Facebook Post Helps Identify Chennai Flood Victim’s Body

A Facebook update by a councillor of Tarangambadi town panchayat has helped identify the body of aChennai flood victim, which was washed ashore at Tarangambadi coast in the district, some 300 km from Chennai.

Coastal security group police of Tarangambadi said the body was washed ashore on December 6 in a highly mutilated condition.

The body contained three tattoo marks – one each on the chest, right shoulder and right hand. It was sent for post-mortem at the nearby Porayar Government Hospital.

M Arunkumar, councillor, had taken photos of the body and updated it on his Facebook page.

The photo had been shared by many people and on Wednesday, the victim’s relative, one Sanjay from Chennai contacted Arunkumar. The deceased was identified as Jeyaraj (35), an auto driver and a resident of Sundandira Nagar in Thousand Lights in Chennai.

He had gone to the nearby Koovam river to see the flood situation on December 2 and was washed away in the floods.

As he did not return, his relatives had lodged a complaint with the Thousand Lights police station.

About 50 relatives of Jeyaraj, including his wife and two sons, reached Tarangambadi last evening.

Jeyaraj had tattooed the name of his wife on his right hand, the name of his elder son on his shoulder and that of his younger son on his chest.

The tattoo marks helped identify the body. The police handed over the body to the relatives and it was later cremated at Porayar.

YouTube Rewind (India) 2015: AIB, Honey Singh, and Other List Toppers

Google, like last year has revealed its YouTube top trending videos list of 2015 for India. Apart from revealing the trending videos for the country, the YouTube team also revealed global hits.

From the list of trending videos on the YouTube Rewind (India) Channel, the top trending Indian music video of 2015 is Dheere Dheere Se Meri Zindagi, which features Bollywood actor Hritik Roshan and is sung by Honey Singh. The video has been viewed nearly 90 million times. Other music videos following Dheere Dheere Se Meri Zindagi are Chittiyaan Kalaiyaan, DJ Wale Babu, and Me Hu Hero Tera. Ellie Goulding’s Love Me Like You Do music video also made it to the top trending music videos in India.

Here are the top trending music videos on YouTube in India during 2015:

  • Dheere Dheere Se Meri Zindagi Video Song (OFFICIAL) Hrithik Roshan, Sonam Kapoor | Yo Yo Honey Singh
  • ‘Chittiyaan Kalaiyaan’ VIDEO SONG | Roy | Meet Bros Anjjan, Kanika Kapoor | T-Series
  • ‘Main Hoon Hero Tera’ VIDEO Song – Salman Khan | Hero | T-Series

As for the non-music videos, the top viewed video in India this year was was AIB’s Every Bollywood Party Song featuring Irfan Khan with 7.1 million views, followed by Chhota Bheem – aur- Krishna Jodi #1, Crime Patrol Satark-Sting Operation 3, AIB: Honest Indian Weddings (Part 1), and others.

Here are the top trending videos on YouTube in India during 2015:

  • AIB : Every Bollywood Party Song feat. Irrfan
  • AIB : Honest Indian Weddings (Part 1)

On the global level, the top trending video section was spearheaded by Silento-Watch Me (Whip/Nae Nae) #WatchMeDanceOn with over 116 million views, followed by other videos including Clash of Clans: Revenge (Official Super Bowl TV Commercial), Crazy Plastic Ball PRANK!!, Justin Bieber Carpool Karaoke, 6ft Man in 6ft Giant Water Balloon-4k-The Slow Mo Guys and more.

Here are the top trending videos on YouTube worldwide during 2015:

  • Silento- Watch Me (Whip/Nae Nae) #WatchMeDanceOn
  • Clash of Clans: Revenge (Official Super Bowl TV Commercial)
  • Crazy Plastic Ball PRANK!!
  • The top trending global music videos of 2015 were Wiz Khalifa-See You Again ft. Charlie Puth [Official Video] Furious 7 Soundtrack (1.2 billion views), followed by others like Maroon 5-Sugar, Major Lazer & DJ Snake-Lean On (ft. MO), Adele-Hello and more. It is worth mentioning that the Hello music video with Adele averaged one million views per hour in the first two days after its release in October this year.

YouTube Unveils Trending Tab to Feature Viral Videos ‘As They Take Off’

YouTube on Wednesday revealed its top globally trending videos list of 2015 alongside listing various top trending videos for countries including India. Google’s popular video platform alongside also pushed the new Trending tab to users across the globe, a feature that will list viral videos “as they take off.”

The company notes that the YouTube Trending tab will show top trending videos on Android, iOS, and desktop devices. “It’s the best way to catch the videos, creators, and trends that people watch, share, and talk about each and every day. See ’em as they take off and before they appear in YouTube Rewind 2016,” said Kevin Allocca, Head of Culture & Trends in a blog post.

YouTube says that the Trending tab will not include personalised videos based on what the user watches and will vary in different regions. A YouTube spokesperson told Venture Beat that the service could “limit content on the trending tab, excluding videos rated MA and above” and added that it will involve human curation to some extent.

Notably, the Trending tab had started showing up for select users back in July, alongside the last major redesign that saw the creation of the Home, Subscriptions, and Account tabs.

In separate news, some YouTube users are reporting that the app is now showing buffer progress instead of the traditional buffering that showed how much a video was buffered when a playing video is paused. Android Police reports that once the video is fully buffered, the YouTube app shows “Ready to watch” in place of the play button that shows up centre of the screen.

Unfortunately, there is no word when the feature will be rolling out to all users as there has been no update from YouTube.

Google Play Music Family Plan to Launch in 6 Countries Soon

Google in September this year unveiled the family plan for its Google Play Music All Access service. The company on Wednesday announced that the service will finally start rolling out in the “coming days”.

The Google Play Music family plan will initially be available in the US, the UK, Canada, Australia, France, and Germany, with more countries “coming soon”. The feature will first reach Android devices, followed by iOS and Web.

The search giant in September announced that it is introducing a family plan for its music streamingGoogle Play Music All Access subscription. The family plan is for up to six users, with each using their own ID, priced at $14.99 (roughly Rs. 1,000) per month.

The company says that by subscribing to the plan, users will unlock the same features that are included in the individual subscriptions, including ad free, unlimited access to more than 35 million songs. It will also allow each family member to stream simultaneously on any device. In addition, the Google Play Music Family Plan will also give users access to YouTube Red in the US.

Apple Music’s family plan is also priced at $14.99 in the US. The family plan on Spotify, however, ranges between $14.99 and $29.99, depending on the number of users. The $14.99 tier allows you to add up to two accounts.

Available in over 58 countries on Android and iOS platforms, Google Play Music All Access allows users to stream songs using over a Web interface as well. It’s worth pointing out that Google Play Music All Access isn’t available in India as of yet. Perhaps it’s not going to happen soon enough as Google will have to partner with many local giants to get rights to get their songs on its service. It will also have to compete with many music streaming services in the country already offering extremely competitive plans.

Thai Man Arrested Over Facebook ‘Like’ of King’s Doctored Photo

A Thai man has been arrested for “liking” a doctored photo of the king and sharing an infographic on Facebook about a growing corruption scandal, the military said Thursday, as prosecutions burgeon under the country’s draconian royal defamation laws.

The arrest came as the US Ambassador to Thailand faces a police investigation for royal defamation over a speech he made last month, in which he expressed concern over lengthy sentences handed to civilians for lese majeste.

In the latest case, auto-parts factory worker Thanakorn Siripaiboon, 27, was arrested at his home in Samut Prakan, near Bangkok, and charged with sedition, lese majeste and computer crimes, said Colonel Burin Thongprapai, legal officer for the junta.

“On December 2, he clicked ‘like’ on a doctored photo of the King and shared it with 608 friends,” Burin told AFP, adding that he had confessed to the charges and faced up to 32 years in jail.

The altered photograph reportedly portrayed the monarch in a negative light.

Under Thai law anyone convicted of insulting the revered but ailing 88-year-old Thai King Bhumibol Adulyadej, and the queen, heir or regent can face up to 15 years in jail on each count.

Prosecutions have soared since the army, which tags itself as the champion of the monarchy, grabbed power last year.

Record breaking sentences have been handed down in recent months to transgressors, most of whom are regime critics but also include senior officials swept up in nebulous corruption probes.

Thanakorn, who belonged to an opposition Red Shirt Facebook group, also shared an infographic about Rajabhakti Park, a multi-million-dollar park built by the military under construction contracts allegedly riddled with kickbacks and inflated costs.

“He admitted that he posted the infographic of Rajabhakti Park to incite members of the group,” to oppose the military, Burin said.

Thailand’s generals seized power last year partially justifying their takeover as a necessary move to curb endemic corruption among the kingdom’s civilian politicians and protect the royal family.

But the park scandal has undermined those anti-corruption pledges.

The junta leadership, including Prime Minister General Prayut Chan-O-Cha, has insisted there was no graft, but the accusations have still swirled in local media, transfixing a country where dissent has become rare.

Last month, a woman handed herself in to police and was charged with sedition for sharing the same Facebook infographic about the park scandal. Police said she was still under investigation.

Two prominent opposition figures and dozens of students were detained in separate incidents earlier this month while trying to visit the park and draw attention to the graft scandal.

Google Accelerated Mobile Pages to Take on Facebook Instant Articles in February

Google on Wednesday announced that it will start routing traffic to its Accelerated Mobile Pages (AMP) in Google Search from late February. The announcement comes few weeks after the company had revealed that it will show AMP pages in Google Search early next year.

The company also gave some additional details about AMP, and said Twitter will be experimenting with linking to AMP content provided by publishers in early 2016. LinkedIn is also expected to support AMP early next year by serving faster-AMP alternatives to its published content when available.

Google announced that Pinterest has been currently testing publisher AMP pages in its Android and iOS apps. Pinterest’s Jon Parise, Software Engineer on the Product Platform team, claimed that the AMP pages in early tests loaded four times faster and used eight times less data than regular mobile-optimised pages. Google has also announced select messaging apps such as Line, Viber, and Tango which will link to AMP content in early 2016.

For publishers, the company added that WordPress will support all publishers that want to enable AMP pages in January. For analytics, comScore, Chartbeat, Google Analytics, and Parse.ly are expected to add AMP support in tools by late February.

Richard Gingras, Head of News, Google, in a blog post also highlighted four key areas of the AMP Project including advertising, analytics, subscriptions, and content format innovation. The search engine giant has also listed the names of publishers set to support AMP project next year, including NDTV as well. Other publishers in India include Network18, and DNA India. Some of other publishers in other regions include Tempo and Kompass in Indonesia; Chosun, Joongang, Maekyung, Yonhap, YTN, Newstapa, and Slow News in South Korea; Inquirer in the Philippines; Televisa and Grupo Expansion in Mexico; Fox News in the US; and Line, Nikkan Sports, CinemaToday, and IID in Japan.

Further adding, Gingras said that in the coming weeks more updates will be shared regarding the AMP Project.

Facebook to Let You Post Comments Even When Offline

Facebook on Thursday announced that it is testing “several changes” to News Feed functionality that will become apparent when the app detects slow Internet connectivity – the biggest of which, is offline comment support. The company is also aiming to more “efficiently” show News Feed posts when users are on slow network connections.

“These changes will help anyone who is on a poor Internet connection – even those whose network connectivity is generally good but who have intermittent connections in places like subways and tunnels, or at large events,” mentioned the company blog post.

The changes will allow users to compose comments on posts even when they are offline. The comments will be published when the device regains Internet connectivity.

As for the second change, the company is now testing an update where the News Feed will show already downloaded stories that have not been viewed by users, and sort them according to relevant. These stories will show up only when the device has slow or no connectivity at all. “When we receive new stories from the server when you’re back online, we load and rank those stories normally,” mentions the company blog post. Earlier, users with slow Internet had to wait for the latest stories to load in the News Feed.

Facebook is also testing certain ‘improvements’ that are supposed to keep stories up to date throughout the day. This will be possible by periodically saving new stories when the handset has a good connection. It is worth noting that while this feature is definitely a good news for Facebook addicts, it might also end up consuming more data than before in the background. These features will see a broader rollout after Facebook is done testing them, and gathering user feedback.

‘Internet Economy’ Is Six Percent of US GDP: Study

The Internet’s economic impact has doubled since 2007 and now fuels at least six percent of the overall US economy, a study showed Thursday.

The study for the Internet Association – which includes major companies such as Facebook and Amazon – found the online sector accounted for $966 billion (roughly Rs. 64,72,151 crores) in economic activity in 2014, and some three million jobs.

“The Internet often has an ‘everywhere but nowhere’ feel, however, in reality, jobs in the Internet sector have doubled, contributions to real GDP (gross domestic product) have increased by more than two-fold, and employee wages far surpass the national average,” said Michael Beckerman, president and chief executive of the trade group.

The study conducted by the consulting firm Economists Incorporated found the Internet produced more than many other economic sectors including construction, computer and electronic products, broadcasting and telecommunications, and accommodation and food services.

In terms of wages, Internet jobs paid an average $79,184 (roughly Rs. 53,05,000) a year, compared to the national average of $61,547 (roughly Rs. 41,23,000), the study found.

According to the report, about 299 million people, or 92 percent of the US population, are using the Internet.

Bangladesh Lifts Ban on Facebook

Bangladesh on Thursday lifted a ban on Facebook, three weeks after it was imposed for security reasons in the tense country, but mobile messaging apps remained barred, the telecoms minister said.

The government ordered Facebook, WhatsApp and Viber blocked last month after two opposition leaders lost their appeals against the death penalty for war crimes committed during the 1971 independence conflict.

The pair were hanged days later, hiking fears of opposition unrest in a country already reeling from deadly attacks by suspected Islamist militants.

Telecoms minister Tarana Halim said although Facebook could now be accessed, bans on WhatsApp and Viber would continue for “security reasons”.

“As per recommendation from the home ministry, we have given directives to all the telecom service providers to unblock Facebook immediately,” Halim told reporters in Dhaka.

Bangladesh temporarily barred messaging services Tango and Viber in January after they became a popular way of mobilising large numbers of activists for anti-government protests.

The minister thanked Internet users for “keeping patience” during the current ban after hundreds of youths protested on the streets last week, branding the move a suppression of freedom of expression.

A court last month rejected appeals by Salahuddin Quader Chowdhury and Ali Ahsan Mujahid, who were found guilty of atrocities carried out during the war with Pakistan.

Similar convictions in 2013 triggered the country’s deadliest violence since independence, with some 500 people killed – mainly in clashes between opposition activists and police.

Bangladesh is also tense after a series of recent attacks blamed on Islamists, including the murders of two foreigners and the hacking to death of four atheist bloggers and a publisher.

In 2009, Bangladesh blocked Facebook after a paramilitary revolt left 57 army officers dead.

India Has Raised Cyber-Spying Concerns With US: VK Singh

India has raised its concerns with the US over reports on authorisation of American entities to spy on Indian government and its citizens in the cyber space, Minister of State for External Affairs V.K. Singh said on Thursday.

The Indian government has taken steps to enhance the cyber security of the country and improve its ability to resist cyber-attacks, Singh said in a written reply to a question in the Rajya Sabha.

“The government has raised its concerns with the US government regarding reported authorisation given to its entities to intrude upon the privacy of communications of the Indian government, its citizens and Indian entities,” he said in his reply.

“The devices on the Internet are prone to regular scanning from different parts of the world for a variety of purposes, including to penetrate cyber networks operating in the government. It has been observed that the attackers use masquerading techniques and hidden servers to hide the identity of actual system from which the attacks are being launched,” he said.

The Indian government had formulated a ‘Crisis Management Plan’ for countering cyber-attacks and cyber terrorism for implementation by all ministries/departments of the central and state governments and other organisations and critical sectors.

“The Indian Computer Emergency Response Team (CERT-In) issues alerts and advisories regarding latest cyber threats and countermeasures on regular basis. CERT-In has formulated guidelines for securing IT infrastructure. It also conducts regular training programmes for the system administrators,” Singh said.

The National Critical Information Infrastructure Protection Centre (NCIIPC) has been operationalised and it “provides regularly to chief information security officers of critical information infrastructure organisations, tailored advisories on software/hardware vulnerabilities and alerts on cyber-attacks”.

In addition, policy, audit and compliance reports from critical information infrastructure organisations were analysed.

“All ministries/departments have been advised to conduct security audit of entire information technology infrastructure,” Singh said.