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An anonymous reader writes "Windows 8 may block most malware out of the box, but there is still malware out there that thwarts Microsoft's latest and greatest. A new Trojan variant, detected as Backdoor.Makadocs and spread via RTF and Microsoft Word document marked as Trojan.Dropper, has been discovered that not only adds a clause to target Windows 8 and Windows Server 2012, but also uses Google Docs as a proxy server to phone home to its Command & Control (C&C) server."


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Signs are emerging that Google is de-emphasizing its efforts in online productivity tools that compete with Microsoft, which was never the core of its business to being with, to focus even more on search and social networking, and its increasing competition with Facebook.

This shift in emphasis is reflected in some notable departures, as well as in a reorganization of the division that oversees the development of Google Apps, which include online office productivity tools that compete with Microsoft Office. Google continues to add functionality to Google Apps, but most of the functionality has either been in the works for years, or borrows from other existing products such as Google+.

Google Apps for businesses includes Web-based word processing, spreadsheet and presentation applications that the company hosts on its own computers and offers to companies for $50 a user, per year. The suite became popular among smaller businesses looking to transition from Microsoft Office software, which is hosted on company computers and requires maintenance from an IT staff.

Google Apps has had some churn to its core leadership as the company evolves under CEO Larry Page, including the loss of Dave Girouard as vice president of Apps and president of Google’s Enterprise business. Girouard, who joined Google in 2004, oversaw the development and launch of Apps for businesses. He left April 6 and no successor has been named.

Google
Amit Singh

A source familiar with Google Apps told CIO Journal: “I was personally shocked to see Dave G leave. That was his baby, and he was so invested in it.”

Girouard himself downplayed his exit in an e-mail to CIO Journal: “Google has an amazingly deep bench and the Enterprise biz has never been doing better.” Girouard left to launch a startup.

Other key Google Apps employees have also left the company or been reassigned to other projects. Matt Glotzbach, a product management director at Google Apps who was often the public face of the suite when Girouard wasn’t available, became managing director of Google’s YouTube unit in Europe last June. Apps also lost its top two Google public relations managers. Mike Nelson moved to Japan to lead Google’s public relations team there last year. Andrew Kovacs left earlier this year to run public relations for Sequoia Capital.

Tom Sarris, who replaced Kovacs three months ago as the public relations manager for Google Apps, told CIO Journal in early April he has not yet met with Sundar Pichai, who oversees the Google Apps business, among other responsibilities.

The executive exodus at Apps follows a restructuring of the Google Enterprise business under Page. Last summer, Page split the Google Enterprise business into two units — an Apps unit uniting Google’s consumer and business product teams, and another unit that focuses exclusively on selling Apps to businesses. Under this change, Girouard reported to Pichai, who manages the Google Chrome and Apps businesses. Amit Singh, responsible for sales of Apps to businesses, reports to Nikesh Arora, senior vice president and chief business officer at the company.

The split may seem confusing, but Singh told CIO Journal Page restructured the enterprise business to help the Apps product teams focus on development, leaving Singh and his team to sell the software to businesses.

To be sure, Apps appears to be in solid shape today. More than 4 million businesses rely on Google software to support their collaboration efforts, though Google said only hundreds of thousands of those companies are paying customers. The company in the last few months secured two large, paid contracts, including BBVA bank, which will put its 110,000 employees on Apps this year, and healthcare provider Roche Group, which agreed to put its 90,000 workers on the software.

And customers appear to be pleased with the software, which gained over 200 features in 2011 alone. Ahold, a large retailer based in Amsterdam, has been using Google Apps for its 55,000 employees in Europe and the U.S. since 2010, according to a company spokesman. Joe Fuller, CIO for Dominion Enterprises, said he has been pleased with his Apps implementation since he moved his 4,000 employees from Microsoft Office to Apps this year.

Google’s Singh said Girouard essentially incubated Apps as an enterprise business within Google. But now  the company is focusing on scaling the business. “Instead of seeing one large [customer] name a quarter, you’ll start to see several a quarter.” Singh also told CIO Journal Google would consider sensible acquisitions to prop up the Apps business.

Even so, the recent Apps management and stewardship changes are accompanied by a subtle shift in Google’s focus. Google’s application portfolio has broadened since Apps were introduced to include products such as Chrome and Android, which are key to the company’s mobile ambitions. When Google published Page’s update on its business for investors last week, Page touted products primed to fuel Google’s advertising revenues, including search, Android mobile software, Chrome, and Google+, the company’s new social network.

Page didn’t address the momentum of the Google Apps suite, and only referenced Gmail, the Web-based e-mail application that forms the core of Apps’ communications for businesses, as an afterthought: “And our enterprise customers love it too. Over 5,000 new businesses and educational establishments now sign up every day.”

For now, Google is still adding functionality to Google Apps. The company recently launched an archiving application that had been in development for years. A source familiar with Google Apps’ product road map said Apps users can expect the company to integrate Google+ social functionality with Google Apps over the course of 2012. Google could also more tightly integrate Apps with notebook computers based on its Chrome Operating System, the source said.

Google’s Enterprise business has historically only accounted for roughly 3% of the company’s annual revenues, with the lion’s share provided by advertising.

Microsoft has also developed a Web-based version of its Office suite, called Office 365. The suite has drawn favorable reviews from users and analysts, and is beginning to win some customers from Google. Chandris Hotels and Resorts and beauty care company Naturally Me recently said they chose Microsoft over Google Apps.

IDC analyst Melissa Webster, who talks to customers of both Apps and Office software, says more customers could join that exodus, especially if Google finds itself challenged in areas it considers more strategic, such as social, search and advertising.

“I could see Google Apps de-emphasized, or just not funded that aggressively,” Webster told CIO Journal. On the other hand, “Microsoft is and has always been an enterprise software vendor — they’re in it and committed for the long haul, that’s their DNA and Office is a strategic product line,” Webster noted.

Correction: CIO Journal incorrectly listed Contoso as a company that picked Microsoft over Google Apps. We regret the error.

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Screen Shot 2012-04-02 at 9.27.20 AM

It’s hard being a hacker’s darling. Pastebin is a dox dumping site – as well as a useful tool for programmers and writers who want to share a piece of text or store it for later – and it is facing what could be a termed a problem of popularity. Because groups like Anonymous have used the service to dump sensitive information, the company has been banned in Turkey and Pakistan and, more important, has become the target of DDOS attacks by kiddies who want to test their exciting new scripts. The result? A company that is, by all metrics, growing, now needs to spend money and solicit volunteers to protect itself from its biggest fans.

After a BBC story noted Pastebin’s problems, the site’s owner, Jeroen Vader, received a number of offers to help police the site for free. The monitors will pull down questionable content when users report seeing it using the site’s interface.

“Exactly how many people will be hired is not known yet. What is surprising is the amount of offers that I received in the mail since the publishing of the BBC article. It’s quite amazing how many people are willing to help out as volunteers,” he said.

He said Pastebin is seeing 17 million unique visitors per month and that he’s getting more DDOS attacks than he currently can handle. “Fighting these certainly is no fun,” he said. His goal is to create a space that is used more for code and text sharing than information dumps.

Anonymous isn’t happy with this move, recommending its minions use a Pastebin clone, PasteBay, instead. PasteBay claims to be uncensored and unmonitored, something that I’m less inclined to trust than a dude who is just trying to run a legal business by working within the confines of international law.

Owner of #Pastebin plans to hire moreStaff toHelp police"sensitive information"posted to the site. bbc.com/news/technolog… (use #pastebay)


Anonymous Sweden (@AnonOpsSweden) April 02, 2012

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Single-page, application-style websites offer web developers a way to replicate the user experience of native apps, particularly on mobile devices. Indeed, the application design model — that is, a single webpage that never needs to refresh or reload — is the basis for some of the web’s most popular sites like Facebook and Twitter.

But such app-based sites often break fundamental tenets of the web, eschewing HTML source for JavaScript, breaking the browser’s back button and removing the ability to link deep into the application. Some of these problems are addressed by standards like the HTML5 History API, which allows applications to update the URL bar without refreshing the page, but not every app bothers to take advantage of such recent developments.

The potential problems single-page apps can cause are not, however, sufficient reason to avoid them, argues Mozilla Developer Evangelist Christian Heilmann. Done responsibly and in keeping with the best practices of the web, the single-page app can be part of the future of the web, writes Heilmann.

Among the benefits of single-page apps are speed gains — stripping away the HTML means there’s very little to load initially and subsequent data loads can be done in very small increments, which makes for very fast apps. With the rise of web apps targeting mobile devices the speed advantages make single-page apps appealing to developers. Indeed, Heilmann believes “single page apps … are necessary for the web to be an apps platform.”

Naturally there will be problems with the rise of apps. “We have to battle two main issues,” writes Heilmann, “old conditioning of users and sloppy development for the sake of doing something ‘new’.”

In other words the danger isn’t the single-page concept itself, which, if done right, will yield an “app” that also has all the benefits of the web — deep linking, bookmarking, and indexing. It’s the latter problem Heilmann mentions, one that’s neatly satirized by sites like Hipstergrammers, that causes many developers concern: new just for the sake of new.

Heilmann’s post does a great job of cutting through the hype behind single page apps and presenting them for what they are — another tool with both positive and negative trade offs. Be sure to read through the whole article which offers a great list of potential problems and how to avoid them.

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Google Docs Viewer for filefield

Ever wanted to display a PDF, Word, Powerpoint, etc document directly on your website without your users having to download and open it on their own computer? The Google Docs Viewer (http://docs.google.com/viewer) allows you to do just that.

This module allows you to display files uploaded via filefield using the Embedded Google Docs Viewer so users can see contents of the file directly on your website.

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