Tech News to Watch This Week

Memorial Day weekend is a treasured American holiday and I hope we all had the opportunity to disconnect from all our gadgets and gizmos and celebrate the brave men and women who defend our country.

Enter Tuesday, and for most of us it’s back to the grind. So, just in case your three-day weekend disconnect has you a little behind on all your tech news, here are this week’s top five tech stories worth noting to kick off your short week. 

  1. Facebook takes giant leaps in the right direction, by changing practices that show they care about the privacy of their massive network of data. First, at the #F8 Developer’s conference, Facebook announced the introduction of an anonymous login option — which makes the user sign-in experience quick and efficient without exposing personal data. They changed the default share setting for users to “friends” instead of the easy to overlook “public,” and are also disallowing access to data that is not used.

  2. Pinterest rolls out their new Insights tool and consults a small group of businesses in their Marketing Technology (“MarTech”) program on how to better engage and study the behaviors of pinners. This is a key addition to Pinterest’s platform for advertisers, as they attempt to monetize the network for businesses who are trying to optimally reach and grow audiences through Pinterest.

  3. A big whammy of news as AT&T tells us they plan to acquire DIRECTV for $45.8B in an attempt to complete their bundle with more broadcasting offerings. In turn, AT&T will gain a massive subscriber base — but there’s a catch. DIRECTV must successfully renew their contract with the NFL for Sunday Ticket which gives viewers the ability to watch any game, including those that are not televised (i.e. being a Buffalo Bills fan in Austin TX, this network is crucial to my happiness). And AT&T isn’t bluffing, if DIRECTV can’t seal the renewal, contractually AT&T has given themselves the option to pull out of the deal.

  4. Coachella joins the future, along with MLB’s Advanced Media, by bringing Apple’s iBeacon technology to upcoming events. With iBeacon stations built-in to different areas of a venue (merchandise stand, concessions, contest check-in, different stages, etc…) with the user’s permission, they can send push notifications relevant to that action. This tracking will help venues acquire behavioral data on massive offline audiences, and with these insights can better manage sponsor and vendor relationships, ultimately making for a better experience for concert-goers and game-watchers. iBeacon technology is the key for combining offline and online behaviors and traits, ultimately tying together our digital — or Internet of Things — lives.

  5. Uber’s valuation soars even more than expected, to a reported $17 billion. If you live in one of the more controversial locations like Austin, TX, you know that saying the U word around here is guaranteed to strike a chord. Uber is currently not allowed to do business in Austin, as well as a number of other U.S. cities. Uber, however, isn’t backing down — and neither are Austin residents. For such a progressive, booming tech hub, it’s shocking that an innovation like Uber still doesn’t have a place in the community. Support the cause or let us know why you don’t by using the hashtag #AUSTINNEEDSUBER, and help Austin and Uber rally to end the ban.