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Critic’s Notebook: Amazon’s HQ2 Will Benefit From New York City. But What Does New York Get?

The innovation myth used to involve the back of a suburban garage or an office park in Silicon Valley. The tech industry was incubated not on the mean streets of the big city, but in sleepy hamlets like Murray Hill, N.J., and Mountain View, Calif.So with Amazon splitting HQ2, its second headquarters, between Crystal City, a part of Arlington, Va., and Long Island City, in Queens, what are we to make of tech’s steady migration to marquee cities?Amazon is hardly alone, after all. Google and Facebook already have headquarters here (established, not incidentally, without state subsidies). Google intends to double its work force in the city to…

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Amazon’s New Neighbor: The Nation’s Largest Housing Project

Until recently, the most important thing to know about Amazon for residents of the Queensbridge Houses, the country’s largest public housing project, was that any packages left in a lobby would likely be stolen.But Amazon will soon be a far larger presence in their New York City neighborhood.The company owned by Jeff Bezos, the world’s richest man, will announce on Tuesday that it will establish a major headquarters in Long Island City, Queens, where Queensbridge’s 26 aging buildings are home to a mostly black and Hispanic population with a median household income of $15,843, well below the federal poverty line for a family of four.Here, where livings…

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Facebook Failed to Police How Its Partners Handled User Data

Facebook failed to closely monitor device makers after granting them access to the personal data of hundreds of millions of people, according to a previously unreported disclosure to Congress last month.Facebook’s loose oversight of the partnerships was detected by the company’s government-approved privacy monitor in 2013. But it was never revealed to Facebook users, most of whom had not explicitly given the company permission to share their information. Details of those oversight practices were revealed in a letter Facebook sent last month to Senator Ron Wyden, the Oregon Democrat, a privacy advocate and frequent critic of the social media giant.In the letter, a copy of which Mr.…

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The Instagrammers Next Door, Plugging Brands for Peanuts (or Shampoo)

By now you have probably heard of influencers, that group of internet-famous people who have more than a million social media followers and can make big money by plugging various brands. And you may have even heard of microinfluencers, who do the same thing for a still sizable but somewhat smaller social media audience — from the tens to low hundreds of thousands.Now get ready for the nanoinfluencers.That is the term (“nanos” for short) used by companies to describe people who have as few as 1,000 followers and are willing to advertise products on social media.Their lack of fame is one of the qualities that make them…

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Alibaba Had Another Big Singles Day. The Party May Not Last.

SHANGHAI — After 24 hours of frenzied buying and selling, and weeks of advertising and promotions before it, the Alibaba Group announced that its sales hit another titanic high on Singles Day, the Nov. 11 shopping festival that the Chinese e-commerce behemoth cooked up a decade ago.This time, as China’s vast economy slows, the party was held with icebergs in sight from the deck.China’s biggest online shopping company kicked off the country’s biggest shopping day with its usual ostentation. Its Saturday night gala event in Shanghai featured the singer Mariah Carey, the retired basketball star Allen Iverson and Miranda Kerr, the Australian supermodel. A Chinese girl group…

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Rocket Lab’s Modest Launch Is Giant Leap for Small Rocket Business

A small rocket from a little-known company lifted off Sunday from the east coast of New Zealand, carrying a clutch of tiny satellites. That modest event — the first commercial launch by a U.S.-New Zealand company known as Rocket Lab — could mark the beginning of a new era in the space business, where countless small rockets pop off from spaceports around the world. This miniaturization of rockets and spacecraft places outer space within reach of a broader swath of the economy.The rocket, called the Electron, is a mere sliver compared to the giant rockets that Elon Musk, of SpaceX, and Jeffrey P. Bezos, of Blue Origin,…

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How to Date a Lot of Billionaires

After years of romances with a series of fabulously wealthy Nigerian boyfriends, the flamboyant Canadian sisters Jyoti and Kiran Matharoo needed somewhere to store the pricey spoils of their dating careers. So they converted a bedroom in their Toronto home into a large walk-in closet that resembles a luxury boutique. An entire wall is lined with more than 70 pairs of designer high-heeled shoes. Glass wardrobes display dozens of handbags and purses from brands like Hermès, Celine, Gucci and Saint Laurent. Equally pricey clothing drapes tightly from hangers and fills trunks stacked up to the ceiling. There are separate drawers for belts, rings, earrings, bracelets, silver necklaces…

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The Chemists’ War

WASHINGTON — Under a canopy of poplar and oak trees, a team of geophysicists surveyed the forest floor for century-old wartime relics. They positioned an electromagnetic scanner atop the carpet of leaves while the delicate instrument harvested data about objects in the soil beneath.In 1918, mortars and artillery shells arched toward this spot near the Dalecarlia Reservoir, one of the main water sources for the nation’s capital. But no armies fought here and no soldiers charged up the embankment. Rather, the shells were launched from the wartime research campus to the east at American University, where scientists developed chemical weapons, explosives, bombs and gas masks to use…

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Facebook to Drop Forced Arbitration in Harassment Cases

SAN FRANCISCO — Facebook said on Friday that it would no longer force employees to settle sexual harassment claims in private arbitration, making it the latest technology company to do away with a practice that critics say has stacked the deck against victims of harassment.Facebook acted one day after Google announced similar plans. Last week, 20,000 Google employees staged a walkout from the company’s offices around the world to demand that it change the way it handled sexual harassment incidents. Microsoft changed its arbitration policy about a year ago, as did the ride-hailing company Uber six months ago.The technology industry, known for its groundbreaking products as well…

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Bits: The Week in Tech: Social Media Faces Another Election Test

Each week, technology reporters and columnists from The New York Times review the week’s news, offering analysis and maybe a joke or two about the most important developments in the tech industry. Want this newsletter in your inbox? Sign up here.Hello there, everyone! Mike Isaac here, your trusty, San Francisco-based reporter covering all things Facebook, ride-hailing and other Silicon Valley ephemera. It has been a while since I wrote my last newsletter, so bear with me if I’m a bit rusty.Social media was the thing to watch this week. The midterm elections finally took place, with Americans poised to see whether or not a widely predicted “blue…

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