2018 March Tech News You Need To Know
Each new month inevitably brings all new tech news and trends. For busy business owners that can’t stay on top of it all alone, we’ve once again created a monthly roundup of tech stories to have on your radar this month.
Tech Platforms Ban Nazis
Now and then, we see tech companies taking a political stand. This month, two notable instances of it involve companies kicking Nazis off their platform.
YouTube banned two channels run by a neo-nazi group after media scrutiny and outrage over the hate speech expressed on the channels. And chat platform Discord shut down several neo-nazi servers as well. While taking a stand against nazis isn’t the boldest of moves, in YouTube’s case it still took outside media and users drawing attention to the channel for them to take that step.
New Releases from Mobile World Congress
Tech companies used the Mobile World Congress last month to announce new device models and feature updates.
The new devices demonstrated a real trend toward increasing screen size without adding to the phone size by reducing the bezels (the part of the phone around the screen) and a growing tendency to drop headphone jacks from phone designs, suggesting tech companies think Bluetooth headphones are dominant enough in the market to replace any need for plug-in headphones.
Parkland Survivors Use Social Media to Seek Change
One of the biggest stories of February was the mass shooting at a high school in Parkland, Florida. Sadly, mass shootings and even school shootings are common enough that this one could have been another case where it gets mentioned on the news for a day or two before the country moves on to other stories.
But because the survivors of this one are social media savvy teens, they’ve turned their experience into a movement to demand gun control. They’ve successfully commanded the attention of the media and politicians (and are way better with a social media burn than any of the politicians that try to go toe to toe with them), showing in the process how social media skills can be used to really make a difference.
So far, Parkland is *not* fading from the news the way that mass shootings usually do. (The graph shows Google searches for the term “gun control”.) The students speaking out makes a pretty big difference. pic.twitter.com/8IcJuJ6yTS
— Nate Silver (@NateSilver538) February 18, 2018
Dropbox Files for IPO
The cloud storage and file syncing company that’s used by millions filed for IPO with plans to go public in the coming month with hopes of raising $500 million. With more than 11 million paying customers, the company has been gaining in popularity over the past few years, although still on the whole losing money in that time. Nonetheless, a strong brand and recent growth should work in the company’s favor once it hits the market.
Spotify IPO Launches
The other big tech IPO making news this month is the popular streaming music service Spotify. The company filed on the last day of February and experts predict the company is worth $23 billion. In spite of having over 70 million customers though, the company struggles to be profitable due to the high cost of royalty fees for the music they provide.
Google Assistant Adding Functionality
While smart assistants are popular, there are still some real limitations on how well they work and what they can do. Google is hard at work trying to add to the uses people can turn to their Google Assistant for though. Just this last month, they announced adding a routines feature, which lets people create custom commands that tie multiple types of requests together. So you could say “OK Google, morning routine” and have the music and lighting of your choice come on together, for instance.
They have also added location-based reminders, so you can tell your smart assistant to remind you to get gas on your way to work and have your phone give you an alert once it senses you’ve left the house. And they’re teaching the assistant new languages, expecting it to support over 30 languages by the end of the year.
With March upon us, that means loads of people in the tech world are about to head to Austin for SXSW Interactive. From March 9 through 13, experts from around the world will give presentations on topics ranging from how AI will transform fashion to the emotional life of autonomous cars.
For anyone wanting to hear about both quirky and serious ideas on the forefront of tech and culture, the conference is a must.
Google Launches New AR Functionality
In addition to the work they’re doing with their smart assistant, Google is also working to provide AR features to a range of compatible phones. Google Lens will make it possible for people to point their phone at something and learn about it – whether landmarks, plants, or art. In addition, their ARCore augmented reality platform lets people see an overlay of AR stickers on the world in front of them through their phone.
AR has been getting a lot of traction in the tech world lately and these moves by Google take us one step further in a direction we can expect to see them and other tech companies continue down.
Snap Has a Rocky Month
Snapchat is one of the biggest social media platforms out there, but they hit some snags in the past few weeks. For one, they released a new design and instead of hearing great feedback on the hard work they presumably put into those changes, they got a petition signed by over a million people asking them to change it back. Yikes. To make matters worse, a negative Tweet from Kylie Jenner basically saying the platform is over may have contributed to a $1.3 billion drop in the company’s value on the stock market.
sooo does anyone else not open Snapchat anymore? Or is it just me… ugh this is so sad.
— Kylie Jenner (@KylieJenner) February 21, 2018
That’s a lot of bad PR in a short amount of time. The company clearly has its work out for them if they want to win back some of the popularity they just lost.
March is looking to be a big month in tech and we can only imagine what to expect from April. Check back next month for a new update on tech news and trends to be aware of.
Kristen Hicks is an Austin-based freelance content writer and lifelong learner with an ongoing curiosity to learn new things. She uses that curiosity, combined with her experience as a freelance business owner, to write about subjects valuable to small business owners on the HostGator blog. You can find her on Twitter at @atxcopywriter.