Wednesday October 18, 2017
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Google Project Loon to solve Indian rural internet issues

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Indian government, in collaboration with Google, is doing a trial run to provide internet connectivity to disadvantaged villages under ‘Project Loon’. The project is expected to deliver internet connectivity to places in India which don’t have on ground cyberspace connectivity.

Google’s Project Loon, as per the Google blog on this technology, creates a loop of Super pressure air balloons in the stratosphere with the help of air direction and software algorithm. Beneath each lighter than air layer, balloons are hung.

These balloons travel to places where they are needed by descending or rising into the layer of wind traveling in the wanted direction. Two radio transceivers receive and send data streams.

The Loon project can help India by partnering with telecommunication companies and share cellular spectrum where people will be able to connect to the balloons directly from their computers and phones. The signal would then be passed across the balloon network, and yet again to Earth for global network use.

This technology is expected to be a cheaper solution than installing fibre optic cables or building mobile phone masts across the country, which could be lost in the vicious circle of corruption (hence, increasing the value of product) and infrastructural problems (which already subsist).

People living in areas without any existing internet infrastructure would be directly connected to the internet without any mediating technology. It would thus help them to easily access the information and opportunities of the world-wide web.

At present, Indian entrepreneurs, as well as the government, are foraying into developing user-targeted online education systems.

In this regard, this technology will be able to connect the remotely situated students to easy access of online education centres.

On the other hand, farmers of isolated villages would be able to utilize easy connectivity for learning new cultivating, fertilizing, pest control, weeding and harvesting techniques.

If the Project Loon initiative by Google, in collaboration with the Indian government, falls on the right trajectory, then India would get benefitted by this technology in many ways. The rural and isolated parts of our country could straightforwardly become a part of the ‘Digital India’ campaign.

Most importantly, mere 15% of Indians use the internet at all, according to a new report by the Economic World Forum (WEF). In this age of digitization, Indians would be greatly benefited from projects such as Loon, which can help bridge the information gaps in the areas of agriculture, education and communications.

 

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Indians Always on Social Media While on Vacations, Reveals New Survey

Social media is emerging as strong driving force in creating vacation happiness with Indians being number one in always taking selfies

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The new survey reveals Indians top the list of tourists glued to their phones while on vacation.(Representative image) Wikimedia

New Delhi, October 15, 2017 : Indians top ahead of Thailand and Mexico when it comes to using social media while holidaying, says a survey conducted by Expedia.

Indians love to be connected all the time, however, it also means that they do not disconnect from work much.

Indians are globally most anxious on not being able to access WiFi or internet to check work e-mail (59 per cent). In fact they lead in showing a preference for an airline that offers in-flight WiFi (33 per cent). Hence, 14 per cent Indians are always working on a vacation, #1 globally, followed by the US (seven per cent) and Brazil (six per cent).

ALSO READ India tops the list of fatalities caused by selfies

Social media is emerging as strong driving force in creating vacation happiness with Indians being number one in always taking selfies (22 per cent), posting photos on social media (22 per cent), “checking in” on social media (21 per cent) and connecting with others through social media (19 per cent), said the Expedia survey.

The survey included 15,363 respondents, across 17 countries (US, Canada, Mexico, Brazil, UK, France, Germany, Italy, Spain, Netherlands, Belgium, Australia, New Zealand, Japan, South Korea, India and Thailand)

The survey also highlighted that even though Indians are social media obsessed beach-goers who spend the majority of their time uploading pictures and video, 24 per cent of their compatriots find it very annoying, said the statement. (IANS)

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More Than 5 Million Users Have Now Downloaded Google’s Digital Payment App ‘Tez’

"Tez" app works in partnership with four Banks -- Axis Bank, HDFC Bank, ICICI Bank and State Bank of India -- to facilitate the processing of payments across over 50 UPI-enabled banks

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Within 24 hours of 'Tez' being launched, Google saw nearly 1.8 crore gross merchandise volume (GMV) done with over four lakh active users. pixabay

New Delhi, October 11, 2017 : Google’s digital payment app ‘Tez’ that was launched in India on September 18 has been downloaded five million times on Play Store.

Within 24 hours of ‘Tez’ being launched, Google saw nearly 1.8 crore gross merchandise volume (GMV) done with over four lakh active users.

Built on the Indian government-supported Unified Payments Interface (UPI), Tez allows users, free of charge, to make small or big payments straight from their bank accounts.

According to the National Payment Corporation of India (NPCI), the number of transactions on UPI has crossed three crore in September.

Also read A Step Towards Digital India- Google Launches Digital Payment App ‘Tez’ in India

The number of transactions on UPI platform increased to 3.07 crore in September as against 1.66 crore in August — an increase of 85.32 per cent.

Of the 3.07 crore transactions, BHIM’s share was 76.03 lakh — a market share of nearly 24.7 per cent.

“Tez” app works in partnership with four Banks — Axis Bank, HDFC Bank, ICICI Bank and State Bank of India — to facilitate the processing of payments across over 50 UPI-enabled banks.

The app was built for India, working on the vast majority of the country’s smartphones and is available in English and seven Indian languages — Hindi, Bengali, Gujarati, Kannada, Marathi, Tamil and Telugu. (IANS)

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Chinese internet service providers started blocking access to WhatsApp.

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Image: IANS

San Francisco, Sep 26 (IANS) Instant messaging service WhatsApp has been largely blocked in China, the media reported.

The Open Observatory of Network Interference (OONI), a global observation network for detecting censorship, surveillance and traffic manipulation, suggested on Monday night that Chinese internet service providers started blocking access to WhatsApp on September 23, reports CNN.

Public reports on Twitter indicated that WhatsApp, which is owned by the US-based social media giant Facebook, became inaccessible for some people on September 19.

Over the last few months, there were a number of WhatsApp disruptions in China.

However, WhatsApp has not made an official announcement on the development.

China has already blocked access to a number of internet companies, including Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and Google.

Some people access these services through virtual private networks (VPN), or with tools that disguise internet traffic to circumvent censorship. But the Chinese government has launched a crack down on VPNs this year.

According to Timothy Heath, senior international defence research analyst at the RAND Corporation, the Chinese government does not like that WhatsApp uses strong encryption.

“The government wants to monitor internet communications, and therefore it’s trying to steer its people to use technology that can be accessed and monitored by the government,” Heath told CNN.

Earlier this month, WeChat, a popular chat service in China, notified users of its policies to comply with government requests for information. (ians)