Seasons greetings lead to a majestic rise in social networking


Web users logged on to Facebook in droves instead of watching the Queen’s Speech on Christmas Day, according to a survey released by Plusnet today.

The internet service provider said the social networking site was the second most popular website among its customers on December 25, with activity starting to rise between 2-3pm, when the speech is broadcast. By 4-5pm it had increased by 25 per cent as broadband Britons contacted friends and family.

Facebook was beaten only by Google in the study by Plusnet, which analysed web usage and traffic over the festive period.

Another social networking site, Bebo, finished ninth in the festive Top Ten just behind the messaging and entertainment site MSN.

Shopping sites, including Amazon, iTunes, eBay, Argos and also proved big hits over Christmas and Boxing Days.

Neil Armstrong, Plusnet’s products director, said: “Social networking was very popular among our customers over Christmas, especially during the afternoon of the 25th.

“The study is a good illustration of how the web is changing the face of the traditional Christmas as more people go online for their fun, information and entertainment.

“People were very busy staying in touch with friends and family during the afternoon but their thoughts turned to seasonal bargains later in the evening with more logging onto the shopping sties.”

Other sites which were popular with Plusnet subscribers included the fun site where web users tracked Santa’s progress. The Met Office site was another popular online destination as Britons logged on to see if there was going to be a white Christmas.

The full Plusnet Christmas Day Top 10 Sites were:

1. Google
2. Facebook
3. BBC
4. Amazon
5. iTunes/Apple
6. YouTube
7. eBay
8. MSN
9. Bebo
10. Microsoft

The full Plusnet Boxing Day Top 10 Sites were:

1. Google
2. Facebook
3. BBC
4. Amazon
5. eBay
6. YouTube
7. iTunes/Apple
8. Argos
9. Bebo




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Copy and paste hits the iPhone


iPhone owners who have been lamenting the lack of a copy and paste will lament no more with the news that a way has been developed to allow transfer of text on the handset.

The Pastebud workaroud will work with Mail and Safari and employs web services and Javascript to circumvent the operating system without needing to resort to hacks.

Pastebud is planned to be available sometime this week, but may require approval from Apple’s application vetting body before it can be launched officially.

It is likely to be on offer both in a free less function rich form as well as paid-for version.

iPhone owners can see the copy and pasting function in action at Pastebud’s official site, Gizmodo and a range of other tech-focussed web sites.

Earlier this year, OpenClip attempted to bring copy and pasting to the iPhone, but was hindered by Apple’s updates.





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Mobile phone spam on the rise


Mobile phone spam is on the increase across the EU, new figures have shown.

A study from Airwide Solutions shows that over the last 12 months the number of people in Europe who received unsolicited text messages was up 21.3 per cent year on year.

The problem was revealed to be especially prevalent in France, where mobile phone owners have experienced a 60 per cent rise over the period.

News of the findings is set to spark fresh concerns over the security of mobile phones, with some spam messages now housing viruses and mobile worms.

Jay Seaton, CMO at Airwide Solutions, said: “Mobile security is a threat that is continuously growing: pretending it is not an issue does not address the problem. With significant increases in the use of mobile phones both for personal and corporate use, mobile subscribers, parents and corporate organisations will need guarantees that their phones and data are secured.

Other findings from the study included the fact that Britons spend more of their money on downloadable content such as ringtones, wallpapers and games than any other nation in Europe. The average spend annually for UK users is £5.90.

Finally, the study indicated the extent to which users now use phones for more than thus just communication, with more people than ever taking picture and capturing videos on their handsets.



App developed for buying train tickets from handsets


Rail passengers will soon be able to buy tickets with their mobile phones, an industry body has confirmed.

An application developed by Masabi to enable this is being trialled by a number of the UK’s top route operators including Chiltern Railway, National Express and the Heathrow Express.

This has now been adopted by the Association of Train Operating Companies as the nationwide standard for paying for tickets via phones, the Times reports.

Once in place the system will mean that customers can buy tickets as they boarding the train.

Ben Whitaker, COO of Masabi said: “The application sits on your phone.You enter Station A to Station B, say that you have a rail card and so on. It’s just like a ticket machine in your pocket.”

Nine out ten handsets available in the UK will apparently be compatible with the application, even those which are up to seven years old.

The application works via text message and employs security measures akin to those used in online banking.


Vodafone improves Find&Go service


Vodafone has upgraded its Find & Go service with more frequent updates and alerts from safety cameras, it has been reported.

The service is an application that enables users to view 3-D maps and provides turn by turn directions and traffic updates.

It also lets owners of compatible handsets find a place or plan their route on Multimap, then send it straight to your phone from your PC to navigate there.

The efficiency of Find & Go has now been improved with the addition of daily safety camera updates, with the company claiming that it is the only Sat Nav application in Europe that provides this service in its basic monthly subscription, pocket-lint reports.

Vodafone customers can subscribe to Find & Go via the Vodafone live! page of their phone.



Mobile phone internet use soaring


The growth of mobile phone internet use is far outstripping that of home web browsing, a new report has revealed.

According to Nielsen Online’s Mobile Media View study, over the last six months the number of UK phone owners who surfed the web on their handsets has risen to 7.3 million in the first half of the year. This represents a rise of 25 per cent in the six-month period.

By way of comparison, the number of people using their PC to conduct web searches has grown from 34.3 million to 35.3 million – an increase of just three per cent.

The research also flagged up a disparity between the sites which are most visited when surfing on PCs and those that enjoy heavy traffic from mobile devices.

In particular, sites such as Google were nothing like as popular – a phenomenon Kent Ferguson, senior analyst at Nielsen, attributes to the particular needs of people who access the internet from their mobile phones.

He told the Telegraph: “It’s interesting to see that BBC Weather, Sky Sports and Gmail are among the few sites that have a greater reach on the mobile internet, than the PC-based internet.

“This highlights the advantage of mobile when it comes to immediacy; people often need fast, instant access to [information] and mobile can obviously satisfy this wherever they are.”