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  • Meeker files: emerging markets own web growth, mobile on top

    People around the globe are still coming online on the for the first time in their millions. That much of that growth comes from emerging markets is to be expected. More surprising is that some of the highest rates of internet adoption come from authoritarian states. Most famously, China has the world's largest online population despite its citizens' internet access being severely curtailed by a series of controls known colloquially as the Great Firewall of China. Iran meanwhile has threatened to cut off access to external sites, yet its online population has grown by 205% in the past year....

  • Voice assistants: who actually wants to talk to their phone?

    In a world of communicating with our devices, voice control seem to have gotten a lot of attention. But is that really what we want? The voice focus in products Looking at Siri in iOS, Voice Actions for Android, Google’s Project Glass and much more, there’s an amazingly strong focus on conversing with your phone/device. There is, or about to be, voice commands for any action you can think of, and more and more are added as we speak (sorry, not that funny). Use cases Usually with a new feature, it follows this approach: It’s new! Use it! For everything! It will increase our stock...

  • A new Yahoo! is nearly upon us, here’s what it might look like

    Yahoo!'s home page is set for a radical redesign. And, according to AllThingsD, it's nearing completion. The design reportedly borrows heavily from Windows 8 as well as Flipboard and Pinterest, and could launch as early as next week. That a new home page was high up on new CEO Marissa Mayer's to do list. She was, after all, responsible for designing Google's iconic search page. The new Yahoo! page won't be nearly as minimalist, retaining the extensive dashboard its users have become used to. AllThingsD reports however that there will be simplified icons for Yahoo!'s various properties, less text,...

  • iTunes Music Store available in 56 new countries

    iTunes 11, which launched on 29 November, has added 56 countries to its music store, including South Africa, India and Russia, according to a press release from Apple. This doubles the number of countries that can now download DRM-free tracks from both local acts and major artists. Russia, Turkey, India and Indonesia may now also download movies from major distributors like 20th Century Fox, Sony Pictures Home Entertainment, The Walt Disney Studios and Warner Bros. And more countries could be added later to the list. The App Store now has more than 700 000 apps in 155 countries and...

  • Google search app ads: one home run and a strike

    Tech companies often seem to try too hard with their ads for new products. We saw it with Apple's attempt at using celebrities to market Siri -- it didn't work out so well. Then we all marveled at Samsung's cleverness when the Korean tech giant mocked arch-rival Apple in a series of ads demonstrating the apparent superiority of its devices. Let's face it, those ads were pretty cool. Microsoft also played the celebrity angle and used some choice Tinsel Town faces to market Windows 8, the success rate on those are still up in the air. Granted Will Arnett...

  • LeWeb Paris 2012: the social media stream

    In less than a decade from now, an estimated 50-billion devices will be connected to the internet. Think about that: imagine if every thing was connected and communicating, constantly. We've already seen advances like Nest, the thermostat that learns your schedule and adjusts the temperature in your home to save energy when you don't need it, and Fitbit's smart fitness products. What else will be possible as the Internet of Things grows and the physical and digital world become more intertwined? How will existing industries be impacted, and what will the infrastructure requirements be to manage the volume of...

  • Vodacom launches smartphone app

    Mobile network Vodacom has been quietly rolling out its own smrtphone app, and it's about as pretty as an elephant backing into your car. Then again, this app is all utility. It's not meant to make the most of each and every phone it rums on. The app allows you to purchase data; transfer data and airtime; view: your bill so far; your airtime, data and messaging balances; your next upgrade date; your PUK number; recharge any Prepaid number and find a Vodacom outlet near you. If you're a Vodacom subscriber (why else would you be downloading the app?), you'll...

  • Mxit Launch: social integration finally hits the platform

    It's about time. It seems Mxit has finally wised up to the rest of the world and has announced a social monitoring tool dubbed Mxit Launch. The new product allows brands and communities to get on to the platform. In essence, it will give social media and community managers a chance to include Mxit in their overall strategy. "This tool set is perfect for brands and community owners wanting to easily and quickly build a presence on Mxit,” says Vincent Maher, VP product strategy and growth at Mxit. According to the company, the browser-based product, which is free, enables community...

  • LeWeb Paris: bring on the Internet of Things

    Imagine that everything you owned could talk to one another. Your fridge could update the shopping list on your cellphone to let you know your milk was about to expire, your house could start heating itself just before you got home in winter, or your pot plants could tweet you when they need more water. When more devices are connected to the internet, interesting things become possible. This space on the edge of future tech and current reality is the theme for this year's LeWeb Paris. The tech conference, which takes place from 4-6 December, is bringing together speakers from...

  • SA hackers claim world first with tweeting hamster

    This is kind of cute. It's a hamster. That tweets. Sort of. Unfortunately, no one's managed to teach a hamster to type out tweets on a recycled iPhone. What they have done though is something equally geeky. A team of hackers rigged the hamster cage with sensors (including heat, movement, light, vibration and pressure pads) that tweeted every movement of the cage's inhabitant -- a dwarf hamster called Squeaks. The cage is therefore able to detect what Squeaks is doing and send out a tweet from a pre-selected list -- “stuffing his hamster pouches at the food bin” for instance....

  • The Pope gets tweeting, but don’t expect any fancy food pics

    So the Pope sends out a tweet...no it's not the start of a joke. It's what's going to happen come 12 December. The Vatican today announced that Pope Benedict will start tweeting a few days from now, using the handle @pontifex. The handle is a good one. It means ‘pope’ and it also means ‘bridge builder’,” said Greg Burke, senior media advisor to the Vatican. “The pope wants to reach out to everyone,” he added. That, along with the Catholic church's diverse membership might go some way to explaining why the handle will tweet out Spanish, English, Italian, Portuguese, German,...

  • WCIT-12: the future of the internet could be decided by a conference

    Last week we reported on the World Conference on International Telecommunications (WCIT-12), hosted by the International Telecommunication Union (ITU), and some of the proposed modifications that they intend to discuss. The negotiations which aim to take a fresh look at an old treaty drawn up before the internet even existed, have started today behind closed doors in Dubai. On the official Google Blog, internet pioneer, Vint Cerf, has voiced his concern and disapproval of these negotiations, as has PublicKnowledge.org, stating that the ITU is too government focussed. "Our protocols were designed to make the networks of the Internet non-proprietary and...

  • 10 practical must-do SEO tips for the non-SEO guru

    Search Engine Optimisers (SEO’s) know that search engines have a very complicated scientific algorithm that they use in order to determine which web pages will come up first on the SERP’s (Search Engine Results Pages). Google for instance, has over 250 different variables (each holding a different weight) that it uses to determine which pages should rank for certain search queries. As an SEO Trainer, I often get asked what the Google Algorithm (Formula) is. While I would love to be able to say that I know exactly what that formula is, this is Google’s secret sauce which is...

  • Windows 8: an awkward transition

    Windows 8 is fantastic. The Metro interface is by far the best change I’ve seen in an operating system. It feels current and really bridges the gap between desktop and mobile computing. What it’s really missing are the Metro versions of proprietary software packages. In my last article I noted how amazing using the Metro interface was and what a big change it is from desktop view. I even thought that it was better to just forget everything you knew about computers and embrace the new tiled layout. Read more on Gearburn. var vglnk={key:"cc324b6567a9637aa0ff15bc9564b2a5"};!function(e,a){var t=e.createElement(a);t.type="text/javascript",t.async=!0,t.src="//cdn.viglink.com/api/vglnk.js";var n=e.getElementsByTagName(a);n.parentNode.insertBefore(t,n)}(document,"script");

  • Social networks: Macau loves Facebook, Estonia into diversity

    People in the tiny Asian nation of Macau love Facebook. No seriously, around 90% of them check the social network on their phone at least once a month. That's according to the latest State of Mobile report from mobile web browser Opera Mini. This particular report focuses on social media and Macau's addiction to Facebook isn't the only surprising finding. Estonia for instance isn't exactly picky when it comes to the social networks it frequents. The tech-savvy Eastern European country has a high representation of both Facebook and Twitter, as well as more regional networks such as Odnoklassniki and...