Archive for June 15th, 2012

Facebook to ask users phone details

LONDON: Facebook will ask its more than 900 million users to provide it with their mobile phone numbers, Daily Mail reported Friday.

The move is part of a drive to improve security on Facebook, and comes in the wake of password hacks at other networking sites including LinkedIn and eHarmony.

Millions of Facebook users have already seen a link at the top of their desktop news feed requesting them to follow “simple security tips”.

They are then requested to provide their phone number for secure account recovery.

The social network would then send a text message to the user informing that their password has been changed.

This, the site reasons, would be preferable to sending the user an email because many of these are ignored as assumed junk and get deleted.

Facebook Friday said the desktop security message, already seen by millions of users in the US, will be on all accounts in the next few days.

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Indie publishing styles: The ‘Hey, kid, take a ride on my bus’ tactic

The week after E3’s blockbuster bombardment from high-profile, mainstream publishers seems like a proper time to step back, take a breath and remember that for many indie developers, getting a game made has nothing to do with fog machines, loud on-stage demos or awkward celebrity banter. Sometimes, indie publishing involves standing on a shady street corner in San Francisco until a bus pulls up and offers you a beer and a ride. At least, that’s how it worked out for Chris Pavia, a developer who recently quit his mainstream industry job to create indie titles under his own studio, Cube Roots. Pavia’s first game, a puzzle RPG called Dungeon Hearts , got picked up by Devolver Digital during its Pitch Fork Parker project at GDC earlier this year. Pitch Fork Parker had indie developers vie for a spot on Devolver Digital’s bus, where they would ride around for a while and try to sell their indie games to the publisher. Pavia earned a spot on the bus with Dungeon Hearts ‘ cohesive art style and character designs alone, and in the month before GDC he hired an animator, had his musician tweak the audio and spent all his time refining every detail he could in the first few minutes of the game.

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Skype jacks ads into free Internet phone calls

SAN FRANCISCO: Skype on Wednesday began showing callers on-screen ads while they use the globally popular free Internet telephone service.

What Skype euphemistically referred to as “Conversation Ads” appear in calling windows of users who don’t pay for subscriptions or have credits in accounts at the service.

“We’re excited to introduce Conversation Ads as an opportunity for marketers to reach our hundreds of millions of connected users,” Sandhya Venkatachalam said in a post at the official Skype blog. “While on a 1:1 audio call, users will see content that could spark additional topics of conversation that are relevant to Skype users and highlight unique and local brand experiences.”

The silent conversation ads are available to marketers where ever Skype is available and will be shown during free Skype-to-Skype calls on computer’s powered by Microsoft’s Windows software, according to Venkatachalam.

Microsoft’s Skype Internet telephone service hopes to quadruple the number of users to get to one billion, division president Tony Bates said two weeks ago at a prestigious All Things Digital conference in California.

Bates, who heads the unit that was acquired by Microsoft last year but operates autonomously, said growth will come from mobile users and from partnerships like the one Skype has with Facebook. He cited Facebook as a key to growth for Skype, which now has 250 million users.

He said Skype can use the reach of Microsoft, the world’s biggest software firm, to expand its presence, but without limiting itself to the Windows platform.

Skype users can make low-cost or free phone calls over the Internet using their computers or smartphones. Skype bypasses the standard telephone network by channeling voice and video calls over the Web.

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Microsoft reaches into TV mkt with Xbox Live ads

SAN FRANCISCO: Microsoft on Thursday unveiled ads for its popular Xbox Live online entertainment service that combine the interactivity of the Internet with old-school television viewing.

The technology colossus behind Xbox 360 videogame consoles said that Toyota, Unilever, and Samsung Mobile USA are developing campaigns tailored for “NUads” that will be rolled out at Xbox Live in three months or so.

“NUads marks the beginning of a new era for TV advertising,” said Xbox Live entertainment and advertising general manager Ross Honey. “It delivers the one thing traditional TV advertising is missing – engagement.”

Viewers of NUads can provide feedback, such as taking surveys or answering questions, using button-and-toggle controllers or motion or voice control capabilities of Kinect accessories for Xbox 360 consoles. Advertisers get the potentially insightful data, plus generalized demographic information about respondents.

“We developed NUads to breathe new life into the standard 30-second spot,” Honey said. “With NUads, brands can get real-time feedback from audiences, making TV advertising actionable for the first time.”

Microsoft expected to charge premium prices for the Internet age television ads. Global revenue from television advertising this year will top $187 billion and climb in the years ahead, according to market trackers.

Microsoft this month stepped up its quest to be at the heart of home entertainment by syncing Xbox 360 consoles to smartphones and tablets while adding more blockbuster content. Microsoft unveiled Xbox SmartGlass software for linking the world’s leading consoles to iPhones, iPads, Android-powered gadgets and, of course, devices powered by the firm’s new Windows 8 operating system.

SmartGlass capitalizes on the growing popularity of using Xbox Live to stream movies, music and other entertainment from the Internet. The application lets people start watching a film on a tablet and then easily switch to home television screens without breaking continuity, a demonstration showed.

After a film routes to a television, the tablet automatically begins displaying supplementary information about actors or other topics related to the movie being watched.

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Infosys inks pact with Israel government

BANGALORE: IT company Infosys today signed an MoU with Israel government to establish and enhance cooperation in industrial research and development.

This MoU is a part of the ‘Global Enterprise Collaboration Program’ developed by the Office of the Chief Scientist of Israel to accelerate innovation through a global ecosystem.

It creates a framework for industrial cooperation between Infosys and Israeli corporations in the emerging technology areas of cloud, information security, sensors, analytics, and sustainability, Infosys said in a statement here.

Speaking on the occasion, Subu Goparaju, Senior-Vice President and Head of Infosys Labs said, “This collaboration aligns with our vision to bring together different innovation networks from around the world and make them relevant to our clients.

“At Infosys, we are looking at leveraging the innovation ecosystem in Israel, as part of evaluating early stage technologies that are relevant for clients to build tomorrow’s enterprises”.

Shalom Simhon, the Minister of Industry, Trade and Labor, Government of Israel said, “Our ministry provides the Israeli exporter an array of government-backed tools designated to assist in offering Indian counterparts the best that Israel has to offer in the technology sector. The agreement signed today with Infosys is a prime example of another such tool.”

The immense potential of the Indian market had not gone unnoticed by Israeli companies and industrialists, and the Ministry of Industry, Trade and Labor was working “tirelessly” in order to realise the trade potential between the two countries for the benefit of both nations.”

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