We can hardly believe April is here! 2017 is flying by, and already so much has happened in the tech world. Did you miss our last tech news round-up? Don’t worry, you can catch up on all the news here. Here’s what caught our eyes this week:
As innovative as Facebook is, they are no strangers to the copycat game. Their most recent co-opt? Letting users raise money on behalf of themselves and others. Sounds an awful lot like GoFundMe, doesn’t it? This new feature allows users to raise personal funds for one of six categories: education expenses, medical bills, pets’ medical bills, crisis and disaster relief, personal emergencies, and assistance for families after a death. Facebook takes 1% less than GoFundMe does from the proceeds raised overall. That’s some stiff competition you’re fronting there, Zuckerberg.
Facebook also recently launched a new capability for mobile devices, allowing users to post photos or videos on the app that will then disappear after 24 hours. Now where have we heard that idea before?
In addition to the features mentioned above, Facebook rolled out a location sharing option on Facebook Messenger. Live Location marks Facebook’s attempt to transcend the digital environment and facilitate social gatherings. Product manager Selena Wang points out that, “Live Location is super helpful when trying to coordinate with friends, telling people how close you are when you’re on your way to an appointment or even sharing where you are with your roommate when you’re on your way home at night.” Your location will only be shared for an hour, so if you haven’t made it by then, you could just turn on location sharing in iMessage and essentially do the same thing.
LinkedIn just launched a new capability that will undoubtedly be a welcomed feature for marketers everywhere: LinkedIn Lead Gen Forms. LinkedIn’s product management team noticed that about 80 percent of engagement with LinkedIn Sponsored Content occurred via smartphones, but filling out the forms to download and access this content was a hassle. Lead Gen Forms aims to remove that obstacle by auto-populating a user’s information from their profile when prompted to fill out a form. Not only does it make users’ lives easier, but it also compiles a concise list that includes the lead’s name and contact info, company name, seniority, job title, location and more. And because this information is coming directly from the user’s profile, it’s likely to be more accurate than traditional website forms, because apparently people lie on those (yes, they’re onto you).
In a move that feels just slightly opportunistic in light of Uber’s demise, Lyft is launching a new initiative that will allow its users to round up their fare and donate that amount to charity. The program is cleverly called Round Up & Donate. While this news stands out in stark comparison to the seemingly endless list of Uber scandals, it is congruous with some of Lyft’s other altruistic policies, such as allowing users to tip their drivers. All in all, the program is a big step in a positive direction (even if it is right over Uber’s grave).
This month, Samsung is hoping to make one of the biggest comebacks in mobile history (sorry, Nokia) with the launch of their Galaxy S8. The phone has undergone extensive safety testing including an eight-point inspection test, and significant stress testing (20 kilonewtons of pressure, to be exact). The phone will also debut some new features including the first Samsung virtual assistant named Bixby, an enhanced front-camera quality and facial recognition. The phone looks promising but will undoubtedly be closely scrutinized. Here’s hoping the battery can “take the heat,” if you know what we mean.
YouTube TV is underway, allowing users to watch and record live sports, TV shows from ABC, CBS, FOX and NBC, and more. The launch is currently limited to the Chicago, Los Angeles, New York City, Philadelphia and the San Francisco Bay area. While it may seem as though between Netflix, Hulu, and YouTube TV you’d really have all your streaming needs covered, some users have reported that at $35 a month, YouTube TV doesn’t offer as many channels as it should. That being said, the quality is reportedly excellent and buffering is pretty much a non-issue, which is essential during those nail-biting TV moments (i.e. when best picture is wrongly awarded at the Oscars. Still not over that). Youtube TV promises some of the best streaming quality available, so the only thing you’ll miss is that $35 bucks a month.
What’s your favorite tech story of the week? Let us know in the comments below!