Google Unveils Top 10 ‘India YouTube Ads’ Listing

Google Unveils Top 10 'India YouTube Ads' ListingGoogle on Thursday revealed the India YouTube Ads leaderboard, a coveted listing of the ads that India chose to watch during July, August and September of this year. The YouTube Ads leaderboard showcases the most creative ads that people choose to watch.

The top 10 ads include: SheronKePanje #MaaKaDhula, #MomBeAGirlAgain, #MPMeinDilHuaBachaSa, Bajaj V – The Invincible, #BiggestSmallChange, Kinder Joy New Imagination, Kapil Sharma ne Dikhaya #AngrezipantiKoAngootha, Pepsi Mood Vending Machine – A good exam ends with #PepsiMoji, #AirtelOpenNetwork, #Fashion Kar le and Style Bana le with Myntra.

Combined, the top 10 ads made for an astounding 2.8 lakh hours of watch time, with nearly 72 percent ads getting viewed on mobile devices, Google said in a statement.

“Emotionally engaging ad content came out as a winning ingredient for Indian viewers and based on the average watch time per ad, it is clear that people are happy to invest their time on advertising that they can easily relate and connect with,” Google added.
Seven out of the top 10 ads including Bajaj, Amazon, Micromax, Pepsi, Idea and Airtel have taken this approach, which helped them engage with audiences better.
Google also revealed that the brands are increasingly telling stories from kids’ perspective and Dettol, Madhya Pradesh Tourism and Kinder Joy’s ads have all done this – hitting the mark with their audiences.

Online Privacy May Be Boosted by New US FCC Data Rules

Online Privacy May Be Boosted by New US FCC Data RulesNew privacy rules may make it easier to escape at least some online tracking.

The Federal Communications Commission on Thursday approved rules that require Internet service providers like Comcast, AT&T and Verizon to ask customers’ permission to use or share much of their data.

That could potentially make it harder for them to build advertising businesses that could serve as competition to Google and Facebook. Those digital-ad behemoths are not covered by the new FCC rules.

Industry groups representing the cable, phone and advertising industries criticized the outcome of Thursday’s vote. Several consumer-advocacy groups hailed it, while saying it should go further.

Under the measure, for example, a broadband provider has to ask a customer’s permission before it can tell an advertiser exactly where that customer is by tracking her phone and what interests she has gleaned from the websites she’s visited on it and the apps she’s used.

For some information that’s not considered as private, like names and addresses, there’s a more lenient approach. Customers should assume that broadband providers can use that information, but they can “opt out” of letting them do so.

There will not be much visible difference in the online experience for most consumers. There will be more notices from your home Internet or wireless carrier saying what type of information they collect and that they’d like to use and share it.

“I think the new FCC rules are a step in the right direction,” said Mark Bartholomew, a law professor at the University of Buffalo who studies advertises law and privacy. “But ultimately I think people will go ahead and let themselves be tracked. …We routinely click and agree to get what we want online without thinking too much about being tracked.”

The Federal Communications Commission’s measure was scaled back from an earlier proposal, but was still criticized by the advertising, telecommunications and cable industries.

Cable and phone companies want to increase revenue from ad businesses of their own – AT&T has said increasing advertising tailored to customers’ preferences is one of its goals with its $85.4 billion purchase of HBO, CNN and TBS owner Time Warner. Verizon has bought AOL and agreed to buy Yahoo in order to build up a digital-ad business.

(Also see: Verizon Said to Be Antsy Over Lack of Detail in Yahoo Breach)

But the new rules could make doing that more difficult. Companies and industry groups say it’s confusing and unfair that the regulations are stricter than the Federal Trade Commission standards that Google and Facebook operate under.

FCC officials approved the rules on a 3-2 vote Thursday, its latest contentious measure to pass on party lines.

“It is the consumer’s information. How it is to be used should be the consumers’ choice, not the choice of some corporate algorithm,” said Tom Wheeler, the Democratic chairman of the FCC who has pushed for the privacy measure and other efforts that have angered phone and cable companies. AT&T and other players have fought the “net neutrality” rules, which went into effect last year, that say ISPs can’t favor their some Internet traffic. Another measure that could make the cable-box market more competitive is still waiting for an FCC vote.

One of the Republican commissioners who voted against the privacy rules, Michael O’Rielly, said that they were senseless because broadband providers could still buy the information they would have collected, and that the prices consumers ultimately pay could rise.

Google Assistant Gets IFTTT Support; Makes Voice Commands on Pixel, Google Home More Powerful

Google Assistant Gets IFTTT Support; Makes Voice Commands on Pixel, Google Home More PowerfulGoogle unveiled its smart home speaker called Google Home at its Made by Google event on October 4. The speaker, like the Google Pixel smartphones, is powered by the Google Assistant. At the time of launch, Google Home did not have many integrations to work with, but that should change when the Assistant SDK becomes available. Now however, IFTTT has rolled out the Google Assistant channel, bringing hundreds of new products and services the voice-based virtual assistant can interact with, be it from Google Home or a Pixel smartphone.

Users can now create ‘recipes’ to IFTTT to connect Google Assistant with a number of products and services, like Facebook, Philips Hue etc. IFTTT is a web automation service that works on the principle of If This, Then That – a fancy name for the simple If-Then loops used in algorithms that anyone with basic programming knowledge would understand. If a certain condition is met, a certain action will be carried out. These are also called recipes. It connects to a number of other Internet services as well as apps (via the IF apps for Android and iOS) like Gmail, Facebook, Instagram etc. to allow users to form some chains of simple commands. It then operates the first command if the condition is met as per the instructions given by the user. The company touts integrations with as many as 376 services.

To add IFTTT integration to their Pixel smartphone or Google Home speaker, users will need to go to www.ifttt.com/google_assistant and connect their associated Google account. IFTTT has detailed some of the recipes that will be supported by Google Assistant – you can add a task to Todoist by your voice, ask Philips to change the lighting of the room, post to Facebook and Twitter through your voice, send a Slack message, or add a contact on Google. A very crucial feature to locate your smartphone is also supported by IFTTT. You can read the entire set of commands on IFTTT’s website.

To recall, Google Home is still in infancy with only a few partners like Philips Hue and Samsung SmartThings to allow users to seamlessly use their voice for multiple actions. Google Home is slated to go on sale in upcoming weeks.

Mozilla Project Quantum to Upgrade Firefox Web Engine for Faster Browsing

Mozilla Project Quantum to Upgrade Firefox Web Engine for Faster BrowsingAfter introducing the multi-process feature with Firefox 48, Mozilla has announced that it is working on some big improvements over the course of next year. The company has launched Project Quantum that aims to make the browser significantly faster, and make graphic-heavy websites feel completely different with the advent of a modern web-engine.

David Bryant, Mozilla’s head of platform engineering, wrote a post on Medium elaborating this new project plan. He said that because of the success of its Electrolysis project which aimed to deliver multi-process to all browsers, they are now aiming to build a modern web engine and start rolling out big updates by the end of 2017. A Web engine is basically the core of the browser that runs all the content you receive while browsing the Web.

“The resulting engine will power a fast and smooth user experience on both mobile and desktop operating systems~CHECK~-~CHECK~creating a “quantum leap” in performance. What does that mean? We are striving for performance gains from Quantum that will be so noticeable that your entire Web experience will feel different. Pages will load faster, and scrolling will be silky smooth. Animations and interactive apps will respond instantly, and be able to handle more intensive content while holding consistent frame rates. And the content most important to you will automatically get the highest priority, focusing processing power where you need it the most,” Bryant explained in the post.

The first version of this future-ready web engine that can handle graphic-heavy websites easily, will only be rolled out to Android, Windows, Mac, and Linux users. The first-version won’t roll out to iOS users simultaneously, but may be rolled out a little while later.

Faster loading time and instant response of animated websites are a welcome change, but all of these changes are still a year away. For now, Firefox users can make the most out of the multi-process feature that claims to reduce lags and crashes. For those unaware, multi-process is said to separate Web content and Firefox UI processes for more seamless browsing, and less lock-up of buttons and menus. Mozilla says this feature is being enabled in Firefox 48 slowly, and should be available to all desktop users in the next few months.

ICANN Will Work Closely With India, Says President and CEO Goran Marby

ICANN Will Work Closely With India, Says President and CEO Goran MarbyInternet Corporation of Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) will closely work with India to focus on its revised mission after the transmission, its president and CEO Goran Marby said on Saturday.
ICANN, which matches domain names with appropriate IP address numbers, is hosting its 57th meeting here from November 3-9. ICANN was given baton to take over the task of assigning web addresses from the USA’s National Telecommunications and Information Administration.

“With the IANA (Internet Assigned Numbers Authority) stewardship transmission behind us, our top priority now is to focus on our revised mission and new bylaws and working with the empowered community. Expanding our outreach is key to our mission.

In this context, we are keen to further deepen our ongoing engagement in India. As the second largest group of Internet users globally, we welcome India’s voice and participation,” Marby said in his address during the inaugural session. Union Minister for Electronics and IT Ravi Shankar Prasad said India has supported the multi stakeholder model of Internet governance.

ICANN will work with India’s stakeholders, including the Centre, to develop a structured framework focusing on fostering the development of the DNS (Domain Name System) industry in India.
The framework will concentrate on capacity building for India’s stakeholders, gearing them up for active participation of all stakeholder model of Internet governance, ICANN said. ICANN 57 is the first post stewardship transition public meeting and also first annual general meeting under the new meetings strategy.

Telangana Minister of IT and Industries KT Rama Rao said the state government has embarked on a novel initiative to provide fiber optic connectivity along with drinking water pipelines to households across the state.

YouTube Brings Support for HDR Videos

YouTube Brings Support for HDR VideosYouTube has added support for high dynamic range (HDR) videos, it announced via its official blog on Monday. That means you can now enjoy a better and more accurate range of colours, and benefit from deeper blacks and brighter whites that HDR brings.

There is a big catch here though – unlike HDR images, which can be seen on any display, you’ll need to buy a screen that supports HDR specifications to be able to view HDR videos. TVs that support HDR videos tend to be 4K in most cases, which naturally equates to a high price point. The good ones – the likes of Sony Bravia’s 55-inch X9300D, 65-inch Z9D, and Samsung’s own 65-inch KS9000 – that we have personally reviewed cost anywhere between Rs. 2.5 – 5 lakhs. And that’s a lot to ask for, considering the dearth of content so far.

Before YouTube’s foray this week, your options for HDR video content were limited to either Netflix or a 4K HDR Blu-ray. That does seem to be Google’s play here – by introducing a future technology to the world’s biggest streaming service, it’s hoping to keep YouTube at the forefront. To ensure wider adoption, the company is working with a bunch of creators – a playlist of just four videos for now – and has set up the requisite technology, at YouTube Spaces in Los Angeles and New York, and documentation to promote the new offering.

If you do have a TV that supports HDR, you can try out HDR on YouTube via a HDR Blu-ray player, the Xbox One S, and the upcoming PlayStation 4 Pro or the Chromecast Ultra. Google mentioned that YouTube HDR support would soon rollout to Samsung’s 2016 4K TVs as well.

Tesco Bank Breached, Sees Money Stolen From 20,000 Accounts

Tesco Bank Breached, Sees Money Stolen From 20,000 AccountsTesco Bank, owned by Britain’s biggest retailer Tesco, halted online transactions from all current accounts on Monday after money was stolen from 20,000 of them in the country’s first such cyber heist.

The bank, which manages 136,000 current accounts, said it would repay people who had lost money in the attack, which targeted 40,000 accounts in all and fuelled fears about the British financial sector’s vulnerability.

Tesco Bank’s Chief Executive Benny Higgins told the BBC he thought “relatively small amounts” had been stolen, but the bank declined to give details of how much money in total had been taken or if it knew how the thefts had transpired.

Other British banks have been targeted by hackers in recent years, but the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) regulator said it was not aware of any previous incident in which customers had had money stolen.

Tesco Bank said “online criminal activity” had resulted in money being “withdrawn fraudulently”. Higgins said the cost of refunding people under its regulatory obligations would be “a big number but not a huge number”.

In an updated statement late on Monday, the bank said it had begun refunding all affected customer accounts and expected to complete the process by the end of Tuesday.

(Also see: SBI, HDFC Worst Hit as 3.2 Million Debit Cards Suffer Security Breach)

Banks and cyber security experts in the United States said they were eager for more information.

“This is something we want to follow very closely,” American Bankers Association senior vice president, Doug Johnson, said.

“We want to learn exactly what happened here and take lessons learned so these attacks don’t cascade from one institution to another.”

British lawmaker Andrew Tyrie, chair of parliament’s powerful finance committee, criticised both banks and regulators for doing too little to improve cyber security after a string of technical failures and breaches of banking systems.

“We can’t go on like this,” he said in a statement, pledging to take up the issue with both Tesco Bank and regulators.

“Millions of customers remain unnecessarily exposed to the risk of IT failures, including delays in paying bills and an inability to access their own money,” he said.

No Pizza for dinner
Tesco Bank’s website carried a statement from Higgins apologising to customers all day on Monday. The bank has about 8 million customers in total, including many who use its credit cards or insurance products but not its current accounts.

Shares in Tesco, which wholly owns Tesco Bank, closed down 1.1 percent at 202.5 pence.

Customers could still use their bank cards in shops or to withdraw cash from ATMs, and existing bill payments and direct debits were continuing as normal. But some current account holders voiced frustration at the block on online transactions.

“Tried to order pizza for dinner but @TescoBank has stopped online transactions. Cheers. What happens when I want to do my online shopping?” Catherine Cutting tweeted.

The bank is a minnow in Britain’s retail banking market, with about 2 percent of current accounts, and represents only a small part of Tesco’s overall business.

It contributed 503 million pounds ($623 million or roughly Rs. 4,160 crores) to the group’s revenue of 24.4 billion pounds (roughly Rs. 2,01,776 crores) in the first half of its 2016-17 financial year.

But while the financial hit to the group may be limited, Tesco Bank risks serious reputational damage.

“I will be writing to Tesco Bank’s Chief Executive to find out what went wrong, and what actions are being taken to reduce the likelihood of it happening again,” Tyrie said.

Reported attacks on financial institutions in Britain have risen from just five in 2014 to more than 75 so far this year, according to FCA data, but bank executives and providers of security systems say many attacks go unreported.

HSBC apologised this year after its UK personal banking websites were shut down by a “denial of service” attack, but no customer funds were at risk.

Other well-known British brands hit by significant cyber attacks over the past year include telecom firms TalkTalk and Vodafone, business software provider Sage and electronic goods retailer Dixons Carphone.

Outside Britain, Bangladesh Bank lost $81 million in February after yet-to-be-identified cyber criminals took money out of its account at the Federal Reserve Bank of New York using fraudulent SWIFT wire transfers.

Amazon Targets Chinese Demand for Overseas Shopping With Prime Launch

Amazon Targets Chinese Demand for Overseas Shopping With Prime LaunchAmazon.com Inc has launched a tailored version of its Prime service in China to tap consumer demand for overseas goods, putting the US online retail firm in closer competition with local rivals Alibaba Group and JD.com.

Chinese shoppers have been driving a boom in “cross border” shopping with high demand for products, from infant formula to luxury handbags, bought through online platforms like Alibaba’s Tmall International and via informal “daigou” shopping agents.

Amazon, which dominates online shopping in the United States, is a bit-part player in China, lagging far behind market leaders Alibaba and JD.com. The US firm does, however, offer local shoppers a bridge to sellers in overseas markets.

“The launch of Prime in China represents a new convenient way for Chinese customers to access authentic and quality products from all over the world,” Greg Greeley, Amazon Prime’s vice president, said in a statement emailed to Reuters on Friday.

Amazon has been struggling to gain a serious foothold in China, where it held just 1.1 percent of market share in 2015 according to iResearch, and even launched a store on rival Alibaba’s Tmall platform last year in an attempt to boost sales.
Alibaba and JD.com have also been expanding their cross-border offerings to link Chinese shoppers with global sellers.
Under the Prime service, Chinese shoppers would pay CNY 388 ($57.23 or roughly Rs. 3,821) for a year-long subscription, which would give them access to unlimited free international shipping on orders over CNY 200 ($29.50 or roughly Rs. 1,970).

Amazon declined to comment on if it would launch other Prime services it offers in the United States in China, including what could be contentious online music and video services.

China has stringent rules on foreign media products. Apple scrubbed their iBooks and Movies services from the market earlier this year, while this month Netflix abandoned plans to enter the market all together.

© Thomson Reuters 2016

Google Unveils Top 10 ‘India YouTube Ads’ Listing

Google Unveils Top 10 'India YouTube Ads' ListingGoogle on Thursday revealed the India YouTube Ads leaderboard, a coveted listing of the ads that India chose to watch during July, August and September of this year. The YouTube Ads leaderboard showcases the most creative ads that people choose to watch.

The top 10 ads include: SheronKePanje #MaaKaDhula, #MomBeAGirlAgain, #MPMeinDilHuaBachaSa, Bajaj V – The Invincible, #BiggestSmallChange, Kinder Joy New Imagination, Kapil Sharma ne Dikhaya #AngrezipantiKoAngootha, Pepsi Mood Vending Machine – A good exam ends with #PepsiMoji, #AirtelOpenNetwork, #Fashion Kar le and Style Bana le with Myntra.

Combined, the top 10 ads made for an astounding 2.8 lakh hours of watch time, with nearly 72 percent ads getting viewed on mobile devices, Google said in a statement.

“Emotionally engaging ad content came out as a winning ingredient for Indian viewers and based on the average watch time per ad, it is clear that people are happy to invest their time on advertising that they can easily relate and connect with,” Google added.

Seven out of the top 10 ads including Bajaj, Amazon, Micromax, Pepsi, Idea and Airtel have taken this approach, which helped them engage with audiences better.

Google also revealed that the brands are increasingly telling stories from kids’ perspective and Dettol, Madhya Pradesh Tourism and Kinder Joy’s ads have all done this – hitting the mark with their audiences.

Google Assistant Gets IFTTT Support; Makes Voice Commands on Pixel, Google Home More Powerful

Google Assistant Gets IFTTT Support; Makes Voice Commands on Pixel, Google Home More PowerfulGoogle unveiled its smart home speaker called Google Home at its Made by Google event on October 4. The speaker, like the Google Pixel smartphones, is powered by the Google Assistant. At the time of launch, Google Home did not have many integrations to work with, but that should change when the Assistant SDK becomes available. Now however, IFTTT has rolled out the Google Assistant channel, bringing hundreds of new products and services the voice-based virtual assistant can interact with, be it from Google Home or a Pixel smartphone.

Users can now create ‘recipes’ to IFTTT to connect Google Assistant with a number of products and services, like Facebook, Philips Hue etc. IFTTT is a web automation service that works on the principle of If This, Then That – a fancy name for the simple If-Then loops used in algorithms that anyone with basic programming knowledge would understand. If a certain condition is met, a certain action will be carried out. These are also called recipes. It connects to a number of other Internet services as well as apps (via the IF apps for Android and iOS) like Gmail, Facebook, Instagram etc. to allow users to form some chains of simple commands. It then operates the first command if the condition is met as per the instructions given by the user. The company touts integrations with as many as 376 services.

To add IFTTT integration to their Pixel smartphone or Google Home speaker, users will need to go to www.ifttt.com/google_assistant and connect their associated Google account. IFTTT has detailed some of the recipes that will be supported by Google Assistant – you can add a task to Todoist by your voice, ask Philips to change the lighting of the room, post to Facebook and Twitter through your voice, send a Slack message, or add a contact on Google. A very crucial feature to locate your smartphone is also supported by IFTTT. You can read the entire set of commands on IFTTT’s website.

To recall, Google Home is still in infancy with only a few partners like Philips Hue and Samsung SmartThings to allow users to seamlessly use their voice for multiple actions. Google Home is slated to go on sale in upcoming weeks.