News digest 18.01.2021

Gojek plans merger with Tokopedia

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The Indonesia-headquartered super-app is reportedly in advanced merger talks with local e-commerce marketplace Tokopedia, ahead of a planned initial public offering of the combined entity.
Indonesia’s two most valuable start-ups have signed a detailed term sheet to conduct due diligence of each others’ business.
The deal would create an internet powerhouse valued at $18 billion, with businesses that include ride-hailing and payments to online shopping and delivery.

Amazon and Walmart tell consumers to skip returns of unwanted items

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In some cases, it’s cheaper for the retailers to refund the purchase price and let customers keep or donate the products.
Amazon, Walmart and other companies are using artificial intelligence to decide whether it makes economic sense to process a return. For inexpensive items or large ones that would incur hefty shipping fees, it is often cheaper to refund the purchase price.

Google is testing a new way to shop on YouTube

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YouTube is testing a new way for people to easily discover and purchase products featured in YouTube videos. Creators in this pilot can add certain products to their videos. Viewers can then see a list of featured products by clicking the shopping bag icon on the bottom left corner of the video. From there, viewers can explore each product’s page to see more information, related videos, and purchase options for that product.
YouTube is currently piloting this feature with a limited number of creators. It is visible to users in the US on iOS, Android, and desktop.

2021 Predictions on cybersecurity and malicious online activity by Avast

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When looking ahead to the new year, Avast team foresees big developments in the digital sphere — specifically, a significant presence of Covid-19 vaccination scams, abuse of weak home office infrastructures, enterprise VPN infrastructure and providers, and ransomware attacks.
In 2021, what is also expected is a rise in deepfake disinformation campaigns and other malicious AI-generated campaigns to gain more traction. Avast team has specifically looked into the Android platform, on which Avast predicts further adware attacks, fleeceware scams, and stalkerware usage.

YouTube competitor Rumble hits Google with antitrust allegations

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Rumble Inc., a streaming video site increasingly favored by users who think conservatives are censored online, sued Google in federal court in california, claiming the tech giant unlawfully tilts search engine results toward its sister company YouTube.
“By unfairly rigging its search algorithms,” Google has been “able to wrongfully divert massive traffic to YouTube, depriving Rumble of the additional traffic, users, uploads, brand awareness and revenue it would have otherwise received,” the complaint says.

European mobile app consumer spending grew 31% in 2020 to nearly $15 billion

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European mobile consumers spent an estimated $14.8 billion across the App Store and Google Play during 2020, Sensor Tower Store Intelligence data shows.
This represented a 31 percent year-over-year increase in gross revenue from 2019, based on user spending for in-app purchases, subscriptions, and premium apps. Such large growth was accelerated by the COVID-19 pandemic and lockdowns, as Europe became an epicentre for the outbreak. European spending accounted for 13.3 percent of global mobile app revenue in 2020, which reached $111 billion.
In the report Sensor Tower delves deeper into mobile non-gaming and gaming app revenue and download figures, and identify which countries are driving the region’s markets forward.

SimilarWeb: top 10 fastest growing websites in 2020

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The list was compiled by tracking the year-over-year traffic growth of websites that had at least 100,000 visits in 2019 and at least 100,000 million in 2020.
1. Discord.com: The digital communities platform saw a staggering 700,702.5% growth in 2020. It went from 443,387 visits in 2019 to 3,107,267,589 in 2020.
2. HBOmax.com: 71,655.0% growth. Thanks, Wonder Woman.
3. Ebssw.kr: The Korean-based software learning platform saw 48,212.8% growth.
4. Redgifs.com: The NSFW porn gif site saw 18,350.8% growth.
5. Worldometers.info: The site continuously tracks various metrics including world population, deaths, births, government spending, emails sent, and more. It grew 13,657.7% as people grew more curious about the world in 2020.
6. Newsbreak.com: The popular news aggregation site grew 6,463.9%.
7. Thepirate-bay.org: The 17-year-old torrent sharing site saw 5,074.2% growth in 2020. Lockdown peeps searching for more content to pass the time, perhaps?
8. Rrys2019.com: A Chinese media site grew by 4,729.7%.
9. Picuki.com: The Instagram-editing site saw a 2,904.5% growth in 2020.
10. Note.com: The Japanese media platform that allows users to post texts, images, and videos grew 2,052.0%.

YouTube turns on post-roll ads for all monetized videos

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YouTube is turning post-roll ads on by default for all videos that are eligible to serve ads.
There are three main advertising options to choose from: pre-roll, mid-roll, and post-roll. Creators can choose to include any combination of those ad types when uploading a video longer than 10 minutes in length.
All advertising is optional, though its important to be aware all ad types are now turned on by default.

Telegram surpassed 500 million monthly active users

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In the first week of January, Telegram surpassed 500 million monthly active users.
These new users came from across the globe – 38% from Asia, 27% from Europe, 21% from Latin America and 8% from MENA.
This is a significant increase compared to last year, when 1.5M new users signed up every day.

U.S. officials are adding Alibaba and Tencent to China stock ban

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U.S. officials are considering prohibiting Americans from investing in Alibaba Group Holding Ltd. and Tencent Holdings Ltd.
State and Defense Department officials in recent weeks have discussed expanding a blacklist of companies prohibited to U.S. investments over alleged ties to China’s military and security services.
Trump also signed an executive order banning transactions in a number of Chinese services: Alipay, WeChatPay, CamScanner, SHAREit, Tencent QQ, VMate и WPS Office.

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