A class action complaint was filed against Google yesterday for using secret deals by exploiting their Android monopoly by forcing smartphone OEMs such as Samsung and others to make Google search engine the default choice on their mobile devices. The lawsuit claims that this move by Google harms consumers by making the devices cost more. Because, Apple receives over billion dollar from Google for making Google as the default search engine. If any Android OEM wants to make similar deal with Microsoft or Yahoo for making default search engine, they will lose access to Google Apps and Google Play Store in Android. Under the secret MADA’s, device makers must allegedly include all of the following applications: Set-up Wizard, Google Phone-top Search, Gmail, Google Calendar, Google Talk, YouTube, Google Maps for Mobile, Google Street View, Contact Sync, Android Market Client (not products downloaded from Android Market), Google Voice Search, and Network Location ...

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In U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California, Google is facing a privacy lawsuit for its data-mining practices of students email in its Google Apps for Education program. Even though the ads are not served for Google Apps for Education users, Google itself admitted that it scanned emails sent and received by students who attend schools that use Apps for Education. Google is using the data to build a profile that could be used for ad targeting outside Google Apps. The data-mining practices behind Google’s Gmail electronic-messaging service violate federal and state wiretap and privacy laws. Gmail is a key feature of Google Apps for Education, which has 30 million users worldwide and is provided by the company for free to thousands of educational institutions in the United States. Student-data-privacy experts contend that the latter claim is contradicted by Google’s own court filings in the California suit. They ...

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Bing image search experience is one of my favorite web service that I use often. Microsoft today blogged about the Bing Image search quality providing us a behind the scenes look into how Bing is improving image search quality by exploring some additional techniques that they are employing to deliver high quality image results. Bing listed some of the techniques they use in deriving Bing Image search results, Understanding Image Quality Understanding Objects Understanding Color Filtering Image Characteristics Faces, Shoulders and Bodies Understanding Image Style Better Image Quality by Smart Cropping Better Thumbnail Visual Quality Building Hero Image Experiences For comparison with Google, check the images above. First one is the Bing image search result and the below one is from Google. For example with a query like “photos of yunnan”, where Yunnan is a beautiful resort in China, users expect to not only see relevant but also beautiful images ...

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Microsoft today announced that they have signed a patent licensing agreement with Motorola Solutions for usage of Android and Chrome OS products. Don’t get confused about this deal, Microsoft’s patent case was with Motorola Mobility and it is still going on in various countries around the world. REDMOND, Wash., April 21, 2014 /PRNewswire/ – Microsoft Corp. announced on Monday a patent licensing agreement with Motorola Solutions, Inc., a leading provider of communication solutions and services for enterprise and government customers. The license provides worldwide coverage under Microsoft’s patent portfolio for Motorola Solutions’ devices running the Android™platform and Chrome OS™operating system. “Microsoft and Motorola Solutions share a respect for intellectual property and a commitment to fair and reasonable patent licensing programs,” said Nick Psyhogeos, general manager, associate general counsel, IP licensing of the Innovation and Intellectual Property Group at Microsoft. “Microsoft prefers licensing to litigation, since licensing is a more effective way ...

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Microsoft is fighting an uphill battle against Google in search advertising market. With Yahoo search deal, Microsoft is now providing the technology for both web search results and search advertising. According to the “State of Paid Search” report for the first quarter of the year, advertisers now spending more money on Bing than ever. In fact, Bing is now growing at a rate double that of Google. The increase in spend indicates that Bing is now becoming a more appealing network for advertisers to devote their marketing spend, in part because of its recent increases in click-through rate (CTR) combined with decreases in cost-per-clicks (CPCs). “Bing gains ground in overall search traffic and has proven to be an appealing alternative to Google,” said Delia Perez, SVP Marketing Strategy at the firm. “A number of factors are driving this growth as advertisers are drawn to Bing’s more flexible campaign management tools ...

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In March, we did an editorial on the current infotainment systems in Automobiles and how Microsoft is losing yet another opportunity/market even though it came too earlier than others. It seems, Microsoft is working on the same and they showed some of their concepts at BUILD developer conference last week. Microsoft’s current strategy is similar to that of Apple’s iOS in the Car and Google’s projected mode. It is based on MirrorLink which will allow you to use your smartphone to power your car’s infotainment system. MirrorLink is a device interoperability standard that offers integration between a smartphone and a car’s infotainment system. MirrorLink transforms smartphones into automotive application platforms where apps are hosted and run on the smartphone while drivers and passengers interact with them through the steering wheel controls, dashboard buttons and touch screens of their car’s In-Vehicle Infotainment (IVI) system. Windows in the Car will adapt apps ...

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Microsoft has been under a storm of criticism lately over reading the emails of a blogger’s Hotmail account linked to an ex-Microsoft employee who leaked Windows 8 builds.  Microsoft looked through the Hotmail account without getting a court order.  However, this issue is slightly more nuanced than it seems.  A corporation, in fact, cannot get a court order to search themselves.  Microsoft Vice President and Deputy General Counsel released a statement clarifying the matter: Courts do not issue orders authorizing someone to search themselves, since obviously no such order is needed. So even when we believe we have probable cause, it’s not feasible to ask a court to order us to search ourselves. However, even we should not conduct a search of our own email and other customer services unless the circumstances would justify a court order, if one were available. Microsoft has issued some guidelines on looking customer data during ...

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The Brand Finance US 500 2014 list was released today. It lists the value of Billion Dollar Brands in the US. Microsoft was ranked No.3 in the list with the brand value of 62,783 USD millions. Apple and Google are the No.1 and No.2 brands with brand value of 104,680 USD millions and 68,620 USD millions respectively. All these three companies saw great growth in brand value compared to last year. And Microsoft’s brand rating improved from being AAA- to AAA. You can find the full list from the link below. Source: Brand Directory ...

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Over $400,000 has already been given away at the annual Pwn2Own hacking contest where the world’s most popular browsers are exploited for cash prizes.  An item which has been getting very little media attention is a $150,000 prize for exploiting Microsoft Windows Internet Explorer 11 running on 64-bit Windows 8.1, with the Enhanced Mitigation Experience Toolkit (EMET) turned on is still unclaimed. On the other hand, Google Chrome has been exploited twice, and a handful of exploits for Mozilla Firefox were also shown off.  Internet Explorer was successfully exploited once without EMET turned on. Source: @jmanici ...

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Microsoft today announced a cool feature on Bing Image search. It was a long awaited feature and users should be happy that it is finally here. You can now search by image on Bing. Upload your image or provide an URL of an image to Bing, Bing will search for similar images on the web. Searching for the right image can be tough. After sorting through hundreds of images, you finally find a picture you like but unfortunately it’s low resolution or an odd dimension leaving you to go back to scrolling through the results pages. To take the hassle out of this process we’re introducing a new feature that allows you to match an image in a few simple clicks. How does it work? Now when you’re browsing images you will see a button at the bottom of the page that reads “Image Match.” When you click on the ...

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Two years back, we reported that Microsoft Research is working on gesture based search. Microsoft research was then working on gesture based search where a user will be drawing some gestures on the screen based on which search results will appear. A user draws two circles in the search window of a smartphone. In a moment, a bicycle and a bundle of apples appear on the screen, among other things with round shapes. This is Microsoft’s next-generation search technology called “gesture,” which enables automatic search of relevant information by drawing only; no word entry on a keyboard is necessary. Microsoft Research even claimed that the technological development of gesture search is almost complete and will be seen on mobile and PCs, but it didn’t materialize as expected. Today, a Microsoft’s patent titled “SEARCHING AT A USER DEVICE” describes the exact implementation on Windows tablets. This patent describes the technology how ...

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Bringing smart technology inside the cars for infotainment is not a new innovation in 2014. Microsoft did it years back with its Windows Embedded in cars from Ford and others. Microsoft provided the platform for auto maker to build on and they were quite successful. In the era of smartphones, consumers are expecting more from their infotainment systems in their cars. Instead of trying to create a new platform for automobiles and expect developers to write applications for it, Apple and Google are going the other way around. They are trying to use the smartphone as the primary system with car’s infotainment system that will act like a thin client. For example, Apple’s iOS in the car will use car’s display to show a new UI of iOS optimized for driving experience will let drivers get access to Apple Maps, music, videos, Siri, voice calls, text dictation and more. Apple has signed up automakers like Honda/Acura, Mercedes-Benz, Nissan/Infiniti, ...

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Orange SA Chief Executive Stephane Richard said in an interview with French television channel BFM TV that Dailymotion is in talks with Microsoft for a partnership. Dailymotion is one of the largest video portals in the world but trails Google’s YouTube significantly. “Talks continue…with Microsoft,” Mr. Richard said, according to a transcript of the BFM interview provided by Orange, who confirmed the comments. “This doesn’t mean that we will reach an agreement.” He also confirmed that this is not an acquisition, the partnership with Microsoft would be foremost “industrial” and Orange would likely maintain a majority stake in Dailymotion. Last year, Yahoo tried to acquire Dailymotion and the deal got rejected by French government which has some stake in it. The potential partnership with Microsoft for Dailymotion may be involved with making it as the default video upload option in Windows Phone, Windows and Xbox platform. Microsoft already tried online ...

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This is not new, Google is known for violating privacy policies. Recent information from Google’s own lawyers reveled that Google is scanning student’s mail content even when the ads are turned off for better ad targeting. Google is claiming that they are using this data from students to target them with ads. Microsoft has clearly said that they don’t mine user data for ad targeting. Whether or to what degree these last two conditions are actually met by specific services such as Gmail or Outlook.com is of course a pertinent question. Currently Google faces legal challenges to its use of consumer data mining in both the U.S. and the European Union. EU data protection authorities in particular have determined that Google fails to inform consumers properly of its conduct or obtain their consent, while a major class action law suit in California advances similar accusations. Although Outlook.com appears to have avoided ...

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Google today announced their partnership with Google to bring traditional Windows apps to Chromebooks. Current range of Chromebooks are just a glorified web browser machines and without Internet/web apps, they are useless items. Under the current partnership, customers can fully embrace the cloud with Chromebooks using VMware Horizon™ DaaS®. VMware and Google are working together to make the migration of legacy applications even easier, by using the HTML5/Blast experience from Chromebooks. Read the full press release below.   SAN FRANCISCO, CA–(Marketwired – Feb 12, 2014) -  Today at VMware Partner Exchange 2014, VMware announced that it is joining forces with Google (NASDAQ: GOOG) to modernize corporate desktops for the Mobile Cloud Era by providing businesses with secure, cloud access to Windows applications, data and Desktops on Google Chromebooks. This expanded relationship between Google and VMware enables enterprise customers to achieve greater security and lower Total Cost of Ownership of Google Chromebooks ...

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European Commission started its anti-trust investigations against Google few years back and Google tried to convince EU couple of times with its new proposals and failed miserably. Today, EC announced that it has obtained an improved commitments proposal from Google in the context of the ongoing antitrust investigation on online search and search advertising. In its proposal, Google has now accepted to guarantee that whenever it promotes its own specialised search services on its web page (e.g. for products, hotels, restaurants, etc.), the services of three rivals, selected through an objective method, will also be displayed in a way that is clearly visible to users and comparable to the way in which Google displays its own services. This principle will apply not only for existing specialised search services, but also to changes in the presentation of those services and for future services. Commission Vice President in charge of competition policy, Joaquín Almunia ...

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