Facebooks in the midst of an identity crisis and the Portal is

first_img CNET Smart Home CNET Smart Home See All Do we really care though?Perhaps most interestingly, this hasn’t stopped people from buying Portals — or Amazon smart speakers. CNET’s own Rick Broida isn’t bothered by Facebook’s privacy stuff:I’ll just say I’m fully aware that every company on the planet is already collecting and sharing data about me in order to try to sell me stuff. And for the most part I’m not bothered by it. That’s just me.Well, maybe not just me: The Portal has a 4.6-star average rating from over 400 Best Buy customers and a 4.4 average from over 300 Amazon customers. Seems as though people really like the product, Facebook issues notwithstanding.Another colleague, Ian Sherr, feels differently: Why can’t you [Facebook] fix all this stuff before trying to sell us a device that, at best, already faces an uphill battle in trying to convince people that putting yet another internet-connected doorway into their homes is a good idea?(Gut check: Am I the only one who thinks Facebook’s Portal is the wrong product at the wrong time? Michael Pachter, an analyst at Wedbush Securities, said Portal is “downright creepy” and wanted to ask, “How much pain are you willing to go through to see it succeed?”)Some people will always care more about privacy than others. And that’s all fine and good. But I can’t imagine anyone thinking the Portal and the Portal Plus were well-timed product releases in light of Facebook’s ongoing issues or that we’d all just line up and buy a bunch of these things. Mark Zuckerberg’s social network is in the midst of a serious identity crisis. “Hey Portal, flash your screen once if you need help.” Aug 31 • The best coffee grinders you can buy right now Facebook’s pricey Portal Plus brings loved ones closer • The Facebook Portal gets a huge price cut: $99 Facebook Portal is an excellent video chat device held back by Facebook’s trust problems Related links Aug 31 • Alexa can tell you if someone breaks into your house Now playing: Watch this: Share your voice 3:05 4 Aug 31 • Best smart light bulbs for 2019 (plus switches, light strips, accessories and more) Portal, interruptedThe Portal idea is sound in theory: Buy a Portal for yourself and give a friend or family member far away another Portal. Make dinner in your apartment while you video chat with your parents across the country. You can move around naturally within the Portal’s field of view, pulling cheese, milk and butter from the fridge. (We’re apparently making mac and cheese in this made-up scenario… and now I’m hungry.) You’re fishing for the stock pot in that hard-to-reach spot in the lower cabinet across the kitchen and grabbing pasta from the pantry — all within your parents’ view as you catch them up on your week. The Facebook Portal is a video-chatting system first and foremost. Admittedly, and perhaps annoyingly, Portal does this job really well. It also offers a limited dose of smart home functionality via a built-in Amazon Alexa speaker, select apps including Newsy, Pandora and Spotify (Premium only) and Facebook’s own “Hey Portal” voice assistant. Note: Facebook has temporarily dropped the price of the Portal to $99 and is offering it bundled with the Portal Plus for $200 off through May 12, just in time for Mother’s Day, all while reports of privacy breaches continue to trickle in. And other news surfaced this week that Facebook is working on new AI tech for the Portal, Oculus and other upcoming, as yet unannounced Facebook products. Could Facebook be working on a rival to Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant in addition to its existing “Hey Portal” assistant?A spokesperson told me over email that Facebook hasn’t announced a new voice assistant, but rather that they “are working to develop voice and AI assistant technologies that may work across our family of AR/VR products including Portal, Oculus and future products.” Hm. facebook-portal-messenger-chat-2204Enlarge ImageThe Facebook Portal looks a lot like the Amazon Echo Show. It only works over Facebook Messenger, so you — and the people you want to chat with — have to have Facebook to use it. James Martin/CNET Portal privacy and youAnticipating our reticence to the Portal, Facebook detailed its smart display privacy policy on this support page. While Facebook says it doesn’t listen in on or “keep the contents” of your Portal chats, a spokesperson told us that Facebook does gather info about the calls you make to determine what ads to show. It won’t listen in on the calls, but it will log the length and other data. The company shared more details in an email to Recode: “Portal voice calling is built on the Messenger infrastructure, so when you make a video call on Portal, we collect the same types of information (i.e. usage data such as length of calls, frequency of calls) that we collect on other Messenger-enabled devices. We may use this information to inform the ads we show you across our platforms. Other general usage data, such as aggregate usage of apps, etc., may also feed into the information that we use to serve ads,” the Facebook spokesperson said. I wonder if Facebook execs ever discussed temporarily or permanently shelving Portal so its person-tracking camera didn’t launch during the same time people were deactivating their accounts in outrage? But the company instead went for the “Hey, it’s cool. You can totally trust us” vibe. That approach demonstrates a shocking level of tone deafness. (Again, I’ll refer you to this story outlining many of Facebook’s major privacy leaks and other serious issues the company’s faced lately.)Facebook isn’t the only media company scaring the crap out of us, though. Amazon employs, you know, human people, to listen to your Alexa recordings. Creepy doesn’t even come close to cutting it. Comments 18 Photos Tags Privacy Mark Zuckerberg Facebook Smart Speakers & Displays Media Streamers Wireless & Bluetooth Speakers Aug 30 • Battling bot vacs: iRobot Roomba S9+ vs Neato Botvac D7 Connected Enlarge ImageThe $199 Facebook Portal is currently on sale for $99 through May 12. James Martin/CNET Like many folks, I felt uneasy about the Facebook Portal from the jump.Having been an only intermittent Facebook user over the past several years made me an even less willing participant when it came time to test the smart display and the company’s pricier Portal Plus last fall. Did I have a Facebook account? Yes, technically. But it was as good as inactive save the odd toggle-share from Instagram that I rarely checked. Despite Instagram’s propensity toward over-curated fakery (#blessed) and the fact that it’s a Facebook company (irony abounds), it’s still largely considered the “good side” of social media. It’s the place guaranteed to have adorable puppies, drool-worthy food and far-flung travel destinations when you need a break from the more serious side of the internet. Facebook has a different reputation. It’s the underbelly of the ol’ world wide web, complete with awkward familial spats over political convictions, cryptic messages from college sweethearts and, worst of all — multiple, privacy-threatening data leaks. So it was surprising when Facebook announced the camera-equipped, Facebook-Messenger-dependent Portal ($199) and Portal Plus ($349) in 2018, amid regular breaking news stories about how Facebook misused user information and then tried to downplay it to the loyalists remaining on the platform once it was uncovered. What’s more, Portal cameras aren’t like most smart display cameras. They have particularly smart tech that differentiates between people and houseplants and can therefore follow you around a room — not exactly the device you want from a company cited for its privacy problems. reading • Facebook’s privacy crisis makes its Portal video device a tougher sell than ever Facebook’s video calling smart display connects you with friends and familylast_img read more

Kamal Haasans Indian is not shelved Here comes an official confirmation

first_imgHere is the first look poster of Kamal Haasan’s Indian 2.PR HandoutThere have been lots of rumours about Kamal Haasan’s much-hyped Indian 2 being dropped over budget related issues and Shankar struggling to find new producers. But now it has been denied by an important member from the team.Well, Kajal Aggarwal, who plays the female lead in Indian 2, has stated that the movie has not been dropped and she would be joining the shooting in June.”The film is not shelved. I will start shooting for my part on June 1. The team is determined to make Indian 2 on a grand scale. I’m excited to be a part of the project and am eagerly waiting to work with Kamal sir,” Cinema Expess quotes her as saying.In the last two months, rumours have been doing rounds that Lyca Productions had backed out of the project fearing whether the large-scale investment would be recovered after their ambitious 2.0 failed to live up to the expectations at the box office.Further, speculations were rife that Shankar had met Reliance Entertainment and Sun Pictures after modifying the script which eventually would reduce the estimated budget of the Tamil film.With Kajal Aggarwal giving clarification about its status, the rumours have been put to rest. Kajal Aggarwal.PR HandoutThe upcoming movie is a sequel to 1996 blockbuster Indian. The latest flick, like its first instalment, is planned to be made in multiple languages.It is a vigilante film in which Kamal Haasan plays the role of patriot Senapathi.Coming to the technical team, it has Anirudh Ravichander’s music, Ravi Varman’s cinematography and A Sreekar Prasad’s editing.last_img read more

Snapdeals FY16 losses increase twofold to Rs 2960 crore

first_imgSnapdeal, a local e-commerce firm’s losses have more than doubled to Rs 2,960 crore for the financial year that ended in March 2016, when compared to Rs 1,319 crore in the previous year. One of the many reasons for the losses is the continuously eroding market share to local rival Flipkart and US-based e-commerce firm Amazon. During the same period, the New Delhi-based online marketplace reported 50 percent rise in revenues to Rs 1,456 crore. It had reported losses to the tune of Rs 1,319.2 crore on revenues of Rs 933 crore in the previous fiscal (FY15), Mint cited documents filed with the registrar of companies as saying.Also read: Snapdeal to change logo, tagline ahead of Diwali sales”In order to deliver the best in class customer experience and to set up necessary infrastructure for future growth, there was an increase in fulfilment and overhead expenses,” the company said. Snapdeal fell to the number three slot in ranking as Amazon India continued to gain market share. Although Snapdeal has said it aims to focus on profitability and not market share, the e-commerce firm underwent a branding overhaul and had launched a new logo two months ago. It had committed close to Rs 200 crore on advertising and market spending in September and October last year, Times of India reported. “In FY2016 we invested our capital in building our capabilities across technology, logistics and seller ecosystem to support the long term growth of our business,” the publication quoted the company as saying. Japan’s SoftBank is one of the largest shareholders in Snapdeal, holding a 33 percent stake in the company. Some of the other investors include Kalaari Capital, Nexus Venture Partners, E-Bay, Foxconn and Alibaba Group Holding Ltd. The news of Snapdeal reporting losses comes at a time when its rivals Amazon India and Flipkart have stepped up on investments. Flipkart has invested $2 million (about Rs 13.6 crore) in a parenting social media platform called Tinystep on Thursday, Press Trust of India reported.last_img read more

Moodys downgrades Yes Bank ratings amid leadership transition governance issues

first_imgREUTERS/Francis MascarenhasCredit ratings agency A Moody’s Investors Service on Tuesday downgraded Yes Bank’s foreign currency issuer rating to ‘Ba1 from Baa3’.According to the agency, the developments around leadership transition as well as the governance issues are credit negative.”Moody’s has also downgraded the bank’s foreign and local currency bank deposit ratings to ‘Ba1/NP from Baa3/Prime-3’ and foreign currency senior unsecured MTN program rating to ‘(P)Ba1 from (P)Baa3’,” the agency said in a statement.Further, Moody’s downgraded Yes Bank’s baseline credit assessment (BCA) and adjusted BCA to ‘ba2 from ba1’.”The rating action considers the resignation of various members of the bank’s Board of Directors — which, when seen in conjunction with the Reserve Bank of India’s (RBI) directive in September 2018 to restrict the term of the bank’s MD and CEO as well as founder, Mr. Rana Kapoor, till 31 January, 2019 — has raised Moody’s concerns over corporate governance,” the statement said.”In Moody’s opinion, although the bank’s reported credit fundamentals remain stable, the developments surrounding the transition in leadership as well as the governance issues are credit negative because they complicate management’s effective implementation of the bank’s long-term strategy.”Furthermore, the ratings agency said that developments could constrain the bank’s ability to raise new capital.last_img read more

Rathish killed over wifes extramarital affair RAB

first_imgRapid Action Battalion (RAB) director general Benazir Ahmed at a press briefing at RAB-13 Headquarters in Rangpur on Wednesday. Photo: Moinul IslamThe extramarital affair of Rangpur public prosecutor (PP) Rathish Chandra Bhoumik’s wife was the reason behind his murder.Rapid Action Battalion (RAB) director general Benazir Ahmed said this at a press briefing at RAB-13 Headquarters in Rangpur on Wednesday.Rathish’s wife Snigdha Sarker confessed to RAB that she had an extramarital affair with her colleague Kamrul Islam and they planned to murder Rathish two months ago.Both Snigdha and Kamrul are teachers of Tajhaat High School of Rangpur.Rathish was killed on Thursday night. He was first made unconscious as 10 sedative pills were mixed with his food. They then strangled him to death, Benazir said quoting Snigdha’s confessional statement.The body was then left at the basement of an under-construction building in Mollahat area of Tajhaat with the help of two youths.On Snigdha’s confession, RAB members recovered the body around 2:30am Wednesday, in a drive that started at 8:30pm on Tuesday. The PP’s brother Sushanta Bhoumik identified the body of Rathish. Four including Snigdha and Kamrul have been so far arrested in this connection.Rathish, 55, who represented the state in a case over the killings of Japanese national Hoshi Kunio and Rahmat Ali, khadem (caretaker) of a shrine, went missing on Friday morning.Read More:Missing Rangpur PP found deadlast_img read more

Ready for structured debate Maken on Kejriwal challenge

first_imgResponding to AAP chief Arvind Kejriwal’s challenge to BJP’s Kiran Bedi for a public debate, Maken said, “This will be a healthy tradition. I believe a structured debate should take place in a mutually accepted TV channel or agency moderated by a mutually accepted anchor.”Maken, who is also the party’s Campaign Committee Chief, said a debate will enable the leadership of various parties to spell out their vision to the public by answering “difficult questions”.“I think this is the best way for the leadership to answer difficult questions that are raised and spell out their vision to the public in the age of Internet and social media,” he said, adding that at least “2-4 such debates” should be held.Through a tweet, tagging both Kejriwal and Bedi, Maken said, “Great! I am ready for a structured debate. Let the people of Delhi make a comparative assessment.”last_img read more

Local TV news viewership is dropping with local af

first_imgLocal TV news viewership is dropping with local affiliates for Fox, ABC, NBC and CBS in the US losing more than 6% of their audience in early morning, evening and late night slots last year according to new research.The Pew Research Centre’s State of the News Media report 2013 said that while local TV remains a top news source for Americans, the percentage is dropping sharply among younger generations, with regular local TV viewership among adults under 30 falling from 42% in 2006 to just 28% in 2012.The research added that topics people go to local TV news most for – such as weather and breaking news – are ripe for replacement by web- and mobile-based outlets.“Local TV audiences were down across every key time slot and across all networks in 2012. And the off-peak news hours like 4:30 am that stations had been adding for years seem to have hit their audience ceiling,” Pew Research said.last_img read more

Adam Crozier ITV boss Adam Crozier is leaving afte

first_imgAdam CrozierITV boss Adam Crozier is leaving after seven years, with Sir Peter Bazalgette, the UK broadcaster’s chairman, becoming interim executive chairman and finance chief Ian Griffiths becoming COO and finance director until a replacement is found.The ITV boss leaves at end-June. Bazalgette said this morning: “Adam has been talking to me and the board for some time now about his future plans.“He has made a fantastic contribution to ITV and the board is deeply indebted to him for his strong leadership and personal dedication in very successfully turning around the business and building a more global and diversified organisation with real scale in key creative markets around the world.”Crozier replaced Michael Grade in 2010 and implemented a turnaround plan at the broadcaster although it faces a tough period because of Brexit and sports costs, according to a recent analyst report.The broadcaster’s international division has grown throughout Crozier’s tenure with a raft of production entities added to the ITV Studios group, which has performed well, partly alleviating Brexit concerns.Bazalgette hailed the financial performance of ITV under Crozier, noting revenues have grown by over a billion pounds, and EBITA profit increased over three-fold.“It’s been an absolute privilege to lead the transformation of ITV over the past seven years and I know that I will miss this great business and the people who work here,” Crozier said. “However, having spent 21 years as a chief executive across four very different industries, I now feel that the time is right for me to move to the next stage of my career and to build a portfolio of roles across the PLC and private sectors.”Crozier recently took non-exec positions at Costa and Whitbread fuelling rumours of an exit from ITV, and Bazalgette was reported in January to have brought in recruiters to find a new exec to run the UK’s largest commercial broadcaster.Crozier said: “I’m incredibly proud of what we’ve achieved in turning ITV into one of the most successful and dynamic media and content businesses in the world. All the credit for that achievement goes to the fantastic teams of people working right across ITV.“Today ITV is more robust, well balanced and stronger both creatively and financially than ever before, and is well placed for the digital future. I wish the company every continued success.”Crozier’s exit had been mooted with several reports suggesting Ian Griffiths was also set to leave the broadcaster having joined in 2008. With the value of the pound down after Brexit, many analysts and commentators expect ITV to be the subject of a takeover approach by a larger media group, with its biggest shareholder, Liberty Global, one name continually linked to a deal.last_img read more

JON Wilkin believes St Helens 2015 World Club Cha

first_imgJON Wilkin believes St Helens’ 2015 World Club Challenge showdown with South Sydney Rabbitohs on Sunday February 22 (7.00pm) is the perfect opportunity for the First Utility Super League champions to show their credentials as the best team in the world.Having beaten Wigan Warriors at Old Trafford back in October, the match is Saints’ chance to be crowned world champions and the club’s newly-appointed captain says his team-mates team are relishing the challenge.“We are worthy champions and it’s high time we got the credit we deserve,” said Wilkin. “Some people have said ‘Well, Wigan were down to 12 men’ and that we limped our way into the final so this game is our moment to demonstrate what we’re all about.“We are very confident in the squad we have, there have been a notable difference in attitude amongst the players since our Grand Final win. The confidence is immense; to back it up with a win against the Rabbitohs would give us further crucial experience in our development.“Our game is going to be huge, particularly with the whole Burgess story at South Sydney: I can’t wait to get stuck into them. The prospect of challenging ourselves against the best players in the NRL is fantastic. The NRL is a great competition and we can learn a lot from it but Super League also has some great attributes and we need to put them on show.”Wilkin missed out on the Grand Final due to injury but, having already played in a World Club Challenge back in 2007, he is hungry to get back out on the field.“I was injured towards the end of last year and my focus since then, through all my rehabilitation, has been kicking off to South Sydney. Being involved in that game has been the fuel, it’s motivated m. The excitement has been huge, I’m revved up for this game.“The key word is intensity. When we played Brisbane back in 2007, what stood out to me was the intensity level, it was beyond anything I had ever experienced before and I expect the same again. It’s a huge start to the new era, it’s exciting and a great way to get the momentum started for the new season.“I know that it will be difficult to get a seat at Langtree Park. Packed terraces and passionate support of the English game will be a visible sign to people who don’t usually watch our sport that it is exciting, it will get people interested. I want to come out of the tunnel and not see an empty seat.”last_img read more