Microsoft to Reveal Windows 'Threshold' Plans in April

According to a January 11 report from Windows SuperSite's Paul Thurrott, Microsoft Threshold looks to be a spring 2015 release wave. Specifically, if Microsoft sticks to schedule, Threshold should crest around April 2015, Thurrott said he's been told by his own sources. Microsoft is going to disclose its Threshold plans at a "vision" level at its Build conference in San Francisco in April 2014, Thurrott said.

Adobe Wins Emmy Award for Video Recommendations System

Adobe announced the National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences will recognize the company with a 2013 Technology and Engineering Emmy Award for the role of its technology in Personalized Recommendations for Video Discovery. Adobe is receiving the award for developing the first recommendations system, which outlined the fundamental concepts of personalizing information for consumers as they search for and discover video content. The company will be honored during a ceremony at the International Consumer Electronics Show today.

Key Microsoft Engineer Defects to Rival Google

 Blaise Aguera y Arcas, an engineer and imagery expert who played a key role in development of Microsoft's Bing, has left the company for rival Google, according to a New York Times report. At Microsoft, Aguera y Arcas focused on augmented reality, mapping, wearable computing and natural user interfaces, and was an architect of Bing Maps and Bing Mobile. He was named a Distinguished Engineer in 2011 and oversaw development of Photosynth, a 3D panorama photo app.

Mobile Chrome Apps Closer Than You Think

Running Chrome apps on your smartphone isn't quite the app singularity that people want, where any app runs on any platform. But Google's about to take a big step toward that future in 2014 with Chrome apps for Android and iOS. Google is working getting its Web-based Chrome Apps to run on smartphones and tablets with a new project called Mobile Chrome Apps. Google developer advocate Joe Marini told The Next Web that Google would like to have a beta version ready in January.

Compute Engine Now Ready for Prime Time

For a company with as much expertise in running massive data centers packed with computing power, It's got to sting that Amazon Web Service gets all the glory when customers need cloud-computing infrastructure. Which is doubtless why Google is happy that its Google Compute Engine is out of testing and now generally available to all comers. The service offers a pool of servers on which customers can run various versions of Linux, paying for usage and assured that the systems will be up and running at least 99.95 percent of the time.

Windows 8.1 Overtakes Mac OS X 10.9 Among Desktop OS Users

Windows 8.1 is now the fifth most popular desktop OS, at least as seen by Web tracker Net Applications. For November, Microsoft's latest flavor of Windows snagged 2.64 percent of all desktop OS traffic recorded by Net Applications. That number was a healthy gain from the 1.72 percent seen in October and the 0.87 percent in September. The rise also pushed Windows 8.1 just ahead of Mac OS X 10.9 with a 2.42 percent and just behind Windows Vista with a 3.57 percent share.

Apple iOS 7.1 Beta Adds UI Tweaks

Apple has just released iOS 7 to registered developers. While still incremental, it's got a few noticeable feature updates yet for the young OS. The update, currently in beta, includes some bug fixes and user interface tweaks. For example, users can now toggle back and forth between a light and dark colored keyboard, better for use in dark settings. The update also lets iPhone 5S users upload "burst mode" photos - taken in rapid fire by holding down the shutter button - into the photo stream.

Dart, Google's Controversial Web Language, Turns 1.0

Dart is done. Well, not completely done - anything not actually cancelled at Google is a constant work in progress - but the company on Thursday announced version 1.0 of its controversial Web programming language. Dart is designed to improve on JavaScript when it comes to programmer efficiency and software performance for Web sites and Web apps. The 1.0 release means Dart is now ready for real-world Web sites, not just for testing, said Lars Bak, leader of the project, in a blog post. And even though lots of roadblocks mean it's not possible to use Dart directly on the Web, Google offers indirect mechanisms that could make it useful while Google tries to convince other browser makers Dart is worthwhile.

New Zero-day Bug Targets IE Users

A pair of vulnerabilities in Internet Explorer currently being exploited in the wild to install malware on computers that visit at least one malicious Web site, security researches warn. The classic drive-by download attack targets the English versions of IE 7 and 8 in Windows XP and IE 8 on Windows 7, security firm FireEye warned in a company blog post Friday. However, the security researcher wrote that its analysis indicated that other languages and browser version could be at risk.

Google Launches Helpouts

Helpouts, Google’s fusion of Google+ Hangouts, Google Wallet, and its identity tools is now live. A ‘Helpout’ is a Hangout-like video chat, but instead of speaking with a friend, you are connected to a purported expert in whatever it is that you need help with. The tagline that Google has come up with for Helpouts is “real help from real people in real time.”

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