Tag Archive: Apps



Paytm Payments Bank, which got the final approval from the Reserve Bank in January, hopes to start operations by the month-end, Paytm founder and chief executive Vijay Shekhar Sharma said in Mumbai on Friday.

“If the RBI blesses us, we will be able to have our bank by this month-end. Banking must be made available to everyone, the money that the customer puts in isn’t a liability but an asset,” Sharma said at the India Today Conclave in Mumbai.

Stating that banking in the present form is outdated, he said, “Versace suits will not change the banking model. Our payments bank will be built on a new model that will be focussed on bringing financial services to the hundreds of millions of unserved/under-served.”

Taking a swipe at the way banks have dealt with loans given to industrialists and especially in dealing with the big-ticket defaulters, Sharma said, “the present financial system penalises a sincere person, but if someone speaks the language of those in the corridors of power, he takes a loan of hundreds of crores and fails to pay it back, he will still manage to live in London or such locales.”
Sharma expressed belief that with greater penetration of mobile Internet connectivity, his business will grow further.

Paytm currently has about 21.5 crore subscribers, Sharma said adding as against this SBI has 20.7 subscribers. Paytm does about 20 crore transactions a month, while according to RBI data, all other e-wallets put together do 19 crore transactions.

“You can undermine a business but not a technology; it is a tsunami,” he said on online payments and smart phones. To further deepen this, we need better Internet network and telecom connections, he added.
Source : (gadgets.ndtv.com)


After much negative feedback from users over the removal of the old Status feature, WhatsApp has decided to bring it back. The old WhatsApp Text Status feature was first seen in the ‘About’ section on Android beta, and now WhatsApp has officially confirmed its arrival.

The Facebook-owned IM app told TechCrunch that the old Status feature will be revived. In fact, all WhatsApp users on Android will get the feature over the next week and iPhone users will get it soon as well.

“We heard from our users that people missed the ability to set a persistent text-only update in their profile, so we’ve integrated this feature into the ‘About’ section in profile settings. Now, the update will appear next to profile names anytime you view contacts, such as when creating a new chat or looking at Group info. At the same time, we’re continuing to build on the new Status feature that gives people fun and engaging ways to share photos, videos and GIFs with their friends and family throughout their day,” the company issued a statement to the publication.
This WhatsApp Text Status feature will work just in the same way as it was seen on Android beta version 2.17.95. Users will be able to set a text WhatsApp Status in the ‘About’ section which will change only when you want it to. Your contact list will be able to see the Status message by opening your contact, when starting a new chat thread, or viewing group info.

In any case, the new WhatsApp Status stories feature isn’t going anywhere and will remain a constant in a separate tab. You can add photos and videos that disappear in 24 hours, just like Snapchat. The tab also lists all the new updates from your contacts in the same format as you see on Snapchat. Unfortunately, there’s no way (yet) to disable this WhatsApp feature completely.

Facebook also introduced a similar feature on its Messenger service, named ‘Messenger Day’. This feature also lets you post photos and videos that disappear after 24 hours, but it’s a little more invasive than WhatsApp as it changes a lot of the interface behaviour jarring people’s habitual patterns.

 

Source : (gadgets.ndtv.com)


Ride-hailing service Uber inaugurated a support centre in Brazil’s biggest city on Tuesday with plans to invest BRL 200 million ($62 million) and create 2,000 jobs, underscoring an aggressive growth strategy in Latin America’s biggest nation.

The new facility in Sao Paulo may employ up to 7,000 people by the end of the year, providing technical support for around 9 million users in Brazil along with thousands of drivers, the company said in a statement.

Uber’s latest investment in Brazil comes just weeks after Didi Chuxing, China’s largest ride-hailing company, announced it was investing more than $100 million (roughly Rs. 679 crores) in Brazilian company 99, an on-demand taxi and ride-sharing service.
After a bruising battle in China, Uber agreed in August to sell its unit there to Didi, which is also investing $1 billion in San Francisco-based Uber Technologies in the deal.

Didi has also formed an alliance with Lyft in the United States, India’s ride service Ola and Southeast Asian startup Grab in an effort to compete with Uber’s global dominance.

 
Source : (gadgets.ndtv.com)


US President-elect Donald Trump does not make India-born Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella nervous, and he is confident about the tech giant’s place as a job creator.

“We’re a US-based company that operates worldwide and our predominant employment is in the United States,” Indian-American Nadella told CNNTech at the Digital Life Design tech conference in Munich on Monday.

“We’ve already created a tremendous amount of high-paying jobs in the US.”

Microsoft employs over 113,000 people worldwide, more than 64,000 of whom are in the US, mainly in Washington state, according to the company.

But Nadella said Trump’s ascent to become the President has not changed the roadmap much for Microsoft.
“If anything, we’ll double down on what we’ve always done, which is be a US company that operates in the United States very responsibly, but also being a multinational company that contributes into every country that we work in.”

In the wake of Trump’s win in the November 8 election, companies are eager to play up the number of Americans they employ, CNN reported.

Companies like Amazon have made very public announcements about the jobs they expect to add, with messaging that seems to be in direct response to the real-estate magnate’s win.

Last month, the President-elect met with Nadella and 12 other technology titans in a bid to heal rifts and get them on board with his programme of creating more jobs and increasing investments in the US.

Trump, who had slammed the technology sector during his campaign for exporting jobs and manufacturing overseas, hailed them as an “amazing group of people”, and promised them, “I am here to help you folks do well”.
Source : (gadgets.ndtv.com)


Uber employees used to spy on celebrities, politicians, as well as acquaintances through the company’s tracking data, claims a new lawsuit from the company’s former staff Ward Spangenberg. This is not the first time that the ride service Uber has been accused of sharing location without the permission of the customer, and has said in the past that it will improve security. In 2014, Uber’s General Manager in New York was accused of tracking a journalist’s whereabouts through the company’s “God View” feature.

In the lawsuit, Spangenberg wrote “Uber’s lack of security regarding its customer data was resulting in Uber employees being able to track high profile politicians, celebrities, and even personal acquaintances of Uber employees, including ex-boyfriends/girlfriends, and ex-spouses.”

Reveal from The Centre for Investigative Reporting in a report claims that at least five former Uber security employees said the company “continued to allow broad access” even after assurances that it had strict policies in place to prevent customer trip data from being accessed, with “limited exceptions.”
Spangenberg in his lawsuit has also alleged that Uber routinely deleted files which it was required to keep. “Uber routinely deleted files which were subject to litigation holds, which was another practice I objected to when reporting my concerns to the company.”

Sharing his experience when working for Uber, Spangenberg added, “As part of Uber’s Incident Response Team, I would be called when governmental agencies raided Uber’s offices due to concerns regarding noncompliance with governmental regulations. In those instances, Uber would lock down the office and immediately cut all connectivity so that law enforcement could not access Uber’s information. I would then be tasked with purchasing all new equipment for the office within the day, which I did when Uber’s Montreal office was raided.”

Uber in a statement however has assured that it maintains security check of user location data. The company also acknowledged that it fired “fewer than 10” employees for “improper access” of data.

“We have hundreds of security and privacy experts working around the clock to protect our data. This includes enforcing strict policies and technical controls to limit access to user data to authorized employees solely for purposes of their job responsibilities, and all potential violations are quickly and thoroughly investigated,” Uber said in a statement.

 
Source : (gadgets.ndtv.com)


The country’s largest car maker Maruti Suzuki India has joined hands with taxi aggregator Ola to train aspiring drivers-partners.

Under a Memorandum of Understanding signed between the two, the exercise aims to benefit 40,000 individuals/ Ola drivers-partners in safe driving over a period of three years, Maruti Suzuki India (MSI) said in a statement.

The Maruti Ola Training Program will create entrepreneurship opportunities for aspiring drivers-partners as well as make urban transportation safe, reliable and convenient, it added.

The pilot phase of the initiative will be rolled out in Bengaluru, Hyderabad, Chennai and NCR. The driving training programme will be gradually rolled out in Mumbai, Ahmedabad and Pune.

Commenting on the association, MSI Executive Director, Marketing & Sales R S Kalsi said, “We are glad that through this partnership with Ola, we will be able to expand quality driving training while creating opportunities for employment and entrepreneurship.”

He further said, “We target to train 40,000 individuals over 3 years.”

Pranay Jivrajka, Chief Operating Officer, Ola said the partnership falls in line with Ola’s goal of skilling 5 million drivers in the next 5 years and continue to build a conducive ecosystem for them to grow as entrepreneurs.

“We are delighted to work with a trusted Indian brand like Maruti to create a unique solution to skill tens of thousands of aspiring driver-entrepreneurs realize their dreams,” he added.

According to the MoU, Maruti Suzuki would help the individuals/ Ola drivers-partners obtain commercial license and also assist in availing vehicle financing to purchase their own car, after the completion of their course.

Ola will also provide qualified leads of potential drivers-partners to Maruti Suzuki for facilitating them with commercial driving training.

All the aspiring drivers will undergo a 30-day driving training which includes a pre and post assessment tests, to gauge the driving skills of these individuals, the statement added.

 
Source : (gadgets.ndtv.com)


In the war of social media platforms, we have reached a point where it is becoming hard to distinguish which features are exclusive to any particular platform. Every platform is now borrowing the best features from its rivals, in an attempt to attract audiences. In what seems like a continuation of this trend, Facebook is reportedly working a feature that would enable select publishers to push curated content directly into a user’s News Feed.

The social media networking giant’s rumoured feature ‘Collections’ works similarly to the Snapchat Discover feature that displays content in an organised way from media partners, as per a report by Business Insider. The report adds that early partners have been told the content will be added to the user’s News Feed by Facebook, and therefore reach a much wider audience.

As of now, publishers have to either gather enough likes or pay the website through its sponsored post program in order for their content to turn up in a user’s News Feed. It will be interesting to see how this new feature from the company, if it does roll out eventually, is received by users considering the recent flak it received on accusations of spreading fake news. Facebook declined commenting about the feature when being contacted by Business Insider.

Last month, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg said that Facebook has been working on fake news or misinformation issue for a quite some time now. He said that the problem at hand is complex both technically as well as philosophically. He went on to outline the steps that are already under-way to curb the distribution of fake news.

 

Source : (gadgets.ndtv.com)


US-based handset maker InFocus will soon launch a new smartphone in India that will support Aadhaar authentication using the iris scanner on the device.

Priced at under Rs. 12,000, the device will be made available early next year. InFocus also says it has been awarded STQC (Standardization Testing and Quality Certification) from the Indian government and the company plans to launch more devices supporting Aadhaar-based biometric authentication in the future.

STQC certification authenticates the use of Iris-recognition devices, used for biometric authentication linked under the Aadhaar project.

“InFocus smartphone features IriTech’s superior iris image quality assessment and on-board K7 generation algorithm to provide good quality images and avoid false positives while maximising true positive identification rates,” InFocus India Country Head Sachin Thapar told PTI.

Apart from UIDAI, IriTech also works with government agencies in the US, Kenya and Columbia. The smartphone with embedded algorithm can complete an image capture and K7 image generation in less than 2 seconds. It can capture the iris image under various environments, including under direct sunlight.
“Moreover, the biometric data from the InFocus device gets encrypted by a UIDAI key at the chip level in device, making it impossible for anyone but the Aadhaar server to see the information. Such encryption prevents information leakage of all kinds,” Thapar said.

Thapar added there is a great potential in the integration of iris recognition technology in a ubiquitous device like a smartphone.

“While the M425 will be made available in the next 2-3 months, we will bring more devices with this technology as we have received the certification,” he added. Thapar was referring to an iris scanning variant of the InFocus Bingo 20 (M425), which was launched in March this year at Rs. 5,749.
Currently, Samsung is the only phone maker to have already embedded Delta ID’s ActiveIRIS technology in its Galaxy Tab Iris.

Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI) has held discussions with handset makers and operating system providers to embed the identification technology onto their devices. The

availability of smart devices that are Aadhaar-enabled will help people authenticate their Aadhaar biometrics on the phone itself to avail of various government schemes, subsidies and services.

“The InFocus Aadhaar-enabled iris smartphone is a great example of the innovation possible on the Aadhaar platform. The phone is timely as it can be used for applications like opening instant bank accounts with eKYC and as a cashless micro ATM for merchant payments. This will accelerate JAM (Jan Dhan-Aadhaar-Mobile) implementation,” said Nandan Nilekani, former Chairman of UIDAI.

The dual-SIM InFocus Bingo 20 (M425) smartphone is a 4G-VoLTE enabled smartphone that runs Android 5.1 Lollipop, and is powered by a 1.5GHz quad-core processor. The phone features a 4.5-inch display, 1GB of RAM, and 8GB of inbuilt storage that’s expandable via microSD card (up to 64GB), apart from a 2300mAh battery.

Stating that the device can be used as a secure and reliable biometric solution in various arenas like banking, E-PDS (Electronic Public Distribution System), MNREGA (Mahatma Gandhi National Rural employment Guarantee Act) payments, E-governance services such as passport, taxation, healthcare and education, Thapar said this also represents a huge leap towards facilitating biometric identification.

“It also eliminates use of any separate devices for biometric identification,” he added.
Source : (gadgets.ndtv.com)


After petrol pumps, cash can now be withdrawn by swiping debit cards at select Ola cabs as India’s largest ride-hailing service partners with lenders like State Bank of India (SBI) and Punjab National Bank to ease cash crunch.

With banks and ATMs not being able to cope with the rush for access to lower denomination or new currency after old Rs. 500 and Rs. 1,000 notes were banned, cash dispensing through swipe of debit cards at POS machines was introduced at around 3,700 petrol pumps.

The same is being replicated by Ola on a test basis in its cabs in Kolkata and Hyderabad where taxis with a bank officer and POS machine are parked at different locations and dispense cash of Rs. 2,000 per card.
Ola Chief Operating Officer Pranay Jivrajka told PTI that the initial response has been tremendous and the company was exploring with banks to expand this service to other cities with cash being dispensed on the go rather than current experiment of cars being parked at a particular busy point.

In Kolkata, Ola has partnered with Punjab National Bank (PNB), while for Hyderabad, it has collaborated with SBI and Andhra Bank.
“The week-long activity, that is already servicing thousands of citizens, will continue till end of the month. It (cabs) will visit areas like Chandni Chowk Metro Station, Esplanade Metro, Barabazaar, Salt Lake, Exide and Rashbehari (in Kolkata),” he said.
Cars carrying POS machine are servicing citizens in popular areas in Hyderabad like KBR Park, JNTU, Inorbit Mall over the weekend, he added.

“We are also looking at flagging off the programme in other key cities, including Delhi. The banks are providing on-ground executives to enable people withdraw cash seamlessly,” he said.
Following the government’s move to scrap old Rs. 500 and Rs. 1,000 notes earlier this month, there have been serpentine queues at banks and ATMs as people lined up to withdraw valid currency.

There have been demands for setting up more mobile ATMs across the country and also refilling them more often as there seems to be a crunch of liquid cash given the long queues.

Ola, which has its mobile wallet service, claimed it has seen 1500 percent growth in recharge of ‘Ola Money’. “The number of trips paid in cash has certainly gone down. More people are now paying using digital platforms like Ola Money and credit/debit cards,” he said.

 

 

Source : (gadgets.ndtv.com)


Uber will seek to convince Europe’s top court next week that it is a digital service, not a transport company, in a case that could determine whether app-based startups should be exempt from strict laws meant for regular companies.

The European Commission is trying to boost e-commerce, a sector where the EU lags behind Asia and the United States, to drive economic growth and create jobs.

The US taxi app, which launched in Europe five years ago, has faced fierce opposition from regular taxi companies and some local authorities, who fear it creates unfair competition because it is not bound by strict local licensing and safety rules.

Supporters however say rigid regulatory obligations protect incumbents and hinder the entry of digital startups which offer looser work arrangements to workers in the 28-country European Union looking for more flexibility, albeit without basic rights.

Uber found itself in the dock after Barcelona’s main taxi operator alleged in 2014 that it was running an illegal taxi service. The case concerns its UberPOP service which the company halted after the lawsuit.

Uber says it is a digital platform that connects willing drivers with customers and not a transport service.
The Spanish judge subsequently sought guidance from the Luxembourg-based European Union Court of Justice.
A ruling characterising Uber as a transport service could expose it to stricter rules on licensing, insurance and safety, with possible knock-on effects on other startups such as online home rental company Airbnb.

The case has drawn global interest. The Netherlands, where Uber has its European headquarters, Finland, Poland, Greece and the European Free Trade Association (EFTA) have submitted written observations that tend to support Uber.

Spain, France and Ireland in their submissions however say Uber is a transport service. A grand chamber of 15 judges will hear the arguments, with more than 200 participants signed up for the hearing.

The case is Case C-434/15 Asociacion Profesional Elite Taxi.

 
Source : (gadgets.ndtv.com)