Welcome to this week’s edition of “The Week in Tech,” where we recap some of the most interesting technology and mobile stories from the past week.
This week we highlight the announcements made at Facebook F8, Twitter’s moves, and Microsoft’s partnership with Samsung to pre-load Office apps on tablets.
Facebook announces a ton of stuff at F8
Facebook held its F8 developer conference in San Francisco this week and announced a bunch of exciting initiatives. Here are some of the highlights:
Messenger as a Platform
Facebook’s Messenger app isn’t just an app; it’s now a platform where third-party developers can add features to enhance the app’s functionality. Think of it like a mini app store within Messenger, where you can add features like a drawing tool to send doodles to your friends, or an ESPN plugin that curates sports content that you can share.
Additionally, Messenger users will be able to connect directly with businesses to place and edit orders with online retailers.
New and improved mobile app development tools
The company also announced new tools that help mobile developers build apps faster and learn more about their users.
Facebook’s Parse development platform has now added software developer kits for app developers to incorporate data from connected devices like wearables and smart home gadgets. Parse also announced a debugging tool to help developers easily find and correct software bugs.
The company also launched a new, free mobile app analytics tool that will help developers better understand their users.
Successful tests of internet-beaming drones
The company also revealed that it successfully tested its internet-beaming drones in the United Kingdom.
The solar-powered, unmanned drones have a wingspan of a Boeing 737 but weighs less than a car. The drones will be used to provide connectivity to remote parts of the world where internet access isn’t available.
For a complete round up of announcements, check out Venture Beat’s coverage of F8.
Twitter teams with Foursquare on location-based tweets, launches Periscope to compete with Meerkat
Twitter was pretty busy this week as well.
First, the microblogging site announced a partnership with Foursquare to allow users to identify their exact location in their tweets. Before this partnership, location-based tweets only showed the general area where you were, such as a city. Now tweets can be tagged with an exact location like a specific restaurant or retail store.
Twitter also launched Periscope, a live-video streaming app that the company acquired in January, to compete with much-hyped competitor Meerkat. The primary difference between both apps is that after a broadcast is over, Meerkat users can’t access it anymore, while Periscope users can view it at a later time. Twitter recently cut off Meerkat’s access to its social graph before its launch of Periscope.
The live-streaming wars have begun.
Samsung to pre-install Office apps on select tablets
Microsoft has cut a deal with Samsung to have its Office productivity apps pre-loaded on select tablets.
Samsung will be shipping these tablets during the first half of 2015. Upon turning on your Samsung tablet, you’ll see the icons for Word, Excel, Powerpoint, OneNote, OneDrive, and Skype on your home screen.
Samsung is trying to cater more to the business crowd and will also include its Knox mobile device management and security platform on these tablets. Microsoft has become open to distributing its products on more and more platforms, even if they may be competitive, like Android is to Windows.
Photo courtesy of Quartz.