Showing posts with label Social media. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Social media. Show all posts

Friday, 28 March 2014

Facebook To Use Drones, Satellites and Lasers To Deliver Internet Around the World

Facebook's next big ambitious project is to make Internet accessible to everyone around the world.  To make it happen, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg has announced that they will use drones, satellites and lasers.
On Thursday, March 27, Zuckerberg posted a status on Facebook, sharing some updates about the frontier and giving a few hints on their future plans to reach the goal.
"We've made good progress so far. Over the past year, our work in the Philippines and
Paraguay alone has doubled the number of people using mobile data with the operators we've partnered with, helping 3 million new people access the internet," wrote the 29-year-old Internet entrepreneur.
Zuckerberg said that Facebook will continue their partnership with the operators in the two countries, but claimed that the online social networking service will need new technology to reach other parts of the world, and that is currently what Facebook's Connectivity Lab is working on.
At the latter part of the post, Zuckerberg revealed that Facebook is currently collaborating with NASA's Jet Propulsion Lab and Ames Research Center for the grand initiative, and announced that the team has just gotten bigger now that they are also working with a small UK-based company Ascenta for a connectivity aircraft. Founders of the said company were the one's responsible for the early versions of Zephyr, the longest flying solar-powered unmanned aircraft in the world.
According to a press release published on,  two thirds of the world's population doesn't still have access to Internet, and in order to connect them to the world, the team is currently developing new delivery platforms.
"The team's approach is based on the principle that different sized communities need different solutions and they are already working on new delivery platforms-including planes and satellites-to provide connectivity for communities with different population densities," the press release detailed.

Friday, 21 March 2014

Facebook Disputes Claims That They Were Aware Of NSA Data Collection Outside Of FISA Orders

The Guardian newspaper made headlines yesterday for a story claiming the tech companies were not entirely truthful about their knowledge of National Security Agency spying. News outlets quickly picked up the accusations from NSA General Counsel Rajesh De that tech companies had “full knowledge” of the controversial surveillance of their users.
From the beginning of the NSA scandal last summer, tech companies have furiously denied that the NSA had direct access to their data. They have also denied knowing anything about the program that apparently allows the NSA to forcibly demand user data, known as PRISM. Moreover, they have publicly lobbied the U.S. Government to permit them to disclose the number of users that have been surveilled by the NSA, authorized by the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court (FISC).
Companies suing the government for the ability to be more transparent eventually won that case, and have since disclosed — within still harsh restrictive bounds — more information on government data requests.
Thus, Facebook quickly denied the new accusations. In a statement, the company told TechCrunch:
“Before it was reported in the news, we had never heard of ‘PRISM’ or any program in which Internet companies, voluntarily or otherwise, gave the government direct access to servers or in any way facilitated the bulk collection of user data. At the same time, we never suggested that we were not aware of our obligations under FISA, which was the topic of today’s hearing. In fact, we have been fighting for more transparency around the lawful national security-related requests from the U.S. Government that we may receive under this statute. The suggestion that we were misleading the public is frustrating and untrue.”
Soon after we received this statement, The Guardian issued a major “amendment” to their story.
“This article was amended on 20 March 2014 to remove statements in the original that the testimony by Rajesh De contradicted denials by technology companies about their knowledge of NSA data collection. It was also updated to clarify that the companies challenged the secrecy surrounding Section 702 orders. Other minor clarifications were also made.”
Section 702 refers to a law that permits some of the more controversial intelligence agency surveillance programs 
When asked whether The Guardian still stands by their original interpretation of the story, spokesman Gennady Kolker wrote back, “The article was amended to clarify and correct our reporting, in line with the Guardian’s policy and practices.”
In the original piece, The Guardian wrote the following:
The senior lawyer for the National Security Agency stated unequivocally on Wednesday that US technology companies were fully aware of the surveillance agency’s widespread collection of data, contradicting month of angry denials from the firms.
The NSA’s Wednesday comments contradicting the tech companies about the firms’ knowledge of Prism risk entrenching tensions with the firms NSA relies on for an effort that Robert Litt, general counsel for the director of national intelligence, told the board was “one of the most valuable collection tools that we have.
Now the passages read as follows:
The senior lawyer for the National Security Agency stated on Wednesday that US technology companies were fully aware of the surveillance agency’s widespread collection of data.
De and his administration colleagues were quick to answer the board that companies were aware of the government’s collection of data under 702, which Robert Litt, general counsel for the director of national intelligence, told the board was “one of the most valuable collection tools that we have.
Note that these sections have now been stripped of anything about De’s statements “contradicting” the companies’ insistence that they have not participated. The piece still asserts that the companies were aware of the governments collection under Section 702 — the FISA Amendments Act — with De replying yes to a question about whether the data collection occurred with the “full knowledge and assistance of any company from which information is obtained.”
The amendments to the article scaling back De’s statements reflect the difficulty in covering a story that has been shrouded in secrecy–a secrecy that has frustrated by citizens and tech companies alike. President Obama has proposed several changes to Intelligence Agency surveillance, but any major transparency reforms will have to wait until congress takes up the issue later this year.
Google did not respond to a request for comment, and Yahoo and Microsoft had no comment.

Thursday, 20 March 2014

Facebook Creates Software That Matches Faces Almost as Well as You Do

Facebook’s new AI research group reports a major improvement in face-processing software.

Questioned no matter if a couple of not really acquainted images connected with people demonstrate the identical man or women, a people are certain to get it proper ninety seven. 53 % of times. Completely new application manufactured by scientists from Facebook can easily report ninety seven. 25 percent about the same difficult task, no matter versions with lighting effects or even whether or not the man or women from the image is specifically dealing with this digital camera.

That’s an important move forward over past face-matching application, and it illustrates the energy of your completely new way of artificial cleverness known as heavy understanding, which Facebook as well as opposition possess bet intensely with in the past season (see “Deep Learning”). This subject of AI entails application which employs cpa networks connected with simulated neurons to master to acknowledge styles with copious amounts connected with data.

“You typically don’t make sure type of advancement, ” says Yaniv Taigman, part connected with Facebook’s AI crew, an investigation class designed recently to be able to examine the way heavy understanding may also help the corporation (see “Facebook Launches Sophisticated AI Effort”). “We strongly tactic man effectiveness, ” says Taigman of the completely new application. He / she information that this malfunction pace may be reduced by means of more than a 1 fourth relative to sooner application that may consider about the same task.

Go convert: DeepFace uses a 3-D design to be able to turn people, essentially, to experience this digital camera. Image (a) indicates the original graphic, and also (g) indicates the ultimate, repaired version.

Facebook’s completely new application, known as DeepFace, does what scientists call face confirmation (it recognizes which a couple of pictures demonstrate the identical face), not necessarily face acknowledgement (putting a name to a face). Yet some of the actual strategies could possibly be placed on which dilemma, says Taigman, and also may as a result enhance Facebook’s reliability from hinting that with whom end users should tag within a recently submitted picture.

However, DeepFace is always simply an investigation task for the moment. Facebook unveiled an investigation document on the task yesterday, as well as the scientists will present the project with the IEEE Convention with Laptop or computer Imaginative and prescient vision and also Structure Identification with August. “We are generally posting our results to acquire feedback through the exploration neighborhood, ” says Taigman, that formulated DeepFace in addition to Facebook friends Ming Yang and also Marc’Aurelio Ranzato and also Tel Aviv School mentor Lior Hair.

DeepFace procedures pictures connected with people with a couple of steps. Primary it corrects this angle of your experience so that the man or women from the image people ahead, employing a 3-D style of an “average” forward-looking experience. Then a heavy understanding also comes in being a simulated sensory network breaks down to a numerical account of the reoriented experience. In the event DeepFace pops up along with similar enough information through a couple of distinct pictures, it makes a decision they should demonstrate the identical experience.

The actual effectiveness of the last application ended up being tried in opposition to a normal data fixed which scientists make use of to be able to benchmark face-processing application, which has been employed to determine the way individuals cost from corresponding people.

Neeraj Kumar, a examiner with the School connected with California that has done experience confirmation and also acknowledgement, says which Facebook’s final results demonstrate the way acquiring enough data to be able to supply right into a big sensory network allows pertaining to significant changes with machine-learning application. “I’d bet large amounts of this acquire the following arises from what heavy understanding generally offers: to be able to leveraging a large amount connected with outdoors data within a much higher-capacity understanding design, ” this individual says.

The actual deep-learning section of DeepFace consists of seven cellular levels connected with easy simulated neurons, with an increase of than 120 zillion internet connections among these people. To train which network, Facebook’s scientists drawn on a smaller slice connected with data from other company’s hoard connected with individual images—four zillion images connected with people belonging to virtually some, 000 men and women. “Since that they get access to a lot of data on this style, they are able to successfully prepare a high-capacity design, ” says Kumar.

Wednesday, 5 March 2014

Can Facebook make you sad?

Not so long ago a new form of communication swept the world, transforming life in ways unimagined just a few years before. One commentator heralded it as “the greatest means of communication ever developed by the mind of man” while others pointed to its potential to revolutionise news, entertainment and education. But the poet and playwright TS Eliot had a different take. “It is a medium of entertainment which permits millions of people to listen to the same joke at the same time, and yet remain lonesome,” he wrote.

Eliot and the others were writing about television in the early 1960s. But fast forward 50 years and you could be forgiven for thinking that their comments apply equally well to the internet, and online social networks.

Chief among these is Facebook, the social network that celebrates its 10th birthday this week. Its statistics are astounding. In just one decade, it has signed up some 1.3 billion people, half of whom log in on any given day and spend an average of 18 minutes per visit. Facebook connects families across continents, friends across the years and people around the world.

And yet Facebook’s effects on its users may not be entirely benign. Some researchers suggest that the ability to connect does not necessarily make people any happier, and it could in fact reduce the satisfaction they feel about their life. Can it really be possible that Facebook makes you sad?

Until recently, few had studied this question and the little evidence that did exist actually hinted that the social network has a beneficial effect. In 2009, Sebastian Valenzuela and colleagues at the University of Texas at Austin measured how life satisfaction varied among over 2,500 students who used Facebook, and they found a small positive correlation.

Yet last summer, a team of psychologists from the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor and the University of Leuven in Belgium decided to drill a bit deeper by evaluating how life satisfaction changes over time with Facebook use. Ethan Kross and colleagues questioned a group of people five times a day over two weeks about their emotional state. They asked questions such as “how do you feel right now?”, “how lonely do you feel right now?”, “how much have you used Facebook since we last asked?” and so on. This gave them a snapshot of each individual’s well-being and Facebook usage throughout the day.

The team found that Facebook use correlated with a low sense of well-being. “The more people used Facebook over two-weeks, the more their life satisfaction levels declined over time,” they said. “Rather than enhancing well-being… these findings suggest that Facebook may undermine it.”

Popularity contest

There are several possible explanations for the finding. It could be that people feeling down were more likely to visit Facebook, but the team were able to rule this out because their data would have revealed if people felt low before visiting the site.

As Kross and colleagues pointed out, Facebook is an invaluable resource for fulfilling the basic human need for social contact. But they suspect that the kind of contact Facebook provides does not make people feel better over time. The opposite was true of face-to-face contact, according to their data. Perhaps there is something different about digital social interactions, they suggest.

One possibility might be simple jealousy. After all, it can be deflating to see cousins and former school-friends routinely boasting about their career successes, holidays or new children. Some researchers have referred to this effect as “friendly world syndrome”, where it seems like everybody is having a better time than you. The syndrome comes from an effect identified by sociologists in the 1970s called “mean world syndrome”, where people who watched a lot of violent TV thought the world was more violent than it actually is. Your friends on Facebook may be more likely to trumpet their successes than failures, which can give a skewed picture of what life is really like.

Another similar phenomenon that has emerged in recent years might also explain this dissatisfaction – your friends are, on average, more popular than you. Back in 1991, the sociologist Scott Feld uncovered a surprise while studying the nature of social networks in the pre-internet age. The data came from asking children at several schools who their friends were, whether these friendships were reciprocated and then drawing up the resulting network by hand.

Feld counted the number of friends each individual had, and compared that to the number of friends the friends had. To everyone’s great surprise, he discovered that a child’s friends almost always had more friends than they did, on average.

Who's better, who's best

Since then, other researchers have discovered that this “friendship paradox” is a general feature of social networks and applies to other properties too. Not only will your friends have more friends than you do, they probably have more sexual partners too.

Although highly counterintuitive, there is a straightforward mathematical reason for this. People with lots of friends are more likely to number among your friends in the first place. And when they do, they significantly raise the average number of friends that your friends have. People have more friends than you do simply because the average is skewed.

The rise of online social networks has confirmed all of this, not least because researchers suddenly have access to a level of detail that was unheard of before the internet era. According to Nathan Hodas and colleagues at the University of Southern California, the friendship paradox holds true for more than 98% of Twitter users too.

Why might that make you feel glum? Unlike physical world friendships, on Facebook you can see exactly how popular your more popular friends are.

Monday, 17 February 2014

Use Facebook Paper for social news or stick with Flipboard?

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg delivers the keynote during a Facebook f8 Developer Conference.
Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg delivers the keynote during a Facebook f8 Developer Conference. (Kimihiro Hoshino, Getty Images file)

With a new app called Paper, Facebook is hoping to make it easier for users to find more than just their long-lost friends.
Recently released for the iPhone, the app represents a wholesale rethinking of how users interact with the social network. Instead of focusing on a single "news feed" filled with posts from other users, the app is designed to be more like a newspaper, with sections that focus on particular news topics or interests, such as technology, sports or food. Users can choose to see content from up to 10 sections at a time from among 20 choices.
In each section, the top half of the screen is devoted to a "centerpiece" area that highlights a handful of stories, cycling through pictures related to each one. In the bottom half of the screen, users will find numerous headline cards representing individual stories. Users can either select a particular story to read by tapping on it or scan through the cards by swiping left or right.
Facebook’s new Paper app. Provided by Facebook
Facebook's new Paper app. Provided by Facebook
If your primary exposure to Facebook is viewing your friends' status updates, you might be surprised at just how much real news you can find on the site. Paper does an excellent job of highlighting that content.
Although you'll find many stories from major news sources in Paper, you'll also find content from less prominent ones. Michael Reckhow, Paper's product manager, said the app was meant to highlight not only major publishers but lesser-known artists and content producers. The stories you'll find in each section have all been posted somewhere on Facebook and selected by a combination of human editors and algorithms.

Facebook designed Paper to be a much more immersive experience than Facebook's website or its primary mobile application. Unlike those venues, Paper has no "chrome," which is the borders around an application that typically include buttons, search boxes and other interface elements.
As a result, Paper is able to use the phone's entire screen to display pictures, videos and stories. The effect is often quite beautiful and makes the main Facebook app look clunky and outdated by comparison.
Because Paper has few buttons, users have to rely on gestures to navigate the app. To zoom in on a story card, users swipe up or reverse pinch. To return to the story card or a section page, users swipe down from near the top of the screen or pinch.
Facebook offers new users hints at how to use these gestures, but they can take some getting used to. The first several times I used the app, I kept going back to a story card from an article page when I wanted to just scroll through the article itself.
Although Paper focuses on news and story content, it can be used to do many of the things you might do with the primary Facebook app. The first section in Paper is your Facebook news feed.
You can view your Facebook alerts inside the app, and you can carry on conversations with your Facebook friends in much the same way that you would in the main app.
You also can view reformatted versions of your friends' Facebook pages, search across the social network for other users and post new status updates.
Despite its capabilities and fresh design, the app is very much a work-in-progress and suffers from some notable limitations. The biggest is that, for now, it's available only for the iPhone and Apple's iPod touch; Facebook isn't offering a Paper app for the iPad or for any Android devices.
But it has other shortcomings. Ten sections may seem like a lot, especially compared to what you'll find in a real newspaper today, but one of those sections is dedicated to your Facebook news feed, so you really have only nine choices. If you have a broader range of interests than that, you're out of luck — 10 sections is the limit of what you can see.
Although users can choose which sections they want in their Paper, they have no control over what news sources or types of stories they view in those sections. In your news feed, you can't choose to see only the most recent posts, as you can on Facebook's website.
And unlike Flipboard, a news reading app that looks and works similar to Paper, you can't focus sections on stories on particular topics or from individual news sources. Instead, you have to rely entirely on Facebook to decide which stories you'll see.
Unfortunately, for now, Facebook isn't personalizing sections in Paper for each user. Instead, everyone who chooses to see the "technology" section, say, will see the same stories from the same sources.
What's more, Paper is a new way of interacting with Facebook — not with the wider Web.
So you can't use it to see what's happening on Twitter or LinkedIn. And if a particular story hasn't been posted to Facebook, it won't show up in Paper either.

Friday, 31 January 2014

Windows 8.1 Update 1 leaks: Boots to the Desktop by default, allows Metro apps to be minimized

Windows 8.1 Update 1 Start screen, with power buttonWindows 8.1 Update 1, showing a Metro app with the Minimize optionNew UI scaling options in Windows 8.1 Update 1Windows 8.1 Update 1 Desktop, showing the build string, and a Metro app on the toolbarThe latest build of Windows 8.1 Update 1 has leaked, revealing many of the changes that Microsoft hopes will make Metro less painful for desktop users. The biggest change appears to be that Windows 8.1 Update 1 will boot straight to the Desktop interface by default, reducing Metro to its rightful role as a full-screen Start menu. This, of course, would be a complete 180 from the original release of Windows 8, which defaulted to the Metro interface and lacked an easy way to see the Desktop after logging in.
Other notable changes in the leaked build of Windows 8.1 Update 1 are the addition of apower button to the Metro interface (no longer must you swipe in from the right-hand side!), and the option to “minimize” Metro apps, strongly hinting that Metro apps will be usable on the Desktop. (One of the screenshots shows the Windows Store icon on the taskbar, too.) Apparently, if you have a Windows tablet that’s smaller than 8.5 inches, the power button won’t be present, preventing you from accidentally turning your tablet off.

Friday, 24 January 2014

The 'Worst' and Most 'common' password of 2013

“123456” is finally getting some time in the spotlight as the world's worst password, after spending years in the shadow of “password.”
Security firm Splashdata, which every year compiles a list of the most common stolen passwords, found that “123456” moved into the number one slot in 2013. Previously, “password” had dominated the rankings.

The change in leadership is largely thanks to Adobe, whose major security breach in October affected upwards of 48 million users. A list of passwords from the Adobe breach had “123456” on top, followed by “123456789” and “password.” The magnitude of the breach had a major impact on Splashdata's results, explaining why “photoshop” and “adobe123” worked their way onto this year's list.
Fans of “password” could reasonably petition for an asterisk, however, given that the stolen Adobe passwords included close to 100 million test accounts and inactive accounts. Counting those passwords on the list is kind of like setting a home run record during batting practice. Don't be surprised if “password” regains the throne in 2014.
Weaker passwords are more susceptible to brute-force attacks, where hackers attempt to access accounts through rapid guessing. And when encrypted passwords are stolen, weaker ones are the first to fall to increasingly sophisticated cracking software.
As always, Splashtop suggests avoiding common words and phrases, and says that replacing letters with similar-looking numbers (such as “3” instead of “E) is not an effective strategy. Instead, consider using phrases of random words separated by spaces or underscores, and using different passwords, at least for your most sensitive accounts. Password management programs such as LastPassKeePass and Splashdata's ow nSplashID can also help, as you only have to remember a single master password.
  1. 123456
  2. password
  3. 12345678
  4. qwerty
  5. abc123
  6. 123456789
  7. 111111
  8. 1234567
  9. iloveyou
  10. adobe123
  11. 123123
  12. admin
  13. 1234567890
  14. letmein
  15. photoshop
  16. 1234
  17. monkey
  18. shadow
  19. sunshine
  20. 12345
  21. password1
  22. princess
  23. azerty
  24. trustno1
  25. 000000

Saturday, 18 January 2014

Nokia’s Android smartphone looks a lot like Windows Phone, should be released in 2014

Nokia's Normandy phone interface, looks a lot like Windows PhoneNokia's Normandy hardware: Almost final, by the looks of thingsNormandy's interface, which looks a lot like Windows Phone [Image credit: Evleaks]Skype, phone dialler, and other apps on Nokia's Normandy deviceNew photos of Nokia’s upcoming Android handset, code named Normandy, have leaked — and rather oddly, it appears the standard Android UI has been stripped out and replaced with something that looks a bit like Windows Phone. In a separate leak, it would appear that the Normandy hardware design, which looks almost identical to a Nokia Lumia handset, is near-final. It would seem that, despite the imminent finalization of Microsoft’s acquisition of Nokia, this rather odd device is still on schedule to be released this year.For the last few years, and despite the Microsoft acquisition, there has been a persistent rumor that Nokia is working on an Android phone. We always assumed that this was an internal test — a prototypical “what if?” and nothing more. It is not unusual for hardware companies to try out different architectures internally — it simply isn’t sensible to have all of your eggs in one (Windows Phone) basket, after all. In short, we always thought that Normandy was a backup in case Symbian, Asha, or Windows Phone didn’t work out. Now that we have photos of near-final hardware, though, it’s pretty clear that Normandy isn’t just an internal prototype.
We won’t say much about Normandy’s hardware design, because it’s basically the same as Nokia’s Lumia line of phones but with a single Back button at the bottom. Instead, we’re going to talk about the software. As you can see in the image below, Normandy is running a version of Android that has been tailored to look a lot like Windows Phone — or, perhaps, a more colorful and grid-like variant of Symbian. Not only do some of the icons look very similar to their Windows 8/Windows Phone counterparts, but there’s also the interesting inclusion of Skype and Here Maps (which are presumably installed by default). The right side of the image seems to show a notification tray — but it might also be an app launcher, or some mix of the two.

Friday, 27 December 2013

How to add GIF's to Facebook and Twitter ?

GIF (Graphics Interchange Format) is a moving image of about 3-9 seconds that was  
introduced by CompuServe in 1987. Nowadays its being used widely across the web because they look amazing and sometimes fit the perfect situation. Well the real problem here is social sites like twitter and Facebook do not allow GIF's. But don't worry cause we finally have found a way to share Gif's on Facebook and Twitter !

Facebook has never allowed GIf's the probable reason may be that they don't  want itself  turning into sites like MySpace, which was filled with GIF's and stuff.

You can  post Gif's to Facebook ,Twitter  and Other Social networking sites using Giphy !

Giphy  allows people to post Gif's wherever they want. All you have to do is to copy and paste the URL of the GIF on your Facebook Profile/Page. On Facebook it will appear as a video and you will have to play it, unlike Myspace.

Thursday, 19 December 2013

Friday, 29 November 2013

A snapshot of one minute on the internet, today and in 2012

Industry reports from investment banks are turgid things, rarely fit for human consumption. A recent report about big data from boutique bank GP Bullhound, however, contains this gem.

This is not entirely accurate: The number of photos uploaded to Facebook every minute now exceeds 243,000 (pdf, p.33). But it is a wonderful little cross-section of what happens on the biggest, most recognizable services on the internet.

Yet it remains a snapshot. To better understand what these numbers mean, it is worth looking to a similar set of figures released by Intel in March 2012. (Warning: hideous infographic to follow.)

Bear in mind that these are very different metrics. The number of hours uploaded to YouTube can’t compare to the number of photos uploaded to Facebook because the former could very well come from fewer, longer videos. And some numbers are missing, though they can be found elsewhere. Still, the two sets of numbers make for an interesting comparison.

Here’s how they came out:

Data: GP Bullhound, Intel, Facebook, TwitterQuartz
Expressed in terms of percentage growth, one minute on the internet has grown along these lines:

One reason the internet minute is now richer is simply that there are more people online (Excel file). The proportion of the global population using the internet rose three percentage points to 38.8% this year. More significantly, average global broadband speeds are up 17% on last year. Together, those two things mean that more people than ever are searching, uploading, networking and buying. As Google and Facebook continue their campaigns to bring the rest of the world online, expect the internet minute to get denser—and the revenues of the world’s biggest internet businesses to grow larger.

Wednesday, 13 November 2013

Where are teens going instead of Facebook ?

(Photo: Marcio Jose Sanchez/AP)

Earlier this month Facebook's chief financial officer, David Ebersman confirmed a worrying, but long-suspected trend for the world’s biggest social network: teenagers, perhaps the most important demographic for a modern-day communication tool, were becoming less active on the site.

“We did see a decrease in daily users, partly among younger teens,” Ebersman admitted, referring to usage numbers from the second to third quarters of 2013. Researchers at GlobalWebIndex, a syndicated study on digital consumers in 32 markets, recently confirmed this decline.
Having surveyed teenagers in 30 countries, they revealed that the number of teenagers claiming to be active on Facebook (ie. doing more than just “liking” a separate page on the web) had dropped to 56% in the third quarter of 2013, from 76% in the first.
The biggest decline in active usage (by 52%) was in the Netherlands; there was a 16% fall for American teens.
Where are they going instead? Not surprisingly, it’s mobile chat services like WeChat, and photo-sharing apps like Instagram and Snapchat.
What’s truly startling though, is how quickly global teenagers are taking up the services instead:

A global survey of teenagers shows an eye-popping jump in active users for the mobile messaging app WeChat, Vine and the Flickr mobile app; image via GlobalWebIndex
The latest research from GlobalWebIndex, out Tuesday and with the accompanying graphic above, shows that Chinese messaging platform WeChat has seen the most rapid growth in active users aged between 16 and 19 — by an incredible 1,021% — between the first and second quarters of this year.

The ephemeral photo-sharing app Snapchat is also growing strong; GlobalWebIndex only recently began surveying its use, but have already surmised that 10% of teens globally are using the service, making it bigger than Pinterest, Vine, WeChat, Line and LinkedIn\ among that demographic.The other big wins have been for video sharing app Vine, owned by Twitter, and the mobile app for photo-sharing app Flickr. Active teen users for Vine grew by 639% and for Flickr by 254%, according to research group’s estimates.
“There is a very clear story with the big winners being closed messaging and video-and-photo sharing apps,” said Tom Smith, CEO of GlobalWebIndex. “This is something that could be particularly harmful to Facebook because its core value lies in peer-to-peer community, messaging and photo sharing.”
Even Facebook Messenger is seeing more active usage (an 86% increase), than Facebook itself, where teenage active users fell by 17% in the same period, according to the estimates. Instagram saw an 85% increase in active users and messaging tool WhatsApp saw an 81% growth. Tumblr also saw some growth in active users, but by a relatively-low 30%.
“There is a clear, definitive shift to mobile in general,” said Smith, “underlined by a large rise in Facebook’s mobile app,  [up 69%], so the composition of Facebook is changing.”
The teen trend towards mobile chat apps should have less of an impact on Twitter, Smith added, because Twitter plays a greater role in accessing real-time news, interacting with TV or following celebrities. Even Google + seems to be better insulated than Facebook because it is associated with broader networks and content.
Despite the huge growth in active users of WeChat, most teens in the U.S. and Western Europe still aren’t using it, though anecdotally, it is said to be popular among young people in Chinese communities. The real growth for the service is in China, where WeChat is based, and parts of South East Asia. The messaging app, which claims more than 250 million monthly active users, is owned by the Chinese Internet giant Tencent, which claims 800 million active users for its instant messing service for desktops. WeChat is the English-language version of the company’s original Chinese-language chat app, WeiShin.

“We launched different branding and different back-end servers in other locations,” said Tencent President Martin Lau while on stage at the GMIC mobile conference in San Francisco last month, adding that Tencent was customizing WeChat for local audiences in each country. Lau, who was previously one of the key bankers at Goldman Sachs that helped take Tencent public in 2004, said WeChat was targeting Italy, Mexico and Brazil as key areas for expansion, and that the U.S. was “a tough market.”
“But we do have an office here and a team who are trying to think about how we can do [things] differently in the U.S.,” he added.
How is WeChat capitalizing on its popularity with teenage users? One way is by setting up physical vending machines, selling soft drinks. It’s all part of a broader experiment by Tencent to set up a payment mechanism within WeChat. Tencent partner Ubox  recently set up  300 WeChat vending machines in Beijing’s subway stations where WeChat users could get discounted drinks by paying with their chat app.
“Those are experiments at this point,” said Lau, “but over time as the mobile Internet ties in with people’s lives more closely there will be more opportunities.”
Still, Lau doesn’t see mobile messaging platforms like WeChat canabailizing social networks like Facebook in the same way social networks ate through instant messaging. Mobile messaging through platforms like WhatsApp or KakaoTalk involve communicating with a smaller group of people that end users typically already know in real life; they’re privy to their mobile numbers after all.
“They’re both social, but address two very different user cases,” he said. “They can actually coexist.”


PS4 vs. Xbox One

PS4 system board, and other hardware bits

For the first time in the history of video game consoles, it’s actually possible to do an almost direct comparison of the hardware inside the PS4 and Xbox One. In almost every one of the seven preceding generations, game consoles were outfitted with highly customized chips and CPUs featuring niche, specialized architectures that could only really be compared very generally (bits, flops) or in the very specific (number of on-screen sprites, MIDI instruments, etc.) The PS4 and Xbox One, however, are very similar consoles. With an x86 AMD APU at the heart of each, the Sony and Microsoft consoles are essentially PCs — and their hardware specs, and thus relative performance, can be compared in the same way that you would compare two x86 laptops or ARM Android tablets.

PS4 innards

Thursday, 31 October 2013

Facebook Collects Data on cursor movement

The social network is reportedly experimenting with new technology that tracks and collects data about a user's activity on the site, including cursor movements, according to the Wall Street Journal. The technology is being tested now with a small group of users.
Facebook-cursor-imageThe data could be used in a number of different ways, from product development to advertising, Facebook analytics chief Ken Rudin told the Journal.
The technology can supposedly determine where a user is hovering his or her cursor on the screen, meaning it could be used to determine the most appropriate places for advertisements. The technology also tracks whether Facebook's mobile users can see their News Feed at any particular time from their smartphone.

Facebook will reportedly decide "within months" whether or not to continue this data collection and analysis. It could be relevant for targeted advertising where Facebook has already seenquarter-over-quarter growth in 2013.
Facebook is set to reports the company's quarterly earnings Wednesday afternoon.
UPDATE, Oct. 30, 8:55 p.m. ET: Facebook responded to our request for comment with the following statement:
"Like most websites, we run numerous tests at any given time to ensure that we're creating the best experience possible for people on Facebook. These experiments look at aggregate trends of how people interact with the site to inform future product decisions. We do not share this information with anyone outside of Facebook and we are not using this information to target ads."

Image: Rodrigo Buendia/AFP/GettyImages


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