Saturday, December 8, 2012

Google launches Instagram rival Snapseed

ImageGoogle said its online social network had grown to 135 million active users, as it added a photo-sharing app to compete against services like Facebook's Instagram.

"Today Google+ is the fastest-growing network thingy ever," said Google senior vice president Vic Gundotra in a blog post yesterday.

He added that "135 million (users) are active in just the stream," and that more than 500 million have upgraded their Google accounts to potentially participate in the social network, which aims to rival Facebook.

Zynga moves to enter US gambling market

Online game company Zynga says it has asked Nevada gambling regulators for a decision that could pave the way for it to enter the U.S. gambling market. 

This follows Zynga's October disclosure that it has signed a deal to offer online poker and casino games, played with real money, in the UK. It plans to launch those games in the first half of 2013. 

Zynga Inc. said in an email late Wednesday that it is seeking an ``application for a preliminary finding of suitability'' from the Nevada Gaming Control Board. This, the company says, is part of its plan to enter regulated ``real-money gaming,'' that is, gambling markets. 

Google to charge small businesses for web based apps

ImageGoogle will no longer offer its web-based office productivity software free tosmall businesses, the internet company's latest move to expand revenue beyond its core advertising services. 
 Google said that businesses with 10 or fewer people will now need to pay $50 per user per year - the same rate that larger businesses pay - to use its Google Apps software which includes email, word processing, spreadsheet and presentation tools. 

Google plus adds members, photo sharing app

Google said Thursday its online social network had grown to 135 million active users, as it added a photo-sharing app to compete against services like Facebook's Instagram. 

"Today Google+ is the fastest-growing network thingy ever," said Google senior vice president Vic Gundotra in a blog post. 

Facebook in talks to buy Microsoft advertising technology, Report

Facebook Inc is in negotiations with Microsoft Corp about acquiring advertising technology that could allow the social network displays ads on other websites, broadly expanding its advertising business, according to media reports on Thursday. 
Facebook is in "serious" discussions with Microsoft about a deal to purchase Atlas Solutions, an ad-serving product that Microsoft acquired through its $6 billion acquisition of aQuantive in 2007, according to reports in the technology blogs Business Insider and AllThingsDigital on Thursday. 

Apple to launch iPad mini in India at Rs 21,900

Apple, whose valuation in thestock market fell below $500 billion on Thursday, has reportedly launched iPad mini, fourth-generation iPad and Apple TV in India today. This comes less than a week after the company rolled out iTunes Store in the country, which has not been its priority for long.

iPad mini, which has a 7.9-inch touchscreen, has come to India at starting price of Rs 21,900 for the 16GB Wi-Fi-only version. The 32 and 64GB Wi-Fi-only versions of the device cost Rs 27,900 and 33,900 in the country, respectively. The 16, 32 and 64GB Wi-Fi+4G iterations of Apple's mini-tablet have been priced at Rs 29,900, 35,500 and 41,900, respectively.

Samsung starts pre order for Galaxy Music Duos at Rs 9,199

Image Samsung India has started taking pre-orders for Galaxy Music Duos, the Android 4.0 (Ice Cream Sandwich)-powered smartphone it showcased in October 2012. The company has priced the device at Rs 9,199 and offers cash-on-delivery option for it.

The all-new Galaxy Music Duos is a dual-simsmartphone aimed at music lovers and comes with two speakers in the front, a dedicated music key and audio technologies like Sound Alive and SRS. This device has a 3-inch LCD touchscreen with 240x320-pixel resolution and runs on an 850MHz processor with 512MB RAM. It has 4GB internal memory and supports 32GB microSD cards for expansion. 

Telenor, Videocon may shut services on January 18

Millions of mobile phone users in India may have to look for new service providers with three telecom operators likely to switch off their networks from January 18. However, the imminent network shutdown offers a window of opportunity for other operators to pick up these subscribers.

Telecom operators Telenor, Videocon and Tata Teleservices, which collectively have about 10 million subscribers in the circles where their licences expire next month, are among the nine telcos whose mobile permits were cancelled by the Supreme Court in February this year in the 2G-spectrum allocation case. The affected operators have permission to use their allocated spectrum till January 18.

Is end nearing for SMSs in India

SMSes or text messages, that have redefined the way the world writes English, are experiencing a dip in popularity in India as the growing use of smartphones is resulting in consumers switching to instant messaging tools such as WhatsApp and BlackBerry Messenger as well as social media platforms such as Twitter and Facebook. 

Executives with leading operators said India was mirroring the international trend of subscribers sending fewer text messages and shifting to other platforms and this has already begun to eat into the SMS revenues of local mobile phone companies. 

Intel to launch smartphones starting at Rs 7,000

US-based chipmaker Intel said it would develop smartphones with its chips, priced Rs 7,000 onwards, in India in partnership with handset makers. 

The touchscreen-based smartphones, based on Google's Android operating system, would be available in the market by the middle of 2013, Intel South Asia Managing Director, Sales and Marketing Debjani Ghosh said on the sidelines of INFOCOM 2012 here. 

Friday, December 7, 2012

Instagram pulls support for Twitter cards

Facebook's recently acquired photo-sharing service, Instagram, removed a key element of its integration with Twitter, signaling a deepening rift between two of the Web's dominant social media companies.

Instagram's Chief Executive Kevin Systrom said that his company turned off support for Twitter "cards" in order to drive Twitter users to Instagram's own website. Twitter "cards" are a feature that allows multimedia content like YouTube videos and Instagram photos to be embedded and viewed directly within a Twitter message.

Apple shares tumble, heres why

Apple shares tumbled more than 6 per cent, chalking up their biggest single-day loss in four years as fears grow about intensifying competition in the mobile device market. 

Investors and analysts blamed the sell-off on a mix of factors, including a forecast by an influential research firm that the iPad maker is continuing to cede ground to rival Google's Android gadgets, and unconfirmed reports that at least one major stock-clearing house was raising margin requirements on Apple stock trades. 

Now, smartphone app to alert drowsy drivers

Imageeveloped a smartphone app that warns drivers with a blinking light and noise alert if they appear distracted or drowsy behind the wheel. 

The app uses smartphone technology to mimic fancier car safety systems by detecting signs of trouble that could lead to accidents. 

Modern phones with cameras facing both front and back allow the app to monitor a driver's head pose, eyes and blinking rate to detect possible distraction or drowsiness, even as it keeps watch on the road ahead, website TechNewsDaily reported. 

US House passes resolution to keep internet out of UN control

ImageRepresentatives has passed a resolution calling on the  Obama Administration to oppose UN control of the Internet. 
The bipartisan resolution -- already been passed by theSenate - comes as the countries are attending theUnited Nations conference on telecommunications this week in Dubai. 

"The 193-member countries of the United Nations are gathered to consider whether to apply to the Internet a regulatory regime that the International Telecommunications Union created in the 1980s for old-fashioned telephone service," Congressman Greg Walden on the House floor. 

Samsung Galaxy S4 may have unbreakable screen

Samsung Electronics, the world's leading technology company by revenue, is likely accelerating the launch of its next-generation flagship Galaxy smartphone -- which may come with a breakthrough unbreakable screen. 

Codenamed "Project J" after mobile division chief JK Shin, development of the new Galaxy S IV could be aimed for release by as early as April, according to analysts and tech blogs. 

App clash, Facebooks Instagram cuts support for key Twitter integration

 Facebook Inc's recently acquired photo-sharing service, Instagram, removed a key element of its integration with Twitter, signaling a deepening rift between two of the Web's dominant social media companies. 

Instagram's Chief Executive Kevin Systrom said on Wednesday that his company turned off support forTwitter "cards" in order to drive Twitter users to Instagram's own website. Twitter "cards" are a feature that allows multimedia content like YouTube videos andInstagram photos to be embedded and viewed directly within a Twitter message. 

Chinese brands push Apple to 6th spot in Chinas smartphone market

Apple Inc's rank in China's smartphone market, which is set to become the world's largest this year, fell to No.6 in the third quarter as it faces tougher competition from Chinese brands, research firm IDC said on Thursday.
Apple's third quarter ranking was two spots below its position in the second quarter in terms of China's smartphone market share by shipments, IDC said. The US giant's market share in China was under 10 percent in the third quarter.

Amazon and Google start e book sales in Brazil

Image Inc and Google Inc both opened their digital bookstores in Brazil on Thursday, hot on the heels of e-book offerings by local booksellers in a fast-growing online retail market. 

The simultaneous introduction of the two services highlighted the wide-open nature of Brazil's $12 billion e-commerce market. Low Internet penetration and a swelling middle class have spurred bets on strong growth for years to come. 

Facebook, Yahoo, Google most accessed sites by mobile web users, Bharti Airtel survey

Facebook, Google and Yahoo are the most accessed websites among mobile internet users, who tend to consume maximum data between 10-11 PM, shows a survey by Bharti Airtel. 

"Mobile internet sees maximum data consumption between 10 pm - 11pm and Google is most visited website in terms of unique users, while Facebookclocks maximum time spent and leads all websites in terms of page views as well as data consumption," fourth edition of Airtel Mobitude 2012 survey said. 

The annual survey of customer preferences is conducted to capture the 'mobile attitude' of over 186 million Airtel customers in the country. 

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Adobe releases game developer kit for mobiles, browsers

Adobe late Monday released a free tool kit to make it easier for developers to create Flash-based games to ride the growing wave of playing on smartphones and tablets as well as in internet browsers. 

Game Developers Tools made available were the first tied to the Adobe's "Creative Cloud," providing computing muscle from Adobe's online datacenters. 

"For anybody who wants to develop a game that targets the Flash player it will be a lot easier," said Diana Helander, group product marketing manager for Gaming Solutions at Adobe. adds apps feature to search results

You're apt to discover more useful apps for your smartphone or tablet computer at 

At least that's the thinking behind a licensing agreement that Ask's search engine has forged with Silicon Valley start-up Quixey, which has spent the past three years refining a technology to analyze the services offered through millions of applications designed for iPhones, iPads,Android gadgets, Windows devices and BlackBerrys. 

Results from Quixey's database will now appear among the answers that Ask delivers to questions posed on its search engine. The apps results primarily will be featured in a new section of Ask that is scheduled to debut at 8 pm ET Tuesday (0100 GMT Friday).

Yahoo buys more mobile expertise in latest deal

 Yahoo has bought another Silicon Valley mobile startup as CEO Marissa Mayer tries to create more compelling products for smartphones and tablet computers. 

Tuesday's acquisition of OnTheAir follows Yahoo's recent purchase of mobile startup called Stamped. In both cases, Yahoo was drawn more by the engineering talent working at the startups than the services that they have been offering. 

Yahoo Inc, which is based in Sunnyvale, Calif, didn't disclose how much it paid for OnTheAir, which is based in San Francisco. 

Amazon launches Kindle content service for kids

 Amazon is launching a subscription service for children's games, videos and books aimed at getting more kids to use its Kindle Fire tablet devices. Inc. plans to announce on Wednesday that the Kindle FreeTime Unlimited service will be available in the next few weeks as part of an automatic software update. 
Amazon said subscribers will have access to "thousands" of pieces of content, though the company did not give a specific number. Kids will be able to watch, play and read any of the content available to them as many times as they want. Parents can set time limits, however. 

Cognizant forecasts slower growth in 2013

In what may be a dampener for the Indian information technology services exporters, Cognizant Technology Solutions, which is likely to grow faster than any other Indian technology outsourcers in 2012, has hinted at slower growth in 2013.

In an filing to the US market regulator Securities and Exchange Commission, the company said that it will pay its senior executives 100% of performance linked stock units if Cognizant sales expand by 16% in the year to December 2013.

IT company Mindlogicx to hire 1,000 in 2013

Mindlogicx, a tech product development company in the higher educationspace, announced it will be hiring 1,000 people over the next 6-12 months as part of its expansion plans that will see the company establish a national presence. 

The company, which has 10 Indian Universities as its customers and a student base of one million, is targeting to double to two million students over the next 12 months, it said in a statement. 

The city-headquartered company currently has employee strength of over 400 people working out of the company's 1.5 lakh square feet facility here. 

Yahoo acquires online video chat start up OnTheAir

Yahoo said it had acquired a small startup specializing in broadcasting video chats or interviews to online audiences. 

Financial terms of the deal to buy OnTheAir were not disclosed but Yahoo said the five members of the young company would join the internet veteran's mobile technology team. 

"Hiring the most talented mobile product thinkers and engineers is a big priority for us moving forward," Yahoo senior vice president of emerging products and technology Adam Cahan said in an email response to an AFP inquiry. 

Telcos to physically verify sim buyers address

Buying a sim card, hitherto a fairly painless task, is set to get more complicated. In a high-level meeting convened by joint commissioners Himanshu Roy and Sadanand Date on Monday, the police laid down a new rule: that subscribers' addresses be physically verified before they are sold a sim card by mobile companies or retailers. They also suggested a number of additional security measures such as the setting up of CCTV in shops and recording the voices of subscribers when their sim cardswere activated.

"A huge number of sim cards are being bought under fictitious names to carry out terrorist activities in India," said Roy. "We asked mobile service providers to follow the telecom ministry's stringent guidelines prescribed on August 9, 2012."

Wipro plans to build biggest campus near Bangalore

ImageAt a time when shaky global economic cues have pushed most companies to po  st  pone real estate investments, India's third-largest software exporter Wipro is finalising plans to build its largest campus that can house at least 30,000 employees in Bangalore.

The new campus, whose first phase is expected to have a built up space of 2.5 million square feet, will come up on a 50-acre plot that is 4 km away from its existing 1.9 million sq ft campus in Sarjapur, on the outskirts of Bangalore.

Google, Microsoft launch charity programmes

Google and Microsoft each unveiled new charitable initiatives, in separate efforts which channel millions of dollars to innovators tackling social ills.
Google launched its Global Impact Awards programme with a first round of funding allocating a total of $23 million to seven organizations "changing the world." 

"Technology has dramatically improved our lives, from the speed at which we get things done to how we connect with others," Google director of giving Jacquelline Fuller said in a blog post announcing the awards. 

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Apps to check your tablets graphical power

There are many apps that will simultaneously thrill you, inform you and welcome you into the world of tablet computing. Part of the fun of having a new tablet is showing off its graphical prowess. Games are a great way to do this. I've had immense fun with 'Edge Extended' (about $3 on Google Play). In this game, you play a multicoloured cube that you roll around a blocky terrain to collect targets. 

You swipe your finger on the screen to make the cube flop onto its faces to move. There are all the classic elements of collecting points, avoiding pitfalls, activating switches and so on. But despite its graphical simplicity, the app is swift-paced and very satisfying; it even gave me that sensation of falling from a height in some of its trickier parts. 

Student group to sue Facebook over privacy policy

An Austrian student group plans to sue Facebook, the world's biggest social network, for failing to do enough to protect the privacy of its hundreds of millions of members.

Privacy campaign group europe-v-facebook, which has been lobbying for better data protection by Facebook for over a year, said it planned to sue the US company in Ireland, where it has its international headquarters.

Airtel, Idea revenue get boost from data services

Mobile phone companies' strategy of focusing on data as their next major growth opportunity is beginning to yield results as incumbents such as Bharti Airtel, Vodafone India, Idea Cellular and Reliance Communications have all witnessed a steady increase in the number of subscribers using data on their mobile phones. However, this may not essentially translate into direct revenues as data tariffs are becoming more affordable.

Google partners e commerce sites for Cyber Monday on December 12

Google India today said it has partnered with a host of e-commerce players including Flipkart,Snapdeal, Homeshop18, IndiatimesShopping, and makemytrip to bring to India its own version of 'Cyber Monday' on December 12. 

Internet users can log on to '' and get deals for 24 hours on this day from over 50 partners across e-commerce, local and classified, online travel sites and BFSI (banking, financial services and insurance) industries, Google said in a statement. 

Ericsson seeks ban on import of Samsung devices in US

Swedish telecoms gear makerEricsson has filed a request with the US International Trade Commission to ban US imports of products made by South Korean group Samsung. 

The request from Ericsson, which said the products infringe on its patents, came after it sued Samsung for patent infringement in a US court last week. 

"The request for an import ban is a part of the process. An import ban is not our goal. Our goal is that they (Samsung) sign license agreements on reasonable terms," spokesman Fredrik Hallstan said. 

Free roaming likely from March 2013

After announcing plans to abolish roaming charges for mobile users when traveling within India from next year, the telecom department is likely to ask operators to implement this consumer-friendly move from March. 

Mobile phone companies have opposed the government's plans to do away with roaming charges, which accounts for about 10% of their revenues, and have warned they would be forced to increase tariffs to offset this loss. 

Yahoo to kill public chats, voice calls in Messenger

Yahoo, one of the most renowned internet companies in the world, has announced it will close the public chats, Pingbox and voice calls to landline and mobile phones. The company has also decided to pull away its Yahoo Messenger from Microsoft's Windows Live. 

This was announced via posts on YahooMessenger Blog as well as on Messenger Help sections in Yahoo Help. 

Is your child safe on Facebook

Even for an adult, Facebook's privacy settingsare daunting. For teenagers, unaware of the consequences of their online actions, using Facebook incorrectly could leave a digital trail that might follow them all the way through high school, college and into the real world. How do you ensure your child's safety? 

Explain to children that anything -- stress the word anything -- they post can and will be used against them on the internet. This includes private messages and photos they believe are visible only to friends and comments they leave on people's pictures or status updates. 

Nokia sells headquarter building for dollar 222 million

Cellphone maker Nokia said it will sell its head office building in Espoo, Finland for 170 million euros ($222 million) as part of a drive to sell assets.

The glass and steel building by the Baltic Sea will be bought by Finnish real estate company Exilion, and Nokia will lease it back on a "long-term basis," it said on Tuesday.

Nokia, which has been trying to improve its finances through job cuts and other measures, said it planned to exit more non-core assets.

Gadgets making your home more intelligent

Homes are becoming more intelligent and connected. Builders are automating lights, blinds and doors, ensuring security and energy efficiency in many of their premium offerings. Though many new homes are so designed, some companies retrofit old homes to make them intelligent. 

Philips is one such, with their Dynalite systems. "To retrofit an old house, some wiring and work is required. But it can be done," says Nataraj Kumar, director and head of Philips lighting. 

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Sweden upbeat on hiring Indian IT pros, inks SSA with India

 The social security agreement, which was signed between Sweden and India recently, will greatly benefit Swedish companies operating in India; Indian companies in Sweden and professionals in both directions, Ulf Kristersson, Sweden's minister for social security, has told ET. 

"While there are a larger number of Indians working in Sweden, the scheme, which ensures the export of social security benefits, will also help the smaller but growing number of Swedish workers in India and the large number of Swedish companies in India," minister Kristersson told ET. He was in New Delhi to ink the agreement along with Indian minister of overseas Vayalar Ravi. 

Chinas Baidu, Alibaba better at tapping global funds than US gaints like Google

Chinese search engine  company Baidu Inc paid a lower interest rate thanGoogle Inc when it sold $750 million in 10-year bonds last month. 

China's three dominant dot-com names - Baidu,Alibaba and Tencent Holdings Ltd - have successfully tapped global funding this year, stockpiling a combined $6 billion in debt despite investor scepticism about opaque Chinese companies. 

The big three plan to use the money to pad their industry advantage at home, to compete better abroad, and perhaps to buy cash-starved rivals. 

Tulip hopes to repay dollar 140 million FCCBs by December end

 Running three months behind schedule, enterprise data services provider Tulip Telecom has said it may be able to repay its foreign currency bonds worth $140 million (about Rs 760 crore) by the end of this month. 

"We were to repay FCCBs of $140 million that has got delayed. However, we have got in-principle approval for finances and as soon as that arrives, we will be in a position to pay the entire FCCB. We are expecting this to happen within this month," Tulip Telecom Chairman and Managing Director H S Bedi told PTI. 

Internet freedom not to be curbed, UN telecoms head

Internet freedom will not be curbed or controlled, the head of the UN telecommunications body, Hamadoun Toure, said as a meeting to review the 24-year-old telecom regulations kicked off Monday. 

Such claims are "completely (unfounded)," Toure, secretary general of the International Telecommunication Union, told AFP. 

"I find it a very cheap way of attacking" the conference, he said, as the World Conference on International Telecommunications (WCIT-12) set off in Dubai to review regulations reached in 1988. 

Online dating, User base to touch 115 million by 2015

Growing population of youngsters and changing cultural dynamics are set to boost the country's online dating market, with the count of users likely to touch 115 million in three years, feel market players.

Though at a nascent stage, market players said number of users exposed to online dating are gradually rising in India.

Facebook in talks to buy messaging app Whatsapp, Report

Social networking  Facebook Inc is in talks to acquire popular  messaging app Whatsapp , a move that will beef-up its mobile services business, says a media report.

"Whatsapp, the multiplatform mobile messaging app that has been one of the runaway success stories for ad-free, paid services, has been in talks to be acquired by Facebook, " a technology blog said citing sources close to the matter.

US election, iPhone 5 and Kim Kardashian are top Yahoo 2012 searches

The US presidential election became the most-searched item and Kim Kardashian was the most-searched person on Yahoo! in a year when online searches were dominated by big news stories and pop culture obsessions, the search engine company said on Monday. 

The search term "election" topped the list of searches, led not only by extensive media coverage but also widening conversation on online social media platforms.

Now, solar powered bonsai to charge your mobile

A French designer has created a unique bonzai tree that will not only look pretty on your coffee table but also charge your mobile and other gadgets using solar energy.

Created by designer Vivien Muller, 'The Electree+' has 27 miniature silicon solar panels - or 'leaves' - that can be arranged in any style the users want to create their own unique tree.