After 4 years, Orkut founder to launch ‘Hello’ social network app in India

With hello, the aim is to create positive, meaningful, authentic connections and sustained social engagement

Facebook

A new social networking platform ‘hello‘, set up by the founder of the once-popular Orkut, has announced its entry into the Indian market amid the controversy surrounding user data breach at Facebook.

hello has been set up by Orkut Buyukkokten, who was the founder of Orkut that once was a leading social networking site in India and Brazil. Interestingly, Orkut shut down its services in 2014, having lost its sheen to rivals like Facebook. | Today’s Paper

“If you look at social media today, it has isolated people instead of bringing them closer. It has become more about broadcasting than sharing. We need a fresh start. Hello is built around interest-based communities where users with same interests can connect, leading to true connections,” Buyukkokten said.

He added that with hello, the aim is to create positive, meaningful, authentic connections and sustained social engagement.

“We started in Brazil in July 2016… About 35,000 users were a part of our beta testing in the Indian market. Orkut was huge in India and I’m delighted to say hello to India once again,” he said.

The hello app is available for download on App Store and Google Play.

Asked about the monetisation model, Buyukkokten said the company “does not have to sell user data to get revenues”.

“When a user signs up, they are asked about five things that they are passionate about and then get recommendations that are non-intrusive. We also ensure that every advertiser has a profile on hello (for greater accountability),” he said adding that no user information is shared with third-party apps.

After India, the company would look at rolling out its service in its home market the US as well as in countries like France and Germany.

Social networking giant Facebook, which has over 20 crore users in India, had admitted that nearly 5.62 lakh people in the country were “potentially affected” by its global data breach involving Cambridge Analytica.

The data mining firm has been accused of harvesting personal information of over millions of Facebook users illegally to influence polls in several countries.

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg has said his organisation was committed to ensuring integrity of elections across the world, including India, as he testified before the US Congress yesterday.

Facebook’s data breach scandal had also sparked a furore in India, with IT Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad last month warning the firm of “stringent” action for any attempt to influence polls through data theft. He also threatened to summon Zuckerberg, if needed.

 

Is your phone safe? Google detects Tizi app that steals FB, WhatsApp data

The company has removed the app from Play Store, notified all known affected devices and suspended the account of the app developer

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Today’s PaperGoogle has detected an app ‘Tizi’, which has been stealing information from call records and also from social media apps like Facebook, WhatsApp, and also take pictures from mobile phones without even displaying them on the screen of the device.

Tizi App is a fully featured backdoor that installs spyware to steal sensitive data from popular social media applications. The Google Play Protect security team discovered this family in September 2017 when device scans found an app with rooting capabilities that exploited old vulnerabilities,” a post on Google security blog said.

The company has removed the app from Play Store, notified all known affected devices and suspended the account of the app developer, the post dated November 27 said.

The post said that earlier variant of Tizi did not have rooting capabilities but it developed later on and thereafter started stealing sensitive information from devices.

“The rooting capabilities give an app full control of the device. It can bypass all restriction posted on it by the Android security system. An app with rooting is like a user using the device. Presence of such app on Google Play Store raises concerns about secure apps on the app store,” cybersecurity expert Jiten Jain said.

The post said that after gaining rooting capability, Tizi steals sensitive data “from popular social media apps like Facebook, Twitter, WhatsApp, Viber, Skype, LinkedIn, and Telegram.”

The backdoor capability of Tizi was common to commercial spyware, such as recording calls from WhatsApp, Viber, and Skype, sending and receiving SMS messages, and accessing calendar events, call log, contacts, photos, Wi-Fi encryption keys, and a list of all installed apps

“Tizi apps can also record ambient audio and take pictures without displaying the image on the device’s screen,” the post said.

The post said that in and after April 2016 vulnerabilities in devices which could have been affected by Tizi were fixed with new software codes.

“If a Tizi app is unable to take control of a device because the vulnerabilities it tries to use are all patched, it will still attempt to perform some actions through the high level of permissions it asks the user to grant to it, mainly around reading and sending SMS messages and monitoring, redirecting, and preventing outgoing phone calls,” the post said.

 

Google marks India’s first woman lawyer Sorabji’s 151st b’day: Who was she?

Cornelia was the first female graduate from Bombay University, first woman to read law at Oxford University and the first Indian national to study at any British university

sorabji

Google on Wednesday paid its tributes to Cornelia Sorabji, India’s first woman lawyer, through a dedicated doodle on the occasion of her 151st birth anniversary.

A woman with many accolades to her kitty, Cornelia was the first female graduate from Bombay University, the first woman to read law at Oxford University and the first Indian national to study at any British university, the first female advocate in India, and the first woman to practise law in India and Britain. |Today’s Paper

Cornelia was born in Nashik as one among nine children to Reverend Sorabji Karsedji and his wife, Francina Ford, who had been adopted and raised by a British couple. She enrolled in Deccan College, and claims to have topped the Presidency in her final degree examination, which would have entitled her to a government scholarship to study further in England.

However, according to Sorabji, she was denied the scholarship, and instead took up a temporary position as a professor of English at a men’s college in Gujarat. After becoming the first female graduate of Bombay University, Sorabji wrote in 1888 to the National Indian Association for assistance in completing her education. This was championed by Mary Hobhouse (whose husband Arthur was a member of the Council of India) and Adelaide Manning, who contributed funds, as did Florence Nightingale, Sir William Wedderburn and others.

Sorabji thus arrived in England in 1889 and stayed with Manning and Hobhouse. In 1892, she was given special permission by Congregational Decree, due in large part to the petitions of her English friends, to take the Bachelor of Civil Laws exam at Somerville College, Oxford, thereby becoming the first woman to ever do so.

Upon completing her education and returning to India in 1894, Sorabji was involved in social and advisory work on behalf of the purdahnashins or women, who, according to Hindu law, were forbidden to communicate with the outside male world.

Click here to read → Cornelia Sorabji

YouTube Go app launched in India for spotty internet signals

A beta version of the app has been released in the Google Play Store in India

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Alphabet Inc’s Google said on Tuesday it would roll out a mobile YouTube application designed for India, boosting the search company’s presence in a burgeoning market with spotty Internet access.

Since the fall, Google has been conducting extensive tests in India of YouTube Go, which allows users to save videos to watch offline and monitor their data use.

A beta version of the app has been released in the Google Play Store in India, and will be released in other emerging markets later, company executives said in an interview.

Analysts have been forecasting a surge in video consumption in India since Reliance Jio, the telecom unit of Reliance Industries Ltd, upended the industry last year with cheap data plans that have prodded rivals to lower prices.

Silicon Valley has long regarded India, with its population of 1.3 billion people and poor connectivity, as a prime place to test products for emerging markets.

YouTube executives said they sought to build a product for Indian users from the ground up rather than releasing a slimmed-down version of their primary app.

“As we talked to people in the market, they didn’t want something that felt like a stripped down version of YouTube – they wanted the full experience,” said John Harding, vice president of engineering at YouTube.

Due to the frustration of trying to load video at slow Internet speeds, the YouTube team had contemplated showing users a series of images from a video with the audio, like a slideshow. But Indian consumers reacted poorly to the feature.

The final design helps users discover videos that trending in their region while minimising data usage. Users can preview videos before watching to ensure that is what they want.

While Reliance Jio’s entry has boosted video consumption in India, analyst Neil Shah of Counterpoint Technology Market Research questioned whether YouTube Go would remain popular as cheap data plans become more prevalent.

“The only future I see for YouTube Go is for feature phones or basic phones,” he wrote in an email.

But with 180 million mobile users in India and mobile watch time climbing 400 per cent year over year, YouTube has strong momentum in India, Jay Akkad, a product lead at YouTube, said. (readmore…)