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Tech News Roundup (June 2019)

June 30, 2019 the Bradford Group

Congress Takes on Antitrust

Recently, the House took on a landmark investigation into the power of “Big Tech.” Companies like Google, Facebook, Amazon and Apple are under the microscope to determine if their revenue streams are violating antitrust laws. The investigation’s supporters say that these companies have taken over the digital advertising landscape, driving local journalism into the ground. Stay tuned over the next 18 months as the congressional committee begins conversations with several competitors of these tech giants.

 

Putting a Cost on Chats

After five years and over 10 million users, Slack Technologies went public on Thursday, June 20. Opening at $38.50 per share, it grew to $42.00 per share on Thursday before closing at $38.62, putting the company’s value at about $20 billion, as reported by NPR.

As it continues to grow, Slack aims to prove itself as more than just a communication company and will work to separate itself from competitors like Microsoft Teams and Facebook Workplace.

 

Scooters, Scooters Everywhere

Scooter startup Bird recently bought competitor Scoot, a struggling San Francisco-based scooter share company, for approximately $25 million. This comes on the heels of much dispute over how to regulate the electric “vehicles” whizzing all over major cities worldwide, including Santa Monica, Nashville, Portland, Paris, Brussels and more. Some cities, like Minneapolis, have figured out how to properly regulate scooter sharing to keep users and other traffic safe. But others, like Nashville, have threatened to give them the boot if they don’t get their acts together. Bottom line is: Scooters aren’t going anywhere just yet (except maybe right out in front of your car while you’re driving).

 

China Isn’t Playing Games

As the Cold War between the U.S. and China heats up (pun intended), China is making last-ditch efforts to keep major international tech companies in their good graces by meeting with them and threatening consequences if they comply with the Trump admin’s ban on selling key technologies to Chinese tech companies. Chinese telecom giant Huawei is especially riled up, as the bans have affected them a great deal, and they are demanding companies like Verizon pay them licensing fees for patents that Huawei technically owns.

 

Here are several stories affecting the tech industry we lighted earlier in June:

 

Google Goes Confidential

Starting June 25, Google is set to make its ‘confidential-mode’ a default setting for all G-Suite users, according to Help Net Security. Confidential emails hold new powers, with the ability to be password-protected and impossible to forward, download, copy or print. Every Gmail confidential message sent or received will only be accessible in Vault, a special holding place for retaining, preserving, searching and exporting confidential mode messages.

 

Eyes on the Prize

Modern eye-tracking through virtual reality headsets or augmented reality glasses is promising new wonders in technology, but new dangers in privacy and safety regulations. Vice reports that the ability to use these wearable technologies to ‘eye-track’ will enable companies to collect your intimate and unconscious responses to real-world cues, giving companies valuable data on what’s really going on inside your head.

 

Pick Up, It’s Amazon Calling

The online retail giant expressed its growing interest in purchasing pre-paid cellphone service companies. While the purpose behind Amazon’s interest isn’t completely clear, the company has ventured into the phone space previously with its Echo Connect gadget and the 2014 launch of the Fire phone.

 

Dare to Go Dark

Are you one of the millions who head to bed with their phones? Now, your night just got a bit brighter thanks to Apple’s new version of iOS 13 that will feature a dark mode to make your apps look brighter at night, as reported by Tech Crunch. Other updates will include a new version of the Reminders app, the “Find My” apps and the ability to open multiple windows of the same app.  

 

House Hunters

We rely on ride-sharing apps to deliver people and food, but what about our next house? Real estate development companies with their eyes set on gentrifying neighborhoods are enlisting ride-share drivers to take pictures of dilapidated properties for extra cash. The initiative saves companies time and money by utilizing existing community members as research-gatherers instead of cold-calling entire neighborhoods from miles away. One such company, CORI, has around 100 drivers currently snapping photos, but expects to deploy 1,000 by the end of the year.

 

What trends are you seeing in the tech industry? Let us know below!

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