Tag: Facebook

Channel could turn to AI

sat-ai-head-640x353AI consultants Humanotics and service communications experts soh have announced a new partnership that they think will make it easy for the channel to create practical user focussed solutions that cut costs, boost sales and increase customer approaval.

Fran Fish, Managing Director at soh, said: “AI and chatbots show lots of promise for the service sector but with high profile media coverage of problems at Facebook and Microsoft, as well as scepticism from business journals including Harvard Business Review, clients are nervous about whether the technology can deliver.”

Dr David Naylor, Founder of Humanotics, continued: “There’s a lot of hype around AI. Suppliers are down playing the effort required by businesses to create applications that deliver a return on their investment. The Humanotics – soh partnership is about making it easier to create AI solutions that work well for customers, businesses and frontline advisors.”

The first collaboration between the two companies is the “AI Ready” assessment that helps service organisations make better business cases for AI by choosing the best service applications and thoroughly assessing the impact.

Talking about what will happen in future Fran Fish said: “With pressure to cut costs, get customers to self-serve and to digitise customer operations so that advisors can concentrate on more complex queries, our clients are asking whether digital service — including AI and machine-learning — is the answer. We’re developing how we can help companies use AI and prepare their customer service communications for any digital transformation.”

“Working with soh means we are increasing our focus on the quality of customer conversations embedded in automated assistant or chatbot applications”,  said David Naylor. “We’re also able to work together to strengthen our offering in AI as a managed service. It’s an exciting development for our clients.”

Salesforce says Twitter Ye Not

frankie-loopmasters1Salesforce has said it has given up on its plans to buy social notworking site Twitter.

Salesforce CEO Marc Benioff told the Financial Times his company has “walked away” from cutting a deal and he was pretty much the last one left.

Neither Google nor Disney plan to bid on Twitter, despite reports saying both were interested. Apple is long gone and Verizon immediately launghed off the speculation.

Facebook was said to be uninterested, and someone mentioned Microsoft but then realised that it made no sense for Vole which is becoming an increasingly enterprise-focused company.

This is going to put pressure on the social notworking site to work out a way to restart user growth and improve its revenue.

Twitter will update investors on its earnings again two weeks from now, on 27 October and it’s likely the company will either address or be asked about where any acquisition talks go from here.

Facebook fluffs its advertising effectiveness

thumb-mark-zuckerberg-facebook-pro-4566Social notworking site Facebook is in hot water after it was revealed the company vastly overestimated average viewing time for video ads on its platform for two years.

Several weeks ago, Facebook disclosed in a post on its “Advertiser Help Center” that its metric for the average time users spent watching videos was artificially inflated because it was only factoring in video views of more than three seconds. The company said it was introducing a new metric to fix the problem.

Sd agency executives were furious and started digging deeper, prompting Facebook to give them a more detailed account.

Ad buying agency Publicis Media was told by Facebook that the earlier counting method likely overestimated average time spent watching videos by between 60 per cent and 80 per cent. A spokeswoman for Publicis Media bought $77 billion in ads on behalf of marketers around the world in 2015, so it is a little miffed.

Facebook insists that it has fixed its video metrics. and that it did not change billing.

“We have notified our partners both through our product dashboards and via sales and publisher outreach. We also renamed the metric to make it clearer what we measure. This metric is one of many our partners use to assess their video campaigns.”

However all this is rather embarrissing for Facebook, which has been touting the rapid growth of video consumption across its platform in recent years. Marketers may have misjudged the performance of video advertising they have purchased from Facebook over the past two years. It also may have impacted their decisions about how much to spend on Facebook video versus other video ad sellers such as Google’s YouTube, Twitter, and even TV networks.


Eastern ODMs take bite out of server market

hp_serversUnless you are HPE, everyone appears to be doing well out of the global server market,  but it seems that the Asian ODMs such as Quanta and Wistron are continuing to bite out a larger share of the global server market.

According to beancounters at Gartner’s the global server market grew 8.2 percent in shipments and 9.2 percent in revenues in the fourth quarter on an annual comparison.

Those outside the top five saw revenues beef up 18.9 percent to $4.75 billion and shipments increase 16 percent to 1.26 million in Q4.

Between them they have between 31.4 and 42.5 percent of the market in revenue and shipment terms, respectively.

Jeffrey Hewitt, research vice president at Gartner said that this demonstrates that the growth of hyperscale datacentres, like those of Facebook, Google and Microsoft, continues to be the leading contributor to physical server increases globally.

Meanwhile Market leader HPE’s shipments were hit by global weakness in Windows-based x86 servers, while its revenues were affected by a drop in RISC/Itanium Unix server sales.

HPE’s share of server revenues dropped from 27.9 to 25.2 percent however it is still  10 points ahead of closest rival Dell, which grew revenues 4.5 percent. IBM grew revenues 10.3 percent, Lenovo 2.9 percent and Cisco 20.2 percent.



Facebook wants to be a business tool

thumb-mark-zuckerberg-facebook-pro-4566The social notworking site Facebook has decided that its users really want to talk to businesses through its site.

Facebook rolled out features yesterday that let  businesses privately communicate with customers through messages as the Messenger app.

Businesses can now include a “send message” button in ads that appear in Newsfeed that allow Facebook users to click a button and send messages, which are private. If users post a comment on a business’ Facebook page, then the business can privately message that person

The features are part of Facebook’s efforts to convince more small and medium-sized businesses – especially those in emerging markets, such as India, Brazil and Indonesia – to advertise on its platform.

By giving them direct access to customers, the world’s largest social network hopes to show that advertising on Facebook directly leads to increased sales.

To encourage quick responses, Facebook will award “very responsive to messages” badges on business pages that respond to 90 percent of messages and respond on average within five minutes. People will, however, still be able to block private messages from businesses.

The features will be especially valuable in Southeast Asia, Facebook wrote in a blog post. About twice as many Thai and Singaporean users use Facebook messages to communicate with businesses each month and most Southeast Asia users follow some company pages.

Facebook hosts more than 40 million active small and medium business pages, it said, with more than 1 billion page visits each month.


Google buys Samsung 3D NAND

edefectoSearch engine Google is rumoured to be signing up for Samsung’s 3D NAND in its data centres in a move which is similar to its rival’s Amazon. 

Samsung’s 3D NAND is currently used in Kaminario K2 all-flash arrays and is being tipped for MacBooks.

Neither Google nor Samsung have commented but if it pans out then it means that stacking 32 layers of planar 2D NAND built using 39-30nm-class cell geometry in a die, is the way forward. It also means that Samsung must have a better price and performance advantage over other flash fabricators.

Samsung’s 3D NAND is generally available while its rivals are still at the sampling stage with GA late this year or in 2016. SanDisk is sampling a 48-layer chip, but Samsung is expected to match that soon.

Since it has signed big supply deals with Amazon, Apple and Google, Samsung clearly has its foot in the door. It also means that these big data centre operators will be buying less planar NAND than otherwise from the other flash suppliers.

Facebook “robbed” British data centre design

hqdefaultA British company is claiming that the social notworking site stole its design for a datacentre.

Facebook is being sued by BladeRoom Group (BRG) which that claims the social network stole its technique for building data centres and, perhaps worse, is encouraging others to do the same through the Open Compute Project.

BladeRoom came up with an idea to construct data centres in a modular fashion from pre-fabricated parts. It’s intended to be a faster, more energy-efficient method.

However Facebook used the idea to build part of a data centre in Lulea, Sweden, that opened last year.

“Facebook’s misdeeds might never have come to light had it decided that simply stealing BRG’s intellectual property was enough,” the company said in its lawsuit, filed last Monday at the federal district court in California.

“Instead, Facebook went further when it decided to encourage and induce others to use BRG’s intellectual property though an initiative created by Facebook called the ‘Open Compute Project’.”

BRG is suing Facebook for theft of trade secrets and breach of contract, among other things, and asks for a jury trial. It’s seeking unspecified financial damages and an injunction to stop anyone using its technique.

The British outfit said Facebook should have to pay for “all profits, cost savings, and reputational enhancement” it gained from its alleged use of BRG’s designs. The suit was jointly filed by BRG and Bripco, both based in Cheltenham, England.


Judges scrap Indian Facebook law

India_flagThe Supreme Court in Delhi has decided that a law which could have people sent to jail for making pretty harmless comments on Twitter and Facebook is unconstitutional.

The judges say section 66A of the Information Technology Act breached the Indian constitution and struck it from the statute book.

The order was made after it was successfully argued that this section of the law violated the principles of freedom of speech and expression.

The law allowed people to be sent to prison for three years for sending emails or other electronic communications that upset or annoyed other people.

Several people have been arrested for posting comments about politicians on Facebook, and for sending tweets that annoyed people.


Apple buys into white box servers

novità-apple-2013Cupertino based Apple Inc has decided to ditch HP and Dell to supply its servers and instead is looking to Taiwanese firms to supply its data centre needs.

That’s according to Taiwan wire Digitimes which said some of the local white box server manufacturers have already received orders from Apple for boxes.

One of the major manufacturers of servers is Quanta, which used to specialise almost wholly in making notebooks for big vendors but has diversified its business over the last two years.

It offers servers at a price that undercuts Dell and HP and will customise the machines for customers which already include giants like Microsoft, Google, Facebook and Amazon.

Apple said recently it will open data centres in Ireland and in Denmark and it’s also spending billions on building up data centres in the USA.

The company is also cuddling up to IBM and wants to release tablet machines that will appeal to enterprises rather than the home users it has depended on in the past.

Facebook clarifies what you can post

thumb-mark-zuckerberg-facebook-pro-4566Facebook has decided to come on out and give people some guidance on what it allows to be posted on the social network.

In a post on its blog, Facebook issued what it calls “community standards” and claims it wants to balance “the interests of its diverse” population.

It said it will remove content, and disable accounts if it believes “there is a genuine risk of physical harm or direct threats to public safety”.

It also said it would remove content if it believes content is particularly sensitive.

It also wants to encourage respectful behaviour. It insists that people use their authentic names and identity.

It asks that people respect copyrights, trademarks and “other legal rights”.

If someone commits what it sees as abuse, it says that it may reserve the right to ban people from Facebook.

But it said not all disagreeable or disturbing content violates its community standards.

In all, it is a particularly vague set of rules that more or less gives Facebook the right to decide what it doesn’t want on its social networking pages.

You’re trapped by mobile ads

330ogleA frenzy of competition from major vendors for advertising revenue including the mobile market means growth between now and 2020 compared to the conventional advertising market.

That’s the conclusion of ABI Research today, which said in a report the competition is between Yahoo, Facebook, Google, Microsoft and others to push adverts at you through your mobile device.

Growth in the mobile advertising market is set to grow 16 percent CAGR between 2015 and 2020, compared to the total advertising market at 11 percent.

ABI thinks that mobile advertising will represent over 50 percent of total advertising revenue in the next few years.

Right now, Twitter and Facebook have the largest chunk of the market and so the strongest mobile advertising revenues.

The research company believes that there will be plenty of acquisitions as the different players jockey for position to grow their revenues.

Google is the clear leader in the search advertising sector but it faces increasing competition in the years to come, too.

ISIS aiming for social media heads

o-ANONYMOUS-facebookTerrorist outfit the Islamic State has decided to take out the heads of the major social media companies for daring to take on the outfit.

On Sunday, an image circulated showing Islamic State supporters allegedly threatening Jack Dorsey, a founder of Twitter, in retaliation for the social network engaging an escalating war against the militant group.

ISIS relied heavily on American-built social media to provide a megaphone. Lately, however, the networks have fought back and shut down its access.

Now the social media that enabled ISIS to become the most famous terrorists on the planet—Twitter, YouTube, and Facebook is at war against them.

Twitter has gone through numerous waves in which tens of thousands of ISIS accounts have been banned in an attack designed to lessen their influence.

ISIS tried to arrange a cyberprotest in favor of a right to free speech in order to gain the attention of the world.

At noon ET on Feb. 26, the full might of ISIS’s social media operation was supposed to get #IslamicStateMedia and #الحملة_العالمية_لنصرة_الدولة_الإسلامية trending everywhere and squarely in the spotlight.

However it was taken to the cleaners by Kurds and conservative American activists who rhetorically attacked their common enemy so that neither the Arabic- nor English-language campaign had any success whatsoever.

ISIS social media jihadists were outnumbered and outdone during their own highly publicised campaign.

It turned out that Twitter made it impossible for ISIS to win by setting in motion the biggest strike against the Islamic State that social media has yet seen.

Some accounts were suspended three to seven times within one single day. But the incentive of the campaign kept these Islamic State supporters coming back again and again.

ISIS is now spending more time and effort than ever before to maintain their social media.

Apparently they are wanting blood with threats calling for the killing or harming of social media bosses appearing on the accounts they can still use. But it is looking like this is a rear guard action.

China irritates tech firms

chinaflagA law set to be passed by Chinese authorities would make tech vendors provide the government with encryption keys and put backdoors in systems.

According to Reuters, the law relates to counter terrorism and the legislation is likely to be passed into law in the near future.

Other elements of the counter terrorism law include a reqirement for companies to locate their servers and user data in China, as well as forcing vendors to censor content that China believes is related to terrorism.

China already forces banks to buy from home grown vendors, rather than buying abroad.

Reuters said that the implications of this new piece of legislation would be to forbid secure VPNs, to send financial information securely, and to hide any detail of a commercial business.

Google might find itself thanking its lucky stars that it doesn’t do business in mainland China, but other vendors including Apple, Intel and Microsoft will certainly be hit by the legislation.

Facebook faces European probe

european-commissionData protection authorities in the European Union are getting edgy about Facebook’s privacy policy, it’s been reported.
Facebook released a new privacy policy at the end of last week which, among other things, even tracks you when you’re not logged into the social network.
You are automatically “upgraded” to the new privacy policy but you can choose to opt out.
According to PC World, authorities in Belgium, the Netherlands and Germany have formed a group in the belief that Facebook may breach the European Union’s privacy rules.
Other elements of Facebook policy the authorities are investigating include it claiming rights to data from profiles for business, and sharing of data with third parties.
The same report says that German authorities are worried about Facebook sharing information with its subsidiaries, such as Instagram.
Facebook always maintains that anything it does is to help individual users.
But the company makes its revenues from advertising – and its users are a means to that end.
European data protection authorities are increasingly cooperating with each other to keep multinationals like Facebook and Google on their toes.
The British ICO recently extracted a promise from Google that it would work to improve its privacy policy in Europe.


Google sunk by the US dollar and Facebook

eric-schmidt-testimonyThe cocaine nose jobs of Wall Street clutched the spaces where their hearts should be after the search engine Google announced that its revenue growth had been stalled by the strong US dollar.

Google’s revenue grew 15 percent in the fourth quarter but fell short of Wall Street’s target thanks to declining online ad prices and unfavorable foreign exchange rates.

The outfit appears to be losing ground to Facebook on the advertising front. Facebook reported on Wednesday that mobile ads on its network doubled year-over-year during the fourth quarter.

Google said the “cost per click,” decreased 3 percent year-over-year in the fourth quarter, while the number of consumer clicks on its ads increased 14 percent.

Analysts had expected  gains in cost-per-click and they are now saying that Google’s business is slowing and it is going to look worse as the dollar strengthens.

Consolidated revenue in the three months ended Dec. 31 totalled $18.10 billion, compared to $15.71 billion in the year-ago period. Wall Street expected revenue of $18.46 billon.

Chief Financial Officer Patrick Pichette said in a statement that revenue grew “despite strong currency headwinds”.

Net income rose to $4.76 billion from $3.38 billion a year earlier.