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Ultra High Def TV Sales Being Hampered By Steep Prices

July 25, 2014 by mphillips  
Filed under Consumer Electronics

Ultra high-definition televisions (UHD TVs) have made minor gains in the flat-panel market because prices remain too high, according to a new report from IHS Technology.

Among the top 13 LCD display brands worldwide, the share of UHD TV shipments reached just 5% in May, up from 4% in April, 3% in March and 2% in February, according to IHS.

While UHD TV share has grown by 1 percentage point for each of the last three months, growth hasn’t budged much since September, when the market was already at the 2% level.

The top 13 UHD TV brands account for more than 75% of total LCD TV shipments and represent more than 90% of overall UHD LCD TV shipments.

UHD TV shipments this year are projected to grow to 14.5 million units, up from just 2 million in 2013, as global brands deploy aggressive marketing efforts and roll out new models, according to IHS.

Flat-panel televisions overall amounted to 18.1 million units in May, down 6.4% from April but up 7% from the same time a year ago. Of the total, LCD TVs — including UHD sets – accounted for 17.4 million units, with plasma TVs making up the remainder at 708,000 units.

“Growth in this year’s global UHD TV market is a reflection of plans among TV makers, especially the Chinese, to increase sales. And expansion in UHD TV volume is mostly scheduled for the second half this year,” Jusy Hong, an IHS principal analyst for consumer devices, said in a statement.

UHD TVs have much higher resolution than conventional HD sets, but the dazzling images come at a steep trade-off: their prices can be several times those of LCD TVs.

According to the Consumer Electronics Association, which hosts the CES conference, buyers still pay north of $50,000 for a 105-in. UHD-TV, while the average price for a 55-in. UHD-TV this year will be around $2,750. By 2017, that price is expected to drop to $1,850.

That compares to 1080p high-definition TVs (HDTVs) today that run anywhere from $700 to around $1,700 for a 55-in. model.

 

 

 

Yahoo To Purchase Flurry To Beef Up Mobile Ad Revenue

July 23, 2014 by mphillips  
Filed under Around The Net

Yahoo Inc will acquire mobile analytics startup Flurry to beef up a fast-growing mobile advertising business that still lags Google Inc’s  and Facebook Inc’s in scale.

Six-year-old Flurry uses analytics to help target ads at consumers by monitoring activity on more than half a million apps on some 1.4 billion mobile devices around the world, Yahoo said in a statement.

The startup provides information to help marketers and brands more easily reach their desired audiences, Yahoo said.

Yahoo did not cite a price tag, but a source familiar with the matter said the Internet company is paying several hundred million dollars. Tech blog re/code earlier reported that rough amount.

Flurry will operate much as before after the acquisition closes, and its team will remain in their current locations, Yahoo added.

Yahoo is trying to revitalize a stagnant online advertising business as Chief Executive Marissa Mayer marks her second anniversary at the Internet company.

The former Google executive has revamped many of Yahoo’s Web products but its ad sales are still weak while rivals such as Google and Facebook continue to post strong, double-digit revenue growth.

Like its rivals, it has been investing in its mobile advertising platform, as users increasingly access the Internet from smartphones and tablets. Its mobile advertising revenue more than doubled in the second quarter.

But mobile advertising typically commands lower rates than online. Revenue in Yahoo’s display advertising business decreased 8 percent to $436 million in the second quarter.

 

China’s Rush To The Internet Is Slowing

July 22, 2014 by mphillips  
Filed under Around The Net

China’s once furious pace to get on the Internet is slowing, with the country adding only 14.4 million new Internet users in the first half of 2014, the lowest half-year growth in eight years.

There were 632 million Internet users in China in June, according to the government-linked China Internet Network Information Center (CNNIC).

Although China has long reigned as the country with the world’s largest Internet population, the services are still struggling to take off in the rural areas, where about 450 million people never go online, said the CNNIC in its bi-annual report.

Total Internet penetration in China is at 46.9 percent. This is far lower than the U.S, which has a penetration rate of 87 percent, according to Internet World Stats.

Many of these non-Internet users in China have low education levels, and have little need to surf the Web, the research group added. To increase adoption, the CNNIC recommended that the country focus on teaching rural elementary students Internet skills.

The slowing growth in Internet usage in China follows a rapid rise in the Internet population there, from just 94 million over a decade ago. Most of the growth has taken place in the country’s urban areas, where the Internet market has begun to mature.

In June, China had 527 million users who went online with mobile phones, which have now overtaken PCs, including both notebooks and desktops, as the most popular way to reach the Internet, the CNNIC said.

Online messaging, search engines, and news are the country’s top Internet services. But social networking sites are facing a decline in popularity, with their user numbers falling by 7.4 percent to 257 million in the last six months. The sites are struggling to innovate, and meet the demands of users, CNNIC said in its report.

 

Verizon Says U.S. Government Made 150,000 Requests For Customer Data

July 10, 2014 by mphillips  
Filed under Mobile

The U.S. government made approximately 150,000 requests for customer information from Verizon Communications in the first half of 2014, most of them subpoenas, the country’s largest wireless carrier has reported.

The report is the second summary of government requests Verizon has publicly issued since shareholders pressured the company to divulge information it shared with the government in December.

The government issued 72,342 subpoenas, half of which request subscriber information on a given phone number or IP address, while others ask for transactional information, like the phone numbers a customer has called, according to Verizon.

Verizon also received over 37,000 court orders, including 714 wiretaps, which give access to the content of communications and over 3,000 pen registers and trap and trace orders, which give the government real-time access to outgoing and incoming phone numbers, respectively.

“We repeat our call for governments around the world to make public the number of demands they make for customer data from telecom and Internet companies,” Randal Milch, Verizon’s general counsel, wrote in a company blog.

The report included limited information on international requests. France led all foreign countries listed in the report in customer information point requests, which include phone numbers or IP addresses used to identify a customer, with 762 requests.

 

Police Increasingly Turning To Mobile Spyware For Monitoring

June 26, 2014 by mphillips  
Filed under Mobile

Governments are increasingly relying on malware for mobile devices to spy targets, raising questions over the possible misuse of such tools, a new study suggests.

The Citizen Lab, part of the Munk School of Global Affairs at the University of Toronto, and Kaspersky Lab both published analyses of a surveillance product called Remote Control System (RCS) from Hacking Team in Italy.

Hacking Team is one of a handful of companies, including the Gamma Group, specializing in what are essentially malicious software programs designed to intercept data but intended for governments and law enforcement.

The Citizen Lab has long expressed concern in other published research over the use of the tools by governments, which it has concluded have been employed to suppress speech and monitor political opponents in the past.

Over time, the cost of the spying toolkits has fallen and they are now within reach of nearly all governments, the Citizen Lab said in its writeup.

“By dramatically lowering the entry cost on invasive and hard-to-trace monitoring, the equipment lowers the cost of targeting political threats for those with access to Hacking Team and Gamma Group toolkits,” the group wrote.

The latest research looks into the exploitation techniques for an Android component of RCS and the command-and-control infrastructure behind it.

The Citizen Lab identified a suspicious Android APK (application installation package) that was a functional copy of the news application “Qatif Today” intended for people in Saudi Arabia. A version of it had been modified to also deliver a payload created by Hacking Team.

A link to what appeared to the malicious APK was tweeted, which led to a Dropbox file that is now gone, The Citizen Lab wrote. If installed, the Hacking Team module requests permissions such as reading and writing SMSes, monitoring GPS location and the ability to process calls.

The Citizen Lab found other Android Hacking Team Android implants that tried to access local stores of chats in applications such as Facebook, Viber, Skype, Line and QQ.

A source leaked to The Citizen Lab a group of documents that describes how the RCS works, giving the research group broad insight into how tracking targets works. The group cautioned the documents have not been verified, but the information did not contradict its own RCS research.

Kaspersky Lab wrote on its blog that it uncovered “a huge infrastructure that is used to control the RCS malware implants.”

Kaspersky scanned the entire IPV4 Internet address space, using a special “fingerprinting” method it developed that can identify RCS command-and-control servers.

It found 64 RCS command-and-control servers in the U.S., the most of any country, followed by 49 in Kazakhstan, 35 in Ecuador and 24 in the U.K. Other countries with double-digit numbers of control servers included Canada, China and Colombia.

 

Google And Microsoft Finally Planning Kill Switches For Their Smartphones

June 20, 2014 by mphillips  
Filed under Mobile

Responding to mounting  pressure, Google and Microsoft will follow Apple in adding an anti-theft “kill switch” to their smartphone operating systems.

The commitment comes at a time when new data shows a dramatic drop in theft of Apple iPhones and iPads after the September 2013 introduction of iOS 7, which included a kill-switch function that allows stolen devices to be remotely locked and deleted so they become useless.

In New York, iPhone theft was down 19 percent in the first five months of this year, which is almost double the 10 percent drop in overall robberies seen in the city. Over the same period, thefts of Samsung devices — which did not include a kill switch until one was introduced on Verizon-only models in April — rose by over 40 percent.

In San Francisco, robberies of iPhones were 38 percent lower in the six months after the iOS 7 introduction versus the six months before, while in London thefts over the same period were down by 24 percent. In both cities, robberies of Samsung devices increased.

“These statistics validate what we always knew to be true, that a technological solution has the potential to end the victimization of wireless consumers everywhere,” San Francisco District Attorney George Gascon told IDG News Service.

Gascon and New York State Attorney General Eric Schneiderman have been leading a push to get smartphone vendors and telecom carriers to include kill switches in their products as a way to curb phone theft.

The joint work had early success with Apple but other carriers and phone makers dragged their feet. However, resistance to the idea appears to be dropping as several bills that mandate kill switches make their way through state legislatures and the U.S. Congress.

The bills demand a function that would enable a phone owner to remotely delete and disable a phone if stolen. The function could be disabled by consumers before a theft takes place if desired, but crucially new handsets would be supplied with it switched on by default.

 

Personal Robots Going On Sale Next Year, Says SoftBank

June 6, 2014 by mphillips  
Filed under Consumer Electronics

Japan’s SoftBank Corp said on Thursday it will begin selling human-like robots for personal use by February, expanding into a sector seen key to addressing labor shortages in one of the world’s fastest ageing populations.

The robots, which the mobile phone and Internet conglomerate envisions serving as baby-sitters, nurses, emergency medical workers or even party companions, will sell for 198,000 yen ($1,900) and are capable of learning and expressing emotions, Softbank CEO Masayoshi Son told a news conference.

A prototype will be deployed this week, serving customers at SoftBank mobile phone stores in Japan, he added. The sleek, waist-high robot, named Pepper, accompanied Son to the briefing, speaking to reporters in a high-pitched, boyish voice.

“People describe others as being robots because they have no emotions, no heart. For the first time in human history, we’re giving a robot a heart, emotions,” Son said.

The robots were developed by French robotics company Aldebaran, in which SoftBank took a stake in 2012, and will be manufactured by Taiwan’s Hon Hai Precision Industry Co Ltd.

They will use cloud computing to share data that can develop their own emotional capabilities. Son said they would not share an owner’s personal information.

Japan’s population is one of the most rapidly ageing in the world and the government hopes companies can offset a decline in the labour force by utilizing robotics.

Several Japanese technology manufacturers are targeting robotics for growth. Panasonic Corp and robotics research subsidiary ActiveLink Co Ltd this week showcased robotic suits and vests to assist in arduous manual tasks such as carrying heavy loads or picking fruit from trees. Personal or household robots, such as the Asimo robot that Honda Motor Co has been developing for more than a decade, are seen as potential elderly care providers.

 

 

Molerat Appears To Be Back On The Attack

June 5, 2014 by Michael  
Filed under Computing

Fireye has warned organisations to be on the lookout for bucksome toothed Molerat attacks, having spotted phishing assaults in Europe.

Molerat made its presence felt earlier, and Fireeye said that it has spotted attacks in the Middle East and United States. It said that traditionally the attacks, which use the off-the-shelf Remote Access Tool (RAT) should not be linked to Chinese threat actors anymore.

“Previous research has linked these campaigns to Molerats,” it said, “but with so much public attention focused on [advanced persistent threat] threat actors based in China, it’s easy to lose track of targeted attacks carried out by other threat actor groups based elsewhere.”

Fireeye said that the tools and tactics have been used to target organisations like the BBC, an unnamed “major US financial institution” and government departments in Israel, Turkey, Slovenia, Macedonia, New Zealand, Latvia, the US and the UK.

These attacks happened over the last five weeks, it added, and used a mix of new and recognisable tactics.

“Previous Molerats campaigns have used several garden-variety, freely available backdoors such as Cybergate and Bifrost, but, most recently, we have observed them making use of the PIVY and Xtreme RATs. Previous campaigns made use of at least one of three observed forged Microsoft certificates, allowing security researchers to accurately tie together separate attacks even if the attacks used different backdoors,” it added.

“There also appears to be a habitual use of lures or decoy documents – in either English or Arabic-language – with content focusing on active conflicts in the Middle East. The lures come packaged with malicious files that drop the Molerats’ flavor of the week, which happen to all be Xtreme RAT binaries in these most recent campaigns.”

The end of May saw a malicious download URL sent to a well-known European government organisation. The shortened link offered “http://lovegame[.]us/ Photos[.]zip”, and Fireye said that it was clicked on and downloaded by the victim.

Decoy files in the package give way to the installation of the Xtreme RAT binary into a temporary directory, and according to the security company that same URL has been clicked at least 225 times on a variety of hardware and software since then.

Other similar malicious files have been shared through shortened URLs, it added, and many are hidden within RAR files that are automatically extracted.

The attacks seem rather limited and Fireeye said that off-the-shelf tools are most often used. However, it added that the target network is widening, and the impact of this is “noteworthy”.

Courtesy-TheInq

DARPA Touts ‘Hack-proof’ Drone Technology

May 29, 2014 by mphillips  
Filed under Around The Net

In a claim similar to  Oracle Corp.’s old “unbreakable” marketing campaign of several years ago, the U.S. military has built what it calls a hack proof drone.

The Pentagon’s Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) developed the unmanned aerial vehicle under its High-Assurance Cyber Military Systems (HACMS) program, military blog Defense Tech reported last week.

DARPA unveiled a prototype of the mini-drone last week during a broader demonstration of over 100 ongoing research projects at the agency.

DARPA’s HACMS program was created to develop technologies for improving the security of embedded systems in drones, weapons systems, aircraft,supervisory control and data acquisition (SCADA) systems and medical and mobile devices.

HACMS is looking especially at interactive software synthesis systems, code verification tools and new specification languages, DARPA said. If the technologies prove successful, DARPA will make them available for use in commercial and defense systems.

“HACMS will adopt a clean-slate, formal methods-based approach to enable semi-automated code synthesis from executable, formal specifications,” DARPA said in a statement. In addition to generating code, HACMS will also develop technology for ensuring that all generated code satisfies security and safety policies.

Software developed for the quadcopter drone makes it impervious to attacks by hackers that try to take over its navigation and control systems. “The software is mathematically proven to be invulnerable to large classes of attack,” HACMS program manager Kathleen Fisher told Defense Tech.

All attempts to hack into the drone during red-team exercises and other penetration tests by cyber security experts failed, she told the military blog site.

DARPA did not respond to request for comment on the technology.

If the software really works as billed, it would be a big step forward for the Pentagon. Over the past six years, there have been at least two known incidents in which U.S. military drones were apparently being hacked into by attackers.

 

Additional Security Concerns Keeps Focus on eBay

May 29, 2014 by mphillips  
Filed under Around The Net

EBay’s security team could be in for a bumpy ride.

Following an attack disclosed last week that exposed sensitive information of up to 145 million people, the auction giant is scrambling to repair several other problems reported in its vast network by security enthusiasts.

“As a company, we take all vulnerabilities reported to us very seriously, evaluating any reported issue within the context of our entire security infrastructure,” wrote Ryan Moore, lead manager of eBay’s business communications, in an email to IDG News Service.

EBay has long been a target for cybercriminals. It is the seventh most visited site in the U.S, according to statistics from Amazon’s Alexa Web analytics unit. Its combination of a marketplace and payments platform, PayPal, means it holds sensitive data and poses opportunity for fraudsters.

Three U.S. states — Connecticut, Florida and Illinois — are jointly investigating eBay’s data breach, a sign that regulators and law enforcement are taking a keen interest in how consumer data is protected following Target’s data breach last year.

EBay’s size puts it in the league of companies such as Facebook, Google and Microsoft. All run large networks constantly prodded by “black hat” hackers, those who are seeking to damage a company or profit from attacks, and “white hats,” who alert companies to problems.

Yasser Ali, a 27-year-old who lives in Luxor, Egypt, said it took him all of three minutes last week to find a serious vulnerability that could let him take over anyone’s eBay account if he knows a person’s user name, which is public information.

Ali shared a video with eBay showing how the flaw could be exploited, he said in a phone interview Tuesday night. He hasn’t received a response from eBay, but said the video was viewed by company officials 17 times, according to a statistics counter on the clip. Moore said eBay has now fixed the bug, and Ali plans to release details of it.

 

 

Twitter User Base To Grow By 24% This Year

May 28, 2014 by mphillips  
Filed under Around The Net

Twitter users are expected to increase by 24.4% this year to over 227 million with double-digit growth expected to continue through 2018 when the number of users will be nearly 400 million, according to a report.

The US will continue to be the country with the largest number of individual Twitter users through 2018, according to an eMarketer report . But its share of users, currently at 20%, will drop over the years and give Twitter the opportunity to grow its advertising revenue from outside the U.S.

The Asia-Pacific region increased its share of the number of Twitter users to 30.5% in 2013 in comparison to 26% for second-place North America. High growth countries in Asia-Pacific were Indonesia and India with 76.3% and 68.8% growth, respectively.

The research firm said its estimates are based on how many individual users log in or access Twitter each month within the calendar year. It said its figure differs from Twitter’s reported figure for users because it uses consumer survey data to remove business accounts, multiple accounts for individual users and other sources of potential double-counting.

Twitter reported average monthly active users (MAUs) were 241 million as of Dec. 31, which increased to 255 million at the end of the first quarter.

The figure for Asia-Pacific does not include China which blocks Twitter, although users still access the social networking site using virtual private networks.

By 2018, the share of the Asia-Pacific region is forecast to reach 40.1%, eMarketer said.

India and Indonesia are forecast to have the third and fourth-largest base of Twitter users in the world in 2014, with about 18 million and 15 million users, respectively.

The popularity of Twitter and other social media in India was reflected in the extensive use of these tools during the recently concluded federal elections in the country. The new prime minister Narendra Modi uses Twitter and Facebook frequently to communicate to literate users and has over 4.4 million followers on Twitter.

 

Google Provides Ride-along To Acquaint Public With Self-Driving Cars

May 15, 2014 by mphillips  
Filed under Around The Net

Google Inc’s auto-piloting car technology likely will not be available for several more years. But the Internet giant is already going on the charm offensive to make the public comfortable with the futuristic vehicles.

A fleet of Google’s robot cars chauffeured more than two dozen reporters around Mountain View, California, on Tuesday, in 30-minute ride-alongs that showcased their ability to automatically and safely navigate around city streets packed with cyclists, pedestrians and traffic signs.

The demonstrations, along with a morning of press briefings by Google managers developing the technology, marked the company’s most concerted effort to date to provide an up-close look at the cars conceived five years ago in its secretive Google X division.

The public needs to understand that a self-driving car is “not something that you need to fear but something you need to embrace,” said Ron Medford, a former National Highway Traffic and Safety Administration official who is now director of safety for Google’s self-driving car project.

“We do find that when people experience it, we get remarkable results and responses,” Medford said at the event at the Computer History Museum, during which Google explained the technology that makes the cars work.

Google founders Larry Page and Sergey Brin tout the driverless car as revolutionary technology that could eventually sharply reduce fatalities on the road. But it remains to be seen whether it’s ready for widespread use.

Lately, some of Google’s ambitious “moonshot” projects have stirred unease. Google Glass, a postage stamp-sized computer screen that attaches to eyeglass frames and is capable of recording video, has raised privacy concerns.

For self-driving cars, consumer acceptance and regulation may be as much issues as perfecting the technology.

Google will not say whether it will build its own cars or license the technology to automakers, nor will it provide a firm date for when the cars will be available. Co-founder Brin has said the technology could be available by 2017.

 

Vevo Sees Dramatic Growth, Monthly Viewership Up Nearly 50 Percent

April 24, 2014 by mphillips  
Filed under Around The Net

Vevo, the online music video hub that is a joint venture of two of the world’s biggest music labels, has enjoyed a nearly 50 percent spike in the number of music videos streamed each month from its platform, according to the company’s top executives.

The company, which is controlled by Universal Music Group and Sony Music Entertainment, hit a monthly average of nearly 6 billion views in December, a 46 percent rise from a year earlier, said Rio Caraeff, the chief executive officer.

About 65 percent of the videos are being watched on mobile phones, according to the company.

“On a global stage, it’s really all about mobile,” Caraeff said in Miami, where he was participating in the Billboard Latin Music Conference. “Mobile and tablet and television are where the majority of the views are happening.”

A growing number of people watch music videos from the platform on smartphones, tablets or web-connected TVs using Apple TV, Roku and XBox devices.

Google Inc is a minority stakeholder in New York-based Vevo, which was founded in 2009. Universal Music is a unit of Vivendi SA, and Sony Entertainment is part of Sony Corp.

The online music video service started out distributing videos to AOL and Google’s YouTube, creating revenue from a portion of the advertising revenue it generated.

Of the approximately 6 billion music videos streamed each month, 5 billion occur outside the United States, Caraeff said. The top countries include the UK and Germany. Vevo offers its own service in more than 13 countries and will soon roll out in Mexico.

The most watched video ever is teen pop star Justin Bieber’s “Baby” with over 1 billion streams, according to the company. Last year, Pink’s “Just Give Me a Reason” topped Vevo’s list of the most viewed videos.

Caraeff said the company is holding conversations with potential investors as it seeks to expand. He declined to say who the company has spoken with. The Wall Street Journal has reported Vevo held talks with financial services firm Guggenheim Partners.

“We are continuing to speak to investors as we try to find the right partners to grow the business more rapidly than we’ve been able to do so far,” Caraeff said. “We’re still very active in that process.”

Last week, Vevo, which provides some of the most popular content on YouTube, expanded its content partnership with Yahoo in a deal that brings Vevo’s music videos and other programming to Yahoo’s video channel, Yahoo Screen, in the United States and Canada.

The partnership is expected to soon extend to Britain, Germany, Spain, France and Italy as well as the Yahoo Screen mobile app.

 

Espionage Hacking On The Increase, According To Verizon Study

April 23, 2014 by mphillips  
Filed under Around The Net

Hacking for espionage purposes is drastically rising, with groups or national governments from Eastern Europe playing a growing role, according to one of the most comprehensive annual studies of computer intrusions.

Spying intrusions traced back to any country in 2013 were blamed on residents of China and other East Asian nations 49 percent of the time, but Eastern European countries, especially Russian-speaking nations, were the suspected launching site for 21 percent of breaches, Verizon Communications Inc’s said in its annual Data Breach Investigations Report.

Those were by far the most active areas detected in the sampling, which drew more than half of its data from victims in the United States. About 25 percent of spying incidents could not be attributed to attackers from any country, according to the authors of the report.

Though the overall number of spying incidents studied tripled to 511 from total in the 2013 Verizon report, most of that increase is due to the addition of new data sources. Even looking at just the same contributors as before, however, espionage cases grew, said Verizon investigator Bryan Sartin.

Not all electronic spying was blamed on governments. Investigators from Verizon, Intel Corp’s McAfee, Kaspersky Labs and other private companies and public agencies contributing data ascribed 11 percent of espionage attacks to organized criminals and 87 percent to governments.

In some cases, the criminal gangs were probably looking to sell what they found to governments or competitors of the victims.

“We do see a slight merging between the classic organized criminal and the espionage crook,” Sartin said, adding that he expected that trend to continue.

If the rise of detected Eastern European spying comes as a surprise to those mainly familiar with accusations against China, a bigger surprise might be the study’s findings about attacks on retailers.

Though recent breaches at Target Corp and other retailers through their point-of-sale equipment have dominated the headlines and prompted congressional hearings in the past few months, fewer such intrusions have been reported to the Verizon team than in past years, even as the number of report contributors has multiplied.

“The media frenzy makes quite a splash, but from a frequency standpoint, this largely remains a small-and-medium business issue,” the study says.

 

Reddit Going After More Users, Advertisers With New Feature

April 17, 2014 by mphillips  
Filed under Around The Net

Reddit, a website with a retro-’90s look and space-alien mascot that tracks everything from online news to celebrity Q&As, is trying to attract even more followers, and advertising, by allowing members of its passionate community to post their own news more quickly and easily.

Reddit, majority owned by Conde Nast parent Advanced Publications, last month unveiled a new feature that lets users of the nine-year-old site post live updates, allowing them to report in real time.

The live updates allow selected users, dubbed “reporters” by Reddit, to instantly stream unlimited posts during the course of an event such as the conflict in the Ukraine, an earthquake in Los Angeles, or a game played in real time, without having to refresh the page.

The capability is still in testing mode. So far only users selected on a case-by-case basis can create a live thread. The feature has attracted attention. For example, live threads linked to “Twitch plays Pokemon,” in which users of the Twitch website played an old Nintendo game, garnered 2 million page views in 30 days.

“Reddit members are doing amazing things with very minimal tools and were hitting some barriers,” said Erik Martin, general manager.

Martin, who said the site is not yet profitable and declined to give specific revenue figures, added: “We want to give people a more powerful way to make updates.”

Reddit’s move toward enabling users to fluidly update is the latest move in a battle between social media sites including Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn to use news to engage users, and attract more ad dollars.

Before, Reddit users could not update in real time. The new feature is similar to how people instantly send tweets but keeps the updates together through one thread or “subreddit.”

Reddit, which also gets revenue through e-commerce, has ramped up efforts of late to attract more advertisers. Next week, it plans to unveil city and country targeting capabilities that allow advertisers to address users by geographic market.

One recent ad, specific to Reddit, featured the actors Jeff Goldblum and Bill Murray, stars of the movie “The Grand Budapest Hotel,” as individual threads.

Some 62 percent of Reddit users get their news through the platform while about half of all Facebook and Twitter users do the same, according to a recent report on the State of the News Media from the Pew Research Center.

“Reddit is all about the community, that is the value they brought to the site as they created it,” said Kelly McBride, a senior faculty member at the Poynter Institute, who has been following Reddit since it was founded.

“News has always been really important to Reddit,” she said.

Reddit has more than 114 million unique visitors worldwide and has doubled its traffic in 12 months, said Martin. Facebook has more than 1 billion users and Twitter has more than 240 million.