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With the re-launch of Hotmail as Outlook.com Microsoft has garnered a lot of adoration from the media and the public, especially when Google just announced the indefinite delay of their Nexus Q orb. As far as PR this week: Microsoft 1, Google 0.

One of the main features that Microsoft is touting with Outlook.com is that they won’t scan your email to deliver personalized ads—a clear shot at Google’s Gmail ad-machine. They have even set up a simple ‘how to’ on switching from Gmail to Outlook.

But with no personalized ads based on the contents of your email, how is Microsoft making money?

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SoundGecko is coming to Windows Phone soon

With today's busy world, sometimes finding time to read you favorite article or keep up with the news can be difficult. Luckily, there may be a solution for some of you on the horizon. 

SoundGecko is a new, amazing service where you find any article, email it to them, and they will send you back an MP3 file of that article. The service can connect up with your SkyDrive or DropBox service to automatically deposit audio files of new articles, allowing to you to pull them down on-the-go. The smartphone app is simply a method to flag articles for the service for conversion.

Currently, the app is only available on the iPhone and Chrome browser (via an extension) but fear not, a Windows Phone version is in the works and we'll have some information on that coming soon...

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In last decade there have been many great rivaleries: Tyson Vs. Hollifield, Baggy pants vs Skinny Jeans, Alien VS. Predator - the list just goes on and on. Now a new fight is brewing: Google's Nexus Q and Microsoft's Xbox 360.

Google has recently announced their new form of media consumption for their users. It's small, round, glows like Tron, and  looks a bit like the Death Star. This sphere will go head to head with the Xbox 360. Microsoft has been rebranding the Xbox 360 for the last few years, turning it from an exclusive gaming system to your main media device. More and more people have been using the console to watch movies, stream music, and to video chat. With Smart Glass coming out hopefully in the fall, Microsoft will be integrating your phone or tablet as both a second screen and remote control.

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The Nokia Lumia 800: Trend setter

We’ve had discussions before, sometimes heated, about what should be the proper name for Windows Phone and whether it’s catchy, unique enough or even hampered by the “Windows” name. But one thing is for sure, Nokia seems to have a hit with the 'Lumia' brand.

Using Google’s Trends function to compare searches for 'Windows Phones' against 'Lumia' you get an interesting result. Since about November 2011, 'Lumia' has been searched for much more often than 'Windows Phone' which is curious only because Nokia’s handsets are a subset of Windows Phone, yet they’re clearly leading in terms of brand awareness and consumer curiosity.

Last 12 months of Google searches for 'Lumia' vs 'Windows Phone' vs 'Windows Mobile'

Going further, looking at “news reference volume” which details how often Lumia is cited in the media, we can see that although it trails Windows Phone, it often follows the same pattern of interest and is near the same level.

Perhaps just as interesting is if you compare ‘Windows Mobile’ versus ‘Windows Phone’ you can see a slow downward trend for the former but it still trends quite high. That reinforces the belief that many are still confusing the two brands and Microsoft still has a naming problem, which is slowly being overcome. 

There should be little doubt that Nokia with their branding and ability to make headlines has raised awareness a lot for Microsoft’s mobile OS, so much so that they’re in fact leading the interest, often getting ahead of “Windows Phone” itself. That’s impressive work and is a good sign that Nokia is resonating with users out there and backs up what many of us have been saying, which is Nokia is the key to Windows Phone success now and in the future.

Source: Google Trends; via TNW; Thanks, piaqt, for the heads up

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Android is currently the thorn in everyone's side—from Apple to Microsoft to RIM—the “free” mobile OS is continuing to dominate and today they added just a little bit more.

For those who weren’t aware, Google I/O kicked off today. It’s their BUILD, their MIX, their random secret Apple announcement where they show off their big plans for Android over the next few months. Here’s the recap of the big news today which will surely keep Redmond on their toes:

Google Nexus 7 – A 7” tablet that is branded by Google themselves. Analogous to their Nexus line of phones, the mini tablet will set the standard for Android going forward and boy, do they need it. Android tablets are currently fairly terrible (we speak from personal experience with the lauded Samsung 10.1) and Google really needs to get their act together here before Microsoft takes a swing with the Surface.

While a 7” tablet is quite meager and far from ideal, Google did win in a couple of areas. For one, they announced the specifications—we mean all the nitty gritty. It has a 1280x800 display, quad-processor, 9 hours of video playback, WiFi, NFC, GPS and Bluetooth.  It also got a price tag at $199 with pre-orders starting today for a mid-July release.

And that’s where Microsoft lost everyone last week—no price and no date on availability. That $199 will guarantee this device gets into a lot of hands. Will it be enough to keep Surface from taking off? We doubt it but it’s not helping either. Think Kindle Fire though as Google’s main target though as opposed to an iPad or Surface. Check out our pal Phil's hands on with the tablet here.

Android 4.1 ‘Jelly Bean’ – Ah yes, the ridiculous names of Android continues and Android 4.1 was shown off today. What’s more, the SDK is now out and available for download too.  Some of the new features include offline voice-to-text dictation, new notifications which expand upon the current model, improved voice search akin to Apple’s Siri, redesigned camera app and a new service that uses your Google data to recommend things.

Is 4.1 killer? No, as the 0.1 bump indicates this is a minor revision and it’s nothing compared to what Microsoft is doing with Windows Phone 8 and the NT kernel. Still, like iOS 6, Android is continuing to build off of their foundation, adding new, somewhat interesting and useful features for consumers.

Jelly Bean 4.1 will be available by mid-July for their Nexus devices but the big question is what about everyone else?  Android has a terrible update record and 4.0 is barely on 10% of devices. In other words, Microsoft has some breathing room here for the fall and its new Windows Phone 8 devices (see, it would have been easier to say “Windows 8 Phones”).

Oh and their unlocked, Galaxy Nexus phone dropped to $350 for those in the US

Google Maps with offline caching – Like the Nokia-Microsoft mapping announcement for Windows Phone 8, users can grab the brand new Google Maps now with offline caching. Powerful stuff

Chrome for Android out of beta – While it’s no IE10, Google took the beta off of Chrome for it’s new Android browser. It should be interesting to see how it compares to Microsoft’s Windows Phone 8 in the fall.

Nexus Q - Think of it as Google's answer to Nokia's Play 360. A device to stream your music too but price higher. It will fetch for $299 with preorders starting today.

All in all, Google did not announce any game changers, nothing disruptive except for the 7” tablet. That Nexus 7 will do a lot to drop prices on mini-tablets and force Apple and Microsoft to rethink some options in the future but we're not sure it's going to fix Google's problems here.

Google doesn’t  win because it’s better, it wins through market saturation. Read more I/O 2012 coverage at Android Central.

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A few weeks ago, at Google's request, gMaps Pro was pulled from the Windows Phone Marketplace due to a copyright infringement request.

According to the developer Alexey Strakh, gMaps Pro was originally to be hidden from the open Marketplace while the app was re-branded. For some reason (Alexey notes a problem with Microsoft)  the app wasn't hidden and eventually pulled. Gmaps was flagged for violating Google's trademarks, something we reported on earlier as other apps had the same problem.

The skinny of it all is that gMaps Pro v1.23 is now available on the Marketplace but upgrades from previous versions are not possible without paying for the updated version. Because it was pulled or deleted from the Marketplace, v1.23 is considered a new app creation and updates to the old versions not possible.

Strakh has suggested for those who had already purchased gMaps Pro before the re-branding complain to Microsoft about having to pay for the app a second time. It's not the best of situations but on has to wonder if Google could offered the new version of gMaps Pro for a limited time as a free app to allow previous owners to upgrade for free?

Nonetheless, gMaps Pro is back on the Marketplace with a free trail version available to let you try things out before buying. The full version is running $1.99 and previous versions are not upgradeable.

You can find gMaps Pro here at the Windows Phone Marketplace.

Source: gMaps Pro (Facebook)

Update: We've just learned that Alexey Strakh is working on offering gMaps Pro v1.23 for free this Friday.  We aren't sure if it will be a midnight to midnight offer and once we get all the details, we'll pass them on.  If you are a current gMaps Pro user, it may be worth the wait to hold off on updating for a few days.

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Just when we thought the patent wars were over, Google has announced yesterday that they've filed an antitrust complaint in Europe, pointing a finger at Nokia and Microsoft regarding patents. The search giant is arguing that both companies are using third-party agencies (which are internally branded "patent trolls") to increase the costs for mobile devices, which would in-turn provide a strong advantage to the Microsoft ecosystem. An example is provided by Google, where the company states that Nokia and Microsoft have entered into revenue-based agreements with the likes of Mosaid Technologies.

Last year the two companies in question transferred a total of 2,000 patents to Mosaid, as well as Nokia selling 450 to IP Bulldog. Google views a threat on the horizon where more fees placed on OEMs may force manufacturers to look elsewhere, Windows Phone in this case, for cheaper production costs. While details of the filing has not been published, a statement from Google has been provided:

"Nokia and Microsoft are colluding to raise the costs of mobile devices for consumers, creating patent trolls that sidestep promises both companies have made. They should be held accountable, and we hope our complaint spurs others to look into these practices."

By colluding with both Microsoft and Mosaid, Google alleges that Nokia has betrayed its previous open-source commitments. A Microsoft representative has responded to these claims with the following comment:

"Google is complaining about patents when it won't respond to growing concerns by regulators, elected officials and judges about its abuse of standard-essential patents, and it is complaining about antitrust in the smartphone industry when it controls more than 95% of mobile search and advertising. This seems like a desperate tactic on their part."

Nokia has also publicly responded to the filing:

"Though we have not yet seen the complaint, Google's suggestion that Nokia and Microsoft are colluding on IPR is wrong. Both companies have their own IPR portfolios and strategies and operate independently.

Nokia has made regular patent divestments over the last five years. In each case, any commitments made for standards essential patents transfer to the acquirer and existing licenses for the patents continue. Had Google asked us, we would have been happy to confirm this, which could then have avoided them wasting the commission's time and resources on such a frivolous complaint.

We agree with Google that Android devices have significant IP infringement issues, and would welcome constructive efforts to stop unauthorised use of Nokia intellectual property.

Nokia has an active licensing program with more than 40 licensees. Companies who are not yet licensed under our standard essential patents should simply approach us and sign up for a license."

We'll have to see how these complaints progress through the European regulators. We'll never get tired of patent news.

Source: Wall Street Journal; via: AllAboutWindowsPhone

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Microsoft is developing a cross-platform service that will enable users to migrate from competitor platforms (or Windows Phone) to Windows Phone, according to a patent filed back in 2010. The service will allow apps to be detected on the legacy handset, which will then be listed on the new Windows Phone for convenient downloading, providing users with peace of mind when it comes to installed apps.

According to the filed patent, the company is planning to provide functionality within the service that would analyse installed apps on the legacy handset (eg.: Android). The service would then search for identical or similar apps in the Windows Phone Marketplace. The user would be presented with popular third-party suggestions should official apps not be available.

If there's no third-party app present on the Marketplace, the service will notify the user in the future once a similar app is published. Is that more than enough? Not according to the company. Microsoft is reported to be wanting to take things further with actually creating a complete solution where app data would be stored and transferred across to new Windows Phones or from other platforms, preventing data loss. Of course, little detail is available and we're yet to see how this service could work with the likes of Android and iOS

Another question on mind is if apps will have to be repurchased for Windows Phone when migrating from another platform, or would the software giant subsidize the costs? Microsoft has clearly been serious about Windows Phone since the off, and this reaffirms the company's commitment to take part in the smartphone marathon. How would you like to see such a service implemented?

Source: Unwired View

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YouTube Pro in disguise as SuperTube for Windows Phone

We reported last week that with Microsoft's new Marketplace policy enforcement, trademark complaints will be acted upon more quickly than before. As a result, all things Google are being pulled due to their use of terms like "YouTube", "Google", etc.

One of those apps was YouTube Pro made by Fast Code.

YouTube Pro was actually a re-launch of SuperTube, one of the original third party YouTube apps and one of the first to do HD and HQ video playback on Windows Phone. YouTube Pro superseded SuperTube, though Fast Code kept both up to date (each had a "pay" version in addition to free).

Now in a funny twist, YouTube Pro is gone from the Marketplace so the old SuperTube is back as their main app for video streaming. The app itself though looks exactly like YouTube Pro including the very Metro inspired UI.

There was a paid, ad-free version of the app but due to the YouTube Pro/Google complaint situation, developer Fast Code is now offering the paid version of SuperTube for free for a limited time. That means you can get some of the best YouTube features on Windows Phone not even for a nickel. Those features include some new stuff in version 2.3:

  • Lift restrictions of trial version on downloading and syncing videos
  • New Metro design
  • New channels page
  • New channel and message live tile. The front of channel tile will show the numbers of new videos. The back will show thumbnail of the newest video.
  • Add the subscription page after sign in on the main page
  • Fix bugs

That's on top of video downloading, video uploading to your account, HD and HQ video playback, comments, like/dislike and a Live Tile. What's not to like about this offer?

Go get SuperTube v2.3 for free here in the Marketplace. Remember, this is the paid version marked-down, so lock it in now for future updates.

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Recently, Microsoft announced some recent changes to the Windows Phone Marketplace for developers that would also affect consumers. The changes were divided into four areas, including trademarks, bulk publishing, keywords and content policy. What concerns us here is the trademarks section.

In short, apps that violate trademarks of other companies are now subject to more restrictive oversight in the Marketplace. Microsoft had this to say on the matter, which is a fair position:

"When a trademark or copyright owner contacts us about a suspected violation, we investigate and pull apps when the complaint is valid. Lately we’ve been doing more of this, especially for trademark misuse. Sometimes the requests come from the owners of big, well-known brands. Other times they come from new brands. Either way, we often find trademark violations are unintentional: some developers just aren’t clear on what constitutes a violation. But these investigations—and the time and money they can cost—can be avoided by doing a little homework before submitting or updating your app."

A few curious examples of this actually do exist in the Windows Phone Marketplace, some of which you'll be familiar with including YouTube Pro, gMaps, YouTube Live and YouTube Downloader.

Did you notice anything in common with those? If you said those sound like Google names, you would be right and evidently Google are rightly flexing their muscle on the matter, sending out copyright infringement complaints to numerous developers over their use of their trademarked names.

The developer of YouTube Live, which we've covered before, just received such a notice which is partially re-printed below:

"This message is to notify you that Microsoft has received Content Infringement Complaint (“Complaint”) regarding your application Youtube Live. A copy of the Complaint is attached for your review.

Remove Application Access Immediately

You must remove access to the application from the Marketplace within one business day.  If your application is still available for download after one business day,Microsoft may remove the application without further notice.  Please note that under certain circumstances Microsoft may remove your app immediately without providing you the opportunity to remove it."

While this is certainly a blow to many of our favorite developers on the platform, it should not come too much as a surprise that these apps infringe on Google's ownership of those names. Of course, being as we're more of a Microsoft site and Google is not on good terms with Windows Phone this will certainly rub people the wrong way. Especially since Google has not bothered to support Windows Phone at all with their services.

Having said that, Google is technically in the right here and we don't begrudge them for taking action. We also want to let devs know that Microsoft is serious about this copyright stuff so give some thought to your app's name before Marketplace submission, m'kay?

We hope to see these outstanding apps back in the Marketplace soon but under new names.

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Google has no immediate plans to release an official Google Voice app for Windows Phone, according to reports. CNET received an official statement from the search giant detailing a development focus on Android and iOS. The statement does note that should sufficient demand spark for a Google Voice client on Windows Phone, the team will look into kick-starting the project.

"We're focusing our Google Voice efforts on Android & iOS and don't have a plan to extend this to the Windows Phone. This may change if we start to see greater demand from Windows Phone users for Google Voice."

Previously we've witnessed what the power of Windows Phone users can achieve by demanding official support from companies, with Draw Something proving to be the best example. For now, until we receive word of an official app in development, those who wish to use the Google service can look at third-party alternatives available on the Marketplace - GoVoice is a free unofficial client, which we've covered previously. 

As CNET rightfully points out, users should always be cautious when downloading apps from the Marketplace. Luckily the developer of GoVoice got in touch and provided the following statement to address any potential concerns:

"We take your privacy seriously and we don't store your password on the device unless if you choose to do so. Even if your device is compromised you can still revoke GoVoice's access. Your password is encrypted on the device and only sent to the Google Voice servers over Secure Sockets Layer (https). We care about your security."

It's a positive sign to say the least. The Windows Phone Marketplace has a number of indie developed apps that boast the functionality missing official apps would feature, which is something many forget when choosing their next smartphone. The only app Google has produced for Windows Phone is the search app, though there are unofficial apps for a number of the search engine's services, including Google Maps.

Are you looking forward to more official support from Google, and do you believe they should start actively developing clients now? Let us know in the comments.

Source: CNET, via: Neowin; Thanks vincentw56 for the tip!

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We always like clever things around these parts at WPCentral. We also like free. So we gave "LaunchPad" a go and happen to think it's worthy enough of your attention.

LaunchPad is a web-app which basically means it is designed for use on Windows Phone's Internet Explore web browser. It's a search tool offering a quick and simple way to find basically whatever you want using specific search engines including:

  • Google
  • Wolfram Alpha
  • YouTube
  • Wikipedia

What's more, you can even pin it to your Start screen as a tile for quick, simple 1-touch access. Sure, it's not revolutionary and there are plenty of apps for searching on the internet, but we like the fluidity and layout of LaunchPad, so we're passing it on.

Simply navigate to http://portal.macpoint.be/wp/ on your phone's browser. Hit the pin in the top right to save it to your Start screen. Thanks, Shad.

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It's been awhile since we've seen GoVoice, an unofficial Google Voice client, get update so it's nice to see the developer Nick Yu still supporting the free app for Windows Phone.

The latest version, 3.4, just hit the Marketplace and brings some great features including:

  • Search! Now you can search all your SMS's and voicemails
  • Message list contact integration - no need to export contacts to Gmail to see contact names
  • Notification setup bug fixed. Now you can set up notification automatically
  • Bug fixes

Combined with the previous v3.3 update which brought Mango features (including the important fast-app switching, better notifications and pinnable new message), GoVoice feels like a pretty complete and solid Google Voice app for those who need it (we do since we have three different cell phone numbers, ahem and like free SMS).

Pick up GoVoice for free in the Marketplace here.

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This news will please those who use the social network, as a PR Spokesperson from Google Germany, Stefan Keuchel, has revealed that an official Google+ app is on the way to Windows Phone. Unfortunately no date or ETA was provided (see above translated tweet). 

While it's great to have an official stance on the status of such an app, which was desired since iOS received their client. It'll be interesting to see how this develops, as well as the possibility of more official Google products arriving on the Marketplace.

Stay tuned if you're a Google+ fan as we'll keep you posted on any further developments.

Source: @dominiksichling, via: WPSauce, MSICC

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For those of you who have Nextgen Reader (quite a few of you won a free license recently), you should be getting your version 2.5 update right about now. If not, you'll want to go check as it has some swanky new features on board, including a new "Featured" area which will be updated daily.

That "Featured" function is part of the new "Manage sources" area which allows you to quickly discover RSS feeds based on topic. So instead of just importing your Google Reader feeds or randomly searching for key terms, the app itself will suggest feeds based on various subjects, including Windows Phone, Microsoft, food, gaming, politics and more. It's really quite smart as it gets you easily started on using Google Reader right from your device by adding new feeds on the go. Other notable updates in v2.5 include:

  • New: Search articles inside all items, read items or starred items.
  • Around 20-30% faster sync.
  • Beautiful reading experience powered by Readability based on app theme.
  • Send multiple articles to read it later service.
  • Share multiple articles via mail.
  • Disabled https by default for downloading articles.
  • Several bug fixes and improvements.

As usual, it's a fairly significant update which brings a lot to the table and is the perfect app for you news junkies out there. Plus it's Metro UI to the extreme--no chrome here. Pick up Nextgen Reader here in the Marketplace for $2.49 or give the free trial a whirl to see what all the hoopla is about (it has 4.5 starts out of 600+ reviews, so it has to be good).

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Google has just published a new post on the official mobile blog detailing a redesigned Google Search app that is available on the Marketplace, which sports the following features:

  • Google Autocomplete: As you type in your search, our autocomplete feature offers search predictions that often match your intended search term making search entry easier and faster.
  • Voice Search: With our voice feature, you can avoid typing all together. Simply press the microphone and begin speaking your query.
  • My Location: With your permission, Google can use your device location to provide nearby results easily and accurately. For instance, a search for “coffee shops” quickly displays the nearest places you can go to for a cup of coffee.

This is available in English, Spanish, French, Italian, and German. Although it appears the app is only available in the U.S. You can download the Google Search app from the Marketplace.

Source: Google

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Although we're fans of Zune (or LastFM) on our Windows Phone, on occasion we get the request for a Google Music (music.google.com/) client. While we're not holding our breath for an official app from Google anytime soon, there's no reason why devs can't do it on their own.

For those who don't know, Google allows you to upload your entire music library to the cloud and gives you the ability to stream anywhere. It's not actually a bad idea as it allows you to backup your collection, free up hard disk space and easily download it again when needed. The service is free for your first 20,000 songs which should get your started (though uploading 20K songs may take some time). [Side note: We're really hoping Microsoft takes SkyDrive + Zune in this direction for Windows Phone 8 and the desktop OS].

Today, Gooroovster is now available on the Windows Phone Marketplace. The app goes for $3.99 which is on the high side but there is of course a free trial. The app has been in private beta for weeks though and initial feedback for the app has been very high, making this seemingly a great solution for those with Google Music as their primary music resource. (Beta testers will be getting one final update very soon to match the released version--kudos to the dev for that).

Allowing you stream via the Zune music player under lockscreen/background and access your entire library, the app is exactly what many have asked for as it even has a very Metro UI. For that, we're giving it our seal of approval.

Give Gooroovster a shot here in the Marketplace and submit feedback and requests via the UserVoice forum.

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And after ripping on Google for the last two posts, we decided it would be fun and ironic to mention that Google is now allowing multiple calendars to sync to your Windows Phone:

"We launched a few new features on Google Sync for our Windows Phone (7.5+) users. Multiple Calendars is a feature that lets you select which of your Google Calendars are synced to your device. Just navigate to m.google.com/sync on your phone’s browser and configure the calendars you would like to see. From that page, you can also configure which addresses you send mail as if you have custom addresses in Gmail. We’ve also improved search to look beyond the conversations that are stored locally on your device so that you are able to find more of your conversations, faster."

We've playing around with it for the last half hour and despite numerous syncs, we have yet to see our newly created calendar pushed to our phone. File that under "how the hell do you navigate Google Calendar" and/or "it's still rolling out". Your choice.  Let us know in comments if you got it to work.

Either way, it's nice to see Google still paying attention to Windows Phone, even if they still call it Windows Mobile on occasion. Hey, even our "Search server" function seems to be working again!

Source: Gmail (Google+)

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Google is watching every step you take

With the recent news of Google "streamlining" their privacy policies (Translation: data collected from their various Google services will now be pooled together for better advertising), there has been a bit of a backlash. Scratch that, outside of the bubble that is AndroidCentral, many are calling it the "end of do no evil". Why, just check this Bing News search for "Google" and "Privacy" to see what we mean.

So with that as a background, hearing this song parody from Tampa Bay's Q105 radio made us certainly chuckle. Maybe now is a good time to switch from Google to Live Mail? Speaking of, anyone remember Microsoft's 'Gmail Man' satire?

Source: Q105; via FX Shaw; Google image credit: World Under Watch Blogspot

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The Windows Live team have published an article on the official blog that'll help readers who are possibly considering to switch from Gmail to Hotmail for email and other cloud services. Should you be on the fence about leaving Google, and wish to take up Microsoft to host your e-life, there are only three simple steps you're required to take to achieve this goal.

1. Create a Hotmail account. A Hotmail/Live ID is required (name@hotmail.com/name@live.com) to use the web service, but there is no domain restriction. When signing up for an account (should you not already possess one) you are allowed to use your own personal domain for email.

2. Import your old messages from Gmail. Should you not wish to use an email client to do the job, a service such as TrueSwitch will work wonders moving across from Gmail.

3. Connect your Gmail account. You have now successfully set up your Hotmail account, but one more optional step is available. You can have Hotmail actively retrieve any future messages that you receive on your Gmail account by carrying out the following:

  • b. Click Sending/receiving email from other accounts.
  • c. Click Add an email account.
  • d. Provide your Gmail account details.

Rocking out Hotmail is arguably the best way, should you not be using Exchange of course, for Windows Phone email users, since improvements have been made to the service and it integrates seamlessly with all other Microsoft products.

Source: Windows Team Blog

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