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WhatsApp For iPhones: New Features Integrated

Smruthi Kishore

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At the F8 conference held last week, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg announced a host of interesting changes which were going to be integrated into the messaging app, WhatsApp. Post the meet, the social messaging app announced new changes to the iOS version of WhatsApp. WhatsApp iOS update 2.18.51 apparently brings the ability to watch Instagram and Facebook videos in the app. This means that now, along with YouTube videos, iPhone users can view Instagram and Facebook videos right within their WhatsApp chat!

Earlier, when users opened Instagram or YouTube video links on their chats, it would open in a separate app on the phone. With the updated version, the link opens while you are texting or using the app. At the moment, the app is in the Beta version and will be made available to the public very soon. In its latest update, WhatsApp has mentioned in its changelog (updated features log) that the in app video playback will work for Instagram and Facebook as well.

To shake things up a bit, the changelog has said the feature supports PiP (Picture in Picture Mode.) This means that the app lets you watch YouTube or Instagram videos while chatting with multiple people at the same time. The video will continue to play in the form of a bubble on the top and can be moved around on the phone as desired. It comes with play/pause, close and full screen buttons, just like YouTube’s PiP video bubble. The YouTube packaging feature was introduced early in this year, in January, to be precise.

At the F8 event, Zuckerberg announced that group video calling will also be introduced soon, where up to four people can join the call at once and see each other in split screen mode. The app will also get support for third party stickers created by developers. Zuckerberg also used the opportunity to reveal that WhatsApp’s Status feature is being used by over 450 million people worldwide. WhatsApp for Business, the recently introduced service targeting business, has already over 3 million users world over.

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Myntra Launches Its Own Wearable Platform

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The online fashion platform Myntra which is owned by the e commerce giant Flipkart, recently launched its software platform specifically for wearable devices. The wearable platform is called Myntra Wearable Platform which is developed by Myntra’s innovation labs unit. This online platform will offer its own line of wearable products as well as those developed by third party device makers. Just two months ago, Myntra acquired the Bengaluru based smart wearables startup, Witworks. Looks like the launch of the latest wearable platform was on Myntra’s cards already!

According to reports, the Chief Technology Officer of Myntra, Jeyandran Venugopal said,

The intent behind this platform is to not only allow our wearable products to co exist and leverage each other’s data to provide meaningful insights but also enable external developers to build apps or device manufacturers to integrate their own offerings to the platform

The platform would also allow wearable devices that could discover and talk to each other.

Myntra Blink Go Fitness Tracker, Myntra’s first smart wearable device.

The smart wearable device Blink Go, features a colour organic light emitting diode (OLED) display, heart rate sensor and activity tracker as well. The device tracks notifications, alerts and sleep patterns. Blink Go comprises of a sports mode to track specific exercise and workout routines. Other specifications include a battery life for more than three days, activity tracker and leaderboard to compete with friends across the world. This smart wearable device would be available for the latest versions of Android and iOS devices.

Blink Go would go on sale on 22 June during the Myntra’s End of Reason Sale. The product is priced at Rs. 1,679.

Venugopal added we are looking at building a line of wearable products that can complement with each other in an integrated manner. We are planning to bring in smart features through a combination of varied sensors and connectivity modules for audio wear, footwear, eyewear and apparels and are looking at acquiring 10 to 20 % of the wearables market over the next three years.

With technology reaching new heights, Myntra is aspiring to enter into the tech platform with its innovative products!

 

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OYO Flourishes Its Hospitality Business In China

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India’s largest operating hotel chain OYO Rooms, is now expanding its business in the hospitality industry in China. The company which is owned and operated by Oravel Stays Pvt., Ltd., subsists more than 11,000 rooms across 26 Chinese cities including Hangzhou, Xian, Nanjing, Guangzhou, Chengdu, Shenzhen, Xiamen and Kunming. Lately, OYO has been busy investigating new growth opportunities and boom! The expansion of the hotel budget aggregator in one of the fastest developing countries China is one big achievement for the homegrown startup.

The young lad who is the founder and CEO of OYO, Ritesh Agarwal said, after our successful overseas expansion and operations in Malaysia and Nepal, we are thrilled to offer OYO hotels’ hassle free and standardized stay experience to guests in China.

The company has been growing exponentially and it claims around 100,000 rooms in India.  Ritesh added, the expansion is in line with our mission of creating beautiful living spaces by empowering hotel owners to become better hospitality players while ensuring an end to end controlled experience for our guests. Apart from the newest China, OYO’s foreign market presence includes Dubai, Malaysia and Nepal.

Another fascinating news for OYO is that the well known investor SoftBank Group is keen on doubling its investment in the budget hotel aggregator. SoftBank has been part of four funding rounds worth $ 512 million in OYO, since August 2015. Recently, the Chairman and Chief Executive, Masayoshi Son of SoftBank, called OYO Hotels a ‘next generation hotel company using the internet service’. Mr. Son also revealed his plans to support OYO Hotels in its foray into China through a joint venture.

OYO was founded in the year 2013 by Ritesh Agarwal who was a teenager then. He also happens to be a Thiel Fellow who got the idea for the business after a not so satisfying experience of staying in budget hotels in India. The hotel budget aggregator provides various convenient services to the customers that include bringing the long tail of small hotels online to generate bookings by ensuring minimum standards for travellers such as hot water, clean towels, linen and internet services.

The company would soon enter the unicorn club when it would raise fundings in the next round of capital. A unicorn startup is valued at $ 1 billion or more! At present, OYO is valued at around $ 260 million. 

With its latest diversification, OYO is definitely aiming high!

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These Two Powerful Women Own The Couch At 2018 Forbes Women’s Summit!

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The 2018 Forbes Women’s Summit kicked off at Pier Sixty, New York on June 19, making an immense impact. The event notices influential women including leaders, policymakers, entrepreneurs and artists from across the globe. These ladies come together to discuss how women surface the path toward an extraordinary future with courage and enthusiasm. The summit was initiated with a welcome note delivered by Moira Forbes, EVP, Forbes Media. Not only that but India’s most influential women, PepsiCo Chairman and CEO Indra Nooyi and actress cum activist Priyanka Chopra, both conveyed the last keynote of the day.

In conversation with Priyanka Chopra and Indra Nooyi!

Speaking about Priyanka Chopra, from Bollywood to Hollywood, she is the first Bollywood actor to lead a major drama series on American television. Also in 2017 Forbes’ ranked Priyanka on the 15th spot on the list of Most Powerful Women In Entertainment And Media. Apart from her acting prowess, Priyanka is also well known for her contributions as a UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador. Whereas, Indra Nooyi comes second on the Forbes’ list of most powerful women in business in 2017. Being marked among the highest ranking women of Indian heritage in corporate America, Indra Nooyi spoke about the beginning of her career in America at the 2018 Forbes Women’s Summit. She said, In my early days working in corporate America, I never really fit in. I worried about how I was perceived. I decided after a while that I’m never going to win the looks battle. So I’m going to focus on the brains. I focussed on doing the job better than anyone else could do it. Nooyi spoke her heart out to the women out there saying, If you struggle with these choices, you’re not crazy. You’re human. Moving over, Priyanka Chopra added, You may not know me, I’m an actor from India. I’ve done 50-something movies. But I’m also someone who is not defined by my ethnicity or where I come from. I’m a woman, I’m an actor, I’m an artist and I’d like to see where that takes me.

The conversation was packed with extremely intellectual talks and inspiring stories from their lives. The actress later spoke about how marriages in India have an impact on women’s careers. She added, Because I’m in my 30s, which is obviously over the hill, my mother said to me, you’ll get married the day you find someone who appreciates how hard you worked to get where you are and no one is the decision maker in my life. From marriage to interesting lifetime experiences, the two powerful women came out with their fierce stories.

Be it the corporate world or the entertainment industry, women have emerged as the modern day heroes and are still going strong!

 

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