Mozilla Sets Discount Privacy Bundle: VPN Plus Firefox Relay

Mozilla has bundled two premium security products into a subscription package. Firefox Relay and Mozilla VPN are available together for $6.99 with an annual subscription. With the holiday sales season in full swing, retailers are bracing for hacker attacks and phishing schemes, an angle Mozilla is leveraging with its push. Axios Codebook says “the ongoing economic downturn is prompting more shoppers to look for online discount codes and more hackers to trick these consumers with phony deals.” Firefox Relay protects identities by hiding users real email addresses, while Mozilla VPN is a virtual private network service. Continue reading Mozilla Sets Discount Privacy Bundle: VPN Plus Firefox Relay

Google Intros New Features for Search, Maps and Shopping

Google is starting to publicly roll out many of the new features introduced at its Search On event in September. Spanning Google Search, Shopping and Maps, the tools let consumers do things like search their favorite restaurant dish by name, like “truffle mac and cheese near me.” A visual search experience for Maps called Live View lets users glimpse street scenes in cities including London, Los Angeles, New York, Paris, San Francisco and Tokyo. And an AR shopping feature invites people to try on everything from makeup to accessories using a library of 148 models. Continue reading Google Intros New Features for Search, Maps and Shopping

Netflix Offers a Feature to Let Subs Boot Unauthorized Logins

As it prepares for a crackdown on password sharing next year, Netflix has introduced a feature that lets subscribers kick-off interlopers who are piggybacking onto their accounts without paying. Accessed from the account settings tab, the new “Managing Access and Devices” functionality lets subscribers see a list of recent devices that have streamed from their account, letting them log-off any unauthorized users with one click. Netflix calls this new option a “much-requested feature” and says it is now available to global subscribers through their web browser, or on iOS and Android. Continue reading Netflix Offers a Feature to Let Subs Boot Unauthorized Logins

Disney+ Subs Get Early Access to Exclusive Holiday Shopping

The Walt Disney Company has begun mixing-in shopping opportunities among Disney+ streaming content. U.S. subscribers with Disney+ profiles verified as 18 and older will have first crack at new products from franchises including “Frozen,” “Star Wars” and “Black Panther.” Included among the items are a light saber ($250 to $400) and apparel ($27 to $100). After the limited Disney+ window closes on November 8 the goods will be made available to the general public for purchase. Disney is reportedly also considering an experiment with early access to new theme park rides. Continue reading Disney+ Subs Get Early Access to Exclusive Holiday Shopping

CTA: Streaming Services Will Be Focus for Holiday Shoppers

Tech items are making the list this holiday season, with the Consumer Technology Association’s annual shoppers survey forecasting a record-breaking 78 percent of U.S. adults — nearly 199 million people — will purchase devices and related services this season. Streaming services, headphones and earbuds, mobile cases, smartphones and game consoles top the trade organization’s survey, the 2022 Hot Tech Holiday Preview. The seasonal projection marks a 4 percent increase over last year. The 78 percent of American shoppers who intend to purchase tech gifts in the coming months will spend an estimated $145 billion. Continue reading CTA: Streaming Services Will Be Focus for Holiday Shoppers

Amazon Promotes Device Updates at Its Fall Hardware Event

A Kindle that lets you annotate text, a “no-contact” sleep tracker and a refresh on the Fire TV Cube were among the new products Amazon showcased at its annual fall hardware event this week. Updates for Echo smart speakers, an expanded Ring camera inventory and updates to its Eero Wi-Fi extender line were also in the spotlight. Home devices that enable “a silent infrastructure of ambient intelligence to do just about anything” was the through line, according to Wired, with news ranging from pet detection for Astro the robot to a feature called Alexa Shop the Look. Continue reading Amazon Promotes Device Updates at Its Fall Hardware Event

Adobe Analytics Reports a First Time Drop for Cyber Monday

Consumers spent $10.7 billion on Cyber Monday, representing a 1.4 percent decrease compared to last year. The sales drop marks the first time that Adobe Analytics reported a decrease in spending on a major shopping day (the firm has been tracking e-commerce since 2012). Adobe still anticipates record-breaking online shopping activity through the overall holiday season. According to the web analytics firm, U.S. consumers spent $109.8 billion online from November 1 through Cyber Monday, marking an 11.9 percent jump over 2020 for the same period. Continue reading Adobe Analytics Reports a First Time Drop for Cyber Monday

Amazon Positioned for Holiday Crunch with Network Buildout

During the COVID-19 pandemic, Amazon not only added workers to keep up with surging demand, it nearly doubled the size of its fulfillment network, adding 450 new facilities for storage, sorting and shipping, according to MWPVL International, a supply chain logistics consultancy. The e-commerce giant now has 930 facilities across the U.S. where it employs more than 950,000 people, according to its Q2 earnings report. While it’s hiring and infrastructure expansion have largely been concentrated near big cities, which helps mitigate supply-chain disruptions while also speeding shipping times, Amazon is still urging holiday shoppers to order early. Continue reading Amazon Positioned for Holiday Crunch with Network Buildout

Shares Rise as Twitter’s Revenue Passes $1B for First Time

Twitter revealed that, in Q4, revenue rose 11 percent to $1.01 billion, the first time that quarterly revenue topped the billion-dollar mark, and surpassing the $992 million projected by Wall Street analysts. The company stated that income was $118.8 million, with costs rising 22 percent from a year earlier. Its operating income, a closely watched number, was $153 million, down from $207 million the previous year and lower than the $161 million predicted by analysts surveyed by FactSet. Shares rose about 15 percent. Continue reading Shares Rise as Twitter’s Revenue Passes $1B for First Time

Google Upgrades Shopping Portal, Extends Lens Capability

Google has streamlined its Shopping desktop and mobile portals in anticipation of the holiday season and unveiled a fashion recommendation engine for Google Lens, its AI-enabled computer vision search tool. According to Google Shopping vice president Surojit Chatterjee, the redesign is aimed at making it easier for users to “research and buy” what they are looking for. A personalized homepage offers product suggestions, and new sections allow re-ordering. Also more prominent are links to “nearby and online” stores. Continue reading Google Upgrades Shopping Portal, Extends Lens Capability

Amazon and Alexa Devices Have a Lucrative Holiday Season

This holiday season has shown that U.S. consumer confidence is high despite the volatile stock market. Amazon reported record-breaking revenue and noted that “tens of millions of people worldwide” registered for the company’s Prime service, many enticed by free two-day shipping. During the holiday, Amazon stated, more than one billion items were shipped via Prime. According to Amazon, year over year, that included millions more Alexa-enabled devices like the Echo, Echo Dot, Fire TV Stick 4K, and Alexa Voice Remote. Continue reading Amazon and Alexa Devices Have a Lucrative Holiday Season

In First, Amazon Offers Free Holiday Shipping for All Orders

To better compete with Walmart and Target for online holiday shopping, Amazon will offer free shipping without the $25 minimum purchase required of shoppers who are not Prime members. This first-time Amazon offer is good only in the U.S., and will be in effect from November 5 until Amazon can no longer promise delivery in time for Christmas, typically five to eight days. Also for the upcoming holiday season, Amazon plans to add 100,000 staffers, fewer than the last two holiday seasons, evidence that the company is successfully automating operations. Continue reading In First, Amazon Offers Free Holiday Shipping for All Orders

Amazon to Tutor Chinese Firms on How to Sell to U.S., Europe

Amazon is scheduled to hold an event in Hangzhou, the city where its rival Alibaba has its headquarters, to get 400 Chinese manufacturers up to speed on buying trends among American and European consumers and be ready for the 2018 holiday season. The event, dubbed “Coming Together for U” and sponsored by Amazon Global Selling, is evidence of Amazon’s effort to dominate e-commerce globally. The company would earn revenue from helping Chinese manufacturers source goods from factories and ship them quickly to other countries. Continue reading Amazon to Tutor Chinese Firms on How to Sell to U.S., Europe

Amazon, Google Ramp Up Competition in Smart Home Market

Although Amazon currently sells a certain number of Google smart home Nest devices, the company has decided to stop doing so, thus ramping up the competition in this space between the two tech behemoths. Nest employees apparently had been expecting the move, which came in a conference call last year when Amazon said it would not list any of the newer Nest products such as the Nest thermostat and Nest Secure home security system. The decision reportedly came directly from Amazon chief executive Jeff Bezos. Continue reading Amazon, Google Ramp Up Competition in Smart Home Market

Forecast: Smart Speakers Will Outsell Wearables This Season

Strategy Analytics predicts the smart speaker market will nearly quadruple in unit volume this year, bringing the total to 24 million. According to eMarketer, smart speakers will likely outsell wearables in the U.S. this holiday season. “We expect smart speakers to be the gift of choice for many tech enthusiasts, because of their lower price points,” said eMarketer analyst Cindy Liu. The research firm anticipates continued growth for devices such as smartwatches and fitness trackers in the U.S., but slowed growth in terms of usage. Continue reading Forecast: Smart Speakers Will Outsell Wearables This Season