Verizon AOL

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 discuss the purchase of AOL by Verizon, Facebook’s launch of Instant Articles, and Tango’s mobile shopping feature.

Verizon buys AOL

Verizon has been working hard to build a presence in the online and mobile video space. They just made a big move toward that goal by acquiring AOL for $4.4 billion.

In AOL, Verizon acquires a company that has extremely popular content businesses like the Huffington Post and TechCrunch. But what made AOL so attractive was the technology they’ve built for automating online ad sales and delivering high-quality internet video.

The mobile network industry has been characterized by constant price decreases to steal market share, so Verizon sees a potent revenue stream in providing digital video over its airwaves. The company announced vague plans to launch a mobile video product this summer, and the AOL acquisition now seems to be a part of that initiative.

Facebook launches Instant Articles

Facebook wants to keep everyone on its mobile app for as long as possible. Instant Articles will help them do this, and help you access news articles more quickly.

According to Facebook, clicking an article link in your News Feed and reading it from a mobile browser can take eight seconds, by far the slowest piece of content on their platform. But with Instant Articles, you’ll be able to access these articles up to ten times faster.

Instant Articles will let publishers like Buzzfeed, NY Times, The Guardian, and others publish their content directly onto Facebook. These articles will have more interactive features, like auto-play videos, interactive graphics, and many more, that will make this content more engaging than on the mobile web.

Depending on someone else’s platform for distribution is a dangerous game, but Facebook has become too important to the livelihood of news outlets. Instant Articles will make it even more so.

Messaging app Tango launches mobile shopping feature

Tango, a messaging app that boasts over 300 million users, launched a new mobile commerce feature with partners WalMart and AliExpress, the online retail marketplace owned by China’s Alibaba Group.

U.S. Tango users will be able to search and buy millions of products from Walmart.com and AliExpress directly from the app. Users can discover new products from curated lists as well as create their own catalogs and share them with their friends.

Many messaging apps are striving to offer more than just communications. Snapchat and Facebook Messenger allow you to swap money with friends, and Korea’s KakaoTalk and China’s WeChat lets you access deals and purchase gifts. Tango also hopes to become a multi-faceted mobile platform and take advantage of the massive burgeoning mobile commerce market.

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.

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Image courtesy of PC Mag.