Categories
Tech

With TikTok Banned in India, Is It The Perfect Time to Launch Facebook Lasso & Instagram Reels?

Just a few hours ago, the Government of India issued an order banning as many as 59 Chinese owned smartphone apps in the country. The notification issued by The Ministry of Information Technology of the Government of India derived powers under the section 69A of the Information Technology Act read with the relevant provisions of the Information Technology (Procedure and Safeguards for Blocking of Access of Information by Public) Rules 2009 citing the concerns about the security, integrity and defense of India. The apps that now stand banned in India, across all platforms now include TikTok, Shareit, WeChat, Helo, Likee, UC News, Bigo Live, UC Browser, ES File Explorer and Mi Community. All big names, but one does truly stand out.

But does this open up the door for Facebook to take advantage of the situation and introduce the Facebook Lasso and Instagram Reels products in India. At this time, with TikTok inaccessible, all the creators and influencers on the platform are searching for a viable alternative to ply their trade. And show their creative side. This could be a good time for Facebook to simply bring their TikTok alternatives, because people need to switch. And fast. Never has there been a more ready-made demographic of users, just waiting to sign up.

Facebook Lasso and Instagram Reels, With WhatsApp as the secret ingredient

Facebook Lasso also has similar set of features as TikTok, including the ability to shoot and post 15-second videos. You can overlay these with popular music tracks, filters, effects, hashtags, the ability to directly share to Facebook and more. At this time, Lasso has pretty limited availability around the world, including the US, though it has already seen more than 5,000,000 downloads just on the Google Play Store till now. Facebook, which also owns Instagram, has a similar product for that photo sharing social media platform as well. It is called Instagram Reels and that’s also all about the magic of 15-second videos, dressed up with a variety of music tracks, filters and editing tools. This app also has limited availability right now, including Brazil, Germany and France.

In India, WhatsApp could prove to be the secret ingredient for Lasso or Reels, whichever one Facebook does eventually decide to launch in India. If at all. A simple integration in the most popular instant messaging app could make all the difference in terms of popularizing the new video sharing platform and give it the sort of adoption push that would otherwise be unimaginable.

TikTok’s numbers must have worried Facebook

TikTok, owned by Chinese tech company ByteDance, has climbed the popularity charts rapidly. The ability to showcase creativity and talent in quick 15-second videos had caught the attention of the masses. And that is truer in India than anywhere else in the world. According to data analytics firm App Annie, India accounted for 323 million, which is 44%, of the total 740 million TikTok app downloads in 2019 across all platforms. They also suggest that Indians spent 5.5 billion hours on the TikTok app last year. In fact, at the beginning of this year, it was reported that ByteDance was targeting Rs 100 crore in revenue in India, banking on new quick advert formats for brands as well.

While TikTok’s revenue targets were still no match for Facebook, TikTok’s active user base was proving to be a headache for the world’s largest social media platform, Facebook. According to regulatory filings by Facebook, they clocked Rs 892 crore in revenue in India in 2018-19.

Does TikTok still have a future?

TikTok has confirmed that they have been invited to meet with the Government to respond to the order and submit clarifications. TikTok, a popular social media platform owned by Chinese tech company ByteDance, is on the list of banned apps. At this time, TikTok is also not available for download on the Google Play Store for Android phones and the Apple App Store for the iPhone. “The Government of India has issued an interim order for the blocking of 59 apps, including TikTok and we are in the process of complying with it. We have been invited to meet with concerned government stakeholders for an opportunity to respond and submit clarifications,” says Nikhil Gandhi, Head of TikTok, India, in a statement. The company says they continue to comply with all data privacy and security requirements under Indian law and has not shared any information of our users in India with any foreign government, including the Chinese Government. Gandhi insists that even if they are requested to do so in the future, they would not. “We place the highest importance on user privacy and integrity,” says Gandhi.


Categories
Tech

Realme X3 SuperZoom, Realme X3 Sale Today in India at 12PM: Price, Specifications and More

Realme’s latest smartphone offerings, the Realme X3 SuperZoom and the Realme X3 will be going on their first sale today in India. Announced last week, the new Realme X3 series aims to offer the best experience if you are looking for a powerful smartphone under a budget of Rs 35,000. Both the phones are powered by the Snapdragon 855+ chipset, a move that has allowed Realme to put a slightly affordable price tag for these phones.

REALME X3 SUPERZOOM SPECIFICATIONS

The X3 SuperZoom features a 6.6-inch full-HD+ (1080×2400 pixels) ‘Ultra Smooth’ display with a 120Hz refresh rate. Notably, this will be an LCD panel and not an AMOLED panel. It offers a 20:9 aspect ratio, a 90.5 percent screen-to-body ratio as well as Corning Gorilla Glass 5 protection. The handset is powered by the Qualcomm Snapdragon 855+ SoC along with up to 12GB of LPDDR4x RAM, and up to 256GB of UFS 3.0 storage.

There is a quad rear camera setup highlighted by a 64-megapixel Samsung GW1 sensor with an f/1.8 lens along with an 8-megapixel sensor and a periscope-style lens with 5x optical zoom and 60x digital zoom. There is also an 8-megapixel ultra-wide camera and 2-megapixel macro camera as well. The main camera also comes with a preloaded Starry Mode for astrophotography. At the front, there is a dual selfie camera setup with a 32-megapixel sensor with an f/2.5 lens and an 8-megapixel sensor with an ultra-wide-angle f/2.2 lens. The handset also packs a 4,200mAh battery with support for 30W Dart Charge.

Rest of the features include a side-mounted fingerprint scanner, Dolby Atmos and Hi-Res Audio, 4G, Wi-Fi 802.11ac, Bluetooth v5.0, GPS/ A-GPS, and a USB Type-C port. It will be offered in Arctic White and Glacier Blue colour options.

REALME X3 SPECIFICATIONS

The Realme X3 is very similar featuring the same 6.6-inch full-HD+ (1080×2400 pixels) display with 120Hz refresh rate. This one is also powered by the Qualcomm Snapdragon 855+ SoC along with up to 8GB of LPDDR4x RAM, and up to 128GB of UFS 3.0 storage.

There is a similar quad rear camera as the X3 SuperZoom setup with a 64-megapixel Samsung GW1 sensor with an f/1.8 lens along with an 8-megapixel ultra-wide camera and 2-megapixel macro camera. Instead of the periscope camera, this one features a 12-megapixel sensor with an f/2.5 aperture telephoto lens with support for 2x optical zoom. At the front, there is a dual selfie camera setup with a 16-megapixel Sony IMX471 camera sensor with an f/2.0 lens, and an 8-megapixel ultra-wide-angle camera.

All of the other features including the battery, connectivity and audio technologies are the same as the X3 SuperZoom. So basically the only compromise are the cameras and lower memory and storage options.

PRICE AND AVAILABILITY

The Realme X3 is priced at Rs 24,999 for the 6GB + 128GB storage variant while the 8GB + 128GB variant is priced at Rs 25,999. The Realme X3 SuperZoom on the other hand is priced at Rs 27,999 for the 8GB + 128GB storage variant and Rs 32,999 for the 12GB + 256GB storage variant. The flash sale for both the smartphones is scheduled for 12PM IST on Flipkart and Realme.com.


Categories
Tech

Google Takes Down Ads Related to Misleading Voter Registration Information in US

Image for Representation.

Image for Representation.

Like other major U.S. tech companies including Facebook and Twitter, Google says it is trying to stem the spread of misinformation in the run-up to the U.S. presidential election.

  • Reuters
  • Last Updated: June 30, 2020, 11:12 AM IST

Alphabet Inc’s Google said on Monday that it had removed search ads that charged users searching for voting information large fees for voter registration or harvested their personal data. A Google spokeswoman told Reuters that the company’s misrepresentation policy barred such ads, which were found by the nonprofit watchdog Tech Transparency Project when searching for terms such as “register to vote,” “vote by mail,” and “where is my polling place.”

Tech Transparency Project said in a report on Monday that nearly a third of the more than 600 ads generated by its Google searches took users to sites that try to charge large fees for voter registration services, extract personal data for marketing purposes, install deceptive browser extensions, or serve other misleading ads. The report said that the first ad in a Google search for “register to vote” directed users to a site from PrivacyWall.org that charged $129 for “same-day processing” of voter registration. U.S. voters do not need to pay to register to vote.

PrivacyWall did not immediately respond to a Reuters request for comment. A Google spokeswoman said the company did not yet know how the ads had got through its approval process, which uses a combination of automated and manual review. “We have strict policies in place to protect users from false information about voting procedures, and when we find ads that violate our policies and present harm to users, we remove them and block advertisers from running similar ads in the future,” the spokeswoman said.

“Some people may find it difficult to distinguish Google ads from other kinds of content because as of January, search ads on Google feature the same typeface and colour scheme as organic search results,” the TTP report said. Social media companies and online platforms, including Facebook Inc and Twitter are under pressure to curb misinformation on their sites in the run-up to the U.S. presidential election in November.


Categories
Tech

Banned Chinese Apps On Your Phone? What Happens Now






Jun 30, 2020 09:06 PM IST
iVideos iVideos

India on Monday banned 59 apps with Chinese links, including hugely popular TikTok and UC Browser, saying they were prejudicial to sovereignty, integrity and security of the country. The ban, which comes in the backdrop of current stand-off along the Line of Actual Control (LAC) in Ladakh with Chinese troops, also includes WeChat and Bigo Live. The list of apps that have been banned also include Helo, Likee, Cam Scanner, Vigo Video, Mi Video Call, Xiaomi, Clash of Kings as well as e-commerce platforms Club Factory and Shein. This marks the largest sweep against the Chinese technology companies.

Categories
Tech

Beijing Says India's Move to Ban 59 Chinese-origin Apps Could Violate WTO Rules

Image used for Representative purpose.

Image used for Representative purpose.

Spokesperson of the Chinese Embassy in India Ji Rong said that India’s measure selectively and discriminatorily aims at certain Chinese apps on ambiguous and far-fetched grounds.

  • Reuters
  • Last Updated: June 30, 2020, 8:49 PM IST

China said on Tuesday that India’s move to ban 59 Chinese-origin mobile apps could be a breach of World Trade Organisation (WTO) rules, and urged New Delhi to create an open and fair business environment.

“India’s measure selectively and discriminatorily aims at certain Chinese apps on ambiguous and far-fetched grounds, runs against fair and transparent procedure requirements, abuses national security exceptions and (is suspected of) violating WTO rules,” Ji Rong, a spokesman at the Chinese embassy in New Delhi, said in a statement.

India banned the apps on Monday, its strongest move against China in the online space since fighting erupted on the two countries’ border this month. Rong said the ban would affect Indian jobs, and urged India to treat all investments and service providers equally and create an open, fair and just business environment.


Categories
Tech

Chinese Apps Banned in India: Here Are Some Alternatives to Lifestyle E-Commerce Store Shein

The Indian government recently announced a ban on a total of 59 Chinese smartphone apps. The order was issued by The Ministry of Information Technology citing concerns about the security, integrity and defense of the country. Some of the popular apps that will no longer be available for access in India include TikTok, WeChat, Helo, Likee, UC News, Bigo Live, ShareIt, UC Browser, ES File Explorer and Mi Community.

This has led to an uproar among smartphone users especially avid users of fashion, beauty, and lifestyle e-commerce store Shein. While the app as well as the website is currently functional, they would soon be blocked by all ISPs very soon. Similarly, apps like ClubFactory and ROMWE have also been listed among the apps that have been blocked.

Myntra

Currently run by Flipkart, Myntra is a dedicated fashion e-commerce platform based out of India offering a wide range of clothing, footwear and accessories across sizes and age groups. Myntra also offers a wide range of brands with H&M being one of the latest big additions.

Koovs

Koovs is said to offer a nice collection of apparels and reasonable pricing. You can find the latest collection to an exhaustive range of clothes, shoes as well as T-shirts, jeans along with jewelry, watches and much more. The online store is said to have over 100 brands and all are privately labeled.

LimeRoad

A lot of people don’t know but LimeRoad has been around for a while and was launched at the end of 2012. Apart from offering apparel, accessories, shoes, and so on, it also comes with a scrapbook feature that lets you create fashionable looks using your own style sensibilities and share them with people.

Ajio

Ajio, the fashion cum lifestyle brand, is a popular digital fashion extension of Reliance that was launched around 2016. The platform focuses on fresh perspectives on personal styles and it is one of the best online shopping apps in India for clothing. It offers a wide variety of categories including women’s wear, men’s wear as well as kids’ wear as well as a premium range of gadgets and tech accessories.

Jabong

Jabong was a fierce competition to Myntra at one point of time. However, it was acquired by Flipkart via the Myntra division in 2016. The portal sells apparel, footwear, fashion accessories, beauty products, fragrances, home accessories and other fashion and lifestyle products. Notably, one of the co-founders of Jabong is Manu Kumar Jain who is currently the India head for Xiaomi.


Categories
Tech

MediaTek Unveils Helio G35, Helio G25 Chipsets Designed for Budget-Gaming Smartphones

Taiwanese chipmaker MediaTek unveiled two gaming-focused Helio G series chipsets, that are designed for budget-gaming mobile phones. The newly announced chips are called the MediaTek G35 and Helio G25 and these devices arrive just after a month after the company launched the mid-range Helio G85. Interestingly, much like the MediaTek G85 SoC, both the G35 and G25 are equipped with octa-core processors. Furthermore, both the chipsets boast impressive features such as low-latency gaming experience and bringing an in an improvement in the camera performance as well.

MediaTek Helio G35 SoC Specifications

The MediaTek Helio G35 chipset sports an eight ARM Cortex-A55 cores with maximum frequency at 2.3GHz. The Helio G35 chipset is packed with a PowerVR GE8320 GPU clocked at 680MHz with a maximum display resolution of 1,080X2,400 pixels. As far as storage is concerned, the Helio G35 comes with both LPDDR3 and LPDDR4x RAM up to 6GB and up to 1,600MHz. The camera configurations of the Helio G35 include support two 13-megapixel cameras or a single 25-megapixel camera, both at up to 30fps. The camera can be used with features like AI-driven Bokeh effects, electronic image stabilisation (ETS), hardware warping engine (EIS), rolling shutter compensation (RCS), beauty more and more. Furthermore, the Helio G35 is compatible with 802.11 b/g/n/ac Wi-Fi, Bluetooth 5.0, and FM Radio and can also run two 4G-powered SIM cards simultaneously.

MediaTek Helio G25 SoC Specifications

Just like the Helio G35, the MediaTek Helio G25 chipset is also packed with an eight ARM Cortex-A55 cores but with a maximum frequency at 2.0GHz. The MediaTek G25 also has a PowerVR GE8320 GPU while its clock frequency is toned down to 650MHz. In terms of the camera, the Helio G25 is equipped to support a 13-megapixel sensor and an 8-megapixel sensor, or a single 21-megapixel sensor. For storage, camera features and connectivity, the Helio G25 chipset boast similar features like the Helio G35. As per reports, the MediaTek Helio G35 is billed to make its debut alongside the Realme C11 while the Helio G25 could be launched with the Redmi 9A.


Categories
Tech

This Gurugram-based University Has Developed a New Game to Help Spread Covid-19 Awareness

Faculty members and students of Gurugram-based BML Munjal University have developed a new game with an aim to spread awareness about the Covid-19 pandemic. The game is known as “Unlock Me”, that serves as an educational and entertainment purpose and is available on all Android smartphones, running on Version 4.4 and above. Furthermore, the game doesn’t ask users for any personal details like name, age, and address and also happens to be a secure app. The game can be download from the Google Play Store using the following link: https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.Shreyansh.UnlockMe

Speaking on the launch of the game, Prof Maneek Kumar, Dean, School of Engineering and Technology BML Munjal University says, “In these times, we read so many advisories related to COVID-19 but aren’t sure how they’ll play out once we’re out in the open again. The game “Unlock Me” simulates the real-life situations and experiences to help give players an understanding and feel for discriminating between right practices and wrong practices, and thereby reduce their risk of contracting the virus.”

“Unlock Me” plays out as a simulation of real-life risks related to Covid-19, wherein players get infected by the deadly virus. Users need to make the right choices and be careful of the risky practices as they move through the game. Through a series of events, players earn sanitisers which act like powerups and after gaining enough experiences, a question is presented in order to test the player’s knowledge regarding the current scenario. Interestingly, these questions are solved in a different section of the game where samples of the virus are analysed. Players also get to learn about the announcements made by the Union Health Ministry as they progress. Moreover, after completing a specific number of levels and getting all the answers right, players get to unlock a “cure” for the Covid-19, thereby unlocking a new mode in which the player needs to deliver it to those in need. “Unlock Me” has been developed in Unity3d as a top-down arcade game, and according to developers, new levels will be added to the game in the coming months along with an Arena Mode that will get unlocked after players reach level 100.

“BMU has taken a leap forward in tech innovation to create a game that has deeper penetration and easier understanding for the masses”, says Prof. Manoj Arora, Vice-Chancellor, BMU. “The development of these state-of-the-art technologies and tech-oriented studies have allowed students and faculty to explore uncharted territories in the face of this pandemic and develop ingenious solutions that contribute to the betterment of society,” he added.


Categories
Tech

Roposo Expects 1 Crore New Users to Join Within One Day of TikTok Ban | Exclusive

Roposo, the video-first Indian social media platform, expects to see close to 1 crore new users join its platform by today itself, just one day after the government of India announced a ban on 59 Chinese apps, of which TikTok was one. Speaking to News18, Mayank Bhangadia, co-founder and chief executive officer of Roposo, says, “Since morning we are witnessing a massive growth in traffic, the nature of which we have not seen before. The surge began since last night, and we expect to ride this wave to add close to 1 crore new users to Roposo by the end of the day.”

Roposo, which has 65 million users on its platform, has reportedly received a significant boost as a result of the ban on Chinese short video social media platforms, such as TikTok, Likee, Bigo Live, Vigo Video and Helo. Bhangadia says that one of the key reasons behind this growth spurt are local content creators. He says, “Over the past four years, we have built our platform from the ground-up keeping content creators at the centre. We have over 30 channels or topics where original content creators publish their work.”

Bhangadia also claims that Roposo offers the best revenue model for content creators in India, in terms of social video apps. “We don’t just reward our top content creators – our model is such that even smaller creators can earn well, given the visibility that they get on our platform. Post the ban, more creators are joining our platform, and they are encouraging their followers to also join them on our platform, which is boosting our numbers,” he says.

Roposo presently has over 65 million users on its platform, with monthly active users count of over 25 million. Bhangadia says that its reach is actually much higher thanks to its parent company, Glance, which is owned by Indian startup, InMobi. “Glance has a daily user base of over 100 million active users, and Roposo’s content is fed into the Glance lock screens. As a result, our reach is over 125 million active users every day,” he adds.

Going forward, Bhangadia says that he expects these numbers to change rapidly in the coming days. He expects this surge to continue in the coming days, as more users would likely look for alternate platforms to post their content on.

Roposo will be competing against other Indian social media platforms such as Chingari, and the more established ShareChat. While the former has been posting numbers such as over 1 million video views by its users in 30 minutes, ShareChat presently has over 60 million monthly active users on its platform, making it the biggest Indian social media platform out there right now.


Categories
Tech

Roposo, Chingari, ShareChat Gear Up to Replace TikTok, Helo After Chinese Apps Ban

Indian social media platforms look to see an uptick in growth in light of last night’s ban on 59 Chinese apps, as enforced by the government of India. While some claim to be seeing instantaneous growth surges, other platforms are more pragmatic about the approach, while stating that the ban on services like TikTok, Helo and Likee will definitely create ripple effects in the homegrown social media industry of India.

Speaking to News18, Berges Malu, director of public policy at ShareChat states that while the platform is well poised to make the most of the opportunity that has opened up, the growth in terms of new users will be a gradual affair. He says, “It’s not an instant process – anyone that uses an app like TikTok is likely already using other social media platforms too, such as ShareChat itself. Hence, the overall growth of users will likely reflect over the coming weeks, once the network-level bans are imposed on these apps.”

ShareChat presently has over 60 million monthly active users on its platform, making it the largest Indian social media platform. Prior to last night’s ban of these Chinese apps, Farid Ahsan, co-founder and chief operating officer of ShareChat told News18 that the vocal for local narrative has given a slight push towards homegrown services, but ShareChat’s prime focus at the moment remains in seeing the growth of organic user engagement on its platform. With apps like TikTok and Helo being banned from India’s internet, the market may open up for just that.

Mayank Bhangadia, founder of Roposo, has a far more optimistic view of things at the moment. In conversation with News18, Bhangadia says, “I am seeing the highest surge in user traffic that Roposo has seen till date. All things considered, I expect to see up to 10 million new users join Roposo today itself.”

Bhangadia says that the growth is being buoyed by creators who are leaving platforms like ShareChat and Helo to join Roposo, which promotes itself as a creator-first platform. “We built our tool over the past four years, and offer the best revenue scheme for creators to earn through. Our parent company, Glance, lets us reach over 125 million active users daily, and all of this makes Roposo among the best Indian platforms to use.” Bhangadia confirms that Roposo has 25 million monthly active users at the moment on its platform, but expects this to rapidly change in the immediate future.

Chingari, the Indian rival of TikTok that is presently going viral, has also made tall claims about instantaneous growth in light of the ban on 59 Chinese apps. Prior to the ban being announced in public, Biswatma Nayak, co-founder of Chingari, stated in a PTI report that subscriber count has spiked by 400 percent within the past few days in light of the anti-China sentiment. Sumit Ghosh, co-founder and head of product and growth at Chingari, has been posted a stream of numbers on Twitter since last night. He claimed that Chingari received 1 lakh downloads within the first one hour itself. Earlier today, Ghosh further stated that Chingari is witnessing a heavy surge in traffic, with data showing 1 million video views on the platform in 30 minutes.

ShareChat’s Malu states that the ban is going to be more effective in the long run. “Bans like these create a void in the market, where there is a demand for a service. In such a space, there is already an existing user base, which in turn leads to investors getting attracted. This can certainly boost the Indian startup ecosystem in this space, and is something that may see stronger growth of homegrown services than before,” he adds.

Sheroes, India’s women-first social network, also welcomes the move. Priya Florence-Shah, group editor of Sheroes, tells News18 that since the Covid-19 lockdown began, the platform has added 4 million users. In a prior interview with News18, Sairee Chahal, founder and CEO of Sheroes, had confirmed that the platform has over 20 million active users. Echoing positive sentiments for a push for Indian sentiments, Florence-Shah states, “We have the best minds in the world and we can definitely develop solutions that work for us.”

The over-arching sentiment is positive, and the general outlook is that this can be a tipping point for social media and internet startups in India. While platforms like Roposo state that the effect has been immediate and exponential, the likes of ShareChat look forward to a steady growth in the longer run. The effects, as Malu stated, would definitely be clearer once the 59 Chinese apps are banned from operating in India in the coming days.