Google Inbox Reinvents Email, Microsoft Garage Opens To All [tech News Digest]

Also, Apple Pay glitches, Windows 10 2FA, free Xbox Music, Simpsons World, and the reality of using Ello.

Google Reinvents Email With Inbox App

Google has unveiled Inbox, its attempt at reinventing email for the modern Internet user. Inbox is still just an email app which sends and receives the electronic mail all of us see too much of, but it presents those emails in a way Google believes better fits in with our current lifestyles.

Inbox sorts your emails into bundles as soon as they come in, highlights key information contained within each message, and lets you set reminders or hide an email for a later time or location. Further details of how Inbox works can be seen on the Official Google Blog.

Unfortunately, Inbox is initially being offered by invitation only. Google has sent out its first round of invites — supposedly to industry insiders and A-list tech journalists — with recipients able to invite other people. Impatient types can send an email to inbox@google.com to request their own invitation.

Microsoft Opens The Garage Idea Factory

microsoft-garage-graphic

Microsoft has opened its idea factory, The Garage, to the public. The Garage is an industrial space in Redmond, Washington, which has been open to Microsoft employees for six years. In that time, 3,000 employees have completed more than 10,000 projects, and Microsoft is now opening the space up to members of the public, at least online.

The Garage now has a dedicated space on Microsoft’s website. The idea is to open apps up to the public while they’re still works in progress. Microsoft gets free testing for possible future products, while members of the public get to feel like a valued part of the company rather than just customers to wring money from.

There are initially 16 apps available to try through The Garage, including games, a music creation tool, and an anonymous social network. Crucially, these apps aren’t just for Windows, with Android, Android Wear, iOS, and Xbox One apps included.

Apple Pay Users Experience Glitches

Apple’s mobile payments system, Apple Pay, which launched earlier this week alongside iOS 8.1, is experiencing some teething problems. Bank of America customers using Apple Pay, which lets iPhone users pay for goods using their iPhones, have been charged twice for some products they purchased in this way.

According to CNET, a Bank of America spokesperson promised, “All duplicates will be refunded, we apologize for the inconvenience and are correcting this immediately.” Apple glossed over the issue, stating, “Apple Pay is off to an amazing start and customers are loving the easy, secure and private way to pay.” PR is fun, eh.

Windows 10 Boasts 2FA

Microsoft has laid out its plans for baking tighter security measures into Windows 10. Two-factor authentication will be offered from the get-go, while Microsoft is working on an “architectural solution” to secure user access tokens. More security measures due to be introduced with Windows 10 are discussed on the Windows Business Blog.

Microsoft Kills Free Xbox Music Streaming

Microsoft is killing off the free version of its Xbox Music streaming service. The ad-supported tier of Xbox Music will cease to be on December 1, 2014, with Microsoft reasoning it’s “focusing Xbox Music to deliver the ultimate music purchase and subscription service experience for our customers.

Xbox Music will continue on as a paid service, with an Xbox Music Pass costing $10-a-month in the U.S., and more elsewhere. Which compares unfavorably to Spotify, which recently introduced family plans with reduced rates for additional subscribers.

Simpsons World Streams Every Episode

Fans of The Simpsons can now stream all of the episodes ever made online at Simpsons World… if they’re in the United States and subscribe to a cable package that includes FXX. Everyone else can apparently FXXX off.

The Reality Of Using Ello

And finally, we discover the reality of using Ello. Ello launched in March 2014 as an ad-free alternative to Facebook. It blew up in September when tech journalists decided they really liked this social network. Even our own Matthew Hughes got a little overexcited about Ello.

However, a month on from the big explosion in user numbers, and no one is really talking about Ello. This video from BuzzFeed may go some way to explaining why. Could it be that Facebook has succeeded because of all the extra elements Ello has stripped from the user experience? Yes, yes it could.

Your Views On Today’s Tech News

Is Google Inbox really that big of a deal? Is Microsoft sensible in opening up The Garage to all and sundry? Are you actively using Ello or are you, like me, still waiting for an invite?

Let us know your thoughts on the tech news of the day by posting to the comments section below. Because a healthy discussion is always welcome.

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