Hello world! It’s Friday 27th of October and we are back with another tech news round up. Starting this week, we’re going to change things up a bit here and this is a part of TechLila 2.0 revamp.
Among the many things that will change in the coming weeks and months and the many surprises that we hold, here’s a small one to get you started. News has always meant proactive delivery of content and we realize that our news segment hasn’t necessarily been “proactive” in its delivery. After all delivering information about something that happened 5 days ago doesn’t really make sense because the internet is already saturated with information about the same and it loses relevance for most of our readers. So starting next week, instead of delivering a roundup, we will instead report the happenings in realtime. Which means you will get to know about what happened, when it happens. At the same time, towards the end of the week, we will publish a tech news roundup on YouTube and Facebook video which will serve as a quick wrap up for the week. We’re really excited about the changes that we’re gonna be making to our content delivery system and to our platform and we couldn’t have been more excited to have you be a part of this journey with us.
Alright enough talk, let’s start off with this week’s news round up. Here’s our list for this week.
- Uber launches a credit card to allow riders to earn points for rides
- Android 8.1 enters developer preview
- Google announces Pay With Google for faster checkouts
- Netflix launches a new Android app for managing your DVD collection
- Amazon launches the Amazon launches the Amazon Key to simplify delivery of your products
That list is pretty interesting so let’s start.
Uber Launches a New Credit Card with Exciting Deals for Riders
Amidst a lot of changes that Uber is going through, they’re also trying to expand their business to new frontiers. With Uber Eats already expanding into multiple cities across countries it was time for Uber to innovate in a completely new segment. This week the company announced a new product, the Uber credit card. At the Money2020 conference held in Las Vegas, Uber announced the credit card in partnership with VISA and Barclays. The launch of this new product will give Uber more data on customer usage patterns which could then be used by the company to enhance their current offering of products. With over 10 million users, Uber is going to be able to crunch a lot of data and make sense of it.
If you are an Uber customer you’ll be able to apply for the card from within the Uber app starting November 2. The form will automatically be populated with all necessary details about you that Uber has on file. The digital card will immediately be available for use within Uber rides and Uber Eats and you can expect a physical version to be shipped in a week or so. This credit card, which happens to be a no-fee card will offer some pretty exciting deals for customers, for example, you will get a bonus of $100 on spending $500. Among other things you will also get 4 percent back on restaurants, take-out and bar purchases; 3 percent back on airfare, hotels and Airbnb or other short-stay rentals; 2 percent back on online purchases; and 1 percent back on everything else. Not sold yet? They’re also offering a $50 credit on online subscription, phone insurance of upto $600 if you pay your bills using the card. So all in all if you see it closely, for an upward of $5,000 worth of transactions that you make on purchases, Uber is going to take that data and in return hook you up with a fraction of the amount.
Android 8.1 Oreo Enters Developer Preview
It’s been less than a month since Android 8.0 Oreo has started to ship on devices and Google is already readying up the next update to it, you heard it. Android 8.1 has entered developer preview and is available for eligible devices to flash. While most of the incremental releases are intended to be bug fixes and feature enhancements, Google has actually surprised us with the feature set and new APIs that are coming with Android 8.1. The biggest highlight with this release has to be the Neural Networks API.
This new API brings hardware-accelerated inference to mobile devices for quick execution of pre trained machine learning models. By bringing this computation capability to a phone would mean that a lot of the latency involved in such tasks would be reduced due to the reduced locality of reference. This has a lot of on-device application like inferring images and understanding and learning from a user’s usage pattern. According to Google, the Neural Networks API will serve as a foundation for TensorFlow Lite and Caffe2 etc. The Neural Networks API will make use of special hardware chips on phones if included (like the Pixel 2 which comes with the Pixel Visual Core) or else fall back on the CPU. Alongside the new Neural Networks API, Google is focusing on optimisations for Android Go in 8.1. Along with this there’s updates to the Autofill API and multiple other performance enhancements, if you are a Pixel user, you might wanna try it out.
Google Announces a New Feature on Web and Android Dubbed ‘Pay With Google’
Google has been focusing a lot lately on mobile payments and what can be done to simplify the payment process. In India particularly, Google has invested a tonne of resources and infrastructure on Tez, the new UPI enabled app. Moving along, this Google added another feature to their ever expanding suite of products.
It’s called Pay With Google and it’s rolling out as an integration to Google Play Services. Basically, what this feature is going to allow you to do is, checkout on e-commerce websites or sites where you have to make payments, using the card details or other payment details stored on Google’s record. From there it’s basically a tap of a button to checkout. Pay With Google will be coming to Android and Chrome in the coming weeks and month and it’s going to be in direct competition with Apple Pay.
Netflix Launches a New App for Managing your DVD Queue
Netflix has been minting some serious cash with its ever going catalog of content. With Stranger Things Season 2 just hitting the service, the streaming service is going to have a really good holiday season. Netflix has also been investing a lot in building up their service with new features.
This week the company launched an app which will help you manage your DVD queue. It’s important to understand that Netflix initially started out as a DVD leasing service so this new app is pretty close to their inception. As far as functionality, it does what you expect it to do. You can manage your DVD collection, search, filter and consume content. Not sure how much is going to impact their business, but if you are someone who still uses their DVD services, an app like this will come in handy.
Amazon tries to Simplify Product Delivery with Amazon Key
Amazon has literally become the king of commerce. There’s not one segment that the company hasn’t touched. With the acquisition of Whole Foods, it’s now entering even into your kitchen. But shopping and shipments are still key to their business. Let’s focus on the shipments aspect. Most e-commerce companies face the most latency in their services due to shipments. It’s a hard problem to solve and to solve right.
Amazon is taking a shot at it with what they’re calling Amazon Key. Amazon Key would work with smart locks and will allow your delivery agent a one time access to your house where they can safely keep your package. No more worries about your package getting stolen. But this solution is not for everyone, especially if you are not comfortable with the idea of letting a stranger inside your place, even if they are in for just one time. The delivery agent will get access to your house via a one time key inside the Amazon Key app.
That’s it folks for this week we’ll be back with a new updated version of the tech news starting next week along with our brand new video series. Until next time, this is me Prateek, signing off.