Google Claims Data and Larger Phones Will Boost Mobile Ads

Some marketers believe fewer customers complete purchases on their small-screen smartphones, but Google says its data on mobile advertising shows otherwise. According to Google’s store-measurement data, one-third of mobile ads for Target led to a customer visit to a Target store during the 2014 holiday season. The rising popularity of larger smartphones, like the Nexus 6, and tablets also helps mobile sales because the screens are bigger and therefore the sites are easier to use. Continue reading Google Claims Data and Larger Phones Will Boost Mobile Ads

Letter Released in Protest of Facebook’s Free Internet Project

As part of the growing backlash to Facebook’s Internet.org project, 65 advocacy organizations from 31 countries released a letter of protest this week to Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg. Facebook has partnered with wireless carriers and other organizations on the initiative that hopes to bring free Internet service to the developing world. However, the letter argues that the project “violates the principles of net neutrality, threatening freedom of expression, equality of opportunity, security, privacy, and innovation.” Continue reading Letter Released in Protest of Facebook’s Free Internet Project

Tech Groups Express Their Support for the USA FREEDOM Act

Technology trade groups — including TechNet, the Internet Association, the Information Technology Industry Council, and the Computer and Communications Industry Association — have joined the Reform Government Surveillance group in support of the USA FREEDOM Act. The bill intends to limit federal government bulk surveillance programs in an effort to protect privacy while still addressing national security. The consortium supports more transparency and a change to the collection of bulk data. Continue reading Tech Groups Express Their Support for the USA FREEDOM Act

Bodyprint Scans Body Parts to Authenticate Smartphone Users

Yahoo Labs researchers have developed a new technology called Bodyprint that works as an alternative to the fingerprint scanners used in high-end smartphones to authenticate users. With Bodyprint, users can convert the screen on their smartphone to function as a biometric scanner capable of detecting users’ ears, fingers, fists and palms when pressed against the screen. The technology has reportedly produced impressive results in classifying body parts and identifying users. Continue reading Bodyprint Scans Body Parts to Authenticate Smartphone Users

Facebook Shifts to Mobile, Pursues Global Digital Ad Market

Facebook revealed yesterday that while revenue and profit growth slowed for the company during Q1, nearly 75 percent of visitors accessed the social platform from mobile devices and two-thirds of its users now visit daily. Facebook claims that 1.44 billion people access its site or apps at least once a month. According to eMarketer, the company is second only to Google in terms of global digital advertising revenue. Facebook is pushing ads to its photo-sharing service Instagram and building new tools for ad targeting. Continue reading Facebook Shifts to Mobile, Pursues Global Digital Ad Market

Twitter Users Can Change Setting to Expand Direct Messaging

As promised, Twitter is moving forward with new changes to expand its private messaging feature that will allow users to receive private messages from any account. Twitter’s previous messaging policy forbid users from exchanging private messages, unless both users were following one another’s accounts. The new change, a setting option that will have to be manually enabled, may prompt more users to make use of Twitter’s Direct Messaging service, which has yet to gain significant traction. Continue reading Twitter Users Can Change Setting to Expand Direct Messaging

Live Streaming Apps Could Face Copyright Infringement Issues

Meerkat and Periscope are two apps that have brought live streaming into the spotlight, and some experts worry that these apps may be a breeding ground for copyright infringement. It may be as simple as someone trying to livestream a TV show or a public performance, but without the proper licenses, these users may be breaking copyright laws. Fair use laws probably will not offer these companies any defense, but constant monitoring should help them avoid potential legal problems. Continue reading Live Streaming Apps Could Face Copyright Infringement Issues

Behind Snapchat’s New Privacy Protection Efforts and Ad Sales

Snapchat is now valued at $15 billion, and as it continues to grow, the company is taking more steps to keep users’ data safe and generate revenue by selling video ads. For the first time, Snapchat released a transparency report to show how often government agencies ask for user content. Also, the company will pay coders to help identify security bugs and shut down third-party apps that compromise privacy. With the rollout of the Discover feature, Snapchat has also started selling video ads. Continue reading Behind Snapchat’s New Privacy Protection Efforts and Ad Sales

AT&T and Verizon Track Customer Web Browsing, Sell The Data

Two of the largest Internet providers are making money by tracking customers’ Web browsing with supercookies and in-house traffic scanning. This allows AT&T and Verizon to sell a highly personalized ad-targeting program that will place ads in websites, email, and even snail mail. Verizon customers can now opt out and disable the supercookies for free, but AT&T customers seeking privacy will have to pay several fees that could tack on an additional $60 to their monthly bill. Continue reading AT&T and Verizon Track Customer Web Browsing, Sell The Data

Hollywood Ups its Security Measures with New Digital Services

In the wake of recent hacking incidents, Hollywood companies have become more concerned about protecting their communication and content. Hollywood is turning to various services from companies such as WatchDox, IntraLinks and Varonis to better monitor the activity involving work files being accessed by employees on their personal mobile phones. Using these new services, companies not only protect their most sensitive files, but also manage how to share them with others.  Continue reading Hollywood Ups its Security Measures with New Digital Services

Twitter Believes the Time is Now Right for Live Streaming Apps

Despite the failure of several live streaming apps in recent years, Twitter and other investors are betting that consumers are now ready to live stream their experiences. Twitter recently acquired live streaming app Periscope for $100 million and now Twitter users can broadcast live from the social network. Meerkat, Camio, YouNow, Justin.tv, and Livestream offer similar services. With more access to streaming, people may be more inclined to share video of themselves through this model. Continue reading Twitter Believes the Time is Now Right for Live Streaming Apps

Google Developing New Service for Paying Bills Within Gmail

Google is working on a project called “Pony Express,” which plans to enable Gmail users to receive and pay bills within their email. The service — whether it is named Pony Express or something else — is reportedly slated to launch in the fourth quarter. Google is working with vendors that provide billing services for insurance and telecom companies, utilities, etc. It is not clear whether the company plans to monetize the service, but it could provide Google with data for entering new industries and targeting advertisements. Continue reading Google Developing New Service for Paying Bills Within Gmail

Hello Barbie: Mattel’s Web-Connected Doll Interacts with Kids

Mattel plans to release Hello Barbie, a Wi-Fi connected doll with voice recognition software that allows users to engage in basic conversations with the doll. The tech enabled Barbie, which will be available later this fall for $74.99, is connected to the cloud so that once it records a user’s dialogue, it transmits the information to a server, which then aggregates appropriate responses for the doll. Hello Barbie’s voice recognition software comes from San Francisco startup ToyTalk. Continue reading Hello Barbie: Mattel’s Web-Connected Doll Interacts with Kids

President Obama Introduces Consumer Privacy Bill of Rights

The Obama administration has proposed new legislation, the Consumer Privacy Bill of Rights Act that intends to fill in the gaps between current federal laws such as the Fair Credit Reporting Act and the Video Privacy Protection Act to provide consumers with added control over how companies use the personal data they collect about individuals. However, some privacy advocates are already arguing that the proposed legislation does not go far enough and provides too much control to companies. Continue reading President Obama Introduces Consumer Privacy Bill of Rights

FCC Rules in Favor of Regulating Broadband Internet as Utility

The FCC voted 3 to 2 yesterday to approve regulation of broadband Internet service as a public utility. The new rules, recently proposed by FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler, are designed to ensure net neutrality by discouraging content blocking and the introduction of “fast lanes” for Internet and media companies and “slow lanes” for others. Wheeler said the FCC was using “all the tools in our toolbox to protect innovators and consumers.” He added that Internet access is “too important to let broadband providers be the ones making the rules.” Continue reading FCC Rules in Favor of Regulating Broadband Internet as Utility

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