Subscribe to:

Subscribe to :: TheGuruReview.net ::

Twitter Woes Continue, User Growth Rate Slows

July 30, 2015 by mphillips  
Filed under Around The Net

Twitter Inc’s shares continued to drop after the microblogging company said its number of monthly average users grew at the slowest pace since it went public in 2013.

“This is unacceptable and we’re not happy about it,” Jack Dorsey, who stepped in as interim chief executive on July 1, said on a call with analysts.

Twitter said it had 304 million core users in the second quarter, up from 302 million in the prior quarter.

Twitter’s struggles to increase its audience worries investors, who are focused on the company’s growth potential, and the latest figures did little to reassure them.

The data on users overshadowed the company’s second-quarter earnings and revenue, which exceeded expectations, and its bullish projections for future revenue.

Executives also made clear it would be a long process, and were candid about problems with the service.

“We do not expect to see sustained meaningful growth (in monthly active users) until we start to reach the mass market,” Chief Financial Officer Anthony Noto said on the call.

“We have not clearly communicated Twitter’s unique value. And as a result non-users continue to ask, ‘Why should I use Twitter?’ “Simply said, the product remains too difficult to use.”

Twitter recognizes “there is an issue that needs to be worked on,” Evercore ISI analyst Ken Sena said. “They were giving investors a sense of the challenge and I think the stock sell-off that you saw just reflected that.”

 

 

 

Facebook Invites More Mobile Operators To Internet.org

July 29, 2015 by mphillips  
Filed under Mobile

Facebook is inviting additional mobile operators to join Internet.org, its project to bring Internet access to poorly connected parts of the world.

Internet.org turns one year old this week, and Facebook says it’s ready to scale the project to reach more people.

The company is making it easier for more mobile operators to join the project by launching an online portal where they’ll find technical tools and best practices to help them get started.

So far, Facebook has been working with about a dozen operators in 17 countries to provide an app that gives people free access to a set of basic Internet services.

According to Facebook, people who use the app quickly become paying subscribers — something that will no doubt appeal to the mobile operators it’s trying to partner with.

“Internet.org brings new users onto mobile networks on average over 50 percent faster after launching free basic services, and more than half of the people who come online through Internet.org are paying for data and accessing the Internet within the first 30 days,” Facebook said.

The Internet.org mobile app is perhaps the most tangible element in Facebook’s efforts to expand Internet access — and its own services — to more people throughout the world. It’s also using satellites, drones and lasers that can beam Internet signals through space to bring people online.

While the number of people with Internet access continues to grow, 4.2 billion of the world’s roughly 7.4 billion people will still be offline by the end of the year, according to data from the International Telecommunication Union.

The Internet.org app typically includes a stripped-down version of Facebook and access to other free services like weather reports, health information and services for finding jobs.

CEO Mark Zuckerberg has said Facebook could become the Internet on-ramp for the world.

 

 

 

Massive iPhone Counterfeiting Operation Shut Down In China

July 28, 2015 by mphillips  
Filed under Mobile

Police in Beijing have raided a factory that made more than 41,000 fake iPhones worth as much as 120 million yuan ($19 million), including some that reached the United States, and have arrested nine suspects in the counterfeiting operation.

Apple is one of the most popular brands in China, where authorities have stepped up efforts in recent years to dispel the country’s reputation for turning out counterfeit goods.

Officials have taken stiffer action to enforce intellectual property (IP) rights, pushed firms to apply for trademarks and patents and cracked down on fakes.

Police arrested nine people, including a married couple who led the operation, after a raid in May on the factory, run under the guise of a gadget maintenance shop on the northern outskirts of the Chinese capital.

The details were revealed in a social media posting on Sunday by the public security bureau in Beijing.

The group, headed by a 43-year old man, surnamed Yu, and his 40-year old wife, surnamed Xie, both from the southern hardware manufacturing city of Shenzhen, allegedly set up the Beijing factory with six assembly lines in January, the bureau said.

They hired “hundreds” of workers to repackage second-hand smartphone components as iPhones for export, it added.

Police seized 1,400 handsets and large quantities of accessories during the May 14 raid. In the United States, the newest Apple Inc handsets can fetch $649, or more, depending on the model.

Beijing police said their investigation followed a tip-off from U.S. authorities who seized some of the fake devices.

The destination of the counterfeit phones, and how many made it there, remains unknown.

Public security representatives declined to comment on Monday, telling Reuters they had no additional information.

Apple also declined to comment, saying the investigation was ongoing.

 

 

Microsoft Unveils ‘Send’ Mobile App

July 24, 2015 by mphillips  
Filed under Mobile

Microsoft unveiled a mobile-minded alternative to email that’s focused primarily on short, quick messages.

Named Send, the new tool aims to deliver a simple experience much like that offered by text messaging or instant messaging software but without the need to know a co-worker’s mobile number or username. Instead, Send lets users quickly fire off a message to any co-worker using just their email address; no subject line, salutations or signatures are required.

“On my way,” might be one example, or “Are you in the office today?”

The app connects to Office 365 business and school email accounts to find frequent and recent contacts; users need only tap on one to start a conversation. A “Quick Reply” option allows for speedy responses.

That Office 365 connection, meanwhile, also means conversations are synced with Outlook, letting users continue them from anywhere. Messages sent using Send are treated internally like any other work email and comply with an organization’s email compliance policies, Microsoft said.

Send is now available free for iPhone through the Microsoft Garage in the U.S. and Canada. Versions for Windows Phone and Android are coming soon, as are additional IT controls. Currently the app works with Office 365 business and school email accounts, but Microsoft plans to make it more broadly available in the coming months, it said.

 

 

 

Herbalife Seeks To Uncover Anonymous Tweets

July 23, 2015 by mphillips  
Filed under Around The Net

Herbalife Ltd has filed a petition requesting information from micro-blogging company Twitter Inc to identify an anonymous user who posted defamatory tweets against the weight-loss and nutritional products maker.

The petition for “discovery before suit” seeks to identify the person against whom a lawsuit can be filed.

Herbalife said it wants Twitter to provide information such as IP addresses and account details of the user who vilified the company and its management as “thieves, pill pushing frauds and bullies”.

“The twitter feed of @AfueraHerbaLIES contains not only defamatory, disparaging, and deceptive posts about Herbalife and its products, but also contains numerous insulting and offensive statements about Herbalife’s management team, its members, and even federal regulators,” the company said in the petition filed on Monday in Illinois.

Herbalife said the user’s tweets, accusing it of selling toxic and unregulated products, prejudice the company in its trade and are materially harmful to its reputation.

The company wants the court to order Twitter to preserve all information relating to the matter and also allow Herbalife to serve discovery upon Twitter, including document production requests.

Twitter’s privacy policy requires a court order before the company releases information about its users.

“This is pretty straightforward. We are not going to sit back and let someone make false and defamatory statements about our company,” said Alan Hoffman, a representative for Herbalife.

 

 

Google + Photos To End On August 1st

July 22, 2015 by mphillips  
Filed under Consumer Electronics

Bad news for Google+ Photos, the photo-sharing service that’s part of the company’s social network.

Google will begin closing down the service on Aug. 1 on Android, with the Web and iOS devices to follow soon after.

For a time, Google touted the service as a key element in Google+, with a range of editing tools and image enhancement technologies rolled out over the years.

But Google hinted that its days might be numbered when the company rolled out its new Google Photos service at Google I/O in May.

The closure of Google+ Photos is likely to prompt more questions about the future of Google+, which has struggled to rival the success of Facebook.

Photos and videos stored in Google+ Photos will be moved to Google Photos. People who don’t want to use the new service can download their images using Google Takeout, the company said.

Google Photos provides free, unlimited photo and video storage in Google’s cloud, along with tools to organize the media.

 

 

 

Is PayPal Blocking Users?

July 22, 2015 by Michael  
Filed under Around The Net

Paypal appears to have had technical problems as it tried to free itself from the corporate networks of Ebay and has been stopping some users from spending money for nearly six weeks.

The company, which appeared on the stock market again free from Ebay for the first time today, has been blocking some users from spending their money.

It is flagging transactions as being problematic and refusing to let them go through. The user gets a message suggesting that they should try later. However, waiting never improves anything, the account is blocked.

We noticed the problem about six weeks ago and it was hinted to us that the problem was caused as engineers tried to liberate PayPal from its eBay overlords.

Paypal customer support did not know what to do and is blaming all of Paypal’s suppliers as security risks. Ironically it has also been saying that eBay transactions have been security risks. Initially customner support suggested that payments were sent out to email addresses but then the unfixed security feature started blocking these too.

What is also alarming is that the security blocks cannot be overridden manually, in fact, most users will not even know they have been blocked.

Customer support seems to have faith that the security system and has no interest in referring the problem to someone with technical expertise:

” the reason as to why your payment using your account is being stopped is because according to our Internal Security System it may fail or there are potential problems linked to it.

Please be advised that I do not mean you, as the user or the seller or even your card/bank account has triggered our internal security system but what happened here is that when each and every payment is made through PayPal our Internal Security system will analyse each one of them.

I hope you understand that our system will analyze all factors involved in the payment being made, not just those making the payment or receiving or what is being used. It could possibly be that items or services of a certain category has had a history of failing or being done fraudulently or that the item or service is not suitable according to the Acceptable Use Policy. These are a few examples of what could have triggered our Internal Security system and it completely objective and analytical to prevent any negative outcomes to a transaction.

You may at the moment view this as protection but in actual fact this system we use has helped reduce losses for both buyers and sellers, as we only have your best interests in mind. A smooth transaction is an ideal transaction and we wish to straighten out any wrinkles for you from the start so that once an exchange of money and item or service is done, you need not worry about it anymore.”

Obviously automatically freezing people’s accounts does prevent the money from being stolen, but it equally reduces the usefulness of your service.

We asked PayPal to comment about the problem and if it was aware of the security problem it was facing. We even offered access to our accounts so they could see the problem in action.

Press officer Adam Blacker told us that we needed to talk to customer support. This makes it the first time in our long career that we have been referred to customer support when asking about a company’s security.  Needless to say we thought we would get a better comment from the cat than another round of emails to customer support.

Courtesy-Fud

YouTube Gains Adds Billions To Google’s Bottom Line

July 20, 2015 by mphillips  
Filed under Around The Net

Google shares rose by 16.3 percent to $699.62 on Friday, adding about $65 billion to its market value, as strong growth in YouTube viewership eased investor concerns about Facebook Inc’s push into video.

Google’s class A shares chalked up their largest single-day percentage change in more than seven years on Friday.

The surge, which comes a day after it reported better-than-expected profit for the first time in six quarters, sent the Nasdaq composite index to a record intraday high.

The rise in Google’s market value was more than the total market capitalization of Caterpillar Inc, the world’s biggest construction equipment maker.

Google’s shares hit a record high of $703, valuing it at $471.50 billion and cementing its position as the world’s second most valuable company after Apple Inc.

At least 27 brokerages raised price targets on Google’s stock, with analysts also welcoming new Chief Financial Officer Ruth Porat’s emphasis on disciplined spending.

At the highest price target of $800, Google would be valued at $545 billion. Apple is valued at about $740 billion.

The energy brought to Google by Porat, who joined in May from investment bank Morgan Stanley, is likely to drive the stock in the short and medium term, analysts say.

“She is known to be tough as nails when it comes to expense management …,” FBN Securities analyst Shebly Seyrafi said. “A lot of investors are comforted by the fact that her first quarter as CFO, reporting, she is delivering.”

 

Facebook’s Oculus Acquires Gesture Recognition Firm Pebble

July 17, 2015 by mphillips  
Filed under Consumer Electronics

Facebook’s Oculus unit announcd that it has agreed to acquire Israeli gesture recognition technology developer Pebbles Interfaces for an undisclosed amount.

The announcement was made in a blog posted by Oculus.

Israel’s Calcalist financial news website said the deal was worth tens of millions of dollars.

While other companies pioneering the virtual reality field focus on full-body movement, Pebbles’ technology detects and tracks hand movement. It is aimed primarily at gamers but also has applications for TV, computers, or smartphone operation while driving.

Recently Pebbles integrated its technology with Oculus glasses, which translate finger gestures into virtual movement through a camera mounted on the glass frame, Calcalist said.

Investors in Pebbles include Chinese mobile phone maker Xiaomi, Israeli venture capital fund Giza and U.S. storage firm SanDisk, Calcalist said.

 

 

Facebook Said To Be Developing A Virtual Assistant

July 16, 2015 by mphillips  
Filed under Around The Net

Facebook is rumored to be developing a virtual assistant for its Messenger app.

According to a report in The Information, the world’s largest social network is working on the virtual assistant, which has been internally dubbed Moneypenny, presumably after the fictional secretary in the James Bond books and movies.

Facebook is developing the service that would enable users to ask real people for help researching and ordering products and services, the report noted, citing three unnamed sources.

Messenger is Facebook’s mobile instant messaging app, which is designed to work with voice and text. The app reportedly has more than 700 million monthly users.

Facebook declined to comment on the report.

Patrick Moorhead, an analyst with Moor Insights & Strategy, said it makes sense for Facebook to venture into the realm of virtual assistants after the success of Apple’s Siri and Microsoft’s Cortana.

If the report is accurate, the question is how Facebook would weave together a “virtual” assistant with the ability to ask “real people” for help.

Moorhead suggested that a live person could be contacted if the virtual assistant wasn’t coming up with the information that the user needed.

It also could be that if, for instance, a user asks for information about a certain bicycle, the virtual assistant could check for comments about it from the user’s Facebook friends or the entire Facebook user community.

“It makes sense that they would try this, for sure,” said Moorhead. “The best assistants have mountains of information on us that can be used to improve context. And Facebook has more personal data than anyone other than Google.”

 

 

Will Cortana Impact Windows 10 Battery Life?

July 3, 2015 by Michael  
Filed under Computing

It is just over a month until Microsoft introduces Windows 10, and as you should know by now, Cortana is one of the key elements of the new OS.

Cortana always listens in order to hear its name and be a smart digital assistant. This is Microsoft answer to Siri and Google Now that is making its way to Windows 10.

Unfortunately, this will affect your notebook battery life. We have spoken with a few industry sources and we can definitely confirm that Windows 10 with enabled Cortana will have an impact on the battery life. We are testing this as we speak to check how big the impact is.

We don’t know how significant the battery life decrease will be, but the good thing is that you will be able to switch Cortana off in case you don’t need it. We heard that many new Toshiba notebooks will come with a dedicated Cortana button, as this is the easiest way to save battery life. Cortana on Toshiba won’t listen until you press the button.

It would be smart if Microsoft would come up with Cortana enable / disable keyboard shortcut. Win + Q will enable Cortana news while Win + S will bring you directly to the Cortana search engine.

Windows 10 seems to be a logical upgrade for anyone who has Windows 8.1 on their notebooks and misses the options from Windows 7, and some familiar UI elements. We use Windows 8.1 on some devices, while most of our computers still have Windows 7 and nothing more. Microsoft DirectX 12 will force us to Windows 10 but from what awe can tell from Preview release, the upgrade to Windows 10 from with 7 seems like quite seamless and logical step.

Just make sure to be aware that your notebook battery life might suffer because of Cortana. Have in mind that this “talk to your PC and expect a smart answer” option can be disabled.

Courtesy-Fud

Yahoo Beefs Up Mobile Search

June 29, 2015 by mphillips  
Filed under Mobile

Yahoo is beefing up its search service on mobile devices, following Google’s lead by highlighting content such as images, videos and reviews ahead of regular search results

The changes will apply to Yahoo search on the mobile web in the U.S., in browsers such as Safari and Chrome. Yahoo’s mobile app and desktop site already provide some additional content within results.

A search on the mobile web for Barack Obama, for instance, displays information about him from Wikipedia, such as his height and birth date, as well as links to news, images and YouTube videos. In one search Thursday, the videos included some curious choices, including “Barack Obama is Illuminati.”

Google already highlights a variety of content related to search queries, including news and related tweets, as well as links to other services like Maps. Microsoft’s Bing does something similar.

Because Yahoo is playing catch-up, the changes might not attract many new users, but they could help it retain people who use Yahoo for mobile searches today.

In the last quarter of 2014, mobile accounted for half of Yahoo’s search traffic in North America, up from 32 percent during the same period in 2013, according to research firm eMarketer.

 

 

HBO To Offer Episodes Of New Shows On Facebook

June 26, 2015 by mphillips  
Filed under Around The Net

Premium cable network HBO said it would make available the premiere episodes of two new comedy series on Facebook, underlining the growing popularity of the social networking site as a video platform.

The popularity of web videos have led to U.S. networks experiment with new platforms to attract new viewers. With about 1.44 billion monthly active users, Facebook has become a sough-after outlet for companies looking to market their products via online videos, the fastest growing category of Internet ads.

Last week, Amazon.com Inc released the pilot episode of its show “Catastrophe” for a limited time on the social media network, instead of its own Prime Instant Video streaming service.

HBO, owned by Time Warner Inc, said on Wednesday viewers would be able to access the premiere episodes of Dwayne Johnson-starrer “Ballers” and “The Brink” on Facebook for a limited period. The two new original series premiered this past Sunday.

Turner Broadcasting, another Time Warner network, said in April it granted exclusive video-on-demand rights to its Cartoon Network and Adult Swim programs to video streaming service Hulu.

On Tuesday Hulu said it would soon allow users to add CBS Corp’s TV network Showtime to their subscriptions.

 

 

Facebook Allowing Users Without An Account To Use Messenger

June 26, 2015 by mphillips  
Filed under Around The Net

Facebook Inc has begun allowing users without an account to sign up for its Messenger app with a phone number, the social media company said on Wednesday, in another move to broaden the app’s reach and make it a standalone platform.

Earlier this year, Facebook opened up Messenger to developers, and Chief Executive Officer Mark Zuckerberg said he wanted to connect users directly with retailers, restaurants and other businesses.

With the latest update, users will be prompted by an option that says “Not on Facebook?” when they open the app. They can then sign up with their name, phone number and a photo.

The mobile messaging service, which has 600 million users, has added a number of new features in recent months, including games and video calling.

Facebook’s flagship social network has 1.4 billion users.

 

 

 

Google Seeking Testers For Jump Virtual Reality Video Camera

June 24, 2015 by mphillips  
Filed under Consumer Electronics

If you’re an aspiring virtual reality content producer, Google is looking to give you a chance to test the Jump camera system it developed for recording video to be used in VR environments.

Individuals that are interested in trying their hand at capturing 360-degree video with Jump can fill out a form Google posted on Monday that asks basic biographical questions as well as details on how they would use the system.

Google didn’t say how many “select creators” it would chose, but those who are picked will be able to start using the 16-camera rig this summer.

Google seems especially interested in people with creative backgrounds. The jobs that people can select in the form’s occupation section include filmmaker, director, artist and production staff — but there is an “other” section that allows write-ins if none of the above apply.

There’s also a section where applicants can explain why they want to test Jump — and “awesome answers might put you at the top of the list,” Google said.

Google worked with GoPro to build Jump, which has 16 of the company’s Hero4 cameras attached to a circular frame. Jump’s price and availability weren’t provided when the rig was shown at Google’s I/O developer’s conference in May. However, given that a Hero4 camera retails for approximately US$500, initial Jump buyers will likely have deep pockets.

The first videos created with Jump will appear on YouTube this summer, Google said at I/O. People will be able to experience them via the Google Cardboard viewer.