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Sony is doing wonders behind the cloud, thanks to its acquisition of cloud gaming service Gaikai last year. But what is Microsoft doing? Well, according to 'sources familiar with a meeting' who revealed to The Verge, it has shown off Halo 4 running on a Windows Phone and PC, both streaming the first-person shooter from the cloud.
It's currently just a concept project, but reportedly ran smoothly on both devices, with the Redmond-based giant getting the latency on a Lumia 520 down to just 45ms. The demonstration at Microsoft had a Windows Phone with an Xbox controller attached through an accessory, and a low-end hybrid PC. The company doesn't have a name for its cloud-based service just yet, but it should be quite the announcement when Microsoft decides to out the service.
We could see Microsoft pushing out backwards compatibility for Xbox 360 games to the X box One, with Microsoft's Senior Director of Xbox, Albert Penello, saying: "it could be more complicated things like rendering full games like a Gaikai and delivering it to the box."
Microsoft's cloud service, SkyDrive Pro, has seen an increase of its base 7GB storage to a better-competing 25GB. Administrators can even increase this to 100GB, if they're willing to shell out the coin for it.
Microsoft is even offering incentives if you use that extra space, where the Redmond-based software giant now offers a larger 2GB file cap, automatic versioning for new users and a new client view that displays all shared documents. The new storage should be hitting users right now, so if you're a SkyDrive Pro user, check your account!
Russian search giant Yandex announced today that it would be expanding its Google Drive-like cloud storage service to include more storage based on a new pricing structure. 20GB of space is currently free and users can now buy an additional 10GB for just $1 per month, or $10 per year. 100GB will cost you $5 per month or just $50 per year, and those who need a lot of cloud storage can purchase 1TB for $30 per month or $300 per year.
The company says that even though this cloud service is based in Russia, Yandex.Disk is available internationally and already has apps for Windows, Mac, Android, Windows Phone, and a browser-based UI. Yandex has also reported that the service has over 12 million unique users per month, with the majority of the traffic coming from within Russia and about 7 percent from the rest of the world.
Lenovo enters the cloud storage market with new Reach service, will officially launch 'later this year'
Lenovo has announced their intentions to enter into the cloud storage market. Their new service is called Reach and will feature a beta starting June 22. Consumers can preview the service, though only a few select testers will gain access to the beta.
The official launch will come "later this year", with the exact date depending on how smoothly the initial beta goes. Lenovo could have some trouble gaining market share as there are already a plethora of free cloud storage offerings. Google, Microsoft, Dropbox, and others offer centralized storage for free, with more space available for an up-charge.
With new software offerings like BitTorrent Sync, Lenovo could face even more difficulty obtaining users as some only use Dropbox for its syncing functionality. Sync has easily replaced Dropbox for my needs.
We'll have more on Lenovo Reach when an official announcement is made.
Microsoft has debuted new per-minute billing for its Windows Azure cloud computing network. This new rate is just one of several billing-related changes implemented by Microsoft and detailed in a blog post earlier this morning. Other changes include not charging for stopped virtual machines.
- No charge for stopped VMs
- Pay by the minute billing
- MSDN use rights now supported on Windows Azure
- Discounted MSDN dev/test rates
- MSDN monetary credits
- Added portal support for tracking MSDN monetary credit usage
Starting with the headlining change, Microsoft has introduced per-minute billing, a feature that Google already offers on its Google Compute Engine. Amazon Web Services charges by the hour, which is how Microsoft previously billed. This meant that a user would have to pay for the full hour, even if they used the system for just a few minutes.
Another change is Microsoft will no longer charge for stopped VMs, allowing developers to power off a VM over the weekend to save cash. Previously, developers would have been required to pay as Microsoft kept a reserved instance running, unless the deployment was explicitly deleted.
Both NBC Universal and Warner Bros have filed an official request asking Google to de-list Mega.co.nz from its search results, even though Mega's homepage does not list any links or mention any of its content.
This unwarranted action comes hot on the heels of two DMCA request filed by the Hollywood giants that cite copyright infringement on the films Mama and Gangster Squad. While I understand the takedown request for the files, I do not understand the de-list request at all. Mega encrypts every file on its website and has no way of knowing what file is legal and what file is illegal. In my opinion, the request to de-list is just a bully tactic to try and intimidate the site's founder, Kim Dotcom.
"This is in line with the unreasonable content industry behavior we have experienced for years," said Dotcom. "The constant abuse of takedown rules and the ignorance of DMCA obligations by the content industry are based on the confidence that the current U.S. administration is protecting this kind of behavior. The political contract prosecution of Megaupload is the best example."
I use services like Dropbox, Box and Google Drive every day, and each one has a specific use case for me. Fox example, Box is my personal cloud storage, while Dropbox is used for syncing files to my phone, PC and tablet, and Drive is my place to collaborate on files with co-workers. For personal storage of files that I share with friends regularly, I have begun to rely on Mega, and today things just got better for Kim Dotcom's file hosting service.
This morning Mega announced that it has launched two new features to its cloud based file locker service. First up is Event Notifications, which collects and shares with you "relevant activity" data on what others are doing with the files you shared with them. Up next is maybe my most wanted feature, Zipped Downloads. That's right, now you can zip and share entire folders with your friends - users can simply select "download as zip" when viewing files, and Mega will package everything up and deliver it in a neatly wrapped package.
The company clarified the Event Notifications feature on its blog:
"MEGA no longer leaves you in the dark about what is happening inside your shared folders. Every user now has an event notification timeline, which shows you, how and when which folders were replaced, moved, accessed and every other conceivable way people can interact with them."
Earlier this week Google announced that it was increasing Drive storage to 15GB and today we are finding out why. At today's Google I/O keynote the company showed off several new and exciting features on how its Google+ social network handles image storage, manipulation and sharing.
In the past, if you uploaded full size images, you had just 5GB of storage, but now with 15GB you can upload all of your images to Google+. Google pointed out that it is the only social network that allows true full resolution image uploads and included a graphic showing the relative resolution of various social networks.
Google also unveiled a sort of intelligent image sorting process that is aimed at reducing the time it takes for a photographer or individual to sort through large image albums. Google can now take your entire vacation photo album and automatically highlight the best. Say there is 600 photos total, it will filter out duplicates, analyze for bad exposure and automatically identify major landmarks. Then it will look for people, and for photos of people smiling.
Microsoft has updated its cloud storage offering with new features. SkyDrive now has a photo timeline that functions much like Faceboook's Timeline function in that pictures are organized by time. This makes it much easier to find that picture you know you took last month.
SkyDrive now allows quick locating of pictures. Users can quickly navigate to a specific month and see all the pictures that were taken during that time period. SkyDrive will also allow users to view all photos in a filmstrip presentation. The filmstrip can also be turned into a slideshow for public display.
Microsoft also notes that performance feedback was taken into consideration. Over the past few months, Microsoft has reworked the server code and SkyDrive desktop app. The result, according to Microsoft, is pictures that upload 2-3x faster than before. Not bad!
Amazon has updated their Cloud Drive service to support file syncing, a step that is desperately needed for the service to become a viable alternative to SkyDrive and Dropbox. Cloud Drive originally launched in May of last year without file syncing capabilities, meaning that files had to be manually placed in the Cloud Drive and updated after editing.
Today's update brings with it the ability for files and folders to sync across all of your linked Cloud Drive devices. Amazon is still offering 5GB of free storage for users, so now may be as good as time as any to switch. You can learn more and download Cloud Drive from Amazon's website.