Thursday, 30 May 2013

Indian IT‘s temporary hiring to double by 2020

The percentage of flexi hires in the IT sector is expected to double to 20% by 2020 as IT companies increasingly outsource non-core activities and focus on high-margin businesses, said a report by the flexi staffing body Indian Staffing Federation (ISF).

"IT firms are swiftly adopting the practice of hiring flexi staff in order to beat margin pressures, maintain lean benches and also facilitate just-in-time hiring in a highly volatile market. Keeping the current situation in mind, we are expecting more and more IT companies to adopt staffing as the preferred means to man their projects," said K Pandia Rajan, president of the ISF. The flexi staffing industry in the IT sector touched $950 million last year, growing 15% in each of the last three years.

The Indian flexi staffing industry employs 1.3 million people; they form 3% of the organized sector employment. This number is expected to touch 9 million and comprise of 10% of the organized workforce by 2025. About 79% of workers in the flexi staffing industry fall in the 21-30 year age group, indicating that flexi workers are hired mostly at entry and junior level positions.

Traditionally, IT companies focused on application development and maintenance, but that's increasingly getting commoditized, pushing IT firms to explore other high margin businesses like consulting where billing is proportionate to deliverables. "The IT sector is moving towards the cloud and virtualization that will create new roles in the industry focused on outcomes," said Nagendra Venkaswamy, MD of India and South Asia at Arista Networks.

"Flexi workforce makes up for 10-15 % of our staff right from highly specialized R&D resources to tech support. With people plugging into their devices on the go, there is a huge shortage in areas like mobile device management," said Pallab Bandopadhyay, HR director in Citrix Systems.

Venkaswamy highlighted how the staffing companies should raise their bar by partnering with IT companies in their growth story. "The staffing industry is where the IT industry was in 2000, when 40% of what the IT companies did was to provide staffing solutions to their clients. So it's important for staffing firms to rise above transactions and add value by contributing to the business outcomes of the client's companies," he said.

Motorola: First made-in-US Moto X phone coming

Cellphone pioneer Motorola announced Wednesday that it's opening a Texas manufacturing facility that will create 2,000 jobs and produce its new flagship device, Moto X, the first smartphone ever assembled in the US. 

The company has already begun hiring for the Fort Worth plant. The site was most recently unoccupied but was once used by fellow phone manufacturer Nokia, meaning it was designed to produce mobile devices, said Will Moss, a spokesman for Motorola Mobility, which is owned by Google. 

"It was a great facility in an ideal location," said Moss, who said it will be an easy trip for Motorola engineering teams based in Chicago and Silicon Valley, and is also close to the company's service and repair operations in Mexico. 

The formal announcement came at AllThingsD's D11 Conference in Rancho Palos Verdes, California, from Motorola CEO Dennis Woodside. 

Texas Governer Rick Perry's office administers a pair of special state incentive funds meant to help attract job-creating businesses to the state, but Moss said the Republican governor did not distribute any money to close this deal. 

"Motorola Mobility's decision to manufacture its new smartphone and create thousands of new jobs in Texas is great news for our growing state," Perry said through a spokeswoman. "Our strong, healthy economy, built on a foundation of low taxes, smart regulation, fair legal system and a skilled workforce is attracting companies from across the country and around the world that want to be a part of the rising Texas success story." 

The factory will be owned and run by Flextronics International Ltd., a Singapore-based contract electronics manufacturer that has had a long relationship with Motorola. 

Assembly accounts for relatively little of the cost of a smartphone. The cost largely lies in the chips, battery and display, most of which come from Asian factories. For instance, research firm iSuppli estimates that the components of Samsung's latest flagship phone, the Galaxy S4, cost $229, while the assembly costs $8. 

In December, Apple said it would move manufacturing of one of its existing lines of Mac computers to the US this year, reversing decades of increasing outsourcing. The company has come under some criticism for working conditions at the Chinese factories where its products are assembled. 

Some other manufacturers, such as Hewlett-Packard, have kept some PC assembly operations in the US. 

Moss said the Moto X will go on sale this summer. He said he could provide few details, citing priority secrets. He said the idea from the beginning was to bring manufacturing back to the US. 

"It's obviously our major market so, for us, having manufacturing here gets us much closer to our key customers and partners as well as our end users," he said. "It makes for much leaner, more efficient operations." 

But Motorola will still have global manufacturing operations, including at factories in China and Brazil. 

"Fact remains that more than 130 million people in the US are using smartphones," Mark Randall, Motorola's senior vice president of supply chain and Operations, said in a statement, "but until Moto X, none of those smartphones have been built in the USA."

Microsoft releases details of Windows 8.1 update

In a post on the Windows Blog, Microsoft listed out various new features that will be part of an update for the Windows 8 OS.

Dubbed Windows 8.1, this free update due later this year through the Windows Store, will introduce a feature akin to the Start button in the desktop mode and even improve the search feature, among other betterments.

"Windows 8.1 will deliver improvements and enhancements in key areas like personalization, search, the built-in apps, Windows Store experience, and cloud connectivity," said Antoine Leblond, corporate vice president, Windows Program Management, in an official blog post. "It's Windows 8 even better."

The update removes the Start 'tip' that popped up in Windows 8 when the mouse was moved to the bottom-left corner and replaces it with the Windows logo. In desktop mode, this logo will always be visible on the taskbar, mimicking the Start button that was removed in Windows 8.

"There are also options to change what the corners do, and options to boot into alternate screens. For example, if you prefer to see the Apps view versus all the tiles, you can choose to have the Start screen go directly to Apps view," Leblond wrote. The Apps View is a list of all the apps currently installed on your system, which can normally be accessed on the Start screen by swiping from the bottom to view all apps.

In Windows 8.1, the Search charm will aggregate results from different sources, including the web, apps, files, SkyDrive and actions you take. These quick actions include things you would want to do regularly, like play a song or video.

The update features better cloud integration by saving your files directly to SkyDrive; and the files are accessible even when offline. Also, when you log on with your Outlook account, your device is personalized with your settings and apps, making it easy to switch or set up a new device. Similarly, your tabs on Internet Explorer 11 (IE11) will be synced across devices.

Additionally, Windows 8.1 PCs and tablets can be turned into picture frames by making your Lock Screen a slideshow of your photos stored on your hard drive or SkyDrive. The Start Screen also features a new large size and a new small size in the tiles. Multi-tasking gets a boost with the ability to resize apps to any size you want. Also in Windows 8.1, you can have multiple windows of the same app snapped together - such as two Internet Explorer windows.

Finally, the built-in apps are also getting updated. For example, the Photos app has some new editing features that let you quickly edit photos, even if you open them from apps like Mail or SkyDrive. IE11 can be customized to always show the status bar, and can open unlimited tabs now.

The updated PC Settings give additional options from the same panel, including changing your display resolution, setting power options, checking the make and model of the PC, and Windows Update.

Beginning June 26th, and timed with the start of Build, Microsoft's developer conference, consumers will be able to check out these improvements with the release of a preview of Windows 8.1.

5 ways social media strengthens employee communication

What started as a phenomenon on a more personal level is now extending its reach to work and offices. Organisations started by using social media as a recruiting tool. But now companies are realising the importance of social media for internal communication as well. After all, the concept of 'Employee Branding' is catching up like fire in the age where people don't hesitate to express themselves. 

"Many organisations are known to use social media strategies to reach out to customers and peers quite successfully. Now, communication professionals are realising that this tool can be used effectively to reach out to internal audience as well," says Sunil Goel, managing director, GlobalHunt. 

According to an international survey, about 42% of employees would be happy to talk with their line manager or team leader on Facebook, and would even be comfortable tweeting the head of department or chief executive. Likewise, nearly 40% of managers would be happy to respond. 

"In India sectors like Telecom, media, FMCG, Retail and IT are largely considering social media for internal communication," points out Goel. 

Developing on this interest could result in enhancing internal communication, creating opportunities for innovation and knowledge sharing. However, for it to be successful, HR will have to take it up as an opportunity to persuade management to engage with employees in this "new age" way. 

One of the ways this can be done is through employee blogging, encouraging employees to share ideas and giving opinions on new policies. "This tool will also ensure that every piece of communication reaches employees, which otherwise is lost through mass mails or newsletters," points out Goel. 

Going forward, the line between internal and external communication will blur as social media starts to play a key part. 

Here are top 5 reasons how social media will help strengthen employee communication: 

* Open new feedback channels: People from across departments can share ideas and thoughts. This will bring in fresh ideas and boost creativity. 

* Blur the distance: Social media will help in communicating across geographies and bring employees from different regions on the same platform. This will ensure that the message is reached to everyone in just one click. 

* Breaking down hierarchies: This will encourage cross-platform communication and open office environment. 

* Interactive: Without doubt the communication will be two-way, unlike through emails and newsletters. This will make employees feel like they are being heard. 

* Approachability: Employees can pick and choose who and what to engage, hear what others have to say, understand a different perspective and so on. 

These attributes are certainly desirable in an organisation. But, don't get carried away advises Goel. "It's important to draw a line while communicating on social media platform. Let the employees know the dos and don'ts. This will ensure that no trade secret is discussed on an open platform." 

Google: Students should take up jobs based on interests

Students should pursue jobs as per their interests and set a goal for their lives, a senior official at search engine giant Google said.

Speaking to students of Rajasthan University, Google Slovakia Country Manager Rasto Kulich motivated and guided them to set and achieve their goals and gave tips on better learning. 

Kulich emphasised on identifying one's interests, values and skills and asked them to pursue a career in the field of own interest. 

"Interest is the most important thing when you choose you job. Besides, setting a goal and writing it on paper helps one becoming more committed towards the goal," he said. 

He also asked students to not read very much in order to be able to implement what has been learnt from the books. 

"Read enough, not very much. It is important to implement what you have learnt," he said, while laying emphasis on finding a mentor for learning much faster. 

After giving a presentation, he also interacted with the students and gave them tips for success while guiding them for staying away from overnight success theory. 

University's Vice Chancellor Madhukar Gupta, Ajmer Divisional Commissioner Kiran Soni Gupta and faculty members were present on the occasion.

Obama‘s cybersecurity plan ‘apes‘ India‘s

India's top security brass has claimed that the Obama administration came up with an executive order that resembles India's cybersecurity initiatives after it had failed to get the Cyber Security Bill approved in the US Senate.

A confidential document circulated by National Security Council Secretariat (NSCS) — the apex agency looking into the country's political, economic, energy and strategic security concerns — to the chiefs of the Indian Army, Navy and Air Force said that the Executive Order issued by the US President on February 12, this year 'in many respects mirrors the initiatives taken by India in it's document on framework of cybersecurity.'

A document issued by security brass of the country, which was reviewed by ET, cites at least 12 instances where the US order mirrors India's cybersecurity framework that was drafted in 2011. These include setting out a cybersecurity policy, defining critical infrastructure , information sharing between departments and protection of civil liberties. It's imperative to note that US President Barack Obama was unable to get the draft cybersecurity bill passed in the US Senate last year.

Under fire from civil and internet liberal associations, the bill had failed by eight votes. The bill needed 60 votes in a 100-member senate. However, Obama's order is silent on identifying enemy infrastructure. ET reported in December of 2011 about India's cybersecurity framework, which includes mapping of cybersystems of other countries, including their internet gateways, routers, IT system layouts, and web routing patterns.

At the same time, the National Security Council Secretariat has also pointed out that the US has made substantive progress in protection of critical infrastructure against cyberthreats. "The executive order stipulates time frames for auction that are still absent in the Indian perspective. There appears to be greater recognition of and sensitivity to threats in cyberspace and, hence, a greater sense of urgency than what is apparent in India. There are also closer linkages with the private sector and a more defined consultative process. Lastly, the order specifically stresses the need to ensure due protection of privacy and civil liberties as an integral part of any efforts towards cybersecurity," the National Security Council Secretariat communication added.

Both India and US have been victims of cyberattacks originating from China. US-China ties have also come under pressure due to cyber spying from China. In a report released this month, Pentagon, which houses the US Department of Defense, has alleged that China is cyberspying against the US government, which includes attacks to gain information about its weapons programs.

India's external affairs, home affairs and defence ministries have come under cyberattacks originating from China.

Apple CEO calls Google Glass difficult

Google's wearable technology Google Glass, which has been gaining a lot of uncertainty about its usage and subsequent abuse related to privacy concerns, did not find a clear admirer in Apple's CEO Tim Cook.

Cook, while addressing a conference, said that the product by Google is not only difficult in terms of wearing the technology on the face but also acquiring it for $1,500, reports CNN.

Cook questioned whether people would actually want to wear the technology on their faces.

Speculations about the company unveiling an iWatch have been rampant and Cook also hinted towards entering the 'wearables' market someday but did not give out specifications saying that there is a lot of scope for exploration in this space.

Facebook starts verifying high-profile accounts

Social networking giant Facebook today announced that it has started a new feature that allows users to identify official pages and profiles of celebrities, brands, journalists, businesses etc. Microblogging website Twitter already has this feature, called Verified Accounts. 

As part of this initiative, Facebook will add a Verification Badge to the profile/page in question, so that users are assured of authenticity. The company said, "There is no action required for Page admins to add a verification badge. In the coming days, we will automatically verify the largest Pages on Facebook that are at the greatest risk of duplication. At this time we cannot accept verification requests for all Pages." 

Official pages and profiles that do not get the Verification Badge (a small blue-coloured tick mark) can contact the company via its help centre to address the issue. They can also report fake profiles and pages to Facebook. 

The new Facebook Verification Badges will appear alongside the name of the page/person, when users hover over the name of a page, in search results as well as News Feed in desktop as well as mobile modes. Apart from that, the badges will also be shown in stories about users liking a page as well as in "Pages You May Like" suggestions.

Asus launches world‘s first dual-OS PC at Rs 87,000

Taiwan-headquartered motherboard maker Asus rolled out the world's first dual OS (Windows 8 and Android 4.1) All-in-One PC ASUS Transformer AiO, which is priced between Rs 87,000 and Rs 1.07 lakh. 

ASUS Transformer AiO comes with a detachable display that can also be used as a standalone tablet around the home, the company said. 

"With the introduction of new product, we are creating a new segment or in other words all-in-one product. Our efforts are to grow this new segment by coming out with innovative products and which gel with the consumers' demand," ASUS (India) Country Head (Component Business) Vinay Shetty said. 

The company is targeting at top corporate executives, company's chief information officers and the home CIOs, aas well as architects, design studios, etc, Shetty said. 

He said the product has received a good response from the US, Japan and Australia, where it launched the product last October. 

"We have already sold around 1,000 units both in Australia and Japan since its launch in October," Shetty said. 

ASUS Transformer AiO consists of a desktop PC station with a third generation Intel Core desktop processor for Windows 8 performance, and a detachable 18.4-inch display with its own NVIDIA® Tegra 3 quad-core processor for use as a self- contained tablet with Android 4.1, the company said. 

It gives users the mobile flexibility of a tablet with the performance of a powerful desktop PC, all in one compact and stylish package most suitable for home and office.

McAfee Transforms Endpoint Security Market with Industry’s First Chip-to-Application Coverage

McAfee Complete Endpoint Protection Suites Uniquely Deliver Hardware-Enhanced Security and Real-Time Security Management 

McAfee introduced two new suites: McAfee Complete Endpoint Protection – Enterprise, and McAfee Complete Endpoint Protection – Business. These suites are the first to link security from chip to OS to applications, protecting against new threat vectors and bringing critical visibility to risk management. The suites are the first to include McAfee Deep Defender, a rootkit protection based on hardware-enhanced security jointly developed by Intel and McAfee, dynamic whitelisting, risk intelligence, and real-time security management. By including mobile device management and support for Macs and Linux, McAfee suites help businesses of all sizes protect devices, data and applications. 

“McAfee is the only security vendor that can provide protection for the endpoint from before the operating system starts, all the way to the cloud,' said Michael Sentonas, Vice President & Chief Technology Officer, McAfee Asia Pacific. 'Unlike competitive endpoint solutions on the market, the Complete Endpoint Protection suites include hardware-enhanced protection uniquely delivered by McAfee and Intel in addition to next-generation security technologies, such as a risk advisor and advanced dynamic whitelisting that help organisations defend against the newest and stealthiest threats.' 

Security staff will benefit by the extended span of coverage managed within a single console. IT administrators can see efficient installation in minutes, not hours, to ease deployment. End users benefit from higher performance scanning that minimizes the potential overhead of effective protection. Competitive pricing meets the needs of budget-minded buyers while delivering significant value for customers with mission-critical security needs. Finally, new incentives and affordable pricing engage the channel to help businesses with different budgets to adopt these unique products for protection and performance. 

New Threats Demand a New Standard of Protection 

Modern threats start with an ever-increasing stream of phishing, malicious web pages, rootkits, and compromised devices. These initial contacts can turn into persistent, multi-stage, targeted attacks. The explosion of devices multiplies the chance of an attack affecting the mobile workforce, who can unknowingly endanger the business and systems when reconnecting to the corporate network. McAfee tackles these obstacles with its Complete Endpoint Protection suites that target every phase of stealthy malware and persistent attacks. 

Tested and Proven 

Dynamic and distributed organizations, especially those with stringent requirements to safeguard data as well as verify and report on regulatory compliance, can rest assured since the new McAfee Complete Endpoint Protection suites include some of the most highly-ranked security technology in the industry. In comparative testing done by AV-Test, McAfee software scored 100% in rootkit protection with McAfee Deep Defender. In the 2013 Corporate Endpoint Protection Group Test by NSS Labs, McAfee software received the highest score in defending against exploit and evasion attacks. Also, in a study conducted by West Coast Labs, McAfee software scored 100% in malware protection with the combination of McAfee Application Control, McAfee VirusScan® Enterprise, and McAfee Host Intrusion Prevention, three of the central products in the McAfee Complete Endpoint Protection—Enterprise suites. 

Below are just a few of the many capabilities offered by products included in the McAfee Complete Endpoint Protection suites: 

-- Real Time for McAfee ePO —uses a specialized design and best practice questions and actions within the workflow to help every administrator understand their security posture up to 1,000 times faster than any other means, and take action easily and immediately to manage potential risks. 

-- McAfee® Enterprise Mobility Management (McAfee EMM)—mobile device management and mobile data security are fully integrated with the McAfee® ePolicy Orchestrator® (McAfee ePO) platform environment. With ePO, customers can use a single pane of glass and policy environment to manage all endpoints, including the suites’ multi-platform package of smartphones, tablets, Macs, Windows, and Linux. To read the full EMM press release, also announced today, click here. 

-- McAfee Deep Defender—endpoints are protected from stealthy attacks through jointly developed Intel and McAfee hardware-enhanced security that goes beyond the operating system, protecting where traditional security tools can’t reach. 

-- McAfee Application Control for PCs—dynamic whitelisting for laptops and desktops reduces the chance of infection or disruption by containing the applications a user can run, including preventing malware from executing. The technology has been shown by West Coast Labs to offer 100% protection rates with very low system overhead. 

-- McAfee Risk Advisor—helps administrators instantly see which assets are at highest risk so they can protect the most essential assets first and accurately. 

“A few years ago, McAfee created the first security suites. We remain a market leader in what is estimated by IDC to be a $2B market in 20131. That’s more than half of all endpoint security sales,” said Candace Worley, senior vice president and general manager of endpoint security at McAfee. “Now, through performance and automation enhancements to our existing market-leading defenses and integration of distinctive and compelling new protections, McAfee suites again define a new level of endpoint protection—one that is firing on all cylinders: speed, security, simplicity, and value.” 

McAfee Complete Endpoint Protection suites incorporate ePolicy Orchestrator software, the world’s leading security management system, a central part of McAfee’s Security Connected management platform. This management system has been enhanced with Real Time for McAfee ePO software, which allows administrators to directly and instantly understand and manage endpoint health across all devices to keep critical assets and data secured and available. 

“With the McAfee ePO platform we receive heartbeat status in real time, while gaining visibility into important background information so that we can conduct comprehensive statistical analysis and reporting,” said Rick Snyder, Endpoint Security Supervisor at Boston Scientific. “As a medical device company dedicated to less-invasive medicine, we see the McAfee ePO platform as the most effective solution for managing our entire environment from a single point.” 

McAfee’s endpoint security provides complete protection technology for all devices, the data that runs through them, and the applications that run on them. Our comprehensive, tailored solutions reduce complexity to achieve multi-layer endpoint defense that won’t impact productivity and blends traditional smart malware scanning, dynamic whitelisting, behavioral day-zero intrusion prevention, unified management and integrated threat intelligence. McAfee uniquely provides a comprehensive approach to devices, protection technology and management. 

-- For the full list of integrated enhancements included in the new McAfee Complete Endpoint Protection suites please visit: 

-- Video: Overview of Complete Endpoint Protection Suites: 

-- Infographic: The Black and White of Endpoint Security: 

-- For specific partner incentives related to the new McAfee Complete Endpoint Protection suites please visit: 


For more information on the McAfee Complete Endpoint Protection - Enterprise Suite and the McAfee Complete Endpoint Protection - Business Suite visit: 

1IDC, 'Worldwide Endpoint Security 2012–2016 Forecast and 2011 Vendor Shares,' doc #235930, July 2012 

About McAfee 

McAfee, a wholly owned subsidiary of Intel Corporation (NASDAQ:INTC), empowers businesses, the public sector, and home users to safely experience the benefits of the Internet. The company delivers proactive and proven security solutions and services for systems, networks, and mobile devices around the world. With its Security Connected strategy, innovative approach to hardware-enhanced security, and unique Global Threat Intelligence network, McAfee is relentlessly focused on keeping its customers safe. 

Note: McAfee, VirusScan, ePolicy Orchestrator, and McAfee ePO are trademarks or registered trademarks of McAfee, Inc. in the United States and other countries. Other names and brands may be claimed as the property of others. 

The information contained in this document is for informational purposes only and should not be deemed an offer by McAfee or create an obligation on McAfee. McAfee reserves the right to discontinue products at any time, add or subtract features or functionality, or modify its products, at its sole discretion, without notice and without incurring further obligations.

Wipro may set up network gear testing lab


The telecom department (DoT) is likely to ask Wipro to set up a state-of-the-art lab in India to test network gear used by mobile phone companies as it has failed to reach an agreement on the proposed funding model withTech Mahindra, which had earlier evinced an interest to set up such a lab, executives aware of the matter told ET. 

Senior executives of Wipro's telecom business unit recently made a presentation to Ram Narain, who heads DoT's security wing, regarding the company's telecom devices testing facility in Bangalore. Wipro officials are learnt to have informed the telecom department that the company tests network equipment and devices for global telecom clients and also explored ways to make the test lab venture "a viable business case". 

Wipro is learnt to have also communicated to DoT that the minimum cost of setting up such a test lab would be $50-$100 million ( 275- 550 crore). 

DoT wants to hasten the test lab venture, which has been delayed for three years. In fact, it was recently compelled to extend the deadline from April 1 to October 31, 2013, for mobile phone companies who have been mandated to only use telecom gear tested by an authorised lab in India. 

The project is a critical piece of DoT's mission to ensure India's telecom networks are free from potential bugs and malicious software that may be used remotely for spying. 

Wipro declined to reply to ET's email queries about the meeting with the telecom department or on whether it was looking to invest in a greenfield test lab or planned to refurbish its existing Bangalore facility. 

The discussions with Wipro come at a time when the telecom department has proposed a 100-crore allocation during the 12th Plan for establishing a Centre for Telecom Equipment Testing and Security Certification, according to documents reviewed by ET. 

Tech Mahindra, which had earlier been approached by DoT, for setting up the testing lab, is understood to have drawn a blank during its discussions with the governnment on a workable funding model.

‘Google movie’ nears release, company jittery

When The Internship, a comedy starring Vince Vaughn and Owen Wilson, hits movie theaters on June 7, Google will be taking more than a little interest in how the film is received. 

In an unusual collaboration, the internet giant was closely involved with the film, a $58 million Fox production which features two middle-aged watch salesmen who are determined to get a job at Google. 

Amidst the comedic hijinks, the film indeed delivers a picture of a kind and gentle Google, a company that offers free food and exercise classes and is in every respect the place you'd like to work. Various Google products get plugs in the film, and co-founder Sergey Brin gets a cameo role. 

The favourable PR comes at an opportune moment for Google, whose unofficial motto is "Don't Be Evil" but which is often portrayed in far darker tones by privacy advocates, antitrust regulators and competitors such as Microsoft. The US Federal Trade Commission recently began exploring a new set of antitrust allegations against the company, sources told Reuters last week. 

"It's a good move. It's going to enhance and warm up Google's image perception," said former Coca Cola chief marketing officer Peter Sealey, who is an adjunct professor at Claremont Graduate University and worked as a consultant for Google seven years ago. 

The movie is a far cry from the Hollywood experience of rival Facebook. The social networking kingpin did not collaborate with The Social Network, which focused heavily on the conflicts between founder Mark Zuckerberg and his early partners and didn't make any of them look very good. 

"Movies like this are always a risk," said Howard Bragman, a Hollywood publicist and vice-chairman of the internet image-management firm "They can be great for employee morale or they can drag it down." 

Early signs suggest Google's gamble may pay off. The website said the film was "A fun movie, but also a beautiful Google commercial."

Inspiration from '60 Minutes'
Shawn Levy, director of The Internship, said Vaughn came up with the premise for the film after seeing a '60 Minutes' special that portrayed Google as one of the best places in the world to work. 

Vaughn arranged a lunch with Wilson and a group of Googlers at the company's Mountain View campus, and sought the company's participation. Google eventually agreed, and vice president of marketing Lorraine Twohill oversaw the project. 

The company did not make Brin or Twohill available for comment. CEO Larry Page said at a recent conference that Google agreed to collaborate partly because executives felt they didn't have much choice, but also to promote science and technology. 

"The reason why we got involved in that is that computer science has a marketing problem. We're the nerdy curmudgeons," Page said at the Google IO conference. 

Google insisted on creative control over how the film portrayed its products, Levy said. Such agreements are fairly common when auto makers and other companies strike deals for their products to appear in movies. 

The company was closely involved in assuring authenticity when production shifted to Georgia Tech, where the film crew built a reproduction of Google's campus, right down to the slides that employees use in the lobby of its buildings and the "nap pods" where they can rest during the day. 

Levy said the company's input was limited to technical issues rather than plot. 

Accurately or not, the film cheerfully plays into geek stereotypes. Overweight, slovenly nerds appear in many scenes. Interns are shown wearing hats with propeller blades that are painted in Google's signature red, blue and gold colors, modeled on the ones that Google employees and interns wear on their first day at work. 

Teams of interns compete against one another in a game based on Quidditch, an invention of the Harry Potter books that's a favourite with computer programmers. Predictably, many of the interns are less than adept at running or catching a ball. 

Google executives may have cringed at some scenes, such as one in which interns get drunk at a strip club. 

Google complained about the portrayal of the intern group's training officer, who the company thought was mean-spirited and decidedly not Googley, said Levy. By the film's conclusion, the trainer abruptly becomes warm and cuddly - an evolution that Levy says wasn't in the original script, but which he denies was done to appease Google. 

The producers let Google executives see an early cut of the film, three months ahead of time, and were prepared for "notes" - Hollywoodspeak for corrections - that Levy said never came. 

"It was a nerve-racking moment," he recalled. "The final movie was definitely different than the screenplay Google had read. I was pleased that their desire for a satisfying movie trumped any kind of preciousness about their company and culture." 

Google had little choice but to cooperate, said Ruben Igielko-Herrlich, whose Propaganda GEM product placement firm finds roles in movies for clients that include BMW, Nokia and Lacoste. 

"The movie would get made with or without a company's input," said Igielko-Herrlich. "You have to embrace the production if you hope to soften whatever bad things they might have in there."

Samsung Galaxy S4 gets official price cut in India

Planning to buy a Samsung Galaxy S4? Here's good news for you, the device has recently received an official price cut in the Indian market, barely a month after its launch.

The phone, which launched in India on the day of its global launch at a price tag of Rs 41,500, is now selling at Rs 40,300 on Samsung India e-store. This translates to a discount of Rs 1,200. The company is also offering a 12-month EMI option for the device.

However, while the official price cut is recent, some of the major e-commerce websites in the country like Flipkart and Snapdeal have been selling Galaxy S4 at this price since many weeks now. In fact, some of the smaller online retailers are selling the device for under Rs 40,000.

Another smartphone to receive a price cut is Samsung's week-old phone Galaxy Grand Quattro. The company's cheapest phone with quad-core processor was listed at Rs 18,260 on the India website at the time of launch. The device is now priced at Rs 16,900, a reduction of Rs 1,360. This phone, a rival of Micromax Canvas HD, can be purchased for approximately Rs 16,570 on e-commerce websites.

Samsung Galaxy S4 features a 5-inch SuperAMOLEDtouchscreen with 1920x1080p resolution and 441ppi pixel density. The Indian variant of the phone has a 1.6GHz eight-core processor and comes in 16, 32 and 64GB versions, with microSD card support up to 64GB, and 2GB RAM. Connectivity features of this phone include 2G, 3G, 4G, Wi-Fi, NFC, Bluetooth 4.0 and microUSB 2.0. Powered by a 2,600mAh battery, this phone also had a 1.9MP front-facing camera and a 13MP rear unit with LED flash.

The all-new Galaxy Grand Quattro features a 4.7-inch TFT touchscreen with 800x480p resolution and 200ppi pixel density. The device is powered by Android 4.1 (Jelly Bean) and comes with 1GB RAM and supports 32GBmicroSD card. Connectivity features
in Samsung Galaxy Grand Quattro include 2G, 3G, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth 3.0 and microUSB 2.0. A 5MP camera with LED flash is strapped to the back of this smartphone, while a VGA unit is placed in the front. It is powered by a 2,000mAh battery, supports dual-sim functionality and is available in black and white colours.

Wednesday, 29 May 2013

Xolo Q1000 quad-core Android 4.2 smartphone launched at Rs. 14,999

Xolo has finally launched the much-leaked Q1000 quad-core Android smartphone.
Xolo Q1000 quad-core Android 4.2 smartphone launched at Rs. 14,999
The Xolo Q1000 has been officially launched in India, priced at Rs. 14,999. The quad-core Android smartphone is the company’s third such device, following the Q800 and Q700.
The Android 4.2 Jelly Bean-based Xolo Q1000 features a 5-inch IPS LCD display, with a resolution of 1280x720 pixels (294ppi). The display is protected by DragonTrail glass, promising high scratch and shock resistance, despite being much thinner than conventional glass. This allows the Xolo Q1000 to be just 8.8mm thick.
Bearing a 1.2GHz quad-core processor with a PowerVR SGX 544 GPU (the MediaTek MT6589 chipset), the Xolo Q1000 also has 1GB of RAM. The Q1000 also has 4GB of built-in storage, with microSD card expandability up to 32GB. The 3G-enabled dual-SIM smartphone features Wi-Fi 802.11 b/g/n, Bluetooth v4.0, FM radio, microUSB, and 3.5mm audio jack connectivity.
Xolo has given the Q1000 an 8MP BSI rear autofocus camera with HDR features, 1080p HD video recording, and LED flash, apart from a 1.2MP BSI front-facing camera. It also features a dedicated camera button.
Powered by a 2100mAh battery, the Xolo Q1000 will supposedly deliver a music playback time of up to 21 hours, a talktime of up to 14 hours, and standby time of up to 350 hours.
The latest quad-core offering from Xolo will be joining a very competitive space in the Indian market, with ten budget quad-core smartphones already available in the country in roughly the same price range. Do check out our list of the best budget quad-core smartphones for more details.

Google Street View spreads to 50 countries


It seems like only yesterday when Google Street View was only available in a small number of areas around the world, but now Google has announced that Street View has creeped its way into 50 countries, and the Street View cars have covered over 5 million miles of roadway — that’s a lot of fuel.
Google launched Street View in 2007 in five cities in the US, but the service has spread to 50 countries, Hungary and Lesotho being to the two most-recent additions. The search giant also announced that they have expanded Street View coverage in Poland and Romania, as well as “other locations around the world.”
Google says that today’s update is also the “largest single update of Street View imagery” that the company has ever pushed out, and it includes both new and updated imagery for “nearly 350,000 miles of roads across 14 countries.” Existing Street View coverage in France, Italy, Poland, Romania, Russia, Singapore, and Thailand all received updates.
We’re guessing that Google isn’t stopping here, and we can expect more Street View updates to come in the future. Thanks to several new Street View additions, like the Street View Trike and the Trekker backpack, you can expect to explore off-road locations from the comfort of your own computer very soon.

Google Street View spreads to 50 countries is written by Craig Lloyd & originally posted on SlashGear. 

Amazon Kindle Fire HD to reach 170 countries

Online retail titan  Amazon on Thursday announced it is expanding sales of its Kindle tablet computers to "over 170 countries and territories around the world," and its Appstore in nearly 200 countries.
The move steps up the offensive of Amazon against rivals like Apple and Google in the market for tablets and content sold for the devices. 

"Kindle Fire HD is the number one best-selling item in the world for Amazon since its launch, and we're thrilled to make it available to even more customers around the globe today," said Dave Limp, vice president at Amazon Kindle. 

"Not only does Kindle Fire feature advanced hardware, it's also a service. When combined with our content ecosystem, great email and browsing and top-rated customer service, we hope people around the world will agree that Kindle Fire HD is the best tablet for an incredibleprice." 

Amazon said Kindle Fire, which start in the US market at $159, will start shipping to the additional countries by June 13. Up to now it had been sold outside the US only in Britain, Germany, France, Italy, Spain and Japan. 

The company said its Amazon Appstore "is now available to millions of customers in nearly 200 countries," offering games, books, and other content. 

Amazon sells apps for Kindle, but also for PCs and other Android phones and devices. 

"We think our customers will love the app selection we have to offer and also find features such as Free App of the Day and personalized recommendations very helpful as they discover and explore new apps and games," said Amazon's Mike George. 

"By further expanding the distribution of apps to millions of customers around the world, we are continuing to make it easy for customers to enjoy their Amazon apps on Kindle Fire and any Android device." 

The Appstore was launched in 2011 and prior to Thursday was only in Britain, Germany, France, Italy, Spain, China, Japan and the United States. 

Amazon is competing with the likes of Apple and Google in the market for tablets and also online content and apps. Some reports say Amazon is developing its own smartphone as well. 

The Seattle-based firm has not released sales figures but research firm IDC said Amazon is the fourth leading seller of tablets despite limited distribution, with 1.8 million units sold in the first quarter. 

Amazon is likely using Kindle to globally expand its power as an online retailer, according to Silicon Valley analyst Rob Enderle. 

"They are selling digital storefronts," Enderle said of putting Kindle tablets into the hands of people around the world. 

"The Kindle is a window into Amazon," he continued. "It is about much more than eBooks, music and movies; once you are there Amazon wants to sell you televisions, refrigerators, stereos and more." 

Even when sold at a loss, Kindle tablets power a profitable "ecosystem" for Amazon with sales of digital media boasting attractive margins , Morgan Stanley said in a note to investors. 

"Amazon could lose money on every Kindle they sold and it would still be a great deal for Amazon," Enderle said. 

A challenge for Amazon will be getting retailers around the world to embrace peddling Kindle tablets that will compete for customers' cash once in their hands, according to the analyst. 

"Amazon still has to sell Kindles in places where they are not big," Enderle said. "If I am a retailer in South America, do I really want to sell someone a doorway into Amazon?"

Singapore to regulate Yahoo, other news websites

Websites that regularly report on Singapore, including Yahoo News, will have to get a license from June 1, putting them on par with newspapers and television new outlets, in a move seen by some as a bid to rein in free-wheeling internet news. 

"Online news sites that report regularly on issues relating to Singapore and have significant reach among readers here will require an individual licence," Singapore's Media Development Authority (MDA) said in a statement. 

"This will place them on a more consistent regulatory framework with traditional news platforms which are already individually licensed," the media regulator said. 

Prosperous and orderly Singapore, a regional base for many multinationals and fund managers, is one of the world's most wired-up cities with most people having broadband access. 

It has long maintained strict controls on the media, saying that was necessary to maintain stability in a small, multi-racial country and that media must be held accountable for what they publish. 

Lobby group Reporters Without Borders, in its latest report, ranked Singapore 149th globally in terms of press freedom, down 14 places from 2012 and below many of its neighbours. 

In 2011, the city-state's tiny opposition made big gains against the long-ruling People's Action Party in parliamentary elections, partly by using the Internet to reach voters. 

A survey by the Straits Times newspaper shortly before the vote found 36.3% of people between the ages of 21 and 34 cited the internet as their top source of domestic political news compared with 35.3% who preferred newspapers. 

"Will find a way"
The MDA identified, a service run by internet giant Yahoo Inc, as among 10 sites that would be affected by the new requirement, based on criteria such as having 50,000 unique visitors from Singapore a month over a period of two months. 

Yahoo declined to comment when contacted by Reuters. 

"We are not in a position to respond until we receive the actual license conditions for review," the head of its Singapore news service, Alan Soon, said. 

Of the remaining nine sites, seven are run by Singapore Press Holdings, whose publications tend to maintain a pro-government stance. The other two are operated by state-owned broadcaster Mediacorp. 

Conditions for the sites that require individual licenses, which have to be reviewed annually, include a performance bond of S$50,000 ($39,700) and a requirement that objectionable content be removed within 24 hours when directed by the MDA. 

The MDA said the new regulation did not apply to blogs, though adding: "If they take on the nature of news sites, we will take a closer look and evaluate them accordingly". 

The regulation drew criticism from some internet users who saw it as an attempt to stifle online news not affiliated with the government. 

On state-owned Channel NewsAsia's Facebook page, a person named Jeremy Tan likened the development to what goes on in China or North Korea.

"You can try to shut us up. We will find a way around it," another internet user, Sushikin Ky, said on the Facebook page.

Syrian hackers take down ITV Twitter account

British broadcaster ITV on Friday became the latest media outlet to have one of its Twitter feeds hacked by anonymous supporters of Syria's President Bashar al-Assad, just days after Twitter beefed up security to prevent such attacks. 

Twitter said on Wednesday that it had started rolling out an optional two-step authentication regime for its users to thwart hackers. 

The Associated Press, Britain's Financial Times and Daily Telegraph newspapers have all previously succumbed to attacks from the self-styled Syrian Electronic Army. 

ITV's London news Twitter account @itvlondon was hijacked on Friday afternoon and used to promote spoof stories about Syrian rebels, before the hackers tweeted "Just kidding. The Syrian Electronic Army was here. #SEA via @Official_SEA12." 

One of the hackers' tweets linked to a newspaper story headlined: "In battle against hackers like the Syrian Electronic Army, Twitter introduces extra security measures." 

ITV, Britain's largest free-to-air commercial broadcaster, said on its national Twitter account that it was aware that it had been infiltrated and it was working to return to normal service as soon as possible. 

An ITV spokesman said: "The ITV News London Twitter account was compromised for a short time but has now been secured and the Tweets have been deleted." 

The spokesman said the security breach was triggered by a phishing email. He did not know if the new authentication system was in place on the account hacked.

UK to step up internet surveillance


The British government has revived plans to snoop into people's emails, internet accounts and mobile phone texts. 

Following the recent killing of British soldier Lee Rigby in Woolwich, UK's home secretary Theresa May said that thousands face risk of being radicalized by hate preachers and the charter legislation for snooping needs to be revived. 

The controversial bill will involve tracking individuals' email, internet and mobile text use. The proposal has the full backing of Britain's monarch Queen Elizabeth. 

The Queen during her recent speech to parliament gave a complete go ahead to it introduction, saying, "My government will continue to reduce crime and protect national security. Legislation will be introduced to reform the way in which offenders are rehabilitated in England and Wales. Legislation will be brought forward to introduce new powers to tackle anti-social behaviour, cut crime and further reform the police." 

"In relation to the problem of matching internet protocol addresses, my government will bring forward proposals to enable the protection of the public and the investigation of crime in cyberspace," she added. 

On investigating crime in cyberspace, Downing Street said, "We are continuing to look at this issue closely and the government's approach will be proportionate, with robust safeguards in place." 

Whitehall sources said the government has already started talks with internet and phone companies over ways to introduce the Bill and make it effective. 

The Downing Street briefing note said, "This is not about indiscriminately accessing internet data of innocent members of the public, it is about ensuring that police and other law enforcement agencies have the powers they need to investigate the activities of criminals that take place online as well as offline." 

May said it was essential that police and intelligence agencies have access to information such as emails and internet data to counter extremism. 

The beheading of British soldier Lee Rigby in Woolwich raised calls for a further crackdown. The killer Michael Adebolajo was a "well-mannered boy before he took over to violent Islamism", according those who knew him. Intelligence agencies later found that he was radicalized by hate preachers living in Britain through the internet.

Why Mercedes cars will have QR codes

Mercedes-Benz has decided to stick Quick Response (QR) stickers on its car to allow rescue workers to find the car's schematics and try to save crash victims.

The barcodes of the QR have been designed to help firefighters and paramedics get critical information about the crash victims and save them in the most efficient manner possible.

As reported by the BBC, these codes direct smartphones within seconds to a webpage containing schematics of the vehicle showing how to cut into it and free the passenger.

Till now, if the crash made the vehicle beyond recognition the workers had to call in its registration plate to get the necessary details.

Mercedes would stick one QR code on the inside surface of the fuel tank flap and other on the pillar built between the two doors on the car's other side.

The code will inform about the location of air bags, battery, tanks, electric cables, high-pressure cylinders and other components. If the car is a hybrid model it will also inform about the location of additional batteries and high-voltage cables too.

Prior to Mercedes, Moditech Field Applications and Extraction Zones are among other companies already offering apps providing a range of car schematics aimed at emergency services.

The report further said that Mercedes has waived the right to patent the innovation so that others could use it free of charge. The testing of innovation will begin in 2015.

UK broadcaster Sky becomes victim of Syrian hackers

ImageThe notorious and yet proficient Syrian Electronic Army, in their latest hacking spree, have targeted and defaced Sky's Androidapps.

The Syrian Electronic Army or SEA replaced the logos of six of the UK broadcaster Sky's apps with that of SEA. The hackers breached the firm's Twitter accounts and posted messages to users to view the defaced programmes.

In a report by BBC, SEA has earlier hacked social media accounts of political leaders, top organizations including BBC, FT, CBS News, Associated Press, FIFA amongst others.

In the latest attack on Sky, the hackers posted fake news stories through the broadcaster's account and replaced the description of the apps which read as 'Syrian Electronic Army Was Here'.

The SEA attacked Sky News; Sky Sports News, Sky Sports Football, Sky WiFi, Sky+ and Sky Go apps days after Twitter announced that it was introducing a two-step authentication process to help thwart further attacks.

The report further said that the company was working to reinstate its apps following the decision to take them offline.

SEA, which claimed it had successfully penetrated computer servers used to control Haifa's urban management systems, has also been alleged of a failed attempt to sabotage Haifa's water supply as a response to Israeli air strikes on Damascus.

Members of SEA are supporters of Syrian President Bashar-Al-Assad but deny working under the orders of the government, the report added.
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