Why text when you can talk via facebook status updates

Die-hard Facebook fans have a lot to look for in the coming months. Global social networking giant Facebook has revealed that it has acquired Mobile technologies, a Pittsburgh based speech recognition and machine translation startup that had developed the app Jibbigo. Facebook is expected to make better use of the technology to enhance voice based search options to translated news feed posts.

Facebook’s Tom Stocky, Director- Product management, who was recently poached from google, wrote in a facebook post, “I’m excited to announce that we’ve agreed to acquire Mobile Technologies, a company with an amazing team that’s behind some of the world’s leading speech recognition and machine translation technology.”

In simple terms, this means that facebook could provide an option to update your status updates through voice rather than only text as it is done presently.

According to techcrunch.com, Facebook could do big things with this new technology in the future. This ranges from cross-language chat, voice translation for facebook users on the move or help it take news feed posts written in one language and display them in another. Facebook may also offer voice graph search which would compliment its existing efforts to make its presence felt in the search engine arena.

Tom Stocky also wrote, “Voice technology has become an increasingly important way for people to navigate mobile devices and the web, and this technology will help us evolve our products to match that evolution.”

The latest acquisition by Facebook acquires significance even as voice is fast becoming a important tool in social media networking. WhatsApp has already introduced voice messages for users across platforms that will allow users to send recorded messages to their contacts.

Mobile technologies launched Jibbigo in 2009, and allows you to select from over 25 languages, record a voice snippet in that language or type in some text, and then get a translation displayed on screen and read aloud to you in a language of your choosing.



Facebook pays bug hunters $1 million; India second biggest recipient

Social networking giant Facebook said it has paid over USD 1 million in the past two years to security researchers who report bugs on its website, with India second among recipients by country.

India, which has over 78 million Facebook users, is also second on the list of countries with the fastest-growing number of recipients of its Bug Bounty programme.

A bug is an error or defect in software or hardware that causes a programme to malfunction. It often occurs due to conflicts in software when applications try to run in tandem.

While bugs can cause software to crash or produce unexpected results, certain defects can be used to gain unauthorised access to systems.

Facebook said it started the Bug Bounty programme a little more than two years ago to reward security researchers who report issues and to encourage people to help keep the site safe and secure.

“The programme has been even more successful than we’d anticipated,” Facebook said in a statement on its website. “We’ve paid out more than USD 1 million in bounties and have collaborated with researchers from all around the world to stamp out bugs in our products and in our infrastructure.”

The social networking major said 329 people have received rewards, including professional researchers, students and part-timers. The youngest recipient was 13 years old.

“The countries with the most bounty recipients are, in order, the US, India, UK, Turkey, and Germany. The countries with the fastest-growing number of recipients are, in order, the US, India, Turkey, Israel, Canada, Germany, Pakistan, Egypt, Brazil, Sweden, and Russia,” it noted.

While the bug hunters are spread across 51 countries, 20 per cent of the bounty paid so far have gone to US-based recipients, it added.

“Our Bug Bounty program allows us to harness the talent and perspective of people from all kinds of backgrounds, from all around the world,” Facebook Security Engineer Collin Greene said.

Two of the bounty recipients have taken up full-time jobs with the Facebook security team, he added.


How to make your feature phone a smartphone

An Israeli technology company has developed a method where old or outdated phones can run apps available only onsmartphones.

The system developed by the VascoDe company allows users to obtain apps with the firm’s cloud-based system that requires no downloads and uses the text-based Unstructured Supplementary Service Data (USSD), similar to the Short Message Service ( SMS), Xinhua reported.

Customers will be able to use many apps available until now for smartphone users only.

However, the only difference is that they will see the apps in black and white.

The USSD system does not allow access to the internet, but rather it uses the API (Application Programming Interfaces) from pages like FacebookGmail, and the like, according to technology and health website Israel21c.

VascoDe CEO Doron Mottes said 83 percent of cellphones in the world are simple and do not connect to the internet, which means that almost four billion people in the world cannot check their email on the go.

He said the difference between being able to check emails and respond to them, can make a whole difference in a world so hung up on the internet, because it can give you the possibility to respond to job offers, for example.

VascoDe’s main markets are developing countries like Brazil, Sri Lanka and Indonesia, where most of the population cannot afford internet connection or a computer, and has to rely on expensive internet shops to log on their accounts.

Source: http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/tech/personal-tech/computing/How-to-make-your-feature-phone-a-smartphone/articleshow/20741958.cms

Facebook reportedly working on a news reader

To encourage this behavior, Facebook is reportedly working on a news-delivery service to add to its mobile offering. Sources familiar with the matter told the Wall Street Journal that the company has been working on the product for over a year. So it may not be a reaction to the public outrage over the news that Google would shutter its RSS Reader.

The Wall Street Journal said the new mobile product will resemble Flipboard, a beautifully-designed application that lets readers swipe to flip through news articles.

Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg recently said that every team at the social networking giant is “mobile first.” The company is increasingly focused on mobile as a means to boost advertising. People use smartphone devices at home and at work, so Facebook can reach and serve highly-targeted ads to people at any time of day.

The strategy seems to be working. Facebook gets 1 in 7 of the minutes people spend on desktop PCs, and 1 in 5 minutes on mobile devices. So mobile usage is up — and the company is making 30 percent of its revenue from mobile now — up from zero at the time of its public offering.

“Now, we can do it all day, because you’re checking Facebook on your phone all day,” Sandberg said at a recent technology conference.

The release of a news reader service, internally dubbed Reader, will likely prove to be more popular with consumers than Facebook Home. Home is a family of mobile ads and an immersive networking skin for select Android phones, which people seem to love or hate. Sandberg summed up the public’s response as “bimodal.”