Government // Mobile & Wireless
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7/28/2011
10:47 AM
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Google Fashion Police Want You; Microsoft Mango Struts Stuff

Dear pcstud@aol.com: Google says you're emailing like it's 1999. Take a visual tour of Microsoft's "Mango" smartphone OS.

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Chances are, you had an AOL email address at some point. (It's OK: You didn't have a mullet. Did you?) A new Google campaign seeks to convince you that those email addresses are relics, just like the thousands of AOL sign-up discs now sitting in landfills. Google's new Email Intervention site encourages you to help friends and family stuck in an embarrassing email time warp. Hotmail or Yahoo email addresses? Also retro in the wrong way, says Google, as InformationWeek.com's Thomas Claburn reports.

As Claburn notes, it may be hard for IT vets to know whether to smile or cringe at a campaign that reminds us how often technology now bows to fashion. (Witness the black versus white Apple device case debate.)This Google campaign can't match the sheer genius of Apple's "PC Guy" riff. But it's funny enough that I suspect a Mac guy wrote it.

Microsoft, on the other hand, knows it has more than fashion problems on the mobile front. It has fallen far behind in the mobile device race, for reasons that have less to do with style than substance. The first Windows Phone 7 "Mango" unit surfaced in Japan this week. InformationWeek.com's Paul McDougall takes you on a tour of the OS update's 7 hottest features. Check them out and consider how Mango stacks up.

The initial Windows Phone 7 launch in fall 2010 didn't give Microsoft much competitive bling. As McDougall reports, Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer recently summed up the Windows Phone market share progress: "In a year, we've gone from very small to . . . very small." Mango gives Windows Phones multitasking, a catch up feature as compared to Android and Apple iOS phones. Will the whole makeover be enough? It's awfully late for Microsoft to be taking this trip down the runway.

Next time you're typing away on your mobile device, whether it be encased in black or white, you might want to be careful chatting about that ziti you walked away with after dinner at your uncle's house. The NSA will be using social media data to help track and profile organized crime members, InformationWeek.com's Liz Montalbano reports. Wonder what email addresses they're using.

Laurianne McLaughlin is editor-in-chief for InformationWeek.com. Follow her on Twitter at @lmclaughlin.

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