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Found 68 results

  1. Nvidia created the “TITAN” line of products years ago to represent 'the best' of everything the company brings to the PC platform. If you want the best and can afford it, it's gotta be a Titan GPU. Nvidia dropped a bombshell at the annual NIPS (Neural Information Processing Systems) conference in Long Beach, CA, with the introduction of its new TITAN V PC GPU. The graphics card consists of six graphics processing clusters, featuring 21.1 billion transistors, 12GB of memory, and 640 Tensor Cores, which are capable of performing 110 teraflops. So technically, it can hit 110 Tera flops, and keep in mind that's 9 times higher than the TITAN XP and 18 times higher than the fastest console, the Xbox One X. While you can play PUBG or any other game with this card, it's aimed towards researchers who need this kind of parallel processing power for running their scientific simulations or who scientists who want to build machine learning models. © Nvidia All of that power comes at a price, though. The card, which features 12GB of HBM2 memory, will retail for $2,999 (approx Rs. 1,90,000). For that, though, users will see a 9x increase in raw power compared to the TITAN XP (predecessor) which retailed for $1,299 (approx Rs. 83,000). Also, it comes in gold and black. That's pretty dope! Nvidia's stated goal with the TITAN V is to offer researchers who don't have access to supercomputers or big iron HPC installations the same access to cutting-edge hardware performance that their compatriots enjoy. © Nvidia While clearly not intended to please traditional home gamers (the 1080Ti is more than enough for most), the Titan V's new Volta architecture could pave the way for Nvidia's next-gen GPUs, as the company says Volta is twice as power efficient as the current 10-series Pascal-based cards, while also providing a “dramatic” boost in performance. “Our vision for Volta was to push the outer limits of high-performance computing and AI. We broke new ground with its new processor architecture, instructions, numerical formats, memory architecture and processor links,” said Nvidia CEO Jen-Hsun Huang. “With TITAN V, we are putting Volta into the hands of researchers and scientists all over the world. I can't wait to see their breakthrough discoveries.” You can buy a Titan V at the Nvidia store in the United States anytime now.
  2. SABETTA: President Vladimir Putin on Friday launched a $27 billion liquefied natural gas plant in the snow-covered plains of the Arctic as Russia hopes to surpass Qatar to become the world's biggest exporter of the chilled fuel. The Russian president congratulated workers as he oversaw the first gas shipment being loaded onto an icebreaking tanker from an LNG plant amid minus 28 degrees Celsius (minus 18 degrees Fahrenheit) weather in the port of Sabetta on the Yamal Peninsula above the Arctic Circle. "This is a large-scale project for Russia," Putin said. "At the start of the project, people told me not to pursue this. Those who started this project took a risk but achieved a result." Saudi Arabian Energy Minister Khalid al-Falih and other top officials were present for the occasion. For the project, Russia's privately owned gas producer Novatek partnered with France´s Total and China´s CNPC. Qatar is currently the world's biggest LNG exporter. Russia, the world's biggest gas exporter, derives a huge share of income from pipeline deliveries to Europe. With Yamal LNG, Russia intends to strengthen its market presence in Asia and demonstrate its capacity to exploit huge Arctic reserves despite major technological challenges. 'On time and on budget' Dmitry Monakov, the project's first deputy director, said that producing LNG in permafrost was easier than in warmer climes, an apparent dig at countries like Qatar. "Nature itself helps us to more effectively liquify gas with the help of such low temperatures," he told AFP, adding that the plant effectively sat on a gas field so transportation costs were low. Patrick Pouyanne, Total chairman and CEO, praised the project´s "remarkably low upstream costs". "Together we managed to build from scratch a world-class LNG project in extreme conditions to exploit the vast gas resources of the Yamal peninsula," he was quoted as saying in a company statement. The tanker carrying the first LNG cargo is named after Christophe de Margerie, a former Total CEO who died in an accident on a runway of a Moscow airport in 2014. White whiskers have been painted on it in honour of the late CEO, who was known for his white bushy moustache. The site is operated by Yamal LNG company, owned by Novatek (50.1 percent), Total (20 percent), CNPC (20 percent) and Silk Road Fund (9.9 percent). The $27 billion (23 billion euro) project is set to start with a production capacity of 5.5 million tonnes per year and increase it to 16.5 million tonnes by the start of 2019. "Despite challenging operating conditions, Yamal LNG was delivered on time and on budget," said Samuel Lussac, an oil and gas specialist at Wood Mackenzie consultancy. "That is unusual in the LNG industry." "Novatek, once a domestic gas supplier, becomes a global LNG player" with the project, he added. Risks remain The project has had its share of financial and technical hurdles over the years. While the Yamal peninsula has huge hydrocarbon reserves, it is an isolated region above the Arctic Circle, about 2,500 kilometres from Moscow and covered by ice for most of the year, with temperatures dipping as low as minus 50 degrees Celsius. Since its inception in late 2013, an airport and a port have had to be constructed, as well as gas reservoirs and the LNG plant itself. Securing financing for the project was tricky. US sanctions against Novatek made it virtually impossible to borrow from Western banks, and Chinese partners eventually stepped in to resolve the issue. Despite the project's completion, Yamal LNG still faces risks, analysts said. Lussac of Wood Mackenzie said that the coming months will show "whether the plant can operate smoothly in the harsh Arctic environment". Transportation through the Northern Sea Route also remains undeveloped, and "its feasibility as a major LNG delivery route is unclear", he added. Russia hopes the route will become an easier path to coveted Asian markets. The route along the northern coast of Siberia allows ships to cut the journey to Asian ports by 15 days compared with the conventional route through the Suez Canal, according to Total.
  3. Election Commission of Pakistan ISLAMABAD: The Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) Monday formally launched an ambitious drive in 79 districts to try to bridge the increasing gap between male and female voters, as female voters are 43.73 per cent of total 97.02 million registered voters. Interestingly, the gap between male and female voters increased from 10.97 million female voters in March 2013 to 12.17 million in October 2017. Experts say that without active involvement of political parties at the grass-root level, desired results may not be achieved. The Free and Fair Election Network (Fafen) points out that the National Data and Registration Authority (Nadra) also needed to enhance its capability to cope with this national challenge. Launching the ?Female NIC and Voter Registration Campaign? here, Chief Election Commissioner Justice Sardar Muhammad Raza said that one biggest challenge was the difference between male and female voters in the electoral rolls and to decrease this gap, the Election Commission had chalked out a four-pronged approach. ?We are trying to increase the number of female staff at the Election Commission. We are trying to increase the number of female polling staff at polling stations for the upcoming general elections. We also encourage women political representation and participation in political arena,? he said. About the campaign, he explained that it would target unregistered women in 79 districts throughout Pakistan and through this campaign, unregistered women would be mobilized and educated to acquire NICs so that they could be added in electoral rolls. He maintained this campaign was a collaborative effort of Nadra, ECP and civil society organisations. ?ECP has always manifested its utmost efforts for all inclusive elections and today, I would like to convey through this event that ECP will take every step to mitigate the existing difference between male and female voters,? he said. The campaign, which will continue till April next year, will be covering 27 districts in Punjab, 16 in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, 24 in Sindh, 11 in Balochistan and Islamabad as well to target females, motivating them to obtain NICs for registration as voters. Fafen emphasises that media should highlight the gravity of the issue to make state institutions respond to the gravity and sensitivity of the issue in the context of upcoming general election.
  4. Android users' can wave all their data usage problems goodbye with the launch of Datally ? a smart and simple Android app that helps smartphone users understand, control, and save mobile data. Datally works on all smartphones running Android 5.0 (Lollipop) and higher, and is available on the Google Play Store globally. The app claims to help users solve one of the biggest pains for smartphone users around the world ? worries about data usage. Extensive user research revealed that many smartphone users worry about running out of data. This is an especially acute problem for the newest generation to come online, known as the ?Next Billion Users.? Not only are smartphone users constantly thinking about data balances, but they do not understand where their data is going, nor do they feel in control over allocating data to the apps they really care about. Datally empowers users to solve these problems with four key features: Data Saver Apps frequently use data in the background for updating content and information. Datally?s Data Saverfeature lets users control data on an app-by-app basis, so that data only goes to apps they care about. People testing the app saved up to 30% of mobile data, depending on the way they used Datally. Data Saver bubble Once Data Saver is turned on, Datally?s Data Saver bubble will appear when a user goes into an app that is allowed to use data. Whenever that app uses data, the Data Saver bubble will show the current rate of data usage, and users can easily choose to block that app?s data use if things start to get out of control. The Data Saver bubble is like a speedometer for mobile data. Personalized alerts Datally alerts users when apps start consuming a lot of data, and it allows them to see how much data they?ve used on a daily, weekly, and monthly basis. Wi-Fi finder There are also times when users want to use more data than they have on their mobile plans, such as when they want to watch HD videos. Public Wi-Fi is an important access point for high-bandwidth connectivity, so Datally?s Find Wi-Fi feature reveals the networks nearby, rated by the Datally community. Once connected, users can rate the Wi-Fi networks themselves based on their own experience.
  5. China launched a nationwide investigation into its kindergartens on Friday after parents at a Beijing preschool said toddlers had apparent needle marks and were given mysterious pills ? sparking outrage days after another daycare scandal. Photo: AFP file BEIJING: China launched a nationwide investigation into its kindergartens on Friday after parents at a Beijing preschool said toddlers had apparent needle marks and were given mysterious pills ? sparking outrage days after another daycare scandal. Security personnel installed a cordon at the gate of the RYB Education New World kindergarten on Friday after dozens of curious onlookers crowded outside the high-end, bilingual Chinese-English nursery, which was still operating. A day earlier, furious parents had gathered in front of the gate to demand answers from RYB, which is run by a company that started trading on the New York stock exchange in September. Its shares plunged by more than 40 percent in after-hours trading. China?s official Xinhua news agency said children were also ?reportedly sexually molested? but gave no further details. Li Jing, mother of a three-year-old girl, told AFP her daughter had not been abused but said other children had explained how they were coerced into taking pills. ?Other kids were saying it?s not to be called taking a pill, but a reward. And the pill is not to be called a pill, but a jelly bean, and is a little secret between the child and the teacher,? Li said. She chose to bring her daughter to school on Friday because she trusted the girl?s teacher, but admitted: ?I still feel a bit uneasy.? The Chaoyang district government said police opened an investigation after parents reported the suspected abuse on Wednesday. Though authorities have so far declined to confirm or provide more details about the allegations, the incident prompted the education steering committee of China?s State Council, its top administrative body, to call for an ?immediate? investigation into kindergartens across the country. ?Lately, many places have had incidents where children have been violated and harmed in kindergartens, which has had an abominable impact and caused major harm to their families,? it said in a circular published on the Ministry of Education?s official website. Two white pills after lunch The magazine Caixin said eight children had apparent needle marks and that the incidents occurred in two classes with kids aged between two and six. Parents also said children were fed unidentified pills. ?I asked my child after I heard what other parents said and my child said that they had taken two white pills after lunch, and slept after eating the pills,? one father told CCTV outside the school on Thursday. The kindergarten is located adjacent to a large military base, and rumours flew online that military officials there were involved in sexually abusing the children. Fun Junfeng, the base?s political commissioner, confirmed in an interview with the PLA Daily that the husband of the school?s director was previously an official there, but said there was so far ?no evidence? that military personnel had been involved in the abuse. ?But this is just the first step of the investigation,? he added. RYB apologised to parents and said it was cooperating with the police investigation. ?We are currently working with the police to provide relevant surveillance materials and equipment. The teachers in question have been suspended,? the company said in a social media statement. Severe mistakes RYB Education directly operates 80 kindergartens and has franchised another 175 in 130 cities across China for children ranging from newborns to six-year-olds, according to its Nasdaq listing. It is the third time in just over a year that one of its schools has faced abuse allegations. RYB already apologised in April and suspended the head of a Beijing kindergarten after admitting that teachers committed ?severe mistakes?. The Beijing News had obtained videos showing teachers throwing a child on a bed and kicking another in the back. The People?s Court Daily reported that two teachers from a RYB kindergarten in northeast Jilin province were sentenced to 34 months in prison for jabbing children in the head, inside their mouths, and on their legs and buttocks with sewing needles in October 2016. Zhang Zhiqiang came to the Beijing nursery on Friday to cancel his two-year-old daughter?s enrollment after reading about the latest scandal, though she was not among the alleged victims. He said the school refunded him the 18,000 yuan ($2,725) annual tuition fee. The ?international? class in which children were allegedly abused was even more expensive, parents told AFP, with tuition of more than 5,000 yuan ($760) a month. The latest allegations came a week after Chinese online travel agency Ctrip suspended two officials after footage emerged of workers abusing toddlers at a company daycare centre in Shanghai. The clips showed young children of Ctrip employees being roughly handled and punished by being force-fed what parents claimed was spicy mustard at the company?s Shanghai headquarters. Police detained three daycare staff for suspected abuse.
  6. NASA on Saturday launched a next-generation satellite into space designed to monitor weather around the world and help improve forecasts. Photo: NASA LOS ANGELES: NASA on Saturday launched a next-generation satellite into space designed to monitor weather around the world and help improve forecasts. The satellite, called the Joint Polar Satellite System-1 (JPSS-1), is a joint venture between the US space agency and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), which provides weather reports and forecasts. The satellite was launched aboard a United Launch Alliance Delta II rocket as scheduled at 1:47 am (0947 GMT) from Vandenberg Air Force Base in California. It will orbit the Earth 14 times each day from one pole to the other at 512 miles (824 kilometres) above the planet, "providing scientists full global coverage twice a day," NASA said. The satellite "is the first in NOAA?s series of four, next-generation operational environmental satellites representing major advancements in observations used for severe weather prediction and environmental monitoring," it said. JPSS-1 "carries a suite of advanced instruments designed to take global measurements of atmospheric, land and sea conditions, from sea surface temperatures, volcanic ash, hurricane intensity and many more." Four smaller satellites called CubeSats, part of NASA?s educational nano-satellite program, are to be released on the same mission. The CubeSats belong to four US universities and will be set in orbit after the weather satellite has been deployed, NASA said. Two previous launch attempts had been cancelled, once due to high winds and another due to technical problems.
  7. Uber has just launched a light web-based version of Uber - - in India that will help people book their rides from computers or tablets. What this means is, you no longer have the compulsion to book via the app. The web version does exactly the same thing that the App can but isn't resource intensive. The web-based version of Uber has already launched in India, and the feature is targeting riders who do not have high-end smartphones that can support mobile apps, due to limited storage issues. (c) Pexels "As part of our efforts to enable global access to Uber, we're focusing on two key areas for riders -- building solutions for those who don't have access to the Uber app and enabling our existing rider app to work better in emerging markets," Daniel Graf, Vice President and Head of Product at Uber, said in a statement. Keeping the low connectivity network conditions of India in mind, Uber also announced the pilot of three additional features – offline search, call to ride and request a guest. Uber is also testing a new “call-to-ride” functionality, and the first pilot is being run in Pune. The cab-aggregating service has identified popular zones in the city setup pickup points. Riders can simply call on the given number and enter the provided four-digit code to wait for a cab at the pickup point. Users will get information about their ride via SMS. (c) BCCL Offline search is essentially for the riders using the app in limited network areas. With this feature, Uber is enabling offline search by caching the top points of interest in the city so that riders can enter their destinations in the app without having to wait for the connection, the company said. Finally, Uber riders will be able to request a ride for a guest, a feature that will be introduced in the next few weeks. The rider or guest for whom the ride has been booked will get an SMS with driver, car, ETA information, etc. The ride will be charged to the person who has requested it. (c) Pexels "We have a strong team and product champions in Bengaluru and at the newly inaugurated Hyderabad engineering facility working on innovations around the world. As a part of our efforts, we are focusing on two key areas for the market - build solutions for those who don't have access to the Uber app and enable our existing app to work better in emerging markets," said Graf. Uber is now working hard on localizing their business strategy in India amid stiff competition from local player Ola. Earlier in the year, Ola launched it's lighter web version which eliminated the need for a smartphone in the booking process. Uber says they have an engineering team of 150 in India who are constantly working on improving the localized user experience in India.
  8. Seven of US President Donald Trump's eight border wall prototypes are shown near completion along the US-Mexico border near San Diego, California, US, October 23, 2017. REUTERS/Mike Blake/Files TEPIC: An irreverent card game company is playing its hand to help stop construction of a controversial wall along the US-Mexico border. Cards Against Humanity ? maker of a popular party game ? said Wednesday it has purchased land along the border that it hopes to use to challenge US government building efforts. US President Donald Trump pledged frequently during his campaign to build the wall to fight illegal immigration and crime in the United States. It is estimated the series of fences and walls would cost as much as $21.6 billion. Trump has claimed he will make Mexico pay for it. Trump is afraid of Mexicans, the Chicago-based game company said on a website promoting its stunt. ?He is so afraid that he wants to build a $20 billion wall that everyone knows will accomplish nothing,? it said. The company said it hired a law firm that specializes in eminent domain, the system that allows the government to take private property, ?to make it as time-consuming and expensive as possible for the wall to get built.? Consumers can join in by paying $15 to the company, which did not specify the size or location of its plot. The company?s risque, often politically incorrect game is ranked the best-selling game on ?via Thomson Reuters Foundation
  9. Reporters gather in the courtyard of a media outlet's office during a protest in Istanbul, Turkey, March 4, 2016. REUTERS/Kursat Bayhan/Zaman Daily/Files The United States said on Monday it would fund rural media outlets in Hungary to help train and equip journalists in defence of an independent media it sees subject to growing pressure and intimidation. Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban has increased media control by legal changes, regulatory steps, and takeovers of outlets by business sector associates. The moves have alarmed Western partners with the approach of elections, due in April 2018, which he is widely expected to win comfortably. The trend was especially strong in rural Hungary, where government-controlled public media and a handful of outlets friendly to the ruling Fidesz party are the only news sources most people get. That is where the $700,000 US program focuses. ?The Department of State... seeks a partner for the United States Government who will help educate journalists and aspiring journalists on how to practise their trade,? a State Department official said in a statement emailed to Reuters. ?The United States has publicly and privately expressed our concerns about the status of the free press in Hungary on multiple occasions,? the official said. ?Hungary has committed to upholding these standards.? The government had no immediate comment. The program offers technical and financial assistance to media outlets, as well as increased local and international exposure, small grants, and other tools. They can use the funds after May 2018. 'Numbers dwindling' Washington denied entry to top officials of his government on corruption charges in 2014, and Orban ruffled feathers with attacks on the US-chartered Central European University, an issue yet to be resolved. The US Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor launched the program after the top US diplomat in Budapest cited an erosion of media freedoms. ?There are still independent and opposition media outlets here that are able to practise journalism with broad editorial freedom,? Chargé d?Affaires David Kostelancik said last month at a journalism conference. ?That is a good thing.? ?However, their numbers are dwindling, and they face challenges in the advertising market that the pro-government outlets do not. They face pressure and intimidation... as a result, fewer and fewer Hungarians are exposed to the robust debate and discussion that is so important ? in fact, fundamental ? to a representative democracy.? Reacting to those comments, Foreign Ministry State Secretary Levente Magyar said the government would ?continue to reject all statements that affect Hungarian internal affairs and are based on misrepresentation in the strongest possible terms?. The Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe, an intergovernmental human rights and media freedom watchdog, has said media pluralism has declined in Hungary.
  10. The Orbital ATK Antares rocket, with the Cygnus spacecraft onboard, launches from Pad-0A, on November 12, 2017, at NASA's Wallops Flight Facility in Virginia. Photo: AFP WASHINGTON: An unmanned cargo ship packed with 7,400 pounds (3,350 kilograms) of food and supplies for the astronauts living at the International Space Station blasted off Sunday from Wallops Island, Virginia. Orbital ATK?s barrel-shaped Cygnus cargo ship launched atop an Antares rocket at 7:19 am (1219 GMT), a day after a last-second delay due to an unexpected aircraft in the area. "Five, four, three, two, one and we have ignition," said Orbital ATK?s mission control operator, as the rocket?s engines lit up the chilly, grey morning and cheers erupted from spectators near the launch site. The spacecraft reached orbit about nine minutes later. NASA commentator Rob Navias described the launch as "flawless." The mission is the eighth for Orbital ATK, which has a $1.9 billion contract with NASA to resupply the orbiting outpost. SpaceX also has a $1.6 billion contract with NASA, sending its Dragon cargo ship to regularly re-stock the space lab. Among the experiments on board is a satellite that will test how bacteria grows in microgravity, and determine the minimum amount of antibiotic needed to stop its growth. Knowing how bugs will act during long-duration missions will help the US space agency, which hopes to send people to deep space in the coming decades, with a human mission to Mars sometime in the 2030s. Cygnus is scheduled to arrive at the orbiting outpost on Tuesday. Italian astronaut Paolo Nespoli of the European Space Agency and NASA astronaut Randy Bresnik will use the space station?s robotic arm to grab Cygnus at about 4:50 am (0950 GMT), NASA said. Astronauts will unload its contents, then repack it with several tons of trash so it can be shipped off on December 4. Eventually, it will burn up upon re-entry into Earth?s atmosphere. The current crew of six astronauts on duty at the space station include three Americans, one Italian and two Russians.
  11. PayPal, the largest online payment facilitator in the world is finally making a splash here in India. The company announced that they will now offer a single account for local & international transactions, on Wednesday. The company was founded 18-years-ago in December 1998 by Elon Musk, Peter Thiel, Ken Howery, Luke Nosek, and Max Levchin and at present is headed by President and CEO, Daniel H. Schulman. © MMO-Champion PayPal supports online money transfers and serves as an electronic alternative to traditional methods like checks and money orders. The step comes as no surprise as India moves towards a digital economy led by the Narendra Modi government. The step seems to be natural and inevitable, only dependent on the frame of time and scalability. More and more people are using e-wallets and card payments in the country and are fostering a secure cashless economy. This is what Anupam Pahuja, country manager and managing director, PayPal India had to say at the launch, “India is transitioning away from our biggest competitor – cash – and our digital platform and technology has immense scope to enable this at scale,” © Tech in Asia He further added, “For us, the marathon has just begun.” Now, if we look at the digital payment market in India, the first name that comes to mind is Paytm. China's Alibaba-backed (BABA.N) PayTM, is the country's leading digital payment firm and is currently dominating the Indian market in this segment. © YourStory One major factor behind this strategic decision could be the fact that India's crowded digital payments market is expected to grow ten-fold to $500 billion by 2020. That a big number indeed. Just recently, Google also launched Tez (UPI based), a mobile payments service by Google, targeted at users in India. Thus, one can say that PayPal's entry was inevitable and it was just a matter of time that the big players made their way to our country. From a customer's perspective, one could surmise that they will have more offers and choices in the marketplace and from a competitor's perspective, the ecosystem should definitely foster healthy growth. Here is what Anupam Pahuja, implies when he talks about the technology and security behind the tech giant's services. According to him, PayPal is device agnostic for consumers, which basically means it takes ten lines of code for a merchant to register themselves on to the service. This technology is supposed to be faster and easier to adopt than the UPI (Unified Payment Interface) route. What's even more commendable and beneficial for the customer is that PayPal will pay for the return shipping as well. PayPal will let customers file a dispute with a merchant for up to six months (or 180 days), also providing multi-lingual customer support from its support operations in India. As per PayPal's previous records, an average PayPal customer's query is resolved in less than 30 seconds, with some bigger cases solved in 5 minutes. In the coming days, PayPal plans on introducing EMI facilities for customers and even provide working capital for merchants to kickstart and grow their businesses.
  12. Snap Inc is redesigning its disappearing-message app Snapchat in an attempt to reach a broader audience, going back to the drawing board after being clobbered by Wall Street for another quarter of slowing user growth. The Venice, California-based firm, which had the hottest debut of any tech stock in years in March, reported revenue and user growth for the third quarter well below Wall Street expectations as it struggles to compete with Facebook Inc?s Instagram. The disappointing financials and announcement of the redesign sent shares down as much as 20 percent in after-hours trading. They rebounded partially to $12.57, still well below the initial public offering price of $17 in March. Snap?s user growth in the last three months was about half what investment analysts expected. Daily active users rose to 178 million in the third quarter from 173 million in the second quarter. Analysts had expected 181.8 million, according to research firm FactSet. Chief Executive Evan Spiegel said the company was launching the redesign after hearing for years that Snapchat was difficult to understand or hard to use. ?We are going to make it easier to discover the vast quantity of content on our platform that goes undiscovered or unseen every day,? Spiegel, 27, said in written remarks prepared for a call with investment analysts. He said that there was a ?strong likelihood? the redesign would be disruptive in the short term, but that Snap was willing to take the risk for long-term gain. Such a radical change so soon after an IPO is unusual. But Snap is not the only social media company looking to revive growth by changing its look. Microblogging service Twitter Inc said on Tuesday it would roll out 280-character tweets to users across the world, double the length of its iconic 140-character tweets. Asked on the analyst call what the redesign would look like, Spiegel offered no details but said the company had been studying the evolution of mobile content feeds such as Twitter streams and the Facebook News Feed. ?There?s a really exciting opportunity here for another evolution,? he said. REVENUE MISS Revenue, the bulk of which comes from advertisements, rose to $207.9 million from $128.2 million. Analysts on average were expecting revenue of $236.9 million. Snap?s average revenue per user rose to $1.17 in the latest quarter, from 84 cents a year earlier, but missed analysts? average estimate of $1.30. Snap Chief Strategy Officer Imran Khan said revenue was affected by a shift toward a software-based auction system for selling ads - a method employed by Facebook and Alphabet Inc?s Google - which has driven down the average price. The auction system hit revenue in the short term but ?builds the foundation for long-term scalable revenue,? Khan said in written remarks. The amount of ads in Snapchat compared to non-ad content, known as ?ad load,? remains very low, Spiegel said. Snap recorded a $39.9 million charge in the quarter related to inventory of its hardware product ?Spectacles.? The company said it ?misjudged strong early demand? and ended up buying more of the product than it could sell. Snap?s Spectacles, at $129.99 a pair, are sunglasses with a video camera on one corner. They allow users to take 10-second videos with the press of a button on the frame, which are then saved to users? Snapchat account. INVESTORS SOUR In its third earnings report since the company went public in March with a $3.4 billion valuation, Snap posted a net loss of $443.2 million, or 36 cents per share, compared with a loss of $124.2 million, or 15 cents per share, a year earlier. Wall Street had expected a loss of 32 cents per share, on average, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S. Snapchat, popular among millennials for the bunny faces and floral tiaras that people can add to pictures, allows users to chat through a series of disappearing photos and videos. Users can also post images and videos as ?stories? - ephemeral posts that can be viewed in chronological order and that disappear after 24 hours. Investors? view of Snap has soured since its IPO. Before the quarterly release, Snap?s share price was already down 39 percent from its close on March 2, its first day of trading on the New York Stock Exchange. Facebook?s shares were up 32 percent over that time. Facebook?s Instagram said in September that it had 500 million daily active users. As of June, Instagram Stories - a replica of Snapchat?s synonymous feature - had 250 million daily users, up from 200 million in April, according to the company.
  13. Britain's Prime Minister Theresa May leaves Number 10 Downing Street in London, Britain. REUTERS/Stefan Wermuth/Files LONDON: Prime Minister Theresa May released a new code of conduct for Conservative Party representatives on Friday as a sexual harassment scandal dogged the British parliament. Following Michael Fallon's resignation as defence secretary, May outlined new procedures for dealing with allegations, as further claims swirled around Westminster. Her governing Conservatives will adopt a new complaints procedure with a hotline for reporting potential breaches, and officials want the measures replicated in other parties. May's announcement follows the flood of sexual assault and harassment claims against Hollywood movie mogul Harvey Weinstein. Those revelations prompted allegations of inappropriate behaviour in Westminster ? with several allegations of misuse of power surfacing. May is due to meet leaders of other parties on Monday to thrash out a cross-party approach, saying it was not right that "vulnerable or concerned people" could be left to "navigate different grievance procedures." "There needs to be a common, transparent, independent grievance procedure for all those working in parliament who wish to raise concerns which provides clarity and certainty about how their concerns will be dealt with," May said. The new Conservative code applies to the party's elected representatives, from MPs to local councillors and city mayors, and party officers at all levels. Fallon quit as defence secretary on Wednesday, saying his behaviour had fallen short of the standards required. He admitted touching radio presenter Julia Hartley-Brewer's knee 15 years ago ? an incident she said was nothing other than "mildly amusing". According to The Sun newspaper on Friday, Fallon's resignation was actually prompted by complaints against him by Cabinet colleague Andrea Leadsom. But a source close to Fallon told the tabloid he categorically denies telling her at some point between 2010 and 2012 that he knew where she could put her cold hands to warm them up. May's Downing Street office then issued a statement saying Leadsom "did not, and has not, asked the prime minister to consider the position of Sir Michael Fallon when he was defence secretary". May replaced Fallon on Thursday with another loyalist, chief whip Gavin Williamson, who had been in charge of enforcing party discipline. The appointment triggered some dismay in Conservative ranks, with reports saying MPs were angry he had seemingly orchestrated Fallon's departure ? then became a beneficiary. The main opposition Labour Party has also suspended MP Kelvin Hopkins, 76, pending an investigation into claims he sent suggestive texts and acted inappropriately. Hopkins said he "absolutely and categorically" denied the allegations of inappropriate conduct.
  14. BERLIN: German sweets maker Haribo said it had launched an internal investigation after a TV documentary alleged Brazilian workers supplying ingredients for their confectionary suffer inhumane conditions. "We have tasked a group of independent, accredited and certified auditors with conducting a full investigation of our carnauba wax supply chain and are currently awaiting the findings of the investigation," the company said in a statement Thursday. The company has faced criticism in the German and international press after public broadcaster ARD alleged in mid-October that workers on carnauba wax planations in Brazil, among them minors, suffered under high temperatures and were forced to sleep outside, often without access to clean drinking water. Haribo uses carnauba wax as a coating agent in its candy. "We have been in contact with our direct carnauba wax supplier in Brazil to demand that the entire supply chain, including its preliminary suppliers, all the way down to the carnauba wax producing farms, is laid bare and reviewed to ensure standards are upheld at all relevant facilities," beginning this week, the company said. The company said it would hold discussions with Brazil´s labour ministry and other government officials as part of the investigation. Haribo also said it would launch an additional internal probe to respond to allegations in the same documentary about the mistreatment of pigs on German farms used for gelatine production. The animals live in their own excrement and are covered in bruises, according to the documentary. "As a company whose mission it is to bring joy to children and adults alike, reports of animal cruelty in our supply chain are unacceptable," the company said.
  15. A man takes a photo of a Toyota Motor Corp's Corolla car in Caracas, Venezuela, October 25, 2017. REUTERS/Marco Bello CARACAS: Toyota Motor Corp on Wednesday unveiled a new model of its Corolla vehicle that will be assembled in Venezuela, marking a bright note for a local auto industry struggling to survive amid the country?s deep economic recession. Toyota said it was currently producing 20 units per month of the new Corolla, which will be sold only in Venezuela, and expected to raise production in 2018. Company executives acknowledged that demand for cars in Venezuela has fallen steadily amid the crisis. ?We know the current state of the industry,? Toyota Venezuela president Hiroyuki Ueda said at a press conference to present the new vehicle. ?However, we have overcome obstacles, we have a new Corolla ? and this is for us a reason for celebration.? The once-thriving Venezuelan automotive sector went from selling almost 500,000 units a year in 2007 to about 3,000 vehicles last year, according to the country?s auto industry association. Toyota?s existing facility in Venezuela employs 1,100 staff and has a capacity of 22,000 units per year but is currently assembling only 100 units per month and expects to close out 2017 with an output of only 1,200 units. Close to 100 multinationals remain in the country with operations at a minimum due to lack of raw materials, resulting primarily from a shortage of dollars caused a dysfunctional currency control system. Several automakers including Toyota sell cars in dollars, a practice the government prohibit for most items but has specifically approved for the auto industry in order to allow them to import assembly parts without going through the exchange controls. Toyota will sell two versions of its Corolla: a family model that sells only in local bolivar currency and a luxury edition that will be sold in a combination of bolivars and dollars at an approximate cost of around $30,000. Wilfredo Valdivia ? Toyota?s institutional relations manager in Venezuela ? said the subsidiary uses revenue from the export of locally-manufactured parts to help maintain operations. ?Our priority and philosophy is to maintain production,? Valdivia told Reuters. ?We are working at very low volumes, but we have made a commitment.?
  16. Screengrab from India Today video NEW DELHI: The International Cricket Council (ICC) has launched a probe after a curator in Pune was caught in a TV sting operation allegedly promising to manipulate the pitch ahead of Wednesday?s second one-dayer between India and New Zealand. Pandurang Salgaonkar has been suspended but the match at the Maharashtra Cricket Association (MCA) Stadium began on schedule after ICC match referee Chris Broad cleared the pitch. ?We are investigating the allegations from Pune this morning,? an ICC spokesman said. Indian curator caught pitch-fixing in sting operation ahead of NZ ODI Pune curator gives inside information to a team of journalists disguised as ?bookies? ?As with all international cricket, the ICC Anti-Corruption Unit has an ICC ACU Manager on the ground in India and we are in close contact with him. ?We are now looking to establish the facts and will make no further comment whilst this is ongoing.? India Today TV showed Salgaonkar allegedly telling their undercover reporters -- who posed as bookies -- he could manipulate the pitch and sharing information about the playing surface in violation of ICC?s anti-corruption code. The Indian cricket board (BCCI) has sought a detailed report from the local host MCA. ?A strict action has been taken against the pitch curator and the employment relationship between Pandurang Salgaonkar and MCA stands terminated,? BCCI Chief Executive Rahul Johri said in a statement. ?The BCCI is in touch with the MCA and appropriate measures will be taken with regards to the matter. The BCCI will continue to enforce strict measures in case of such misconduct in the future.? New Zealand, who clinched the first one-dayer in Mumbai by six wickets, won the toss and elected to bat hoping to win the three-match series with a game to spare.
  17. Inc launched a cash payment service in Mexico on Tuesday, aiming to expand its customer base in a country where shoppers are wary of credit card fraud and often earn their living in paper currency. The strategy could also help it to win market share from rival Wal-Mart de Mexico, known as Walmex, along with other retailers pushing Mexican consumers to shop more online instead of brick-and-mortar stores that still dominate the country?s retail sector. ?It will intensify the competition of e-commerce in Mexico, not just for Amazon and Walmex but for other players,? said Luis Willard, an analyst at brokerage GBM. Amazon is the third-largest online retailer in Mexico, according to market research firm Euromonitor International. It has grown swiftly since debuting its Mexico-based website for physical goods two years ago. Still, Amazon?s 2016 Mexico sales of $253 million were well behind the market leader, Argentina?s MercadoLibre Inc, and only slightly above Walmex?s online revenues. The cash service aims to attract new customers and give existing shoppers an alternative to credit and debit cards, said Fernando Ramirez, product manager for Amazon Mexico. ?I think there could be a population of new clients that would use this as their primary form of payment,? he said. Although Amazon has accepted cash on delivery in India since launching there in 2013, pre-paying cash is a relatively new concept that the company launched for the first time in the United States in April, followed by Britain in August. In Mexico, shoppers can deposit between 100 pesos ($5.20) and 5,000 pesos per transaction at several convenience store chains throughout Mexico, including 7-Eleven, placing up to 10,000 pesos a day into Amazon accounts online. The service is not offered at Oxxo convenience stores, which compete with 7-Eleven in Mexico and accept cash for MercadoLibre shoppers. Ramirez said Amazon aims to expand its network, but declined to comment on whether Oxxo would be included. Banorte analyst Valentin Mendoza said Amazon?s cash strategy showed it recognizes the challenge of attracting customers in a culture that has resisted online shopping. ?They?re trying to pivot to compete in a much more effective way,? he said. Mexico is also on Amazon?s radar as it searches for a location for its second North American headquarters. The retailer said on Monday it had received 238 bids, including proposals from the states of Chihuahua, Hidalgo and Queretaro.
  18. Google is creating an even more secure login process for users at high risk of online attacks, according to The Verge. On Tuesday, Google announced the launch of a new "advanced protection" setting for Google accounts, which makes it harder than ever for hackers to break into sensitive data on Gmail, Google Drive, YouTube or any other Google outfit. The feature focuses on defending against phishing, accidental sharing, and fraudulent access to accounts and has been introduced for users such as journalists who need to protect their sources or election officials. The programme will use 'security keys', which are small USB or wireless devices required to sign into accounts. Google says they?re the most secure version of two-step verification; they use public key cryptography and digital signatures to confirm a person?s identity. Security keys can be fiddly, so Google says they?re for users who don?t mind carrying them around, using the Chrome browser on desktop, and using Google apps, as the key won?t work with the iPhone?s mail, calendar, and contact apps, The Verge reported further. The 'advanced protection' users will also have extra steps placed during the account recovery process, which will include additional reviews and requests about why a user has lost access to their account. The feature also automatically limits full access to Gmail and Google Drive for specific apps. Earlier this year, Google said it planned to upgrade its two-factor authentication tool after several high-profile hacks, including to Clinton campaign chairman John Podesta?s Gmail account in 2016. Google says it will constantly update the security of accounts signed up for the programme. The feature is available to anyone with a regular Gmail account.
  19. WASHINGTON: President Donald Trump launched a tougher strategy to check Iran?s regime on Friday and warned that a landmark international nuclear deal could be terminated at any time. In a much-anticipated White House speech, Trump stopped short of withdrawing from the 2015 accord, but "decertified" his support for the agreement and left its fate in the hands of Congress. And, outlining the results of a review of efforts to counter Tehran´s "aggression" in a series of Middle East conflicts, Trump ordered tougher sanctions on Iran?s Revolutionary Guards Corps and on its ballistic missile program. Trump said the agreement, which defenders say was only ever meant to curtail Iran?s nuclear program in return for sanctions relief, had failed to address Iranian subversion in its region and its illegal missile program. The US president said he supports efforts in Congress to work on new measures to address these threats without immediately torpedoing the broader deal. "However, in the event we are not able to reach a solution working with Congress and our allies, then the agreement will be terminated," Trump said, in a televised address from the Diplomatic Room of the White House. "It is under continuous review and our participation can be canceled by me as president at any time," he warned. Simultaneously, the US Treasury said it had taken action against the Islamic Revolutionary Guards and added four companies that allegedly support the group to its sanctions list. Trump?s criticism of the so-called Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) -- the nuclear control accord reached between Iran and Britain, China, France, Germany, Russia and the United States -- had raised global concerns. World governments feared any US move to sabotage the arrangement could dash Washington?s diplomatic credibility and relaunch Iran?s alleged quest for a nuclear weapon, in turn provoking a new Middle East arms race. But Secretary of State Rex Tillerson made clear ahead of the president?s speech that his decision does not necessarily mean an end to the accord. ?The worst deal? "The intent is that we will stay in the JCPOA, but the president is going to decertify," Tillerson said. "We?re saying, fine, they?re meeting the technical compliance," he said, indicating that the broader agreement would remain intact for now, and that US lawmakers will have an opportunity to revisit the US sanctions regime. Trump had repeatedly pledged to overturn one of his predecessor Barack Obama?s crowning foreign policy achievements, deriding it as "the worst deal" and one agreed to out of "weakness." The agreement stalled Iran?s nuclear program but opponents, and even some supporters, say it also prevented efforts to challenge Iranian influence across the Middle East. But since coming to office, Trump has faced intense lobbying from international allies and much of his own national security team, who argue the JCPOA should remain in place. Both the US government and UN nuclear inspectors say Iran is meeting the technical requirements of its side of the bargain, dramatically curtailing its nuclear program in exchange for sanctions relief. US concerns about the Guards could also weaken the deal. Trump stopped short of designating the powerful military faction a global terror organisation, as some hawks demanded, but his announcement of targeted sanctions is still likely to trigger an angry Iranian response. "We have considered that there are particular risks and complexities to designating an entire army, so to speak, of a country," Tillerson said. Instead the US will squeeze those directly supporting the corps? ?activities, whether it?s weapons exports or it?s weapons components, or cyber activity, or it?s movement of weapons and fighters around." Snap back Still, Trump?s tough-guy approach could yet risk undoing years of careful diplomacy and increasing Middle East tensions. Iranian President Hassan Rouhani lashed out at his US counterpart saying he was opposing "the whole world" by trying to abandon the landmark nuclear agreement. "It will be absolutely clear which is the lawless government. It will be clear which country is respected by the nations of the world and global public opinion," he added. Congress must now decide whether to end the nuclear accord by "snapping back" sanctions, which Iran demanded be lifted in exchange for limiting uranium enrichment. Trump will not ask Congress to do that, Tillerson said. "A re-imposition of the sanctions," he said, "would, in effect, say we?re walking away from the deal." But lawmakers may yet decide to torpedo the agreement. Proposals by Republican Senators Tom Cotton and Bob Corker to introduce "trigger points" for new sanctions and extend sanctions beyond a pre-agreed deadline have spooked allies, who believe it could breach the accord. But it remains unclear if their proposals can garner the 60 votes need to pass the Senate.
  20. MOSCOW: Russia on Friday launched a European satellite dedicated to monitoring Earth´s atmosphere, the protective layer that shields the planet from the sun´s radiation, live footage from the cosmodrome showed. The Sentinel-5P orbiter took off on time at 0927 GMT from the Plesetsk Cosmodrome in northern Russia. The satellite - carried by Russia´s Rokot rocket, based on the former Soviet intercontinental ballistic missile - left behind billows of yellow smoke, footage broadcast by the European Space Agency showed. The satellite will form part of the Copernicus project, a joint initiative of the European Union and the European Space Agency to track environmental damage and aid disaster relief operations. It will be the first satellite dedicated to monitoring Earth´s atmosphere for Copernicus, and the sixth satellite to join the Copernicus constellation. Others launched since April 2014 monitor forest cover and land and water pollution.
  21. Ever wondered how Pornhub tailors content for you according to your preference? There are some poor souls out there who are tasked with tagging each and every video in Pornhub's library. Well, now the porn streaming website is now going a step further by adding AI to their systems to improve search results for people with specific fetishes. © Pornhub Pornhub announced last night on their website that it has launched a new AI-powered system that will use computer vision technology to automatically identify and detect pornstars by their name. The algorithm has already scanned and recognised over 10,000 adult performers by simply scanning the existing footage. According to Pornhub, the AI system was fed with thousands of videos and images so that it could effectively identify adult performers accurately. Of course, no AI system is perfect so the company has asked users to validate some of the tags provided by the AI system. Users can simply either upvote or downvote the tags and descriptions. In turn, the AI will use machine learning to understand the algorithm better and also get smarter. “Now, users can search for a specific pornstar they have an affinity for and we will be able to retrieve more precise results,” said Pornhub VP Corey Price. “Our model will undoubtedly play a pivotal role moving forward too, especially considering that over 10,000 videos per day are added to the site.” “In fact, over the course of the past month alone, while we tested the model in beta, it was able to scan through 50,000 videos that have had pornstars added or removed on the video tags.” The algorithm is also set up to differentiate between different categories and genres. For example, if a video has been shot outdoors, the video will automatically be tagged in the 'Public' category. Similarly, the system will tag brunette performers in the 'Brunette' category. © Pornhub Porn companies are known to be the masters of the SEO game and this move by Pornhub will surely up their game by a significant notch. The company wants to process its entire 5-million video library through the AI system over the next year so that it will be much easier for users to find what they are looking for. Source: Engadget
  22. An H-2A rocket carrying Japan's fourth and final quasi-zenith satellite, the Michibiki No. 4, lifts off from the Tanegashima Space Center in Kagoshima Prefecture, southwestern Japan in this photo taken by Kyodo on October 10, 2017. Photo: Reuters TOKYO: Japan on Tuesday launched a fourth satellite for a new high-precision global positioning system (GPS) it hopes will encourage new businesses and help spur economic growth. The fourth Michibiki satellite lifted off from Japan?s southern Tanegashima spaceport aboard an H-2A rocket taking just over 28 minutes to reach orbit, the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency said. Having four satellites that loop over Japan and Australia in a figure of eight orbit will allow for uninterrupted coverage and puts engineers on course to switch the system on in April. Japanese GPS can locate devices to within several centimetres compared with the commonly-used US system, which has an accuracy of about 10 meters. Japan plans to have seven of the geo-positioning satellites in orbit by 2023.
  23. LAHORE: Punjab Chief Minister Shehbaz Sharif inaugurated on Tuesday a motorcycle ambulance service that will be operated by the Punjab Emergency Service ? Rescue 1122. Speaking at the inauguration ceremony, Sharif said these 900 first responders will be able to reach remote areas of Lahore where a proper ambulance cannot go. The service is initially being launched in Lahore only and will then phase out to the nine divisional headquarters of the province. These rescuers will be able to administer first aid and will also alert the ambulance so it can meet them at the nearest location, added Sharif. The chief minister congratulated Rescue 1122 DG Dr Rizwan Naseer, saying the project materialised in just six to seven months. He also thanked Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and Turkey's health minister for training the rescue staff. "The work they [Rescue 1122] have done in the last 10 to 12 years is unmatched. Their spirit reminds us of Abdul Sattar Edhi, who despite being elderly and unwell, proceeded to disaster zones to take part in relief efforts.
  24. The Waymo logo is displayed during the company's unveil of a self-driving Chrysler Pacifica minivan during the North American International Auto Show in Detroit, Michigan, US, January 8, 2017. Photo: Reuters WASHINGTON: Alphabet Inc?s self-driving car unit Waymo and several groups are launching a campaign aimed at convincing skeptical Americans of what they say is the value and safety of driverless cars, as Congress considers how it will regulate the technology. The company said on Monday that it was teaming up with Mothers Against Drunk Driving, the National Safety Council, and the Federation for Blind Children in a campaign called ?Let?s Talk Self-Driving.? The campaign says that self-driving cars could help eliminate most alcohol-related crash deaths and allow the blind broader access to personal transportation. The country is wrangling with how to regulate the rapidly growing technology, with critics arguing that Congress is moving too fast and not ensuring enough safeguards. Waymo, which began as the Google self-driving car project, said the campaign will begin on Monday in Arizona, where the company is testing self-driving cars. It is set to include digital ads, outdoor billboards, fuel pump advertising and radio spots. The company declined to say how much the advertising campaign will cost. Recent surveys show a majority of Americans are unsure about self-driving cars. In March, the American Automobile Association (AAA) said it had found that three-quarters of US drivers said they would be afraid to ride in a self-driving car. In February, US Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao urged ?Silicon Valley, Detroit, and all other auto industry hubs to step up and help educate a skeptical public about the benefits of automated technology.? Waymo chief executive John Krafcik said in a blog post: ?There?s great enthusiasm and curiosity about self-driving cars ? and there?s some confusion, too.? He added that the ?technology can help address some of the biggest safety challenges on our roads today.? US traffic deaths jumped 5.6 percent in 2016 to a decade-high of 37,461, and pedestrians killed rose 9 percent to 5,987, the highest number since 1990, statistics showed last week. On Wednesday, a US Senate panel unanimously gave the green light to a bill aimed at speeding the use of self-driving cars without human controls, a measure that also bars states from imposing regulatory road blocks. The bill still must clear a full Senate vote, but it appears on track to passage. General Motors Co, Alphabet, Ford Motor Co and others have lobbied for the landmark legislation, while auto safety groups have pledged to keep fighting for changes.
  25. SAN FRANCISCO: Alphabet Inc?s Google on Wednesday unveiled the second generation of its Pixel smartphone along with new voice-enabled home speakers, redoubling its commitment to the hardware business as it competes with a surge of devices from Apple Inc and Inc. Google?s new products, including a Pixelbook laptop, wireless earbuds and a small GoPro-like camera, showcase Google-developed operating systems and services, notably the voice assistant. That means usage of those devices should stoke the company?s core ad sales business as buyers of the hardware use Google services like search and maps. Speaking at the launch in San Francisco, Google hardware chief Rick Osterloh said the new products ?perfectly demonstrate our strategy of re-imagining hardware from the inside out.? The Pixel 2 smartphone comes in two sizes, with comparable features, including aluminium bodies and no traditional jacks for headphones. Prices for the base model start at $649 (490.18 pounds), while the high-end version starts at $849. The phones will be available Oct. 19. The Pixel phones lack the brand lustre and market share of similarly priced smartphones such as the Apple iPhone or Samsung Electronics Co?s Galaxy S and Galaxy Note smartphones. Still, the original Pixel?s camera and software drew acclaim from reviewers, many of whom expect the line to become a robust competitor at the high end of the Android smartphone market. Pixelbook, priced at $999, is the first laptop powered by Google Assistant and will support Snap Inc?s Snapchat, the company said. The keyboard folds behind the screen to turn the 12.3-inch touchscreen into a tablet. It will be available in stores from Oct. 31. Google Home Mini, one of the new speakers, is priced at $49 in the United States and would rival Inc?s popular Echo Dot. It will be available Oct. 19. The Home Max, with dual woofers for more powerful sound, is priced at $399 and with availability by the end of the year. The Pixel Buds, which are priced at $149, arrive in November. Clips, which is pocket-sized camera with object detection and automatic recording capabilities, ?soon? goes on sale for $249, Google said. Videos last only a few seconds and do not contain audio. The Pixel smartphone debuted a year ago, with analysts estimating sales of more than 2 million, pushing Google to record amounts of non-advertising revenue. Google?s ?other? revenue category, which includes both hardware and sales of online storage services, accounted for about 12 percent of overall sales in its most recent quarter. Last month, Google expanded its hardware development capabilities by picking up a 2,000-person smartphone engineering team at HTC for $1.1 billion. ?It?s pretty clear Google is serious about hardware,? said Avi Greengart, research director at consumer data firm GlobalData. ?Given that there is a Pixel 2, and given the financial investment, there must be a longer-term strategic intent.? HARDWARE CHIEF HAS SECOND GO Google moved into smartphones five years ago with the $12.5-billion purchase of Motorola Mobility. But Motorola?s hardware team, under Osterloh, and Google?s Android mobile operating system division remained independent. Google wanted to avoid giving it a special advantage and protect its relationships with Samsung, LG and other distributors of Android. The company later sold the Motorola smartphone business. Osterloh, now working inside Google, moved to bring in-house the HTC team Google contracted to design the Pixel. He enjoys a strong relationship with Hiroshi Lockheimer, the Android division head. The pair have been friends since working together for several years at Good Technology in the early 2000s. Protecting relationships with others in the Android ecosystem has become less of a concern. Samsung ratched down the rivalary with Google after the firms agreed to a major patent licensing deal in early 2014. Other vendors have seen their market share dip. Google?s eye is now on Apple, whose iPhone has become the smartphone to beat. The first Pixel debuted a year ago with a significant marketing push: during the last three months of the year, Google spent an estimated $110 million to air 12 Pixel-related commercials, according to data from advertising measurement firm Apple spent $147 million during the same span, said. Apple has sustained its TV time throughout the last year, while Google?s efforts have tapered off. In the speakers market, Google?s personal-assistant lags Amazon?s Echo devices in market share, according to investment bank Cowen & Co. Last week, Amazon released several new models of the Echo, including one with a display as it tried to find a place in every niche. Rishi Chandra, vice president of product management for Google?s Home hardware unit, said in an interview that Google was being ?a little bit more thoughtful? than the online shopping company. ?Amazon is taking a broad approach,? Chandra said. ?We?re going to iterate until we have a good product story to tell.?