SiliconFilter

Microsoft Beats Google in Schools, Is Now the Most Popular Cloud Productivity Service for Education

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When it comes to cloud productivity services and education, it’s easy to think that Google is the only game in town. Google, after all, seems to make an announcement every time a new school signs up for Google Apps for Education. Microsoft, however, has been quietly expanding its reach in the education market with [email protected] over the last few years. Today the company announced that its cloud-based service for schools is now “the most widely used cloud productivity service for education.” [email protected] grew 100% year-over-year compared to last year and now has 22 million users.  Google, in comparison, has signed up 15 million students, faculty and staff for Google Apps for Education.

live_at_edu_hat_logo[email protected] is actually currently in the process of transitioning to becoming Office 365 for Education to keep it on par with Microsoft’s other cloud-based productivity offerings. Office 365 for Education includes support for all the regular Office Web Apps (Word, Excel, PowerPoint and OneNote), as well as Exchange Online, SharePoint Online and Lync Online. Microsoft also stressed that school can use its tools to do more than just manage documents and email online. With Lync, Office 365 for Education also includes tools for holding virtual classes and online meetings, for example.

Microsoft offers 5 different plans that schools can offer their students, ranging from basic free accounts for students and school, to more fully-featured suites that start at $6/month.



7:06 pm


Poll: Republicans Love AOL, Democrats Prefer Gmail

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Here is a fun little poll that I wouldn’t put too much stock into, but that will likely spur some interesting discussions in both the tech and political blogospheres today. According to a new survey commissioned by Poll Position, 20% of Republicans consider AOL to be the best email provider. Only 5.3% of Democrats think so. Overall, Democrats prefer Gmail over any other service (27%), though Yahoo Mail is a close second (25%).

While this makes for a good headline, though, the reality is that except for a dislike of Yahoo Mail, there is no statistical difference between Republican’s preference of Gmail.com (18.9%), Yahoo Mail (15.6%) , AOL (20.3%) and “another e-mail provider” (21.5%). The margin of error in this poll is 3%.

What really disqualifies this poll, though, is the fact that it doesn’t even list Microsoft’s Hotmail as an option. No matter what you think about it, Hotmail remains the world’s most popular web-based email service and not including it here just makes the rest of the survey look suspect.

It should still makes for some entertaining discussions around the water cooler, though.

Here are some other interesting data points from the survey: [list]

  • Democrats prefer Google over Yahoo by a 27%-25% margin
  • AOL’s e-mail service was rated best among 18-29 year olds, with 32% picking it versus 10% for Google and 18% for Yahoo. Google did best among 20-44 year olds (37%), while Yahoo was best among 45-64 year olds (27%).
  • 30% of women have no opinion about their preferred email service compared to 20% of men [/list]

Here are the full statistics (click on image to zoom in):

poll-position-republicans-vs-democrats-email-preferrence



4:42 pm


News Organizations Want You To Read Sarah Palin’s Emails For Them

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Tomorrow, the State of Alaska will release 24,000 emails that Sarah Palin sent during her tenure as governor of Alaska. A number of media organizations and individuals made record requests for these documents in September 2008. Even though these are emails, though, the State of Alaska will only make them available on paper. In total, there will be six heavy boxes of paper that will contain emails Palin wrote from the beginning of her tenure in 2007 through September 2008. A massive amount of information like this is something even the largest news organizations can only handle when they get the documents ahead of time and under embargo (as was the case with Wikileaks). Because of this, a number of organizations, including the New York Times and the Washington Post are crowdsourcing their efforts to cover these documents. (more…)



6:43 pm


Courteous.ly: Let People Know How Backed Up Your Inbox Is

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Managing email isn’t just about wading through incoming messages, writing replies, filing messages into different folder, but it’s also about managing the expectations of the people who are writing to you. Courteous.ly, a new research project by Georgia Tech School of Interactive Computing professor Eric Gilbert wants to make it easier for you to manage these expectations by giving those who want to email you a better idea of what your inbox looks like right now and when they can likely expect a response. The service, which currently only works with Gmail, regularly scans your inbox for incoming, unread and answered email. Based on this data, it then decides whether your current email load is light, normal or high and publishes this info to your personal Courteous.ly page (here is mine). Users can then add this page’s address to their email signatures and websites to advice people about the current state of their inboxes. (more…)



7:07 am


Let's Cut the Hype: Facebook's Email Service Won't be a "Gmail Killer"

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facebook_logo.jpg

Facebook is launching an email service on Monday. While that’s only a rumor for now, I think it’s a well substantiated one and there is little doubt in my mind that Facebook mail is exactly what we are going to get at Monday’s event in San Francisco. Sadly, though, the meme that this could really be a “Gmail killer,” as the project is apparently internally known at Facebook, is already making its rounds in the tech blogosphere and won’t let up until Monday.

My guess is that the reality of Facebook mail will be far more banal. Facebook will give every user an @facebook.com address and a basic email service that will kill Gmail as much as Gmail killed Yahoo! Mail and Hotmail/Windows Live Mail.

So let’s get away from the whole “Gmail killer” idea (the tech blogosphere has always been obsessed with “xyz killers”). What matters is that this email service – if it really launches on Monday – shows how Facebook doesn’t just want to own our social network but how it also wants to be our messaging service. Groups were a step in this direction, Facebook chat was a step in this direction, as is bringing Facebook chat to Windows Live Messenger. Adding email to this is just the logical next step, but just as tagging a social network on to email didn’t make Google Buzz a Facebook killer, adding email to Facebook won’t kill Gmail.

Facebook mail invitation

It’s even hard to think how Facebook could actually make email better. Sure, this service will nicely integrate with the rest of the Facebook platform, but the great thing about email is that you can use it no matter what platform and server you and the people you write to are on.

Maybe Facebook could build a better Priority Inbox, but somehow I doubt that. It will surely also make it easy to email photos (Facebook is already the biggest photo service on the Internet). But it won’t get a lot of people to turn away from Gmail or the even more popular Yahoo and Windows Live email services. Email is extremely sticky. Most people never switch. It’s just too hard and almost never worth the effort. Professionals definitely won’t use it.

We should remember, though, that for some people, the idea of an @facebook.com email address actually sounds like a good idea. Those are not the people who leave critical comments on stories about Facebook mail today, though. Those are the people who will be surprised to hear about it on Monday and will leave barely readable comments on the Facebook blog, asking where to find new tips and trick for playing Farmville and how to write on their wall. That won’t make it a Gmail killer either, though.

Bonus: I got an email this morning from this blogger who discovered Facebook’s mail.facebook.com page. At first, I thought this would make for a nice scoop, but after actually looking at the site for 10 seconds, it quickly became clear that this was Facebook’s internal email. The site runs Microsoft Exchange and there is no way that Facebook would want to use Exchange for powering 500 million email accounts even if Microsoft is going to partner with Facebook and integrate its Office web apps into the new service. Of course, this story still found its way into the tech blogosphere in the form of a Friday afternoon linkbait post on TechCrunch that some actually took at face value. Sigh…



12:25 am