Amazon’s Alexa gains support for Outlook calendars

Users of Amazon’s Alexa virtual assistant can now ask it questions about the contents of their Microsoft-hosted calendars. On Wednesday, the assistant gained the ability to interact with calendars from Outlook.com and Office 365, similar to how it works with Google Calendar.

Amazon didn’t make an announcement for the new feature. When asked about the change, a company spokesperson said that it was designed to only work with personal calendars.

That said, it was possible for me to connect my Office 365 calendar, which is provided through an enterprise subscription. When asked about what’s on my schedule, Alexa answered with the contents of my work calendar. It’s unclear if Amazon plans to continue supporting that functionality, and it may break at any time.

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Computerworld Cloud Computing

Meet Flock, a Slack rival that claims big productivity gains

Numerous Slack contenders have already thrown their hats into the enterprise-messaging ring, but Flock is hoping to win with hard numbers. According to Flock, not only does its software load 2.5 times faster than Slack on both desktop and mobile, but it also helps teams achieve productivity gains of at least 30 percent.

Originally launched in India roughly two years ago, the company announced its expansion into the U.S. market on Wednesday and revealed a customer list that includes big-name brands such as Whirlpool, Ricoh, Victorinox and Tim Horton’s.

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Network World Cloud Computing

WhatsApp gains 1,000,000,000 whippersnappers (and my lawn)

WhatsApp has one billion users. That’s how many active accounts it had last month, at least according to the Facebook subsidiary — an instant-messaging service for young persons (or so I’m told).

It won’t surprise you to know that Jan Koum, the Ukrainian-born CEO, is overjoyed. I dare say Mark Zuckerberg is also fairly happy.

Listen, kid: In my day, we made do with two tin cans, connected with taut twine. In IT Blogwatch, bloggers tut-tut about today’s youth. Not to mention: my lawn get off it)

Your humble blogwatcher curated these bloggy bits for your entertainment.
[Developing story: Updated 8:27 pm PT with more comment]

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Computerworld Cloud Computing