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Google to Invest a Further $1.1bn to build Data Centers in the Netherlands

Once the expansion and Agriport data center are completed, Google’s total investment in data centers in the Netherlands since 2016 comes to $2.85 billion.

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An aerial view of Google's data center in Eemshaven, Netherlands

Alphabet Inc.’s Google on Monday unveiled plans to invest an additional $1.14 billion to build data centers in the Netherlands, including a new facility in Middenmeer, Netherlands.

Since announcing the opening of its first cloud region in the Netherlands back in March 2017, Google has heavily invested in the region both in the building of data center facilities and in expanding its renewable energy sources.

The new investment budget includes building a new data center in Agriport, around 30 miles north of Amsterdam, as well as expand its existing data center in Eemshaven.

That expansion comes on top of the extension that was already announced last year, at a cost of $569m. Sources claim that the additional investment was being made to boost local cloud services in a market that continues to grow due to consumer and enterprise demand for digital services.

Once the expansion and Agriport data center are completed, Google’s total investment in data centers in the Netherlands since 2016 comes to $2.85 billion.

The Agriport and Eemshaven will employ an expected 500 people ranging from security guards to facility managers.

According to Joe Kava, vice president of Google’s Global Data Centers, the Netherlands are an attractive location for its “ample sustainable energy sources”.

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Companies

Facebook, Instagram and WhatsApp Has An Outage, its not Just You

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In what appears to be a server outage for Facebook’s suite of properties — which includes Instagram and WhatsApp — users from across the world have reported usability issues over the past few hours.

Users of Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and WhatsApp reported some issues with the social media services on Wednesday to Thursday morning. The outage is still ongoing

According to multiple reports, though much about the problems was unclear — including the cause, how many people were affected and the extent of the lack of usability.

In a statement to PEOPLE, a Facebook spokesperson said only, “We’re aware that some people and businesses are currently having trouble uploading or sending images, videos and other files on our apps. We’re working to get things back to normal as quickly as possible.”

Further, Facebook relayed via Twitter; “We’re aware that some people are having trouble uploading or sending images, videos and other files on our apps. “We’re sorry for the trouble and are working to get things back to normal as quickly as possible.”

Users have resulted to twitter to air their frustrations. If you browse through your uploaded photos, instead of seeing holiday snaps or pictures of food and friends, you’ll be shown text saying things like “image may contain: people smiling, people dancing, wedding and indoor” or just “image may contain: cat. Also, users cannot upload or see image in Instagram as well as share on their whatsApp status.

On WhatsApp, some users noticed image and video files were not able to send, while others on Instagram claimed they could not see images on their feeds. Users on the Facebook Messenger app also reported being unable to load or send images and videos. The guardian reported.

Wednesday night’s disruption comes just weeks after an Instagram outage that lasted for more than an hour. During that incident, users were unable to refresh the app and received error messages upon loading.

The company blamed that outage on “a technical issue.”

Update: Reports indicate that the sites are now back to normal in some parts of the world.

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National News

Mobile Loan Apps Set First Loan at Ksh 4,000

Customers will get access to in-app digital borrowing history and repayment behavior which will also be accessed by all DLAP members so as to determine how much to lend to a customer.

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Mobile loan users now have a reason to smile as the initial lending maximum set at Ksh 4,000 with no loan history. This decision is part of the code of conduct signed by lenders under the newly formed Digital Lenders Association of Kenya (DLAK).

The lobby, which currently consists of twelve members, says this move will ensure member firms match customer debt levels with repayment ability so as not to plunge borrowers into over indebtedness.

DLAK was formed as a way to adopt a self-regulatory framework and a set of shared principles to guide members.

Central Bank of Kenya (CBK) Governor Patrick Njoroge had recently raised concerns over the increasing number of mobile loan apps that may be exploiting Kenyans. CBK has also in the recent past put on notice unlicensed and unregulated digital lenders as the government to protect consumers from fraudulent dealers.

Members of the lobby group include Tala, Alternative Circle, Stawika Capital, Zenka Finance, MyCredit,Okolea, Lpesa, Kopacent, Four Kings Investment, Kuwazo Capital and Finance Plan.

Under the groups code of conduct, customers will get access to in-app digital borrowing history and repayment behavior which will also be accessed by all DLAP members so as to determine how much to lend to a customer. Business daily reported.

“Where possible, lenders will attempt to help contactable customers to restructure their debt or otherwise make every reasonable effort to help their customers return to good standing,” reads DLAK’s code of conduct in part.

The digital lending industry have in the recent past been put on spot by the senate who called for its regulation on claims they are saddling borrowers with high-interest rates. The fims were accused of offering mobile loans at rates above the cap provided in law and occasioning heavy borrowing and indebtedness mainly among the low-income groups on easy access to loans. Some of the apps opffer an interest rate equating to 180 percent over a year.

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Africa

Jack Ma’s Netpreneur Prize Entries to Close on June 30th

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The call for entries for Africa Netpreneur Prize Initiative (ANPI) deadline is nearing, already set on June 30 2019. This means interested entrepreneurs have only 4 days to submit their applications for the chance to pitch Jack Ma and win a share of the $1-million.

Launched in 2018, the Jack Ma led initiative has a budget of $10 million over a 10-year period. This means each year, 10 entrepreneurs will share $1m each year.

Through the contest, Ma aims to support African tech entrepreneurs in their efforts to build a more sustainable and inclusive Africa for the future. Jack Ma decided to create the prize after his first trip to Africa in July 2017 when he was inspired by the energy and entrepreneurial potential of the young people he met.

The competition is open to entrepreneurs from across all countries of Africa to apply; and from all industries, including traditional and tech. It puts a special focus on small enterprises, female entrepreneurs, and those doing work to improve local communities.

The businesses pitched also has to founded and registered in the African country in which they operate. Also, they must have been operational for at least three years and show earnings for these years. Their products or services must also be adapted to the continent’s needs.

To enter the competition, each business must create three short videos – one from the founder, one from an employee, and one from a customer. Applicants must be African nationals leading mission-driven organisations and must have been operating for at least three years. The finalists will be selected by a team of judges from the five regions representing the entire continent.

Interested applicants can head to the ANPI website and click Apply Now. You will need to fill in a form to create an account which you will use to complete the submission process.

Semi-finalists will then be selected by a group of judges and notified in August with the top ten finalists travelling to the Grand Finale in November.

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