Author: Frederic Lardinois

Google Fiber pulls out of Louisville

It wasn’t that long ago that cities across the U.S. were vying for Google Fiber, the company’s high-speed internet service. Since the launch of the project in Kansas City in 2012, Google Fiber launched in about a dozen more cities, most recently Huntsville, San Antonio and Louisville in 2017. But you can now strike Louisville from that list because Google today announced that it will shut off its fiber network there on April 15. The reason for that is simple, Google says (but these things never really are). It says it tried a few new things when it launched in...

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Google open sources ClusterFuzz

Google today announced that it is open sourcing ClusterFuzz, a scalable fuzzing tool that can run on clusters with over 25,000 machines. The company has long used the tool internally and if you’ve paid particular attention to Google’s fuzzing efforts (and you have, right?), then this may all seem a bit familiar. That’s because Google launched the OSS-Fuzz service a couple of years ago and that service actually used ClusterFuzz. OSS-Fuzz was only available to open source projects, though, while ClusterFuzz is now available for anyone to use. The overall concept behind fuzzing is pretty straightforward: you basically throw...

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Microsoft Azure sets its sights on more analytics workloads

Enterprises now amass huge amounts of data, both from their own tools and applications, as well as from the SaaS applications they use. For a long time, that data was basically exhaust. Maybe it was stored for a while to fulfill some legal requirements, but then it was discarded. Now, data is what drives machine learning models, and the more data you have, the better. It’s maybe no surprise, then, that the big cloud vendors started investing in data warehouses and lakes early on. But that’s just a first step. After that, you also need the analytics tools to make all of this data useful. Today, it’s Microsoft turn to shine the spotlight on its data analytics services. The actual news here is pretty straightforward. Two of these are services that are moving into general availability: the second generation of Azure Data Lake Storage for big data analytics workloads and Azure Data Explorer, a managed service that makes easier ad-hoc analysis of massive data volumes. Microsoft is also previewing a new feature in Azure Data Factory, its graphical no-code service for building data transformation. Data Factory now features the ability to map data flows. Those individual news pieces are interesting if you are a user or are considering Azure for your big data workloads, but what’s maybe more important here is that Microsoft is trying to offer a comprehensive...

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Microsoft really, really, really doesn’t want you to buy Office 2019

Microsoft launched a new ad campaign for its Office suite today. Usually, that’s not something especially interesting, but this one is a bit different. Instead of simply highlighting the features of Word and Excel, Microsoft decided to pitch Office 365 and Office 2019 against each other (as an extra gimmick, it used twins to do so, too). But here’s the deal: Microsoft really doesn’t want you to buy Office 2019, and the ads make that abundantly clear. The reason for that is obvious: Office 365 is a subscription product while Office 2019 (think Office Home & Student or other...

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Microsoft’s Build developer conference returns to Seattle May 6 to 8

Microsoft’s Build developer conference is returning to Seattle May 6 to 8. This is a bit of a surprise since Microsoft itself leaked May 7 to 9 as Build’s dates last month, after all. But then Google’s announced exactly those dates for its I/O confab and like last year, Microsoft probably had to scramble a bit and we’ll get back-to-back developer keynotes from Microsoft and Google in early May. To say that timing is a bit awkward is an understatement, but we’ll be there and do our thing and then fly out to California at night and do it all...

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Google doubles down on its Asylo confidential computing framework

Last May, Google introduced Asylo, an open source framework for confidential computing, a technique favored by many of the big cloud vendors because it allows you to set up trusted execution environments that are shielded from the rest of the (potentially untrusted) system. Workloads and their data basically sit in a trusted enclave that adds another layer of protection against network and operating system vulnerabilities. That’s not a new concept, but as Google argues, it has been hard to adopt. “Despite this promise, the adoption of this emerging technology has been hampered by dependence on specific hardware, complexity and...

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Databricks raises $250M at a $2.75B valuation for its analytics platform

Databricks, the company behind the Apache Spark big data analytics engine, today announced that it has raised a $250 million Series E round led by Andreessen Horowitz. Coatue Management, Microsoft and NEA, also participated in this round, which brings the company’s total funding to $498.5 million. Microsoft’s involvement here is probably a bit of a surprise, but it’s worth noting that it also worked with Databricks on the launch of Azure Databricks as a first-party service on the platform, something that’s still a rarity in the Azure cloud. As Databricks also today announced, its annual recurring revenue now exceeds...

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Coda’s programmable document editor comes out of beta, launches iOS app

Coda, which is coming out of its limited beta today, wants to reinvent how you think about documents and spreadsheets. That’s about as tough a challenge as you can set yourself, given how ingrained tools like Word, Excel and their equivalents from the likes of Google, Zoho and others are. Coda’s secret weapon is that it combines text and spreadsheet functionality into a single document, with the ability to build some basic programming into them and add features from third-party services as a bonus. In addition to opening up the service to anyone, Coda also today launched its new...

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