Showing posts with label Internet. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Internet. Show all posts

Monday, March 16, 2015

Free Internet Provider Outernet Launching Its Own Satellites

A US-based independent startup called Outernet is on its way to change the world by doing something unimaginable. Outernet aims to provide free internet on earth using the low orbit satellites. Now, Outernet is aiming something huge. This weekend, Outernet made an announcement which says that with the help of U.K. Space Agency, Outernet is going to launch three new nanosatellites at the beginning of 2016. Clyde Space, a technology company from Scotland, will be making these nanosatellites.
Out of the total world population, half of it don’t have good internet connection. This media startup Outernet distributes internet like a radio broadcast. It wasn’t much time ago when Outernet started providing its service to the 1.3 billion people of North America, Middle East, Asia Pacific and Europe.

CubeSats are tiny satellites, a bit more than the size of a shoebox. Outernet hopes to give internet services the same way we receive radio signals. These CubeSats operate from Low Earth Orbit in UHF frequency which transmits the signal which could be picked up with a cheaper hardware.
Recently Outernet launched “Lantern” which is a different kind of a WiFi hotspot which creates WiFi signal by receiving satellite data.
These new developments can ensure better reach of information to the needy. Founder and CEO of Outernet Syed Karim told Mic.,
“We could send all of Wikipedia. Essentially, anything that lives on your computer is what we can transmit over Outernet. Everyone on the team believes in the notion of universal access to information. I’ve been told by people who interacted closely with North Korean defectors and they said there is Internet there and it’s very limited. They have their own version of Wikipedia.”
With its own satellite in space, there won’t be any restrictions or censorship on the broadcast. Outernet can spread accurate news and unbiased textbooks to all parts of the world. This could be a milestone step towards the direction of achieving free internet.

Wednesday, March 4, 2015 hopes to reach 100 countries in a year, up from six now, which is already offering free Internet service in six countries, has ambitious plans to connect to 100 countries in the next year.
"We like big, ambitious goals at Facebook," said Chris Daniels, head of in a discussion with several reporters at Mobile World Congress (MWC).

Facebook and several partners founded two years ago; it is already serving 7 million customers in Columbia, Ghana, Tanzania, Kenya, India and Zambia. Many of those who were originally connected for free are now paying some fee for more advanced data services.

Daniels, a vice president at Facebook in charge of, said the conversion of free Internet users to paying customers is critical to the carriers who provide the Internet infrastructure that makes the service possible.

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He sounded the same refrain that Facebook founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg offered on Monday in a keynote presentation at MWC with three onstage carriers, including Airtel Africa, which has offered in Ghana, Kenya and Zambia. Millicom, another partner, saw a 30% increase in data users when free data data was launched in Paraguay.
While the goal of 100 countries in a year is ambitious, Daniels said it is achievable, partly because has figured out how to work with carriers to offer online services for free that don't cannibalize the paid services that are the lifeblood of many carriers.

"It's ambitious to say 100 countries, but our focus is less on the number and to focus more on spreading to added companies," he said. "We've had early partners and have brought more [users] online and more are paying for data and buying voice and SMS."

Some carriers have been skeptical; Jon Fredrik Baksaas, CEO of Telenor Group, said during the Zuckerberg appearance that initial successes need to be long-lasting to prompt widespread carrier adoption. Daniels said that wants to operate in every country in the world, includings the U.S., where a digital divide affects many inner city and rural communities.

"We would love to see even in some of the most developed nations where pockets are not online and there are issues around [Internet] awareness and affordability," Daniels said.

Daniels said he visits communities without Internet in countries around the globe and tries to meet people to understand what can interest them in Internet use. Those visits "ground us," he said. "We do run into skepticism and it's natural when you're not using something. Then the solution is to prove the Internet to people and give it away free so that they can start to see the value."

Daniels said carriers are central to that effort. After early trials, also learned how to pare back its free Internet offering to avoid network limitations and other carrier concerns. "One of the biggest objections with the initial test partners was around the sustainability of the model with free full-featured Facebook," he said. "We listened and...took out photos and videos and left some basic functionality. If they want richer features, they have to buy a data plan."
As a result, Daniels said, the rate of Internet adoptions has still gone up by 40% in early country rollouts.

Read More - Bing now available as part of Facebook’s App in India

Users of can download an Android app to use it or browse on the Web to find it. There's no iOS app, since iPhone and iPad users aren't typically seeking free Internet. "IOS is not a focus for us," Daniels said.
Daniels showed off the interface used in Columbia on his smartphone, and it was essentially a list of different services that users can click on for further information. While the services vary in each locale, the top line item in Columbia on is "Facebook-free data," followed by Wikipedia, then BabyCenter & Mama (for early childhood information) and other items such as AccuWeather.

Daniels also said that is eager to continue to work with Google, especially for search with free Internet service. "We're happy to have Google search as a free basic service," he said.

While has relied on carriers to provide infrastructure for free Internet, work at Facebook continues on alternative provisioning technologies such as lasers, drones and satellites, Daniels said. "We continue to work on these technologies and the reason is to reduce the cost of connectivity by an order of magnitude so connectivity can reach 100% [globally] in the next few years."

While Daniels wouldn't share details, he said that Facebook is "investing deeply" in "it's not costly, but we're [driven] by our mission to give people the power to share and make the world open and connected."

Once more countries are on board, Daniels said the free basic service model should continue. "We'd like to see it ongoing. We'd like to see free basic services always available. Operators will leave it on only if it continues to benefit their business."

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Spark’s $39 Electron board brings simple cellular connectivity to the Internet of Things

Sparrk has been on a mission to simplify the business of making connected products for some time. It started with the Spark Core, then moved on to the Photon and the Internet Button. Those products all relied on Wi-Fi. Its latest takes on the even trickier task of bringing cellular connectivity to the Internet of Things.
The Spark Electron is the company’s first cellular-connected development board and is available for pre-order on Kickstarter now, starting at $39. It’ll come with a SIM card and a $2.99 per month data plan in the US that can be cancelled at anytime. Spark’s currently working on international plans, which it will announce soon.

The Electron will be powered by Spark OS, the company’s cloud-based operating system, which connects its micro-controllers to the Web via a set of open-standards.
Spark CEO Zach Supalla explains the thinking behind the new board: “We’re surrounded by cellular towers designed for our mobile phones and tablets but those same cell towers can be used for all kinds of products. We hope to bring this technology to the masses and enable a whole new generation of connected products.”
He tells TNW that the Electron’s development was sparked by seeing “people creating things with the Wi-Fi toolkits which really should have cellular connectivity, like agricultural products.”

The company decided to launch the product on Kickstarter not as a means of accessing money but to tap into a community of people. Supalla says:
“We have money now. We’ve got investment and sell a lot of dev kits. Going with another Kickstarter campaign isn’t about crowdfunding for us, it’s about visibility. That’s really important to us. We know key people in big companies spend time on Kickstarter and look at the new products coming from it.”
The Electron is Spark’s third campaign on Kickstarter and has a relatively modest $50,000 goal, which Supalla confesses he hopes to “smash.” The company’s first attempt in 2012, seeking backing for a connected lighting product failed. Its second, which sought backing for the Spark Core, was a resounding success – raising $567,000 in 30 days from an initial $10,000 goal.
Supalla says: “We’re trying to change how the cellular industry works and we need the voices of our Kickstarter backers to prove to the telcos that engineers and developers are worth investing in.”
Giving Spark’s experience with Kickstarter campaigns and its existing community of supporters, the Electron is likely to hit its goal pretty quickly, though perhaps not as swiftly as the Pebble Time managed yesterday.

Spark’s Internet Button puts IFTTT just a press away

 last spoke to Spark late last year when it had just announced the Photon, its $19 kit for building internet-enabled products. Now it’s back with the Spark Internet Button which takes the connectivity of the Photon and its predecessor, the Core, and hooks it up with the internet automation service IFTTT.
The arrival of the Spark Internet Button brings with it a dedicated Spark channel on IFTTT. The channel has four triggers that your device can activate – when a new event comes in, when something changes, monitoring a change and monitoring to see if it’s switched on or off. It also has two actions: triggering an event in the physical world and publishing information to your device.

The $49 Spark Internet Button, will ship with the Photon developer board (which clicks directly into the housing) and is backwards compatible with the Core. It has 11 RGB LEDs, a 12-bit, 3-axis accelerometer and 4 press buttons built in. Like the Photon, it’ll begin shipping in March.
Spark founder and CEO Zach Supalla says the goal of the Internet Button is to make creating internet-connected products even easier for total beginners:
“Our goal is to help people create the next generation of connected products. Everyone comes in a different points. A lot of the people we sell to are already makers, they have some level of knowledge.
We wanted to make it easier for people who have zero knowledge and still want to start building things, so we decided to create a button. The thought was that we could boil down the tech into a toy but make it really powerful.”

 Supalla says his favourite use for the button is keeping his wife informed of his movements: “I always used to forget to text when I was coming home, now with IFTTT, if the button’s pressed, it sends a text to my wife to say I’m coming home.”
Spark has also put Internet Buttons to good use in its office: “We’ve been experimenting with everyone having a button on their desk. If it’s red, that means they’re not available and it updates their status in Slack. Press again and it turns green and their available in Slack again.”
Supalla explains the potential of the button very simply – “You can make this the remote control for your connected hardware.” – but has bigger ambitions too: “Eventually we’d like to do more API integrations. The one I’m excited about is turning it into an Uber button, which we can do quite yet because their API isn’t exposed.”
Still, given how addictive being able to summon a black car whenever you fancy is, it’s probably best that we don’t have access to that magical Uber button just yet.

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Bing now available as part of Facebook’s App in India

At Bing we share a belief that, when information is made freely available, people everywhere become empowered to do extraordinary things. Nowhere is this more true than in areas of the world where people’s access to the internet is mobile-first. Today, Facebook introduced the next phase of, a global initiative aimed at making the benefits of the internet more accessible to people around the world and, starting today, Bing is proud to be a part of the effort.
We are proud that Bing is the primary search engine for the app in India, which will be made available later today to Reliance customers in India. Together with Facebook, and many others across the industry, we are working to make the internet more accessible through a set of free basic services.
Through, Bing will help bring more people online to discover information, knowledge and experience services that they might not have had access to otherwise. Our participation in Facebook’s follows the integration of Bing into a range of third party experiences – including Apple’s Siri and Spotlight, and Twitter’s translation services.
Launched in July 2014, Facebook’s app will now be available in India, offering a set of free basic services including health, education, finance, jobs, search, communication and local information.
Reliance customers in India can access these services in the Android app, at For more details on the experience and Facebook’s initiative to bring 1 billion people online, head over to Facebook’s blog post.

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Google Chrome comes to Cuba

Havana - Google Chrome has finally touched down in Cuba. In a Google+ post Wednesday, Google blames American export controls and sanctions that may prohibit the access of certain tools in Cuba.

"U.S. export controls and sanctions can sometimes limit the products available in certain countries. As these trade restrictions evolve we’ve been working to figure out how to make more tools available in sanctioned countries," the company said in a post.

Although many may have found ways to download Chrome through other channels, the browser is now available across all platforms, such as Mac OS X, Android, Windows and iOS.

According to The Verge, this announcement comes just a couple of months after Google CEO Eric Schmidt and a group of web activists visited Cuba in June, campaigning for "open and free Internet.”

The Cuban government has been trying to make Cuba more Internet accessible by opening more than a hundred Internet cafes and offering DSL service to residents. However, that does not mean that Cubans have easy access to the Internet. Only 3% of Cubans use the Internet, making the country one of the least connected places in the world.

In the past few years, Google has also pushed for Chrome access to Syria, Iran, Myanmar and North Korea.