New York, Mar 13 (AP/UNB)- Facebook, already the leader in enabling you to share photos, videos and links, now wants to be a force in messaging, commerce, payments and just about everything else you do online.
The company's ambitions harken to how WeChat has become the centerpiece of digital life in China, where people use it to order movie tickets, subway passes, food delivery and rides. If Facebook succeeds in turning its own messaging services into a platform for everything, it could ultimately threaten established services such as Snapchat, Yelp, Venmo, eBay and even Apple and Amazon.
"It's clear that Facebook does have very broad ambitions here," said Bob O'Donnell, president and chief analyst at Technalysis Research. "Their goal is to be the WeChat of everywhere but China."
But Facebook faces numerous hurdles. A key one is restoring user trust, following a string of privacy failures that includes the sharing of personal information from as many as 87 million users with a consulting firm affiliated with Donald Trump's campaign. And any change may cause users to rethink their relationship with Facebook.
"Facebook has a lot of momentum but it's not completely invincible," said Roger Kay, an analyst at Endpoint Technologies Associates. "People came to Facebook for a particular thing. Offer them a different thing, and they're likely to re-evaluate whether they want to be there at all."
After all, Friendster and Myspace came and went as Facebook grew. Yahoo and AltaVista moved over for Google. And remember when AOL was popular, powerful and rich enough to buy the traditional media company Time Warner? Both AOL and Yahoo are now fading brands within Verizon.
After building an advertising-supported service that depends on vacuuming up data on your hobbies, interests and political views, CEO Mark Zuckerberg announced last week that Facebook will now emphasize ways for small groups to communicate in a truly private fashion.
This involves scrambling all messages in WhatsApp, Instagram Direct and Messenger so that even Facebook itself can't read them. Facebook will also let messages automatically disappear after a set amount of time, something rival Snapchat already does.
Facebook, Zuckerberg said, will "then build more ways for people to interact on top of that, including calls, video chats, groups, stories, businesses, payments, commerce, and ultimately a platform for many other kinds of private services."
Facebook declined to further elaborate on its ambitions, and a spokeswoman reinforced that it is early in the process. But there are clues in what Chinese tech giant Tencent has already done with WeChat in China. WeChat combines functions that are typically done by separate companies elsewhere — think of Facebook and its messaging services combined with PayPal and Uber. People use WeChat to buy goods in retail stores, split restaurant bills with friends, pay utility bills, donate to charities and hail rides from the Uber-like Didi Chuxing service.
Facebook already lets people send money to other individuals through Messenger in the U.S. and a few other countries and is testing payments through WhatsApp in India. The New York Times reported that Facebook is also developing its own digital currency to make it easier for users to send money to their messaging contacts.
Facebook didn't offer many details on its digital currency endeavors, but said a "new small team" was looking for ways to make use of the type of technology powering bitcoins and other cryptocurrencies.
While the current payment options require linking Facebook to bank accounts or services such as PayPal, a digital currency could potentially work without them. That could appeal to users, especially in Asia and Africa, with limited access to banking services, said Avivah Litan, a Gartner analyst who specializes in security and payments.
And it would solve a key challenge with commerce on phones. Litan said entering credit card details on a phone is cumbersome, and businesses often lose customers before they complete orders. If Facebook can integrate payments into messaging, it can keep users within Facebook and convince advertisers they're more likely to complete sales.
Facebook could also diversify revenue beyond advertising. For instance, it could take a commission, whether for newspaper subscriptions or food deliveries, much as Apple already does with a cut of up to 30 percent for app payments.
Kay said messaging could become one-stop shop for Yelp-like business reviews, OpenTable restaurant reservations, on-demand delivery similar to Uber and a marketplace akin to eBay — the latter being something Facebook already offers on its main app. Amazon might be tougher to challenge, he said, given the company's expertise in delivery logistics, but there might be pieces such as grocery delivery that Facebook can go after.
Nonetheless, potential Facebook rivals need not pack up yet. Zuckerberg's blog read as a manifesto, a list of things he wants to implement, and it's unclear how much will actually get executed, eMarketer analyst Debra Aho Williamson said. She said it's too soon for competitors to start drastically adapting.
"You cannot be blase about anything Facebook says or does," she said. "But I think there is certainly time to see how this all plays out."
There also might be room for Facebook to sit alongside existing services. Facebook might turn to OpenTable within messaging, for instance, rather than build its own service for dinner reservations.
"It depends on what exactly the product looks like and how differently useful it is for different kinds of audiences," said Brian Wieser, an executive at the advertising consultancy GroupM. "It's not necessarily a zero-sum game."
For now, analysts say, potential competitors need to pay attention and be ready to adapt once details are out. Businesses that ignore the threat do so at their own peril.
Potential rivals can also start emphasizing how they are different from Facebook — as Apple is doing by stressing privacy protections in its devices and services. O'Donnell added that those in payments need to make sure their services are compelling and easy to use so that they can compete with whatever Facebook brings.
Apple, Amazon, eBay and OpenTable didn't respond to messages for comment. Yelp, Snap and PayPal, which also owns Venmo, declined to comment.
The most immediate threat Facebook poses is to other messaging services. Apple's iMessage is popular on iPhones, but there's no version for Android. Facebook could look more appealing as it breaks down walls and makes its three discrete messaging services work together as though they were one.
Snapchat, meanwhile, has struggled since Facebook and its Instagram service copied a feature for posting temporary "stories" that disappear after 24 hours. Zuckerberg dedicated a section of his blog announcement to "reducing permanence," suggesting that Facebook will now take on Snapchat's core feature of letting photos "disappear" after a set number of seconds.
"It's yet another example of Facebook trying to attack Snapchat," BTIG analyst Rich Greenfield said.
But whether Facebook succeeds will depend on how many people are willing to move their conversations. Greenfield said Snapchat has a lock on its core, younger audience.
Facebook's plan may face external competition of its own. Unlike WeChat, Facebook faces new privacy regulation in Europe and calls for more controls in the U.S., Forrester analyst Jessica Liu wrote . Zuckerberg is trying to strike an "impossible balance" between capturing more of users' time, appealing to advertisers and appealing to regulators.
"Zuckerberg can't have his cake and eat it, too," she wrote.
Dhaka, Mar 12 (UNB)-Robishop, has been offering 42 percent discount on a popular smartphone device, OnePlus 5T.
Customers can purchase the device with EMI facility over six months and enjoy free home delivery. The offer will continue as long as the limited stock lasts.
OnePlus 5T device comes with Qualcomm snapdragon octa-core processor, Android 7.1.1 (Nougat) operating system, 8GB RAM, optic AMOLED capacitive touchscreen, 6.01 inches display screen, 1080 X 2160 pixels display resolution, corning gorilla glass 5 display protection, dual SIM, 3300 mAh battery, 16 MP main camera and 16 MP selfie camera.
Customers may visit robishop site (www.robishop.com.bd) for purchasing the device or to learn more about the offer.
Alternatively, robishop can be reached by dialing to its call centre: 09610-000-888.
Dhaka, Mar 12 (UNB) – Posts, Telecommunications and Information Technology Minister Mustafa Jabbar on Tuesday called upon all the internet service providers (ISPs) to ensure broadband service with a unified rate across the country.
“One country one rate should be ensured in order to spread fixed broadband internet service access the country,” said the minister while addressing a roundtable discussion organised by Telecom Reporters’ Network Bangladesh (TRNB) at a city hotel.
“If necessary, the government will provide subsidy to ensure internet with a unified rate all over the country,” said the minister adding, “But, at first you’ll have to set the rate.”
He also warned that the government will not compromise with any mobile phone operator when it comes to providing maximum services. “No excuse will be tolerated. You must ensure the best service.”
The Fifth Generation (5G) Internet will be ensured across the country within 2021-2013, Jabbar said.
The ICT minister urged both Nationwide Telecommunication Transmission Network (NTTN) operators and ISPs to find out a solution as to ensure best internet services rather than blaming each other.
TRNB President Muhammad Zahidul Islam, General Secretary Samir Kumar Dey and Summit Communication CEO Arif Al Islam, among others, joined the discussion.
San Francisco, Mar 12 (AP/UNB) — Google paid former search executive Amit Singhal $35 million in an exit package when he was reportedly forced to resign after a sexual assault investigation, according to court documents released Monday.
Details of the exit package were revealed as part of a shareholder lawsuit against the company, one that followed a published report of payouts Google made to executives accused of sexual misconduct.
The lawsuit targets the board of Google parent Alphabet, charging that its members had a duty to protect the company and its shareholders from risk and reputation damage. Instead, it says, the board agreed to pay off and otherwise support male executives facing misconduct charges — opening the company to reputational and financial damage by doing so.
Previously redacted portions of the lawsuit were made available Monday, including quotes from Alphabet board committee meetings.
One portion of the minutes showed that Singhal, a senior vice president of search who left the company in 2016, received two $15 million payments and a payment of between $5 million to $15 million as part of a separation agreement. The total payment could have been up to $45 million.
Singhal was one subject of a New York Times investigation last year that revealed Google paid Android creator Andy Rubin $90 million in a severance package after the company found allegations of sexual assault against him were credible. Rubin has denied the claims.
Singhal has also denied the claims against him, saying in a statement to the AP in 2017 that he had not been accused of harassment before and that he left Google on his own terms. Singhal did not immediately return a request for comment Monday.
But the New York Times, citing three people briefed on the incident, reported that an employee claimed Singhal groped her at an off-campus event. A Google investigation found her claims credible, according to the Times.
Previously, the Times reported Singhal was paid "millions" in an exit package. Singhal later joined Uber, but left after just five weeks. News reports at the time said he failed to tell Uber he left Google because of a sexual harassment allegation.
Google acknowledged the unredacted claims in the lawsuit Monday and said in a statement that there are "serious consequences for anyone who behaves inappropriately at Google."
"In recent years, we've made many changes to our workplace and taken an increasingly hard line on inappropriate conduct by people in positions of authority," the company said in an emailed statement.
The company was pressured to make changes by employee action last year. After news of Rubin's massive payout, tens of thousands of Google workers around the world walked out of work in November to protest the company's handling of sexual misconduct claims.
Google promised to be more forceful in handling such cases and ended mandatory arbitration in cases of sexual misconduct.
But the backlash has continued. Google Walkout organizers are still fighting the company on specific demands, and high-profile engineers have quit the company.
Last month, Google ended mandatory arbitration for all employee complaints in response to pressure from Walkout organizers.
The lawsuit, brought by shareholder James Martin, also references board minutes and emails that reportedly show Rubin was awarded $150 million in equity compensation shortly before he left the company. The suit claims Alphabet CEO Larry Page awarded the grants, and only later received board approval.
Dhaka, Mar 11 (UNB)- The local electronics and electrical manufacturer ‘Marcel’ extended the replacement guaranty period of its televisions panel to 4 years.
Earlier, customers of Marcel televisions enjoyed two years replacement guaranty on the TV panel.
As per the recent announcement of Marcel authorities, the guaranty period of the panel of Marcel 32-inch or its above sizes televisions like 39, 43, 49 and 55-inch has been extended to four years from the previous 2 two years.
The customers of Marcel brand’s 20-inch to 28-inch televisions will enjoy the previous two year’s replacement guaranty on the panel.
Marcel officials came up with the announcement at a programme at its corporate office’s conference room in the capital on Sunday.
The programme was attended by the company’s Executive Directors Eva Rezwana, Md Humayun Kabir, Aminul Islam Khan (Amin Khan), Marcel’s Head of Sales Dr Md Shakhawat Hossen and Head of Service Md Mojahidul Islam.