Welcome to “The Week in Technology“, where we recap some of the most interesting technology and mobile stories from the past week.
This week, we’ll cover how Target got hacked, Facebook’s introduction of video ads, PayPal’s and Amazon’s moves in mobile payments, and how Uber pissed off a lot of people last weekend. Let’s go!
Target point-of-sale systems get hacked
Hackers acquired customer names, credit card numbers, expiration dates, and CVV codes – all the information you need to use your credit card to make a purchase. Only customers who visited physical stores are at risk.
In the midst of holiday shopping season, this isn’t a good look for the retailer.
Facebook introduces video ads
We knew the time would come, and that time is now – Facebook will test video ads in some users’ News Feeds starting this week.
Video ads can be really annoying but the company was actually pretty thoughtful about implementing them without taking over the user experience. While the video ads will auto-play, audio will be muted until the user interacts with the ad. That’s a stark contrast to those annoying video ads that just blast you with sight and sound immediately.
Additionally, when a video ad is accessed on a mobile device, the video won’t run unless it has been synchronized via Wi-Fi, eliminating mobile data usage concerns.
Facebook is clearly making a push to compete with the likes of YouTube and even television, and likely will charge a premium (at least $1M) for an ad campaign. While the potential for huge revenue is there, only time will tell if these video ads rub its users the wrong way.
PayPal and Amazon make moves in mobile payments
Mobile payments is a super-hot segment of the tech industry and it’s almost weekly that we hear news about big moves from tech titans as they battle for supremacy.
PayPal, the long-time leader in electronic payments but somewhat a laggard in m-payments, purchased Stackmob, the mobile backend-as-a-service provider this week. This buy, along with the acquisition of Braintree, is part of a big push to court mobile developers to build apps using PayPal’s payment network.
Amazon is making some moves as well, as they’ve scooped up tablet point-of-sale and mobile payments startup GoPago. While the company hasn’t announced exactly what they’ll do with their new toy, expansion of Amazon Payments to the in-store retail world is a likely move.
Riders spit venom at Uber for surge pricing
Uber may have been one of the most hated companies last weekend.
While the Northeast got pummeled with snow, Uber users’ wallets got pummeled as well, as the company’s surge pricing increased fares by up to 10x. Uber claims that this is merely a supply and demand issue and the increased prices are necessary to get drivers on the road during poor conditions, when demand is higher. But “E.C.” from L.A. calls BS on that reasoning.
It doesn’t look like Uber will change their surge pricing policy anytime soon and it remains to be seen if riders react by passing on the service.
Have you read other interesting mobile and technology stories this week that are worth mentioning? Feel free to add them in the comments.