22 October, 2015

China accounts for 30% of all Uber rides, close to surpassing US

Uber CEO and founder Travis Kalanick said today that China now accounts for 30 percent of all Uber rides around the world – a close second behind the US market.

Kalanick was being interviewed onstage at WSJD Live in California. After explaining that Uber was too young as a company to consider prepping an IPO, the conversation turned towards China

After reaffirming last month’s statement about the Chinese city of Chengdu being Uber’s biggest global city in terms of the number of rides, he said that Uber is investing a billion bucks each year into its Chinese business. Uber earlier this month ploughed US$1 billion into a China subsidiary based in Shanghai, ostensibly so that it’s eligible for upcoming regulations that will make private car-hailing legal in the country.

Kalanick also got in a dig at Didi Kuaidi and its recent investment in US-based Lyft.

21 October, 2015

Yahoo Will Now Be Paid For Search Results By Google

Yahoo has reached a deal with Google to provide search ads for its search results.
While the deal -- which is set to expire October 2018 -- started at the first of this month, it wasn't brought to light until Yahoo's quarterly earnings results,

The deal is still subject to regulatory review.

Last April, Yahoo and Microsoft renewed a search alliance that would help Yahoo renew its own search technology. While negotiating that deal, however, former Google search exec Marissa Mayer had reportedly been trying to wiggle out of the agreement in order to reassert Yahoo's search business. Now, it appears as if Ms. Mayer has found an exit that should increase Yahoo's revenue while opening more doors for advertisers.

The new deal will have Google pay Yahoo a percentage of the gross revenues displayed on Yahoo properties or affiliate sites. The percentage, which was not disclosed, will vary depending on whether the ads are displayed on U.S. desktop sites, tablet or mobile phone versions or Yahoo's affiliate sites.
Yahoo's renegotiated deal with Microsoft Bing was nonexclusive, meaning Yahoo could reach out to
the likes of Facebook or Google to also source its results within its search pages. For now, Google will provide Yahoo with search advertisements through Google's AdSense for search service, web search service and image search services.

Since AOL replaced Google with Bing for search, they have to find alternatives and it happened to be Yahoo

Apple Music Has 6.5 Million Paying Subscribers

Apple’s new streaming music service has 6.5 million paying subscribers, suggesting that about 60 percent of those who sampled it stayed on, according to figures cited on Monday by Timothy D. Cook, Apple’s chief executive.

Mr. Cook said in an interview at WSJDLive, a technology conference presented by The Wall Street Journal in Laguna Beach, Calif., that the service, Apple Music, had a total of 15 million users, 6.5 million of whom pay. Apple Music, a competitor to Spotify, was introduced at the end of June and offered customers three months of music free; those who continue after their trial periods end pay $10 a month for individual accounts or $15 a month for family plans.

In August, Apple said 11 million people had tried the service, and trial periods began to expire at the end of September. Since then, the music industry has been eagerly awaiting Apple’s subscriber numbers, while the company’s executives have made various public statements that they were aware of early problems with the service — like jumbled playlists — and were working to resolve them.

Spotify last revealed its user numbers in June, when it said it had 20 million paying users around the world and 55 million who use its advertising-supported free version.

Now that's some number, it is interesting to notice that customers are willing to pay for music even when services such as YouTube are available to leverage such service , the only reason I see for this to be a success is the experience they provide to the users for which they already well know

17 October, 2015

Facebook's real-time news app is reportedly called Notify

Facebook is preparing to take over another responsibility for online media: notifications. It's well known the company has been working on a real-time news app, and it's now close to launching the software with the name Notify, according to a report today by The Awl. The app appears to let users subscribe to certain news organizations, dubbed "stations," and receive notifications when those outlet's websites push out new stories. The initiative would build on Facebook's ever-growing presence as a platform for various aspects of the online news business, like its Instant Articles format for repackaging webpages as clean and fast-loading subsets of the Facebook app itself.

Hardly any media companies have maintained a well-built smartphone app that a majority of its readers actually use, at least in anywhere near the capacity of Facebook's. That gives Facebook an opportunity to add news alerts to the myriad other reasons it pings us every day. And even if a news app's readership is high, those readers are more likely to have Facebook's notifications turned on instead of the one of many websites they read. So even The New York Times and BuzzFeed, with their strong app presences, may come to rely on Facebook's Notify to direct the firehose of social media users in the right direction

Notify would also come as a challenge to Twitter, which just last week launched a new feature geared toward mobile users called Moments. The standalone tab, sitting next to notifications and messages, lets Twitter curate tweets into sections like news and sports. But Twitter, with a handful of launch partners, is also letting media companies create their own "moments," and the company expects news organizations and other third parties will ultimately create a bulk of the content.

So think of Facebook’s Notify as a way to drive users away from competing apps with similar features, like Twitter with Moments and Snapchat’s Discover, and toward one of its own products. 

16 October, 2015

A Facebook glitch is showing some users exactly how many people have looked at their posts

If you've ever wondered how many people actually see your Facebook posts, a new bug found in the social network might answer that question.Some users have reported seeing view counters next to their Facebook posts, as multiple reports have indicated.

A few Facebook users have tweeted screenshots that show a new metric displayed alongside a Facebook post that reveals how many people have seen that post.

This counter is displayed in the same spot where you would normally see how many people liked or commented on your Facebook post.

Here's what it looks like:

It's similar to a feature called "reach" that Facebook offers for brand pages, but no such functionality has ever existed for individual users. Both Mashable and The Verge are reporting that this only affects the company's mobile website, so if you typically use Facebook on your desktop or through its mobile app you likely won't be impacted by the bug. These view counters typically only appear under links that are shared or posted rather than photos, according to The Verge.

Users began noticing the view counter on Wednesday, and Facebook has been working to address the accidental feature. 

10 October, 2015

Facebook finally launches Messenger on the Apple Watch

After teasing it at the Apple Watch event in September, Facebook has finally delivered the watch version of its Messenger app.

The social network quietly rolled out the Apple Watch app in an update to the Messenger app . The update also adds support for iOS 9 features, including universal search and multitasking for iPads.

The watch version of the messaging app supports watchOS2, the latest version of Apple's software for the Apple Watch. It actually manages to squeeze in quite a bit of Messenger's functionality into it.

You can't type out full responses to messages but you can choose from a list of canned answers, send your location, "like," post stickers or record a voice message with the watch's built-in microphone. On the receiving side, you can also check out photos, videos and voice messages.

Though the app supports Facebook's stickers, animated stickers and animated GIFs will only appear as static images on the watch app.

While not technically Facebook's first watch app — that distinction belongs to Instagram — Messenger will be a welcome addition for many users. Apple teased what appeared to be a watch version of the main Facebook app back in March, but such an app has yet to appear.

For Android users, Messenger is also compatible with Android Wear. The Android Wear app, which rolled out earlier this year, also allows you to record and send voice messages and send "likes" from your wrist.

09 October, 2015

The Facebook 'dislike button' is here - and it's actually emoji reactions

Facebook's 'Like' button was introduced back in 2009 and changed the way we interacted with other people on the social network - and it's about to change again.

A new report suggests Facebook is preparing to introduce emotions to the platform, which will allow you to react with icons for laughter, anger, shock, love and more

If it's deemed successful then Facebook is sure to roll the feature out to the rest of the world. A 'Dislike' button has been rumoured for quite some time and the idea had a new lease of life after being dragged up again in recent weeks.

People have been asking for the feature as a way to give a suitable reaction to bad news when it's put on Facebook. If successful, we can see the social network bringing more emotions as time goes on - but hopefully not too many.

Because let's be honest: the 'like' button is a pretty lazy way of acknowledging someone's post. With an endless selection of one-click responses, what reason will we have to write actual comments anymore?

07 October, 2015

The iPhone 6S arrives in 40 new countries this week in fastest rollout ever

Besides launching SIM-free variants of the iPhone 6S and the iPhone 6S Plus in the U.S., Apple also announced it will be launching the new phones in 40 new countries this week.

Most new markets will be getting the new iPhones Friday, Oct. 9. Here's the list, coming from an Apple spokesperson: Andorra, Austria, Belgium, Bosnia, Bulgaria, Croatia, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, Greece, Greenland, Hungary, Iceland, Ireland, Isle of Man, Italy, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Maldives, Mexico, Monaco, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Russia, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland and Taiwan.

Furthermore, Bahrain, Jordan, Kuwait, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and United Arab Emirates will be getting the iPhone 6S and the iPhone 6S plus on Saturday, Oct. 10.

Finally, the new iPhones will also be available in 24 additional countries and territories beginning Oct. 16 including India, Malaysia and Turkey. All in all, Apple should be selling the iPhone 6S in over 130 countries by the end of the year.

By count, this is the fastest international rollout of the iPhone ever. The iPhone 6S will be available in 76 markets three weeks after it was released on Sept. 25. It took well over a month for the iPhone 6 to reach that many markets