Microsoft rolls out Office 365 for Government, notes privacy concerns

Not only is Microsoft serious about the cloud, but it’s also serious about keeping its customers in the government happy.Today the company announced a new version of its cloud-based document software suite Office 365 for Government. Essentially, government version does everything its consumer counterpart does, including Exchange, Lync, SharePoint, Office Professional Plus, and more.”We also know that security and privacy play a big role in any decision to move to the cloud,” Microsoft wrote in a blog post announcing the new version. “Today, Office 365 supports the most rigorous global and regional standards such as ISO 27001, SAS70 Type II, EU Safe Harbor, EU Model Clauses, the US Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA), the US Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA), and the US Federal Information Security Management Act (FISMA).”By September, Microsoft said it plans to add support for IPv6 on Office 365 as well as support for Criminal Justice Information Security (CJIS) policies.It’s in Microsoft’s best interests to start scaling out its Cloud based document service to compete with the likes of web-based Google Apps. VentureBeat’s Sean Ludwig previously pointed out that the service was perfect for smaller businesses, so targeting the government is a big step up. Also, the service will need to remain online without fail.More importantly, Microsoft probably wants to hold on to all those government services that use the latest non-connected version of Office. If it can prove to the government that it’s a secure platform for which to share and collaborate on important documents, it could very well carry over to the business sector.

Why flash in the cloud will shake up enterprise storage

The big news in storage lately is that EMC is acquiring XtremIO. XtremIO is crafting a next-generation storage array, purpose built for 100% solid-state flash memory. EMC is the market leader in the $30 billion global market for disk-based storage. In acquiring a nascent, unabashedly competitive product to its existing mainstay disk-based storage product line, EMC is foreshadowing the impending flash revolution in data center storage.

Does console have a future?

While recent headlines such as “Game sales crash!” and “Games retail collapses!” don’t paint a rosy picture, I believe the report of the death of console games is an exaggeration. Yet an uncertain future faces those console games companies that choose not to evolve rapidly.

Bay Area companies get another nonstop flight to Capitol Hill

San Francisco is going from zero non-stop flights to Washington National Airport to two non-stops this summer. Virgin America announced today that it will start its service to the airport just a few miles from Capitol Hill on August 14.  United started service on the route two weeks ago. Flights from San Francisco to Washington National had been illegal for more than 40 years. Virgin America got a much coveted exemption to the airport’s perimeter rule.

Can this app cure depression?

It may be time to sack your therapist. The researchers conducting the world’s first clinical study on the use of smartphone apps to treat depression have given VentureBeat a preview of the results. 73.5 percent of depressed participants who used an application called Viary, were no longer considered to be depressed by the end of the study.

Badgeville’s Kris Duggan: Six frameworks can gamify employee and customer engagement (interview)

Brands have embraced “gamification,” or using game-like behavior in non-game applications, as a way to engage their audiences. That is why gamification vendor Badgeville has more than 165 customers and is announcing today that it has raised $25 million in a new round of funding. Kris Duggan, chief executive of Badgeville, says gamification will let brands engage and retain their audiences. It also enables companies to inspire employees to collaborate or compete. Badgeville has a “behavior platform” to enable companies to measure and influence behavior by using game techniques. You can give salespeople rewards for hitting targets. Companies can embed the platform in web, mobile, social, and enterprise applications. Duggan’s team focuses on six “frameworks,” or templates that enable companies to improve behavior. Those include core gamification programs for web sites; programs for rewarding community experts; competitive pyramids; gentle guides for completing tasks such as tutorials; incentives for collaboration; and challenges to create competition with company departments. We caught up with Duggan for an interview on gamification. Here is an edited transcript.