Facebook Messenger Adds 100 Million Users In Past Three Months

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FacebookIt looks like the Facebook Messenger service is a smashing success.

At their annual shareholders meeting, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg announced that the service now had a user tally of 700 million.

That number rose over the past three months since March, with 100 million signing up within that period.

It’s a success for Facebook, which has spent a considerable amount of time and effort into making Messenger as a standalone social platform in its own right.

Part of that appeal also lies in the fact that Facebook began to allow third-party companies to create apps for the service back in March.

David Marcus, the chief of the Messenger service also reported that the app has reached one billion downloads on Android devices.

While industry experts do look at the numbers with a slight touch of skepticism, the news does give weight to how many have flocked to Messenger.

It bolsters Facebook’s position very nicely, as does their other social media platforms like the recently acquired messaging service WhatsApp and the photo-sharing platform Instagram.

Christopher A. Smith

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Google’s Self-Driving Car Logs 13th Accident In 6 Years

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Can Google Revive The Auto Industry In Detroit?A new report provides some pretty interesting information regarding Google’s experiments with self-driving cars. Interesting in a good way.

Jacquelyn Miller, a spokeswoman for Google, issued a statement regarding a recent accident involving one of their autonomous vehicles at a traffic light near their facility at Mountain View, California.

She went on to say, “That’s two incidents just in the last week where a driver rear-ended us while we were completely stopped at a light!”

The last crash was the 13th incident reported since 2009 involving their autonomous cars.

Considering that they’ve logged approximately 1.8 million miles on the road, the tally is surprisingly lower than public expectations.

Future incidents involving Google AVs(Autonomous Vehicles) will be reported on a newly-created website that will be transparent and report all details involving their activities including detailed accident reports containing all pertinent data.

None too shabby for the supposed cars of the future.

Christopher A. Smith

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Comcast, Time Warner Cable Rated Poorly By Consumer Reports

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Time Warner Cable/Charter Merger RumorsFor anyone who subscribes to Comcast and Time Warner Cable, this bit of news may not entirely be a shock.

Consumer Reports has issued their latest report containing their ratings for all cable companies. And Comcast and Time Warner Cable were included at the bottom of the rankings list.

The list, put together by the Consumer Reports National Research Center,
is based on people’s opinions and assessments of their cable, TV and Internet providers.

A damning statistic revealed stated that Time Warner Cable was just shy of placing dead last in the categories of bundle providers and TV providers.

Given that only one of the 39 providers in one part of the report received a fair score, it shows a very disgruntled base of customers.

The news couldn’t come at a worse time for the companies; Time Warner is in the midst of trying to finalize a merger with Charter Communications and Comcast is still reeling from their failed acquisition of Time Warner.

But both companies are making concerted efforts to assuage their customers through hiring more customer service staff and being willing to make deals on service packages.

Christopher A. Smith

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SURVEY: Apple Beats Google As Top Brand Name

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Los Angeles School District To Apple: Give Us Our Money Back!When it comes to brand names, it should be of no surprise that Apple is at the head of the pack in the eyes of many.

And thanks to the results of a recent survey, that statement has gotten more backing. 

The research firm Millward Brown issued the results of their survey devoted to global brands, and found Apple Inc. atop the ladder, displacing Google which was last year’s top brand.

The study covered 3 million companies from 50 nations, with tech companies snagging the top four positions. (Microsoft and IBM swapped the third and fourth spots, with the former gaining the higher position.)

Apple’s ranking was no doubt bolstered by innovative products and services launched in the past few months, with the Apple Watch and Apple Pay being forerunners along with the highly anticipated iPhone 6 release.

Another factor mentioned in the firm’s full report also cites their diligence in improving their pre-existing hardware and user interfaces.

The report also gives high praise to Microsoft for their revamped product releases and an bigger emphasis on cross-platform support.

Christopher A. Smith

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Here Are The Top 10 Countries Ranked By Internet Speed

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connection-309682_1280As time goes on, we are bearing witness to more and more of the world gaining online access at record rates. So much so that it behooves leading statistics professionals to keep tabs on Internet connectivity speeds in various countries around the world.

These stats also are comparative data that industry experts and professionals in the United States will use to see how they measure up. And with this recent list, America didn’t even come close to making the cut; the U.S. ranks 17th in terms of Internet connection speed which is measured by Mbps, or Megabits per second. The entire list itself is dominated by European countries, with a notable inclusion or two like the Czech Republic for example. They come in ninth on the list with an average Mbps of 12.3, seeing a 8.4% increase in their Internet speed. Number one on the list? South Korea, with a whopping 22.2 Mbps rate. To add to that surprising stat, they benefitted from a small increase in Internet speed at 1.6%.

Christopher A. Smith

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When It Comes To Social Media, CEO’s Prefer Twitter Over Facebook

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Now You Can Embed Twitter Videos On Your WebsiteIn the battle of which of the social media networks that the heads of companies prefer to share information and other opinions on, it looks like Twitter has the edge over Facebook.

At least that’s the word thanks to a recent in-depth study of CEO’s social media presence as done by a PR firm.

The study examined those CEO’s from the 2014 listing of companies contained with the Fortune 500 Global Rankings.

The findings showed that 10 percent of the CEO’s listed used Twitter, reflecting a 2 percent jump from 2012. As a contrast, there were no publically listed Facebook profile pages for any of the CEO’s. This is a sharp drop from 2012, where it was reported that 10 percent were using the platform. (On a side note, LinkedIn proved to be most popular in the study, with 22 percent of CEO’s avidly using the business networking site.)

So, what can be made of this sudden shift towards Twitter?

The PR firm that did the study, Weber-Shandwick, feels it could be a bit of a fluke. The report did note that there was only 28 percent of CEO’s on the list who they were able to find who were engaged in social media.

While it speaks to their decided choices in terms of platforms, the study didn’t go quite in-depth as to the frequency of usage and if they’re even the ones who are posting at all.

Christopher A. Smith

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Statistics Reveal A High Number Of Users Are Switching From Android To iPhone

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iPhone 6 Screen Production To Start In MayIt’s more than likely that you may fall on one side of the debate or the other when it comes to preferring an Android phone versus an iPhone. But a recent claim looks to add a bit more kerosene to that particular tech-related blaze.

Tim Cook, the CEO of Apple, Inc. made the claim that the company is experiencing a record number of people who are making the change from owning Android phones to iPhones.

In fact, these “switchers” are doing so more due to the recent release of the latest version of the iPhone 6, making it the highest rate in the past three years.

The remarks were made during an earnings call to investors.

And it seems as if Cook’s comments have some weight to them; based on statistics culled from first quarter financial reports, Apple saw its market share of smartphone sales go up 1.3 percentage points to 42.6%.

This was buoyed by the fact that they sold 61 million iPhones in the previous quarter.

While Android phones still grasp the dominant position in the U.S. smartphone market thanks to their affordability, this news definitely will keep the Android/iPhone debate raging for quite some time.

Christopher A. Smith

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OpenSignal Shows You All The Free Wi-Fi Hotspots In Your Area Via Crowdsourcing

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New York's Harlem WiFi Network Completion Date NearsIn this day and age, those of us with smartphones know the saga of trying to find free Wi-Fi to avoid running up your mobile phone bill all too well. But, salvation may be possible thanks to a wireless coverage startup’s own policies and their most recent product to hit the app market.

Enter Wifimapper, a new app for the iPhone recently released by OpenSignal.

The company, based in London, began operation in 2010. Their claim to fame is their technology that effectively tracks mobile networks’ speed and coverage in an manner that is independent of these networks and relies heavily on tools within the app that not only can detect if you’re using Wi-Fi, but can also find out what free Wi-Fi hotspots you can access in proximity to your location.

OpenSignal mines this data thanks to the feedback it passively receives from users. This crowdsourcing approach takes on a new dimension with Wifimapper; OpenSignal encourages users to manually identify which hotspots they use that are free, which helps a process already in place that ‘guesses’ which of them are free in the first place thanks to previous interactions that are logged in combination with check-ins via social media platforms like Foursquare.

Another added benefit of the link with social media is that users can leave additional commentary on the various free Wi-Fi hotspots they encounter that are descriptive of the location, like cafes for example. The app is still in its first version, but early feedback suggests that this may be one app that could be a mainstay for smartphones in the near future.

Christopher A. Smith

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PayPal and Square Go Head-To-Head Over Small Business Lending

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PayPal and Square Go Head-To-Head Over Small Business LendingMore than ever, small businesses are getting great support in terms of services assisting them with mobile payments. Their needs means greater demand, which means more profit to be had for two of the leading mobile payment services, PayPal and Square – and a more competitive air with an eye on the future.

In a fairly recent blog post, PayPal claimed that through their Working Capital program, they were able to loan small businesses an estimated $500 million in the last year and a half. These loans have proven to be so popular, with features that include online application and receipt of funds in a matter of minutes that PayPal reports a rate of returning borrowers at 90%. Square, the mobile company created by noted co-founder of Twitter Jack Dorsey, has also boasted of great successes thanks to their Square Capital brand. According to their reports, they’ve loaned out $25 million in the past month and $100 million within the past year to small businesses. This news has encouraged Square Capital to obtain a round of funding from Victory Park Capital, their original investor as well as a new investor, Colchis Capital for an undisclosed amount.

There is another dimension to this mobile payment boom – the rise of Apple Pay. While it is uncertain that Apple would extend their empire to include funding for small businesses in this regard, both PayPal and Square are making sure that if Apple makes that move, that they will have already further entrenched themselves as go-to options for small businesses looking for easy access to capital to enhance themselves.

Christopher A. Smith

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Businesses Prefer iOS Devices

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Businesses Prefer iOS DevicesIt seems that corporate use of iOS devices is chosen over Android devices.

72 percent of all devices used by corporations are iPhones.

Android devices are chosen around 25 percent of the time and Windows Phone holds about 1 percent of the business market.

The iPhone 6 was selected as the most popular device.

The iPad is still the most popular tablet for corporate use.

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