Wednesday December 13, 2017
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Digital India to transform the way India will live, work: Modi

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San Jose: Prime Minister Narendra Modi told US tech greats that his government’s vision of Digital India was an enterprise to transform India on a scale “perhaps, unmatched in human history” that would touch the lives of those living in the farthest corners of the country and also change the way the nation “will live and work”.

photo credit: ndtv.com
photo credit: ndtv.com

 

In his speech at the Digital India dinner here, Modi recounted the way technology was helping make connectivity easier, with the internet, mobile phone and Skype touching the lives not only of farmers, villagers and those living in cities but also connecting doctors in India with hospitals in other countries.

“Today, technology is advancing citizen empowerment and democracy that once drew their strength from Constitutions. Technology is forcing governments to deal with massive volume of data and generate responses, not in 24 hours but in 24 minutes,” he said.

He said with Digital India, the government will “transform governance, making it more transparent, accountable, accessible and participative.”

“I spoke of e-Governance as a foundation of better governance – efficient, economical and effective. I now speak of m-governance or mobile governance. That is the way to go in a country with one billion cell phones and use of smart phones growing at high double digit rates.”

Modi said: “Since my government came to office, we attacked poverty by using power of networks and mobile phones to launch a new era of empowerment.”

“I see technology as a means to empower and as a tool that bridges the distance between hope and opportunity,” he said. “In this digital age, we have an opportunity to transform lives of people in ways that was hard to imagine just a couple of decades ago.”

Modi said the government wanted paperless transactions and announced plans to set up a “digital locker for every citizen to store personal documents that can be shared across departments”.

He said the e-biz portal set-up was aimed to make approvals for businesses and citizens easy and efficient.

“The government”, he said, “is using technology to impart scale and speed to development and for this there is need to bridge the digital divide and promote digital literacy in the same way as ensuring general literacy.”

Modi said: “We want our 1.25 billion citizens to be digitally connected. We already have broadband usage across India go up by 63 percent last year. We need to accelerate this further.”

He said the government launched an aggressive expansion of the National Optical Fibre Network that would take broadband to 600,000 villages. All schools and colleges would be connected with broadband. “Building I-ways are as important as highways,” he said.

He also announced the setting up of Common Service Centres in villages and towns and that information technology would be used to build smart cities.

Modi said the government wants to turn villages into smart economic hubs and connect farmers better to markets and make them less vulnerable to the whims of weather.

“Access also means that content should be in local languages. In a country with 22 official languages, it is a formidable, but an important task,” he said.

“Affordability of products and services is critical for our success. There are many dimensions to this. We will promote manufacture of quality and affordable products in India. That is part of our vision of Make in India, Digital India and Design in India,” he added.

He said along with promoting connecting the different services, the government would also give the highest importance to data privacy and security, intellectual property rights and cyber security.

Inviting the tech giants, including Google, Microsoft, Adobe and others to participate, Modi said: “So, from creating infrastructure to services, from manufacture of products to human resource development, from support governments to enabling citizens and promoting digital literacy, Digital India is a vast cyber world of opportunities for you.”

“Today, we speak of India-US partnership as a defining partnership of this century. It hinges on two major reasons. Both converge here in California.”

“We all know that the dynamic Asia Pacific Region will shape the course of this century. And, India and the United States, the world’s two largest democracies, are located at the two ends of this region.”

“We have the responsibility to shape a future of peace, stability and prosperity in this region,” Modi said.

(IANS)

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Google launches three new apps for photography

The new photography applications are "Storyboard" (available on Android only), "Selfissimo!" (available on iOS and Android) and "Scrubbies" (available on iOS only).

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44th Anniversary of the birth of Hip Hop

San Francisco, Dec 12: Google has introduced three photography apps which are part of a new series that it has dubbed as photography “appsperiments”.

“We’re launching the first installment of a series of photography appsperiments: Usable and useful mobile photography experiences built on experimental technology. Our ‘appsperimental’ approach was inspired in part by ‘Motion Stills’,” the company wrote in a research blog late on Monday.

“‘Motion Stills’ is an app developed by researchers that converts short videos into cinemagraphs and time lapses using experimental stabilisation and rendering technologies,” Google added.

Google apps
Google introduces photography apps

The new photography applications are “Storyboard” (available on Android only), “Selfissimo!” (available on iOS and Android) and “Scrubbies” (available on iOS only).

The “Storyboard” app takes video clips and automatically pulls out six frames that it lays out in a comic book-style template.

“Selfissimo!” is an automated selfie photographer that snaps a black and white photograph each time the user poses.

“Scrubbies” lets the user easily manipulate the speed and direction of video playback to produce video loops that highlight actions, capture funny faces and replay moments.

The tech giant has also urged users to try out the new apps and provide feedback via the in-app feedback links. IANS

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Google gets the better of Facebook as top referral source for publishers

In 2016 Facebook tweaked its algorithm to prioritise posts from friends and family over publishers.

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Google has beaten Facebook to become publishers' main source of external page views over the course of 2017
Google has beaten Facebook to become publishers' main source of external page views over the course of 2017. VOA
  • Google webpage traffic increases considerably
  • Facebook went down by 26% in January as compared to last year
  • Video publishing feature might has add up to the Facebook traffic

San Francisco, Dec 12,2017: Google has beaten Facebook to become publishers’ main source of external page views over the course of 2017, a new data showed.

Google used to be the main source of referral traffic for web publishers. Then Facebook eclipsed it, ReCode reported late on Monday.

According to digital analytics company Parse.ly, Google sent more traffic than Facebook to publishers — Facebook sent 25 per cent less traffic to publishers in 2017, while Google increased its traffic by 17 per cent.

In January, Facebook provided nearly 40 per cent of publishers’ external traffic which is now down to 26 per cent.

Google web traffic
Google AMP feature has helped it to add up to the web traffic

Google, which started the year at 34 per cent, generated 44 per cent of the total traffic.

Parse.ly pointed out a number of factors for this turnaround.

In 2016 Facebook tweaked its algorithm to prioritise posts from friends and family over publishers.

Also, Facebook’s “Instant Articles” feature, where the service hosted some publishers’ content directly but promised to send more readers to the original site as well, has declined in importance, the analytics company found.

Since users can now publish videos directly on Facebook, this might have affected how many links to web stories publishers put on their Facebook pages.

Google’s “accelerated mobile pages” (AMP) feature, which also hosts publishers’ content directly on Google’s servers, became more important over the year.

AMP stories – typically from news publishers – are surfaced at the top of mobile search results as “Top Stories,” which drives clicks. (IANS)

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Beatles, Apple, Facebook knew India more than Indians

Famous non-Indian celebrities know more about India and its past

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The Beatles once visited India to know more bout its past and culture.
The Beatles once visited India to know more bout its past and culture. Wikipedia

-By Salil Gewali

Facebook’s Chairman Mark Zuckerberg had dropped a bombshell on the “secularists” in India during PM Modi’s visit to his campus in California. It’s all about the Facebook connection with India. Initially, it was never a bed of roses for what is now a household name “FACEBOOK” across the world. This world-famous ‘social networking service company’ had its own share of bad times. Revealing for the first time in the meeting at the Facebook office upbeat Zuckerberg told PM Narendra Modi that Steve Jobs, the founder Chairman of Apple, had advised him to visit a certain temple in India for blessings. The revelation may have caused heartburn to many. More so in India where so-called secular and snooty folks have long acquired a proclivity to look down upon their own culture, religion, and values while being appreciative of any bizarre customs and styles of the West. Yes, heeding the advice of his mentor Steve Jobs the depressed Mark had visited the temple and toured around India for nearly a month.

Facebook's CEO tells about India.
Facebook’s CEO tells about India. wikipedia

Well, the American techno-wizard Steve Jobs had himself spent over six months in India in 1974. He was here in quest of the higher meaning of life and spiritual solace. As understood, from early age Steve was quite haunted by a good deal of unanswered questions. Of course, his encounter with a book “Be Here Now” by Richard Alpert, a Harvard Professor, had opened up a gateway to the spiritualism of the East. This book had also introduced him to a mystic Yogi ‘Neem Karoli Baba’. That later inspired Steve to set out the journey for the East. As soon as Steve and his friend Daniel Kottke arrived India they directly went to meet the Guru in Kainchi Dham Ashram in Nainital. But to their disappointment, they found the Baba had already passed away some months earlier. Nevertheless, the urge to dive deeper into the spiritualism did not die away. They shaved their heads and put on Indian clothes and undertook an extensive meditation and yogic practices.

The most significant impact that had made upon Steve’s life was a book “Autobiography of a Yogi”by Paramhansa Yogananda. It is on record that he would read this book too frequently, at least once every year until his death, 2011. This book had given him the practical insight into what exactly this world is about and how a layman can prepare himself to realize the Supreme knowledge. The first-hand account of a Yogi with empirical approaches to know oneself this book by Yogananda is a smash hit manual now among the seekers of the Eastern spiritualism.

Yes, by dint of hard work, intuition and innovation Steve stood out as one of the most successful techno-tycoons of the modern times. As much known, Jobs was hardly possessed by the luxury of riches and materialistic vanity. He just regarded his entrepreneurship as a tool to awaken his dormant potentialities. The chairman of Salesforce.com and famous philanthropist Marc Benioff says with conviction — “If you want to understand Steve, it’s a good idea to dig into ‘Autobiography of a Yogi’.” It is this book which Steve’s family had given to all the guests as a last gift at his memorial service.

Here we can’t afford to ignore the Beatle’s fascination for INDIA as well. The band members that were basking in the opulence of materialistic riches and glory visited India (Rishikesh) in search of inner peace. They met with Sri Maharshi Mahesh Yogi and learnt from him Transcendental meditation (TM) who laid bare methods to feel true bliss within. Sri Maharshi is a big name in the West having a huge following that includes celebrities like Oprah Winfrey, David Lynch, Russell Brand, Hugh Jackman, Jennifer Aniston, Modern physicist Dr. John Hagelin, to name a few. The Beatle’s Paul McCartney and Ringo Starr often assist a Hollywood Director/actor David Lynch to organize the Transcendental meditation under ‘David Lynch Foundation’ across USA and the European countries. George Harrison later took refuge in Bhakti Yoga. The founder of ISKCON Srila Prabhupada showed him the pathway to the Supreme Consciousness.

What basically pulls the rational westerners to India is less known to Indians themselves. It’s shamefully paradoxical. From early 19th Century, the philosophical literary treasure troves and Yoga of India found more admirers in the foreign lands than at home. Indeed, the philosophy of the “laws of karma” and the presence of all-power-divinity within every being and everywhere — which any human being can realize irrespective of one’s caste, creed, nationality, and color, has intensely stirred the greatest of the great minds of the West. The ancient texts hold out a whole bunch of keys to unlock oneself and know his/her relationship with the Supreme Being which in fact seems very reasonable to the West. Further, the complex studies of world-view by Modern scientists are gradually arriving at the same conclusion what the ancient sages of India expounded over five thousands year back that ‘creation and creator are ONE’. Interconnection, inter-relation and interdependence among every individual particle/object, living or non-living, in the infinite universe — which is the fundamental tenets of the Eastern philosophy, provided a new light of wisdom to the the modern physicists like Schrödinger, Heisenberg, Julius Oppenheimer, Brain David Josephson, David Bohm, John Stewart Bell et al.

Well, Indian’s contribution to the western academia is immeasurable — though deliberately undermined or less discussed in India itself. It’s very worthwhile to recall a famous proclamation by our western master whom we hold in the highest esteem. TS Eliot, one of the most celebrated poets of the 20th century, asserts: “Indian philosophers’ subtleties make most of the great European philosophers look like schoolboys”.

Salil Gewali is a well-known writer and author of ‘Great minds on India’. Twitter @SGewali.