Monthly Archives: May 2015

Microsoft plans to de-clutter your Outlook inbox

Tech AnnouncementThis June, Microsoft will turn on Clutter by default for Outlook users. The Office 365 email inbox management feature will clean up your inbox so that it displays important messages.

“It uses machine learning to de-clutter your inbox by moving lower priority messages out of your way and into a new Clutter folder,” Microsoft said of the feature in a statement. “Ultimately, Clutter removes distractions so you can focus on what matters most.”

Clutter is similar to rival Google’s Priority Inbox for Gmail.

Learning using Office Graph

Clutter uses the Office Graph to learn which messages are important to you, and you can also train Clutter to identify messages that are of low priority.

Over one million messages are automatically moved each day into the Clutter folder today, and Microsoft claims this helps users save on average 82 minutes each month from having to sort through non-important emails.

In Outlook, you can flag messages as clutter or move them to the Clutter folder, and Clutter will learn those actions, so that similar messages will skip the inbox and move straight into that folder in the future.

“The information Clutter learns from each user’s actions are only applied to that user’s experience and are not shared with anyone else,” Microsoft said of the personalization.

This is similar to Google’s approach with Gmail’s Priority Inbox. Gmail’s tabs automatically identify content as priority – based on the people in the conversation and your prior communications with them – as well as social, promotions and updates. Google automatically identifies if the message is an update to a forum and places it in the updates folder, or if it’s a message from Facebook and places it into the social folder. The promotions folder includes any email you get from advertisers.

Messages that shouldn’t belong in Clutter can be moved out to the main inbox again.

Enabling Clutter

Clutter will be automatically enabled by default for new and existing Outlook accounts starting in June. For business users, Microsoft is also enabling controls to let administrators manage Clutter with PowerShell cmdlets.

If a message is moved into the Clutter folder automatically for the first time, Microsoft will send the user an alert to notify them. A maximum of one alert is sent out each day, and a weekly summary provides users with a status report on what messages are being moved to Clutter.

Users who prefer the old experience can opt out from having to use Clutter.



Dot-com to .pizza: Welcome to the Web domain rush

not com cloudThe Internet’s long-restricted virtual real estate market is open for business.

Hundreds of new so-called top-level domains (TLDs) like .photography, .expert and .pizza are available now that the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN), which oversees the domain name system, has expanded access to suffixes.

A handful of companies that prepared years ago to take advantage of this land grab are in a position to profit handsomely for years to come.

The new opening will also be a boost for brands looking to strengthen their online presence, but have been thwarted by domain-name squatters charging top dollar for the last remains of the dot-com universe.

One business, the sports training group Fast Twitch, jumped on the trend early. The company’s three elite training facilities in South Florida attract major league pitchers, pro boxers and all-star football players. But try finding the company online at and you’ll land on a generic website telling you the domain is for sale.

The dot-com game is too pricy for Fast Twitch Chief Development Officer James Meder. As a small business operator on a tight budget, he refuses to plop down $20,000 for a domain.

Fortunately for Meder, the new level of TDL suffixes means he no longer has to. Early this year, for an annual fee of about $40, Meder launched his website using the brand new address

“Being a training company, this is a catchy, quick way to brand ourselves,” said Meder, whose Miami-based company operates in partnership with sports apparel and accessories provider Under Armour. “It’s another piece of trying to do something unique.”

Other currently live pages include, a website for mothers, and, a small business content site. Donuts, a major buyer of new TLDs, calls it the “Not Com Revolution,” because the past 30 years on the Web have been a dot-com circus.

The original .com suffix, short for commercial, is the default method for establishing a corporate address, while .org has been the go-to extension for nonprofits and .edu for colleges and universities. According to Verisign, which manages .com websites, 115.6 million of the 288 million domains registered across the globe end in .com. (Tweet This)

“It’s a very saturated name space,” said Bhavin Turakhia, founder and CEO of Radix, the owner of rights to new suffixes including .website, .space and .site. “You really can’t find any good, short, easy-to-remember names.”

To get around the shortage, U.S. start-ups have turned to using country codes like .ly (Libya), .me (Montenegro) and .tv (Tuvalu) in building their online presence.

In June 2011, ICANN announced the plan to increase the number of TLDs to let organizations “market their brand, products, community or cause in new and innovative ways.” A bidding process took place in early 2012, and by January 2014, new addresses started coming online.

More than 600 new TLDs have been purchased, and about 350 of those are available today, according to nTLDStats. Some 5.6 million new addresses are live, with .xyz, .science and .club ranking as the most popular English suffixes.
Top English TLDs

Suffix      # of domains      Market share
.xyz                931,353               16.6%
.science         294,933               5.3%
.club              229,797                4.1%
.berlin           155,401                2.8%
.wang            145,726                2.6%
.link              113,910                 2.0%
.party           108,949                1.9%

The domain boom is breathing life into a historically quiet corner of the Internet.

It’s certainly not a corner that Meder knew or cared much about until 2013, when he stumbled upon a Twitter conversation about a company called 1and1.

The tweets caught his eye because Fast Twitch had been struggling for years with various dot-com iterations, like and Meder did some research on 1and1 and found that a wealth of new addresses would soon be available for purchase.

He settled on as the official site, purchased the address from 1and1, and migrated over from the dot-com world at the beginning of this year.

While Meder is excited about the URL’s potential, he’s encountered some frustrations in being an early adopter. One is the difficulty in using his email address when registering with online businesses, because many websites aren’t yet recognizing the new domain extensions.

Consumers, like machines, have to adapt to an all new Internet. Millions of new sites are certain to create some level of chaos and abuse. And with the mass transition to mobile apps, it’s not even clear how important URLs will be in the future.

But the publicity opportunities for Fast Twitch more than outweigh the risks, according to Meder.

“It’s a conversation piece,” he said. “It gives us the chance to talk about it.”

Stories like Meder’s give 1and1 punchy anecdotes for its own marketing efforts. The German company is among thousands of domain name registrars, or entities that act as Web address retailers. They sit between the registries like Verisign, Donuts and Radix and domain buyers like Fast Twitch.

   “It puts an end to the scarcity of dot-com names.”

-Thomas Keller, director of domain services at 1and1

GoDaddy is the biggest registrar in the market, with 59 million domains, compared with 19 million for 1and1. GoDaddy sold shares to the public in April and is valued at $4.1 billion.

Recenty released TLDs already account for about 15 percent of 1and1’s new business, according to Thomas Keller, the company’s head of domains. It’s lucrative, too, with the new TLDs selling for about $40 a year on average, more than double the typical .com addresses.

More importantly, companies finally have options and aren’t forced to pay ridiculous prices to domain hoarders. According to Keller, 90 percent of searches on the 1and1 site for .com names show that the address is not available.

“It puts an end to the scarcity of the dot-com names,” he said. “It will have a huge influence over time.”

For .training alone, there are about 16,000 registered names. Every time 1and1, GoDaddy or another registrar sells an address with that extension, Donuts gets a substantial share of the revenue, because the Bellevue, Washington-based company owns its exclusive rights.

Donuts is an Internet registry, a designation that gives it the unique ability to buy TLDs after a thorough vetting by ICANN. In that market, Donuts owns the most unique suffixes and competes with companies including global Internet powerhouses Google and along with Radix, Afilias and Rightside.

Donuts was founded in 2010 by a four-person team betting that ICANN would soon open up the TLD universe. Over the past five years, the company has raised $150 million from venture investors and private equity funds, mostly to load up on suffixes.

A screen shows a rolling feed of new ‘Generic Top-Level Domain Names (gTLDs) which have been applied for during a press conference hosted by ICANN in central London, on June 13, 2012.

A screen shows a rolling feed of new ‘Generic Top-Level Domain Names (gTLDs) which have been applied for during a press conference hosted by ICANN in central London, on June 13, 2012.

A screen shows a rolling feed of new 'Generic Top-Level Domain Names (gTLDs) which have been applied for during a press conference hosted by ICANN in central London, on June 13, 2012.

A screen shows a rolling feed of new ‘Generic Top-Level Domain Names (gTLDs) which have been applied for during a press conference hosted by ICANN in central London, on June 13, 2012.

When ICANN initiated bidding in 2012, Donuts went on a spending spree, applying for more than 300 names. A nonrefundable application fee of $185,000 was required for every TLD the company wanted to pursue. For Donuts, that added up to $58 million.

“We went through an amazing amount of data in terms of how words are used commercially,” said Richard Tindal, Donuts’ co-founder and chief operating officer. “We picked the 300 we viewed as the most commercially marketable, through a combination of art and science.”

If more than one registry applied for a given suffix, the process went to an auction and the winner was determined by the highest bidder. Google spent a hefty $25 million for control of .app, while .tech, owned by Radix, was purchased for $6.8 million, according to ICANN.

Donuts has about 165 suffixes on the market now and is in the process of rolling out 15 more. The company expects to end up with about 200, in many cases spending several million dollars for a single TLD.

If its wagers pay off, millions of sites will be paying Donuts $20, $50, $100 a year and more.

For .training, Donuts paid only the $185,000 application fee, because no other bidders emerged. The name has already been profitable three times over, Tindal said.

“It’s a really great business,” Tindal said. “The more your product gets seen the more people like it.”

While most of the .training names will retail for about $30 a year, Tindal is quick to point out that fitness is just one way to use the suffix. There’s a whole other group of sites focused on education., a site for taking classes on Amazon Web Services, is already up and running.

Jeff Davidoff, former chief marketing officer of Orbitz and Bono’s ONE Campaign, is tasked with turning the Not Com Revolution into a mainstream business. As CMO of Donuts, he’s meeting with prospective customers at conferences like South by Southwest and helping users of new TLDs tell their stories.

He’s convinced the market is about to tip.

“This isn’t hypothetical anymore,” Davidoff said. “So much of the history was four smart guys making bets on what the future could be. It’s not a question of whether this will stick, it’s just a question of how quickly it gets to be the new normal.”


IBM, Deloitte bring big data to risk management

Word Cloud "Big Data"IBM and Deloitte are betting that computers can understand reams of financial regulatory guidelines more thoroughly, and speedily, than humans.

The two companies have developed a system that can parse complex government regulations related to financial matters, and compare them to a company’s own plans for meeting those requirements.

The work is part of an ongoing partnership between the two companies to help financial firms and other organizations use advanced data analysis techniques to improve their practices around risk management.

Risk management is the discipline of understanding, and mitigating against, what could go wrong in an organization’s plans. It requires an assessment of conditions that could hamper an organization’s plans, and how much monetary damage such events could cost a company.

Businesses have been under increased pressure in the past few years, from governments, shareholders and the public, to provide more information about how they assess and report potential risks. Many enterprise software companies, such as SAP, Oracle and SAS, have offered risk management packages to help.

IBM and Deloitte are saying that recent advances in data analysis and cognitive computing can help an organization better understand, and report on, risk factors.

The two companies have created a regulatory compliance and control service that harnesses some of these new technologies. The service draws on Deloitte’s considerable experience in regulatory intelligence, and uses IBM’s cloud capabilities and big data-style analysis techniques.

For instance, the service will use IBM’s Watson-branded cognitive computing services to parse written regulations paragraph by paragraph, allowing organizations to see if their own frameworks are meeting the mandates described in the regulatory language.

This analysis could help cut costs of meeting new regulatory guidelines, such as the U.S. Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act, passed in 2010 to provide more transparency into U.S. financial services. According to IBM, the IT budgets of financial services are increasingly being allocated to meet these detailed guidelines.

The two companies are also exploring ways that new big data-style analysis can help organizations better anticipate risk factors, by combining Deloitte’s financial expertise with IBM’s predictive analysis technologies.

Today, much unstructured data — or data that does not reside in a traditional database — tends to be excluded by risk assessments. Corporate e-mail, social networks, or server logs could be aggregated and analyzed in real-time to offer a prediction of what events could happen in the future, the companies say.


8 reasons why working at Facebook is better than working at Google


Business Insider recently released its 2015 list of The 50 Best Companies To Work For In America, based on exclusive data from PayScale.

This year, Facebook tops the list, ranking as the best place to work in America. The social networking site just beats out Google, which comes in at No. 2.

Clearly, both tech giants are great employers, but why is Facebook a better place to work than Google?

To answer that question, we compared the two companies head to head with the help of data from PayScale and Glassdoor.

1. Facebookers are happier.

Employees from both tech companies are pretty stoked to be there, but Facebook has the edge over Google with a satisfaction rating of 93% compared to Google’s rating of 84%, according to employees who completed PayScale’s survey.

“Every morning when I go in, I feel like the luckiest guy on earth for ever landing a job here,” writes a Facebook data scientist in Menlo Park, California, on Glassdoor.

2. They get more freedom.

There are a lot of contributing factors to this high level of happiness, but one important reason stands out – Facebook trusts its people.

Don Faul, a former Facebook exec, recently told The Wall Street Journal that compared to Google, which he says is more structured and places more importance on “manager” titles, Facebook employees are often placed in roles that cater to their strengths and are encouraged to question and criticize their managers. And this kind of freedom is perhaps one of the best drivers for employee engagement.

“You get zero credit for your title,” he said. “It’s all about the quality of the work, the power of your conviction, and the ability to influence people.”

3. They make more money.

We know money isn’t everything when it comes to job satisfaction – but it certainly helps. In fact, while a higher salary won’t necessarily boost your happiness, researchers from the University of British Columbia and Michigan State University found that people with higher incomes reported feeling less sad, something Facebook employees surely know well.

On average an experienced employee at Facebook makes $135,000 compared to $133,000 at Google. And the social media company typically pays 17% above market rates for its employees, while Google pays 10% above market.

Taking a closer look, according to data gathered by Glassdoor, an intern at Facebook makes almost $7,400 a month on average, while a Google intern makes closer to $7,200 a month.

4. They’re less stressed.

If you’re in the market for a stress-free job, you’d be better off avoiding the tech industry altogether. But while it’s unlikely for many techies to consider their jobs relaxing, more Facebook employees report low job stress levels than any other tech company, including Google.


Despite stressors like product launches and “oncall duty,” a two-week period a few times a year when engineers are responsible for keeping Facebook’s service up-and-running around the clock, 11% of Facebook employees consider their jobs low-stress. Meanwhile, 9% of Google employees feel the same way.
5. They consider their work more meaningful.

“Does your work make the world a better place?” That’s what PayScale asked Facebook and Google employees, and 81% of Facebook employees answered with a resounding yes. At Google, on the other hand, 67% of employees feel their work gives them meaning.

A former Googler cited one possible explanation on Quora: too many overqualified people.

“It can be tough to feel a sense of accomplishment about what you do, and that sense is actually quite important to the type of people who are ambitious enough to get over the Google hiring bar.”

6. The hiring process is less difficult.

Hiring at Google takes an average of six weeks, and job candidates consistently rate Google’s interview process as more difficult than Facebook’s on Glassdoor.

While it may seem counterintuitive that more competitive hiring practices could work against Google, the ex-employee explained that the tech giant has its pick of the best and brightest candidates and often hires them for lower-level jobs.

“There are students from top 10 colleges who are providing tech support for Google’s ad products, or manually taking down flagged content from YouTube, or writing basic code to AB test the color of a button on a site,” the ex-employee said.

7. A smaller team means more room for growth.

Another former Google employee wrote on Quora that Google is too big for most of the company’s 53,000 employees to have a real impact. Facebook, however, employs a much smaller team of about 10,000.


“Unless you are an amazingly talented engineer who gets to create something new, chances are you’re simply a guy/girl with an oil can greasing the cogs of that machine,” the former Google employee wrote.

And when it comes to moving up the ladder, Facebook employees report to Glassdoor they have greater opportunities for growth. Compared to Googlers who feel satisfied in their ability to move up, Facebookers report they are very satisfied with the career opportunities at Facebook.

8. They love the generous benefits, especially those for parents.

Facebook and Google both have great perks – free food, a vibrant office environment, easy transportation to and from work – but Facebook trumps Google in the parenthood department.

Facebook is one of the first companies to offer coverage of up to $20,000 for egg-freezing, and its employees love that they can enjoy parenthood on their terms, giving the tech company’s maternity and paternity leave policies an almost perfect score on Glassdoor.

Current employees are particularly excited to report Facebook makes its four-months-paid-leave policy available to both women and men, whereas Google offers 18 weeks of paid maternity leave but just 12 weeks of paternity leave.

And overall, Facebookers report on Glassdoor being happier with their benefits than Googlers.

“There is literally nothing bad about it – the perks and benefits are incredibly generous, and only get more so over time,” writes a current employee in Menlo Park, California.

Source: Business Insider India