Dunzo delays salary further

Posted By: Anita Mamgai Posted On: Sep 05, 2023
Dunzo, a Bengaluru-based grocery delivery start-up backed by Reliance and Google, is facing delays in salary disbursements and will pay salaries in batches due to fundraising challenges. (MINT_PRINT)

Dunzo, Bengaluru-based a quick grocery delivery service start-up backed by Reliance and Google, is facing delays in salary disbursements due to fundraising challenges, has opted to pay salaries in batches.

“Due to certain procedural requirements, we have to do this batch-wise," Dunzo stated in an email to employees as reported by Moneycontol.

The company had initially promised to disburse August salaries to its current employees starting on September 4. However, it has now informed its workforce that these payments will be made in batches due to "certain procedural requirements," which may take an additional day or two to complete.

Moneycontol reported that the email further stated, “Team members whose salary has been processed will receive an email confirmation. Rest assured you will receive your August 2023 salary within this week without fail."

Also read: Dunzo pushes pending June, July salary payments to October

The company has postponed salaries to the first week of October due to certain procedural requirements. In an email to employees, Dunzo assured that August 2023 salaries would be paid within the week and apologised for the delay.

The startup had previously committed to an interest payment of 12 percent per annum on the salary component withheld since June. Reports suggest Dunzo was in advanced talks to secure $80-100 million in a series G funding round from existing investors including Lightbox and Lightrock.

Dunzo's financial challenges have reached a critical point, with the company facing legal notices from more than seven companies and vendors, totaling over ₹11 crore in claims. In response to these financial pressures, Dunzo has resorted to three rounds of layoffs over the past year, resulting in the reduction of over 500 jobs. These measures have been taken as cost-cutting measures while awaiting the influx of funds.

Also read: Dunzo defers salary payments to September

Since its inception in 2015, Dunzo has managed to secure approximately $500 million in funding from notable investors such as Reliance, Google, Lightrock, Lightbox, Blume Ventures, and others. Reliance holds the largest stake in the company, with a substantial 25.8 percent ownership, while Google is the second-largest shareholder with around 19 percent ownership, as reported by Tracxn, a private markets data provider.

Source: Live Mint
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Why Trai wants to cut the entry fees for various licences

Posted By: Vanshika Pathak Posted On: Sep 20, 2023
While some telecom service providers have called for entry fees to be abolished, the telecom regulator has suggested a 50% reduction (Photo: Pradeep Gaur/Mint)

New Delhi: The Telecom Regulatory Authority of India has proposed reducing the entry fee for various licenses and services and rationalising bank guarantees that service providers pay to the government. The entry fee is a one-time payment that companies must pay when entering the Indian telecom market, and varies with the type of service they offer. Bank guarantees act as backups or contingent payments that the government can encash in case a company fails to meet the licence conditions. Mint explains the development.

Why does Trai want to reduce the entry fee?

The entry fee is usually non-refundable and is part of a firm's startup costs. It varies with the type of service that the company wants to offer. For instance a unified license, which allows all services including mobile telephony, internet broadband and landline services, has a maximum entry fee of ₹15 crore, while a virtual network operator's entry fee is ₹7.5 crore.

While some telecom service providers have called for the entry fee to be abolished, the telecom regulator has suggested a 50% reduction, saying it could cause more companies to enter the market as service providers, enhancing competition. A reasonable entry fee would maintain a balance between deterring non-serious players and ensuring adequate competition.

Why now?

Trai has pointed out that providers of voice, video and data services have declined from around eight players in each licensed service area to five by 2018 and four at present – Reliance Jio, Bharti Airtel, Vodafone Idea and Bharat Sanchar Nigam Limited. Since reducing the entry fee would lower a company's start-up cost, it would encourage competition and improve the quality of service.

Have entry fees been reduced in the past?

Yes. In 2005 the Department of Telecommunications reduced the entry fee for the national long distance or NLD from ₹100 crore to ₹2.5 crore and for international long distance or ILD from ₹25 crore to ₹2.5 crore. The government at the time said the reduction would promote growth and enhance competition.

By how much does Trai want to reduce the entry fee and for which licenses?

Trai has suggested the entry fee for UL for access service should be reduced from ₹1 crore to ₹50 Lakh for each telecom circle or metro area, and from ₹50 lakh to ₹25 lakh for J&K and the North East. It says the fee for NLD and ILD should be reduced from ₹2.5 crore to ₹50 lakh. The fee for public mobile radio trunking service, a two-way mobile radio service, should be reduced from ₹50,000 to ₹20,000 for each telecom circle.

The fee for an ISP "B" licence or internet service provider for metro areas should be reduced from ₹2 lakh to ₹50,000 for each telecom circle and ₹25,000 for J&K and North-East each.

The fee for an ISP "A" licence, which covers all of India, should be reduced from ₹30 lakh to ₹10 lakh, says the regulator.

The fee for UL (VNO) authorizations for access service should be reduced from ₹50 lakh per telecom circle to ₹12.5 lakh. Trai has also suggested that there should be no entry fee when renewing licenses.

What kind of bank guarantees exist and how could they be rationalised?

Bank guarantees ensure that telecom service providers pay their dues on time and fulfill their obligations in the licence agreement. Financial bank guarantees cover the liabilities from the licence fee and other dues not otherwise securitised, whale performance bank guarantees cover the violation of license conditions. Trai has suggested merging the two on the grounds that it would encourage ease of doing business and encourage growth in the sector.

How much will licence holders need to pay up under the merged bank guarantees?

For a unified license, a total of ₹44 crore has been proposed for the first year. For subsequent years, the amount should be higher than in the initial year or 20% of the estimated sum payable. The merger of both types of bank guarantees has been proposed for mobile number portability licences as well. Trai has also recommended using electronic bank guarantees to enhance the ease of doing business.

Source: Live Mint
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Google Invites Users To Map Missing Roads

Posted By: Anita Mamgai Posted On: Sep 20, 2023

Google on Tuesday said it will open access to more contributors to participate in its Road Mapper feature to add missing roads to Google Maps globally.

Since the launch of Road Mapper in 2021, contributors have mapped over 1.5 million kms of roads and enabled more than 200 million people to navigate with Google Maps.

“Their contributions have made a real difference in people's lives worldwide. We're excited to announce that we're opening access to more contributors so that we can continue to improve our maps,” the tech giant said in a statement.

Road Mapper is an invite-only platform where people participate in challenges, drawing roads missing from Google Maps. They draw road geometry using satellite images.

“There are still many challenges to complete, but we're confident that with your help, we can make Google Maps the best it can be,” the company added.

In June 2013, Google acquired Waze in a $966 million deal. Its social features, such as its crowdsourced location platform, were valuable integrations between Waze and Google Maps, Google's own mapping service.

In June this year, Google Maps rolled out Immersive View in four new cities — Amsterdam, Dublin, Florence and Venice — and also expanded the feature to over 500 iconic landmarks around the world, from Prague Castle to the Sydney Harbour Bridge on Android and iOS.

Source: News18
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Google takes first step to add plugins on Bard with own apps

Posted By: Preeti Dabar Posted On: Sep 20, 2023
The move marks Google?s first step towards keeping pace with rival tech firm OpenAI?s chatbot, ChatGPT, in terms of the usage of plugins on the platform. (BLOOMBERG)

On Tuesday, Google announced the latest addition to its generative artificial intelligence (AI) chatbot, Bard—adding the ability for users to link their entire suite of Google apps to the chatbot. By doing so, users will get the ability to pull information from their stored documents and spreadsheets, as well as tap public Google services such as Maps and YouTube, within Bard’s responses.

The move marks Google's first step towards keeping pace with rival tech firm OpenAI's chatbot, ChatGPT, in terms of the usage of plugins on the platform. However, speaking at a media roundtable, Amar Subramanya, vice-president of engineering at Google, refrained from offering a timeline on when the applicability of such plugins would be extended to third parties as well.

Plugins, which are mini versions of applications that can be integrated across different software platforms, offer a way for applications to communicate between each other. For instance, a video-conferencing application can use the plugin of a calendar app used by a user, in order to seamlessly integrate timing schedules for the latter.

On Tuesday, Google said the latest version of its Bard chatbot, which integrates its own apps as plugins, has also been upgraded to a new version of its underlying large language model (LLM), Pathways Language Model 2 (PaLM 2). The first rollout of plugins will be available only in English, while Bard conversations can also be shared between users to continue collaborative conversations.

Subramanya also confirmed that the new version of Bard will now offer image-based queries and responses in over 40 languages—support for which Google had announced on 13 July. Indian languages included in this support are Bangla, Gujarati, Hindi, Kannada, Malayalam, Marathi, Tamil, Telugu and Urdu.

While this brings support for popular Google services, Bard continues to trail behind OpenAI's ChatGPT. The latter started rolling out support for third-party plugins from 23 March, and on 28 August it also introduced ChatGPT Enterprise. The latter claimed to offer privacy of data to paying enterprise customers in deploying ChatGPT for internal or business use cases, with the company stating in a blog post that company data will not be used to train its underlying LLMs.

Google, too, made a similar claim with its Tuesday announcement. In a blogpost, Yury Pinsky, director of product management at Bard, added that despite integrating plugins of content stored in users' email accounts—which come with massive privacy implications—Bard will not use the data to show ads or train the underlying LLM. “If you choose to use the Workspace extensions, your content from Gmail, Docs and Drive is not seen by human reviewers, used by Bard to show you ads or used to train the Bard model…You're always in control of your privacy settings when deciding how you want to use these extensions," he said.

Subramanya, at the roundtable, added, “We are very transparent with users in terms of what data gets collected, and giving them control over the data."

Source: Live Mint
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Pitambar, Paithani, Purpose And The Planet

Posted By: Vanshika Pathak Posted On: Sep 19, 2023

The work at Reliance always revolves around People, Planet, and Purpose. This year, the Ganesh Chaturthi celebrations here embody these pillars. From attire to décor, from technique to interpretation, from fabric to floral, every element is inspired by craft, sustainability, and empowerment.

A tribute to Maharashtra's cultural legacy, the central theme of decor and design revolves around Paithani. This celebrated Indian art form has been practised by traditional Indian artisans who have perfected and passed down their skills over generations.

For this year's Ganpati, the traditional flora and fauna motifs found in Paithani are reimagined through various Indian crafts. From Lucknow's Zardozi hand embroidery to Odisha's hand-made Kagaj Charai (paper maché), the entire space is transformed into a tapestry of Indian craft.

Ganpati's Baraat, featuring Mooshaks, Modaks, Elephants, Camels, and Barasinghas, is lovingly handwoven by over 700 underprivileged women. Crafted to perfection, these toys have enabled, employed, and empowered women from disadvantaged backgrounds.

This celebration brings joy not only to the homes of people at Reliance but also to the lives of countless craftspeople across the country. Over 400 artisans have meticulously embellished the floral wall behind the idol using the ancient art of flower pasting.

The Battis Gajanana corridor is adorned with 32 forms of Ganesha on sheer panels, each showcasing reimagined Paithani motifs. This endeavour required over 900 hand embroiderers and over 5,000 hours to design and create textiles that narrate stories and tales of Ganesha's mythology, significance, and divine miracles.

A tapestry of over five lakh ghungroos was woven and placed across the area. Welcoming Bappa to the tinkling of these ghungroos has added an aura of calm and positivity to the festivities.

Reliance's Ganesh Chaturthi décor this year also tells a story of resourcefulness and waste management, where every textile, floral, and design element has been thoughtfully handpicked.

Hundreds of scrap fabrics were repurposed to create toys and tassels celebrating the arrival of Ganesha. These Mooshak and Modak toys have been placed on recycled PVC pipes encased with flowers and fabrics.

All-natural florals used at the event will be recycled and repurposed to create manure for plants and incense sticks for temples. Only sustainably sourced natural silks, cotton, and textiles have been used all across.

Source: News18
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Could OpenAI be the next tech giant

Posted By: Jogendra Kumar Posted On: Sep 19, 2023
OpenAI,, which is backed by Microsoft, established an early lead by launching ChatGPT last November (Photo: Reuters)

The creation of a new market is like the start of a long race. Competitors jockey for position as spectators excitedly clamour. Then, like races, markets enter a calmer second phase. The field orders itself into leaders and laggards. The crowds thin.

In the contest to dominate the future of artificial intelligence, OpenAI, a startup backed by Microsoft, established an early lead by launching ChatGPT last November. The app reached 100m users faster than any before it. Rivals scrambled. Google and its corporate parent, Alphabet, rushed the release of a rival chatbot, Bard. So did startups like Anthropic. Venture capitalists poured over $40bn into AI firms in the first half of 2023, nearly a quarter of all venture dollars this year. Then the frenzy died down. Public interest in AI peaked a couple of months ago, according to data from Google searches. Unique monthly visits to ChatGPT's website have declined from 210m in May to 180m now (see chart).

The emerging order still sees OpenAI ahead technologically. Its latest AI model, GPT-4, is beating others on a variety of benchmarks (such as an ability to answer reading and maths questions). In head-to-head comparisons, it ranks roughly as far ahead of the current runner-up, Anthropic's Claude 2, as the world's top chess player does against his closest rival—a decent lead, even if not insurmountable. More important, OpenAI is beginning to make real money. According to The Information, an online technology publication, it is earning revenues at an annualised rate of $1bn, compared with a trifling $28m in the year before ChatGPT's launch.

Can OpenAI translate its early edge into an enduring advantage, and join the ranks of big tech? To do so it must avoid the fate of erstwhile tech pioneers, from Netscape to Myspace, which were overtaken by rivals that learnt from their early successes and stumbles. And as it is a first mover, the decisions it takes will also say much about the broader direction of a nascent industry.

OpenAI is a curious firm. It was founded in 2015 by a clutch of entrepreneurs including Sam Altman, its current boss, and Elon Musk, Tesla's technophilic chief executive, as a non-profit venture. Its aim was to build artificial general intelligence (AGI), which would equal or surpass human capacity in all types of intellectual tasks. The pursuit of something so outlandish meant that it had its pick of the world's most ambitious AI technologists. While working on an AI that could master a video game called “Dota", they alighted on a simple approach that involved harnessing oodles of computing power, says an early employee who has since left. When in 2017 researchers at Google published a paper describing a revolutionary machine-learning technique they christened the “transformer", OpenAI's boffins realised that they could scale it up by combining untold quantities of data scraped from the internet with processing oomph. The result was the general-purpose transformer, or GPT for short.

Obtaining the necessary resources required OpenAI to employ some engineering of the financial variety. In 2019 it created a “capped-profit company" within its non-profit structure. Initially, investors in this business could make 100 times their initial investment—but no more. Rather than distribute equity, the firm distributes claims on a share of future profits that come without ownership rights (“profit-participation units"). What is more, OpenAI says it may reinvest all profits until the board decides that OpenAI's goal of achieving AGI has been reached. OpenAI stresses that it is a “high-risk investment" and should be viewed as more akin to a “donation". “We're not for everybody," says Brad Lightcap, OpenAI's chief operating officer and its financial guru.

Maybe not, but with the exception of Mr Musk, who pulled out in 2018 and is now building his own AI model, just about everybody seems to want a piece of OpenAI regardless. Investors appear confident that they can achieve venture-scale returns if the firm keeps growing. In order to remain attractive to investors, the company itself has loosened the profit cap and switched to one based on the annual rate of return (though it will not confirm what the maximum rate is). Academic debates about the meaning of AGI aside, the profit units themselves can be sold on the market just like standard equities. The firm has already offered several opportunities for early employees to sell their units.

SoftBank, a risk-addled tech-investment house from Japan, is the latest to be seeking to place a big bet on OpenAI. The startup has so far raised a total of around $14bn. Most of it, perhaps $13bn, has come from Microsoft, whose Azure cloud division is also furnishing OpenAI with the computing power it needs. In exchange, the software titan will receive the lion's share of OpenAI's profits—if these are ever handed over. More important in the short term, it gets to license OpenAI's technology and offer this to its own corporate customers, which include most of the world's largest companies.

It is just as well that OpenAI is attracting deep-pocketed backers. For the firm needs an awful lot of capital to procure the data and computing power necessary to keep creating ever more intelligent models. Mr Altman has said that OpenAI could well end up being “the most capital-intensive startup in Silicon Valley history". OpenAI's most recent model, GPT-4, is estimated to have cost around $100m to train, several times more than GPT-3.

For the time being, investors appear happy to pour more money into the business. But they eventually expect a return. And for its part Openai has realised that, if it is to achieve its mission, it must become like any other fledgling business and think hard about its costs and its revenues.

GPT-4 already exhibits a degree of cost-consciousness. For example, notes Dylan Patel of SemiAnalysis, a research firm, it was not a single giant model but a mixture of 16 smaller models. That makes it more difficult—and so costlier—to build than a monolithic model. But it is then cheaper to actually use the model once it has been trained. because not all the smaller models need be used to answer questions. Cost is also a big reason why OpenAI is not training its next big model, GPT-5. Instead, say sources familiar with the firm, it is building GPT-4.5, which would have “similar quality" to GPT-4 but cost “a lot less to run".

But it is on the revenue-generating side of business that OpenAI is most transformed, and where it has been most energetic of late. AI can create a lot of value long before AGI brains are as versatile as human ones, says Mr Lightcap. OpenAI's models are generalist, trained on a vast amount of data and capable of doing a variety of tasks. The ChatGPT craze has made OpenAI the default option for consumers, developers and businesses keen to embrace the technology. Despite the recent dip, ChatGPT still receives 60% of traffic to the top 50 generative-AI websites, according to a study by Andreessen Horowitz, a venture-capital (VC) firm which has invested in OpenAI (see chart).

Yet OpenAI is no longer only—or even primarily—about ChatGPT. It is increasingly becoming a business-to-business platform. It is creating bespoke products of its own for big corporate customers, which include Morgan Stanley, an investment bank. It also offers tools for developers to build products using its models; on November 6th it is expected to unveil new ones at its first developer conference. And it has a $175m pot to invest in smaller AI startups building applications on top of its platform, which at once promotes its models and allows it to capture value if the application-builders strike gold. To further spread its technology, it is handing out perks to AI firms at Y Combinator, a Silicon Valley startup nursery that Mr Altman used to lead. John Luttig of Founders Fund (a VC firm which also has a stake in OpenAI), thinks that this vast and diverse distribution may be even more important than any technical advantage.

Being the first mover certainly plays in OpenAI's favour. GPT-like models' high fixed costs erect high barriers to entry for competitors. That in turn may make it easier for OpenAI to lock in corporate customers. If they are to share internal company data in order to fine-tune the model to their needs, many clients may prefer not to do so more than once—for cyber-security reasons, or simply because it is costly to move data from one AI provider to another, as it already is between computing clouds. Teaching big models to think also requires lots of tacit engineering know-how, from recognising high-quality data to knowing the tricks to quickly debug the source code. Mr Altman has speculated that fewer than 50 people in the world are at the true model-training frontier. A lot of them work for OpenAI.

These are all real advantages. But they do not guarantee OpenAI's continued dominance. For one thing, the sort of network effects where scale begets more scale, which have helped turn Alphabet, Amazon and Meta into quasi-monopolists in search, e-commerce and social networking, respectively, have yet to materialise. Despite its vast number of users, GPT-4 is hardly better today than it was six months ago. Although further tuning with user data has made it less likely to go off the rails, its overall performance has changed in unpredictable ways, in some cases for the worse.

Being a first mover in model-building may also bring some disadvantages. The biggest cost for modellers is not training but experimentation. Plenty of ideas went nowhere before the one that worked got to the training stage. That is why OpenAI is estimated to have lost $500m last year, even though GPT-4 cost one-fifth as much to train. News of ideas that do not pay off tends to spread quickly throughout AI world. This helps OpenAI's competitors avoid going down costly blind alleys.

As for customers, many are trying to reduce their dependence on OpenAI, fearful of being locked into its products and thus at its mercy. Anthropic, which was founded by defectors from OpenAI, has already become a popular second choice for many AI startups. Soon businesses may have more cutting-edge alternatives. Google is building Gemini, a model believed to be more powerful than GPT-4. Even Microsoft is, despite its partnership with OpenAI, something of a competitor. It has access to GPT-4's black box, as well as a vast sales force with long-standing ties to the world's biggest corporate IT departments. This array of choices diminishes OpenAI's pricing power. It is also forcing Mr Altman's firm to keep training better models if it wants to stay ahead.

The fact that OpenAI's models are a black box also reduces its appeal to some potential users, including large businesses concerned about data privacy. They may prefer more transparent “open-source" models like Meta's LLaMA 2. Sophisticated software firms, meanwhile, may want to build their own model from scratch, in order to exercise full control over its behavour.

Others are moving away from generality—the ability to do many things rather than just one thing—by building cheaper models that are trained on narrower sets of data, or to do a specific task. A startup called Replit has trained one narrowly to write computer programs. It sits atop Databricks, an AI cloud platform which counts Nvidia, a $1trn maker of specialist AI semiconductors, among its investors. Another called Character AI has designed a model that lets people create virtual personalities based on real or imagined characters that can then converse with other users. It is the second-most popular AI app behind ChatGPT.

The core question, notes Kevin Kwok, a venture capitalist (who is not a backer of OpenAI), is how much value is derived from a model's generality. If not much, then the industry may be dominated by many specialist firms, like Replit or Character AI. If a lot, then big models such as those of OpenAI or Google may come out on top.

Mike Speiser of Sutter Hill Ventures (another non-OpenAI backer) suspects that the market will end up containing a handful of large generalist models, with a long tail of task-specific models. If AI turns out to be all it is cracked up to be, being an oligopolist could still earn OpenAI a pretty penny. And if its backers really do see any of that penny only after the company has created a human-like thinking machine, then all bets are off.

© 2023, The Economist Newspaper Limited. All rights reserved. From The Economist, published under licence. The original content can be found on www.economist.com

Source: Live Mint
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Why has the net neutrality debate surfaced again

Posted By: Jaydatt Chaudhary Posted On: Sep 19, 2023
People protesting against Facebook's Free Basics initiative in Bangalore on January 2, 2016 (Photo: AFP)

New Delhi: Network neutrality, or net neutrality, became the subject of a national debate in 2016, when Facebook (now Meta) pushed for its ‘Free Basics’ service in the country. Over the past month debates around net neutrality have surfaced again, with telecom operators urging the union government to consider taking a stance that would benefit them. Mint explains why net neutrality is back in the news, why telcos are against it, and what 5G has to do with it.

What is net neutrality?

Net neutrality is the principle that internet service providers should enable access to all content and applications regardless of the source, and without favouring or blocking particular products or websites. The core idea behind it is that services accessed through the internet should not differ in terms of the cost of accessing them. This principle has been in place to ensure a level playing field for all websites and a uniform cost of data for customers.

For instance, with net neutrality in place, no user will need to spend more data to access, say, Netflix. The reason is that if such preferential data usage charges are applied, users will move towards what is affordable, and telecom operators end up becoming gatekeepers of information and services on the internet.

Why are telcos against it?

In a recent submission to the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (Trai), Bharti Airtel, Reliance Jio Infocomm and Vodafone-Idea said that they should be allowed to set a higher cost for services such as WhatsApp and Netflix. Their rationale is that these apps are among the most widely accessed and put lopsided pressure on their infrastructure, increasing their operating costs.

What have these companies said?

A submission by Bharti Airtel dated 1 September read that “large traffic originators that account for a disproportionate amount of these investments must contribute a fair share" of the network cost incurred by telcos. This cost, Airtel said, should be covered “through a direct contribution to telecom service providers (TSPs)" to meet “the vision of Digital India".

Jio's submission on the same also suggested that “both communication and other OTT players contribute towards the cost of this infrastructure development, through direct compensation to TSPs".

What has the government said so far?

In 2016 the government ruled in favour of net neutrality with Trai's Prohibition of Discriminatory Tariffs for Data Services Regulations, 2016. The rule prevents discriminatory tariff for data services between a telco and an OTT service and therefore prevents them from striking any such deals. Now, despite telecom operators seeking a revision to these rules, reports have claimed that the government's stance on net neutrality is unlikely to change.

What does the government intend to do?

The Department of Telecommunications is learnt to have clarified to stakeholders that it does not plan to introduce any revenue-sharing model between the telcos and OTT service providers. Officials have told Mint that there's no such proposal being considered.

To remove any ambiguity on the issue, the government is also learnt to have removed OTT platforms from the definition of 'communication service' in the new telecom bill. Some officials have said that anything to do with these platforms will be under the purview of the IT ministry.

What does 5G have to do with all this?

According to Airtel's submission, “In order to adopt, integrate and sustain new technologies, massive investments are required in the network infrastructure on a continuous basis. The ongoing 5G rollout requires intense fiberization and densification of antennas, the need for which is only going to increase with the future deployments in 6G. These developments will intensify pressure and will have a significant impact on the viability of mobile network operators as well as of other actors in the value chain."

In other words, the telcos claim that 5G networks are expensive to deploy and maintain, and heavy traffic to specific applications increases their costs. They believe OTT services and applications should compensate them for this, which in turn would increase data costs for users.

Source: Live Mint
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Google Chrome Will Soon Read Aloud Articles For You

Posted By: Jaydatt Chaudhary Posted On: Sep 18, 2023

Google Chrome will soon add a Microsoft Edge-like “read aloud" feature for desktop users, currently available in the Canary version for testing.

With read aloud, users can control the rate at which articles are read aloud by adjusting the playback speed, reports BleepingComputer.

Moreover, in future updates, users will be able to switch between different voice options, enhancing the auditory experience.

According to the report, the read aloud feature offers a thoughtful design element in terms of user interface — as the article is narrated, the sentence being read is highlighted, while the sections that have been read fade out.

This makes it possible for users to easily track their reading progress. Chrome has added a button to turn off the highlighting for those who find it distracting.

Further, the report mentioned that Chrome is also improving its visual appeal.

Meanwhile, Google has introduced a new feature for Chrome that will alert users when an extension that they have installed is no longer in the Web Store.

“Starting in Chrome 117, Chrome will proactively highlight to users when an extension they have installed is no longer in the Chrome Web Store," Oliver Dunk, Developer Relations Engineer for Chrome Extensions, said in a Chrome Developers post.

This will be limited to three specific cases: when the extension has been unpublished by the developer, it is taken down for violating Chrome Web Store policy, or it is marked as malware.

Source: News18
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Akasa sues 43 pilots for joining other airlines without serving a notice period

Posted By: Jaydatt Chaudhary Posted On: Sep 17, 2023
Akasa Air sues 43 pilots who got poached by other airlines (Bloomberg)

Akasa Airline has decided to take legal action against 43 pilots who joined other airline/s without serving the notice period. The 13-month-old airline has reportedly sought about ₹22 crore as compensation from the 43 pilots for the loss of revenue and damaging reputation of the airline.

According to a report by the Times of India, the mass exodus of pilots has forced the airline to cancel its several operations since August 2023.

"We have sought legal remedy only against a small set of pilots who abandoned their duties and left without serving their mandatory contractual notice period," an Akasa Air spokesperson said.

The airline said the act was not only in violation of their contract but also the country's civil aviation regulations.

"Not only is this illegal in law but also an unethical and selfish act that disrupted flights in August forcing last-minute cancellations that stranded thousands of customers causing significant inconvenience to the travelling public," it said.

Akasa Air, which currently has a fleet of 20 planes, started operations in August 2022.

This year in June, the Mumbai-headquartered airline increased the salaries of pilots by up to 40%. As per a June report, Akasa Air announced that from July 2023, senior first officers will now start with a monthly salary of ₹3.40 lakh, while senior captains will earn ₹6.25 lakh. Earlier it was ₹2.75 lakh and ₹5.75 lakh, respectively.

Also read: Akasa Air increases pilots salary by 40%: Report

If the experience and flight hours are more, the pay scale may be even higher, and the captain may earn up to ₹7.75 lakh per month, a 6% increase from the current ₹7.28 lakh, Akasa said in June this year.

Not only this, for every additional hour, apart from the fixed 40 hours of flying, captains will be paid ₹7,500 and first officers ₹3,045.

Akasa in August added the 20th aircraft to its fleet making the airline eligible to start international operations.

Indian regulations require airlines to have at least 20 aircraft in their fleet to become eligible for international operations.

As of August 2023, Akasa operated more than 900 weekly flights across 16 cities in the country.

Source: Live Mint
Related Posts: AKASA AIR,AKASA AIRLINE,AKASA PILOT,AKASA PILOT SALARY,AKASA SUES PILOTS,CIVIL AVIATION,INDIAN AIRLINE

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Google Announces Winter Internships In India With An Attractive Compensation Of

Posted By: Anita Mamgai Posted On: Sep 15, 2023

Google, the renowned American tech giant, is a name that resonates globally. With its headquarters in California, Google has firmly established its presence in India with offices in Hyderabad, Gurugram, Mumbai, and Bengaluru. Google's reputation as an inspiring workplace and its corporate culture make it a coveted destination for job seekers in India. Many aspire to join the company, often exploring Google job opportunities and internships, creating a vibrant ecosystem of talent and innovation.

In addition to employment opportunities, Google also extends internship programs known as Google Internships. These internships provide participants with substantial compensation, equivalent to the earnings of someone with many years of work experience. Recently, Google has extended internship offers to engineering and technology students, with selected candidates receiving a monthly stipend exceeding Rs 80,000.

Google has established specific eligibility criteria for this internship opportunity, and if you meet these requirements, you can submit your application by the deadline of October 1, 2023. Here are the key eligibility parameters:

1. This internship opportunity is open to students pursuing Associate, Bachelor's, or Master's programs in Software Development or related technical fields.

2. Candidates should possess a solid understanding of software development.

3. Proficiency in coding and experience with programming languages such as C, C++, Java, JavaScript, and Python is highly valued.

Applicants meeting these qualifications are encouraged to apply for the internship at Google.

The Google Winter Internship program is scheduled to commence in January 2024. While the internship period is quite extensive, spanning 22-24 weeks, equivalent to more than 5 months, the application process has already begun. To apply for this opportunity, you will need to register on Google Winter Internship. If selected for this internship, you can expect a monthly salary of Rs 83,947, based on information provided on Indeed. The internship locations are in Bengaluru and Hyderabad, and the application deadline is October 1, 2023.

To apply for a Google internship, follow these steps on the careers.google.com website:

1. Visit careers.google.com.

2. Look for the “Internship Application" option on the homepage of the Google website and click on it.

3. Attach your CV to the Resume section of the page that appears on your screen. Be sure to highlight your coding language knowledge and training experience.

4. In the Higher Education section, fill out the required fields and select ‘Now Attending' under ‘Degree Status'.

5. Upload a current official or unofficial English transcript.

6. Choose your preferred internship location.

Source: News18
Related Posts: BUSINESS,CREDIT CARD,FINANCE,GOOGLE

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