Tag Archive: Apps



Ride-sharing company Uber on Friday announced the launch of its “biggest” ‘Greenlight Center’ in India in Bengaluru, aimed to serve as a one-stop solution for driver-partners’ needs.

The 15,000-square feet facility is dedicated to driver-partners in Bengaluru for best-in-class customer service and support, the company said in a release.

It said from new driver sign ups to offering subsidised services for existing driver partners, the centre acts as a one-stop solution for all their needs. The centre was launched in the presence of Dr. B Basavaraju, Karnataka Principal Secretary of Transport.

“Through the Greenlight Centre, we are offering in-person assistance to more than 4,000 driver-partners a week,” Uber South India General Manager Christian Freese said.

“We’re continuing to invest in our in-person locations and have launched three other facilities at the Devanahalli, Yeshwantpur, and HBR,” he said.

The new facility is specially designed to meet the needs of drivers, with features like: space for a team of Uber Experts, who will help new drivers get signed up and address any questions current partners have along the way.

Also, UberBazaar offers driver partners several benefits on new vehicles, vehicle maintenance, health benefits, financial planning, and many more services and dedicated training area for driver partners to learn about the app, among others, the release said.

 

Source : (gadgets.ndtv.com)

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Facebook is gearing up to make money from WhatsApp, the messaging service used by more than a billion people every day

WhatsApp will be testing new features to make it easier for people to communicate with businesses they want to reach on WhatsApp, the messaging service said in a blog post.

“We’re building and testing new tools via a free WhatsApp Business app for small companies and an enterprise solution for bigger companies operating at a large scale with a global base of customers, like airlines, e-commerce sites, and banks,” according to the blog post.

WhatsApp has already started a pilot program that would feature a green badge next to a business contact, indicating that the business was verified by the messaging service.

“We do intend on charging businesses in the future,” Chief Operating Officer Matt Idema told the Wall Street Journal in an interview.

Reuters had reported in March that a potential revenue source for WhatsApp was to charge businesses that want to contact customers, citing company documents.

Started in 2009, WhatsApp was acquired by Facebook for an eye-popping $22 billion in 2014. While WhatsApp had little revenue at the time of the deal, the purchase price was slightly more than the market value of Sony Corp.

Facebook has not focused on WhatsApp so far. The social network had started showing ads inside its Messenger app in July to further monetise the chat service.

Idema declined to describe the paid features or say when they would make their debut, according to the WSJ report. “We don’t have the details of monetisation figured out,” he told the Journal.

” We’ll be listening carefully to feedback during our test phase and keeping people informed as we make these tools more widely available,” WhatsApp said in the blog post.

 

 

Source : (gadgets.ndtv.com)


Netflix on Monday said it has bought comics publisher Millarworld, bringing on board renowned comic book writer Mark Millar and a host of character franchises it can mine for TV shows and movies.

It is the first acquisition by Netflix, the 20-year-old streaming-video pioneer that is building a library of original series and films in a bid to hook new customers around the world.

Two of Millarworld’s best-known comics, Kick-Ass and Kingsman, are not part of the deal, whose terms Netflix did not disclose.

The purchase of a character stable mimics the strategy of Walt Disney. Disney bought Marvel Studios in 2009 and has churned out blockbuster movies, TV series and toys based on its superheroes. Some Marvel shows run on Netflix.

Mark Millar, a Scottish writer and former Marvel employee, runs Millarworld with his wife, Lucy.

Three of Millarworld’s franchises – Wanted, Kick-Ass and Kingsman – have been adapted into films that have taken in nearly $913 million combined at global box offices.

Although Kick-Ass and Kingsman are not part of the deal, it does bring Netflix a range of other franchises across genres from science fiction to fantasy, plus superheroes and real-world characters.

“Mark is as close as you can get to a modern-day Stan Lee,” Netflix’s chief content officer, Ted Sarandos, said in a statement, referring to the 94-year-old creator of comic book franchises such as Spider-Man, Avengers and X-Men.

Millar spent eight years at Marvel, where he developed comic books and story lines that resulted in movies such as Logan and Captain America: Civil War.

It is unclear if Netflix will spend the sums Marvel does on its movies, which can cost up to $250 million. Netflix’s development has focused on TV series and smaller budget movies, but it is moving toward big-budget films. It spent $90 million on the Will Smith movie Bright, due out in December.

The acquisition of Millarworld is likely financially immaterial to Netflix, Raymond James analyst Justin Patterson said via email. He said his research showed comic book adaptations draw large audiences on the streaming service.

Netflix last month reported second-quarter revenue of $2.79 billion and net income of $65.6 million.

Millarworld will continue to create and publish new stories and franchises under the Netflix label, the company said.

Netflix also could expand further into consumer products. The company has stepped into merchandising with apparel and other products related to Stranger Things.

Shares of Netflix rose 0.6 percent to $181.37 on Nasdaq.

 

 

Source : (gadgets.ndtv.com)


Uber is taking further steps to ramp up the safety of women passengers in India, its largest overseas market. The ride-hailing company on Friday partnered with the Delhi Police to integrate features from the latter’s Himmat women’s safey app.

The quick access to Himmat from within Uber app will act as a “force multiplier,” the company said. Himmat app, which was launched by the Delhi Police in 2015, has over 31,000 registered users with over 90,000 downloads. It allows passengers to send a distress call to the Police Control Room and their relatives in an event of emergency. When a passenger taps the distress call option, a 30-second audio and video recording from the phone is relayed to the authority. It is the first time Delhi Police has partnered with a technology company, Uber said.

Himmat will be accessible to New Delhi residents first, but Uber said it plans to extend the reach to all women passengers in India. More than five million people take rides in Uber’s cabs in the country, the company announced this week.

“Combining access to the Himmat app through Uber is a big step towards strengthening the safety net available to lakhs of women riders. We applaud the efforts taken by the Delhi Police to prioritise safety of women and believe that the Himmat app is a great initiative in this direction,” Shweta Rajpal Kohli, Head – Public Policy, Uber India & South Asia, said in a press statement.

The safety of passengers has been a concerning issue for women in both Ola and Uber cab services. The companies, however, have introduced several features and options – including a panic button in some cars – to strengthen their safety.

 

Source : (gadgets.ndtv.com)


After gaining support for payment services through PayPal, Microsoft’s Skype has updated its Android app to introduce a bunch of new features that include new chat themes, chat reordering, activity indicators, and stability improvements. The new Skype version 8.3 is now available to download via Google Play.

Among the new updates, the addition of new chat themes will bring some change to the existing blue-white colour layout in the Skype app for Android. You can now choose between Light and Dark themes on Skype, where the former is designed for the users who prefer a clean white UI, and the latter is for those who don’t want their eyes to get hurt while using the app at night. Also new are the activity indicators and chat reordering, which will let users know about the availability of their Skype friends in the Chats list through a green dot indicating the online status, along with the ability to rearrange and sort the chats by recent, unread, or active.

Skype has also received some stability and performance improvements with this update, as mentioned in its changelog Google Play. As we said, the Skype v8.3 is available to download for Android right now, however its iOS counterpart has not received the update yet.

Recently, Skype introduced Send Money feature on its platform using PayPal accounts. The feature is available on the latest version of Skype on both Android and iOS platforms in 22 countries initially. In India, Skype recently received the integration for identity verification via Aadhaar, India’s own biometric-based identity service for citizens. The Aadhaar integration was rolled out for Skype Lite, an app especially designed for India, which lets users identify themselves on request during video calls using their Aadhaar.

 

Source : (gadgets.ndtv.com)


Instagram, one of the only Facebook-owned services that hasn’t yet reached one billion active users, said on Wednesday people are spending more time than ever on Instagram app — nearly half an hour. The reason: Stories, a Snapchat-inspired feature which the company introduced exactly one year ago. More than 250 million people use Instagram Stories every day, the company said.

The photo sharing network said people under the age of 25 spend more than 32 minutes a day on its app each day. Rest everyone spends 24 minutes exploring the app, on an average. The company didn’t breakdown how much time people are spending on Stories, a feature that lets people share remarkable moments from their day in the form of videos or images that disappear on their own in 24 hours.

Speaking of which, Instagram said its take on Stories is attracting businesses as well. Over 50 percent of businesses on Instagram produced an Instagram Story last month, the company said. One of five such stories from businesses elicited a direct message from customer.

Since launching Instagram Stories last year, the Facebook-owned app has also added a range of businesses-focused features to make stories more engaging. Play with time, for instance lets businesses run time-sensitive alerts (think of shopping deals).

Instagram on Wednesday also shared some country-focused data. Stories by actresses Sonam Kapoor, Alia Bhatt, Parineeti Chopra, and Shraddha Kapoor have been most viewed by Indians.

It’s unclear exactly how popular Instagram is in India – Facebook hasn’t shared any data. Gadgets 360 spoke with marketing research firm Sensor Tower, which noted that between May 2016 and May 2017, Instagram was installed about 34 million times during the same time across the App Store and Google Play, a figure which amounts to about 8.4 percent of its worldwide downloads.

In comparison, Snapchat was downloaded approximately 10.6 million times on the Indian App Store and Google Play, the firm told us. This number amounts to about 3.6 percent of its worldwide downloads. Sensor Tower added, “In May 2017 alone, Instagram had about 3.8 million downloads in India on the two stores, a 137.5 percent year-over-year growth from last May’s 1.6 million.”

 

 

Source : (gadgets.ndtv.com)


WhatsApp is one of the most popular messaging platforms in the world and Windows Phone is one of the least popular platforms supported by the app. However, the latest version 2.17.234 update of the beta app for the platform has hinted at some crucial changes that are coming to WhatsApp very soon. The Facebook-owned app will reportedly get some business-friendly features that will allow businesses and consumers to interact with each other via the platform.

The latest update of WhatsApp for Windows Phone disallows users to add a “check mark” symbol in front of their name in the app, as pointed out in a report by MSPoweruser. While on surface it might not appear to be a big deal, it is being speculated to have been done in order to avoid confusion regarding the authenticity of the businesses in the future.

As per a report by WABeta Info, which has a history of providing credible information regarding upcoming WhatsApp updates, WhatsApp will be verifying business accounts with a check mark, much like the one on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter, to provide them certain amount of authenticity while dealing with their customers.

WhatsApp has reportedly been planning to introduce a separate app for businesses, called WhatsApp Small and Medium Business, which will be required to be installed by the businesses to contact their customers. Notably, the report suggests that users will not be required to install a separate app and will receive communication from businesses on their regular app. However, they will get the option to prevent communication selectively from certain businesses or all businesses within the app.

As per WABetaInfo, the communication between businesses and the consumers will further be supported with the support for “Structured Messages” that contain text, image, action items, and the translation of the message. There are said to be certain restrictions on the businesses regarding length and nature of their name and even unverified business can use the app to reach its customers. Additionally, businesses will get a feature called “Public Announcement” that will allow them to pass on official announcements to their users.

 

 

Source : (gadgets.ndtv.com)


A Delhi court on Monday summoned as accused app-based cab service providers, including Ola and Uber, for allegedly violating permit rules.

Metropolitan Magistrate Abhilash Malhotra summoned ANI Technologies which runs Ola, Uber India Systems and Serendipity Infolabs which runs ‘Taxi For Sure’ and directed their authorised representatives to appear before it on December 11.

The court’s order came while allowing the plea of NGO, Nyayabhoomi, seeking prosecution of the three firms under various provisions of the Motor Vehicle Act.

The court had earlier recorded pre-summoning evidence advanced by the NGO through its secretary Rakesh Agarwal, in support of the complaint, which also sought summoning of the three firms as accused.

The NGO, which filed the complaint throught advocate Sumit Kumar Modi, also sought recovery of a whopping Rs. 91,000 crores from cab service providers for allegedly not adhering to rules relating to fares and not operating by meters.

The NGO has also sought recovery of an additional penalty of Rs. 26,000 crores from the firms and jail term for them.

 

 

Source : (gadgets.ndtv.com)


A prominent privacy rights watchdog is asking the Federal Trade Commission to investigate a new Google advertising program that ties consumers’ online behavior to their purchases in brick-and-mortar stores.

The legal complaint from the Electronic Privacy Information Center, to be filed with the FTC on Monday, alleges that Google is newly gaining access to a trove of highly-sensitive information – the credit and debit card purchases records of the majority of US consumers – without revealing how they got the information or giving consumers’ meaningful ways to opt-out. Moreover, the group claims that the search giant is relying on a secretive technical method to protect the data – a method that should be audited by outsiders and is likely vulnerable to hacks or other data breaches.

“Google is seeking to extend its dominance from the online world to the real, offline world, and the FTC really needs to look at that,” said Marc Rotenberg, the organisation’s executive director.

Google called its advertising approach “common” and said it had “invested in building a new, custom encryption technology that ensures users’ data remains private, secure and anonymous.”

The Washington Post detailed Google’s program, Store Sales Measurement, in May. Executives have hailed it as a “revolutionary” breakthrough in advertisers’ abilities to track consumer behavior. The company said that, for the first time, it would be able to prove, with a high degree of confidence, that clicks on online ads led to purchases at the cash register of physical stores.

To do this, Google said it had obtained access to the credit and debit card records of 70% of US consumers. It had then developed a mathematical formula that would anonymise and encrypt the transaction data, and then automatically match the transactions to the millions of US users of Google and Google-owned services like Gmail, search, YouTube, and Maps. This approach prevents Google from accessing the credit or debit card data for individuals.

But the company did not disclose the mathematical formula it uses to protect consumer’s data. In a statement, Google said that it had taken pains to build custom encryption technology that ensures that the data the company receives remains private and anonymous.

The privacy organisation is asking the government not to not take Google’s word for it and to review the algorithm itself. In its complaint, the organisation said that the mathematical technique that Store Sales Measurement is based on, CryptDB, has known securityflaws. Researchers hacked into a CryptDB-protected healthcare data based in 2015, accessing over 50 percent of the stored records.

Google also would not disclose which companies were providing it with the transaction records. When asked if users had consented to having their credit and debit transactions shared, Google would not specifically say. The company replied that it requires that its unnamed partners have “the rights necessary” to use this data.

In its complaint, reviewed by the Washington Post, the privacy group alleges that if consumers don’t know how Google gets its purchase data, then they cannot make an informed decision about which cards not to use or where not to shop if they don’t want their purchases tracked. The organisation points out that purchases can reveal medical conditions, religious beliefs, and other intimate information.

Google also told the Post that it does not have access to the names or other personal information of the credit and debit card users, and that it does not share any information about individual Google users with partners.

Advertisers receive aggregate information, for example, for an ad campaign for sneakers that received 10,000 clicks, the advertiser learns that 12 percent of the clickers made a purchase.

Users can opt-out anytime, Google says. To do so, users of Google’s products can go to their My Activity Page, click on Activity Controls, and uncheck “Web and Web Activity,” Google says.

The privacy group says the opt-out settings and the descriptions of what users are opting out of are confusing and opaque. The group says that the company continues to store server and click data even when Web and App Activity is turned off, and that to opt-out of everything requires a labyrinthine process of going to a number of third party sites. Meanwhile, opting out of location-tracking requires going to a separate button and interface. None of the opt-out descriptions specifically describe credit card data.

In 2012 and in 2011, Google paid multi-million dollar fines to settle FTC charges on privacy issues. The 2012 case, for $22.5 million, Google was charged with misrepresenting its privacy promises to users of Apple’s Safari browser, who were the under the impression that they could opt-out of ad-tracking. In 2011, in response to a case brought by the Electronic Privacy Information Center, Google settled FTC charges that it used deceptive tactics and violated its own privacy promises when it launched its social network, Google Buzz.

 

 

Source : (gadgets.ndtv.com)


Alphabet Inc’s Google aims to train 10 million people in Africa in online skills over the next five years in an effort to make them more employable, its chief executive said on Thursday.

The US technology giant also hopes to train 100,000 software developers in Nigeria, Kenya and South Africa, a company spokeswoman said.

Google’s pledge marked an expansion of an initiative it launched in April 2016 to train young Africans in digital skills. It announced in March it had reached its initial target of training one million people.

The company is “committing to prepare another 10 million people for jobs of the future in the next five years,” Google Chief Executive Sundar Pichai told a company conference in Nigeria’s commercial capital of Lagos.

Google said it will offer a combination of in-person and online training. Google has said on its blog that it carries out the training in languages including Swahili, Hausa and Zulu and tries to ensure that at least 40 percent of people trained are women. It did not say how much the programme cost.

Africa, with its rapid population growth, falling data costs and heavy adoption of mobile phones, having largely leapfrogged personal computer use, is tempting for tech companies. Executives such as Alibaba Group Holding Ltd’s chairman Jack Ma have also recently toured parts of the continent.

But countries like Nigeria, Kenya and South Africa, which Google said it would initially target for its mobile developer training, may not offer as much opportunity as the likes of China and India fortech firms.

Yawning wealth gaps mean that much of the population in places like Nigeria has little disposable income, while mobile adoption tends to favour more basic phone models. Combined with bad telecommunications infrastructure, that can mean slower and less Internet surfing, which tech firms rely on to make money.

Google also announced plans to provide more than $3 million (roughly Rs. 19.2 crores) in equity-free funding, mentorship and working space access to more than 60 African startups over three years.

In addition, YouTube will roll out a new app, YouTube Go, aimed at improving video streaming over slow networks, said Johanna Wright, vice president of YouTube.

YouTube Go is being tested in Nigeria as of June, and the trial version of the app will be offered globally later this year, she said.

 

 

Source : (gadgets.ndtv.com)