Black Box Detector Joins Search for Flight 370

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More than three weeks have passed since Malaysia Airlines’ Flight 370 went missing, and still no solid evidence leading to its disappearance has surfaced.

On Monday, even more objects found floating in the Indian Ocean — at first dubbed the most promising lead in the search — were ruled out as garbage. They turned out to be fishing equipment with no ties to the missing flight. This means no wreckage has been found from the plane, and authorities are now pinning their focus on the aircraft’s black box.

To help with these efforts, the United States has sent a pinger locator to help find the box. It will be attached to Australia’s Ocean Shield ship, equipped for the roughest of waters. However, the locator only covers about three miles an hour, so it can’t be best utilized until wreckage from the plane is found. Read more…

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Carrier Billing Is Another Way To Pay On Phones — And It’s Creating A Big Opportunity To Monetize Mobile Users

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Carrier billing is another way mobile users can pay for goods via their phone. It adds the cost of the purchase — most often for digital goods — to consumers’ wireless bills, allowing for a virtually frictionless transaction.

The problem is that wireless carriers are still charging a lot of money for every carrier billing purchase made. But that is beginning to change now that mobile operators see there’s a big opportunity to earn a lot more money off of mobile purchases.

In emerging markets like India, where mobile penetration is high but lots of people lack credit cards, allowing users to add the cost of goods to their mobile bills could open up a big opportunity for merchants that sell digital content. 

In a recent report, BI Intelligence finds that by 2017, carrier billing will account for 22% of mobile transactions, or $13 billion. The report looks at how carrier billing is being updated for the mobile app age, now that carrier billing technology has made some giant leaps. The report explains how carrier billing works, who is using it, and whether or not it has the potential to catch on for physical goods, beyond the world of digital content.

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Here are some key points from the report:

In full, the report:

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Leaked Image Claims To Be From Foxconn Showing The iPhone 6 (AAPL)

There’s a new image of what could be the iPhone 6 on Chinese microblogging site Weibo

French site Nowwhereelse.fr first found the posting. The caption for the photo on Weibo says, “These are the pictures of the real iPhone 6 which were taken at Foxconn.”

As always, take this with a grain of salt. Lots of people could be leaking fake images. For what it’s worth, these images look totally feasible, and fit with previously leaked schematics. 

The one thing that looks weird is the camera that seems to jut out from the phone. That makes us doubt that these are real. But, who knows! It’s fun to see what people are passing around. For now, treat it as such. 

iphone 6 leak foxconn

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PANASONIC: We Haven’t Yet Committed To Elon Musk’s Gigafactory (SCTY, TSLA)

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Last week Wedbush Securities’ Craig Irwin wrote Panasonic President Kazuhiro Tsuga had given a “business update” saying the firm had not yet committed to partnering with Tesla to supply the firm’s Gigafactory with battery technology, “as it could increase Panasonic’s investment risks.”

In an email to BI, Panasonic spokesman Jim Reilly confirmed Tsuga’s remarks.

Panasonic values the strong relationship it has with Tesla Motors and is looking at a number of ways to further strengthen that relationship, At this point, however, the company has not made a decision on any particular option.

 Tesla had no comment. 

We’ve written about the huge calls sell-side firms have been making about the impact the Gigafactory could have on the renewables storage market, let alone electric vehicles. “With plans to bring battery pack costs down to $125/KWh once the Gigafactory is fully ramped, the math works to get to positive [net present value] projects on the commercial side, and widespread grid parity on residential solar may not be that far off, even without ITC and state tax credits,” Goldman’s clean tech team said a couple weeks ago. 

UBS said pretty much the same thing recently, though they cautioned there remain lots of competitors in the market. That caution now looks to have been warranted. Wedbush’s Irwin says a Panasonic pullout would up-end the project: 

While Tesla contends the batteries Panasonic makes are their own technology and formulation, we note Panasonic is widely recognized as the world’s highest quality lithium ion battery manufacturer. Having Panasonic as a joint venture partner would facilitate strategic access to Pansonic’s supply chain, and reduce risks in our opinion.

Tesla shares were down 2.73% Monday, while SolarCity shares are up 0.85%.

SEE ALSO: GOLDMAN: Solar Is On The Way To Dominating The Electricity Market, And The World Has Elon Musk To Thank

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A Detroit Company Is Making Luxury Watches In A Former Auto Factory

 

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While everyone knows Detroit’s been through some tough times, there’s optimism in the air for a Motor City comeback

On the front lines of this comeback is Shinola — an American company that makes hand-crafted bicycles, watches and leather goods in a former auto factory.

“Detroit has amazing people. The raw talent here is incredible. The skilled talent here is amazing,” Shinola president Jacques Panis tells us.

Take a video tour of the Shinola factory and see for yourself.

Produced by Will Wei

NOW WATCH: 3 Watches You Should Wear If You Want To Impress People

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Here Is The Little-Known Way Google Juices User Traffic On Google+ (FB, GOOG, TWTR)

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Until recently, competition among social media networks has been presented as very much a Facebook versus Twitter race, with Facebook running streets ahead.

But according to market research company Forrester, Twitter ought to worry more about the long, slow growth of Google+, the “other” social network that never seemed to gain the cachet or the audience that Facebook has.

Google+ has overtaken Twitter in terms of monthly active users, and offers equal levels of engagement with users, Forrester says. That’s a threat to Twitter because advertisers are generally more interested in the total number of engaged users they have, not total users, per se. And advertisers don’t care whether they get that engagement on Twitter, Google or Facebook.

Interestingly, Google+ appears to have gotten this boost in engagement by doing something that very few people — outside the arcane world of search engine marketing — know about: It leverages its search results, Forrester claims, peppering them with links to Google+ pages that most don’t know are there until they click on them.

The backstory: Here are the two services’ total monthly active users:

  • Twitter: 241 million
  • Google+: 300 million

And while Google+ gets a lot of those users by default rather than by choice — you end up logged into it if you’re logged into a bunch of other Google services — Forrester says engagement on Google+ is almost equal to engagement on Twitter, at least for advertisers (emphasis added):

Brands’ Google Plus posts generated nearly as much engagement per follower as their Facebook posts — and almost twice as much engagement per follower as their Twitter posts.

… Disney’s Google Plus followers engage much more often than its Facebook fans or its Twitter followers — but Disney fails to list Plus among the five social networks it promotes on its home page. Likewise, Nike’s 2.4 million Google Plus followers are more engaged than its Twitter followers are, but Nike promotes only its Facebook and Twitter accounts on its home page.

Here’s a chart of the same data, showing monthly user engagement rates:

Google+ Twitter

So where is this engagement for Google+ coming from? Turns out that Google has a not-so-secret weapon with which to bash Twitter: search results.

If a brand has a Google+ page, then whenever someone searches for the brand Google will display a link to Google+ or one of its more recent posts in the top-right of the search results page. Having a Google+ page thus drives traffic into your feed from search, in other words.

Here is what that looks like in the real world, from a search for “Coca-Cola”:

Google+ Coca-Cola

If you click on the image associated with that info box on the top right of the page … you end up on Google+:

Coca-Cola

Forrester’s data comes from a survey of 60,000 adults. It’s not actual user data — so take it with a pinch of salt. But 22% of people told Forrester they visited Google+ each month, the same number who said they use Twitter.

SEE ALSO: Google And Twitter Are Stealing A Huge Piece Of Business From Facebook

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‘Harry Potter’ Magic Will Continue in a 3-Movie Spinoff

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Author J.K. Rowling and Warner Bros. have revealed that a Harry Potter spinoff will be released as a trilogy

Fans first learned of the spinoff in September, when Rowling announced she had written the screenplays for a series of films.

Rowling, who released seven main Harry Potter books between 1997 and 2007 and inspired eight subsequent films based on those novels, is adapting her book Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them to create these three new “megamovies.” Rowling’s Fantastic Beasts, published in 2001, is also a fictional textbook used at the series’ magical school, Hogwarts Read more…

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