Accessing Business Perks means you have read the T&Cs.

Check PageRank 
                        - Advert -





Facebook to touch 700 million users soon, says agency

31/05 (1310 hrs IST): Social network Facebook continues to grow. The number of its total users is close to 700 million users, according to a report by SocialBakers, an agency that monitors Facebook.

And Google better get a hold of this - Brazil & India, where its Social Networking site Orkut was once popular, far above Facebook, are now the 2 countries that have contributed to Facebook's ever-increasing user numbers.

Last month, the top growing country in the Facebook circuit was Brazil with more than 1.9 million of new users on Facebook, said the report. Other nations contributing to the growth were Indonesia, Philippines, Mexico, Argentina, India, Colombia, Egypt & Turkey.

Slow but perceptible shift of Chinese from TV to Net for information

30/05 (1300 hrs IST): A study by CTR China's Media Audience Research & Report has shown that the Chinese were shifting to the Internet from television to get their share of daily information.

Although the report revealed that the television was still the top choice for media consumption with 72.8% of those polled watching the 'idiot box', Computer & the Net were close with 62.8% of the respondents using it. The shift was noticed between 2009 and 2010.
In the interview, all respondents said that they used 2 or more channels for access to information. "Family TV + computer Internet" was the most common combination.

Gaming platform OpenFeint claims to be growing at 3 million subscribers monthly

30/05 (0830 hrs IST): It was 9 months ago that it decided to move to Google Android OS. Since then, say the guys at OpenFeint, a US-based Gaming platform, it has been adding on an average, 3 million new users a month, which some Gaming analysts believe is a "phenomenal" growth.
In a press release, OpenFeint said it was launching 16 new top titles on Android, bringing its catalog to 460 live games. In just 2 months, OpenFeint has added 145 new Android games, growing its arsenal by 46% to 460 'Live' games.

“OpenFeint continues to make great investments in Android gaming. They are a great partner for us and we strongly believe in OpenFeint and its social features to boost our top titles like the newest action-puzzler Happy Vikings,” says Markus Kassulke, CEO of HandyGames.

OpenFeint was acquired by Japanese Social Gaming giant GREE for US $104 million in April 2011.
GREE is Japan’s leading mobile social networking service, providing games from over 500 developers to its network of 25 million players.

Mobile security solutions company TekTrak wins 'Vator Splash LA'


29/05 (0723 hrs IST): It was a keenly contested competition with 150 Startups vying for the numero uno position. 10 of these made the final cut of the Vator LA Splash, organized by Vator.TV at Los Angeles, USA, recently. This is the 3rd such 'Splash' held; the 1st was in New York & the 2nd in San Francisco. 
In LA, entrepreneurs, venture capitalists & the Media turned up in large numbers to watch the 10 finalists make their allotted 3 minute pitch for funds. The winner picked was TekTrak, a mobile phone security solutions company.
Losing a phone is an ordeal for almost all of us & that is where TekTrak comes in. Available for both Android & iPhone, TekTrak basically empowers you to find your phone whether it is lost or stolen. Built-in location tracking & location history means you can find the device no matter where it is. Once in the vicinity of the phone, turn on the remote ring to pinpoint its exact hiding spot.

Not only that, this Startup also provides you with the means of remotely locking the phone or even wiping the entire data from it. Click here to find out more on TekTrak.

Skype is back online

28/05 (0407 hrs IST): It's back. Or so, they say. Internet telephony company Skype, which was recently purchased by software giant Microsoft at what many analysts labelled an "astounding" price of US $8.5 billion, is back to working smoothly after it developed several hiccups about 2 days ago.
On its company page Skype has released "hotfixes" for Mac as well as Microsoft-based users. Check out out here.

The service provider said a corruption had occured in a small percentage of users' systems that had resulted in some of the Skype community not being able to sign in. It had now issued instructions which would allow these guys to get back online.

Google launches Street View project in India

26/05 (2000 hrs IST)Google is in India. Well, its been there for years. What we meant was - it is in India to photograph the country's streets & roads under its 'Street View' project. The 360 deg videographing started on Thursday.

Street View operations are already on in 25 other countries.

"Street View will comply with all Indian laws including those related to security and privacy," Google India chief Vinay Goel told reporters in India's IT capital, Bangalore, where Google's India office is located.

Goel declined to give details about Google's plans to expand the project across India.

Chinese Android phone users were most targetted in Q1 of 2011:Report

26/05 (0549 hrs IST)China received about 64% of the world's mobile attacks on Android devices in the first quarter of 2011, according to a mobile security report released by NetQin Mobile Inc. a global leader in mobile security services. Second on the list were phone users in the US with 7.6%, followed by Russia, India, & Indonesia, respectively with 6.1%, 3.4% & 3.2%.
NetQin, said a press note issued here by PR Newswire, has warned that Android users were facing more severe mobile challenges than ever. According to the company, about 2.53 million Android users were infected with mobile viruses or malware in the first quarter of 2011, with most of them occurring in China, which is partly due to the easy availability of "white box" phones (open phones that are not tied to particular carriers) & a general lack of mobile security awareness among mobile phone users. "White box" phones often run outdated versions of mobile software & are not provided with security support from legal carriers. The lack of mobile security awareness further adds fuel to the flames, as users often ignore protective measures when engaged in mobile activities, such as using mobile payment channels, web browsing or clicking on URLs from unknown sources, thus allowing more mobile viruses and malware to intrude their mobile devices, said the release.

One-fifth of Canadian houses did not have Net connections in 2010

25/05 (2043 hrs IST): About a fifth of Canadian households had no Internet access in 2010, a survey shows.

46% of households, many of which falling in the lowest income quarter had no access to the Web, according to Statistics Canada's 2010 Internet Use Survey, released on Wednesday. But in the highest income quarter only 3% lacked Internet access, says the survey. Lack of interest or need was the reason cited by 56% of the households that did not have Internet access.

Statistics Canada's survey of 30,000 households was conducted in October-November.

Wi-Fi controlled Angry Birds characters at Expo

22/05 (1917 hrs IST): A highlight of the Beijing International High tech Expo earlier this week were robots modelled after characters in the popular mobile game Angry Birds controlled by Wi-Fi.The robots created their own wireless network, allowing Smartphones to connect to and control them. To see the robots in action, watch them on  YouTube.
Angry Birds is a popular game on iOS & Android devices where the player needs to slingshot birds into enemy pigs. Incidentally, just a couple of days ago, Angry Birds, passed the 200 million downloads.

Yet another attack - this time on a subsidiary of Sony?

21/05 (1232 hrs IST): Hackers won't just leave Sony alone. There are fresh reports doing the online rounds that yet another malicious attack was launched, this time, against a Sony subsidiary called So-net Entertainment Corp.

So-net, say the reports, discovered that a hacker had stolen about US $1,225 worth of customers' redeemable gift points, quoting a report in the Wall Street Journal. That same day, security firm F-Secure also found that Sony's Thailand server was running a live phishing scam.

According to the reports, So-net does not believe the breach on its systems was connected to the PSN hack. The company reported that an intruder tried 10,000 times to access the So-net point service, which gives customers gift points that can be exchanged for products.
There is no official word on this one from Sony nor were we independently able to verify the hacking reports.

All we can say is - hackers, leave Sony alone.

Google's Social Search to be launched in 19 more languages next week

19/05 (2002 hrs IST):  Google says it will roll out its Social Search feature, launched in 2009, to 19 more languages next week. The company made this announcement on its official blog.

Social Search is a feature that combines regular search results with publicly available data created by your friends’ social media activities.Friends include contacts in Google Talk, your Gmail contacts, Buzz...almost all Google products. Google can also connect with contacts on Twitter & Facebook.

For all of you who may still not be aware, just a week ago, Google's Social Search feature was at the centre of controversy when online reports claimed that Facebook had hired a PR company to push negative stories about Social Search. Facebook claimed that Google’s practices raised “serious privacy concerns.”

There was no fresh hacking attempt, clarifies Sony

19/05 (1425 hrs IST): Sony has outrightly denied reports of a fresh malicious attack (not by this website) on its Playstation online network. Patrick Seybold, Sony's Sr. Director, Corporate Communications & Social Media, posted on his blog that Sony "temporarily took down the PSN & Qriocity password reset page". Contrary to some reports, he said, there was no hack involved. In the process of resetting of passwords there was a URL exploit that we have subsequently fixed.

"Consumers who haven’t reset their passwords for PSN are still encouraged to do so directly on their PS3. Otherwise, they can continue to do so via the website as soon as we bring that site back up.
" Here the link to the post. 
Over a month ago, hackers had launched a malicious attack against the Playstation network following which it was shut down for 4 weeks. Just last Sunday, Sony had announced the phased re-start of the service for its users. 

Internet Explorer blocks between 2-5 mln attacks every day

18/05 (2113 hrs IST): Software giant Microsoft has said user-downloaded malware was a huge problem & only getting bigger.

In a blog post today on a new filtering software, the company said using it's 'SmartScreen Filter', its browser Internet Explorer had been effective at blocking socially engineered malware attacks and malicious downloads. Then, Jeb Haber, Program Manager Lead, SmartScreen, goes on to drop this interesting tidbit – IE blocks between 2 & 5 million attacks a day for IE8 & IE9 customers.
Since the release of IE8, SmartScreen had blocked more than 1.5 billion attempted malware attacks, the blog post claimed. Originally, SmartScreen protection was URL-based. IE7 introduced protection from phishing attacks by integrating a cloud-based URL-reputation service. IE8 added another layer of protection, also based on URLs (or Web addresses), to protect users from sites that offered malicious downloads & used social engineering techniques. URL-based protection from socially engineered malware attacks is an important layer of defense for consumers today on the Web.

That said, IE9 has added another layer of defense against socially engineered attacks that now looks at the application being downloaded - this is in addition to the URL-based protection described above. This new layer of protection is called SmartScreen Application Reputation. When it came to program downloads, other browsers either warned on every file or didn't warn at all. Neither of these approaches helped the user make a better decision, claimed Jeb.

Latin American NGO latest entrant in world's "largest" Social Media Business Conference in New York

18/05 (0613 hrs IST): Latinos in Social Media (LATISM), a non-profit, non-partisan organization dedicated to advancing the social, civic & economic status of the Latino community, has announced a partnership with BlogWorld & New Media Expo - the first and only industry-wide conference, tradeshow and media event for all New Media.

As part of the partnership, the BlogWorld Conference - to be held on May 24-26 at the Javits Convention Center in New York City - will include a Latinos in Social Media panel with LATISM Board members Ana Roca Castro, Elianne Ramos, Giovanni Rodriguez and Sylvia Aguilera, to unveil results of the largest study of the Latino Blogosphere to date. With a network of 134,000 Latino/a bloggers, LATISM continues to study the trends, demographics and purchasing behavior of influential Latinos online, a said a press release by PR NewsWire.

"We are thrilled to partner with BlogWorld, one of the nation's foremost new media conferences," says Ana Roca Castro, Founder and Chair of LATISM. "Our goal is to offer our members much needed opportunities to attend mainstream conferences, as well as provide the inspiration and learning they need to take their blogging and tech careers to the next level."

BlogWorld is one of the world's largest Blogging & Social Media conference, known worldwide for presenting internet luminaries and the most popular & knowledgeable Bloggers, podcasters and Social Media thought leaders. For more information and to register, visit http://www.blogworldexpo.com/2011-nyc/conference/conference-information/.

US' new Internet strategy to take on competition from China

17/05 (0813 hrs IST): The United States on Monday launched a new initiative on the Internet, much of which is designed ( judging by the first look) to take on competition from China & other nations. 

U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and a host of other senior government officials unveiled the "national strategy on cyberspace" that seeks to enshrine open international standards for the Internet while protecting network security & strengthening law enforcement.

The new strategy codifies the Obama administration's aggressive attempts to define the future of the Internet in the face of competing models such as that promoted by China, which practices greater control.

According to a report filed by Reuters, Clinton, who has repeatedly underscored the centrality of Internet freedom to U.S. foreign policy, said the goal was an open global system that both fosters innovation and economic growth while strengthening security and free expression.

The US strategy outlines priorities which include building Internet capacity, improving Internet governance and promoting military cooperation on cyberspace issues to protect networks from attack.

Sony Playstation starts coming back online

16/05 (1640 hrs IST): Sony Inc yesterday announced a phased re-start to its online services which had fallen  prey to a massive hacking attack recently. The entire process would get over by May-end, it had said.
But on Monday, a section of Sony's Playstation Network  users were bitterly complaining of the process taking a lot of time or collapsing even after being re-started. Websites like The Huffington Post & CNet carried reports today detailing users' complaints on Twitter.

One tweet read, "Playstation Network was back up for about 10 minutes before going down again for maintenance.

But Sony's PlayStation tweeted later in the day asking users to be patient.  In a tweet , it said that the service was witnessing a heavy load of password resets so it had decided to turn off for 30 minutes to clear the queue.
Sony Playstation was down for around 4 weeks following the attack.

New Internet rules in India irk Content companies

16/05 (0840 hrs IST): A recent move by the Government of India to govern user-generated Content on Websites is creating a new controversy in India with its critics labelling it as a form of "censorship".

Now, there is a report in the country's leading business newspaper, The Economic Times that has quoted various Internet players as saying "the new set of rules will impact all internet firms which accept user-generated content such as Google, Microsoft, Rediff, Indiatimes, Yahoo, Facebook, among others."
The news report said the new rules were set to regulate reader's comments on articles, user-posted videos, Blogs, photos & comments on wall posts on online Social Networks.The new rules were notified by the Ministry of IT & Communications under Section 79 of the Indian IT Act. The IT Rules, 2011, state that the Websites shall inform users not to publish any posts that are blasphemous, incite hatred, are ethnically objectionable, infringe patents, threaten India's unity or public order.
For those of you who wanna know more, click on this link.

Teens & their perception about the media

13/05 (1117 hrs IST): So, how do teens & college students perceive the different choice of media in front of the these days? StageofLife.com, a blogging resource for high school students, Baby Boomers, & every life stage in between, wanted to know how teens felt about the media, so they asked its teen and college visitors, "What form of media impacts your life the most, and why?" as part of its national monthly writing contest series for students. Here's what it found out.

Blogger up & running


13/05 (1000 hrs IST): Google's Blogger, a blogging platform, was up & running late Friday after suffering an outage of over 20 hours.

"We're very sorry that you have been unable to publish to Blogger for the past 20.5 hours," Blogger manager Eddie Kessler said in a post on the Blogger Buzz blog. "We're nearly back to normal -- you can publish again, and in the coming hours posts and comments that were temporarily removed should be restored," Kessler said.

The outage was due to data corruption during scheduled maintenance work Wednesday night.

 AOL launches free video chat

12/05 (0908 hrs IST): Video chat seems to be the new "mantra", online. Barely 2 days after software giant Microsoft went ahead & acquired online telephony company Skype for US $8.5 billion dollars, AOL Inc has rolled out the 1st version of its free video chat service. In fact, so simple is the thing (as we like it on this website) that users are not even required to log in or better still, even download any software.

Called AV, a user here gets a unique link from the service which he can then send it to his/her friends. Once the latter, using a webcam, click on the link, a chat window pops up on the screen  & shows live video of the user who started the chat session, & other participants. As many as 4 users can use the chat simultaneously.

The service also has other features including one which allows users to also type text messsages t individual users even as they video chat. For more, you can click on http://www.aim.com/av.

Google Chrome Web store's global debut

11/05 (2300 hrs IST): Google's Chrome Web Store today made its worldwide debut in 41 languages. The Chrome Web Store is Google's answer to Apple's App Store. Users can go to this onine store &  download to install web-based applications through the Chrome web browser with modern web technology such as HTML5.

Google was working toward the Web Store's international release for the past few months. since its US launch on 6 December, 2010.  Developers will get 95% of the revenue from purchases made within Web Apps while Google will take a 5% fee.

Of leakages & under-age use

11/05 (1129 hrs IST): Social Networking Site Facebook is suddenly at the centre of 2  study reports that are bound to create some ripples in the Online World.
The 1st says as many as 7.5 million children under the age of 13 are using the service, despite the company's official prohibition -- 5 million under the age of 10.

Reported by FoxNews.com, the new survey released by Consumer Reports says a million kids were bullied on Facebook in the last year.

The Fox report said "Facebook recognizes that kids should not use the service  & prohibits access to those under 13. But the age verification system is weak." Facebook has declined to comment specifically to the story by FoxNews.com on the Consumer Reports survey, but did release an official statement about the survey.

"Recent reports have highlighted just how difficult it is to implement age restrictions on the Internet and that there is no single solution to ensuring younger children don’t circumvent a system or lie about their age," the statement reads. "We appreciate the attention that these reports and other experts are giving this matter and believe this will provide an opportunity for parents, teachers, safety advocates and Internet services to focus on this area, with the ultimate goal of keeping young people of all ages safe online.”

A 2nd totally unrelated report filed by news agency Reuters has said Facebook users' personal information could have been "accidentally leaked" to 3rd parties, particularly advertisers, over the past few years, Symantec Corp said in its official blog.

3rd-parties would have had access to personal information such as profiles, photographs  & chat, & could have had the ability to post messages, the security software maker said.

"We estimate that as of April 2011, close to 100,000 applications were enabling this leakage," the blog post said. " ... Over the years, hundreds of thousands of applications may have inadvertently leaked millions of access tokens to third parties," posing a security threat, the blog post said.

The third-parties may not have realized their ability to access the information, it said.

Facebook, the world's largest social networking website, was notified of this issue & confirmed the leakage, the blog post said.

It said Facebook had taken steps to resolve the issue.

"Unfortunately, their (Symantec's) resulting report has a few inaccuracies. Specifically, we have conducted a thorough investigation which revealed no evidence of this issue resulting in a user's private information being shared with unauthorized third parties," Facebook spokeswoman Malorie Lucich said in a statement, quoted by Reuters.

Lucich said the report also ignores the contractual obligations of advertisers and developers which prohibit them from obtaining or sharing user information in a way that "violates our policies."

She also confirmed that the company removed the outdated API (Application Programing Interface) referred to in Symantec's report.


Microsoft decides to pick up Skype for $8.5 billion, all cash

10/05 (1947 hrs IST): It's done, finally. Communications website Skype has been bought over by software giant Microsoft.
In what is being touted as "one of its biggest buyouts in over 3 decades", Microsoft has decided to grab Skype for US $8.5 billion in cash.

The deal, announced today, is expected to help Microsoft compete with rivals such as Google & Apple.

"The companies have entered into a definitive agreement under which Microsoft will acquire Skype, the leading Internet communications company, for USD 8.5 billion in cash from the investor group led by Silver Lake," the two firms said in a joint statement.

Skype is a popular communications software, uses of voice over Internet protocol technology that makes international voice and video calls cheaper.

Post acquisition, Skype will become a new business division within Microsoft, & Skype CEO Tony Bates would become President of Microsoft Skype Division , reporting directly to chief Steve Ballmer.

Microsoft will continue to invest in and support Skype clients on non-Microsoft platforms, the release added.

Last year, Skype had reported a revenue of US $860 million on which it posted an overall loss of US  $7 million, & a long-term debt of US $686 million.

Movies on rent on YouTube for US fans

10/05 (0837 hrs IST): YouTube has decided to shore up its collection of movies for rent online for audiences in the USA, to, as market analysts say, take on Internet service Netflix.

"You are spending just 15 minutes a day on YouTube, & spending five hours a day watching TV," YouTube Head Salar Kamangar said Monday in a blogpost.

About 2 billion video views are logged daily at YouTube, which is available on 350 million devices, he noted.

"Whether it's short movie trailers, funny movie parodies or full-length blockbuster films, we encourage you to sit back and settle in to the YouTube movies experience," Kamangar said.

YouTube said that it is broadening its rental service at youtube.com/movies with new films from Sony Pictures, Warner Brothers, Universal, Lionsgate Films and "many great independent studios."

Those watching YouTube moves from the sidelines say Google has recognized that this was becoming a Content war. Netflix is the only other company in online video Content. The new titles were to begin appearing Monday on YouTube.
In March, YouTube debuted what it said was the first feature-length Hollywood movie created specifically for the Internet. YouTube was bought by Google in 2006 for US $1.65 billion.

Tech & Telecom cos dominate global best brands list, Apple usurps Google for No:1 slot

09/05 (1307 hrs IST): The news is all over the Online World. News agencies have filed reports saying that Apple had overtaken Google as the world's 'most valuable brand', ending a 4-year reign by the Internet search leader, according to a new study by global brands agency Millward Brown.
The iPhone & iPad maker's brand is now worth US $153 billion, almost half Apple's market capitalization, says the annual BrandZ study of the world's top 100 brands. Apple's portfolio of coveted consumer goods propelled it past Microsoft to become the world's most valuable technology company last year.

Of the top 10 brands in Monday's report, 6 were technology & telecoms companies: Google at No:2, IBM at No:3, Microsoft at No: 5, AT&T at No: 7 & China Mobile at No:9.
Facebook entered the top 100 at number 35 with a brand valued at $19.1 billion, while Chinese search engine Baidu rose to number 29 from 46.
You can read the entire report at www.millwardbrown.com/brandz.

`Code injection' in images is new method adopted by hackers to spread malware

08/05 (1846 hrs IST):  Hackers are increasingly using online images to spread malware. Apparently, one of their fav ways is to use Google Image to do that, says an online report.
Thousands of sites have reportedly been compromised by code injection--the malicious code redirects users to fake antivirus applications. A report in Yahoo!News said according to Internet Storm Center researcher Bojan Zdrnja, the attackers were mostly targeting Wordpress sites, & were injecting PHP code that generated web pages with images based on highly-searched content. Google then indexes these pages, and the images showed up on Google's image search.

The report said image searchers can be redirected to these fake antivirus sites, thanks to Google displays images when clicked, Zdrnja wrote in a blog post this week. At least 5,000 sites have been compromised, & Google could be serving as many as 15 million hits a month to these malicious pages.

Google reportedly has acknowledged that it was aware of the problem & was making efforts to detect such malicious pages.
Read the rest of the report by clicking here

Mobile phone downloads account for about 50% of online Game downloads:Study

 07/05 (0520 hrs IST): A study by NPD's Online Gaming for 2011 has shown that digital Game downloads for mobile devices represent close to half of all video game full game downloads (this excludes micro-transactions and add-on content to be used with previously purchased or acquired full games)."

Even though Gamers use consoles for Online Gaming & download titles over services like Xbox, the report said even among this audience, the biggest share of full game digital downloads purchased was for mobile devices. Next in line were PCs, consoles, portables & so on.

Facebook to give financial incentives for users to watch ads

06/05 (2024 hrs IST): Social Network Facebook has introduced a financial incentive scheme for its users to watch certain ads on the site.

Facebook will now reward users who watch certain ads on the site with Facebook Credits, which can be redeemed to purchase goods on Facebook Deals, the company’s new Groupon-like daily deals service. Initially,  the average ad will yield one credit, which is the equivalent of 10 cents.

The ads will mostly be in games. CrowdStar, Digital Chocolate & Zynga are among the participating game publishers. The new move comes after Facebook expanded its Credits program last week to let consumers use the Credits to buy real-world goods advertised in Deals.

LastPass advises all users to change passwords as precaution following external attack

06/05 (1632 hrs IST): Free password management program LastPass, was subjected to an external attack yesterday, raising feares of hackers stealing user email addresses &  passwords.

Posting on the company blog, the LastPass team said evidence of the attack was first noticed on Tuesday after the server logs were checked. Users with a “strong, non-dictionary based password or pass phrase” were said not be affected. But LastPass has urged all of its users to change their passwords to counter the threat. It has  also brought into place an additional level of security to identify if the user is accessing the site from an IP address they have used before, also requiring e-mail address to be validated.
Earlier today, LastPass said it had identified an issue with roughly .5% of users that impacted their master password change, & it would be contacting them tomorrow rolling them back to before the change.

"Our focus right now is on ensuring we can resolve users with issues, we'll continue to provide updates here," the company added.

 Renren's exciting debut & China's newest Internet monitoring agency

05/05 (1306 hrs IST):The announcement came on the heels of China's biggest-ever  Social Networking site Renren making a solid debut on the New York Stock Exchange, after a successful IPO, thus raising some eyebrows. China has announced a new agency to supervise the Internet, according to a report in the Wall Street Journal.

Perhaps, what may be at the back of the minds of those who rule China is the fact that there are a string of public offerings in the pipeline, following the 1st by Renren. The debut of  Renren Inc. Wednesday on the New York Exchange raised US $743.4 million, even though the company  had posted a loss for 2010.

The new State Internet Information Office to govern the Net will be headed by officials from at least three agencies, it is learnt, but its entire role in unclear yet.
Renren Inc., China’s biggest Social Networking website by Page Views, surged 29% in trading  yesterday. The Beijing-based company sold 53.1 million American Depository Receipts (ADRs) at US $14 each, the high end of the proposed range, according to a company statement yesterday. The stock rose $4.01 to $18.01 as of 4 p.m. yesterday.

At its $14 initial price, Renren would be valued at 72 times last year’s sales, compared with 25 times for social-networking site Facebook Inc. as valued by Goldman Sachs Group Inc.’s investment in the U.S. company. Some analysts opined that Renren may have commanded a premium because China’s economy may grow three times faster than the U.S. and about 2/3rd of the population wasn't still  online.

Of the global 1.3 bln unique Internet users, Europe has over 363 mln of 'em

05/05 (0811 hrs IST):The latest comScore survey shows that while there were 1.3bn unique users worldwide of the Internet, Europe had 363.3 million of 'em.
The study also showed that the average visitor accessed the Web for 23.1 hours & visited 2,094 pages on an average.

Europeans, according to comScore, spent 23.1 hours on average per person. Each visitor visited 2,678 pages.

Ireland has 2.048 million unique Internet users who spent 18.8 hours per person online & accessed 1,720 pages per person. Among other nations, Germany had the largest Internet audience (age 15+) with 49.7 million unique visitors, followed by Russia, with 47.4 million & France with 42.3 million visitors.

Visitors coming from the Netherlands exhibited the highest engagement, spending 34.4 hours on average online in March – 33 % higher than Europe as a whole – followed by the visitors in the UK, who spent 33 hours on average. Visitors in the Netherlands also viewed 3,515 pages each on average, 31pc greater than the European average.

The survey further showed that Google sites ranked as the top European web property in March, attracting 330.3 million unique visitors; reaching 90.8 % of the total European internet audience. Microsoft sites ranked 2nd with 272.8 million visitors (75.0 % reach), followed by Facebook at 3rd rank  with 234.6 million visitors (64.5 % reach).

Russian social network VKontakte had the highest average engagement among the top 30 properties, with visitors spending an average of 405.1 minutes (6.8 hours) on the site over the course of the month.

Now, you can kiss & make up....on the Internet, literally

04/05 (0930 hrs IST):This story in the San Francisco Chronicle is sure to add some "excitement" to the Online World.
According to the report, quoting a story by Digilnfo TV, Internet users may soon be kissing their beaus over the Web, courtesy of the Kajimoto Laboratory at the University of Electro-Communications in Japan.

The device is supposed to "simulate the feelings of a kiss" by recording one user's tongue movements & reciprocating them to another user, who can be physically miles away.

The kiss simulator is a small box with a rod sticking out of it, said the report. To make it work, you rotate the rod with your tongue, and its movement is mirrored in the other device. The 2 devices together effectively simulate the feeling of being kissed.
Smooch or Ughhh, you decide.

No 2 attacks, hackers got through to Sony Online Entertainment in the 1st one itself

03/05 (1600 hrs IST): Electronics giant Sony on Monday reported that cyber assaults on its online videogame network were broader than it was first thought, with intruders getting away with credit and debit card data, reports news agency AFP.

The report said hackers had breached the Sony Online Entertainment (SOE) network as well as the PlayStation Network & the Qriocity streaming music service, according to the Japanese consumer electronics giant.

The AFP report further quoted Sony as saying in an online update, "We had previously believed that Sony Online Entertainment customer data had not been obtained in the cyber-attacks on the company.
"But, on May 1 we concluded that SOE account information may have been stolen and we are notifying you as soon as possible."

The agency report stated that engineers & security consultants investigating the PlayStation Network breach discovered evidence that information was stolen from 24.6 million SOE accounts & from an outdated database containing people's financial data.

"We will be notifying each of these customers promptly," Sony assured.

The SOE network was shut down after the data breach was discovered.

2nd hacking attempt on Sony? This time its Entertainment division is targeted

03/05 (1020 hrs IST)Sony sure is sailing through some troubled waters. Still reeling from the theft of its users data (belonging to over 70 million of 'em) by hackers, there are now allegations surfacing Online that a fresh hacking attempt had taken place in which personal data of over 24 million Sony Entertainment users had been whisked away.
The Online World is abuzz with such reports since Monday evening. China's news agency Xinhuanet said hackers "may have stolen personal information of 24.6 million Sony Online Entertainment users, the company disclosed Monday afternoon."

The compromised accounts were in addition to the recent leak of over 70 million accounts from Sony's PlayStation Network, an online Game & entertainment service for its PlayStation 3 console.

The news agency report said the Japanese electronics company had said the break-in had also led to the theft of 10,700 direct debit records from customers in Austria, Germany, the Netherlands & Spain & 12,700 non-U.S. credit or debit card numbers.

The entertainment network is separate from the PlayStation Network, but both hacks have similar traits, Mai Hora, a spokeswoman for Sony Computer Entertainment in Tokyo, told Xinhuanet. In both cases, the stolen data includes customer names, e-mail addresses & hashed versions of their account passwords.
Another agency report online said the company had announced an attack against Sony Online Entertainment service Tuesday Tokyo time & had temporarily shut the service down. It said the attacks occurred on April 16 & 17.

Both reports corroborated the fact that  the personal data on some 26.4 million people who play Sony’s multiplayer games, including Everquest & Star Wars Galaxies, was accessed.

In the 1st case of hacking, Sony has already offered its customers an additional 30 days of playing time & help enrolling in identity theft protection services. Sony is also facing legal & regulatory pile-on in the wake of the 1st data breach.

Some gains, some loss for Microsoft, Mozilla

03/05 (0840 hrs IST)Both, Internet Explorer as well as Firefox lost market share in April but there was some cheer for Microsoft, though. The new Internet Explorer 9 version managed to gain enough usage, surpassing smaller rival, Opera.
IE 9 accounted for 2.41 % of Browser usage in April, its first full month on the market, according to  a report by Net Applications. Opera, on the other hand, accounted for 2.14 %. IE,overall,dropped from 55.9 % in March to 55.1 % in April.
Two other Browsers, Google's Chrome & Apple's Safari, outpaced the overall growth in Web usage. Chrome rose from 11.6 % to 11.9 %, while Safari grew from 6.6 % to 7.2 %.
Mozilla's Firefox dipped from 21.8 % to 21.6 %. But there was some good tidings for Mozilla too.  Firefox 4 accounted for 5.4 % of usage overall, though it arrived later than IE9.

Gaming conference in India

02/05 (0847 hrs IST)An international Gaming Conference has been organized in Bangalore, India,  on May 7, under the aegis of SiliconIndia.
The meet is expected to provide a forum for Game developers, Game designers & enthusiasts to explore opportunities, expand their reach, & discover the on-going trends emerging in the Gaming arena, say the organizers.

The Conference will feature tracks for Game Developers & Game Designers. There is also a special track on Smartphone & Tablet Games alongside top-level keynotes and an expo floor.

Also showcased at the Expo will be the latest & most accessible hardware, software and services for Game developers. 
To catch with more info on this conference, click here