From Google helping with hiring to Microsoft getting rid of passwords, here are 10 things in technology that happened last month and how they affect your business and your clients.
1. Google has new plans: a job site to rival LinkedIn. Called “Google Hire,” Google is currently testing out the job platform with a couple of technology companies by invite-only. While Google has not made an official announcement about its upcoming job platform, the minimalist Web site is live (hire.withgoogle.com) and should be available to more businesses soon. (Source: Tech Times)
Why this is important for you and your clients: Google Hire will be a “job application tracking system that allows recruiters to post job listings and accept, track and manage applications.” Bring it on.
2. Microsoft is dropping passwords for good. Do you hate remembering passwords? So does Microsoft, apparently, since it has unveiled a new Authenticator app that does away with passwords completely. The Authenticator app is available on iOS and Android now. (Source: Ars Technica. Full disclosure: My company, The Marks Group PC, is a Microsoft partner.)
Why this is important for you and your clients: Simple. Faster. Better. Instead of providing a username and password, now Microsoft Account users (Office 365 and Azure Active Directory are not supported currently) can just enter their e-mail address. After that, the app sends users an alert on their smartphones that must be approved or rejected. Once they have approved the notification, users have fully authenticated their accounts, no passwords necessary.
3. Amazon now has a self-service subscription marketplace. Called “Subscribe with Amazon,” the new program from the e-commerce giant offers subscriptions for services ranging from standard magazines and newspapers to Sling TV for streaming programs and LegalZoom for legal documents. Businesses that join Subscribe with Amazon will receive 70 percent of the transactional account for each customer’s first year subscribing to their service, and 85 percent for each additional year. (Source: PYMNTS)
Why this is important for you and your clients: Lovina McMurchy, general manager of Subscribe with Amazon, said, “Today we’re excited to extend our selection by offering subscription businesses a self-service way to make their subscriptions available to millions of Amazon customers.” Is that you?
4. Shopify is getting into the hardware game with its own credit card reader. The ecommerce giant has announced that it will be competing against Square with an easy-to-use credit card reader that was designed in-house over the past year. (Source: TechCrunch)
Why this is important for you and your clients: Shopify continues to flex its ever-growing muscles. The device has a detachable reader and can be used for both swipes and chip-based “dips.” The reader also uses a micro-USB to plug into a base and can “easily handle a full week’s worth of transactions even if left unplugged.” Best of all, Shopify’s card reader is free for any current Shopify merchant with a Shopify POS solution. For your clients who aren’t Shopify merchants, the technology can be purchased for $29 on their online store. Shopify’s credit card reader will begin shipping to merchants in June.
5. Uber has a new way for you to order multiple cars for your clients. The ridesharing app has a new service called “Uber Central” that provides a way for businesses to book multiple rides at once for their customers and clients. (Source: ZDNet)
Why this is important for you and your clients: Don’t #deleteuber yet, OK? According to the ZDNet article above, “Using a single-view dashboard via the Uber for Business platform, a business can request a ride on a clients’ behalf, or request multiple rides at once.” What’s even better is that clients do not need to have an Uber account to use this service — all they need is a smartphone that gets SMS messages. An additional feature is that Uber Central can save frequently used routes as well as specific pick-up and drop-off locations.
6. Facebook’s Workplace is free, and Messenger is now focused on chatbots. Facebook has announced that a standard version of its office collaboration tool is now available free of charge, and its premium version will be free as well until Septe 30. In addition, Facebook Messenger has been completely revamped with a focus on its chatbots. The Messenger Platform 2.0 will have new tools like a “Discovery” tab to find relevant bots, “QR codes that can be used at events like sports games that people can scan to learn more from a Messenger bot” and “smart replies” that allow businesses to automatically reply to frequently asked questions. (Sources: Engadget and Forbes)
Why this is important for you and your clients: Facebook’s vice president of messaging, David Marcus, said, “People prefer to use Messenger to interact with companies.” The social media giant is quickly becoming a player in business applications, particularly for businesses like yours and mine.
7. Startups can now join the Silicon Valley scene with Y Combinator’s online courses. The famous startup accelerator has announced that it has chosen 3,000 entrepreneurial businesses to join its first “Startup School.” The lucky startups are currently taking a free, 10-week online course that is “meant to replicate a bit of the accelerator experience by combining online lectures from tech-world luminaries about starting a company with online mentoring from past Y Combinator participants and support from fellow Startup School students.” (Source: MIT Technology Review)
Why this is important for you and your clients: The lecture videos are also available on YouTube and on Startup School’s website so that any entrepreneur (psst...that’s you!) can learn the ins and outs of Silicon Valley from anywhere in the world.
8. In the growing digital advertising market, mobile ads rule. A recent report from PricewaterhouseCoopers and the Interactive Advertising Bureau has shown that for the first time, mobile ads accounted for over half of all digital ad revenue in 2016. The two biggest winners in this shift were tech giants Facebook and Google that, when combined, accounted for 73 percent of total revenue. (Source: TechCrunch)
Why this is important for you and your clients: If you or your clients are on the fence about where to spend your ad money, here’s your answer. IAB CEO Randall Rothenberg said that advertisers are becoming confident in digital and “this increasing commitment is a reflection of brands’ ongoing marketing shift from ‘mobile-first’ to ‘mobile-only’ in order to keep pace with today’s on-the-go consumers.”
9. Twitter will soon have live video available to its users 24/7. The social media network recently unveiled its plans to broadcast “video content covering news, sports and entertainment 24 hours a day, seven days a week.” Twitter COO and CFO Anthony Noto said that the shows will be the type where you “focus in on it when you hear something that’s of interest, but then maybe not be 100 percent focused on it when it’s not of interest.” Twitter does not have a specific rollout timeline currently, but the feature will likely be available soon. (Source: The Verge)
Why this is important for you and your clients: Because there aren’t enough cable stations broadcasting junk already, right? But this is the future of the Internet, and Twitter, Facebook, Google and other giants are ramping up their streaming services. All are opportunities for your firm and your clients to either provide content or advertise.
10. A Canadian company can help your business better compete against Amazon. The ultimate goal for Toronto-based Rubikloud is to use artificial intelligence and data to build customer loyalty and support as well as draw shoppers away from “Amazon and Walmart during times when those competitors fail to deliver and frustrate buyers.” (Source: Forbes)
Why this is important for you and your clients: As Forbes’ Tom Popomaronis notes, “Executives automatically can complete tasks like pricing prediction, stocking and campaign generation based on the data, as well as engage with existing and new customers through channels like e-mail and e-commerce according to what the shoppers like.” Sounds good to me!