Recommended Reading: May 18, 2017 - eMarketer
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Recommended Reading: May 18, 2017

eMarketer’s scan of the key developments of the day, plus data to make sense of it all

May 18, 2017

Google Assistant Launches on iPhone

Google Assistant is coming to the iPhone, the Verge reports. The company announced the news at its Google I/O event, saying it will roll out Assistant as a separate app. One key change? Because of API restrictions, Google Assistant on iOS will be limited to doing more general things, such as sending iMessages and playing a song on the Spotify app, but not set alarms, for example.

Facebook Fined for User Tracking in France

France’s data regulator, CNIL, has fined Facebook €150,000 ($166,000) for collecting and compiling data about account holders’ activities on third-party sites, primarily for targeted advertising, “without having a legal basis” and “without obtaining their complicit consent” from users to do so. The move is part of an investigation launched in 2014 that looks into the social network’s practices in cooperation with regulators in several other countries across Western Europe. Facebook “respectfully disagree[s]” with the decision, according to a company statement quoted by The Guardian.

Weibo Surpasses Twitter User Numbers

China’s popular microblogging service Weibo now has more users worldwide than Twitter, according to Weibo’s most recent earnings report. Weibo claimed 340 million monthly active users (MAUs) at the end of Q1 2017, while Twitter reported 328 million for the same time period. Weibo obviously benefits from the fact that Twitter is blocked in China, but it has also seen a resurgence thanks to its embrace of short-form video content.

Thailand Retreats from Facebook Ban Threat

Thailand failed to carry through on a promise to block Facebook in the country if it did not remove content deemed illegal by regulators by a May 16 deadline. The directive sparked concerns that the country’s ruling military junta was initiating a crackdown on online freedom of expression. eMarketer estimates that there will be 29.8 million Facebook users in Thailand this year, giving it a penetration rate of 43.6% among the country’s population.

Apple Pay Debuts in Italy

Apple Pay launched in Italy yesterday, bringing the number of countries where users can make mobile payments via most newer iPhone and iPad models to 16, according to MasterCard. The credit card provider is offering its cardholders in Italy with boon, Carrefour Bank or Unicredit cards immediate access to the service.

The Rise of Facial Recognition in China

In a piece for MIT Technology Review, Will Knight reports on the rise of facial recognition technologies in China. According to the article, the biometric technique is worming its way into a host of services in the country, including popular digital payment service Alipay. Internet services firm Baidu is also using the technology to allow customers to pick up rail tickets simply by mugging for the camera.

IDC Reports Chinese Brands Control 51% of Indian Market

Research firm International Data Corporation (IDC) reports that Chinese smartphone manufacturers accounted for more than half (51.4%) of all smartphones shipped in India in Q1 2017. That marks the first time Chinese manufacturers passed the 50% threshold. IDC said Chinese smartphones were aided by their low cost, improved specifications and 4G capabilities. eMarketer estimates there will be 267.1 million smartphone users in India this year.

—Cliff Annicelli, Rahul Chadha and Rimma Kats

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