Category Archives: Indian Technology

All the latest Technology news from Indian startups and companies.

Samsung N100, First MeeGo Netbook Launched in India at Rs 12,290

Samsung N100Today, Samsung announced the launch of the first MeeGo netbook in India – the Samsung N100, via a press release.

The Samsung N100’s design is based on the very popular Samsung N150P, a Windows 7 netbook launched last year which sold more than 3 million units.

The Samsung N100 weighs just 1.03 kg, and comes with a 10.1 inch matte LED display with a resolution of 1024 x 600 pixels. It is powered by Intel’s MeeGo OS, but also comes with options for free DOS and Windows 7.

It is powered by the Intel Atom N435 processor which is clocked at 1.33 GHz. It comes with 1 GB DDR3 RAM and a 250 GB hard disk. The graphics are handled by the Intel GMA 3150 chipset.

It is priced at Rs 12,290. While I highly doubt the prospects of MeeGo in the Indian market, the N100 offers a solid piece of hardware at a low price. It’s definitely worth considering if you are in the market for a cheap netbook.

Online Tax Returns Filing Goes Up By 80% In India

Looks like the citizens of India are gradually jumping on to the web – wagon! According to recent reports, online filing of tax returns or e-tax has increased by great numbers. This was revealed by SNK ETax solutions, a company which specialises in corporate and individual taxation.

The figures are some thing like this:

In the year 2009-10, the total number of tax returns filed were 3.4 crores approximately. Out of this, the number of returns that were filed online were 51.06 lakh. Whereas in 2010-11, the total number of tax returns filed was 4.4 crore and out of this the number of tax returns filed online was 91.57 lakhs. If we compare just the online returns, there has been almost 80% growth.

The number of online tax returns filed is expected to touch 7.5 crores within next five years which is going to be a tremendous growth indeed. The website of the Income Tax department of India has a lot of information how to file your tax online, and detailed information about various tax laws.

There is also a Tax Calculator application on the website using which you can find out your tax liabilities according to your net taxable income. People generally hire a tax consultant in order to manage their taxes and filing. However, if you file the taxes online using the calculator we mentioned above, you can save yourself some extra money in form of the fees which the tax consultant would charge.

Google Street View Temporarily Discontinued In India

Just around the end of last month, Google had announced the start of it’s Street View project in India. Street Viewis one of the many projects from Google that lets you check out places around the world with the help of 360-degree street-level images from Google Maps. However, Street View has already come under the scanner of various governments across the world.

The Street View project has now fallen prey to the eyes of the Indian Government as well. When Google started this in Bangalore, India last month, we were quite skeptical about it’s operation in the country. Now it turns out that Google did not even secure the necessary clearance required for filming the streets in Bangalore.

Google has already procured a fleet of Chevrolet Captiva SUVs and tri-cycles with special rotating cameras atop in order to film and take photographs of the streets. The Bangalore police is concerned because there are many military institutions in the city and making available such data online would pose security threats to these areas.

Google has already confirmed that the “Street View” project has been suspended as they have received a letter from Bangalore’s police commissioner ask to do so. Not only India, Google has faced serious obstacles in implementing this project in other countries such as Germany, Switzerland and Brazil.

Facebook Credits To Go Live In India From 1st July

Facebook has announced the launch of it’s Facebook Credits feature in 13 Asian and Latin American countries via international payment methods and improved payout workflows for developers using Facebook Credits. For the ones who have not heard about Facebook Credits before, it is a safe way to pay for Virtual Goods in Facebook Applications without having to reveal your bank or card details to a third-party app or game provider.

According to a blog post from Facebook:

We’re also excited to announce that we now support payouts to developers in all countries globally (excluding a few government-embargoed countries). To do this, we’ve developed a new pay out process for developers in countries where we haven’t previously supported payouts through banks or PayPal. For developers in these countries, we may request some additional documentation to enable them to be paid through their local bank account.

Although there is a no special mention about India in the official blog post but we can see India listed in the payment options page for Facebook Credits. The payment methods available for Indian developers include Mobile payments (using Boku or Zong), MOLePoints, Moneybookers, Western Union QuickPay. As expected, there is no PayPal in the list. And in the case of Mobile Payments, only Airtel supports Boku in India, so Zong is ruled out.

LinkedIn Hits 10M Registered Users In India; Doubles User Base In Just 1 Year

LinkedIn – the social network for professionals is seeing a fast growth in India. The company recently did it’s IPO and what could be a more better news than hitting the landmark of 10 Million registered users in India. There are already many online job portals in India such as Naukri.com, Monster.com and others but none provide a social angle to Job hunting, the way LinkedIn does.

Although, there is a desi social network for professional called brijj.com which has 4 Million registered users (claimed) but the experience and user engagement is of no match to LinkedIn. LinkedIn had 5 Million registered users in the month of May last year (2010) and this years 10 Million figure seals LinkedIn’s 100% growth in the country.

In order to increase it’s reach among users and brands, LinkedIn has been taking many initiatives such as the launch of Company pages for all Indian companies. However, LinkedIn needs to do more in order to beat it’s competitors (naukri.com and monster.com) hands down. Naukri.com has a very vast reach in India among users when it comes to searching for jobs as users know these websites as job search engines. LinkedIn has to come up with an awareness campaign for users in India so that they start understanding the power of LinkedIn as well.

Google Debuts “Street View” In India; Starting From Bengaluru

“Street View” is one of the many projects from Google that lets you check out places around the world with the help of 360-degree street-level images. This feature is available inside Google Maps. Street View has already been under the scanner of various Govt. agencies in the 27 countries where the service is currently available. Google has now announced the launch of the “Street View” service in India too.

“Street View” will debut in Bengaluru and after which it will make it’s way into other major Indian cities. However, you won’t be able to see any imagery as of now as the service has just been started in India and Google will have to take pictures and compile the database first. Once the collection process is over, the entire city of Bengaluru will be available on your desktop or mobile device!

Here is an image of some vehicles from Google Street View’s fleet of vehicles which will used to scan the images of various parts of the city. In the image you can see a tricycle and two Chevrolet Captiva SUVs. Note the special camera at the top of the vehicles which will be used to capture the images.

Via Google India Blog

Infibeam Unveils BuildABazaar – Build Your Own Online eStore

Infibeam is known for many firsts in India. Infibeam was the first to launch India’s first desi e-reader, the Pi and followed it up with the iPad competitor – Phi. Well now Infibeam has come up with a new offering called the BuildABazaar on the lines of Amazon’s Affiliate Stores. With eCommerce on the rise in India, BuildABazaar will definitely help entrepreneurs to try their hands at selling stuff online without requiring to get familiar with the much needed tech jargon behing running such e-stores.

The service is currently being offered on a first come first served basis.Interested users may send their details to Infibeam by 7th June 2011 and Infibeam will finally declare the names of the approved users by 10th June 2011. Here are a few features of BuildABazaar which users as well as store owners may find very useful:

  • Users can start their own store with a customised brand name of their choice
  • Owners will have the option of uploading their own product catalog or feature selected products from infibeam.com on their BuildABazaar store.
  • If the user chooses to upload his/her own catalog, then these products will also be made available for sale on Infibeam.com and the owners can get paid via the Infibeam Affiliate program.
  • Infibeam will take care of order deliveries and   ship orders and the store owners will be paid a commission for all transactions that happen on their stores.

Here is what Vishal Mehta, CEO of Infibeam.com has to say about BuildABazaar:

This launch signifies our largest commitment to empower entrepreneurs including sellers as well as local shop owners by allowing them to create their own online store under their brand. Using our self service platform, every entrepreneur can setup their own branded Online store, upload their own product catalog, select products from Infibeam catalog like Books, Movies, Mobile phones, Electronics, Cameras and start selling with no upfront investment

 

Hiox India Launches Indiaballot.com – Live Election Results At Your Fingertips

Wouldn’t it be good if you get the consolidated results, of the government elections happening in your state, at one place? If you feel this is true then here is something you may be interested in. Hiox India – a web services company, has launched a website called Indiaballot.com. The website currently has full reports and results of the Assembly elections in India including all the data for the five states where Assembly elections took place recently.

The website nicely structured with all the election data categorized under the respective states. There is also a search feature which you can use for finding information about a party or alliance wise, district wise and constituency wise information of parties from any state in the country.

Among other things, indiaballot.com has information about the number of contestants from each party or alliance, along with the name of the candidates, who participated in the election and number of candidates who won or lost are recorded. Another website which has been profiling similar information is myneta.info. It will be interesting to see how these websites profile the info for better use during elections.

Mobile App Dev Firm SourceBits Posts $6.5M Revenues; Raises $10M Funding

If you have been using the iPhone or the iPad for quite some time then you must have used the Night stand or the Skyfire apps. Both are most downloaded and top apps in their respective categories on the iTunes app store. Skyfire is famous for the fact that it brings the ability to play flash videos while browsing the web on the iPhone or the iPad. Well, both of the above mentioned apps have been developed by Bangalore based SourceBits technologies.

Sourcebits has developed over 300 apps for various mobile platforms like iOS Android, BlackBerry, Palm Pre and Windows Phone 7. The company recently posted it’s revenues for the year 2010-2011. The figures were a whopping $6.5 Million. The Night Stand app for iPhone (developed by SourceBits) has already been downloaded more than 5 million times fetching $1 Million in revenues alone for the company.

Sourcebits has also raised a total sum of US $10 Million from top investors – Sequoia Capital and IDG Ventures ($5M each) in their first round of investment. The company now plans to set up engineering and sales centers in the United States and a design engineering center in India and Europe.

via Medianama

Private Fashion Sales Portal 99Labels.com Raise $3.5M From Info Edge

Like we have already said in the past, e-commerce is really a hot entity in India right now. Info Edge India – the founders of India’s most successful job portal Naukri.com has invested $3.5 Million (close to 15.75 Crore Indian Ruppees) in 99Labels.com – an online private fashion sales portal.

99labels specialises in event based online sales for a limited time period which includes fashion-wear, accessories, jewelry, lifestyle products, furniture and much more and prices are upto 90% off label prices. This is some thing with websites like fashionandyou.com have been already doing.

99labels plans to use these funds in order to increase the their international brand offerings and use innovative ways to create awareness amongst consumers – both online and offline. Ishita Swarup, CEO, 99Labels.com said that they are really excited about this new alliance and look forward to a productive, innovative and supportive partnership with Infoedge.

New Indian Cyber Laws Can Be A Threat To Web Content Providers

The IT scene in India is about to take a steep turn in the coming days.

The new Cyber laws issued by the Information technology department of Indian Government (PDF) imposes a lot of restrictions on citizens and content providers which includes companies, institutions, cyber café owners and anyone who is servingobjectionable content to Indian people in one form or the other.

For example: One of the acts states that no organization or an intermediary can servecontent that is harmful, obscene, pornographic, hateful, defamatory, encourages money laundering or gambling, not suitable for minors or otherwise unlawful in any manner. [Ref: sec 3(b) III ]

And as before, Google and other tech companies are not very happy regarding the new IT rules of India.

indian-cyber-cafe

This is because the new rules require websites to remove objectionable content which might be harmful to minors. Content includes text, images as well as videos and the websites who act as an intermediary between the website and the content also fall under the same umbrella.

So if a site has a pornographic image and an Indian citizen is viewing it on Google Images, both the source website and Google Images are to be blamed. Internet service providers or website owners have to bring some bars on the type of objectionable content via a terms of service act with their users.

If barring the content is not possible (consider the huge collection of blogs, YouTube videos and images), the source websites have to remove the objectionable content within 36 hours when the corresponding authorities notify the company administration.

The option of content barringis a huge task for social networking sites and search engines like Google, Yahoo etc. This is because search engines do not generate the content themselves and they have no control over the type of content that is shared via blogs, social sites, YouTube etc. Almost anyone can post an objectionable image on free blogging platforms and post a link of the image on social sites like Facebook, Twitter etc.

The government officials are already in action. As an example, here is a list of websites that are blocked by order of the Indian Government. The data was received from the department of Information technology in response to the RTI (right to information) act. One of the offending websites is a Facebook fan page about B.R Ambedkar, which we reported a few months back.

India is already one of the booming market for Internet companies. There are already more than 700 million cellphone users in India (and counting) so the number of web savvy users is on the rise. Google among other tech companies are worried whether the new Indian I.T rules will go narrow in coming months or whether there would be strict guidelines on the natureof content which is considered safe for Indian audience as reported at WSJ.

CCAvenue Payment Gateway Hacked By SQL Injection

Reports have started pouring in that CCAvenue, India’s largest payment gateway has been hacked and all the administrator passwords of various merchants using CCAvenue has been stolen in the process. The method of hack which was used in this is sadi to be SQL Injection. Such incidents are not at all expected from a company which happens to be the basis of lot of online e-commerce businesses.

The hackers have managed to lay their hands on all administrative passwords at CCAvenue, list of various databases and some information on tables within the databases. This was revealed by a portal called Hackerregiment which received an e-mail from a hacker with the screenshots suggesting that all administrator passwords at CCAvenue may have been leaked.

However, the CEO of CCAvenue has a different story to tell. He says that netbanking and non-credit cards related transactions form to be more than 85-90% of the overall transactions on CCAvenue. During these transactions, CCAvenue does not store any such important information on their servers and merely acts as a redirector.

Shemaroo Launches Free Bollywood Movies On Youtube

Wouldn’t it be nice if you could get to watch all your favorite Bollywood (hindi) movies online for free? Well, I don’t think anyone will say no to this. However if you think that we are going to tell you about illegal ways of watching Hindi movies online then this post is not for you.

Bollywood films distributor – Shemaroo has taken a unique initiative to put good hindi movies online including golden oldies and latest flicks so that users can easily see their favorite movies without much hassle. In order to make this happen, Shemaroo has created an exclusive video channel on Youtube called Shemaroo Movies. The channel has full length videos of various Bollywood films which users can view for free.

Currently the channel has around 20 titles ans Shemaroo has plans of expanding it gradually with more movies. The best part about it is that they have the right mix of current blockbusters as well as all time classic movies. Short 5 – 6 second in video advertisements which play at regular intervals while watching the movies is how Shemaroo is planning to generate revenue from these online movies.

One concern which I had while viewing movies on the Channel is that, it is very easy to download videos from Youtube using already available online video download tools. These might prompt certain users to download the movies from the Shemaroo channel (meant for viewing online). So, in a way is this not promoting video piracy? Do let us know about your thoughts in the comments section below.

JantaKhoj Launches Online Background Checks For Domestic Help & Drivers In India

JantaKhoj.com – India’s first complete people search engine has launched a new service in association with BabaJob.com that has an indirect potential of reducing crime rates in the cities. BabaJob is already a famous job portal which lets professionals and executives find bottom-of-the-pyramid informal sector workers like maids, cooks, drivers without any hassle.

Now, this association between BabaJob and Jantakhoj will enable credible domestic help and driver background verifications online using which users availing services of Babajob can find out criminal record, reference, employment, address, driving license and education verification before hiring new maids, cooks or drivers. Lots of crimes such as theft and murders are committed in cities as a result of hiring con-men who do not have proper background verifications.

Babajob ultimately relies on candidates to self-report their information on their site. The reason of partnering with JantaKhoj is the specific expertise in verifications in the informal sector and the reach of JantaKhoj that extends throughout India. The partnership will help current users of Babajob do more thorough background checks before hiring domestic help or drivers assuring them peace of mind.

via WATPR

FirstCry.com Raises $4 Million: Kid e-Commerce Hot In India?

E-Commerce is definitely one of the hottest avenues today in the Indian Internet Market. Well, another new niche seems to have joined the already hot e-commerce sector in India. It’s the e-commerce in the Kids section. A lot of websites are coming up in India which aim to be one stop online shop for all your baby’s needs like toys, kindergarten education, care etc.

FirstCry.com is one such website based out of Pune which has more than 4000 products listed on their website from over 300 brands. The age group which this website plans to cater is for 0-14 year olds.Well, the company behind FirstCry.com recently announced that they have raised $4 Million in it’s first round of funding from SAIF Partners. The company plans to use these funds to ramp up it’s operations and hire new strength.

Off, we have seen a lot of websites which are catering to purchasing baby products online such as balgopal.com and babyoye.com. According to the India head of SAIF Partners there is a lot of demand for kids and babycare goods in India and anyone launching a babycare goods portal can expect 300-400 transactions per day in first six months.