WhatsApp launches encrypted disappearing picture message service to take on Snapchat

WhatsApp could put the brakes on Snapchat’s international growth with today’s launch of WhatsApp Status, a new tab for sharing decorated photos, videos and GIFs that disappear after 24 hours. It’s another Facebook-owned Snapchat Stories copycat, but the twist is that it’s end-to-end encrypted like WhatsApp messaging.

WhatsApp tested the feature for beta users in November, and now the Status tab is rolling out worldwide on iOS, Android and Windows Phone. Users can watch updates from friends and reply privately, shoot and adorn their imagery with drawings and captions and send their creations to all their contacts they’ve chosen with a persistent privacy setting. Sending media to specific friends is still done through message threads.

Status could also open up new advertising opportunities for WhatsApp. If it followed Snap and Instagram’s lead, it could insert full-screen ads in-between friends’ Statuses.

The new Status feature replaces WhatsApp’s old AOL Instant Messenger-style away messages. That was actually WhatsApp’s only feature when it launched almost exactly 8 years ago.

“The original idea behind the project was to build an application that lets your friends and other contacts know what you’re up to,” CEO Jan Koum writes. But the company tells me it saw so many people quickly updating these statuses to communicate in real time that it pivoted to chat, but always kept the away Statuses.

 

Now WhatsApp has 1.2 billion monthly users, with users sending 60 billion messages per day, including 3.3 billion photos, 760 million videos and 80 million GIFs. WhatsApp is parleying this success in messaging back into broadcast social media in a way that could spell trouble for Snapchat. If WhatsApp Status takes off, it could hinder Snap’s global growth opportunity in user-generated content, forcing it to rely on squeezing more cash out of existing users, or earning more revenue from hardware or professional content.

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Instagram Stories, now with more than 150 million daily users, showed how appealing a good-enough Snapchat clone conveniently bolted onto a popular app could be. TechCrunch first reported that Instagram Stories was stealing Snapchat usage and lowering its view counts, according to analytics providers and social celebrity managers. And Snap’s IPO filing showed a massive 82 percent drop-off in its user growth rate from 17.2 percent in Q2 2016 before Instagram Stories launched to 3.2 percent after in Q4.

Instagram was bold enough to stick Stories in its main tab above its feed, while WhatsApp is burying Status a lot more in a separate tab. But Status has the opportunity to spread the Stories slideshow format to parts of South America, Eastern Europe and the developing world, where Snapchat doesn’t have strong traction yet. If these users aren’t already on Snapchat, they won’t even see Status as a clone.

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WhatsApp had been positioned as few-frills utilitarian chat while Facebook Messenger sported all the bells and whistles. But late last year, WhatsApp adapted to the visual communication age with the launch of additional camera features. Now the question is whether WhatsApp can eat some of Snapchat’s lunch abroad without watering down its core product.

 

FORBES 2016 RICHEST 20 BILLIONAIRES IN THE WORLD

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Emir Cup between Kuwait and Kazma Club on Tuesday, 02.21.2017 Final

Emir Cup between Kuwait and Kazma Club who will be on the ground Jaber Al-Ahmad International Stadium on Tuesday, 02.21.2017 Final

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Kuwait Project Salmiya Salem Al-Mubarak St. Into A Pedestrian Street.

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Pakistani pair set to hang in Singapore for murder

Two Pakistani men face the gallows in Singapore after a court Friday found them guilty of murdering a compatriot over a gambling dispute and dismembering the body.

Street-side tissue sellers Rasheed Muhammad, 45, and Ramzan Rizwan, 28, were convicted of smothering fellow Pakistani Muhammad Noor to death in their lodging house in 2014, before hacking up the body with saws.

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The 59-year-old victim's torso and lower limbs were found stuffed in two separate luggage bags in the city-state. Murder convictions in Singapore are punishable by death and carried out by hanging. "As the photographs and evidence of the discarded limbs and torso show, both Rasheed and Ramzan acted in concert after the murder as they did before and during it," High Court Judge Choo Han Teck said in his judgement.

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Rasheed and Ramzan arrived in Singapore in May 2014, and sold packets of tissue paper for a living. The dispute started after the pair sought to retrieve Sg$1,100 ($776) Ramzan had lost to the victim in a card game. After using a shirt to smother the victim, the two men purchased saws to dismember the body. A bag with the torso was found by an 81-year-old man and Rasheed subsequently led police to a second bag containing the legs, court documents showed. Defence lawyers for the pair had argued that they did not intend to commit murder, and both blamed each other for the death.

Rasheed, a father of eight, and Ramzan, a father of three, will appeal the conviction, their lawyers told AFP. Earlier this month, Singapore's highest court upheld the death sentence of a former Singapore policeman for double murder. Singapore executed four people in 2015, one for murder and three for drug offences, according to prison statistics. Rights groups have called on Singapore to abolish capital punishment, which was carried over from British colonial rule, but the government argues that it is a deterrent to crime.

13 000 flag of the State of Kuwait waving in the streets on the occasion of national celebrations.

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yhuyo13 000 flag of the State of Kuwait waving in the streets  on the occasion of national celebrations.

Ministry of Interior releases imprisoned policemen on national occasions ..

Kuwait The MOI announced on Sunday release of all imprisoned policemen held in restraint breach cases, The policemen will be set free ahead of end their prison terms effective next Friday on the occasion of the national days

Workers protest: Indian Embassy officials visited Kharafi Camp

Indian embassy Deputy Chief of Mission Sri Shubhashish Goldar visited the workers camp of National Kharafi group at Shuaiba on Thursday and took a note of the issues faced by large number of Indian workers at the camp.

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Last Wednesday, large number of Indians working for National Kharafi group had protested in front of Indian Embassy for the inhuman living condition at the camp and unpaid salaries of the workers. The workers were not been paid their salary for the past 6 months despite several promise from the company. For the last three weeks, the workers are also facing issues of water and electricity at their camp no 2 and 3 at Shuaiba. Later the Indian embassy had called up the Company officials and the officials promised that the pending due will be cleared by end of this month.

“The condition of our workers at these camps is very sad and the embassy is taking all efforts to solve the issue”, DCM Mr Subhashish Goldar told IndiansinKuwait.com. "Indian Ambassador will be meeting the chairman of Kharafi group very shortly to find a solution to the agonies of our workers," Mr Goldar told. Earlier also the Indian embassy had taken up the issues of non-payment of salary of Kharafi group employees to the official’s authorities. Despite the repeated promises, the company has not yet taken any action to settle the issues permanently.
Many of the workers have already resigned from job and want to go back to India however their dues are not yet paid by the company.

Environment Public Authority | Prevent Water guns during National Day events

Prevent use of water guns during National Day events – ‘Precious resource being wasted’

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No, seriously. The Nokia 3310 is coming back

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HMD Global Oy, the Finnish manufacturer with exclusive rights to market phones under the storied Nokia brand, is planning to announce four such handsets at Mobile World Congress later this month, according to a person briefed on the company’s plans.

Besides the already revealed Nokia 6 — launched in China but not yet elsewhere — HMD is poised to unveil another pair of downmarket Android 7.0 Nougat-powered devices, the Nokia 5 and Nokia 3. So whereas the 6 features a full HD, 5.5-inch display, Snapdragon 430 system-on-chip, 4GB of RAM, and 16-megapixel primary camera, the other two will ratchet down the specs to hit lower price points.

The Nokia 5, for instance, is rumored to maintain its larger sibling’s chipset, but reduce the display to 5.2 inches at 720p, halve the RAM to 2GB, and decrease the main image sensor to 12 megapixels. That will translate into a €50 difference between the two models, with Nokia 6 retailing for €249 and Nokia 5 for €199, according to the briefed individual. (One euro [€] = 1.06 dollars [$]. )

Nokia 3, the entry level Android, will initially go for €149.

But perhaps the most interesting of these devices, at least from the perspective of mobile enthusiasts, is not a smartphone at all, but a modern version of a classic workhorse of a feature phone, the Nokia 3310. Known primarily for its plentiful battery life and nearly indestructible build, the 3310 was released at the turn of the millennium as a replacement to the also-popular 3210.

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At just €59, this new incarnation seems priced competitively enough to win over nostalgic former owners for use as a second phone. HMD is holding its launch event on February 26 in Barcelona. It’s explicitly targeting the European marketplace, while distribution plans for other regions — namely North America — weren’t immediately known.

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