Leaked: First Office 14 screenshots

February 7, 2009

It didn’t take long this time, either. Earlier this week, testers received alpha builds of Office 14, the codename for the successor to Office 2007. A reader wrote in to tell us that a tester from Russian site wzor.net has now leaked the screenshots of the applications included in the productivity suite.

While he didn’t screenshot every application individually, we do now know that the list includes: Access 14, Excel 14, Groove 14, InfoPath Designer 14, InfoPath Filler 14, InterConnect 14, OneNote 14, Outlook 14, PowerPoint 14, Project 14, Publisher 14, SharePoint Designer 14, Visio 14, and Word 14. Without further ado, here they are:

I’ve been told that the beta of Office 14 will start in May, and the final version is slated for the end of the year. The alpha is reportedly running with good stability, all things considered. Redmond is expected to provide official release details for Office 14 next quarter.

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Google Launches Multiple Inboxes For GMail – Its Like Having Multiple Screens!

February 6, 2009

Google really seems to be in the groove. We’ve been covering a lot of Google stories in the last 2-3 days and here’s another one.

From what it seems, Gmail is going for subtle and not so subtle changes. Every day another feature gets added through Google Labs. The subtle changes include vanishing of the search the web browser at the top and inclusion of a separate move to/labels tab.

Now Google Labs has introduced a new multiple inboxes feature and it’s quite interesting.

It’s creator introduces it in this blog post:

“I’m seriously into filters and labels. All the email I get related to Flash goes under my “flash” label, everything about paragliding goes under “flying,” and they all skip my inbox because that’s how I like to stay organized. But when new email arrives I have to switch to the “flash” label first, then click on “paragliding,” etc. I wanted a way to see it all at once.”

To select this feature, head over to Google Labs section and enable Multiple Inboxes. And the end product? Here have a look for yourself.

You can obviously choose how many inboxes you want. To do the same go to settings and select the Multiple Inboxes tab (after you have enabled the feature). There is great personalisation. You can select the labels and even the number of posts you want to see so that you’re screen isn’t too cluttered. This is what it looks like.

I think it’s an awesome feature because its almost like having 2/3 screens at once as far as mail is concerned and makes it very convenient if you’re using a lot of labels.

This feature was created by Octavian “Vivi” Costache in his 20% time that Google offers their employees. Do check the feature out and then discuss it in the comments section below.


Windows 7: To be launched in 6 versions with a beta release in Hindi

February 5, 2009

The speculations are rife that Microsoft latest upcoming operating system windows 7 would be launched in 6 different versions.

The company in order to avoid clash of versions would heavily promote only two versions i.e primary version for consumers which will be called Windows 7 Home Premium, and the one for businesses which will be called Windows 7 Professional.

Versions to be launched:

Windows 7 Home Premium:: main promoted version for home users.

Windows 7 Professional:: main promoted version for business and professionals.

Home Basic :: It would mainly be used as OEM VERSION.

Starter edition:The Starter edition is intended for sale in developing countries

There would also be a Top-end Enterprise version for big corporate customers and a similar Ultimate version for consumers. Those versions will include security features and a few other tools not available in the two main versions.
Does game of plenty work?

* Microsoft first encounter with multi-tiered versions of their product started with windows xp which was launched in versions like home, professional, media centre edition etc…this practice of launching plenty of versions in the market seemed to have paid during xp time but was not so successful during the time of vista launch.
* This multi-tiered approach results into a increase in use of pirated operating systems in emerging markets and the reason being that people believe that the core or simple version may not be enough for their work and higher version being unaffordable they go for piracy route.
* It make cumbersome for people to decide which version to go for their use.

Why does Microsoft play this game:

* The main reason for launching multiple versions with different functionality is to remove price barriers and make it more accessible to buyers.
* This again helps in fueling the volume growth or the sales growth for the company.
* The company is able to leverage the brand Rep of its flagship operating system to sell different versions of it which again does not put too much load on advertising budget.

Microsoft has also said in a statement that changes to the way it communicates about Windows 7 should `make these choices as simple and clear as possible for customers and partners.”
Microsoft launches windows 7 beta in Hindi:

* Microsoft has announced that it has launched windows 7 in Hindi.

* The new initiatives is again followed by launch of Language Interface Packs (LIPs) in 12 Indian languages for MS Office and Windows.

* The company has also announced a total of 45 additional virtual keyboards for these languages.

According to the company,”This would facilitate company to overcome the language barrier to computing,and has showcased a variety of custom made products directed specifically at the vernacular language market – a market that has been largely left untapped till now.”

If you want to download windows 7 beta in Hindi just go here and click Hindi in the dropdown box.

End note:

This could be followed by full fledge launches of future releases from the company in Hindi and other vernacular languages and in turn suggests that Microsoft is waking up to seriously notice the requirements of emerging markets which could provide it the next big opportunity looking at capping of I.T budgets in its prime markets.

This could further imply good news for PC and Internet penetration in India as it would finally see a robust growth due to breaking of language barriers.


Nasscom pegs revenues of Indian software industry at $60 bn

February 4, 2009

The Indian software and services industry is expected to grow 16 percent this fiscal and log revenues of $60 billion despite the global slowdown, a top lobby for the industry said today. The National Association of Software and Service Companies (Nasscom) said in its report that together with the business process outsourcing (BPO) sector, the revenues are expected to top $71.7 billion with a growth of 17 percent.

Of this, the export of software and services will account for $47 billion, growing by 16-17 percent. The association also said the domestic BPO industry would log a growth of as much as 40 percent this fiscal.

“The current financial year has been challenging for economies across the globe. But the Indian IT-BPO industry has exhibited a balanced growth,” said Ganesh Natarajan, chairman of Nasscom and global chief executive of Zensar Technologies.

“We have seen Europe, Asia Pacific and rest of the world grow more than US, reaffirming geographical diversification as an encouraging trend for this industry,” Natarajan told reporters, while releasing the association’s report.

Nasscom also said it expected the software and BPO industry to grow by 15 percent annually till 2010-11 to log export revenues alone of $60-62 billion.

“Due to our strong fundamentals and as a derivative of the value we add to our global customers, the Indian industry will continue to grow in spite of global slowdown,” said Som Mittal, president of the association.

“We also feel that this is a time of learning and optimisation for the industry, we would urge our member companies to see this as a silver lining.”

Following are the key highlights of Nasscom’s projections:

-Total IT-BPO industry to touch 71.7 billion in 2008-09

-The industry to account for 5.8 percent of the country’s gross domestic product

-Domestic BPO market to growth by over 40 percent

-BPO exports estimated to grow by 17.5 percent to $12.8 billion

-IT services exports estimated to grow by 16.5 percent to $26.9 billion

-Software products, engineering services to grow by 14.4 percent to $7.3 billion

-Exports to Europe log highest growth, while US remains dominant market

-Uncertain economic environment to prevail in 2009

-Indian IT industry expected to grow 15 percent annually till 2010-11

-Exports projected to $60-62 billion by 2010-11

-Industry remains a net hirer with 2.23 million new direct jobs

-Indirect job creation estimated at 8 million


Satyam fraud an isolated incident: NASSCOM

February 4, 2009

The major accounting fraud at outsourcer Satyam Computer Services is an isolated incident and is unlikely to impact the flow of deals to the export-driven sector, a tech industry lobby group said.

“If you speak to major customers and analysts, they are comfortable that Satyam is an isolated issue,” Ganesh Natarajan, chairman of the National Association of Software and Service Companies (NASSCOM) told a news conference on Wednesday. “The biggest concern was employee attrition and business continuity. That is being taken care of,” he said.

Satyam’s founder and former chairman Ramalinga Raju resigned last month after saying that profits had been overstated for years and around $1 billion of cash reported on the company’s books did not exist.


Holy! India Brings Out the $10 Laptop

February 4, 2009

Just saw this bit of news on Rediff that India has unveiled its much talked and blogged about $10 Laptop, and apparently the ministry of HRD has kept its promise with this price. After Ratan Tata laid claim to the cheapest car ever with the Nano last year India has its hands on the cheapest laptop if this story remains confirmed.

India first announced the plan to make these ultra cheap laptops in the summer of 2007 almost two years back, and had said it would take around 2 to 3 years before it can come out with the product. With this launch we have even stuck with the time lines surprisingly. The laptop is expected to hit the market in 6 months time.

The $10 laptop has always seemed a very unlikely aspiration on part of the Indian government and was only seen as an ego battle against Nicholas Negroponte’s $100 laptop part of the OLPC programme which India had refused to be part of. The announcement was met with a lot of skepticism in the blogosphere and there were contradicting reports that the the government actually meant $100 instead. However, laying aside all the rumours the project has finally been unveiled and the price is expected to be anywhere between Rs.500 to 1,000.

“The mission was launched at a huge gathering of academicians and the officials from across the country including thirty vice chancellors of central and state universities at the campus of Sri Venkateshwara University Tirupati.” This is a rediff quote, the only thing that sounds amiss here is that if it was such a huge gathering why aren’t there any other report on this matter yet? Anyway that is just a curiosity more than an acquistion.

S K Sinha, joint secretary in the ministry for education, gave a demo to this packed audience though as of now we have no report on how the product looks or any concrete specs of the laptop. The laptop has 2 GB onboard memory with wireless Internet connectivity.

It seems a little too good to be true even now, and I am waiting eagerly to know what this thing looks like. If it holds on to its quality like the Nano did then it will most certainly be a proud moment for a nation whose contribution to computing began with a simple Zero. Fingers Crossed.


Yahoo And IIIT to Shake Hands for Cloud Computing

February 3, 2009

Internet giant Yahoo! has tied up with International Institute of Information Technology, Hyderabad to promote research on cloud computing. Through their research they plan to enrich cloud computing.

“We will also address the problem of performance monitoring. It is not possible to manually monitor the performance of these machines. We need to have technological solutions to identify the capabilities of the machines. This will help us predict failures,” Prof. P.J. Narayanan, Dean of Research, and Dr Vasudeva Varma, Associate Professor, at IIIT, told a popular business daily.

One of the major focuses of the group (of 5 researchers who will be working on this project) will be to work on the crucial aspects of scheduling (of tasks given to machines that attend to the users’ queries) as well as security.

Cloud computing as we all know is providing real time resources as a “service” to people over the internet where the hardware belongs to some other corporation (Ex Google Docs).

Yahoo has been actively supporting cloud computing since the early 2007. One example includes letting colleges use their infrastructure (such as a 4000 processor computer) to conduct software research. And then in 2008 it joined hands with CRL of the Tata’s to work with them on cloud computing research using the EKA, the 4th largest supercomputer in the world.

To know more about Yahoo’s initiatives in this domain, check out Cloud Computing section on their website.