Facebook’s Metrics Are Stellar, But Biometrics Spur Lawsuit

Facebook’s net income almost tripled to $1.5 billion and monthly active users hit a record 1.65 billion. But the metric that matters is that users spend an average of 50 minutes a day on Facebook, Instagram and Messenger platforms, up from 40 minutes in 2014. That’s the equivalent of one-sixteenth of most peoples’ waking time, and more time than on any other leisure activity than anything but TV and movies. Facebook, of course, would like people to spend even longer on its sites and that’s behind its latest improvements to News Feed. However, the company is also facing a lawsuit regarding its photo tagging feature and biometric data. Continue reading Facebook’s Metrics Are Stellar, But Biometrics Spur Lawsuit

Open-Source Companies Turn to Proprietary Code for Profits

Open-source projects and operating systems are in offerings from Facebook, Twitter, Uber Technologies and operating systems such as Linux at the foundation of servers, financial trading platforms and Android phones. But businesses based on open-source code find it hard to make a profit, and sell tech support and consulting services for revenue. Even those that spin off companies from open-source projects don’t make big profits. The solution, some are finding, is to create proprietary code to support the free tools. Continue reading Open-Source Companies Turn to Proprietary Code for Profits

Judge Sides with Apple in Closely Watched Encryption Case

Apple’s ongoing privacy battle with law enforcement received a boost yesterday when U.S. Magistrate Judge James Orenstein of New York’s Eastern District denied the federal government’s request that the company release data from an iPhone relevant to a New York drug case. The ruling could provide Apple with a leg up as it pushes forward with its defense of privacy concerns regarding its smartphones, and may impact other cases such as efforts by the FBI to compel Apple to open the iPhone related to last year’s mass shooting in San Bernardino, California. Continue reading Judge Sides with Apple in Closely Watched Encryption Case

Google to Speed Up the Web with Open Source AMP Initiative

Google is readying an attempt to reinvent the mobile Web with its Accelerated Mobile Pages (AMP) Project, which has taken just nine months to develop and launch. AMP, a response to proprietary platforms such as Facebook’s Instant Articles and Apple’s News, is an open source platform that dramatically speeds the loading of Web pages, in part by caching content on the cloud. By the time AMP launches, Google will also allow publishers to track analytics, sell ads and put paywalls in place. Continue reading Google to Speed Up the Web with Open Source AMP Initiative

Facebook Profits Skyrocket, Beating Wall Street Expectations

Facebook finished 2015 with a strong fourth quarter, with sales rising 52 percent from a year ago to $5.84 billion, and profit more than doubling from $701 million to $1.56 billion. The upswing beat Wall Street’s predictions for Q4 of $1.2 billion in profit on $5.37 billion in revenue. Investors rewarded the company by pushing its stock up more than 12 percent in after-hours trading. Responsible for the stupendous upward trend is mobile advertising, which soared to 80 percent of the company’s total ad business in Q4 2015. Continue reading Facebook Profits Skyrocket, Beating Wall Street Expectations

Apple’s Swift Now Open Source to Aid Enterprise Developers

Apple just made its programming language Swift open source, housing it on the new website swift.org to offer a range of tools to help developers turn raw code into applications. Apple designed Swift as an easier programming language for developing software for Apple devices, but the apps can now be formatted to run on other operating systems. The move is part of Apple’s strategy, in light of sagging consumer sales, to target enterprise users; among the companies now using Swift are IBM, Twitter, Yahoo and LinkedIn. Continue reading Apple’s Swift Now Open Source to Aid Enterprise Developers

CalECPA: California Governor Signs Landmark Privacy Law

California Governor Jerry Brown last week signed a new law designed to protect digital privacy rights. The California Electronic Communications Privacy Act (CalECPA) mandates that a warrant is required in order for state law enforcement agencies or investigators to compel businesses to turn over metadata or digital communications such as emails, texts, and cloud-stored documents. Additionally, it requires a warrant for the tracking or searching of electronic devices. The White House, meanwhile, has backed down on its battle with tech companies over encrypted data of digital devices. Continue reading CalECPA: California Governor Signs Landmark Privacy Law

Twitter May Lift 140-Character Limit, Aimed at Mainstream Use

In an effort to build its user base, Twitter is thinking about tweaking one of its signature features: the 140-character limit on tweets. Although the new feature is in the planning stages and no Twitter executive would comment on any new plan, the idea of going beyond 140 characters is no surprise, having been debated for many years. In June, the company overrode the 140-character limit on private messages, signaling an openness to new rules. Interim chief executive Jack Dorsey is seen as likely to endorse change. Continue reading Twitter May Lift 140-Character Limit, Aimed at Mainstream Use

Instagram’s New API Could Spark Major Change in Digital Ads

Instagram just turned on its API (application programming interface) for ads, and some experts are calling it the next step in advertising’s digital evolution. Before, advertising on Facebook-owned Instagram was a complex process. Now, any potential advertiser can simply buy an ad on Instagram using online ad-buying tools from Instagram partners. What makes this new process interesting to advertisers is an estimated 44 percent of Instagram’s 300 million users are in the coveted 18-29 year old demographic. Continue reading Instagram’s New API Could Spark Major Change in Digital Ads

Facebook Three Times as Popular as Twitter with Adult Users

According to the new “Mobile Messaging and Social Media” report from the Pew Research Center, Facebook is now more than three times as popular as Twitter among adults in the U.S. The report notes that 72 percent of adult Internet users are on Facebook, while 31 percent use Pinterest, 28 percent use Facebook-owned Instagram, 25 percent use LinkedIn, and about 23 percent use Twitter. The figures represent slight increases over 2014 for Facebook, Instagram and Pinterest; no change for Twitter from the previous year; and a 3 percent decrease for LinkedIn. Continue reading Facebook Three Times as Popular as Twitter with Adult Users

China Ratchets Up Internet Control with On-Site Cyber Police

The Chinese government stated it will place cybersecurity police units at the country’s major Internet companies and websites, to prevent fraud, other illegal activities and the amorphously phrased “spreading of rumors,” reports the state-owned Xinhua News Agency. The Internet in China is monopolized by three major companies: e-commerce site Alibaba, Tencent for gaming and messaging, and search engine Baidu. Neither Facebook nor Google operate in China; LinkedIn, which has agreed to China’s cybersecurity measures, does. Continue reading China Ratchets Up Internet Control with On-Site Cyber Police

Ellation Debuts as New Chernin, AT&T Brand for Online Video

Ellation, a new brand for subscription-based online video services, is about to be unveiled by Otter Media, the joint venture between AT&T and the Chernin Group. When it rolls out, Ellation — whose name is a play on words on the Aleutian Islands, a series of interconnected islands between Alaska and Russia — will host Crunchyroll, Creativebug and SoompiTV. Otter Media’s goal is to build between 30 and 50 niche video channels under the aegis of Ellation, which has been in development for the past few months. Continue reading Ellation Debuts as New Chernin, AT&T Brand for Online Video

ACSI: Customer Satisfaction of Facebook Users on Upswing

According to new data released by the American Customer Satisfaction Index, user satisfaction with social media platforms is on the rise, led by Facebook’s recent success with its mobile app and improved ad targeting. In terms of customer satisfaction, Facebook was ranked the lowest social media site in 2012, but has since worked its way up to the middle of the pack, behind Pinterest, Wikipedia, YouTube, Instagram and Google+ (in that order). ACSI currently has Facebook ranked ahead of Twitter, Tumblr and LinkedIn. Continue reading ACSI: Customer Satisfaction of Facebook Users on Upswing

Users of Google Apps and Services No Longer Need Google+

Google recently announced it would relocate features once accessible through Google+ to other Google services. For example, location-sharing will be moved to Google Hangouts and photo features have been moved to Google Photos. The most celebrated change appears to be Google’s removal of the requirement of a Google+ account to make comments on YouTube, a point of contention between users and the company for years. Moving forward, interested users will only need a Google account to log in to the company’s apps and services. Continue reading Users of Google Apps and Services No Longer Need Google+

Casie is a New Digital Personal Assistant That You Can Wear

OrCam Technologies has created a wearable, digital personal assistant device, called Casie, which can be clipped onto a shirt or worn as a medallion on a necklace. The USB-sized device, which will soon go through testing, contains a 5-megapixel camera and microphone, which can record a user’s surroundings and connect with the Casie app on a user’s phone. The app can then pair its recordings with data from the Internet to help the user identify and analyze places and people, such as a LinkedIn connection. Continue reading Casie is a New Digital Personal Assistant That You Can Wear

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