CES: IBM Pushes Watson Brand with New Product Integration

Move over, Siri. Some new consumer products will include the artificial intelligence platform and “Jeopardy!” winner, Watson. IBM announced at CES 2016 that it has partnered with Under Armour to use Watson in the company’s fitness app to help make suggestions based on health data. Watson will also power a new robot from the Japan-based SoftBank company. The Pepper robot is designed to provide an interactive experience that would replace the kiosks in retail stores, banks and hotels. Continue reading CES: IBM Pushes Watson Brand with New Product Integration

New Features, Deals Could Turn Things Around for Apple Pay

Apple Pay is experiencing a rocky road to adoption. On Black Friday, it was used for about half the number of purchases as last year. On the plus side, Apple has added to the list of vendors allowing consumers to use Apple Pay, but the company is also entering the world of friend-to-friend payments, which are expensive to operate and hard to monetize. What could tip the balance is the deal Apple inked with China UnionPay to be used at Chinese cash registers. But only time will tell. Continue reading New Features, Deals Could Turn Things Around for Apple Pay

Could Facebook Patent Be Used to Approve or Deny Loans?

Facebook just filed for a patent that tracks how users are networked together. The patent can be used to prevent people from sending spam to those they’re not legitimately connected with. But the patent filing also describes a less savory possibility: that banks and other lenders could examine the credit scores of those in your network when deciding whether or not to make a loan to you. For some experts, at least, this conjures up visions of housing discrimination, aimed at the poor and people of color. Continue reading Could Facebook Patent Be Used to Approve or Deny Loans?

New Apple-IBM Partnership Unveils First Apps for Enterprise

Apple and IBM released 10 apps this week designed for businesses and governments. The apps are the first to come out of the tech companies’ new partnership and target sectors such as air travel, banking and retail. Apple is looking to put new life into its lagging iPad sales by drawing business users, while IBM hopes to catch up in the mobile space. The two companies are working with 50 corporations to create apps for Apple mobile devices; the next round is slated for release early next year. Continue reading New Apple-IBM Partnership Unveils First Apps for Enterprise

Twitter Launches Money Transfers and Access to Music Tracks

One of France’s largest banks, Group BPCE, is teaming up with Twitter to let their customers transfer money to friends or charities via tweets. Payments will be managed by the bank’s S-Money service that allows transfers via text messages and uses credit-card security standards. Twitter users can also now listen to select iTunes and SoundCloud tracks via a new audio feature launched last week. Users can listen to music while reading tweets, and even buy tracks directly from the iTunes store. Continue reading Twitter Launches Money Transfers and Access to Music Tracks

Why Analysts Are Concerned About the JP Morgan Data Breach

In an era of system hacks becoming more common, JP Morgan is the latest to report a massive breach of customer information. While the company believed a few weeks ago that only one million accounts were affected, it now reports that 76 million households and 8 million small businesses were part of the data breach. While recent breaches have largely involved retailers, some analysts are more concerned about the JP Morgan case, especially since banks tend to have more sensitive data about their customers. Continue reading Why Analysts Are Concerned About the JP Morgan Data Breach

The Future of Tablets May Be Uncertain: iPad Sales Fall Again

Unit sales of the best-selling tablet, Apple’s iPad, fell again for the second straight quarter, leaving some industry analysts wondering whether the tablet can survive in a world of bigger smartphones and smaller laptops. Microsoft and Samsung are also both losing money on their tablet devices, but cheaper Android tablets produced by smaller companies may be taking away some of the tech giants’ business. Still, many consumers do not see tablets as a must-have gadget. Continue reading The Future of Tablets May Be Uncertain: iPad Sales Fall Again

Apple and IBM Tackle Mobile Enterprise with Exclusive Venture

Apple and IBM announced a joint venture that the tech giants have been working on for several months. The exclusive partnership will focus on mobile and data analysis tech in the corporate world by developing more than 100 business software programs intended for use on iPhones and iPads. Applications will be tailored for banking, healthcare, insurance, retail, telecommunications and transportation. Apple CEO Tim Cook described the venture as “a landmark partnership.” Continue reading Apple and IBM Tackle Mobile Enterprise with Exclusive Venture

General Mills Reverses Change to Legal Terms After Backlash

General Mills expanded its privacy policy last week to require that all disputes be resolved through arbitration or informal negotiation. According to the change to its legal terms, consumers who engage in online interactions such as downloading coupons, liking the brand’s Facebook page, or entering a company-sponsored sweepstakes would give up their right to sue. Due to public outrage over the changes, General Mills announced over the weekend it was voiding those terms. Continue reading General Mills Reverses Change to Legal Terms After Backlash

Bug Causes Scramble to Update Software and Change Passwords

Popular websites have been scrambling to update software and Internet users have been encouraged to change their passwords following the news of an encryption flaw known as the Heartbleed bug, which is already being categorized as one of the biggest security threats the Internet has ever experienced. The bug has affected a number of websites and services (although the extent is not clear), and may have exposed account info including passwords and credit card numbers going back two years. UPDATE: Cisco and Juniper said yesterday that some of their networking products contain the bug, which means sensitive info may have been obtained while moving across corporate networks, home networks and the Internet. Continue reading Bug Causes Scramble to Update Software and Change Passwords

Poll Suggests Consumers More Cautious Online Post Snowden

According to a new survey from Harris Interactive, a significant number of consumers are being more careful with online activities in the year since Edward Snowden revealed information about NSA phone and Internet surveillance. Among the poll’s findings, Harris learned that 33 percent of those 18 to 34 said they were doing less online shopping, 29 percent of people in the same age group said they had reduced online banking activity, and 24 percent of overall respondents explained they were “less inclined to use email.”

Continue reading Poll Suggests Consumers More Cautious Online Post Snowden

Google Unveils New Prepaid Debit Card Using Google Wallet

Google is now offering a prepaid debit card that can be used in stores and at ATMs. Using Google Wallet, consumers will be able to access funds just like they would with a regular debit card. The Wallet Card will be accepted wherever MasterCard is accepted, and is free without any monthly fees. The card will also provide Google with consumer information like what was purchased and for how much — even the name and address of the consumer would be recorded. Continue reading Google Unveils New Prepaid Debit Card Using Google Wallet

Will Online Services and Apps Replace Local Bank Branches?

More banking is done digitally today and new financial services are emerging from a variety of companies. Banks themselves are using third-party services for their customers. Banks may have a diminishing role in consumers’ financial lives, giving rise to companies that provide banking and other management services. Critics say banks are slow to innovate, while others suggest they are taking a careful, combined approach with physical and digital services. Continue reading Will Online Services and Apps Replace Local Bank Branches?

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