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Weekly Wire: the Global Forum

Kalliope Kokolis's picture

These are some of the views and reports relevant to our readers that caught our attention this week.

Mashable
Gmail Downgrades, Launches SMS Version for African Countries

“While we’re used to seeing upgrades from our favorite tech products, Gmail has made an important step in the opposite direction.

Google launched Gmail SMS Wednesday, offering a mobile-based email solution for people in Kenya, Nigeria and Ghana. Gmail SMS is a tech downgrade, but it’s a lifestyle upgrade for email users without consistent Internet access.

“There’s so much you do with it: apply for a job, make an inquiry, get notifications from your social network, receive photos or an invitation that makes you smile, and just communicate back and forth with your friends,” said a post on Google’s Africa blog.”  READ MORE


Transparency International
What does corruption mean to you? 

“Corruption. Inevitable? Unstoppable?  We don’t think so – and we want to hear your ideas for new ways of talking about it.

Launched today, our 2011 Annual Report offers a snapshot of our activities around the world in 2011 – from the 3,500 election monitors we recruited in Guatemala through social media, to the 17 year old in Indonesia who’s started an annual teachers’ award to cut down on absent staff, to the videos that are putting a stop to water-borne diseases in Giima, Sierra Leone. When you see these and other stories side by side, corruption seems anything but inevitable, and certainly not unstoppable.”  READ MORE

OpenGov Hub
FrontlineSMS to Join OpenGov Hub

“We’re super excited to share some great news: FrontlineSMS is joining the OpenGov Hub! Frontline’s growing team in the DC area is set to move into the hub after its opening in September.

For the unfamiliar: FrontlineSMS is one of the true innovators in the mobile space that have built some incredible technology which empowers large-scale communication using text messages. You should check out their website and download FrontlineSMS for yourself (it’s free!) to fully appreciate the impact of their work.”  READ MORE

New York Times
Hopeful Signs From the Corruption Battlefield

“To many Indians, recent political scandals like the awarding of telecommunications licenses in 2008, the mismanaged 2010 Commonwealth Games in New Delhi and the dubious use of government land for a private apartment building in Mumbai provide irrefutable proof that corruption is widespread and worsening.

But one senior Indian official, Vinod Rai, who is responsible for investigating and auditing government spending, said the cases and the high-profile public attention they have received also provide reason for hope that the country is beginning to change for the better.”  READ MORE

Inquirer Technology
South African farmer equips sheep with cell phones

“A South African farmer is fielding phone calls from his sheep, after equipping them with cell phones to keep tabs on the flock amid recent livestock thefts, according to local press Wednesday.

When the sheep call, it is always bad news for farmer Erard Louw of the Cape Town suburbs, as the phones around their necks are only set to switch on when the sheeps start running, a sign thieves have cut through the fences.”  READ MORE

HuffPost Tech
Facebook Satisfaction Tanks With Users, Falling Below Twitter, Pinterest, Google+

“If those "Why I'm Quitting Facebook" editorials haven't convinced you, there's now scientifically grounded evidence of Facebook (dis)Likes.

According to newly released data from theAmerican Customer Satisfaction Index, Facebook scored a lowly 61 out of 100 in customer satisfaction among active users, an 8-point drop from 2011. That's the fourth-lowest score among all 230 companies surveyed in the index and the lowest among "e-business" (Internet) companies. Of the seven social networks included in the study, Facebook's customer satisfaction polled lowest.”  READ MORE

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Photo credit: Flickr user fdecomite