By Press Trust of India | Updated: 6 August 2022
Capturing the milestones the country has achieved in its 75-year journey since independence, software major Google has unveiled an online project, drawing from rich archives and featuring artistic illustrations to tell the story of India.
The project – India ki Udaan – executed by Google Arts and Culture celebrates the achievements of the country and is “themed on the unwavering and undying spirit of India over these past 75 years”.
It was officially launched at a glittering event held at the Sunder Nursery here on Friday in the presence of Union Culture and Tourism Minister G Kishan Reddy and senior officials of the culture ministry and Google.
As part of the countrywide celebrations to commemorate 75 years of independence, Google also announced its collaboration with the Ministry of Culture focused “on reaching informative online content that showcases the contributions of Indians and the evolution of India since 1947 to support the government’s year-long ‘Azadi Ka Amrit Mahotsav’ programme”, the software giant said in a statement.
It also announced that its popular Doodle4Google contest for 2022, themed on “In the next 25 years, my India will…”, is now open for entries to the students of Classes 1-10.
“The winner of this year’s Doodle4Google will see their artwork on the Google homepage in India on November 14 and win a Rs. 5 lakh college scholarship, a Rs. 2 lakh technology package for their school or non-profit organisation, a recognition of achievement, Google hardware and fun Google collectibles. Four group winners and 15 finalists will also win exciting prizes,” it said.
Reddy urged the Google team to create a special doodle on “Har Ghar Tiranga”, which would encourage its employees and others to enthusiastically take part in the campaign.
In his speech, the minister also said Google could help the culture ministry in digital mapping of the boundaries of its over 3,000 centrally-protected monuments that will help in better monitoring of the sites and checking encroachment.
It can also help in digitisation of rare archival material, he added.
“Therefore, we urge the Google team to be a partner in the government’s transformative journey as also to promote India’s tourism destinations,” Reddy said.
“To mark 75 years of India’s independence, Google announced the launch of a series of special initiatives across its products and services that will offer content and experiences created especially for the occasion to hundreds of millions of Indians through the anniversary year,” the statement said.
The centrepiece of its celebrations is a new online collection titled India Ki Udaan, available on the Google Arts and Culture website. It pays tributes to India’s rich cultural history and includes iconic moments from the last 75 years.
Published in English and Hindi, it allows people to explore more than 120 illustrations and 21 stories created by 10 talented artists, alongside exhibitions from various institutions – including the Ministry of Tourism, the Museum of Art and Photography, the Heritage Directorate of the Indian Railways, the Indian Academy of Sciences and the Dastkari Haat Samiti.
“This initiative offers a unique view of India’s remarkable moments and lets people discover some of the most memorable moments in India’s modern history, its iconic personalities, its proudest scientific and sporting achievements, and how women in India continue to inspire the world. This commemorative collection will be expanded with a unique blend of archives and artistry for people in India and across the globe,” Google said.
Merging technologies and India’s rich cultural heritage, the new Google Arts and Culture collection, “India Ki Udaan”, (literally translated as “India takes flight”), “is themed on the unwavering and undying spirit of India over these past 75 years”, it added.
Simon Rein, senior programme manager at Google Arts and Culture, told PTI that the project “marries the rich archival content with artistic talent as demonstrated by illustrators”.
A physical representation of the new digital collection was also set up at the venue, with a kite-shaped digital screen, pictures with augmented reality experience and other tech-driven experiences.
Rein said kite has been used as an “optimistic metaphor” to describe India’s journey in the last 75 years as also to engage and educate the audience at home and also those who are not from India but wish to learn about its story.
In its 10th year in India, Google Arts and Culture has showcased the country’s rich culture in many ways. Working with more than 100 partners in India, it has brought the country’s cultural heritage to people all over the world.
New Zealand Plans to Introduce Law to Make Google, Facebook Pay Local Outlets for News
By Reuters | Updated: 5 December 2022
The New Zealand government said it will introduce a law that will require big online digital companies such as Alphabet’s Google and Meta to pay New Zealand media companies for the local news content that appears on their feeds.
Minister of Broadcasting Willie Jackson said in a statement on Sunday that the legislation will be modelled on similar laws in Australia and Canada and he hoped it would act as an incentive for the digital platforms to reach deals with local news outlets.
“New Zealand news media, particularly small regional and community newspapers, are struggling to remain financially viable as more advertising moves online,” Jackson said. “It is critical that those benefiting from their news content actually pay for it.”
The new legislation will go to a vote in parliament where the governing Labour Party’s majority is expected to pass it.
Australia introduced a law in 2021 that gave the government power to make internet companies negotiate content supply deals with media outlets. A review released by the Australian government last week found it largely worked.
The law, which took effect in March 2021 after talks with the big tech firms led to a brief shutdown of Facebook news feeds in Australia, may need to be extended to other online platforms, the review said.
Since the News Media Bargaining Code took effect, the tech firms had inked more than 30 deals with media outlets compensating them for the content which generated clicks and advertising dollars, said the Treasury Department report, published last week.
The report mostly recommended that the government consider new methods of assessing the administration and effectiveness of the law, and did not suggest changing the law itself.
“At least some of these agreements have enabled news businesses to, in particular, employ additional journalists and make other valuable investments to assist their operations,” said the report. “While views on the success or otherwise of the Code will invariably differ, we consider it is reasonable to conclude that the Code has been a success to date.”
© Thomson Reuters 2022
Google CEO Sundar Pichai Pays Tribute to Indian Roots on Being Honoured With Padma Bhushan
By Press Trust of India | Updated: 3 December 2022
“India is a part of me and I carry it with me wherever I go,” Google and Alphabet CEO Sundar Pichai has said, as he received the prestigious Padma Bhushan award from the Indian envoy to the US.
Indian-American Pichai was awarded the Padma Bhushan for 2022 in the Trade and Industry category. The Madurai-born Pichai was named one of the 17 awardees earlier this year.
He received India’s third-highest civilian award in the presence of his close family members in San Francisco on Friday.
“I am deeply grateful to the Indian government and the people of India for this immense honour. It is incredibly meaningful to be honoured in this way by the country that shaped me,” 50-year-old Pichai said while accepting the award from India’s Ambassador to the US, Taranjit Singh Sandhu.
“India is a part of me. I carry it with me wherever I go. (Unlike this beautiful award which I will keep somewhere safe),” he said.
“I was fortunate to grow up in a family that cherished learning and knowledge, with parents who sacrificed a lot to make sure I had opportunities to explore my interests,” Pichai said.
India’s Consul General in San Francisco, T V Nagendra Prasad, was also present during the event.
Sandhu said that Pichai represented the limitless possibilities of technology for transformation.
“He has been making commendable efforts towards making digital tools, and skills accessible to across various segments of the society in different parts of the globe,” he said.
Recalling Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s vision of technology that combines 3Ss – speed, simplicity and service, Sandhu hoped that Google would make full use of the digital revolution happening in India.
Pichai said that it had been amazing to return to India many times over the years to see the rapid pace of technological change.
The innovations created in India are benefitting people around the world – from digital payments to voice technology, he said.
“I look forward to continuing the great partnership between Google and India, as we work together to bring the benefits of technology to more people,” he said.
Businesses are seizing the opportunities for digital transformation, and more people have access to the internet than ever before, including in rural villages, Pichai said.
“Prime Minister Modi’s Digital India vision has certainly been an accelerator for that progress and I’m proud that Google continues to invest in India, partnering with governments, businesses, and communities over two transformative decades,” he said.
“Every new technology that arrived at our doorstep made our lives better. And that experience put me on a path to Google, and the chance to help build technology that improves the lives of people all over the world,” he said.
Pichai said he sees so much opportunity ahead.
On India taking over the G20 presidency, Pichai said: “It’s an amazing opportunity to build consensus on strengthening the global economy by advancing an internet that is open, connected, secure, and works for everyone. That’s a goal we share, and are committed to advancing with you.” India formally assumed the G20 Presidency on Thursday.
“I am grateful for the opportunity to do this work together and bring the benefits of technology to more people,” Pichai said.
Google this year added 24 new languages to its translation service using a new advancement in machine learning. Eight of them are languages native to India.
“It means so much to see how people can access information and knowledge in their preferred language, and see the world open up to them in new ways. That’s why I continue to be so optimistic about technology, and why I believe India can and must continue to lead,” he added.
Amazon’s Media Chief Jeff Blackburn Announces Plans to Retire in 2023
By Agencies | Updated: 3 December 2022
Amazon.com’s top media executive Jeff Blackburn plans to retire at the start of 2023, the e-commerce giant said on Friday.
The company said that the media and entertainment businesses, led by Blackburn since May last year, will be overseen by two current executives, Mike Hopkins and Steve Boom, who will report directly to Chief Executive Officer Andy Jassy.
The businesses include Prime Video, Amazon Studios, Music, Audible, Games, and Twitch.
Blackburn, who also served as senior vice president at Amazon, joined Amazon in 1998 and guided the company through its initial public offering prospectus at Deutsche Bank.
He left Amazon briefly in February 2021, before returning again in May 2021.
“I’ve decided to spend 2023 differently, giving more time to family, and feel strongly this is the right decision for me,” said Blackburn.
Over the past year and a half, Blackburn was a key figure behind the success of shows like Rings of Power as well as the acquisition of movie studio MGM this year, said Amazon.
Meanwhile, Amazon witnessed mass layoffs in November this year, which are now claimed to extend into next year, as stated by CEO Andy Jassy. The company has informed workers in its devices and books divisions about layoffs. A few employees were also offered a voluntary buyout offer.
Amazon has already notified that it would lay off about 260 corporate workers at various facilities in the state. For those being laid off, Amazon is offering severance packages. It is one among the many tech companies that are witnessing mass layoffs this year. Meta and Twitter also announced job cuts in November, laying off thousands of employees.
UPI, Digital Transactions: Government Extends Deadline to Implement 30 Percent Cap
By Press Trust of India | Updated: 3 December 2022
The National Payments Corporation of India (NPCI) on Friday extended the deadline for third party UPI players to meet its 30 percent volume cap in digital payment transactions by two years to end-December 2024.
The decision may provide a relief to third party app providers (TPAP) like Google Pay and Walmart’s PhonePe which have a majority share in UPI-based transactions.
NPCI runs the Unified Payments Interface (UPI) used for real-time payments between peers or at merchants’ end while making purchases.
In November 2020, NPCI had announced to limit a single third party app to handle only 30 percent of overall UPI transaction volumes. The cap was to come in force from January 1, 2021.
However, the TPAPs (live on November 5, 2020) which were exceeding the cap were given a period of two years to comply with the norms in a phased manner.
“Taking into account the present usage and future potential of UPI, and other relevant factors, the timelines for compliance of existing TPAPs who are exceeding the volume cap, is extended by two (2) years i.e. till December 31, 2024, to comply with the volume cap,” NPCI said in a circular.
NPCI further said that in view of significant potential of digital payments and the need for multi-fold penetration from its current state, it is imperative that other existing and new players (banks and non-banks) shall scale-up their consumer outreach for the growth of UPI and achieve overall market equilibrium.
TPAPs typically tie-up with banks at the back-end to add users and process payments for them.
It was reported last month that the NPCI is planning to propose the Reserve Bank to implement the earlier deadline of December 31, 2023, for limiting the volume cap of players to 30 percent. It is to be noted that currently there is no volume cap, leading to Google Pay and PhonePe accounting for around 80 percent of the total market share.
Medibank Data Breach: Hackers Upload More Customer Data, Say ‘Case Closed’ on World Cybersecurity Day
By Reuters | Updated: 1 December 2022
Medibank, Australia’s biggest health insurer, said on Thursday hackers had released more of its stolen medical records, as the media reported that the complete set of data on millions of customers was now public.
The Office of the Australian Information Commission (OAIC), the country’s privacy regulator, has also begun investigating how the company handles personal information, Medibank said in a statement.
The latest release on the dark web follows progressive uploads, including records of customers’ mental health and alcohol use, that began after Medibank said on November 7 it would not pay a ransom.
“The raw data we have analysed today so far is incomplete and hard to understand,” chief executive David Koczkar said. “While there are media reports of this being a signal of ‘case closed’, our work is not over.”
On Thursday, the media reported that a blog, believed by cyber experts to be used by the hackers, carried a new post: “Happy Cyber Security Day!!! Added folder full. Case closed.” It also included a file that had several compressed files amounting to more than 5 gigabytes.
Reuters has not verified the contents of the latest files uploaded on the dark web, part of the World Wide Web that is accessible only with special software.
Medibank did not immediately respond to a Reuters question about whether it believed all stolen data had now been released.
Australian Federal Police last month said Russia-based hackers were behind the Medibank cyberattack, which compromised the details of almost 10 million current and former customers. Medicare revealed the breach on October 13.
In an update on Thursday morning, Medibank said there were currently no signs that banking data had been stolen. Personal details accessed by hackers were not enough to enable financial fraud, it added.
Six zipped files placed in a folder called “full” and containing raw data believed to have been stolen had been uploaded, Medibank said in a statement.
Australia has been grappling with a recent rise in cyber attacks. At least eight companies, including telecoms company Optus, owned by Singapore Telecommunications, have reported breaches since September.
The OAIC, which is also investigating Optus over the breach, did not immediately respond to a Reuters request for comment on the Medibank investigation.
Technology experts have said Australia has become a target for hackers just as a skills shortage leaves an understaffed, overworked cybersecurity workforce ill-equipped to stop attacks.
© Thomson Reuters 2022
YouTube Removes More Than 17 Lakh Videos in India in Q3 2022 for Violating Community Guidelines
By Press Trust of India | Updated: 30 November 2022
YouTube has removed over 17 lakh videos uploaded from India during the July-September quarter for violating the company’s community guidelines, the Google-owned firm said on Tuesday. “Between July and September 2022, in India over 1.7 million videos were removed for violating YouTube’s Community Guidelines,” YouTube said in the Community Guidelines Enforcement report for the third quarter of 2022.
Globally, YouTube removed over 56 lakh videos for violating community guidelines.
“Of the videos detected by machines, 36 percent were removed before they received a single view, and 31 percent received between 1 and 10 views before removal,” the report said.
The video hosting platform removed over 73.7 crore comments from the platform for violation of the guidelines, the report said.
YouTube data shows 99 percent of the comments were removed after they were flagged by its automated system and only 1 percent were removed after they were flagged by its users.
The Alphabet-owned company recently said that it is bringing shopping features to its Shorts video service, as it looks to fortify its revenue against a drop in spending by recession-wary advertisers. The feature, being tested with eligible creators in the US, will allow them to tag products from their own stores. “Viewers in the US, India, Brazil, Canada, and Australia can see the tags and interact with them and we’ll continue to bring tagging to more creators and geographies,” a Google spokesperson said.
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