Facebook has announced that it will release a new version of its popular app Messenger for children aged between 6 and 12. They do not need their own Facebook account to access the app, called Messenger Kids.
With Messenger Kids, parents will be able to control what their children see and who they are allowed to communicate with. There are no ads in the children’s version and Facebook has promised not to use a child’s information for other purposes. In addition, children’s names will not be integrated into Facebook’s search tool. At the moment, the app will only be available in the United States.
Facebook aims at getting children to become used to its product even if they are under the age required to get a normal account. As the company is losing younger customers to rivals Instagram and Snapchat, the company is trying to get young users to connect to their product before competitors do.
Messenger Kids will offer text and video chat as well as stickers and drawing tools. Special detection filtersprevent children from sharing sexual content or violence online.
According to Facebook, over 90% of all 8 to 12-year-olds have smartphones or tablets. Many use their parents’ Facebook account.The new app is intended to give children a feeling of having their own account, while parents are still incontrol.Messenger Kids will not automatically be converted into a normal Facebook account when children reach 13.
access = use
according to = as said by …
account =a service that allows you to do or see things on the Internet
ad = picture, words or a short film which is intended to make people buy a product
aim = wants, plan to
available = here: use
announce = to say officially in public
communicate = talk, chat with or write to
competitor = rival
content = comments, pictures video etc..
convert = change into, automatically become
customer = person who buys something
detection filter = here: a tool that is used to stop bad things from getting seen by children
in addition = also
intend = plan to
prevent = stop
promise = to say that you will do something
purpose = here: other things
release = here: you can download and use it
required = needed
rival = a company that sells the same things as you do
share = exchange, swap
sticker = here: a frame with a picture or words; you can collect them
Short Message Service (SMS), also called texting, is celebrating its 25th birthday. The first text message was sent in Great Britain shortly before Christmas in 1992 in Great Britain. It was British engineer Neil Papworth who sent the first message from a computer to a mobile phone on the Vodaphone network. At that time mobile phones could only receive messages, not send them.
In 1994, Nokia presented its first mobile phone that could actually send and receive messages. It was the first phone that could produce more than an audio signal. Shortly afterwards the first commercial SMS service started in Finland. Text messages were limited to 160 characters.
25 years later text messaging is widelypopular. 97% of all smartphone users send some type of text message regularly. About 25 billion are sent every day. Today there are more complex messaging services like WhatsApp, Facebook Messanger and iMessage.
Media experts regard texting as the first step towards today’s smartphones, which are basically pocket computers with countless apps.
Texting has changed the way we communicate. For the first time, you could send the same text to different contacts at the same time andit didn’tmatter if the recipient was reachable or not. A new language has also emerged with abbreviations and short sentences.
abbreviation = short form of a word or phrase
actually = really, in fact
basically = practically
celebrate = to show that an event is important
commercial = here: something that you can make money with
communicate = exchange information or get into contact with each other
complex = advanced; with many different parts
countless = very many
emerge = develop, appear
engineer = person who designs and builds machines and other objects
limit = only allow
network = here: system of telephone lines that are connected to each other
For the first time in history, China has overtaken the United States in the number of supercomputers. Currently, China has a total of 202 of the world’s 500 fastest computers, up from 159 half a year ago. The number of US supercomputers has dropped to 144.
The world’s most powerful computer is located in China. The Sunway TaihuLight , at Wuxi can do 93 quadrillioncalculations per second. The fastest UScomputer,the Titan, is ranked fifth while Europe’s speediest computer is Switzerland’s Piz Daint, ranked third.
Supercomputers are machines that occupyentire buildings and use the combined power of thousands of processors. They are used to carry out special tasks that involve a huge number of calculations. Among them are weather forecasts and climate studies, as well as strategic tasks like nuclear weapons simulations.
Chinese supremacy in the world of supercomputing reflects the country’s investment in research and development. One-fifth of the money used on research and development around the world is spent in China.
On the other side, many Chinese systems have been created to earn money. Processing power is rented to other national and international companies.
For years the speed of supercomputers has steadily increased although since 2012 this increase has slowed down.
although = while
calculation = here: a single task
combined = everything put together
create = make
currently = at the moment, now
drop = go down
entire = whole
huge = very big; very many
investment = to use money for special things
involve = need
located = can be found
nuclear weapons simulation = here: software that tries to find out how nuclear bombs will affect the world and its population if they are used
occupy = use up; need
overtake = to be better than
processor = central part fo a computer that deals with commands and the information you give it
quadrillion= the number one followed by 24 zeros
ranked = position in a list
reflect = show, demonstrate
rent = let someone use something for money
research and development = to study special fields and use new ideas to create new things
speediest = fastest
steadily = slowly
strategic = here: about the military
supremacy = being number one or the best in the world
task = piece of work
weather forecast = a description of what the weather will be like in the next few days
Singles Day is the biggest e-commerce day in the world. Organized by China’s Alibaba, shopping sales on November 11 hit a record $25 billion, 40% more than on Singles Day 2016. In contrast, Prime Day, organized by Amazonachieved only $1 billion in sales. During the Thanksgiving and Black Friday weekend of 2016 American online shoppers spent $5 billion.
Singles Day started out as an informal holiday in China, celebrating people who stayed single. Similiar to Valentine’s Day in the western world Singles Day took place on 11/11 . In 2009, Alibaba turned it into a shopping holiday and in the past 8 years, sales have steadilyincreased.
Although the event targets mostly Chinese customers, shoppers came from 220 countries. Over 80 brands took part in the event, with Nike and Xiaomi Corp. among the biggest winners. Household goods and electrical appliances were the most bought products, but customers soughtbargains for almost everything, ranging from cheap toilet paper to rice.
At its peak Alibaba’s computers handled 250 000 transactions per second, most of them coming in via mobile phones. In the weeks before the event was held, Alibaba had helped 600,000 companies upgrade their computer systems to make them fit for Singles Day.
The event was also turned into a gala in Shanghai where celebrities Nicole Kidman and tennis star Maria Sharapova counted down the seconds until the world’ largest sales event started.
Many critics of the event say that Singles Day is environmentallycontroversial. It creates an enormous amount of waste. According to Greepeace, 1 billion packages were delivered in the days that followed the event.
Alibaba’s Singles Day is a display of Chinese spending power. The company’s owner, Jack Ma, is one of China’s richest men. He has been investing heavily in new technologies includingautomated stores which use facial recognition systems.
according to = … as said by
achieve = here: reach a number of sales
automated = where everything is done automatically, without people helping
although = while
bargain = to buy something cheaply, for less money than usual
billion = a thousand million
brand = type of product made by a company
celebrate = here: in honour of, to show respect for
celebrity = famous person
controversial = here: to cause a lot of disagreement
critic = a person who is against something
customer = a person who buys something
deliver = to bring to a person’s home
display = to show something
e-commerce = buying and selling things with computers over the Internet
electrical appliance = things you use at home and need electricity, like a cooker or washing machine
enormous = very large
environment = nature and the world around us
facial recognition = when a computer image of a person can find out who they are
handle = deal with
heavily = very much
household goods = things that you need in the house and use every day
in contrast = the difference between two things
including = also
increase = to go up
informal = not official
record = highest
sales = buying and selling products
seek – sought = look for
steadily = slowly
target = people who the event aims at; potential customers
transaction = here: the sales of a single product
upgrade = here: to give a computer more power, so that it can do more things
via = by way of, through
waste = unwanted things that you throw away and don’t need any more
The social networking service Twitter has increased the number of characters that can be used for a single tweet to 280. The new limit will apply to English and other languages that use a Roman alphabet. Languages, such as Chinese, Japanese or Korean, are not affected by the change because users can say more with fewer characters.
Twitter says that the change has been made to give people more opportunity to say what they think and express their opinions without making texts shorter or using bad grammar. More space makes it easier to put your thoughts in writing.
Twitter decided to implement the change after a month of intensive testing .Those who tested the new character limit said it was good because they were able to express themselves in a better way.
In the first few days after the new rule took effect, many people used up the full 280 character limit. A spokesperson said that, after a few days, everything had become normal again. Only five percent of all tweets exceeded the old 140 character limit, probably because most users were used to it.
Twitter’s 140-character limit goes back to the days when the company was founded in 2006. Back then, the limit for sending SMS text messages was 140 characters and Twitter based the new service on that limit. Texting today is considered out of date and not used that much anymore.
affect = here: to do something that produces a change
apply = affect; to be used for
character = letter, number or sign used in an alphabet
considered = thought to be …
exceed = to be more than …
express = tell or show what you think or feel
found – founded = here: to start a new company
implement = here: to make changes
increase = to go up
intensive = here: a lot of
limit = here: the number of characters you are allowed to use
opinion = what you think about something
opportunity = chance
out of date = not useful, because something more modern has taken its place
Roman alphabet = alphabet used in English and other European languages
spokesperson = someone who speaks for a company and makes announcements in public
take effect = to start to produce results after something has changed
Estonia is a small Baltic state with a population of 1.3 million. Despite its size it is one of the most technologically advanced countries in the world and has been creating a digital society since the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991.
In Estonia, citizens are allowed to do most things online. Every inhabitant has a uniqueID card that they use for a number of purposes.They can file tax returns, get medical prescriptions and manage their health records online. They can pay for a parking ticket via mobile phone and don’t have to go to a registration office when a child is born. Parents can check their children’s grades and communicate with teachers. For many years Estonians have been able to vote online.
In 2014 the small Baltic country started a new digital initiative. It allows non-citizens to become digital residents for 100 euros. The government wants to bring qualified people to the country because the working population is steadily decreasing. The country desperately needs new programmers, web developers and media experts. Up to now 20 000 people from other countries have applied for digital citizenship.
Many countries, among them Finland and Japan are trying to copy Estonia’s digital society. However, authoritiespoint out that the country’s smallness is an advantage. Such a system may not work very well in larger countries with millions of people.
advanced = very modern
advantage = here: something that helps you to be successful
apply = to make a request
authorities = the people who are in charge of a government organisation or department
Baltic = region in the northeastern part of Europe
citizen = person who lives in a country and has rights there
collapse = breakdown , end
create = make
decrease = go down
desperately = very much
despite = even though
file tax returns = here: to send information on how much you have earned to the local government; it then tells you how much tax you have to pay
government = the people who rule a country
health records = information about your health
however = but
ID card = small plastic card that has information about a person
inhabitant = a person who lives in a country
initiative = a new plan
point out = to show something that is important
population = the number of people living in a country
prescription = a piece of paper on which the doctor writes down what medicine a sick person should take
purpose = what something is needed for
qualified = with special skills and talents
registration office = place where you have report to when a baby is born or someone dies
resident = a person who officially lives in a country
society = people in general and the way they live and work together
size =how large the country is
smallness = not large in size
Soviet Union = largest Communist country that existed between 1922 and 1991