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Original author: 
Megan Rose Dickey

clear to do list app

Apple's iOS platform is typically the first choice for app developers.

While Android is right behind iOS in terms of developer preference, according to a December report from Appcelerator and IDC, it still lacks some popular apps. 

Some of these iPhone-exclusive apps have recently launched, meaning that there's still hope for Android users. But some apps, like the Infinity Blade fighting game franchise, have been around for a couple of years and have no plans to launch on Android. 

Still, that doesn't mean Apple's App Store will always be the first choice for developers. 

Even though Apple is the leader in app revenue, Google Play is growing at a faster rate, according to a recent App Annie report. In fact, Google Play seems to be on track to hit one million apps in June, months before Apple, Dan Rowinski of ReadWrite recently predicted

Meanwhile, Android is dominating consumer smartphone sales with a nearly 70 percent market share compared to iOS' 20 percent.

Clear makes managing your to-do list a breeze

Clear is a very simple, yet aesthetically pleasing to-do list app that helps you stay on task. With Clear, you can create multiple to-do lists: one for work, one for your personal life, etc. 

In order to use the app, there are few gestures you need to know: pull down to add a task, swipe to the left to delete a task, swipe to the right to check an item off the list, pinch apart two tasks to add a new one, and pinch vertically to exit out of the current list. 

Price: $1.99

Fantastical is a beautiful calendar app

Fantastical puts Apple's built-in calendar app to shame. It pulls in data from the built-in calendar, but you can also add other calendars.

The app makes it super easy to see your entire calendar and appointments for any given day. It also has a pretty nifty day ticker where you can quickly see your schedule for the day and the rest of the week. 

Price: $4.99

Tweetbot is one of the most robust Twitter clients out there today

Tweetbot is a full-fledged Twitter client that is super customizable and packed with tons of shortcuts to enhance your Twitter experience.

With the multiple timelines feature, you can momentarily block out the rest of Twitter and just read tweets from people on a specific Twitter list. 

Tweetbot also recently updated the app with inline Vine and Flickr previews. 

Price: $2.99

See the rest of the story at Business Insider

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Google Logo Made Old

Google has formally launched its own entry into the big data market.

It officially released its cloud-based tool BigQuery. The search giant had been testing the tool in private beta since November and it is now open to all comers -- for a price, it said in a blog post.

BigQuery is Google's cloud service alternative to things like the open source project Hadoop, HP's Vertica, IBM's Netezza or Wall Street IPO darling Splunk.

BigQuery can handle terabytes of data and although Google is now charging for the service it is letting users store up to 100 gigabytes for free.

This is particularly interesting because Google invented the techniques that lead to the big data revolution. Years ago it published some technical papers describing how it deals with massive volumes of data so quickly. Others read those papers, used those technique and came up with their own versions. The big data revolution was born.

Today big data is one of the hottest technologies around. Market research firm IDC predicts companies will spend $16.9 billion on big data products and services by 2015, compared to $3.2 billion in 2010. Google wants its share of those billions.

Big data refers to a combination of technologies that can search and analyze massive amounts of information nearly instantly no matter what format they are in: tweets, posts, e-mails, documents, audio, video.

Google thinks BigQuery beats the alternatives because it's so easy to use -- by hooking into one interface BigQuery gives users access to Google's powerful data centers. Alternatives like Hadoop take a lot of expertise to set up and you still have to run it on some hardware somewhere.

BigQuery is priced affordably too -- at least for a six month "introductory" period. 12 cents per gigabyte per month and 3.5 cents per gigabyte processed per day.

Don't miss: Big Data Is The Hottest Thing To Hit The Web In Years: Here's Why

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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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As this year's Game Developers Conference clearly showed, we have moved into a new era: the Age of Mobile; and there has never been a more exciting, and perhaps challenging, time to be a mobile games developer. Smartphone and tablet proliferation, in particular within the United States, has changed the gaming landscape at such a fast clip that it's difficult to stay on top of the latest trends. Gamers, who in the past may have ...

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