In 1995, Bill Gates made these predictions about streaming movies and fake news on the internet

Today, pretty much everyone regularly uses the internet to read breaking news and stream the latest blockbuster films. But in 1995, the internet was still in its infancy, and many Americans weren’t even online yet.

Bill Gates — as the co-founder of Microsoft (which made Internet Explorer, one of the first web browsers) — likely knew as much about the potential of internet technology as anyone in the mid-90s, however. So it’s not shocking that in 1995 Gates would be asked for his predictions on what the internet might look like a couple of decades into the future.

That’s exactly what happened when Gates sat down with author and journalist Terry Pratchett for an interview that appeared in the July 1995 edition of GQ magazine’s UK version. At the time, Gates was 39 and the world’s richest person with a net worth of $12.9 billion (he’s now second to Jeff Bezo with a $99.6 billion net worth, according to Forbes).

Gates’ conversation with Pratchett recently resurfaced online when writer Marc Burrows, who is working on a biography of Pratchett, tweeted two screenshots of the magazine interview (Gates is identified in the interview screenshots as “BG” and Pratchett is “TP”).

Not surprisingly, Gates had a couple of predictions for the future of the internet — one of which would turn out to be eerily prescient, while the other one seems to have come up short.

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Streaming movies

One prediction that Gates nailed was that the internet would forever change the way we consume entertainment, like movies and television shows. At the time, most people’s idea of a home entertainment system was a television hooked up to a VCR (electronic devices that played VHS tapes for anyone too young to remember), though video discs like DVDs were beginning to be introduced by the mid-90s.

In the interview, Pratchett is astounded when Gates tells him that “VCRs will be obsolete within ten years.”

“What? Completely obsolete?” asks Pratchett, who then asks if discs will be the primary home video format.

“Oh, they’ll be replaced by a disc player within four or five years,” Gates says. “I’m talking about access to media across the network.”

In other words, Gates is describing our ability to watch movies, TV shows and other streaming videos online. Gates, who complained that VCRs had “the world’s worst user interface,” went on to explain: “Everything we’re talking about will have screens to guide you and when you pause there’ll be a built-in personality that’ll immediately jump in and help you.”

Gates’ prediction ended up being pretty much on the money, as online video technology continued to improve over the next decade to the point where the now-ubiquitous video streaming platform YouTube was founded in 2005, 10 years after this interview took place. In 2007, Netflix announced plans to start streaming full movies and shows online. Today, Netflix has nearly 150 million streaming subscribers around the world, while more than two billion people watch videos on YouTube every month.

Pratchett also wanted to know if Gates thought that the internet would eventually make it easier to spread misinformation to large groups of people.

“There’s a kind of parity of esteem of information on the Net,” Pratchett remarked to Gates in the interview. “It’s all there: there’s no way of finding out whether this stuff has any bottom to it or whether someone just made it up.”

As an example, Pratchett proposed a hypothetical situation where someone purporting to be an expert promoted a theory online claiming that the Holocaust never happened. That theory, Pratchett argued, could be propped up on the internet and “available on the same terms as any piece of historical research which has undergone peer review and so on.”

While Pratchett’s biographer, Burrows, argued on Twitter this week that Pratchett had “accurately predicted how the internet would propagate and legitimise fake news,” Gates’ response is worth noting for the fact that the Microsoft co-founder failed to foresee the same negative effects of online misinformation.

Gates agreed with Pratchett that misinformation could be spread online, but “not for long,” the billionaire reasoned. For instance, Gates argued, the internet could contain fake news, but it would also create more opportunities for information to be verified and supported by appropriate authorities, from actual experts to journalists and consumer reports.

“The whole way that you can check somebody’s reputation will be so much more sophisticated on the Net than it is in print today,” Gates tells Pratchett.

Of course, we know now that many online platforms — from social media sites like Facebook to online video sites like YouTube — have struggled to squash the spread of misinformation and fake news on the internet. Even Gates himself says today that he’s concerned about the spread of misinformation online, admitting that “it’s turned out to be more of a problem than I, or many others, would have expected.”

But Gates also said, in a 2018 interview with Quartz, that he remains optimistic that the internet will continue to become more sophisticated as an information source over time, and that the benefits of having access to such a wealth of information on the internet will eventually outweigh the “challenges” of separating fact from fiction online.


Forced to Log Off: Why the Global Internet Shutdown Score is Not Good News for Kashmir

Image result for Forced to Log Off: Why the Global Internet Shutdown Score is Not Good News for KashmirSrinagar: Internet shutdowns in Kashmir, perhaps, remain the missing pages in the narrative of a Digital India. A country attempting a digital revolution, while also globally leading the internet shutdown track record, undisputedly, reflects the irony in the world’s largest democracy.

According to a study at the Stanford University (Of Blackouts and Bandhs: The Strategy and Structure of Disconnected Protest in India), India has witnessed 134 network shutdowns in 2018 alone and more than 100 in 2016-17. Most of these blackouts happened in the volatile Kashmir region.

The aim of the internet shutdowns is to control the spread of rumours, misinformation and restore law and order. However, the study suggests that the shutdowns do not seem to be meeting their intention.

The study found that approximately half of the world’s known network shutdowns have happened in India alone, mostly in Kashmir. “A cursory look at the trajectory of shutdowns in India shows that the northern border states have acted as ‘innovators’ and shutdown contagion has advanced south with time,” read the research.

It also points out that these shutdowns are neither executed on the national level nor concentrated in a single state. Internet shutdowns are as decentralised as state power, it then comes to appear. The study also found a correlation between the co-occurrence of violence with a shutdown and non-violent action. An internet shutdown seems to encourage violent action.

“Information blackouts compel participants in collective action in India to substitute non-violent tactics for violent ones that are less reliant on effective communication and coordination,” it reads.

These shutdowns are measures of deliberate action by the authorities and are imposed by the state governments who find it “useful in pacifying or preventing protest”, the study says, supporting its arguments with strong empirical evidence.

The 2016 unrest in Kashmir gave the state its longest internet shutdown, which lasted for 203 days. In India, the number and diversity of both protests and network shutdowns affect life and livelihood deeply.

The study, hence, maintains that “widespread institutional support makes India the most shutdown-prone sovereign state in the world by several orders of magnitude”.

State governments and judicial entities ordered approximately 100 blackouts and disrupted several communication networks, which stands more than all other countries combined, the study says.

As per different estimates used in the study, the total duration of shutdowns in India between 2012 and 2017 remains 16, 315 hours (680 days), which has generated an economic loss of approximately $3.04 billion.

“Despite the prolific use of network shutdowns across the country,” the study points, “neither India nor any other national government has conducted publicly acknowledged studies on the effectiveness of shutdowns as a means of suppressing unrest”.

Nearly 23 deadly violent incidents, the study has found, and at least as many that did not prove fatal were linked to WhatsApp between mid-2017 and November 2018.

The majority of blackouts in the country occur in the states of Gujarat, Rajasthan, Haryana, and Jammu and Kashmir (J&K), with the state alone comprising about 47% of the total shutdowns.

“Of 36 states and union territories, these four regions account for more than 75% of all recorded shutdown events in India (2012-17), while Jammu and Kashmir alone comprises about 47%,” it reads.

The author of the study, Jan Rydzak, has found that a large proportion of these shutdowns are implemented with the explicit goals of ensuring or restoring public order, as against the known practice maintaining security “during peaceful mass events such as festivals and processions”. However, it finds that “in most instances, this has been tantamount to preventing or quashing protests, riots, or collective violence”.

In India, the institutional variables, the study reads, play a significant role in the expansion of network shutdowns as a form of information control. “Before August 2017, shutdowns were executed primarily under Section 144 of the Code of Criminal Procedure — a legal provision with roots in the British Raj which grants states broad powers to prevent or disperse unlawful assemblies during curfews,” it reads.

The internet blackouts are perceived as a logical extension of curfews and measures whose purpose is to inhibit public gatherings. The study concludes to position India “as an extreme case in several respects”.

“India’s contribution to their total count has never been smaller than 23 percent, with a clear increasing trend,” the study has found. Globally, India is “one of the few democracies to have exercised the power to shut down communication networks”.

With the increasing number of internet blackouts, the study has found that the “public dissent in India has also been on a steady upward trajectory, with every previous year surpassing the number of events in the previous”.

“In many ways, India is a Petri dish of information control in the developing world,” the study says in its concluding remarks.


Ocean State Update: The Biggest Rhode Island Tech & Startup News From January

At the end of every month, we recap the biggest tech and startup happenings in Rhode Island. We have an archive of past roundups here. To get this info weekly (Tuesday afternoons, to be exact), sign up for the Rhode Island Inno Beat newsletter.

Let’s take a look.

  1. The Providence Journal reported that Gov. Gina Raimondo’s latest budget includes a new $1.3 million tax credit for “early stage” companies or those “substantially increasing its investment in research and development.” The tax credits would be worth 22.5 percent of the cost of that new research up to $250,000 per company. Current law provides a 5 percent credit for research costs, but many technology startups generate little in the way of profits or tax liability and don’t benefit. By being able to sell the credits to more mature companies, the Raimondo administration hopes to make it much more valuable for early-stage ventures.
  2. Inspire Environmental, a Middletown firm specializing in environmental assessments and seafloor mapping, will relocate to the new Innovate Newport business incubator expected to open this winter, Providence Business News reported. The firm will be the largest tenant at the Innovate Newport incubator, occupying about 4,350 square feet on the building’s second floor. The $7 million-plus construction project involves converting the former Sheffield School on Broadway into an office space and amenities for small companies, startups and entrepreneurs. The project is spearheaded by the City of Newport and the Newport County Chamber of Commerce, which also is relocating to the incubator site. Towerhill Associates will be another tenant.
  3. Gov. Raimondo and University of Rhode Island President David Dooley debuted three Rhode Island Innovation campuses, which together represent the initiative’s first round of projects. The trio of campuses includes the University of Rhode Island and Arizona State University Innovation Hub, the Rhode Island “iHub” and Rhode Island Agricultural Innovation & Entrepreneurship Campus. The private investment in the URI-affiliated projects is expected to top $122 million, a figure that is 10 times the state’s investment.
  4. CVS Health will spend $100 million over the next five years to support community health programs following its roughly $70 billion acquisition of health insurer Aetna, according to CNBC. The initiative, dubbed “Building Healthier Communities,” seeks to improve access to affordable health care, manage health challenges like chronic conditions and opioids and partner with communities. The bulk of the funding will come from the CVS Health Foundation and Aetna Foundation, with the rest coming from the company.
  5. The entity formerly known as MedMates has rebranded. Now known as Rhode Island Bio, the 2011-born group still works to coalesce the life science industry throughout southeastern New England.`Additionally, Rhode Island Bio has become the official affiliate of Biotechnology Innovation Organization, and will “work to secure resources for the Rhode Island life sciences community and provide its members with exclusive access to events, materials and supplies, workspaces, growth partners and more.”
  6. Our deep dive showed how Ocean State Job Lot, one of Rhode Island’s largest employers has survived for more than 40 years using one consistent business model: Finding the best deals on merchandise and then passing the savings to the customer. Also of note, the national retailer has developed a new website and is even considering ecommerce.
  7. Blue tech champion SeaAhead announced it will be establishing a hub at the Cambridge Innovation Center next month. SeaAhead catalyzes the intersection of oceans, innovation and sustainability.” The entity’s influence covers southern New England, 75 miles around its headquarters in Providence.
  8. Four Rhode Island companies represented the Ocean State this month at the Consumer Electric Show in Las Vegas hosted by the Consumer Technology Association. The event showcases more than 4,500 companies displaying over 4.5 million net square feet across the city. These organizations exhibited their newest tech, hardware and other products to more than 180,000 attendees from 150 countries. The event also boasts over 250 sessions of programming.
  9. Seventeen Rhode Island-based food businesses began the Social Enterprise Greenhouse Food Accelerator program earlier this month. The accelerator, SEG’s signature venture development program, includes a 12-week blended learning model that provides high impact social entrepreneurs the tools, networks and resources to validate their idea, understand their customer and formalize growth strategies from fundraising to social impact measurement.
  10. This March, Rhode Island Inno is bringing the tech and startup communities together for some healthy competition — bracket-style. Submit your nomination here or complete the form below. Tech Madness is our annual bracket challenge designed to generate awareness and excitement for the city’s ecosystem, and those that are driving it forward. Rhode Island Inno will assemble a bracket of private, fast-growing, tech-enabled local businesses and seed them based on funding. Then, we’ll ask the community to vote on each matchup in every round. Companies go head-to-head, with Rhode Island Inno’s readers determining who moves on by answering just one question: “Who would you invest in?”



Tech Firms Should Be Made Liable for ‘Fake News’ on Sites: UK Lawmakers

Tech Firms Should Be Made Liable for 'Fake News' on Sites: UK Lawmakers

Tech firms like Facebook should be made liable for “harmful and misleading” material on their websites and pay a levy so they can be regulated, British lawmakers said, warning of a crisis in democracy due to misuse of personal data.

Facebook has increasingly become a focus of the media committee’s inquiry into “fake news” after the data of 87 million users was improperly accessed by British-headquartered consultancy Cambridge Analytica.

The cost of higher privacy standards will hit Facebook’s profit margins for several years, the firm said on Wednesday, wiping over $120 billion (roughly Rs. 8.35 lakh crores) off its share price, and the company is coming under concerted regulatory scrutiny in Britain, the United States and the European Union.

“Companies like Facebook made it easy for developers to scrape user data and to deploy it in other campaigns without their knowledge or consent,” Damian Collins, chair of the Digital, Culture, Media and Sport Committee, said in a statement.

“They must be made responsible, and liable, for the way in which harmful and misleading content is shared on their sites.”

The committee’s interim report and Collins’s comments were embargoed until July 29. Other news organisations broke the embargo after a copy of the report was published online by Dominic Cummings, who ran the officially designated Vote Leave campaign in the EU referendum.

The standards of accuracy and impartiality which tech companies are held to could be based on regulator Ofcom’s rules for television and radio, the lawmakers said.

The committee’s report also suggested a levy on tech firms which could contribute to an increased budget for Britain’s data regulator, the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO), in the way in which the banking sector pays for the upkeep of its watchdog, the Financial Conduct Authority.

The ICO earlier this month fined Facebook for the Cambridge Analytica scandal.

Cambridge Analytica, which was hired by Donald Trump’s campaign in 2016, has denied its work on the US president’s election made use of the data in question.

It has also said that while it pitched for work with campaign group Leave.EU before the Brexit referendum in Britain in 2016, it did not end up doing any work on the campaign.

The committee however said that adverts used online in the campaign were not clearly labelled, and expressed concern about a breach of spending rules by rival campaign group Vote Leave.

“We are facing nothing less than a crisis in our democracy – based on the systematic manipulation of data to support the relentless targeting of citizens … by campaigns of disinformation and messages of hate,” Collins said.

The findings were made in an interim report, with the full report due in the autumn.


Healthcare Administration Degree For Rewarding Healthcare News Today Careers

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A vocation in healthcare news today has for some time been related with specialists and attendants in their fresh white outfits conveying consideration to patients. Be that as it may, there is a whole workforce that capacities energetically, far from the glaring lights, to help these essential parental figures and guarantee the smooth conveyance of healthcare.


Among these men and ladies are the healthcare executives or chiefs on whose shoulders rests the duty of overseeing and running a healthcare association.


The Department of Labor portrays the everyday capacity of a healthcare chairman as arranging, coordinating, organizing, and regulating the conveyance of healthcare. At the end of the day, they are the ones who deal with the managerial and business parts of running an association, so the healthcare suppliers can do only that – give care to the patients.


Why Healthcare?


In the event that you are the intersection of picking a vocation, at that point this is as energizing a period as any to get a healthcare organization degree and enter this calling. Pages after pages have just been composed about how a maturing populace has prompted a sharp increment in the interest for healthcare experts.


As per the Department of Labor, 10 of the 20 quickest developing occupations are identified with healthcare. Presently, that is an amazing figure by any measure of standards.* Healthcare organization itself is anticipated to develop at a quicker than normal pace and the work of healthcare heads and chiefs is relied upon to grow 16 percent by 2018.**


Yet, great openings for work and appealing pay are by all account not the only motivations to seek after a healthcare organization degree. The business is additionally experiencing an energizing stage as advance innovation gets incorporated with the healthcare conveyance framework and administrative condition turns out to be more intricate. The activity of a healthcare director has turned out to be all the more difficult in the current years.


Instruction and Training


On the off chance that you imagined that you have to put in six to seven years of school instruction to end up a healthcare executive, reconsider. Fortunately intrigued competitors can enter the calling with a four year college education in healthcare organization.


Since healthcare chiefs should be acquainted with administration standards and practices, an unhitched male in healthcare degree is intended to show understudies the clinical and business parts of dealing with a healthcare office via preparing them in administration standards, key arranging, asset administration, initiative aptitudes, and other office systems and therapeutic phrasing.


Graduates with a single guy’s healthcare organization degree start their professions as clerical specialists or partner office heads in bigger doctor’s facilities. Little healing facilities or nursing offices may enlist them as office heads.


Business Opportunities


With such huge numbers of healthcare offices jumping up to give care to a maturing populace, healthcare managers may discover work in an extensive variety of settings. These incorporate doctor’s facilities, facilities, office of doctors, nursing care offices, private care offices, home healthcare offices, government healthcare offices, group mind offices, recovery focuses, and so on.


The Department of Labor has characterized healthcare managers as either pros or generalists. Pros are accountable for a particular clinical division and are called clinical chiefs. They are prepared or experienced in the particular clinical territory that they oversee.


Generalists, then again, deal with a whole office or a framework inside an office. In expansive offices, they function as right hand chairmen supporting the best overseer in the running of different healthcare divisions.


In littler offices like nursing homes or specialists’ workplaces, healthcare chairmen are typically in charge of doing the everyday activities like overseeing faculty, taking care of accounts, enlistment, and so on.

Spread of fake news prompts literacy efforts in schools

Sunshine Year Media LiteracyIOWA CITY — Alarmed by the proliferation of false content online, state lawmakers around the country are pushing schools to put more emphasis on teaching students how to tell fact from fiction.

Lawmakers in several states have introduced or passed bills calling on public school systems to do more to teach media literacy skills that they say are critical to democracy. The effort has been bipartisan but has received little attention despite successful legislation in Washington state, Connecticut, Rhode Island and New Mexico.

Several more states are expected to consider such bills in the coming year, including Arizona, New York and Hawaii.

“I don’t think it’s a partisan issue to appreciate the importance of good information and the teaching of tools for navigating the information environment,” said Hans Zeiger, a Republican state senator in Washington who co-sponsored a bill that passed in his state earlier this year. “There is such a thing as an objective source versus other kinds of sources, and that’s an appropriate thing for schools to be teaching.”

Advocates say the K-12 curriculum has not kept pace with rapid changes in technology. Studies show many children spend hours every day online but struggle to comprehend the content that comes at them.

For years, they have pushed schools to incorporate media literacy — including the ability to evaluate and analyze sources of information — into lesson plans in civics, language arts, science and other subjects.

Their efforts started getting traction after the 2016 presidential election, which highlighted how even many adults can be fooled by false and misleading content peddled by agenda-driven domestic and foreign sources.

“Five years ago, it was difficult to get people to understand what we were doing and what we wanted to see happen in education and the skills students needed to learn,” said Michelle Ciulla Lipkin, executive director of the National Association for Media Literacy Education. “Now there is no question about the vitalness of this in classrooms.”

A study published last year by Stanford University researchers also brought the issue into focus. It warned that students from middle school to college were “easily duped” and ill-equipped to use reason with online information.

The researchers warned that “democracy is threatened by the ease at which disinformation about civic issues is allowed to spread and flourish.”

In June, Connecticut Gov. Dannel Malloy signed a bill establishing an advisory council to develop recommendations that will include instructing students on evaluating what they see and read online.

Jennifer Rocca, a high school librarian in Brookfield, Connecticut, was among several supporters who urged lawmakers to pass the legislation.

Her digital literacy course, a requirement for freshmen, challenges students to evaluate the credibility of online sources so they can spot falsehoods and biased information. She requires students to cite their sources when conducting research and explain why each would have the authority to be credible.

Without stronger statewide standards, Rocca said she worries that some school districts will not do enough to develop skills that are critical for students and society.

“You should be expected to navigate the internet and evaluate the information no matter where you go to school,” she said.

Many of the state bills are based on model legislation backed by a coalition of groups, including Media Literacy Now and the Digital Citizenship Institute. Advocates say the laws are a good first step that must be paired with updates to teacher education programs, funding for professional development and other changes throughout the education system.


Why Social Media Companies Can’t Stop ‘Fake News’

Image result for Why Social Media Companies Can’t Stop ‘Fake News’

Why Social Media Companies Can’t Stop ‘Fake News’

Right before the holiday, Guy Benson noted that two widely-spread viral tweets about the tax reform bill were flat-out false. The first, from actress Jenna Fischer, contended that because of the GOP-supported tax reform, “school teachers can no longer deduct the cost of their classroom supplies on their taxes.”

Cut Fischer a little bit of slack; she eventually corrected her assertion and offered a lengthy apology. Her information was outdated; the House version of the bill would indeed have eliminated the $250 deductions that teachers could take for purchasing school supplies for their students. A short time earlier, it was a fair complaint; the final version of the bill kept the deduction intact. Still, her original complaining Tweet was retweeted at least 46,000 times; her apology was retweeted 3,600 times.

The second, from a now-deleted Twitter account called “@Sykotik_Dreams” – declared, “My wife’s friend just received a letter from Medicaid and Social Security saying her severely disabled autistic 7 year old son just lost his healthcare and benefits. The letter states that it’s due to your #TaxScamBill. It’s 3 days before Christmas you [bad word] [bad word]!!” This, too, was retweeted more than 46,000 times before it was deleted.

Everyone should have smelled “lie” coming off this one. Nothing in the tax bill affected Medicaid and Social Security benefits decisions. The Tweet was written on December 22nd and the final version of the bill passed the House of Representatives on December 20th. A decision like that almost certainly would have had to have been reached, and the letter would have had to have been drafted, before passage of the final legislation. The individual sharing the story offered no further illuminating details – which agency wrote the letter, any justification, or anyone who could be reached to verify the claim.

“Fake news” doesn’t just come from Moscow or Lithuanian server farms. It comes anytime someone offers something false, inaccurate, or deeply misleading, and people choose to believe it and spread it to their friends. In many cases, those who spread it and amplify it want it to be true, because it confirms part of their previous worldview. If you hate Republicans, you want to believe that their tax bill is doing nothing but terrible things to good people, that it’s living up to Nancy Pelosi’s label of “Armageddon,” and that it’s taking away health care from innocent 7-year-old autistic boys. If this dire scenario is true, it means you, the good outspoken liberal who keeps berating your relatives for their intolerably retrograde political views at Thanksgiving, is a hero, and your relatives are monsters for disagreeing with you.

Who’s to blame for fake news, the creators or those segments of the public who choose to believe it?

Facebook just learned the hard way that labeling something “fake news” does not erode the audience or appetite for that information.

Today, we’re announcing two changes which we believe will help in our fight against false news. First, we will no longer use Disputed Flags to identify false news. Instead we’ll use Related Articles to help give people more context about the story. Here’s why.

Academic research on correcting misinformation has shown that putting a strong image, like a red flag, next to an article may actually entrench deeply held beliefs – the opposite effect to what we intended. Related Articles, by contrast, are simply designed to give more context, which our research has shown is a more effective way to help people get to the facts. Indeed, we’ve found that when we show Related Articles next to a false news story, it leads to fewer shares than when the Disputed Flag is shown.

Second, we are starting a new initiative to better understand how people decide whether information is accurate or not based on the news sources they depend upon. This will not directly impact News Feed in the near term. However, it may help us better measure our success in improving the quality of information on Facebook over time.

Let me help you understand how people decide whether information is accurate or not, Facebook. A great many people have strong belief systems, and at the core of those strong belief systems is the idea that they are good and people who disagree are bad; alternately, my tribe is good and the other tribes are bad. If new information comes along and appears to confirm that they and their tribe are good, or that the other tribes are bad, then they choose to believe it. If new information comes along and appears to confirm that they and their tribe are bad, or that the other tribes are good, they will declare the information false.


Top tech news of the week Nov’ 20 – Nov’ 26

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lot has happened in the tech industry this week, from a new mbile app launched by Prime Minister Narendra Modi to the launch of new headphones. Read the full article for the top tech news of the week.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi has launched a new mobile app — UMANG (Unified Mobile Application for New-age Governance) which will allow citizens to access government services on a single platform.

The app was slated to be released in December last year. The services on the app include Aadhaar, DigiLocker, Bharat Bill Payment System (BBPS) among others. More than 162 services from 33 departments and four states are already live on it. The app is available on Android, iOS and Windows phones.

Japanese electronics giant Sony has expanded its noise cancellation headphones lineup in India with the launch of four new models: WI-1000X, WH-1000XM2, WF-1000X and WH-H900N. The WH-1000XM2 and WH-H900N will be available at Rs 18,990 and Rs 29,990, respectively starting December 14. Whereas, the WF-1000X and WI-1000X are priced at Rs 14,990 and Rs 21,990 and will be available starting today. All the headphones will be available across all Sony Centers and major electronic stores in India.

HMD -Global, the company who holds the license of manufacturing Nokia branded smartphones has announced the price and availability of Nokia 2smartphone in India. Customers can purchase the Nokia 2 at Rs 6,999 from all the leading retail stores.

The Nokia 2 comes with a 5-inch HD display with 720×1280 pixel resolution. The device runs Android 7.0 Nougat and will also receive an Android 8.0 Oreo update.

The smartphone is powered by a quad-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 212 processor paired with 1GB of RAM. The device offers 8GB internal storage which can be expanded up to 128GB by inserting a microSD card. The device sports an 8MP rear camera with autofocus and LED flash and 5MP front camera with fixed focus. Nokia 2 houses a 4,100 mAh battery, which the company claims can last up to 2 days in a single charge.

American technology company Garmin has launched its latest wearable device in India. Unveiled at IFA 2017 in Berlin, the company has now launched the Garmin vivoactive 3 at Rs 24,990. The Garmin vivoactive 3 comes equipped with Garmin Pay, a wireless payment platform of the company. The service is compatible with credit and debit cards from MasterCard. The smartwatch features a 1.2-inch display with 240×240 pixel resolution. The company also claims that the device is water resistant with up to 5 ATM level. The smartwatch promises to run for up to 13 hours on GPS mode and up to 7 days on the smartwatch mode. It is also capable of recording 7 timed activities and 14 days of activity tracking. Along with this, the wearable can also track the sleep, steps and overall health of the user. It is compatible with both Android and iOS smartphones.

HP has expanded its gaming laptop product portfolio with the launch of Omen 15 and Omen 17. The company claims that the new devices are designed for e-sports athletes and competitive gamers.

The laptops come with 10 Series GTX graphics from Nvidia and high-resolution displays with optional G-Sync technology for fast refresh rates. The HP Omen 15 comprises of the CE070TX, CE071TX, CE072TX, CE073TX, and CE074TX models.

The laptops run Windows 10 operating system and is powered by seventh-generation Intel Core i5 processor. It offers 8GB of DDR4 RAM and 1TB Serial ATA HDD with Nvidia GeForce GTX 1050.

The high-end version of the series is powered by seventh-generation Intel Core i7 processor paired with 16GB of RAM and 1TB HDD and the same Nvidia GeForce GTX 1060 graphics.

On the other hand, the company has introduced two models under the Omen 17 series — AN009TX and AN010 TX. The devices boast of a 17.3-inch LED backlit display with full HD resolution. The laptops are powered by seventh-generation Intel Core i7 coupled with 16GB of DDR4 RAM and 1TB of Serial ATA HDD with Nvidia GeForce GTX 1070 graphics.


Pokemon Go news: Legendary update teased ahead of Mewtwo release

A new Pokemon Go update is heading our way

Pokemon Go is seeing some big updates being rolled out by Niantic on a regular basis.

The most recent has concerned the launch of new Legendary Pokemon, with the next big release already confirmed.

Mewtwo is set to be released sometime in the coming weeks, although Niantic have yet to specify a time.

However, other plans linked to Pokemon Go Raids have been, including the fact that the official Raid Pass Box sale is scheduled to end on August 21.

This was confirmed by the Pokemon Go Japan Twitter account, and could point to bigger things on the horizon.

It could mean that Niantic are already planning their next Pokemon Go Shop bundle, in time for the release of Mewtwo.

We still don’t know when the Psychic-type will arrive, although it seems likely that it will be timed for after the end of the current Moltres, Zapdos, Lugia and Articuno event.

“Over the past three weeks, thousands of Legendary Pokémon have been defeated in Raid Battles around the world,” a message from Niantic explains.

“In celebration of this achievement and to give Trainers another chance to catch Articuno, Zapdos, Moltres, and Lugia, all four of these Legendary Pokémon can be battled in Raid Battles from August 14 through August 31.

“Be on the lookout for these Legendary Pokémon at a raid near you.”

This would suggest that Mewtwo will make its debut in early September, however, we won’t know for certain until Niantic release another update on the subject.

It follows news of a new Pokemon Go event being held in August, with Niantic sponsoring a Pocket Monster adventure in Akron, Ohio.

The new event is being hosted at several locations and will include free admission.

The John S. and James L. Knight Foundation has teamed up with Niantic, Inc., the developer and publisher of Pokémon GO, to encourage Akron residents, visitors and University of Akron students to connect to the downtown neighborhood using the innovative augmented-reality experience of the popular mobile game,” the event description explains.

“Akron will give Trainers the chance to play Pokemon Go together, meet other players and enjoy a variety of real world experiences on Aug. 26 and 27, during The University of Akron’s freshman orientation period, New Roo Weekend, which occurs just before classes begin.”

Unfortunately, no special Pokemon Go Raids have been announced for the event, which has been confirmed to include an increased number of temporary PokeStops, charging stations and seating in public spaces, as well as musicians, activities and other programming.

There is a tagline teasing that more will be included, although fans will have to wait to see what this turns out to be.

The event isn’t being billed as something fans around the globe should be keeping track of, so it’s unlikely we’ll see Mewtwo pop up… Unless it’s already been launched.

Meet the fake news of the online marketing world (that Google loves!): Review sites

A recent visit to revealed some amazing “facts” about online marketing vendors. Did you know, for example, that:

  • One of iProspect’s biggest clients is Circuit City (which went bankrupt in 2008)?
  • iCrossing’s annual revenue is between $1 million and $3 million?
  • Geary LSF (which closed in early 2016) currently has 93 employees and revenue of more than $10M. Oh, and they are the #59 best SEO agency in the US as of July 2017.
  • My company, 3Q Digital, also has revenue between $1 million and $3 million (wrong), has three founders (all of which founded an agency we acquired and only one of which has ever been part of my agency), is located in an office we haven’t rented for four years and is apparently the #7 best mobile marketing company in Australia (if only we had an Australian client).
  • An agency in Lehi, Utah, is ranked #1 in the US for search engine optimization, local SEO, remarketing, Facebook advertising, LinkedIn advertising, YouTube advertising, web design, web development, site audits, App Store Optimization, inbound marketing, infographic design, medical SEO, multilingual SEO, online marketing, video marketing, voice search optimization, and web marketing? They also rank highly in Canada and the UK. (I’m not providing a link here because I don’t want to help the organic results.)

So, um, yeah, it seems like a lot of the in-depth research on TopSEOs is at least 3 to 4 years old. I give them some credit, however, for updating the data they had in 2012, when they listed Google as being based in Seattle with annual revenue of $5 million to $10 million.

When top SEO rankings go to fake reviews sites

Now, you might be thinking: Why does this matter? There are plenty of junky pay-to-play review sites that exist entirely to drive leads to their sponsors. Here’s the rub: Google’s SEO algorithm apparently can’t separate the fake review sites from real content. To wit, I did a few Google searches and found TopSEOs highly ranked on numerous terms including:

  • #1 – Top SEO Agency
  • #2 – Best SEO Company
  • #3 – Top PPC Agency
  • #4 – SEO Agency
  • #5 – Best SEM Agency
  • #5 – PPC Agency

And then there’s — which happens to rank their sponsoring service-providers in the top spot for most categories — that is also doing smashingly in the organic results:

  • #1 – Best SEO Agency
  • #1 – Best SEO Company (right in front of TopSEOs)
  • #1 – Top PPC Agency
  • #1 – SEO Agency
  • #1 – PPC Agency
  • #2 – Top SEO Agency (right behind TopSEOs)
  • #3 – Best SEM Agency

It’s one thing for an agency to tout a bunch of fake rankings on their own website, but when Google is giving top SEO rankings to fake ranking sites, it gives these sites an aura of legitimacy that could lead businesses to trust the rankings.

Indeed, the agency that appears to be paying a ton of money to TopSEOs, and has been awarded top-ranking in the majority of categories, has a 1.5 out of 5 stars on Yelp and has received 12 negative reviews (none positive) on the Better Business Bureau’s website. (Snippets from the reviews include “in the end probably created more harm than good,” “they very obviously didn’t care about their work,” and “this is the most dishonest company I’ve ever dealt with.”)

I have a pretty simple theory as to why these review sites continue to impress Google’s algorithms. Every company that “wins” a high ranking promotes the ranking on their website, which means that the fake review sites are getting dozens of links from agencies. So Google’s algorithm sees a bunch of SEM and SEO agencies linking back to a site about “top SEM agencies” and concludes that this must be the most relevant site!

This is the same “link bombing” that resulted in George Bush showing up #1 for the term “miserable failure.” Google has developed algorithms in the past to fix egregious link bombing, so it’s a bit surprising that this problem still exists.

And even if the algorithm isn’t up to snuff, Google allegedly has 10,000 human reviewers who are on the look-out for bad and irrelevant content. It’s hard to believe that none of these folks have ever come across these fake review sites and imposed a ranking penalty.

I do have to give TopSEOs credit for one thing: making me laugh. They have a page about their testing facility that is fantastic, and I recommend reading the whole thing here. To give you a taste of its awesomeness, however, just check out this paragraph about their office, which uses high-falutin’ words to describe what appears to be a thermostat, desk lamps, computers with built-in speakers, nearby restaurants, and a hospital!

Our testing facility is outfitted with temperature control systems, audio capabilities, and automated lighting solutions to provide each team member with the optimal work environment. Our infrastructure makes communication convenient while the location of the testing facility ensures ease of access to products and services which team members may require for sustenance or medical concerns.

All joking aside, I’d like to see Google take their organic results a little more seriously and clean up the “fake news” that is no doubt misleading many businesses.

Some opinions expressed in this article may be those of a guest author and not necessarily Search Engine Land. Staff authors are listed here.