What Will Happen to Twitter?

What Will Happen to Twitter?
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Early this week, Twitter’s Dick Costolo announced that he will step down as the company’s CEO effective July 1. The news of his resignation resulted to many speculations as to who will lead the company and what direction it would take now to take steam off from constant pressure due to sluggish user growth and unsuccessful attempts at making the company more appealing.

Costolo has been under pressure from the high expectations of Wall Street, the company’s Board and investors since 2013 after Twitter went public. The last straw was the open constructive criticism issued by Chris Sacca, one of Twitter’s early investors who wrote a lengthy blog post titled “What Twitter Can Be that narrated his suggestions on how the company can overcome its current predicament.

Costolo said, “I am tremendously proud of the Twitter team and all that the team has accomplished together during my six years with the Company. We have great leaders who work well together and a clear strategy that informs our objectives and priorities.”

Costolo who says he loves the company, will stay as a Board Member. Now acting as interim CEO is Jack Dorsey, Twitter’s Chairman, co-founder and first CEO.

“There is no one better than Jack Dorsey to lead Twitter during this transition. He has a profound understanding of the product and Twitter’s mission in the world as well as a great relationship with Twitter’s leadership team. I am deeply appreciative of the confidence the Board, the management team and the employees have placed in me over the years, and I look forward to supporting Twitter however I can going forward,” Costolo added.

In the immediate hours after the company announced the change in leadership, Twitter’s share rose to more than 7 percent. But the following day, after Costolo and Dorsey appeared on the news to discuss the future of the company, the gains have slide and went down at nearly 6 percent before the CEO change.

Twitter said that their search for a new CEO is a real deal. Analysts also pointed out that Twitter should bring in an outsider to introduce some fresh perspective to the company.

Reinventing the social networking service

All successful tech companies go through major reinvention every few years. Like what Mark Zuckerberg is doing to Facebook — and all the changes to its timeline and news feed and its neverending tweaking of its privacy settings.

Sacca wrote that “hundreds of millions of new users will join and stay active on Twitter, hundreds of millions of inactive users will return to Twitter, and hundreds of millions more will use Twitter from the outside if Twitter can do the following:

  • Make Tweets effortless to enjoy,
  • Make it easier for all to participate, and
  • Make each of us on Twitter feel heard and valuable.

He added, “accomplishing this isn’t hard and there are obvious, concrete steps to fix it all. Done right, countless users new and old will find Twitter indispensable, use Twitter more, see great ads, buy lots of stuff, and make the company much more money along the way.

Days after the major announcement, Twitter unveiled Project Lightning, a new feature that could either make or break the social networking service.

Project Lightning is under development and will roll out in few months. From what was already announced, the new feature will allow users to follow live events through curated streams of tweets, photos and videos.

Twitter hired a team of editors to do what it has been trying to do in the past years curation. “It’s a brand-new way to look at tweets,” says Twitter Product Head Kevin Weil. “This is a bold change, not evolutionary.” 

Events will be entered around photo and video, and they won’t appear in the traditional timeline format. “It could be current events. It could be breaking news. It could be awards shows or sports. But also cultural events and moments, Well said. Basically, if people are tweeting about it, it becomes an event.

So far, these are what we know about Project Lightning:

  • A new Twitter mobile app will be launched. Press the new button to view events taking place that people are tweeting about
  • It will rely mainly on visual-heavy curated content
  • It will use the concept of “events”
  • Both logged-in and logged-out users can use the feature
  • It will instantly load videos and images that can be embedded across the Web and other apps
  • A team of editors will select the best and most relevant tweets and package them into a collection
  • The images will not appear as a feed on the timeline but will occupy the entire screen. Click, swipe and scroll will move from one image or video to another.
  • The collections will also include and promote videos posted on Vines and Periscope

If Twitter will eventually tell its own story and if Project Lightning can save the embattled social networking service, we have yet to see.

 

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This Week In Games: Facebook Messenger Games & E3 2015

This Week In Games: Facebook Messenger Games & E3 2015
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First Facebook Messenger Game now out

What is more addicting than Facebook Messenger? You’ve guessed it right — Facebook Messenger games.

Yes. The social networking giant has finally incorporated games and apps to its messenger service that has over 600 million users worldwide. The first game for Facebook Messenger is Doodle Draw, a drawing game.

Doodle Draw for iOS and Android is very similar to Draw Something which derived its origins from the classic board game Pictionary.

Facebook’s introduction of games and other third-party apps to the Messenger is one surefire way to keep users spend more time on the messaging app (remember Zynga and its arsenal of colorful, addictive games).

More time on Facebook means more user engagement and more revenues for Facebook. This move from the social networking company is just one of its many enterprising ways of monetizing the social media usage of netizens.

With the introduction of games, Messenger users can do more than just chat and send messages and emojis to friends.

Doodle Draw for Messenger is a free app.

Facebook’s Messenger ranked among the top three apps on Apple’s App Store and Google Play.

This Week In Games: Facebook Messenger Games & E3 2015

 

E3 2015 Preview

The gaming world is all-hyped up and excited about the upcoming Electronics Entertainment Expo (E3) 2015 happening on June 16 to 18 at the Los Angeles Convention Center.

E3 is the biggest video games show/conference in the planet. It is convened

annually and gathers thousands of gaming enthusiasts, game publishers, tech journalists and companies in the electronic gaming and entertainment industry.

To give you a preview of what to expect at E3 — the biggest news, the latest game titles and other surprises, check out these useful resources:

All you need to know about E3 is here. For the best E3-themed memes, click this. If you don’t have too much time but you still want a heads up on E3, watch these two-minute video teasers by Lucy and Chris.

Gamespot listed confirmed games that are scheduled to make an appearance or debut at E3. This list will guide you on what to look out for in news coverage of E3 next week

The Guardian also compiled its selection of 15 most anticipated E3 games. The article preview comes with snapshots and brief description of the game titles.

For an up-to-date collection of E3 content and news stories, check out IGN. The ultimate gaming website also dedicated a portal of everything E3. Go ahead, read on and drool.

Time.com’s E3 preview slanted towards more popular, mainstream titles like Star Wars Battlefront, Disney Infinity 3.0 and Legend of Zelda.

Watch this video news made by ibtimes.co.uk video game correspondents about their Microsoft Xbox and PS4 predictions.

For everything about the pioneer gaming giant Nintendo, check this microsite.

The staff of Games Radar website came up with an awesome slideshow that listed the games they expect to see at E3. ###

Images: Gaming console and Gaming from Pixabay.com. Some rights reserved.

 

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The Impact of Data Breach

The Impact of Data Breach
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A massive data breach possibly involving the confidential records of at least four million federal government employees was revealed last week. Based on initial reports, the intrusion on the Office of Personnel Management (OPM) was due to a hacking that is believed to have originated from China. The cyberattack is believed to have potentially affected every agency of the U.S. government.

The extent and impact of the data breach is still undetermined but this incident could be the largest case of data breach in U.S. history.

Data breach and identity theft reached a record-high in 2014, according to a report. The number of tracked data breaches in the U.S. last year reached 783 or a 27.5 increase from the 2013 data.

The medical/healthcare industry had the most number of incidents or 42.5%, followed by the business sector with 33 percent and government/military industry with 11.7 percent. Data breach in education sector was at 7.3 percent while banking/credit/financial industry recorded breaches were at 5.5 percent.

Hacking incidents were the main cause of data breach incidents. Others were attributed to involvement of subcontractor or third-party and accidental exposure of information.

A separate report also dubbed 2014 as the year of mega breaches and identity theft. The extent of recorded data breach as follows:

  • Records breached – 1,023,108,267
  • Number of breach incidents – 1,541
  • Breached records increase from last year – 78%

The report also noted that in 2014, some 2,803,036 data records were stolen or lost every day, 116,793 every hour, 1,947 every minute and 32 every second.

Security incidents resulting to data breaches were also caused by web app attacks.

According to security company Vaadata, a corporation specializing in digital security for websites, mobile apps and SaaS software, majority of data breaches carried out by activists either for political or ideological reasons were done through web app attacks. A moderate number or 22% of breaches were performed by unaffiliated attackers, 20% were fulfilled for organized crime and 3% for state-affiliated entities.

Medical identity theft is also a growing concern. The health and medical industry becomes a more vulnerable and attractive target for cybercriminals due to the growing popularity of wearable technology.

A report by Experian.com notes that employees and negligence of insiders will be the biggest security threats. If companies will continue to neglect the fact that employees pose great risks when it comes to security, they will miss the mark in fighting the root cause of most security breaches.

Despite the alarming trends in data breaches, it is also notable that more companies have adopted cyber insurance as part of their security preparedness plan. In the past year, the adoption rate for cyber insurance was pegged at 26% or more than double compared to previous years.

Data breach and identity theft can be costly especially if people’s names, birthdates and significant identification information like Social Security numbers are exposed.

Incident of data breach places a company or an organization’s reputation on the line. According to a study, it will take a minimum of 10 months to more than two years to restore a company’s reputation following a breach of customer data.

With regards to the federal government data breach, we have yet to monitor the developments and how the potentially damaging incident will be addressed.

Image: Cybersecurity from Flickr.com. Some rights reserved.

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Highlights from the Google I/O Conference

Highlights from the Google I/O Conference
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Google’s annual software developer-focused I/O Conference concluded in San Francisco this week with so many exciting announcements and Easter eggs to look forward to. Google’s Advanced Technology and Projects (ATAP) group certainly got busy this past few months.

Highlights from the Google I/O Conference

Here are some of the conference highlights:

Google Photos

There’s a new home for all your photo collection — Google Photos. This photo hosting service will find, manage, organize, edit and share your photos. It has unlimited free storage for high quality images and HD videos. This feature, previously integrated with Google+ is now a standalone service with the following features — photo editing, photo filters, auto-upload, auto-awesome (a GIF maker). The best thing about Google Photos? It’s totally free and you can use it even if you don’t have a Google+ account.

Google Cardboard

Google playfully named its new virtual reality (VR) viewer Cardboard (based on the cardboard/paper binoculars we used to play with as kids). It was named as such because of Google’s objective of making virtual reality accessible to everyone.

David Coz and his team developed Google Cardboard, the service that will bring virtual reality into classrooms.

During the conference, Google demonstrated Expeditions, a VR guided tour that uses Google Cardboard. The project was a result of Google experimentation and collaboration with over a thousand students from different grade levels from over 100 classes in several countries.

Cardboard can launch VR simulations and experiences from your smartphone. View Google Earth, try out guided tours and exhibits, watch videos and create interactive stories. A viewer is needed to fully enjoy and experience Google Cardboard.

Project Jacquard

This fashion/function-focused Google project will take wearables to the next level (almost sci-fi movie level).

In partnership with iconic jeans and clothing company Levi’s, Google wants to enable clothes with touch interface that can control your other devices by adding smart features to the clothes.

Google’s ATAP team wants to seamlessy embed miniature circuits and conductive strands or fibres to fabric that will act as sensors. Now, who needs a space suit if your Google-powered jeans are AI-enabled?

This technological innovation will definitely change the future of mobile and wearable computing.

Project Vault

In a previous article, I wrote about Google’s physical USB used for two-step authentication and log-in for Google services.

Now, Google announced Project Vault, an ultra microSD card for your mobile devices. It combines cryptographic tools and security-centric real-time operating system on the micro memory stick to guard and secure data while you access it. Explained in simple terms, Project Vault literally puts a secure, encrypted computer inside a microSD card.

Project Vault looks like a simple memory card when plugged into a compatible mobile device or PC. But this small chip is actually a device that runs on a custom ARM processor and has a 4GB of secure storage space.

Project Abacus

Google wants to do away with passwords, passphrases and patterns to access mobile devices. It wants to make the owner and user of the mobile device as the password itself.

Project Abacus is a smart and secure authentication system that can analyse the usage patterns of mobile device users — typing, swiping, preferred apps and other factors that can determine the identity of the user.

It will also make use of biometrics such as voice and face detection to authenticate and identify the user’s identity. This intelligent feature can also determine two separate users based on their usage patterns. If this Google innovation will actually make it to the consumer electronics market, we have yet to know.

Android M

Android M is Google’s latest update to the Android mobile operating system. Based on the presentation of Sundar Pichai, Google executive vice president for products, the Android M will provide significant and long-term improvements to the OS.

Watch out for more details about the Android M in our future articles. ###

Images Google and Google logo from Pixabay.com. Some rights reserved.

 

 

 

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Why 2-Step Verification is Important?

Why 2-Step Verification is Important?
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The recent hacking of a mature content website puts into spotlight the importance of digital security precautions. Websites and Internet services are not hack-proof and not all Internet users are using strong passwords or passphrases to login to digital accounts.

If you are not taking any security precaution to protect your online accounts, then you are more likely to compromise your personal and financial information or worse, lose access to your email and other online accounts and become a victim of hacking, phishing and other online attacks.

One of the most basic, yet effective step that we can take to protect our digital and online accounts is to turn on the 2-step verification option.

Google, Twitter, iPhone and Apple are just some of the services that enable 2-step verification or two-factor authentication.

Two-step verification is a security feature that helps to keep your account more secure. Instead of using only a password/passphrase to open your account, you will need a second authentication to login into your account.

When you enable 2-step verification, you will need both your password and your phone to login to your account as the system will generate and send to your phone a separate login code (usually a set of numbers) to access your account.

Why 2-step verification is important?

This Gizmodo article gives a great insight on how 2-step verification works on different services.

Google 2-Step Verification

With Google, signing in to your account will work a little differently. It will require something you know and something you have. After you enter your password as usual, a code will be sent to your phone via a text message, a phone call or a mobile app. You will have to enter the code to access your account.

Google will also ask for a backup phone number in the event that your primary phone is lost or indisposed.

Google also enables another option — the Security Key, a physical USB inserted into your computer’s USB port that acts as a 2nd factor authentication. The Security Key only works on a Google website.

Apple 2-Step Verification

With Apple, the 2-step verification provides additional security to you Apple ID that serves as your username for everything you do with Apple. It prevents anyone from accessing or using your account. It prevents unauthorized purchases on iTunes and unauthorized access to iCloud accounts.

Aside from a pass code sent to your phone, Apple will require you to write down your recovery key in case you forget your password or you lose your phone. The recovery key acts as a backup code.

The 2-step verification option works even without internet connection.

Aside from a pass code sent to your phone, Apple will require you to write down your recovery key in case you forget your password or you lose your phone. The recovery key acts as a backup code.

As with Facebook, Twitter and Microsoft, you can opt to receive a 2-step verification code through SMS or use the mobile app to verify your identity and access your account.

Google Android and Yahoo uses application specific passwords for email clients, calendars and other apps associated with your Google and Yahoo accounts.

Most 2-step verifications are easy to set-up and works even without internet connection. Just login to your online account as usual, click and open the security tab or security settings and tweak a few options to enable the added security feature.

Don’t think of the 2-step verification as a hassle, it’s for your own protection and security. You’ll be thankful for it in the long run.

 

Images: Registration Info from Pixabay and Password Key from Flickr.com. Some rights reserved.

 

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Brosix Now Available on Google Chrome Web Store

Brosix Now Available on Google Chrome Web Store
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Brosix Instant Messenger is now available on Google Chrome Web Store for easier access and download.

Our cross-platform communication and collaboration tool provides private instant messaging, group chat, and collaboration features to companies and individual users. It also helps improve and maximize business productivity in teams.

It offers enterprises, chat, collaboration and messaging services.

Brosix for Personal use is downloadable for free. It is best used by those who want to benefit from the innovative features of instant messaging. At no cost at all, you can enjoy the perks of text chat, sending offline text messages, text conference, file transfer, screenshot, screensharing, whiteboard, audio and video calls and external network. Enjoy the strong encryption on Brosix communication channels.

For companies and business enterprises that want to take advantage of the full features of Brosix secure instant messaging, various subscription packages and rates are available depending on your requirements.

Make your team more productive through Brosix Enterprise features that include private Instant messaging network, local groups, web guest, multiple administrators in the Control panel, user management tools, features and web control panels. There are also different security levels for user data access and private groups, providing full control over user accounts.

You can try Brosix Enterprise for FREE for 30 days before subscribing to the service. The Enterprise version is available in Basic, Pro and Ultimate packages.

Brosix secure chat service is built for businesses, groups and teams. It is also very convenient to use for individual users and even non-techies. Brosix can also connect to other chat networks like AIM, ICQ, Yahoo, Facebook and Google Talk.

To get Brosix on Google Chrome, click here. ###

 

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Reddit’s On A Roll

Reddit’s On A Roll
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Reddit is turning 10 this year. Coinciding with its first decade in the World Wide Web is the launch of its video division tasked to create original content. With this bold move, the social news service is just a step away to transforming into a media company.

Reddit co-founder Alex Ohanian announced this big update at TechCrunch’s Disprut NY conference early this month. Wired.com, Reddit’s sister company, was quick to quip that with the video launch, “Reddit is now officially a media company.”

Dubbed as the ‘front page of the internet’ for the past ten years, Reddit is hosting various content ranging from images, news links, obscure, interesting information including but not limited to jokes, memes, website links, comments and many more crowdsourced information from all over the internet.

Users can post links to online content and may vote up or down for the posted content until it appears on the site’s front page. Users can also discuss and leave comments about the posts. It has different subsections like gadgets, sports, gaming, pics, World News, videos, music, funny and others.

It displays news based on interests and likes of online community members. A few years back, it was touted as one of the fastest-growing websites. Most of the social news network is devoted to politics and global happenings.

Last year, Eric Gettberg, summed up Reddit’s online influence  — over 2 billion page views, 35 million users, and over 100 thousand subreddits.

On January 2012, Reddit was among the websites that led an internet ‘blackout’ against the controversial Stop Online Privacy Act (SOPA). For 12 hours, the site stopped its regular service and flashed on its front page a message of opposition to SOPA and suggested ways on how to express dissatisfaction on the proposed bills. Reddit’s Ohanian even testified before the US Congress on behalf of the entire tech community.

It was also that year that the site was hailed as the ‘King of Social Media’ due to its massive, worldwide influence.

Throughout the years, the site further gained popularity among internet users through its ‘Ask Me Anything’ discussion featuring celebrities. This segment will be translated into videos.

The Verge video veterans Stephen Greenwood and Jordan Oplinger will provide valuable help and expertise to Reddit’s video channel.

“Every community and every user has a voice on Reddit; we’re excited to use the power of video to amplify those voices,” Oplinger said in a news story.

Reddit had its more than enough shares of controversial content throughout the years. One of the most talked about post was about “The Fappening” last year that dumped tons of leaked nude photos of celebrities. Imgur also compiled a selection of most controversial subreddits.

To emphasize its reputation online as the leading aggregator and curator of Internet news and bastion of free speech, Reddit shared its core values in a recent blog post:

  1. Remember the human
  2. Give people voices
  3. Respect anonymity and privacy
  4. Embrace experimentation
  5. Make deliberate decisions
  6. Be doers
  7. The spirit of Lambeosaurus embiggens us all

These values clearly balances Reddit’s stance on freedom of expression and online responsibility. And this is one of the reasons why it became a huge hit among social media users. If you’re not too serious to try Reddit, don’t worry the site is not taking your seriously too.

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Off-The-Record Messaging and Encrypted Chat

Off-The-Record Messaging and Encrypted Chat
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The last thing you want is for somebody else — an individual or an organization, snooping on your private chat sessions.

keysWe should not tolerate any kind of surveillance and invasion of privacy. We don’t want to compromise our privacy and security. As responsible users, we must adopt a strong, cryptography to protect our communications.

We should routinely use tools and apps to encrypt our communications.

There are apps that support off-the-record messaging and encrypted chat and messaging. Use of these apps is most useful if you want your messages to remain private and for your eyes only.

Encrypted chat ensures that no one can read the chat exchange except the participants who know the secret password to the conversation. If you prefer this kind of secure communication, all you have to do is to install an app supporting encrypted chat then choose a complex, hard-to-crack password and share it with chat participants.

passwordThere are also secure mobile messaging services and apps that use reliable end-to-end encryption for SMS, photos, images and voice messages you send. Other apps also provide service for encrypted video calls and video chats.

The Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) follows a secure messaging scorecard through its Campaign for Secure and Usable Crypto that determines the level of security provided by companies.

To determine the level of security of each messaging service, the EFF provided these criteria:

  • Encrypted in transit?
  • Encrypted so the provider can’t read it?
  • Can you verify contacts’ identities?
  • Are past communications secure if your keys are stolen?
  • Is the code open to independent review?
  • Is security design properly documented?
  • Has there been any recent code audit?

Be sure to use to encryption so no one else can read your instant messages.

Through authentication, you are assured that the person you are chatting with is who you think he or she is.

Deniability means that during a conversation, you and the person you are chatting with are secured that the messages in your conversation are authentic and unmodified.

Perfect forward secrecy ensures that if you lose control of your private keys, no previous conversations are compromised.

 

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Images: Keys and Password from Pixabay.com

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Tech Companies Helping Quake-Stricken Nepal

Tech Companies Helping Quake-Stricken Nepal
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On April 25, a strong 7.8-magnitude quake jolted Nepal, the strongest tremor in the country in the past 80 years. The casualties reaching more than 5,000 as of April 28 and the numbers are increasing by the minute. According to the UN, more than 8 million people are affected by the disaster and 1.4 million are in immediate need of food aid.

When calamity strikes, it is important to establish connection to family, friends and authorities to seek aid, to confirm safety and to find missing persons affected by the calamity.

But in the case of Nepal where only 13 percent of its population is connected to the Internet, and with many of the infrastructures now either damaged or destroyed by the quake, communication has become a logistical nightmare.

To aid Nepal and its people affected by the quake, various technology companies have harnessed the power of technology to deliver important services.

nepal map

Google Person Finder

Aside from pledging $1-million for disaster relief and response in Nepal, Google activated its “Person Finder”. This service is designed to help determine if your family members, friends and people you know are safe and OK. Users can request and provide information about missing persons on the site.

Google’s Person Finder is a tool that allows people to post the status or search for family or friends affected by a disaster. In quake-stricken India and Nepal, the Google Person Finder is available via SMS. Google users in the US can also search for their friends and family in Nepal thru text message.

Google’s Person Finder is a free service. Search is also available through SMS in India and the US. Users just have to text “search” to +91-9773300000 in India or +1-650-800-3978 in the US.

Google also reduced the charges for Google Voice calls to Nepal to one cent per minute from the original 19 cents per minute.

Facebook Safety Check

Right after the quake, Facebook activated the Safety Check feature for Nepal and surrounding areas affected by the calamity.

Safety Check was used during the earthquake and tsunami disasters in Japan in 2011. The service allows users to confirm safety during a disaster. Upon updating your safety status, the social network will send a notification to your friends informing them that you are safe. This feature was officially launched by Facebook last year. It also allows the tracking of people based on available profile information and check-in updates in a specific area affected by natural disasters.

Facebook can also send notifications to smartphones using GPS data depending on cellular signal coverage.

Facebook will also match all user’s donations (up to $2 million) to the International Medical Corps. The IMC is currently distributing hygiene kits, water purifying tablets and other emergency supplies to affected families in Nepal.

Viber

For 48 hours, internet messaging and calling service Viber has switched off ‘Viber Out’ billing in Nepal so users can make free calls to mobile and landline numbers anywhere. This is useful for survivors who have access to active Internet connection. Using Viber, people can let their loved ones know that they are safe or in need of assistance.

Microsoft

Microsoft announced free Skype calls to landlines and mobiles in Nepal. The company also pledged a minimum of $1 million worth of technology and connectivity aid to the affected region, which included an immediate donation to NetHope, a company which provides internet connectivity during times of disaster.

Apple

Apple’s iTunes Store is accepting donations to the Red Cross.

However way we can, let us extend help to quake victims in Nepal.

 

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Images: Google Person Finder and Nepal Map from Flickr.com. Some rights reserved.

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The Language of Emoji

The Language of Emoji
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They’re too cute to be ignored. Just one look, and it’s emoji-love-at-first sight.

Emoji have changed the way we communicate. It gave a whole new light (and feelings, too) to words in our text-based conversations including SMS, emails and chat messages.

Emoji are the modern emoticons. Emoticons represent facial expressions formed using characters on a keyboard while emojis are the pixelated cousins of emoticons.

Emoji originated from Japan in the late 1990s. Shigetaka Kurito of DoCoMo mobile company and his team created 176 characters with 12 pixels per square — all inspired by the manga art and Kanji characters used in the Japanese writing system. Emoji that are essentially smileys that combine images and letters were then introduced and made available for use in SMS.

the language of emoji

It can be said that both emoticons and emoji enhance non-verbal communications, the same way as gestures, facial expressions, intonation and body language do during face-to-face conversations.

Instead of just telling and spelling out what you feel, you can show it through emoticons and emoji. These characters are even regarded as modern-day hieroglyphics — symbols that show.

Last year, over 250 new emoji were added to the original keyboard by Unicode Consortium, the standard that regulates text software, across all platforms, including iOS and Android devices.

The use of emoji varies depending on age group, location, interest and other demographic factors.

What Emojis Say About You and Your Country

SwiftKey, a keyboard app for iOS and Android devices, released a recent study on the most commonly-used emoji in various countries. From October 2014 to January 2015, the app studied and analyzed over one billion emojis used by speakers of 16 languages from different countries all over the world.

Among those studied were the following languages: English (US, Canada, Australia); Spanish (Spain, US, Latin America); Brazilian Portugese, French, Turkish, Russian, Arabic and Malaysian.

The ubiquitous Happy Face (including happy face, winks, kisses and smilies) are the most used emoji category, followed by the Sad Face (including sad and angry faces), Hearts (including colored and broken hearts) and Hand Gestures (thumbs up, clapping hands, peace sign). Romantic-themed emoji including lipstick, kiss mark, love letter and couple kissing ranked fifth, followed by Monkey, Party, Holiday and Violent emoji.

Twitter emoji

Here are other key results:

  • Overall, speakers use emoji positively (75%) only 15% use emoji in a negative way.
  • Canadians have a penchant for the poop emoji. They also scored highest in using emoji related to money, raunchy humor and violent sports.
  • In the UK, royal-themed, wine, winking faces are the widely-used emoji.
  • Malaysian speakers are the most emoji-savvy, with 86% average usage. They are also the funniest and most sleepy lot. Turkish are the least emoji-savvy speakers but they top the list of happy face emoji users.
  • Take this — the heart emoji and not the smiley is the favorite emoji of French speakers. They use heart emoji four times more than other languages. No wonder, they’re also the leading users of wedding-themed emoji. They are also the most positive users of emoji.
  • Arabic speakers have a soft spot for flowers and plants emoji. They use them four times more than average.
  • Russian speakers are the most romantic based on their use of romance-themed emoji.
  • Alcohol, drugs and junk food and holidays dominate Australia’s non-verbal, SMS-language based on their use of emoji. Australians use twice the average alcohol-themed emoji, 65% more drug emoji and leading for both junk food and holiday emoji.
  • Americans use the most LGBT-themed emojis (rainbow, men holding hands, women holding hands) and female-oriented emoji. The most commonly used emoji in the US include birthday cake, skulls, tech, fire, meat (or steak).
  • Brazilians are the most religious speakers based on their emoji use.
  • Spanish speakers use a lot of ‘party time’ emoji.
  • Arabic speakers use emoji most of the time to say something about the weather (sun, hot weather, stars).

In case you’re wondering, some of the raunchy emojis include eggplant, raised fist, peaches and cherries.

Emoji as communication tools

Last year, couples Alex and Liza Goldmark, conducted an experiment involving communication through emoji.

For 30 days, they communicated exclusively using only emoji. It went well at first but they had their share of miscommunication. Alex said they had to define their emoji vocabulary first to sort their understanding of what a particular or series of emoji mean.

Emoji are not meant to replace words, thoughts or feelings. They are often used to enhance and complement the way we communicate. We can’t simply ‘read between the emoji’ and interpret them out of context. That doesn’t work that way.

Emoji fulfills our need to express in a different way and even if some think that the extensive use of emoji has either dumbed or stunted our ability to express using words and punctuations, emoji have definitely enriched our communication experience.

 

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Images: Emoji from Pixabay.com and Twitter Emojis from Flickr.com. Some rights reserved.

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