Instagram Stories Get GIFs, Elon Musk’s Boring Company Unveils a Flamethrower and more news
Do you want to know latest tech news? Because this digest is full of interesting stories about tech giants.
1) Google Play hit record 19 billion+ downloads in Q4 2017, its highest quarter ever
Smartphone adoption in emerging markets just delivered the highest number of app downloads Google Play has ever seen in a quarter. According to today’s report from App Annie, Google Play app downloads topped 19 billion in Q4 2017, a new record. That also makes Google Play’s download lead over iOS its largest ever, at 145 percent.
Specifically, the downloads were driven by markets including India, Indonesia, and Brazil, which all contributed to Google Play’s 10 percent year-over-year growth in total downloads as well.
Read more at TechCrunch
2) Snapchat is going to let you share Stories on Twitter and Facebook, in hopes of sparking new growth
Snapchat users will soon be able to share Stories outside the app to Facebook and Twitter in an effort to spark growth on the social media app.
Users will be able to share Stories to their linked social media accounts or through text or email with a link to a webpage where people who don’t have the app can view the message.
Snap launched Stories in 2014 as a way to share photos and videos with all of your followers at once. The updates live on the app for 24 hours and can be replayed, unlike messages sent to a single user that disappear after opening.
Read more at CNBC
3) Google launches enterprise-grade G Suite for Education
Google announced today that universities and other large educational institutions will have a new version of its G Suite productivity service tailored just for them. Called G Suite Enterprise for Education, the service will first be a roughly straight port of the tech giant’s offering for large businesses, but will later receive features specifically for schools.
With the new offering, organizations will get features like the ability to hold video calls in Hangouts Meet with up to 50 participants, a security center for managing potential threats, and advanced mobile device management.
Read more at Venturebeat
4) Uber CEO hopes to have self-driving cars in service in 18 months
Uber CEO Dara Khosrowshahi was speaking to Bloomberg Editor-in-Chief John Micklethwait today at the new outlet’s event #TheYearAhead event, and he shared some more information about Uber’s plans around autonomy, and autonomous ride-hailing service rollout.
“True autonomy for every single use case, is some ways away,” Khosrowshahi began, acknowledging that the problem is a massive one to solve. But, he suggested that the first Uber autonomous vehicles to be deployed commercially would be on streets relatively soon.
Read more at TechCrunch
5) Google I/O 2018 starts on May 8th in Mountain View
This year’s Google I/O developer conference will take place from May 8th to May 10th at the Shoreline Amphitheatre in Mountain View, California. Similar to last year, Google revealed the date through an online puzzle. More than 100 Discord users helped us at The Verge to solve the puzzle, working through rooms in Google Maps to discover clues and reveal the date and location of Google I/O 2018.
Clues included a a pineapple cake in one room, perhaps a subtle hint at the true name for Android P. Google likes to fool around with its Android names, so it could be just another elaborate tease for Android fans.
Read more at The Verge
6) YouTube to Invest $5 Million This Year in Creators Who Promote ‘Empathy and Understanding’
YouTube is looking for some upbeat PR — pushing the idea that the Google-owned global video platform can be a force for social good, after suffering an advertiser backlash in 2017 over objectionable content that was being monetized.
In 2018, YouTube said it will invest $5 million in its Creators for Change program, including production and marketing support. The program, which launched in September 2016, is aimed at boosting the profile of YouTubers whose videos “counter hate and promote tolerance.”
Read more at Variety
7) Instagram Stories Get GIF Stickers With Access to Giphy Database
Facebook-owned image sharing platform Instagram has collaborated with Giphy to announce the rollout of a new millennial-focused feature on its Android and iOS app. Starting Tuesday, GIF stickers will be available globally as a part of the Stickers tab in Instagram Stories. Instagram Stories were first revealed back in August 2016. In this time, it has grown to 300 million DAU (Daily Active Users).
Read more at Gadgets
8) Apple, Amazon, Facebook and Google spent nearly $50 million — a record — to influence the U.S. government in 2017
Apple, Amazon, Facebook and Google cumulatively racked up a roughly $50 million tab fighting off President Donald Trump and an onslaught of new federal regulations last year — a reflection that the tech industry is increasingly under political siege in the nation’s capital.
Over the course of 2017, the biggest brands in tech warred with the White House over immigration, tried and failed to save net neutrality and weathered a congressional investigation into the ways in which Russian trolls spread propaganda on their sites during the last election.
The heightened scrutiny and withering criticism — targeting tech on everything from sex trafficking to fake news — prompted many companies to spend more money than ever to lobby the government, according to official ethics forms filed at midnight. And yet the industry’s political activities in 2017 may only presage a tougher and costlier clash with Washington, D.C., in the year to come.
Read more at Recode
9) The 20 best smartphones in the world
Get ready for a wave of new smartphones.
Mobile World Congress, the wireless industry’s annual global confab, is about a month away. Every year MWC kicks off a series of announcements from phone manufacturers about new devices.
In addition to offering consumers new choices, the new devices also typically lead us to revise our list of top phones on the market. In many cases, though, we already have an inkling of what’s coming.
Whether you’re in the market for a phone right now or can wait until after the big show, we’ve got you covered.
Check out our list of the top 20 smartphones you can buy — and our picks for the ones to look forward to.
Read more at Businessinsider
10) Elon Musk’s Boring Company unveils a flamethrower, starts pre-orders for $500
Well, it looks like Elon Musk has officially lost it and he is adding ‘arms dealer’ to his long list of occupations. After joking about raising money for his new startup, the Boring Company, through selling hats, Musk said that their next product (before actual tunnels and electric transportation systems) will be flamethrowers.
Now it looks like he actually did it.
On Instagram and Twitter tonight, Musk unveiled the Boring Company-branded flamethrower.
While it sounds like a joke, the company is currently accepting $500 payment for pre-ordering the device on their website, which leads us to believe that it is actually happening.
Read more at Electrek