Tuesday, January 19, 2016

WhatsApp is now free; will allow businesses to connect with users for revenue

Global instant messaging behemoth WhatsApp on Monday said it will waive its annual subscription fee over the next several weeks as it has not worked well.

“For many years, we have asked some people to pay a fee for using WhatsApp after their first year. As we have grown, we have found that this approach hasn’t worked well,” said WhatsApp in a blog post.

Despite not being able to charge its hundreds of millions of users the annual fee, WhatsApp said it would not subject its users to advertisements.

“Naturally, people might wonder how we plan to keep WhatsApp running without subscription fees and if today’s announcement means we are introducing third-party advertisements. The answer is no,” said the WhatsApp blog post.

Where then will WhatsApp’s revenue come from?

Without clearly defining the revenue model, WhatsApp said it would test tools starting from 2016 which could replace text messages and phone calls mode of communication between people and businesses and organisations.

“We will test tools that allow you to use WhatsApp to communicate with businesses and organisations that you want to hear from.”

Promising zero third-party advertisement and spam, WhatsApp said, “That could mean communicating with your bank about whether a recent transaction was fraudulent, or with an airline about a delayed flight. We all get these messages elsewhere today – through text messages and phone calls.”

Reaching out to many WhatsApp users without a debit or credit card across countries is also an objective of the move.

“Many WhatsApp users don’t have a debit or credit card number and they worried they would lose access to their friends and family after their first year,” said the blogpost.

Founded by Ukrainian immigrants to America Jan Koum and Brian Acton in 2009, WhatsApp got acquired by social media giant Facebook for $19 billion in 2014.

Both Koum and Acton were former employees of technology company Yahoo.

SOURCE: FirstPost

Thursday, December 17, 2015

Microsoft announces availability of Skype for Business for Android

After working on feedback for the past few months from users in its preview program, Microsoft has announced general availability of its Skype for Business for Android app.

With a new dashboard design, it brings the contact search bar, upcoming meetings and most recent conversations to one place. It features better contact management and additional authentication and security options. The app now supports modern authentication which is utilized by other Office clients. Modern authentication also enables IT admins to configure multi-factor authentication for users of the Skype for Business Android app. With multi-factor authentication, users are required to acknowledge a phone call, text message or an app notification on their device after correctly entering their user name and password.

The new Skype for Business app for Android is now available in the Google Play store. Android users with Lync 2013 will be automatically updated to the Skype for Business app based on their device settings.

SOURCE: FirstPost

Thursday, December 3, 2015

Flipkart acquires minority stake in MapMyIndia to bolster its logistics network

Flipkart has acquired a strategic minority stake in MapMyIndia. MapMyIndia is a leading company in India at digital map data, GPS navigation, tracking, location-based apps and GIS solutions.

With this partnership, Flipkart plans to deploy location intelligence capabilities across its logistics network. This will enable to strengthen its first-mile pickup, and last mile delivery operations, the company said in a press release. The partnership will give Flipkart’s strategy to transform supply chain through technology a further boost.

It will be able to license map data and location technologies from MapmyIndia. This means a boost to Flipkart’s existing supply chain and logistics operations, eventually adding to the customer experience by making it timely and hassle free.

With Flipkart’s investment, MapmyIndia’s early financial investors, Nexus Venture Partners and Lightbox Ventures are said to exit the company. MapmyIndia will continue to independently serve its existing consumers.

Speaking on the occasion, Binny Bansal, COO and Co-founder, Flipkart, said, “With this strategic investment, we are taking another concrete step toward transforming the supply chain ecosystem in India, making technology and information the driver of our supply chain and logistics solutions. The integration of comprehensive and accurate location data will allow us to deliver an even more personalized and delightful experience to our customers. This partnership is a strategic fit that gives us a sustainable competitive advantage. We maintain our position as the dominant player in the e-commerce space as we continue to invest heavily in scaling our technology and platforms, always ensuring that our customers get maximum value from their association with us.”

SOURCE: FirstPost

Ford is bringing Siri to 5 million SYNC-enabled cars

Most modern Ford cars come installed with its bespoke infotainment system called SYNC, allowing drivers to make calls and listen to various music streaming apps while keeping their eyes on the road. The system already lets some owners remotely start their car, but it will soon also offer services from an important partner: Apple. Starting today, owners of a Ford vehicle purchased in 2011 or later can download a new software update that will add Siri functionality to their SYNC interface.

One long-press of the voice recognition button on the steering wheel will activate Siri Eyes Free on a connected iPhone. Owners can then choose to make a call, look up phone numbers and local points of interest, set a reminder, learn more about the weather, play music, send text messages (and have them read out) and get directions through Apple Maps. Many of these features are available via Ford's own system, but if you're an Apple user, you might find Siri the more useful assistant.

Ford says the update is available for more than 5 million SYNC-equipped vehicles made in the last four years and can be downloaded via its Owner portal.

SOURCE: Engadget

Monday, November 23, 2015

Vine introduces new audio features

Video-sharing app Vine has a new audio remix feature which makes it easy to incorporate sound already used by others. This is the latest in a string of features that have been added, making it a comprehensive video editing app.

It’s now possible to take the sound from one Vine and use it in your own creation. With this new tool which has been integrated into the app, you don’t need to use other software to extract the audio and import it into your video. You can now mix this audio or simply shorten it. Vine has already included this new feature in its app for iOS. It will be soon available for Android and Windows.

Vine has also announced that its users, whatever their mobile operating system, can now access a list of all the videos that have an identical (or already remixed) soundtrack. In this way users can find the source of a particular sound. It is also possible to search for all the Vines featuring a particular song title.

Launched in 2013, Vine is a Twitter app which hosts short, 6-second looped videos accompanied by hashtags. These videos can be posted on social networks or sent to friends. Vine was a precursor to the phenomenon of sharing very short videos, which has since been picked up by other apps including Instagram. Vine is now a very comprehensive communication app with features that include an instant messenger.

Source: FirstPost