Maxthon Partners with AMD to Offer Web Browser Optimized for Next Generation APU Chips

Maxthon, a cloud-based browser, today released a new version of its Windows browser that uses a revolutionary new microprocessor from Advanced Micro Devices (AMD), significantly reducing power consumption while offering superior video performance. AMD’s new Accelerated Processing Unit (APU) leverages new technology to make transactions between the graphics processing unit (GPU) and the central processing unit (CPU) faster and more energy-efficient than ever before.

“New chip architecture like AMD’s APU product is a clear signpost to where we believe the Web technology is heading: more happening in the chip and the browser serving as more of an open standards operating system,” said Jeff Chen, founder and CEO of Maxthon. “We’re proud to collaborate with AMD on such an exciting step forward.”

The GPU handles the processing of rich media including graphics and video, while the CPU manages the heavy lifting of analytical and logic-based functions. Until now, communicating across these two units has depended on a serial data connection that processes millions of functions per second, often resulting in a sluggish and power-consuming Web experience.

The partnership allows Maxthon to optimize the Windows browser for lightning-quick interaction between the APU to speed up video and graphics rendering, particularly using HTML5 standards for which Maxthon is the global leader in support. Among other things, the Maxthon Cloud browser is using OpenCL for lightning quick HTML5 video post processing to offer richer, faster video.

“In the near future what we now know as TV will be mediated through a Web browser optimized for innovative technology like AMD’s APU processors,” said Karl Mattson, vice president of Maxthon International. “Among other things, that means the electronic ‘hearth’ of the TV in the family room will be freed to be available to any device connected to the Web running a browser like Maxthon.”

About Maxthon

Maxthon is an innovative software company that develops superior Web browsers that continue to set new standards for speed, security, simplicity and cloud features. It is available on the Windows, Android, iOS and Mac platforms. With offices in San Francisco, Los Angeles, Beijing, Shanghai and Hong Kong, Maxthon reaches a global community of users that tops more than 120,000,000 people each month in more than 150 countries.

Facebook’s Balancing Act: The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly

The good news: Facebook (NASDAQ: FB  ) turned fabulously profitable in the just-reported second quarter thanks to a redesigned ad flow on mobile Facebook apps. Revenues jumped 23% from the first quarter to the second. Last year, the same comparison yielded just an 11% seasonal gain. The year-ago quarter’s net loss turned into a tidy profit.

In response, share prices jumped more than 30% overnight and sit very close to all-time highs that were set during the stock’s IPO.

The bad news: The ad assault is interfering with the user experience. A fresh survey (free registration required) from the American Customer Satisfaction Index shows Facebook dead last among online media sites in terms of user satisfaction. “Facebook users find the numerous changes to the site’s interface taxing,” says the ACSI. Twenty-seven percent of users surveyed complained that ads are ruining their Facebook experience these days.

The ugly news: The good news may not last very long. Facebook had better dial back the ad blitz if it wants those disgruntled users to stick around.

It’s a high-wire balancing act between monetization and user satisfaction. Lean too far in one direction, and you won’t make any money from those billions of page views. Err too far in the other direction, and those profitable page views will melt away as unhappy users find greener pastures.

Don’t think it couldn’t happen. Facebook is not too big to fail. Unless the company strikes that crucial balance before it’s too late, we could very well see another mass exodus from one leading social network to another.

Facebook itself killed MySpace by launching a better service in the same genre. Before that, MySpace trampled all over social pioneer Friendster in much the same way.

And there are Facebook alternatives waiting to crush the current king at the first opportunity, believe it or not.

Chief among these is Google (NASDAQ: GOOG  ) and its Google+ service, which benefits from tight integration with the world’s most popular search engine as well as with leading video site YouTube.

Twitter sings a somewhat different tune but can fill many of the functions of a Facebook account. LinkedIn (NYSE: LNKD  ) is basically Facebook for corporate users and could very well expand into the consumer side of things if it wanted to.

All of these alternatives offer fewer ads and a cleaner experience than Facebook. LinkedIn ties with Facebook at the least satisfied end of the ACSI survey; everyone else runs miles ahead. Yes, even the much-maligned Google+ “ghost town.” And even LinkedIn reports fewer ad-taint complaints than Facebook.

That’s why I’d take this week’s Facebook share-price pop as a temporary boost, and not as a sustainable clean bill of health. The service currently leans far too heavy on the monetization side of the fence and runs a very real risk of finding out that the next era of social networking doesn’t include much Facebooking.

So my bearish CAPScall on Facebook stays in place until Mark Zuckerberg and company adjust their strategy again. If you can’t keep your users happy, the money will very quickly cease to matter.

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Google Selects HE-AAC Multichannel From Fraunhofer IIS For Google Play Movies in Surround Sound

Google and Fraunhofer IIS deliver the first movies with a true 5.1 channel surround sound experience from Google Play. The immersive sound quality consumers have come to expect from TV, Blu-ray disc or DVD is now available with movies streamed or downloaded from Google Play directly to their Android devices running 4.1 or later. Google chose HE-AAC Multichannel as Android’s only surround sound codec due to its open-standard nature and excellent bit-rate efficiency.

When connected to a surround sound system and TV with an HDMI cable, Android users will be able to play high quality audio and video from their smartphones and tablets in surround. On the go, Android devices will play movies in great stereo quality and selected Nexus products will also include the Fraunhofer Cingo virtual surround rendering technology, which will play movies in realistic surround sound on earphones or tablet stereo speakers.

Android’s HE-AAC Multichannel implementation includes full support for loudness and downmix metadata commonly known from the broadcast TV world, as well as other features that allow the sound to be tailored for an optimum user experience in any listening mode and environment.

“Google Play movies in 5.1 HE-AAC Multichannel sound are the first realization of our vision of bringing true theatrical surround sound to mobile devices,” said Robert Bleidt, Division General Manager at Fraunhofer USA Digital Media Technologies. “The Google and Fraunhofer partnership creates a tremendous value for consumers by offering one format that delivers a high quality experience both in-home and while mobile. Consumers may experience surround sound over headphones while on their way home from work, and finish the movie in true, exciting surround in their living room,” he added.

HE-AAC Multichannel is part of the Fraunhofer FDK AAC codec library for Android since version 4.1 and a required feature of all Android-compatible devices. This software makes open-source Fraunhofer implementations of the MPEG audio codecs AAC, HE-AAC, HE-AACv2, and AAC-ELD available to the Android community.

HE-AAC is today’s most efficient high-quality surround and stereo audio codec deployed in over 5 billion devices and used in TV, radio, and streaming services worldwide. The codec is natively integrated into most operating systems, streaming platforms and consumer electronics devices. In addition to its unique coding efficiency, HE-AAC has the dynamic ability to change audio bit-rates seamlessly in order to adapt to changing network conditions as consumers stream content to a variety of devices. It can be used with any adaptive streaming technology including MPEG-DASH, Apple HLS, Adobe HDS and Microsoft Smooth Streaming.

No space for over-30s as relaunched MySpace erases its past

Did you pour your heart out on a MySpace blog and make hourly checks on your Friends total? Now the social network has been accused of erasing the personal histories of its dedicated members after a $20 million relaunch designed to bury its past and attract a new teenage audience.

The music-centred platform, which helped launch Lily Allen to fame and attracted 100 million users at its 2007 peak, is seeking to climb out of the social network “graveyard” after years of being a source of digital derision.

The site, lacking innovation and overtaken by Facebook, shed users and was abandoned by Rupert Murdoch, whose News Corporation had bought the company in a disastrous $580 million deal.

Backed by new investors, including singer Justin Timberlake, Myspace (after dropping the capital ‘S’) has been rebranded as a music-streaming service, with a new sleek interface, and an iPhone app for radio play and animated GIF creation.

The new Myspace has shown signs of life, attracting 31 million unique visitors and one million app downloads since a high-profile relaunch last month.

However its owners do not appear to want those loyal users, who stuck around even when MySpace became a tarnished brand, to spoil the party for its new target audience of young “millenials”.

Furious users complained that Myspace has erased all of their blogs, private messages, videos, comments and posts, when they try and log-in to the new site.

Myspace veterans, whose lives have been marked out by the blogs and photos posted daily over nearly a decade, are threatening a class-action lawsuit over what they see as the destruction of their personal histories.

One disgruntled member wrote: “I was a loyal user who never deserted Myspace. I used it almost everyday since 2006. I wrote hundreds of blogs that, to my horror, were simply gone as of last night with no prior warning given. That is no way to treat us. Please give us a chance to recover old blogs. This is like losing family photographs, and it is really horrible.”

Another posted on the site’s forum: “This is no different than losing one’s writing or photographs in a house fire, and I am feeling awful right now.” “You in essence just stole our blogs without permission to delete them. How dare you!,” complained another user.

Myspace, bought for just $35 million in 2011 by Timberlake and the Specific Media Group, told users that it had made changes to create a “better experience.” The company said: “That means you won’t see a few products on the new site. We know that this is upsetting to some but it gives us a chance to really concentrate on creating a new experience for discovery and expression.”

The “year zero” approach extends to stars who once built huge followings through MySpace. Britney Spears, who enjoyed 1.5 million Friends on the old MySpace, found her new “Connections” count set to 0.

Myspace won’t mind irritating 30-somethings who enjoyed sharing family photos if the network maintains a positive buzz from younger users since the relaunch, which featured the rapper Pharrell in a major advertising campaign.

The new app is ranked among the Top 20 social networking apps and the site makeover received positive feedback on Twitter.

Yet Myspace has been forced to respond to the backlash from its loyal users.  “Change isn’t easy and there has been a lot going on lately,” the company said. It told angry members: “We understand that this (blog) information is very important to you. Please understand that your blogs have not been deleted. Your content is safe and we have been discussing the best ways possible to provide you your blogs.” Pictures and music playlists can be located and transferred over to the new Myspace, the company added.

Founded in 2003 by a team of California web pioneers led by Tom Anderson and Chris DeWolfe, MySpace generated $800 million in revenue by 2008. Arctic Monkeys were among the bands who used the network’s music-sharing feature as a springboard for success.

Facebook offers the dummy’s guide to mobile advertising

Facebook Inc’s mobile advertising success offers a ray of hope for Internet companies trying to make money within the confines of the smartphone’s small screen.

The social network’s 75 percent surge in mobile ad revenue in a span of just three months not only doused skepticism on Wall Street and Madison Avenue about Facebook’s business prospects, some say it could serve as a how-to guide for other Web companies navigating a world where the phone and tablet have fast become the screens of choice.

Facebook’s “Newsfeed” ads, which inject marketing messages straight into a user’s content stream and are tailored for mobile devices, were the stars behind the social network’s stunning numbers on Wednesday.

“You’re going to see a lot of companies transitioning and trying to emulate this model because it’s working so well. That’s why last night was a true watershed moment,” said Ben Schachter, an analyst at Macquarie Research.

Internet company executives have long been concerned that mobile advertising is inherently less lucrative than traditional desktop PC advertising, due to the smartphone’s limited screen size and possible consumer resistance to a flood of ads on their devices.

Companies from Google Inc and Yahoo Inc to upstarts such as Snapchat are searching for the right formula to monetize mobile services. While Google has developed a mobile ad business generating an estimated $10 billion a year in revenue, it remains much smaller and less lucrative than Google’s desktop search advertising. Analysts expect Google to generate $60 billion in annual revenue this year.

That wholesale exploration of “native ads” – or marketing messages intended to blend with a users’ personal content, rather than stand out as an ad – has met with varying success.

Twitter, which pioneered the concept of the in-stream ad even before Facebook, may also be well-positioned to benefit from mobile ads. “Sponsored” messages now pop up abruptly in the middle of streams of tweets, but analysts say the frequency is much lower on Facebook newsfeeds.

More than half of the privately held company’s revenue will come from mobile ads this year, reckons Clark Fredricksen, at industry research firm eMarketer.

Some are just getting into the game. This week, LinkedIn Corp, the network for business professionals, rolled out in-stream ads on mobile and PC versions of its service. Yahoo has experimented with similar types of ads, and acquired blogging hub Tumblr for $1.1 billion in May, in part to jumpstart efforts at developing new formats.

But it’s Facebook, which a year ago had zero mobile revenue, that has most aggressively promoted its mobile advertising business to Madison Avenue – with seeming success.

“Compared to other companies, nobody has come right out and said mobile is our sole focus now,” said Angela Steele, CEO of Ansible, part of advertising holding company IPG. “Facebook put all their eggs in one basket.”

FOLLOWING SUIT

One longstanding question has been how much tolerance consumers have for ads that disrupt their stream of content. Facebook said it has steadily increased the number of ads in the news stream without noticing a drop in user satisfaction.

Facebook Chief Executive Mark Zuckerberg said on Wednesday that, on average, ads now account for 5 percent or one in 20 “stories” in the newsfeed. That ratio could now provide a baseline for calculating success, prompting other Web companies to raise the frequency of ads in their streams.

“It wouldn’t surprise me if other companies would look at that and follow suit,” said Ansible’s Steele.

Hussein Fazal, the CEO of AdParlor, which manages advertising campaigns on Facebook, guesses that the social network must have gradually opened the spigot, gauging user reaction and adjusting the stream all the while.

They seemed to have hit on the right formula, but it’s one that differs across platforms, he said.

“The reason Facebook can do it is, the rest of the content that’s there is so engaging that you don’t mind one out of every 20 ads,” he said. “If you have a newsfeed that’s not so engaging, and you keep seeing ads, then it doesn’t work.”

Plus, the more ads in the stream, the less users will click on them, which can dampen ad prices, he added.

Facebook’s seeming success on mobile devices contrasts with Google’s more gradual improvement in that area. The No. 1 Internet search engine has gradually managed to narrow declines in its overall ad rates from the mobile effect, but last quarter they reversed and went down again, disappointing investors.

Google has avoided news stream ads entirely in its Google+ social network. Instead, its mix of mobile search ads, video ads and innovative formats such as “click-to-call” have delivered what RBC Capital Markets analyst Mark Mahaney estimates is a $10 billion annualized run rate for its mobile business, about four times as much as Facebook.

But mobile has driven down the average cost of Google ads, and some industry watchers consider the transition a long-term threat to the search giant. But other analysts say recent changes to the way it sells ads to marketers, blurring the distinction between the mobile and PC, could help bolster rates.

Yahoo Ad Startup Acquisitions

Jakarta – Yahoo! management announced that the company recently acquired a new company engaged in the field of advertising, namely AdMovate.
On the company’s official website, Wednesday, July 17, 2013, management AdMovate said, “We started the company last year to make it easier for advertisers to create highly personalized offers via the mobile platform.”
Management said the company tried to keep the advertisers can reach consumers through ads that are personalized to match. And Yahoo! has a team with a similar vision.
“Yahoo! is willing to invest in a massive scale,” he says on the site. AdMovate management company hopes to realize his dream of building an effective mobile advertising services.
In a statement, the management of Yahoo! said, “This acquisition is part of our efforts to further develop our advertising technologies such as Apt, Genome, and Right Media.”
Yahoo! hopes that the advertisers can more easily advertise and advertising agencies can be more easily connect. The technology developed AdMovate expected to accelerate this development.
This action adds to list of companies that have made ​​acquisitions Yahoo! In May, Yahoo! bought the social networking site Tumblr with a value of U.S. $ 1.1 billion. Analysts expect, Tumblr is the largest acquisition in the history of corporate.
Buying Tumblr will meet the goals of Yahoo! CEO Marissa Mayer to expand the market share of the smartphone and tablet computer users. Tumblr paper presents a constantly changing, photos, and other digital content presented by users who can now connect through mobile applications. This service is also one of the most popular websites among teenagers and young adults, it is considered appropriate to the development of Yahoo! Mayer

Hackers use Dropbox, WordPress to spread malware

The Chinese cyberspies behind the widely publicized espionage campaign against The New York Times have added Dropbox and WordPress to their bag of spear-phishing tricks.

The gang, known in security circles as the DNSCalc gang, has been using the Dropbox file-sharing service for roughly the last 12 months as a mechanism for spreading malware, said Rich Barger, chief intelligence officer for Cyber Squared. While the tactic is not unique, it remains under the radar of most companies.

“I wouldn’t say it’s new,” Barger said on Thursday. “It’s just something that folks aren’t really looking at or paying attention to.”

The gang is among 20 Chinese groups identified this year by security firm Mandiant thatlaunch cyberattacks against specific targets to steal information. In this case, the DNSCalc gang was going after intelligence on individuals or governments connected to the Association of Southeast Asian Nations. ASEAN is a non-governmental group that represents the economic interests of ten Southeast Asian countries.

The attackers did not exploit any vulnerabilities in Dropbox or WordPress. Instead, they opened up accounts and used the services as their infrastructure.

The gang uploaded on Dropbox a .ZIP file disguised as belonging to the U.S.-ASEAN Business Council. Messages were then sent to people or agencies that would be interested in the draft of a Council policy paper. The paper, contained in the file, was legitimate, Barger said.

When a recipient unzipped the file, they saw another one that read, “2013 US-ASEAN Business Council Statement of Priorities in the US-ASEAN Commercial Relationship Policy Paper.scr.” Clicking on the file would launch a PDF of the document, while the malware opened a backdoor to the host computer in the background.

Once the door was open, the malware would reach out to a WordPress blog created by the attackers. The blog contained the IP address and port number of a command and control server that the malware would contact to download additional software.

Dropbox is a desirable launchpad for attacks because employees of many companies use the service. “People trust Dropbox,” Barger said.

For companies that have the service on its whitelist, malware moving from Dropbox won’t be detected by a company’s intrusion prevention systems. Also, communications to a WordPress blog would likely go undetected, since it would not be unusual behavior for any employee with access to the Internet.

In general, no single technology can prevent such an attack. “There’s no silver bullet here,” Barger said.

The best prevention is for security pros to share information when their companies are targeted, so others can draw up their own defense, he said.

In The New York Times attack, the hackers penetrated the newspaper’s systems in September 2012 and worked undercover for four months before they were detected.

The attack coincided with an investigative piece the newspaper published on business dealings that reaped several billion dollars for the relatives of Wen Jiabao, China’s prime minister.

Google Maps Back Wins Feature Offline Cache

As we know, Google Maps has been updated a few days ago. Unfortunately the update is gained criticism because of ‘loss’ offline cache feature maps that lead the user must constantly connected to Google to use the service.
The criticism has received a response from Google. Not long ago, Google said it would issue a new update featuring the option to store the offline cache on the Maps application has been rolled out for Android. This option will be installed at the bottom of the search box located on the map and can be switched easily. In addition, Google also decided to add the “Where’s Latitude?” that will take users to information about the future of the location sharing service.
This update began rolling on this day and can be checked via the Play Store.

NSA intercepted, Apple, Google, Microsoft alliance

Jakarta – A giant technology company formed an alliance to demand transparency from the U.S. government related information monitoring program of the National Security Agency (NSA) called PRISM.
The alliance involves companies such as Apple, Google, Facebook, and Microsoft. In alliance was also a number of civic groups. In a letter that will be announced in a few hours, the alliance which amounts to 63 companies, investors, and non-profit organizations is asking for clearer rules about such things.
“Basic information about the way the government enforce laws related activities have been published during this investigation does not interfere with the investigation,” read one of the points in the letter obtained by AllThingsD on Wednesday, July 17, 2013.
The Alliance requested that they be allowed the right to announce the number of government requests for data on the users of their services. They also requested that the number of users, accounts, and information held gadget that can be announced.
Alliance also assess the amount of requests basic information about the content and the user, could be made public as part of their transparency.
At the same time, the alliance will also ask the government to announce a number of requests and the number of individuals whose data is requested from the technology companies.
This letter will be addressed to President Barack Obama and congressional leaders. Here are some names of firms and associations involved in this alliance:
Yahoo, AOL, Apple, Digg, Dropbox, Evoca, Facebook, Google, HeyZap, LinkedIn, Meetup, Microsoft, Mozilla, Reddit, salesforce.com, Tumblr, and Twitter.
Also there younow, Union Square Ventures, Y Combinator, New Atlantic Ventures, The Electronic Frontier Foundation, Human Rights Watch, the American Civil Liberties Union, the Center for Democracy & Technology.
In addition, there are elements of the press and advocacy organizations such as Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press, Public Knowledge, the Computer & Communications Industry Association, Reporters Without Borders, and the Wikimedia Foundation.

Indonesia ​​Internet Speed rating to-104 World

Speed ​​internet in Indonesia slowly but surely began to rise. Reports of Internet content delivery company, Akamai, which reveals the good news.

After briefly occupying the bottom position as the country with the average internet speed of the lowest in the Asia Pacific region, in the first quarter of 2013, Indonesia had jumped ahead of three other Asian countries.

In the report, as quoted from The Next Web, Akamai reveals that the average speed of the Internet in Indonesia has increased to 1.5 megabits per second (Mbps), up 6.9 percent from last quarter and 113 percent from last year.

In this quarter, the average speed on the Internet Indonesia ranked 104th in the world, ahead of Vietnam at position 108 with a speed of 1.5 Mbps, 109 by the Philippines at 1.4 Mbps, and India ranked at 114 with 1.3 Mbps.

Akamai also revealed the highest internet speed (peak connection speed) or when the connection is in the best performance ever achieved in Indonesia in the first quarter of 2013 amounted to 12.8 Mbps, equivalent to 100 kilobits per second (Kbps).

Akamai noted, this rate increased 152 percent on an annual basis or from the same quarter last year.

With a top speed that Indonesia was placed in position 99 world, beating some Asian countries, such as Vietnam, India, and China.

Vietnam is in the top 105 world with a top speed of 11.6 Mbps, India was ranked the world with 109 Mbps, and China is in the bottom region with 121 positions at a speed of 8.3 Mbps.

However, Indonesia is still under Singapore and Malaysia in the top 6 in position 46. (See table 2)

Highest peak speed internet in Asia, as well as in the world, held by Hong Kong with 63.6 Mbps. Japan is in second position with a speed of 50 Mbps.

Indonesia remains still far below neighboring countries, such as Malaysia and Singapore ranks 70 rank 21. (See table 1)

South Korea is still a country with the fastest internet in the period April to June 2013. Telecommunication companies in the State Ginseng is able to give speed 14.2 Mbps, and its citizens are willing to spend a lot of money for the sake of fast internet. If the connection is in the best performance, speed can reach 44.8 Mbps.