Net Briefs - Facebook, Google, IBM and More

Billion Dollar Baby

Facebook hit a major milestone. CEO Mark Zuckerberg reported that the social media network now boasts more than 1 billion monthly active users. To put that in perspective, that's approximately one-seventh of the world's population. The median age for users who signed up in the week before hitting the big number was 22, with the most users in the U.S., Mexico, Indonesia, Brazil and India. Some other fun facts were revealed as well, for instance, there have been 1.13 trillion Likes since the feature launched in 2009, 140.3 billion friend connections, 219 billion uploaded photos and 17 billion location-tagged posts.

Not Playing Around

In early October, Google announced that the Android Google Play store had officially passed 25 billion application installations. This is huge news, considering just 10 months ago the company finally passed 10 billion downloads, a number that took it three years to reach. Much to Apple's chagrin, surely, this giant leap speaks to the rapid growth of the Android ecosystem, especially the adoption of Android mobile devices by new consumers. More than 1 million Android smartphones are activated around the world every day, and in September, Google said that Android was currently on 500 million smartphones. That number is considerably higher than Apple's 400 million iPhone activations that were announced just a few days later.

Purified Big Data

Recently, IBM introduced the third big box to come from its PureSystems hardware family, which previously included PureFlex and PureApplication. The latest inductee is a massive system for big data analysis called the PureData System, which can be used to replace the old servers that customers typically use within their own data centers. PureData is built to manage petabytes of data and can handle as many as 100 databases. It performs analytics in just a matter of minutes (as opposed to whole hours), to help businesses better understand consumer purchases and other data-intensive tasks, including detecting credit card fraud. Primarily, it will look at transaction applications like ecommerce, customer analysis and analyzing operations.

The Traveling Cloud

With the Kindle Fire set to launch in Europe, Amazon is taking its Cloud Drive to the continent. Cloud Drive, for the uninitiated, is Amazon's virtual locker that allows customers to store their digital content (e.g. photos, music, video and documents) in the cloud to access on their tablets or computers. So far, it's come to Italy, Spain, Germany, France and the U.K. Like in the U.S., users will get five free GB of storage just for signing up, with paid plans starting at £6 or $8 a year for 20GB (with increasing plans following). And to throw a bone to U.S. users, Amazon has lowered prices back home, with the lowest tier plan selling for $10 a year for 20GB.

Put It On My Card

Google is rolling out a new service in the U.K. called AdWords Business Credit that gives credit to small- and medium-sized businesses looking to boost their online ad spend with Google AdWords. This release follows a test of a similar service with 1,400 U.S. companies over the last year, although this remains the first commercial iteration of the credit solution. In the U.S., 74 percent of those using the pilot version of the "credit card" now use it as their primary payment method for AdWords. Additionally, the U.K. launch will be followed with more invitations for U.S. businesses.

Box Brings Content... Everywhere

Cloud storage and collaboration platform provider, Box, has a brand new embeddable framework that lets developers integrate their Box accounts and information into a plethora of popular third-party enterprise applications, including those from NetSuite, Oracle, SugarCRM, Zendesk and more. The framework will take Box's collaboration and document management features, such as file preview, tasks, comments and search, into a wide array of outside partner and consumer applications. The company currently boasts 14 million-plus users, 140,000 of which are active businesses (with 92 percent of them being Fortune 500 companies). Now, Box can be integrated anywhere on the Web where users will need access to content, which includes intranets, extranets, forums, wikis and blogs (at no extra cost to Box customers).