Showing posts with label Tech News. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Tech News. Show all posts

Researchers of the Universidad de Alicante (UA) have developed new technology that makes it possible to locate people who have suffered an accident in remote locations without a phone signal and where a speedy rescue is essential to save lives. The system can also be used in emergency situations that arise as a result of earthquakes, floods or forest fires, where mobile phone infrastructure is often rendered useless.

"We have designed an application (app) that can be incorporated to any smartphone and that, without a signal, emits a Wi-fi signal which in turn acts as a distress beacon over a distance of several kilometers," explains the creator of the technology and professor at the UA's Department of Physics, Systems Engineering and Theory of the Signal of the Higher Polytechnic School, José Ángel Berná.

This signal contains the location (coordinates) of the person who has suffered the accident or disappeared and is using the smartphone emitter, along with a short message that "can be altered depending on the situation, with examples such as "I am injured," "I am disorientated," or "I need help", specifies Berná.

In order to detect the distress signal, the researcher has also created a light, portable receptor device that rescue teams or mountain shelters could use. This device has a small antenna and connects to the smartphone of the search party.

When an accident occurs, the victim only has to activate the mobile phone app, which will in turn emit the distress signal periodically – for hours or even days, even if he or she is unconscious – indicating the coordinates of its location.

According to Berná, there have already been tests done on the ground with this innovative system – an operative prototype was developed in early 2016 – with the Special Mountain Intervention Rescue Groups (GREIM) of the Guardia Civil and then with the Maritime Service of the Armed Forces and Maritime Rescue, the results of which were "interesting." Therefore, during the tests performed on ground and sea it was confirmed that the device can pick up the distress signal of the emitting smartphone up to a distance of two or three kilometers, respectively, although it may be possible to increase its reach.

Search tasks for disappeared or hurt people currently entail "a large cost in time and human resources," explains the professor. On the other hand, Berná explains, the new system developed makes it possible to "optimise the search and decrease tracking time," a vital aspect when taking into account that, "in the case of many deceased people, autopsies have revealed that they survived for several hours and did not die instantly, but it had been impossible to locate them on time."

It also has the added benefit that it does not require visual contact with the victim, because as soon as they can detect a single signal, it will tell them its exact location, even if it lies several kilometers away or it is trapped among the rubble of a collapsed building.

"At present, there is no system in the world that uses Wi-fi signals to geo-locate a smartphone. There are devices that allow you to detect mobile phone signals from a smartphone and pinpoint its location through triangulation, but it costs around €80,000 and requires the use of a helicopter," says José Ángel Berná. However, the system developed in the UA is more economical, "as its receptor has a cost that would allow its commercialisation for approximately €600 if used by a large number of rescue teams," he adds.

According to the researcher, the security committee of the Spanish Mountain Federation and the Guardia Civil rescue services believe that the features of this technology should already be integrated within an emergency system and should have institutional backing.

"We have sent information to the Ministry of Internal Affairs so they take this new feature that we have developed into account and they study its possible addition to AlertCops, the citizen safety warning service of the State Security Forces," Berná explains

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In years past, demand for Apple Inc’s (AAPL.O) latest flagship phone was critical to the company’s results over the holiday shopping quarter.
The new iPhone X is pictured at the Apple Store Marche Saint-Germain in Paris, France, November 3, 2017. REUTERS/Benoit Tessier/Files

That dynamic might be changing, however, as Apple’s widening lineup of devices and services more than makes up for any tepidness in demand this quarter for its lead product, the $999 iPhone X.

On Tuesday, Apple’s stock fell 2.5 percent to $170.57 after Taiwan’s Economic Daily and several analysts suggested iPhone X sales in the fiscal first quarter would be 30 million units, 20 million fewer than initially planned by the company.

The cut in the forecast was not confirmed, and the stock regained ground on Thursday, hitting $171.82 by midday. The mean revenue estimate for the holiday quarter among 30 analysts remains at $86.2 billion, near the high end of Apple’s forecast of $84 billion to $87 billion.

Apple declined to comment.
Part of the support for Apple may reflect a change in its business strategy.

Releasing two new models and keeping older ones have made Apple less dependent on its flagship product.

Apple shareholder Ross Gerber, chief executive of Gerber Kawasaki Wealth and Investment Management in Santa Monica, California, said the higher price and better margins on the iPhone X will reduce fears of a sales decline.

“As we know that Apple’s strategy was different this quarter by releasing two phones, the iPhone 8 and the iPhone X, and I think combined sales will be in line with what people expect,” Gerber said.

Apple also has fattened its portfolio of accessories and other devices, from its AirPods wireless headphones to a new Apple Watch with cellular data features.

While none is a runaway hit, collectively they are an important contributor, with Apple’s “other products” segment growing 16 percent to $12.8 billion last year. Customers who buy those add-ons are also likely to buy services from the App Store and Apple Music, part of Apple’s services segment, which grew 23 percent to $29.9 billion last year.

“Ultimately, it will be this multi-device ownership” that will generate further revenue, said Carolina Milanesi, an analyst with Creative Strategies.

IPhone X sales still matter. Each unit generates nearly twice the revenue of an iPhone 7 and contains technologies like facial recognition that burnish Apple’s brand.

Bob O‘Donnell of TECHnalysis Research, said “hit products” still represent “an enormous amount of the company’s overall value.”

“Will it take hold in the mainstream? That’s the question that still remains,” he said.

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Data from the Kepler Space Telescope has revealed the Kepler-90 system ties with our own for the most number of planets known to orbit a single star. The discovery of an eighth exoplanet, Kepler-90i, revolving around its Sun-like star located 2,545 light years away in the constellation of Draco, was achieved using artificial intelligence software programmed to detect the distinct light signature of planets passing in front of their parent star.

According to NASA, the discovery of Kepler-90i was the result of the work by researchers Christopher Shallue and Andrew Vanderburg, who used an artificial "neural network" to examine the 35,000 possible planetary signals returned by the unmanned Kepler spacecraft. Artificial intelligence has been used before to process the Kepler data, but by imitating the way neurons connect in the human brain, Shallue and Vandenberg were able to train the computer to seek out and identify weak transit signals that had previously been missed.

The researchers used machine learning by training the neural network to identify transiting planets from 15,000 previously-vetted signals, which allowed the software to identify planets and eliminate false positives with a 96 percent accuracy. This made it possible for the team to examine 670 systems known to have multiple exoplanets on the assumption that these systems were most likely to show weak light curves of further planets.

The closest planet to its parent star, Kepler-90i completes its orbit every 14.4 days and is a rocky planet a third larger than Earth with a surface temperature of 427°C. And though the Kepler-90 system has as many planets as our solar system, it's much more compact, with the farthest out, Kepler-90h, only as far from its star as Earth is from the Sun.

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According to a report released today by global cybersecurity leader ESET, cybersecurity incidents and risks are predicted to grow even further in 2018. The report titled “Cybersecurity Trends 2018: The Cost of our Connected World” compiled by ESET security experts, presents topics that will be of interest to everyone following an increase in, and sophistication of, cybersecurity incidents in 2017.

The report focuses on ransomware, attacks on critical infrastructure, malware and combating criminal activity, as well as the cyber threats posed to electoral campaigns and data privacy.

While examining the ransomware revolution and the fact that many companies are still prepared to spend large sums in ransom payment as opposed to investing in their cyber defenses, the report warns that this unsustainable trend is likely to continue in 2018.

Stephen Cobb, Senior Security Researcher at ESET, who predicted increased attacks on critical infrastructure as a 2017 trend, anticipates further threats to supply chains in 2018, saying: 

While many large companies appear to be taking cybersecurity more seriously these days, with security teams getting both the budget and the C-level backing required to do a good job, many smaller businesses supplying goods and services to larger organizations are struggling. That makes them an attractive target.”

ESET’s successful collaboration with Microsoft, Europol and the FBI led to the arrest of cybercriminals involved in the Gamarue botnet.  In the report, ‘Doing time for cybercrime: police and malware research join force’ demonstrates the importance of security companies and law enforcement working together to contribute to making the Internet a safer place for everyone, except cybercriminals.

The vulnerability of elections was emphasized in 2017 as major voting events took place around the world. Can votes cast by an electorate be tampered with, and can an electorate be swayed in the run up to an election by hacktivists working to change public opinion? Countries should invest in preventative measures in 2018 to safeguard the digital security of the democratic process.

The General Data Protection Regulation(s) comes into force in May 2018, replacing the Data Protection Directive and increasing the legislative concern surrounding data privacy. In the report, ESET security expert Tony Anscombe focuses on user-awareness of data collection, the risks faced by data collected through the Internet of Things (IoT), and the significant fines for companies that fail to protect personal data.

Technological innovations and their use in 2017 have produced remarkable possibilities in the digital world, while   also exposing users to new kinds of threats. This year we have seen cybercriminals focus their attacks on sensitive and private information. 2018 is the year users need to increase their awareness of cyber threats and manage their digital world more responsibly.

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9mobile acquisition saga is not over yet even after rebranding and changing name from Etisalat Nigeria to 9Mobile. In fact, the company is up for sale and 16 companies started bidding for it.
But the process involves screening so out of the initial 16 bidders that showed interest to acquire 9Mobile, only 5 bidders are left. Also, from this 5 bidders, one company will eventually emerge as the sole bidder who will now take ownership of the network in coming weeks.

Also See: Google Chrome will soon block website redirects against user's will.

The top two colleges are in England.Chris Trotman/Getty Images

Interestingly, out of the 5 names remaining, 3 are so familiar to us probably because they are also top network providers in the country. Airtel, Globacom and Smile are all among the top contenders. Check the list below:
1. Airtel
2. Globacom
3. Smile
4. Helios

The top two colleges are in England.Chris Trotman/Getty Images
5. Teleology Holdings Limited
These remaining 5 bidders of 9mobile have secured qualifications for the next stage in which 1 will come out as winner. 9mobile has been standing on one.
9mobile, formerly Etisalat Nigeria, was put on the block early this year after it defaulted on a $1.2 billion loan from a consortium of 13 Nigerian banks. Etisalat Group the mother company in Abu Dhabi backed out leaving its Nigeria arm of business to fate, to survive on a new name.

Since the debt issue, 9mobile, the country’s fourth biggest operator, has lost subscribers. In October its total number of users had fallen to 17.1 million, giving it a 12.2 percent market share, from 20 million subscribers with a 14 percent share earlier this year.
Who among these 5 bidders do you think will acquire 9mobile?
Sources: Reuters, yomiprof.

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The top two colleges are in England.Chris Trotman/Getty Images

One of the advantages of the web is that it allows developers to create any type of experience they can imagine, which has led to the rich diversity of content available on the web today. While most content producers are interested in providing excellent experiences for their users, there is a small number that uses the flexibility and power of the web to take advantage of users and redirect them to unintended destinations. 

Don't miss Your Search questions about celebrities answered selfie-style on Google.

1 out of every 5 feedback reports from Chrome users on desktop mention encountering some type of unwanted content. Following on from features like Chrome's pop-up blocker and autoplay protections, over the next few releases Google will be rolling out three new protections designed to give users all the web has to offer, but without many of these types of unwanted behaviors.

One piece of feedback is that a page will unexpectedly navigate to a new page, for seemingly no reason. This redirect often comes from third-party content embedded in the page, and the page author didn't intend the redirect to happen at all. To address this, in Chrome 64 all redirects originating from third-party iframes will show an infobar instead of redirecting, unless the user had been interacting with that frame. This will keep the user on the page they were reading, and prevent those surprising redirects.

When the user interacts with content, things can also go wrong. One example that causes user frustration is when clicking a link opens the desired destination in a new tab, while the main window navigates to a different, unwanted page. This is effectively a circumvention of Chrome's pop-up blocker, one of users' favorite features. Starting in Chrome 65 the browser will also detect this behavior, trigger an infobar, and prevent the main tab from being redirected. This allows the user to continue directly to their intended destination, while also preserving the context of the page they came from.

Also See : Facebook Year in Review 2017 in now live.

Finally, there are several other types of abusive experiences that send users to unintended destinations but are hard to automatically detect. These include links to third-party websites disguised as play buttons or other site controls, or transparent overlays on websites that capture all clicks and open new tabs or windows. 

Must Read: Google will start serving more answers, as smartphone users don’t want blue links: VP Ben Gomes.

Similar to how Google Safe Browsing protects users from malicious content, starting in early January Chrome's pop-up blocker will prevent sites with these types of abusive experiences from opening new windows or tabs. To help site owners prepare for this change, today we're also launching the Abusive Experiences Report alongside other similar reports in the Google Search Console. Site owners can use the report to see if any of these abusive experiences have been found on their site and improve their user experience. Otherwise, abusive experiences left unaddressed for 30 days will trigger the prevention of new windows and tabs.

Together, these protections will dramatically improve users' web browsing experiences while still allowing them access to all that the web has to offer.

Don't Miss Top 10 Best Upcoming Smartphones in India 2018.

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Whether you watch them on TV, listen to them on a podcast, or read about them in a magazine, you spend a lot of time wondering about the people who inspire you. Maybe you've always wanted to know if actor Will Ferrell can really play the drums. Now in the U.S., you can find answers to questions about notable people on mobile Search, and they’re coming directly from the source.

Don't Miss: Facebook Year in Review 2017 in now live .

When you search for your favorite personalities, whether they’re rising stars or well-known celebs, their answers will appear in the form of selfie-style videos with a uniquely personal, authentic and delightful touch.

Also See Samsung offering up to Rs 8,000 cashback on Galaxy Note 8, Galaxy S8 and S8+.

This feature is being tested on mobile with answers from Priyanka Chopra, Will Ferrell, Tracee Ellis Ross, Gina Rodriguez, Kenan Thompson, Allison Williams, Nick Jonas, Mark Wahlberg, James Franco, Seth MacFarlane, Jonathan Yeo and Dominique Ansel. Whether you’re wondering what Gina Rodriguez’s pet peeve is, what movie changed Nick Jonas’ life, or want Kenan Thompson’s input on what makes something funny, these self-recorded videos share their perspectives and answers to some of your most-asked questions.

This is only a snapshot (or should we say selfie-shot) of what’s to come, but in the next few months, you may see more videos as you search for your favorite personalities. 

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Ben Gomes Google’s VP for Engineering and Search, explains how the depth of universal search and the context from Knowledge Graphs have helped to provide answers to people’s queries.

Thanks to Machine Learning (ML), Google search has been getting better and better.
Google, Google search, Ben Gomes Google, Google for India 2017, Google search, fake news, Google search mobile, Google algorithm, machine learning
If over the past year or so you have seen Googlethrowing up results like cricket scores and disease symptoms, that is because the search giant is clearly on a path to provide answers to people’s queries. “When you are on a cellphone, people actually want an answer to your query, not just blue links,” says Ben Gomes Google’s VP for Engineering and Search, explaining how the depth of universal search and the context from Knowledge Graphs were helping Mountain View do this.

Working on improving search, Google realised that a proper answer would have to be aided by concepts from the real world. “So we created Knowledge Graphs which contain a billion people, places and things and about 70 billion connections between them. For instance, if you ask who is the prime minister of India, we know there is a current prime minister, what his name is, we know how he is connected to other people and can thus answer your question in a natural way,” Gomes explains on the sidelines of the Google for India event.

Gomes, who has been with Google for 19 years, before “even people in California knew the name”, says Knowledge Graph was created to answer questions the way people are expecting them to be answered and also give answers to all the different kinds of things they might ask. “That allows us to go from the ten blue links on the desktop to what they were beginning to expect on a mobile phone which very different, much richer experience.”

Over the years, Google Search has evolved tremendously. Now, it can give you answers even before you ask via the feed. “There are a lot of cases were we can give answers even before the question has been asked, like the time to the airport, or if your flight is delayed. And there are other cases where we need to know what is needed. And needs vary dramatically. With a feed we can give you results on things of interest to you over time.”

A lot of this is also because of technologies like Machine Learning (ML) becoming better. Gomes says that many of the hundreds of signals in search are now becoming machine learnt. “Gradually, we would be using machine learning in many different parts of search from language understanding to how we combine the various signals. There are different types of signals; pagerank being one, then there are words on a page, fonts, who points to this page and what is their page rank and so on. There are many different signals that go into evaluating if this page is a good result for this query and better than another page. Each of these signals can have a machine learning component to it,” he explains.

How Google tackled fake news

Also Read: LG G7 might come with advanced iris scanner for facial recognition, patent reveals.

The past year has been a challenging one for Google Search and Facebook because of the controversy around fake news in the US. Gomes says it is actually a small problem as only about 2 per cent of the queries are affected, “but these are important queries and we are very bothered by it”. Google reacted by changing the rater guidelines. “Whenever we make a change in the search algorithm, we show the 10,000-odd raters around A and B and ask them which is better. We ask them to judge based on rater guidelines, which is essentially a description of what search does. Using these raters, we change the algorithm, hopefully making them better and better.

Also Check for Update Button on Pixel, Nexus Devices to Finally Work in 2018.

Gomes accepts that they were under the impression that news would come from good sources. “Now, for those kind of queries there are two things we look at: how relevant is the result and how authoritative is the source. The raters look at both and now we have asked them to weigh the authoritativeness of the source more than how exactly the words match,” he says, adding that Google launched something like 2000 changes in the last year resulting in a huge improvement in the kind of queries people were seeing a problem with last year.

But Gomes knows there is no way to make this problem go away completely. “Because every day we see 15 per cent of our queries which we have never seen before; there are millions of new documents. There are millions of things that will happen… people who will deceive the algorithm.” However, that is nothing new for Google, as people have been trying to game the system right from the early days of page ranking. “It is not new in that sense, we are just taking new approaches to tackling the particular problem.

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Second Measure analyzes billions of credit card transactions to answer real-time questions about consumer behavior. Unless otherwise noted, the data below comes from our platform.

Kathryn Gessner and Kathryn Roethel Rieck contributed to this report.

Historically, whales have gotten a bad rap. In Greek mythology, whales were depicted as ferocious sea monsters, and we all know how Moby Dick ends. However, for many consumer businesses, the “whales” are a prized catch. The term refers to the big spenders, high-rollers, and frequent flyers responsible for an outsized share of a company’s sales.
In 2016, just 20 percent of customers were responsible for more than half the money raked in by 854 of the 1,000 largest companies that Second Measure tracks (by total U.S. customers). Credit and debit card transaction data shows, at these businesses, the average customer in the top 20 percent spent 8x as much as the average customer from the bottom 80 percent. (We call this multiplier WI80 — the Whale Index for the 80th percentile.)
The split between whales and small fish was even more extreme at 293 of the companies. Here, the top 10 percent of customers generated more than half of all sales dollars and spent, on average, 15x as much as the bottom 90 percent.

Why whales matter
Companies that earn a large percentage of sales from a small percentage of customers are staking a lot on their ability to keep those customers coming back—or on their chances of capturing new whales. Companies with a more even distribution of sales might not be hit as hard by the loss of a few top customers, but they’re also less likely to get a big boost in sales from a small number of loyal spenders.

One tale of a whale: Zynga

Some companies really (and we mean really) depend on their biggest spenders. For example, at social gaming company Zynga (best known for hit casual games like Farmville and Words With Friends), the top 20 percent of spenders accounted for a whopping 88 percent of sales in 2016. And just one percent of paying Zynga customers registered 33 percent of sales.

Zynga’s business model is built for whales. The company allows gamers to play for free but entices them to spend money to progress more quickly. Many players never spend anything, so they’re not included in our analysis. The majority of those who do pay don’t pay much—an average of just $19 per year for the bottom 80 percent of paying customers. But Zynga’s big spenders really live up to their reputations. Customers in the top 20 percent spent an average of $571 in 2016, and customers in the top 1 percent spent more than $4,000 each! (This means, at Zynga, WI80=30x and WI99=49x.)

Zynga is an extreme example, but even companies with traditional business models rely on whales. At giant retailers like Walmart, Target, and Amazon, the top 20 percent of spenders accounted for 65-70 percent of credit and debit card sales dollars in 2016. At all three, WI80=8-9x.

Which industries include the biggest whales?

The chart above plots the proportion of sales generated by each percentile of customers. (The 99th percentile is the top 1 percent of spenders.) A diagonal line would mean all customers in the industry spent the same amount. A sharply bending curve indicates an industry where a small number of whales drive most of the spending.

Alongside Zynga, companies in the gaming sectors tend to be highly whale-dependent. Zynga-competitor King (maker of Candy Crush) and daily fantasy sports sites FanDuel and DraftKings were among the companies with the most concentrated spending.

Sales at luxury goods retailers also tend to be condensed amongst a small percentage of customers. For example, at Tiffany & Co. (WI80=14x), it’s possible to spend hundreds of thousands of dollars in an act of romantic devotion. The top 20 percent of spenders dropped an average of $4,300 each last year. (Compare that to the average of $300 spent by the hoi polloi.)

*IMPORTANT==> Apple is acquiring music recognition app Shazam

At the other extreme, companies with subscription models, such as Netflix, Hulu, and Spotify, had a much more equitable distribution of spending across their customer bases, with WI80 around 2x. Likewise, at eyewear retailer Warby Parker (whose products have relatively low price variance), WI80was only 3x.

Of whales and unicorns

Now that we’ve seen how individual companies, and even whole industries, can be differentiated based on the whale index, we can use this metric as a new way to benchmark startups (and recent IPOs) like Airbnb, Uber, and Blue Apron. All operate relatively new business models that fall outside the bounds of traditional industry categories.

Top ride-hailing customers behave like frequent flyers

Interestingly, ride-sharing apps Uber and Lyft, both with WI80 of approximately 11x, have spending distributions that are strikingly similar to those of major airlines like Delta, United, and American Airlines. Like major airlines, Uber and Lyft derive an outsized proportion of sales from a small number of frequent riders.

The top 20 percent of Uber customers rode with Uber 73 times on average in 2016, and all those trips cost them an average of $1,160 per person. The bottom 80 percent of riders only averaged seven trips and spent $108 with Uber.

More whales at upscale hotels than at Airbnb

While the hotel industry looks warily upon Airbnb’s growth, Airbnb’s WI80 of 6x more closely resembles that of budget hotelier Motel 6 than of upmarket hotel chains like Hilton (WI80=9x) and Marriott (WI80=13x).

This is because the more-upscale hotels also earn money from many small transactions: parking fees, bar and restaurant tabs, and the like. Of course, not all of the parkers and diners are staying at the hotel, and the ones who are—especially for long periods of time—are the whales. Lodging accounts for most of the sales at budget hotels and Airbnb—no extra frills—so there’s less variance in what customers spend here. Simply put, would-be whales have fewer opportunities to spend above and beyond the norm.

Blue Apron and Stitch Fix don’t match trends in their industries

It might seem natural to lump e-commerce retailer Stitch Fix into the fashion sector, but its customer-spending distribution (WI80=5x) more closely resembles that of a subscription service like Netflix or Spotify. Fashion retailers like J.Crew (WI80=8x) and Macy’s (WI80=9x) rely more heavily on whales.

One reason for this: it’s a lot easier to drop big bucks at a place that doesn’t limit how many items you can buy at a time. At most retailers, you can buy as many items as you want, any time you want. But at Stitch Fix, you max out at five items because that’s all each shipment contains. And, indeed, the average J.Crew or Macy’s shopper spent about $100 per outing in 2016, where the average Stitch Fix receipt was closer to $75.

Meal-kit service Blue Apron’s customer distribution (WI80=6x) also looks a lot more like a subscription service than traditional grocery stores such as Safeway (WI80=16x) or Whole Foods (WI80=18x). This is hardly surprising because, as in the fashion example, customers in supermarkets have a huge selection of products to choose from and can shop as often as they like. Blue Apron strictly offers ingredients for a specified number of dinners, and subscribers pay for a whole week's order at once.

Yet, Blue Apron’s distribution looks less like a subscription service than Stitch Fix’s. The reason: some Blue Apron customers use the service infrequently while others—the whales—use it for multiple family meals over many weeks. The top 20 percent of customers ordered an average of 25 times in 2016 and spent an average of $1,750. That’s a stark contrast to the bottom 80 percent, who only ordered an average of four times and spent $275.

There was much less variance in the number of Stitch Fix orders customers made, so Stitch Fix's spending distribution looks more like that of a subscription than Blue Apron's does. The worry for Blue Apron, of course, is that if its whales churn to another meal-kit service, the company could be left floundering.

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    As Spotify continues to inch towards a public listing, Apple is making a move of its own to step up its game in music services. Sources tell us that the company is close to acquiring Shazam, the popular app that lets people identify any song, TV show, film or advert in seconds, by listening to an audio clip or (in the case of, say, an ad) a visual fragment, and then takes you to content relevant to that search.

    We have heard that the deal is being signed this week, and will be announced on Monday, although that could always change.

    One source describes the deal as in the nine figures; another puts it at around £300 million ($401 million). We are still asking around. Notably, though, the numbers we’ve heard are lower than the $1.02 billion (according to PitchBook) post-money valuation the company had in its last funding round, in 2015.

    In all, Shazam has raised $143.5 million from investors that include Kleiner Perkins, London’s DN Capital, IVP and strategic investors Sony Music, Universal Music and Access Industries (which owns Warner Music). Kleiner Perkins also invested in competitor SoundHound.

    Shazam last noted that it passed 1 billion downloads, but that was back in September 2016, meaning those numbers are likely higher now.

    But in the world of apps, high numbers do not always translate into profits: In September 2017, Shazam reported made £40.3 million ($54 million) in revenues in its 2016 fiscal year, which was a turnaround from the declines between FY 2014 and 2015. It made a statutory pre-tax loss of £4 million ($5.3 million) in 2016, which was still a loss but significantly smaller than the £16.6 million loss in FY 2015.

    The company’s CEO Rich Riley noted earlier this year, however, that operating at or near profitability is the intention as it’s been growing; and he also hinted that the company was, as a result, likely an acquisition target.

    Shazam launched way back in 1999, well before the days of apps, as a service you reached by way of a SMS code — in fact, its first name was 2580, after the number you typed in the UK to access the service.

    Since those early days, it’s launched a number of related services. Artists on Shazam lets you follow famous people and see what music they are Shazamming.

    Its augmented reality brand marketing service lets you discover content based on pictures that you snap with the app. “You came for music, stay to experience McDonald’s Karaoke, MTN Dew VR Racing and much more,” is the company’s pitch on this feature.

    It also integrates with other apps like Snapchat and Apple’s Siri, and it currently sends lots of traffic to other music apps like Spotify and Apple Music, which pays it when those clicks convert to purchases.

    It’s not clear what will carry on post acquisition, and which of these might be something that Apple would integrate into its own business (and how), but it’s notable that much of what Shazam does is very synergistic with what Apple is working on already: AR, and more features to attract more users to the Apple Music platform.

    Apple has made dozens of other acquisitions, and one of the biggest has been in the area of music: it acquired Beats for $3 billion in 2014, which became the basis for Apple Music. That service has around 30 million users as of September of this year. As a point of comparison, Spotify has over 60 million paying subscribers, with 140 million overall.

    We’ve reached out to Shazam and Apple for comment. We’ll update this story as we learn more.

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