Indian PM Narendra Modi Invited to Facebook Headquarters: Set to Field Questions in Townhall

mark-zuckerberg

Narendra Modi, the Indian Prime Minister, has been invited to attend Facebook’s Townhall to be held on September 27 at its Silicon Valley headquarters.

Prime Minister Modi will field questions from the public during the townhall proceedings, announced the social media giant.

‘Prime Minister Modi and I will discuss how communities can work together to address social and economic challenges’. Mark Zuckerberg posted on Facebook. PM Modi is also scheduled to visit Tesla’s car factory in Fremont, the SAP Center in San Jose and Google headquarters as part of his US visit.

Both Prime Minister Modi and Facebook have invited the public to ask questions, either through the social media or via Modi’s mobile app before the question and answer session commences at 9.30 AM PT on September 27. There were already 24, 000 comments on Mark Zuckerberg’s post with questions being asked on multiple issues including, but not limited to, online education, censorship and poverty.

On his own Facebook page, PM Modi wrote, ‘The interaction will cover a wide range of issues and will surely be a memorable one’. The Indian Prime Minister has already received flak on privacy issues for trying to enhance online access to government services under a scheme dubbed ‘Digital Services’. And Facebook might have some heated questions of its own to ask PM Modi.

Last year, the social media giant started Internet.org, an initiative to bolster basic internet services in developing countries. However, Facebook faced a lot of disapproval, including from India, for the effort. Companies like media giant Times Group and travel website Cleartrip.com opted out of Internet.org claiming that the initiative was against net neutrality, a policy to keep the internet free and open to all.

The criticism came from a strong public opinion that the Internet.org initiative will limit the use of free internet web services like Wikipedia and Facebook. However, Facebook denies these claims and said that Internet.org was opened up in May for developers to build any service within the platform. Facebook is a real giant in the social media industry going by its user and sales figures; as of June 2015, FB had 496 million active users monthly in the Asia Pacific region and made $1.03 billion in sales as of the first half of the year from that geographical region.

Apple Sends Invites for Media Event: New and Upgraded Devices Expected to be Launched

Apple sent out invites for a media event scheduled for September 9, wherein the new and upgraded devices are expected to be launched.

Although no official announcements are available with regard to the actual details of the media event, by putting together a few rumors, a few leaks and the history of such events, it is easy to gauge the expectations from the company’s annual event on Thursday.

Gone are the days when the tech giant played its cards very close to its chest and almost no information would be available till the official announcement is made on the D-day. However, now with the company’s market cap increasing, such secrecy is difficult to adhere to and fairly reliable pre-show rumors do find their way into the market place.

In the past, the annual September event has always begun with either the launch of a new iPhone or upgrades to the previous year’s device. Since 2014 saw the release of revamped iPhone 6 and iPhone 6+, 2015 is expected to throw up iPhone 6S and iPhone 6S+. The expected upgrades include 2GB of RAM and an A9 processor for added power, camera to be upgraded to 12MP with an optional UHD 4K video recorder and perhaps, a small upgrade for the front camera.

Another expected inclusion to the iPhone is Apple Watch’s ‘Force Touch’ Technology which allows the users to clear all notifications with one touch in Apple Watch and allows the Macbook users to fast forward videos at varying speeds.

The iPad, which already features the new and long-awaited iOS9 enabling picture-in-picture videos and split screen multitasking, is expected to get a totally revamped edition this year. The iPad Pro is expected to feature a larger screen and, maybe, an improved stylus with support from ‘Force Touch’ Technology.

Apple TV setup box, which the company never focused too much on, is definitely expected to see some anticipated upgrades including microphone, motion sensor and touch screen remote along with an upgrade of the hardware of the setup box itself. It is rumored that the new remote will enable the setup box to be used like a game console too.

However, despite the focus on new devices such as smartwatch, TV services and improved iPad among many others, the revenue that the tech giant earns from iPhone sales continues to be the highest. The company collects the largest percentage of revenue from iPhone now than ever before. The iPhone continues to be the company’s most lucrative product and its increasing sales is even more important as the sales numbers for the iPad is on the decline and Apple Watch is still a baby in the market.

Improved Google Glass 2 is Compatible with Other Eyewear

The failure of the first edition of Google Glass cannot be solely blamed on the company, because people were scared of the new technology that stalled sales.

Besides, it is not easy to create the best product in the first attempt, unless it is done by a company like Apple. Google understood a lot of flaws that made the Glass so unpopular among the consumers. It never reached the corporate firms and medical sectors as planned. The search engine giant is determined to change it once forever with their upcoming Google Glass 2.

New Device, Easy to Latch On

The biggest advantage of the Google Glass 2 is its all new rectangular design which features a button and hinge for the camera. You can easily remove it off the glass and attach it to any eye-wear as you please. The fixed frame design in the first edition didn’t go well with the audience because people who already wear power glasses couldn’t use it. Besides, there are so many brands of eye-wear available in the market that sport better build quality and choice when compared to the default version supplied by Google.

With the new edition, the main focus will be on professional industries including corporates, health firms, medical and research centers. The glass has a lot of practical benefits when used in these industries where they act as a second monitor for the wearer. Seminars could be conducted with ease as it is capable of simulating visual content which eliminates the need for projectors.

The professional edition of the product has already been distributed to software developers. Many apps have been built by the developers to allow the users to complete a wide range of tasks. They are set to get launched along with the glass, probably before the end of 2015.

When Google decided to release the consumer version of the Google Glass, it was priced exorbitantly at $1500. The pricing was not the only concern of buyers as they were more concerned about their privacy. Buyers didn’t want to lose their privacy in order to adopt this sophisticated wearable technology. Even before its official launch, it was banned in public venues including coffee shops, shopping malls and public parks.

However, Google Glass 2 is expected to fix many of these issues. The device is powered by a brand new Intel processor which is more powerful than its predecessors. Its external battery is expected to offer more battery life than the first. The prism display is thinner and is fully adjustable for convenient view.

Apple iCar Rumors Fuel after Company Recruits Ex Chrysler Executive

Apple seems to be cooking something really nice for its enthusiasts. This Cupertino tech giant might just be the latest entrant into the world of electric cars thanks to the recent recruitment of a vastly experienced official, by the name, Doug Betts.

The Wall Street Journal revealed that Betts, the former head of global quality during a stint at Fiat Chrysler Automobiles, has been hired by Apple. Other than holding a senior position at Chrysler, Betts was also a top figure at other major car makers such as Nissan, Toyota and tires major Michelin. So, what does this mean to the Apple family?

Well, what many see in this high profile recruitment by Apple is that the company may be looking to deepen its roots into the car industry by not just offering car systems and other technologies used in cars, but also by manufacturing their own car. Apple’s car, which might potentially be known as iCar, will be the first electric car by Cupertino.

Even though Apple has not mentioned anything about what position Betts is set to hold in the industry, his LinkedIn profile already confirms that he has been hired by the tech giant. Nonetheless, this hire reignites the discussion that Apple is just about to venture into the electric car industry to come up with what can possibly be called as Apple iCar. This rumor cropped up early this year when it was mentioned that an effort dubbed Titan was in place and that Apple had put together a team of several hundred employees to work on this new electric car.

The news of Apple going into the electric car industry was even made more solid when the Journal announced last week that the company had added Steve Zadesky, a former Ford executive, to its team. The announcement of Zadesky as the head of the Titan team and another high profile recruitment of a self-driving car researcher known as Paul Furgale and now Betts are all enough to signal that Apple is for sure headed into the car industry.

There is no doubt that the latest recruitment is among the top assets in the automobile industry thanks to his vast experience as a production manager at Michelin for 10 years, general manager of Toyota for 8 years, senior VP at Nissan for 3 years and later on taking up the same senior VP position at Chrysler for another 7 years.

While there might be chances that Apple might never make an iCar thanks to the fact that the company has a trend of testing technologies which they end up never pursuing. The reported team of more than 1000 people the company has put behind this project indicates how much Cupertino is willing to venture into the automobile industry.

Apple is still facing a serious competitor in this niche in the form of Tesla and according to recent reports; the latter poached some of the former’s top brains. There might also be chances that these two might work together on bringing up an even better electric car in the near future. We have to wait and watch.

You Can Know the Busiest Local Businesses Now with Google Search

There was a small yet important update made recently, with regards to Google Search, that it was focused on helping the users to determine the best time to pay a visit to businesses that are nearby.

After a search is performed for a business on Google, clicking the title makes you view information such as its address, contact number, and open hours. So, with this new update, Google will now show the users ‘busiest times’ for the specific businesses. This data, designed to show the users when the business is busiest, is accompanied by bar charts that you can look through every single day.

The firm explains that, this type of data can be particularly beneficial for individuals who do not want to be caught up in long lines – such us when you are driving towards the coffee shop to grab a coffee, go to the grocery shop, or visit the gym. The idea of this update is that, you can plan your daily routines better by avoiding the rush hours of these businesses whenever you can.

Google states clearly that, this feature at the moment is enabled for millions of businesses and places all over the world. Also, it will be accessible directly from Google Search on all mobile phones that have internet connection, in current mobile web browsers and on the Google Search App of Android. Nevertheless, the feature is commonly going to show for locations where the users are ‘highly curious about how busy it can get’, notes a spokesperson of Google.

Although this feature is not incorporated into the Google Smart Assistant Google Now, it is the kind of data that can possibly be made use of in the near future to make sure Google Now users are rightly informed of what they should anticipate in the different businesses they are heading towards, after their Google Search.

Although there are quite a number of apps available that permit users to check and know wait times for businesses such as NoWait, which is focused more on restaurant waiting times or those who are calculating waiting times for lines in theme parks, the ability of Google to combine the details from the Smartphones of millions of users is the power behind this brand new and more widely accessible, search feature.

There has been an explanation in the past about how Google is able to gather information from the users of Google Maps app, so as to secretly inform Google of things such as traffic conditions and patterns. Also, that the GPS-backed feature is currently at work to offer the business-level information too.

‘Just like we send traffic information depending on the secret collective movement of people on the road, we have the ability to relatively establish how busy a business is’, Google says.

For the owners of the businesses, this new information can be beneficial in offering them an enhanced understanding of their very own traffic conditions and busiest hours. Customers can also benefit from these searches, so that they do not have to waste too much time at one place, when they have a lot to do in a day.

Universal Twitter App Lands on Microsoft’s Windows 10 Operating System

Microsoft’s Windows 10 operating system has received amazing patronage from one of the world’s biggest social networking sites, Twitter.

If Facebook is about news feed and videos, Twitter is all about short tweets that bring the most happening events to the attention of its users. Most people tend to use the app to deliver an instant update because Facebook is considered a tedious method to do so. Besides, statistics confirmed that people no longer use Zuckerberg’s platform to share quick information, but for detailed information on popular events. In other words, Facebook is a news channel while Twitter is the flash scroll that you witness whenever a breaking news occurs.

The developers of the micro blogging site focused solely on the iOS and Android operating systems all these years. However, they have now diverted their attention to release an app for the Windows 10 platform that will universally work with all devices including phones, tablets as well as the Xbox One console.

Microsoft had doubts because developing an app that could work universally on all their devices takes a lot of time and work. Most companies may refrain from doing so because of the lack of users on the platform. However, Twitter has a different perspective. The company wants to tap the potential user base; customers who are on the Windows devices because almost every Android and iOS user is already a subscriber.

The Windows 10 edition of Twitter app is amazing as it looks cool and is responsive to your actions. It runs in a desktop mode which makes it much easier for the users to access tweets, direct messages and images without having to rely on a browser. The developers have introduced some new features in the app including the ability to view GIFs, videos, Vines and to see multiple pictures at once.

A live tile feature allows you to easily see your latest tweets. Windows 10 support live tiles in the start menu which makes it much easier to take a glance every time you hit the start button. While the app is not compatible with Xbox One and Holo Lens at the moment, the developers confirmed that they are working to make it compatible with these devices as soon as possible.

“There will be more updates in the coming months as we work to make Twitter one of the best apps on the Windows 10 platform”, confirmed the team. More apps are expected to follow the trend.

Facebook – Bringing Internet to the Developing World Will Yield More Money

Clearly, the internet has benefited different people around the world in different ways. This is why there are new ways that are being generated to make it easier for all individuals to benefit equally.

With the famous Internet.org turning one this week, the project of Facebook to stretch internet access worldwide, is not getting older. Facebook is also targeting connections with new telecom partners with the hope of linking more people to the internet.

Even though the initiative has worked perfectly with about 12 telecommunications partners to offer basic internet access in 17 countries, it is the hope of Facebook for that number to grow after a while. Currently, network providers interested in working with Internet.org can easily make their dreams come true. All they need to do is to contact the program on its unique page.

To help in wooing the companies, Internet.org argues that, it represents more than a tool that has been designed to get the disconnected, back online: It is as well very good for bottom line carriers. In a blog post, Internet.org has cited different numbers designed to attract the network operators who see dollar signs – or even more precisely, rupees, francs, and pesos – in a probable partnership with the initiative of Mark Zuckerberg.

Internet.org brings in new users to different mobile networks on an average over 50% faster, especially, after free fundamental services are launched. Also, more than half of the men and women who visit the internet through Internet.org, pay for data and access the internet in a span of their initial 30 days. All of these points and more make it evident that Internet.org is successful, not just in aiding to attract or bring people online. It is also successful in making it clear to people the value the internet brings into their lives and helps in accelerating its adoption.

People who used Internet.org in the past month have accessed a wide range of health services more than a million times. This has helped to save many lives and has helped different health institutions make money as well.

For mobile phone carriers in developing countries, these figures suggest the probability for quick growth, if they go on to invest in their data networks and make use of Internet.org as on ramps. That could be a very clear message: No mobile device internet provider is going to sign on or register with Internet.org except if there is a clear benefit that will be obtained from the process.

Although there are some clear stipulations being made, Facebook is simply betting it can change its uniqueness to its benefit and bring the next 4.5 billion individuals to Facebook.

Facebook generally has a high attraction level and this is one of the reasons Mark is able to confidently make some stipulations or statements. As the months go by, we look forward to seeing these dreams being channeled into reality. Also, with many partnerships being targeted before the end of the year, more positive outcomes are expected.

Remote Hacking of Cars is Now a Reality

Car hacking seems to have moved to the next level as it no longer requires a physical connection to the electrical system of the car in order to hijack it.

Ever since that 2010 case of a disgruntled employee, who wirelessly accessed over 100 cars, there has never been another case of remote hacking of cars. However, this changed just last week when two security researchers, Charlie Miller and Chris Valasek, took matters in their own hands and went ahead to expose the security vulnerabilities in a 2014 Jeep Cherokee. This happened on a St. Louis highway with Wired writer Andy Greenberg behind at the wheel and according to them, it is only meant to bring out the flaws in smart cars and just how dangerous they can be.

Miller is a security researcher at Twitter and Valasek is a director of auto security research with IOActive. The pair is not new in this field and they first made headlines about two years ago when they managed to hack a car and take control of some features, for instance, honking, killing brakes, cinching seat belts as well as controlling the steering wheel. These were tested on a Toyota Prius and Ford Escape, but they were seated in the backseat of the cars with laptops physically connected to the vehicles.

Car makers should be on the alert

The latest tests by the two researchers are meant to scare or rather warn car makers of their weak systems that can easily be hacked. The two were seated in Miller’s basement, about 10 miles from the car and thanks to the security flaw in the Uconnect infotainment system, they were able to blast the AC, tune the radio, crank the sound system, toy around with the windshield wipers and even post a picture on the display screen inside the car.

To make sure that car manufacturers really got what they wanted them to get, they went ahead and disabled the transmission, something that meant the Jeep lost its acceleration. Later on when the Chrysler Jeep was parked in the lot, they disabled the brakes and as a result, the car slid into a ditch with Greenberg, still seated behind the wheel, unable to do anything to save the car.

Even though car hacking practices are not very common, the fact that it is possible should send a stern message to car manufacturers out there about the potential of cyber security. This is true especially when you consider the number of computer-based cars on the roads today. With this new form of wireless hacking of cars, many will be on the alert. Any person who thinks about security of their high-tech cars must already have thought about this possibility. It is no longer a simple thought; instead, it has become a reality.

Over 10 Million Wii U Units Sold, Nintendo Didn’t Lose the Console War

Nintendo in their earnings call had some good news to share. The company confirmed that over 10 million Wii U units have been sold so far, which has helped them earn over $9 million in profit.

With this announcement, Nintendo has indirectly confirmed that the company has not lost the console war to Microsoft’s Xbox One and Sony’s Playstation 4. The Wii U console got released much before Sony and Microsoft could launch their consoles. When it came out in 2012, it was a bit of a disappointment for the gamers for a variety of reasons.

The Wii revolutionized the console gaming space with its motion sensor controllers. It was obviously a step into virtual reality but without wearing any of those heavy VR headsets. People enjoyed it so much that they expected Nintendo to release something futuristic with their next console. But, the Wii U came with a touch pad controller which wasn’t innovative or groundbreaking. The same result could be achieved with any console when a smartphone or a tablet is paired with it.

Adding to the woes, Wii U lacked first party exclusive titles. Unlike PS4 and Xbox One which is supported by companies like Electronic Arts and Ubisoft, Nintendo’s consoles are highly dependent on their home studios. Games like Super Mario Bros, Mario Kart and Zelda are the ones that convince the people to buy the console.

Everything changed when Mario Kart 8 and Super Smash Bros got launched on the Wii U. The console started selling like hot cakes and has touched a notable benchmark with 10 million units. Sony’s Playstation 4 sold the same number in just nine months since release while Xbox One is close on its heels. Nevertheless, it is a great achievement for Nintendo that prompted them to proudly announce it during their investors’ call.

The handheld 3DS console has sold two million units. There are gamers who still love Wii games which helped Nintendo sell 1.1 million titles within a short span of three months. Everything’s going good for the company so far. They have also confirmed their interest in the mobile gaming industry.

Within the next three years, five different first party titles from Nintendo will land on the iOS and Android platforms. They are also working on a new console titled the NX. It is touted to be the next big revolutionary change in gaming industry. We could confirm the same when it gets launched in 2017 or later.

Avoid Long Queues with Google’s ‘Popular Times’ Feature

Google loves innovation! The developers at the company often come up with features that are helpful to make life easier.

The newly launched ‘Popular Times’ is one such feature using which you can know if a particular place is crowded at a specific time.

Users can now access this feature by using the Google apps on their Android phone. If you happen to own an iOS device, use the Safari app or the Chrome app to get the feature.

Imagine this situation! You really want to hang out with your friends at this popular restaurant after work. You start sending them messages, gather the team and reach the venue only to find that it is packed to the brim. It might be one of those disappointing moments which you can now avoid with the help of ‘Popular Times’.

Search for a specific location on the app. It could be anything from the local coffee shop to the bookstore or a shopping center. In the results page, click on the ‘more about’ icon and it will directly forward you to another page with a helpful information card. The card shows the hours during which they operate followed by a graph that displays their busiest hours.

You will also find a drop down box using which you can select the day. It makes it easier to check if that elite pub you have always wanted to visit will be too crowded on a Saturday evening or not. Obviously, most places are crowded during weekends, but the feature is useful when it comes to sorting out the worst times to visit a location.

Google also receives real time data through smartphones that have GPS enabled in them. When a large number of people are heading to the same venue, it will automatically be updated in their database and the information will be shared on the card. The feature comes in handy if you are planning to go to a concert, but like to know the best time to start to avoid traffic jam and long lines.

The information was revealed by Google in their official blog. Some people appreciated the effort, while others are not so happy with it. Whatever be the criticism, Google is not going to give up and will continue to innovate, one feature after the other. They just love to experiment and history proves that some of their crazy ideas have paved the way for the betterment of the world of technology.

LinkedIn Contact Download Feature is Back, Company Apologizes for Inconvenience

In their blog post, LinkedIn apologized to the users for removing the feature that allowed them to download contacts when required.

They added that their original intention was to prevent third party companies from accessing contact lists and it was never removed to cause inconvenience to the existing user base.

While it might sound like a basic feature, obviously, LinkedIn users seem to have had a strong association with it. Among many similar features, this one allows the users to instantly download the contacts list of everyone they are connected with. The data includes their profile name, contact numbers, e-mail ids and other vital information. It is much easier to simply zap it if you have to send a bulk e-mail to them all at once.

However, the same can be done by third parties if they manage to gain unauthorized access. The developer team at LinkedIn was more concerned about such a threat. LinkedIn is the world’s largest business network with millions of profiles created by people with varied areas of expertise. The total worth of the statistical data on the website is so high that it isn’t surprising to see the company concerned about the safety of their database.

LinkedIn removed the feature a week ago and the users immediately disapproved of the change on Twitter. Social networking platforms are significant in modern day corporate world. Whenever something goes wrong, people use such platforms as the ultimate weapon to notify the companies that they are not happy with the new changes.

Microsoft’s Xbox One console is one of the most popular incidents in history in which the backlash from the gamers was so much that the company had to roll out a lot of awkward policies to favor them. Similarly, companies like Netflix and Comcast rolled back their policies after severe criticism.

While it may seem companies are heeding to user requests and are open to criticism, experts opine that the changes occur because of the rapidly changing business scenario. A startup may emerge into the next big power within a matter of months which creates a consistently challenging situation for the big players. Keeping their existing customers satisfied matters a lot which has made them accept such feedback.

During the period in which the feature was rolled back, the LinkedIn users had to wait for at least 72 hours before they could download contact information. The issue has now been sorted out and you could download the data anytime without a waiting period. The company also promised to avoid creating such situations in the future.

Microsoft Windows 10 OS Release a Grand Success –  Here are the Top Features

A few years ago, Windows 7 came as a savior for Windows Vista, and Microsoft is taking the same approach with Windows 10.

Acknowledging and admitting mistakes is one of the hardest things to do in the tech industry, but Microsoft is good at both. Truth be told, Microsoft caused enormous pain with the Windows 8/Windows 8.1 experiment, and the company needed a surefire thing to bring excitement back to users. And judging by first reviews and what we can see, the company seems to have nailed it with Windows 10.

The new OS is evolutionary, solid system that will be good for all customers that like Windows. However, do not rush to upgrade until some of the bugs in the system have been fixed. Here are some of the new features in Windows 10 you will love.

Features of Windows 10 OS

First things first, Microsoft is bringing back the Start Menu button. When the company launched Windows 8 in 2012, the Start Menu button was gone. Microsoft resurrected the button in 8.1, but it was not helpful. The new and revamped button for Windows 10 is a combination of previous and current OS. The new Start Menu blends wonderfully with the Windows 7 style launch-pad, and the tile UI of the Windows 8. The new button includes all apps and settings, as well as favorites you can pin. Those are located on the left side, while the right side is reserved for live tiles.

Another thing that you will love with the new Windows 10 is the speed with which Microsoft will bring software updates to users. The company promises to deliver new codes on a regular basis.

Cortana, the virtual assistant is a huge part of Windows 10. The digital assistant has made search easier and more discoverable for daily users. The Cortana bar is conveniently located next to the Start Menu button. With Cortana’s search, users get both local and web search results. However, users can change the preference by clicking on the “My Stuff” tab. To summon Cortana, all you need to do is say “Hey Cortana” and start making voice requests. However, you can also type your requests. The best thing is that Cortana is unified on your desktop PC, phone and tablet.

New Browser

That boring Internet Explorer is finally a thing of the past. Microsoft is introducing Edge, its new browser with Windows 10. It seems like the company has borrowed many features of rival browsers such as Firefox and Chrome, but at least Microsoft has a nice browser now. Some of the features include reader-view, marking a web page with virtual link, saving pages with OneNote, and much more.

Other Features

Other notable new features of the Windows 10 include multitasking, streaming games, calendar, photos, maps and other built in applications, and Windows Hello. Multitasking on Windows 10 is terrific and easier than other platforms. You can create virtual desktops on the screen using a “task view” option. As for built-in applications, there are few that come pre-installed, but you can always download more in the Windows Store. The good news is that all applications work on all your devices, meaning you need to purchase the app once, and it will work on your PC, laptop, tablet or smartphone. Most of your old Windows programs will still work. Windows Hello is an authentication feature. With it, you can log into your device using fingerprint, face or iris. You will need additional hardware in order for Windows Hello to work.

Google+ Lost to Facebook, Google Admits Defeat and Accepts User Requests

The Google+ social networking service was launched four years ago when it was touted to be the rival to take on Facebook.

Critics and users opined that it is not easy to beat the social networking website because Facebook has already crossed 1 billion subscribers by then. However, Google didn’t want to give up and forced the users to accept Google Plus, whether they liked it or not.

Users had to rely on the social networking platform to share content, comment on YouTube videos and many other essential services hosted by Google. After compelling people to do these things, Google has finally admitted defeat and has started rolling back some of its services. The company in their official blog announced two major changes to the service.

You can now use Google without using a Google+ profile and many services, including photos, location sharing and comments are now being moved back to their original locations. Google+ will no longer be a hindrance, which should make things easier for the users. So far, it has been serving as an identity for every other product and service hosted by Google. The mandatory requirement is now no longer in existence. You can access them all without any of your personal information tagging along with every activity.

Slow Death of Google Plus

A well-established technology company could never admit defeat so easily, but Google has been indirectly showing signs of retrieval. Removing Google+ Photos is the first step and they have also begun retracting a lot of other services in such a short notice.

The location sharing system has been transferred to Google Hangouts. There are other apps as well that are now being assigned ownership for tasks that was previously handled by Google Plus. Amidst all this chaos and closure, the company has announced a new feature named “Google Plus Collections”.

Using this new feature, people will be able to read news and updates in categories that interest them. They can also create new topics in which other users can post interesting information. The concept is similar to Reddit and may kick off if users find it interesting. However, it may not save the service from becoming extinct.

Despite their determination, Google couldn’t make Google+ a popular social networking platform like Facebook. On the other hand, the social networking giant is facing a situation where they are unable to make enough revenue to sustain even though they have almost the entire world’s population onboard. An irony, indeed!

Facebook Follows Google’s Path, Offers Free Internet to Mobile Operators

Companies like Google and Facebook are extremely dependent on the internet. If people don’t have access to the internet, these companies just can’t exist.

After being in the global market for decades, the tech firms realized that they have acquired one hundred percent share in the developed countries. Almost everyone owns a computer or a smartphone connected to the internet. The next sensible step is to expand their horizons and bring in people who never have had access to the internet. Google did it by bringing fiber net, mobile web services and ‘Project Loon’ to let people in the remote areas experience the internet.

A similar strategy is now adopted by Facebook. The company launched a website named Internet.org last year and has successfully completed its first year anniversary. The service, which was originally launched in Africa in 2014, later expanded to 17 different nations. Majority of them are developing countries, including India.

In their official blog post, Facebook confirmed that they are further expanding their operations in India. They have launched a dedicated web portal where mobile operators could sign up to make use of the offer. Every operator who signs up will get free internet and the cost will be taken care of by Facebook.

“Internet.org introduced the power of the internet to those who have never had the opportunity to explore it. By signing up for the free basic service, the users could enjoy faster internet connectivity. In the past year, we have witnessed at least 50 percent of the community signing up for a paid plan after using the free services. It’s great to see people willing to pay for data and faster connectivity once they get to know its benefits”, read the blog post.

The blog post also confirmed that Facebook believes in net neutrality. Every mobile operator and developer in these 17 countries could sign up to utilize their internet services, the company added.

While it might sound like a noble deed, the social networking giant is trying to bring more of the world’s population online. There is no denying the fact that some of them who have never experienced the web will find it extremely useful, but the underlying idea is to increase the number of web users so that they would become Facebook members in the near future. By focusing on bringing internet to all phones, the company aims to explore the untapped community of people who may have never heard about ‘News Feeds’ or the ‘Wall’ yet.

Google’s Android Vulnerability Identified by a Security Firm, No Patch Released Yet

In modern times, third party security firms are often more active than the actual tech companies that create the hardware and the software.

Recently, a firm that was supposed to protect companies was hacked and a lot of passwords got leaked. However, the company later confirmed that everything is under control and that they have taken necessary measures to ensure the all the passwords are changed to ensure maximum security.

Most companies rely on third parties to provide them security services because high profile hackers and security experts are usually freelancers who don’t prefer a full time job. The trend continues with another announcement that comes from a company named Zimperium. The discovery that they have made has exposed a harmful vulnerability in all Android phones shipped in 2014.

According to the company, at least 95% of the phones shipped last year are vulnerable and can be hacked if a team of hackers decide to do so. At least 1 billion phones were shipped in 2014 and based on this report; over 950 million phones are vulnerable.

Zimperium has notified Google in due time, but the company is yet to officially release a patch to fix it. The security firm sent an alert to the search engine giant in the month of April. There is no explanation as to why Google is so slow in fixing the vulnerability and ensuring that all Android users are safe.

The identified Android flaw can be triggered by sending a simple text message to any device. As soon as a user opens the message, the malicious code will execute automatically. The code can be executed in two different ways. One is by sending a picture message and another is through Google Hangouts. The Hangouts version is serious because as soon as the notification pops in your screen, the code will execute.

It will automatically execute one more time in the preview window and also when you open the message in the Hangouts app. The Android phone will be compromised after the malicious code is successfully executed. All messages, user credentials and personal information shared using the phone can be tapped into. The hacker could remotely access it and meddle with it.

The vulnerability is found in all the Android versions released so far, including Jelly Bean, Kit Kat and the newly released Lollipop. The firm confirmed that it has not been exploited so far and it is Google’s duty to fix it without further delay.

Apple Watch Exclusivity Ends, Sales in Best Buy Begins this August

Apple has decided to step out of its comfort zone and launch the Apple Watch in other stores as well.

In the past, customers could have a look at it only at their designated stores and then place an order online. Apple has always wanted to keep stocks at a minimum and refrained from selling it through other retailers so far.

The exclusivity continued for several months until now. The company has confirmed that they are ready to launch the product at Best Buy stores. It is one of the prominent retail chains in the United States that sells electronic goods.

Tim Cook, the CEO of Apple, earlier commented that the company expects the smartwatch to witness phenomenal sales in this holiday season. He didn’t reveal that they are going to make it possible by launching their product with the biggest retail chain in the country. Compared to walking into an Apple store and then ordering it online, it is an easier option for anyone to walk into Best Buy and buy a Sports edition for $300.

The electronic retail chain will start selling the product from August 7. The company’s senior category officer, Jason Bonfig said that they are extremely pleased to have such an exquisite device being added to their product category.

“Customers are always looking forward to buy new and fancy items. An emerging product category is mandatory for our store to stay ahead of competition. We believe that the Apple Watch will be an important addition, right before the holiday season begins,” he said.

Even though Apple didn’t reveal the exact number of watches they have sold, analysts predict that at least three million devices could have been sold so far. Before Apple Watch’s launch, Samsung was the market leader and had 75% of the market share. Apple has now acquired the position and before the end of 2015, the company expects to boost their share up to 85%.

Apple, in its financial call for quarterly earnings reported that the company has sold more smart watches than the iPhones and iPads. The company has made over $13.23 billion in China and has $202 billion in cash at the moment despite failing to satisfy estimated forecasts.

Tim Cook is extremely positive about this launch even though critics claim that it is a failure for Apple because the Apple Watch neither substitutes a smartphone nor a smart standalone device that users could rely on. It was criticized as a gimmick that didn’t offer value to customers but sales record say otherwise.