To the background of some jamming Latin tunes, Facebook cofounder and T-shirt enthusiast Mark Zuckerberg held a public town hall in Colombia today. In addition to announcing a new initiative to give free basic Internet access to everyone in the country, he fielded a question about the future of the Internet.

One eager Colombian asked what Zuckerberg thought Facebook would look like in 10 years, and he took it as an opportunity to opine about the future of social networks more broadly.

The short description is three major trends:

1). There will be (a lot) more people on the Internet.
2). We’ll be more likely to message people through photos or SMS than the old web interface.
3). The future of computing is augmented reality: distraction-free, heads-up communication.

The first two are somewhat unsurprising. Cisco estimates that India alone will double its user base by 2018, with an expected 526 million connected people.

As far as alternative messaging, the field is rapidly expanding. For instance, theFacebook-owned WhatsApp messenger has surpassed SMS in number of messages sent. Then there’s Snapchat, which is just communication through momentary pictures; it has exploded in growth, with a reported 100 million users.

Text may be a shrinking part of the future of the Internet. For example, the Apple Watch promises to keep users connected through haptic vibrations (like sending someone your heartbeat as a vibration on their wrist watch).

“The diversity of the ways in which people want to share, the moments that people want to communicate, and the tools that people need to stay connected are going to keep growing,” Zuckerberg explained, noting that this could be a major source of competition for Facebook.

But the real juicy prediction is augmented reality. “In another 10 to 15 years, you can imagine that there will be another platform, which is even more natural and even more built into our lives than mobile phones,” he explained. Zuckerberg’s imagination is worth quoting in full:

“I think it’s pretty easy to imagine that in the future we will have something that we can either wear — and it’ll look like normal glasses (so it won’t look weird like some of the stuff that exists today). And you’ll just be able to have context with what’s going on around you in the world and communicate with people and not have to disrupt your conversations by looking down.”

The swipe at Google Glass “looking weird” probably did not go unnoticed by his neighbors down the road in Mountain View. Zuckerberg did mention that virtual reality company Oculus could be an important part of that augmented reality future. This is probably why Facebook paid a bazillion dollars (OK, $2 billion to be more precise) for the nascent startup.

The last year has witnessed the rise of the buy button. Social media sites and search engines have attempted to hold on to traffic and increase ad revenue by allowing consumers to buy products directly from ads. Read more

By Christine Kern

Research shows online spending will hit $89 billion for this holiday season, or 14% of all retail spending. According to Forrester Research, holiday online spending will reach $89 billion in November and December, a full 14 percent of overall retail purchases.  This represents a 13 percent growth over holiday season 2013, and a 30 percent share of total eCommerce spend in 2014. It does also represent ”a deceleration in growth due to a shorter holiday selling season and capacity constraints in the package delivery network.” For the last three years, the web sales growth rate had stayed constant at 15 percent, following a growth of 16 percent in 2010. The projected growth is credited to an influx of new online shoppers and the increase in shopping via mobile devices. Read more

Banks all over the world are planning to invest around 16 million dollars in branch transformation and the new technologies this requires in 2017. A study carried out on behalf of Wincor Nixdorf by the American IT market research company International Data Corporation (IDC) maintains that the success or failure of a branch network is dependent on its acceptance by the customer. Now, to ensure its success, not only do the branch, online and mobile channels need to offer perfect service individually, they must also be completely integrated into the digital world, which is where more and more customers spend their time and manage their banking business. Read more

E-commerce and payments fraud remains high on the agendafor consumer-facing organizations, according to a recent Deloitte online poll. Nearly half (47%) of executives and managers reported that fraud protection ranks as a “high priority” for their organization, and a further 8% cited this as their organization’s number one priority.

Despite fraud prevention ranking as a high priority, only 9% of respondents stated that their organization currently provides customers with free fraud prevention solutions. Likewise, budget increases for fraud solutions have been minimal over the past twelve months, with only 9% stating that their fraud protection and detection budget increased substantially. An additional 22% reported fraud budgets had increased marginally, while a similar number (21%) stated that budgets remained unchanged.

“Along with the positive impact of digital commerce comes the risk of fraud to businesses and customers,”explained David Williams, chief executive officer, Deloitte Financial Advisory Services LLP. “With monthly phishing attacks increasing 40 percent last year, education and fraud solutions for the end-customer are often a powerful way for organizations to police and control fraud.”

Mobile fraud not a priority, say organization

Only 9% of respondents cited mobile fraud as a top concern for their business, even with mobile e-commerce solutions on the rise. The greatest area of fraud concern is online (35%) followed by e-mail (21%) and non-digital fraud (13%).

It’s surprising mobile isn’t more of a focus, given the rise of mobile banking and mobile apps introduced by retailers,” said Prakash Santhana, director, Deloitte Financial Advisory Services LLP. “Fraud risk and problems like malware will likely continue to rise as mobile commerce becomes more prevalent.”

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