Android 13 and iOS 16 Bring Smartphone Upgrades This Fall

New Android and iPhone operating system updates for smartphones will be made available free this fall. Both Google and Apple have announced improvements to text messaging apps. Notably, Apple’s iMessage will allow iPhone users to edit or recall text messages after they’ve been sent, a much-requested feature over the years. The iPhone’s iOS 16 will also debut a redesigned lock screen. Meanwhile, Google’s Android 13 will have among its upgrades a new and improved wallet app that can store important documents like credit cards and medical records. Continue reading Android 13 and iOS 16 Bring Smartphone Upgrades This Fall

Google Shopping Adds Analytics Tools, Trusted Store Badge

Google Shopping is introducing new tools to help merchants and brands improve online sales performance. A Shopping Experience Scorecard will provide retailers the opportunity to earn a “Trusted Store” badge. In addition, Google is offering data analytics, including a conversion rate measurement tool, a price comparison feature and shipping and return overview pages. Since revamping its market portal as Google Shopping in 2019, the company has been trying to make it easier for users to “research and buy” using Google Search. Continue reading Google Shopping Adds Analytics Tools, Trusted Store Badge

Australia Considers Reforming Regulations for Digital Wallets

The Australian government is mulling new laws intended to tighten the regulation of digital payment services. Despite rapid growth, digital wallet services from Apple Pay, Google Pay and China’s WeChat Pay are not designated “payment systems” in Australia, which means they are not as yet governed by the country’s regulatory system. The move comes on the heels of a government-commissioned report addressing whether the payments system had kept pace with advances in technology and changes in consumer demand. Continue reading Australia Considers Reforming Regulations for Digital Wallets

South Korea to Let Consumers Select App Payment Provider

South Korea is on the verge of becoming the first country to initiate legislation that would provide consumers with the choice of which app payment provider to use. The Telecommunications Business Act, which is “almost certain” to pass a vote in the assembly, could end the “effective duopoly” of Apple and Google. It would also enable companies like Epic Games to transact directly with users and avoid hefty commissions charged by those two companies. In the U.S., Apple and Google face legislative actions and an Epic Games lawsuit. Continue reading South Korea to Let Consumers Select App Payment Provider

Google Launches New Google Pay, Readies Banking Service

Google is relaunching its Google Pay digital wallet and online payment system for Android and iOS with a raft of new features including the ability to connect to the user’s bank account for a searchable overview of finances. The company also plans to partner with banks in 2021 to offer its Plex, an online checking and savings account within the app. This more fully-featured Google Pay can now serve as a direct competitor to Apple Pay, Samsung Pay, PayPal, Venmo and other apps and services, as well as an online bank such as Ally. Continue reading Google Launches New Google Pay, Readies Banking Service

WhatsApp Debuts Disappearing Messages, Expands in India

In response to the pressure for privacy on social media apps, Facebook-owned WhatsApp debuted a setting to automatically delete messages after seven days. This is intended to make users feel more secure in communicating one-on-one and in group chats. As WhatsApp product manager Zafir Khan noted, “records of most in-person conversations don’t exist forever, so conversations on WhatsApp shouldn’t have to either.” He added that, nowadays, people are “using WhatsApp messaging for very deep and intimate conversations.” Continue reading WhatsApp Debuts Disappearing Messages, Expands in India

India Hails Google’s New Fund but Plans to Regulate Big Tech

About half of India’s 1.3 billion people are not yet online, and Google hopes to improve its profile there with a new $10 billion Google for India Digitization Fund. The tech tech giant plans to invest in the country over the next five to seven years via equity investments and partnerships. But a recent government-ordered report urged India to create a data regulator position to oversee “the sharing, monetization and privacy of information collected online.” The report names Google (among other companies) as “squeezing new entrants and startups.” Continue reading India Hails Google’s New Fund but Plans to Regulate Big Tech

Amazon, Google Overlap in E-Commerce, Digital Ads, More

Amazon and Google have become more competitive over the years, and at the latter’s annual Google Marketing Live conference this week, the company introduced new products to target online shoppers. At the same time, many shoppers now begin their search on Amazon, which has also been making inroads into Google’s traditional bailiwick of digital advertising. Marketing analytics firm Jumpstart reported that, in 2015, about 54 percent of product searches began on Google, and 46 percent on Amazon; those numbers flipped by 2018. Continue reading Amazon, Google Overlap in E-Commerce, Digital Ads, More

Google Redesigns its Wear OS, Streamlines the Smart Watch

Google is readying the release of its new, third version of Wear OS, which has been updated to be a speedy, inconspicuous platform rather than “Android on a smart watch.” It doesn’t feature any obvious improvements to battery life, but that’s an overall problem in the industry, not a Google shortcoming. According to Wear OS director of product Dennis Troper, users who are connected all the time will be able to be more present in the real world, similar to the goals of the company’s Digital Wellbeing initiative. Continue reading Google Redesigns its Wear OS, Streamlines the Smart Watch