Russia’s new Kremlin-friendly search engine Sputnik – planned since last year — reportedly achieved lift-off on Thursday. As spotted by Tech.eu on Wednesday and confirmed to me today by local sources, Sputnik was launched on Thursday by state-controlled Rostelecom. Recent reports suggest the venture cost $42 million to develop and Sputnik, unavailable from outside the country, will be the default search engine for government departments and state-controlled companies. Russia is increasingly keen on censoring the internet there, and having an amenable search engine will prove useful to the authorities … if they can get significant numbers of people to switch from rivals such as Google and market leader Yandex. Sputnik’s name may harken back to past days of technological glory, but it’s also fitting for these days of Cold War revivalism.
It’s nice of Vodafone to give customers a free Netflix subscription, but the promotion highlights the absurdity of running a 3GB-per-hour service on a plan that only offers 3GB a month. Read more »
Truphone’s international service zone just got 58 countries bigger. Its business customers can now travel from Europe to China to Mexico while tapping the same bucket of minutes, text messages and gigabytes. Read more »
Putting a surface transducer into a charging dock is quite smart, as is the functionality run through an accompanying app. Read more »
The investment bodes well for business models built around security and privacy, and for the chances of the soon-to-be-released Blackphone. Read more »
Netflix is making its worst-kept secret official: It’s expanding to Germany, France and four adjacent countries later this year. Read more »
Sigfox’s dedicated wireless network for the internet of things will debut in the U.S. in the next few months. The low-power, low-bandwidth network is optimized for the expected explosion of smart sensors, appliances and wearables. Read more »
Bloom.fm was hoping to find a buyer to continue its service, but a possible deal fell through at the last minute. Read more »
The small IaaS player, which already offers an array of infrastructure to small businesses through VARs, says the money will help it add to its roster in part via strategic acquisitions. Read more »
If you think SoundCloud you probably think of music first, but that’s not all the platform is about — maybe Twitter was thinking more Vine than Spotify when it looked into the Berlin-based audio outfit. Read more »
Australia’s Telstra has announced plans for a massive nationwide Wi-Fi network to take the load off its 4G network, and Fon’s Wi-Fi-sharing system will be part of it. Read more »
Availability of SAP’s portfolio on Azure should bolster Microsoft’s contention that Azure is an option for running enterprise applications Read more »
Researchers out of Harvard, MIT and CERN got together to create a super-secure email program for privacy-focused users. Read more »
The networking vendor is claiming an industry first with the encrypted version of its 100G Metro technology, which aims to handle large, fast-flowing amounts of data with as much security as it can muster. Read more »
A “right to be forgotten” ruling has surprised lawyers and the tech industry, and alarmed the media. Here’s a Q&A to what it means, and a guide to further coverage. Read more »
Rebtel is an OTT communications company with ambitions of being much more than a cheap international calling service. It has spun off its VoIP and messaging network into a new company that will target mobile developers. Read more »
Norway’s Consumer Council has taken issue with Apple’s terms and conditions for iCloud storage. Following a review of various providers’ terms (including those of Google and Dropbox), the council has referred the firm to the Norwegian Consumer Ombudsman – it says Apple’s “convoluted and unclear” 8,600-word terms for the service give the company the right to change those terms without notifying customers, and this is unacceptable under consumer rights law. “Receiving notice when terms change should be a bare minimum requirement,” said Finn Myrstad, the council’s digital chief.
The buy gives cloud orchestration specialist Flexiant something to rival RightScale, and it wants to target a managed service provider market that it claims is underserved and in search of relevance. Read more »
Adam Wiggins, who helped launch the platform-as-a-service category with Heroku, now takes on content management with Contentful. Read more »
It’s nice to see privacy rights upheld and Google’s attempts to evade European law firmly squashed, but even well-meaning rulings could turn sour when long-term enforcement remains impractical. Read more »
Check out the cream of the crop of this year’s Structure Launchpad entries — all infrastructure startups — culled from nearly 60 entries. Read more »
The system, for which a Kickstarter campaign was launched on Monday, should work with 4 out of 5 existing AC units. Read more »
Networking giant Ericsson has just beefed up its broadcast services portfolio – on Monday it said its takeover of Red Bee Media, announced in July 2013 with an undisclosed price, was finalized following regulatory approval. Red Bee started off as the BBC’s commercial broadcast management arm (multi-platform distribution, marketing and so on), before being sold off to Australia’s Macquarie in 2005. Ericsson’s own broadcast services efforts began in 2007, but they now benefit from an extra 1,500 employees in Europe (mainly the UK) and Australia, along with a formidable client roster ranging from the BBC and BSkyB to carriers such as EE and brands such as Hyundai.
The week in cloud: Shared-link vulnerability overshadows Dropbox for Business push; Eucalyptus updates private cloud and Oracle v. Google reverberates. Read more »
Building a connected pill bottle used to require a cellular connection and a monthly service fee. But a European startup shows us how to build one using Bluetooth with an optional service fee. Read more »
In this part of our special report on reinventing the internet, we look at the internet as a shared global resource — in a perfect world, that would mean international cooperation to keep it safe and secure. Read more »
HP joins Red Hat, Canonical, Suse, Cisco, Mirantis, Rackspace, Cloudscaling et al. in building its own OpenStack distribution and will indemnify HP Helion customers and service providers against IP claims. Read more »
Now that Nokia has parted from its handset division, it’s looking to invest in the next big connected device: the car. Its new $100 million fund closely tracks the work its Here division is doing in automotive. Read more »
Dr. Vishal Sikka, credited with building the HANA real-time analytics franchise, is leaving the company for personal reasons, SAP said Sunday. Read more »
Applause claims to have more testers for mobile apps than all its remaining rivals combined. Read more »
Pundit Simon Wardley poo-poos any notion that Microsoft should buy Red Hat. Canonical, he writes, is a far more strategic choice. Read more »
Apple, Microsoft, Facebook and Google are revising their policies around customer notification of subpoenas, and will warn customers about non-FISA requests, according to the Washington Post. Read more »
British carriers are gradually letting their customers go fully high-speed when they cross borders within the European Union. Users are well-advised to make sure they’re signed up to a roaming plan, though, at least for now. Read more »
Cisco is investing $150 million into the internet of things, including new investments in Ayla Networks, EVRYTHNG and Alchemist Accelerator. Read more »
CDNify has revamped its service, largely by setting up its own network instead of reselling OnApp’s federated CDN. It had a few choice criticisms to make as it moved on — but are they valid? Read more »
The U.K. telecommunications regulator Ofcom has just released an interactive “map” of the country’s radio spectrum, showing which frequencies are assigned to which use types – all the way from the 8.3-11.3 kHz band (weather stations) to the 250-275 GHz band (radio astronomy). For fans of such things, it’s a delightfully presented and highly useful resource, though it stops short of naming specific companies that own chunks of spectrum, like mobile carriers. For newbies, it’s at the least a great visual representation of the finite and invisible spectrum resources on which much of our technology relies. Ofcom’s U.S. equivalent, the FCC, also provides a spectrum dashboard with similar functionality.
The service looks better on mobile than it does on the web, and it’s coming to iOS soon as well. It would be nice to see it broaden out from its narrow product focus, though. Read more »
Is it different building a connected device in Europe? Where are wearables heading?What are the risks of hacked smart home integrations? We discuss these questions and more on the podcast this week. Read more »
Regulators have put an end to certain Motorola and Samsung shenanigans in the companies’ long running anti-Apple campaigns, in decisions that spell good news for both consumers and patent lawyers. Read more »
Older people are increasingly going online, in part thanks to tablets, according to the U.K. telecommunications regulator. In one of its periodical media use reports, Ofcom noted on Tuesday that 42 percent of those aged over 65 accessed the web in 2013, up from 33 percent in 2012. The regulator linked this with an increase in tablet usage within the 65-74 demographic from 5 percent to 17 percent — I would assume that those older users who are less tech-friendly find tablets simpler to use and easier to maintain than full-blown PCs. More generally, the proportion of adults accessing the internet through a tablet jumped from 16 percent to 30 percent between 2012 and 2013.