Weekly Digital News Roundup: Nov 13 – Nov 17
AT&T and Starbucks Bring Wireless Phone Chargers to Some Coffee Shops
- According to The New York Times, AT&T and Starbucks said that beginning Tuesday, Starbucks would offer wireless charging in at least 200 of its cafes in the United States. Starbucks will start with coffee shops in the San Francisco Bay Area and eventually expand the service to other parts of the country.
- The wireless charging will use technology developed by Power Matters Alliance, an organization backed by AT&T, Starbucks and Google. The technology involves magnetic induction: When a phone is placed on a surface, an electrical current creates a magnetic field, which creates voltage to power the phone.
- At Starbucks cafes, the wireless charging will be embedded in the surfaces of tables and bars so that customers can charge their phones while they sit. Only some phones are compatible with the wireless charging out of the box; consumers can check carrier websites to see if their device can be charged. For phones that are incompatible, Starbucks customers can borrow or purchase a ring that plugs into an iPhone or Android device, and the ring can be placed on the charging surface to draw power for the phone.
‘Facebook at Work’ looks to compete with Microsoft Office, others
- According to the LA Times, Facebook could soon compete with Microsoft Office, LinkedIn and Google Drive on workplace collaboration tools called “Facebook at Work.”
- “Facebook at Work” lets users communicate with their co-workers using the social network’s traditional tools, such as news feed, messaging and groups, the source said. The product would also allow users to keep their personal Facebook profiles separate from work accounts.
- While little is publicly known about the features of Facebook at Work, analysts say if the platform can be used as an online business networking tool and allow users to collaborate on a range of document types, it could compete directly with services such as Microsoft Office, LinkedIn and Google Drive. It could also take market share from companies such as LinkedIn, which currently has 90 million monthly active users. Facebook, in comparison, currently has 1.35 billion monthly active users.
Yahoo Will Soon Become The Default Search Engine In Firefox
- According to TechCrunch, starting in December, Firefox will use Yahoo as its default search engine in the United States on mobile and desktop. As a part of this five-year deal, Yahoo will also launch a new search experience for Firefox users in the U.S., which should go live at the same time Firefox makes the switch away from Google.
- The Mozilla Foundation has long made most of its money through its search partnership with Google, which has always been the default in Firefox. That contract with Google was set to expire this year, though, and it looks like either Yahoo made an offer Mozilla couldn’t refuse or Google decided to walk away from the deal.
- Yahoo Search, in its current form, is powered by Microsoft Bing, of course, though the company heavily modifies the results it gets from Microsoft, both in terms of layout and ranking. There have long been rumors that Yahoo could end this deal and bring back its own search engine, but that seems unlikely given the investment the company would have to make after it previously dismantled its old search engine infrastructure.