Google Compute Engine adds bigger VMs, autoscaling

Google Compute Engine, the company’s IaaS cloud computing offering, got a face-lift today with the announcement that new autoscaling features and 32-core VMs would be available to the general public.

Autoscaler, according to an official blog post, is the same system that Google itself uses to dynamically scale the number of VMs being used by a given application based on load — users set utilization targets, and the autoscaling system spins up or shuts down VMs in order to keep, say, RAM utilization at 50 precent. The idea is to remove the need for extensive capacity planning and management, Google said.

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The most exciting Android announcement of the week may not matter for Americans

A curious thing happens almost every year in the land of Android announcements: We hear about some of the most interesting Android phones around — devices that not only are beautifully designed and a pleasure to use but also fill an important gap in the current Android ecosystem — and then…nothing.

Crickets.

Silence.

For those of us in America, it’s as if the phones were no more than a mirage.

I’m talking about Sony’s Android phones — the always-impressive Xperia Z flagship series. If you didn’t pick up on that, don’t worry: You aren’t alone. Most people in the U.S. have no idea those devices even exist.

As someone who watches the Android ecosystem closely, though, Sony’s irrelevance in the U.S. gets more baffling with every passing year. The company really is doing something special — something that stands out from the sea of sameness that’s much of the smartphone market — and yet, you’d be hard-pressed to find most of its mobile products anywhere in this country.

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Microsoft to buy organizational analytics company VoloMetrix

Microsoft announced Thursday that it will be acquiring VoloMetrix, a Seattle-based company that provides analytics to help businesses better understand how their organization works.

According to a blog post by Rajesh Jha, Microsoft’s corporate vice president in charge of Outlook and Office 365, the deal is supposed to boost the tech titan’s efforts to make employees more effective at their jobs. VoloMetrix’s technology will be integrated into Office 365, in particular, its forthcoming Delve Organizational Analytics product. 

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Google revamps Street View, welcomes users’ 360-degree images

Google is revamping its Street View service with an eye to attracting many more contributed 360° images.

On Thursday, the company introduced an update to its iOS and Android mobile apps that supports uploads from three cameras: Ricoh’s Theta S, the NCTech iris360 and the Giroptic 360cam. The cameras capture an image in all directions, similar to those from Google’s Street View car.

On the iPhone, the Photo Sphere Camera app has been updated and renamed Street View. It previously allowed users to create and share all-around images by stitching together multiple pictures taken with a smartphone camera. With its relaunch, it supports the 360° images and adds Street View imagery from Google.

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10 things you need to know about the new Motorola and Samsung smartwatches

The hottest smartwatches at the IFA show in Berlin are Motorola’s Moto 360s and the Gear S2s from Samsung Electronics. Here is how they compare:

Are Samsung and Motorola offering various models of their new smartwatches?

Both companies are giving buyers more choice than in the past. Motorola is offering four new variants of the Android Wear-based Moto 360: There are two case sizes, a Sport version with onboard GPS and one aimed at women. Samsung’s new Tizen-based smartwatch line-up includes Wi-Fi versions of the Gear S2 and Gear S2 Classic, as well as a 3G version of the Gear S2. The Moto 360 devices also have on-board Wi-Fi.

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