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Google vs Apple: Tech Giants Duke it Out to Serve You Better

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With Google and Apple in a perpetual war to provide you with their tech goods, what is even worth paying attention to anymore? Will any of their new products or features really save you time? Here are a few new features the tech giants have announced, and how they may prove useful to your business and personal life:

Apple:

  • Siri Spotlight: “Suggests people to contact based on future meetings or nearby businesses. It will also find gas stations once you’re near the rental-car office,” as it gathers data on your patterns and behaviors to better serve you.
  • Traffic: Apple will phone tap traffic signals to let you know the most optimal time to be leaving your meeting in order to make it to your next endeavor before getting caught in the traffic or rain.
  • Privacy: Apple’s devices will know a lot about you, but Apple won’t as personal data will never leave your device.

Google:

  • Google Now: Have content from emails and messages instantly become entries on your calendar. Receive an email to meet a certain deadline? Set a reminder with just a single tap.
  • User Data: While Google doesn’t sell your info, it does use it to target to your for paying advertisers. If this makes you uncomfortable, you many want to opt out.
  • Invasive, but Helpful: Google is counting on using your data to best serve you and save you time. But how much it peeks into your data may be off-putting to certain users.

Overall, both giants are looking to save you time and money, but ultimately it may come down to how much of your privacy you are willing to give up in order to receive the best service. Is the convenience worth giving all your information over to Big Brother? That is for you to decide.

Click here for the full article in The Wall Street Journal

The Technicalities of a ‘Tech’ Startup

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With “tech startups” being everyone’s favorite buzzword – are we simply diluting the term? “Tech” startups like Uber and Airbnb (yes, they are still labeled as startups) are taking over the world,  but what about them makes them a “Tech” company? Of course, technology is a key part of how they do business, but that is true of any company. The truth lies at the core of the word “tech” and what people associate with it: research, innovation, and long term thinking, not necessarily just producing hardware or software. The chief economist at Moody Analytics, Mark Zandi, suggests that the label of “tech” sends the message “you want to work for me. You want to buy things from me at a higher price. You want to give me capital at a lower cost.”

Ultimately, is the classification of “tech” just marketing? Likely so. Alex Payne, an early Twitter engineer and tech investor, wrote in 2012: “Calling practically all growing contemporary businesses ‘technology companies’ is about as useful as calling the enterprises of the industrial era ‘factory companies.’ ” Would calling Uber a transportation startup or Airbnb a hospitality startup be as exciting? Likely not. What is sure is that “tech startups” are looking to revolutionize your way of life no matter what industry they’re doing it through.

Read the full article in the New York Times here.

 

Is Aaron Levie Really Thinking Outside the Box?

box-blog427Silicon Valley CEO Aaron Levie dropped out of college ten years ago to start his company, Box. Providing cloud computing services, Levie’s company is currently worth $2.1 billion and services over 40,000 paying customers which includes about half of the Fortune 500. However, it is not meeting growth projections and is counting on creating an ecosystem just as Apple and Microsoft have with their products. Levie argues it can be the center of a new industry “by helping other companies and third-party consultants create applications that can quickly draw off Box’s cloud-based collaboration technology.”

Despite these ambitions, Box has lost $167 million on revenue of $216 million which is still an improvement from the year before. This year, revenue is expected to grow by another 30 percent, “a marked slowdown that Mr. Levie hopes the new developer strategy may also turn around.” These losses scare not only Box, but also the generations of young tech ventures that never experienced the massive downturn that took place between 2000-2001.

Seasoned investors worry that newcomers may not take the risks as seriously. Ultimately, the losses faced by Box and newer tech companies as they rapidly grow are starting to catch up with them, and may be the beginning of a new downward trend in Silicon Valley.

Read the article here on The New York Times