Tag Archives: Service

Uber tests cheaper 'Hurry Hurry' service for errands in Nairobi
February 12, 2018 6:08 pm|Comments (0)

NAIROBI (Reuters) – Uber is testing a service in Nairobi that was inspired by residents’ use of the platform for errands and aims to tap into a new segment of the city’s active ride-hailing market, a regional executive said on Monday.

Amid the minibuses, safari 4x4s, taxis and Ubers on the roads of Kenya’s capital, tiny, boxy Suzuki (7269.T) Altos are popping up. They are emblazoned with stickers reading “Uber Chap Chap”, and a slogan in Kiswahili that translates as “Arrive Faster, Save Money”.

That offer is exactly why 24-year-old lawyer Brian Mwirigi said he clicked the new “Chap Chap” option on his Uber app last week when he noticed that his short trip to deliver documents to a client would cost 100 Kenyan shillings ($ 1) less than with the standard “uberX”.

“It was a bit cramped, but for the price you’re paying, it doesn’t really matter,” he said, adding that he intends to use Chap Chap for trips downtown and in adjacent neighborhoods where it is available during the pilot.

Nairobians such as Mwirigi, who looks for a bargain when hailing a ride on his phone and will shop around, are one of the targets of Chap Chap, Uber’s East Africa general manager Loic Amado said in an interview.

“It’s about giving people choices,” he said. “Kenyans specifically are very open to adapting to new things and are very creative in using Uber for different things.”

The test phase began three weeks ago. More than 200 Altos have hit the roads.

Kenya is Uber’s second-largest market in sub-Saharan Africa, after South Africa. It competes against its global rival Taxify, which has gained popularity in Nairobi in the past year but does not disclose numbers of active riders and users. The Kenyan app Little said in September it has close to the 5,000 drivers that Uber boasts.

Nairobi is the first city in Africa in which Uber has piloted the low-cost, quick-trip option using small, brand-new vehicles.

If the positive response is sustained, he said, Uber will consider introducing Chap Chap across Nairobi and in the capitals of neighboring Uganda and Tanzania, Amado said.

Uber partnered with a local Suzuki dealer that imported 300 cars. Kenyan bank Stanbic arranged the financing so drivers with high ratings could opt in to the new service and own their Alto in three years.

The company noticed people were using Uber for errands, such as sending packages from office to office or for bank runs.

“There wasn’t a price point that was so affordable or attractive to do these shorter errands,” Amado said. The lower price is possible because the Alto is, at 25 km per liter, twice as fuel-efficient as the average car an Uber driver uses, he said.

There is another possible market.

Several Nairobians told Reuters they commute to work downtown in packed minibuses but hail Ubers for emergencies.

Harrison Iratenga, a security guard, said Uber had enabled his wife to deliver their third child at a hospital. “Our first two were born at home, before Uber was invented.”

The cheaper option could make it possible for him to use Uber more frequently, he said, as an Alto with the Chap Chap sticker cruised by.

The new service won’t suit everyone, including middle-class Kenyans who see their car as part of their personal style.

“I wouldn’t be caught dead in one of those,” said Mark Kuria, a 45-year-old civil servant dressed dapperly in a well-cut suit.

Reporting by Maggie Fick; Editing by Dale Hudson

Tech

Posted in: Cloud Computing|Tags: , , , , , , ,
Watch Out, Sony and Microsoft: Google Is Developing a Video Game Streaming Service
February 7, 2018 6:10 pm|Comments (0)

Google, which has largely sat on the sidelines of the video game industry, seems ready to get in the fight.

The company is working on a new service codenamed Yeti, which would let people play games streamed to them online, potentially eliminating the need for a dedicated console like the PlayStation 4 or a high-end gaming computer.

News of the service first broke via The Information. Gaming industry insiders, who were not authorized to speak on-the-record, tell Fortune that Google is targeting a holiday 2019 release for Yeti, though the company is currently behind schedule and that date could shift.

Google recently hired Phil Harrison, a long-time gaming industry veteran. Sources indicate he is closely involved with the project. Harrison spent 15 years as the head of Sony’s network of game studios and three years as a senior member of Microsoft’s Xbox team. Since leaving those companies, he has served as an adviser and board member to various gaming companies.

Google declined to discuss the initiative, citing a company policy of not commenting on rumors or speculation.

Some details about Yeti are still fuzzy. It could be a dedicated streaming box or could operate through the company’s Chromecast device. How it will overcome issues of in-game lag is one of the biggest hurdles. But Fortune has learned that several major publishers are working with Google on the project.

Yeti would compete with Sony’s Playstation Now streaming service, which carries a $ 19.95 monthly fee (or $ 100 annual fee). That service, built off of one of the pioneers in game streaming, has not found an especially large audience, in part because of the high price and older catalog of games. Microsoft has previously discussed launching a game streaming service, but has not made any announcements about a new streaming product.

Google has flirted with the game industry before. It almost acquired Twitch in 2014 for $ 1 billion, but the deal fell apart in the final stages. (Amazon would later acquire that game streaming service.) Since then, Google’s YouTube division has dramatically increased its presence in the video game world, live streaming from E3, the video game industry trade show, and enabling live game streaming.

There’s certainly a big financial incentive for Google in video games. The industry saw revenues of $ 36 billion in the U.S. alone in 2017. Globally, it generates over $ 100 billion each year.

Tech

Posted in: Cloud Computing|Tags: , , , , , , , ,
Watch Out, Sony and Microsoft: Google Is Developing a Video Game Streaming Service
February 7, 2018 6:05 pm|Comments (0)

Google, which has largely sat on the sidelines of the video game industry, seems ready to get in the fight.

The company is working on a new service codenamed Yeti, which would let people play games streamed to them online, potentially eliminating the need for a dedicated console like the PlayStation 4 or a high-end gaming computer.

News of the service first broke via The Information. Gaming industry insiders, who were not authorized to speak on-the-record, tell Fortune that Google is targeting a holiday 2019 release for Yeti, though the company is currently behind schedule and that date could shift.

Google recently hired Phil Harrison, a long-time gaming industry veteran. Sources indicate he is closely involved with the project. Harrison spent 15 years as the head of Sony’s network of game studios and three years as a senior member of Microsoft’s Xbox team. Since leaving those companies, he has served as an adviser and board member to various gaming companies.

Google declined to discuss the initiative, citing a company policy of not commenting on rumors or speculation.

Some details about Yeti are still fuzzy. It could be a dedicated streaming box or could operate through the company’s Chromecast device. How it will overcome issues of in-game lag is one of the biggest hurdles. But Fortune has learned that several major publishers are working with Google on the project.

Yeti would compete with Sony’s Playstation Now streaming service, which carries a $ 19.95 monthly fee (or $ 100 annual fee). That service, built off of one of the pioneers in game streaming, has not found an especially large audience, in part because of the high price and older catalog of games. Microsoft has previously discussed launching a game streaming service, but has not made any announcements about a new streaming product.

Google has flirted with the game industry before. It almost acquired Twitch in 2014 for $ 1 billion, but the deal fell apart in the final stages. (Amazon would later acquire that game streaming service.) Since then, Google’s YouTube division has dramatically increased its presence in the video game world, live streaming from E3, the video game industry trade show, and enabling live game streaming.

There’s certainly a big financial incentive for Google in video games. The industry saw revenues of $ 36 billion in the U.S. alone in 2017. Globally, it generates over $ 100 billion each year.

Tech

Posted in: Cloud Computing|Tags: , , , , , , , ,
Watch Out, Sony and Microsoft: Google Is Developing a Video Game Streaming Service
February 7, 2018 6:05 pm|Comments (0)

Google, which has largely sat on the sidelines of the video game industry, seems ready to get in the fight.

The company is working on a new service codenamed Yeti, which would let people play games streamed to them online, potentially eliminating the need for a dedicated console like the PlayStation 4 or a high-end gaming computer.

News of the service first broke via The Information. Gaming industry insiders, who were not authorized to speak on-the-record, tell Fortune that Google is targeting a holiday 2019 release for Yeti, though the company is currently behind schedule and that date could shift.

Google recently hired Phil Harrison, a long-time gaming industry veteran. Sources indicate he is closely involved with the project. Harrison spent 15 years as the head of Sony’s network of game studios and three years as a senior member of Microsoft’s Xbox team. Since leaving those companies, he has served as an adviser and board member to various gaming companies.

Google declined to discuss the initiative, citing a company policy of not commenting on rumors or speculation.

Some details about Yeti are still fuzzy. It could be a dedicated streaming box or could operate through the company’s Chromecast device. How it will overcome issues of in-game lag is one of the biggest hurdles. But Fortune has learned that several major publishers are working with Google on the project.

Yeti would compete with Sony’s Playstation Now streaming service, which carries a $ 19.95 monthly fee (or $ 100 annual fee). That service, built off of one of the pioneers in game streaming, has not found an especially large audience, in part because of the high price and older catalog of games. Microsoft has previously discussed launching a game streaming service, but has not made any announcements about a new streaming product.

Google has flirted with the game industry before. It almost acquired Twitch in 2014 for $ 1 billion, but the deal fell apart in the final stages. (Amazon would later acquire that game streaming service.) Since then, Google’s YouTube division has dramatically increased its presence in the video game world, live streaming from E3, the video game industry trade show, and enabling live game streaming.

There’s certainly a big financial incentive for Google in video games. The industry saw revenues of $ 36 billion in the U.S. alone in 2017. Globally, it generates over $ 100 billion each year.

Tech

Posted in: Cloud Computing|Tags: , , , , , , , ,
Fiat Chrysler, Waymo expand deal for self-driving public ride-hailing service
January 30, 2018 6:00 am|Comments (0)

DETROIT (Reuters) – Fiat Chrysler Automobiles NV (FCA) will provide Waymo with thousands of Pacifica hybrid minivans as Alphabet Inc’s self-driving unit begins rolling out its first public ride-hailing service later this year, the companies said on Tuesday.

Depending on its scope and scale, the agreement could put pressure on the likes of Uber Technologies Inc and General Motors Co to speed up their efforts to start self-driving commercial ride-hailing services.

Waymo is part of a growing number of vehicle manufacturers, technology companies and tech startups looking to develop so-called robo-taxis over the next three years in North America, Europe and Asia. Most of those companies have one or more partners.

Fiat Chrysler provided Waymo with 100 Pacifica minivans refitted for self-driving testing in 2016, then 500 in 2017.

“Our partnership with Waymo continues to grow and strengthen; this represents the latest sign of our commitment to this technology,” Fiat Chrysler Chief Executive Officer Sergio Marchionne said in a statement.

The companies said the automaker would start delivering “thousands” of minivans in late 2018. Waymo is due to begin offering a ride-hailing service to the public in Phoenix later this year.

“The additional Pacifica Hybrid minivans will be used to support Waymo as it expands its service to more cities across the United States,” the companies said.

Asked for details on the length of the agreement, a spokeswoman for Fiat Chrysler said the companies would not disclose terms.

Last week, Waymo said it began testing self-driving vehicles in Atlanta, bringing to 25 the total number of U.S. cities in which it is testing.

“The Pacifica Hybrid minivans offer a versatile interior and a comfortable ride experience, and these additional vehicles will help us scale,” Waymo CEO John Krafcik said.

Last November, Uber said it planned to buy up to 24,000 self-driving cars from Volvo as part of a non-exclusive deal from 2019 to 2021, marking the transition of the U.S. company from an app used to summon a taxi to the owner and operator of a fleet of cars.

Earlier this month, GM said it was seeking U.S. government approval for a fully autonomous car, one without a steering wheel, brake pedal or accelerator pedal, to enter the automaker’s first commercial ride-sharing fleet in 2019.

Reporting By Nick Carey

Tech

Posted in: Cloud Computing|Tags: , , , , , , , ,
WhatsApp messaging service returns after global outage
January 1, 2018 6:00 am|Comments (0)

(Reuters) – WhatsApp, a popular messaging service owned by Facebook Inc, suffered a global outage for about an hour on Sunday before the problem was fixed.

“WhatsApp users around the world experienced a brief outage today that has now been resolved”, a WhatsApp spokeswoman said in an emailed statement. The cause of the outage, about an hour long, was not immediately known.

In India, its biggest market with about 200 million of its billion-plus users, the app was down just a few minutes past midnight into the new year.

Users in other countries also complained of outages on social media.

Reporting by Sangameswaran S in Bengaluru; Editing by Jeffrey Benkoe

Tech

Posted in: Cloud Computing|Tags: , , , , , ,
Exclusive: Amazon scraps bundled video service – sources
November 15, 2017 12:00 pm|Comments (0)

NEW YORK/LOS ANGELES (Reuters) – Amazon.com Inc (AMZN.O) has scrapped plans to launch an online streaming service bundling popular U.S. broadcast and cable networks because it believes it cannot make enough money on such a service, people familiar with the matter told Reuters.

The logo of the web service Amazon is pictured in this June 8, 2017 illustration photo. REUTERS/Carlos Jasso/Illustration

The world’s largest online retailer has also been unable to convince key broadcast and basic cable networks to break with decades-old business models and join its a la carte Amazon Channels service, the sources said and has backed away from talks with them.

The reversals come a month after the abrupt departure of Roy Price from his job as head of Amazon Studios, the company’s high-profile television production division, following an allegation of sexual harassment, which he has contested.

They show how difficult it is for Amazon to change entrenched habits in the U.S. entertainment business in the same way that it has done in retail, cloud computing and other areas.

An Amazon spokeswoman declined to comment.

Video has become an important tool for Amazon in generating subscriptions for its U.S. $ 99-a-year Prime membership service. It is on track to spend some $ 4.5 billion or more on video programming this year, analysts estimate.

On Monday it made waves in the entertainment world with the purchase of global television rights to “The Lord of the Rings,” planning a multi-season series to draw more viewers to Prime.

At the same time, Amazon is looking to offer a wide variety of television channels through Prime. It originally aimed to offer a limited bundle of key broadcast and cable networks for a set fee, similar to offerings from Alphabet Inc’s (GOOGL.O) YouTube and Hulu.

Such an offering, known in the industry as a “skinny bundle,” is a way of capturing younger viewers who are dropping traditional, expensive cable or satellite TV packages in favor of channels watchable on smartphones and tablets.

But in recent weeks, Amazon decided not to move ahead with a service on the grounds that it would yield too low a profit margin and did not necessarily indicate the direction the TV business will eventually go, the sources told Reuters.

Amazon could still decide to change course and introduce a skinny bundle, but the talks are over, the sources said.

TALKS STALL

Instead, Amazon has decided to focus on building out its Amazon Channels service, where Prime customers can subscribe to HBO, Showtime, Starz and other networks on an a la carte basis, according to the sources.

Those networks have standalone subscription services, but the advantage of Amazon Channels is that it groups together separate subscriptions and makes them available through the Amazon Video app.

Amazon has built up Amazon Channels to include more than 140 television and digital-only networks in the United States, but its efforts to get the most-watched TV channels have stalled, the sources told Reuters.

Sources familiar with the talks said Amazon has run up against the same obstacle that has stymied firms such as Apple Inc (AAPL.O) and Verizon Communications Inc (VZ.N) in their efforts to launch TV services: the traditional cable bundle.

Twenty-First Century Fox Inc (FOXA.O), Viacom Inc (VIAB.O) and other media firms typically require cable companies or other partners to take their weaker channels along with their stronger ones, to prevent the weaker ones withering on the vine.

Amazon did not want to do that. It also asked networks for provisions that are foreign to the entertainment business, including discounts based on the volume of subscribers it brings in. “That might be standard in selling, but it is not how it works with content,” said one industry source.

The Seattle-based company, known for taking a long-term view of businesses, is willing to wait, sources told Reuters. It is working on the assumption that as pay-TV subscriptions decline over time, more TV networks will be tempted to go direct to consumers online and therefore be available for Amazon Channels, they said.

TV executives say Amazon is a top-notch marketer of video programming and could eventually help their bottom lines.

“They market our theatrical library better than we have because they have the data,” said an executive at one premium channel, who declined to be named.

Some programmers, including Discovery Communications Inc (DISCA.O), are already using Amazon to test their own streaming services before selling them to the public.

“They are an excellent petri dish,” said Paul Guyardo, chief commercial officer of Discovery.

Reporting By Jessica Toonkel in New York, Lisa Richwine in Los Angeles and Jeffrey Dastin in San Francisco; Editing by Jonathan Weber and Bill Rigby

Our Standards:The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

Tech

Posted in: Cloud Computing|Tags: , , , , , ,
‘Meet’ Google’s new videoconferencing service for the enterprise
April 17, 2017 4:45 pm|Comments (0)

Google appears to have accidentally revealed its new group videoconferencing service for businesses on Tuesday, a week before a big user conference.

The service, called Meet, appears to be its offering for businesses that want to do group meetings over the Internet. According to a saved iOS App Store listing captured by AppAnnie, it will support high-definition video meetings with up to 30 participants. That’s an upgrade over the company’s Hangouts instant messaging and video calling service, which only allows meetings of up to 10 people.

google meet mergedGoogle/AppAnnie

A trio of screenshots shows Google Meet’s functionality on iOS

To read this article in full or to leave a comment, please click here

Computerworld Cloud Computing


RSS-5

Posted in: Web Hosting News|Tags: , , , ,
‘Meet’ Google’s new videoconferencing service for the enterprise
April 12, 2017 5:35 pm|Comments (0)

Google appears to have accidentally revealed its new group videoconferencing service for businesses on Tuesday, a week before a big user conference.

The service, called Meet, appears to be its offering for businesses that want to do group meetings over the Internet. According to a saved iOS App Store listing captured by AppAnnie, it will support high-definition video meetings with up to 30 participants. That’s an upgrade over the company’s Hangouts instant messaging and video calling service, which only allows meetings of up to 10 people.

google meet mergedGoogle/AppAnnie

A trio of screenshots shows Google Meet’s functionality on iOS

To read this article in full or to leave a comment, please click here

Cloud Computing


RSS-5

Posted in: Web Hosting News|Tags: , , , ,
‘Meet’ Google’s new videoconferencing service for the enterprise
April 6, 2017 4:01 pm|Comments (0)

Google appears to have accidentally revealed its new group videoconferencing service for businesses on Tuesday, a week before a big user conference.

The service, called Meet, appears to be its offering for businesses that want to do group meetings over the Internet. According to a saved iOS App Store listing captured by AppAnnie, it will support high-definition video meetings with up to 30 participants. That’s an upgrade over the company’s Hangouts instant messaging and video calling service, which only allows meetings of up to 10 people.

google meet mergedGoogle/AppAnnie

A trio of screenshots shows Google Meet’s functionality on iOS

To read this article in full or to leave a comment, please click here


RSS-1

Posted in: Web Hosting News|Tags: , , , ,