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Google Already Increasing The Price Of YouTube TV

February 15, 2018 by  
Filed under Consumer Electronics

Alphabet Inc’s Google is increasing the price of its YouTube TV online service for new customers as it adds channels from Time Warner Inc’s Turner, National Basketball League, and Major League Baseball, the company said Wednesday.

Less than one year after launching YouTube TV, the company is increasing its pricing to $40 per month from $35 per month as it adds Turner’s channels, which include TNT, CNN, and TBS, and soon will be adding MLB Network and NBA TV, the company said.

Google is expanding its offering at a time when a growing number of competing services, such as Dish Network Corp’s Sling TV, AT&T’s DirectTV Now and Hulu, are vying to win over the growing number of viewers who are canceling their cable subscriptions to watch their favorite shows online.

The four largest cable and satellite companies lost 1.5 million pay TV customers in 2017.

DirectTV Now has over 2 million subscribers, according to AT&T. Sling TV, Hulu, and YouTube TV do not disclose how many users they have, but research firm BTIG estimates they respectively had 2.1 million, 500,000 and 350,000 as of the end of 2017.

The costs for these competing offerings range from $20 for Sling TV’s most basic offering of 30 channels to $39.99 for Hulu’s one with more than 50 channels and its library of shows and movies, which costs $7.99 separately.

Google is betting that its strong sports offering will help win over more subscribers, said Heather Moosnick, director of content partnerships, YouTube TV.

“Sports is really one of the key offerings that a millennial would be willing to pay for a live TV service,” she said.

To that end, Google has targeted sports fans with its TV ads this year. Ninety-six percent of YouTube TV’s ads on television so far this year have appeared during sports programming, including the Super Bowl, according to iSpot.tv, which tracks TV ads.

When Google launched YouTube TV last April it was cautious with how much content it was offering so that it could keep the price low enough to entice cord cutters or people considering cutting the cord, Moosnick said.

At launch YouTube TV offered almost 50 channels in five markets. With these additions, YouTube TV will have almost 60 channels, and be in 100 markets, Moosnick said.

The new pricing will take effect for new users who sign up after March 13, the company said.

Google Unveils Continuously Updating Email Feature

February 14, 2018 by  
Filed under Around The Net

Gmail became dynamic. Alphabet Inc’s Google on Tuesday demonstrated a software programming system that would enable emails to feature continuously updating information and greater interactivity.

Users could see automatically updated flight information in a booking confirmation email. They could fill out surveys without leaving a message or review close-up shots of products in a marketing pitch without opening a browser window.

The envisioned changes are an outgrowth of Google’s AMP project, or accelerated mobile pages, Aakash Sahney, a product manager overseeing Gmail, said in a blog post Tuesday.

AMP is a set of programming intended to make webpages load faster by stripping out layers of technology.

It has drawn praise from publishers such as Hearst Corp and the Washington Post for making their websites more inviting for users. But some web developers have expressed concern that Google is getting too much say in how the web operates.

Google is pushing forward. The Gmail integration marks the first broader use for AMP. Other email providers can adopt AMP as well, Google announced as it kicks off an AMP-focused conference for software developers in Amsterdam.

The initial version of AMP for email is aimed at bulk senders. A retailer, for example, that sends a weekly sales notice could ensure that recipients see the current price or availability of an item no matter when the email is opened.

Bookmarking service Pinterest, scheduling app Doodle and Priceline Group Inc’s Booking.com are testing AMP for email, according to Google.

Twitter Tamps Down Rumors Of Being Acquired

February 14, 2018 by  
Filed under Around The Net

 Twitter Inc Chief Executive Jack Dorsey stated that he sees value in the social media network remaining an independent company, tamping down recent speculation by analysts that it could be an acquisition target.

“I’ve always thought that there’s a lot of strength to our independence. We can work on every device. We can work through any medium,” Dorsey said in a response to a question at the Goldman Sachs Technology and Internet Conference.

Some investment analysts reignited talk of a potential Twitter deal last week when Twitter reported a surprising rise in revenue and its first quarterly profit.

 The Walt Disney Co. expressed interest in 2016, though at the time Twitter shares were trading at about half the current price, meaning an acquisition by anyone would be much more expensive than two years ago.

Shares in Twitter closed at $33.44 on Tuesday, up 8 percent against a 0.3 percent rise in the S&P 500 Index. Dorsey’s comments came after the closing bell, and shares were unchanged afterward.

Tablet Market Still Shrinking

February 14, 2018 by  
Filed under Uncategorized

The market for game-changing, super cool keyboardless netbooks is slumping lower than Donald Trump’s approval rating amongst educated black women.

The tablet, which was once touted by the Tame Apple Press as a technology cure for cancer saw only 46 million units sold in the fourth quarter of 2017. Both brand and white-box tablet shipments had sequential growths in the quarter.

According to Digitimes Research, white box tablet suppliers are expected to cut their shipments for the first quarter of 2018 to lower their inventory levels and the move will undermine the suppliers’ shipments in the quarter.

For the brand tablet segment, despite cutting its price tag, Apple’s efforts to buck the trend of the first-quarter 2018 low season, shipments are unlikely to make much difference..

Worldwide tablet output will fall 30 percent sequentially and 17.1 percent on year to stand at around 32 million units, a new historical low.

In the fourth quarter of 2017, tablet shipments to first tier brand vendors accounted for over 70 percent of the overall worldwide volume, growing more than 10 percent sequentially, meeting Digitimes Research’s forecast thanks to the vendors’ aggressive promotions.

After its strong promotional campaign in the third quarter of 2017, Amazon turned less aggressive about marketing its tablets in the fourth quarter, resulting in a sequential shipment decline for non-Apple first tier brand vendors’ combined shipments in the fourth quarter of 2017.

White box players saw their combined shipments reach more than 12 million units in the fourth quarter of 2017, up 3 percent sequentially, mainly due to strong orders from their overseas clients.

However, compared to the same period a year ago, the overall white-box tablet shipments still slipped 8.7 percent in the fourth quarter of 2017 because of fierce competitions from first-tier brands’ inexpensive models and weakening demand from emerging markets that are gradually reaching saturation.
In the first quarter of 2018, overall tablet shipments from first-tier brand vendors will drop to only around 22.5 million units, down 32 percent sequentially as non-Apple first-tier vendors will not have any new devices for the quarter.

Courtesy-Fud

Apple Watch Sets Record For Shipped Devices

February 8, 2018 by  
Filed under Consumer Electronics

The electronics giant, Apple, has shipped 8 million Apple Watches in the fourth quarter of 2017, Canalys research shows, which the firm said is a record for wearables sold by a company during a quarter. Fitbit was the previous record holder, Canalys told CNET, shipping 6.1 million units in the fourth quarter of 2015.

“Apple has won the wearables game,” said Jason Low, senior analyst at Canalys. The company shipped 18 million Watch devices throughout 2017, a 54 percent increase on 2016.

While Android Wear competitors, like the Samsung Gear S3 and Huawei’s Watch 2, are compatible with both Androids and iPhones, Apple’s Watch devices don’t work with Android phones. “Despite innovative designs, such as the rotating bezels and circular screens employed by other vendors, Apple has pulled far ahead as it continues to focus on its core iPhone user base,” Low added.

Apple’s 2017 wearable success is in large part thanks to its September-released Watch Series 3, which added cellular connection — allowing you to make phone calls from your Watch — to the product range. Canalys said the Watch did particularly well in the US, Australia and Japan, where major carriers sold it over the holiday season.

It’s congruent with what Apple CEO Tim Cook said in a call to investors last week. “It was our best quarter ever for the Apple Watch,” he said, “with over 50 percent growth in revenue and units for the fourth quarter in a row and strong double-digit growth in every geographic segment.”

In terms of volume, Apple’s closest competitor is Chinese company Xiaomi and its inexpensive Mi Bands: In 2017’s third quarter, Apple held 23 percent of the market, compared to Xiaomi’s 21 percent. Fitbit wasn’t far behind though, with a market share of 20 percent.

Microsoft Offering OneDrive For Business For Free

February 8, 2018 by  
Filed under Around The Net

Microsoft is stepping up plans to win over customers from its cloud content storage rivals, offering free usage of OneDrive for Business platform in a new promotion. 

Under the deal announced Tuesday, current customers of Box, Dropbox or Google can switch to OneDrive and use the service for free for the remainder of their existing contracts. The offer is valid until June 30 and is available for organizations that are not currently OneDrive for Business or Office365 customers. Those making the switch must also commit to moving a minimum of 500 users to the platform.

“We want new customers to be able to experience OneDrive without incremental costs above and beyond what they are paying for today,” said Seth Patton, OneDrive general manager of product marketing at Microsoft.

Forrester principal analyst Cheryl McKinnon said the cloud content platform market is “rapidly consolidating” into a handful of large providers, and the Microsoft move could entice customers already on the fence about switching or driven primarily by cost concerns.

But McKinnon argued that customers need to “look beyond just discounts and bold offers” to ensure they’re investing in the content and collaboration services that best help employees and allow for easy sharing and collaboration when needed.

Patton said many organizations are keen to consolidate the number of vendors they rely on for content storage and collaboration. “They are interested in looking at OneDrive for Business but they have existing contracts that they are paying for which they can’t get out of,” he said. “We are reducing that cost and making it easier for new customers to move over.”

To that end, Microsoft provides FastTrack support services to help customers migrate onto OneDrive and Office365.

However, even with support from Microsoft, migrating from one cloud provider to another is no small feat. The offer may appeal to organizations that use cloud platforms for simple file storage or sharing internally, but it will not necessarily work for those that have applications more deeply embedded with their processes.

“Customers who are using these cloud platforms for more strategic content applications…may be less likely to leap within this window, and face rebuilding or reworking key apps or business processes,” McKinnon said.

Alongside the offer, Microsoft noted that 350,000 organizations now use OneDrive for Business, including both Office 365 and standalone customers. OneDrive is a standard part of the cloud application suite.

Among the customers to make the switch to OneDrive for Business are Accenture, Lowe’s, DBS Bank and Land O’Lakes.  Meanwhile, monthly active usage rates doubled during 2017, and the volume of OneDrive for Business storage more than tripled.

Patton also pointed to recent additions and improvements to OneDrive for Business. This includes   Files on Demand file sync service, File Restore and new search capabilities thanks to integration with Microsoft Graph.

McKinnon said the Office 365 suite is rich in what it offers, with only Google offering a near-comparable set of capabilities. “However, there is still some confusion among customers when trying to figure out how the O365 pieces can best complement each other.”

For example, OneDrive for Business is positioned as a personal file storage workspace, facilitating file or folder sharing with internal or external participants, yet SharePoint Online is pushed by Microsoft as the team or company-wide content repository for documents and related metadata.

“Box, Dropbox Business and Google have a clearer story when it comes to personal, team or enterprise content workspaces,” McKinnon said.

She added that the latest OneDrive for Business offer “adds fuel to the fire” in what is a hugely competitive cloud content management and collaboration market. “There has been tremendous innovation in this market over the last five years, with vendors traditionally known for ‘enterprise file sync and share (EFSS)’ capabilities moving into broader collaboration and cloud-native content repository services.”

Snap Chat User Base Grows, Shares Soar

February 7, 2018 by  
Filed under Around The Net

Snap Inc surprised investors with a rebound in user growth for its Snapchat messaging app, showing resilience amid competition with Facebook Inc’s Instagram and sending shares up nearly 30 percent.

Paired with higher-than-expected revenue and improved margins, the user growth signaled loss-making Snap could be turning a corner as it grapples with other social media companies adding Snapchat-like features, analysts said.

Snapchat’s daily active users rose to 187 million in the quarter ended Dec. 31 from 178 million in the third quarter, beating analysts’ average expectation of 184.2 million users, according to financial data and analytics firm FactSet.

Daily active users rose 18 percent from a year earlier, reversing a trend of slowing growth. The figure is closely watched by investors who hope user growth can be translated into advertising revenue.

Chief Executive Evan Spiegel credited improvements to the version of Snapchat that runs on Android phones, saying the retention rate of new Android users rose by nearly 20 percent compared to a year earlier

“Our business really came together towards the end of last year,” Spiegel said in remarks prepared for a conference call with analysts.

Shares traded at $17.73 after the bell, up 26 percent after trading even higher earlier. They had not traded above Snap’s initial public offering price of $17 since July 10.

“This was a monster quarter relative to bearish expectations,” analyst Daniel Ives of GBH Insights said, cautioning however that “competitive headwinds abound with Instagram front and center.”

Nearly a year after Snap’s March IPO, analysts and investors have been watching to see if Snap can boost user growth amid competition from larger rival Instagram, which has added photo filters and other Snapchat-mimicking features.

To make its app more friendly to users and advertisers, Snap launched a redesigned app in November, splitting “friends” from content feeds.

The Venice, California-based company posted a net loss of $350 million, or 28 cents per share, compared to a loss of $170 million, or 20 cents per share, a year earlier. It was Snap’s fourth quarterly earnings as a public company.

 

Google Pixel 2 To Get AI Boost For Photos

February 6, 2018 by  
Filed under Mobile

One of the biggest differences between the iPhone X and the Pixel 2 is that Google’s flagship Android phone has just one camera while Apple’s phone comes with two. The pair of lenses in the iPhone X is designed to let you zoom in on distant subjects better.

Now, Google is throwing some of its computer brains at the issue, building a technology called RAISR into its Pixel 2 phones. The change came with a Pixel 2 update to take advantage of the phone’s Pixel Visual Engine, a custom chip that accelerates some processing tasks. That includes running artificial-intelligence software and rapidly merging multiple raw photos into a single “HDR+” photo that avoids dark shadows and blown-out highlights.

“Pixel Visual Core also runs RAISR, which means zoomed-in shots look sharper and more detailed than ever before,” said Ofer Shacham, the Pixel Visual Core engineering manager, in a blog post Monday.

RAISR, short for Rapid and Accurate Image Super Resolution, takes a different approach from ordinary digital zoom. It uses a machine learning system trained on real photos to make more intelligent guesses at filling in details.

High-quality photos are a crucial part of staying ahead in the smartphone business. More and more, we’re using our phones to replace traditional cameras and to capture events we wouldn’t have photographed in the first place. A good photo is more fun to share with family and friends, so it’s no wonder that Google, Samsung, Apple, Huawei and others are trying to include the best camera technology in their phones.

Digital zoom has long been a bugbear for cameras whose actual optical hardware can’t magnify distant subjects. Results are often blurry, noisy and pixelated.

Image processing has been part of digital photography since day one. RAISR adds another step of computer manipulation between the original photons that reach a camera’s image sensor and the final product. It goes along with filters that make your skin look smoother, noise reduction to remove speckles that detract from a shot and sharpening that makes a photo look crisper.

Sprint Showing Signs Of Improvement, Beats Earnings Estimate

February 5, 2018 by  
Filed under Mobile

Sprint Corp reported quarterly revenue on Friday that beat analyst projections, as the No. 4 U.S. wireless carrier raised its free cash flow outlook for the 2017 fiscal year.

Shares rose 3.7 percent to $5.29 in early trading, a day after sliding 5.7 percent to their lowest in a year and a half.

The company has sought to strengthen its balance sheet by cutting costs and mortgaging a portion of its airwaves and equipment, but industry analysts have raised concerns about how it can adequately fund network improvements after merger talks with rival T-Mobile US Inc ended last year.

Sprint now expects $2.5 billion to $2.7 billion in operating income, up from its previous estimate of $2.1 billion to $2.5 billion. It expects adjusted free cash flow of $500 million to $700 million, compared to previous estimates of breaking even.

“We think recent weakness in shares is reflective of lowered investor expectations, while in-line to slightly better financial results could provide some near-term relief,” said Matthew Niknam, an analyst at Deutsche Bank, in a research note.

On the post-earnings conference call, Sprint Chief Executive Officer Marcelo Claure said Sprint would launch a mobile 5G network in the United States by the first half of 2019.

The company is also looking for ways to reduce the number of executives at the top, he said. Sprint cut costs by about $260 million in the quarter, excluding $100 million of hurricane-related charges.

Claure said “becoming a wholly owned subsidiary of (SoftBank Group Corp) could be a possibility” but that the decision would be up to SoftBank Chief Executive Masayoshi Son. Japan’s SoftBank owns a majority of Sprint and has been increasing its stake.

For the quarter, Sprint reported net additions of 184,000 phone subscribers who pay a monthly bill, compared to additions of 368,000 a year earlier.

Net operating revenue in the third quarter ended Dec. 31 was $8.24 billion, down from $8.55 billion a year earlier.

 

Amazon Has Largest Profit Ever

February 2, 2018 by  
Filed under Around The Net

Amazon.com Inc reported a profit near $2 billion, the largest in its history, as the online retailer attracted millions of new customers to its Prime fast-shipping club for the holiday season and as changes to U.S. tax law added to its bottom line.

Shares rose more than 6.4 percent in extended trading, after previously closing down 4 percent on the Nasdaq.

Seattle-based Amazon is using fast shipping, television shows exclusive to its website and forays into new technology, such as its voice-controlled Alexa devices, to win and keep high-spending Prime members. Its $13.7 billion acquisition of Whole Foods Market last year is helping it capture shoppers’ grocery sales, too.

The world’s largest online retailer said net income more than doubled to $1.86 billion, or $3.75 per share in the fourth quarter ended Dec. 31. Its profit received a provisional $789 million boost from the U.S. Republican tax bill passed in December. Analysts on average were expecting just $1.85 per share, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.

“This was another blow-out quarter for Amazon,” said GBH Insights analyst Daniel Ives. “The retail strength was eye-popping as the company had a banner holiday season and looked to capture roughly 50 percent of all e-commerce holiday season sales.”

As expected, the period running from before the U.S. Thanksgiving holiday through New Years was Amazon’s biggest-ever by revenue. Sales rose 38 percent to $60.5 billion in the quarter, beating expectations.

The company’s fast delivery, like its two-hour Prime Now service, has helped win over holiday shoppers eager to avoid the crowds of big box retailers. Prime saw more than 4 million sign-ups in one week alone last quarter, and revenue from subscription fees grew 49 percent to $3.2 billion, Amazon said.

That figure is expected to rise this quarter in part because the company recently raised the fee for month-to-month Prime plans, affecting some 30 percent of subscribers, according to analysts at Cowen & Co. Some 60 million, or close to half of all U.S. households, are estimated to have Prime subscriptions.

Advertising and other revenue rose 62 percent to $1.74 billion.

Perhaps the surprise star of the past quarter was Amazon’s voice aide Alexa, embedded in the company’s Echo speakers and Fire TV players, as well as some cars and house gadgets. Millions of Amazon customers ordered goods by voice with Alexa in the past year, said Brian Olsavsky, Amazon’s chief financial officer, on a call with reporters.

“Our 2017 projections for Alexa were very optimistic, and we far exceeded them,” added Jeff Bezos, Amazon’s founder and chief executive, in a statement. “We don’t see positive surprises of this magnitude very often — expect us to double down.”

Is Sega’s Sonic Game Leaking User Information On Android Devices

February 2, 2018 by  
Filed under Gaming

Sega has said it’s ‘investigating’ claims that its Sonic games for Android are leaking user data to dodgy servers.

Security firm Pradeo Lab said last week that it a trio of Sonic games – Sonic Dash, which has been downloaded between 100 to 500 million times, and Sonic the Hedgehog Classic and Sonic Dash 2: Sonic Boom, both of which have been installed between 10 to 50 million times – have been leaking users’ geolocation and device data.

Pradeo’s research shows that the three Android apps “geolocate users and relay their position,” “leak device data,” and “send data to an average of 11 distant servers.”

While the majority of these have a legitimate tracking and marketing purpose, three of the servers are uncertified, and two are linked to a variant of ‘Android/Inmobi.D’, which Symantec claims is an unwanted advertisement library that comes bundled with certain Android applications. 

In addition to geolocation data, the three Sonic apps are also said to be leaking mobile network information such as service provider name and network type, and device information including manufacturer, battery level, the maximum level of battery, and operating system version number.

As if that wasn’t bad enough considering the app shave been downloaded from Google Play up to 550 million times, Pradeo warns that the three apps contain 15 Open Web Application Security Project (OWASP) flaws. 

“Among the vulnerabilities detected in the analyzed Sega apps, we identified two critical ones that make them highly vulnerable to Man-In-The-Middle attacks (X.509TrustManager and PotentiallyByPassSslConnection),” Pradeo said.

Related: Kaspersky uncovers ‘world’s most powerful Android spyware tool’

“The other OWASP vulnerabilities detected can result in denial of service, sensitive data leakage and clearly show encryption weaknesses.”

In a statement given to ZDNet, Sega has said it’s looking into the vulnerabilities and will take “prompt corrective action”.

“Sega works diligently to address any technical issues that could compromise customer data,” a spokesperson for the company said.

“If any third-party partners are collecting, transmitting, or using data in a manner that is not permitted by our agreement with the third party or Sega’s mobile privacy policy, prompt corrective action will be taken.”

Courtesy-GI.biz

Will Apple Drop The iPhone X In The Summer

January 31, 2018 by  
Filed under Mobile

It appears that Apple is starting to doubt that its policy of charging its users double for a product which was pretty much the same as an earlier model has proved to be a disaster and it is set to walk away from the iPhone X.

That is the news from the analyst Ming-Chi Kuo, who normally has a good feel for the doings of Apple. He recently issued a new investor note claiming that Apple’s 2018 lineup will feature two brand new versions of the iPhone.

One model is said to feature a 6.5-inch OLED display while the second will reportedly boast a 6.1-inch LCD display. Naturally, both devices will feature edge to edge displays and will use Face ID for user authentication as opposed to Touch ID.

However, he warned that Apple might opt to discontinue the current iPhone X entirely if sales remain underwhelming. In fact, he is pretty sure that the iPhone X will be ‘end of life’ in the summer of 2018, instead of being retained as a lower-cost option in the following year.

If Kuo’s projection pans out, this will represent a marked shift in Apple’s iPhone sales strategy. Going back nearly a decade, Apple has always positioned older iPhone models around as a wallet-friendly alternative for users who weren’t keen on paying a premium for Apple’s flagship. This means that the 6.1-inch iPhone with an edgeless LCD will become the more affordable version of the current iPhone X. However, it looks like this will not be the case.

The iPhone 8 and iPhone 8 Plus will stick around for at least another generation too.

Courtesy-Fud

Facebook To Focus On Promoting Local News

January 30, 2018 by  
Filed under Around The Net

Facebook Inc Chief Executive Mark Zuckerberg revealed that the social media website would focus on promoting local news in its latest update.

“We’re going to show more stories from news sources in your local town or city,” Zuckerberg said in a Facebook post. “If you follow a local publisher or if someone shares a local story, it may show up higher in News Feed.”

The update will be first rolled out in the United States and expanded to more countries later this year, Zuckerberg said.

The company has been making a series of changes to its website, following criticism that its algorithms may have prioritized misleading news and misinformation in people’s feeds, influencing the 2016 American presidential election as well as political discourse in other countries.

The company recently adjusted its centerpiece News Feed to prioritize what friends and family share, while reducing the amount of non-advertising content from publishers and brands.

The move had worried investors, who feared that the changes would lead people to spend less time on Facebook.

Blockchain Spending Set To Double in 2018

January 29, 2018 by  
Filed under Around The Net

Spending by big businesses and other entities on blockchain networks is expected to increase to $2.1 billion this year, more than double what was spent on the distributed electronic ledger technology in 2017.

The U.S. will lead the world in blockchain investments, accounting for 40% of spending, followed by Western Europe, China and the Asia Pacific region (not including Japan), according to a new report from IDC.

By 2021, spending on blockchain is expected to reach $9.2 billion, the report said.

Last year was considered a year of experimentations for the still-evolving technology, when businesses came to see both its benefits and the challenges it still must overcome, according to IDC.

The industries expected to see the fastest growth in blockchain spending will be professional services, discrete manufacturing, and the resource industries. All are likely to show a better than 83% combined annual growth rate.

riven by banking industry adoption, financial services is expected to lead spending in the U.S. with $754 million this year.

Other industries, such as distribution and the services market, are expected to spend $510 million, with manufacturing and the resources sector spending as much as $410 million this year.

IT services and business services will account for about 75% of all blockchain spending throughout the year fairly. Blockchain platform software will be the largest category of spending outside of the services category and one of the fastest growing categories overall, along with security software.

“The U.S. will look to improve efficiencies in existing operations while promoting new applications in others, creating new streams of revenue and areas of spend,” Soohoo said in a statement. “With increased investments driven by pressures to keep up with the accelerating pace in innovation, the world will continue to look to the U.S. for guidance as other regions forge ahead in their own blockchain projects and initiatives.”

Blockchain lends itself to a number of common use cases in the financial services market, including regulatory compliance, cross-border payments & settlements, custody and asset tracking, and trade finance and post-trade/transaction settlements, according to IDC.

In the distribution and services sector and the manufacturing and resources sectors, the leading use cases include asset and goods management and lot lineage and provenance.

Cross-border payments & settlements will see the largest spending in 2018 ($242 million), followed by lot/lineage provenance ($202 million) and trade finance & post-trade/transaction settlements ($199 million). These three use cases will remain the largest in terms of overall spending in 2021 as well, according to the report.

“There are a multitude of potential new use cases for blockchain, as transactions and records are the lifeblood of just about every organization,” said Jessica Goepfert, IDC’s program director for Customer Insights and Analysis. “However, we are seeing initial blockchain spending [designed] to transform existing highly manual and inefficient processes such as cross-border payments, provenance and post transaction settlements. These are areas of existing pain for many firms, and thus blockchain presents an attractive value proposition.”

Alphabet Unveils New Cybersecurity Business Chronicle

January 25, 2018 by  
Filed under Around The Net

Alphabet Inc has unveiled Chronicle, a cybersecurity business developed in its X incubation unit in February 2016 that is focusing on developing digital “immune systems” for customers.

Chronicle becomes the third company spun out of X and into the holding company Alphabet, joining self-driving vehicle technology company Waymo and life sciences company Verily as independent units alongside Google.

Stephen Gillett, a former Symantec Corp chief operating officer serving as Chronicle’s chief executive, said in a blog post that the new business is developing software to analyze corporate computer usage data and identify malicious programs that have infiltrated the system.

The technology is being tested at an unspecified number of Fortune 500 companies, he said.

Chronicle also houses VirusTotal, a virus-scanning tool Google acquired in 2012.

Selling cybersecurity services broadens Alphabet’s expanding efforts to become a player in enterprise technology. Google is a distant rival to Amazon.com Inc in offering cloud computing infrastructure and Microsoft Corp in both cloud services and workplace productivity software but is heavily investing to catch up as it seeks to grow revenue outside of its online advertising sales business.

“We’ll have our own contracts and data policies with our customers, while at the same time having the benefit of being able to consult the world-class experts in machine learning and cloud computing (among many other topics) that reside in other parts of Alphabet,” Gillett said.

Chronicle aims to go beyond the “dozens of security tools” organizations already use, the company said, by conducting automated data analysis to reduce the time it takes to discover an incident to minutes from hours or days.

The company would seek to lower customers’ data storage costs to make its technology affordable, Gillett said.

Astro Teller, head of Alphabet’s X, said his team pursued cybersecurity technology after noticing that dealing with cyber attacks had become a “yeah, yeah” problem, as in “yeah, yeah, a lot of people have diabetes, there are things to manage it.”

“The reality for most companies today when it comes to cybersecurity is reactive: find and clean up the damage,” Teller said in a blog post. “The real moonshot, which is still several years away, is predicting and deflecting cyber attacks before they infiltrate an organization’s network.”

Gillett, also a former Starbucks Corp chief information officer, co-founded Chronicle with former Google cybersecurity leaders Shapor Naghibzadeh and Mike Wiacek. Gillett met them after becoming executive-in-residence at GV, Alphabet’s venture capital investment arm, in 2015.

 

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