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DECEMBER 2010


After Search and Social, China sparks off new online war, this time by banning all VoIP except its own

Dec 31, 2010

 
Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) or simply speaking, using the telephone over the Internet has become the new battle ground between China and the rest of the online world. It was a move that many expected would come, sooner than later. Click here to catch up with this story.
 
 

 

Skype says outage was due to software glitch

Dec 30, 2010

 
Voice over Internet service provider Skype says it has ultimately established what caused the over 24 hour long outage last week. In a blogpost Skype's Chief Information Officer Lars Rabbe said the problem lay in a version of it's software for computers using Microsoft's Windows. A cluster of servers that were running Skype's offline instant messages got overloaded, causing some of its computers to send out delayed responses. Rabbe said an older version of Skype's Windows software then could not properly process these responses, leading to the crash.
Hmmm, so now we know.
 
 

 

Social site Facebook starts rolling out service based on facial recognition technology

Dec 28, 2010

 
Last week, when social networking site Facebook had announced that it would soon start using facial recognition technology in its photo tagging service, it was met with howls of protests by the privacy concerns group. Now there are reports that Facebook has started rolling out this service, initially across the United States. The FRT automatically identifies faces in group photographs, further simplifying the process of tagging users in a group of photos. As Facebook illustrated this with an example: If you upload pictures from your cousin’s wedding, we’ll group together pictures of the bride and suggest her name. Instead of typing her name 64 times, all you’ll need to do is click “Save” to tag all of your cousin’s pictures at once.”
Users can now upload photos on the site and suggest the names of those present in the photographs so that other users can decide whether to tag them or not. Further, the new feature will check photos for faces that are similar to those of any of your friends and match the new photos to those that people have already tagged. In the interest of privacy, Facebook has a button in the Privacy Settings which when clicked will allow a user to disable suggested tags. He/she just needs to click "Customize Settings" and "Suggest photos of me to friends." Your name will no longer be suggested in photo tags. But friends can still tag you manually.
 
 

 
 

Yahoo!India,Broadband service MBlaze sign Content & Service deal

Dec 23, 2010

 
 
India's Business Standard newspaper has reported that Yahoo! India and telecom services provider MTS today announced a Service & Content partnership for MBlaze, a high speed mobile broadband service by MTS. MBlaze users will now be able to access a co-branded Yahoo! and MTS page that will provide their account information & Content including Yahoo! Mail, News, live TV and mobile Search.
Plans are underway to offer the page in local Indian languages. Through this partnership, Yahoo! India has made it easier for consumers to get to their Yahoo! Content & Services while they are on the move. MBlaze is offered in 96 towns of India and has over 400,000 mobile broadband customers.
 
 

 

Skype recovers by mid-Thursday (well, almost)  

Dec 23, 2010

A "wounded" Skype was recovering & by Thursday afternoon, about 21 million users were able to log in, according to CEO Tony Bates. Voice calling, video-chatting and text-based instant messaging were working for most users, Bates said, but other features, such as offline instant messaging & group video calls, were still down.

Speaking through a computer running Skype, Bates also said he would not say whether the problem originated from within Skype or was caused by external factors. They were still doing the post-mortem, he added.

On average, 124 million people use Skype each month, though the total number of registered users is more than four times that. Agency reports said the Luxembourg-based company had said customers who pre-pay for service or are on pay-as-you-go plans will receive an e-mail with a voucher for 30 minutes of free calling to landlines anywhere in the world. Subscribers will be credited with a week's extra subscription service. 
 

Skype suffers partial downtime due to tech reasons

Dec 23, 2010

 
 
Users of the popular Voice over Internet Skype across many parts of the globe complained on Wednesday (US time) that they were unable to use the service.Skype later posted an update saying its service had been partially down due to tech reasons. Till Thursday morning, it was able to restore partial services for about 5 mln customers, but atleast 25 mln consumers were still out of the loop. In an earlier blogpost in the day, Skype said the service went partially offline due to problems that arose with some of its "supernodes". The latter are high-end computers that keep connectivity between the service & various applications used to get on to Skype, going. Till the time of writing this report, Skype was trying to restore connectivity by creating as it called it, "new mega supernodes". All this will obviously take a few hours before full service is restored.  
 
 

 

U.S. FCC passes controversial new rules on Internet access

Dec 21, 2010

Is it the start of the end of Internet freedom as we know it? Will it signal the backdoor entry of Net censorship as many allege? Or is it got to do with the recent Wikileaks controversy? The United States Federal Communications Commission (FCC) today approved new rules on how users can access the Internet by a vote of 3-2. Among other things, the new rules prevent fixed line Internet Service Providers from blocking Content and online services from rival companies, or providing preferential treatment to paying clients. As part of the new rules, carriers must also clearly express to consumers how their traffic is handled and how charges are derived.
The FCC is an "independent" US govt. body. It regulates Inter-State & international digital communications & has 5 commissioners appointed by the Prez of the USA. The 5 voted on what is popularly known as the set of Open Internet rules today, also known as the Network Neutrality rules. There has been a heated debate from various forums on whether these rules will preserve the neutrality of the online world or perhaps signal the start of its end.
While this website reserves its comments till it studies the entire gamut of rules, we have  published  some links below, representing a cross-section of the numerous views floating in the online & offline media on the FCC's move:
 
 
 
 
 
We shall bring you more updates as the new rules are debated online.  
 
 

 
 

 

Facebook CEO enters the dragon

Dec 20, 2010

 
We all know by now that U.S. based Social Networking Site Facebook is banned on mainland China. So what was its Chief Executive Officer (CEO) cum co-founder Mark Zuckerberg doing in the office of one of China's & indeed the world's largest Search Engine Baidu today? Click here to find out.
 

 

India's capital leads in users surfing through cellphones: Study 

Dec 20, 2010

 
A recent study by a mobile value added service company in India has shown that the nation's capital Delhi is numero uno where accessing the Internet via mobile phones is concerned. India's commercial capital Mumbai & its 4th largest metro Chennai have taken the 2nd & 3rd place, respectively. The study by Techzone shows that almost 10% of its 2 crore cellphone customers were getting on the Net, while in Mumbai 6.4% of its 1 crore users were doing the same. In Chennai, 4.0% of its around 98 lakh mobile users were using the connectivity to surf. Overall, the study established that nearly 60% of India's total mobile users surf the Net for social networking & blogs while 15-20% surf for entertainment.
 
 

 

Wanna be Search Engine Sentimnt not into personal Search any more, will offer a B2B solution instead    Dec 20, 2010   

 
The Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Sentimnt replied to our queries on the development as reported in the story below. Mr Khash Sajadi told NuNetNews that for the moment, "we cannot and have no plans on offering personal search engine at Sentimnt. Our efforts are going to diverted to provide a more B2B offering which we will talk about more later."
The CEO further said he could not elaborate on the topic as it was an "ongoing business matter" within Sentimnt. So, looks like no Search for online users for now.
 

Search Engine Sentimnt does course correction, does it mean no more Search? 

Dec 19, 2010           

 
We got this e-mail from social & personal Search Engine Sentimnt:

We are closing down our consumer private and social search features to concentrate our efforts on our business and enterprise offerings.

Although we have hundreds of users using Sentimnt everyday and we love and use Sentimnt as end users ourselves and find it a very useful tool, given our limited resources we have made the difficult decision of terminating Sentimnt consumer services to spend more time developing our plans for business users.

All the data stored on our servers will be destroyed on 10th of January 2011.

We would like to thank all our users and supporters during the past 8 months and we are sorry if this has caused you any inconvenience.
 
Now, the sense we getting here is that hidden somewhere in those lines is the fact that the guys at the England-based Sentimnt have decided to pull the plug on what they had originally started out to do, about 8 months ago, because of lack of resources. Now, they are on a course correction, and will concentrate only on "paid" customers. We wish Sentimnt be a little more clear in what they are about to do, in fact we have dashed off an e-mail seeking clarifications. It was just in November this year that we had written about this "unique" Search Engine, and even nominated it the Most Useful Startup of the Month for November.
 
 

 

2011 shall see birth of a new social networking site  Dec 18, 2010   


 

We have just learnt that a new social networking site (not another, you say?) will come online in 2011. Our webspiders are truly amazing....they have cottoned on to a Startup even before it is launched. Truly, breaking news! Go on, click here to find out more.....


 


Google to issue alert for hacked sites in search results     Dec 18, 2010

This new feature by search engine Google can be of further help to those searching the Net. Starting today, Google will highlight those websites that have been hacked, when the search results are thrown up. A pop-up shall alert search engine users to such a site. They will then be given the option of going back to the search page. In such a case, Google will also try and alert the webmaster of the hacked website.
 
 

 

Facebook's boo boo. Releases codes of new products by mistake, then downs site for 30 minutes to correct it   Dec 17, 2010

While Social networking site Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg may be basking in the glory of being nominated 'Person of the Year 2010' by Time magazine, his site today faced some unusual problems. First, according to reports filed by the BBC and Mashable.com, some one in Facebook accidentally released the codes of forthcoming products including a new page management feature. So the site went down as some one else, obviously not the same person who released the codes in the first place, did damage control & rectified the mistake. Two things happened subsequently - almost everyone online thought Facebook had rolled out new features, and then, almost everyone thought Facebook had suffered an outage. Both were wrong impressions. Facebook apologized for the downtime. Things are back to normal there. 
 
 

 
 

netCore, India's digital communication co., delivers 2 billion e-mails to date

Dec 17, 2010

 
It claims to be one of India's leading digital communications solution provider. netCore Solutions
has claimed that it had crossed the 2 billion e-mails mark in December, also registering a 20 % month on month increase. The company claimed that e-mail as a component of online marketing, had generated a lot of interest from Banking, Financial Services and Insurance (BFSI) sectors, and Internet product companies, followed by Media and Travel. 
 
 


   

YouTube fiddles with its Home Page on an experimental basis   Dec 16, 2010

From today, YouTube has decided to tweak its Front Page as an experiment to guage user's reactions. It’s an opt-in experiment, offering a homepage that emphasises on a personalized video browsing and watching experience. Click on this link to find out more:
 
 

 

Facebook will have a China rival (in English) early 2011  Dec 16, 2010

 
China's leading Internet portal & the world's 3rd largest, Tencent will launch an English language Social Networking Site early 2011. The announcement came last night at the launch of its instant messenger service in English, Japanese & French, called QQi Instant Messenger. At the launch, Marc Violo, Product Manager, QQi, said it was not designed to compete with other existing instant messaging services like Skype or MSN. It was positioned more as a tool for business leaders & college students worldwide who wish to develop their network and get involved with business in China. It was Violo who let in that the new Social Networking site in English would be launched early 2011 and would then be integrated with QQi. ...and yes, it too will have Fans Pages like on Facebook
 

 

Top 10 re-tweets of 2010....according to Twitter    Dec 15, 2010

 
 
Topping this list was American TV personality Stephen Colbert with his wry tweet on the Gulf Oil spill.
To commemorate the honor, Twitter is awarding Colbert --the titan of ‘Truthiness’-- the first-ever Golden Tweet award for the year’s Most Retweeted Tweet. Twitter co-founder Biz Stone personally presented Colbert with the award on The Colbert Report. More.....
 

 

Here's what India searched for on Google in 2010     Dec 15, 2010

The world's leading Search Engine Google has released its annual data on what India, or specifically Indians, searched for the most in 2010. The one question that made it to the top of the list (of a country with one of the largest populations in the world) was, " How to get pregnant?" Google's annual report Zeitgiest (Spirit of the times) for that country revealed that the next most searched query was, " How to kiss?"
The most searched person was British actor Aruna Shields who acted in an Indian movie, `Prince' with Indian actor Vivek Oberoi, while the 2nd most searched person was debutant actor Sonakshi Sinha. Other actors, too, figured in the list like Katrina Kaif & Salman Khan. Google guys insisted that all queries were anonymous and no personal information was collected to compile the annual report. 
 

 
 

World of Warcraft expansion record 1st day sales makes it fastest selling PC game 

Dec 14, 2010

The online media just can't stop talking about it. Sales of the expansion (new level) of  the popular World of Warcraft (WoW) game on the 1st day itself was tagged at 3.3 million copies, making it a new record for all previous PC based games sales. Activision/Blizzard tagged the sales at that number when the counters opened on Dec 7. Much of it has been put down to all the pre-sales hype created around the release of the expansion. The one advantage that this particular expansion called WoW Cataclysm had over the previous ones was that it was available in packed version from stores as well as online. The BBC in its report on the record sales said many buyers got hold of their copies online. 
 
 

 

Is it virus or spam?                                                   Dec 13, 2010

The Internet is buzzing with reports that a new "virus" disguised as an ad on acia berries is doing the rounds by way of tweets & infecting accounts. If a Twitter account holder clicks on it, he is re-directed to another site which reportedly contains "malicious" code. The "virus" is spreading at a very fast rate on Twitter, say reports. But there seems to be  some sorta confusion on whether it is really a virus or not or simply some one up to mischief. Because there are some adventurous souls on the Net who have clicked on the "berries" link & were re-directed but found no mailicious code waiting at the other end. As of now, it looks like these tweets are more spam than virus, but it never pays to be too careful. We await clarification from Twitter. 
 
 
Twitter has clarified that it is spam & not virus. Hackers got into an unspecified number of accounts and sent spam around the acai berry drinks. Twitter says the passwords came from a breach at Gawker Media & users who have both accounts need watch out.
 

 

YESSSS! Global spam e-mails down by 47% since this August:Report     Dec 11, 2010

 
Rejoice, you souls who are fed-up with e-mail spam. Online security firm Symantec, yup, the same guys who fight all those online viruses, in its monthly report on the state of spam & phishing has said there has been a notable drop in e-mail spam. In fact, there is a 47% reduction in spam all over the world, the report notes.
The other highlights of the report are:
-In October, global spam was down 22.5%, month on month
-Overall, spam made up 86.61% of all messages this October compared to 89.40% in September
-Even social networking sites are being made targets of phishing attacks. 
 
If you want to read the entire report, you can click here.....
 
 

 

The Spirit of 2010                                                     Dec 10, 2010

 
 
A few days ago, we had written about the oft-searched terms used in Yahoo! Search in 2010. It is time for the 'Mother of all Searches' Google to have its say. Every year, in fact every December, as the year fizzles out, Google comes out with the Zeitgeist Report. In one line, the report tells us how the world searched in that particular year. This year's Zeitgeist (the word roughly translates into Spirit of the times) report is out now. The World Cup football in South Africa, the Oil spill ,among others, are some of the events searched the most. Gadgets featured a lot in Technology related Search, especially the iPhone 4.
If you wanna read the entire report, click here. 
 
 

 

What does your number say?                                            Dec 7, 2010

 
 
The latest "trend" to hit social networking site Facebook is what has come to be known as the "Number Game". Started on December 8, the "Game" allows a user to ask their friends/contacts what they think about him/her ( the user). So, unofficially, the game probably should have been named - Find out what your friends think about you, or vice versa. But where does the Number part come in? Every time that a user asks his friend about his true feelings, he also provides him a number. When the friend responds through a status message or on chat, the given number is tagged on to it, thus identifying him to the user, and no one else. That way, even though the message is public, only the user and his friend really understand the online conversation between them.
Example: Number 420 says I wonder why we never talk? or
Number 1011 says I miss you so much.
 
There are reports online which seem to suggest that the game first took a bow on micro-blogger Twitter.  
 
So, here's another game for all you Facebook fans out there.
 
 



 
Microsoft's Windows has a new rival, it's name is Google Chrome OS
(Dec 8, 2010)
 
  
 
Search Engine Google has taken the wraps off its Operating System (OS). Called Chrome,the 1st batch of laptops carrying this OS will only be available in the 1st part of the new year, though, as Google could not come out with these during this Christmas festival. Click here to carry on reading...
 

 
Tweet: Virus attack on Twitter                                         Dec 7, 2010
 
There is a virus in some accounts of the micro-blogger Twitter, & it is reported to be spreading fast to others. Reports seem to suggest that the virus may have been first launched from a mobile version of a social networking site, activated when users clicked on shortened URLs that used goo.gl.
Once clicked, the worm then takes over accounts or creates new ones while spreading the contaminated links. Reports also suggest that those who click on the links using goo.gl are being sent to "various malware-laden sites." According to a report by TechCrunch, Twitter is already seized of the virus, and was re-setting the passwords of the infected accounts. You can click here to read more on the virus. 
 
 

 
 
Ushering in a 360 deg change                                              Dec 7, 2010
 
It is tagged as maybe the world's largest Internet Service Providers.China's Tencent has been in the news, of late. Last month, we had reported that it was ushering in Facebook-like features in its own version of a social networking site, QZone. Now there is news that Tencent itself will undergo a transformation & become more "open" in its functioning. The metamorphosis will happen in the next 6 months, says Tencent Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Ma Huateng. 
A report by 2Chinable.com recently said Tencent was blamed as monopolistic by other innovation creators. There were allegations by Startups that Tencent was imitating their innovation. Tencent had a rough time in the past months fighting these allegations. In this background, said the report, Tencent decided to allow Glasnost (openess) in its administration. 
We are told that the move to open Qzone’s platform for third party Applications & url links on the lines of Facebook was also part of this move.
 
 

 
 
It's working again                                                         Dec 7, 2010
 
 
Micro-blogging platform Tumblr finally was up and running close to Monday midnight (US EST) after an almost 24 hour blank out.  Tumblr was down since Sunday evening after it was hit by a technical glitch. The guys at Tumblr had earlier tweeted apologizing for the downtime. Now, as per an official notification to all its users, this is what Tumblr had to say:

Yesterday (Sunday) afternoon, during planned maintenance that was not intended to interrupt service, an issue arose that took down a critical database cluster. This brought down our entire network while our engineers worked feverishly to restore these databases and bring your blogs back online.

While you might feel like you’ve gotten used to seeing errors on Tumblr recently, know that this is absolutely unacceptable to our team, and unacceptable for a platform determined to be the best place in the world for your creative expression.

Frankly, keeping up with growth has presented more work than our small team was prepared for — with traffic now climbing more than 500 M pageviews each month. But we are determined and focused on bringing our infrastructure well ahead of capacity as quickly as possible.....

Readers may recall it was only in this August that we had reported of Tumblr crossing the 1 bln posts mark. 
 


 
 
Changes to users' Profile Page: Facebook                    Dec 6, 2010
 
 
Out of the blue, social networking site Facebook has gone and announced changes in the users' Profile Page. According to a blogpost by software engineer John Wiseman, the profile begins with a quick overview of basic information containing nuggets like your place of origin, the school you went to & stuff like that. The other thing is that a user can now highlight the friends that are very dear to him. Then, of course, thereis the other stuff like an "improved" photos page & so on. In October this year, we had reported on some "important" changes that the social site had introduced then, for tighter privacy controls. 
Going by the remarks & comments across the Net, it looks like the changes have not gone down well by Facebook users. 
 

 
 
An Internet engine that may make a world of a difference         Dec 3, 2010
 
 
Google.org, the philanthrophic arm of search engine Google has today launched the Google Earth Engine.The Engine, announced at the international climate conference in Cancun, Mexico, takes advantage of 25 years of world satellite imagery—trillions of scientific measurements - & makes it available online with tools for scientists, independent researchers, and even the governments of nations to mine this massive warehouse of data. The info can be used to detect changes, map trends and quantify differences to the earth's surface.
Using this new tool, Google.org claims it has already begun helping scientists develop applications for detecting deforestation and mapping land use trends, and have started working with individual countries to develop their own applications.
The Engine is what Google dubs as "technology driven philanthropy. Among the several uses of this Engine is tracking flu trends around the globe & a power meter to monitor the energy cinsumption in various parts of the world.
 
 

 
 
Zynga promises to "re-invent" social gaming on mobiles, gets Newtoy Dec 2, 2010
 
 

Increasingly, one of the biggest social gaming portals of the online world, Zynga, finds itself moving down the mobile and smartphones path. Today, it announced that it had acquired a Texas, US-based mobile gaming development company called Newtoy Inc. Those of you not familiar with the latter should know that it is known for "The Games With Friends" & "Chess with Friends" social games on mobile phones. The Newtoy headquarters in McKinney, Texas, said a blogpost on Zynga, will become The Zynga With Friends Studio, a new game studio that shall leverages the popular franchise and builds new games for the Zynga network." The cost of the acquisition, though, was not disclosed. "The Games With Friends franchise is the best social game experience available on mobile today and we are excited to welcome the Newtoy team to the Zynga family," said Mark Pincus, founder and CEO of Zynga, in a statement. Mark has also promised that The Zynga With Friends Studio will continue to invent great mobile social game experiences for Zynga users everywhere." 
Just last month, we had reported that the Beta version of Yahoo!Messenger 11 had incorporated social games from Zynga. 
 

 
 
Way to go                                                                         Dec 2, 2010
 
 
The Texas, US-based location-based social networking site Gowalla has gone & done something that could spark off a war among rivals. It has released a new version, 3.0 which allows a Gowalla user to 'Check-in' with a friend who is not on Gowalla but on a rival site like Facebook Places or Foursquare. Here's how....



 
After US East Coast, it is South India's turn to face Net disruption Dec 2, 2010
 
Parts of Southern India were reportedly affected by a disruption in Internet connectivety, according to reports by some Indian news agencies this afternoon. The outage could be due to a fault in an undersea fiber cable. A report filed by One-India said efforts were on to restore operations. The reports quoted officials in Tata Communications as saying that "there seems to be a problem on SMW4 cable system between Jeddah and Alexandria." This is an important submarine communications cable system that connects South East Asia and Europe."
We could not manage any independent corroboration of the reported disruption. No ISP has issued any official communique yet on the same.
 

 
Microsoft says consumers wishing IE6 goodbye, hello to IE8 (as it wanted) Dec1, 2010
 
 
This is one drop in sales which a company is actually happy about. Software giant Microsoft's Internet Explorer 6, a battle-scarred veteran, is losing its market share, acknowledges the company. But Microsoft says it was a concerted effort on its part to get people off IE6 and to "modern" versions like IE8 & soon, the IE9. In a blogpost today, Roger Capriotti, Director, Internet Explorer Product Marketing, has said one of Microsoft's main missions was to get people on to a later version of IE as fast as possible. And why not, we ask? There has been a fair amount of criticism against the IE6 on privacy issues. Plus, IE has been losing, at a steady pace, market share to other browsers like Firefox
 
For the 1st time, Microsoft has decided to publicly share it's monthly browser market data. In the last 6 months, IE6 usage has declined faster among Enterprises than it has among worldwide Consumers. "We believe this reflects how organizations are recognizing the need to migrate to a modern browser. At the same time, the momentum of Internet Explorer 9 Beta continues at a healthy clip, reaching over 15M downloads through November and now equaling 0.38% worldwide share," says Roger.
 
In November 2010, IE6 commercial usage share reached an all-time low at 10.3%. This is actually significantly lower than all-up IE6 usage share, which dropped to 14.58% in November. At the same time, IE8 commercial share has surged over the past several months to 34.1% - over three times the commercial usage share of IE6. Overall, IE8 usage worldwide grew 0.82% in month of November , while IE6 worldwide recorded its biggest drop, 1.35% share.
 The interesting fact is, says Roger, much of IE6 usage share remains in China where  it represents 45.2% of browser usage – though it does continue to drop there too from 50.5% in August of this year