The staggering use of YouTube shows no signs of slowing as the firm turns eight years old, with Google reporting that 100 hours of video are now uploaded to the site every minute.
This is the same as four days of video being uploaded every minute, while one billion visits are made to the site every month. Sadly, there are no stats on how much of the video that's uploaded is actually worth watching.
The rise of the site as one of the hottest properties on the web underlines the relative steal the $1bn paid by Google for the firm represents, and sets the benchmark for other $1bn purchases, such as Facebook for Instagram, and, as expected, Yahoo for Tumblr.
Google wrote in a blog post: “Over the years, you’ve continued to surprise and delight us. And the past year was no exception. Who would have guessed that a tux-rocking K-pop star would shatter records left and right or that Sesame Street would go global with 1 billion views?
“That’s one of our favourite things about our global audience: you’re as unpredictable as you are creative and irreverent.”
Earlier this year V3 noted the creative ways businesses have jumped on the YouTube bandwagon, with a top 10 rundown of some of our favourite weird and wonderful hits that have gone viral.
22 Apr 2013
Japanese police are reportedly mulling over proposals that could see internet service providers in the country block access to the Tor network, an anonymous communication system.
According to the Mainichi Shimbun newspaper, Japan's National Police Agency wants ISPs to block access to Tor if users are found to have abused it.
The report came following a series of online attacks, where perpetrators used the Tor network to mask their identify. It is unclear from the reports what that abuse would entail – given that users' Tor activities cannot be snooped on, it's difficult to see how police would show abuse. Perhaps using Tor would be enough to constitute abuse.
The police are already expecting a backlash to the proposals. An NPS officer told The Mainichi it would try to assuage ISPs' concerns.
Tor has proven to be an invaluable tool for pro-democracy campaigners in the Middle East while censorious regimes such as the Chinese authorities have attempted to block users from using the system.
But Tor has a darker side too, providing a safe haven for thriving drug markets such as the Silk Road, along with a host of malware and cybercrime forums. Tor - or the onion router - bounces enrypted web traffic through multipe servers, making it impossible for snoopers to see what users are up to.
09 Apr 2013
UK's music industry group the BPI is celebrating the sale of the billionth digital single download, amid what is described as a flourishing market.
According to data from the Official Charts Company, the one billion landmark was reached on late Monday evening.
The figures represent individual tracks sold, not digital albums or streamed music – with the vast majority of sales being made through the UK's biggest music retailer, Apple's iTunes store.
“The digital music revolution has made it easy to buy any song you like, instantly, for half the price of a coffee,” said Geoff Taylor, BPI chief executive.
The top 10 tracks download to date are (you may want to look away now if you actually like music):
The BPI estimates it would take more than 6,600 years to listen to one billion single downloads played back to back. To have finished such a marathon listening session today, a music fan would have needed to start listening around about the same time as the plough was introduced to Europe's nascent farmers.
But the picture – with Brits buying 500,000 tracks every day – is a far cry from the BPI's usual complaints about piracy killing the music industry.
In fact, along with runaway digital sales, streaming services such as Spotify are booming. The UK's music industry has not been crippled by the pirates it seems.
Earlier this year, the NPG Group reported that the number of illegal music downloads fell 17 percent to 21 million worldwide.
That figure is dwarfed by the downloads the BPI claims are being made legally. Nonetheless, the BPI has taken a hard line stance against music pirates, using legal action to force ISPs to block file sharing sites.
As recently as 2010, the BPI estimated that three-quarters of UK music downloads were being made illegally. Still, hitting one billion legal downloads must be music to the ears of record labels.
Yahoo Mail now has cloud storage integration thanks to a recently announced partnership with Dropbox. The integration means that Yahoo has email storage offerings similar in scope to Microsoft's Outlook.com and Google's Gmail.
It's surprising that it took this long for Yahoo to bring a cloud storage offering to its web email client. Gmail has been offering integration with Google Drive for years and Microsoft brought Skydrive support to Outlook last year.
The late arrival speaks to Yahoo's current predicament. The former internet superpower has been forced to play catch up on a variety of its products over the last year. This is mainly due to the fact that Yahoo didn't really know what it wanted to be until last July.
Yahoo finally started to map out what it wanted to become when it anointed ex-Googler Marissa Mayer chief executive officer in July.
The company dabbled in half-baked plans during its carousel of leaders over the past few years. But it was only when Mayer took the reins that the company actually started to create a plan of action.
Former Yahoo executive Carol Bartz tried to put the firm's focus on ads and content. However, that plan was quickly dashed when she was let go after only two years of service. Never one to mince words, Bartz would later call the board of directors who fired her a bunch of "doofuses".
At least Bartz had a chance to implement a strategy. Her successor, Scott Thompson, was out the door before his candidacy even really began.
The former PayPal executive was dropped from the Yahoo stable in less than six month of joining the company. Thompson was fired following the discovery that he lied about his education on his CV.
His dismissal quickly led to Mayer taking over the empire of dirt known as Yahoo. She, unlike her predecessors, has a definitive plan of action and the support of her board of directors.
Mayer wants to bring the focus back to Yahoo products. That is why Yahoo has been updating things like its email client and homepage. She's also put a focus on small acquisitions that can offer Yahoo a solid staff of workers.
Her approach differs from that of Bartz and looks more like what Google does. It is perhaps fitting that Mayer is a former Google employee, then. By putting a focus on products Mayer hopes to turn around Yahoo's fortunes through well made user offerings.
So far it looks like it could be working. Revenue has been solid and Yahoo has been making headlines on purpose since she took over. Take for example her recent purchase of Summly. Yahoo paid $20m for the app made by a UK teenager.
Whether it was a PR stunt or because she actually likes the product is anyone's guess. But one thing is for sure, if it was a PR move it was a good one. Yahoo made headlines with the purchase and got people talking about the company for something other than a chief executive firing.
Moving passed news of Yahoo executives fighting with the board of directors is always a good thing. Mayer seems to be well liked by her board. She has even been able to bring people onto the board with her hire.
Former PayPal chief technology officer Max Levchin joined Yahoo's board late last year. Levchin said one of the reasons he joined Yahoo was because of Mayer. Having that sort of support could be huge for Mayer moving forward.
Whether the bet on Yahoo products works is currently unknown. However, at least it is a plan. It is a plan that gives the firm focus and positive attention. Mayer may end up like Bartz by year's end, but at least for now the firm is doing something productive.
It will take a lot for Yahoo to create products that can keep up with Google and Microsoft offerings. Over time, however, that could change. Yahoo is currently on a path and if it stays the course (like sticking with one chief executive for a while) then there's no telling what might happen to the thing once known as "David and Jerry's Guide to the World Wide Web".
There are many in the IT industry deeply concerned about the rotten state of education in this country, especially when it comes to producing people with the IT skills that will be essential in tomorrow's economy.
But even while the government labours to produce an IT curriculum capable of inspiring – rather than boring – our schoolchildren, it's reassuring to see that we're still capable of creating role models.
For schoolchildren across the UK, the news that teenager Nick D'Aloisio sold his fledgling start-up Summly to Silicon Valley luminary Yahoo for something in the region of $30m, could be the kind of shot in the arm the industry needs.
We urgently need more talented Brits to embrace IT, and other than D'Alosisio, role models have been pretty thin on the ground.
D'Alosisio is obviously a precocious talent: he taught himself to programme at the age of 12, had launched his first app by the age of 15, and looks to be a multi-millionaire even before he can legally buy a pint.
But while he is a shining example for would-be programmers, D'Alosisio's own experiences should sound a warning that we cannot be complacent: his success does not guarantee others will follow in his footsteps.
Lest we forget, D'Alosisio had not learned programming skills at school. According to the Summly blog, D'Alosisio got the idea of creating Summly when studying for exams – but he had to undertake the necessary research into natural language processing and machine translation that underpin the app off his own back.
Without better support for people interested in technology, we risk seeing the ambitions of other would tech entrepreneurs withering on the stalk of our out-dated education system. We need to open schoolchildren eyes to what they can create themselves through programming, not get them intimately acquainted with Word or Excel.
It may be that D'Alosiso provides a beacon of hope for other would-be UK tech stars. But it's chastening to note that should he opt to attend university at some point in the future, his preference is to read humanities not computer science, according to the Wall St Journal.
When George Osborne’s team advised the chancellor to join Twitter in an effort to, no doubt, show how in touch with the people he was, they probably thought it was also a nice way of distracting people form the harsh realities of the budget he was due to deliver.
The plan seemed to be working, with thousands of Twitter users abusing Osborne on the site, and numerous memes sprouting to mock and ridicule the chancellor.
While this was all fun and games, the serious side of Twitter has since come forth to prove what a hazardous tool it, and the web in general can be, after The Evening Standard accidentally posted details of the budget online before Osborne had even begun speaking.
An over zealous member of the team’s Twitter account put the paper’s front page splash out, and although it was hastily deleted – oh, can you imagine the scramble for the delete button? – once it was online there was no hope of saving the situation.
I wish to apologise for a very serious mistake by the @eveningstandard earlier which resulted in our front page being tweeted.— Joe Murphy (@JoeMurphyLondon) March 20, 2013
As we’ve seen many times before, the internet seem ephemeral but the reality is very different and once something is hosted online, especially via Twitter, it’s very hard to stop that information going viral. It’s as good as impossible, really.
For Osborne, the leak could even cost him his job as former chancellors have fallen on their sword for similar incidents, and there would be a delicious irony if Osborne’s downfall was caused by Twitter, in a roundabout way, on the very day he joined the site.
Broadband is often touted as the fourth utility and a vital piece of the UK's infrastructure. At present the market is a hive of activity as firms, government and local organisations work to get services live across the UK. Hopefully, in generations to come, people will look back at our work on broadband in the same way we look back with wonder at the rollout of railways and marvel at some of ingenious ways we set about getting broadband rolled out.
Last week we saw how BT was using dormant sea cables to get broadband to the remote islands of the Isles of Scilly (pictured above) - which involves avoiding shipwrecks - and then it announced an increase of its Cornish rollout coverage commitments to 95 percent of the county.
It said it was able to do this, in part, because of the money it has saved using innovative new rollout technologies like fibre from poles into people homes, rather than expensive road digging, as V3 saw during a visit to the region last year.
Clearly, with 21,000 connections now live in the county, the desire is there for these superfast services. Meanwhile BT is also involved in numerous rural rollouts, such as Lincolnshire which was announced on Wednesday, and no doubt those in these regions are keen to get online with faster speeds.
Elsewhere, the likes of Virgin Media has brought internet access to the London Underground and is using small cell technology in areas in Leeds and Bradford as it plays its part in this push to a superfast utopia.
There are also unique projects such as the B4RN carrying out their own rollouts to fill in the areas where the big boys have refused to play ball, proving that people aren't ready to sit around if they want services sooner rather than later.
This work was all neatly capped on Thursday when Ofcom announced average speeds had hit 12Mbit/s for the country.
Now, of course this is hardly the superfast utopia the government wants (of at least 24Mbit/s) but it is a notable improvement in the last few years and proves demand for faster speeds is there and the improvements being made are having a positive impact. What's more, you'd like to think that overtime this figure will rise rapidly, perhaps 24Mbit/s in two years, then maybe 50Mbit/s by 2020 and so forth.
It depends on the real demand people have for these speeds, but the chicken-and-egg race between speeds and applications that need faster connections (HD quality movie streaming services for example) could well force the demand higher.
Hopefully all of this will leave our future relatives with superfast access anywhere and everywhere and they can salute us for our, well, the internet provider's, hard work.
The importance of mapping software was taken for granted for many years until Apple suddenly yanked the rug from under millions of its users by replacing the tried and trusted Google Maps service for its own, with somewhat disastrous results.
At the time there was an almighty uproar from customers and chief executive Tim Cook was forced into a public apology, even recommending users download rivals' services. However, he promised the firm would come good with its product.
It may well do, but it has a long way to go if Google's latest Street View update on Thursday is anything to go by. The company is busy completing its second lap of the world with its cars, adding new locations such as Mother Russia and updating UK cities so we can see which adverts have been changed on billboards over the last few years.
Clearly, Google has a massive headstart in this cartographical battle and is not going to rest on its laurels waiting for rivals like Apple to, or Microsoft which is also setting about mapping the world's highways and byways, to catch up.
Google is also going off road with routes that can be only be accessed on foot in the wilderness, or into famous buildings such as museums and its own offices.
Furthermore, with its self-driving car technology being touted all the time, it's not doubt looking to a future where it's cars merrily travel the world without a driver, endlessly snapping the changing world and making its Street View system the market leader.
Apple and co have their work cut out.