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HONG KONG (Reuters) – China’s biggest social network and gaming firm Tencent Holdings, which last week reported forecast-beating quarterly results, is close to making Malaysia the first foreign country to roll out its WeChat ecosystem, an executive told Reuters.

FILE PHOTO: Tencent’s booth is pictured at the Global Mobile Internet Conference (GMIC) 2017 in Beijing, China April 28, 2017. REUTERS/Jason Lee/File Photo
If you’re using a messaging app in China, chances are it’s owned by Tencent – a leading provider of web-based services in China that owns WeChat, as well as a whole host of social media platforms, entertainment subsidiaries and payment services. With an increasing amount of global brand awareness, the time had come for Tencent to expand its corporate typographic voice in line with its ambitions. The company approached Monotype to design a bespoke typeface, based on its existing logo, that could convey its vision of “innovation, responsibility and enablement”.

Tencent has made a “breakthrough” in gaining an e-payment license in Malaysia for local transactions, and plans a launch early next year, senior vice president S.Y. Lau said in an interview.

The move pits Shenzhen-based Tencent against rival Alibaba Group as they scramble for new growth opportunities outside China. Tencent this week became the first Asian firm to enter the club of companies worth more than $500 billion, and on Tuesday surpassed Facebook in market value.

“Malaysia is actually quite large in the sense that we have 20 million WeChat users, huge potential, and the market is quite warm towards internet products from China,” Lau said.

Southeast Asia, home to more than 600 million people and some of the world’s fastest-growing economies, has been a key battleground for China’s tech titans fighting for deals. Ethnic Chinese make up more than a fifth of Malaysia’s population.

WeChat Pay and Alibaba’s Alipay, which dominate China’s digital payment market, have sought to expand their global footprint, although that push has so far been limited to payment services for Chinese outbound tourists. They can scan-and-pay for purchases in 34 countries or regions via Alipay and 13 via WeChat Pay, according to the companies.

Alipay’s parent company Ant Financial has joint ventures in seven markets for local digital payments services, which operate independently under the partnerships’ brand names.

Alibaba is looking to build a global payment system, while Tencent is more interested in generating traffic for WeChat – two different strategies, some bankers and investors say.

WeChat has more users, but Alipay’s aggregate transaction volume is higher, according to JP Morgan’s John Hall, though other investors note that WeChat Pay can also process large transactions if it’s used on e-commerce platforms.

GLOBAL EXPANSION

One challenge for Tencent, say analysts, is that its success in China cannot be easily exported to other markets.

Tencent is “not in a hurry” to speed up its overseas expansion or increase the monetization rate of its digital assets, Lau said.

“We walk our own path at our own pace … and, to be honest, there is really quite a lot to do in China,” he said.

WeChat, which has ballooned from a messaging app to an all-in-one platform with 980 million monthly active users, could be the “killer product” to spearhead expansion abroad, Lau said, as its embedded payment function draws more services.

WeChat, with an open platform of mini-programs, was a key revenue contributor for Tencent in the third quarter. Social and other advertising revenue rose 63 percent, while payment and cloud helped “other business” post a 143 percent jump

“Honour of Kings”, Tencent’s top-grossing battle game that led an 84 percent increase in quarterly smartphone gaming revenue, also owes its success to the network help of WeChat, and is expected to find it tougher to crack Western markets, analysts say.

Tencent this month delayed the launch of the game’s U.S. edition, “Arena of Valor”, to next year to “further polish additional gameplay and social features”.

After games and social media, most of Tencent’s other businesses are in digital content, including Spotify equivalent Tencent Music and YouTube equivalent Tencent Video, which also makes its own dramas.

CULTURE CHALLENGE

Lau said the ultimate aim was to export culture from China to the rest of the world, rather than the other way round, which he acknowledged was challenging.

“What we’re aiming to create is ‘super IPs’ (intellectual property) that leverage our different businesses from upstream to downstream,” Lau said, citing Disneyland and the James Bond movies as successful practices in the West.

A big business for Tencent’s recently listed publishing arm, China Literature, is to sell its popular novels and have them turned into dramas and video games by Tencent’s other business lines.

Tencent this month announced a plan involving 10 billion yuan ($1.51 billion) of investment to boost its creative content ecosystem, though it gave no time frame for the investment.

Company president Martin Lau – no relation to S.Y. – said on an earnings call last week that Tencent would keep investing in digital content, especially online video, to draw more time from more paying customers.

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Overseas acquisitions will remain a key way of enhancing Tencent’s global access and competitiveness, S.Y. Lau said.

Independent technology analyst Richard Windsor said Tencent’s 2016 acquisition of Supercell gave it a strong position in gaming, while the move to buy a stake in social media firm Snapchat is another piece in the jigsaw.

“It increasingly looks as if Tencent is embarking on a circumnavigation of the digital life pie in order to build an ecosystem to challenge the Google, Apple, Amazon, Facebook dominance of consumer digital services,” he said, noting it’s at a “super early stage” in that process.

Tencent will likely seek more overseas acquisitions, Windsor added, which, beyond being expensive, could challenge Tencent in integrating all its digital assets at home and abroad.

Tencent has struggled to monetize its dominance over the Chinese digital life, he said, adding that’s why he sees more upside in Tencent’s market valuation, and prefers it to Alibaba.

Henry Sapiecha

OMG, Facebook adds reaction emojis

Facebook’s “like” button isn’t going away, but it’s about to get some company.

Facebook has now officially added a select group of emoticons to allow users to react to posts – without having to use anything as old fashioned as, you know, actual words.

The social network rolled out “Reactions” – an extension of the “Like” button – worldwide on Wednesday, allowing people to display quick reactions such as sadness, anger and love.

In a video accompanying a blog post, the five new buttons appear as animated emoticons that pop up when the “Like” button is held down on mobile devices. The buttons appear on desktops when users hover over the “Like” button.

reactions buttons facebook-image www.socialselect.net

The new emoji-like stickers Facebook users can press in addition to the ‘like’ button. Photo: Mary Altaffer

Facebook launched a pilot of “Reactions” – which allowed users to select from seven emotions including “Angry”, “Sad”, “Wow” and “Like” – in Ireland and Spain in October.
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The “Yay” emoticon, which was present in the pilot launch, was not seen in Wednesday’s video.

The company will also use “Reactions” to track user behaviour and for ad delivery.

“We will initially use any Reaction similar to a Like to infer that you want to see more of that type of content,” Facebook said in separate blog post.

Facebook said that over time it hoped to learn how different “Reactions” should be weighted differently by the Facebook News Feed to customise it for individual users. Facebook said “Reactions” would have the same impact on ad delivery as “Likes”.

The feature received mixed reviews from users on social networking sites.

Many complained that they could not see the new emoticons, while some were unhappy that Facebook did not launch a “dislike” button. Others expressed concern that the feature would lead to diminished use of language and less interaction.

“Great, now you don’t even have to offer actual words, just a freaking emoji. What’s the point in learning a language at all then?,” Candice Johnson wrote on the social network.

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Henry Sapiecha

black diamonds on white line

Mark Zuckerberg, founder and CEO of Facebook, thinks telepathy could be the future of his company image www.socialselect.net

Mark Zuckerberg, founder and CEO of Facebook, thinks telepathy could be the future of his company

Internet satellites, virtual reality, even real working AI: It all pales in comparison to the future that Facebook chief executive Mark Zuckerberg has in mind. In a Q&A session with site users on Tuesday, the 31-year-old said he envisions a world where people — presumably Facebook users — don’t need these types of communication intermediaries. Instead, they’ll communicate brain-to-brain, using telepathy.

“One day, I believe we’ll be able to send full rich thoughts to each other directly using technology,” Zuckerberg wrote in response to a question about what’s next for Facebook. “You’ll just be able to think of something and your friends will immediately be able to experience it too.”

But hold up: Is that even possible? And is that something anyone actually wants? TL;DR: Theoretically, yes; and, er — maybe not.

MRIs are one of the ways researchers have mapped brain activity. Photo Nic Walker image www.socialselect.net

How to read a mind

To understand how Zuckerberg’s vision would theoretically work, you have to understand how the brain works, too.

In a nutshell, your nervous system is composed of cells called neurons, which communicate with each other using chemical signals called neurotransmitters. When a neuron receives one of these signals, it generates a tiny electrical spike. And because millions of these signals are required for everything your brain does — clicking your mouse, reading this text, remembering breakfast, you name it — your brain is basically sending off pinpricks of electrical energy all the time.

The cool thing about this, of course, is that scientists can measure and map this electrical activity using existing technologies like EEG and fMRI machines. And once they have enough maps, they can begin to read them – a point that neuroscientists and researchers are just now approaching.

At the University of California at Berkeley, a team of cognitive scientists have managed to reconstruct clips of movies their subjects were watching, based solely on measurements of their brainwaves. “You could not see the close-up details,” wrote the theoretical physicist Michio Kaku after watching one of the “movies,” “(but) you could clearly identify the kind of object you were seeing.”

mind thoughts images www.socialselect.net

How to send a thought

This is all well and good and interesting, of course, but the technology Zuckerberg envisions is a two-way street: How could we not only “read” a mind but also get that pattern of electrical signals into someone else’s head?

There are invasive options; i.e. implanting some kind of device in your brain. In 2013, scientists at Duke University implanted two lab rats with microelectrode arrays and taught one of the rats to press one of two levers. Afterwards, the second rat, who had not been trained, also seemed to know which level to push: It had received neural signals from the first rat, via the implant.

Recently, researchers have also had some luck with a noninvasive technique called transcranial magnetic stimulation, or TMS. When you put on a TMS headset it generates a magnetic field over your scalp, which can be used to activate neural pathways. Last fall, test subjects in India were able to use TMS to “think” the words “hola” and “ciao” to test subjects in France; the process was painfully slow, however, and the words weren’t sent in their entirety — they had to be encoded as binary digits, uploaded to the internet, sent, downloaded and then decoded as flashes of light. (WHEW.)

thought tranfer diagramme image www.socialselect.net

This is, while promising, a really clunky system. It’s unsophisticated (no one has yet “sent” an actual emotion or idea), it’s inexact (the rat still chose the wrong lever sometimes), and it’s slower than virtually every other form of modern communication, save perhaps snail mail. These experiments also required access to some very expensive, sophisticated equipment. Even if you wanted to, you could not try this at home.

“‘Telepathy’ technology remains so crude that it’s unlikely to have any practical impact,” wrote Mark Harris at the MIT Technology Review.

That said, these are only the very earliest days of telepathy research, and new developments are in the works. Among other things, researchers are looking into handheld, phone-sized MRI machines that would make it easier and cheaper to capture your own brain activity. And the US army is developing a telepathy helmet, almost like a VR headset, that would condense and simplify all this electrical signal-sending — although that, experts say, is still decades away.

Where does Facebook fit in?

Is Facebook currently developing any technology in this vein? A spokesperson for the company did not immediately respond to The Washington Post‘s request for comment, though Facebook’s Research division — the arm of the company that studies machine learning, AI and virtual reality — has not published any work on brain-to-brain communication and does not appear to employ any researchers in the field.

But even if Facebook isn’t leading the charge toward telepathy — a worrying concept in itself, given the site’s past indiscretions re: research consent and user privacy — the field poses tons of ethical challenges, if only in theory. How would you control who “spoke” to you? What’s to stop someone from sending you disturbing or abusive thoughts, or otherwise “hacking” your brain? And if these signals are moderated by some third-party technology, like a headset or helmet, will they be recorded somehow and saved, and by whom and for what purpose? Could they be hijacked by advertisers like the ones in “Minority Report,” who tailor interactive billboards to private thoughts?

“John Anderton!” one calls out, “you could use a Guinness right about now!”

There are, as of yet, no answers to these questions: An academic paper on the ethics of brain-to-brain technology, published in 2014, warned that there is neither legislation nor formal academic protocol for this type of research. (The writers predicted that could eventually provoke “public uproar.”)

For now, however, such concern is many breakthroughs and advances away. Zuckerberg himself may be getting up in years by the time we’re communicating telepathically.

The Washington Post

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Henry Sapiecha

Lotte Hofmeester was filmed once a week every week since her birth in October 1999.image www.socialselect.net

Lotte Hofmeester was filmed once a week every week since her birth in October 1999.

It took Dutch filmmaker Frans Hofmeester’s daughter Lotte 12 years to grow from a full-cheeked infant to a coy 12-year-old girl on the brink of adolescence.

But you can watch this incredible (and inevitable) evolution take place in less than three minutes, thanks to Hofmeester’s video “Lotte Time Lapse: Birth to 12 years in 2 min. 45.”

Hoffmeester filmed his daughter once a week, every week, since her birth in October 1999. As she was about to enter adolescence, he decided it was time to share this visual history of his daughter’s growth with the world.

He strung the videos together and sped them up, creating a time-lapse video of sorts that has gone viral on the Internet. In the last week it has racked up close to 2 million views on Vimeo and YouTube.

“She was changing at such a rapid pace that I felt the need to document the way she looked, to keep my memories in tact,” Hofmeester said in an email to the Los Angeles Times.

The images in the video are not static – so the video lacks that creepy slow morph that we’re familiar with from people who take their picture everyday.

Hofmeester said it wasn’t always easy to get Lotte and her younger brother Vince to sit in front of the camera every week.

When they didn’t feel like it, Hofmeester said he’d ask them questions about their lives, trying to stall them until he got the shot.

Hofmeester said he decided to share the video with the world now because Lotte is entering puberty. “She’ll be changing a lot over the coming years, but primarily on the inside,” he said.

But of course, he will continue filming.

LATimes

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Henry Sapiecha

BRISBANE AUSTRALIA SPAWNS A NEW FACEBOOK LIKE CONCEPT USING LIVE VIDEOS AS THE COMMUNICATION MEDIUM

A first name isn’t the only thing Mark Cracknell has in common with Mark Zuckerberg.

Like the Facebook founder, Cracknell is a young man with big dreams and a background in computing. He also has a website, Kondoot, which, like Zuckerberg’s famous social network, enables users to share their lives online.

Mark C may not have emulated Mark Z’s stratospheric success just yet, but the comparison is already being drawn – by no less than the Wall Street Journal – after the 21-year-old Brisbane-based entrepreneur and partner Nathan Hoad returned from the US with $3.2 million in funding for their site.

Sourced & published by Henry Sapiecha

SKYPE VIDEO AND FACEBOOK MARRIAGE

Facebook, the world’s largest social network, is stepping up competition with Google by teaming with Skype to offer free video calls.

Facebook also said it has more than 750 million users, up from 500 million, in an announcement today at an event in Palo Alto, California, where it is based. Microsoft, a long- time Facebook partner, is acquiring Skype in a $US8.5 billion deal expected to close later this year.

Video chats can help Facebook fend off competition from Google, which introduced a social network with that feature last week, and offer an alternative to Apple’s FaceTime for the iPhone. Chief executive officer Mark Zuckerberg is using partnerships and media features to increase Facebook’s audience and avert user defections.

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg, left, watches a demonstration of the new Facebook video chat during a news conference at Facebook headquarters.Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg, left, watches a demonstration of the new Facebook video chat during a news conference at Facebook headquarters. Photo: AFP

“You’re going to have more and more competition between Facebook and Google,” said Ben Schachter, an analyst at Macquarie Capital. “The two companies are going to be battling it out for some time to come.”

Facebook also unveiled a multi-person chat feature that lets several people hold online conversations at the same time.

‘Cool new scenarios’

Skype CEO Tony Bates, left, and Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg hold a news conference at Facebook headquarters in Palo Alto, California.Skype CEO Tony Bates, left, and Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg hold a news conference at Facebook headquarters in Palo Alto, California. Photo: Reuters

“We’re using the best technology that’s out there for doing video chat with the best social infrastructure that’s out there in order to create some really cool new scenarios,” Zuckerberg said during a presentation at the event.

Facebook began holding talks with Skype about offering web video calls on its social network in 2010, a person familiar with the discussions said earlier this year. An October update to Skype included voice calling between Facebook friends. Microsoft agreed to buy Skype in May.

“This is a really strategic long term deal between Skype and Facebook,” said Neil Stevens, vice president and general manager for consumer at Skype . “This isn’t just a one shot one deal implementation of a product. This is a long term relationship.”

Google’s new site, called Google+, includes Google’s maps and images, messages, comments and other content from selected groups of friends, as well as a video chat feature.

Microsoft, based in Redmond, Washington, invested $US240 million in Facebook in 2007 and entered an agreement to sell ads on the social network.

Facebook is forging ties with other media and technology companies. It added Netflix CEO Reed Hastings to its board of directors in June and discussed incorporating more social features into the online video-streaming service. In March, Time Warner’s Warner Bros. studio announced plans to offer movie rentals on Facebook for $US3.

Facebook is valued at $US71 billion on SharesPost Inc., an exchange for shares of private companies.

Sourced & published by Henry Sapiecha


SHARING MOMENTS IN TIME OF A VIDEO

WITH YOUR SOCIAL SITE CONTACT NETWORK

Reuters Small Business presents expansion pitches from upstarts across the country. Boulder-based startup BlipSnips has created a Web platform that lets users tag specific moments in videos to share on their social networks. Here’s the pitch:

Entrepreneur's Edge: BlipSnips View videos here

Entrepreneur’s Edge: BlipSnips (2:13)

Sourced & published by Henry Sapiecha

WINNING WITH FACEBOOK

STAY IN THE FACEBOOK GAME OR PERISH

Dec. 21 – Small businesses are leveraging their profiles on Facebook to boost their business by keeping in close contact with customers.

Karina Huber reports.

Getting the message out on Facebook View video here

Getting the message out on Facebook

Sourced & published by Henry Sapiecha

December 24th, 2010 FACEBOOK, VIDEOS AUDIOS none Comments

FACELIFT for FACEBOOK NOW READY

Facebook gets a facelift (1:41)

Dec 06 – Facebook’s new revamped profile pages put more user information front and center, raising new questions about how much users want to reveal. Bobbi Rebell reports.

VideoWatch this video here

Sourced & published by Henry Sapiecha