"Unriddled" is HubSpot's weekly digest of the tech headlines you need to know. We give you the top tech stories in a quick, scannable way and break it all down. It's tech news: explained.
1. What's New With Amazon?
The Eero Acquisition
Amazon dominated much of the tech news cycle over the past week, starting with last Tuesday's announcement that it will acquire Eero: a WiFi technology company that provides better in-home wireless internet coverage by providing a system multiple routers that connect to one another.
As mobile and digital media analyst Benedict Evans noted in his weekly newsletter, multiple routers means better coverage for a number of connected devices throughout the home -- including pieces of a smart home, like Amazon Echo speakers.
Amazon's acquisition of Eero -- a company that makes this type of technology -- suggests it could be "building a strategy around connecting and controlling devices in your home, perhaps for prosaic things like letting in delivery people, but more fundamentally because Amazon wants to plumb your home for Prime - to own the last ten yards of physical distribution." Read full story >>
Alexa Skill Creation for All
When Amazon launched its Alexa Skill Blueprints program last year, it made it easy for anyone to create a customized skill for the company's voice assistant. Now, Amazon has announced that anyone can both create these skills but also publish them to the Alexa Skills Store for all users to download.
These include such skills as audio versions of academic lectures, as well as flash briefings that could be read when Alexa users ask for the latest news. What remains to be seen, however, is which user-generated skills Amazon will (not) allow onto the Alexa Skill Store. Terms of its services developer agreement can be found here. Read full story >>
Amazon Says It Won't Build an HQ in New York, After All
When Amazon selected two cities for its second headquarters -- one of which was New York City's Queens borough -- the response was mixed. Now, Amazon says it won't move forward with those plans. Here are the different sides to the story, and what it could mean in the greater context of industry expansion. Read full story >>
2. The Latest From Apple
A News Subscription Service That Not Everyone Loves
Apple is reportedly planning a new subscription service as an extension of its Apple News app, which serves as a personalized curated content platform to help users read stories on topics and from outlets of their choice, as well as discover new ones.
This subscription service would allow users to pay for a monthly membership of sorts -- something like Amazon Prime or Netflix, for example -- that would permit access to unlimited content from certain outlets. But there's a catch: Apple says it will keep 50% of the subscription fee, which has left many publishers, including the New York Times and the Washington Post, resisting the proposed plan.
Apple, meanwhile, is also scheduled to host a 'services-focused' media event at its Cupertino Apple Park HQ, where many expect the company to announce this new subscription model. Read full story >>
Streaming, by Apple
Apple is also said to be launching a video streaming service in what could be an effort to catch up to such counterparts as Netflix and Hulu. While Apple was once a leading force in online video by way of its iTunes Store, where users could download movies and TV shows for a one-by-one fee, it has yet to fully launch an aggregated and original content streaming service of its own. Read full story >>
Leadership Changes Abound
After facing disappointing iPhone sales, Apple has finally made a number internal leadership changes to shift focus from hardware -- like mobile devices -- to services, such as the aforementioned News subscription model.
3. A Report on Fake News (And Facebook)
UK Parliament this week published the final version of its "Disinformation and
'Fake News'" report, where it documented several alleged missteps by social media giant Facebook over the past several years -- at one point even referring to the company as "digital gangsters."
According to the report, Facebook knowingly violated laws pertaining to both privacy and competition, and left members of the House of Commons' Digital, Culture, Media and Sport Committee dissatisfied with its lack of response to the improper use of personal user data as far back as 2014.
The findings noted within the report have lead the Committee to call for a formal investigation of Facebook's leveraging of user data, as well as any anti-competitive action the company might be taking. Read full story >>
4. Coming Soon: An Instagram Fundraising Sticker
Recently discovered code from Instagram's Android app could indicate that Instagram is working to create a "Donate" sticker, which users could add to their Stories to prompt followers to participate in fundraiser.
The new feature, according to TechCrunch, would allow users to search for various nonprofits and add a Donate button for a particular one, prompting participating fundraiser users for their payment information -- which Instagram could later use for other instant checkout transactions. Read full story >>
5. Also Coming Soon: "Link to This Excerpt" in Chrome
Google's Chrome internet browser is rolling out a new feature that will allow users to share links to a specific word or sentence on a page.
Similar to how YouTube allows viewers to share a link to videos that forces them to start playing from a certain timestamp, Chrome has introduced a "Scroll to Text" feature, which creates a link that targets a specific section of text on a page.
According to Chrome Story, the feature is slowly becoming available on the Canary version of Chrome, a primary purpose of which is to let developers try new browser features. Read full story >>
6. What Can a Brain Scan Tell Us About Stress and Technology?
When someone invites you to try wearable technology that can lower your stress level in 30 seconds -- and pair it with a personal brain scan -- you say, 'Yes.' Here's what happened when we gave it a try. Read full story >>