In Facebook Rooms, all content must relate to a single topic chosen by the person who created it.
Facebook’s Creative Labs team Oct. 23 launched its latest new app for iOS devices, called Rooms, which brings users familiar and unfamiliar with each other together in separate spaces around mutual interests.
A Facebook Room is a stream of comments, photos, and videos similar to Facebook Home, Twitter or Instagram’s feed, the difference being that everything must relate to a single topic chosen by the person who created it. Creators of Rooms and those who use them don’t have to use their real names.
It’s a throwback (Oct. 23 is, in fact, a Throwback Thursday) of sorts to the early days of the Internet, when people — man using pseudonyms — used IRC (Internet Relay Chat) chatrooms, listservs, and message boards to talk to each other.
Using pseudonyms is a major change of pace for Facebook, which has always required that people use their real names. Twitter allows fake names for accounts.
Rooms is also a directly competitive alternative to the types of real-time conversations Twitter and other social networks are able to provide.
Earlier this year, Facebook introduced Twitter-like “trending” topics that aggregate conversations about hot stories. It even started using hashtags to take users to special-topic pages; #ThrowBackThursday and #TBT are two examples.
Some of the Rooms that already have sprung up on Facebook involve trends in women’s shoes, soccer, fantasy football and baseball, cooking, music and a traditional Japanese game called Kendama — a favorite of Facebook employees.
Facebook Creative Labs is developing new-generation mobile apps as part of the company’s effort to grab people’s attention on their smartphones.
CEO and Co-founder Mark Zuckerberg announced back in 2012 that the social network would be making a much more concerted effort toward developing efficient and usable mobile applications as a major part of its future strategy. Rooms is one of those initiatives.
Rooms was made generally available Oct. 23 on iOS in the U.S., UK and some other English-speaking countries. The company didn’t reveal when app versions for Android, BlackBerry and Windows might be released.
Microsoft beat Wall Street estimates, with a boost from rising demand for the company’s business cloud computing offerings and improving consumer sales.
Microsoft’s bet on cloud computing continues to benefit the Redmond, Wash.-based software giant’s balance sheet.
The company announced today that it generated $23.2 billion in revenue during its fiscal 2015 first quarter, beating Wall Street analyst estimates of $22.02 billion. Net income for the quarter ended Sept. 30 jumped to $4.54 billion, or $0.54 per share, surpassing analyst expectations of $0.49 per share.
By comparison, Microsoft reported revenue of $18.53 billion, net income of $5.24 billion and earnings per share of $0.62 during the same period last year.
Integrating Nokia Devices and Services continues to drag on the company’s finances, to the tune of $1.14 billion, or 11 cents a share. This week, Microsoft began removing the Nokia name from marketing and its mobile offerings, despite a 10-year agreement allowing the use of the brand.
Chief Financial Officer Amy Hood noted that strong cloud revenue continues to improve the company’s bottom line. “We delivered a strong start to the year, with continued cloud momentum and meaningful progress across our device businesses,” she said in a statement.
Office 365, Azure and Dynamics CRM helped commercial cloud revenue rise by 128 percent during the quarter, compared with the same year-ago period, reported Microsoft. During an investor conference call, CEO Satya Nadella said that the first quarter marked the “fifth consecutive quarter of triple-digit growth” for its commercial cloud slate. Commercial Office 365 seats “nearly doubled” during the quarter, added Nadella, before revealing that “more than 60 percent” of Azure customers are using the company’s premium Azure services, including Enterprise Mobility Suite.
Demand for Microsoft’s server products and services, particularly SQL Server, System Center and Windows Server, helped improve sales by 13 percent. As a sign of improved Windows adoption among enterprises, volume licensing revenue experienced a 10 percent gain.
Nadella, fresh from inking a major cloud deal with IBM and unveiling an expansion of Azure’s global footprint, said in a statement that Microsoft is “innovating faster” and “engaging more deeply across the industry” to help drive growth. All told, sales in Microsoft’s Commercial segment sales grew by 10 percent to $12.28 billion.
The picture is even brighter on the consumer side. Devices and Consumer sales jumped 47 percent, to reach $10.96 billion in the first quarter.
Users keep flocking to Office 365 Home and Personal, the company’s cloud-enabled productivity software offerings, totaling more than 7 million subscribers. The company’s business-friendly tablet, the Surface Pro 3, helped Surface revenue reach $908 million.
Windows Phone hardware sales reached $2.6 billion in the first full quarter after the Nokia deal closed. Xbox sales (Xbox 360 and Xbox One) amounted to 2.4 million units during the quarter, a 102 percent improvement. Microsoft expects the $2.5 billion acquisition of Mojang, maker of the popular Minecraft video game, to wrap next month, revealed Nadella during the call.
“Customers are embracing our latest technologies from Surface Pro 3 and Office 365 to Azure and SQL Server,” said Microsoft’s Chief Operating Officer, Kevin Turner, in a statement.
The new systems, including the first powered by Intel Xeon chips, are optimized for such uses as application delivery and Web infrastructures.
Hewlett-Packard is adding to its lineup of highly dense and power-efficient Moonshot servers, including the first one to feature Xeon processors from Intel.
The company on Oct. 23 unveiled two new Moonshot compute modules and four new solutions optimized for specific workloads, including application delivery, video transcoding, Web infrastructure-in-a-box and managed Web hosting.
The new offerings are part of HP’s efforts to offer a broad range of Moonshot systems that are optimized for particular applications, and that are powered not only by x86-based chips from Intel and Advanced Micro Devices, but also by systems-on-a-chip (SoCs) built on ARM’s 64-bit ARMv8-A architecture.
The goal is to offer application-specific compute capabilities on a choice of platforms in small, power-efficient compute modules that increase the performance-per-watt available to customers, according to HP officials. The tech giant first introduced the idea of Moonshot in 2011, with much of the attention being drawn to officials’ promise to leverage ARM-based 64-bit chips.
So far, most of the Moonshot servers are powered by Intel processors, though HP in September began filling out its ARM-based server portfolio with Moonshot compute modules running on Applied Micro’s 64-bit X-Gene SoC and Texas Instruments’ 32-bit 66AK2Hx SoCs based on the Keystone architecture.
Moonshot systems are essentially compute cartridges or modules that fit into a 4.3U (7.5-inch) chassis. The modules share such components as storage, networking, cooling and management, which are housed in the chassis.
“What Moonshot has enabled is, rather than look at general-purpose processing—where you have one single type of processor that tries to deliver against all of your workload—you specialize the processor so that we only consume the amount of power or the amount of energy and the performance that we need specific to that workload,” Martin Fink, executive vice president and CTO at HP, said in September during the Citi 2014 Global Technology Conference. “By specializing the world, we have the ability to deliver much more compute power and doing it at a significantly lower energy envelope.”
Businesses are embracing the message, according to Gerald Kleyn, director of hyperscale server hardware RD at HP.
“When we can bring our customers specific solutions and talk about how those can change business results and bring new levels of performance … that really resonates with customers,” Kleyn told eWEEK.
HP is offering two Moonshot cartridges based on its new ProLiant m710 servers that are aimed at improving application delivery and video transcoding. The m710 is powered by Intel’s Xeon E3-1284L v3 processor, which integrates the chip maker’s Iris Pro Graphics P5200 GPU.
HP is working with Citrix Systems on the solution optimized for application delivery in an increasingly mobile and bring-your-own-device (BYOD) world, where more employees are doing more business on such devices as smartphones and tablets, according to Kleyn. It leverages Citrix’s XenApp technology, which enables workers to use their Microsoft Windows apps as secure mobile services in a virtual desktop environment. Employees can use whatever device they want, but the information is not kept on the device; instead, it’s stored behind the corporate firewall.