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Facebook renames digital wallet for Libra crypto as Novi

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Facebook has said that it has changed the name and brand of its digital wallet designed for Libra cryptocurrency project — from Calibra to Novi. The Libra project, a new payment system which is built on blockchain technology, has faced regulatory challenges in the past for perceived threat to monetary sovereignty and other issues, leading to the withdrawal of several heavyweights.

“Our hope is to introduce an early version of Novi when the Libra network is available,” Facebook said in a statement. “We’ll roll it out in an initial set of countries, with features that will make cross-border money transfers instant, secure, and with no hidden fees,” it added.

The name Novi was inspired by the Latin words “novus” for “new” and “via” for “way.”

Facebook said that with Novi, sending money will be as easy as sending a message. People will be able to use Novi as a stand-alone app, as well as in Messenger and WhatsApp, the social networking giant said.

“All Novi customers will be verified using government-issued ID, and fraud protections will be built in throughout the app,” Facebook said.

Facebook and 20 partner organisations formally joined the digital currency project during a meeting in Geneva in October last year. Companies like PayPal, Mastercard, Visa, Mercado Pago, eBay, Stripe and Booking Holdings and Vodafone later have withdrawn from the project.

In a move to win regulators hearts, Facebook-backed The Libra Association last month announced that its cryptocurrency will offer stable coins backed by just one nations currency, meaning some coins offered would serve as the equivalent value of a dollar or a Euro.

In a white paper, The Libra Association took a scaled-down approach to woo its critics, saying that Libra will focus on building a payment network in which coins are tied to a variety of local currencies.

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Google Select Mississippi Site for First US Operations Centre

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By Associated Press | Updated: 10 July 2020

Google’s first US operations center is coming to northwest Mississippi.

The company announced Thursday it will lease a new 60,000-square-foot (5,574 square-meter) facility in Southaven, Mississippi, near Memphis, Tennessee. Google expects the site, which will provide customer and operations support to customers worldwide, to be operational by summer 2021.

“This Google Operations Center represents a critical investment for the company and we look forward to being an active member of the local community for years to come,” said Troy Dickerson, vice president of Google Operations Center. “The new site will give us the opportunity to hire amazing local talent and we are confident that the Southaven community will be a great home for our Operations Center.”

Employees will provide customer service to Google users by handling product troubleshooting, among other tasks. The company has kicked off recruiting efforts and intends to hire 100 employees by the end of the year.

“Google is a titan in the global economy and we are honored to have their first-class operation in our city,” said Southaven Mayor Darren Musselwhite.

Google’s other operations centers are located in India and the Philippines.

“This is a true testament to our skilled workforce and the increasing economic strength of our great state,” Gov. Tate Reeves said. “Mississippi and the Southaven community welcome Google with open arms, and we look forward to growing this partnership and creating opportunities for success for years to come.”

Construction on the Southaven site is set to begin in the coming months.

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Nokia Launches Data Centre Networking Tools, Developed With Apple

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By Reuters | Updated: 10 July 2020

Finland’s Nokia launched a set of tools on Thursday for data centre networking, developed in cooperation with Apple, to help companies to manage the growth in traffic as 5G and machine learning technologies roll out.

As the usage of 5G networks expands, vast quantities of data will be generated as more household appliances and other machines are linked up with sensors and artificial intelligence tools, creating the so-called “Internet-of-things”.

Nokia, which competes against China’s Huawei and Sweden’s Ericsson to build 5G networks, has been broadening its portfolio by adding open interfaces to its 5G equipment and launching new networking products.

“We worked very closely with (Apple) over the last two plus years to understand their requirements,” said Steve Vogelsang, Nokia’s chief technology officer for IP and optical business.

Nokia’s new tools aim to assist firms running big data centres, known as hyperscalers, such as Amazon, Alphabet’s Google, Microsoft, and Facebook. The products will help them scale up resources swiftly.

Apple will deploy Nokia’s new system in its data centre in Viborg, Denmark.

The new products are also geared to other cloud builders, such large enterprises building their own private clouds and telecom operators, said Manish Gulyani, vice president of global enterprise marketing.

Nokia, which has signed up BT and Equinix as customers, is also targeting Oracle, Google, and Amazon.


© Thomson Reuters 2020

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Google Cloud, Deutsche Bank Agree on Multi-Year Strategic Partnership

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By Reuters | Updated: 7 July 2020

Deutsche Bank said on Tuesday it has agreed a strategic, multi-year partnership with Google to give the German lender access to cloud services and drive innovation in technology-based financial products for clients.

Earlier this year, Deutsche invited bids from Google, Microsoft, and Amazon to overhaul the bank’s outdated and fragmented technology networks.

The deal is part of a EUR 13 billion (roughly Rs. 1.09 lakh crores) technology investment Deutsche has planned up to 2022 as it restructures to recover from years of losses.

Google and Deutsche have now signed a letter of intent and plan to sign a multi-year contract within the next few months, the bank said.

A source familiar with the matter told Reuters that Deutsche Bank expects the partnership to generate more than EUR 1 billion (roughly Rs. 8,456 crores) in accumulated earnings before income and tax (EBIT) over the next ten years.

“The partnership with Google Cloud will be an important driver of our strategic transformation,” said Deutsche Bank Chief Executive Christian Sewing.

“It demonstrates our determination to invest in our technology as our future is strongly linked to successful digitization. It is as much a revenue story as it is about costs.”

Amazon and Microsoft didn’t immediately respond to requests for comment.


© Thomson Reuters 2020

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