YouTube Ban Lifted in Pakistan After Google Launches Local Version

YouTube Ban Lifted in Pakistan After Google Launches Local Version

Pakistan Monday lifted a years-long ban on video-sharing site YouTube after Google launched a country-specific version ensuring the filtering out of content deemed blasphemous.

The Supreme Court in 2012 had ordered a ban on the site after the “Innocence of Muslims” was uploaded.

The American-made film depicted the Prophet Mohammed as a thuggish deviant and triggered protests across the Muslim world including in Pakistan, where more than 20 people died in demonstrations.

Blasphemy is a contentious issue in Pakistan and the country has seen violent riots sparked by content considered offensive to Islam.

But last week Google said it had launched a localised version of the site in Nepal, Pakistan and Sri Lanka, meaning Pakistani authorities can now ask Google to remove content deemed objectionable.

On Monday authorities said the ban had been lifted.

“Pakistan Telecommunication Authority (PTA) Monday directed the Internet Service Providers (ISPs) to unblock YouTube with immediate effect,” a senior government official told AFP.

“The ban has been lifted after Google launched a country-specific version in which it would be possible to block blasphemous and offensive content,” the official said.

Wahajus Siraj, chief executive officer of internet service provider Nayatel Private Limited, confirmed receiving the instruction.

He added that he had checked and did not find blasphemous content on the website, saying that some videos came up with a notification that they had been blocked.

Google has said that it would review requests before taking videos down.

Pakistan Telecommunication Company Limited, the country’s largest telecom provider, also announced the move on its Facebook page with a “Welcome Back YouTube” post.

Islamabad had been in intermittent talks with Google for several years over the issue. Internet users in Pakistan, meanwhile, simply circumvented the ban using proxy servers and Virtual Private Networks.

In 2010 Pakistan shut down Facebook for nearly two weeks over its hosting of allegedly blasphemous pages. It continues to restrict thousands of online links.


Google Now Lets You Install Apps Directly From Search Results

Google Now Lets You Install Apps Directly From Search Results

Google last year started prompting users to install an app on mobile if it had relevant content to the user’s search query. Now, the company has taken a step ahead and is allowing users to install the apps directly from the search results without opening the Google Play store.

Android Police reports that the feature is not available to everyone and can be expected to roll out slowly. It does not yet appear to be available in India, and we were directed to Google Play on hitting the Install button.

Previously, Google’s mobile search results on Android prompted users to install an app if it had relevant content to the user’s search query.

(Also see: Google Now Lets You Stream Android Apps From Mobile Search Results)

The report adds that on tapping the Install button with the new feature enabled, users will get the permission popup message, which users usually received during app installs from the Google Play. On giving permission to install the app, a new Google Play-style overlay would appear, with user acceptance of the app’s permissions and the final, install button. It adds that the feature is currently only visible on the Google app and is not found on Chrome.

While Google last year introduced app indexing for iOS apps which showed iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch users content from within mobile apps straight from Google Search, it is not clear if Google will be able to roll out similar install functionality for users via Apple’s App Store.


Mad Street Den Launches, a Visual Recommendation Platform for Fashion Portals

Mad Street Den Launches, a Visual Recommendation Platform for Fashion PortalsChennai-based AI startup Mad Street Den, launched on Tuesday, which it said is the world’s first AI-based platform for fashion retail e-commerce powered by visual intelligence. enables fashion startups to provide visual recommendations and visual search features on web and mobile, along with a host of deep learning and data-science driven features like personalisation, data analytics, and cross product recommendations.

Ashwini Asokan, Co-Founder, Mad Street Den told Gadgets 360 that while a few startups provide a use case or two, no fashion-based AI platform exists anywhere else. Asia is driving all the action the innovation in AI-based e-commerce, she said. “India has actually leapfrogged in AI in e-commerce in ways that world has not been able to leapfrog.”

The startup’s clients include Craftsvilla, Voonik, YepMe and Kaaryah, which are able to provide recommendations based on colour and dress patterns.

Founded in 2013, by Asokan and Anand Chandrasekaran, a husband-wife team, the Chennai-based startup currently has a global team of thirty-five people spread across San Francisco, and Australia has a motto of bringing AI to everyday life.

In an emailed fact sheet, the startup shared its intentions to crack generalised AI, as most deep learning techniques lack context. Its long-term road map involves teaching machines to see context like humans can.

“That context is the “real diamond in the rough. True context can only be achieved by delving into the next frontier of technology: artificial intelligence and machine learning,” the company said.


Flipkart Invests in Parenting Social Network Tinystep

Flipkart Invests in Parenting Social Network TinystepTinystep, a parenting social network, Tuesday said it has raised an undisclosed amount in seed funding from Flipkart.

The Bengaluru-based startup plans to use the funds to develop the product, enhance user experience and strengthen its team, Tinystep said in a statement.

The funding will also be utilised to further accelerate the company’s growth and user engagement, it added.

Tinystep is a mobile app that helps parents connect with each other to communicate, guide and collaborate with each other on parenting with features like Q&A Forum, individual and group chats.

“Silicon Valley has given us Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and many more awesome social products, Tinystep can be a tiny gift from India. Flipkart is helping us with the required guidance to continue our excelling growth,” Tinystep founder Suhail Abidi said.

The 20-member team of Tinystep comprises mostly of engineers from colleges like Stanford and IITs.

The app has many features lined up to for a baby’s milestones, baby’s first steps, first tooth, memories etc, meetups to encourage parents to organise meet ups directly through the app, and others.

“This concept has great potential in the existing market, and it is the much needed tech product in the parenting domain,” Flipkart Head Corporate Development Nishant Verman said.

The child care industry holds massive potential and Tinystep being a community driven product is definitely going in the right direction towards dominating it, he added.

One of India’s largest online marketplaces, Flipkart has so far raised over $3 billion (roughly Rs. 20,288 crores) from institutional investors.

It has, in turn, also backed a number of startups in the mobile technology space in the past few months.

It has invested in media technology startup ZAPR, mobile gaming company Mech Mocha Game Studios and MadRat Games, and mobile technology startup Cube26.’