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  • Facebook rolls out 'nearby friends' feature

    Facebook's new optional "nearby friends" featureFacebook on Thursday began rolling out a feature allowing users of its mobile app to use smartphone location to discover friends near them. The optional "nearby friends" feature "helps you discover which friends are nearby or on the go," said product manager Andrea Vaccari in a blog announcement. "If you turn on Nearby Friends, you'll occasionally be notified when friends are nearby, so you can get in touch with them and meet up," Vaccari said. "For example, when you're headed to the movies, Nearby Friends will let you know if friends are nearby so you can see the movie together or meet up afterward."




  • Patent consortium Rockstar loses bid to move Google case

    A Google logo is seen at the garage where the company was founded on Google's 15th anniversary in Menlo Park, CaliforniaBy Dan Levine SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) - A U.S. judge on Thursday rejected a request by patent consortium Rockstar to transfer patent litigation from Google Inc's home turf in California to Texas, according to a court ruling. Rockstar, which counts Apple Inc as an investor, outbid Google and paid $4.5 billion for thousands of former Nortel Network Corp patents as the networking products supplier went bankrupt in 2011. Last year, the consortium sued several handset manufacturers whose phones operate on Google's Android operating system, which fiercely competes with Apple mobile products.




  • Weibo debut highlights complicated dance with Chinese censors

    Weibo Corporation Chairman Charles Chao speaks during a visit to the NASDAQ MarketSite in Times Square in celebration of Weibo's initial public offering (IPO) on The NASDAQ Stock Market in New YorkBy Gerry Shih and Yimou Lee SAN FRANCISCO/HONG KONG (Reuters) - Weibo Corp executives on Thursday toasted the Chinese social media firm's debut at Nasdaq's New York headquarters. Hours earlier in Beijing, Charles Xue, a Chinese-American venture capitalist and prominent Weibo user, celebrated a different kind of coming-out: his release after eight months in jail. The timing of the two events, though coincidental, highlights the fundamental challenge for Shanghai-based Weibo: progressing from being a microblogging phenomenon in China to becoming an entrenched member of the international social media industry. Now, as Weibo celebrates its warm reception on international financial markets, its conflicts with censors at home raise the question of whether the firm known as the "Twitter of China" may eventually be derailed by government interference.




  • SEC's information technology at risk of hacking: report
    By Sarah N. Lynch WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission has failed to protect its data network against possible breaches, to encrypt highly sensitive information, or to use strong enough passwords, the Government Accountability Office said on Thursday. In addition to the cybersecurity failings, even the physical security in place to protect SEC data and equipment from being accessed or stolen is lax, a 25-page GAO report said, with workstations located in an area open to all agency staff. The report comes just two days after the SEC issued a nine-page blueprint that put Wall Street firms on notice that they should brace themselves for some tough questions from agency examiners about their cybersecurity policies and practices. "Information security control weaknesses in a key financial system's production environment may jeopardize the confidentiality, integrity, and availability of information residing in and processed by the system," the GAO wrote.

  • Sina Weibo soars in debut, overcoming censorship concerns

    The Weibo logo is seen at the NASDAQ MarketSite in Times Square in celebration of its initial public offering (IPO) on The NASDAQ Stock Market in New YorkBy Alexei Oreskovic and Tanya Agrawal SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) - Shares of Weibo Corp rose as much as 41 percent in their U.S. debut on Thursday, sweeping aside concerns that censorship in China will hurt the growth of the country's Internet sector and broader worries about the outlook for tech-sector stocks. Investors are watching the biggest debut of a Chinese Internet company in years, hoping for clues as to demand for the highly anticipated IPO of far larger e-commerce giant Alibaba Group Holding Ltd . Sina Weibo's early gains came after the owner of a Chinese Twitter-like messaging service priced its shares at the very bottom of a target range of $17 to $19, and cut its offer to 16.8 million American Depositary Shares from 20 million. "People had concerns that there's some competition over there and that engagement on Weibo may be challenged in the future, but I think Weibo is still a social media platform, that people still use it every day," said Henry Guo of JG Capital.




  • Twitter broadens advertising reach through app-install ads

    A portrait of the Twitter logo in VenturaBy Gerry Shih SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) - Twitter Inc took a significant step Thursday towards broaden its advertising business by offering mobile ads urging people to install apps on its social network as well as through MoPub, the mobile-advertising network it acquired last year. As the mobile app economy grows, app developers have been willing to pay increasing amounts to advertise on major sites like Facebook to boost their app downloads. Twitter said Thursday it could reach 1 billion unique mobile devices through its MoPub network, which places ads inside of hundreds of apps. Twitter, which acquired MoPub last year for roughly $350 million, reaches a more limited audience of 240 million users through its own Twitter.com Web site and mobile apps.




  • Google misses revenue target, ad prices slide

    Photo illustration of Google logo is reflected on the screen of a Samsung Galaxy S4 smartphoneBy Alexei Oreskovic SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) - Google Inc's first-quarter revenue fell short of Wall Street targets and margins narrowed as the price of its ads continued to decline, underscoring the challenges Internet companies face as the world shifts toward mobile devices. Shares of Google were down 3 percent to $539.80 in afterhours trading on Wednesday, after initially sliding roughly 6 percent on the news. The number of "paid clicks" by consumers on Google's ads increased by 26 percent in the first quarter, disappointing some analysts who had hoped for stronger volume growth. And the average "cost per click" declined 9 percent, extending a downward trend as mobile advertising, typically cheaper than traditional online ads, make up a bigger slice of its business.




  • Weibo cuts IPO size amid selloff in technology stocks

    A woman looks at a Weibo advertisement as she rides an elevator inside a subway station in Beijing(Reuters) - China's Weibo Corp, a Twitter-like messaging service company, raised a less-than-expected $286 million after it cut the size of its U.S. initial public offering amid a selloff in technology shares and concerns about slowing user growth. The offering comes ahead of the much-anticipated IPO of Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba Group Holding Ltd, which holds stake in Weibo. Weibo, controlled by Web portal company Sina Corp, sold 16.8 million American depositary shares (ADSs) at $17 each, the company said on Thursday. At the offer price, Weibo is valued at $3.46 billion.




  • U.S. SEC releases cyber security examination blueprint
    By Sarah N. Lynch WASHINGTON (Reuters) - U.S. securities regulators have unveiled a road map that lays out how they plan to make sure Wall Street firms are prepared to detect and prevent cyber security attacks. The SEC also plans examinations of more than 50 firms that will focus on cyber security-specific issues. The document's release comes several months after Jane Jarcho, an associate director in the SEC's investment adviser examination program, announced in a speech the agency planned to scrutinize whether firms have policies to prevent cyber attacks. The SEC subsequently followed up with a March 26 roundtable where experts debated how public companies, brokerages, asset managers and exchanges can protect themselves from cyber threats, and what role the U.S. government should play to ensure such attacks are adequately disclosed.

  • Google first-quarter revenue misses Wall Street targets

    Photo illustration of Google logo is reflected on the screen of a Samsung Galaxy S4 smartphoneBy Alexei Oreskovic SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) - Google Inc's first-quarter revenue fell short of Wall Street targets and margins narrowed as the price of its ads continued to decline, pushing its shares sharply lower. Shares of Google were down 5.7 percent at $525 in after-hours trading on Wednesday. The number of "paid clicks" by consumers on Google's ads increased by 26 percent in the first quarter, disappointing some analysts that had hoped for stronger volume growth. "It's an average quarter from a great company," said BGC Partners analyst Colin Gillis.




  • Japanese Internet firms offer something new: high returns

    Pedestrians look at an electronic board showing stock prices outside a brokerage in TokyoBy Ayai Tomisawa TOKYO (Reuters) - Some Japanese Internet companies are getting a boost from foreign investors as Prime Minister Shinzo Abe pushes for an elusive strength his country's firms are not known for - high returns. After a slow start, the index is attracting attention after Japan's Government Pension Investment Fund, the world's largest pension fund, adopted the JPX-400 as a benchmark for some of its passive stock investments.




  • China e-commerce giant Alibaba seen filing for U.S. IPO next week: sources

    File photo of an employee walking past a logo of Alibaba Group at its headquarters on the outskirts of HangzhouHONG KONG (Reuters) - Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba Group Holding Ltd. is expected to file the prospectus for its U.S. initial public offering next week, sources said on Wednesday, moving closer to what could be the biggest-ever listing by a technology firm. Alibaba's documents could be filed as soon as Monday, added the sources, who couldn't be named because the plans aren't yet public. The IPO could be worth more than $16 billion, surpassing the previous record for a technology share sale set by Facebook Inc in 2012, Reuters previously reported. ...




  • China's Baidu launches mobile payment app

    People talk in front of a Baidu's company logo at Baidu's headquarters in BeijingSHANGHAI (Reuters) - Baidu Inc, China's leading internet search provider, has launched a mobile payment and wealth management platform after its main domestic rivals launched similar products. Alibaba Group Holding Ltd, through its mobile payment arm, Alipay, launched Alipay Wallet in January 2013, which included a money-market investment product, Yu'e Bao, marketed as a high-yielding substitute for traditional bank deposits. Tencent followed in August with WeChat Payment, a payment and investment platform linked to its popular WeChat mobile messaging app. ...




  • Yahoo sees flat second quarter as revenue growth remains elusive
    SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) - Yahoo Inc on Tuesday forecast second-quarter revenue, excluding traffic acquisition costs, of $1.06 billion to $1.1 billion, in line with expectations for about $1.08 billion. That is roughly flat from the $1.07 billion in revenue that Yahoo posted in the same quarter of 2013. (Reporting by Alexei Oreskovic. Editing by Andre Grenon)

  • Twitter buys social data provider Gnip, stock soars

    A Twitter logo made from Californian license plates is shown at the company's headquarters in San FranciscoTwitter Inc said on Tuesday it bought social data provider Gnip for an undisclosed amount, signaling that it would take on a new role of packaging and selling data, a service in demand by business and government. The social media company said separately that it hired a Google executive to lead its consumer product development, filling a position that had been vacant since January. Investors reacted positively to the news, sending Twitter shares up more than 11 percent, the biggest gain since the day it went public in November. Twitter said in a blog post that the Gnip deal allowed it to burrow more deeply into the 500 million tweets sent daily on its network.




  • Reddit boosts news capabilities in social media turf grab

    Reddit mascots are displayed at the company's headquarters in San FranciscoBy Jennifer Saba NEW YORK (Reuters) - Reddit, a website with a retro-'90s look and space-alien mascot that tracks everything from online news to celebrity Q&As, is going after more eyeballs, and advertising, by allowing members of its passionate community to post their own news more quickly and easily. Reddit, majority owned by Conde Nast parent Advanced Publications, last month rolled out a new feature that lets users of the nine-year-old site post live updates, allowing them to report in real time. The live updates allow selected users, dubbed "reporters" by Reddit, to instantly stream unlimited posts during the course of an event such as the conflict in the Ukraine, an earthquake in Los Angeles, or a game played in real time, without having to refresh the page. "Reddit members are doing amazing things with very minimal tools and were hitting some barriers," said Erik Martin, general manager.




  • Google to buy drone-maker Titan Aerospace
    By Alexei Oreskovic (Reuters) - Google Inc has acquired solar-powered drone maker Titan Aerospace as the Web search giant ramps up plans to deliver wireless Internet access to remote parts of the world. Titan Chief Executive Vern Raburn declined to provide information on the price of the deal, which he said closed on Monday morning. The 20-person company will remain in New Mexico for the foreseeable future, Raburn said, with all employees joining Google. The deal could further Google's efforts to deliver Internet access to remote regions of the world. ...

  • Carrefour to revive Brazil e-commerce business: CEO

    The logo of Carrefour is pictured during the company's 2013 annual results presentation in ParisBy Dominique Vidalon PARIS (Reuters) - Carrefour, the world's second-largest retailer, plans to revive its e-commerce operations in Brazil this year after shutting the business down in 2012 as part of a broader group restructuring. Chief Executive Georges Plassat revealed the plan at the annual shareholders meeting on Tuesday. He also told investors that Carrefour wanted to boost its local profile in Brazil, its second-largest market after France and an emerging country it has earmarked for expansion. ...




  • Infosys says staff exodus a worry after fourth quarter profits beat estimates

    n Infosys logo is pictured on one of the company's office buildings at their IT campus at Electronics City in BangaloreBy Soham Chatterjee and Nivedita Bhattacharjee BANGALORE/MUMBAI (Reuters) - Staff left India's second largest IT services exporter Infosys Ltd at an unprecedented pace in the last quarter, worrying its management and raising investors' concerns about its ability to win lucrative contracts even as it posted a higher-than-expected net profit for the period. Infosys, however, appears to be having a particularly difficult time with staff as it undergoes a restructuring aimed at lifting growth to match rivals including sector leader Tata Consultancy Services Ltd and third-ranked Wipro Ltd. The attrition rate, currently bigger than its two rivals, is the highest ever seen and "more than we are comfortable with", Chief Executive S.D. Shibulal told a briefing after the company posted a 25 percent increase its net profit for the fourth quarter that ended March 31. The company's annualized staff attrition rate stood at 18.7 percent at the end of March, the company said, up from 16.3 percent at the end of the same quarter last year and in line with the rate of staff exits in the previous quarter.




  • Turkey says Twitter agrees to close some accounts, no tax deal yet

    Photo illustration of Twitter logo on an iPad display next to a Turkish flagBy Orhan Coskun ISTANBUL (Reuters) - Twitter will close some accounts in Turkey but will not for now set up an office there as the government wants, a senior Turkish official said late on Monday after talks over a dispute which saw the government ban the site for two weeks. Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan's government blocked Twitter and YouTube in March, drawing international condemnation, after audio recordings, purportedly showing corruption in his inner circle, were leaked on their sites. The Twitter block was lifted 11 days ago after the constitutional court ruled that it breached freedom of expression, a decision Erdogan has since said was wrong and should be overturned. YouTube remains blocked in Turkey.




  • Social media firms operating in Turkey must open office: minister

    Simsek speaks during a meeting in AnkaraANKARA (Reuters) - Social media firms operating in Turkey must open representative offices in the country, Finance Minister Mehmet Simsek said on Tuesday after Ankara held talks with Twitter aimed at resolving a dispute which led to a two-week ban on the site. Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan's government blocked Twitter temporarily in March, drawing international condemnation, after audio recordings purportedly showing corruption in his inner circle were leaked on their sites. YouTube remains blocked. ...




  • 'Heartbleed' blamed in attack on Canada tax agency, more expected

    The Canada Revenue Agency website is seen on a computer screen displaying information about an internet security vulnerability called the "Heartbleed Bug" in TorontoBy Jim Finkle and Louise Egan BOSTON/OTTAWA (Reuters) - Canada's tax-collection agency said on Monday that the private information of about 900 people had been compromised as hackers exploited the "Heartbleed" bug, and security experts warned that more attacks will likely follow. The breach allowed hackers to extract social insurance numbers, which are used for employment and gaining access to government benefits, and possibly some other data, the Canada Revenue Agency said.




  • Facebook plans to provide mobile payment services: FT

    A portrait of the Facebook logo in Ventura(Reuters) - Facebook Inc is preparing to join the mobile-payments race with remittances and electronic-money services on the social network, the Financial Times reported on Sunday, citing several people involved in the process. The company is close to obtaining approval from the Central Bank of Ireland to start a service that would allow users to store money on Facebook and use it to pay and exchange with others, the people told the FT. The company has also had partnership talks with at least three London start-ups — TransferWise, Moni Technologies and Azimo — that offer online and mobile international money transfer services, three people involved in the discussions told FT. Facebook's specific plans, including which countries the electronic-money services would be available in, were not immediately clear.




  • U.S. retailers to share cyber threat data after Target attack

    People shop at Target store during Black Friday sales in the Brooklyn borough of New YorkU.S. retailers are planning to form an industry group for collecting and sharing intelligence about cyber security threats in a bid to prevent future attacks in the wake of last year's big attack on Target Corp. The National Retail Federation said on Monday it will establish an Information Sharing and Analysis Center, or ISAC, for the retail industry in June. ISACs are industry groups that typically run security operations centers that operate around the clock, providing alerts about emerging threats to their members and sharing information provided by law enforcement and other government agencies. There are more than a dozen such organizations among industries including financial services, emergency services, healthcare, technology companies, public transportation and utilities. The financial services industry ISAC, which is widely considered the most successful group of its type, will help retailers set up the new organization.




  • Dutch police question girl, 14, over American Airlines Twitter threat

    An illustration picture shows the log-on icon for the Website Twitter on an Ipad in BordeauxDutch police said on Monday they were questioning a 14-year-old girl in connection with an apparent threat she sent to American Airlines via Twitter over the weekend. A spokeswoman for Rotterdam police said the girl, who has not been named but who called herself Sarah on the social networking site, had addressed a tweet to the U.S.-based airline implying she was a militant planning an attack. I'm part of Al Qaida and on June 1st I'm gonna do something really big bye," she wrote on Sunday from the account @Queen_Demetriax, which Twitter now shows as suspended. Police spokeswoman Tinet De Jong said the girl was being questioned in the company of a relative at a police station in Rotterdam after Twitter had disclosed to them the Internet address from which she had written the message.




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