Between PR mishaps (looking at you, United), Tax Day freebies and news station scandals, you may have found your newsfeed pretty full over the past two weeks. If you feel like you missed out on any updates in the tech world, don’t panic; we’re back again with another roundup of all the tech trends and happenings to keep you in the know.
Instagram vs. Pinterest
We’ve done five of these tech roundups and in almost everyone we mention how social media apps are stealing ideas from each other. Well, this week is no different! After introducing Stories, a scrolling album feature and other new updates, Instagram just made its latest swipe at Pinterest. The photo app just debuted a new feature that allows its users to create a bulletin board of saved photos and videos. As Instagram attempts to make it easier for users to shop directly on the app, this update will help keep products that consumers are interested in all in one place. For now, the photo collections remain private for the user, but we suspect it’s only a matter of time before they become public so you can share your dream wedding board or future travel destinations with your followers.
To compete with music streaming apps like Spotify or Apple Music, Pandora has finally released its premium service to all users. For a $9.99 monthly fee, you can listen to any music available on the platform on demand with no ads with an unlimited amount of skips. To set itself apart from the likes of Spotify, Pandora has incorporated some new features for music personalization. Once you start putting together a playlist, Pandora will suggest similar tunes for you to easily add with its Music Genome Project. After you start using the app, Pandora will track your listening history and “thumbs up” songs to build custom playlists and notify you of new music from your favorite artists as soon as it’s released. Much like Pandora’s old radio playlist feature, these new additions are sure to help avid music listeners find new tracks and maybe even use playlists to end a relationship.
Cars of the Future
Are you ready for Apple’s newest product, iCar? Earlier this week, Apple was granted permission to start testing self-driving cars on the streets of California. While the official name has yet to be announced, this news signals Apple’s entry in the driverless car race. We expect Apple’s self-driving cars to incorporate all other Apple services, including your phone, music and other apps. Although the release of an Apple car is still years away, it will be interesting to see how Apple competes with the likes of Uber, Waymo and Tesla’s futuristic car models.
While you should probably still get outside to celebrate Earth Day tomorrow, you can get to know our planet a little better with these new improvements and features to Google Earth. One of the most exciting new updates is Voyager, a series of guided tours that virtually take you to over 50 prominent wonders of the world. The voyages are filed under Travel, Nature, Culture, History and Editor’s Picks categories. Take a trip through the Kennedy Space Center and explore the planet through satellite pictures, or walk Ernest Hemingway’s steps through Paris and New Orleans. For nature lovers and fans of Planet Earth II, you can virtually travel to the film locations and see natural habitats of the show’s stars. Each voyage contains “knowledge cards” that provide facts and information about the location, and even feature some behind-the-scenes messages from the likes of Jane Goodell and NASA scientists.
Have you ever wanted to simply spin a globe and travel to wherever your finger lands? Now you can (kind of). Google has finally integrated its “I’m Feeling Lucky” button in Google Earth, so you can land at one of 20,000 different locations at random and get a tidbit of information about where you are. Google Earth has also gone 3D, so you can opt to view a place at any angle. Google announced they plan to add more voyages on a weekly basis, so we’ll be taking our next vacation virtually.
That’s all we have for this week, folks. Be sure to check in again in two weeks to get your next refresher of tech trends, and follow us @BIGfishPR to get your daily dose of news!