The company is using the service’s public API to add the new feature, rather than any special relationship, but, nonetheless, Microsoft will hope that adding the massively popular services gives Outlook.com — which has 400 million active accounts – an edge over its rivals, and Gmail in particular.
Microsoft says that the move is a response to feedback from its users who “choose to use many different services”, so the company is fulfilling its role “to help them connect to the people who matter most, wherever they are”.
The integration has also come to SkyDrive and it follows the the rollout of Skype for Outlook.com last month. Google Talk joins a roster of other integrated social networks, including Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and LinkedIn. Thus, adding Google Talk — the only of these social services that Gmail supports — takes it past the Google email service, and puts a selection of the Web’s most popular services in users’ inboxes.
Outlook.com had 400 million active accounts, as of May 2 when the company completed the migration of its Hotmail. Prior to that, Outlook.com hit 60 million sign-ups in February, six months after it was launched.
While the move is an interesting one that brings more functionality and will make the prospect of an Outlook.com account more appealing to many, Microsoft is competing against bigger issues than just IM/chat functionality.
Gmail is tightly linked to Google Drive and Google Docs, not to mention its vast array of other services, which has given it relative entrenchment on the Web today.
Nonetheless, Microsoft is at least working to develop its service with useful and relevant new features. It will be interesting to see what else it has in store further down the line.
Headline image via Lionel Bonaventure / Getty Images
View original post here: Microsoft adds Google Talk support to Outlook.com in a bid to woo Gmail users
Microsoft on Tuesday announced Windows Blue will be officially called Windows 8.1. Furthermore, the new version will arrive as a free Windows 8 update via the Windows Store.
The news was revealed at the JP Morgan Technology, Media & Telecom Conference in Boston, by Tami Reller, Chief Marketing Officer and Chief Financial Officer of Windows. Microsoft also noted there are more than 70,000 apps in the Windows Store, a noteworthy number but still a far cry from Android, iOS, and even Windows Phone.
On the Blogging Windows blog, Brandon LeBlanc, Microsoft’s Communications Manager for Windows, detailed where the company is coming from with its Windows 8.1 vision:
During her remarks today, Tami reiterated our goal of delivering continual updates to create a richer experience for Windows customers. Windows 8.1 is part of that and continues the journey we first began with Windows 8 last fall. Windows 8.1 will help us to deliver the next generation of PCs and tablets with our OEM partners and to deliver the experiences customers— both consumers and businesses alike —need and will just expect moving forward.
That doesn’t say much, now does it? LeBlanc says Microsoft plans to share more about Windows 8.1 “in the coming weeks.”
A public preview of Windows 8.1, for both Windows 8 and Windows RT, will be available starting on June 26. This is timed with the first day of Microsoft’s Build 2013 developer conference in San Francisco, where the first major details about the operating system update will be released.
Rumor has it that Windows 8.1 will also launch along with multiple devices featuring smaller screen sizes. All of this will likely be slated for the 2013 holiday season.
Top Image Credit: Dell Inc.
Today Microsoft announced the next set of features that it will introduce to the Windows Phone platform. The update will ship on the Lumia 925, announced today, and will “start rolling out” to other Windows Phone 8 handsets this summer.
Its feature set, though Microsoft calls it “small,” has a number of key upgrades that should keep fans of the platform content. Up first: FM radio. Microsoft claims that it heard customer complaint, and thus has brought back the feature. A bit later than some might have liked, but it’s welcome all the same.
Also in the update will be the expansion of Data Sense to more carriers, and updates to Xbox Music to make music selection simpler, along with improved metadata accuracy.
Finally, and this is the feature that matters, the small update will contain support for Google’s sync protocols CalDAV and CarddDAV. This means that if you use a Windows Phone handset, you can keep using your full suite of Google mail, calendar, and contact services.
That’s big news for Windows Phone users, as Google had previously threatened to cut Windows Phone off as it dropped support for Exchange Active Sync, before Microsoft had built CalDAV and CarddDAV support for the platform. After a high-noon situation, Google relented, extending support a bit, granting Microsoft time to code.
To put the above update in context, we turn to Mary Jo Foley of ZDNet. She calls the update GRD2, which is Microsoft-speak for the second ‘General Distribution Release.’ The first came last year, bringing messaging improvements.
However, what is interesting is that Microsoft’s ‘Blue’ update, according to Foley, isn’t even next in the docket:
The GDR2 update — which Microsoft officials never actually call GDR2 in today’s blog post — is coming “this summer.” GDR3 sounds like it may be timed to arrive this fall. And Windows Phone Blue is sounding from tipsters more and more like a 2014 release.
This is both good, and perhaps less good. Great that Microsoft has more updates in the pipelines. Less good as I frankly can’t wait to get my hands on Blue.
For now, Windows Phone 8 continues to better itself with improved code, and new handsets. Nokia’s second quarter Lumia sales will be the report card, of course.
Microsoft on Monday announced new features and improvements for its SkyDrive cloud storage service, with a particular focus on photos. The updates are available starting now, but you may not see them for up to 48 hours as the company rolls them out gradually.
Arguably the biggest new feature is the new photos timeline view. The main idea here is to give you a way to see all your SkyDrive photos across all your albums and folders based on when they were taken.
Here’s what it looks like in action (you can navigate to a specific month just by clicking on its name):
To navigate through all the images, which are organized into groups by event and time, all you have to do is scroll. This view is available from your browser, though we presume Microsoft will eventually offer it in SkyDrive apps going forward.
There’s also a new filmstrip view, which lets you breeze through photos in a slide show:
Last but not least, the thumbnails view has been tweaked. Microsoft has also introduced new thumbnails for PowerPoint and Word files:
User interface changes aside, Microsoft has improved the performance of photo uploads to SkyDrive. The company tweaked both the SkyDrive desktop app and its server code to improve upload times by two to three times. These are based on the company’s internal tests, so expect your mileage to vary.
Last but not least, on Thursday Microsoft finally turned on Windows Phone 8 full-resolution camera upload for all available markets. This is for both photos and videos, and means Windows Phone users can have a complete backup of all the photos they take in their SkyDrive camera roll.
Microsoft is facing increased competition from the likes of Dropbox and Google Drive. Focusing on photos is key in the cloud storage race, as users seem most interested in using such services to store and share all their snaps.
Top Image Credit: Asif Akbar
Read more from the original source: Microsoft rolls out new SkyDrive timeline and filmstrip views, speeds up photo upload time three-fold, and more
Microsoft has announced via its conference website that the coming Build developer event in San Francisco will sell a small number of new tickets this Wednesday, at 9 am, Pacific time. The company has made “more room,” it claims.
The news matters as the Build event had sold out, keeping many developers outside of an event that will see Microsoft retool its Windows 8 operating system, and likely much more; if you develop for the Windows or Windows Phone platforms, it’s the place to be.
Happily, this iteration of Build is in San Francisco, which should spare the tech industry another Woodstockian mud-fest, as the last Build devolved into. Jests aside, here’s the official Microsoft verbiage: “A limited number of additional tickets will go on sale Wednesday May 15 at 9am PDT.”
Microsoft has publicly confirmed that it will be discussing the ‘Blue’ set of updates to a number of software products. In October of 2012, Microsoft sequentially released a host of new software. Now, less than a year later, the company is working to, quickly, address concerns from users.
That Microsoft is having another Build event so close to its last, and to its most recent product crop’s release, is a small testament to the fact that the company is working to speed its development cycles.
I expect that the forthcoming set of tickets will go quickly, so if you want one, show up on time. TNW has asked Microsoft to specify the number of tickets that will be made available. We will update this post upon their response.
Top Image Credit: Damian Gadal