SoftBank invests at least $2.5 bn in Flipkart; biggest ever investment in Indian internet space

Flipkart said the SoftBank investment, which is the biggest-ever private investment in an Indian technology company, will make the Vision Fund one of the largest shareholders in the online retailer. Photo: Hemant Mishra/Mint

India’s largest Internet firm Flipkart Ltd has raised at least $2.5 billion from SoftBank Vision Fund, scaling up its firepower in the fight with arch rival Amazon India for dominance over India’s e-commerce market.

The latest round of funding takes Flipkart’s cash reserves to more than $4 billion. Flipkart didn’t disclose the amount, but said that the SoftBank investment comprises a mix of primary (investment in the company) and secondary capital (purchase of shares from existing shareholders).

SoftBank invested at least $2.5 billion in Flipkart, three people familiar with the matter said on condition of anonymity. Mint and other publications had reported for months that SoftBank would invest more than $1.5 billion in Flipkart by putting in fresh capital and buying shares from Tiger Global Management, Flipkart’s largest shareholder.

Flipkart has now raised more than $6 billion in cash since starting out in 2007, by far the highest by any Indian start-up and among the highest by any start-up globally. Flipkartraised $1.4 billion from Tencent Holdings Ltd, eBay Inc. and Microsoft Corp. in April.

The SoftBank investment comes after Flipkart’s proposed takeover of Snapdeal, the Japanese investor’s portfolio company, collapsed last week.

“This is a monumental deal for Flipkart and India. Very few economies globally attract such overwhelming interest from top-tier investors. It is recognition of India’s unparalleled potential to become a leader in technology and e-commerce on a massive scale. SoftBank’s proven track record of partnering with transformative technology leaders has earned it the reputation of being a visionary investor,” Flipkart co-founders Binny Bansal and Sachin Bansal said in a joint statement.

The investment will likely make SoftBank the largest investor in Flipkart and reduce the influence of Tiger Global, whose representative Kalyan Krishnamurthy is Flipkart’s CEO.

In the space of four months, SoftBank has struck two deals that have changed the dynamics of India’s Internet business and made the Japanese investor the most powerful and influential entity in the start-up ecosystem. In May, SoftBank, which is also the largest shareholder in cab hailing firm Ola, invested $1.4 billion in digital payments firm Paytm.

Already, some analysts and investors are saying that SoftBank may orchestrate a mega-merger between Paytm and Flipkart at some point in the future.

The SoftBank investment in Flipkart is part of the company’s latest financing round;

“We want to support innovative companies that are clear winners in India because they are best positioned to leverage technology and help people lead better lives. As the pioneers in Indian e-commerce, Flipkart is doing that every day,” said Masayoshi Son, chairman and CEO of SoftBank Group Corp.

While expectations around the size of India’s e-commerce have significantly diminished from the heady estimates of 2015, it is still considered the last big e-commerce market left. Flipkart is the only local start-up that is seen as serious competition to Amazon India over the long term.

With its financing round in April and the latest SoftBank investment, Flipkart has settled the debate over its ability to take on Amazon. Its prospects have also lifted over the past nine months as it has seen a resurgence in sales

SDource:-livemint

How The Internet Revolutionized Offline Retail

How The Internet Revolutionized Offline Retail [Infographic] | Social Media Today

Year after year, the command of retail continues to interest customers. Although numerous consumers are now taking advantage of online deals, the experience a shopper has when they can interact with the product in person is still highly influential. Studies show that 25% of consumers purchase a product or service after they’ve searched locally. In fact, 18% of these purchases are made within one day according to the infographic below from Store Traffic.

Nonetheless, the influence the internet holds over shoppers is intriguing. This can be seen both in the way customers shop and how businesses operate. The landscape of retail has drastically changed. This graphic gives us a summary of how, since its inception, the internet has continued to dominate the shopping experience. It highlights the importance of innovation – if your business doesn’t have at least one digital element in it, you may be left behind.

Emerging trends, such as the Internet of Things, will help to shape the future of retail. Soon, simply having a company website will not be enough. Without social media channels, many businesses are failing to connect with a large portion of the population.

Keep reading the infographic below for more.

 

 

[Source:- Socialmediatoday]

Why the internet isn’t making us smarter – and how to fight back

Why the internet isn't making us smarter – and how to fight back

In the hours since I first sat down to write this piece, my laptop tells me the National Basketball Association has had to deny that it threatened to cancel its 2017 All-Star Game over a new anti-LGBT law in North Carolina – a story repeated by many news sources including the Associated Press. The authenticity of that viral video of a bear chasing a female snowboarder in Japan has been called into question. And, no, Ted Cruz is not married to his third cousin. It’s just one among an onslaught of half-truths and even pants-on-fire lies coming as we rev up for the 2016 American election season.

The longer I study human psychology, the more impressed I am with the rich tapestry of knowledge each of us owns. We each have a brainy weave of facts, figures, rules and stories that allows us to address an astonishing range of everyday challenges. Contemporary research celebrates just how vast, organized, interconnected and durable that knowledge base is.

That’s the good news. The bad news is that our brains overdo it. Not only do they store helpful and essential information, they are also receptive to false belief and misinformation.

Just in biology alone, many people believe that spinach is a good source of iron (sorry, Popeye), that we use less than 10 percent of our brains (no, it’s too energy-guzzling to allow that), and that some people suffer hypersensitivity to electromagnetic radiation (for which there is no scientific evidence).

But here’s the more concerning news. Our access to information, both good and bad, has only increased as our fingertips have gotten into the act. With computer keyboards and smartphones, we now have access to an Internet containing a vast store of information much bigger than any individual brain can carry – and that’s not always a good thing.

Better access doesn’t mean better information

This access to the Internet’s far reaches should permit us to be smarter and better informed. People certainly assume it. A recent Yale study showed that Internet access causes people to hold inflated, illusory impressions of just how smart and well-informed they are.

But there’s a twofold problem with the Internet that compromises its limitless promise.

First, just like our brains, it is receptive to misinformation. In fact, the World Economic Forum lists “massive digital misinformation” as a main threat to society. A survey of 50 “weight loss” websites found that only three provided sound diet advice. Another of roughly 150 YouTube videos about vaccination found that only half explicitly supported the procedure.

Rumor-mongers, politicians, vested interests, a sensationalizing media and people with intellectual axes to grind all inject false information into the Internet.

So do a lot of well-intentioned but misinformed people. In fact, a study published in the January 2016 Proceedings of National Academy of Science documented just how quickly dubious conspiracy theories spread across the Internet. Specifically, the researchers compared how quickly these rumors spread across Facebook relative to stories on scientific discoveries. Both conspiracy theories and scientific news spread quickly, with the majority of diffusion via Facebook for both types of stories happening within a day.

Making matters worse, misinformation is hard to distinguish from accurate fact. It often has the exact look and feel as the truth. In a series of studies Elanor Williams, Justin Kruger and I published in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology in 2013, we asked students to solve problems in intuitive physics, logic and finance. Those who consistently relied on false facts or principles – and thus gave the exact same wrong answer to every problem – expressed just as much confidence in their conclusions as those who answered every single problem right.

For example, those who always thought a ball would continue to follow a curved path after rolling out of a bent tube (not true) were virtually as certain as people who knew the right answer (the ball follows a straight path).

Defend yourself

So, how so we separate Internet truth from the false?

First, don’t assume misinformation is obviously distinguishable from true information. Be careful. If the matter is important, perhaps you can start your search with the Internet; just don’t end there. Consult and consider other sources of authority. There is a reason why your doctor suffered medical school, why your financial advisor studied to gain that license.

Second, don’t do what conspiracy theorists did in the Facebook study. They readily spread stories that already fit their worldview. As such, they practiced confirmation bias, giving credence to evidence supporting what they already believed. As a consequence, the conspiracy theories they endorsed burrowed themselves into like-minded Facebook communities who rarely questioned their authenticity.

Instead, be a skeptic. Psychological research shows that groups designating one or two of its members to play devil’s advocates – questioning whatever conclusion the group is leaning toward – make for better-reasoned decisions of greater quality.

If no one else is around, it pays to be your own devil’s advocate. Don’t just believe what the Internet has to say; question it. Practice a disconfirmation bias. If you’re looking up medical information about a health problem, don’t stop at the first diagnosis that looks right. Search for alternative possibilities.

Seeking evidence to the contrary

In addition, look for ways in which that diagnosis might be wrong. Research shows that “considering the opposite” – actively asking how a conclusion might be wrong – is a valuable exercise for reducing unwarranted faith in a conclusion.

After all, you should listen to Mark Twain, who, according to a dozen different websites, warned us, “Be careful about reading health books. You may die of a misprint.”

Wise words, except a little more investigation reveals more detailed and researched sources with evidence that it wasn’t Mark Twain, but German physician Markus Herz who said them. I’m not surprised; in my Internet experience, I’ve learned to be wary of Twain quotes (Will Rogers, too). He was a brilliant wit, but he gets much too much credit for quotable quips.

Misinformation and true information often look awfully alike. The key to an informed life may not require gathering information as much as it does challenging the ideas you already have or have recently encountered. This may be an unpleasant task, and an unending one, but it is the best way to ensure that your brainy intellectual tapestry sports only true colors.

[Source:- Phys.org]

Internet address gatekeeper OKs plan to break from US (Update)

The online address system managed by ICANN is currently overseen by the National Telecommunications and Information Administrati

The online address system managed by ICANN is currently overseen by the National Telecommunications and Information Administration at the US Department of Commerce

The gatekeeper of Internet addresses on Thursday approved a plan to break from US oversight, shifting those symbolic functions to the broader global online community.

The plan, which now heads to the US government for approval, aims to maintain Internet governance under a “multi-stakeholder” model which avoids control of the online ecosystem by any single governmental body.

The proposal crafted over the course of two years with input from businesses, academia, governments and others was endorsed at a board meeting in Morocco of the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN).

“The mood here is a mixture of exultation and exhaustion,” ICANN board chairman Stephen Crocker told AFP on the eve of the vote.

Work began on the transition plan in March of 2014, and it will be sent to the US government where it will be the focus of an internal review process expected to last about three months.

The ICANN board unanimously approved resolutions detailing the transition plan and directing that it be sent to the US government for approval.

The proposal “meets the needs of the Internet and its users,” said Alissa Cooper, who chaired one of the groups that put the plan together.

The meeting was marked by a series of standing ovations as those involved with the process were thanked.

Won’t change the Internet

The plan will not affect how users interact online, but will turn over the technical supervision of the online address system to ICANN itself, with a system of checks and balances so no single entity can exert control over the Internet, according to officials involved in the process.

The online address system managed by ICANN is currently overseen by the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) at the US Department of Commerce.

Officials say the supervision is symbolic and dates back to the creation of the Internet. Yet ICANN officials maintain the new governance model will instill confidence around the world in the Internet’s independence.

“This plan enjoys the broadest possible support from this very diverse community and I’m confident it will meet NTIA’s criteria,” said Thomas Rickert of the Cross Community Working Group on Enhancing ICANN Accountability.

If the US government approves the plan, then a contract between ICANN and the US government will expire on September 30 as is planned.

“Ultimately, this process is about stewardship of the critical functions of one of the most extraordinary human innovations,” said Internet Society chief executive Kathryn Brown.

“It was right to entrust this important role to the Internet community.”

Crocker did not expect internet users to notice any change, given that ICANN would continue to perform its job under a new accountability regime.

Awaiting US approval

While the US government considers the transition plan, ICANN will begin rewriting its bylaws to comport with the new structure of accountability.

“Those processes will proceed in parallel,” Crocker said.

“There will be work to be carried out, then at the end of September and the end of our contract, we will operate without the involvement of the US government.”

ICANN funding will continue to come from contracts with domain name registrars and registries.

Outgoing ICANN chief Fadi Chehade has described the organization as a “traffic cop” that ensures the Internet address system functions, and the US government’s role as been merely to ensure that correct procedures are followed.

“People have aggrandized the role of the US government in what we do,” he told AFP in an interview earlier this year.

“But, the change is actually minimal.”

Chehade said that without US oversight, ICANN would be managing the technical functions of the Internet under the supervision of a board designed to maintain diverse representation.

“We have a very solid process that ensures this is not a capturable board,” which can be hijacked by governments or other institutions, he said.

Some US lawmakers have been less than enthusiastic about the plan, fearful that it could allow authoritarian regimes to impose more controls on the Internet.

Last year, Republican Senator John Thune warned at a hearing that a privatized ICANN could become “accountable to no one.”

[Source:- Phys.org]

Internet address gatekeeper OKs plan to break from US (Update)

The online address system managed by ICANN is currently overseen by the National Telecommunications and Information Administrati

The online address system managed by ICANN is currently overseen by the National Telecommunications and Information Administration at the US Department of Commerce

The gatekeeper of Internet addresses on Thursday approved a plan to break from US oversight, shifting those symbolic functions to the broader global online community.

The plan, which now heads to the US government for approval, aims to maintain Internet governance under a “multi-stakeholder” model which avoids control of the online ecosystem by any single governmental body.

The proposal crafted over the course of two years with input from businesses, academia, governments and others was endorsed at a board meeting in Morocco of the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN).

“The mood here is a mixture of exultation and exhaustion,” ICANN board chairman Stephen Crocker told AFP on the eve of the vote.

Work began on the transition plan in March of 2014, and it will be sent to the US government where it will be the focus of an internal review process expected to last about three months.

The ICANN board unanimously approved resolutions detailing the transition plan and directing that it be sent to the US government for approval.

The proposal “meets the needs of the Internet and its users,” said Alissa Cooper, who chaired one of the groups that put the plan together.

The meeting was marked by a series of standing ovations as those involved with the process were thanked.

Won’t change the Internet

The plan will not affect how users interact online, but will turn over the technical supervision of the online address system to ICANN itself, with a system of checks and balances so no single entity can exert control over the Internet, according to officials involved in the process.

The online address system managed by ICANN is currently overseen by the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) at the US Department of Commerce.

Officials say the supervision is symbolic and dates back to the creation of the Internet. Yet ICANN officials maintain the new governance model will instill confidence around the world in the Internet’s independence.

“This plan enjoys the broadest possible support from this very diverse community and I’m confident it will meet NTIA’s criteria,” said Thomas Rickert of the Cross Community Working Group on Enhancing ICANN Accountability.

If the US government approves the plan, then a contract between ICANN and the US government will expire on September 30 as is planned.

“Ultimately, this process is about stewardship of the critical functions of one of the most extraordinary human innovations,” said Internet Society chief executive Kathryn Brown.

“It was right to entrust this important role to the Internet community.”

Crocker did not expect internet users to notice any change, given that ICANN would continue to perform its job under a new accountability regime.

Awaiting US approval

While the US government considers the transition plan, ICANN will begin rewriting its bylaws to comport with the new structure of accountability.

“Those processes will proceed in parallel,” Crocker said.

“There will be work to be carried out, then at the end of September and the end of our contract, we will operate without the involvement of the US government.”

ICANN funding will continue to come from contracts with domain name registrars and registries.

Outgoing ICANN chief Fadi Chehade has described the organization as a “traffic cop” that ensures the Internet address system functions, and the US government’s role as been merely to ensure that correct procedures are followed.

“People have aggrandized the role of the US government in what we do,” he told AFP in an interview earlier this year.

“But, the change is actually minimal.”

Chehade said that without US oversight, ICANN would be managing the technical functions of the Internet under the supervision of a board designed to maintain diverse representation.

“We have a very solid process that ensures this is not a capturable board,” which can be hijacked by governments or other institutions, he said.

Some US lawmakers have been less than enthusiastic about the plan, fearful that it could allow authoritarian regimes to impose more controls on the Internet.

Last year, Republican Senator John Thune warned at a hearing that a privatized ICANN could become “accountable to no one.”
[Source:- Phys.org]

A new version of ‘The Dress’ is tearing the internet apart

BLOODY hell, internet. Stop trying to tear us all apart.

One year on from The Dress debate (otherwise known as the most scandalous and dividing controversy of our time), a similar post is setting Tumblr alight.

Behold… The Jacket.

Blue and white, or black and brown? Or maybe green?

Blue and white, or black and brown? Or maybe green?Source:Supplied

Tumblr user poppunkblogger uploaded the image with the caption, “I hate to make a new blue/black white/gold dress meme but my friend has this jacket and she says it’s white and blue but i see black and brown pls tell me what you see”.

Social media is divided, with many people seeing blue and white, others seeing black and brown, and a few even finding it to look green and gold.

Some people are also saying the colour changes depending on what device you’re viewing it on.

You’ll undoubtedly remember The Dress that sparked enormous debate last year. The internet was in a fierce battle over whether it was blue and black or white and gold.

Remember this hideous, soul-crushing monstrosity?

Remember this hideous, soul-crushing monstrosity?Source:Supplied

Scientists explained this phenomenon, saying that our perception of colour depends on our ability to analyse the amount of ambient light in the visual. When this light is missing, we have to draw our own conclusions, and can thus perceive the colour in different ways.

But damn it, internet. Enough is enough. We’re pretty sure The Dress alone caused millions of violent arguments, gruesome homicides and messy divorces around the world. We don’t need this sh*t again.

Let us all join hands, burn The Jacket, and stand around it singing Kum Ba Yah. Case closed.

 

[Source:- News.com]