links for 2010-04-15

  • Facebook has launched a revamped internal site designed to help people stay safe and report threats while on the popular online hangout.
    Facebook’s “Safety Center,” which features new tools for parents, teachers, teens and law enforcement, is the first major endeavor from the social networking site and its four-month-old global safety advisory board.
    The company unveiled its Safety Center a day after meeting with child advocacy officials in the U.K., who had been pushing the company to install a so-called “panic button” on the site for some time, following the kidnapping and murder there of a teenager by a man she encountered on Facebook.
    Britain’s Child Exploitation and Online Protection Center, or CEOP, had wanted Facebook to install a prominent link on U.K. users’ profile pages that would take them to CEOP’s own safety site designed to help children deal with online threats.
  • Until now, most customers of Microsoft Office had a variety of good reasons to stick with the status quo, steering clear of Google Apps unless they needed it for a bargaining chip when negotiating with Microsoft. But, between Monday’s launch of the new versions of Google Documents and Google Spreadsheets and Google’s forthcoming plans for the recently acquired DocVerse, Google Apps should no longer be just a bargaining tool.
    With new versions of Microsoft Office and SharePoint Server set for release next month and a potentially expensive upgrade cycle about to begin for many Microsoft customers, the new version of Google Apps has not only changed the rules on what is meant by “document collaboration,” it has ameliorated one of the primary sticking points for many Microsoft customers considering a switch: limited interoperability with Office documents.

  • Today Microsoft unveiled its new consumer-focused platform and handsets, called Kin. The two new devices were developed under the “Pink” code name, and bring social sharing to an entirely new level. Kin is for those who just can’t get enough of their family and friends.
    The Kin platform is all about sharing. The platform and associated devices are meant to be used to power social networking users who are most interested in creating and sharing content.
  • Microsoft’s workers earned base compensation of $100,608 in calendar 2008, with benefits and stock pushing total average comp to $178,159, according to a sweeping study showcasing the company’s impact on the state of Washington’s economy. The study is surely intended to pressure the state legislature into thinking very carefully about tax burdens placed on Microsoft.
  • It was just three years ago that Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer got on stage before thousands of IT professionals at Gartner Symposium, derisively downplaying the threat represented by Google’s strategy to offer Microsoft Office-like applications in a Web browser. At the time, Google was offering the applications for free, and Ballmer cajoled the attendees with the cliché that you get what you pay for.

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