Google Searches for New Users in India

WSJ.com: WSJD - Technology

NEW DELHI-- Alphabet Inc.'s Google is expanding its efforts to connect with millions of Indians, using free Wi-Fi and tailor-made products, as it seeks to harness the country's growing online population. Executives at a conference in New Delhi on Tuesday unveiled the products and initiatives that are aimed at attracting new users who are watching their data costs. Many Indians can't afford monthly data plans and only buy mobile access in small chunks. The company said it is set to launch a new version of its YouTube app, YouTube Go, that it says works even with the slowest internet connections and allows users to share videos between devices. Many people in India exchange digital content using gadgets such as thumb drives to avoid downloads that incur mobile-data charges.


India's WhatsApp Rival Hike Valued at 1.4 Billion

WSJ.com: WSJD - Technology

NEW DELHI--Indian messaging app Hike Ltd. has raised 175 million in a fundraising round led by Chinese internet giant Tencent Holdings Ltd. TCEHY 1.70 % and Taiwanese electronics assembler Foxconn Technology Group. The new investment values the homegrown app, a rival to Facebook Inc. FB -0.48 % 's WhatsApp, at about 1.4 billion, Kavin Bharti Mittal, Hike's founder and chief executive, said on Tuesday. Foxconn and Tencent confirmed the investment in a statement. Separately, a Tencent spokeswoman said, "This minority investment helps us understand more about the market in India, which is one of the world's fastest-growing markets in terms of mobile internet users." She said Hike and Tencent's WeChat messaging service will operate independently but that the two companies are looking into potential areas of cooperation.


Hijab emoji proposed by Saudi teenage girl

The Independent - Tech

A Saudi teenager living n Germany has sent a proposal for a new headscarf-wearing emoji to The Unicode Consortium, which develops the popular characters. That's when she realised there wasn't one that adequately represented her, as a headscarf-wearing woman. She did some research and was delighted to find anyone can submit new emoji concepts the non-profit. When Ms Alhumedhi emailed Unicode about her idea, they responded by helping her draft a formal proposal for the consortium's consideration. "In this day and age, representation is extremely important," Ms Alhumedhi told the BBC.


Thanksgiving done wrong in satire 'Search Engines'

Los Angeles Times

Fisher plays a recently divorced mother of two teens and out-of-work art critic determined to cook a traditional festive dinner with all the trimmings in her sunny Southern California home for her smartphone-addicted friends and extended family. But taming the turkey proves to be the least of her challenges when her neighborhood's cell reception suddenly goes dead, which proceeds to bring out the worst in some already less than exemplary behavior from her preoccupied houseguests. Unfortunately many viewers will have experienced their own connectivity issues long before those characters do. Although there's a genuinely cozy rapport between Fisher and Stevens, the other cast members, including Daphne Zuniga, Nick Court, Natasha Gregson Wagner and Michael Muhney, have a tougher time trying to make all the overwritten, self-consciously quirky dialogue believably their own. Filmmaker Russell Brown clearly had something pertinent he wished to say about our plugged-in, tuned-out obsession with the Internet and was obviously going for a Luis Buñuel-Robert Altman style of social commentary here.


Database allegedly containing ID numbers of 50m Turks posted online

The Guardian

A database posted online allegedly contains the personal information of 49 million people on the Turkish citizenship database, potentially making more than half of the population of the country vulnerable to identity theft and massive privacy violations. The database, which has not been verified as authentic, was posted to a server apparently hosted in Romania on Monday with an introduction reading "Who would have imagined that backwards ideologies, cronyism and rising religious extremism in Turkey would lead to a crumbling and vulnerable technical infrastructure?" As well as the national ID numbers for all of the entrants in the system, it also contains a large amount of other personal information, including full name and parents' names, full address, and date of birth. Specifically excerpted from the full dump are what appear to be the specific information of the current president of Turkey, Recep Tayyip Erdo?an, his predecessor, Abdullah Gül, and the current prime minister, Ahmet Davuto?lu. Alongside the full database, the site hosting the dump also contains some "lessons to learn" for Turkey, hinting at how the data was stolen.