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Meta rolls out Meta AI in India, will take on ChatGPT and Google Gemini

Has it happened that you are chatting with a friend and decided to go for a weekend trip but had to pause and use a search engine to fix the itinerary? It would have been superfast if within that chat there was an app giving recommendations. This will be possible from Monday when Meta rolls out its Meta AI assistant across all its platforms – Instagram, Facebook, WhatsApp, Messenger and meta.ai (a website) – in India. Meta AI, which competes with ChatGPT and Google’s Gemini, will be available in English in India for now. Users can use it to learn, create and connect with the things that matter to them, said the company. The company announced Meta AI at last year’s Connect event, and since April it has been bringing new versions. Meta AI is available in the United States, Australia, Canada, Ghana, Jamaica, Malawi, New Zealand, Nigeria, Pakistan, Singapore, South Africa, Uganda, Zambia and Zimbabwe. Meta AI will be consumer focused in its new launch. Meta has made several AI tools for its social media platforms but with this launch all users of its platforms will get direct access to the power of AI. So WhatsApp or Instagram users need not download a separate app to access Meta AI.

Google launches Gemini mobile app in India, available in 9 Indian languages

Google launched the company’s AI assistant the Gemini app in India. Both the Gemini app and Gemini Advanced, which gives users access to Google’s AI models, will now be available in nine Indian languages: Hindi, Bengali, Gujarati, Kannada, Malayalam, Marathi, Tamil, Telugu, and Urdu. New features in Gemini Advanced include new data analysis capabilities and file uploads, and the ability to chat with Gemini in Google Messages, starting in English. The app allows you to type, talk, or add an image to get assistance. For example, one can take a picture of a flat tire for instructions on how to change it. On iOS, however, Gemini access is rolling out from the Google app over the next few weeks. Now, whether one needs to plan a game night, create a recipe with specific ingredients, or craft a social media caption, Gemini is available on the go. To access Gemini on Android, one can download the Gemini app or opt-in through Google Assistant. One can then use Gemini by corner swiping, hitting the power button on select phones, or saying “Hey Google.” This enables a new overlay experience with easy access to Gemini and contextual help on the screen. Many voice features in Google Assistant will be available through the Gemini app — including setting timers, making calls and setting reminders. Google is bringing Gemini 1.5 Pro, its most advanced model, to Gemini Advanced in the above mentioned nine Indian languages. With a one million token context window, Gemini Advanced now has the longest context of any widely available consumer chatbot worldwide. This allows it to process and understand vast amounts of information, from lengthy documents (up to 1,500 pages) and emails to even hours of video and extensive codebases in the near future.

Digital loans up 49% in FY24

Amid wide ranging concerns about digital lending, an industry body on Tuesday said its 37 member entities witnessed a 49 per cent surge in disbursements at Rs 1.46 trillion in financial year 2023-24. According to Fintech Association for Consumer Empowerment (FACE), the number of loans disbursed grew by 35 per cent to over 10 crore borrowings in FY24. It can be noted that the Reserve Bank has been public with its concerns on some of the practices adopted by such lenders, and has also formulated draft guidelines for their operations. “The digital lending sector is responsibly driving ahead with a sharp focus on customer-centricity, compliance, risk management and sustainable business models,” FACE’s chief executive Sugandh Saxena said in a statement In the March quarter, companies disbursed 2.69 crore loans worth Rs 40,322 crore at an average ticket size of Rs 13,418. The average ticket size for loans disbursed in FY24 stood at Rs 12,648, as compared to Rs 11,094 in FY23, the data shared by the industry body said. The body said that 70 per cent of the disbursements were by 28 companies, which are registered as non-banking finance companies or have an in-house NBFC and added that the growth rate of such companies is much higher. Companies raised Rs 1,913 crore in equity and Rs 16,259 crore in debt during the fiscal, it said, adding that there was a drop in equity compared to FY23 for the companies who reported data.

India sees rapid increase in alternative payment methods for e-commerce

Amid the rapid increase in digital transactions on the Unified Payments Interface (UPI), India saw the highest increase in the share of alternative payment methods (systems other than cash and bank transfers) in ecommerce transactions in Asia-Pacific (APAC) between 2018 and 2023. A report by London-based data analytics and consulting company GlobalData said that the total share of alternative payment methods in the country for purchases made online grew to 58.1% in 2023 from 20.4% in 2018. “This significant uptake of alternative payment solutions can be attributed to the widespread usage of mobile wallets, largely driven by UPI, which facilitates mobile payments in real-time simply by scanning QR codes,” the report said. In the APAC region, only China was ahead of India in terms of share of alternative payment methods in ecommerce transactions at 65%. It is pertinent to note that Indonesia, Hong Kong, Singapore, and Malaysia also saw rapid rise in alternate payment methods in ecommerce transactions, while Australia, South Korea, and Japan had less than 40% share each. Powering the rise of the alternative payment methods in India is the increasing adoption of UPI. Launched in 2016, the real-time digital payments system has been constantly seeing an increase in the number of transactions. For reference, the number of UPI transactions stood at 14.04 Bn in May 2024 as against 1.34 Bn in July 2020, which was a record at the time. Phonepe, Google Pay, and Paytm continue to dominate India’s burgeoning UPI space. In May this year, these platforms accounted for about 94% of the total UPI transactions.  Meanwhile, ecommerce marketplaces Flipkart and Amazon are also seeing a gradual increase in the number of UPI transactions processed by them. While Amazon Pay accounted for 6.8 Cr UPI transactions in May, Flipkart’s recently-launched UPI service processed 44 Lakh transactions in the month.

Indian airlines, airports adopting AI tools to improve services

Delhi international airport, the country’s largest with annual traffic of 73.7 MN passengers, is introducing an airport operations system which is a predictive tool and monitors data real time. The airport is also assessing installation of AI-guided automatic people-mover.  Indian air carriers and airports are fast adapting artificial intelligence (AI) tools to identify passenger profiles better and improve service standards at various points of engagement, industry stakeholders said. “There is a lot of buzz in the industry on the use of artificial intelligence, especially about how one can generate value for customers. Air India, and all our customers are looking at ways to collaborate on it. Recently, IndiGo developed its own bot (an automatic interactive software),” Subramanian Ganeshan of Amadeus, said. Madrid-based Amadeus is a technology firm that provides software solutions for the global travel and tourism industry. The company recently launched a product for corporate clients, which will use generative artificial intelligence to push travel solutions to the entire corporate group meant to travel for a work event. Generative artificial intelligence refers to the capability of artificial intelligence-enabled machines to use existing text, audio files, or images to create new content. Airline customers are already enquiring about this.  Subramanian Ganeshan said that while newer airports are digital and cloud-first, older airports are also leaving no stone unturned to move to a better technology-led ecosystem.

India reports 36% reduction in ad frauds due to verification tools

DoubleVerify (DV), the software platform for digital media measurement, data, and analytics, today released its DV Global Insights: 2024 Trends Report. This comprehensive analysis draws on more than one trillion video and display impressions delivered across APAC, EMEA, LATAM, and North America, from January to December 2023, including desktop, mobile web, mobile app, and connected TV (CTV). The study also incorporates a global survey conducted by Sapio, polling 1,000 advertisers across these regions. The report highlights the growing importance of addressing advertising fraud in India, where significant strides have been made in reducing fraud rates. Notably, fraud rates in India have decreased by 36% due to the increased adoption of verification tools. Despite this progress, fraudulent activities remain a significant challenge as new schemes continue to emerge. In 2023, DV’s research revealed a 23% surge globally in new fraud schemes and variants compared to the previous year, according to the DV Fraud Lab. Moreover, unprotected advertisers globally experienced a fraud/SIVT (Sophisticated Invalid Traffic) violation rate as high as 17%. These violations include incidents of bot fraud, site fraud, app fraud, hijacked devices, nonhuman data center traffic, and injected ad events, all of which illegitimately inflate online advertising impressions or data events to generate revenue. In APAC, 60% of marketers think Al-driven campaign optimization will have the most significant positive impact on media quality.

Some of the insights are-

More than half (58%) of APAC marketers spend over 20% of their workweek manually optimizing digital media campaigns.

54% of marketers in APAC said that emerging channels have a significant negative impact on media quality.

Regional Insights from the Report (APAC and India):

The APAC region drives the highest overall attention with an average Attention Index of 124, with India performing exactly at regional benchmark. In the APAC region, navigating brand safety during elections is tough, with 56% of media buyers concerned about political news cycles. Inflammatory Politics & News content doubled before the 2022 Indian Presidential election, peaking at 860% above the year-to-date average, two days before the nomination deadline.

Despite an 85% decrease in CTV Fraud Rate, CTV remains the device with the highest Fraud Rate in APAC.

Media buying is still concentrated heavily on mobile channels in APAC, which represent over 70% of total impressions for the region.

Quick commerce may click with electronics too

Companies like Swiggy Instamart, Zomato’s Blinkit, BigBasket’s BBNow and Zepto plan to expand their quick commerce services to electronic products and white goods categories by Diwali,  delivering 10-45 minutes.  Brands are open to partnerships with these companies, encouraged by the success of FMCG brands.  It’s a huge opportunity in the kitchen and small appliances segments, apart from handsets, television sets, and microwave ovens, where eCommerce sales account for 35-45% of sales.  Quick commerce accounts for

38% – Televisions

45%- Smartphones

38%- Microwave oven

20%  – Refrigerator 

AC – 18%

Ditching paper money has made Sweden a haven for digital criminals

Ellen Bagley, in Sweden, was delighted when she made her first sale on a popular second-hand clothing app, but just a few minutes later, the thrill turned to shock as the 20-year-old from Linköping in Sweden discovered she’d been robbed. Everything seemed normal when Bagley received a direct message on the platform, which asked her to verify personal details to complete the deal. She clicked the link, which fired up BankID — the ubiquitous digital authorization system used by nearly all Swedish adults. After receiving a couple error messages, she started thinking something was wrong, but it was already too late. Over 10,000 Swedish kronor ($1,000) had been siphoned from her account and the thieves disappeared into the digital shadows. “The fraudsters are so skilled at making things look legitimate,” said Bagley, who was born after BankID was created. “It’s not easy” to identify scams. Although financial crime has garnered fewer headlines than a surge in gang-related gun violence, it’s become a growing risk for the country. Beyond its borders, Sweden is an important test case on fighting cashless crime because it’s gone further on ditching paper money than almost any other country in Europe.  Online fraud and digital crime in Sweden have surged, with criminals taking 1.2 billion kronor in 2023 through scams like the one Bagley fell for, doubling from 2021. Law-enforcement agencies estimate that the size of Sweden’s criminal economy could amount to as high as 2.5% of the country’s gross domestic product. To counter the digital crime spree, Swedish authorities have put pressure on banks to tighten security measures and make it harder on tech-savvy criminals, but it’s a delicate balancing act. Going too far could slow down the economy, while doing too little erodes trust and damages legitimate businesses in the process. The prevalence of BankID plays a role in Sweden’s vulnerability. The system works like an online signature. If used, it’s considered a done deal and the transaction gets executed immediately. It was designed by Sweden’s banks to make electronic payments even quicker and easier than handing over a stack of bills. Card payments have reached 90%+ in Sweden from 2012 till 2022. Swiss mobile payments are nearing card payments. Apple, Google, Samsung Pay are used by less than 50% of the population. 

Reddit enhances Conversation Ads with larger media and improved carousel display

Reddit has updated its Conversation Ads to feature larger media, enhancing ad placement within discussions on the platform. Additionally, improvements are being made to the carousel display with updated call-to-action (CTA) buttons. Conversation Ads were initially launched in September 2021, allowing advertisers to promote their products within post comment threads. Direct product promotions and the carousel display were added later that year. The latest update aims to make Conversation Ads more appealing and engaging. With 47% of Reddit screenviews occurring in the comments, this placement is highly advantageous. Reddit is also testing a new ad format that integrates seamlessly between individual comments in discussions.


 

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