Microsoft Office 2016 India Price Announced

The Redmond-based technology major Microsoft on Wednesday said that all users who have a subscription of Office 365, which is a cloud-based service, will get the new Office 2016 for free.

Other users can purchase the new suite, which is available in 14 Indian languages and 47 languages globally, starting Wednesday.

(Also see: Microsoft Office 2016 Launched: Top 10 New Features)

“Starting today, Office 365 subscribers can choose to download the new Office 2016 apps as part of their subscription. Automatic updates will begin rolling out to consumer subscribers next month,” the company said.

The Office 365 Personal edition (for one user – one PC + one Tablet + one Phone) costs Rs. 3,299 per annum and Office 365 Home (for five users – five PCs + five Tablets + five phones) is priced at Rs. 4,199 per annum.

“The Office 2016 for Business, which comes in two formats – Standard and Professional Plus, will cost the customer Rs. 24,844 and Rs.33,911 respectively,” Microsoft said.

The mid-range Office 2016 Perpetual suite will be available at Rs. 5,999 for the Students edition and Rs. 18,499 for Business edition.

The Office 2016 suite comes with 1 tera-byte of OneDrive cloud storage which will be soon scaled up to unlimited space, according to Alok Lall, director of Microsoft Office Division, India.

The company also said that the new version of software productivity suite will increase efficiency and productivity of various organisations and individuals.

“Keeping in line with chief executive Nadella’s idea of making the company ‘mobile first, cloud first’, Microsoft’s new Office 2016 has been configured in such a way that it will not only break through the work-space-time continuum making way for increased productivity and efficiency but also encourage more BYOD in the country,” Lall told IANS at the sidelines of the launch event.

“At Microsoft we are also capable of deciding and handling management rights, privacy of different files, which means the administrator can choose how much of what file or resoucrce he wants the user to see or edit,” he explained, adding that “this is going to encourage more BYOD as it saves time and cost for several enterprises especially small and medium businesses (SMBs).”

The new version of the software productivity suite also works with other mobile devices on three different popular platforms letting users pick up from where they left off at another device.

“Today, with the launch of Office 2016 we endeavor to provide our users with a connected set of apps and services designed for modern working and collaboration which they can access easily use across platforms and devices,” Karan Bajwa, managing director, Microsoft India, said.

“Multi-platform and device compatibility further makes access to the product easier and more seamless, simplifying collaboration across environments. Enhanced collaborative functionalities and built-in intelligence feature for most of the Office products will definitely make the user experience smarter,” Pari Natarajan, chief executive of Zinnov management consulting, said.

The company, which aims to connect another million people via the new MS Office, also said that it was aiding enterprises in adoption of the new office. “We have a nine-month roadmap for new changes in the MS Office ecosystem which the chief information officers (CIOs) can see and act accordingly,” Lall said.

“The huge demand for devices in the country and services demand from enterprises especially SMBs combined with growth of unstructured data will aid the sales of the new software suite,” he explained, saying “integration of Windows Continumm, Hello, Cortana and Skype will add to the experience of the consumer.”

Although the technology major may be focused on collaboration, Sanchit Vir Gogia, chief analyst of Greyhound Research, said: “While the product is definitely a hit and significantly refined from previous version, integration (the lack of it) between various products is still slightly broken and can take users some time and experienced hands to get around the issue.”

“SMBs will find this exciting but need to be careful about choosing the right skew that fits their organisational needs today and in near-future – else, they can well be overpaying for the products,” he added.

Why Professional Services Field Has the Most Opportunities in India?

India is growing at a crazy pace, with GDP clocking an impressive 7%+ for over a decade, it is a place to be, and investors are pouring in more money than they ever did before. So what are the most challenging sectors in India? Well, there are three of them.

  1. Real estate – With an expected size of $180 Billion by 2020, it is the biggest sector in India, with lots of players, both Indian and foreign playing in the foray in highly competitive arena.
  2. Telecom – With close to a billion subscribers, it is one of the biggest markets in India, and certainly the one that has received highest FDI over a decade, although there is great scope of revenue, the sector looks saturated.
  3. Professional services – It is a dark horse, in a sector which is pegged at close to $100 Billion, there aren’t a lot of players, and the market is so vast that often companies find it difficult to cope up with it. But there are some which are doing remarkably well.

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So out of these three, telecom has regulator and is pretty much organized, while there are sundry controls over real estate, that leaves us with only one sector – professional services, and you guessed it right; this indeed is the sector that has the most opportunities in India.

Even with the advent of internet and smart phones, there wasn’t a glimpse of hope in this sector, but now, there is a promising app that looks set to change it all, forever.

We are referring to UrbanClap Company, a new startup that has covered over 50 professional services, and now serves 4 different cities, with their eye set on another 15 cities for further expansion.

Services that UrbanClap offers

It may vary with city, but it generally offers these professionals and/or their services.

  • Makeupartists for any event
  • Photography for any event, it has right from wedding photographer to kids photographer
  • Counselors
  • Tax consultant
  • Home cleaning
  • Yoga classes
  • Interior designer
  • Guitar Classes
  • Nutritionist
  • Pest control
  • Dance Classes
  • Language classes

UrbanClap works on a very unique principle, UrbanClap business model seeks to make these services available for free, thereby being a marketplace that charges nothing for providing those services.

It also has a risk and reward system wherein once any user avails the services, they would rate it, and that acts as a reputation for the concerned artist, which may work positively or negatively for them based on the user reviews.

UrbanClap takes due diligence to ensure that the professionals go through background checks and conducts additional police verification if they deem it necessary.

It has used paytm wallet to use a single payment delivery system, thereby making it easier for the users to make payment. There are two things that really set this app apart.

  1. Relevancy: When you Google something and say, get millions of results, do you really go through them all? Only the first few, results isn’t it? Similarly UrbanClaps algorithm, gets you the best matches of the professionals, say if you look up for a birthday planner and expect over 50 guests then it will only get you those planners who have their profiles relevant to the job.
  2. Bidding: What if you get multiple relevant professionals? Well in that case, they can bid for the project, and the one who adds the most value to the job can get it. That way it takes care of every aspect of the job.

 

Professional services is a vast sector, and certainly any app would need to go beyond cities, but UrbanClap looks promising enough to stand up to it and deliver. For the same reason, you could find UrbanClap in news from quite some time, and there is every reason why this would continue to remain popular.

 

 

 

Google Maps for Android Update Brings New Navigation UI and More

Google released an update to its Maps app for Android last week that added thumbnail previews of a location in Street View. Now, Google Maps for Android has received another update, adding few more features such as a new navigation UI for users. Additionally, Google has started rolling out Google+ Collections, which was already available on Android and on Web, for users on iOS.

The new Google Maps for Android update (see above screenshot) can be expected to start rolling out in few days; those users who cannot wait for the update can download and sideload the Google-signed apk file. The new Maps update bumps the version to 9.14 and can be expected to hit Google Play India in the coming days. First reported by Android Police, the new Maps update primarily focuses on improving the overall navigation.

The Google Maps for Android navigation has received new interface for settings (above image: left shows old interface and right shows new) and now the thumbnail view while navigation search has been replaced with a bigger image showing the routes. With the new update, the maps on the navigation page can be scrolled and zoomed which was notably not possibly in the earlier thumbnail view. The selection for mode of transport has been shifted slightly below the start and destination fields.

The new update also brings a more details on the route page which can be accessed by the user. The details about possible slowdown on the route have also received slight improvement and now show more information than earlier version. The toggles for car, public transport, walk, and cycling modes now show more informative cards which can be dragged to offer more information.

The option to pick routes by touch is now shown with estimated ETA including details about possible slowdowns or road blocks. When visiting a new place or restaurant, we are usually unaware about how busy is the place during the day. With the update, Google Maps will now offer a chart for businesses showing details about how busy the place is during each hour of the day, a feature announced late last month.

In other news, the Pinterest-like ‘Collections’ feature for Google+ users on Android and the Web was released in May, and was promised to arrive soon on iOS. The feature has been release for iOS users. The Collections feature for Google+ allows users to create specific posts centred around topics and comprising videos, photos, and more.

19-Year-Old Entrepreneur Harsh Songra Shares Roadmap for My Child App

Facebook’s COO Sheryl Sandberg put a Bhopal teen on the world map last week, when she posted about an Indian startup that had enrolled in the FBStart program.

Harsh Songra, developer of the My Child app, was diagnosed at the age of nine with dyspraxia, a developmental coordination disorder (DCD). His parents were unable to identify problems in their son’s development for several years, due to lack of awareness and limited access to information about such diseases.

Aiming to provide a tech fix to this lack of awareness, and hoping to help provide timely information that can be used to control the disorder, he launched the app in January this year that parents with children aged 11 to 24 months can use to track developmental disorders. Songra said that his app was not trying to replace doctors, but was meant as a reference point about disorders from which the child may be suffering from. “We are trying to empower parents with technology and also to ease the burden of doctors,” he said.

The app takes in a child’s name, gender, height and weight, and makes parents answer a questionnaire, which takes about 45 seconds. The My Child app has a 4.3 rating on Google Play and under 5,000 installs.

We spoke to Songra about his future plans, and the impact of the Facebook FBStart program. “It has definitely increased the number of downloads and the online presence by a great scale.” said Songra, on the impact of Sandberg’s post, speaking to NDTV Gadgets.

The app has already made a measurable impact, with users calling him from various countries and thanking his team for creating awareness and helping their child in getting the right treatment. “I have talked to various mothers too who have said that because of the app they are now not being confused by paediatricians,” Songra said.

Ravi Gururaj, serial entrepreneur and and chair of the Nasscom Product Council also played a mentorship role, promising to assist him in his endeavours.

Future updates on the app will help guide the mother during pregnancy to prevent her child from unexpected delivery and disorders. “A parent would be able to track their child’s development easily, and getting all the red flags on time,” Songra said.

Songra said that he plans to monetise the MyChild app with brand engagement models, apart from affiliate selling and a premium models.

Windows 10 Home Users Can Now Disable Automatic App Updates

A cumulative update Microsoft rolled out last week to Windows 10 fixes one of the most annoying issues in the new desktop operating system. With the patch, Microsoft is finally giving Windows 10 Home edition users the ability to disable or delay automatic app updates through the Windows Store.

The new addition went largely unnoticed, because as you may remember, the company has stopped detailing the new changes in most of its Windows updates. Once installed, Windows 10 Home users will see an option in the upper-right corner of the Windows Store application to disable the automatic update.

If you’re having trouble finding it, click on the personal icon, then choose Settings. Up at the top you would see an option for App Updates. You will now see an option to configure Update Apps Automatically either On or Off.

Microsoft was thrown under the bus for not giving Windows 10 Home users many options to disable or delay automatic updates. The company had originally noted that automatic updates are in the user’s best interest as they help the latest security security vulnerabilities.

While it may not seem like a major change, many would appreciate having full control over which app updates they want, and when they app want it. Do note that the new update only allows Windows 10 Home users to stop automatic app updates, and won’t help them with delaying or disabling Windows 10 updates. If you need assistance with the latter, here’s a guide to help you out.

Instagram Finally Adds Support for Landscape and Portrait Photos

Instagram has added new layout options in addition to its signature square for pictures and videos in a bid to attract more advertisers and to stop users defecting to more flexible services such as Snapchat.

The move is the first major alteration to the photo-sharing, social media service since Facebook bought it for $1 billion (roughly Rs. 6,610 crores) in 2012, and addresses the wishes of many of its 300 million users, who have been constrained by the square format.

“It boils down to giving advertisers and users more options,” said Debra Aho Williamson, a social media marketing and advertising analyst. “You want people to be able to see more of your ad. It’s something advertisers are definitely going to be interested in.”

One in five photos and videos posted on the service do not fit the square format, Instagram said in a blog post.

“Friends get cut out of group shots, the subject of your video feels cramped and you can’t capture the Golden Gate Bridge from end to end,” it said.

From Thursday, Instagram’s web-based service and its mobile apps running on Google Inc’s Android system and Apple Inc’s iOS will allow portrait and landscape formats, giving both users and paying advertisers more options.

The move should help Instagram in its battle with newer rivals such as Snapchat for users in the fast-moving messaging and media-sharing market.

At the same time, it should attract more advertising revenue for Instagram, which said in June it would open its platform to all advertisers by the end of the year, rather than just to select brands.

Instagram is expected to generate nearly $600 million (roughly Rs. 3,966 crores) in advertising revenue by the end of this year and $2.8 billion (roughly Rs. 18,508 crores) in 2017, according to projections from research firm eMarketer.

By comparison Facebook, the world’s most popular online social network, generated more than $12 billion (roughly Rs. 79,321 crores) in revenue in 2014. The growing service hit one billion users in a single day for the first time on Monday.

To promote the new formats on Thursday, Walt Disney Co released exclusive footage of its upcoming film, “Star Wars, The Force Awakens,” using the new landscape option.

Google to Mentor Shortlisted Teams Competing to Build MyGov’s PMO App

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Government citizen-centric web platform MyGov and Google India on Wednesday announced the final shortlisted top five teams from Delhi, Chennai and Pune to build the official mobile app for the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO).

This contest, initiated by MyGov and Google in March, is a crowdsourcing effort to build a mobile app for a public office. One app out of the five will be chosen as the official app of the PMO, Google India said.

MyGov CEO Gaurav Dwivedi said: “With the short listing of the finalists, the contest has now entered its last phase of actual app development. The role of Google’s team in mentoring will be critical at this stage and we are working closely to unveil of the official mobile app for the Prime Minister’s Office.”

In the first phase of the contest, MyGov had invited ideas for the mobile app. Based on over 50,000 ideas received, it prepared an app blueprint for developers, who could register as teams to build and submit mockups.

pmo_google_facebook.jpgIn the second phase, more than 110 mockups were received, and 10 were shortlisted. A jury of eminent professionals and government representatives chose five teams to build the app on the basis of detailed presentations.

The shortlisted teamd come from across the country – two from Chennai, two from NCR, and one from Pune, the statement said.

The shortlisted teams will now be mentored for the next six weeks by Google engineers, who will help them develop a world class app based on the latest design and Android technologies, it added.

“As increasing number of Indians get online with their smartphones, we’re delighted to be working with MyGov in an effort to build a world class mobile app for the citizens to connect with the Prime Minister’s Office,” said Google India’s country head public policy Chetan Krishnaswamy.

“Easy access to information and empowering citizens with the benefits of Internet are a big part of Prime Minister Modi’s “Digital India” initiative, and this app is one step in that direction,” he added.

Government Planning New Software to Stop Age Fraud in Sports

The Indian government is planning to introduce a new mechanism to spot and stop age fraud in sports.

Sports secretary Ajit Sharan said here on Monday the government plans to come out with a software which will provide each athlete, registered under the National Sports Federation (NSF) at a young age, a unique identification so that he/she will not be able to change his/her details later on.

“Age fraud has been going on for quite some time. All NSFs were advised to create some kind of a database or software when an athlete is around 12 or so; when he or she is less likely to commit an age fraud,” said Sharan.

“Since the NSFs did not follow, we thought of coming out with a generic software which can document details of athletes, including age, and provide them some kind of unique IDs which they will be able to carry throughout their career.”

Age fraud is quite common, especially at the junior level, in Indian sports. It is done so that an older child can perform better than a younger one in a certain age category competition.

“Once the IDs are registered at a young age, it will be difficult to commit the fraud. Kids at the young age of 12 do not commit age frauds. This is usually done when the child progresses from the junior to senior level,” said Sharan while launching School Sports Promotion Foundation’s (SSPF) National Talent Search Nurture programme.

“There are some federations who followed our advice like squash and taekwondo but most did not. We have not set any time limit but may be it will be ready in another three months or so.”

Sports Authority of India (SAI) director general Injeti Srinivas said that the problem should be arrested at once.

“Coaches, parents; everyone is involved in this. If our coaches are involved then they bring shame to the country. It is a serious matter but the important question is how to arrest it. Accountability is important,” said Srinivas.

Spotify Defends Itself After Outcry Over Data Collection

Online music streamer Spotify defended itself Friday after angry users accused it of abusive personal data collection by asking for access to their contacts and photos.

Earlier this week, the firm had described the changes on its website as an “update” of its general user terms and conditions and its privacy policy, intended “to tailor improved experiences to our users, and build new and personalised products for the future.”

Users of the streaming service’s application for smartphones and mobile devices will over the next few weeks receive a prompt asking them to agree to the new terms, which include being asked for access to their address books, photos and GPS location.

On Twitter, hundreds of customers complained, many of them linking to articles on tech sites such as Wired that were critical of the move.

On Friday, one of the creators of the hugely popular online game Minecraft, Markus Persson of Sweden, told his 2.4 million Twitter followers that he had “cancelled” his Spotify subscription.

“As a consumer, I’ve always loved your service. You’re the reason I stopped pirating music. Please consider not being evil,” he wrote.

Spotify chief executive Daniel Ek responded directly to him: “Have you read our blog? We explicitly will ask when using camera or GPS.”

Ek also explained that having access to photos would help users “if you want to personalise a playlist by having a custom image or a new profile pic.”

Several hours after that exchange, Ek posted a link to a new blogpost entitled “SORRY.”

“We apologise … We should have done a better job in communicating what these policies mean and how any information you choose to share will and will not be used,” he wrote.

“If you don’t want to share this kind of information, you don’t have to. We will ask for your express permission before accessing any of this data and we will only use it for specific purposes that will allow you to customise your Spotify experience,” he added.

“We will never scan or import your contacts without your permission… In the future, we may want to give you the ability to find your friends on Spotify by searching for Spotify users in your contacts if you choose to do that.”

The Swedish group which claims to have more than 75 million users in 58 countries, including more than 20 million who use its premium paying site is facing stiff competition from US rival Apple.

Apple Music was launched on June 30 in more than 100 countries, after the technology giant realised that music fans would in the future be more likely to choose streaming over downloads.

The Spotify controversy comes amid heightened concerns over internet privacy issues. In one recent example, the extramarital affair-seeker website Ashley Madison was hacked and users’ personal information was leaked.

Also as part of its new terms and conditions, Spotify said it was banning so-called “payola” playlists, created by users who accept undisclosed money to promote songs for a record label, the Financial Times reported.

Google Photos Update Adds ‘Rediscover This Day’ Nostalgia Feature

Google is becoming increasingly focused on its Photos app. The company recently separated the app from Google+, and introduced unlimited storage. Since then it has added several more features to make its service more competitive. The latest update to Photos’ apps and Web interface adds an interesting feature that allows users to revisit photos and videos from the current calendar date in previous years. The company has also updated Google Docs and Sheets apps for Android.

Google Photos now lets users revisit the images and videos they shot on the same day in previous years, including a collage of the people and places photographed. The optional feature is accessible from the Assistant view under Rediscover this day. “Photos help us reminisce about the things we’ve done, bringing back events from one, two, or even ten years ago,” said Google Photos team. “Today, Google Photos is introducing a new opt-in feature where you can choose to privately rediscover your memories from the past.” The feature is live on the Web and iOS, and is gradually rolling out for Android. To note, the feature is only opt-in, and the photos and collages remain private to users until they decide to share them.

Moving on, Sheets for Android has also received an update. The company is taking major steps to make it easier for users to play with spreadsheet on mobile devices. The updated Sheets app offers auto-fill feature, wherein it can quickly add information based on patterns. Users will now see an auto-fill command in the pop-up bar when they select a range of cells to enter data. In addition, Sheets now automatically changes the keyboard mode in accordance with your work. For instance, if you’re working on a cell, it will automatically show you numeric keyboard instead of the alphabetic keyboard.

Google Docs has also received an update on Android. The document editing app now lets users see print preview of their homework assignments and notes, helping them get an idea of how the documents will look after getting printed. You can see this from app’s drop-down menu.