed by law to have driverless cars on the roads.

How it works? The car is using laser-guided mapping, 4 radars, a video camera, and a position estimator to drive around safely. What’s striking to me is that this technology is probably going to be a better driver then human beings. Is driving yourself then going to be irresponsible? Does that mean this type of driving is the future?

References:

If you’re interested check out Google’s keynote on this technology!

http://www.mercurynews.com/business/ci_21627954/graphic-how-google-driverless-car-works-robot-jerry-brown-law

 

Samsung ends the relation with Apple

The battle for becoming market leader in the mobile industry has been heated up lately. Samsung is currently dominating the market with a 30 percent share worldwide and Apple coming in second with 17 percent.  Both companies have been fighting harsh battles in court in what has been called the great patent wars. Apple has been able to forbid the import of various galaxy products in countries such as Belgium and even the Netherlands. But Samsung kept fighting back and kept on changing the system to prevent copyright infringement.

With all these courthouse visits between the 2 great software companies, it is hard to imagine that they have been working together for several years now.  Samsung has been making chips that power the iPhone and also provides the LCD panels used in the iPad 3. It almost seemed like an on and of relation as seen in soap operas.

Well, it seems like this relation is now finally coming to an end. Apple who has been trying to reduce its dependencies as they have done to Google (Maps, YouTube) is now losing its contract with Samsung.  Samsung has decided to terminate their contract and withdrawal their position as core supplier of LCD panels.  It is still unclear who will become the new supplier of the screens. The big question is which party has the knowledge and technology available to keep up with the growing demand for apple products.

As for Samsung, they don’t see this action as a loss. There seems to be more than enough demand for these panels from companies such as Amazon.

I Guess we should get ready for “Patent Wars, The Sequel”

References.

http://arstechnica.com/apple/2012/08/apple-owns-us-smartphone-market-while-samsung-dominates-worldwide/

http://www.geek.com/articles/mobile/samsung-terminates-lcd-contract-with-apple-20121022/

Apple Maps has done it again.

Many of you may know that Apple is still busy with improving their newly developed “Maps” application. Apple Maps has received a lot of criticism from its users and has been ridiculed all over the internet.

The main problems that iOS 6 users face in using maps are as follows:

 

1. No information about public transportation;

2. Wrong labels (E.G failing to register Jerusalem as the capital of israel)

3. Giving wrong directions.

Mapping the entire planet and helping people experience it from their desktop and mobile devices is of course a great concept. Certainly if it is enriched with well rendered 3D images.

But mapping the entire planet also has its downsides. Detailed geographic information about whereabouts of important national structures can be used for negative purposes. If this information would fall in the hands of the wrong people this could be catastrophically.

Google faced this same issue in 2007 when terrorists used Google earth to attack UK troops. Since then Google has been busy to protect national and military structures.

Apple maps now seems to be facing the same issues.  A newspaper in Taiwan descovered as secret military base in Taiwan by using Apple Maps. It turns out it was a brand new TOP SECRET 1.3 billion radar facility. A formal request is said to have been sent to Apple but both parties have been real quiet on the matter.

For now I’m still happy that apple maps still has problems with directions….

 

References

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/1539401/Terrorists-use-Google-maps-to-hit-UK-troops.html

http://www.ibtimes.com/ios-6-problems-apple-maps-accidentally-reveals-secret-taiwan-base-844145

Role of IT in forming an Efficient Market

In finance, the efficient-market hypothesis (EMH) asserts that financial markets are “informationally efficient”. In consequence of this, one cannot consistently achieve returns in excess of average market returns on a risk-adjusted basis, given the information available at the time the investment is made (Wikipedia).

The crucial part in this statement is “information available at the time the investment is made”. In order to have an efficient market, it is necessary for all the market players to have access to information simultaneously and with no delay after this information is published. Day by day with more advances in IT, we are getting closer to have access to published information, no matter what the source is, without any delay. As a result several studies show that stock prices are adjusted in less than 3 minutes after availability of positive or negative information about a company! So next time you want to buy some stocks, either be really fast or don’t rely on information for further changes.

Online Filter Bubbles

We discussed a lot about search engines such as Google or different advertising techniques used in Facebook and Google. When different companies want to advertise their products and services, they want to target the customers that are most likely to purchase those using different methods but what happens when we want to search something on the internet? Does our past behavior affect our search results? It seems that we are trapping ourselves in a filter bubble and lose access to an unbiased set of information overtime and our past preferences will form our future choices.

Do you want to make a wiki?

Most of us know how to make a blog but sometimes when collaboration on a single post is needed it can be really hard to go over all the comments and make changes in the already published posts. As we have learned, when it comes to crowd-sourcing concept, probably the simplest way is using a wiki. There are different services available to make a wiki online. One of the most convenient ones which is available free of charge is Wikispaces. This website provides the opportunity of publishing a wiki with several users and publishers with easy to use platforms.
So, have a look and start your own wiki…

http://www.wikispaces.com/

AdWords for Video – making Youtube profitable?

As Video is one of the big trends in the online world happening, next to social, mobile and local, it becomes interesting to see how Google tries to take advantage of that trend, and maybe gets YouTube on the profitable side of business. 

From 2010 to 2011 US viewers at YouTube increased by 5% and watching time by almost 40% (http://searchenginewatch.com/article/2133524/Video-Marketing-Trends-in-2012). Expecting a similar trend for this and the coming years, it comes in practical that Google simplified its advertising possibilities at YouTube by an easy integration to AdWords. This opens video-advertising opportunities especially to the large small and medium business market. The following techcrunch blog describes the idea and features a google video on how easy it is to promote your videos on YouTube via AdWords: http://techcrunch.com/2012/04/22/adwords-for-video/

I believe that the video format alone bears a huge potential, and generating revenue as the market leader should be possible ;-). Especially experience goods can benefit tremendously, as they have an interactive format to show ‘what it is like’ – imagine user generated content, such as player videos at the local paintball arena – this can be much more engaging than a display ad or a two-line text ad! Furthermore it combines it with the social and local trends. If Google uses their sales force as a education unit, to show and inspire advertisers these opportunities, the only limit right now is the challenge to keep the video-commercials content relevant and value-adding.

Goldman Sachs: Biggest opportunities are in data

Goldman Sachs: Biggest opportunities are in data

Yes, good news for us. Even a conglomerate such as Goldman Sachs acknowledges the opportunities in Big Data. Companies can simply find out what products to offer to consumers by looking simply looking at data, Scott Stanford states that true differentiation can be achieved through big data. He believes that more and more products offerings will be tailor made and personalized for consumers. Therefore it is vital that companies have access to proprietary data and should furthermore have knowledge to how to apply that data into their advantages. He claims that many companies lack this competency due to the fact that historically most companies did not need this skill.

Hence the popularity of BIM; now it is up to us to find data and exploit it into our advantages.  Here is the full interview with the Global Co-Head of Internet and New Media of Goldman Sachs:

http://www.goldmansachs.com/our-thinking/focus-on/innovation/stanford/index.html

Prediction Markets: Obama vs. Romney

Prediction Markets: Obama vs. Romney

As we all know, it is US election time. As we have heard in our presentation; Prediction markets are used to forecast the result of uncertain events. So called investors in political prediction markets have access to all publicly available information, therefore being a great example predictions.  Social scientists have been studying these elections for decades of years but never has there been such an accurate tool to predict. As we know, these markets have showed up from the early 1990s (Iowa Electronic Market), where it was set up by Tippie College of Business at the University of Iowa.

More interestingly; what are the recent prediction markets saying about the upcoming elections? Romney’s shares on Intrade are being traded for 43 cents (on a dollar), meaning that he has a roughly 43% change to win the election in November. Good news for Obama. Almost an identical price showed up on the Iowa Electronic Market; so for now Obama has the upper hand.

A good example of how prediction markets precisely work can be found on here:

http://www.deseretnews.com/article/765601505/Trying-to-use-prediction-markets-to-forecast-the-presidential-election.html?pg=all

Motorola HC1: Google Goggles for the enterprise!

Motorola Solutions has unveiled a head-mounted, voice-controlled computer that’s targeted at the military and other industries where workers need hands-free access to information.

Called the HC1, the device runs on an ARM processor and has an optional camera to send back real-time video over a wireless network.

Unlike Google Goggles, though, the HC1 is aimed at the enterprise market with a price tag of US$4,000-$5,000 per unit.

Areas the company has been experimenting with include “high-end repair markets,” such as aircraft engines, said Paul Steinberg, CTO of Motorola Solutions (which is the part of Motorola Google did not acquire). “Emergency medical personnel at trauma centers might be looking at this too.”

The HC1 will augment what users see by providing additional data, he said. Multiple units could be networked together and share information.

One difficulty with products like the HC1 can be finding the exact position for the screen, so the user can see what’s being displayed. The voice commands and gesture controls seemed accurate and responsive when a reporter tried them, however. Calling out category headings opens new applications.

The so-called “optical micro-display” from Kopin Corporation is supposed to simulate a view of a 15-inch screen.

The HC1 runs Microsoft Windows CE 6.0 Professional. When it ships in the first half of 2013 it will come with Wi-Fi connectivity, but Steinberg said it could eventually have 3G and 4G radios.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aEQMFLxzj5A

Healthcare and IS

Healthcare and IS

The Dutch students might remember ‘het elektronisch patiënten dossier (EPD)’, a digital dossier on every patient that can easily accessed by medical staff around the nation to exchange medical information. There where quite some privacy concerns  due to the sensitive nature of the information and since no system is complacently secure, that the system was commissioned by a governmental body made the odds for security breach even worse. At the time every citizen received a letter informing them that this was going to happen and that there was an option to request to opt-out (no guarantees) if you wrote them a letter with a copy of your passport.

As most of you know the first chamber blocked the initiative in 2011 and ordered the minister to withdraw from the project. This does not mean, contrary to popular belief, that the EPD does no longer exist. About half of the Dutch population has already been added to the system tough further implementation will be much harder since it now requires an opt-in system.

This year the UK has followed in the Dutch footsteps announcing their own information strategy concerning healthcare that is similar is many ways. This info graphic depicts the proposed benefits.

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It is clear that governments want to join the 21st century and profit from all the benefits new technologies have to offer. The question in this case however is not only if they have the skill to pull it off but also if the population is ready for this kind of change. The Dutch case has shown much resistance to the plans and left us with a half implemented system that most people don’t even know about.

sources:http://www.rijksoverheid.nl/onderwerpen/elektronisch-patientendossier http://theamazingworldofpsychiatry.wordpress.com/2012/05/23/the-uk-government-announces-an-information-strategy/

Can we make money on pinning?

Yesterday, while browsing Mashable I came across a short article comparing Pinterest with Facebook – according to recent survey by BizRate Insights, the former is much more successful in driving e-commerce. Surprised?

A couple of months ago when gathering data on Social Media (yes, coming back to the topic), my friend working in an advertising agency mentioned Pinterest (you know, the fastest-growing social media site. Haven’t you heard?). Ashamed of my ignorance, I googled the name the minute I was back home.

As the network was already introduced by Lieke , I am presenting only key figures here: Pinterest was launched in 2009 as social network that enables its users to collect and share images found on the Web by pinning them on virtual pinboards. Currently,  it has over 10 million users,  60 percent of whom are female.

Further details of the survey mentioned before: almost 70 percent of Pinterest users get inspired on what to buy thanks to the network and 67 percent keeps track of the things they like. In comparison, Facebook numbers are much lower – only 17 percent of respondents use the platform to find an inspiration and 21 percent regularly follow retailers. Personally, I found the numbers astonishing.  Another study of social media traffic by jewelry and accessories retailer Boticca.com supports those findings –when comparing the engagement statistics Pinterest results in terms of customer spending surpassed those achieved by Facebook by 100 percent (average Pinterest user spending – $180, whereas average Facebook user spending – $85).

How To Pin it to Win it 

To be successful on Pinterest, brands need to take a more holistic approach to marketing. For most consumer brands, the idea behind your brand makes sense on Pinterest, said Pinterest co-founder Evan Sharp. Since you’re not supposed to blast pictures of your products on Pinterest, try to think outside the box and pin images that capture a lifestyle and/or the essence of your brand.

Two examples worth mentioning are listed below:

Time’s Real Simple magazine has over 187 000 Pinterest followers. A couple of months ago  Shannon King, GM of digital for Real Simple magazine admitted that  Pinterest is a huge source from a referral standpoint, beating out Facebook referrals. The company using 73 boards presents ideas concerning decorating, recipes and fashion.

Whole Foods Market (over 71 000 followers) is pursuing the value of lifestyle-related content marketing. The customers connect particulatr type  lifestyle with shopping at Whole Foods – one that is about health, responsibly sourced food, family and looking after the planet.

Mashable article: http://mashable.com/2012/10/20/pinterest-facebook-shopping/

Create your own .com is childishly simple

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Knowing that we BIMmers are vast Internet users, I would like to highlight some solutions I came across if you want to start your own website. May it be a regular website, a webshop or even your very own social network site. It is all possible, easy and quick to set-up and most importantly NO programming needed whatsoever.

Create your own social network, I always thought this entails signing up to either Facebook or some other popular platform. But you can also create your own social community and let people sign up to your network site with the Ning platform, http://www.ning.com/
It is used for a lot of purposes, ranging from fan communities to professional communities where employees can discuss.

Second is a webshop solution that may be very interesting for the entrepreneurs among us, Shopify: http://www.shopify.com/
On this website you can set-up a stylish modern webshop in no time at all. So if you are thinking of selling online, check it out. Funny how a couple of years ago companies that started a webshop where funded by high stock demand, and now it is pretty mainstream business.

The last solution is actually a start-up of a friend of mine, Profound Projects: http://www.profoundprojects.com/
It gives the possibility to create top-notch websites and smartphone applications, social integration included. Content management is childishly simple.

These examples show how low the barriers of starting your own “Internet Strategy” is becoming. If you have ideas, do not hesitate to start!

Are You Caught Up in Apple’s Reality Distortion Field?

When Apple became popular, I refused to buy an Apple product, purely because I didn’t want to ‘follow the crowd’. However, the features, design and ease of use have persuaded me, resulting in the fact that I now own an iPod Touch and an iPhone which I cannot miss for one day. There still are people who are refusing buying an Apple product or are not interested in using any Apple device, but how does this come? AYTM Research has made a beautiful infographic which give an overview of the mindsets of Apple users and those who have never owned an Apple device. Charlie White from Mashable has wrote a blog about it, which you can read here:

Do Apple lovers really “think different?”  What makes those who don’t buy Apple products turn away from them? This infographic gets to the bottom of why people buy Apple products, and what keeps them from buying them. And it shows how they feel about those products once they’ve bought them.

You’ll probably agree, there’s something about buying an Apple product that makes people act differently. It could be part of that famous “reality distortion field” associated with Steve Jobs, or maybe it’s just because Apple products are actually superb. The survey behind this artwork aims to quantify that thinking, measuring the differences of opinion between Apple lovers and Apple haters.

Some of you might say there’s no reality being distorted at all, and Apple products are just far superior to its competition. At the same time, many of the 48% of U.S. adults who’ve never owned an Apple device probably don’t think Apple products are insanely great, but point to Apple aficionados as simply insane. Others in that group just plain can’t afford Apple’s expensive baubles.

What’s the truth? It wasn’t the mission of market research firm Ask Your Target Market (AYTM) to find out whether subjective opinions and feelings about Apple products were true or not. The goal was to measure the difference in thinking between those who embrace Apple products and those who don’t.

Using its Ask Your Target Market research platform, AYTM Research tapped into its huge hoard of 4.5 million consumers to come up with the data behind this lovely infographic. Take a look at the full data set here.

If you’re having trouble understanding this unusual infographic, here’s a quick guide: On the left side are those who haven’t bought Apple products, and on the right are those who have been enveloped in Apple’s alleged reality distortion field.

What do you think? Are you trapped in Apple’s reality distortion field? Is there even such a thing?

Infographic (click on it to enlarge it):

Source: http://mashable.com/2012/10/21/reality-distortion-field-infographic/

Might Google be the winner that takes it all?

Winner-takes-all dynamics usually exist when 3 condidtions are fulfilled and I’ll try to point out how Google is slowly but surely positioning itself to beat the competition.

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The 3 conditions are:

> Multi-homing costs are high: The costs in this case would be time, effort and inconvenience. Google is encouraging users to create a Google account, which they can use to log-in to and make use of the multiple google services, including YouTube, Google Calendar, Google Checkout and Gmail, just to name a few. In addition, Google assures quality so for the average consumer, it becomes quite a hassel to bother switching to say hotmail or PayPal, when they could just as well avail of Google’s services.

>Network effects are positive and are strong: Here again, the Google account engourages users to invite other users to create a google account to user services such as the Google Calendar which can be synced across all users’ calendars. This way, Google is attempting to further increase the number of Google acocunts in existence, thereby incentivising users to assist it in creating Network effects.

>Demand for differentiated features is limited: Google has a multitude of products on offering and if it isn’t the first mover in a market, it is almost certain to follow with a competitive product. When taking its closest competitors such as Yahoo! or eBay into account, Google is constantly challanging every initiative made by these rivals so as to reduce incentives for users to switch from Google, because it offers everything and more than its rivals can.

In time, Google could probably succeed and become the winner that takes all simply because its presence becomes so ubiquitous, while its offerings continue to improve with every day. It is (probably) aiming to be the winner amongst many differentiated rivals in numerous different markets by encompassing all web-based services under one giant and promising umbrella.

My first world problem: goes on Facebook to procrastinate, talks about study…

Just another nice example how Internet changes everything, is studying nowadays. Although Porter might not exactly agree with me, I believe the Internet has fundamentally changed the industry, and this includes the wonderful institute we call ‘university’. I noticed a lot of us Bimmers have participated in the Space Race, and more intensive than ever before, has Facebook been a center of my learning ritual. I will be the first one to admit it, Facebook is my go-to place when I’m studying, and always has been. Difference now, as compared last year, is that I actually use the channel to ask questions, give useful links to fellow students, and if I know the answer, help other students out. Of course, I’m still strolling Facebook, looking at the countless updates, and procrastinating now and then, but actually, Facebook has been very useful to me. Not only when it came to questions I had, but also watching movies posted by fellow students that related to the course content, and reading books from last year, because it may come in handy for this course, as suggested by other Bimmers. I believe that we are dealing with positive, same sided network effects, because the more people respond to discussions posted on Facebook, the more comprehensive my knowledge will become (or at least, I hope it will!). I started wondering, what if Facebook launches a search engine service, would you guys use it? How would you feel about your privacy then? Would you mind Facebook going through all your personal details, and dig up conversations you had months, maybe years ago?

Yahoo vs. Google with CEO Marissa Mayer

By now, we all should know a lot about Google. However, today there was this news paper article about Yahoo as a potential direct competitor of Google..

Marissa Mayer, the new CEO at Yahoo, wants the company to focus more on the technology side of the so-called Internet concern. Thereby, the company shall profile itself a little less as a media company. Based on anonymous sources, Reuters (2012) argues that the services like Yahoo Mail and Yahoo Finance are still quite the same as in the year 2005. Moreover, there is great need for change as the total amount of people using the company its services is decreasing and becoming less popular each year – total value of the company is about 19 billion, which is about 50% of the total value in 2005.

According to the sources, Yahoo would not only be willing to take over some smaller companies – like Caterva that is focused on social media – but its management also has the intention to directly compete with companies like Facebook and Google. For now, the content within these anynomous sources are just some kind of speculation. Tomorrow, Monday the 22th of October, Marissa Mayer will publish the official plans and one of the interesting questions is about whether or not to become a direct competitor of Google.

What I think is a little bit remarkable, is the background of Marissa Mayer; before her appointment at Yahoo she used to work for Google for 13 years! Mayer wants to position Yahoo squarely against Google and has been meeting with, among others, AOL Inc CEO Tim Armstrong – another ex-Googler. She is said to move on the personnel front, shelling out rich pay packages to attract ex-colleagous from Google. What to think about this? And, then, what about Google and Facebook? Didn’t they take the Yahoo consumers’ their time, the latter company its engineering talent, and about 20 billion of its market value in the last couple years?

What should Yahoo do? Do you think Marissa Mayer is the CEO Yahoo really needs? And what about attracting old Googlers in order to being able to compete?

You can find one of the articles placed here: http://bottomline.nbcnews.com/_news/2012/10/21/14596556-yahoo-ceo-marissa-mayers-plan-focuses-on-technology-not-media

Microsoft offers Office 2013 University

Along with the new release of Office 2013, Microsoft will provide students with a tailor-made package of Microsoft Office. The whole package will include Word, Excel, Acces, Powerpoint, OneNote and Outlook that can be installed on a maximum of two computers.

This is not really new to the world, but Microsoft tries to serve the international oriented student by including 60 Skype minutes per month. Also, 20 gigabytes of Skydrive, Microsoft’s cloud storage service, are added to the package, where files you save from one of the Office programs will automatically be stored, thus accessible from other devices. Office University even offers you the opportunity, when you are away, to ‘stream’ the full Office functionalities to Windows based PC’s through what’s called Office on Demand.

Two interesting (possible) developments can be seen:

One thing is that Microsoft has changed its product. Office, what was a software product in the past, is now a more of a service. As a student, you can subscribe yourself to this service for a period of 4 years, monthly paying $1.67 ($80,- after 4 years.

Another thing is that Microsoft is really expanding to the cloud, they even state it on their blogging site. In the lectures and article we learned that bundling was a good way of bringing newly introduced products to the market, because they can lift on the success of the whole package. SkyDrive, a newly introduced feature, is now part of this package. Even better, all the programs store the files automatically in the cloud, in which case the customer is almost forced to adopt the product.

Of course, this information is irrelevant for us, because we all be graduated BIMmers long before the 4 year subscription has come to an end.

How much do Google, Facebook profit from your data?

You probably all know everything about Google by now for the exam – but how much is the data we are giving to not only Google but also Facebook actually worth? CNN recently published an article about a Firefox and Chrome add-on which tries to actually calculate how much you are worth to Google and Facebook:

“Savvy Internet users know that all the great stuff they get from the Internet us for “free”—the searches, the social networks, the games, even the news—isn’t really free. It’s an exchange, where companies are able to take user data, sell it to advertisers, and make money that allows them to give themselves a paycheck while keeping you afloat in free digital services.

So that data you’re giving away online is worth something, but have you ever taken a stab at figuring out how much? A just-released privacy add-on for Firefox and Chrome, Privacyfix, gives it the old college try. Both Congress and the executive branch have been talking more about online privacy in the past couple years.

The estimates for Google and Facebook are imprecise, as the program’s creator, Privacy Choice founder Jim Brock, readily admits. “We wanted people to understand, it is a value exchange” when they use these sites, said Brock.

Privacyfix measures your last 60 days of activity on Google, extrapolates that to a year, and uses a value-per-search estimate. Analysts believed Google was making $14.70 per 1,000 searches in 2010, and possibly less in 2011. Of course, if you spend all your time searching for luxury hotels or mesothelioma lawyers—and then clicking through the advertised links—you’re much more valuable than the average user.

Brock says his estimated annual Facebook value was a mere $1.68. His daughter, perhaps unsurprisingly, is at $12. His Google value checks in at more than $700 per year, though.

The add-on also tells you how many of the websites you visit feed data back to Facebook and Google. I was surprised to see that Facebook is tracking me across 87 percent of the Internet, despite the fact that I’m a minimal user of Facebook.

Privacyfix has a checklist for Facebook privacy settings, with orange warning signs near settings that users might want to take a look at. Unless you’re a complete privacy hawk already—or you don’t care at all—you’ll probably find something new on that list that you weren’t aware of. Did you know Facebook automatically shares your profile info when you visit certain sites? Did you know your profile details are sometimes shared not just with your friends, but often with the makers of your friends’ apps?

Privacyfix also gives you a heads-up on things you should be doing anyhow, like deleting Facebook apps you no longer use so that they stop gathering data. The add-on links you directly to those Facebook settings so you can fix them immediately, navigating you through a maze of privacy options some find arcane; it has a similar function for Google. “I haven’t had anyone go through this process who was not surprised by something [they saw],” said Brock.

While it isn’t Brock’s intention that all users should tightly clamp down their privacy controls, that’s what most of the users of Privacyfix have chosen to do so far, he said. Future plans include similar privacy controls for Twitter and LinkedIn, as well as a mobile app.” – source

 

It is an interesting add-on I think and if you are worried about your privacy, this might help you! Then again, I am wondering if everything this add-on tells you after using it is true. Or perhaps I just hope it isn’t true.. How much do you think you are worth to Google and Facebook?