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JD.com, a China-based retailer, has launched Toplife, a new, full-price luxury ecommerce shopping platform with online shopping platform. 

 

The new ecommerce platform gives high-end brands to enter the Chinese market and reach a wider audience. The launch of a separate shopping online store for luxury items was motivated by the desire to offer consumers a differentiated experience consistent with a luxury brand’s own offline stores. 

 

Brands can sell directly to consumers through an end-to-end luxury ecommerce ecosystem that seamlessly incorporates online stores, premium customer service and delivery, marketing and branding expertise, and specialized warehousing and inventory. Brands will be able to control every aspect of their flagship store’s appearance, while leveraging a wide range of customer service resources from JD.com.

 

Toplife will feature a wide range of luxury and high-end stores from category-leading global brands covering fashion, jewelry, watches, health and beauty, home furnishings, cosmetics, and electronics. Some of the brands that have joined the company include La Perla, Emporio Armani, Rimowa (LVMH), B&O Play and Trussardi.

Instagram, a Facebook`s application, has partnered with BigCommerce and Shopify to integrate ecommerce capabilities into its platform.

 

Instagram has been working with both ecommerce platforms over the past year to test out features, and is now moving forward with broader deployments. BigCommerce and Shopify also offer merchants ecommerce integrations with the core Facebook platform.

 

Shopify powers over 500,000 businesses, mostly small and medium-sized, compared to BigCommerce’s roughly 50,000 merchants.

 

Instagram has already become an important and growing distribution channel for ecommerce, and these integrations remove friction by enabling in-app purchases of physical products (as opposed to those virtual tractors and other digital consumables that people often buy inside of apps these days).

 

Instagram is now up to 800 million monthly active users (MAUs), including 500 million daily active users (DAUs) Building out ecommerce is an extension of the ad business that both Facebook and Instagram rely on for monetisation, and handing off tasks like payment processing and merchant support to third-party platforms like Shopify and BigCommerce relieves Facebook of having to develop similar functionalities, while still earning a cut.

 

It also accelerates adoption among merchants. Instead of having to build up a merchant base on its own, it can tap into large existing merchant bases through Shopify and BigCommerce, and those respective ecommerce platforms will work to help merchants expand multichannel integrations across platforms.

 

 

 

Apple has just pushed out iOS 11.0.2 to compatible iPhones, iPads, and iPods. It’s the second iOS 11 update in two weeks, and it fixes a problem that was found with calls made using the iPhone 8 and 8 Plus.

 

Both iPhone 8 and 8 Plus owners reported issues of crackling noise when making calls using cellular networks. This update is meant to fix that, as well as two other issues – ‘an issue that could cause some photos to be hidden’ and ‘an issue where attachments is S/MIME encrypted emails would not open,’ according to the release notes.

 

Last week’s iOS 11.0.1 update fixed an Exchange email server problem, but neither was there any mention of a fix for the battery performance issue that users have reported with devices running iOS 11.

 

 

 

It has been discovered that torrent site The Pirate Bay has been operating a cryptocurrency miner. The site’s visitors learned that The Pirate Bay exploits a user’s CPU to mine Monero digital coins, through JavaScript code found on the torrent site. 

 

When users browsed specific pages on The Pirate Bay, they found a significant increase in their CPU usage before finding out that a Bitcoin miner had been embedded on the site. The miner, powered by  Coinhive, allows users to turn CPU usage into Monero coins.

 

While this only happens in category listings and search results, many users are not happy with The Pirate Bay’s move. The Pirate Bay confirmed that it was testing the miner temporarily as an alternative method to gain revenue.

 

However, users may stop the miner from utilizing their processors by disabling or blocking JavaScript, running blocker add-ons like NoScript or by using an ad-blocker to block the miner URL.


 

Along with autoplaying videos, Instagram has now made the decision to autoplay audio from videos depending how you browse videos during a session. 

 

Here’s how it works: With the latest update, audio will be off by default. If you tap to turn the sound on for one video (by clicking the speaker icon in the bottom left), all other videos will autoplay with sound too for the rest of your Instagram session.

 

Thankfully, you can still tap to toggle audio on and off. When you close the app, the autoplay audio also resets to off, so there are ways to get around it.

 

It’s an interesting compromise, and one that we’ll definitely see more social media apps follow suit if proven popular. Instagram stories will still comply with your device settings, only playing with audio if your phone isn’t on mute. But of course, in making audio a feature to ‘toggle’ on and off Instagram is assuming that if we choose to hear sound on one video, we want to hear sound on all videos.

 

This is perhaps slightly better than Facebook’s decision to fade sound in and out as you scroll through your News Feed. Not only has Facebook decided to autoplay audio, they’re also enabling a feature that keeps the video playing picture-in-picture style so it’s still active even if you try to scroll away. We can certainly foresee users accidentally minimizing videos instead of closing them, so we’d recommend either browsing Facebook with your device on silent mode, or disabling videos from playing with sound completely by switching off ‘Videos in News Feed Start With Sound’ in Settings.

 

It’s easy to understand why social media players and businesses want to enable audio, as audio is undoubtedly a large part of any immersive video watching experience. Still, it’s undoubtedly jarring (and embarrassing) to have some cheesy jingle blaring from your smartphone in a public setting, so we’ll definitely be watching to see what other developments occur.

 

WhatsApp is one of the last Facebook-related products that are now blocked in China. According to The New York Times, WhatsApp faced service disruption in China last Wednesday, and the Great Firewall entered into full force yesterday.

 

Cybersecurity experts that were approached by The New York Times said that their government is possibly using specialized software that interferes with encrypted messages employed by WhatsApp and other services. The same method utilized by the Chinese government can be used to interfere with other internet services that use a similar encryption protocol.

 

With this new censorship in place, users based in China are forced to adopt less secure messaging platforms that are easier for the Chinese government to monitor, such as WeChat and Skype phone calls (which lacks end-to-end encryption).

 

This news came shortly after WeChat announced that it had to share its users’ information with the Chinese government to ‘comply with applicable laws or regulations.’  WeChat itself is a Chinese messaging app platform with 963 million active users. The app also has a host of services, such as cashless payment infrastructure called WeChat Pay.

 

WhatsApp is not the only Facebook-related product that’s blocked in China – Facebook Messenger, Instagram, and the social media platform itself are not accessible unless the user has a suitable virtual private network (VPN) in place.


 

Microsoft has confirmed that the next perpetual version of Office – that is, the pay-once-and-use-forever version – called Office 2019 will be released in the second half of 2018. Office 2019 includes perpetual versions of the Office apps, such as Word, Excel, PowerPoint, and Outlook, as well as server versions for Exchange, SharePoint, and Skype for Business.

 

Previews of the new apps will only ship mid next year, so we aren’t getting a lot of details regarding new features at the moment. 

 

According to Microsoft:

 Office 2019 will add new user and IT capabilities for customers who aren’t yet ready for the cloud. For example, new and improved inking features—like pressure sensitivity, tilt effects, and ink replay—will allow you to work more naturally. New formulas and charts will make data analysis for Excel more powerful. Visual animation features—like Morph and Zoom—will add polish to PowerPoint presentations. Server enhancements will include updates to IT manageability, usability, voice, and security.

 

For the uninitiated, Microsoft sells perpetual versions of its Office apps to cater to customers who’re unwilling to commit to the subscription-based Office 365. They also cater to companies that aren’t ready to move to the cloud and prefer to keep their apps and servers on-premise. As it currently stands, customers on Office 365 need not worry about Office 2019, as their apps are always kept up to date.


 

Microsoft has announced the completion of the Marea subsea cable, a joint project with Facebook and global telecommunications infrastructure company Telxius, that took two years to install.

Suresh Kumar, Microsoft’s corporate vice-president for cloud infrastructure and operations, said that the subsea cable was the most technologically advanced to cross the Atlantic Ocean and that it runs for more than 6,600km and weighs about 4.65 million kg – or “about the weight of 34 blue whales”.

 

The cable is able to transmit up to 160 terabits of data per second, making it more than 16 million times faster than the average Malaysian fiber internet connection. At that speed, it can stream 71 million high-definition videos simultaneously.

Microsoft constructed the cable to enhance its Microsoft Cloud platform, with Kumar stating  “We continue to grow Microsoft Cloud offerings and build out the unprecedented level of global infrastructure required to enable ever-faster and even more resilient connections.”

Alibaba Group has announced that the online payment platform AliPay will officially launch in Canada through a partnership with Snap Pay.

 

Due to this announcement, Canadian retailers will start accepting Chinese currency from Chinese shoppers this week. More than 450 Canadian merchants are said to already accept AliPay in an unofficial capacity. Chinese consumers visiting Canada will also have the ability to pay through this platform, while Canadian merchants will have the opportunity to access the Chinese market.

 

AliPay was launched in 2004 and has since then registered more than 450 million active users.

 

 


 

If you’re a Grab user, then you can expect more accurate fare estimations, ETAs, and trip routing from now on, thanks to its partnership with HERE Technologies, a global map data and locations service provider.

 

HERE Technologies aim to create the most up-to-date three-dimensional representation of the real world in the virtual one, with a fleet of HERE True Vehicles mapping the road network down to 2cm accuracy into a cloud-based map. And now, Grab’s drivers and passengers have access to this accurate map of Malaysia, Singapore, Thailand, Indonesia, Myanmar, Vietnam, and the Philippines.

 

 

This partnership also means that Grab will have access to HERE Technologies’ extensive Places of Interest (POIs) database, as well as real-time traffic data sourced from connected vehicles and devices. Both parties will also work together in overcoming challenges of operating in rapidly developing countries with no established national address system, such as Myanmar and the Philippines.