Microsoft introduced its cloud-based productivity suite, Office 365, in limited beta last year, giving small businesses access to always up-to-date versions of Microsoft Office, SharePoint Online, Exchange Online, and Lync Online from remote locations. According to Microsoft, the private beta was such a hit that the Redmond software company decided to open it up to the public, expanding Office 365 availability to millions more people in nearly twice as many countries and languages.
Just three short years ago, the announcement of a new Norton product would have been met with a "big whoop" from the enthusiast community. Some of you might still feel that way, but take it from us, Symantec seriously stepped up its game starting with the 2009 releases, and Norton has been faring well in our annual antivirus roundups ever since, including a 9 verdict awarded to Norton Internet Security 2011. If you want to see what's in store for next year's release, Symantec just made available Norton Internet Security and Norton Antivirus 2012 in beta form.
TweetDeck is one of the most popular desktop Twitter clients out there, and a new beta program is aiming to bring the app into the web. TweetDeck is preparing to open a limited beta test of the new HTML5 TweetDeck web app. The product will initially support Chrome, Firefox 3.6, Firefox 4 and Safari. Internet Explorer 9 and Opera support will be added later.
Experimenting with beta drivers isn't for the faint of heart, especially when it comes to videocards. After all, this is your pricey GPU we're talking about, and a poorly coded driver can wreak all kinds of havoc, from instability to artifacting, to even overheating if the fan doesn't kick on when it's supposed to. That said, if you're down for playing with pre-release drivers, Nvidia has made available its GeForce 270.51 driver set in beta form.
The Opera Software team on Thursday made available its next generation browser in beta form. Opera 11.10, or "Barracuda," as it's codenamed, jumps on the minimalistic UI bandwagon by introducing a streamlined interface. The Opera team is also talking up an enhanced Speed Dial that provides clearer previews and can dynamically show live content for websites.
In the gaming world it’s quite typical for a developer to tell the media they will ship “when it’s ready”, but another delay over at the Mozilla campus has pushed the Firefox 4 release out at least another month, and will likely pit the new browser up against some stiff competition from Internet Explorer 9 and Chrome 10 by the time it’s released. According to Christian Legnittom, Manager of Firefox releases, the final planned beta probably won’t ship for several more days while they try to iron out at least five major bugs on their “hard” blocker list.
Playing with beta drivers comes with certain risks -- like instability -- but can also be rewarding in not always obvious ways. Those who went and snagged Nvidia's 266.7x beta driver for GeForce videocards, for example, uncovered a couple of interesting lines that seem to indicate Nvidia is on the verge of releasing at least two new graphics cards, including a dual-GPU model. More details after the jump.
Mozilla continues to iron out bugs and tweak the underlying code of its upcoming Firefox 4 browser, and if you want to see where things are at, you can now download Firefox 4 beta 10. This 10th beta focuses mainly on stability and includes the following handful of changes:
Compatibility and stability improvements when using Adobe Flash on Mac OS X
Improvements in memory usage
Support for a graphics driver blacklist to improve stability
See here for a complete list of changes and bug fixes since the last beta, and if you're brand new to Firefox 4, see here for the complete feature-set.
Mozilla's getting close to unleashing a Release Candidate version of Firefox 4, but in the meantime, you can play around with the latest beta version, the browser maker announced in a blog post.
"The latest Firefox 4 Beta is available to test the cool features and improvements in the next version of Firefox," Mozilla said. "As we continue to refine features and performance in Firefox 4 Beta, this release includes faster start-up time, bookmarking, and makes complex animations smoother."
The beta also gives longtime Firefox users some time to get used to the new look, which now bears a strong resemblance to Google's Chrome browser. Underneath the hood, Firefox 4 boasts a boatload of changes and additions, including HTML5 support, multi-touch support, WebM and HD video, full hardware acceleration, and more.