Welcome to this edition of “The Week in Tech,” where we recap some of the most interesting technology and mobile stories from the past week.
Today we cover Facebook at Work, Snapchat’s partnership with Square, Uber’s hatred of journalists, NYC’s hotspot network, and what Apple wants to do with Beats Music.
Facebook reportedly working on enterprise product
Facebook is rumored to be working on “Facebook at Work,” a product that allows professionals to connect with others, message fellow employees, and collaborate with colleagues.
This will put the world’s largest social network in direct competition with LinkedIn, Microsoft’s Yammer, Salesforce’s Chatter and newcomer Slack in the race to dominate enterprise social networking and collaboration.
While the product would be completely separate from the personal social network, the enterprise version of Facebook will likely have a familiar look and feel to it so users won’t have a learning curve. But the big question is whether IT departments will trust Facebook as a secure enterprise tool.
Snapchat partners with Square to deliver P2P payments
Snapchat and Square are partnering to introduce Snapcash, an easy way to send money through the Snapchat application.
The emphasis is on the word “easy.” After connecting a debit card, all you have to do is start a message, type a dollar sign and the amount you want to pay and hit “Send.”
This is a win-win partnership. Square’s peer-to-peer payments product, Square Cash, has struggled to gain adoption, so this is a quick way to gain access to millions of users. Snapchat now has a P2P payments feature that other social networks lack and the infrastructure to potentially facilitate e-commerce transactions in the future.
Uber executive wants to dig up dirt about journalists
Ugh, Uber. What a great product but horrible company.
First, the company uses cutthroat tactics against its rival, Lyft. Then there are the many sexist and misogynistic moves made by the company. Now, an Uber executive says the company should research the personal lives of journalists so the company can fight back against its critics.
The executive who made those comments was Emil Michael, Uber’s SVP of Business. He suggested that Uber could put together a team of opposition researchers who would look into journalists’ “personal lives and families,” and give the media a taste of its own medicine.
I don’t know about you, but I just became a Lyft customer.
Payphones in NYC will soon become WiFi hotspots
I guess there won’t be a sequel to the movie “Phone Booth,” and not because it was a horrible flick. Actually, it’s because New York City is turning all of their phone booths into high-speed WiFi hubs.
The project, called LinkNYC, will replace all of the city’s phone booths with 9.5-foot-tall hubs that provide super-fast WiFi speeds up to 1 gigabit per second. New York claims this will be the largest and fastest free municipal WiFI network in the world.
The hubs will also have built-in Android tablets with pre-loaded apps, a charging station for your gadgets, and of course, you’ll be able to make phone calls, too.
But, of course, with free services comes advertising. Implementation of the hubs is estimated to cost $200 million, but the city plans to generate $500 million from advertising over the next 12 years.
Apple to include Beats in next iOS
Apple is expected to bundle its newly-acquired Beats subscription music service into the next iteration of iOS, potentially giving it a leg up on other mobile music services like Pandora and Spotify.
Beats’ subscription numbers are still pretty low compared to its competition, and Apple sells a ton of iPhones, so this makes a lot of sense for the Cupertino, CA company. They certainly have to do something to justify the $3-billion price they paid for Beats.
If you’re not a Beats subscriber, you can just file the app into some folder with all of the other Apple apps you don’t use.
What do you think of these stories? Have you read other interesting mobile and technology stories this week that are worth mentioning? Feel free to add your thoughts to the comments.