These are new product announcements from my main website (Open 24/7/365). We have a life-time warranty / guarantee on all products. (Includes parts and labor). Here you will find a variety of cutting-edge Surveillance and Security-Related products and services. (Buy/Rent/Layaway) Post your own comments and concerns related to the specific products or services mentioned or on surveillance, security, privacy, etc.

Thursday, October 17, 2013

Chinese Internet Search Giant Baidu, Taxi Service & Google Glass App. Now Accepting Bitcoin

Chinese Internet Giant Baidu Starts Accepting Bitcoin

Search engine giant Baidu has announced it is now accepting payment in bitcoin for its Jiasule service, which improves websites’ performance, speed and security.

Baidu, which has a market cap of $53 billion, is rated by web information company Alexa Internet as the most visited website in China and the fifth most visited website in the world.

Founded in January 2000, Baidu is similar to Google in that its offers a variety of tools and services to produce information and products in response to search terms, however, Baidu is specific to Chinese-language search terms.

Baidu Jiasule is a cloud-based anti-DDOS service and content delivery network, similar to US-based CloudFlare.

Here’s a Rough Translation of The Company’s News Release:

Baidu Jiasule Accepts Bitcoin Payment

How can we reflect the characteristics of a trendy IT person and a professional webmaster? The answer, of course, is to own bitcoins!!!

Bitcoin is a new kind of electronic currency, a digital transfer medium, which has already received a high degree of international recognition, and has already reached into our daily lives. It can be used to buy a cup of coffee, or exchanged for gold and silver. In China, bitcoin is considered quite “trendy”.

Today, I have good news for everyone: from 14 October 2013 onwards, Baidu Jiasule will officially support bitcoin payments. Baidu Jiasule users can use bitcoin to pay for any Jiasule services. Baidu Jiasule, as the innovator of the Internet, has become the first cloud services vendor to support bitcoin, giving us richer payment methods and experience.

In the future, Baidu Jiasule will continue to try more new things, giving everyone more convenient payment options.

Jon Matonis, executive director of the Bitcoin Foundation, said the announcement was “encouraging news”, especially since it is coming from China and a NASDAQ-listed company.

“I suspect that Baidu’s reasons [for making this move] are similar to the WordPress decision for opening up their services to an expanded customer base. Bitcoin reaches 60+ countries that are currently ignored by VISA, Mastercard, and PayPal,” he added.

Matonis went on to say that many Chinese citizens live abroad, but still use Baidu, so it will be useful for these people to be able to pay in bitcoin.

When asked whether this development will encourage more companies to start accepting bitcoins, he said: “I am confident that as more companies see the benefits of frictionless payments with low fees, immediate settlement, and zero chargebacks, they will want to accept bitcoin simply to remain competitive.”

At the time of writing, Blockchain.info showed Baidu’s wallet had only received 0.1584 BTC, which equates to around $22, however, it’s worth bearing in mind it is the day after the payment option’s launch.

Popularity Surge

Bitcoin has been gaining in popularity in China over recent months, with data on SourceForge showing downloads of the Bitcoin-QT in China reaching 250,443 so far this year, beaten only by the US with 503,819 but ahead of the UK with 106,931.

Downloads of The Bitcoin-QT in China Have Reached 250,443

Not only this, but the volume of bitcoins traded with Chinese yuan is increasing. Bitcoincharts shows that Chinese yuan currently accounts for 12% of the total bitcoin exchange volume, while 68% is in US dollars and euro at 6%.

“For the first time in human history, bitcoin has allowed people to save and defer purchasing power, in a digital form. The Chinese people love this concept! It explains bitcoin’s fast adoption in China this year – 2013 has been a breakout year for bitcoin, and even more so in China,” he said.

CoinDesk contacted Baidu for comment, but had not received a reply at time of publication. Updates to follow.

What do you think this means for bitcoin?

Bitcoin Meets Google Glass With In-Store Payment App GlassPay

An app that enables people to pay in bitcoin for items in-store via Google Glass has been unveiled in the US.

Called GlassPay, the app was developed by California-based RedBottle Design. It enables consumers to enjoy some of the convenience of the online buying experience during their visits to real bricks and mortar shops.

“With GlassPay, we’re taking one of the most basic cultural experiences, the act of purchasing items, and bringing it into the future,” said Guy Paddock, CEO of RedBottle Design.

“Bitcoins are gaining significant acceptance in the worldwide marketplace, and we know that face-to-face, app-based shopping and purchasing is in the next wave. We’re ready for it,” he added.

Google Glass and Android users simply have to scan the barcodes of items in their physical shopping basket, which be added to a virtual ‘shopping cart’. They then purchase the items using bitcoins, which means they don’t have to queue to pay for their goods, nor carry a wallet.

Face-to-face, app-based shopping and purchasing is in the next wave. We’re ready for it.

Another benefit to consumers is that the GlassPay shopping cart operates in real time, which means the total is updated after they scan each item, allowing the customer to budget more effectively.

Retailers and merchants also benefit from payments made via GlassPay as they do not have to pay card-processing fees.

However, retailers may be concerned that GlassPay could lead to an increase in shoplifting, with people pretending they had paid for items when they in fact hadn’t. Last year, money saving website watchmywallet.co.uk conducted a survey of nearly 5,000 customers and found that 30% had stolen items when using self-service tills.

Some 13% of those surveyed said they were tempted to steal at self-service checkouts any only refrained because they were afraid of getting caught. The majority of people (58%), however, said they had not stolen from the automated system and never would.

Paddock said GlassPay plans to work with retailers to create customized solutions that will help them avoid any proof of purchase issues. He explained:

The solution will depend on the merchant’s sales process. If they’re like IKEA or Best Buy where the customer spends a lot of time on the sales floor show room before completing the purchase, then the retailer can make it so the customer’s order is actually prepared for them, which would only happen after payment approval.

Paddock said that in a grocery environment, the payment system could integrate with a kiosk or mobile app used by a greeter at the door. “The customer could provide their order number and the greeter could pull up the order for reference to compare what was scanned to what the customer has. It’s similar to what retailers like Costco do with greeters who check receipts of buyers who had used self checkout lanes, except it would be paperless.”

GlassPay is being demonstrated at the DEMO 2013 conference in Santa Clara this week, where the creators will presumably address any fears both consumers and merchants may have. The app is expected feature in the Play marketplace and Glass Boutique, in the second quarter of 2014, following the launch of Google Glass.

Taxi Firms Seek To Drive Bitcoin Adoption

Ask your average London cabbie or New York cab driver whether they know what bitcoin is and they’re likely to give you an “eh?” and a blank look.

With this in mind, the likelihood of finding a taxi that accepts payment in digital currency is extremely slim. However, slowly but surely, this is starting to change.

Lithuanian taxi firm JazzExpress started accepting bitcoin on 20th September this year. Jonas Gilys, development director at the company, said he and his colleagues first heard about bitcoin back in 2009, when they also started mining the cryptocurrency.

“We decided to start accepting bitcoins in our taxis in order to help increase the impact of bitcoin – we love the idea of bitcoin and we want it to become more popular. Also it gives more flexibility for our customers and helps us to save money on fees,” he said.

The company currently operates 13 vehicles in Lithuania’s capital city Vilnius, but hopes to expand its fleet to 20 by the end of the year.

Gilys explained the process of paying for a taxi journey in bitcoins:

All JazzExpress cabs are equipped with a Samsung Tablet. We are working with BitPay, which provides us with software that generates a QR code at the end of trip, the customer then scans the QR code, pushes the send button, and the payment is made.

The taxi firm has already received a few fares in bitcoins, but hopes it’ll become a more regular method of payment in the near future.

A Slow Start

One of JazzExpress' Bitcoin-Accepting Taxis

Cumbria Cabs in England is also now enabling customers to pay in bitcoins, but is yet to receive a fare in BTC.

“We only started accepting bitcoins using BitPay a couple of months ago, and we are still awaiting our first BTC-paying customer,” said Alistair Nixon, owner for Cumbria Cabs.

“I was attracted by the very low charges for sending and receiving payments when compared with credit cards, PayPal and other online payments,” he told The Cumberland News.

Nixon went on to say he thinks paying for a taxi journey in bitcoin will appeal to the many customers from outside the UK he takes to and from airports as it means they don’t have to make sure they are carrying local currency.

Another English taxi driver – Daniel Hart, who is based in Herefordshire – is not only accepting payment in bitcoin, he’s actively encouraging it by offering a 10% discount to those who pay in the cryptocurrency.

Hart told Radio 4, back in April: “When I first heard about bitcoin a few years ago, I thought [it had the] potential to solve a lot of problems. I looked into it and thought it had a future.”

The technology lover, whose taxi is equipped with free Wi-Fi for its customers, also runs a “Bitcoin coaching service”, charging 0.25 bitcoin per hour to teach people the ins and outs of the digital currency.

Spreading Adoption

Meanwhile Go-Taxi is trying to spread the adoption of bitcoin by taxi drivers across the world. The company offers a cloud-hosted booking and despatch system to taxi firms across the world. Customers can book a cab via the Go-Taxi app and then pay for their journey in bitcoin via the app, too.

Tim Tuxworth, founder of the company, which is based in Edmonton, Canada, said: “We are looking to provide an international service, one where people can use our system to get a taxi anywhere and pay in bitcoin.”

He Added:

The limitations and costs associated with credit cards are prohibitive. Virtual cash, on the other hand, seems to offer a simple and practical way to pay by phone, or app, for a taxi ride.

Go-Taxi is already being used in a number of locations including Hong Kong, North Carolina, Jersey Shore, Tampa Bay, Chicago and Florida, but the company hopes to continue expanding its reach across the globe. Hopefully there’ll soon be a taxi firm near you that will take you from A to B in return for BTC.

Would you pay for taxi journeys in bitcoin if you had the opportunity?

Monty Henry, Owner

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