Amazon Opens Up Its Enterprise Cloud Storage Service Zocalo To All

Amazon today announced that it’s making Zocalo, its secure document storage and sharing service designed for enterprise use, generally available. The news comes, not coincidentally, on a day when cloud storage competitor Dropbox announced lowered pricing and storage increases for its Pro customers.

Zocalo, which is Spanish for town square, launched into a limited preview just last month, along with very aggressive price points. For $5 per user per month, end users would receive 200 GB of storage. They can then use that service to store all manner of files, comment on and within files, share them with others, upload new versions and more, all from any device, including PCs and Macs, as well as Android and iOS devices.

Meanwhile, IT admins are able to manage Zocalo, integrating it with existing corporate directories, including Active Directory, which allows users to sign in with their existing Active Directory credentials. IT can also apply the appropriate permissions for users, making sure they only have access to the documents they’re meant to see.

The Zocalo service is now open to all AWS customers, says Amazon this morning in a blog post, and includes a 30-day free trial, as previously announced.

While Zocalo is aimed at the enterprise crowd, many of whom are still paying for legacy, on-premise solutions, it is to some extent a competitor with consumer-first services like Dropbox, which is now trying to stretch itself further into the “Pro” and business markets where it’s up against other cloud storage rivals like Box and Google Drive.

It’s also not the first cloud storage service from Amazon – the company offers a consumer-grade service called Amazon Cloud Drive, a Google Drive competitor whose biggest advantage may be its integration with the company’s own Fire phone. (Fire phone users have unlimited photo storage for their smartphone photos in Cloud Drive.)

Along with today’s public launch, Amazon notes that AWS CloudTrail, a web service that records AWS API calls and delivers log files to you, is also now integrated with Zocalo. CloudTrail will now record calls made with the Zocalo API, which is currently internal, but is planned to be made public in the future, says Amazon.

Originally posted here: Amazon Opens Up Its Enterprise Cloud Storage Service Zocalo To All

New Restrictions On Online Billing In India May Impact International E-Commerce Companies

New restrictions on online billing in India may affect international e-commerce businesses, including Google Play, Amazon India, and Uber.

The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) said last week that online transactions using credit cards for the purchase of items and services within India must be done through a bank within the country and be transacted in rupees. As the Indian Express explains, this may hurt online businesses, including Google Play, Amazon, and Uber, that route credit card transactions through an international payment gateway, bypassing the two-step verification required by the RBI.

In a statement, the RBI said:

“It has come to our notice that despite the above clarifications there are instances of card not present transactions being effected without the mandated additional authentication/validation even where the underlying transactions are essentially taking place between two residents in India. It is also observed that these entities are evading the mandate of additional authentication/validation by following business/payment models which are resulting in foreign exchange outflow.”

The RBI added that even though its new restrictions are effective immediately, it will give businesses until October 31, 2014, to comply.

Indian news analysis site Medianama notes that it is still unclear whether the RBI’s restrictions affect purchases only made in India, or if they will impact all purchases made using Indian cards in India.

Though the restrictions will negatively impact foreign online business operating in India, Medianama notes that it will result in more business for Indian payment gateways and banks, because all merchants will have route transactions through Indian payment gateways.

India recently became Uber’s largest market outside of the U.S. The car calling app is now available in 10 Indian cities, the same as rival Olacabs, which is headquartered in Mumbai and may therefore have an easier time dealing with the RBI’s new restrictions.

Amazon, meanwhile, sees India as one of its most important growth markets. It recently announced that it plans to invest $2 billion in its Indian marketplace, just one day after rival Flipkart, which is headquartered in Bangalore, announced that it had received a massive $1 billion in new funding led by Tiger Global Management and Naspers.

TechCrunch has contacted Uber, Amazon, and Google for comment and will update this post if we hear back from them.

Image by Flickr user Gopal Vijayaraghavan used under a Creative Commons 2.0 license

View post: New Restrictions On Online Billing In India May Impact International E-Commerce Companies

Google adds some of Iceland’s breathtaking waterfalls and geysers to Street View

Google has added yet more awe-inspiring imagery to its Street View repository. The latest batch of high-resolution photos were captured in Iceland, a beautiful island known for its gushing waterfalls, icy glaciers and explosive geysers.

The new panoramic, 360-degree photos cover the raging Gullfoss Waterfall, located on the Hvítá river, as well as the Haukadalur Geothermal Area, known locally as the “Geysir.” The latter is notable for what’s been coined the Srokkur, a powerful geyser that erupts like clockwork every five to 10 minutes.

Screen Shot 2014 08 18 at 8.59.32 AM Google adds some of Icelands breathtaking waterfalls and geysers to Street View

Google’s Street View team also ventured to the Vatnajökulsþjóðgarður national park (try pronouncing that one after a few drinks), which is full of rolling hills and winding, stony footpaths. The UNESCO site Þingvellir, which translates to “Parliament Plains,” has also been documented for its historical significance and natural beauty. Until 1798, the site was used as a meeting point for the Alþing general assembly, and is still respected by Icelanders to this day.

Rounding out the new additions is another beautiful waterfall called the Dettifoss, situated in the idyllic Vatnajökull National Park, as well as the volcanic crater lake Kerið. You can easily explore the whole set via Google Views.

Screen Shot 2014 08 18 at 9.01.48 AM Google adds some of Icelands breathtaking waterfalls and geysers to Street View

If you can’t venture to Iceland yourself, Google Street View is probably your next best alternative. Most recently, the company has also uploaded photos for 36 university campuses in America, new historical sites in India, and Laos.

Read Next: ‘Sounds of Street View’ adds ambient noise to Google’s 360-degree photo landscapes

Google (Blog Post)

Top image credit: EMMANUEL DUNAND/AFP/Getty Images

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Originally posted here: Google adds some of Iceland’s breathtaking waterfalls and geysers to Street View

Mesosphere Comes To The Google Cloud Platform, Integrates Google’s Open Source Kubernetes Project

Google and Mesosphere today announced a partnership that brings support for Mesos clusters to Google’s Compute Engine platform. While the Mesos project and Mesosphere aren’t quite household names yet, they are quickly becoming important tools for companies that want to be able to easily scale their applications, no matter whether that’s in their own data centers, in a public cloud service, or as a hybrid deployment.

With this collaboration between Google and Mesosphere, Cloud Platform users will now be able to set up a Mesosphere cluster on Google’s servers in less than 10 minutes. Developers get to choose between two basic installs: a development cluster with four instances, eight virtual CPUs and 30GB of memory for prototyping their applications, or  a production-ready install with 18 instances, 36 virtual CPUs and 136GB of memory. If those two options don’t fit, they can also create their own custom clusters.

By default, those clusters include the Mesos kernel, Zookeeper, Marathon and OpenVPN. Once the cluster is up and running, Mesosphere offers a straightforward web-based dashboard for managing these clusters that can be accessed right from the Google dashboard.


As Florian Leibert, the co-founder and CEO of Mesosphere told me earlier this week, the main idea behind Mesosphere has always been to allow developers to treat a data center like a single computer — with Mesos and other software packages abstracting much of the basic devops work away. Some companies that currently use Mesos are Leibert’s former employers Twitter and Airbnb, which he introduced to the open-source Mesos project.

Mesosphere essentially creates a layer on top of your hardware that handles all of the servers, virtual machines and cloud instances in the background and lets an application draw from a single pool of resources like CPU power and memory. By default, Mesosphere’s service does not really care what operating system you run or what cloud you are using. The team tells me, however, that it worked with Google to optimize its offerings for its cloud to take full advantage of the environment (you can read a bit more about Mesosphere and its tools here).


As part of the partnership with Google, Mesosphere also today announced that it is integrating Google’s recently launched open source Kubernetes service for managing Docker containers right into Mesopshere. The company says this will make it easier to manage the deployments of Docker workloads. It’s worth noting that this is not just for running Mesosphere on the Google Cloud Platform. As Leibert notes in today’s announcement, “our combined compute fabric can run anywhere, whether on Google Cloud Platform, your own datacenter, or another cloud provider.”

Google’s Craig McLuckie, its lead product manager for next generation cloud computing products like Kubernetes, also told me that what Google wanted to do with Kubernetes was to bring many of the core concepts that it has developed for managing its own datacenters to users outside the company. He believes that what Mesosphere and Google are working on is “very complimentary” and that he believes that the company can bring some of the concepts it developed into Mesos, too.

As Mesosphere’s senior VP Matt Trifiro (and former Heroku CMO) told me, he believes that projects like Kubernetes and Mesos can bring some of these “rarefied air concepts” behind these technologies to everybody. What happened so far, he argues, is that “the tooling hasn’t kept up with being accessible for companies that need to get to web scale.” But now with the expertise from Google and Mesos, the company can make these concepts consumable for developers to that they can operate at a new abstraction level that frees them from directly dealing with much of the infrastructure that powers their applications.

“We look forward to working with Google to make Cloud Platform the best place to run traditional Mesosphere workloads, such as Marathon, Chronos, Hadoop, or Spark—or newer Kubernetes workloads,” Leibert writes today.

It’s probably not too early to start thinking about whether Mesosphere could become an acquisition target for Google given how close the two companies worked together on this project. For now that’s just speculation, of course, but if it ever happens, remember you read it here first.

Go here to see the original: Mesosphere Comes To The Google Cloud Platform, Integrates Google’s Open Source Kubernetes Project

Lenovo is now selling more smartphones than PCs for the first time ever

Lenovo is gradually becoming becoming more of a mobile firm, as it revealed today that it is selling more smartphones than PCs for the first time ever. The company’s earnings for the first fiscal quarter ending June 30 2014 showed that it chalked up a “record volume” of 15.8 million units, up 39 percent from the year before. Comparatively, PC shipments rose 15 percent year-on-year to reach 14.5 million units.

In fiscal Q1 2013, Lenovo’s combined sales of smartphones and tablets surpassed PCs for the first time ever — and now smartphones alone are outselling PCs. According to the latest figures from market research firm IDC, Lenovo was the fourth-largest smartphone vendor globally in the second quarter of 2014 after a “record quarter” in China. Notably, IDC also noted that the company’s share of shipments outside of China was almost triple that of the 5 percent share recorded in Q2 2013.

Early this year, Lenovo cemented its commitment to smartphones, especially in the West, by agreeing to acquire Motorola from Google for $2.91 billion. Its momentum in smartphones looks set to pick up once the acquisition is officially closed, pending regulatory approval.

Thumbnail image via Philippe Lopez/AFP/Getty Images

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Read more: Lenovo is now selling more smartphones than PCs for the first time ever

Microsoft’s CEO Dares Google, Amazon Execs In Ice Bucket Challenge

The current meme of dumping really cold water on your head to raise awareness for ALS is spreading quickly.

Today, Microsoft’s CEO Satya Nadella allowed the winning team from his company’s internal hackathon to pour a large amount of chilly dihydrogen monoxide onto his expecting pate.

Then, Nadella challenged Google and Amazon CEOs Larry Page and Jeff Bezos to do the same. Bezos, like Nadella, doesn’t keep much on top. Page, on the other hand, has a more natural defense.

Soak the rich!

Jokes aside, the campaign is driving a huge spike in donations to combat ALS. 

Read this article: Microsoft’s CEO Dares Google, Amazon Execs In Ice Bucket Challenge

How to get more TNW in your diet. You know you want to…

Maybe you visit this site once a week and browse through our channels. Or maybe you follow us via RSS, or maybe you receive our weekly or daily newsletter? Maybe you are very aware of the many different ways to get to the news we publish, or maybe you missed a few options.

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Screen Shot 2014 05 19 at 14.52.30 220x153 How to get more TNW in your diet. You know you want to...Facebook |

Our community is strong on Facebook so we would love to welcome you to that as well. Come and say hello and Like what we do while you are there. If you do, make sure you enable the notifications after you like our page:

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View original post here: How to get more TNW in your diet. You know you want to…

This amazing Microsoft technology turns shaky first person videos into smooth timelapses

Last week, it was reconstructing sound using tiny vibrations on objects — this week’s science wow comes from Microsoft Research, which showed off a technology that turns shaky first-person video into beautifully smooth timelapse footage.

The growth of wearable video cameras — from Google Glass to GoPro and more — has led to a boom in first-person videos, most of which are overly long and uneventful. When you speed them up into to timelapse video, however, they can become more palatable and entertaining, but a person’s movement means the footage is rarely steady. That problem is exacerbated when videos are accelerated.

Until now, perhaps. Microsoft Research has shown off the silky smooth footage that its ‘first-person hyperlapse’ technology can create.

Researchers Johannes Kopf, Michael Cohen and Richard Szeliski explain the science, which essentially reconstructs the video using a 3D camera path that takes a smoother route than the original footage. The technology renders each frame from the new viewpoint, before stitching and blending the new video together.

Fixing GoPro or Google Glass videos may sound like a first world problem, but the technology promises to make wearable camera footage useful, which could have a huge impact on any number of industries and areas of life.

The researchers are working to pack all this goodness into a Windows app, but they give no timeframe for when it will be released.

Related: This is what happens when you duct tape a GoPro camera to your car’s tire

Headline image via Philippe Desmazes / AFP / Getty Images

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Original post: This amazing Microsoft technology turns shaky first person videos into smooth timelapses

UberPool Lets You Split Uber Fares With Other Passengers Along The Same Route


In the ongoing war between Uber, Lyft, and all of the other me-too ride-sharing services, competitors are looking for any way they can better utilize their supply of drivers and reduce costs for their riders. Today, Uber is announcing UberPool, a new feature that will let you pick up other riders on the way to your destination and split the bill.

While the feature should do a lot to cut costs for passengers, not everyone will want to ride with a stranger in addition to the driver picking them up; Uber notes that the new feature also serves as a kind of “social experiment.”

Since there’s not much data about how people will react to the new service, Uber isn’t going to release UberPool across every market it serves. The company has begun rolling out a private beta, and starting August 15 a public beta will launch in the San Francisco Bay Area. Uber also notes that the company’s “friends at Google” will be joining the beta as early adopters, as they “share [Uber's] vision of a more energy-efficient world with less traffic congestion and pollution in our cities and are excited to be early adopters of UberPool.” This signals continued cooperation between the companies following Google integrating Uber into Google Maps for iOS and Android.

Getting more riders into a single car to make rides cheaper isn’t exactly a novel idea. In June we covered Hitch, a ride-sharing service whose biggest differentiator from Uber and Lyft was the fact that it tries to use software to maximize the number of passengers in a single car to increase driver utilization and reduce prices for riders.

Go here to read the rest: UberPool Lets You Split Uber Fares With Other Passengers Along The Same Route