Google Allo No Longer Features in Top 500 Apps on Google Play

Google Allo No Longer Features in Top 500 Apps on Google Play
HIGHLIGHTS
Google Allo has seen a drastic ranking drop in last one month
Google recently added a chatbot named Lucky to the app
The app has consistently dropped out of top 500 in recent weeks
It seems like Google’s experiment to simplify messaging and video chats with the release of its Allo and Duo apps is not going as well as the search giant would have hoped – Google Allo is not featuring even in top 500 apps on Google Play in the US currently.

On the basis of Google Play data provided by App Annie, it is clearly visible that Google Allo has dropped out of the top 500 apps several times in since November, with a sharp downward trend more evident in the last couple of weeks, Android Police pointed out in its report. You can see the times it has dropped off the chart as the blank spaces in the graph below, with yellow representing Communications app rank, red representing Applications rank, and blue representing overall rank.

us google allo app annie 1 US Allo App Annie

Things aren’t very different in India either – in the same period, Google Allo dropped off the top 500 charts in the first week of January, as you can see in the graph below.

india google allo app annie 1 India Allo App Annie
Notably, Google introduced Hindi Assistant for India in December last year and Amit Fulay, Group Product Manager at Google, claimed at the time that the app had received tremendous response, especially in India, which he said had one of the highest number of Google Allo users.

Just two months ago, the text-messaging app was ranking consistently around top 200 apps but has seen almost a free-fall since mid-December, AP pointed out in its report.

Google recently added a new chatbot named Lucky to the Allo app that provides users with GIF images on the basis of their requirements. In order to get help from the chat bot, users need to simply type @lucky in the app followed by whatever phrase they want.

Considering that Google has been consistent with its updates to Allo since its launch, it comes across as a surprise that the app is failing to gain traction among Android users.

Tags: Google Allo, Google Play Top 500, Apps, Social, Google, India

[“Source-Gadgets”]

Oculus Ordered to Pay $500 Million in ZeniMax Copyright Infringement Case

Oculus Ordered to Pay $500 Million in ZeniMax Copyright Infringement Case
A US jury Wednesday ordered Facebook and creators of its Oculus Rift to pay $500 million (roughly Rs. 3,370 crores) to gaming software firm ZeniMax in a lawsuit that claimed the virtual reality technology was stolen.

The Texas jury made the award in a trial in which Oculus was accused of basing its Rift headset on technology stolen from ZeniMax’s virtual reality software, court documents showed.

The lawsuit claimed Oculus founder Palmer Luckey and his colleagues developed the virtual reality gear using source code illegally obtained from the gaming firm.

The jury dismissed the charge that Oculus stole or misappropriated trade secrets but found Oculus liable for copyright infringement and other violations.

Luckey was ordered to pay $50 million of the award and another former Oculus executive, Brendan Iribe $150 million.

The two executives were accused of violating a non-disclosure agreement with ZeniMax and copying the source code and other documents on a USB storage device.

ZeniMax had sought $4 billion in damages in the case, in which Facebook chief Mark Zuckerberg testified to defend his company.

ZeniMax pleased, Oculus appeals
Maryland-based ZeniMax said it was “pleased” about the award for “unlawful infringement of our copyrights and trademarks, and for the violation of our non-disclosure agreement with Oculus pursuant to which we shared breakthrough VR technology that we had developed and that we exclusively own.”

Robert Altman, ZeniMax’s chairman and chief executive, said in the statement: “Technology is the foundation of our business and we consider the theft of our intellectual property to be a serious matter.”

In its statement, Oculus said: “The heart of this case was about whether Oculus stole ZeniMax’s trade secrets, and the jury found decisively in our favor.”
Oculus said it plans to appeal the verdict and was “undeterred” in its efforts to bring virtual reality technology to consumers.

“Our commitment to the long-term success of VR remains the same, and the entire team will continue the work they’ve done since day one – developing VR technology that will transform the way people interact and communicate,” the Oculus statement said.

“We look forward to filing our appeal and eventually putting this litigation behind us.”

Facebook acquired Oculus in 2014 for more than $2 billion and last year began selling the Rift headsets as part of the social network’s push into virtual reality.

According to the ZeniMax allegations, the four founders of Oculus had no expertise or backgrounds in VR other than Palmer Luckey.

But ZeniMax said Luckey “could not code the software that was the key to solving the issues of VR.”

The ZeniMax statement added that “we will consider what further steps we need to take to ensure there will be no ongoing use of our misappropriated technology, including by seeking an injunction to restrain Oculus and Facebook from their ongoing use of computer code that the jury found infringed Zenimax’s copyrights.”

The news came as Facebook was releasing its earnings for the fourth quarter.

Zuckerberg, in his opening statement to analysts, sad Facebook would “keep making big investments in VR content, and I am excited about what is coming in 2017 from games to more immersive experiences.”

Tags: Facebook, Oculus Rift, ZeniMax, Oculus ZeniMax Trial, Wearables, Social, Entertainment, Gaming

[“Source-Gadgets”]

WhatsApp Two-Step Verification, HTC Bolt, Rs. 500, 1000 Ban Fallout, and More: Your 360 Daily

HIGHLIGHTS

  • WhatsApp beta for Android, Windows 10 Mobile get a new security feature
  • Alibaba sold goods worth $1 billion in 5 minutes on Single’s Day
  • OnePlus 3 to get Android 7.0 Nougat ‘community’ build in November

Friday saw the launch of HTC Bolt, a 2016 smartphone with a 2015 processor; WhatsApp adding two-step verification to its beta apps; record Singles’ Day sales in China; and a whole lot more. Here’s your 360 Daily with the top tech stories of the day.

WhatsApp beta version gets two-step verification
The beta versions of WhatsApp for Android and Windows 10 Mobile now have two-step verification, an important security tool to authenticate user identity. Users who choose to activate two-step verification on WhatsApp will have to provide a 6-digit passcode to authenticate their phone number if they switch phones. An email address, provided at the time of setting up two-step verification, will be used to disable this security feature, if needed.

HTC Bolt With Android 7.0 Nougat, no headphone jack launched
HTC has launched the Bolt smartphone, running Android 7.0 Nougat out-of-the-box but lacking the 3.5mm audio jack. The new HTC Bolt is exclusive to Sprint in the US for now, and it comes with a 5.5-inch screen (1440×2560 pixels), water- and dust-resistant metal body, Snapdragon 810 processor, 3GB of RAM, 32GB internal storage, up to 2TB microSD card support, 16-megapixel rear camera, 8-megapixel front camera, and 3200mAh battery with fast-charging.PM Narendra Modi lost 3 lakh Twitter followers the day after Rs. 500, Rs. 1000 ban
Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s follower-count on Twitter saw a dip of more than 3 lakh the day after he announced the demonetisation of the Rs. 500 and Rs. 1,000 currency notes. However, his net increase in Twitter followers the next day was 4.3 lakh, much higher than the 20,000-25,000 he gains on an average day.

Alibaba rakes in $1 billion in first 5 minutes of Singles’ Day in China
Alibaba sold goods worth $1 billion in the first five minutes and $5 billion in the first hour of its annual Singles’ Day online shopping extravaganza. The company offers heavy discounts on products via its Tmall and Taobao websites, and according to some estimates it clocked sales worth over $15 billion by 8pm. Alibaba said 84 percent of the total sales in the first two hours were from mobile devices.

Videocon d2h to merge with Dish TV
Videocon Group and Essel Group are merging their DTH divisions – Videocon d2h and Dish TV, respectively – to create a single entity called Dish TV Videocon, which will be positioned as the leading operator in India. Essel Group will have 55.4 percent ownership of the entity, while Videocon will own a 44.6 percent stake.

Cash on Delivery back on track on Amazon India
Two days after suspending Cash on Delivery on its platform, Amazon India has brought back the option, much to the delight of customers. The step was taken after Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced the demonetisation of Rs. 500 and Rs. 1,000 notes. The company is also letting customers pay via credit and debit cards at the time of delivery.

OnePlus 3 to get Android 7.0 Nougat beta build in November
OnePlus will reportedly release the Android 7.0 Nougat ‘community’ build, a beta version of the software, for the OnePlus 3 smartphone in November. The company plans to roll out the final version of the new build as a public release by the end of the year. OnePlus’s software chief Brian Yoon has also said that OnePlus 2 will also get the software, but did not mention a timeline.

Google Chrome installs cross 2 billion
The Chrome browser has become the first Google product to have 2 billion installs worldwide. The app is available both for desktops and mobile devices. However, being installed on 2 billion devices does not mean that it is actively used by as many users on a regular basis.

Reliance Communications launches its first Android-based 4G LTE HomePhone
Anil Ambani-owned Reliance Communications has launched the Android 5.1 Lollipop-powered 4G LTE HomePhone, which comes with an in-built SIM and supports 4G and VoLTE. It has a 3.5-inch display and allows up to eight Wi-Fi devices to connect via hotspot to use its Internet connection.

BlackBerry to launch one last smartphone with physical keyboard
BlackBerry CEO John Chen has confirmed that the company will launch one last smartphone featuring the physical keyboard, which once made it an iconic brand. However, he did not furnish any details on the device, including other key hardware features, software, pricing, or launch timeline.

Tags: Narendra Modi, Twitter, Alibaba, Single’s Day, Videocon d2h, Dish TV, Amazon India, Cash on Delivery, OnePlus 3, Android 7.0 Nougat, WhatsApp, Google Chrome, HTC Bolt, Reliance Communications, BlackBerry, John Chen
[“Source-Gadgets”]

IRS Ups Deduction vs. Depreciation to $2,500 for Computers, Phones

deduction

The Internal Revenue Service has increased the amount small businesses can expense versus depreciate on their taxes each year. It’s a change that should simplify record keeping and increase the amount of a capital investment you can write off in a year.

Specifically, the federal agency has boosted the so-called “IRS safe harbor” limit businesses can deduct on a capital investment within a single year from $500 to $2,500.

A capital investment is one used by a business to acquire, produce, or improve tangible property. It might range from investment in a new building to investment in a new piece of equipment or other new technology.

The IRS says the change is the result of feedback on a request put out to businesses asking for ways to make paperwork easier. The agency says it received more than 150 letters from businesses pointing out that a $500 threshold didn’t cover the cost of many expensed items such as tablet computers and machinery.

For example, purchasing tablets for $2,000 would have to be amortized for four years at $500 each year. Raising the IRS safe harbor threshold for capitalization from $500 to $2,500 would allow for the deduction to come in one year.

Safe Harbor is a term for an amount that the IRS won’t question. As a part of this new rule, the IRS has said it won’t question $2,500 deductions in years previous to the official 2016 start.

IRS Commissioner John Koskinen says in an agency announcement, “We received many thoughtful comments from taxpayers, their representatives and the professional tax community. This important step simplifies taxes for small businesses, easing the record keeping and paperwork burden on small business owners and their tax preparers.”

Capitalization has traditionally taken place over years as a deduction on the depreciation of property that’s intended to last years. But now businesses can deduct a larger expense for technology in a single year leaving depreciation for much bigger ticket items. The IRS safe harbor change affects businesses that do not maintain an applicable financial statement (audited financial statement).

And, as always, deductions can be taken on repair and maintenance costs which are not counted under the $2,500 limit. For taxpayers with an applicable financial statement, the small-dollar threshold remains $5,000.

Deduction Definition Photo via Shutterstock

[“source-smallbiztrends”]