Tech

Robert Cookson

Facebook has created a new “missed call” product for advertisers in India, marking the first time that the social network has designed a special ad format for a single country.

When a mobile phone user clicks on one of the ads, it calls the advertiser and immediately hangs up. The advertiser returns the call with pre-recorded entertainment content and a marketing message – enabling the consumer to avoid paying data charges.

Facebook’s creation of a special ad product in India, where the company has more than 100m users, is part of a broader push to develop customised solutions across emerging marketsRead more

Hannah Kuchler

The news that Facebook manipulated its news feed to analyse the impact on users’ emotional expressions has angered many who believe they should have been told they were part of a psychology experiment.

The study of more than 689,000 Facebook users, conducted over a week in 2012, found those who were exposed to fewer positive stories in the feed were more likely to write negative posts and vice versa. People felt worried the billion plus social network was trying to manipulate their emotions, coming as it does after years of conflicts over privacy with the social network. Read more

Richard Waters

Marc Benioff, Salesforce.com chief

Salesforce.com, the company that did more than any other to invent the software-as-a-service industry, is reaching a turning point.

After years of rapid growth, it has a pressing need for the more evolved infrastructure, processes and rounded management team of the large company it has become. And with growth starting to slow, it is coming closer to a seminal moment: when investors will start expecting it to report real profits, and not just on a pro-forma basis. The appointment of a new chief financial officer on Monday is the latest sign that is preparing for the changes. Read more

Richard Waters

The US Supreme Court has rejected Google’s bid to limit the legal fall-out from the StreetView spying case.

In the process, it has also delivered its second decision in a week that interprets how the country’s privacy laws should apply when it comes to new technologies. Both times, it has come down on the side of stronger legal protections for the individual. Read more

goog3

Smart watches, TVs and cars featured prominently on Wednesday as Google laid out its plans for pushing its Android smartphone software into new fields. At its annual I/O developer event in San Francisco, “wearables” had pride of place, with news that the first smartwatches based on Android Wear are now on sale – before Apple unveils its much-anticipated iWatch. With Android TV and Android Auto, on the other hand, Google was playing catch up with Apple. The event pointed to how the battle for the next big tech markets beyond the smartphone will be fought. Richard Waters and Tim Bradshaw were at the Moscone Center for this round. 

Richard Waters

Is Oculus, the virtual reality company being acquired by Facebook, going to make its own headsets? Or is it going to rely on some of the world’s biggest consumer technology companies to develop products using its software, turning it into the Android of VR?

Yes to both. Read more

Sarah Mishkin

A new tie-up between a payment company affiliated with Chinese e-commerce group Alibaba and a US-based payments processor could soon make it far easier for Chinese shoppers to buy online from overseas retailers.

Stripe, a San Francisco start-up that handles payments for online retailers, has started to let online retailers accept purchases made through Alipay, an Alibaba-affiliated payment method that is by far China’s most popular way of paying for goods bought online. Read more

Hannah Kuchler

The FT gathered experts on cloud security on Twitter on Tuesday to discuss how to protect confidential corporate data as companies move it into the cheaper, and often more convenient, cloud.

We started by asking to what extent companies are moving away from US-based cloud providers in the wake of the revelations of an mass surveillance programme by the NSA? The experts were divided: Read more

Richard Waters

Will the smart home of the future be controlled by a single app to rule them all? Or will it be a more ad hoc affair, as a myriad different gadgets learn to play nicely together without a central “control panel”?

Before it was bought by Google earlier this year, Nest was pursuing the second of these visions. And to judge by the API it has just released so that other developers can write applications that draw on some of the functions of its devices, nothing much has changed since then. Read more

Richard Waters

It’s not every day an Apple executive gets personal.

That makes Angela Ahrendts’ first public comments since starting at the company – posted on LinkedIn – of more than usual interest. It is a sign that she intends to keep her own style, whatever the pressures of running Apple’s retail operations – and also that, under Tim Cook, Apple is evolving further beyond the Steve Jobs era. Read more