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iPhone Top Camera For Photos On Flickr

December 12, 2017 by  
Filed under Mobile

Flickr, the highly popular picture hosting site, just shared some interesting info on the top cameras of 2017. According to its data, the iPhone ranks as the most popular camera with 54 percent of photographers using devices from Apple — more than all the other traditional camera companies combined.

In general, phones captured 50 percent of the photos uploaded to Flickr. Other camera types like DSLR, point-and-shoot and mirrorless came in at 33 percent, 12 percent and 4 percent respectively.

It shouldn’t be too surprising that phones account for such a large portion of modern photography. The cameras in phones keep getting more and more advanced with dual-lenses, more megapixels and AI integrated camera software. Phonemakers know this and use photography as a major selling point for new phones — Huawei collaborates with Leica, Google brags about the highly rated camera on its Pixel 2 and Apple even has an Instagram for its “Shot on iPhone” campaign.

Flickr says that nine out of ten of its most popular devices are taken up by different iPhones. The top three spots were occupied by the iPhone 6iPhone 6S and iPhone 5S in that order. The only non-iPhone to place in the top ten was the Canon 5D Mark III, which came in 9th place. While Canon came in second place for most popular brand, it only accounted for 23 percent of the top 100 devices. Nikon came in third with 18 percent.

Apple’s photography presence has been growing steadily for the past few years. In 2016 Flickr ranked Apple as its most popular brand with 47 percent using Apple devices. In 2015 Apple took the top rank at about 30 percent. But 2017 marked the first year that the majority of Flickr users were using iPhones and phones in general accounted for half of all photos uploaded.

Canon or Nikon may come to mind when told to think of a popular camera brand, but that title may belong to Apple.

Apple did not immediately respond to a request for comment on this story.

Twitter 280-Character Limit Is Popular, According To Report

December 12, 2017 by  
Filed under Around The Net

Perhaps Twitter’s character expansion was a good gamble after all when it doubled its signature 140-character limit.

In November, Twitter expanded the length allowed for tweets to 280 characters from the original 140 characters. When it happened, the company was roundly criticized and mocked, not just for the new length limit, but also for the silliness of the whole exercise or out of concern that Twitter wasn’t focused on more important issues like tamping down on harassment. The event became such a topic of conversation that #Twitter280 began trending.

Now, early data indicates the change is being well received after all.

“If a tweet can hook you in the first few words, we’ll read all of it,” said Frank Speiser, co-founder of the social media analysis firm SocialFlow, which conducted a study of Twitter’s usage. In a nutshell, he found: “We want to read longer tweets.”

SocialFlow tracked approximately 30,000 thousand tweets between Nov. 29 and Dec. 6 and found tweets longer than 140 characters were being retweeted 26.52 times on average, compared with 13.71 times for shorter ones. It also discovered that longer tweets were being liked on average 50.28 times, compared with 29.96 times for shorter tweets.

BuzzFeed reported on SocialFlow’s findings earlier on Friday.

The findings come about a month after the social network officially decided to let its 330 million users tweet up to 280 characters after a “successful” trial run with a select group of users in September. Now, it appears many Twitter users, including President Donald Trump, are regularly using long tweets to get their messages out.

A Twitter spokeswoman declined to comment beyond the company’s November blog post when the 280-character limit was broadly released. The company said then its internal data indicated people who wrote longer tweets were retweeted more often, got more followers and generally “spent more time on Twitter.”

Will The Need For A.I. Researchers Slow Down The Progress

December 12, 2017 by  
Filed under Around The Net

A new report from Chinese tech giant Tencent said that there are only 300,000 “AI researchers and practitioners” worldwide, but the “market demand” is for millions of roles.

The report confirms what tech giants have been complaining about – apparently an AI engineer can demand a high salary for her or his skills. Those with a few years’ experience can expect base pay of between $300,000 and $500,000 while the very best can collect millions.

One independent AI lab said that there were only 10,000 individuals worldwide with the right skills to spearhead serious new AI projects.

Tencent’s new “2017 Global AI Talent White Paper” suggests the bottleneck here is education. It estimates that 200,000 of the 300,000 active researchers are already employed in various industries – not just tech – while the remaining 100,000 are still studying.

Attendance in machine learning and AI courses has rocketed in recent years, as has enrollment in online courses, but there is obviously a lag as individuals complete their education.

The report also speculates about the global competition to develop and deploy AI skilled. Experts in the US warning that America is falling behind rivals like China in the so-called global AI race.

The report itself identifies the US, China, Japan, and UK as key players, with Israel and Canada also warranting mentions. Canada, it says, has strong educational background (which has attracted many big companies to launch research labs there), while the UK is best on the “ethical and legal aspects” of AI, and Japan takes the lead in robotics.

The US is currently “far ahead” in terms of global talent, with more universities teaching machine learning and related subjects than any other nation, and more AI startups. The downside is that the US education system only teaches the rich (or the poor on sporting scholarships) who are not always the most intelligent nor the most numerous.

This means that eventually the US will eventually lose its lead to China.

Courtesy-Fud

Facebook Voted Best Place To Work Again

December 7, 2017 by  
Filed under Around The Net

If Facebook is your employer, count yourself among the lucky.

And not just for the free meals, on-site health care or new-parent benefits.

But those things probably factor into the social-networking giant being named the best place to work in 2018 by jobs site Glassdoor. And it’s probably been a good experience for a while, seeing how this is the third year in a row Facebook has been atop Glassdoor’s list of 100 best places to work.

If you don’t work at Facebook, there might still be hope for you. Glassdoor said there were 40 newcomers on this year’s list, including video game maker Blizzard Entertainment (at No. 28 on the list) and wireless carrier T-Mobile (No. 79). There are also three veterans that have made the list every year since it was introduced 10 years ago, including management-consulting firm Bain & Company (No. 2), search giant Google (No. 5) and Apple (No. 84).

 

Google Blocks YouTube On Amazon Devices

December 7, 2017 by  
Filed under Consumer Electronics

A growing public spat in the technology industry escalated even further when Google said it would block its video streaming application YouTube from two Amazon.com Inc devices and criticized the online retailer for not selling Google hardware.

The feud is the latest in Silicon Valley to put customers in the crossfire of major competitors. Amazon and Google, which is owned by Alphabet Inc, square off in many areas, from cloud computing and online search to selling voice-controlled gadgets like the Google Home and Amazon Echo Show.

 The stakes are high: many in the technology industry expect that interacting with computers by voice will become widespread, and it is unclear if Amazon, Google or another company will dominate the space. Amazon’s suite of voice-controlled devices has outsold Google’s so far, according to a study by research firm eMarketer from earlier this year.

“Given this lack of reciprocity, we are no longer supporting YouTube on Echo Show and Fire TV,” Google said. “We hope we can reach an agreement to resolve these issues soon.”

Amazon said in a statement, “Google is setting a disappointing precedent by selectively blocking customer access to an open website.”

It said it hoped to resolve the issue with Google as soon as possible but customers could access YouTube through the internet – not an app – on the devices in the meantime.

The break has been a long time coming. Amazon kicked the Chromecast, Google’s television player, off its retail website in 2015, along with Apple Inc’s TV player. Amazon had explained the move by saying it wanted to avoid confusing customers who might expect its Prime Video service to be available on devices sold by Amazon.

Amazon and Apple mended ties earlier this year when it was announced Prime Video would come to Apple TV. Not so with Google.

 In September, Google cut off YouTube from the Amazon Echo Show, which had displayed videos on its touchscreen without video recommendations, channel subscriptions and other features. Amazon later reintroduced YouTube to the device, but the voice commands it added violated the use terms and on Tuesday Google again removed the service.

The Fire TV loses access to its YouTube app on Jan. 1, Google said. Amazon has sold that device for longer than the Echo Show, meaning more customers may now be affected.

YouTube Add More Resources Combat Extremist Videos

December 6, 2017 by  
Filed under Around The Net

Alphabet Inc’s YouTube announced plans to add more people next year to identify inappropriate content as the company responds to criticism over extremist, violent and disturbing videos and comments.

YouTube has developed automated software to identify videos linked to extremism and now is aiming to do the same with clips that portray hate speech or are unsuitable for children. Uploaders whose videos are flagged by the software may be ineligible for generating ad revenue.

 But amid stepped up enforcement, the company has received complaints from video uploaders that the software is error-prone.

The goal is to bring the total number of people across Google working to address content that might violate its policies to over 10,000 in 2018, YouTube CEO Susan Wojcicki said in one of a pair of blog posts Monday.

“We need an approach that does a better job determining which channels and videos should be eligible for advertising,” she said. “We’ve heard loud and clear from creators that we have to be more accurate when it comes to reviewing content, so we don’t demonetize videos by mistake.”

In addition, Wojcicki said the company would take “aggressive action on comments, launching new comment moderation tools and in some cases shutting down comments altogether.”

The moves come as advertisers, regulators and advocacy groups express ongoing concern over whether YouTube’s policing of its service is sufficient.

 YouTube is reviewing its advertising offerings as part of response and it teased that its next efforts could be further changing requirements to share in ad revenue.

YouTube this year updated its recommendation feature to spotlight videos users are likely to find the most gratifying, brushing aside concerns that such an approach can trap people in bubbles of misinformation and like-minded opinions.

Australia Regulators Set Sight On Facebook, Google

December 5, 2017 by  
Filed under Around The Net

Australia’s competition regulator announced plans to investigate whether U.S. online giants Facebook and Alphabet Inc’s Google has disrupted the news media market to the detriment of publishers and consumers.

Like their rivals globally, Australia’s traditional media companies have been squeezed by online rivals, as advertising dollars have followed eyeballs to digital distributors such as Google, Facebook and Netflix Inc.

 The government ordered the probe as part of wider media reforms, amid growing concern for the future of journalism and the quality of news following years of declining profits and newsroom job cuts and the rise of fake news.

“We will examine whether platforms are exercising market power in commercial dealings to the detriment of consumers, media content creators and advertisers,” Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) Chairman Rod Sims said in a statement.

A Google spokesman said, “We look forward to engaging with this process as relevant.”

Facebook did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

The idea for an ACCC investigation was hatched during media reform negotiations in parliament earlier this year, which resulted in a relaxation of ownership laws to allow the country’s big players to boost their market share to better compete against online disruptors.

Independent media analyst Peter Cox told Reuters it was unclear what measures the competition regulator could recommend to the government even if it found the country’s media sector was increasingly anti-competitive.

“You could see this as a stepping stone towards another type of reform, such as tax,” said Cox.

 Jurisdictions around the world, including the European Union, are grappling with how to tax technology giants with global operations.

Currently corporate taxes are paid where firms have a physical presence, which allows digital multinationals to book most of their profits where they have set up headquarters as opposed to where they make their money.

The Australian probe will have power to demand information from businesses and hold hearings. It is due to make its final report in 18 months.

Brave Browser Digital Rewards Comes To YouTube

December 1, 2017 by  
Filed under Around The Net

Brave Software, the company responsible for the niche Brave browser, earlier this month opened its digital currency-based reward system to YouTube content creators, giving users a way to send influencers small amounts of cash.

“Audiences can use the Brave Payments system to reward their favorite YouTube creators with Basic Attention Tokens (BAT),” read an unsigned post to the company’s blog. “YouTube viewers can either distribute contributions based on the time they spend viewing material or by ‘pinning’ a set amount for a particular channel.”

The experiment was the first to depart from Brave’s usual reimbursement rules, which let browser users select nothing more specific than a domain as a BAT destination.

Brave Software’s underlying model and its business plan are, to put it mildly, unusual. The browser puts a price on online users’ attention with blockchain-based tokens that eventually will be traded between publishers, advertisers and consumers willing to view ads. At the moment, however, the only real money in the system is what individual users have loaded into their electronic wallets as they experiment with the browser.

The BAT concept is designed as a substitute for traditional online advertising, which Brave Software claims is broken. “[Brave] enables a direct monetary relationship between the content creator and their audience,” the blog post continued. “Users can decide who to compensate.”

To be eligible for receipt of BATs – which can be converted into physical currency – content creators must verify their identity and their YouTube channel with Brave Software, meaning that for significant participation, the browser maker must get the word out. It was unclear whether Brave Software plans such an outreach, and if so, how or whether it would rely on its users to tell content creators to register.

By compensating creators individually, and directly, Brave Software avoids paying YouTube, the platform. Brave Software pointed out that the scheme may be especially interesting to those who don’t meet the 10,000-lifetime-view minimum that YouTube requires before it begins sharing advertising revenue with those who shoot videos.

The strategy can also be scaled, Brave Software contended. “We plan on extending BAT to additional user-generated content platforms so that more creators can benefit from audience support,” said the company.

Brave’s YouTube plan may be attractive to some advertisers, said Lizzy Foo Kune, principal research analyst at Gartner, in an interview. Marketers searching for alternatives to traditional web advertising, she argued, are looking at influencers, among them people with popular YouTube channels, to boost their brands.

“This might be enticing from a marketer’s point of view, [to conduct] influence marketing by directing the payments back to the creators,” she said.

Brave’s approach seems pertinent to niche or regional marketing and advertising, Foo Kune added, because it could provide revenue to YouTube-based influencers – like some of the “YouTube beauty personalities” highlighted in a recent piece in the New York Times – who have a small but growing audience.

Facebook Ends Transaction Fees For Online Donations

December 1, 2017 by  
Filed under Around The Net

Facebook Inc canceled transaction fees on donations made to non-profit organizations on its platform, Chief Executive Mark Zuckerberg said on Wednesday, a change that could help the world’s largest social media network expand its presence in online fundraising.

Facebook had been charging a 5 percent transaction fee on donations made to non-profits via its website or app. However, it will continue to impose fees on fundraisers established by individuals, including a payment processing fee of 6.9 percent, plus 30 cents per donation.

 Other online fund-raising sites charge transaction fees on donations of about 6-8 percent.

“When I started Facebook, I wasn’t thinking about it as a way to raise money to fight diseases, but a few years in, we noticed many people were using it to raise money for different causes,” Zuckerberg said at a Facebook event in New York.

The new initiative by Facebook comes at a time when the company has faced rising criticism over Russian propaganda and fake news stories spreading on its platform during last year’s U.S. presidential election.

Zuckerberg in September, in a Facebook post, said he regretted saying after the presidential election that it was “crazy” to think that misinformation on Facebook changed the election’s outcome.

Last week, Facebook said it would build a web page to allow users to see which Russian propaganda accounts they have liked or followed, after U.S. lawmakers demanded that the social network be more open about the reach of the accounts.

In February, a petition signed by 42,000 people demanded that Facebook waive the fees it charges a charity for raising $1.5 million on its website.

 Zuckerberg on Wednesday also said that Facebook is launching a software program, called Fundraisers API, that will allow users to sync their Facebook fund raisers with other fund-raising pages.

The charges by other online fund-raising include Gofundme, at 7.9 percent, plus 30 cents per donation, in the United States; Kickstarter at 8 percent, plus 20 cents per donation; Indiegogo at 8 percent, plus 30 cents per donation.

Facebook Says Extremist Content Removal Going Well

November 30, 2017 by  
Filed under Around The Net

Facebook announced that it was removing 99 percent of content related to militant groups Islamic State and al Qaeda before being told of it, as it prepared for a meeting with European authorities on tackling extremist content online.

Eighty-three percent of “terror content” is removed within one hour of being uploaded, Monika Bickert, head of global policy management, and Brian Fishman, head of counter-terrorism policy at Facebook, wrote in a blog post.

The world’s largest social media network, with 2.1 billion users, has faced pressure both in the United States and Europe to tackle extremist content on its platform more effectively.

“It is still early, but the results are promising, and we are hopeful that AI (artificial intelligence) will become a more important tool in the arsenal of protection and safety on the internet and on Facebook,” Bickert and Fishman wrote.

“Today, 99 percent of the ISIS and al Qaeda-related terror content we remove from Facebook is content we detect before anyone in our community has flagged it to us, and in some cases, before it goes live on the site.”

The blog post comes a week before Facebook and other social media companies like Alphabet Inc’s Google and Twitter meet with European Union governments and the EU executive to discuss how to remove extremist content and hate speech online.

 “Deploying AI for counter-terrorism is not as simple as flipping a switch … A system designed to find content from one terrorist group may not work for another because of language and stylistic differences in their propaganda,” Facebook said.

The European Commission in September told social media firms to find ways to remove the content faster, including through automatic detection technologies, or face possible legislation forcing them to do so.

More Than 200 Tech Companies Ask FCC To Keep Net Neutrality

November 29, 2017 by  
Filed under Around The Net

More than 200 firms, including AirBnb, Reddit and Twitter, are pushing the Federal Communications Commission to rethink its plan to repeal its net neutrality regulations.

In a letter addressed to FCC Chairman Ajit Pai on Monday, the companies asked the agency to reverse course and scrap plans to roll back most of the Obama-era regulations that prevent broadband providers from messing with your internet access. The letter, released to coincide with Cyber Monday, the biggest online shopping day in the US, argues that blocking or slowing online content would hurt the US economy.

“The internet is increasingly where commerce happens,” the companies said in the letter. “This would put small and medium-sized businesses at a disadvantage and prevent innovative new ones from even getting off the ground.”

The letter cited figures showing Americans spent $3.5 billion on Cyber Monday last year, a 10 percent increase over the previous year’s peak online shopping day.

The letter came about a week after Pai unveiled plans to dismantle the 2015 regulation that requires all internet content be treated equally. The rules banned broadband providers from “throttling” traffic. They also prohibited providers from offering so-called fast lanes to companies willing to pay extra to reach consumers more quickly than competitors.

“An internet without net neutrality protections would be the opposite of the open market, with a few powerful cable and phone companies picking winners and losers instead of consumers,” the companies said in the letter.

The FCC didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment.

The FCC is expected to vote on Pai’s proposal at the commission’s next meeting on Dec. 14.

China’s Tencent Surpasses Facebook In Value

November 22, 2017 by  
Filed under Around The Net

Tencent Holdings Ltd has had an impressive week – becoming the first Chinese firm to be worth more than $500 billion and surpassing Facebook to be the world’s fifth-most valuable company.

Earnings for China’s biggest social network and gaming firm have surged on the popularity of its smartphone games led by titles such as Honour of Kings – a fantasy role-playing game, which has as many active players as the population of Germany.

 Also driving earnings has been its messaging-to-payment super app WeChat which has amassed 980 million monthly active users, with 38 billion messages sent daily, while its Youtube equivalent, Tencent Video, has become the video streaming service with the largest paying subscriber base in China.

That success has helped Tencent’s stock more than double this year, making it Asia’s most valuable company worth $522 billion on Tuesday and easily outpacing a 36 percent rise in the benchmark Hang Seng Index.

Led by Chinese billionaire Pony Ma, Tencent this month reported a better-than-expected 69 percent rise in third-quarter net profit.

“Tencent’s high growth, as demonstrated by its quarterly results, has supported the rally in its shares,” said Steven Leung, a sales director at UOB Kay Hian.

“Since the company has been able to deliver on its earnings, the stock is still worth holding onto despite its current high level.”

In addition to robust earnings, Tencent has also burnished its luster after some units and affiliates have made some eye-catching market debuts.

An executive recently also told Reuters the company is close to making Malaysia the first foreign country to roll out its WeChat ecosystem, pitting it against Alibaba as they scramble for new growth opportunities outside China.

Facebook Workplace Finds Enterprise Client in Virgin Atlantic

November 21, 2017 by  
Filed under Around The Net

The nature of Virgin Atlantic’s business means many of its employees are continuously globetrotting. Ensuring effective communications channels – a challenge for any company – isn’t easy: nearly half of the airline’s 10,000 employees are cabin or cockpit crew members.

Two months ago, the airline rolled out Facebook’s Workplace, the business version of the social network tool, in a bid to improve information-sharing between staff and senior execs. It currently functions primarily as an intranet for internal communications, though the company plans to integrate the software with other apps and processes, such as ServiceNow, eventually.

Since it was launched, Workplace has been widely adopted across the organization, said Virgin Atlantic CIO and senior vice president for technology Don Langford.

“We went live in the beginning of September and our target for the end of the year was for us to be at 65% adoption,” he said. “We are already over that now; we have got over 7,000 people up on it, so over 70%.”

Aside from the 70% activation rate, 65% are accessing the tool on a weekly basis, and 32% of groups are active weekly. (Tellingly, 34% of the users have added their own Workplace profile pictures.)

Deploying an enterprise social network is one thing, but convincing people to use it daily is often quite another. Raúl Castañón-Martínez, senior analyst at 451 Research, said that adoption rate of Workplace at Virgin Atlantic is “very impressive,” particularly considering the number of users accessing the tool on a weekly basis.

“It validates Workplace’s value proposition, which is based on widespread adoption across the organization,” he said.

Langford credited the swift uptake to the familiarity workers already had with Facebook – a potential lesson for other companies.

“Workplace has that advantage of having that same interface, that same way of working,” he said, “and we felt – correctly it turned out – that using Workplace would allow our people to move quite seamlessly across from a Facebook platform to a Workplace platform…. That certainly proved to be true.”

Qualcomm To Power Alibaba

November 16, 2017 by  
Filed under Around The Net

Qualcomm and Alibaba have ported Alibaba Cloud Link One to run on the Qualcomm MDM9206 global multi-mode LTE IoT modem.

This is all part of a cunning plan to allow developers to quickly develop and deploy solutions that connect with the Alibaba Cloud using LTE IoT connectivity and client software running directly on the LTE system-on-chip (SoC).

Qualcomm pre-integrated the Alibaba Cloud Link One on to the MDM9206 modem, so that module manufacturers and IoT Tight and cost-effective integration between edge devices and the cloud.

The porting fixes a vast array of the existing and emerging LTE IoT use cases, including smart transportation (e.g. bike sharing), smart cities, as well as industrial IoT applications in areas such as smart grid, smart metering (e.g. electricity, gas, water), asset tracking and more.

It means that Qualcomm will have a foot in the door as more of our hardware becomes sentient and cloud based.

Courtesy-Fud

SportsCenter Show Comes To Snapchat

November 14, 2017 by  
Filed under Around The Net

U.S. sports broadcaster ESPN rolled out its flagship SportsCenter program on messaging app Snapchat on Monday, reimagining the show that provides sports highlights and commentary into a short-form series.

The new show deepens the relationship between ESPN parent Walt Disney Co and Snapchat parent Snap Inc.

The sports network, which has made Snapchat content since 2015, is trying to reach a younger audience, while the social media app, whose messages disappear after viewing, is adding more content in an effort to grow its user base beyond its core youth demographic.

The partnership is a two-year deal and Snap and ESPN will share revenues, Snap said, though it declined to give specifics.

SportsCenter will air twice a day on Snapchat during weekdays, and once a day on weekends. A roster of six hosts will give commentary and perspectives, including ESPN anchors Katie Nolan and Elle Duncan, and ESPN Radio host Jason Fitz, Snap said.

Sean Mills, Snap’s head of content programming, said SportsCenter helps round out the app’s stable of daily shows, which already includes news shows from CNN and NBC News, as well as an entertainment show called “The Rundown” from E! Network.

Along with daily shows, Snap launched a joint venture studio with NBCUniversal last month to produce scripted shows to air on the app.

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