12 Dec Unriddled: The Great Ride-Hailing Rush, the Latest Troubles for Facebook, and More Tech News You Need
“Unriddled” is HubSpot’s weekly digest of the tech headlines you need to know. We give you the top tech stories in a quick, scannable way and break it all down. It’s tech news: explained.
1. Ride-Hailing IPO Season
A day after ride-hailing app Lyft said that it had filed its S-1 last week, the Wall Street Journal reported that the company’s top competitor, Uber, had followed in its footsteps and filed for an initial public offering (IPO) of its own. While the timing of Lyft’s IPO is somewhat uncertain (some are predicting a spring date between late March and early April), Uber’s filing signals that the company could go public as early as Q1 2019.
i am extremely excited for uber and lyft racing to beat each other to market, likely in the spring (end of march to April)
what would be especially exciting is if they both went public on the same week
story nub below, more cominghttps://t.co/NeNCQOb7V8
— rat king (@MikeIsaac)
December 8, 2018
Uber, meanwhile, has resumed testing and limited operation of its self-driving cars after a tragic accident involving one of its autonomous vehicles took place earlier this year. Read full story >>
2. British Parliament Publishes Internal Facebook Emails
UK Parliament last week published over 250 redacted pages of internal Facebook documents, including emails. The documents were previously sealed in California, where Facebook is being sued by a company called Six4Three — the founder of which put the materials into the possession of UK lawmakers during a trip to London. While the contents of the documents contain what some call “lacking in anything crazy damning,” they do point to Facebook’s approach to competition. Read full story >>
3. Amazon Will Crowdsource Alexa’s Answers
In a classic case of, “How could this possibly go wrong?”, Amazon says it will launch Alexa Answers: a program that invites a number of users to help Alexa answer questions for which the voice assistant might not have sufficient information.
“Once in a while, customers throw curve balls at us with various questions,” writes Alexa Information VP Bill Barton in an official blog post. “We’re involving the Alexa customer community to help us answer questions Alexa can’t quite answer yet.”
The program, which Barton says is “invitation-only,” will allow select customers to contribute answers and details to questions that Alexa has been unable to answer. Read full story >>
4. Amazon’s Go Stores Are Expanding
In other Amazon news, the company says that it will expand its cashierless Go stores in both size and location. Last week, TechCrunch reported that the ecommerce giant is testing the cashierless technology in larger store formats, leaving many wondering if it’s planning to bring this feature to Whole Foods — a natural grocery chain that it owns. Now, according to Bloomberg, Amazon is also exploring the possibility of opening Go stores in airports, “to win business from hungry, time-pressed travelers.” Read full story >>
5. Curated News From Google Assistant
As Google itself pointed out in a recent announcement, radio is almost a purely “in-the-moment” medium that allows users to tune into whatever the current programming might be, regardless of context. Now, the company says that it has partnered with a number of news organizations, ranging from local NPR stations to the New York Times, to create personalized news playlists for users. With the help of Assistant’s AI, the playlists will be created based on when the user asks for it to be played, as well as her listening interests. Google says it has built an an open specification for news organizations that want to create audio programming for this feature. Read full story >>
6. What Happened When Google’s CEO Testified Before Congress
Google CEO Sundar Pichai testified yesterday before the U.S. House of Representatives Judiciary Committee. Here are the key questions he faced, and the themes that echoed throughout the hearing. Read full story >>
7. The State of Virtual Reality: Where We Are, and What’s to Come in 2019
Where do things stand with virtual reality, and the immersive technologies inspired by it? At VRX, here’s what the experts have to say. Read full story >>
8. Google Lens Comes to iOS
iPhone users, rejoice (maybe): Google’s Lens object recognition technology has finally arrived in the company’s iOS app.
— Barry Schwartz (@rustybrick)
December 11, 2018
Lens first made its debut at Google’s 2018 I/O developer conference and was initially released on a number of Pixel devices, prior to becoming available on a broader range of operating systems. Read full story>>
9. What’s the Business Case for Virtual Reality?
Also at last week’s VRX conference, after we got a taste for the state of virtual reality, we next examined how this technology can be used in business. Read full story >>