Black Friday 2016: Sony Teases PS4 Digital Deals With Upto 60 Percent Off

Black Friday 2016: Sony Teases PS4 Digital Deals With Upto 60 Percent Off

Black Friday 2016: Sony Teases PS4 Digital Deals With Upto 60 Percent Off
HIGHLIGHTS
PS4 games will be heavily discounted from November 24
Sony has not divulged which games will be discounted
PS Plus members may get a larger discount
The Xbox One isn’t the only current generation console with a Black Friday sale. Sony has released a teaser for upcoming deals on the PlayStation Store — the company’s digital games storefront.

According to a page on its website, Sony’s Black Friday sale will take place from November 24. There’s a teaser video as well which ends with a sign claiming that you can expect discounts upto 60 percent.
At the moment it is unclear PS Plus subscribers would get an extra percentage off over and above the teased 60 percent. Reason being, Sony is running a sale right now that lets PS Plus subscribers claim upto 70 percent off on games.

(Also see: This New PS4 Bundle Is India’s Cheapest Yet, but There’s a Catch)
What’s also unclear at the moment is which games will be discounted. Safe to say, you could expect deals on titles that are discounted on Microsoft’s Black Friday sale such as FIFA 17, Titanfall 2, Battlefield 1, WWE 2K17, GTA V, and The Witcher 3 to name a few, in addition to some of Sony’s exclusives.

While digital deals are nothing new, it’s heartening to see Sony making an aggressive statement about it. Aside from the all but obvious reasoning that it stands to gain a whole lot more in terms of margin by pushing digital, it also curbs used game sales.

Although getting games cheap is always better for consumers, keep in mind that most PS4 games are around a 30 to 40GB download. For some, with slow Internet speeds or small data caps, it could work out to be a whole lot more expensive than ordering a physical copy from websites like Amazon or walking down to a store and buying an PS4 game on a disc.

Tags: Black Friday, Black Friday Digital Deals, PS4, PS4 Pro, PS4 Discounts, PS4 India discounts, PSN discounts

[“source-ndtv”]

How an Old School Business Discovered the Internet and Grew 350 Percent

toronto 3

What do you do when you’ve been in business for years, and have a crisis of confidence?

One day something happens that forces you to confront some cold hard facts:

  • The world has changed.
  • Your business hasn’t changed with it.
  • And now your business is in jeopardy.

That’s exactly what happened to Brian Young, owner of Home Painters Toronto.

He discovered that his customers had changed their buying habits. They were going online to find a house painter. Yet his business was literally nowhere to be found online.

Many times, a story like that would have a bad ending. Some small businesses would succumb to the odds, and become the next failure statistic. But that’s not the case for Young’s business. In his case, he managed a stunning turnaround.

And this is the story of how he did it.

Cold Calling Made His Business Hot

Young started the business 25 years ago, while he was still a student in college. Back then, when Student Painters came to campus offering its franchise-style model, he jumped at the opportunity.

“It had always been my dream to run a business since I was a kid growing up watching my dad. Student Painters was recruiting on campus, and my friend did it and recruited me into it. I thought, ‘this is my shot at running my own business,’ so I was really excited about that. It was my dream come true,” recalls Young.

That was in 1987.

He discovered he was good at growing a painting business — mainly because he was good at cold calling.

“I learned how to do cold calling really well,” he said. “At the time I was young so I had all this energy. And cold calling didn’t take much time. You just had to go knock on doors and give them quotes on the spot. It’s more of a heart thing. Just go out and be as aggressive as you can. That was the way of marketing back then.”

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Young, at age 19, cold calling for Student Painters.

Upon graduation in 1991 Young went off on his own as an independent business owner.

Business was good. “I think our first year I was doing about $100,000 to $150,000 in revenue, in that range. It was pretty good back then,” he added.

Year after year, sales continued to climb.

His cold-calling marketing approach worked well for about a decade. Up through the late 1990s, “cold calling was the way to go,” he said.

The Internet Changes Everything

By the year 2000, though, the Internet had started gaining ground in the painting industry. Young began to notice consumers were going online to find painters.

Young’s world had irrevocably altered. He just wasn’t ready to admit it.

“I saw what was happening but I didn’t want to change. I’m like, ‘you know what, I’m a cold caller.’ I just kept knocking on doors,” recalled Young.

Yet, deep down, Young knew things were changing. “It was tough because I could feel my market going down, shrinking more and more and more.”

He soldiered on for another decade, watching sales gradually decline even though he was working harder than ever.

It All Came to a Head – Literally – in 2011

“I was canvassing a neighborhood and a potential client was upset that I’d interrupted his dinner. He came out and punched me in the face,” remembers Young with a rueful smile.

Young ended up with a black eye and the incident made him reevaluate his company’s marketing.

“It hurt me emotionally even more than physically. I am really passionate about my business. But it also knocked some sense into me. I realized, ‘Brian, I have to change or else my business is going to die.’”

“I call it the million dollar punch,” he added.

Playing Online Catch Up

Young took stock of his business’s situation and it wasn’t pretty.

Up to that point, in 2011, his business was nowhere to be found online. Yet, that’s where his market was.

“My business was offline, totally. I didn’t have a smartphone. I didn’t believe in email. I didn’t believe in websites. When it came to technology, we were bare bones. I mean, I had a Blackberry that I could type short messages on and that was it,” he recalls.

“So, I hired a consultant who helped me get my business online almost overnight. We worked ninja style. I was like, ‘What do we need now? And what do we need next?’ So we got a website. We joined some review sites. We implemented email marketing. One by one, we just kept nailing them,” said Young.

A major milestone for Young and his Home Painters Toronto business came just a month or so into the online transformation.

One of his first steps was to advertise using Google AdWords. “We had to do it because we were nowhere to be found in Google search results at that time,” he pointed out.

Advertising with AdWords required a huge leap. It meant spending more money than he had ever spent on marketing.

Prior to that time, his marketing budget was just $500 a year. “I’d do my lawn signs, and I would buy business cards. That was it. I was really cheap,” he laughs.

But almost immediately he saw the benefits of marketing online.

“For the first time in my life I didn’t have to cold call a house. That was significant. I was getting leads coming in – they’re called inbound leads — and that pretty much was the start of how things worked out. As more people found us online, things really started taking off.”

The Online Strategy to Refresh a Home Painting Business

Starting in Spring 2012, sales exploded.

“We started 2012 at $375,000 in revenue. Now after 2014 we’re at $1.3 million,” said Young. By his calculations, that amounts to a 350 percent increase in just three years’ time.

“I’ve been working like a madman ever since trying to keep up with the growth,” he added.

“Our goal now is to grow 20 to 30 percent a year. At the same time, I want to get my customer satisfaction ratings higher. We’re at 98.5 percent. We’re going to shoot for 99 percent customer satisfaction and encourage more online reviews. That’s how you have to market a business like this, is through reviews, “ he added.

“Before, in my business, you could upset someone, and then you could just not work on that street for the next five years and they’d forget. But now online, everything is exposed and you’re vulnerable that way. So you have to be impeccable about making sure every customer is taken of, no matter what. It raises the game of the business owner, and gives the customer more protection.”

In addition to advertising with AdWords, developing high customer satisfaction rates and encouraging positive reviews, there are a few other arrows in Young’s marketing quiver.

The company also pursues content marketing and search engine optimization as part of its strategy. ”For a year solid I’ve blogged two or three times a week,” points out Young.

Articles such as “What Causes Paint to Bubble, Crack and Peel?” and “Bringing Warmth to a Room with Ceiling Paint” give consumers the sort of relevant information they are looking for when researching painters, Young says. Content marketing also has helped the company’s website rank well for Toronto painter searches.

Even though his company was playing catch up, Young soon discovered that most of the painting industry was “still way behind.”

“Now they copy what we do. But they can’t keep up. Not that I’m trying to put the competition down — just saying that’s what is happening. My business has become the pacesetter,” asserts Young.

Growth Brings Another Set of Challenges

Another important element of the success story is how the company implemented Infusionsoft marketing automation software.

It wasn’t long before Home Painters Toronto became the victim of its own fast growth.

The more client leads the company got, the harder it became to manage them and keep track of what stage they were in.

“We had all these lead sources, and needed a way to organize them,” said Young.

In fact, Young insists that without automation there’s no way his company could function.

“Today, we quote anywhere from 200 to 300 leads a month. Trying to follow up manually with that many leads is nearly impossible. Automating our follow-up sequences saves us hours and hours each week,” he added.

He also needed to be able to hire and train people to help him. His vision was to create a platform to run the business off of, so he could duplicate his system and grow without increasing his personal working hours. That’s another thing Infusionsoft gave them, he said.

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Young, of Home Painters Toronto, channeling Rocky Balboa, with partner Jill Littlejohn.

But implementing Infusionsoft wasn’t smooth sailing at first.

“I was excited by our growth, but Infusionsoft was driving me crazy because I just wasn’t ‘getting it’.”

He knew from his father’s role model (his father also is a small business owner) that perseverance and hard work would pay off.

“Even if I had to stay up for 24 hours, I was willing to do anything because I saw in the first two or three months what the Internet could do for my business. This was my dream shot at turning this thing into something big. I couldn’t sleep. I was like ‘there has to be an answer to this, and if answers aren’t apparent, then we’ll find them’,” he added.

While on a retreat to Puerto Vallarta, Young coincidentally met Kelsey Bratcher of Hired Gun Solutions, an Infusionsoft expert. Eventually Young hired Bratcher as an outsourced member of his marketing team.

According to Bratcher, “small wins lead to big wins.” So, he focused on helping Young break things down into small pieces so they could quickly achieve some successes. The first thing they did was break down the Home Painter Toronto sales process into 12 stages and automated some of the stages.

Almost immediately, Young got his first “win” through Infusionsoft. The company sent out a reminder sequence about an upcoming appointment. “For the first time,” Young recalls, “I actually got a confirmation email from the client saying ‘we’re good to go tomorrow for 7:30’ without me having to call.”

“A light bulb went off. Previously I’d have to make multiple calls and leave voice mails. It got me thinking in terms of automation — versus of me doing all the work in my business. I realized it would free me to focus on strategy,” Young added.

toronto home painters 6

Young, with Kelsey Bratcher of Hired Gun Solutions, after accepting the 2015 ICON Award.

What It Takes to Transform an Old-School Business’s Marketing

The transformation of this once tech-phobic painting business is so dramatic that Young and Home Painters Toronto won the 2015 ICON Award. The Award is presented by Infusionsoft to small businesses demonstrating outstanding marketing success.

According to Marketing Coordinator Jill Littlejohn who was on hand at the 2015 ICON Conference (dressed in painter’s clothes just like her boss), under Young’s leadership they have embraced marketing automation completely. The Infusionsoft marketing automation software has been woven into the company’s processes so deeply that it is now “essential,” she said.

Today, Young sounds like a marketing tech whiz. But according to Bratcher, at first he was anything but. “I had to explain how the technology worked.”

But what Young had going for him was his drive. “He listens, and he goes with it. We’ve made some mistakes over the years and made some people angry with emails. But he doesn’t have this fear component. He just moves ahead — not recklessly, but he doesn’t spend much time worrying about his decisions,” added Bratcher.

That drive has caused Young’s business to be recognized as one of the top home painters in Toronto. The business has even been featured on several home decorating and makeover TV shows.

Young had some final advice for other small business owners — of any industry. “No matter how bad things are going, no matter how long it’s been going, there has to be a solution. Someone in the world has succeeded and overcome that problem. If they can overcome it, you can. You’ve just got to pay the price. If that means working a little harder, you have to work a little harder. Or work a little smarter. Or learn a new technology.”

“I watched the movie “Rocky” growing up. I’ve watched it so many times I know almost every line. I could almost recite it. I look for that movie whenever I’m having a tough time because this guy came from nowhere. He got a shot at the title and he just gave it his all, and he was standing at the end of that first movie. Motivation like that gives me the pigheaded determination to overcome anything no matter what,” he added.

And what about that $10,000 check that Young received as part of the ICON award? “I donated half of it to an entrepreneur cause — and am thrilled to help other entrepreneurs make their businesses a success.”

Image credits: Small Business Trends, Home Painters Toronto

[“source-smallbiztrends”]

41 Percent of Your Competitors Are Going Mobile – Here’s Why You Should Join the Crowd

41 Percent of Your Competitors Are Going Mobile - Here's Why Mobile Apps May Become the Next Source of Competitive Advantage

As more and more consumers begin to rely on their mobile devices for personal and business use, instead of a more traditional means like a desktop computer, the need for a mobile app is rapidly growing. With 2015 being dubbed the Year of the Mobile, small businesses without a mobile app planned for the future will continue to fall farther and farther behind.

There’s typically only one reason that is causing these businesses to continue to hold out: money.

The Cost of a Mobile App

About a year and a half ago, a survey of a number of leading mobile app developers was conducted to determine the average overall cost of building an iPhone/Android app, including the factors or variables that affect cost the most. This data collected by Clutch reported that the average cost of mobile app development was between $37,913 and $171,450. For a small business, even the lower end of this price range is a hefty price to swallow, especially without an immediate return on investment.

Lucky for these small businesses, this price range has drastically decreased. While the numbers may be out of date, the data is still helpful for identifying the features that carry the highest cost when developing a mobile app. Most often these factors were typically the infrastructure, features, and design of the app, while less expensive aspects were things like planning, deployment, and even testing.

Why Mobile Development is More Accessible Now

What many business owners fail to understand is the average price range for a mobile app is vastly out of date. Remember technology changes so fast that as soon as data is distributed, newer technology makes development more accessible — thus lowering cost. This is the case when it comes to developing an app for your business.

As mobile development has become more and more popular and important in today’s business world, the number of app builders and development teams has also grown. More app builders means more competitive pricing; there are more options to choose from, and some of these options are remarkably cheap compared to the prices we were seeing just a year or more ago.

Also on the rise is app development software. Some of these software or app development services are designed for a small business to make their own mobile app(s) at a very, very low process. As long as a business owner is willing to take the time and effort required, these hyper user-friendly tools can drastically reduce price.

It is almost identical to the trends we’ve already seen surrounding web development through its infancy and beyond. In the early stages of the internet, having a website became an undisputed necessity for businesses. Yet, this new development was costly. Web development was a costly investment because there were only a small number of developers and designers available. Now, there are a number of inexpensive services that allow anyone to make their own functioning website, with relative ease.

Future of Small Businesses and Mobile Development

With a mobile app becoming a much more reasonable investment for a small business to swallow, the future looks very positive. Recent data reported by Clutch, an independent research firm,  shows that roughly a quarter of small businesses already have a mobile app and another 27 percent of them have plans to enter the mobile world in the next year or so.

There is still a large percentage of companies that are unsure or even feel it is unlikely that they will have a mobile app in the future. Yet, as prices go down and accessibility goes up, the detractors of mobile development could quickly find themselves convinced that it is now a viable option.

Part of this conversion from uncertainty to convinced and planning is simple education. Some of these detractors may have been quoted for a mobile app a year ago or more and still believe it is out of their price range. Others do not believe mobile is for them because they fail to see how it will impact their business or what a mobile app could be used for, within their specific industry or business.

What Mobile Development Can be Used For

When you look at the wide range of mobile apps on the market, you can quickly see the number of different applications of mobile development. At the core of all business apps, there is one of a number of key drivers. These factors include accessibility/visibility, improving internal processes and productivity and enhancing the customer experience.

Accessibility and Visibility. As mobile search volumes continue to grow, adopting a mobile platform is more and more important to remain accessible and visible to your audiences. If they cannot find you or interact with your brand in the mobile environment, they may defect to a competitor that they can see on their device. Alternatively, attracting new customers without a mobile app could become harder and harder, as you are not only harder to find, but also without a key tool to keep you up to date and stay competitive in your industry.

Internal Processes and Productivity. While we often think of apps in terms of creating a new platform for our customers to engage with, mobile development is also worth exploring to improve internal processes and productivity. Many companies utilize desktop software to facilitate certain day-to-day business processes. A mobile-centric version of this software could further enhance these processes, in some companies. After all, mobile is, well, mobile, which means you can perform these processes on the go, instead of having the interruption of needing to sit down and use a desktop module.

Customer Experience. Without mobile, a customer’s relationship with your brand or company is interrupted the moment they walk out the door. By providing a mobile app experience, that relationship does not have to end. Your brand is more accessible, appears more personable and can stimulate more communication. Improving the customer experience ultimately drives increased brand loyalty and reduces churn.

All of these factors and others have direct relationships with profits. The more visible you are, the more likely that new and existing customers can find your business and make new and future purchasing decisions. Internal mobile apps to help processes boosts productivity and, perhaps more than ever, time is money. Lastly, a mobile app is key to enhancing the customer experience, which is becoming more and more important to audiences. It is no longer about offering the best product and quality, you also need to provide the best experience and mobile is one of the most important facets of that experience.

Conclusions

The mobile world took off like a rocket. In only a few short years it developed from a trend and a business luxury, to an accessible and vital dimension of the modern business. In the past, small businesses could not afford to invest in this rapidly growing, mobile world. However, as mobile has grown, so has the number of app developers and services available, which has thereby caused mobile adoption to become much less expensive.

Mobile Apps May Become the Next Source of Competitive Advantage

Even though only about a quarter of small businesses have entered the mobile app world, more expect to join in the next year plus. The remaining small businesses that believe it is unlikely for them to join the mobile game anytime soon, may be convinced otherwise as prices go down and accessibility goes up. Some may just require a little bit of education towards understanding how a mobile app can increase profits through improving visibility, productivity and the customer experience.

Smartphone Photo via Shutterstock

[“source-ndtv”]

60 Percent of Online Traffic Now Comes From Mobile

using smartphone

If your business depends upon online traffic, you should know. More than half of digital traffic online now comes from mobile devices and through mobile apps.

A comScore report says smartphones and tablets combined now account for 6o percent of all online traffic up from 50 percent a year ago. And 51 percent of that traffic is driven by mobile apps (like those for digital radio such as Pandora or Spotify, digital messaging like WhatsApp or Viber and social apps like Facebook and Twitter.)

Significantly, this is a very different measure than the amount of organic traffic driven by mobile, as cited in another recent report from SEO platform BrightEdge.

That study suggested that about 23 percent of organic traffic to websites now originates from Android or iPhone devices while 12 percent comes from tablets. But this report looked only at traffic originating from mobile search, in other words, someone looking for something using a search engine like Google or Bing via their phone or tablet.

The comScore report examines a much broader cross section of online traffic. It could just as easily be looking at visitors delivered to your website via a link on a Facebook app as from a mobile search for your business on a search engine.

online traffic report

One conclusion is that, while categories like digital radio and photo sites like Instagram and Flickr may draw more activity, for marketers (and small businesses) social media is most important.

In it’s official report, comScore explains:

“While social networking does not rank at the very top of this list among the most mobile-skewing content categories, it is arguably the most important. The #1 category in terms of overall digital engagement accounting for 20% of total digital time spent, social networking now generates more than 70% of its activity on mobile. When considering the category’s contribution to total digital ad spending, its rapid shift to mobile marks an important sign of the times for the Internet economy.”

The report adds that:

  • Mobile activity on social media has grown by 55 percent over the past year.
  • It has also accounted for 31 percent of all growth in Internet activity over the same period.
  • Facebook alone accounts for 24 percent of all mobile activity online and its primary app is responsible for 18 percent.

The report should give you a whole new perspective on the importance of social media marketing for your business, especially on sites like Facebook.

Mobile Photo via Shutterstock, comScore

[“source-ndtv”]

60 Percent of Online Traffic Now Comes From Mobile

using smartphone

If your business depends upon online traffic, you should know. More than half of digital traffic online now comes from mobile devices and through mobile apps.

A comScore report says smartphones and tablets combined now account for 6o percent of all online traffic up from 50 percent a year ago. And 51 percent of that traffic is driven by mobile apps (like those for digital radio such as Pandora or Spotify, digital messaging like WhatsApp or Viber and social apps like Facebook and Twitter.)

Significantly, this is a very different measure than the amount of organic traffic driven by mobile, as cited in another recent report from SEO platform BrightEdge.

That study suggested that about 23 percent of organic traffic to websites now originates from Android or iPhone devices while 12 percent comes from tablets. But this report looked only at traffic originating from mobile search, in other words, someone looking for something using a search engine like Google or Bing via their phone or tablet.

The comScore report examines a much broader cross section of online traffic. It could just as easily be looking at visitors delivered to your website via a link on a Facebook app as from a mobile search for your business on a search engine.

online traffic report

One conclusion is that, while categories like digital radio and photo sites like Instagram and Flickr may draw more activity, for marketers (and small businesses) social media is most important.

In it’s official report, comScore explains:

“While social networking does not rank at the very top of this list among the most mobile-skewing content categories, it is arguably the most important. The #1 category in terms of overall digital engagement accounting for 20% of total digital time spent, social networking now generates more than 70% of its activity on mobile. When considering the category’s contribution to total digital ad spending, its rapid shift to mobile marks an important sign of the times for the Internet economy.”

The report adds that:

  • Mobile activity on social media has grown by 55 percent over the past year.
  • It has also accounted for 31 percent of all growth in Internet activity over the same period.
  • Facebook alone accounts for 24 percent of all mobile activity online and its primary app is responsible for 18 percent.

The report should give you a whole new perspective on the importance of social media marketing for your business, especially on sites like Facebook.

Mobile Photo via Shutterstock, comScore

[“source-smallbiztrends”]

Android Marshmallow Now Running on 15.2 Percent of Active Devices: Google

Android Marshmallow Now Running on 15.2 Percent of Active Devices: Google

HIGHLIGHTS

  • Android Marshmallow adoption has risen 1.9 percent in a month
  • Android Lollipop saw a 0.4 percent rise in adoption
  • Google Play distribution data is for a 7-day period ending on August 1

Google has updated its Google Play distribution data, providing figures for the seven-day period ending August 1. The data shows Android Marshmallow is now running on 15.2 percent of active devices.

In July, Android Marshmallow was seen to be running on 13.3 percent of active Android devices – indicating a rise in adoption of 1.9 percent in a single month. To recall, Android Marshmallow in June was running on 10.1 percent active of Android devices.

While the growth in adoption of the Android Marshmallow version, whether in the form of updates or new devices running the version out-of-the-box, has been steady, it has also been very slow – to compare, Android 6.0 Marshmallow finally made it to 1 percent of active devices in February, five months after its release to Nexus devices. This factly is more sharply highlighted when one considers that Android 7.0 Nougat, the next Android version, is expected to release soon.
android_distribution_data_august_2016.jpg
August’s Google Play distribution data shows that Android Lollipop has a total share of around 35.5 percent of active Android devices (with Android 5.0 Lollipop running on 14.1 percent of devices and Android 5.1 version at 21.4 percent), compared to 35.1 percent last month – indicating a rise in adoption of 0.4 percent. In the meanwhile, Android KitKat version 29.2 percent of the devices, dropping 0.9 percent from 30.1 percent last month.

As for Android Jelly Bean, it is seen to have a combined share of 16.7 percent, dropping 1.1 percent from July’s 17.8 percent. Android 4.0.x or Ice Cream Sandwich in the meanwhile was seen on 1.6 percent of active devices, down 0.1 percent from 1.7 percent in July.

Android Gingerbread (v2.3.3-2.3.7) is seen running on 1.6 percent of active devices, dropping from 1.9 percent, while Android 2.2 Froyo’s device distribution share is at 0.1 percent – the same as last month. To note, the figures are gathered from devices visiting the Google Play app, which supports Android 2.2 and above.

The Android distribution data also reveals that OpenGL 2.0 now runs on 46 percent of active Android devices, while OpenGL 3.0 runs on 42.6 percent, and OpenGL 3.1 on 11.4 percent.

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Tags: Android, Android 5.0 Lollipop, Android 6.0 Marshmallow, Android Distribution, Android Distribution Numbers,Android Froyo, Android Gingerbread, Android Jelly Bean, Android Marshmallow, Google, Google Play Store, Mobiles,Tablets

[“Source-Gadgets”]

Facebook Q1 Shows Massive 52 Percent Growth Year Over Year

zuckerberg

Skeptics expecting the Facebook success story to end will have to wait. The company reported a 52 percent revenue growth and tripled its quarterly profits in the first three months of 2016.

Facebook’s impressive growth coincides with Apple’s drop in sales for the first time in 13 years this quarter.

What’s also interesting is that another rival Microsoft hasn’t done well either. The company missed Wall Street expectations and reported a 25 percent decline in profits.

Facebook Q1 Reports 52 Percent Growth, Key Highlights

Some of the key highlights of Facebook’s first quarter results include the following:

  • Profit was 77 cents a share, surpassing Wall Street expectations of 62 cents a share.
  • More than 80 percent of the overall revenue came from mobile advertising, up from 73 percent for the same period in 2015.
  • More than 3 million businesses are using Facebook’s advertising products every month.
  • Total number of users rose to 1.65 billion, a jump of nearly 60 million over the fourth quarter.
  • Sales for the quarter reached $5.4 billion, up from $3.5 billion last year.

“To me, this is like Google 10 years ago,” Mark Mahaney, an Internet analyst at RBC Capital told The New York Times. “They really had such momentum, and they’re proving how valuable they are to both advertisers and consumers.”

Facebook Shows Massive Growth Thanks to Mobile

While Facebook reports 52 percent growth overall in Q1, it should be noted that 54 percent of all active users logged onto the site only through the company’s mobile site or app. Moreover mobile ads, which command a higher price than the ones featured on desktops, accounted for nearly four-fifths of its revenue.

The numbers clearly reveal that almost all of Facebook’s users are visiting the site from their mobile devices. And it’s not difficult to understand why mobile is playing such a big role in Facebook’s success.

A majority of new users are coming from regions outside North America and Europe. In those parts of the world, mobile phones are the most common and sometimes the only medium to access the Internet. Facebook confirms this. The company said it added 71 million mobile-only users in the first quarter.

To fully leverage the potential of mobile, Facebook has made moves like acquiring mobile company WhatsApp. At the same time, it is focusing on its mobile ads business.

“Businesses are no longer asking if they should market on mobile, they’re asking how,” Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg said in an interview with the Wall Street Journal. “This is a shift that we think we’re very well-positioned to take advantage of and build on.”

[“source-smallbiztrends”]

Google Reveals 77 Percent of Its Online Traffic Is Encrypted

Google Reveals 77 Percent of Its Online Traffic Is Encrypted

Google is disclosing how much of the traffic to its search engine and other services is being protected from hackers as part of its push to encrypt all online activity.

Encryption shields 77 percent of the requests sent from around the world to Google’s data centers, up from 52 percent at the end of 2013, according to company statistics released Tuesday.

The numbers cover all Google services expect its YouTube video site, which has more than 1 billion users. Google plans to add YouTube to its encryption breakdown by the end of this year.

Encryption is a security measure that scrambles transmitted information so it’s unintelligible if it’s intercepted by a third party.

Google began emphasizing the need to encrypt people’s online activities after confidential documents leaked in 2013 by former National Security Agency contractor Edward Snowden revealed that the US government had been vacuuming up personal data transferred over the Internet. The surveillance programs exploited gaping holes in unencrypted websites.

While rolling out more encryption on its services, Google has been trying to use the clout of its influential search engine to prod other websites to strengthen their security.

In August 2014, Google revised its secret formula for ranking websites in its search order to boost those that automatically encrypted their services. The change meant websites risked being demoted in Google’s search results and losing visitors if they didn’t embrace encryption.

Google is highlighting its own progress on digital security while the FBI and Apple Inc. are locked in a court battle over access to an encrypted iPhone used by one of the two extremist killers behind the mass shootings in San Bernardino, California, in December.

Google joined several other major technology companies to back Apple in its refusal to honor a court order to unlock the iPhone, arguing that it would require special software that could be exploited by hackers and governments to pry their way into other encrypted devices.

In its encryption crusade, Google’s is trying to make it nearly impossible for government spies and other snoops from deciphering personal information seized while in transit over the Internet.

“Our aim with this project is to hold ourselves accountable and encourage others to encrypt so we can make the web even safer for everyone,” Google encryption “evangelists” Rutledge Chin Feman and Tim Willis wrote in a blog post.

The statistics show that Google’s Gmail service is completely encrypted as long as the correspondence remains confined to Gmail. Mail exchanges between Gmail and other email services aren’t necessarily encrypted.

Google’s next most frequently encrypted services are maps (83 percent of traffic) and advertising (77 percent, up from just 9 percent at the end of 2013). Encryption frequency falls off for Google’s news service (60 percent) and finance (58 percent).

Google, owned by Alphabet Inc., says it’s still trying to overcome some of the technical problems that have made it more difficult to encrypt some of its services. Some older devices are also unable to handle modern encryption standards, according to Google.

Nearly 96 percent of Google’s unencrypted traffic comes from mobile devices.

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Tags: Edward Snowden, Gmail, Google, Internet, Privacy, Security, YouTube
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Google Fiber Sees 79 Percent Surge in Video Subscriber Growth: Report

Google Fiber Sees 79 Percent Surge in Video Subscriber Growth: Report

Alphabet Inc’s much-talked about high-speed internet service, Google Fiber, had 53,000 video subscribers as of December end, up 79 percent from a year earlier, brokerage MoffettNathanson said, citing numbers from the US Copyright Office.

Google has been expanding the service, which promises Internet speeds of up to 1,000 megabits per second, in several cities in the United States.

“If there is a surprise here, it is perhaps that the growth rate isn’t higher,” MoffettNathanson said.

“After all, there has been a steady stream of new cities announced, and they’ve now been at it for a long time in at least a handful of markets.”

The service is currently available in Atlanta, Austin, Charlotte, Kansas City, Nashville, Salt Lake City, San Antonio Provo, Utah, and Raleigh-Durham, North Carolina, according to the Google Fiber website.

Alphabet, formerly Google, said in December it would consider bringing the Fiber internet service to Los Angeles and Chicago.

© Thomson Reuters 2016

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Tags: Google, Google Fiber, Home Entertainment, Internet
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