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No ‘Mission Impossible’ for Honor to Survive Without Google

If Huawei is forced to "resort to alternatives" to Google, it will only harm US companies. "(It) is a critical moment for all of us, I hope the US government can consider what's best for American companies," Zhengfei added

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FILE - A man uses his smartphone outside of a shop selling Huawei products at a shopping mall in Beijing, May 29, 2019. VOA

BY MD WAQUAR HAIDER 

Chinese smartphone maker Honor, a sub-brand of Huawei, is confident about its survival despite no access to Google Mobile Services (GMS) as the company is fast developing its own Huawei Mobile Services (HMS), a top company executive told IANS here on Thursday.

Google Mobile Services (GMS) are the apps by Google that often come pre-installed on Android devices.

Honor is working on a pre-planned strategy to overcome the difficulties being faced owing to the ongoing US-China trade war and restrictions imposed on the giant.

The company has already started talent acquisition and it’s not ‘Mission Impossible’ for us to stand in the global market without Google’s support, said James Zou, President of Honor’s Overseas Marketing and Sales.

“Google acquired Android around 10 years back for less than $20 million and several companies worked with it to build the entire Android ecosystem, including Huawei.

“We thought Android is open source so we worked with Google to create an open ecosystem. Now we are not allowed to use AOSP (Android Open Source Project) plus Google Mobile Services but we are working hard to expand Huawei Mobile Services (HMS),” Zou told IANS.

The idea behind HMS is same as that of GMS — to provide an experience that is consistent across devices and independent of the platform.

“We are in the process of migrating apps which are willing to move from GMS to HMS platform. It’s not a difficult task as we have talented engineers who can perform the migration within 24 hours,” Zou noted.

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A man walks past a Google sign outside with a span of the Bay Bridge at rear in San Francisco, May 1, 2019. VOA

The HMS ecosystem witnessed monthly average users (MAUs) increasing from 420 million globally in July 2018 to 530 million by July this year.

Last week, the US Department of Commerce extended a temporary license loosening restrictions on business deals with Huawei for another 90 days and Microsoft was one of those US firms.

“It’s good that Microsoft is ready and working with us. We had a Plan B to launch our laptops with open source Linux. We are already selling Linux-based laptops in China and this could be a major reason why Microsoft joined hands with us for our latest MagicBook products,” informed Zou.

Huawei CEO Ren Zhengfei has also reiterated his warning to the US government that once the company’s Harmony operating system (OS) becomes operational, it may affect companies like Google as there will be no turning back from there.

Huawei recently confirmed that the US sanctions were hurting it badly, especially the absence of Google’s core Android software, Play Store and popular apps like Search and Maps on its devices.

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In an interview given to CNN on Tuesday, Zhengfei said Washington will eventually help competitors gain if it continues to place restrictions on Huawei.

If Huawei can’t work with US suppliers, “we will have to resort to alternatives. If those alternatives become mature, I think it’ll become less likely to switch back to previous versions,” the Huawei CEO was quoted as saying.

If Huawei is forced to “resort to alternatives” to Google, it will only harm US companies. “(It) is a critical moment for all of us, I hope the US government can consider what’s best for American companies,” Zhengfei added. (IANS)

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Here’s Why Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey Prefers DuckDuckGo over Google

The DuckDuckGo Privacy Protection aims at blocking all the hidden trackers they can find, exposing the major advertising networks tracking its users over time

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Jack Dorsey, CEO and co-founder of Twitter and founder and CEO of Square, speaks at the Consensus 2018 blockchain technology conference in New York City. VOA

BY MD WAQUAR HAIDER 

Twitter founder and CEO Jack Dorsey last week revealed that he has been using DuckDuckGo as his default search engine for quite some time now, apparently due to its stronger privacy features compared to other popular alternatives such as Google Chrome, among others.

DuckDuckGo claims that it is different from tech giants like Google and Facebook, which track user activities to provide targeted ads and services.

Experts feel that DuckDuckGo is still quite a small player compared to Google Chrome which is used by over 2 billion people globally for Internet browsing, but it can indeed be seen as an alternative for those who care for their privacy.

“One thing that makes DuckDuckGo different from other search engines is that it does not profile its users and show all users the same search results for a given search term which helps in giving out the best searches, cancelling all fake websites and click baits that can easily download themselves into our system,” John Dong, Director, Tenda, a leading provider of networking devices, told IANS.

Launched in 2008, DuckDuckGo’s search engine is far behind Google, with its average number of searches per day reaching close to 50 million, while Google processes more than 3.5 billion search queries a day.

But just because the browser does not profile its users, it does not mean ads are not served on the platform.

“It is a myth that search engines need to track you to make money on Web search. When you type in a search, we can show an ad just based on that search term. For example, if you type in ‘car’, we show a car ad. That doesn’t involve tracking because it is based on the keyword and not the person,” explains the DuckDuckGo website.

The DuckDuckGo browser features smarter encryption and private search — all designed to operate seamlessly together while a user searches and browses the web.

“We are proud to say that at the end of 2016, we surpassed a cumulative count of 10 billion anonymous searches served, with over 4 billion in 2016 alone! We are growing faster than ever with our first 14M day on Jan 10, 2017,” Gabriel Weinberg, CEO and Founder, DuckDuckGo, recently wrote in a blog post.

“In terms of growth, 2018 saw our average daily private searches leap 63 per cent, from 19 million to 31 million. To put things into perspective, that is 723 per cent growth in average daily searches since the privacy zeitgeist of 2013,” Weinberg said.

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A man walks past a Google sign outside with a span of the Bay Bridge at rear in San Francisco, May 1, 2019. VOA

According to him, people are actively seeking out ways to reduce their digital footprint online. For example, a Pew Research study reported 40 per cent think that their search engine provider should not retain information about their activities.

“DuckDuckGo has a point to prove. However, it is very difficult to get into a territory dominated by godfather of Internet, Google. DuckDuckGo has to do something really great to be seen by potential users,” said Faisal Kawoosa, Founder and Chief Analyst at market research firm techARC.

DuckDuckGo also introduced a fully revamped version of its browser extension and mobile app.

The updated app and extension are now available across all major platforms — Firefox, Safari, Chrome, iOS and Android — so that a user can easily get all the privacy essentials you need on any device with just one download.

The DuckDuckGo browser extension and mobile app comes with a Privacy Grade rating (A-F) when a user visits a website.

This rating lets the users see at a glance how protected they are, dig into the details to see who the company caught trying to track the user and learn how they have enhanced the underlying website’s privacy measures.

The Privacy Grade is scored automatically, based on the prevalence of hidden tracker networks, encryption availability and website privacy practices.

Also Read: Users to be Able to Order Apple’s New Mac Pro Soon

This alternative to the US-based search engine giant aims to expose and block tracker networks watching its users.

The vast majority of websites across the Internet contain hidden tracker networks, with Google trackers now lurking behind 76 per cent of pages, Facebook’s trackers on 24 per cent of pages, and countless others soaking up users personal information to follow you with ads around the Web, or worse, claims DuckDuckGo.

The DuckDuckGo Privacy Protection aims at blocking all the hidden trackers they can find, exposing the major advertising networks tracking its users over time. (IANS)