The Competition Commission of India (CCI), the country’s antitrust watchdog, on Thursday imposed a INR 136 crore (approximately US$ 21.1 million) fine on Google for “search bias” and abuse of its dominant position, in the latest regulatory setback for the world’s most popular internet search engine.
“Google was leveraging its dominance in the market for online general web search, to strengthen its position in the market for online syndicate search services,” the CCI said.
The CCI says its investigation found that Google was directing web users who were searching for flights to its own flight search page, and thereby disadvantaging businesses trying to gain market access, while also unfairly imposing its products on users of general search services as well.
The size of the CCI’s fine was calculated based on Google’s revenue from its operations in India only, and equates to around five percent of its turnover in the market. The regulator said that it has given thoughtful consideration on the submissions made by Google on issue of penalty and found it appropriate to impose a fine.
The watchdog has cleared Google of any competition violations related to other elements of its business like AdWords, Search Design, and other distribution agreements.
The ruling brings to an end a probe first started by the watchdog in 2012 on complaints filed by matchmaking website Bharat Matrimony and a not-for-profit organisation, Consumer Unity and Trust Society (CUTS).
On the CCI ruling, a Google spokesperson said the company is “reviewing the narrow concerns identified by the Commission and will assess our next steps,” according to a PTI report.
Last year, The European Commission imposed a record EUR 2.4 billion (approximately US$ 3 billion) fine on the company for favoring its shopping service and demoting rival offerings. Google has appealed against the order. This is one of the rare cases wherein Google has been penalized for unfair business practices globally, even though it has been under probe in several countries.
Microsoft Surface Hub 2 is like a digital whiteboard from the future
We’ll have one for our office, please
Are you familiar with the Microsoft Surface Hub? Well, we can’t blame if you’re not because that huge piece of touchscreen computer didn’t make its way to homes, but rather to offices. Unlike other Surface products, the Surface Hub was meant for workplace collaboration to practically replace the good old whiteboard.
Despite being a crazy expensive digital whiteboard, here we are now with its second version. The Microsoft Surface Hub 2 is a much improved gigantic touchscreen designed to be placed on a wall or on wheels.
Compared to the first version, the Surface Hub 2 has drastically reduced bezels. It basically looks like a 50.5-inch 4K+ modern TV in 3:2 aspect ratio that can be rotated with a slight push. Surprisingly, the video camera is now gone from the main device and you’ll need to plug a webcam above or beside (depending on the orientation) the display for video conferences. As for the stylus, it magnetically attaches to the sides of the panel.
It’s quite hard to put our awe into words, so we’ll show you the concept video of what you can do with the new Surface Hub 2:
You can see that the device is so fluid in the office. You can hook it up to a wall, put it on a rolling case, or create a wall of Surface Hubs and transform it into an art piece when not in use.
Since the device is designed to be used by multiple people, users can easily log in using the side fingerprint reader and pull up their account. They’ll be able to find all their documents, data, and accept calls through the Surface Hub 2.
Microsoft will start testing the Surface Hub 2 with partners later this year. You can expect to see these in corporate offices and maybe commercial spaces in 2019. Pricing details were not announced, but it’ll not come cheap just like its predecessor which goes for US$ 9,000.
Airtel and Huawei conduct India’s first 5G network trial
This is a huge step for the country as its 4G service is ranked world’s slowest
Indian telecom major Bharti Airtel and Chinese equipment maker Huawei said that they have conducted India’s first 5G network trial achieving over 3 gigabits per second data speed. Huawei said in a statement that both the companies “have successfully conducted India’s first 5G network trial under a test setup.”
The trial was conducted at Airtel’s network experience center in Gurgaon, which is just an arm’s length away from the nation’s capital. “This is a small but a very significant step in our journey towards 5G,” Bharti Airtel Director of Network, Abhay Savargaonkar said. “The promise of 5G is endless. It will be a game changer and will change the way we live, work, and engage.”
During the test trial, a user throughput of more than 3Gbps was achieved using the setup. This is the highest measured throughput for a mobile network in the 3.5GHz band with a 100MHz bandwidth and end-to-end network latency of approximately 1msec.
The coming of 5G services in India is likely to open up gates for diversified services enjoyed by developed countries like augmented reality (AR), Internet of Things (IoT), 4K streaming, and more. India plans to roll out the services for consumers by 2020 and for this purpose, the government even set up a high-level forum to evaluate and approve roadmaps and action plans for the same.
“We have been focusing on developing the 5G ecosystem,” Huawei Director of Wireless Marketing Emmanuel Coelho Alves said. “The show with Bharti Airtel impressively demonstrates the performance capability of 5G in the 3.5GHz band.”
Mobile industry analytics firm OpenSignal notes that India only experienced an “explosion” in 4G use last year, thanks largely to a free calling and cheap data price war sparked by entrant Jio.
OpenSignal’s February 2018 global LTE report ranked India dead last in 4G speeds, despite the great availability of 4G signals around the country. Indian customers could expect an average 4G speed of only 6.07Mbps — 10Mbps lower than the global average of 16.9Mbps.
Microsoft now supports email addresses in 15 Indian languages
More than a billion people in India do not speak English
Microsoft has announced support for email addresses in 15 Indian languages across its apps and services, including Office 365, Outlook 2016, Outlook.com, Exchange Online, and Exchange Online Protection (EOP).
The initiative by Microsoft comes on the occasion of International Mother Language Day, which is celebrated on February 21 every year. The company is also making efforts to support Email Address Internationalization (EAI), which makes technology accessible in local languages.
The 15 Indian languages supported for email addresses include Hindi, Bengali, Bodo, Dogri, Gujarati, Konkani, Maithili, Marathi, Manipuri, Nepali, Punjabi, Sindhi, Tamil, Telugu, and Urdu. These languages are a part of the IN Registry that keeps a record of languages in which IDNs can be stored.
An Internationalized Domain Name (IDN) is an Internet domain name that contains a language-specific script or alphabet — such as Devanagari, Arabic, Chinese, Cyrillic, Tamil, Hebrew, or Latin Alphabets. They also support Unicode, an international standard that encodes languages and scripts so that it’s accessible on practically any modern computer out there.
Speaking on the addition of support for these languages, Microsoft India COO Meetul Patel said that the move represents a step forward in eliminating language as a barrier to the adoption of technology and communication tools. “Currently, Indian languages are under-represented online. Of the 447 different languages spoken in India, none make it to the list of top 50 digital languages,” Microsoft said in a blog post.
Starting with Project Basha in 1998, Microsoft has been working to provide local language computing in Indian languages. Microsoft currently supports 22 constitutionally recognized Indian languages — including 11 Indian language scripts for Office and Windows.
As a member of the Universal Acceptance Steering Group, the company says it will continue to extend support to languages and scripts, including right-to-left languages like Urdu and Arabic.
Google, too, had a launch on International Mother Language Day, and introduced Tamil language support for its advertising products Google AdWords and Google AdSense.
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