Technology News

Technology News
We are here to provide the latest news about different technologies.

Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Facebook Introduces Express Wifi to Offer Internet Connectivity in Remote Locations

Facebook Introduces Express Wifi to Offer Internet Connectivity in Remote Locations
After the controversy of net neutrality, the social media giant ‘Facebook’ has now unveiled a new form of innovation that expands internet connectivity across India. Known as ‘Express Wifi’, the initiative primarily focuses on providing high quality internet to rural areas in the country; granting users with the privilege to access internet seamlessly. The company’s page states that, currently, the Express Wifi is live in India and it’s working alongside the country’s ISPs, telecom carriers and local entrepreneurs.

Although, Facebook has not yet revealed any specific locations or the names of its partners, a spokesperson confirmed that ‘Express Wifi’ is being effectively tested with public Wifi deployments in various locations. He further said that, to access internet on the Express Wifi Network, users will need to purchase affordable and fast data packs via digital vouchers.

Earlier in 2014, the company had launched the in alliance with the Reliance Communications. Very similar to Express Wifi, the initiative was mainly intended to offer basic internet access to Indian users. But, soon after its launch, critics from across the country interdicted the new initiative stating that it violated the principle of net neutrality. Net neutrality is a principle that supports the idea of treating all internet traffic equally.

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Facebook India revenues jump 43%

Facebook reported a 43% jump in its revenues in India for the year ended March as marketers in the country continue to increase advertising spends on digital media, according to filings with the registrar of companies.

The social network major posted Rs 177 crore in revenues, at Rs 16 per user, for FY16 against Rs 123 crore at Rs 9 per user in the previous year. Its net profit doubled to Rs 31 crore from Rs 16 crore during the period.

India is already the second-largest market for Facebook outside the United States, where it earned Rs 610 per user, and there is a huge potential for growth given the rapid expansion of mobile data usage in the country.

Less developed markets such as India lag behind in consumers’ use of digital devices, and brands have been slower to embrace digital media. Traditional media still secures the bulk of advertising budgets in the country.

But most marketers have increased advertising spends on digital media, particularly in urban areas where the infrastructure supports Wi-Fi and affordable mobile connections, media insiders said. Google attracted most of the spends, they said.

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Monday, November 28, 2016

Facebook tests 'Express Wifi' in India

Facebook tests 'Express Wifi' in India
Months after it received flak for allegedly violating net neutrality with Free Basics, social networking giant Facebook is now testing a new model for public Wi-Fi deployments for offering quality internet access in rural parts of the country.

According to Facebook's page, the company's Express Wifi is live in India and it is "working with carriers, internet service providers and local entrepreneurs to help expand connectivity to underserved locations around the world". It is expanding to other regions soon.

However, Facebook did not indicate if the Wi-Fi would provide limited access to a few websites, like its Free Basics, or full access.

Express Wifi would empower local entrepreneurs to help provide quality internet access to their neighbours and make a steady income, it said. "Working with local internet service providers or mobile operators, they are able to use software provided by Facebook to connect their communities."

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Sunday, November 27, 2016

E-commerce firms will have to deduct TCS on payments to suppliers

The model GST law has proposed significant changes in taxation of e-commerce business wherein firms like Flipkart and Snapdeal will have to deduct TCS (tax collected at source) while making payments to their suppliers.

Explaining the changes in the provision, experts said the proposal will increase the compliance burden on e-commerce operators as they will have to deduct 2% TCS and deposit it with the government.

The measure, Nangia & Co Director Rajat Mohan said, will not increase the incidence of taxation on consumers as the supplier will get tax credit for the TCS.

The model GST law provides for 1% TCS and a similar amount will have to be levied for inter-state sale of goods under the GST.

Mohan further said in case of return of goods by the consumer the e-commerce companies will not have to deduct TCS as there is no actual sale.

The draft model GST law, however, did not provide any definition of aggregators saying that that the government would later come out with a notification specifying which type of businesses would be covered under the word 'aggregator'.

Aggregators mainly include Ola, Uber, UrbanClap which works as a platform for providing transport and other services. The TCS provision will not apply on aggregators.

The E-commerce companies will also have to file returns on the TCS deductions. The model law has defined 'electronic commerce' as supply of goods or services including digital products over electronic network.

'Electronic commerce operator' would mean those persons who own, operate or manage digital or electronic facility or platform for electronic commerce.

Thursday, November 24, 2016

Visa, Mastercard raise concerns on Paytm App PoS

Payment network majors Visa and Mastercard have raised concerns over Noida-based Paytm's latest launch of POS (point of sale) feature in their app which enables merchants to accept payments from users by putting in their card details onto the vendor's smartphones.

Senior executives at payments companies however have raised a red flag and said security issues like possible misuse of user's card data is a glaring problem with the new feature.

Questions are also being raised around data being used to make international payments and information being sold to various third party firms after Thursday's announcement by Paytm. The digital payments firm has been one of the biggest beneficiaries after the Indian government demonetised high currency notes two weeks ago.

People aware of the development said Mastercard has asked the Vijay Shekhar Sharma-led company to withdraw the service.

"Mastercard and other network players have raised concerns on the solution launched by Paytm from several perspectives including safety and security," a spokesperson from the company said in an emailed response to TOI.

As per a senior executive in Visa, Paytm did not carry out necessary certifications so that users can safely pay to merchants without any breach of data security. "We have told them that until certification is done, this process has several issues," a person in the know of the developments said while requesting anonymity.

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Monday, November 21, 2016

Instagram launches live video for Stories, disappearing photos & videos in direct messages

Instagram launches live video for Stories, disappearing photos & videos in direct messages
After a tease earlier this month, Instagram today announced its new live video functionality available within the app’s Stories feature. The app also gets disappearing photos and videos within direct messages including group chats.
In August, we introduced Instagram Stories as a way to share all the moments of your day, not just the ones you want to keep on your profile. We’ve seen stories open up a new side of what people share on Instagram, and now over 100 million people use it every day. With today’s announcement, you’ll soon have two more ways to share freely and in the moment.
You can easily start live streaming by swiping right from your feed to open the camera where you’ll find a new “Start Live Video” button.
Instagram notes in its blog post announcing the new feature that “your friends may get a notification when you go live so they can tune in. While you’re live, you can pin a comment for everyone to see or turn comments off altogether.”

Friday, November 18, 2016

Facebook authorizes a $6B stock buyback

Facebook authorizes a $6B stock buyback
Facebook today said it is authorizing a $6 billion stock buyback that will go into effect in the first quarter next year.

Facebook in its last earnings call also said that its growth would likely slow as a result of the company reaching its maximum advertising load. While Facebook has historically grown at a very fast clip, the company is now in a position that it needs to find additional ways to create value for investors beyond just trying to expand its user base and gather more eyeballs to put ads in front of.

For Facebook, keeping control of the company doesn’t necessarily seem like an issue. Earlier this year, Facebook issued a new class of stock that would essentially keep Mark Zuckerberg in control of the company, enabling him to outmaneuver any kind of heavy pressure from Wall Street. That means Facebook can essentially continue to make long-term plays — while that may be to the chagrin of industry watchers and investors. However, share repurchases can sometimes be useful for reducing the overall amount of outstanding shares.

Companies can authorize a share repurchase for a number of reasons. For one, it represents an opportunity for the company to return value to shareholders (the company can also issue a dividend), which may be agitating the company to do something in order to build up goodwill with Wall Street. A near-term buyback can buy Facebook time to keep pressure off the company while investing in longer-term plays, such as growing its other platforms like Instagram and WhatsApp and investing in virtual reality.

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Thursday, November 17, 2016

LinkedIn is now being blocked in Russia

Russia's communications regulator has started to block LinkedIn in the country after a court ruling found the firm guilty of violating data laws. 

Roskomnadzor issued a short statement that cited the August decision of the Moscow District Court to block LinkedIn to protect Russian internet users' data. The ruling was upheld by Moscow city court on Nov. 10. 

In a statement to Mashable, LinkedIn confirmed the block: 

“LinkedIn’s vision is to create economic opportunity for the entire global workforce. We are starting to hear from members in Russia that they can no longer access LinkedIn," a spokesperson said. 

"Roskomnadzor's action to block LinkedIn denies access to the millions of members we have in Russia and the companies that use LinkedIn to grow their businesses. We remain interested in a meeting with Roskomnadzor to discuss their data localization request.” 

LinkedIn, which is currently being acquired by Microsoft and has more than 6 million registered users in Russia, attempted a last-minute meeting with Russian regulators last Friday to hold off the ban.

Google Adds Smart Scrolling To Mobile Maps

Google Adds Smart Scrolling To Mobile Maps
Google has given developers more control over the way scrolling is handled on sites with embedded maps.

Writing about the changes on the Google Geo Developers blog, Elena Kelareva, Product Manager, Google Maps APIs, said that as users are more likely to be viewing websites on mobile devices than on a desktop or laptop, the Google developers have been working on changes to the way maps react when users scroll:

"Mobile web users often get frustrated when trying to scroll the page, but an embedded map captures their swipe and pans the map instead. This can even lead to users getting stuck on the map and having to reload the page in order to get back to the rest of the page."

"Today we're introducing intuitive scrolling for sites with embedded maps and making the full-screen control visible by default on mobile devices. This should give your users a more intuitive and less frustrating map interaction experience on mobile browsers."

In practical terms, a new gesture Handling option has been added to the Google Maps JavaScript API. This setting controls how touch gestures on the map are handled. This does not extend to changing the gesture handling mode for Street View; these options only affect the way gestures are handled by the map.

Wednesday, November 16, 2016

Facebook Messenger adds support for Android Auto voice commands

Facebook Messenger adds support for Android Auto voice commands
Following a major update to Android Auto last week, there is now a growing ecosystem for the car dashboard OS. Facebook is the latest partner by adding Auto integration into the Messenger app with drivers being able to easily and safely message while on the road. The integration simply requires having the regular Facebook Messenger appinstalled on an Android device. It will be accessible through the on-phone Auto experience or be synced to a dashboard unit. Users will be able to listen to and reply to messages using voice commands.

Messenger notifications feature the sender’s profile image, name, and a play icon to have messages read aloud. Underneath, there is a convenient “I’m driving right now” button to quickly send that message as a quickly reply while driving.

The new integration also allows for the system-level Auto voice commands to be used to start a new Facebook message or reply to existing notifications. Hopefully, following the addition of Auto integration, Facebook will support regular ‘Ok, Google’ voice commands to send messages through the Google app and with Assistant.

Last week, Logitech also announced Bluetooth car mounts that allow for Auto to launch immediately when in a car and close automatically when exiting. The addition of a major partner like Facebook will surely make Auto more appealing to use.

Google's $129 WiFi smart router

Google's $129 WiFi smart router is now available to pre-order

At its hardware launch event last month, Google unveiled Wifi, a smart router that can pair up with a bunch more to offer strong and seamless wireless internet connectivity across your entire home.

The router promises quick and easy setup, and pairs with an app to let you share your WiFi password with guests, prioritize bandwidth for specific devices and use parental controls to restrict access at bedtime.

If you’re in the US, you can now pre-order Google WiFi from the company’s online store; $129 nets you a single device and $300 scores you a 3-pack (good for spaces between 3,000 and 4,500 sq. ft.).

It’ll also become available at Amazon, Best Buy and Walmart subsequently, and ship next month.

Friday, November 11, 2016

WhatsApp is rolling out two-step verification for Android and Windows

WhatsApp is rolling out two-step verification for its users with the latest beta update. The feature is available in the most recent beta version (2.16.341 and higher) For Android and according to MS Power User, the feature is also working on the Windows Phone beta app. Once enabled, the app prompts the user for a static six-digit code every time a new phone tries to access WhatsApp with the registered number.

WhatsApp has been rumoured to introduce two-factor authentication for many months now and the feature has finally gone live for beta users. The feature can be enabled by heading over to Account Settings, where a new option called Two-step verification has just appeared.

Tapping on Two-step verification asks the user to enable the feature. Once enabled, user will have to enter a 6-digit passcode that will be asked each time he/she tries to register their number with WhatsApp. The setup also asks for an alternate email address, the one needed for resetting user password.

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Google Chrome crosses 2 billion active installs

Google Chrome crosses 2 billion active installs
In May 2015, Chrome had over 1 billion users across the world, and has added the second billion in about a year and half.

Google's Chrome browser has garnered 2 billion active installs across all platforms, said Darin Fisher, VP Chrome Engineering at Google. Speaking at the Google Chrome Dev Summit conference yesterday, he announced this landmark feat for arguably the most popular Internet browser right now. Active installs differ from active users - installs reflect users who have installed Chrome, but may or may not be using it as the primary web browser. Meanwhile, active users reflects those who have Chrome as their primary web browser. The figure for active users is bound to lower, especially on mobile phones, where manufacturers such as Apple make their own browsers available. Chrome has a higher market share with Android smartphones, being pre installed with every device.

“I wanted to make this point that there are a lot of Chrome browsers out there,” stated Fisher. “What’s exciting about this to you all is that when you think about building for the web, there’ a lot of browsers out there that implement the latest web standards — that implement the latest and greatest web features,” he observed. The 2-billion active install landmark is the most recent milestone reached by the company. In 2015, the company had announced that there were one billion users for each of Google's core services such as Search, Chrome, Android, and YouTube. Gmail lagged slightly behind at 900 million users every month.

Tuesday, November 8, 2016

Use your debit or credit card to pay GST online

You could soon use your debit or credit card to pay GST online

A new and simpler portal for the incoming Goods and Services Tax regime went live today that will enable easy filing of returns and tax payments through credit/debit cards and other modes.

As much as 60 per cent of the software needed to run GST is ready and GSTN - the company building the gigantic infrastructure and IT backbone for it, made the portal live for migrating existing tax payers.

It will test the software for integrating a welter of state and central levies before the 'one market, one rate' tax model comes into being from April next year.

GSTN Chairman Navin Kumar said migrating more than 65 lakh VAT payers, about 20 lakh service tax payers and about 3-4 lakh central excise duty payers to a new portal has started.

A provisional identification number, called GSTIN for the assesses who have moved to the new portal is being generated, Kumar told PTI.

New registrations under GST will start from April 2017.

Monday, November 7, 2016

WhatsApp is testing a clone of Snapchat

WhatsApp is testing a clone of Snapchat Stories, called Status

WhatsApp is testing a clone of Snapchat Stories, called Status
Facebook-owned messaging app WhatsApp is experimenting with a new Status feature that lets users share mood-setting pictures and videos overlaid with other custom elements such as emoji, with the content disappearing 24 hours after it’s shared so basically a copy of Snapchat Stories.

The test feature was spotted on Friday by BGR India which says Status sharing is only currently available to registered public beta testers of WhatsApp who are using a rooted Android or iOS device.

We’ve reached out to WhatsApp with questions and will update this story with any response.

In the Android version of the beta the main WhatsApp message screen now has a tab called ‘Status’, sitting between ‘Chats’ on the left and ‘Calls’ on the right. And while it’s always been possible to set a status message in WhatsApp, which is visible when someone views your profile, the new Status tab does not replace that traditional status message; rather it’s a whole additional channel aimed at encouraging users to share ephemeral and primarily visual content with their friends.

As with Snapchat Stories, once a user has snapped a photo or recorded a video to share within this channel they are offered a range of editing tools to augment the content — such as by drawing on a colorful scribble or adding and positioning emoji. Status also lets users add a caption to further explain whatever they’re posting. A send button shares the Status with the user’s WhatsApp contacts.

Saturday, November 5, 2016

Microsoft promises smaller Windows 10 upgrades

 Microsoft promises smaller Windows 10 upgrades
Microsoft today promised it will reduce the size of Windows 10 "feature updates," the upgrades the company issues once or twice a year.

"One of the biggest community and customer benefits of UUP is the reduction you'll see in download size on PCs," said Bill Karagounis, director of program management, in a post to a company blog Friday.

UUP stands for "Unified Update Platform," Microsoft's name for its new update delivery technologies.

So far, all Windows 10 feature updates have been issued as full replacements -- an OS re-install -- with resulting downloads of 3GB to 4GB. That will continue with the next refresh, which last month Microsoft dubbed Creators Update, that is expected in March 2017.

The one after Creators Update, however, should be more than a third smaller, said Karagounis, because UUP will deliver only "differential" updates. "A differential download package contains only the changes that have been made since the last time you updated your device, rather than a full build," Karagounis said.

Change-only updates are often called "delta" updates.

UUP will also shift some of the update evaluation process -- deciding what a device requires, if anything -- from the PC to Microsoft's Windows Update service. "This will lead to faster checks for update operations," Karagounis added.

Microsoft will begin using UUP to distribute new builds to Windows Insider participants' PCs later this year, in line with the company's practice of trying new technologies on the several million testers before offering them to the general Windows 10 population.

Although Microsoft has pledged to issue two Windows 10 feature updates in 2017, it has neither named nor scheduled the post-Creators update that will first use UUP.

Friday, November 4, 2016

Pokemon Go is making it much easier

Pokemon Go is making it much easier to catch all the Pokemon and players love it

Just a day after launching a big new update to Pokemon Go that finally brought some much-requested new features to the game, developer Niantic is back at it again with some minor tweaks that players already seem to love.

That's good, because even the hardest-core players are starting to get frustrated with the game.

The two biggest changes, per the official Pokemon Go Twitter account, are:
Pidgey and Rattata - two of the very most common Pokemon in the whole game - will no longer hatch from eggs. On the same note, the relatively common Eevee will only hatch from eggs that 5 kilometers of walking to hatch, where before it would appear in 10 kilometer eggs.

"You may encounter other Pokemon where Pidgey, Rattata, and Zubat were previously more commonly found," Niantic says. That means you'll find way fewer of those common Pokemon in the wild, and theoretically more rare and desirable monsters.

In aggregate, Niantic is addressing one of the biggest complaints with the game: It's way too easy to find or hatch certain Pokemon in the course of everyday playing, but way too difficult to find those last few that you may be missing.

Mixing it up and shaking around where Pokemon are located will ultimately make it easier and more fun to catch 'em all.

Over on the Pokemon Go "subreddit" community on Reddit, players are already applauding the change, calling it "proof that we are being heard." That's good news, as Niantic has so far been slow to address the steady decline of players from the game by adding new features and addressing old annoyances.

Professor Willow has discovered that you may encounter other Pokemon where Pidgey, Rattata, and Zubat were previously more commonly found.

Stay tuned for more Latest Web Technology News Updates.

Thursday, November 3, 2016

Airtel will not follow Jio, says no to free voice calls

Airtel will not follow Jio, says no to free voice calls
The big-bang entry of Mukesh Ambani's Reliance Jio has shaken the mobile industry and prompted the existing players to opt for widespread tariff revisions. Airtel has also been rationalising plans after the entry of Jio, but Gopal Vittal, CEO of the country's biggest operator, says that the company will never follow Jio and give free voice across its offerings."More than 80% of the industry's revenue still comes from voice... Voice can never be made free for customers who do not use data," Vittal tells TOI in an interview:

How strong is Airtel in terms of spectrum holdings?

Airtel will not follow Jio, says no to free voice calls
If you look at the last five years and if you look at today , we now have a 3G layer across every circle, and in several circles we have two carriers of 3G. We also have a 4G layer of 1,800 MHz across circles. Out of 22 circles, we also have capacity spectrum of 2,300 MHz in 19 circles. So spectrum-wise, we are very well positioned for the next five-to-seven years.

700 MHz saw no bidding where industry had complained of high pricing. Do you think there is a need for price rationalisation?

We had a difference of opinion regarding 700 MHz which we felt was unaffordable. I think the pricing would have to come down to generate interest in this band. Secondly , the infrastructure is still nascent. It has taken five years for 2300 MHz band to develop.

How do you see competitive landscape after Jio's entry?

Pricing will come under a lot of pressure. They (Jio) are currently doing free stuff, they have announced some of their tariff plans, and some of that will compress pricing.

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Amazon claims ahead of Flipkart this Festivals

Amazon claims top spot in festive sales, says ahead of Flipkart

Amazon claims ahead of Flipkart this Festivals
Amazon India has said the just concluded festive month of October was 2.7 times bigger for the company in terms of number of units sold than the same month last year, an indication both that the retail sentiments are improving and that Amazon's big investments in India are paying off.
Amazon did not provide a comparison for the festive seasons in the two years.Given that Diwali was in mid-November last year, an October-to-October comparison will likely exaggerate the growth for this year.

The company also said that during the five days of Dussehra sales in the first week of October, Amazon was consistently ahead of rival Flipkart in both desktop and mobile web visits. Amazon's desktop visits were 1122% (percentages are different for different days) higher than Flipkart's, while its mobile web visits were 40-58% higher than Flipkart's, as per data from web analytics firm SimilarWeb.

Amazon claims ahead of Flipkart this FestivalsAmazon also saw 16-72% more app downloads than Flipkart, according to the app download tracking platform App Annie.

But Flipkart still has a much bigger base of downloaded apps, and given that most purchases (more than 70%) happen on mobile apps, FIipkart likely saw much bigger overall sales. Amazon, however, is catching up on the app download front. It crossed the 5 crore app down load mark on the Google Play store in October. Flipkart's overall installed app base is around 8 crore. Soon after the Dussehra sale, Flipkart had said it sold 15.5 million units during the sale period, while Amazon said it sold 15 million.

Wednesday, November 2, 2016

Microsoft stops sales of Windows 7 Professional to OEMs

Microsoft stops sales of Windows 7 Professional to OEMs
Microsoft today quietly put an end to sales of Windows 7 licenses to computer makers, marking a major milestone for the seven-year-old OS.

According to Microsoft's rules, the Redmond, Wash. company stopped selling Windows 7 Professional or any version of Windows 8.1 to OEMs (original equipment manufacturers) as of Oct. 31.

The end of Windows 7 and Windows 8.1 left only Windows 10 as a long-term choice for OEMs that pre-load Windows on their wares.

The original end-of-sales deadline for Windows 7 Professional was to be Oct. 31, 2014 -- two years after the launch of Windows 8 -- but early that year Microsoft broke with practice and only called for an end to consumer systems. It left open the cut-off for Windows 7 Professional, saying it would give a one-year warning before it demanded that OEMs stop selling PCs with that edition.

Microsoft issued that warning a year ago.

Organizations with enterprise licensing agreements and Software Assurance -- the annuity-like program that provides additional rights -- may continue to purchase new PCs, then downgrade the OS from the already-installed Windows 10 to Windows 7 if they want to keep using the older edition.

And new Windows 7 Professional PCs won't vanish immediately; OEMs will be allowed to use what licenses they have in stock.

For example, Dell's online store today still listed 17 different notebook configurations equipped with Windows 7 Professional. The same goes for smaller computer sellers, like Puget Systems, an Auburn, Wash. custom PC maker: Such shops can continue to build new Windows 7 Professional PCs until their supply of licenses dries up.

Microsoft pulled the plug on Windows 7 even though it remains the most popular operating system on the planet. Windows 7 has lost about a fifth of its user share since the mid-2015 launch of Windows 10, but according to U.S. analytics vendor Net Applications, it powered 48% of all personal computers in October, more than twice Windows 10's share.

Windows 7 support is to continue until January 2020, giving users just over three years to migrate to another operating system.