Google is promising faster load and search times with its updated app for iOS. “Like on the mobile web and Android, AMP articles will now show up in search results,” 9To5Google reports. “Other improvements include sport video highlights on Now cards and more keyboard shortcuts for iPad users.”
GoDaddy just released Flare -- a mobile app for entrepreneurs looking for constructive feedback. “Flare … invites anyone with a new business idea to submit concept overviews to a community and arrive at a general consensus on whether the idea has legs,” VentureBeat writes. “It’s touted as a ‘cross between Shark Tank, LinkedIn, and Tinder’ -- users swipe right if they like a submitted idea, and swipe left if they don’t.”
Aside from banks and other financial institutions, Apple, Microsoft and Google are now the top three cash-rich U.S. companies across all sectors of business, according to a new report from Moody’s Investors Service. At the end of 2015, they had $391 billion in cash -- “or more than 23 percent of the entire $1.68 trillion held by the nation’s non-financial corporations,” GeekWire notes.
The Wickr Foundation, a nonprofit organization dedicated to private communication and uncensored information, is investing in Whistler -- a secure communications and education app for human rights activists and citizen reporters. “It’s the brain child of Srdja Popovi, a Serbian dissident and political activist, and Nico Sell, the founder of the secure messaging service Wickr,” TechCrunch reports.
Tristan Harris, formerly Google’s Design Ethicist, considers how digital interfaces diminish people’s capacity to think for themselves, and other ways that technology is working against the common man. “By shaping the menus we pick from, technology hijacks the way we perceive our choices,” Harris writes. “But the closer we pay attention to the options we’re given, the more we’ll notice when they don’t actually align with our true needs.”
To market Minecraft on PCs and smartphones in China, Microsoft and its Mojang unit just announced a “five-year exclusive partnership” with Chinese software publisher NetEase. “China isn't hurting for games originally published in the West, but Minecraft is arguably the world's most popular video game,” ars technica writes. Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed.
Apple is not investing heavily enough in AI, digital assistants, and voice interfaces, according to Marco Arment, developer, blogger, and Tumblr cofounder. “Today, Apple’s being led properly day-to-day and doing very well overall,” Arment writes. “But if the landscape shifts to prioritize those big-data AI services, Apple will find itself in a similar position as BlackBerry did almost a decade ago: what they’re able to do, despite being very good at it, won’t be enough anymore, and they won’t be able to catch up.”
For the first time ever, Google’s Chromebooks are now outselling Apple’s premium Mac computers, according to fresh data from IDC. “Chrome OS overtook Mac OS in the US in terms of shipments for the first time in 1Q16,” IDC analyst Linn Huang tells The Verge. “IDC estimates Apple’s US Mac shipments to be around 1.76 million in the latest quarter, meaning Dell, HP, and Lenovo sold nearly 2 million Chromebooks in Q1 combined.”
Verizon and other suitors are expected to offer between $2 billion to $3 billion for Yahoo’s core business, The Wall Street Journal reports. That’s a lot lower than Yahoo was expecting. “As recently as April, people close to the process said Yahoo’s core business would likely go for between $4 billion and $8 billion,” according to The Journal.
Google is rolling out Firebase Analytics -- a free tool that offers a better sense of how people are using apps. “Additionally,” as Engadget reports, “Firebase is getting new features including cloud messaging, which lets devs push messages to users through their apps; online storage powered by Google Cloud Storage; and the ability to tweak apps on the fly.”