Facebook’s Instagram Tops 400 Million Users

Instagram has rocketed past the 400-million-user mark, with more than 80 million pictures shared daily at the Facebook-owned service.

The number of people sharing pictures and videos each month using Instagram soared from 300 million at the start of this year and tops the number of people using Twitter monthly by nearly 100 million.

“While milestones like this are important, what really excites us is the way that visual communication makes the world feel a little bit smaller to every one of us,” Instagram said in a blog post.

“Instagrammers continue to capture incredible photos and videos from all corners of the Earth (and even the solar system).”

More than half of the last 100 million people to join Instagram live in Europe or Asia, with Brazil, Japan, and Indonesia seeing the strongest growth, according to the service.

The list of high-profile new Instagram users who quickly won legions of followers included David Beckham, Caitlyn Jenner and footballer Toni Kroos.

Earlier this month, Instagram unveiled plans to expand its offerings to advertisers, opening up possibilities for global marketing efforts on the photo-sharing network.

The expansion is intended to allow advertisers to launch global campaigns in a variety of formats including video ads of up to 30 seconds.

Instagram, which was acquired by Facebook in 2012, has had only limited advertising opportunities up to now.

In 2013, it began with a small number of “sponsored” posts by well-known brands such as Michael Kors and Adidas.

The new system could help Instagram generate considerably more revenue.

Instagram also introduced a service called Marquee, a “premium” advertising product aimed at driving mass awareness in a short time-frame for events like movie premieres and new product launches.

Industry tracker eMarketer estimates that Instagram’s worldwide ad revenue this year will grow rapidly, hitting $600 million (roughly Rs. 3,959 crores).

Instagram is seen as a potential growth segment for Facebook, which has nearly 1.5 billion users.

Last month, Instagram broke its square mold with an update that adds portrait and landscape formats to the image-sharing smartphone application, which also opened up new possibilities for advertisers.

Meanwhile, Twitter continues to search for a new leader since Dick Costolo announced on June 12 he was stepping down, with co-founder Jack Dorsey holding the job on an interim basis since July 1.

The unusually long search has some investors and analysts worried over the future of Twitter, which has failed to ignite the kind of growth that many had anticipated when it launched its public offering in 2013.

Microsoft Office 2016 Officially Launched

Microsoft Corp said it began the worldwide roll-out of Office 2016, the latest addition to its cloud-based subscription service Office 365, on Tuesday.

Microsoft said Office 2016 brings new versions of desktop apps for Windows including Word, PowerPoint, Excel, Outlook and Access and allows people to collaborate and work together.

“These latest innovations take another big step forward in transforming Office from a familiar set of individual productivity apps to a connected set of apps and services designed for modern working, collaboration and teamwork,” Chief Executive Satya Nadella said in a statement.

Microsoft launched its much-awaited Windows 10 operating system in July, designed to work across laptops, desktop and smartphones, as part of Nadella’s push towards winning back lost ground in the tablets and mobile arena.

The new Office 2016 apps are available in 40 languages and require Windows 7 or later versions. Starting Tuesday, Office 365 subscribers can choose to download the new Office 2016 apps as part of their subscription, Microsoft said.

Flipkart Sent Notice by Delhi Police Over Mobile Phone Theft

Delhi Police Monday sent a notice to e-commerce giant Flipkart following the arrest of six persons and recovery of stolen high-end mobile phones worth around Rs. 1 crore, many of which were allegedly sold through the e-tailer’s website.

The notice, addressed to the CEO of the company, asks the company to join the probe in connection with stolen phones allegedly sold through their website, said DCP (IGI Airport) Dinesh Kumar Gupta.

“During investigation, facts emerged that a peculiar modus operandi was adopted by the accused, who sold these mobile phones via Flipkart. As many as 209 phones have been recovered and further investigation is underway,” Gupta said.

A Flipkart spokesperson said, “Flipkart is a digital marketplace that helps sellers connect with customers across the country. Each and every one of our 40,000-plus sellers are mandated to adhere to stringent guidelines.

“Any exception to, or violation of this code of conduct is taken very seriously. We enforce a strict policy of zero tolerance against unscrupulous sellers who sell products that are fake, stolen, or in violation of any applicable law of the land.”

According to police, a Delhi-based logistics company had reported in July that 600 high-end mobile phones were missing from a shipment sourced from Hong Kong.

When the private firm in charge of the cargo terminal and the vigilance unit of Delhi airport failed to trace the missing phones, the matter was reported to police and a case registered.

Six accused – identified as Raju Singh (31), Sunil Jain (40), Gaurav Mittal (44), Jitender Girotra (28), Harender Singh (42) and Ravi (26) – have been arrested in connection with the case and 209 phones have so far been recovered.

A special team was formed by Delhi Police to investigate the case, which involves high-end mobile phones worth around Rs. 1 crore and users of the lost phones were traced to Mysore, Mangaluru, Bengaluru, Mumbai, Ahmedabad, Mahasamund, Hyderabad, Jalandhar, Delhi and Chandigarh.

When questioned, they disclosed that they had purchased the phones from Flipkart.com. They also produced invoices of their purchase, said a senior police official.

Through technical surveillance and local intelligence, police arrested Raju Singh from Delhi, who alleged that it was one Narendra from Mahipalpur in south Delhi who was the mastermind of the gang.

Narendra, who is a driver at the Cargo Terminal at IGI Airport, is still at large.

Raju’s interrogation led to the arrest of the other accused.

Harender, who owns a mobile shop at Mahipalpur, had sold off a part of the stolen consignment to Ravi who in turn had sold the phones thus procured to Jitender Girotra.

Girotra then sold the phones to Sunil Jain, who owns a mobile phone shop in Karol Bagh.

Jain sold the phones to three persons – a Bangalore-based agent, identified as Mazar, who is absconding; Gaurav Mittal, who also owns a mobile outlet in Karol Bagh; and a Rajasthan- based agent, identified as Raunak. Raunak is an agent for e-tailers, including Flipkart, police said.

UK to Send Cyber-Security Trade Mission to India Next Week

The UK government will send its first-ever cyber-security trade mission to India next week in the lead up to Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s visit to the country next month.

UK Trade & Investment (UKTI) is leading the five-day mission of eight UK-based firms to Mumbai and New Delhi from October 11.

“India is really important to us. It is a fantastic market and a wonderful base for cyber-security,” said Stephen Phipson, the head of UKTI s Defence & Security Organisation (DSO).

This mission is aimed at further boosting those exports and initiating dialogue with representatives of the Indian Banking Association, Bombay Stock Exchange and Mumbai Police Cyber Cell, among others, during the Mumbai leg of the mission.

In New Delhi, the group will participate in the CyFy Conference: The Indian Conference on Cyber Security and Internet Governance at Taj Mahal Hotel.

They will also be meeting Gulshan Rai, India’s first Cyber-Security Chief appointed by Prime MinisterModi earlier this year.

“The key part of the mission for us is understanding the environment and sharing experiences and best practices. There are commercial opportunities within the Indian government’s initiatives like Make In India and e-biz platform of Digital India and we hope to make some good impact with this visit,” said Annu Khurmi from Templar Executives, one of the UK-based cyber-security firms participating in the mission.

“This is a dynamic threat, which has no defined boundaries. India has woken up that. The Indian government s focus on training 500,000 cyber-specialists is right in our sweet spot, in terms of our capability and experience and we look forward to sharing that,” added Khurmi, whose firm also runs a Cyber Academy offering cyber-security training.

Among the other participating companies from Britain include BAE Systems, whose Applied Intelligence division is a leading supplier of cyber-security products and services, KPMG, British Telecom, Cloud Buy, Cambridge-based Dark Trace, Ultra Electronics, and IACS.

Online Firms Block Terrorism Investigations, Says UK Police

Terrorism investigations are becoming harder and more risky because some social media companies either refuse to help or make products which deliberately hamper inquiries, Britain’s most senior counter-terrorism police officer said on Monday.

London Assistant Commissioner Mark Rowley said that since former US spy contractor Edward Snowden revealed the extent to which intelligence agencies could intercept online traffic, new technologies had emerged that made plots harder to foil.

“We have a growing Achilles heel that, if it is not tackled, will slowly diminish our ability to keep the public safe,” Rowley told the Royal United Services Institute, a London think-tank.

“If we are glibly creating a safe operating environment for criminals and terrorists, we are going to regret it.”

His comments on social media and the impact of Snowden’s revelations in 2013 echoed similar expressions of exasperation from Prime Minister David Cameron and the head of Britain’s domestic spy agency, MI5.

Cameron’s government is planning new laws, due to be detailed later this month, to bolster the surveillance capabilities of spies and police. They will face stiff opposition from privacy and human rights campaigners who say they represent an assault on freedoms.

Britain is on its second-highest alert level of “severe”, meaning a militant attack is considered highly likely, mainly due to the threat the authorities say is posed by Islamic State and Britons who have gone to join the fighting in Syria, a number which Rowley said had now reached 750.

British police arrested a record number of people last year on suspicion of terrorism offences, and Rowley said there were more than 600 investigations ongoing across the country.

He added about 600 people were being referred to counter-terrorism police every month because of worries they were being radicalised, although he said about two-thirds of these were later cleared of any terrorism link.

Against this backdrop, Rowley said the police’s greatest concerns were the growing “no go” areas online and the development of encryption that allowed terrorists and criminals to communicate under the radar.

“All counter-terrorism operations are now more patchy in their intelligence than we’ve ever seen before,” he said.

“We have had occasions where we have had to prolong dangerous operations and to delay arrests until we can confidently obtain evidence because encryption has been slowing our progress down. That delay makes us all very nervous.”

He said while some social media firms were helpful, others, who he declined to name but indicated were numerous, refused to assist inquiries and designed products they knew would hinder law enforcement agencies.

Others would only pass on information to police on the condition the person involved was informed.

Adobe Photoshop Fix, Capture CC, Illustrator Draw Mobile Apps Launched

Regardless of the ecosystem you use – Android, iOS, Windows, Mac OS X – Adobe has something for you. At the Max 2015 event on Monday, the company unveiled Illustrator Draw and Capture CC apps on Google Play, and Photoshop Fix, Capture CC, and Lightroom apps on the App Store. The company also announced a new design tool, codenamed Project Comet to make 3D models for desktop platform, and also announced a tool called Adobe Fuse. In addition the company also unveiled some enticing updates that add several new capabilities to its suite of applications, and touch support for its core design apps on the Windows platform.

Starting with the releases for Android and iOS, and the biggest one is undoubtedly Photoshop Fix on iOS – first announced at Apple’s September 9 event as the general release of Project Rigel.

Available for iPad and iPhone models, will allow users to retouch and restore-focused image editing experience. “The simple, intuitive touch interface makes legendary Photoshop desktop features, like the Healing Brush and Liquify, available for real retouching work on iPad and iPhone,” the company said. The app comes with several features that required cash in other Photoshop apps. The company says that it would release the on Android soon.

Capture CC comes with features of several apps — Brush, Color, Hue, and Shape. The app, which has already been released for Android and iOS allows userts to use photos to create color themes, looks, vector graphics, and unique brushes. The company announced that it will discontinuing Brush, Color, Hue, and Shape individual apps. Also, you will need a Creative Cloud subscription to use all of Capture CC’s features.

Lightroom for Mobile for iOS comes with several new features including the ability to shoot and capture photos directly within the app. It also allows one to make the images sharper and comes with adjustment tools to target colour and black and white effects. Another such tool called Mix offers more layer support.

Illustrator Draw for Android is a free-hand drawing tool that works in conjunction with Illustrator CC and Photoshop CC for additional layered vector images or if you want to export png files. The idea is to make it seamless to move your work from a mobile device to desktop computer. The app syncs your work with its desktop counterpart app and opens the accurate app on the desktop and lets you resume your work.

In addition, Adobe announced that a collection of its core design apps for Windows now support touch-capable devices. This means that you will now be able to use several of these features – After Effects, Audition, Photoshop, Lightroom, Illustrator, InDesign, and Premiere Pro – on Surface Pro 3, and other touch-capable Windows tablets, AIOs, and laptops.

project_comet_adobe_1.jpg

For the desktop, Adobe announced Project Comet, a tool that the company is touting as the go-to application to do everything from design to prototype in a vector design environment. The company said that it will release the app in 2016, and it will have a mobile companion app.

The company also announced several new additions to its Creative Sync cloud service. The feature, which previously allowed synchronisation from mobile to desktop, and desktop to mobile, will now also move files between two mobile devices. This will also facilitate transfer between the following suites:

  • Lightroom Mobile to and from Photoshop Fix
  • Lightroom Mobile to Premiere Clip
  • Photoshop Mix to Photoshop Fix to Photoshop Mix
  • Comp CC to Photoshop Mix
  • Capture to Comp, Sketch, Draw & Clip

“Creative Cloud has become the de facto platform for all creatives, providing the tools and services to fulfill every creative need. With this latest release, we’re giving our creative customers the freedom they need to work and be inspired from anywhere,” said Bryan Lamkin, senior vice president and general manager, Digital Media at Adobe. “Being connected to your assets, team and projects, at all times, is critical to today’s designers. With this Creative Cloud update, Adobe’s signature CreativeSync technology drives powerful connections between desktop and mobile apps as well as essential creative assets.”

The company also unveiled Adobe Fuse, which is available as limited preview now, aims to “reinvent” the process to create and composite human characters. Adobe also announced the Portfolio feature that aims to make it easier for users to create portfolio websites. It is built on Behance with its 5.6 million members. The company says that the app will be made available for free to Adobe Creative Cloud subscribers. Adobe also announced the addition of video assets to Adobe Stock for Creative Cloud members.

Twitter Brings ‘Super-Sized Emojis’ to Direct Messages

twitter_reuters_14.jpg

Twitter, after lifting its 140-character limit from Direct Messages, has introduced bigger emoji for users. Twitter users would now see bigger sized emoji while posting them in DMs. However, the emoji would stay the same size as before when used along with text.

The ‘super-sized emojis’ would be visible in both mobile and desktop versions. The news came via Twitter’s own post on the micro-blogging website on Tuesday. “Emojis are already a big deal in Direct Messages. We just made them bigger. Send super-sized emojis today!” said the post. While the majority of the users tweet on the social media website instead of using DMs, this nifty addition is expected to generate some traction.

However, recent reports have hinted that the micro-blogging website might soon scrap the character limit from tweets as well. Twitter is said to be working on a new product that would let users tweet longer than 140-characters.

The firm is additionally testing new feature for tweets which will help users embed a poll, not relying on Cards. The new poll feature is already being rolled out to select users. Twitter last month was testing new photo and video editing tools with limited users, which were mostly verified accounts.

The social media website on Monday named co-founder and interim Chief Executive Jack Dorsey as its permanent CEO.

Twitter in August lifted its 140-character limit for direct messages. However, the firm said the limit would still be there for those sending DMs over text messages. The limit also exists for tweets.

Sony to Split Off Fast-Growing Image Sensor Business

Japan’s Sony Corp said it will split off its semiconductors operations to bolster growth in devices such as image sensors, which have emerged as the company’s strongest products in recent years.

Sony said the move was part of the company’s push to split off various business units into separate companies while they retain full ownership, to accelerate decision-making and make them more accountable for their profitability.

Sensors, used in smartphones such as Apple Inc’s iPhone, have helped lead a turnaround at Sony in the past year while its TV and mobile operations have struggled.

PlayStation, along with camera sensors, has helped to offset a slump in sales of Sony’s traditional consumer electronics such as smartphones and TVs. The company at the Tokyo Game show said it expects operating profit to more than quadruple this fiscal year.

Sony has sold about 25 million PlayStation 4 game consoles since its late 2013 launch, almost double the sales of Microsoft Corp’s Xbox One, according to market research firm VGChartz.

In July the company raised its PlayStation 4 sales outlook to 16.5 million units from 16 million for the current fiscal year through March. In September, Sony said it was slashing PlayStation 4 prices in Asia in an effort to bolster sales.

Edited by Gadgets 360 staff from original story by Reuters

Download the Gadgets 360 app for Android and iOS to stay up to date with the latest tech news, product reviews, and exclusive deals on the popular mobiles.