Internet

A man looks at the screen of his mobile phone at Pudong financial district in ShanghaiA new war is brewing between China’s three internet giants, known collectively as BAT – short for Baidu, the dominant search engine, Alibaba, which controls 80 per cent of China’s ecommerce, and Tencent, the gaming and social media juggernaut with a market capitalisation of $132bn. For Wang Ran, a blogger and founder of China eCapital, an investment bank, the competition between Didi Dache [“Honk Honk Taxi”], a Tencent taxi-hailing app, and Alibaba’s Kuadi Dache [“Fast taxi”] is “the first battle in the first world war of the internet”.

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Hannah Kuchler

Ladies and gentleman, the moment you have all been waiting for is fast-approaching: Twitter is due to file the small print on its initial public offering, a bulky S-1 registration statement that will allow investors a peek into the messaging platform’s business.

Here is the Financial Times “Ctrl-F” guide to getting the news fast (Alternatively, please tune in to FT.com when it happens, where we’ll do the heavy lifting for you): Read more

Anyone who has surfed the web in places like Marrakech or Jakarta knows that internet speed in many developing countries leaves much to be desired.

But a report published this week by internet company Akamai shows that a good number of those countries are catching up.

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Shares in Sina Corp, the Nasdaq-listed Chinese online media group, rose nearly 21 per cent during trading on Monday after the company said it had agreed to sell 18 per cent of Weibo, its Twitter-like micro-blogging service, to Alibaba Group for $586m. The two came close to a similar deal five months ago. Now they have tied the knot.

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More good news for Istanbul’s ambitions to establish itself as a hub: even the internet is hearkening to its call. Fadi Chehade, chief executive of ICANN, the organisation responsible for administrating the domain name and IP address systems, announced on Thursday his group was setting up shop in Istanbul.

To be precise, ICANN is splitting its headquarters into three – the old base in Los Angeles, a new outlet in Singapore, and Istanbul itself, as a step towards a more global, and a more seamless operation.

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Richard Waters

There was a major disconnect on display at the FT’s Digital Media conference in London on Thursday morning.

Jeff Bewkes of Time Warner and Thomas Rabe of Bertelsmann made it sound as though any-time, any-place access to media was ushering in a golden age comparable to the birth of broadcasting. But Sir Martin Sorrell of WPP had a wake-up call: Big Media is being complacent, and the real impact of companies like Google and Facebook has yet to be felt. Read more

Already the third-largest online user base in the world, India has the potential to double its economic contribution from the internet in the next three years.

India could see a surge in the internet’s role in the economy from 1.6 per cent of the country’s GDP in 2011, to up to 3.3 per cent in 2015, putting it near developed countries on this measure, according to a McKinsey report.

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Fed up with labouring in the shadow of Silicon Valley, two Hollywood studios have belatedly woken up to social media with the launch of two new ventures that take advantage of their own in-house technology.

Dreamworks Animation, the studio behind the Shrek and Kung Fu Panda films, today launches Ptch, a mobile app that lets users create 60-second movies using pictures and video shot with their smartphone – and then share them via social media platforms such as Facebook, Twitter and Google+. Read more

The body overseeing the allocation of new web addresses has revealed intense competition for certain domain names and strong demand for non-Latin web suffixes as companies apply to own potential rivals to .com, writes Duncan Robinson.
A total of 1,930 applications for new web suffixes were made, with more than a third of these aimed at just 229 addresses, according to the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers, the organisation in charge of regulating web domains. Read more

Maija Palmer

Companies are not exactly beating down Icann’s door to get their hands on a new .anything domain name, it seems.

One month into the application process, just 100 companies have so far registered to apply for  a new top level domain name such as .coke or .london.  It is the first indication of what the uptake will be like of the controversial expansion of internet names by Icann.   Read more

Maija Palmer

ICO logoThe rhetoric over cookie legislation ratcheted up a notch on Tuesday, as the Information Commissioner’s Office told companies they “must try harder” in working out how to comply with the new rules on online privacy.

Christopher Graham, the commissioner, suggested that very few companies had yet come up with ways to get permission from online users to collect their details, as required by the new law. Read more

Maija Palmer

Iceland subsea connectionsIceland’s hopes of becoming a global hub for data centres came a step closer on Thursday, when plans for a new transatlantic subsea cable were announced, that would link New York and London via Iceland and Ireland.

Iceland has long been trying to market itself as a prime location for data centres. Its plentiful, cheap geothermal energy is attractive to data centre operators who are becoming increasingly worried about electricity costs, and the cold climate means cooling the racks of servers is virtually free. Read more

Maija Palmer

London cyberspace conferenceThe London Cyberspace conference is an elegant metaphor for why government involvement in the internet should be limited as much as possible.

Even its name is already out of date, as quaint as calling it the “information super-highway” these days.  A roomful of young people, convened as a “Youth Forum” on the fringes of the conference, were asked if anyone used the word “cyber” any more. No one raised their hands. Read more

Maija Palmer

Icann logoRepurposing Churchill quotes is popular among those involved with Icann. Those pushing for reform of the organisation that manages the world’s internet domain names call it the “worst system of internet governance, apart from all the others”.

Steve Crocker, Icann’s newly elected chairman, has his own favourite quote: “It is not the end, not the beginning of the end, but the end of the beginning.”

A veteran computer scientist who help create the very foundations of the internet,  Mr Crocker wants people to be patient with the Californian non-proft company, which is only 13 years old and just beginning to get into its stride in improving the structure of the internet. Read more

Maija Palmer

no to spamAt first this looks so promising. Volumes of spam are down nearly 70 per cent from last year according to a report from Symantec, the IT security company. In June, there were 39.2bn unsolicited, “spam” messages in circulation each day, compared with 121.5bn a day in June 2010. This echoes findings earlier this month from rival McAfee, which suggested spam levels had halved in the last year.

But sadly, this doesn’t mean we are winning the war on cybercriminals and botnets. Rather, it is a reflection on how use of the internet is evolving to become more centred around social networking sites and mobile phones. Spam on Twitter and Facebook is becoming a growing problem. Read more

Maija Palmer

EastWest Institute Second Worldwide Cybersecurity SummitIt was appropriate that the day that Google was unveiling details of a new Gmail hacking attack, an august group of politicians and business leaders gathered in London, at a security summit organised by the EastWest Institute,  to tell each other that, well, cyber security is a big problem. Read more

Tim Bradshaw

(Chart by Renesys)

Internet services returned to Egypt on Wednesday morning, with even previously blocked sites such as Twitter available. Read more

Maija Palmer

Cookie“Don’t panic” – the words on the cover of the Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy – should also be emblazoned on the front page of the EU telecoms package, which was voted through on Tuesday.

This update on European telecoms and internet legislation has been highly controversial. Profound division on issues,  such as whether persistent illegal downloaders can have their internet access cut off, had already delayed its passage by several months.

Then, in the few weeks run-up to its approval, a new panic emerged: Would the new laws force companies to completely change the way they use internet cookies?  Read more

Tim Bradshaw

A who’s who of European technology entrepreneurs will be providing guidance and mentoring to a new generation of start-ups at this year’s Seedcamp. Founded by Saul Klein of Index Ventures and run by Reshma Sohoni, formerly of 3i and Softbank Capital, Seedcamp aims to build and support a community of European tech entrepreneurs, culminating in its main event in London this September.

The best-known entrepreneurs on this year’s advisor list are Niklas Zennstrom, founder of Skype, the internet telephony service, and more recently Joost, a web video provider; and Brent Hoberman of travel site Lastminute.com and, latterly, Mydeco, an online furniture retailer. Read more