Mobile payments have grown into a big market. Peer to peer mobile payment services are used by almost everyone. When friends go out, they split the bill and pay each other using mobile wallets or mobile payment services. When college students split rent for housing or utility payments, they turn to mobile payments. Mobile payments are also used for purchasing goods and services from small sellers or shops. A few years ago, mobile payment apps were pretty new and used only by a smaller tech savvy group (though SMS based payments have been popular in Africa since several years). Services like Venmo (now owned by PayPal), Square Cash and Google Wallet have now emerged and most consumers are now using these services. In the last few years, the usage has grown from handful of tech savvy users to almost every consumer. This has gotten attention from the big banks as they wish to get a piece of the pie and enter the mobile payments market.
Technology has truly transformed mankind. Today, we live in a world of smartphones and clouds. Every question can be answered with a touch using Google search. You can find answers to almost anything in just a few minutes. People use Google search to find information on things ranging from physics to history. Some also look up medical information using Google search. This is about to change. Google has introduced a new venture – Google Genomics. It lets medical researchers store and evaluate genomic data in their cloud. The cost of storing and analyzing a genome has gone from millions of dollars to just under $1000 in the last 15 years. Its getting more affordable to store and analyze this data. What does this mean? It means that researchers can store more genomes and find interesting patterns in the data by analyzing a massive data sample. This can lead to all kinds of medical breakthroughs. We can cure diseases, identify likelihood of getting a disease for a given person, and even build custom medicine for a person. The ability to cheaply store and analyze this data will be a revolution in medicine.
Microsoft has been providing Xbox services for its popular gaming console for some time now. At some point, they also added Xbox music to satisfy the music streaming needs of its users. Today, Microsoft launched its Xbox music service on iOS and Android, making it available to the masses that do not own an Xbox and entering the music streaming market led my Pandora, Spotify, Rdio and even iTunes Radio.
The music pass costs $10 a month, which is not cheap as streaming services have been competing and the base price is around $5/month. While Pandora and Spotify offer Fremium services with restrictions on hours of streaming and streaming on mobile devices, Xbox music only offers a 30-day free trial, after which you would have to shell out on its monthly pass to keep streaming, a similar approach to Rdio.
You can download the iOS and Android apps from the stores, or listen online on Xbox music.
Gmail just announced an updated inbox today. The new Gmail will filter emails into four main categories: Primary, Social, Promotions and Updates. Primary will have all important emails – from friends, family and co-workers. Social will show all the emails sent by Facebook, Twitter and Google+. Promotions will display emails from services like LivingSocial and Groupon. Updates will show you emails from newsletters such as blogs or websites. Currently, all of this functionality can be achieved by using Labels in Gmail, but Google wants to build this in to give a more clean inbox to all the users and have a spam-free experience by cutting the clutter. Its a similar approach to what Microsoft has done to Hotmail with the new Outlook website.
Mobile payments is a very active space with solutions like Google Wallet, PayPal wallet, Visa’s V.me, Isis mobile wallet and Square wallet transforming the way we make payments. The goal of all these services is to remove the wallet out of the picture and make your smartphone your wallet by storing credit card information on phones or in the cloud. Paytouch, a payments solution company in Spain, has introduced yet another new way to pay. Using your fingerprints.
ICANN is preparing for the massive rollout of new gTLDs. There are a ton of new gTLDs to replace the old .com, .net and .org. Some of the popular ones include .app, .home, .inc, .art, .blog, .book, .llc, .shop, .movie, .music, .cloud, .hotel, .news and .eco. These new gTLDs will allow bloggers, entrepreneurs, artists and other web creators to get catchy domain names without trying out hacks like using different spellings, using prefixes and suffixes or using a TLD from a different country. Large corporations will also be getting their own gTLDs like .ibm, .pwc, .cisco and .samsung. This will also help in identification of authentic sites and prevent phishing scams.
Google just announced a new product, Google Keep. Keep lets you capture all your ideas, tasks and notes in one place and organize them. Yes, like Evernote. Evernote has been everyone’s favorite online note-taking tool for some time now. Over the last few years, it has evolved by revamping their web app and building new iOS and Android apps from the ground up. It’s the ideal service with a decent pricing model. It has also expanded into the enterprise world with Evernote Business. With the success of Evernote, Google wants to get into the space with Google Keep. Google had a similar service in the past called Google Notebook which was very basic and did not have much development, and was eventually discontinued. Google Tasks acts as a basic ToDo app as a part of Gmail. Google Keep is the combination of Google Notebook and Google Tasks with a few more bells and whistles. Right now, it cannot be compared to Evernote but has the potential to take on Evernote in the near future.
Spotify is doing pretty well after its debut in the United States. It closed a funding round for $100 million is is worth $3 Billion. It has a strong user base in the US and many users are switching from other music services like Pandora and Rdio. Spotify has been regularly pushing updates to its apps with new features like Apps and Radio. Today, it announced that its working on a web app. The beta is now live. After using the web app for some time, it looks pretty stable and might exit beta pretty soon.
Spotify users should expect an email blast as soon as the web app is out of beta. Stay tuned…
Google Maps is THE way to find routes while travelling. Street view lets you see better by showing images of the street and the surroundings. But this is all for the outdoors. Google Maps cannot show you around in a Walmart store or a Target store. Well, thats about to change! Google has started mapping indoor locations starting with their data centers. Just like street view, you can enter the building, navigate through the cubicles, and zoom in on places. Google has posted a video showing indoor street view with their data centers.
There have been rumors about Google Drive – Google’s cloud storage service. Today, Google has finally unveiled Google Drive. It stores your files on the cloud and syncs them across all your devices. Windows, Mac and Android apps have been released and the iOS app is due in a few weeks. Google Drive offers 5GB of space for free and charges for additional storage. Google Docs have now been merged into the new Google Drive, so all your docs are in the Drive and the Google Docs editor has been embedded into the Drive web application.