It has become a tradition on Questechie to highlight what we believe will be the dominating technologies on the internet for the New Year. Indeed, technology is very dynamic and the big players are always on their toes in terms of innovation. Again, the system is such that innovations follow on what is already on the ground, more reason it can be accurately predicted. Below are our Predictions for 2013.

Cloud Computing: Earlier in the year, Google debuted its Cloud Storage service, Google Drive to augment the growing cloud computing technology, with the promise of reliability and security which hitherto had been the bane for the general adoption of the emerging technology by enterprises. And with the increasing emphases on web applications, even as Microsoft have included the web versions of Word, Excel, PowerPoint and OneNote on its revolutionary webmail service Outlook.com all based on Cloud storage, may mean a broader adoption of cloud computing by enterprises.

Smartphone Wars: The mobile web is currently the new power zone, with Microsoft haven repositioned its operating system, Windows 8 to embracing mobile devices and the growing advances of the Google open-source OS, Android; also not forgetting the purported comeback of RIM with its BlackBerry 10 devices, will be turning the mobile terrain into a battle ground.

Web Applications: With the HTML5 specifications attaining "feature-complete" status and Canvas 2D standardization in sight, developers will become more daring in churning-out innovative web applications.

Mobile Web: Already a great chunk of internet traffic is credited to the mobile web. The coming year will witness more activities via that platform with the plethora of mobile devices been released. Therefore, the current social networks battle will be decided on domination on the mobile platform and the most innovative will definitely rule.

Real-time Analytics: Driven by the social web, real-time analytics that will translate to actionable ideas for businesses will become a focal point. And businesses that have embraced such analytical concept will flourish.

The list is nonetheless inexhaustible; so we would like to know your own predictions in the comment section below.

Predictions: Internet Trends for 2013

Bogus applications and malware have had a way of infiltrating users systems through silently installed browser extensions. Google Chrome, starting from version 25 will enable users have control over external extensions, allowing their permission before external browser extensions are installed by third-party applications.

Before now, external extensions can be silently installed into Chrome on Windows using the registry mechanism for extension deployment.

The Chromium blog post, stated that since browser extensions can sometimes influence Chrome's functionality and performance, it's important for users to know what extensions they have installed. And that all extensions installed by third-party programs will become disabled by default.

The new features in Chrome 25 will allow users run only the extensions they approve, and want to use. Whenever an external application install an extension on Chrome, the menu will become badged and user can click on the Chrome menu to see a dialog with an option to enable the extension or have it removed from their computer.

While Windows application developers have been enjoined to recommend to potential users to install Chrome extensions related to their applications from within Chrome store.

Chrome 25 Feature Extensions Option

Folks, the yuletide is here again and the sizzles in technology trends is far from over. The year in review tends to explore the biggest flop and ingenuity in the internet technology landscape.

Microsoft indeed has demonstrated genuine desire to reposition and overhaul its product offerings in line with users demands and better overall experience.

And the result have clearly shown in the classic Outlook.com, which is email revolutionized - featuring next generation seamless integration to popular social networks and Cloud storage, also with spotting the web-based versions of Word, Excel, PowerPoint and OneNote. On social networking technology, Microsoft So.cl (pronounced "Social") is perhaps one of the most innovative cook-up since the Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest revolution. So.cl is rather the unification of the three top social networking hubs, and not a blatant copy of any.

Google as it seems can never been relegated to the background, the technology giant is ever visible in all arrays of internet technologies. Albeit, the search engine and contextual targeted advertising remains its strongholds.

The scrapping of Microsoft Exchange ActiveSync by Google may mean more than is currently envisaged. Google Drive as a business proposition is the next  line of action for the technology giant and 2013 will see the fruition of the fundamental game plan.

The Open source community is well, no threats from the incumbencies, as the open web is an ideal that must be pursued, even Microsoft is beginning to agree.

Mobile web and the emerging technologies will see more actions in the coming year, thanks to HTML5 and Canvas 2D specifications.

What more can we say than to thank you our dear readers for an awesome and eventful year in internet technology coverage. Wishing you happy holidays and a prosperous 2013.

Happy Holidays & 2012 Recap

Microsoft launched Windows 8 previews: Developer Preview, Consumer Preview and Release Preview are all billed to expire January 15, 2013. While users will be given a three weeks grace period to upgrade to a paid version or face hourly service disruptions.

The previews once expired will automatically restart hourly, making messages to pop-up letting users know of the need to upgrade.

The company had earlier warned on the fate of using the Windows 8 previews; stating that "from the expiration date, you may not be able to access unsaved data used with the software. Any applications you receive from the Windows Store will also cease to be available to you in the future versions, unless they are made available for re-download and you re-acquire them. You may not receive any other notice".

Microsoft support document, however, noted that to continue using Windows Developer preview or Windows Server Developer preview, you must install the update before the expiration date.

The discounted upgrade to Windows 8 pro is fixed at $39.99, which last through to January 31, 2013. Then the cost could go as high as $199.99.

Windows 8 Previews Expires in 3 Weeks

Microsoft in line with the Windows 8 design have also presented a new incarnation of Microsoft Office suite which is now in its seventh version, compared to what users are accustomed. The new Office 2013 comes with all the usual component applications, but most of them sporting complete new features.

Again, Microsoft Office 2013 compatibility with Windows is limited compared to previous Office versions.

Definitely, users will have an uphill task getting round the new Office 2013 with the touch screen capability which is alien to previous Office suite. The touch screen support is available for Tablet devices and smartphones, while the native SkyDrive integration means access to documents from anywhere.

Interestingly, Microsoft is offering several different flavors of Office 2013, with notably two subscription-based versions.

Also present is the tile-based user interface, which is peculiar to Windows 8. This free guide will familiarize you with the new capabilities of the world's most popular productivity suite, Microsoft Office. Download the FREE Complimentary Manual Now.

Special Report: Microsoft Office 2013 Guide

The World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) had on Monday released the report on HTML5 Definition Complete, Interoperability Testing and Performance - stating that the HTML5 and Canvas 2D specifications are feature-complete and that developers now have a stable target for implementation and planning.

Jeff Jaffe, CEO at W3C revealed that stakeholders demanded a stable standard with the broader reach of web technology, and that with the complete definition developers now know what skill to cultivate, while businesses can be assured that they can rely on HTML5 in the years to come.

Although the specifications are not yet W3C standards, the next round of standardizations are already in view as it also announced the first draft of HTML 5.1 and Canvas 2D, level 2 simultaneously.

The open web platform presents a full programming environment for cross-platform  applications with access to device capabilities, video and animations; graphics, style and other tools for digital publishing.  And the community continue to enhance existing HTML5 features and also developing new ones; including extensions to complement built-in HTML5 accessibility and adaptive streaming.

However, fragmentation in users agents (e.g browsers) remains a great constraint, as it increases the cost and complexity of using the technology.

The W3C now embarks on the stage of standardization devoted to interoperability and testing (tagged Candidate Recommendation) to reduce browser fragmentation and extend implementations to the full range of tools that consume and produce HTML.

And the final adoption of HTML5 specification as an W3C standard is perhaps anticipated in 2014, while Canvas 2D could be earlier, 2013.

HTML5 "Feature-Complete": What that Means?

Google over the weekend announced the discontinuation of its Sync service which allow access to Gmail, Calender and Contacts through Microsoft Exchange ActiveSync on mobile. Google had earlier in September  commenced support for CardDAV - an open protocol for contacts, joining other open protocols: IMAP and CalDAV (open protocols for mail and calendar respectively) already supported.

Google Sync will ultimately come to a halt, starting January 30, 2013 for new users. But, Google Sync on its Apps for Business, Government and Education will continue to be supported.

While, the company have recommended that users should avails themselves of the new seamless experience by using the open protocols.

However, for those users who already have the Sync connection running would have nothing to worry about, as existing Google Sync will continue to function as normal.

The main reason behind the change according to Google  is to enable third-parties build seamless Google Sync experience. As the open protocols, combined with the options to access Gmail, Calender and Contacts with your desktop or mobile browser, also via native apps on iOS and Android, ensures great seamless experience regardless of device used.

Open Protocols Displace Microsoft Exchange ActiveSync

Google as its tradition goes has on Wednesday released Zeitgeist List 2012, top searches on Google for the year. What makes research into the list interesting is that it holds the key to important social patterns to popular world events through the trending searches.

Information indeed is the most sort after factor on the internet, however, it does not in itself lend any satisfaction except when applied in solving problems.

The year in review presented great social moments: with the Olympic Games, U.S election and perhaps the natural disaster Sandy taking a large chunk.

The "Consumer Electronics" search trends really caught our attention, even more the "Trending Events" category. That the Cupertino behemoth still hold its sway in the smartphone and tablet top list is not a surprise, but how the Korean tech giant, Samsung has become a great force in the smartphone sector is indeed remarkable.

With its flagship smartphone brand Galaxy S3 at number two (No. 2), Samsung have truly done the impossible, beating generation favorites BlackBerry and Nokia down the lane.

Hurricane Sandy at number one on the events trends goes to show emotional pool in social engagement. The social web invariably rides on people and people responds more to emotions, especially the stronger ones: love and danger.

But, how the social web responds on our collective aspiration cannot be questioned, as it has the capacity to bond humanity and harnessed intelligence can serve a stronghold in challenging any opposition to freedom. And that possibility has been demonstrated on state levels, the world outlook is still pending and may soon become a reality too.

Zeitgeist 2012: Search Trends

Microsoft debuted Outlook.com earlier in the year as a modern web-based email service, replacing Hotmail and incorporating next generation technologies like direct integration of the popular social networks, cloud storage facilities and inclusion of web-based versions of Word, Excel, PowerPoint and OneNote.

The company now features core security standards in the new webmail service. According to the Outlook blog,  DMARC (Domain-based Message Authentication, Reporting and Conformance) and EV Certificates have been included to boost security in Outlook.com.

DMARC is a standardized specification on email recipient systems authentication. It authenticates incoming message using SPF and DKIM technologies, which helps to check phishing and SPAM mails.

Phishing has become a growing online security concern, leading to notable internet companies devoting enormous resources in combating the menace. Google and Facebook are amongst those who have canvased the implementation of DMARC in cutting down phishing attacks successes, which spoof legitimate addresses to trick unsuspecting users into clicking malicious links.

The EV (Extended Validation) Certificates support will help ensure that users are not tricked into entering personal details on fraudulent websites. EV Certificates on Outlook.com follows the high standardization minimum of 2048-bit encryption, and validated by displaying green bar on the browser, which means the website is legitimate.

The new security features indeed goes to show that Microsoft is really ready for serious business, even as it plans to extending same to its Cloud Storage service, SkyDrive.

Microsoft Beefs Up Security On Its Webmail

Google on Thursday announced the discontinuation of the FREE Google Apps for Business package, which changes start-ups watchers have termed "Big Blow" for small businesses. Google Apps comprises web-based software services offered by Google to enterprises, which invariably runs on its Cloud storage service.

According to the official Google Enterprise blog, the adoption of the basic version (which is FREE) has shown that the experience is not right for both individuals and businesses as they quickly outgrow the package.

The cases of 24/7 customer service and larger storage facilities were specifically cited in favor of the changes.

Clay Bavor, Director of Product Management, offered the straightforward recommendations that: Individuals who intends to use Gmail and Google Drive should create a free personal Google account. While Businesses will have to make-do with the one version, that is, Google Apps for Business: which includes 24/7 customer care, 25GB storage, and priced at $50 per year.

Also, note that the changes does not apply to existing users, including those running the basic version.

However, Google Apps for Education will be available for schools and universities for free. Guess Cloud business is now a really serious business.

Google Apps For Business: What the Changes Imply?

The on-going conference of the International Telecommunication Union (ITU) in Dubai, which commenced on 3 December and through to December 14, is one in which the future of the internet is at stake. It's a proposal to make changes to a decades-old treaty, in which only governments have a vote.

Google's Vint Cerf, Chief Internet evangelist, in a blog post iterated the original proposal that involved protocols designed to make the networks of the internet non-proprietary and interoperable, and allowed for contributions from many sources. It avoided lock-in, which openness is the reason for the great value of the internet today.

The free and open internet has brought unprecedented freedom to billions of people world wide; to create and innovate, organize and influence, and to speak and be heard.

But all that could change; as a closed-door meeting of the world's governments is right now in progress. The agenda is to regulate the internet, and some proposals could allow governments to justify the censorship of legitimate speech, or may even cut off internet access in their countries.

However, you can join thousands upon thousands of internet users who are standing up for a free and open internet right now. And perhaps our collective voices could be all that is needed to save the Internet; our web from the impending tyranny. Join us at: google.com/takeaction and sign the petition.

Open And Free Internet: Users' Perspective

Google initiated resolves in making the internet open and free have been greatly applauded, especially in state-sponsored blockade of the internet infrastructures. The political revolution in Egypt about two years ago, in which the country's censorship of Twitter was challenged by Google powered Speak2Tweet is a case in point.

Now, the novelty service is back in Syria as the country has decided to clampdown on Twitter access and general internet infrastructure.

Google announced the reactivation of the service in a Google+ post, stating that they have partnered with Twitter to relaunch Speak2Tweet, allowing anyone to tweet using voice call.

The voice connection tweets can be accessed on: twitter.com/speak2tweet and is enabled by simply leaving a voice message on the following phone numbers: (+90 212 339 1447 or +30 21 1 198 2716 or +39 06 62207294 or +1 650 419 4196), then the service will tweet your message.

Guess, that's another way of saying more power to the "Tweeple". And well done Google for championing such great calls.

Google Powered Speak2Tweet Live In Syria

Mozilla's social integration tool, Social API, now has Facebook integrated direct on Firefox, which before now only allows connection to social networks through third-party browser add-on. The company announced the Social API beta since late October, and had on Tuesday commenced full testing of the Social API feature.

The feature is especially useful to keep tab on updates on the social networks without leaving the actual page a user is accessing at the moment. It invariably eliminates frequent tab swapping to keep updated on the social networks proceedings.

However, users are required to upgrade to the latest version of the browser and activate the feature on the Facebook Messenger for Firefox homepage.

Also, Mozilla is currently exploring the possibility of including other social networks on the Firefox Social API, which now has Facebook as the first to join the train.

The company is also calling on developers to contribute to improving the new social tool, even as it awaits feedback from Facebook users who have activated the feature.

Firefox Social API Integrates Facebook

Trend Micro's Rik Ferguson, director of security research and communication, in a blog post on Wednesday reported a vulnerability in Skype application which could allow anyone that knows your email address hack your Skype account. The vulnerability enables one to sign up for Skype with an email address already taken, and then through password reset can gain access to the original account associated to that email address.

But, actual discovery of the vulnerability was credited to a Russian Forum where a proof of concept was posted about three months ago.

Skype on its part has released an official statement acknowledging the vulnerability, and had subsequently suspended the account reset feature temporarily as a precaution; now working on password update process today.

Skype, also added that the issue affected some users where multiple accounts were registered to same email address. The company, however, promised reaching out to those users whose account may have been compromised thereby for necessary actions.

Guess, the days of labeling some information "minor" in security and privacy considerations are over, users discretion to personal details remain paramount.  

Skype Vulnerability: Password Reset Halted

Microsoft's Windows Live Messenger, the pioneering instant messaging platform from the incumbent software giant is scheduled to merge with Skype. Skype, which is a VoIP (Voice-over-Internet Protocol and software application) service was purchased by Microsoft in October, 2011.

According to the Skype Blog,"the aim is to deliver the best communications experience for everyone, everywhere."

Microsoft has planned to shut down Windows Live Messenger in all countries (with the exception of mainland China) starting first quarter of 2013. The company further stated on its resolve to focus on making things simpler for users while continuously improving the overall experience.

Skype 6.0 for Mac and Windows, which was released on 24 October, 2012 allows you to sign into the service using a Microsoft account. IM users simply have to update to this latest version of Skype, sign-in to their account, and all their Messenger contacts will be migrated to Skype form Windows Live Messenger.

The migration to Skype means users can  now avail themselves of both instant messaging and video calling features within the same platform.

Skype Merges With IM And Windows Live!

HTTP Strict Transport Security (HSTS) is a security mechanism by which a web server can indicate to complying user agents (for instance, a web browser) to interact with it using only secure connection. The HSTS specification is currently an IETF Internet-Draft, and the security policy received approval on 2 October, 2012. Mozilla had announced on the company blog that it has added to Firefox a list of hosts that require HSTS enforced by default.

Firefox "Preloaded List" is seeded with domains from Chrome's HSTS preloaded list of a similar function.

The list building procedure is thus: a request is sent to every host with the mode: "force-https" on Chrome's list. And only host that respond with a valid HSTS header and appropriate large max-age value get included in the list.

HSTS can be an effective tool for protecting the privacy and security of users and their data online.

The "preloaded list" makes it even harder to exploit, as when connecting to an HSTS host for the first time, the browser may not know whether to use secure connection or not, because it has never received a HSTS header from that host. Subsequently, an attacker could exploit that to prevent the browser from connecting securely and a user may never detect that. But, the "preloaded list" helps to mitigate this nature of attack.

Mozilla has called upon developers to download the recent build and give it a spin which is currently available in Firefox Beta.

Mozilla Pushes HSTS Preloaded List on Firefox

The revolutionary new operating system by Microsoft, Windows 8, is perhaps the buzz word in the tech circle right now. And everyone is really anticipating the next generation of web technology enhancements promised in the new OS.

Microsoft has never hidden its desire to unify the Windows Ecosystem, comprising: the mobile version (Windows Phone), PCs and Xbox game console. But, just how much can Windows 8 and Windows Phone 8 bring the elusive mobile web convergence to light?

Windows 8 interface is quite different from what Windows users have become accustomed. And many users are not yet aware of the Cloud Computing aspect, which remains the bedrock on which the new OS is built, cum the mobile web collaboration brought to the fore in the new Windows Ecosystem.

Analysts have termed it "the most daring move by Microsoft so far", with an unusual tile-based start screen optimized for touchscreen devices and the popular Microsoft desktop gone for good, definitely, on first look, you must be wondering did Microsoft omit the start menu in error?

Getting your data from your current system to the new Windows 8 will be a serious challenge too. That's the reason why we have partnered to bring you this complimentary FREE manual on Getting started with Windows 8. Download the Free Manual Now!

Special Report: Comprehensive Guide To Windows 8

Microsoft last week Friday in a promo tagged "Microsoft Office Pre-launch Offer" commenced a free Office 2013 upgrade offer for customers who purchase the retail copy of Office 2010 for Windows. The promo is expected to run from October 19 to April 30, 2013.

Albeit, Microsoft has not set a launch date for the new OS, market watchers are of the candid view that it will ship in late January or earlier February 2013. MS Office 2013 suite preview, presented exceptionally novel features inline with the Windows 8 technologies; whereas most remarkable in the list are as follows:

SkyDrive Support: Office 2013 is fully integrated to the cloud with Microsoft Cloud service SkyDrive, and SharePoint is supported as well. And this is particularly beneficial for those who require access to their files on the go.

Sync Options: Now, Office documents saved on the Cloud can be easily synced across devices (PCs or Tablets) via Web Apps.

Touchscreen Mode: Office 2013 is built on the Windows 8 architecture, so supports touchscreen capability, especially the Read More mode in Word. It lets users scroll through documents by swiping horizontally with the fingers. While on PC with a touchscreen monitor, you can alternate between the more traditional navigation mode.

Login Account: Office 2013 application through the file tab includes Account (Outlook or Office Account), whereby users can log-in to their SkyDrive account and be able to switch between accounts.

Edit PDF: Before now, you can only save Word document in PDF, you cannot edit PDFs in Word, except when converted to Doc or DocX format. The new Office 2013 now makes it possible to open PDF files and edit it right within Microsoft Word, with file still retaining the PDF structure including the elements.

MS Office 2013 desktop software will come bundled on its own or as part of Office 365 subscription, now open to consumers as well as small businesses. So, given the above highlighted new features, will you be more likely to upgrade?

MS Office 2013: What's New?

Mobile malware threats are on the rise, especially on Android devices, the FBI last weekend issued fresh warning on latest malicious malware targeting the open-source operating system. The intelligence report compiled by Internet Crime Complaint Center (IC3) identified two variants of malware targeting Android devices, Loozfon and FinFisher.

Loozfon is invariably an information vault malware that tends to steal information by tricking users to click on seemingly innocuous links in emails on make-money-at-home programs and other related offers. While FinFisher acts as a Spyware capable of infiltrating the components of a mobile device, which can turn a mobile handset into surveillance device.

Albeit, Android malware challenge, has been on Google's drawing board and the company is not relenting in its effort to curtail the increasing threats targeting the system. AndroidPolice had on Monday reported a new resource file for the Google Play, the files are loaded into memory before any application begins to run on the system.

The resource file for Android will help analyze all the apps to determine malicious malware through the use of app signature. It will automatically red-flag any app it deems malicious or a threat to your mobile device.

Google may also be considering of incorporating anti-malware features direct into the operating system, and perhaps, given the current enormous appeal of the mobile platform, the company will have a lot to prove security-wise if ever it intends to win Enterprise patronage.

Android Malware: FBI Issues New Warning

The HTML5 "Fullscreen API" allow web developers to display web contents in full-screen mode, that is, filling-up the display screen completely. Albeit, some browsers have this capability inbuilt, the Fullscreen API differs from those in that it allow developers to access the functionality through underlined programming.

Fullscreen API is perhaps known for its spoofing potential, leading to major browser vendors canvassing for the implementation of an overlay to notify users when full-screen is activated.

SCAM websites have found ways to spoof web surfers by recreating the user agents when Fullscreen is initiated. Feross Aboukhadijeh, a San Francisco based web developer, had demonstrated the common technique in his official website.

Feross demonstrated how the Fullscreen API can aid phishing attack portals appear rather innocuous to the end users, by utilizing the API to hide the interface elements of the users' browser, thereby preventing the user from knowing the URL of the actual website visited.

The API's specified "Security and Privacy Considerations" have advisory on how browser vendors can effectively curtail the spoofing mechanism. Google Chrome, from v22 upwards have provided some level of notification as to the full-screen mode of websites visited. While, Mozilla Firefox version 10 and later, is more explicit in its notification and flagging alert.

Whereas, Apple Safari is seriously lagging behind, Internet Explorer is yet to support HTML5 Fullscreen API.

Fullscreen API: Aid To Phishing Attack?

Google has added virtual input tools to enhance typing words across languages on its web-mail service, Gmail. According to a post on its official blog, finding the right words across languages posses some difficulties, as well as ways to type the actual words, mainly due to limitation of supported letter-inputs on hardware keyboards.

The Gmail input tools comprises of 100 virtual keyboards and its transliteration, making it easy for users to type in the languages they are accustomed. Keeping in touch with family is now even more formal with the Gmail messaging enhancements.

These tools follows IMEs input method to enable familiar virtual keyboard layout, with a one-click switch between languages.

To tryout the language input tools, go to: Settings, under Language and check the box next to Enable input tools. Thereafter, the input tools icon will become visible next to Settings button in your toolbar, and you have the option to turn it off and on again.

Virtual Keyboards: Enhanced Language Transliteration

Before now, Gmail could only allow search within attachments on text or HTML documents, while other document formats like: Word, Excel and PowerPoint were not supported. The latest enhancement to the service now makes it possible to search attachments in emails in popular programs such as, PDF and Microsoft Office.

The inside attachment search procedure is thus: For instance, you need to locate a statement within your document, lets say "Search Innovations", simply input "has:attachment Search Innovations". And for format specified search, input: "has:attachment format: search term".

The feature, however may not be a novelty as other email systems already incorporate the attachment search capability. Albeit, Google for reasons best known to it had delayed the implementation on its webmail service.

The roll-out of the feature has commenced, but certainly has not been extended to all Gmail users. The good news still remains that Gmail now fully support searching inside attachments.

Enhancement to Search Within Gmail Attachments

Mozilla had announced the beta version of its long running web-scale identity system, Persona (formerly code-named BrowserID), which is aimed at entrenching privacy and secured web experience by utilizing authentication through existent email as against actual username and password.

Mozilla Persona differs from other authentication systems like OpenID in that it uses email address as identifier and fully integrated into the browser.

Persona takes precedence from the Verified Email Protocol system, which involves only the browser and compliant website.  It relies on public key cryptography on the browser-side without invoking the identity provider in the actual authentication process.

However, users will need create and verify an account on Persona.org by defining a password and adding one or more email addresses to their account. Thereafter, "Persona Authentication" would only take a two click process for already logged in users, while those not already logged in will need to enter their Persona details in the process.

Persona is built to naturally eliminate users tracking, which provides rest of mind for privacy conscious users, and at the same time ensuring secured access.

On the contrary, if users disclose their Persona details it can be used against them and to access all connected services. Mozilla, however, have iterated its plan to introduce two-factor authentication in later versions to beef-up security.

Developers have been called upon to contribute to the open source project. Whilst, Mozilla have promptly made available an extensive tutorial on What is Persona and How it Works.

Mozilla Persona: Browser-side Authentication System

Google mid-week announced new updates to the Google Apps service which will take effect starting October 1. Google is dropping support for the older Microsoft Office (Office 97 - 2003) formats: .doc (Word), .xls (Excel), and .ppt (PowerPoint)  on the Google Docs.

The Google Docs to Microsoft Office exporting feature will only allow user download documents in the new Office formats: .docx, .xlsx, and .pptx. However, the ability to import Office files of any format to Google Docs remains unchanged.

Google Docs users who are still running the old Office 97 - 2003 versions have been afforded a free compatibility plugin by Microsoft which will allow them to open newer Office files.

And users of the Consumer Productivity Suite of Google Docs will continue to be able to export documents in the old Microsoft Office format, whereas support for the Commercial Productivity Suite have been discontinued.

Office document collaborator using the old Office format, being backward compatible, need not concern themselves whether a collaborator is using the new Office version, as the latest versions of the Suite is compatible to the old formats. But, the older version of the Suite is not compatible.

Google Apps Drop Old Office Formats

Microsoft's Internet Explorer got a handful of critical exploitations earlier in the week. The zero-day vulnerabilities affects IE9 and older versions of the browser, the exploit allows remote code execution which could enable an attacker take control of a compromised system.

The exploit takes advantage of a "use-after-free" vulnerability, a vulnerability affecting mshtml.dll component of Internet Explorer.

The company has now provided a one-click work-around to the vulnerabilities, termed "Fix it for me", which affords an automatic fix to the vulnerabilities without requiring rebooting. The one-click automatic system does not affect browser sections while being implemented.

The "fix it" tool works by protecting the system from memory corruption, which security researchers have identified as the major entry mechanism for the exploits.

Microsoft has also scheduled an out-of-cycle security update to permanently fix the glitches for Friday. And users will be able to get the security patch through the Windows Update, while it will be automatic for those who have enabled automatic update.

IE Vulnerability: Microsoft one-click Fix It

The privacy policy proposal has now been embraced by virtually all leading internet technology vendors, with Microsoft even assuming a heightened dimension to it, purporting to making the do-no-track command the default setting on the next version of its browser IE10. Now, Chrome developers build released yesterday featured the revolutionary privacy option.

Google had earlier made known its decisions to bring comparative privacy options to users and implement a solution on its advertising systems as well. The "Do Not Track" feature, albeit, helpful in targeted advertising, appears exploitative to some segment of internet users, who maintains that choice to opt-out needed to be provided.

Advertisers, however, have expressed concern as to the actual implementation of the tracking restrictions, citing that it will thwart efforts to target advertising.

Before now, Google Chrome had remained the only major browser that did not implement the "Do Not Track" command. Mozilla first introduced the privacy mechanism in Firefox early 2011, with Opera and Internet Explorer later joining the train.

The privacy settings have been implemented in the Chromium developers channel and will be available in subsequent versions of Chrome.

Chrome "Do Not Track" Compliance

Microsoft has issued deadline about the necessary changes to Windows' certificate requirements in line with its scheduled automatic security update. Starting October 9, minimum key length for digital certificate supported by Microsoft must be at least 1,024 bits.

RSA digital certificate with key less than 1,024 bits will not be supported on the Microsoft platforms, hence administrators are required to update for the minimum certificate key length. Windows ActiveX Control would be blocked for any website without the required security certification level.

Microsoft Security Response blog noted that the changes will help improve security across the Windows platforms.

The company have made available a knowledge-base help in updating for the minimum certificate key length and detailed technicalities.

Microsoft effort to secure the Windows platform is paramount following the recent security breaches targeting the system. The company hopes the update to certificate key length requirements will help strengthen the Windows ecosystem.

Certificate Key Deadline Issued by Microsoft

Microsoft cloud-storage offshoots have heralded new changes in the company's terms of service. Before now, Microsoft service agreement as regards its cloud offerings stated vividly that "Your files are not just bits to be synced, and certainly would not be scanned to serve advertising".

The new changes in the Microsoft service agreement read thus:

"When you upload your content to the service, you agree that it may be used, modified, adapted, saved, reproduced, distributed and displayed to the extent necessary to protect you and provide, protect and improve Microsoft product and services."

The above statement clearly portrays that the company intends full access to users data and rights to serve ads based on the available information thereby. Microsoft is perhaps treading Google's path, which have reserved the rights to allow it share users data across its cloud offerings.

Further more, Microsoft new service agreement terms explicitly acknowledged:

"For example, we may occasionally use automated means to isolate information from emails, chats, or photos in order to help detect and protect against spam and malware, or to improve the services with new features that make them easier to use."

The new changes in Microsoft terms of service also bears on actual word-rendering under "Privacy", the old stance on "Privacy" stated, that "Microsoft may access and disclose information about you"; whereas under the new heading, it clearly reads, "Microsoft may access, disclose, or preserve information associated with your use of the services, including (without limitation) your personal information and content, or information Microsoft acquires about you through your use of the services".

Also effected are changes in the legal rights, especially as it concerns U.S. users, the new agreement reads: "If you live in the United States, section 10 contains a binding arbitration clause and class action waiver. It affects your rights about how to resolve any dispute with Microsoft".

What this statement means is that Microsoft cloud services users in the U.S. cannot sue the company by a class action lawsuit, that is, any legal dispute with Microsoft must be resolved before a neutral arbitrator.

The new Microsoft terms of service will take effect starting October 19, 2012. Therefore, any user who does not find the above information comfortable must have to do away with the service now or leave the rest to Microsoft's whims.

New Microsoft Terms of Service: Privacy Twist?

Twitter has announced changes in the upcoming version 1.1 of the Twitter Application Programming Interface (API), with stricter guidelines on how third-party applications connect to the service. Michael Sippey, Group Product Manager at Twitter, in the Twitter Developers blog described the move as means to restore consistency in the Twitter experience.

The new changes in the Twitter API includes: requirement of authentication on all API endpoint, a new rate-limiting methodology, and Developer Rules changes for apps that serve as traditional Twitter clients.

Twitter had earlier warned on the new changes, albeit, the actual nature of the turn was shrouded in non-details. However, critics have termed the move rather too drastic and detrimental to further expansion of Twitter ecosystem.

Per-Endpoint Rate Limiting on the API, means that application that only accesses one endpoint may be more restricted, while application that uses multiple endpoints will run into rate limiting issues less frequently. The Twitter API current version 1.0 served a "one size fits all approach", limiting the number of authentication requests an application can make to 350 calls per hour, regardless of the nature of the information concerned. Whilst the new changes will present most individual endpoints at the rate limit of 60 calls per hour restricted to 100,000 individual users token, which according to Twitters own calculation is well above the needs of most applications built on Twitter API, stressing that it will help protect its system from abusive applications. Though high-volume endpoints relating to Twitter display, profile display, look-up and users search will be able to make up to 720 calls per hour per-endpont.

However, if your application already has more than 100,000 individual users tokens, you will still be able to maintain and add new users to your application up to 200% of your current tokens.

Also, developers that are building client applications pre-installed on mobile phones, or SIM components will be required to have their applications certified by Twitter. And Twitter reserve the rights to revoke non-certified applications.

The changes in Developers Rules of the Road implies Display Guidelines will serve as Display Requirements to ensure consistency in the Twitter experience across board.

The new Twitter API v1.1 migration will simultaneously be announced with the deprecation of the current version 1.0, and developers will be given six months to migrate from v1.0 to v1.1.

Twitter users, especially those that are using third-party applications to access the service will experience less error messages, as apps refresh stream becomes more frequent without running up the rate limit. But, as to how the overall changes will affect future users experience remains to be seen.

Twitter Hits Developers with API Restrictions

Facebook has launched a reporting channel to fight phishing attacks targeting its users, comprising attempts to steal users data and login details, by providing an email service whereby users can forward any suspicious email they receive on the platform.

The email service is to compliment its already running phishing detection system, an internal service that notifies its security team on possible phishing threats and its connected websites.

According to an official release note, "Facebook intends to gather more information on phishing sites so as to be able to take them offline" through browser backlisting or actual site takedown where appropriate. Facebook is thereby requesting that users should forward any suspicious email to the provided address: phish@fb.com.

Generally, social networking sites have been the bait of identity scams, a development which has engaged the better part of social networks security concerns over the past months, coupled with the incessant privacy issues. And with the rising influx of fake accounts on popular networking portals, the case of unsolicited emails and phishing threats is the order of the day.

Augmenting existing security mechanisms working at the background to protect users has been the call by security experts, which implementation may well serve the much needed identity theft issues. Facebook is sure on the right footing with the new notification service. 

Facebook Tackles Phishing Attack

Microsoft has clearly decamped to web application and open services even as it demos Outlook Client Email service, Tuesday. The new webmail service will be replacing Hotmail, and represents the next generation of messaging system according to the Outlook blog.

The new Outlook.com, dubbed "modern email designed for the next billion mailboxes", is Microsoft answer to Gmail and Google Enterprise services.

Microsoft Oultlook desktop application  for PC and Mac is perhaps the most popular enterprise application for email and office collaboration, with the Outlook web application, connecting Organizations Exchange Server. The company by the new service intends offering Outlook as an email service for modern browsers and devices.

Outlook.com is built with social networking in mind, instead of only the conventional inbox, users have the option to view updates from popular social networking sites, which includes: Facebook, Twitter, Google+ and Linkedin. Also, it includes free web-based versions of Word, Excel, PowerPoint and OneNote, with additional storage space through Microsoft's cloud service, SkyDrive. The Skype messaging capabilities is also featured in the new webmail service.

It automatically sorts your messages from contacts, newsletters, shipping updates, and social updates, and with the "Sweep" features you can move, delete and set up powerful rules.

Hotmail users who want to upgrade to Outlook.com preview simply need to go to option menu of Hotmail and click on "upgrade". While, email address, password, contacts, old email, and rules will remain unchanged, and you can send or receive email from your @hotmail.com or @msn.com or @live.com address.You can also add an @Outlook.com email address to your account.

Microsoft Web-based Outlook Email Service

Microsoft launch of the consumer preview of the next generation Office 2013 suite which media event took place in San Francisco on Monday has perhaps presented the most remarkable architectural departure, inline with the Windows 8 technologies, aimed at positioning the company in the cloud computing and enterprise collaboration space.

Microsoft Office had been criticized for lack of data portability and seamless experience as the case on the Google Docs service, leading to the need for the company to setup Office 365 to address the critical enterprise challenge.

Now, Microsoft intends pushing users of both Office services into its cloud-based offering, SkyDrive, which will enable users to store data in the cloud with the ability to sync files across different platforms. The company has lately set a keen eye on the mobile market, and thereby have effected the necessary changes to embracing mobile with the latest Office suites.

What that means is that Microsoft has taken desktop programs and its web-based office equivalent and unified them into a product that feels more simplified without altering the traditional Office motto.

However, MS Office 2013 and Office 365 update will not support older Windows versions like XP and Vista. It will only run on Windows 7 and Windows 8 PCs and Tablet devices. And the actual product launch date is yet to be fixed by Microsoft.

Google had earlier tried to woo MS Office users into joining the Google Docs train by offering Cloud Connect, which afforded Microsoft Office users the syncing option and accessibility of files on the go. But, with Microsoft full footing on the cloud-storage space and the revolutionary technology drivers put in place, definitely, the cloud computing battle-line has just been drawn.

MS Office 2013 Intensifies The Cloud Wars

Google has launched an extension to its Gmail service whereby users have the option to receive email on their mobile phone as SMS and also be able to reply same through SMS. The service is especially useful to feature phone users who may not have the internet capabilities available on smartphones. The actual receiving of messages via SMS is free, while local SMS rate applies to replying messages.

Gmail SMS is targeted at African users who invariably are denied the now much needed internet access, and coupled with the high cost of bandwidth.

The service, nonetheless, works on any phone type, and for now, available only in three African countries, namely: Nigeria, Kenya and Ghana. However, there is still the possibility of the extension of the service to other African countries, however, the availability worldwide seems highly untenable.

The next-generation  messaging system is one that will offer seamless messaging across different forms of communication media supporting all formats. Facebook had earlier announced what appears closer to that definition late 2010, but the actual application remains illusive.

Google has demonstrated that messaging is the pivot of the social web, and with the latest offering, will be tapping into the vast population of under-served African market in terms of internet access.

Messaging System: Gmail SMS Extension

The ongoing case of Yahoo password hack, which nonetheless, is one amongst millions of other password breaches experienced by notable web companies in recent times, has exposed the lackadaisical attitude of some web companies in protecting their users information.

Albeit, Yahoo password hack exploited a vulnerability on the database on its Contributor Network through SQL injection (a basic attack that comprises entering command into the search field of a website to access information stored on the server), the catch remains that such level of sensitive data was not stored cryptographically.

And ironically as it seems, there were no firewalls setup to monitor and detect such malicious activities.

The hackers, despite breaking into the database, would not have been able to make sense of the users information, were it randomly and cryptographically stored.

The security breach has again highlighted how the basic online security best practices have been neglected by leading companies, which follows after more than 5 million passwords were stolen from top networking sites, including Linkedin and eHarmony.

The lapses inevitably means users  log-in credentials, even extensively robust passwords are at risk, and given that some users replicate passwords across several web services portal, its thereby advised to make necessary password changes.

Yahoo Hack: Data Encryption Issue

Mac users running the old version, Mac OS X 10.5 (Leopard) will not continue to get security and stability updates starting from Chrome 22 according to the Google Chrome Support website. However, users with Chrome already installed will continue to use the browser, but subsequent updates will not be effected, whilst users without Chrome will not be able to download and install the browser.

The newer versions, Mac OS X 10.6 ( Snow Leopard) or 10.7 (Lion) are fully supported by Chrome, so users are advised to upgrade, as even Apple has discontinued support for the older Mac OS X version.

Google Chrome has remained the top browser for those who consider internet security paramount in their online transactions given its innovative sandbox technology.

The more reason for the discontinuation of support for the older Mac version hinges on security concerns.

Mac OS X has been the target of recent botnet attacks making the company revert from its old stance that the platform is impregnable to malware threats.

Chrome Ends Support For Mac OS X 10.5

Adobe earlier hinted on plans to focus more on PC browsing and mobile apps packaged with Adobe AIR, stressing that the emerging web standard, HTML5, is now universally supported across major mobile platforms, hence, will be discontinuing Flash for mobile. The company in a blog post over the weekend have stated that it will discontinue the development of Flash Player for mobile browsers.

Flash support has been the distinguishing factor for Android devices, giving it an edge against the Apple platform. The extensive support for Flash on Android is such that in many instances, Flash Player is downloaded to non-certified devices from the App store, Google Play, and it works.

However, Android 4.1 will not have that support, as Adobe has discontinued the development of Flash Player for this latest version of Android.

Starting August 15, Flash Player updates will be limited to only those mobile devices with Flash already installed.

Mobile devices that do not have Flash Player already installed will likely be incompatible with Flash, and may no longer be able to download and install it from the App Store.

Hence, to continue enjoying Flash Player for Android, it is recommended that those users who have upgraded to version 4.1 should revert to the older version. If a device is upgraded from Android 4.0 to 4.1, the current version of Flash Player may exhibit unpredictable bug due to incompatibility.

The emerging web standard, HTML5, is indeed now the best platform for the development of contents for browsers on mobile devices going by Adobe's own rating.

Flash Focus On PC Browsing And Apps

An Open Source Game Project undertaken by Wooga, a German company specializing in Social Games, has inadvertently hit the rock. What would have translated as the most advanced game title for the emerging web development platform, HTML5, is perhaps not to be or better set for the future.

Wooga's Pocket Island, was an ambitious project with the original goal of pushing HTML5 Games into new territory and perhaps create one of the worlds biggest game ever.

The company has labeled the project "failed" according to an official release on a blog post, Thursday.  And had subsequently tagged the emerging web standard, HTML5, not ready for serious game development.

According to the blog post, initially, the game project was an experiment to dig into the vast possibilities of HTML5, but the landscape turned-out rather unsuitable, as the company puts it, "the water wasn't as cold as the team expected".

Despite that the game was fully functional, it lacked the polish of the natively developed apps. Further more, it took much more time, that would have been devoted into improving the overall game-play mechanics. What appeared simple task on native apps, is decidedly more complex and time consuming with HTML5.

Then comes the salient question: what lies ahead for HTML5 Games?

HTML5 Games: Ready Or Not?

Microsoft Patch Tuesday (designated day monthly on which Microsoft Fixes Security issues) disclosed a critical vulnerability in Microsoft XML (MSXML) Core Services 3.0, 4.0, 5.0 and 6.0 that could allow remote code execution when a user views a specifically crafted web site with Internet Explorer.

MSXML Core Services provide W3C compliant APIs that allow developers to use JavaScript, VBScript and Microsoft development tools to build XML 1.0 applications.

The vulnerability is exposed when MSXML accesses an object in memory that has not been initiated, leading to memory corruption such that an attacker could execute arbitrary code in the context of logged-in user.

Albeit, the vulnerability can only be exploited if a user visits an infected web site, the likelihood of users been tricked into visiting such sites is very high, given the rampage of social networking, emails and other messaging platforms whereby such phishing can be perpetrated.

The Patch Tuesday, however have afforded a temporary fix, now available for download on Microsoft Support website, Technet.

IE is perhaps saddled with history of security flaws, which were also responsible for the earlier Gmail hacks originating from China. And coupled with the current trends of state-sponsored cyber attacks, Google had recently launched a notification service to alert users of suspicious activities on their accounts.

Microsoft, indeed must have to work-out a thorough security system for its browser, Internet Explorer, in view of the growing browser wars.

IE Flaw: Microsoft XML Vulnerability

The Android platform has been marred by the significant infiltration of malwares in the App Store, a development which Google has been battling for sometime now, and had recently launched Bouncer, an automated system check to keep malicious applications out of the Android App Store dubbed Google Play.

According to a report by InformationWeek, two researchers by names, Jon Oberheide of DUO Security and Charlie Miller, principal research consultant at Accuvant Lab, had found different techniques to bypass Bouncer.

The researchers succeeded in submitting an app to Google Play-vetting that established a connect-back shell in the Bouncer's infrastructure, thereby exposing how the security mechanism works. They however, admitted the strong security backup with the Google systems, which were able to track their activities almost instantly.

The researchers discovered the underlying emulator QEMU, upon which the Bouncer is based, and that the popular emulator has had its history of vulnerabilities in the past. The researchers posited the possibility of exploiting a bug in QEMU to crack the Bouncer, a claim which Google has acknowledged.

Google, however has declined to issue an official statement as to whether it will release a patch for the uncovered vulnerabilities.

Android platform has continued to rise despite the malware challenges, and may probably become the most popular smartphone OS, according to the latest IDC predictions for 2012.

Malware Check: Android Vulnerable

The internet protocol (IP), the identification system for the internet, whose current version 4 (IPv4) is limited to only 4 billion addresses, as the system assigns a series of 4 digit numbers, ranging from 0 - 255, to every internet device has come to a point whereby the system needs more room to accommodate the next generation internet devices.

IPv6 is the next version of the internet protocol with a whopping address capacity of 128-bit against the formers 32-bit. That means, the expanded address capacity will enable the trillions of new internet addresses needed to support connectivity for the future internet devices.

June 6, marked the world IPv6 launch day, and the transition will enable the internet to continue to grow with new innovative services to be developed as more devices can now connect to the internet.

The complete transition to IPv6, definitely, may take some time as every website and ISP (Internet Service Provider) will have to make the switch. However, IPv4 will continue to operate as normal, as both the two versions will work together until IPv4 is no longer needed.

 Internet users on their part have no active contribution to make. All applications and devices will work just as they did before now. The change is only intended to make sure there are more rooms for the next generation of internet devices. Google has made available a list of FAQ for more information and guidance.

IPv6 - The Future of The Internet

Google as a follow-up on the evolving trend of nation-states engaging in cyber attacks against organizations or individuals with varied fronts and concerns have gone ahead to launch a notification service aimed at users whose accounts may be at risk of such level of attacks.

Google Online Security Blog in a post on Tuesday stated categorically about its monitoring systems put in place to thwart efforts by cyber criminals to hijack its users accounts.

According to the post, Google is constantly on the lookout for malicious activities on their systems, and any instance it observes attempts by third-party to log-on to users account unauthorized will show clear warning notifications. The warnings, however, does not necessarily mean your account has been compromised, rather that you may be at a risk of a targeted phishing from state-sponsored attackers.

Google intends the notification to serve as a signal for users to take extra steps to protecting their accounts, whilst the recommendations for secured accounts remains the same: create difficult passwords with combination of letters, numbers and characters, and update your system software whenever a patch is made available. 

How Google decodes the phishing signals as state-sponsored attacks remains unknown, but has reassured that the reason for not disclosing the detailed analysis is for the bad guys not be able to counter their monitoring systems.

Google also promises to continue to update the notifications based on the latest information.  

Google Warns On State-Sponsored Cyber Attacks

Google on Wednesday announced a new tool for local businesses, Google+ Local; a way to discover and share local information. It features Zagat surveys and recommendations from Google+ connections, allowing users to get trusted reviews on local places from friends.

The local information tool is integrated across Google products: Search, Maps, and Mobile. It's integrated into Google+ as a new tab, and you can take it with you on the go with Google Maps for mobile on Android, and soon on iOS platform.

Local businesses can avail themselves of the new tool through Google Places for Business, whereby they can manage their business listing information . Google promises to make it even easier for business owners to manage their listing and take full advantage of the social features provided by local Google+ Pages.

According to the official Google blog, "the goal is to help people find the best resources on the web", against criticism from Consumer Advocacy Groups that the service eliminates competition.

However, given the case in point that the service incorporates other related sites and places, may perhaps means improvement in the ways local information are harnessed and used on the web.

Google+ Local: Discover Local Information

Yahoo against all odds, went on to launch an innovative 'search browser' termed Yahoo Axis late Wednesday. Albeit, early review painted the browser in bad light in regards to security, given a discovery by an astute hacker, Nik Cubrilovic on his personal blog, (but, the security glitch is now fixed) the search browser add-on innovation simply means Yahoo is not yet giving-up on the search market.

Yahoo Axis, unlike conventional web browsers is not a replacement for the later on desktop, rather it serves as a browser add-on to enhance visualized search experience. It comes as a free plug-in for Chrome, Internet Explorer, Firefox, and Safari web browsers on desktop computers and PCs.

Whilst, its application on mobile takes the form of a full-fledged mobile browser app, available for iPhone and iPad, with an Android version still in the works.

Installation of the plug-in on desktop comes really easy, and once installed, the add-on appears as a search bar at the bottom of the web browser. With users signed-in to Yahoo, Facebook and Google given the option to setup favorite websites and have Axis remember same for future reference.

Yahoo Axis uniqueness stems on the syncing ability across devices, with fast and simple user interface, presents an undeniable surfing pleasure especially on iOS platforms. Overall, the search visualization cum browser innovation may perhaps herald a new breakthrough for the dwindling Yahoo search service.

Yahoo Axis: Search Visualization Browser

Google has unveiled a new search innovation known as the Knowledge Graph, as an augmented large data scale, to tap into the collective intelligence of the web to enable discovery of information more quickly and easily. According to the official Google Search Blog, this latest innovation marks a critical first step towards building the next generation of internet search.

The Knowledge Graph is an attempt into machine learning search technology, making search engine think as human, an intelligent model that understands real-world entities and their relationships without strings.

Google's Knowledge Graph cuts-across popular landmarks, celebrities, places, events, movies, works of art, geographical regions and more, providing instant information that is relevant to search queries. It automatically culls-up relevant information on simple topics like: places, people or things, eliminating the conventional search mechanism whereby internet search involves several clicks through piles of websites to arrive at desired result.

The roll-out of the service has commenced with U.S English users, and also available on smartphones and Tablet devices.

Google hopes the added intelligence will enable users engage more into web services, as the task of information discovery becomes more less time consuming and easier by Google Search.

Semantic Search: Introducing The Knowledge Graph

Microsoft Bing's social search integration which has long been in the news went live today according to Bing Search Blog. It brings the integration of Facebook information stream into open search, with the possibility of bringing "social intelligence" in overall search experience.

The integration of people and search was made possible through a dedicated "social sidebar", bringing the social connections to bear in regular search patterns. it means tapping into the expertise of your networks to find relevant information through internet searches.

Bing suggest friends on Facebook who may have knowledge of your search terms through your social connections based on their "likes".

Unlike Google Plus Your World, which puts the social integration direct into regular search results, Bing's provision for a dedicated social sidebar is a plus. However, as to the actual tapping of social intelligence into the search experience, Bing does not yet get its act right. Albeit that the search innovation is perhaps too early for substantial reviewing.

The New Bing social search throws up people in your Facebook connections whom may be familiar to your search terms based on their likes instead of related pages or group information.

There is also the tool for building queries about topics common to the people in your connection you specifically selected as "Friends who might know" list. The actual application of this tool may be rather off-hand for some users, as the processes are mechanical.

In conclusion, the fact that internet search generally have come to acknowledge the need for personalized information really points to the next generation web. How the social web will impact accurate search and information retrieval through collective intelligence remains to be seen.

Live: Bing Social Integration

Webit Congress is a global annual event for the emerging digital and technology markets with special focus on EMEA regions. It's the place where the emerging markets meets the world's unparalleled networking technology drivers at the top.

Webit Congress gives startups the rare opportunity to showcase their projects in front of the largest number of potential investors/VCs from around the world.

Webit Startup Challenge 2012 is open to all startups from the EMEA regions. It presents startups the chance to pitch on the stage in front of the biggest investors for direct and exclusive feedback and get coverage from international media.

The application procedure is very simple, you apply online and be preselected by a jury of experts to win a chance to showcase at the expo and pitch on stage for potential investors. And there are no costs to apply to the Startup Challenge.

Total of 21 startups will be shortlisted and receive free stand at the expo ground in Istanbul, Turkey - the venue for this years conference. Along with 2 free tickets for Leaders of the Future 2-day conference program, with 5mins to present the project.

The overall winner will get international media coverage in most of the global and local media partners of the Webit Congress and maximum exposures to 6000+ visitors from 60+ countries. The entry deadline is 30th June, 2012. While, the shortlisted 21 startups will be announced 1st August. Click here to apply now.

Webit Congress 2012: Startup Challenge

The DNS malware, DNSChanger, is a Trojan disclosed about 5 years ago, which allowed cyber criminals to hijack computers and redirect traffic to specified hacker-crafted-websites. The malware provides hackers control over DNS servers, thereby making it possible to channel traffic to fraudulent websites and also making such computers vulnerable to other malicious software.

The rogue DNS servers controlled by the cyber criminals allowed them to manipulate users internet activities.

The FBI, late last year, brought down the hackers ring based in Estonia, with the Internet Systems Consortium (ISC) providing temporary surrogate servers for the rogue DNS servers that were shut down as a result of the operation.

And starting July 9, the surrogate DNS servers will be shut down and computers still infected with DNSChanger may lose connection to the internet.

The DNSChanger Working Group has made available a list of anti-virus software that can fix the malware issue. See the DNSChanger Check-up Website to check if your computer is infected.

DNSChanger: Surrogate DNS Servers Shutdown

Google on Tuesday announced its long rumored cloud storage service, Google Drive, to augment the ever growing cloud computing adoption.  Cloud computing as means of increasing capacity without investing in new infrastructure has become the 'Holy Grail' of modern enterprises, but given the substantial fear of data security and up-time services had posed stumbling blocks on the overall adoption.

Google Drive comes as a direct integration to Google Docs, allowing easy file sharing amongst users. Now, you can work with others in real time on spreadsheet, documents, and presentation. Google's long absence in the 'office collaboration tool' space championed by Microsoft has finally been covered by the new service. The sharing functionality has been brought over direct from Docs, and also integrated to its social network, Google+ with an option of public sharing.

The public file sharing feature also available on SkyDrive (Microsoft's Cloud Storage service), but lacking in Dropbox, seems most appealing. These alternative cloud services, however, invariably falls-short on the security offered on Google Drive.

Google Drive also recognizes text in scanned documents using Optical Character Recognition (OCR) technology, search by keyword and filter by file type. The image recognition allows you to drag and drop photos into Drive, and later search for the photo. Regardless to platform, blind users can access Drive with a screen reader.

Google Drive as an open platform affords developers the opportunity to contribute to the overall service.

The service comes with free 5GB space for users, whilst users have the option to upgrade to 25GB at $2.49/month, 100GB at $4.99/month, or 1TB at $49.99/month. Google promises an eventual integration of the service to Gmail, allowing users to attach items of media direct from their email to Drive.  

Can Google Drive Turn The Game?