The Chrome Web Store apps are classified under Business Tools, Education, Entertainment, Games, News Weather as well as Social Communication, among others. Some of the local apps available are from AirAsia and Maybank, as well as popular Malay tech portal Amanz.my.
According to Sajith Sivanandan, country manager of Google Malaysia, the Chrome Web Store has expanded into more than 30 countries and more
than 200 million people around the world are using the Chrome browser.
“A check with GS Statcounter indicates that Chrome is used by 44 per cent of desktop Internet users in the country. With the launch of a localised Web Store here, we hope to see tens of thousands of local apps on the Chrome Web Store for Malaysians in the future,” says Sivanandan.
He adds that Google also has plans to heighten the awareness of Chrome Web Store among local developers here.
Chrome Web Store also offers extensions and themes for customising a user’s web browsing experience. One of the extensions is PrayOnTime, which displays the Islamic prayer times for the user based on his location. Themes, on the other hand, offers changing backgrounds on the Chrome browser for a personal touch.
2. Online safety awareness
DIGI Telecommunications held a series of workshops at its Community Broadband Centres located around Terengganu recently to raise awareness on online child safety.
The workshops are part of the DiGi CyberSAFE Programme.
Jennifer Neal, DiGi’s head of Eastern Region said as a leading enabler of Internet in the country with over five million active mobile Internet subscribers, the company feels responsible to educate communities around the country to ensure that they have a safe, family-friendly Internet experience.
“While we encourage local children and communities to explore the wonders of the Internet, we also need to equip them with practical knowledge on how to stay safe online. DiGi will continue to work closely with the Ministry of Education, CyberSecurity and Childline to raise awareness of this important issue.”
This Terengganu leg of the programme marks its first outreach to communities in the east coast of Peninsular Malaysia. The programme that kick started in Klang Valley in November 2011, has since reached 2,300 students, teachers and parents from 117 schools in the Klang Valley, Putrajaya, Selangor, Negri Sembilan, Johor and Malacca.
Through DiGi CyberSAFE Programme’s partnership with Childline Malaysia, children are also provided with access to the 15999 Childline, a 24-hour telephone helpline for children to call should they encounter online threats.
For more information on the DiGi CyberSAFE Programme, visit www.cybersafe.my/dcp.
3. Redesigned Friendster targets hip gamers
MOL Global has unveiled a new-look Friendster, with new features and a strong focus on games.
Ganesh Kumar Bangah, MOL’s group chief executive officer, says the new Friendster is positioned as a social discovery and gaming platform that also offers rewards to users.
“We currently have four million unique active visitors every month and we are targeting to increase this number to 10 million a month by year end,” Ganesh says.
Friendster offers high quality social games with a library of 56 titles along with tools for connecting, chatting, playing and competing with other players. It also leverages on MOL Global’s strength in online payment services to offer
Friendster Coins payment system for users to buy items within a game and pay for other content, as well as allow developers to monetise their apps.
“I do not agree with the opinion that Asian gamers and app users do not like to pay for their contents. At MOL where Asia is our strongest market, we even have ‘whales’ who spend over RM1,000 a month for their games, and on average we earn between RM150 and RM200 per month per user,” Ganesh says.
At the launch, Ganesh also highlighted two spin-off media products that are based on the Friendster brand, which is the Friendster iCafe and Friendster hotspot.
The Friendster iCafe is a cybercafe management system which integrates cybercafe computers, customers, accountings and billing needs into one, while the Friendster hotspots allow retailers to add free WiFi infrastructure to enhance customer experience.
In Malaysia, Friendster hotspots has helped outlets such as Starbucks, Old Town White Coffee, Kenny Rogers Roasters and Papa John’s offer WiFi connectivity to their customers.
Through the Friendster local developer programme, developers can make use of Friendster’s comprehensive application programming interface to build, test and deploy games to Friendster’s players.
“I hope to see more local developers develop games for the 4.5 million active Friendster users,” expresses Ganesh.
4. SOTA gets new brand identity
CREATIVE Advances Technology has announced a new brand identity for its online travel portal SOTA.travel in line with its objective of making travel packages worldwide more accessible to everyone online.
SOTA is now known as Smart Online Travel Assistant. There’s not only a change in the logo but a new look and feel.
The new look is aimed at presenting SOTA as a more consumer-focused online travel portal, moving from the initial focus of providing an online platform for the sellers in the travel industry to one that focuses on reaching the buyers in the travel market.
The revamped travel portal, www.sota.travel, comes with improved navigation and seamless user experience for the travel buyers. The portal also incorporates other value-added features such as tips for travellers, recommendations on travel bargains as well as weather forecasts and calendars for smarter planning.
The rebranding exercise includes a media blitz between May and October via print and online media channels.
A mid-year school holiday promotional travel campaign was also launched during the announcement of the new brand. The campaign runs from May 17 to 31and features attractive travel packages to destinations such as Bali, Phuket, Osaka and Australia.