The Biggest Spammers in the World, Ben Carson Wins Facebook Election… [Tech News Digest]

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The companies responsible for sending emails, Ben Carson wins the Facebook primary, Skype brings group video calling to Android and iOS, India’s $4 smartphone, and the biggest Super Mario Kart race of all time.

These Companies Send All the Spam


Unroll.Me, which helps you unsubscribe from serial email over-senders, has published its list of Spammy Awards winners for 2016. One category details which companies are most responsible for filling up your inbox. Groupon won, with an average of 388 emails sent per user. Next was LivingSocial (363), followed by Facebook (310), Meetup (199), and J. Crew (175).

Interestingly, none of these feature in the list of most unsubscribed subscriptions, which suggests people actually want to receive emails from those firms. Unlike StumbleUpon, Live Nation, Goodreads, Foursquare, and Shop Your Way Rewards, all of which suffered unsubscribe rates of over 35 percent.

There are lessons for both companies and consumers. Companies need to be keenly aware of just how many emails they’re bombarding users with, as too many will lead to them unsubscribing completely. Consumers need to a) be careful to tick and untick the right boxes when signing up, and b) be sure to unsubscribe from the worst offenders before their inbox fills up.

If Facebook Likes Determined Elections

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As most of you will be aware, the presidential primaries are currently taking place in the U.S. These determine who will be running for President for the Democrats and the Republicans. The front runners are Bernie Sanders and Hilary Clinton on one side, and Donald Trump and Ted Cruz on the other side.

However, if Facebook was used to choose the next President, Ben Carson would win hands down. This is according to FiveThirtyEight, which created a ranking of the current candidates based on their number of Facebook Likes. They also created a map showing where each candidate was pulling those Likes from.

Ben Carson has received 26 percent of the Likes on Facebook, beating out Sanders and Trump on 23 percent apiece. Clinton only managed a paltry 8 percent. Rather than popularity, what this really shows is the effectiveness of each candidates social media strategy, and, I suppose, the number of people happy to support each candidate in public. Still, it’s an interesting result.

Skype Group Video Calling on Mobile

As promised last month, Microsoft is rolling out Skype group video calling on Android and iOS. The feature is being rolled out to all Skype users in the U.S. and Europe from today, and will be available worldwide by the end of March.

Up to 25 people will be able to take part in a Skype group video call, with the person currently talking displayed in the middle of the screen. Anything up to 1080p video is supported. This brings Skype in line with Google Hangouts, which has supported group video calling for some time. Apple has yet to offer such a feature on FaceTime.

India Gets a $4 Smartphone

India is now home to the cheapest smartphone ever released, with the Freedom 251 being priced at Rs. 251 (US$4). This is less than half the price of that smartphone Walmart sold for $10 a pop in November 2015.

So, what does $4 buy you in terms of a smartphone? A 4-inch qHD display, a 1.3GHz quad-core processor, 1GB of RAM, 8GB of internal storage, a 1450mAh battery, and front- and rear-facing cameras. Oh, and it’s powered by Android 5.1, which is better than my current HTC.

The Indian government is thought to be subsidizing this handset, and it should be noted that while $4 is barely enough to buy a coffee in the U.S., it’s about half a day’s pay for the average worker in India. However, that still means the Freedom 251 is cheap enough to enable a whole slew of new people to get online.

Super Mario Kart With 101 Players

And finally, some guy (Hat-Loving Gamer on YouTube) made a video showing the most epic Super Mario Kart race of all time. Why so epic? Because 101 characters are all jostling for position at the same time. This despite 101 character barely fitting on the track together.

Suffice to say this isn’t real, but we wish it was. Super Mario Kart on the SNES is probably the high point for that series, and many of us would happily drop everything to have one more go. And if that go was online against 100 other players? Heaven.

Your Views on Today’s Tech News

Have you unsubscribed from these email over-senders? Which of the presidential hopefuls have you Liked on Facebook? Can you see yourself using Skype group video calling on mobile? If you’re in India, will you be buying one of these smartphones? Should Nintendo make this giant game of Super Mario Kart a reality?

Let us know your thoughts on the Tech News of the day by posting to the comments section below. Because a healthy discussion is always welcome.

Tech News Digest is a daily column paring the technology news of the day down into bite-sized chunks that are easy to read and perfect for sharing.

Image Credit: Brownpau via Flickr

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