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Facebook tests new design for Timeline feature

Published by on May 23rd, 2012, No Comments

It’s been a big week for Facebook, and just days after the company listed on NASDAQ, the social network has confirmed to Talking Points Memo (TPM) that it is already testing a new design for its Timeline feature on selected profiles.

The new design shows a change in layout for a user’s profile information including name, occupation, location and education to appear ‘on top’ of the cover photo in comparison to its current position underneath it. The text has also been changed to white, from blue, in order to stand out against the dark colours of a user’s cover photo.

The new look also condenses the tabs underneath the cover photo that include a user’s Photo’s, Friends, Likes and Maps into a smaller space and without images to appear less noticeable and more streamlined.

TPM reports that “Facebook declined to specify how many user profiles the new test would involve, as well as whether the new look would eventually be the standard for the website”.


ABSA rolls out new Internet Banking revision – dubbed “ABSA Online”

Published by on May 23rd, 2012, 7 Comments

Absa yesterday unveiled a beta version of its new banking platform to its 1.25 million online banking customers, ushering in a new era in online banking, with unprecedented levels of control and ease-of-use for individuals and small business customers alike.

The radical overhaul that has been in development for two years represents a distinct step-change from what was a purely transactional online service to a comprehensive suite of transactional and non-transactional services, as well as tools to better manage one’s monthly spend and assist with financial planning.

Absa Online, and Absa Online for Business, as the services are known, are designed to offer customers a single view of their financial affairs – a portal to one’s entire financial world,” explains Arrie Rautenbach, Head of Retail Markets at Absa.

The platform’s graphical interfaces present a snapshot view of one’s day-to-day banking, investments, other assets, and liabilities – allowing customers to better plan their financial affairs. BandwidthBlog has not been able to see this yet – despite many logins, the financial management tools do not load yet – but the service is still in beta.


Google CEO Larry Page Speaks at Zeitgeist 2012

Published by on May 23rd, 2012, 1 Comment

Google CEO Larry Page, who recently announced the acquisition of Motorola Mobility in a blog post, spoke at this year’s Google Zeitgeist held in Herefordshire in the UK with a talk entitled ‘Beyond Today’.

Most noticeable about Page from the beginning of the talk was that he was wearing Google Glasses but what Page calls Google Glass (as there is only glass on one side). Page opened with a demonstration of the Google Glass by taking a picture of the audience and sharing it with the Google office. Page said that Google Glass is “still in a bit of an early stage but I’m really excited to be able to have one.”

It’s clear that Google have made a huge investment in the new augmented reality glasses and that we will likely see a lot more of it in the coming months as it continues to develop.

During his talk, Page discusses how the pace of change in technology is increasing, the power of the smartphone, Google+, constant improvements in Google search including the most recently launched Knowledge Graph and the importance of being able to share content.


Done Deal – Google Acquires Motorola Mobility

Published by on May 22nd, 2012, 1 Comment

In its blog, Google has announced today that it has officially acquired Motorola Mobility.

Google first announced its plans to acquire the company back in August 2011 and although regulators in the U.S. and the European Union approved the acquisition in February 2012, both companies were forced to wait for China’s response, that over the weekend finally approved the deal.

Google CEO, Larry Page writes that “Motorola is a great American tech company that has driven the mobile revolution, with a track record of over 80 years of innovation, including the creation of the first cell phone.”

As part of the acquisition Page accredits former CEO of Motorola Mobility Sanjay Jha for building the company and “placing the big bet”on Android, who has now stepped down. Jha’s position as CEO will now be filled by former President of Google’s Americas region, Dennis Woodside.


Local startup Krit: changing the way customers and service providers communicate

Published by on May 22nd, 2012, No Comments

As a customer, good service is important and great service is always appreciated. However, the reality is that this isn’t always the case and sometimes the energy and time it takes to complain and get acknowledged for it, isn’t even worth it. But, what if you could comment on service directly from your mobile phone and receive a reply almost immediately? Well, if that sounds appealing to you, because it certainly does to me, then meet Krit.

Local startup Krit, a mobile customer feedback platform, lets customers reach business managers directly and privately from their mobile phones with feedback instantly delivered to on-duty managers by email and SMS, giving them an opportunity to respond even before the patron leaves the premises. Krit lets customers complain without embarrassment or ruining an experience and lets managers save face by responding immediately.

Krit founder, Petrus Theron explains the motivation behind the idea: “With an engineer’s eye for detail and years of running customer service departments at previous startups, I tend to spot many easily correctable flaws in retail stores and restaurants. Flaws that would double revenue if management spent a day correcting them. Krit flowed naturally out of my own pain as a way to share my discontent or delight with business managers without making a big scene.”


Hands on Review: Samsung Galaxy Nexus

Published by on May 22nd, 2012, 25 Comments

Samsung has been in the spotlight for the last couple of months and for good reason. They sell the most Android smartphones by some distance. The Galaxy S2 alone has recently crossed the 20 million mark, and is still selling. It is anticipated that the new Galaxy S3, which was announced two weeks ago, will sell just as well. However, at the end of 2011 another Samsung smartphone hit the market in Europe, and in March it finally came to our shores. I’m talking about the Samsung Galaxy Nexus, of course.

Before I tell you about the device, let’s talk about the Nexus brand name and what it means, as it might start to appear in more manufacturers’ handsets in the years to come. Any Nexus phone you come across from now on will mean that the hardware for the handset was also made in conjunction with Google. In other words, the device and the software were built from the ground up to work together. This is different from other Android devices, as usually the OEM’s (Original Equipment Manufacturer) get a software release from Google, and try to layer that version of Android onto their device. That is the reason why different manufacturer’s devices with the same version of the software on it can look so different. They chopped and diced at the software to work with their device, and usually put their own ‘skin’ on it too, to differentiate it from the others.


Samsung SA doubles Factory Warranty for Consumer Products

Published by on May 22nd, 2012, No Comments

Samsung SA has today launched an extended standard factory warranty for customers on certain products within its Visual Display, IT Solutions, Digital Appliances, Digital Imaging and Digital Air Solutions product lines. Customers will now have a 24 month warranty on all Samsung products at no extra charge – relevant to products purchased from the 1st of May 2012 onwards (so no love for existing customers).

In the past, the standard factory warranty on its product range was valid for 12 months, however, now customers can enjoy further peace of mind, with an additional 12 month period. Starting this month, all Samsung products will boast a minimum 24 month warranty from date of purchase, based on a valid proof of purchase. The increased warranty will cover labour and parts.

“This is a very exciting initiative for Samsung, and this increase in factory warranty is another way we are able to demonstrate our commitment to customer service,” says Deon Liebenberg, MD of Samsung Electronics South Africa. “In fact, as a leading consumer electronics brand locally, we are well aware of the need for consumers to have access to the very best service level agreements and this extended factory warranty ensures that we are able to continue to do just this – ensuring comprehensive service assistance in case of incidental product failure, giving consumers the confidence that they expect from a leading brand like Samsung.”

Samsung boast on-site and carry-in service

This warranty will apply to all relevant products that are purchased from Samsung’s leading retail partners within South Africa and Africa – where customers are encouraged to attach their proof of purchase to their warranty card and to store it in a safe place as this will be required when making a warranty claim. Additionally, customers are advised to register any Samsung product they buy on the www.samsung.com Web site, to ensure warranty claims are easy to manage.

“A 12 month warranty is the general industry standard, however, today, with the confidence we have in the quality of our product line – across categories – and of course, our focus on providing enhanced service levels for our consumers – our 24 month limited warranty positions our brand offering ahead of our competitors in both South Africa and Africa alike, and we are sure that consumers will respond positively to this increased service offering,” concludes Liebenberg.

Well done Samsung – this is the type of news that will shift many customers to your brand.

1Stream invest further R10 million into Cloud Call Centre solution

Published by on May 22nd, 2012, No Comments

1Stream, a cloud-based call centre technology and services provider, has invested a further R10 million in its hosted contact centre technology platform. The Cape-based provider, which recently opened a Johannesburg office to offer its local customers on-the-ground operations and support assistance, cites rising demand for cloud-based call centre technology services as the main reason for its announcement.

Part of the investment has been in extra hosted capacity, says 1Stream CEO Bruce von Maltitz. “To meet the rise in demand in Gauteng and countrywide for cost efficient, flexible and scalable call centre technology solutions, we have entered into a hosting agreement with leading data centre provider Teraco.”

The move will supplement 1Stream’s existing hosting arrangement with Internet Solutions, providing further redundancy and resilience to its platform in addition to beefing up capacity.

A third benefit will be to position 1Stream for rapid African expansion. “With several international communications cables raising Africa’s connectivity profile recently, cloud services are becoming far more viable on the continent,” says Von Maltitz.

“As operators drop their roaming charges within trade blocs like SADC, mirroring international trends, this is truly a great opportunity for all concerned. The time has come for leading call centres to embrace the cloud delivery model. With 1Stream’s strength in supporting multinationals like Amazonwonga.com and Bloomberg, we’ve proven we have what it takes to take that journey with them.”