Reliance and Facebook Join Forces to Find New Indian Users

In India, Facebook and Reliance Industries Limited, the latter headed by India’s richest man, Mukesh Ambani, have teamed to encourage citizens to go online and join messaging service WhatsApp. India is already the world’s fastest growing Internet market, and the two companies have sent out marketing teams that use entertainment to educate and entice people to upgrade or sign up for the first time, offering cheap phones and rates with the Reliance Jio network as well as Facebook’s popular messaging service. Continue reading Reliance and Facebook Join Forces to Find New Indian Users

Social Media Continues Growth Across Developing Markets

A new report from the Pew Research Center notes that social media growth has stalled across developed markets but continues to expand in the developing world — good news for Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg and his plan to bring Internet access to emerging markets. Internet use and smartphone ownership has also plateaued in developed markets over 2015-2017, while expanding in emerging economies. Pew Research polled more than 40,000 citizens of 39 countries during February to May in 2017 to create its report. Continue reading Social Media Continues Growth Across Developing Markets

Amazon, Facebook, SoftBank Ally for New Transpacific Cable

Amazon, Facebook, Japan’s SoftBank and other technology companies are partnering to build the Jupiter cable system, a new 8,700-mile (14,000 km) transpacific subsea cable that will connect North America with Asia. The Jupiter system will have so-called landing points in two locations in Japan (Maruyama in Chiba prefecture and Shima in Mie prefecture), Daet in the Philippines and another in Los Angeles. Other partners include NTT (SoftBank’s rival), Hong Kong’s PCCW Global, and the Philippines’ PLDT. Continue reading Amazon, Facebook, SoftBank Ally for New Transpacific Cable

Best Buy and Amazon Testing In-Home Sales Consultations

Best Buy and Amazon are both betting on salespeople who make visits to homes as one potential model for selling more consumer electronics. Best Buy is already testing that theory by hiring hundreds of salespeople in several cities to do just that. The free service is slated to roll out in the U.S. this fall. For Best Buy, getting salespeople in the home is another way to sell more TVs and CE gadgets while increasing business for its Geek Squad, which offers tech installation and repair services for a fee. Likewise, Amazon is expanding its free “smart home consultations” to help promote interest in its smart speakers and related products. Continue reading Best Buy and Amazon Testing In-Home Sales Consultations

Report Lists 29 Governments That Manipulate Social Media

The University of Oxford just released a disturbing report documenting increasing evidence that 29 governments around the world are exploiting Facebook, Twitter and other social media platforms to influence — both domestically and internationally — public opinion, distribute false news and sabotage those perceived as foes. As might be expected, autocratic rulers use these strategies, but so do governments that have been elected democratically. The tactics employed vary from country to country. Continue reading Report Lists 29 Governments That Manipulate Social Media

Microsoft to Provide White-Space Broadband in Rural Areas

Microsoft has a plan for providing inexpensive broadband access to underserved areas of the U.S., and its president/chief legal officer Brad Smith just declared the company’s support for that plan. The company has long advocated the use of so-called TV white-space technology — unused TV spectrum — to bring broadband especially to rural areas. As part of the plan, Microsoft would also urge the Trump administration and Congress to make sure that unlicensed white-space spectrum is available in every market in the U.S. Continue reading Microsoft to Provide White-Space Broadband in Rural Areas

CTA and GfK Report Examines Tech Trends by Global Region

2016 was the year of the unexpected, says CTA senior director of market research Steve Koenig, referencing Brexit and the election of Donald Trump as U.S. President among other global events. In a presentation on the results of a report conducted by the Consumer Technology Association and GfK on Global Consumer Technology Spending Forecasts, Koenig also broke down trends according to regions, looking at North America, Latin America, Western Europe, Central and Eastern Europe, developed Asia, emerging Asia and Middle East/Africa. Continue reading CTA and GfK Report Examines Tech Trends by Global Region

Uber Approaches $62.5 Billion Valuation, Rivals Form Alliance

Uber Technologies, which increased its U.S. gross revenue about 200 percent this year, plans to raise as much as $2.1 billion in its latest financing round that would value the company at $62.5 billion. The funding would enable Uber to pursue its goals of branching into new services such as food and package delivery, explore new technology such as autonomous cars, and grow globally, particularly in China. Meanwhile, Lyft and other international Uber rivals have formed an alliance to inter-connect their services. Continue reading Uber Approaches $62.5 Billion Valuation, Rivals Form Alliance

Tech Companies Target Developing Countries for Web Expansion

Despite attempts by tech companies to make the Internet more accessible to people around the world, especially to those living in developing countries, the Internet’s growth has been decelerating. Facebook and Google have both invested in technologies such as satellites, drones and high-altitude balloons to deliver global Web access. However promising these efforts have been, global Web access has proven to be more contingent on whether people deem the Internet useful in the first place.  Continue reading Tech Companies Target Developing Countries for Web Expansion

Year-Long New York Sting Operation Snares Fake Reviewers

Nineteen companies charged with writing fake online reviews were uncovered as the result of a year-long sting operation by the New York Attorney General. Offenders who posted fake reviews on Yelp, Google Local and CitySearch will be forced to pay upwards of $350,000 in penalties. As part of Operation Clean Turf, the AG’s office established a yogurt shop in Brooklyn and sought assistance from companies that boost online search results to combat negative reviews. Continue reading Year-Long New York Sting Operation Snares Fake Reviewers