Saturday, November 24, 2012

New tech can allow governments to hear conversations on Skype

New eavesdropping technology could allow government agencies to 'silently record' conversations on internet chat services like Skype. 

Until now, so called voice over internet protocol (VoIP) services have been difficult to tap into, because of the way they send information over the web. 

The services convert analogue audio signals into digital data packets, which are then sent in a way that is costly and complex for third parties to intercept, the 'Daily Mail' reported. 

Apple iPhone 5S, iPad 5 already in the works

Though Apple launched iPhone 5to blockbuster sales just two months ago, it may have already begun working on the launch of next version of its smartphone. If reports are to be believed, Apple is actively working on the seventh generation iPhone, tentatively being called iPhone 5S in tech circles. 

Cyber Monday, How to get the best deals on online shopping

 In a one-day blitz of shopping, consumers are expected to empty their wallets of more than $1 billion on Cyber Monday, the online shoppingspree on Nov. 26, according to spending projections from research firm, ComScore. 

The day follows closely on the heels of Black Friday on Nov. 23, which kicks off the holiday shopping season at stores, and is often the busiest shopping day for retailers. 

GSM operators add 2,40,000 subscribers in Oct, COAI

Arresting the two-month fall, total subscriber base of GSM operators rose by about 240,000 to 671.91 million users in October, telecom industry body COAI said. 

The total subscriber base at the end of September was 671.67 million users. In September, the subscriber base had reduced by 1.9 million users following a whopping 7.1 million fall in August. 

Top three operators -- Airtel, Vodafone and Idea -- which account for about 68 per cent of the GSM market, added over 1.2 million users in October, according to the COAI data released today. 

Siri rival Google Now named Innovation of the Year

 Google Now, the digital voice assistant used in Android OS, has been named 'Innovation of the Year' by Popular Sciencemagazine. The Siri rival from Google is now in the prestigious company of the likes of Mars Curiosity Rover and Large Hadron Collider.

Available in smartphones and tablets running on Android 4.1 (Jelly Bean) and above, Google Nowis a 20% project, the company's way of encouraging employees to spend office time on their own ideas.

Why companies are banning BYOD at work

More and more companies are banning employees from using their own devices, like personal  mobile phones, at work. A study by ISACA, a non-profit global association of over one lakh IT audit, security, risk and governance professionals, has found that nearly half the companies surveyed in India have security policies that prohibit employees' devices at the office. The fear has to do with risk to the company from the leak of valuable information. 

Chandigarhs IT BPO sector grew fastest in 2011 to 12

With around 22% growth in turnover in 2011-12 IT and ITeS industry in Chandigarh region has outpaced main hubs like Bangalore, Pune, Gurgaon. The companies operating in Chandigarh performed much better with over 40% growth in turnover despite over 40% adverse global economic scenario. 

The turnover of the industry has grown to Rs 1910 crore in Chandigarh and Mohali in the last year notching a growth of 22% aginast the 16-17% growth of domestic IT and BPO indsutry. The growth is much better in case of companies operating in Chandigarh that posted growth of 40% in 2011-12 raising their turnover to Rs 1300 crore from Rs 926 crore in previous corresponding year. A host of companies including majors like Infosys,Tech Mahindra, Dell and several other small IT companies operate from IT park in Chandigarh and STPI located at Mohali. 

Samsung launches Android 4.1 camera at Rs 29,900

Samsung has launched its Android 4.1 (Jelly Bean)-powered Galaxy Camera in India at Rs 29,900. The company has teamed up with Airtel to offer 1GB of free monthly data for two months, along with a extra battery that comes free with this 16MP camera.
The new Galaxy Camera has a 4.8-inch touchscreen and is compatible with all the apps available on Google Play marketplace. It is powered by a 1.4GHz quad-core processor coupled with 1GB RAM and boasts of a 1,650mAh battery. The gadget supports sim-card for 3G connectivity and can also access the internet over Wi-Fi. 

Teens spend 86 pc time daily on Facebook, Survey

Indian teens spend 86 per cent of their time daily on Facebook followed by 54 per cent on Twitter, a survey by McAfee today said. 

"On a daily basis, the surveyed Indian teens spend 86 per cent of their time on Facebook followed by 54 per cent time on Twitter," McAfee's 'Secret Lives of Teens' survey said. 

It added that 97 per cent of teens have access to social network, while there is a growing digital divide between teens and their parents. 

Microsoft and Google financials could surface at trial

Microsoft and Google's Motorola Mobility unit squared off on Tuesday at a trial with strategic implications for the smartphone patent wars and which could reveal financial information the two companies usually keep under wraps.

The proceeding in a Seattle federal court will determine how much of a royalty Microsoft Corp should pay Google Inc for a license to some of Motorola's patents. Google bought Motorola for $12.5 billion, partly for its library of communications patents.

If U.S. District Judge James Robart decides Google deserves only a small royalty, then its Motorola patents would be a weaker bargaining chip for Google to negotiate licensing deals with rivals.

Microsoft releases Internet Explorer 10 for Windows 7

The latest version of Microsoft's web browser, named Internet Explorer 10, is now available for personal computers running on the Windows 7 operating system.
The redesigned browser made its debut last month when Microsoft released Windows 8, which makes dramatic changes to an operating system that has been powering PCs for decades.

Global smartphone sales up 47 percent in Q3, mobile sales dip 3 percent Gartner

Despite a 3% dip in global mobile phone sales to 428 million units in the third quarter, smartphone sales jumped a full 47%, according data released by research firm Gartner.
It said Korean major Samsung widened the gap with Apple taking the share of such handsets to 39.6% of the total cellular phones sales.
Smartphones continued to fuel sales of mobile phones worldwide with sales rising to 169.2 million units in the third quarter, Gartner said, adding that the smartphone market is dominated by Samsung and Apple.
The quarter also saw Samsung becoming the largest mobile handset market with 22.9% of the overall market share, selling 98 million units, up from 18.7% a year ago, it said.

Official requests up for Web data, Google

Google said today the number of government requests to hand over data from users or to take down Web content rose in the first six months of 2012, extending a trend of recent years. 

"This is the sixth time we've released this data, and one trend has become clear: government surveillance is on the rise," Google senior policy analyst Dorothy Chou said. 

Indias requests for web content removal, user details rise, Google

Indicating a growing trend of the government surveillance of internet activities of people and organisations, India   sought confidential web user details in as many as 2,319 cases from Google in the first six months of 2012. 
Besides, the number of items sought to be removed from Google's various internet platforms such asYouTube videos, search results, images and web pages, more than doubled to 596 in the six-month period to June 2012, Google said. 

Cisco beats Q1 estimates, predicts slow growth in Q2

Cisco Systems reported first quarter results that beat estimates but expects flat earnings and slower revenue growth for the current quarter.
"We are modelling Europe to get worse before it gets better," chief executive John Chambers said on Tuesday, echoing his comments from the company's fourth-quarter earnings call in August.
However, he added that "we see signs of improvement in the US in enterprise, service provider and commercial."

Apple concedes to Samsungs demand

Samsung Electronics has reportedly raised the prices of the mobile processors it supplies to Apple for  iPhone and iPad. This was revealed by a report in Chosun Ilbo, a South Korean newspaper, which received the information from a source who knew about the negotiations between the iPhone maker and its arch rival. 

Panasonic prepares for garage sale, to cut 10,000 jobs

About a fifth of   Panasonic Corp's 88 business units are losing money and only half so far meet a target for at least 5 percent operating margin, the Japanese electronics group's   finance chief said in an interview on Wednesday.
Hideaki Kawai said the country's biggest commercial employer will axe another 10,000 jobs by end-March as it pares its costs and looks to return to profit. Panasonic shed 36,000 jobs last business year, some through the sale of businesses.

Nokia renames location services to Here

Nokia announced a mapping application for the iPhone and other devices on Tuesday and rebranded its location services under the 'Here' umbrella as it sought to exploit a bright spot in its product mix.
Nokia also said it would acquire a Bay Area start-up called Earthmine to provide 3D street views for its maps, and announced a partnership with Mozilla, maker of the Firefox web browser, to bring maps to the Firefox mobile operating system set to launch next year.

Apple once again crowned worlds most innovative company

For the third year in a row, Apple was named number one in a new annual survey of the top 10 most innovative companies. Almost 80 percent of the respondents in the 700-company survey by management consulting firm Booz & Company named Apple as one of the top three most innovative companies in the world.

Google, which took the second spot overall, ahead of 3M, was listed in the top three by 43 percent of respondents.

Microsoft Halo 4 scores record sales on launch day

Microsoft said the Halo 4video game that it released last week racked up $220 million in global sales on its launch day, beating records set by previous installments of its hit game series.
Action-shooter Halo 4 -- released last Tuesday -- is on its way to reach $300 million in global sales in its first week, making it the biggest launch in the decade-old Halo franchise's history, the company said.
The previous installment Halo: Reach, the fourth game in the series, was launched in September 2010 and raked in $200 million in global sales on launch-day.
"We're thrilled that Halo 4 has emerged as the biggest US entertainment launch of the year," said Phil Spencer, corporate vice president of Microsoft Studios.

Online retailers offering touch and feel comfort under offline push

Recently, female employees at Ciber, a Bangalore-based IT consulting and outsourcing firm, were called into a slightly unusual session away from the line of duty — a lingerie-fitting workshop conducted by, a pure-play online retailer of bras, panties and thongs amongst other similar items. "They ( women) are used to buying offline. So, one needs to talk to them in the language and environment they are comfortable with," explains Richa Kar, CEO and founder, Zivame. It not only spreads awareness about the brand, it also gives brand a face and credibility, she adds. 

Like Zivame, a slew of pure-play online players are not only simulating offline buying experiences to provide touch-and-feel comfort to consumers; they are also opening physical outlets to woo potential buyers and tackle negative perceptions about online shopping that are still rooted in the psyche of many Indian shoppers. 

Friday, November 23, 2012

Unilever opens technology support centre in Bangalore

Consumer products-maker Unilever said it has opened a support centre in Bangalore to provide information technology and operational services for its global operations. 

The 220,000 sq ft centre in the outskirts of Bangalore, which currently houses 1400 staff, will be its largest operational support centre. 

Facebook to share data with Instagram, loosen email rules

Facebook Inc is proposing to combine user data with that of recently acquired  photo-sharing service  Instagram, and will loosen restrictions on emails between members of the social network. 

Facebook also said on Wednesday it is proposing to scrap a 4-year old process that can allow the social network's roughly 1 billion users to vote on changes to its policies and terms of services. 

Silicon Prairie, US new Silicon Valley

As Ben Milne feverishly sought money for the mobile-payment company he began developing here in his hometown three years ago, investors responded with rejections by the dozens.

Eventually, he coaxed $1 million from a pair of local investors. His app, Dwolla, has since attracted more than 100,000 users, and now moves $30 million to $50 million worth of transactions a month.

Google, Bing and other search engines, anticipate what you are likely to ask

There are the questions you ask friends, family and close confidants. And then there are the questions you ask the Internet.

Search engines have long provided clues to the topics people look up. But now sites like Google and Bing are showing the precise questions that are most frequently asked, giving everyone a chance to peer virtually over one another's shoulders at private curiosities. And they are revealing interesting patterns.

Google enters debate on UN Internet control

Google has jumped into the debate over a UN telecom gathering set to review regulations affecting the Internet, claiming it is "the wrong place" to make decisions about the future of the Web. 

In a posting on its "take action" blog this week, Google said the December gathering of the UN's International Telecommunications Union comes amid "a growing backlash on Internet freedom." 

The ITU's World Conference on International Communications opening next month in Dubai will update global telecom rules for the first time since 1988, and some countries see this as an opportunity to set up new rules for the Internet. 

GE to hire engineers for R and D jobs in India

General Electric (GE) will make an additional investment of $60 million in its technology centre in Bangalore over the next three years and take the headcount in the centre to 5,000 by the end of this financial year. The centre currently has over 4,500 people doing cutting edge research and development in areas like energy, healthcare and aviation and is GE's largest integrated multidisciplinary R&D centre outside the US. 

Bendable phone displays from Samsung soon, WSJ

South Korean manufacturer  Samsung is ready to begin mass production of smartphones with bendable screens, which will make the devices thinner, lighter and unbreakable. 

This was revealed in a report by Wall Street Journal, which said that the company is currently in the last stages of developing these display panels, which make use of plastic, instead of glass. Samsung will continue to use its OLED display technology in these flexible display panels, but the use of plastic instead of glass will make the panels lighter, but more resilient. 

Smartphone security risks rise while users shop

Attention smartphone shoppers: watch for cybercriminals using phony apps or messages in an effort to hijack your device or steal your data.
Law enforcement and security experts say that as more people use their mobile devices in stores and on open Wi-Fi networks, the risks are increasing as well.
The FBI-backed Internet Crime Complaint Center is warning consumers to be on the lookout for fraudulent apps, messages and Wi-Fi networks which can trick users of mobile devices to divulge passwords, personal data or credit card numbers.

Intel needs a visionary like Steve Jobs

Wanted: Visionary CEO to help world-class chipmaker expand beyond struggling personal computer market into tablets and smartphones. Experience with cutting-edge manufacturing plants and $10 billion annual capital expenditures a plus. 

Intel raised eyebrows on Wall Street and inSilicon Valley this week when it said it will consider an outsider to take over from outgoing Chief Executive Paul Otellini, potentially ending a four-decade tradition of internal succession. Some analysts took that as a sign the top global chipmaker might be considering a transformative hire. 

Infosys, IT sector to see slowdown in hiring

With global economy facing challenging times, the Indian IT industry is expected to grow at a lower pace of 11 per cent this fiscal, Infosys Executive Co-Chairman S Gopalakrishnan said. 

He added that last fiscal, the country's IT industry grew by 16-17 per cent despite global IT industry went up by 5.4 per cent. 

"Global economy is going through challenging times, it will have some impact (on IT industry growth). The projection for IT industry growth is 11 per cent for current fiscal," Gopalakrishnan told reporters on the sidelines of an IT event held here. 

Google faces searching queries from tax officials, penalised Rs 76 cr for incorrect accounting

Google India Private Limited, the Indian arm of the global search engine, is grappling with a Rs 76-crore penalty slapped by the income-tax authorities.
The tax office has said Google India has misled the department, deflated income, violated accounting rules laid down by the chartered accountants' institute and also attempted to show wrong revenues to avoid being subjected to transfer pricing adjustments with respect to its international transactions.
The tax department has refused to keep the penalty in abeyance after listening to the company's explanation and interacting with its auditor, SR Batliboi & Associates, which has offered full support and co-operation in the proceedings.

Google4Doodle, Chandigarh lad emerges victorious

Google India has announced that Arun Kumar Yadav, a class 9 student of Kendriya Vidyalaya, Chandigarh, is the winner of this year's the fourth edition of Doodle4Google (D4G) contest. Chosen out of 13 finalists, the resident of Chandigarh was felicitated by Rajan Anandan, managing director, Google, India, in New Delhi today.
The Doodle4Google competition, an annual competition hosted by Google India, was launched in 2009 and is open to students from grades 1 to 10, who are invited to design the Google Doodle to celebrate Children's Day in the country. The theme for this year's competition was 'Unity in Diversity,' and over two lakh entries were received from more than 1000 schools across 60 cities. On the jury were famed actor Boman Irani and political cartoonist Ajit Ninan, who went through the entries to decide the final 13 Doodles, which were then exhibited for online voting to choose the final winner.

Cray supercomputer Titan beats IBMs Sequoia to become worlds fastest

A Cray supercomputer at the US government's Oak Ridge National Laboratory was named the world's fastest, overtaking an IBM supercomputer at another American research center.
The ranking released by researchers from the United States and Germany found that Titan, a Cray XK7 system installed at Oak Ridge in Tennessee, achieved 17.59 petaflops, or quadrillions of calculations per second.
Titan, which gets funding from the US Department of Energy, is used for research in energy, climate change, efficient engines, materials and other scientific research.

Googles Android finally earns respect of developers

The mobile video game Kingdoms at War is popular with owners of Apple Inc's iPhone and Google Inc's Androidsmartphones alike. But for the game's maker, there is a very important difference -- it earns more than double the money on iPhones and iPads than it does on Android devices.
The disparity is a weakness for Android, which has emerged as the world's most widespread mobile operating system, but has long suffered second-class status among software app developers who prefer the prestige, higher revenue potential and uniformity of Apple's rival platform.

Microsoft, Google secrets could be revealed during trial

Microsoft and Google's  Motorola Mobility unit are set to square off on Tuesday at a trial with strategic implications for the smartphone patent wars and which could reveal financial information the two companies usually keep under wraps.
The proceeding in a Seattle federal court will determine how much of a royalty Microsoft Corp should pay Google Inc for a license to some of Motorola's patents. Google bought Motorola for $12.5 billion, partly for its library of communications patents.

Head of Windows unit leaves Microsoft

Microsoft has announced that the head of its Windows unit is leaving in a management shake-up that comes just weeks after the release of a new generation of the computer operating software.
Windows president Steven Sinofsky will depart Microsoft and, effective immediately, his duties will be divided between a pair of executives who will answer directly to chief executive Steven Ballmer.
"I am grateful for the many years of work that Steven has contributed to the company," Ballmer said in a release.

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Microsoft to build experimental biogas powered data centre

Microsoft will build an experimental biogas-powered data centre in the US state of Wyoming in March 2013, in an effort to enable its data centres to be less reliant on the traditional power grid, US media reported. 

The data centre will be powered by a 300kw fuel cell that uses biogas from a waste water treatment plant and will be "the first zero carbon data centre", Sean James, Microsoft's senior research project manager, told technology news website GigaOM in an interview. 

Indian shoppers shaping lifestyle around ecommerce

Perhaps the Indian consumer is still a long way off from his Korean counterpart who has been known to shop at virtual stores set up in subways and train stations, paying for purchases via mobile, with the products delivered home at a convenient time. But a survey from Nielsen reveals that the Indian shopper is not as much of a laggard as some marketers and communication people believe when it comes to the online space. In certain categories, like mobile phones for instance, India fares better than the rest of the world when it comes to making online purchases.

Nokia rebranded maps here to help navigate within malls

Finnish handset maker   Nokia says its location services will become one of its core sources of revenue as it changed Nokia maps to become device and operating system agnostic and rebranded it to 'here' last week. 

"We will continue to invest in location services that will be one of the five core business for Nokia. The service will not only be a source of revenue generation but also differentiation in the market," said Vipul Mehrotra, director for smart devices at Nokia India. 

Hewlett Packards loss dollar 5 billion folly, by the numbers

For Hewlett-Packard, the alarm bells started ringing less than a year after the technology company bought a British software maker for $11.1 billion. 

Unhappy with the business's sagging performance, HP ousted the software company's mercurial Cambridge-educated founder and sent a team to England to review its books in May. It was then that a senior finance official at the British company stepped forward, raising questions about the accuracy of the numbers. 

YouTube banned in Russia by mistake

Web-surfing Russians on Wednesday endured a brief scare, led to believe the authorities had blocked  YouTube after the video-sharing website appeared on a list of banned addresses, in what officials later called a "technical mistake."
The new registry of blacklisted websites introduced this month showed the website as having been added there on Wednesday by Russia's consumer protection agency and remained on it for several minutes.
After a media furore swiftly ensued, the agency's head Gennady Onishchenko told Russian news agencies that the intention was to ban 22 specific videos, rather than the whole service, notably ones giving instructions on how to commit suicide.

Nokia Here maps come to Apple iPhone, iPad

Nokia on Tuesday released Here, the rebranded version of its mapping application, on Apple iTunes for iPhone, iPad as well as iPod touch. Available for free on iTunes, the app is compatible with devices running on iOS 4.3 or later versions. 

The app comes with features like driving directions, live traffic view, satellite view, public transport line view and offline view, among others. Other notable features of the maps app include step-by-step voice navigation, navigation information through pedestrian routes, parks etc.

iGates growth slower than overall IT industry, Analysts

BANGALORE: Phaneesh Murthy, Indian IT industry's ace salesman, displayed aggression in paying $1.2 billion for Patni Computers in 2011 but nearly two years later Street is still a reluctant buyer of the story of iGate, where he is the chief executive.

Bank-rolled by private equity firm Apax Partners, iGate bought Patni with the stated intent of bulking up, hoping to get invited to larger technology outsourcing deals. Even as the Fremont, California-based company is keen to articulate its $3-billion sales target by 2017, analysts are not impressed with the post-acquisition progress.

Why IT professionals prefer BYOD at work

Many IT companies are encouraging BYOD (bring your own device) to work. According to an industry survey, firms feel that with techniques like desktop virtualization their earlier concerns like data theft and network problems have been addressed and therefore they are adopting the idea of employees bringing their own devices to work.

The study, which surveyed 1,493 IT and business leaders in India and China, shows that IT leaders are increasingly embracing BYOD in their enterprises. This study was part of networking solutions provider Cisco's initiative to understand acceptance of BYOD among global IT companies in 18 industries.

Logitech launches new products for Windows 8

Computer peripherals makerLogitech announced a new line up of products, comprising mouse, touchpad and keyboards, designed specifically to work with the newWindows 8 touch interface. 

Priced at Rs 2,895 onwards, the line up includes Logitech Wireless Rechargeable Touchpad T650, Touch Mouse T620, Zone Touch Mouse T400, Bluetooth Illuminated Keyboard K810 and Wireless Touch Keyboard K400R, which will be available in the Indian market from next week. 

Smartphones killing point and shoot cameras

The soaring popularity of smartphones is crushing demand for point-and-shoot cameras, threatening the once-vibrant sector as firms scramble to hit back with web-friendly features and boost quality, analysts say.
A sharp drop in sales of digital compact cameras marks them as the latest casualty of smartphones as videogame consoles and portable music players also struggle against the all-in-one features offered by the likes of Apple iPhone and the Samsung Galaxy phones.

Motorola Mobility, We have increased our focus on innovation

Motorola Solutions , which focuses on solutions for government, public safety and enterprise mobility , parted ways with its loss making sibling Motorola Mobility last year, when the latter was sold to Google for $13 billion. On a visit to Bangalore , Motorola Solutions  executive vice-president (products & business operations) Gene Delaney tells TOI that being single has helped the company focus better. 

Why do you think separation has helped you?The customer audience of Motorola Solutions and Motorola Mobility were different , and there were serious focus issues. Mobility suffered financial losses due to that. After separation we feel much more focused and energized to meet market challenges. In the last one year, Motorola Solutions' market-cap has gone up to close to $15 billion. Our branding and market standing have got better. We have increased our focus on innovation . We have expanded our product portfolio. 

Spotify raising dollar 100m, set to become dollar 3bn company

Spotify is in the middle of a $100 million financing round that could value the music streaming company at just over $3 billion, theWall Street Journal reported citing sources.
The Journal said Spotify would raise the fresh capital from multiple investors including Goldman Sachs. The WSJ report did not name any other investors.
Spotify has raised capital from outside investors several times since it set up shop in 2006, and was earlier reported to have been looking to secure a capital boost of about $200 million, at a valuation of about $4 billion.

Times Mobile launches GreetZAP app

Times Mobile announces the launch of its new application to wish your friends and near and dear ones. Its new offering GreetZAP brings an end to text messages and introduces personalised greetings, accompanied by music. So this festive season you can send your friends and relatives any number of musical personalized greetings that will reach them as a voice call. Users can select from a range of Diwali songs, aartis, prayers and even send customize messages for their friends.