Budget 2016: IAMAI welcomes Companies Act amendment to register startups

The Internet & Mobile Association of India (IAMAI) said that that the proposal for Amendment of Companies Act to register startups in one day is a welcome move, and it is a step towards ease of doing business in India.

“The focus on leveraging technology to streamline distribution and the proposed steps for ease of doing business in India are indicative of the government’s resolve towards Digital India and supporting entrepreneurship,” Subho Ray, president, IAMAI said.

IAMAI has also welcomed finance minister Arun Jaitley’s announcement of 100% tax deduction programme for three years over a period of five years for startups approved before FY2019 under the Startup India scheme.
 “This move is a step towards providing incentives to startups in the form of better incubation, talent and capital,” the body said. The association also has welcomed the proposal to set up a dedicated e-marketing platform for agriculture and hopes that the innovation of the digital industry will be harnessed for this.
IAMAI has also welcomed move to expand the digital literacy scheme in rural India and setting up of a Higher Education Financing Agency. The twin move will support the increased manpower requirement for the ICT sector from a larger catchment area and will certainly boost employment generation.

The association, however, said that in its pre-budget recommendation, it had suggested for waiver of capital gains tax waiver for VC funds, to bring them at par with stock markets but is disappointed that the long standing demand of the industry is not met. “This would have further boosted the startup ecosystem in India,” it added.


WhatsApp for iPhones gets Google Drive, Dropbox, iCloud Drive integration

This means that you can send photos and videos stored in cloud storage services directly from WhatsApp. However, other files stored in the cloud, like Excel sheets or Word documents, still cannot be sent via WhatsApp.WhatsApphas released an update for iPhones that adds new features like sending files from Google Drive and Dropbox as well as lets users zoom in on videos as they play.

The big feature of this update (v 2.12.14) is the integration of iCloud Drive, Google Drive, DropBox, OneDrive etc to send files to other contacts. This means that you can send photos and videos stored in cloud storage services directly from WhatsApp. However, other files stored in the cloud, like Excel sheets or Word documents, still cannot be sent via WhatsApp.

In order to share photos and videos stored in cloud services, do the following:

* Hit the arrow button at the bottom left of the screen from any chat window
* Select the ‘Photo/Video Library’ option
* Hit ‘Choose from another app…’
* Here, you will get iCloud Drive as the default option, but you can add more apps in the list by choosing other apps downloaded on the iPhone, like Dropbox or Google Drive.

The feature has not been rolled out for Android smartphones yet.

According to the official WhatsApp release notes, other key features of the update include:

* Improved design for browsing photos and videos
* A variety of solid colours for your chat background

* Zoom in on videos while they’re playing

Google Gives iOS Devs Open Source EarlGrey Testing Tool


Google last week introduced EarlGrey, a functional user interface testing framework for Apple iOS apps.

YouTube, Google Calendar, Google Photos, Google Translate and Google Play Music have successfully adopted the framework, the company said.

EarlGrey has been open sourced under the Apache license, according to Google’s Siddartha Janga. The company has provided app developers with a start guide and the ability to add EarlGrey to their projects using CocoaPods or to add it manually to Xcode project files.

Releasing EarlGrey as open source is a positive move that follows considerable efforts by Google in various open source communities, said Charles King, principal analyst at Pund-IT.

“It simplifies iOS development tasks. Overall, it should be a welcome addition to iOS developers’ toolboxes,” he told LinuxInsider.

What It Does

One of the main advantages to EarlGrey is its synchronization ability, noted Google’s Janga. The tests automatically wait for animations, network requests and other events before interacting with the UI. That makes it easier for app developers to write tests without sleep or wait states and to maintain a procedural description of test steps.

Two other factors — visibility checking and design flexibility — enhance the testing process on the iOS platform.

Visibility checking during tests takes into account the user experience with an app. It ensures, for example, that attempting to tap a button hidden behind an image will flag an immediate failure, Janga said.

Design components involving element selection, interaction, assertion and synchronization take future growth into consideration.

“Apple is not known for its development tools, so this should make it easier for them to develop iOS apps,” said Rob Enderle, principal analyst at the Enderle Group.

“However, over time, they will be more and more dependent on Alphabet, and Android has not proven as lucrative as iOS has, so strategically, flipping to Alphabet’s tools could be ill advised,” he told LinuxInsider.

Strategic Move

Open sourcing any technology tends to accelerate product improvements and find potential problems, noted King. Doing so with EarlGrey will allow Google developers to focus on other critical tasks.

“It also somewhat enhances Google’s position in open source by showing that the company can and does play nice with Apple-related technologies,” he said.

Google’s move is a throwback to how Microsoft got a grip on software developers early in its growth, according to Enderle. It’s “a very Microsoft-like play” and the kind of thing it did in the 1980s and early 1990s in going after developers.

“If you can own them, you can take control of the platform,” he said. “Google gets broader adoption and begins to erode Apple’s control over iOS. Both are strategic initiatives for Google.”

Here Appoints New CEO to Lead Mapping Company Under German Owners

Here Appoints New CEO to Lead Mapping Company Under German Owners

Digital mapping company Here, which was bought by BMW Mercedes-Benz and Audi, has appointed Edzard Overbeek as chief executive to help Germany’s luxury carmakers develop self-driving vehicles.

German carmakers clubbed together last year to buy Here from Nokia for EUR 2.5 billion, shaking up the pecking order between carmakers, their parts suppliers and software rivals such as Uber, Google or Apple.

Here said that Overbeek, an expert in cloud computing, would start on March 1, 2016.

Overbeek joins from Cisco, where he was responsible for the Global Services organization with over $12 billion in revenues and 15,000 employees. Prior to Cisco, he held leadership positions in companies including Fujitsu and Siemens.

Intelligent mapping systems like Here’s are the basis on which self-driving cars link to wireless networks to perform functions such as recalculating a route to the nearest electric charging station, or around a traffic jam or accident.

High-definition maps are also the basis for ultra-precise navigation needed by self-driving cars.

“I am very excited to have been chosen to lead this outstanding company at a very special point in time,” said Edzard Overbeek. “The Here location cloud is poised to be at the heart of new kinds of services that will genuinely change people’s lives – everything from autonomous cars and smart cities to digitising enterprises.”

Thomas Weber, Member of the Board of Management of Daimler AG, responsible for Group Research & Mercedes-Benz Cars Development, said, “As a proven leader and with a strong track record, Edzard Overbeek is in our view well suited to drive the business and technology agenda for Here for the benefit of all of its customers across the many industries it serves. We are delighted that he is on board.”

New App to Help Locate Victims Trapped During Natural Calamities

New App to Help Locate Victims Trapped During Natural Calamities

A doctor’s initiative in harnessing technology has produced an application which can help locate a person trapped in debris in an earthquake or other disasters when communications fail.

Pradeep Bhardwaj, CEO of Six Sigma High Altitude Medical Services for Rescue, says his company has developed a software application which can be tracked through the mobile phone.

The concept is based on ham radio used by amateurs to communicate with one another. However, the application developed by Six Sigma, which can be downloaded to a mobile phone, is not for communication but for continuously sending out a signal which can be detected by special equipment.

“The application does not require mobile network or internet connection to communicate. This is based on satellite which will continuously transmit coded signals but which cannot be used to communicate,” Bhardwaj to IANS.

The transmitted signals can be detected within a radius of 50 kilometres.

He said that keeping the security concerns in mind, the application had been designed in such a way that people tracking the signal can get information on its location with accuracy. Bhardwaj said the Telecommunications Ministry had already given them a licence to operate the system.

Six Sigma medical services have been recognised by the Central government, several state governments and countries like Nepal and China for its contribution in saving and counselling thousands of people during the Uttrakhand cloud-burst in 2013, Nepal earthquake in 2015 and China earthquakes, Bhardwaj said.

“The Real Time Location application is made keeping in mind the rescue operations in high altitude areas where mobile towers network or Internet fails being hit by a natural calamity. People or soldiers who get trapped in the debris or snow can easily be helped out using the application,” Bhardwaj said.

Till now, Bhardwaj said, he and his team had saved more than 5,600 victims who were stuck in high altitudes.

The Six Sigma is also known for setting up a base camp at a height of 24,500 feet on Mount Everest during the Nepal earthquake, where they had played a major role in helping the Indian Army rescue people.

Bhardwaj said they would send a proposal on the application to the Health Ministry soon, urging it to get it installed in the cell phones of soldiers and people living in high altitude areas which are prone to earthquakes and landslides.

C.K. Misra, additional health Secretary in the ministry of health, told IANS: “This is a good initiative which will help people in high altitude areas. But, he said, the government would need to look into such applications.”

Bhardwaj claimed the application could have helped track Indian soldiers caught in the avalanche recently in Siachen, had these been installed in their mobile phones.

Twitter Launches New Campaign to Empower Women

Twitter Launches New Campaign to Empower Women

Taking cue from a study showcasing a prevailing male dominance over both online and offline space, social networking site Twitter recently launched #Positionofstrength campaign to empower women to raise voices against any form of discrimination.

The movement, which has been already been launched in Australia and Ireland, seeks to bridge the gender equality gap online in India and “inspire the next generation of women leaders to have an influential voice in society.”

“We have heard from many women influencers who have used Twitter to drive awareness on gender pay gap, childcare, domestic violence, healthcare and flexible work. With the introduction of #PositionOfStrength, we hope to strengthen the women empowerment movement and encourage women to amplify their voices in a secure and confident manner,” says Mahima Kaul,Public Policy Head, Twitter India.

The social networking platform has partnered with FICCI Ladies Organisation and Observer Research Foundation to engage more women to find their voices online, communicate safely with confidence and network with other like-minded women and the global community at large.

Safety, according to the organisers, lies at the core of the campaign and enables users to steer clear of any form of online abuse.

“We have introduced measures to empower our users with tools to mute, block and report abusive behaviour,” says Patricia Cartes, Head of Global Trust and Safety Outreach, Twitter.

In order to to expand the reach of the programme, a series of round table sessions and workshops with women leaders has been scheduled to be organised throughout the year to discuss how to increase empowerment and safety for women, both online and in the physical world.

Meanwhile, Twitter also launched its Safety Center in Hindi to ensure engagement and education of women locally to enable them to use the platform safely and with confidence.

“For the first time in Asia, we’re pleased to launch Twitter’s Safety Center in Hindi, as we are committed to increasing our safety efforts and rolling out this social movement across this important market,” says Cartes.

Israeli Startup Bets on ‘Smart’ Satellite Antennas for Global Web Access

Israeli Startup Bets on 'Smart' Satellite Antennas for Global Web Access

Israeli startup Skyfi is looking to outflank Facebook and Google in a race to provide worldwide Internet access by developing the first self-correcting antenna that can turn mini-satellites into powerful transmitters covering the globe.

The two technology leaders are working on ways to beam Internet access from the sky to remote areas, Google with high-flying balloons and Facebook with a combination of drones and larger, more complex satellites.

But it will take an orbiting cluster of 60 miniature, or nano, satellites, each about the size of a shoe box, to provide full coverage of earth, said Raz Itzhaki Tamir, a veteran of Israel’s aerospace industry who co-founded Skyfi four years ago.

The way he hopes to do it is by using a parachute-like antenna that deploys once in space. The antenna can then mechanically adjust itself for imperfections in the transmitter’s surface, allowing a stronger signal to pass, and even alter the direction it points should broadcast needs change over the course of the satellite’s life.

That may not sound like much, but those are two major hurdles that have limited satellite operators for years.

While the company says it has a working “proof of concept”, the technology has yet to be proven in space, so don’t expect a fleet of Internet-providing nanosatellites for at least a few years. But the antenna alone could be big business in the meantime.

Thousands of new satellites will be launched into space in the coming decade and many will use technology from Israel, which has built on its military expertise to capture a sizeable chunk of the growing commercial space market, particularly in the field of miniaturization.

Skyfi raised $3 million in a round led by Jerusalem Venture Partners, one of the country’s most successful venture capital funds, and says it has signed letters of intent to sell its antennas to global players such as Lockheed Martin and Spacecom.

Spacecom, which is collaborating with Facebook to beam Internet services to Africa, said that if the new Skyfi antenna is successful, it would be in huge demand.

“This type of solution will conquer the market, because it addresses some of the most serious and bothersome issues for satellite operators,” said David Pollack, Spacecom’s chief executive.

For now, Skyfi is perfecting its system by testing a large version of the antenna in a 50-square-meter (yard) echoless chamber that simulates the conditions of space. It plans to launch its first unit in the next 18 months.

“Currently, if an antenna is not perfect, you have to live with it, with the losses,” said Tamir. “We can change that and be flexible, thus gaining more revenue from the satellite.”

Inbox by Gmail Gets New Snooze Alerts

Inbox by Gmail Gets New Snooze Alerts

In order to make it simpler for users to snooze their email alerts and get back to it later, the Gmailteam last week announced two new snooze features for its Inbox by Gmail application. The two new additions – Later This Weekend and This Weekend – will “hopefully save you some time, and decrease the need to use custom snooze,” as per the company.

Now while swiping an email alert to the left inside Inbox, users will see these two new options, which can be customised from the app’s Settings page. Users can select their Weekend days from options such as – Saturday-Sunday, Friday-Saturday, Thursday-Friday, Friday Only, Saturday only, and Sunday only. The tab itself has also received a new look for easy access to snooze options for email alerts. The feature is available in the latest Inbox app.

Google last month made it easier to search for frequent flyer number or shipping status without digging through numerous email conversations to look for it. Users also get streamlined search results. “Underneath any quick answers, you’ll see a “Top results” section that orders emails by relevance. Below that is all the email results, ordered by date, but chances are you won’t have to look here often,” added the company blog post.

In December, Inbox by Gmail also got an update adding Trip Bundles and mobile attachments. Users can share the trip summaries showed by Inbox by Gmail with others. Adding emails to a trip is also possible using the “Move to” menu. As for mobile attachments, Inbox by Gmail gives users easy access to recently clicked photos to add them as attachments and mail them.