brands with a cause

Apple for the Teacher: Tech Brands Support US ConnectED Schools Plan

Posted by Sheila Shayon on February 4, 2014 01:56 PM

President Obama has scored some major progress on his ConnectED initiative thanks to a little help from some major brands. The program, which was launched in June, advocates for high-speed internet and education technology in every classroom, as well as training teachers on the benefits of tech in the classroom by 2017. 

The President has challenged the FCC, Federal agencies, Congress, the private sector and communities to rise to the test. As announced today as part of the White House's ConnectED (or #ConnectED) initiative, US companies are answering the call by committing more than $750 million to deliver cutting-edge technologies, devices, free software, teacher professional development, and home wireless connectivity.

“Today, fewer than 30 percent of schools have the broadband they need to teach using today’s technology; under ConnectED, 99 percent of American students will have access to next-generation broadband by 2017. That connectivity will be the bedrock of a transformation in the classroom experience for all students, regardless of income," the White House said in a press release.Continue reading...

privacy alert

Brands Win Initial Transparency Battle as US Government Agrees to More Disclosure

Posted by Sheila Shayon on January 28, 2014 10:52 AM

Following months of back and forth after whistleblower Edward Snowden revealed widespread data collection by the US National Security Agency, the US government and leading internet and communication companies have reached an agreement on what companies can disclose to consumers. 

Bowing to pressure from Facebook, Google, LinkedIn, Apple, Microsoft and Yahoo over the controversial NSA Prism surveillance program, the government will now allow companies to reveal more details about the "administrative subpoenas" issued by the Justice Department that require tech companies to hand over reams of data on users. 

US Attorney General Eric Holder and Director of National Intelligence James Clapper said in a joint statement:

"The administration is acting to allow more detailed disclosures about the number of national security orders and requests issued to communications providers, and the number of customer accounts targeted under those orders and requests including the underlying legal authorities. Permitting disclosure of this aggregate data resolves an important area of concern to communications providers and the public.”Continue reading...

masters of their domains

The Loss of Net Neutrality Would Put Brands, Consumers in 'Uncharted' Internet Territory

Posted by Mark J. Miller on January 16, 2014 03:58 PM

A bunch of bright, shiny, new toll booths may soon be erected on the information superhighway and it doesn’t appear there is much consumers can do about it. A federal court ruling on Tuesday that struck down "net neutrality" rules would allow companies like Verizon, Time Warner Cable, AT&T and other internet service providers to change the way they treat different websites. 

The ruling, in favor of Verizon, means that one site may be allowed to load content faster while another's is slowed down. Such a situation means that consumers and companies may be paying more to get what they have now: the ability to travel to any site and expect it to download high-quality content at the same speed, the so-called “open Internet.” 

What’s been called “net neutrality” may soon be disappearing, which isn’t a good sign for brands like YouTube and Netflix, whose businesses are built upon serving up high-quality video content at fast download rates for little to no cost to consumers. It is good for the aforementioned web-service providers, though, who can surely find new ways to pad the growing amount of consumers who pulled the plug on their cable providers so they could do all their TV watching online.Continue reading...

by the numbers

Google Zeitgeist 2013: From Mandela to the Harlem Shake, World Still Wondering 'What is Twerking?'

Posted by Sheila Shayon on December 18, 2013 05:49 PM

Google's Zeitgeist, its annual snapshot of the search world, has arrived. By processing two of every three internet queries, the search giant is able to capture an accurate snapshot of trends ranging from the most-searched people to the year's top risers. And this year's compilation is the most global yet—over 1,000 Top 10 lists from 72 countries. 

Global icon Nelson Mandela captured the list's top spot, with users delving into the life of the South African political activist all year long, coming to a peak after his recent death. Death, in fact, is one of the biggest drivers of curiosity, with searches for recently deceased actors Paul Walker and Cory Montieth making the Top 4. But the world isn't all doom and gloom: tech, including Apple's iPhone 5s and Sony's PlayStation 4 made the Top 10, as well a cultural dance phenomenon, the Harlem Shake. 

Important global events weren't far behind though."Tragedies like the Boston Marathon, the 6th trending term globally, and Typhoon Haiyan, No. 2 on our global events list, also captured the world’s attention. And our human desire to help came through, with [donate to the Philippines] ranking highly around the world," wrote Google's Amit Singhal in a blog post.Continue reading...

media brands

News Team, Assemble: Yahoo Anchors Ad Aspirations to Katie Couric and Staff

Posted by Sheila Shayon on November 25, 2013 05:03 PM

It’s a bold move for Marissa Mayer—and a big bet on video—as the Yahoo CEO confirmed today that TV news mainstay Katie Couric will be joining Yahoo as its "global news anchor." 

“I’ve always respected Katie for her thoughtful, charismatic approach to journalism,” Mayer wrote on Tumblr. “From pivotal coverage of natural disasters and historic elections to the Royal Wedding and the Olympic Games, groundbreaking interviews with heads of state and leading tastemakers, her experience is unmatched. Katie is dynamic, savvy and has a way of connecting with viewers that I really admire.”

It’s no secret that things for Katie on her eponymous ABC talk fest have not panned out as either had hoped, but the former co-anchor of NBC's Today show and first female anchor of the CBS Evening News brings the perfect complement of skills, awareness and style to the search giant as consumers continue to migrate to the Internet for TV-style reporting and programming.

Couric will tape features for the Yahoo homepage, but will continue to host her syndicated daytime talk show, Katie. Couric joins a carefully procured team of journalists that have come together over the last several months, including Editor-in-Chief Megan Liberman, former New York Times tech columnist David Pogue, and designated political analyst Matt Bai.Continue reading...

tech in the spotlight

Google Throws More Cash at Hackers to Uncover Bugs on Web and Mobile

Posted by Mark J. Miller on November 19, 2013 06:16 PM

Nobody likes a virus, unless you’re the evil warlord in a bad superhero film. Google, in particular, is no fan, and last month announced that it would put some of its copious cash where its mouth is and expand its Patch Reward Program for those who can identify and fix any bugs on its various platforms, such as Chrome. Now the company has added more platforms to the bug-bounty program, including any issues found on Android. 

The internet gurus that successfully track down and eliminate bugs can make anywhere from $500 to, well, quite a lot. Just last week, a bug-bounty hunter by the name of Pinkie Pie dealt with “multiple memory corruption issues” and picked up $50,000. “The goal is very simple: to recognize and reward proactive security improvements to third-party open-source projects that are vital to the health of the entire Internet,” Google said in a statement.Continue reading...

brands with a cause

Google, Microsoft Team Up to Fight Child Exploitation on the Internet

Posted by Sheila Shayon on November 18, 2013 05:54 PM

Following a Canadian sting operation last week that resulted in 348 arrests and over 380 children rescued, Google and Microsoft have teamed up to take substantial steps to block the exploitation of photos and videos containing child pornography on the Internet with modifications to more than 100,000 search terms.

Instead of delivering content associated with child sex abuse, such searches will now trigger a warning that said content is illegal. Content that steps over the boundary will be assigned a unique digital fingerprint that speeds detection and deletion. YouTube has created similar technology to identify videos of the same nature. 

"We've listened, and in the last three months put more than 200 people to work developing new, state-of-the-art technology to tackle the problem," Google Chairman Eric Schmidt wrote. "We've fine-tuned Google search to prevent links to child sexual abuse material from appearing in our results. Microsoft deserves a lot of credit for developing and sharing its picture detection technology."Continue reading...

market movers

Twitter Flies High on Better Than Expected IPO Debut

Posted by Sheila Shayon on November 7, 2013 05:56 PM

Twitter made a strong public stock debut this morning in what was the most anticipated IPO since Facebook's 2012 bid. Unlike its rival's glitch-riddled debut on NASDAQ, Twitter’s coming out party under ticker symbol "TWTR" on the New York Stock Exchange Euronext went better than expected.

Twitter's stock opened at $45.10—73 percent above its $26 IPO price—valuing the microblogger at more than $31 billion based on its outstanding stock, options and restricted stock that will be available after the IPO. Shares traded at a high of $50.09, and closed at $44.90. The narrow price range indicated that people felt it was "pretty fairly priced," JJ Kinahan, chief strategist at TD Ameritrade, told the Associated Press, while the stock's immediate surge "clearly shows that demand exceeds the supply of shares," commented Wedbush analyst Michael Pachter.

With a user base of 232 million and 500 million tweets sent daily, the social service that changed communication looks like it's here to stay.

But while Twitter's debut went "pretty flawlessly" and was "pretty fair priced," according to TD Ameritrade strategist JJ Kinahan, some are saying the internet company could have made a lot more money had it sold more shares for a higher price. All in all, selling 70 million shares $26 per share, Twitter raised about $1.8 billion, while Facebook, despite its first-day flop, raised $16 billion. That gives Facebook a significant advantage over rivals when it comes to acquisitions and operational costs, Mashable notes. But from the start, it seemed like Twitter was looking to make its IPO the anti-Facebook.Continue reading...

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