YouTube to lift Trump ban if violence risk decreases: CEO
Media|Americas|: San Francisco: Google-owned YouTube will lift the ban on former US President Donald Trump once it realises that the risk of violence has decreased. In an interview with think tank Atlantic Council, YouTube CEO Susan Wojcicki said that Trump's channel "remains suspended due to the risk of incitement to violence". "However, I do want to confirm that we will lift the suspension of the channel. We will lift the suspension of the Donald Trump channel when we determine that the risk of violence has decreased," she said in the interview on Thursday. "That's per our policies, that's how our three strikes system works. But when the channel is reinstated, it will be subject to the same policies that every other channel follows," she added. YouTube in January suspended Trump's channel with 2.79 million subscribers in the aftermath of the violence at the US Capitol by some Trump supporters. "After careful review, and in light of concerns about the ongoing potential for violence, we removed new content uploaded to the Donald J. Trump channel and issued a strike for violating our policies for inciting violence," YouTube had said. Wojcicki said that Trump could be given a second or third strike if he uploads more content that incites violence or violates YouTube policies. After three strikes with a 90-day period, a YouTube channel is removed. Trump has also been suspended from Twitter and Facebook.0
There can't be any slackness on the cyber security agenda
Analysis|Technology|: All industries are undergoing digital transformation - and technologies such as cloud computing, Big Data, 5G, IoT and AI are being applied extensively. Business ecosystems are more open; service rollout faster; and solutions more diversified and made available globally. These innovations bring convenience, opportunities and benefits. However, they also create new challenges to cyber security and privacy protection. Cybersecurity is a challenge that we all share. Stakeholders across different markets will not be able to fight cybercrime alone. Users, integrators, manufacturers, consultants, distributors, researchers and other players are part of the security cycle that require unified standards, independent verification, and a whole-of-society approach. In 2020, many of us were not only fighting the COVID-19 pandemic, but also the impact it had on how businesses operate during such a trying time. The emergence of the pandemic quickly demonstrated the lack of digital strategies in global supply chains. It forced companies to introduce business continuity measures that they were not prepared for. With employees working remotely and processes being digitized, the cracks in their security processes began to erupt. Since then, there has been a renewed focus on cybersecurity. With recent remote working initiatives rolled out extensively across the public and private sectors, the need for proper security measures and deliverables have amplified. Read More Right time for Gulf's telecom companies to be thinking out-of-the-box Gulf's wealth managers need to get better at understanding their women clientele Cyber at its core To build a digital oasis of trust, an all-industry, full-society approach to collaboration is essential to enhancing systematic cybersecurity governance for everyone. The UAE Government is a key stakeholder in reaching a trusted digital ecosystem. Last year, the Cabinet proactively agreed to establish the UAE Cybersecurity Council with the aim of developing a comprehensive cybersecurity strategy and creating a safe and strong cyber infrastructure. It also launched the Dubai Cyber Index, the first of its kind in the world, to drive the emirate’s digital transformation. This new initiative plays a role in enhancing the cybersecurity measures in place to safeguard government entities in the emirate. At a business level, the UAE has a National Cybersecurity strategy in place that aims to create a safe and strong cyber infrastructure that enables citizens to fulfill their aspirations and empowers businesses to thrive. The new strategy has a positive impact on all segments of society by enhancing citizens confidence to securely participate in the digital world, encouraging innovation in cybersecurity, fostering a culture of entrepreneurship in cybersecurity, enabling SMEs to safeguard themselves against cyber-attacks, protecting critical information infrastructure assets, and building a world-class cybersecurity workforce. Constant refresh With access to such resources and to keep up with digitization, businesses need to refresh their cybersecurity polices and plans, as well as invest in their talent and leadership team to include cybersecurity experts to keep up with the ever-changing dynamics of ICT. With this in mind, it is equally important to address the shortage of cybersecurity professionals around the world. The cybersecurity skills crisis continues to worsen for the fourth year in a row and has impacted 70 per cent of organizations, as revealed by the Information Systems Security Association (ISSA) and Enterprise Strategy Group (ESG). Get more of the skilled As we continue to progress towards a digital ecosystem, we must be prepared to challenge the risks associated with the ICT sector by having the necessary skills and education in place. We firmly believe in the importance of all stakeholders from the public and private sectors working together to solidify the ICT ecosystem, including talent development. We work with partners – from local governments to educational organizations - to create a lasting impact and leverage innovation and collaboration to address global challenges surrounding cybersecurity. If the global ICT industry is unable to solve or confront the threats of cybersecurity, the digital world will inevitably collapse. Cybersecurity and privacy protection are the foundation of our shared future. They present challenges that governments, carriers, network equipment providers, and a wide range of third-parties need to work together to address and overcome these challenges. Together we can take the necessary steps to build the UAE into a trusted digital oasis in the Middle East and for the world. Jiawei Liu, CEO of Huawei UAE Image Credit: Supplied - Jiawei Liu is CEO of Huawei UAE
Honda launches Legend, its advanced self-driving cars, in Japan
Technology|: TOKYO: Honda launched the world's most advanced self-driving car licensed for the road on Friday, releasing an initial batch of 100 models in Japan. The Legend is capable of adaptive driving in lanes, as well as passing and switching lanes under certain circumstances. The car also features an emergency stop function in case a driver is unresponsive to handover warnings, and Honda touts extensive safety testing. "Approximately 10 million patterns of possible real-world situations were simulated during system development, and real-world demonstration tests were conducted on expressways for a total of approximately 1.3 million kilometres (800,000 miles)," it said in a statement. Experts said the limited rollout would help determine whether there is sufficient demand for more autonomous vehicles. Vehicle autonomy is classified along a 0-5 scale, with 5 indicating essentially total autonomy. The Legend is Level 3. Several automakers have already manufactured vehicles capable of Level 3 autonomy, but few countries have legal frameworks permitting their sale and use. Honda's Legend release comes after the carmaker won approval for sales in Japan last November. The government had already amended the law to allow for such vehicles, believing self-driving cars will be key in a country with a rapidly ageing population in need of safe transportation solutions. Automakers and tech firms are locked in a fierce battle for the lead in self-driving technology, with electric carmaker Tesla among the challengers. For now, analysts say automakers are still a long way from a true Level 4 system, in which a car is considered to no longer have a driver, just passengers. Level 5 vehicles would theoretically have no steering wheel or other driver controls and would be capable of handling all terrain types and weather without driver assistance. Honda's limited release of the Legend will be available only for lease sales. The partially self-driving sedan is priced at 11 million yen ($102,000).
WhatsApp adds voice and video calling feature to desktop version
Technology|: Facebook Inc's WhatsApp has introduced a voice and video calling feature on its desktop version, the company said on Thursday. The company said users will be able to use desktop screens for calls in both portrait and landscape mode, and the calls will be end-to-end encrypted. The move to facilitate calls over large screens would put WhatsApp on par with video-conferencing bigwigs Zoom and Google Meet, but it is not clear if it has ambitions to compete with the two in the enterprise space. WhatsApp, which recorded 1.4 billion voice and video calls on last New Year's Eve, has benefited from the COVID-19 pandemic as people around the world used video-calling apps to stay connected while sheltering themselves at home.
iPhone 13 Pro to get ultra wide sensor-shift image stabilisation
San Francisco: Apple is reportedly planning to launch its iPhone 13 lineup and now a new report has claimed that the top variants iPhone 13 Pro, as well as Pro Max, will feature an improved ultra-wide lens with the addition of sensor-shift image stabilisation and autofocus features. According to DigiTimes, Apple will include sensor-shift OIS for both the Wide and Ultra Wide lens on the iPhone 13 Pro and iPhone 13 Pro Max. The new lenses will also include autofocus. An earlier report had suggested that Apple will also bring the Wide lens with sensor-shift OIS to the remaining models in the lineup. Earlier, Apple analyst Ming-Chi Kuo claimed that the Ultra Wide lens for the iPhone 13 Pro models will also benefit from a wider f/1.8 aperture, compared to f/2.4 on iPhone 12 Pro models. In addition, the upcoming iPhone 13 series will use Qualcomm's Snapdragon X60 5G modem. According to DigiTimes, Qualcomm will continue to fabricate its next-generation 5G mobile chip, tentatively dubbed Snapdragon 895, at Samsung Electronics built using an upgraded 5nm process, but may switch to TSMC in 2022 using its 4nm process. The iPhone 13 lineup may mirror the iPhone 12 family of phones, with a 5.4-inch iPhone 13 Mini, 6.1-inch iPhone 13, 6.1-inch iPhone 13 Pro and 6.7-inch iPhone 13 Pro Max. According to Barclays analysts, the iPhone 13/Pro models may feature Wi-Fi 6E. The Wi-Fi 6E provides Wi-Fi 6 features and capabilities, including higher performance, lower latency, and faster data rates.
Nintendo plans switch model with bigger Samsung OLED display
Gaming|: Nintendo plans to unveil a model of its Switch gaming console equipped with a bigger Samsung OLED display this year, hoping the larger touchscreen can prop up demand in time for the holidays, people familiar with the plan said. Samsung Display will start mass production of 7-inch, 720p-resolution OLED panels as early as June with an initial monthly target of just under a million units, said the people, who asked not to be identified discussing internal matters. The displays are slated for shipment to assemblers around July, the people said. Representatives for Nintendo and Samsung Display declined to comment. Nintendo seeks to sustain a Switch lineup that continues to sell well against the Xbox and PlayStation, thanks to pandemic-era breakout hits like Animal Crossing and a chip crunch that's plagued supply of rival devices. But the gadget is now into its fifth year, while Microsoft Corp. and Sony Corp. both have new and more powerful machines in the market. The gaming community has speculated online about the introduction of an OLED or organic light-emitting diode screen, but Nintendo has stayed mum and President Shuntaro Furukawa said in February his company has no plans to announce a new Switch "anytime soon." Samsung's involvement is the strongest indication that Nintendo is serious about updating the console, and on a large scale. Shares of the Kyoto-based games maker fell 3.6% in Tokyo on Thursday amid a wider market selloff. "The release of a more premium version of Nintendo's Switch console with an OLED display and support for 4K graphics for the holiday 2021 selling season could drive the company's sales above consensus for the fiscal year ending March 2022 and extend the life cycle of the Switch platform for many more years," said Bloomberg analysts Matthew Kanterman and Nathan Naidu. In February, Nintendo raised its annual forecasts after the Switch helped the company to its best quarterly earnings since 2008. The games maker hopes to sustain that run in 2021 despite stiffening competition and an ebbing pandemic. "The OLED panel will consume less battery, offer higher contrast and possibly faster response time when compared to the Switch's current liquid-crystal display," said Yoshio Tamura, co-founder of display consultancy DSCC. Nintendo decided to go with rigid OLED panels for the new model, the people said, a cheaper but less flexible alternative to the type commonly used for high-end smartphones. The latest model will also come with 4K ultra-high definition graphics when paired with TVs, they said. That could intensify a longstanding complaint of developers, who have struggled with the difference in resolution between handheld and TV modes and now face a bigger gap between the two. The deal benefits Samsung Display because market prices for so-called rigid OLED panels have been falling due to excess supply. Winning a customer like Nintendo also helps the Korean giant - an affiliate of Samsung Electronics Co. - firm up production plans. Nintendo in turn secures a valuable partner and supplier at a time semiconductor shortages are squeezing the supply of display-related components. The new display's resolution mirrors the current Switch and Switch Lite but is an upgrade from the Switch's 6.2-inch and Lite's 5.5-inch size. If the console's housing remains unchanged, the new Switch is likely to sport a thinner bezel.
World's first 'space hotel' to open in 2027
Technology|Offbeat|: San Francisco: If you are a space enthusiast, there is more exciting news as a US-based space construction company, Orbital Assembly Corporation (OAC), is planning to make the world's first "space hotel" operational within this decade. Construction of this space structure designed to accommodate about 400 people is scheduled to begin in 2025, according to the company as it revealed new details about the project. When completed, amenities available in the space hotel could range from themed restaurants, viewing lounges, movie theatres and concert venues to bars, libraries, gyms, and a health spa, Space.com reported last week. Called the Voyager Station, it is projected to operate with artificial gravity. The company is now inviting private investors to buy a stake in the company at $0.25 per share, said the report. Image Credit: Twitter/Orbital Assembly Corporation "Around 44 Starship launches will be required to send all the Voyager Station pieces in orbit, where they will then be assembled by pods and drones operated by the work crews staying in the Operation and Control Center located in the Inner Ring," OAC said in a tweet. "Voyager Station will be in a high sun synchronous polar orbit, between 500 and 550km, there it will offer tourists and other station occupants a view of the entire surface of Earth," it added. Voyager will have 24 habitation modules, each 20 metres long and 12 metres wide. The company plans to make this "space hotel" in low Earth orbit operational by 2027. It will be a rotating space station designed to produce varying levels of artificial gravity by increasing or decreasing the rate of rotation, the company says on its website, adding that artificial, or simulated, gravity is essential to long term habitation in space. The station has been designed from the start to accommodate business, manufacturing, national space agencies conducting low gravity research, and space tourists who want to experience life on a large space station with the comfort of low gravity and the feel of a luxury hotel, it added.
Amazon's first cashierless store arrives in Britain
Retail|Companies|: Amazon.com Inc will open its first-ever physical store outside the United States on Thursday. The world’s largest online retailer said the cashierless store, dubbed “Amazon Fresh,” is located in Britain, in the London Borough of Ealing. It will carry a private UK food brand it’s calling “by Amazon” and will let consumers skip the checkout line when they shop. The opening is a sign of the Seattle-based company’s ambition to sell food globally and its belief that physical stores are a key way to capture consumers’ high spend on groceries, a category it has yet to dominate. It so far has worked toward that goal in the United States by acquiring the Whole Foods Market chain in 2017 and testing shoppers’ interests with an array of other formats: about two dozen cashierless convenience stores called Amazon Go, two Seattle-area Amazon Go Grocery stores that are about four times the size, and 10 Amazon Fresh supermarkets in California and Illinois. As in the Go stores, customers will scan a smartphone app to open the UK store’s entry gates. Ceiling cameras and shelf weight censors determine what shoppers add to their carts or put back, and their on-file credit cards are billed after they exit. The location, much smaller than a supermarket, will sell prepared meals, some groceries, and Amazon devices, as well as offer a counter for picking up and returning online orders.
Pre-booking for Elon Musk's Starlink Internet opens in India
Media|India|: New Delhi: Pre-booking for Elon Musk-owned SpaceX's Starlink Internet Service has opened for several places around the world, including certain areas in India. Starlink has revealed that it is targeting coverage in several areas in India by 2022. Pre-booking for these areas have started for a refundable amount of $99. "Availability is limited. Orders will be fulfilled on a first-come, first-served basis," Starlink said on its website. The areas in India for which pre-booking is available include India Colony Rd, Bapunagar, Ahmedabad, Gujarat; and Indian Coffee House Road, Indore, Madhya Pradesh, among others. Musk had said last month that internet speed of its Starlink satellite-based internet service, which aims to provide cheaper web for millions in remote areas across the world, will double to 300 Mbps this year. The company currently promises speeds between 50 and 150 Mbps for the Starlink project that plans to deliver high-speed internet through a network of about 12,000 satellites. It has already put over 1,000 of its Starlink satellites in orbit. Musk had earlier said that Starlink will list publicly after the cash flow of the service becomes "reasonably well". Starlink says that the service is ideally suited for areas of the globe where connectivity has typically been a challenge. Amazon's Project Kuiper has similar goal as it aims to deliver fast, affordable broadband through a constellation of over 3,000 low Earth orbit satellites. SpaceX reportedly urged the Indian government last November to facilitate approvals for satellite technology use to further Internet access in remote areas of the country.
Microsoft Teams to get end to end encryption, Reporter mode
Media|: San Francisco: To address customers' security and compliance requirements, Microsoft Teams will soon support end-to-end encryption for one-to-one Microsoft Teams calls, providing an additional option for conducting sensitive online conversations, the company announced on Tuesday. IT admins will have full discretion over who can use the end-to-end encrypted calls in the organisation. Currently, Microsoft Teams does not support end-to-end encryption for meetings. The feature will be available to commercial customers in preview in the first half of this year, the company said during its 'Ignite 2021' virtual event. The new Presenter mode empowers presenters to customise how their video feed and content appear to the audience. "Our first mode, Standout, shows the speaker's video feed in front of the shared content. Next, Reporter will show content as a visual aid above the speaker's shoulder, just like during a news segment," the company said. "Third, Side-by-side will show the presenter's video feed alongside their content as they present. Presenter mode will be available soon," Microsoft said. Microsoft also introduced several other features that will make it easier to collaborate across organisations and event sizes. "Now with Teams, you can easily organise and conduct interactive webinars for people inside and outside of your organization with up to 1,000 attendees," said Jared Spataro, Corporate Vice President for Microsoft 365. If your webinar grows to over 1,000 attendees, Teams will seamlessly scale to accommodate a 10,000-person view-only broadcast experience. "Plus, during this time of increased remote work, take advantage of even larger 20,000-person broadcasts through the end of this year," Spataro added. Presenters often share their desktops in virtual meetings, creating an inconsistent presentation experience and limiting the ability of the audience to interact. To address this, the company announced PowerPoint Live in Microsoft Teams, which will enable presenters to deliver more impactful and engaging presentations. Presenters will now be able to lead meetings more confidently with notes, slides, meeting chat, and participants all in a single view. The tech giant also brought new gallery views to Microsoft Teams Rooms, including Together Mode and large gallery, to make it easier to see everyone in the meeting.
Twitter tests audio chat tool Spaces on Android in India
Media|India|: New Delhi: After first testing its audio chat feature Spaces with a small group of people on iOS, Twitter on Tuesday said it is now expanding the test to Android users in India, to give them a chance to join, listen, and speak in live, host-moderated audio conversations. Currently, the feature is available as an early preview for a select few Android users who are part of the app's Beta programme in the country. In the feature, users can create a 'Space' that their followers can join to participate in a conversation. Anyone on Twitter can listen in on the conversation, though only the host can control who gets to speak. Twitter said it is working to give everyone the ability to create and host Spaces on both Android and iOS soon. The move comes at a time when invite-only, audio-chat app Clubhouse is fast gaining popularity among the social media users. Twitter first started testing the new way to bring the conversation to life with Spaces in December 2020. The human voice can convey nuance, emotion and meaning often lost in the text. It can add a layer of empathy that humanises public conversation. Spoken-word, therefore, feels like a natural extension to the existing text-based formats on Twitter. While voice Tweets opened the door for expression using audio on Twitter, voice messages in Direct Messages (DMs) experiment give people another way to express themselves in private conversations. Now, Twitter is testing Spaces.
Now swap user profiles in Google Chrome with ease
Media|: New Delhi: Google has announced to maker it easier for users to swap between profiles in Chrome, to help them separate work from personal activities for each member of the household. Chrome is revamping its profiles experience, making it even easier to create, customise or switch to your personal space within the platform. "You can easily give everyone with whom you share a computer a space that's just for them, including a colour scheme and background, bookmarks organised just the way they want them, and their saved passwords," Google said in a statement on Tuesday. Using different colours for different profiles makes it easy to distinguish them at a glance. For the articles you want to read later, you can now add them to your reading list in Chrome on Android and desktop. You can also access your Chrome profile on your other devices. Just turn on sync and get that theme you've selected, along with anything else you've saved such as your new reading list, favourite bookmarks and saved passwords across your devices. Currently, you can swap between Google accounts and keep personalised extensions, apps, history, themes, and bookmarks for different users on shared computers.
New NASA Mars rover has same chip as 1998 Apple iMac
Technology|Americas|: New Delhi: If you think that NASA's $2.7 billion Mars Perseverance rover is carrying some state-of-the-art chip to sustain the rough atmosphere and send the data back home from the Red Planet, you are wrong as the most advanced rover runs on a chip used in the 1998 Apple iMacs. This is because an advanced chip is actually a detriment to the unique operating conditions of Mars, reports New Scientist. Mars' atmosphere offers far less protection from harmful radiation and charged particles than Earth's atmosphere. "A bad burst of radiation can badly wreck the sensitive electronics of a modern processor," according to the report. Perseverance has two computing modules, and one is a backup in case something goes wrong. The rover houses a PowerPC 750 single-core, 233MHz processor with just 10.4 million transistors that powered the original Mac launched in 1998. Even affordable smartphones today have more than 1,000 times as many transistors. Late Steve Jobs had reduced Apple's large product lines immediately upon becoming its interim CEO in 1997. The company announced the iMac on May 6, 1998 and began shipping the iMac G3 on August 15 in the same year. It's the same processor that NASA also uses in its Curiosity rover. The 200MHz clock speed in the chip is 10 times faster than the older rovers, and with 2GB of flash memory, it offers eight times the storage, reports The Verge. Perseverance also has 256MB of RAM. Last month, NASA had successfully landed the Perseverance rover in a deep crater near Mars' equator called Jezero. The six-wheeled vehicle will now spend at least the next two years drilling into the local rocks, looking for evidence of past life. Jezero is thought to have held a giant lake billions of years ago. And where there's been water, there's the possibility there might also have been life.
Zoom down for more than a thousand users - Downdetector
Technology|: Zoom Video Communications Inc's video-conferencing platform was down for more than a thousand users on Wednesday, according to outage tracking website Downtector.com. Downdetector showed there were nearly 2,000 incidents of people reporting issues with Zoom at its peak, at 9am ET (6pm UAE time). Zoom has seen a meteoric rise in users thanks to remote work and online learning against the backdrop of stay-at-home orders. Telecom operator Verizon Communication Inc's services were also down for nearly 5,400 users at its peak, at 10am ET (7pm UAE time), according to Downdetector. Verizon did not immediately respond to a request for comment. Downdetector tracks outages by collating status reports from a series of sources, including user-submitted errors on its platform. The outages might be affecting a larger number of users.
Middle East's music streaming portal Anghami to list on Nasdaq New York in June
Markets|Technology|: Dubai: Abu Dhabi headquartered music streaming platform Anghami is to hit the charts on Nasdaq – making it the first tech company of Middle East origin to list on the New York exchange. The listing is in all likelihood happening in June and provide further impetus to a super-charged tech scene in the Middle East, with private equity and venture capital funds actively scouting around for the next big thing. The Anghami listing will be done via a process – SPAC (Special Purpose Acquisition Company) – that’s been trending in recent months when it comes to public listings. It will see Anghami, which launched as a startup in Lebanon, merge with Vistas Media Acquisition Company Inc., which is a publicly traded SPAC. Anghami - founded in 2012 by Eddy Maroun and Elie Habib - expects to have approximately $142 million of cash on its balance-sheet at closing and to be used primarily to fuel additional growth. Read More Coronavirus: How music streaming services entertain those in isolation Arabic music streaming platform Anghami picks Abu Dhabi for global headquarters The deal with Vistas values Anghami at around $220 million, or 2.5 times 2022 estimated revenues. Once that merger processes are done, the entity will head into the actual listing. (Going to market using a SPAC comes as an alternative to initial public offerings. With SPAC, the listing entity would have already drawn in funding commitments from investors, mostly institutions.) With the global success of Spotify as well as the presence of Apple, subscription-based music streaming services have had some spectacular growth rates in the last two to three years. More so, in the last year when people found their schedules and life upended by COVID-19. According to Maroun, “Today, we have taken a significant step forward in our growth plans in seeking to become the region’s first Arab technology company to list on NASDAQ. Being a US listed public company gives us access to growth capital and a global platform that is the best in the world.” After the deal Once the deal with Vistas is effected, Anghami co-founder and CEO Eddy Maroun will continue to manage it. Co-founder and Chairman Elie Habib will remain as CTO. F. Jacob Cherian, CEO of Vistas Media Acquisition Company Inc. is expected to join the Company as Co-CEO for a period of one year. Win for Shuaa It will also mark a milestone for Dubai-based Shuaa Capital, the asset management company that invested in Anghami early January. “We picked a minority stake then, by turning a convertible bond into equity,” said Jasim Alseddiqi, CEO of Shuaa. “What all of this proves is that the Middle East’s technology scene is a global one. “Anghami on Nasdaq New York is a great first step, and sets a precedent for future companies from the Middle East that this is the avenue they can go on to.” Alseddiqi did not say what Shuaa’s stake will be post the listing. Shuaa and Vistas have so far gathered commitments of $40 million in PIPE (Private Investment in Public Equity) financing. (Along with SPAC, PIPE too is gaining in popularity in investment circles. It essentially involves selling of publicly traded common shares to private investors.) Why NY? Given its Middle East lineage, couldn’t Anghami and Shuaa have sought a listing within the region? Why New York, in particular? “We did not go to New York - we were approached by a SPAC out of Nasdaq that wanted to engage with Anghami,” said Alseddiqi. “Yes, Anghama is very much a regional player – but the global market of Nasdaq understands the dynamics of tech and music streaming.” One big library Anghami currently has more than 57 million songs, with more than 70 million registered users and around 1 billion streams per month. (Spotify has 155 million premium subscribers.) Rabih Khoury, Managing Partner of Middle East Venture Partners (MEVP), said: “As the largest institutional investor in Anghami, we are delighted that one more of our top portfolio companies will list on NASDAQ. We partnered with Eddy and Elie from the outset in 2012 and continuously supported Anghami starting with its seed round and all its subsequent funding rounds."
How Apple makes sure your hearing is not impacted
Technology|: New Delhi: As the Indian market gets flooded with all kinds of wearables and wireless earphones/headphones, monitoring your daily audio exposure is critical as long exposure to sound can impact hearing abilities in the long term. On the World Hearing Day that fell on Wednesday, your iPhone, iPod touch, or Apple Watch can measure your headphone audio levels so you can monitor your audio exposure over the past hour, day, week, month or year in the Health app. The Noise app on Apple Watch also measures ambient sound levels in your environment to identify when the decibel level could negatively impact your hearing. If sounds are too loud, Apple Watch users can receive alerts with a tap on the wrist. All your information is stored in the Health app for easy access to your data. "Whether you're listening to music, watching a movie, or talking to a loved one, Headphone Accommodations help you customise your audio experience to make the world sound crisp and clear," according to Apple. Amplify soft sounds and adjust certain sound frequencies based on your individual hearing needs. If you already have your own audiogram, you can add it to your settings. If not, you'll walk through a series of listening tests that allow you to set up as many as nine unique profiles based on your personal sound preferences. Sound Recognition feature listens for certain sounds and uses on-device intelligence to notify you when a specific sound is detected. "Whether you're using your iPhone or iPad, you'll receive a notification when a particular type of sound or alert, such as a fire alarm or doorbell, is detected," according to the company. Stereo recordings usually have distinct left- and right-channel audio tracks. "Mono Audio can help streamline the differences by playing both audio channels in both ears. You can adjust the balance for greater volume in either ear, so you won't miss a single note of a concerto or word of an audiobook," reads the information on the company's Accessibility page.
Zoom founder is $2 billion richer
Technology|Business|: Zoom Video Communications Inc.'s upbeat revenue forecast sent shares of the company surging. For its founder, that translates into a $2 billion (Dh7.36 billion) wealth bump. Eric Yuan, who owns almost one-fifth of the video-conferencing company, is now worth about $22 billion, according to the Bloomberg Billionaires Index. The stock jumped as much as 12 per cent late in the US on Monday as Zoom said revenue could climb 43 per cent in fiscal 2022, more than the 37 per cent analysts tracked by Bloomberg estimated on average. Shares climbed 7.8 per cent to $441.56 in premarket trading Tuesday. Yuan has been one of the biggest winners in the fallout of the coronavirus crisis that forced people to stay home and find new ways to work, shop, learn and entertain themselves. But with multiple vaccines rolling out, questions have been growing about whether companies that did well during the pandemic would continue their meteoric growth. Zoom shares jumped almost 400 per cent last year, making Yuan one of the biggest gainers on the Bloomberg wealth index, and they're up more than 20 per cent in 2021. "We believe we are well positioned for strong growth with our innovative video-communications platform, on which our customers can build, run, and grow their businesses; our globally recognised brand; and a team ever focused on delivering happiness to our customers," Yuan said in the earnings statement. The San Jose, California-based company expects sales of as much as $3.78 billion in fiscal 2022, with profit excluding some items potentially reaching $3.65 per share. Revenue more than tripled to $882.5 million in the fourth quarter and earnings excluding some items climbed to $1.22 cents a share, beating the average analyst projection.
Twitter cracks down on COVID vaccine misinformation
Media|World|: San Francisco: Twitter says it has begun labeling tweets that include misleading information about COVID-19 vaccines and using a "strike system" to eventually remove accounts that repeatedly violate its rules. The company said Monday that it has started using human reviewers to assess whether tweets violate its policy against COVID vaccine misinformation. Eventually, the work will be done by a combination of humans and automation, it said. Twitter had already banned some COVID-related misinformation in December, including falsehoods about how the virus spreads, whether masks are effective and the risk of infection and death. "Through the use of the strike system, we hope to educate people on why certain content breaks our rules so they have the opportunity to further consider their behavior and their impact on the public conversation," Twitter said in a blog post Monday. People with one violation - or strike - will see no action. Two strikes will lead to an account being locked for 12 hours. Five or more will get a user permanently banned from Twitter. Facebook has also stepped up its vaccine misinformation fight after years of half-hearted enforcement. It announced an expanded policy last month that includes all vaccines - not just those against COVID-19. San Francisco-based Twitter did not immediately respond to a message seeking comment on whether it also plans to include broader anti-vax misinformation in its policies.
Google, Facebook must pay for news: Here's why
Dubai: Journalists are being made redundant everyday, everywhere. An avalanche of layoffs have become part of the monthly rhythm in news organisations. Its members have only the foggiest idea about what hit them. There’s a flip side to this story: the media are seeing a growing audience, almost everywhere. 2020 was the banner year for news. There’s a whole world of evidence for this, as shown from data analytics tools. People on a massive scale seek out out credible, fact-checked information, especially about the coronavirus. In general, community media are witnessing the biggest online traffic spike. Despite the rising relevance of news, a lion’s share of ad money goes to Facebook and Google. Here’s the long and short of why these the two media giants must pay for news: Q: What is Facebook? It's one of the most popular social media platforms on the planet. Q: What is Google? It's the most popular search engine and news aggregator on the planet. Q: How do they make money? By keeping you hooked to them. They make money via advertising. On this, there’s a well known metric in digital ad industry: revenue per 1,000 page views (aka RPM). That means when you view a page 1,000 times, you’re bound to click on an at least one, or several, ads. They charge for it, not you, but advertisers. Image Credit: Seyyed dela Llata / Gulf News Q: But where do the ads go? To follow the money, you must follow the news. And the news today are on Facebook and Google. These two social media giants together form what is generally called “Big Tech” with a combined market capitalisation of nearly $3 trillion. If they’re a country, they’re much bigger than Russia, which has a GDP of $1.7 trillion or Australia, with a $1.4 trillion GDP in 2019. Q: What do Google and Facebook have to do with news? News is everything to both. Especially news with credibility, from legit news organisations. News have become a key part of the offering to billions using Google and Facebook. Q: What’s the problem with news on Google and Facebook? Nothing, on the face of it, except that we all consume news. But dig deeper and you’ll see: where there’s consumption, there’s money. In reality, there’s a whole lot of trouble that news organisations go through to put content together, while Google and Facebook get all the ad revenues. It’s that simple. Q: How did ‘Big Tech’ become so rich? Again, follow the news. People are consuming news and information — now more than ever. And they’re available on Facebook and Google, now more than ever. News are not created by the two giants themselves; instead they’re kicked up in search results on Google, or part of the “News Feed” on Facebook. Q: How does it work? Here’s an exercise. Search Google using simple search words such as “Ramadan”, “UAE”, “India vaccine”, “Philippines”. We’ve done it for you. Image Credit: Google / Gulf News Q: What part of the content kicked up by search results were created by Google? Answer: Zero. Except the ads. Image Credit: Google / Gulf News Image Credit: Google / Gulf News Image Credit: Gulf News Q: What part of the results were generated by the news media? Answer: 100% Q: When did news become part of Facebook? There was News Feed when Facebook started in 2004. Users just go from profile to profile to check up on friends. ■ In 2006, Facebook launched News Feed. This was providential: It retrained users to just go to the Facebook home page, from where everything would simply land on your lap. After news, brands soon followed, scampering to build an audience through Facebook’s content stream. Then as Facebook users shifted from desktops to Android and iOS, it won the mobile sweepstakes. Mobile phones with tiny screens, low-quality app, poor connections, slow-loading sites, were clunky but people seized upon Facebook’s single app which had content from everywhere. The result: people kept scrolling, instead of bouncing around from page to page. This is addictive. ■ In 2011, when Twitter became more popular, Facebook launched a counter-attack, with its Subscribe feature, in which news links gained more visibility in the feed. ■ In 2014, “Facebook the big news machine” was in full swing with Trending. Hashtags and news outlets poured resources into growing their Pages. With algorithm-driven News Feed, it oriented users into waiting for the big world-changing headlines to come to them — rather than jumping from the home pages of various publishers. Ads follow where eyeballs go, thereby prompting advertisers to move their ad spend from the publisher sites to Facebook. ■ In 2015, Facebook realised users hated waiting for slow mobile websites to load, so it launched Instant Articles. Q: What’s the problem with us being addicted to Google and Facebook? Addicts don’t usually know it or acknowledge the condition. Facebook and Google now have the power to decide what types of content, what topics, and what sources are important. Though Facebook touts itself as “neutral" tech platform, what it serves up to you in News Feed in effect gives it editorial judgement — thus playing the role of media company. That editorial or value judgement is driven not by a human being, but by an algorithm. It is this addiction, driven by profit motive (what is the post popular news or post) that keeps the feed alive. Would you like a single cyborg editor, whose only guide is algorithmic motive of pumping up ad revenuews, determine your news consumption? It’s a dire situation, but that, in effect is what’s happening. And we pretend not to know or are unaffected. Ah but such pontifications don't mean anything if they don't translate into dollars. Q: Outside Facebook, was are the other major sources of traffic for publishers? Publishers have few major sources of traffic outside of Facebook and Google Search. Q: What’s the way out for people who want a more direct relationship with news? They should go to the publisher's site, like gulfnews.com, or get on Feedly or RSS reader — or add a few favourite sites to their browser’s bookmark bar. But that’s clunky, only techies could do. Q: What’s Facebook’s overall plan? To create value for users, which is great. To do that, Facebook has endeavoured and managed to centralise attention typically spread across the web. It’s trying to do the same with Watch (YouTube), Marketplace (Craigslist and eBay/Amazon) and many other features. It’s a smart plan. But here’s the problem: the demonetisation and eventual defunding of some news publishers means content creators do all the work, and Facebook (and Google) get all the money. Q: What are Instant Articles (IA)? Why is it a ruse? Instant Articles is touted as Facebook’s publisher-friendly news platform launched in May 2015. By design, it scraped off heavy code from news websites that makes loading sluggish. Facebook extolled the initiative as a “commitment” to helping publishers “monetise” journalism via its platform. Facebook spent inordinate amount of PR to court publishers. So far so good. By 2017, top publishers went out with Instant Articles. Q: How does Instant Article work? IA is touted as tool for collaborating with news and content publishers. On the face of it, publishers can choose to use which articles they post. Initially, most of the publishers willingly offered up their most cherished content on IA, in the hope of taking a piece of the action. To become part of the Instant Articles ecosystem, publishers must allocate resources (people, salaries, time) to host their articles on Facebook’s servers. The posts then became “native” to Facebook. With the now-native content, loading is promised to happen at lightning-speed, especially on mobile phones, via Facebook’s app. The publishers were promised rewards — wider reach, more eyeballs and revenue— as mobile content now loads at super-fast speeds. Many of the largest reputable outlets fell out of IA completely. Q: What does Facebook say about Instant Articles? An undated blog on “Facebook for Media” section states: “As always, our goal with ads in Instant Articles is to maintain the best reading experience for people, while driving revenue for publishers and performance for advertisers.” Q: Better and faster news? The Facebook blog states: “We know that Instant Articles provide a better, faster reading experience for people on Facebook, which we've seen drive a significant boost of traffic for publishers. In aggregate, Instant Articles delivers between 20 - 50% more traffic, compared to mobile web content.” “On top of this boost in traffic, we are investing heavily in new features to help publishers build deeper relationships with their audience through call-to-action units and increase ads monetization, with recent enhancements like adding flexibility in ad placements and enabling new types of Facebook ads. Those efforts are paying off. Q: How much does Facebook pay content providers via IA? Facebook’s undated blog states: “Instant Articles now pays out more than $1 million per day to publishers via Facebook Audience Network. In the last 6 months alone, RPM, or revenue per 1,000 page views, that publishers see from Facebook Audience Network in Instant Articles has increased by over 50%.” Q: How many publishers are on Instant Articles platform? Facebook states: “We now have over 10,000 publishers around the world using Instant Articles, growing over 25% in the last six months alone. More than a third of all clicks to articles on Facebook are now to Instant Articles.” “More than a third of all clicks to articles on Facebook are now to Instant Articles.” Facebook blog (undated) “While we continue monitoring the impact of ad units in the recirculation section, there are other features publishers should leverage to generate as much value as possible from Instant Articles.” What really happened with IA? There was so much excitement when IA was launched: It allows publishers to inject ads with Instant Articles. When IA was launched in 2015, 72 published joined as “original partners” in the US, according to a Columbia Journalism Review report. It took some time before news organisations started to comprehend a slow-release shock. Then came the realisation: It was a ruse, a way to cement Facebook’s privileged standing now as the to-go platform for news and information, and everything in between. Through IA, the social media giant roped in top publishers to its algorithmic-driven ecosystem. Facebook benefited from free, decent content people loved and helped the platform grab even more eyeballs — and ad revenues — away from the content publishers. The CJR reported that by January 17, 2018, 38 publications completely stopped posting on Instant Articles — even as Facebook has continued to tout it as a “success” among its journalism efforts. How much money did publishers get from IA? An undated Facebook blog entitled “Expanding Monetization Opportunities on Instant Articles, states: “Instant Articles now pays out more than $1 million per day to publishers via Facebook Audience Network.” It added: “In the last 6 months alone, RPM, or revenue per 1,000 page views, that publishers see from Facebook Audience Network in Instant Articles has increased by over 50%”. What is AMP? It stands for Google's Accelerated Mobile Pages (AMP). It’s dubbed as the "next big thing in SEO” (search-engine optimisation). It’s a bit like Facebook’s Instant Articles. AMP is designed to help web publishers create content optimised for mobile phones. It loads instantly on all devices, according to Google. It is aimed to “make content like video, animations and graphics work alongside smart ads, and to load instantaneously," Google wrote in a blog post. "We also want the same code to work across multiple platforms and devices so that content can appear everywhere in an instant — no matter what type of phone, tablet or mobile device you're using.” What is AMP’s role in news? It's everything. AMP is focused on news stories from online publishers. This is an important details. News is the primary content Google search users currently see as AMP pages in mobile search results. However, AMP is also relevant for other types of businesses, such as ecommerce organizations, for which the AMP results carousel and other components are well-suited. What are other countries doing about the overwhelming, or monopoly power of Facebook and Google. Australia: Canberra has introduced a new law forcing the tech giants to pay for news. Europe: Brussels has introduced legislation forcing the tech giants to pay for news. Brazil: Google has agreed to payGoogle has agreed to pay some publishers for content. Germany: Google has agreed to pay some publishers for content. US: The Federal Trade Commission, joined by nearly all of US states, has sued Facebook in December 2020 an anti-trust case, alleging that the company has engaged in monopolistic practices. Also in December 2020, dozens of US states also filed an anti-trust lawsuit against Google, alleging abuse of monopoly power, gouging out both advertisers and consumers. Are the giants paying up? Yes. At least in Australia, Europe and Brazil. How much are we talking about? Millions of dollars. On February 28, 2021, Facebook signed a deal with 3 Australian news publishers, a day after Canberra passed a law that would make the digital giants pay for news. It was not immediately clear how much the deal was worth. Google had earlier set up $82m fund for French publishers. In June 2017, the European Union slapped Google with a €2.4 billion ($2.8 billion; Dh10.35 billion) fine over unfair competition. An EU reform approved in 2018 mandates payment by internet aggregators like Google News to pay new content providers for displaying snippets of their article online. Are other countries set to introduce laws that would make both platforms pay for news? Yes. Indian newspapers have asked Google to pay publishers 85% of ad revenues. Is this a domino effect that would clip the tech giants’ power? It’s too early to say. Let’s just say the trip-of-the-iceberg redundancies among media professionals look grossly unfair, considering the billions of dollars the giants generate off content the emaciated media people work so hard each day to produce.
Etihad to be airline partner for Abu Dhabi's Hub71 and its tech startups
Aviation|Technology|: Dubai: Etihad Airways has signed up to be the official airline partner of Hub71, Abu Dhabi's tech and startup cluster, The airline will offer more than 100 global startups within the hub special rates and access to a dedicated booking platform to simplify their travel needs. “Etihad is looking forward to collaborating with Hub71, a flagship initiative of Ghadan 21, Abu Dhabi’s accelerator programme,” said Mohammad Al Bulooki, Chief Operating Officer of Etihad Aviation Group “The MOU will support the government’s efforts in diversifying the economy by rewarding businesses who choose to develop innovative technologies in Abu Dhabi.” Read More Etihad Airways' passengers to get up-to-date COVID-19 related info with new app Etihad, Gulf Air agree to broaden codeshare deal Possible mentoring Through the partnership, Etihad will engage with Hub71’s startup founders and entrepreneurs to launch “innovation-driven activities.”. The airline will also explore mentorship opportunities, workshops, and community events. “Etihad looks forward to working with Hub71’s global pool of innovators to actively source, support and enable the rapid trial and production of promising solutions for the aviation industry,” said Al Bulooki. Solid expansion Hub71’s tech community expanded from 35 startups to 102 in under two years, and raised Dh185 million ($50.4 million) for startups in 2020. “As the world prepares to open up, global connectivity will be vital for our growing community of startup founders to be in a position to export their innovative products and services to new markets,” said Hanan Al Yafei, CEO of Hub71. “Our strategic partnership with Etihad Airways reflects the value we place in unlocking global opportunities from Abu Dhabi, and together we will help grow technology-driven businesses that can sustain the aviation industry with bold new ideas and innovations.”