A burst of 10 links for you to chew over, as picked by the Technology team
Windows Phone 8.1 rumours emerge >> SuperSite for Windows
Paul Thurrott outlines various things he has heard (single-source) about Windows Phone 8.1. The one that seems to have people worked up is this:
No more Back button. Aping the iPhone navigation model, Microsoft will apparently remove the Back button from the Windows Phone hardware specification with 8.1. The Back button just doesn't make sense, I was told: Users navigate away from an app by pressing the Start button and then open a new app, just like they do on iPhone. And the "back stack" is ill-understood by users: Most don't realize what they're doing when they repeatedly hit the Back button.
Links to UX/UI studies of the use of the Back button welcomed.
Google Now: the tip of a very long spear >> John Battelle's Search Blog
These [Google Now] cards are extremely important to understanding where Google is heading with not only search, but with all of its various services (the card interface is now incorporated into Google's "knowledge graph" search results, Google+, Gmail, and Google Maps, among many others). First, the cards "know" things about me – most critically my location, but also my search history, my calendar and contacts, my browsing history, key links in my Gmail, and more. They show up based on what interests and needs that Google believes will be most important to me. In essence, they are very tangible expressions of Google's pivot from being a company that answers search queries, to being a company that anticipates your most important questions in real time, and answers them before you ask…
Google Now supplants the need to open an app by surfacing cards – cards that magically turn into just the information you need, when you need it – *without having to go to an app to get it.*
As Battelle points out, that has big implications.
Google embraces iOS to please developers >> CITEworld
In the provision of "backend as a service", aka BaaS:
Google could have just stuck with offering the backend services for Android. But there's good reason for it to add support for iOS. Most developers create apps at the very least for both iOS and Android. Making it easier for them to run both apps on Google services makes developers more likely to choose Google rather than a competitor.
Speaking of competitors, there are plenty in the space. The BaaS market blossomed over the past year but that caught the notice of the big cloud providers. Now Microsoft and to a lesser extent Amazon Web Services also offer backend services, in competition with the startups.