MediaFile

from India Insight:

XXX domain poses headache for Indian regulators

By Neha Arha

People use computers at an internet cafe in Taiyuan, Shanxi province in China November 13, 2009. REUTERS/Stringer/FilesIndia is proposing to block .xxx-registered websites after a global agency governing the web approved the suffix for pornography websites last week, risking confrontation between a fast-liberalising youth and strong traditionalist values.

The government's move followed a decade-long dialogue within the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) that resulted in the approval for .xxx suffix for pornography websites. Sales of .xxx domains should begin soon in Q2 2011.

Taking a cue from .com, .org, .nic and others, the creation of .xxx would identify adult content and services and could be used by governments for mass censorship of adult content.

Despite continuous efforts by some staunch conservative groups, porn remains easily accessible in India. The move to ban savitabhabhi.com, a popular toon porn site, fell flat when it later resurfaced through a foreign server.

In addition to labelling it immoral under the Indian Penal Code, distribution of adult content is illegal. Distributing such content in the electronic form calls for imprisonment for a maximum term of five years or/and fine which may extend to 100,000 rupees ($2,237).

Tech wrap: Amazon vs eBay…fight!

A photograph of a computer screen showing the website eBay is shown in Encinitas, California April 22, 2009. REUTERS/Mike BlakeEBay said it will buy e-commerce service provider GSI Commerce for $1.96 billion in cash to build up its online marketplaces, as it ramps up its battle with Amazon.com. GSI is attractive to eBay because of its expertise in taking customer orders, managing them and filling them, which also happens to be an area of strength for Amazon. GSI, which owns Web businesses such as Rue La La and ShopRunner, also provides retailers such as Aeropostale and TJX’s Marshalls chains with technology, payment processing and customer care services for their e-commerce sites.

There will be no iPhone 5 announcement at Apple’s 2011 Worldwide Developers Conference in June, according to The Wall Street Journal’s John Paczkowski. Instead, we should expect a software event, Paczkowski writes, quoting an Apple’s WWDC press release: “If you are an iOS or Mac OS X software developer, this is the event that you do not want to miss.” He goes on to speculate that the delay may be due to Apple timing the release of  a 4G LTE-compatible iPhone 5 with AT&T’s expected roll-out of its 4G LTE networks mid year.

Apple “piled another brick onto the ramparts of its walled garden,” only considering apps that are sold through the Mac App Store for this year’s Apple Design Awards, The Register’s Rik Myslewski writes. “This move makes it clear that Apple is enforcing a two-tiered status for Mac OS X apps: those it allows into the store, and those that remain outside it,” Myslewski adds.

The Catch-22 of Google Books

booksIt’s almost a Zen Koan: How many books does a library make?

For Google the answer is: “All of them.”

As of last August that particular number was about 129 million, and since then probably tens of thousands have been added to the world’s shelves, even if you exclude Nicole “Snooki” Polizzi’s A Shore Thing.

Some tiny fraction of that immense number is good enough for nearly every library in the world, be it the Library of Congress, the world’s largest, or modest locations which are no less devoted to the preservation and dispensation of the world’s collected knowledge.

For Google, though, it’s all or nothing: The Google Books Project — “one company’s audacious attempt to create the largest and most comprehensive library in the history of the world” as wired.com correspondent Ryan Singel put it — began nearly a decade ago.

Tech wrap: Retailers’ wake-up call

Shoppers pay for merchandise at the Macy's department store in New York October 8, 2009. REUTERS/Mike SegarRetailers risk losing the majority of mobile device users unless they make mobile shopping easier and more engaging, writes Jessica Woh. While 89.7 percent of Americans aged 18 to 64 have mobile phones, only 49.1 percent use their phones to shop, according to marketing service Arc Worldwide. Consumers who use mobile phones to shop are able to compare prices on the go and are seen as less likely to make impulse buy, Woh adds.

Apple’s iPad 2 went on sale in 25 countries outside of the United States. But if you’re traveling abroad and price is your main consideration, you’ll want to wait until you get home to buy one. In the U.S., you’ll pay $499 for the base model– with 16 gigabytes of storage and Wi-Fi only connectivity — while the same model in Denmark will set you back the equivalent of $702.

What the RIM PlayBook’s ability to run Android apps really means is akin to a Mac running Windows via a virtual machine, writes Business Insider’s Dan Frommer. The upcoming PlayBook tablet will only support apps for the Android 2.3 operating system and not 3.0, which was designed for tablets. RIM made the announcement so “it will able to say that the PlayBook can technically support tens of thousands of Android apps”, Frommer added.

Tech wrap: Ripe BlackBerry not sweet enough

A man looks at a BlackBerry product display in a shop at a mobile and computer shopping complex in northern Tehran January 18, 2011. REUTERS/Raheb Homavandi Research In Motion’s quarterly net profit jumped 32 percent, boosted by strong global BlackBerry smartphone sales. But a weaker-than-expected outlook as it spent heavily on the launch of its PlayBook tablet next month, sent RIM’s shares tumbling after the bell.

Facebook is testing a real-time ad targeting system that relates your user profile to words that you form as you type them, according to AdAge’s Irina Slutsky. For example, “users who update their status with ‘Mmm, I could go for some pizza tonight’, could get an ad or a coupon from Domino’s, Papa John’s or Pizza Hut”, she writes.

The hungry masses are gobbling up Apple’s iPads mainly because of the approachable touchscreen interface, writes Wired’s Brian X. Chen. Web browsing topped the responses to a casual poll by Wired asking “What do you do with your iPad?”, matching the result of a study by NPD Group last year, Chen adds. Reading and social networking followed browsing in the Wired poll. A minority used the iPad for special purposes such as recording music, writing poetry and teaching in class from book notes.

Google: We’re no media company – but read our magazine

Earlier this week, New York Times  media columnist David Carr asked the question that is on the minds of moguls  everywhere: Is Google a media company?

Google flat out rejected the description. Here’s Hal Varian, Google’s chief economist, explaining the rationale to Carr: “We are in the business of media distribution, but I don’t think that we would be very good at media creation. I think it’s one thing that we have astutely avoided in the last 12 years.”

Umm, well, not exactly.  The search behmouth  just unveiled an online magazine called “Think Quarterly” that has a very high brow, old media vibe to it.  The idea behind the quarterly publication? It’s best said by Google (and sounds suspiciously like old media):

The $41 million mobile app – or the Web bubble debate, now in full color!

Bubble or no bubble?ColorScreen

The debate has become a favorite pastime within the Internet industry, as startup valuations soar and investors vie to buy shares of hot private companies in the secondary market.

On Wednesday evening, a photo-sharing app maker called Color opened a spigot of fuel onto the fire when it revealed that it had raised a whopping $41 million before even launching its product.

“Think I might have just heard the bubble pop,” said one of many bewildered tweets that followed the news.

Is Siemens coming after Zynga?

Bewell_inside1Zynga better brace for its newest rival, the German manufacturing behemoth Siemens, which is reinventing itself as a social gaming startup with its first title out today, “Plantville.”

While Zynga makes money by selling virtual items in their games, say tractors, Siemens won’t charge for any items and just wants to muster up interest in “math, science and technology while inspiring the next generation of plant managers.” Siemens, keep in mind, has the edge of having sold tractors in real life.

And just because Plantville is an educational game, which could scare away users,  it doesn’t mean Zynga shouldn’t be shaking in its boots.

Tech wrap: OS X daddy waves goodbye

A combination of file photos shows Bertrand Serlet, senior vice president of OSX software at Apple Inc, (L) and Craig Federighi, vice president of Mac OS at Apple Inc (R) speaking at the Apple Inc's Worldwide Developers Conference in San Francisco on June 8, 2009. REUTERS/Robert Galbraith/FilesApple said top software engineer Bertrand Serlet will leave the Mac computer maker after more than a decade spent developing its signature operating system, Mac OS X. Craig Federighi, currently the vice president of Mac Software Engineering, will take over from Serlet and report to CEO Steve Jobs, Apple said in a statement.

Yahoo refreshed its Internet search service, showcasing information from movie listings to weather forecasts as queries are entered. The Internet portal said that its Search Direct service will be available in the U.S. today on its main search Web page, and will gradually expand to the other parts of Yahoo, including the home page.

Nokia said it won’t begin talks on deep job cuts until the end of April. Analysts said the relatively long gap before talks kick-off could be because the final deal with Microsoft is yet to be signed, while Nokia might also want to delay any announcement on cuts until after Finland’s general elections on April 17.

Tech wrap: Amazon offers Android apps, gets sued by Apple

A demonstrator plays a racing game on an Android-based Motorola Atrix smartphone during the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas January 6, 2011. REUTERS/Steve MarcusAmazon.com opened its store for Google Android smartphone applications, ratcheting up its fight with Apple after the iPhone maker sued Amazon in a bid to stop the online retailer from improperly using its App Store trademark.

A New York court rejected a class action settlement hammered out between Google and publishers that would allow the Web search leader to scan millions of books and sell them online.

U.S. wireless operators will have to pay higher subsidies for cellphones as they come with more features, Sprint Nextel CEO Dan Hesse said during a chief executive panel at the annual CTIA wireless industry conference.