Yahoo Overhauls Flickr, Provides All Users With 1TB Free Storage
Yahoo on Monday unveiled a revamped version of its Flickr photo-sharing site, a new Android app, and announced that it will provide every Flickr user with 1 terabyte of free storage.
On the heels of its $1.1 billion acquisition of Tumblr this morning, Yahoo also ditched its old Flickr interface for photos that fill the screen, scroll endlessly, and are - as CEO Marissa Mayer said at a New York press event - "heart-stoppingly beautiful."
Photos will be uploaded in full resolution, Mayer said. "When you upload [and] share your photos, you don't lose any fidelity," she said.
According to Adam Cahan, senior vice president of mobile and emerging products at Yahoo, Flickr had become about words, little images, and blue links. "Flickr really was not about the photo anymore," he said.
With the update, "we wanted to bring together a photo-centric world," Cahan said.
Mayer said Flickr had "languished," but said the service is now "awesome again."
The new Android app, meanwhile, "allows your photos to be wherever," Mayer said. "Wherever you are ... you can upload and share your photos; Flickr works on all major platforms."
The updated app is similar to the iPhone app that Yahoo launched in December in that it "maintains your photos' original quality, so every image you take, edit, share, or view on your phone or tablet looks spectacular," Yahoo said.
The new app (below) is available now in the Google Play store.
None of this is particularly helpful, however, if you can't store a lot of photos. To that end, all Flickr users will now have 1TB of free storage. That, according to Cahan, will support 537,731 photos in full original quality.
When asked why Yahoo would want to offer that much storage, Cahan said that "we just wanted honestly, to say unlimited. We never want you to ever think about that."
Mayer said engineers are working furiously to make sure the Yahoo data centers can handle all those extra photos.
Mayer confirmed that the updates mean the end of Flickr Pro. "We didn't want to have Flickr Pro anymore" because everyone can create professional-level photos with today's camera technology, she said.
Those who need more, however, can purchase another terabyte of storage.
On the Tumblr acquisition, meanwhile, Mayer reiterated that she has no plans to change the blogging site right now. When asked if Yahoo plans to censor or remove the adult content on the platform, Mayer said "we don't intend to."
"Almost all" sites like Tumblr have "issues with adult content," Mayer said, and in some cases, Tumblr has less than its rivals. Community tools like the "NSFW" (not suitable for work) tag can help filter that type of material, so that "people who want it can find it, [and] those who don't" can avoid it, she said.
Tumblr will remain at its New York City headquarters. But Yahoo has also signed a lease for an office at 229 West 43rd St., which used to be home to the New York Times. Yahoo will have all 500 of its New York area employees in that building, with room for 200 more.
Google Merges Free Drive, Gmail Storage to 15GB
Google today unified the storage limits for Gmail and Google Drive, giving users 15GB of free storage across both products.
Now instead of having a 10GB limit on Gmail and 5GB on Google Drive and Google+ Photos, users get 15GB overall.
"With this new combined storage space, you won't have to worry about how much you're storing and where," Google wrote in a blog post. "For example, maybe you're a heavy Gmail user but light on photos, or perhaps you were bumping up against your Drive storage limit but were only using 2GB in Gmail. Now it doesn't matter, because you can use your storage the way you want."
To keep track of how much you're using, Google will update its Google Drive storage page, which will let you hover over a pie chart to see how much storage you're using across Google's products (above).
The change will be rolling out over the next few weeks, Google said. The move also applies to Google Apps users, who get 30GB of unified storage.
If you still need more space, you can buy an extra 25GB for $2.49 per month or 100GB for $4.99 per month to start - and go all the way up to 16TB for $799.99 per month.
Amazon Launches Cloud Drive Photos App for iOS
Heads up, snap-happy iPhone users. If you take a lot of photos on your phone, and they're starting to take up too much space, then Amazon has a solution for you.
The Web giant this week launched its Cloud Drive Photos app for iOS devices. The app, which has been available for Android since November, lets you securely store thousands of photos taken with your device in the Amazon Cloud for easy access. Users get 5GB of storage for free, before having to pay for additional storage. Prices for extra storage start at $10 a year for 20GB.
Once uploaded to Cloud Drive, the photos are accessible from your iPhone or iPod touch, computer, or any Web browser. You can also upload photos to Cloud Drive from your computer and access them on your iOS device.
Photos taken from your iPhone or iPod touch are automatically saved to Cloud Drive whenever the app is running. You can also select photos from your Cloud Drive and share them through Facebook, email, or other apps.
Amazon Cloud Player App Lands on iPad
Amazon has finally optimized its Cloud Player app for the iPad and iPad mini, the company announced today.
The newly updated iOS app allows customers with an Apple tablet to play, download, manage, and create playlists from music stored in their Amazon music locker. From the Cloud Player app, users can either stream music in their library from the cloud, or download it for offline playback.
"We introduced our Cloud Player app for iPhone and iPod touch last summer and it's been incredibly popular with our customers so we've now expanded it to iPad," Steve Boom, vice president of digital music for Amazon, said in a statement. "Our goal is to make Cloud Player the most widely compatible cloud playback solution available, giving our customers the ability to buy their music once and enjoy it everywhere."
The free version of Amazon Cloud Player lets users store all MP3s purchased from Amazon, plus up to 250 additional songs from their computer. Those with large music collections might be interested in a $25 annual premium subscription, which offers room for up to 250,000 songs.
Amazon Cloud Player Heading to Ford Sync-Equipped Vehicles
Amazon's Cloud Player MP3 streaming platform is already available on your phone, tablet, computer, and Samsung TV, but now it's headed to another place — your Ford truck or car.
Amazon on Wednesday announced that its Cloud Player app is now available in Ford vehicles equipped with the car maker's Sync AppLink in-car infotainment system. Thanks to the tie-in, Ford owners can now wirelessly connect the Amazon Cloud Player app on their Android smartphone to the Sync system, and access their entire music library in their car using simple voice commands or dashboard audio controls.
"We want customers to be able enjoy their entire music library wherever they want, from whatever device they choose," Steve Boom, vice president of digital music for Amazon, said in a statement. "And we know that cars and music go hand-in-hand. That's why we're excited to bring Cloud Player to the car."
Ford's Sync AppLink feature lets drivers use voice commands and the buttons on their steering wheel to control mobile apps on their smartphone while driving. Sync AppLink is currently available in more than 1 million vehicles, including the 2013 Fiesta, Mustang, Expedition, Fusion, F-150, Super Duty, Focus, E-Series, and C-MAX.
Box Offering 50GB of Free Storage to New Users
Looking for a place to store your files in the cloud for free? You're in luck.
The popular cloud storage service Box is currently offering 50GB of space for free to new users who sign up for an account. The signup page says the giveaway is a "Dell Exclusive Offer," though it doesn't appear that you need to own a Dell computer or be a Dell employee to take advantage of the offer. Typically, you get just 5GB of space when you sign up for a free account.
"Get 50GB of Box FREE for Life & 50GB for Coworkers or Friends," the signup page reads. "Signup now for 50GB to securely access and share your content from anywhere."
There's no word as to how long this promotion will run, so those who are interested should sign up soon.
Box has run similar promotions in the past, but for new users who also downloaded the Box app for iOS, Android, BlackBerry, and WebOS. Last February, for example, the company was offering 50GB of free storage alongside the launch of its Android app.
Interestingly, Box earlier this week was giving away 25GB of free storage to new users. The deal was available to anyone with an email address; users did not need to download a mobile app to take advantage of the offer.
Microsoft SkyDrive Tops 1 Billion Document Uploads
Google Docs, or rather Drive, is no longer the only cloud office suite with significant usage. Microsoft today announced that its SkyDrive service now hosts more than 1 billion documents.
SkyDrive is Microsoft's cloud storage and syncing service, which ties in with the Office Web apps for online document editing. In a blog post, Sarah Filman, who's the lead program manager for SkyDrive, Office 365 , and Office Web Apps, explained a new capability in SkyDrive/Office Web Apps—the ability for collaborators to edit documents without needing to sign into a Microsoft account.
The billion document mark does seem significant, but we haven't seen comparable numbers from the service's main competitor, Google Drive, which undoubtedly can match or exceed that number.
The new sign-in-free editing capability was one of the most requested by users, according to Filman. "One piece of feedback we've consistently heard, especially from students, is that our current SkyDrive edit links can be frustrating for recipients when they find that they need to sign in or sign up for a Microsoft account just to make a quick edit to the document."
Not only can collaborators edit the documents individually, but all the user who receive an edit link can edit the document at the same time. The sharer can still, however, require a collaborator to sign in, if a privacy or security concern necessitates that.
Microsoft Building Cloud-Based Music Locker into SkyDrive
Microsoft's been a little late to the party with its cloud storage offerings – at least, when compared to that which one can do on competing services from Google and Amazon, to name a few. However, Microsoft appears to be a bit closer to catching up if the latest batch of cloud-themed rumors prove true. According to information obtained by the LiveSide, Microsoft is allegedly gearing up to slap a music player within its SkyDrive service.
In other words, Microsoft's close to unleashing a cloud-based music locker. This would presumably allow those who have stored audio files on SkyDrive to play their tunes from any browser or SkyDrive-friendly mobile app. However, it's unclear just how Microsoft's rumored service will integrate – if at all – with it's recently launched Xbox Music service.
Here's the source of the confusion: Xbox Music, as launched, is Microsoft's service that gives subscribers the ability to listen to music on their gaming consoles (go figure), as well as any devices or systems they own that are powered by Windows 8 or Windows RT. There's also a "free" way to access the streaming tunes, but it varies by platform: The Xbox "free" music streaming requires a paid-for Gold membership to even access, whereas the Windows-based "free" streaming on Xbox Music grants unlimited music streaming for a listener's first six months, but then limits a listener to 10 hours of free, monthly music streaming after that.
When Microsoft officially announced Xbox Music in October of this year, it mentioned that – among the service's features – Microsoft was planning to unveil a "cloud storage" option for Xbox Music users at some point in the future.
Microsoft Releases SkyDrive Android App
Microsoft today made good on an earlier promise and released its first official SkyDrive cloud storage app for Android devices.
The new app lets you access and browse all the documents, photos, and other files you have stored on the service right from your Android device. You can also see a list of recently opened documents, and view files that others have shared with you.
With the app, you can select photos, videos, and other files from your phone and upload them to SkyDrive. You'll also be able to get a link to share your files via email. Plus, you can open your SkyDrive files from other Android apps.
The app was designed to work best with Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich, though it will work on Android 2.3 and above. Microsoft earlier this month said that it was working on a SkyDrive app for Android.
"In building the new SkyDrive app for Android, we wanted to ensure we kept the same intuitive design of all SkyDrive experiences while also making use of Android design patterns and conventional interactions, so this feels natural for people with Android phones," Mike Torres, group program manager for SkyDrive Apps, wrote in a blog post Tuesday.
Microsoft Revamps SkyDrive, Adds Android App
On the heels of its Outlook.com rollout, Microsoft today unveiled several updates to its SkyDrive cloud storage service.
According to a company blog entry, Web client SkyDrive.com has been given a new, modern design for desktop and tablet browsers, complete with instant search, a contextual toolbar, thumbnail multi-select, drag-and-drop organization, and HTML5 sorting. SkyDrive's revamped website, which will roll out over the next day, closely resembles the Windows 8 app, after which it was modeled.
With the integrated instant search option, users can quickly look for a file anywhere in SkyDrive, including various Office platforms.
Based on user feedback, Microsoft updated its sorting feature, now offering "sort by" options like name, date modified, date created, and size, as well as ascending or descending within each category.
Meanwhile, Skydrive for Windows and OS X will now provide faster uploads, with the help of under-the-hood bug fixes and performance improvements. Users can expect the PC update to hit their machine sometime in the next week. The Windows team also added more storage for app developers working with SkyDrive API.