Google Wallet App Revamped Ahead of Android Pay Release

Google has launched a new version of its Google Wallet app, called Google Wallet (New). Available on Google Play, the app comes with a redesigned UI and will be used for tasks such as sending money to others via an email address or making online purchases among other features.

The new Google Wallet app is said to rival other competitor services including Square Cash and Venmo, where the account is tied with a bank account or a debit card, letting users send money using the smartphone. Cashing out money left in the Wallet, setting an amount to Wallet Balance, and keeping track of transactions, are some other features in the new Google Wallet app.

As for the old Google Wallet app, the search giant would be replacing it with its forthcoming Android Pay service, which was unveiled at the Google developer’s conference in San Francisco this year. Theold Google Wallet app listing on Google Play clearly states, “This app will be updated to Android Pay in the next few days.” This also means that all the features of the old Google Wallet would become a part of Android Pay in future. For now, both the old and new app versions exist on Google Play.

Users would retain their balance in the new Google Wallet app no matter if they are using it on Android or iOS. However, the Android users would additionally be able to access Android Pay.

At the time of launch, Google engineering vice president Dave Burke said Android Pay would work in more than 700,000 US retail outlets that accept contactless payments.

Tinder Now Lets You Swipe Up to ‘Super Like’

As if swiping left and right was not stressful enough, Tinder has unveiled a third swiping direction: up. Just what does swiping up do, you ask? It lets you ‘super like’ someone, which is essentially the online dating equivalent of declaring your unconditional love for a complete stranger.

The ‘super like’ feature comes with certain features of its own. Normally, when you swipe right to like someone on the world’s most superficial app where everything is based on appearances, the other person does not find out about this unless they have also swiped right. With ‘super like’ the recipient of your above-average affection is given the information before they even respond themselves, with a small blue icon appearing on your profile. Maybe they’ll find this cute and endearing, and then swipe right, too. Then you can go ahead and get married and live happily ever after.

“I’ve always said that a match on Tinder is a lot like meeting eyes across the room,” said CEO and Co-Founder Sean Rad. “Super Like is more like going up to someone and saying ‘hello’.” Or it could mean you’re in love, but we won’t judge.

As per the report by TechCrunch, the ‘super like’ feature is only being implemented in Australia for now, with a worldwide rollout expected in the coming weeks. Fortunately, there are certain checks in place meant to prevent the new feature from being misused, and to maintain the sanctity of the all-powerful match. Initially, users will be allowed to ‘super like’ a person only once a day (unless you’re a Tinder Plus user), but Rad says that the number may go up based on initial testing.

These measures are being implemented because it has been found that many users simply right-swipe everyone and then decide later who they actually want to talk to based on who has right-swiped them back. We know that this may be hard to believe, but such people actually exist and are ruining the world’s favourite mobile dating app.

OnlineTyari Raises $5 Million; Will Invest in Technology, Expansion

Test preparation platform, OnlineTyari has raised $5 million (roughly Rs. 33.3 crores) from a clutch of marquee global angel and VC investors, including Tandem Capital, 500 Startups, Vikram Chachra of Eight Capital, Aloke Bajpai of Ixigo and Mohandas Pai.

The funds will be used for expansion and further strengthening its technology, the company said.

OnlineTyari, through its app and website, allows people to prepare for job-oriented tests including – civil services, banking services, UPSC and GATE.

Founded in 2014, OnlineTyari has over 2,000,000 downloads and a daily active user base of more than 200,000 people across India. It is currently available in Hindi and English.

The company plans to make the platform available in other languages soon, it said.

“Online education is helping students and young professionals participate and excel in the knowledge-driven economy. A vital component of this wave of access to information is to ensure that our languages are respected and catered to with considered attention,” Mohandas Pai, Chairman of Manipal Global Education said.

OnlineTyari is already making a powerful impact with their immediate focus on the over 10 million Indians writing entrance exams for government jobs, Pai said.

The company’s co-founders Vipin Agarwal and Bhola Ram Meena, both IIT Kanpur alumni, have ran different startups prior to setting up the firm.

“OnlineTyari aims to revolutionise the $20 billion (roughly Rs. 1,32,884 crores) market need for education services in India. This is our contribution towards bringing literacy and livelihood to everyone and towards achieving a truly inclusive Digital India mission,” Agarwal said.

Android Widgets May Boost Effectiveness of Sleep-Monitoring Apps

Researchers have developed an Android sleep monitoring widget that will not only serve as a data capturing tool but also provide visual reminders of the user’s activities and sleep patterns.

Called SleepTight, the widget would appear on the home screen – or lock screen – of an Android phone to help users who forget to enter daily data.

Engagement with data is really important in increasing self-awareness.

“The widget is not a full app, but it’s a small window on the home screen where people can interact with the information and access the full app,” said Eun Kyoung Choe, assistant professor of information sciences and technology at Pennsylvania State University in a statement.

The researchers found that participants who used the widget version of the app were more likely to enter daily sleep diary information into the app than those who did not use widgets.

Sleep diary adherence was 92 percent for the participants who had the widgets installed on their app compared to 73 percent who used the app without the widget.

Participants using the widget version also viewed the sleep summary page more than the participants who used the full app version.

“This result indicates that the lock screen and home screen widgets reminded participants to view the sleep summary page and offered a shortcut to the sleep summary page,” the authors noted.

Thus, we can conclude that widgets afford frequent self-reflection, they concluded.

The widget feature is exclusive to the Android phone models. There is no iPhone widget variation as of now.

How Much RAM Does the iPad Pro Have? Adobe Says 4GB

At a media event on Wednesday, Apple unveiled the iPad Pro, its 12.9-inch tablet sporting a whopping screen resolution of 2732x 2048 pixels. While the company revealed information about the processor, and the all-new large and high resolution display, it didn’t say anything about the memory (as is usual for Apple). Adobe did that job for Apple, however.

In a blog post detailing its latest products for mobile devices including the name of the Project Rigel app – Photoshop Fix – Adobe noted that the iPad Pro comes with a 4GB RAM. Here’s exactly what it said.

“During Apple’s keynote, we also demonstrated the extraordinary speed and precision of Adobe’s Creative Cloud mobile apps on Apple’s new iPad Pro. iPad Pro is great for creative workflows with a high res 12.9″ touch screen display at 2732 x 2048 pixels, A9X chip, and 4GB RAM.”

After getting some attention from media, the company quietly updated its blog post to remove the information about the processor and more importantly, the memory module. If the iPad Pro indeed comes with 4GB of RAM, it would be a huge improvement over any other iOS device the company has previously shipped. The iPad Air 2 famously ships with 2GB of RAM, the most yet.

Adobe was invited by Apple for the demonstration of its imaging apps on the iPad Pro, including Adobe Comp CC, Adobe Photoshop Sketch, and Adobe Photoshop Fix. The firm also demonstrated its CreativeSync technology for mobile app interoperability. The apps were also shown to make full use of the new pressure-sensitive Apple Pencil for the iPad Pro, the Cupertino-based company’s first stylus input device for an iPad.

Unveiled on September 9, the iPad Pro is Apple’s first tablet with 12.9-inch display. It also sports four speakers, and supports multitasking feature that iOS 9 offers for select devices. The iPad Pro packs more pixel (5.6 million) than any other iPad, as well as MacBook Air and even the MacBook which was launched earlier this year.

India Not a Winner-Take-All Market, Says Paytm’s Vijay Shekhar Sharma at GMIC 2015

GMIC Bangalore 2015 kicked off on Thursday exploring aspects of the mobile ecosystem with the theme – ‘Mobile Everything – Connecting Innovation’.

The event kicked off with a panel discussion with the CEO and founders of three Indian startup unicorns – Flipkart, InMobi, and Paytm. Vijay Shekhar Sharma, Sachin Bansal, and Naveen Tiwari spoke to a packed audience on the subject of Connecting India in a panel moderated by Vikram Chandra, CEO, NDTV.

Sachin Bansal of Flipkart spoke about why it makes sense to go app only – apps will form 90 percent of Internet consumption in a few years in India. “If you win on mobile, you win everything; If you lose on mobile, you lose everything!” he said. He said that the Internet will create a market capitalisation of $1 trillion in India in ten years, and that today’s valuations were justified.

On the subject of whether it’s a winner-take-all market, Sharma said that a lot of startups were not playing long, so a lot of them would fail, “because of the nature of the business.” He added, “I think all of us in this industry are trying to build through one unique differentiation, and expanding on that, whether it is through brand, logistics, or payment. There will be a pecking order for sure, but over the time the game becomes bigger.”

He also spoke about the winner’s curse: “Nokia won the phone business to lose the bigger smartphone business, BlackBerry won the business of smartphones to lose the bigger business of software. There are startups out there today that will become giants of tomorrow.”

Sachin Bansal said that India is always going to be a multiple player market, with the bigger threat always coming from new startups – “It’s an unknown unknown. If it took us five to seven years, it will take them half the time to reach similar levels. They have more money, and more users are available, and they know all the mistakes from the past,” he said, adding, “India is the last biggest market in the world. Everyone with their biggest pockets wants to play in this. Having seen the US, China game, they will play the game on their own strengths.”

Naveen Tewari, CEO of InMobi, said that augmented reality advertising was still a few years down the line, but that advertising would play a big role in it, and that they were a huge believer in it and had made investments on the same.

In a panel discussion about revolutionising mobile services, Rohit Bansal, Co-Founder and COOSnapdeal, said that the most important challenge was to give away control to people who are 18-21, who first saw a mobile screen, and let them solve their problems. He cited an office warming hackathon in Gurgaon, where 700 people participated.

Kunal Shah, Founder and CEO, Freecharge said that 85-90 percent of its transactions are on mobile, while 20 months ago, it was exactly the opposite. “The footfalls exist over here, the time is spent over here. Where time is spent, money will also be sent.”

He also said that India has a massive trust deficit – Payments will only happen when trust kicks in, which was based on speed as a parameter, explaining why Freecharge has a 60 kilobyte mobile site. “Slow Internet is the most acute pain we feel. Nobody is going to wait for your product to work.”

He spoke about the mobile first ‘ungli’ generation, who have now become the chief procurement manager (CPO) of the household.

The event saw panels on topics like glocalisation, the future of travel, monetising on mobile.

Google’s Android Pay Rolls Out in US

Google’s answer to the Apple Pay mobile-payment service is debuting in the U.S., marking a do-over by the company behind the world’s most-used operating system for smartphones.

Android Pay will be similar to Apple Pay, except it works on Android phones rather than Apple’s iPhones. On some Samsung Android phones, it will sit alongside Samsung Pay. All three services let people buy goods at retail stores by tapping their phones against the store’s payment terminal. The user’s debit or credit card on file then gets charged.

Google Wallet, the company’s first attempt in mobile payments, flopped because it didn’t have a big enough network of compatible devices and wireless carriers willing to work with it. Softcard, a rival effort by Verizon, AT&T and T-Mobile, also got little traction. Google Inc. bought much of Softcard’s technology and is combining the two to form Android Pay.

The timing is also better for Android Pay. Apple Pay has raised awareness about mobile payments and more merchants now have equipment capable of accepting the payments.

Android Pay will start rolling out in the U.S. on Thursday, though it might take up to a week for some users to get it from the Android app store. The app will come installed on new, compatible phones from AT&T, T-Mobile and Verizon – the Softcard partners.

Samsung Pay has been available in South Korea since Aug. 20. A U.S. trial began Aug. 25, with a broader debut planned for Sept. 28. Apple Pay launched in the U.S. last October and expanded to the U.K. this summer.

Here’s a closer look at these payment systems.

What are the advantages over plastic?
Although taking out plastic isn’t difficult, using the phone is more convenient if you already have it out – say, to check Facebook while waiting in line. It’s also great in cabs: When you pull out your wallet late at night, your keys might accidentally slip out.

The bigger advantage is security. With all three services, you’re assigned a substitute card number unique to the phone. The store gets this number, so if its system gets hacked, your main card number isn’t compromised. To work, the substitute number must be paired with a one-time code generated by that device. Hackers getting that number will also need physical possession of your phone.

What are the disadvantages?
There’s a chance it won’t work when you try to pay.

Many merchants don’t have the newer payment terminals that Apple Pay and Android Pay require.

Samsung Pay has a backup mechanism. When the phone is tapped, it can mimic the old-school, magnetic signals produced by card swipes. That means it should work with most existing equipment – but not everywhere. For instance, you’re not likely to give the waiter your phone – let alone your passcode – to pay the check at a restaurant.

How do you make payments?
For Android Pay, you need to turn on the screen and unlock your phone, such as with your fingerprint or passcode. Then you tap the phone next to the payment terminal. Apple Pay is similar, except it works even with the screen off. When the phone detects the payment terminal, it lights up and asks for your fingerprint.

With Samsung Pay, you need to swipe up from the bottom first. That’s because the phone has no way of detecting when it’s near a traditional, magnetic terminal. You can swipe up from the lock screen or the home screen, or if the screen is off (but the phone is on). If you’re in an app such as Facebook, you need to get to the home screen first.

Apple Pay and Android Pay will work when you’re in any app. There’s no need to swipe first or launch any payment app.

What do you need?
Android Pay requires an Android phone that has a near-field communication, or NFC, chip (most do) and at least the KitKat version of Android, which came out in 2013. Samsung Pay works only with theGalaxy S6 (Review | Pictures), Galaxy S6 Edge (Review | Pictures) and Galaxy S6 Edge Plus and theGalaxy Note 5, along with the upcoming Gear S2 smartwatch. For Apple Pay, you need an iPhone 6 oriPhone 6s, the Plus versions or an Apple Watch. The latest iPad models support in-app payments, but not those at stores.

Your card also needs to be from a bank that has signed on. The list varies by service and is growing.

Mahindra Says Uber, Ola Could Eat Into Auto Sales

Mahindra Group chairman Anand Mahindra on Thursday opined that taxi-hailing apps like Uber and Ola are the biggest potential threat to the automotive industry, which must create new products that customers love to own and not just use as a means of transport.

“The age of access being offered by taxi-hailing apps like Uber and Ola is the biggest potential threat to auto industry. Since these apps operators have made transpiration a commodity, (auto) sales could be hit and volumes get impacted,” Mahindra said here.

He was talking to reporters after launching M&M’s first compact SUV, TUV300, from an all new platform at the company’s plant in Chakan, Pune.

Mahindra said the problem gets confounded as “a lot of youngsters who can own vehicles today don’t want to own one, but only need access to transportation.”

Mahindra, however, expressed hope “people will own those things which they love” and called upon the auto industry to create products with passion so that they induce a desire in customers to buy cars and not just meet their automotive needs.

“The job of automobile manufacturers is to passionately build something that others love to own,” he said.

It can be noted that US-based taxi-hailing app Uber, which despite running into some troubles following the rape of a woman passenger by one of its drivers last December in Delhi and other regulatory hurdles, is investing USD 1 billion here so that it can ramp up its daily ridership to 1 million by March next year.

Uber wants to increase its India presence from the present 18 cities. Industry estimates peg Uber’s daily rides at around 2,00,000.

Similarly, its domestic rival Ola, which leads the market in terms of number of taxis, drivers and riderships by a wider margin, is also getting millions of dollars of investments to increase its market share. Ola is backed by Japanese and American firms and a clutch of other investors.

Others like Meru and Tabcab which are also growing rapidly and such app and phone-based taxi services are tilting the balance against cars faster than expected.

Low cost of ridership is forcing many people in over-crowded cities like Mumbai, Delhi and Bengaluru to opt to just hail taxis and not buy vehicles.

While Uber charges Rs. 10-13 per km, Ola offers at around Rs. 13-16 per km, thus making a daily tax ride much cheaper than owning a financed car.

Mahindra further said the impact of the current age of access is that “a lot of people, who can afford a vehicle are deciding against owning one. They just need access to transport. So, our job is to offer wider choices to consumers with more innovative models.”

Facebook Mentions and Live Now Available for Verified Profiles

Journalists and other public figures can now offer live video to their followers on Facebook, which announced plans Thursday to broaden the streaming service.

As of Thursday, anyone with a verified Facebook profile will be able to use Facebook Mentions, an application made available earlier this year to actors, musicians and other celebrities to connect with their fans.

“People love reading articles from and connecting with their favorite journalists and public figures on Facebook,” the social network announced in a blog post.

“Today, we’re making Facebook Mentions and Live available to public figures with verified profiles to help them engage their followers and interact with their peers.”

The move will allow journalists to report live from a news scene and host questions from followers onFacebook.

The users may choose who gets to see the live video stream.

“Whether you’re sharing text, links, photos or something else, Mentions lets you choose the audience you want to share with,” the blog post said.

“For example, you can share a post so only your followers see it in News Feed.”

Facebook began offering the service amid competition in live streaming from Twitter’s Periscope and the independent Meerkat app, both of which launched this year.