To properly mark the occasion, Google commissioned some research about Campus and the Tech City area of London, finding that Campus membership had swelled considerably – up from around 10,000 members at this time last year to more than 30,000 today.
The picture painted by the results of the survey is an overwhelmingly positive one. According to the results, 71 percent of founders expect their turnover to increase in the next year and, on average, startups have secured £75,145 of funding in the last 12 months, equating to more than £20 million across everyone interviewed. According to the figures, 88 percent of business founders at Campus are optimistic about their chances of growth. But then, startup founders are some of the most optimistic people I’ve ever met.
“Campus continues to grow in members, investment and, most significantly, importance to the British economy. Only two years in, it has been incredible to see one of the world’s most exciting technology hubs explode here in London,” Matt Brittin, VP of Google for Northern and Central Europe, said.
According to the survey, Campus companies currently have 1,948 staff in total – and estimate that there will be 4,382 people in their employment a year from now. See, there’s that unabashed confidence again.
While reports of growth are seemingly a good thing for the local area (and the wider tech scene in the UK as a whole), the problem is that the figures and general momentum updates for Campus likely won’t translate to all of Tech City, let alone the rest of the country. It’s also not exactly an unheard of phenomenon for companies to establish themselves and create a business in the UK and Europe, before looking to relocating to Silicon Valley to focus on the US market or IPO options.
Interestingly, while the majority of Campus’ members are from the UK (47 percent), there are actually people from 97 different countries counted among the membership list. The survey also showed that 40 percent of Campus members are now over the age of 34 – up from 28 percent in March last year.
As organisations such as Campus grow, that area of town is now increasingly being recognized as an area brimming with accelerators and incubators – but fewer and fewer true standalone startups. As rents continue to soar, once-local businesses have no choice but to ship out in search of lower overheads. Campus may be growing, but the presence of huge accelerators backed by some of the most recognizable brand names in technology is always going to have a knock-on effect for all those founders and startups that don’t make it into the programme.
While it’s undeniable that the Tech City area has seen a few successes, it’s hard to see how far the ripple effect really spreads across the tech ecosystem – and even harder to see an effect further across the UK. One thing is for sure though, with Tech City UK’s remit now looking focused on London rather than the country as a whole, the mayor will need to start spelling out exactly how London will become ‘the tech capital of the World‘. Let’s also hope that not all the focus goes on Tech City, the capital’s startup founders have plenty to offer in other areas like Croydon too.
Featured Image Credit – Dan Kitwood/Getty Images
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Both Microsoft and Google have long worked on getting users answers without having to click through a number of websites. At Google, the current result of this is the Knowledge Graph and at Bing, it’s the company’s entity engine (previously referred to internally as Satori). Both search engines currently offer very similar experiences related to these engines. Search for “Albert Einstein” in Google and Bing, for example, and the right sidebar will give you plenty of information about him. But both companies have a different approach to how they plan to push these entities forward.
Earlier this week, I sat down with the lead of Microsoft’s Bing Experiences group, Derrick Connell, to discuss the state of entities in Bing and the company’s vision for the future of entities in its search engines. Microsoft clearly has big plans for using entities in Bing and products that rely on it; the company plans to open up a part of this entity engine so more third-party sites will be able to highlight some of their features on Bing.
“The way we think about entities is that Microsoft wants to enable people to do more,” he told me. In the early days, search was about helping to find more, but now, he argues, “it’s moved from ‘find more’ to ‘know more.’”
Besides getting to an answer, though, search also has to be about being able to take action. That’s been at the core of Bing’s philosophy from the beginning. Microsoft often referred to Bing as a “do engine” when it first launched, for example. Since then, Microsoft has integrated more data sources and the ability to take more actions, including booking tables through OpenTable, for example (something Google also offers). It also integrated your LinkedIn profile (if you opt in to this), so search results for people will often include information about people who are in your professional network.
The question in the long run then becomes: how do you associate actions with entities? It’s pretty much impossible for a single company to be able to cover every aspect of what its users want to do online, after all.
Connell argues that the only way to do this efficiently is to create an open ecosystem that powers these actions. “We think a lot about how we can create value for everybody who is participating in this new emerging space,” he said. “And how can we bring the best set of players to the table for our users?”
Today, this means having partnerships with Yelp, OpenTable, TripAdvisor and others, and Microsoft then highlights the actions they make possible on its search engine. In the long run, though, Connell envisions an open ecosystem where any site can make actions available using a standard markup language (he mentioned schema.org as an option in our conversation). Then, when a user looks for an entity, Bing could map this to an entity provider and shorten the path users take between searching for something and putting this knowledge into action. Ideally, this could even mean taking the action right on Bing (maybe even with a single click), but Connell acknowledged that issues around identity and login management will probably mean users will have to take most actions on a third-party site.
Assuming enough third-party sites opt in to this kind of action entity system, the problem for Microsoft becomes one of relevance. “As you get more partners participating, which provider you surface becomes a relevance problem,” Connell noted. What, after all, happens if you have two competing restaurant reservations sites? Which one do you highlight? How do you keep spam out of this system if you make it completely open? Connell assumed that this is something his team can figure out and that he would rather show more than one option anyway.
On Windows, Microsoft has already launched something akin to this. Apps, after all, can all integrate themselves into the Windows Search tools.
One thing Connell also stressed repeatedly in our chat is that he believes there are very few companies who can actually pull a project like this off. In his view, Microsoft could be one of them, not in the least because it can offer users access to both public and private entities. Enterprises, for example, could use this scheme to make information that only matters to their employees available to them. Through Sharepoint, Office and other tools, Microsoft could serve up a wealth of information — and actions — to its users based on these sources.
Not all of this, of course, would be relevant in a search engine, and Bing.com may not always be the best place to highlight this info. But what if you could write a document in Word and the system could bring up relevant information as you type from both public and private sources?
Chances are, this ecosystem Connell envisions won’t arrive until a few years from now. Indeed, he expects that we still have a good 10 to 20 years of advancement in this space ahead of us.
As for the good old 10 blue links that have dominated online search since its early days, Connell believes that people will always have a desire to find more and to dig deeper. “There will always be a place for 10 blue links,” he said. “But new experiences will emerge over time that will revolutionize these products.”
See more here: Microsoft Has Big Plans For Bing’s Entity Engine
Online learning company Coursera has finally come to Android after launching an app for the Google-owned mobile platform. The launch comes just over three months after Coursera debuted its iOS app, its first native mobile app, and will help the company towards its goal of providing access to free education worldwide.
Coursera for Android — which was first spotted by Android Police — is much like the iOS incarnation. Both are designed to keep students engaged with the 600-plus courses on the service, which are provided by more than 100 educational institutions, including Stamford and Yale, while they are on the go.
Android users can enroll on courses, stream lectures or save them for offline viewing, and manage their content right from the app. Coursera focuses on reaching students worldwide, and, in that vein, the Android app comes in 12 languages, including English, Chinese, Spanish and Russian.
Coursera kept the iOS app simple so as to be “data-light and user friendly,” and it has taken the same approach with Android. Though that may frustrate some users seeking more, it’s an important point because the company aims to reach users worldwide, many of whom may not have the latest and greatest smartphones or tablets — a more modest app experience thus caters for as many students as possible.
Headline image via Pressmaster / Shutterstock
Original post: Online learning company Coursera launches an Android app
Google TV is likely going away entirely, to be replaced by a familiar face – Android. Philips has just unveiled new Ultra HD (4K, whatever you prefer) TVs (via 9to5Google) that will be running Google’s mobile OS when they hit stores in Q2 of this year. The sets seem to be coming to Europe and Russia first, but it won’t be long before the little Android bot makes its way to all of your connected smart TV sets, in all likelihood.
The new Philips 8000 series come in 48- and 55-inch sizes at full 1080P HD, with a 44-inch 4K model, too. They’ll have access to the Google Play store, and you should be able to install apps like Netflix, YouTube and whatever else your heart desires without much trouble. Widgets will also offer live updating information. Also, you’ll get game controller support, so that you can download games and play them directly.
Google TV isn’t officially dead, and in fact we’d heard last year that the company is looking to rebrand it as Android TV, but this is just Android, and that makes an awful lot of sense. Whether we see Google embrace this trend entirely or continue to embrace slightly separate strategies for TV and Android proper remains to be seen, but it looks like it and its OEM partners are willing to entertain a number of different possibilities to find out what works best.
CloudGOO, a newly launched Android application with something of a silly name, offers a way for you to smush together all your cloud-based file storage accounts to form one big cloud drive in the sky. That is, the app aggregates your cloud drive accounts into one mobile interface, then uses that space as if it were one drive for things like automatic uploads of photos, videos, music, and documents.
The new service was launched just days ago by Berlin-based developer Jared Preston, who previously spent a few years in Seattle working for Microsoft on the Windows Live platform, followed by some time at Deutsche Telekom.
He explains that unlike other platforms, such as Jolicloud for example, which attempted to aggregate a user’s web services under one roof, the idea with CloudGOO is not to have you navigate between your drives or media spaces using the app. Instead, he says, “you simply access and use your stuff, no matter where it is stored.”
“Theoretically, you could just hook up as many Google Drives, Dropbox, etc., as you wanted, to create a total space available for you to use. CloudGOO can then be set to ‘automatic upload’ and would just utilize the space available,” says Preston. “You would not have to worry about managing the space, just using it.”
Currently, the app supports cloud services including Google Drive, OneDrive (previously SkyDrive), Dropbox, Box, SugarSync, and Amazon’s Cloud Drive. To get started, you connect your accounts, and the app tells you how much storage you have available on each, and how much is already used in total. You can then fine-tune your settings to specify which file types (e.g. photos, videos, documents, etc.) you want to back up, and whether those files should be backed only over Wi-Fi.
You can also choose to let CloudGOO decide which online destination to use for each upload, so it can optimize your drive space utilization, or you can specify where each file type should be stored on an individual basis.
A basic user interface lets you access your content from the app, by tapping on big icons for photos, music, videos, and documents. From there, you can view your files, quickly share them on other social services or email, or copy them over to another cloud storage account.
Support for offline access is also available, and you can configure the cache size the app should use.
CloudGOO is currently a paid download in Google Play, and Preston says an iOS version is in Apple’s review queue now.
The nice thing about this app is that it lets you easily take advantage of the free space online storage space cloud providers give away, in hopes of hooking you into becoming a paying user. For example, Google Drive gives you up to 15 GB for free these days, while Dropbox offers another 2 GB of free space to start, with the ability to earn up to 16 GB through referrals. (Ahem.)
But until now, it’s not been convenient to combine your accounts to maximize the free offerings, which is why many users simply convert to paying customers as their need for online storage grows. Or else, they’re like me, and have somehow managed to sign up for accounts with all the providers, and now have no idea where to go to find the files they’ve uploaded all over the web. CloudGOO (yes, I know, that name) solves this problem, too, and at 99 cents it’s well worth the download.
Read more from the original source: CloudGOO’s New App Turns All Your Cloud Storage Accounts Into One Big, Combined Drive
Microsoft today pulled six fake Google apps from the Windows Phone Store, after we contacted the company about the issue. The apps in question were: “Hangouts,” “Google Voice,” “Google Search,” “Google+,” “Google Maps,” and “Gmail – email from Google.”
All of these are published by a “Google, Inc” (instead of “Google Inc.”) and priced at $1.99 each. The only app that Google offers for Windows Phone is its search app, and the publisher is “Google Inc.”
The apps in question were first spotted by WinBeta this morning, after being originally published yesterday. We got in touch with Microsoft to ask about the issue.
Here are the fake apps:
In the six hours it took Microsoft to respond, another fake app managed to get through:
The company responded with the following generic statement:
Microsoft takes the intellectual property our ecosystem seriously and we use several layers of deterrence and response to help protect it. First, we encourage developers to take advantage of obfuscation tools for an added layer of protection. Because the Windows Phone Store is the only authorized source of public apps and games for the Windows Phone, developers can more easily police infringement of their apps by monitoring the Windows Phone Store and notifying Microsoft if infringement occurs.
Microsoft provides online tools and an email alias (firstname.lastname@example.org) to enable developers to quickly report infringement of any apps they locate on the Windows Phone Store for immediate review and, when appropriate, removal. In cases where the infringement is disputed, we permit alleged infringers to dispute infringement via counter notices. Finally, Windows Phone educates every developer from the very start – before apps are even submitted – reminding them in our developer agreements and policies that Microsoft does not permit infringement of intellectual property of others.
While this is all true, the fact of the matter is that these apps should not have made it through in the first place. The last sentence implies that developers are told they shouldn’t submit fake apps, but unsurprisingly that isn’t enough of a deterrent for some.
Microsoft has been regularly criticized for having a low bar when it comes to approving apps into the Windows Phone Store. While these six apps may be gone (they still appear here, but we checked on a Windows Phone device and they have indeed been removed), many fake apps still remain.
Searching for “Google” or “YouTube” or really any other big name that doesn’t have an official app brings up many apps that shouldn’t be available. Unfortunately, Microsoft hasn’t addressed the bigger problem here: fake apps are getting through, and the company’s app approval process needs a serious overhaul.
We have contacted Microsoft again to find out how these apps were approved in the first place. We will update this story if we hear back.
Top Image Credit: Toshifumi Kitamura/Getty Images
Google today announced Google Play Music now lets you upload your own library by simply dragging and dropping files in the browser. Unfortunately, the feature is only available as a Chrome app, and it’s still a lab, meaning you have to manually enable it.
In addition to being able to upload music (you can also queue a long list by clicking “Add Music” in the top right), the new lab offers a mini-player (click the arrow in the bottom right corner) that shows what’s playing and lets you skip songs from any tab. Last but not least, the experimental app also lets you download songs, albums, and playlists directly from the Web.
Image Credit: Danny Sullivan/Flickr
Amazon today announced a new round of price cuts for its S3 storage service, EC2 cloud computing platform and RDS cloud databases that will bring the cost of running applications on Amazon’s platform closer to the new prices Google announced earlier this week.
For the first terabyte of data, Amazon’s S3 will now charge $0.03 per gigabyte on standard storage and $0.024 for reduced redundancy storage. In addition, Amazon also cut prices for its EC2 cloud computing instances by up to 40 percent.
Users who store more than 49 terabyte of data will see price cuts, too, though for standard storage, prices never drop under the $0.026 that Google now charges after it abandoned its own storage tiers in favor of a single price.
For Amazon, these are massive price drops. For the first terabyte, the price went from $0.85 per gigabyte, for example. Across the board, Amazon says, these cuts amount to savings between 36 percent to 65 percent.
For EC2, these price cuts amount to savings of up to 40 percent. Running a standard m3.medium instance, for example, currently costs $0.113 per hour, but with the price cuts, running this instance will cost only $0.07 per hour. That’s the same as using Google’s basic n1-standard-1 instances.
These price cuts don’t apply to all instances, though. Running some of the most expensive instances like the memory-optimized cr1.8xlarge instance, for example, will still cost $3.5 per hour, even as some of the smaller memory-optimized instances get substantial price cuts. Amazon’s smallest micro instances, too, will also remain at $0.020 per hour.
Prices for reserved instances, it’s worth noting, also dropped substantially.
Amazon’s RDS database service, too, is going to see 40 percent price cuts across most instances.
All of these new prices will go into effect April 1st (just like Google’s price cuts).
Clearly, Google’s price offensive is taking a hold in the cloud industry. Now that Amazon has made its own round of cuts, it’s just a matter of time before Microsoft will drop its own prices.
View original post here: In Response To Google, Amazon Announces Massive Price Cuts For S3, EC2 And RDS
Google today launched the website for its Google I/O 2014 developer conference over at google.com/io. The company also revealed that registration will be open between April 8 at 5:00am PDT and April 10 at 5:00pm PDT. If you can’t attend, Google will also have a livestream of the keynote and sessions as well as local I/O Extended events.
As Google revealed last month, Google I/O 2014 will be held on June 25 and June 26 at Moscone West in San Francisco. This year, to stop the event selling out too quickly, the company will be randomly selecting from the list of applicants after the registrion window closes on April 10.
See also – What to expect from Google in 2014
Image Credit: Kimihiro Hoshino/Getty Images