In the News: Legal Heroes, Wix Make Big Announcements

There are plenty of online resources available for helping small businesses find legal resources. But obtaining actual legal counsel has still been a relatively involved process — until now. Legal Hero just introduced a new service that offers on-demand legal help for small businesses.

In addition, Web building software company Wix made headlines recently with an announcement of its own.

Read about these news items and more in this week’s Small Business Trends News and Information Roundup.

New Features

Looking for General Counsel? This Site May Do the Trick

Legal Hero, an online portal designed to connect small businesses and entrepreneurs with legal help, has introduced a new service that will provide “on-demand” legal counsel for these companies.

New Wix Web Editor Launched to Make Sites Easier to Build

Wix.com, the drag and drop Web design platform, has just announced a full redesign of its cloud based Web editing software. The redesign introduces a range of new features, including some to help businesses personalize and tailor their sites to be more effective. If you are a do-it-yourselfer when it comes to your small business and its website, you may already be familiar with Wix.com.

Crowdfunding

Crowdfunding Platform Kickstarter is Now a Public Benefit Corporation

It’s not unusual for businesses to proclaim their commitment to the greater good, although only a few actually live up to their promises. That’s why Kickstarter’s decision to reincorporate as a public benefit corporation has pleasantly surprised many. The crowdfunding company has joined the ranks of organizations like Patagonia and This American Life to take this big step.

Social Media

Is the Twitter 140 Character Limit About to Change?

One of Twitter’s trademark features is its 140 character limit. But is that about to change? A report from ReCode suggests the social media company is considering a product or feature allowing users to create longer-form content on the service.

Are YouTube Advertisers Paying for Bots?

A new study by European researchers questions the reliability of the method used by Google to charge advertisers for YouTube ads. In their study (PDF), the researchers claim that Google charges advertisers for YouTube views even when YouTube’s systems flag a view as coming from a robot rather than a human.

Facebook Notes Transforms into a Publishing Platform

The long-forgotten Facebook Notes feature is finally getting a much needed makeover. The refreshed feature now comes with exciting new tools to add images, format layout and resize photos — and is available to everyone. Facebook published a post to announce the official roll-out of the revamped feature currently available on its desktop version.

Technology

Dennis Mortensen of X.ai: Artificial Intelligence is Driving the Rise of Virtual Agents

I’ve been using the Amazon Echo device for almost a year. And most of what I do is ask Alexa — the virtual assistant in Echo — what the weather is, who won the Rams game, add batteries to my shopping list, or even to play the new song from Prince. I also use Siri to dial people on my iPhone when I’m in the car.

The First LG Laptops Are on Their Way to the U.S. Market

LG, the Korean electronics giant known for its smartphones, appliances and tablets is bringing its first laptops to the U.S. market. The company announced the release of the Gram series of laptops in a press release recently. The machines, named Gram to highlight their light weight, are available in 13-inch and 14-inch models.

9 Photo Apps for Windows 10 to Spruce Up Your Images

Nearly everything associated with your small business online presence — and some offline tasks — requires having top-notch images. These images have proven to be vital for social media updates and to make your website look a little better. Quality images can also spruce up presentations and more.

Loans

Biz2Credit Index Sees Institutional Lending Continue to Climb

While institutional lenders continued to gain ground on the small business lending front, Biz2Credit’s Small Business Lending Index for August saw a slight slump for big and small banks. Biz2Credit ascribed the 0.1 point drop to the issues related to the Small Business Administration reaching its $18.75 billion spending cap in late July.

Small Biz Spotlight

Spotlight: GreyCampus Offers a New Way to Train Your Team

Training employees in different areas of your business can be a time-consuming and expensive process. You want employees to learn from an actual instructor who knows what he or she is talking about. But the smallest of businesses don’t always have the personnel available to drop their own work and train new team members. That’s where GreyCampus comes in.

Mobile

Here Are 6 New Devices from Microsoft’s Mega Event

Microsoft just wrapped up a live event in New York. There, the company announced a fleet of new products it is calling the new era of Windows 10 devices. Two new Surface devices, several Lumia phone,s and a HoloLens — yeah, one you might actually be able to buy — top the list of the most interesting devices unveiled.

The Moto X Pure Edition is an Anti-Bloatware Smartphone

The Moto X Pure Edition is the third and latest iteration of the Moto X, and surprisingly priced lower than 2014’s Moto X. It’s the first Motorola phone with which Lenovo has been involved. And the device may become best known for what it doesn’t have rather than for what it does.

Stagefright Update: Your Android Phone May Still be Vulnerable

It looks like Stagefright strikes again. The security bug that preyed upon phones running versions of Android OS between 2.2 and 4, has now reared its head to attack devices running Android 5.0 and above. Joshua J. Drake, Zimperium zLabs vice president of research, has found another security issue in Android called Stagefright 2.0.

LG Launches Smartphone with Multimedia Capabilities

LG has introduced a new smartphone series. Dubbed the V series, this fleet of new mobile devices was launched recently with the unveiling of the LG V10. And the company boasts there are many more “firsts” coming with this newest phone. Perhaps most noteworthy is LG’s claim that the V10 represents the “first” smartphone with “multimedia capabilities never seen in a mobile device.

More 4G for India and Africa? Here’s How Your Business Benefits

Emerging markets such as India and Africa are focused on the potential of high-speed mobile connectivity to boost their economies like never before. As a result, faster 4G connections are rapidly gaining momentum in these markets. For small businesses — including those in the U.S. — this could open a window of exciting opportunities too.

Samsung Will Actually Pay You to Buy This Device

Samsung is literally paying for customers to buy its smartphones. The company is lagging behind Apple in smartphone sales lately and hopes paying the first three months of a new customer’s phone installment payment will sway some people to try one of its devices. The company’s offer lasts until Oct. 16.

Toshiba Upgrades Chromebook 2 With Better Processors

Chromebooks are designed to work out of the box without adding anything else. This has proven to be a very successful delivery model in different segments, but especially in education, where it has seen the highest adoption rates. As a company that makes one of the better Chromebooks, Toshiba has launched the second iteration of its Chromebook 2.

10.2 Inch Tablet Coming From Google: Meet Pixel C

Among the many announcements made at Google’s Nexus event on Tuesday, including two new Nexus phones, the company revealed their all in-house 10.2 inch tablet, the Pixel C. You may recognize the Pixel name. Google released the original Chromebook Pixel several years ago, the newest version having come out earlier this year.

[“source-smallbiztrends”]

Xero, Shopify and More Make Financial Announcements

Businesses that need help managing finances online got some welcome news this week. Xero and Wells Fargo unveiled a new financial tool, and Shopify announced that Apple Pay will be available as a payment option later this year.

Read on for these headlines and more in this week’s Small Business Trends news and information roundup.

Finance

Xero and Wells Fargo Unlock Financial Web for Business

Cloud-based accounting software platform provider Xero (NZE:XRO) and banking behemoth Wells Fargo & Company (NYSE:WFC) just did their small business customers a huge favor.

Shopify Announces Apple Pay as New Payment Option

The release of the new iOS 10 was not the only announcement made at the Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) Worldwide Developers Conference in San Francisco recently. The tech giant said that Apple Pay, Apple’s mobile-payment service, will come to the Web this fall.

Economy

Texas, Utah Rank High as Small Business Friendly States, Survey Says

Running a company successfully is a challenge no matter where you are located, but in some business-friendly cities and states entrepreneurs have a relatively easier time. Small Business Friendly States and Cities According to a new study by Thumbtack, San Antonio and Nashville are the friendliest cities to small businesses. Among the states, Texas and Utah are the top favorites.

Nancy Pelosi Says Government, Not Apple, Made iPhone – Really?

House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi has come under heavy fire after arguing the iPhone was “invented” by the federal government rather than Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL). It’s only the latest in what seems a trend among political leaders trying to take credit for innovation and economic development away from entrepreneurs and the business community.

Employment

Web.com Announces New Appointments After Yodle Acquisition

Coming soon after acquiring local online marketing startup Yodle, Web.com Group, Inc. (NASDAQ:WEB) has announced some new appointments as it integrates the new acquisition into its company. Yodle, which focuses on local online marketing for small businesses, is an important addition to Web.com.

How the New York Paid Family Leave Act Affects Small Businesses

New York state just passed a paid family leave proposal that some see as the most forward-thinking piece of legislation of its kind ever enacted. Others feel it could turn into a bitter pill that the state’s hundreds of thousands of small businesses may be forced to swallow.

Management

New PayChex WORX Small Business Resource Center Provides Advice

Human resources industry leader Paychex (NASDAQ:PAYX) has expanded its digital resource base with the launch of an all-new content hub. Paychex WORX is designed to further complement Paychex’s human capital management services by providing businesses of all shapes and sizes with meaningful tips and tricks to assist them in establishing market dominance.

Advertising

New Facebook Ads Promote, Measure In-Store Visits, Purchases

Mobile technology is changing the way people shop. And that doesn’t mean that people are just using mobile payments or completing purchases from their phones. Consumers also use their mobile devices to find physical retail locations where they can make purchases.

Small Biz Spotlight

Spotlight: Black Dinah Chocolatiers Makes Chocolate an Experience

Some businesses can succeed regardless of their location. Others are only created with a specific location in mind. Such is the case for Black Dinah Chocolatiers. The founders fell in love with Isle au Haut in Maine. And they built a chocolate business to support their life on the island. Read about their journey and the business in this week’s Small Business Spotlight.

Small Business Operations

Business Plus Introduces Payment Processing Service – 49 More Tools Coming

Business Plus, a small business management software and hardware technology provider, recently launched a payment processing solution that, it says, gives small businesses a “competitive edge.” The payment service represents the first of more than 50 tools the company plans to launch throughout the remainder of 2016, designed with small business management and marketing in mind.

So Long, Spreecast: Video Chat Platform Will Shut Down July 14

Businesses that have used Spreecast for video chat or larger forum discussions got some bad news last week when the company announced it will shut down the service effective July 14, 2016. The platform, unlike popular video chat options like Skype or Google Hangouts, didn’t require any software or integration with a specific platform in order for people to use it.

Social Media

How Much Do Small Businesses Spend on Facebook Marketing? Not That Much

Millions of small businesses are using Facebook but only half are spending any marketing dollars there. New data from Alignable shows that half of the small businesses it surveyed — among more than 1,200 of its users — spent $0 last quarter on their Facebook marketing efforts.

MySpace Hacked — That’s Right, MySpace — for User Info

Shortly before Memorial Day weekend in May, 2016, MySpace (yes, it does still exist), became aware that its user login data was being made available in an online hacker forum without authorization. Time Inc. (NYSE:TIME), the current owner of MySpace.com, later confirmed that indeed the once-popular social media site was hacked and its user data breached.

Startup

Why are Business Accelerators Increasing in Number?

AngelList, an online platform that matches high potential startups with investors and employees currently indicates that 578 accelerators are in operation, up from one in 2005. Why the enormous increase in the number of accelerators in the United States over the past decade? What’s Behind the Growing Number of Business Accelerators in the U.S.

Technology Trends

4 New LG X Series Phones Focus on Different Feature Sets

Smartphone makers are doing all they can to come up with the next best thing and until now, each attempt was designed to put more of the best technology in a single device. But there is only so much you can put in a form factor as small as a smartphone.

Apple iMessage Update Lets You Send Payments, Edit Photos, More

Until very recently, the thought of Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) ever opening its applications like other companies for developers with APIs and SDKs wasn’t even contemplated.

Apollo 7 Earbuds Deliver Wireless Experience – with Hiccups

Earbuds and earphones that block out the world and let you experience an audio book or take an important call anywhere are important to productivity. And for small business owners and entrepreneurs on the go, they can be vital to letting you stay connected. Over the last decade, companies have spent considerable time trying to improve both headphones and earbuds.

Meem Creates a Smartphone Backup Every Time You Recharge

MEEM is a charger, mini-computer and backup storage device all rolled into one designed to store the personal bits of data in your iOS or Android smartphone every time you plug it in. There is a lot of data on the smartphones you carry, some much more important than the rest. In most cases, the personal information, such as personal photos, has value that can’t be quantified.

Apple Unveils iOS 10 Update with New 3D Touch Pop Ups, More

Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) announced some updates to its mobile operating systems across the board during Apple Worldwide Developers Conference 2016 recently. Those updates included some new features and a more open policy for app developers, which will hopefully bring more innovative solutions in the future.

Apple Includes Siri for Mac in Latest Update

The thirteenth version of OS X got a name change to macOS, also called Sierra, and just like its two predecessors Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) has decided to keep the alpine theme with its latest operating system. But the feature that is getting the most attention right now is the availability of Siri for Mac.

69 Percent of SMBs Focus IT Budget on Emerging Tech

Sixty-nine percent of small and medium-sized businesses are devoting part of their IT budget for 2016 to newer and emerging technologies. These include technologies like 3D printers and wearable devices, as well as dashboard and data visualization software applications. The stat comes from a new survey-based whitepaper by technology company Insight Enterprises Inc. (NASDAQ: NSIT).

Image: Shopify

[“source-smallbiztrends”]

Google Home, Google Wifi, Daydream View, Chromecast Ultra, and Other Announcements

Google Home, Google Wifi, Daydream View, Chromecast Ultra, and Other Announcements

HIGHLIGHTS

  • Google unveiled an array of hardware products on Tuesday
  • The products are the fruits of the unified hardware division
  • The central theme of the products was smart home automation

Google at its #MadeByGoogle event unveiled its hardware portfolio, the fruits of the newly-formed hardware division under Rick Osterloh, the former President of Motorola Mobility. Apart from the Pixel and Pixel XL smartphones, Google unveiled the Home smart speaker, the Daydream View VR headset and controller, the Google Wifi smart router, and Chromecast Ultra.

The Google Daydream View virtual reality headset and controller have been priced at $79 (roughly Rs. 5,300), and will go on sale in the US in November. The Google Home smart speaker, powered by Google Assistant, will be available for $129 (roughly Rs. 8,600) – it goes up for pre-orders on Tuesday, and will start shipping from November 4 with a 6-month subscription to the ad-free YouTube Red.

The Google Wifi router is priced at $129 (roughly Rs. 8,600), will be available for pre-orders from November, and will ship in December in the US. A 3-pack of the router will cost $299 (roughly Rs. 19,900). The Chromecast Ultra, which now supports 4K video streaming, will be available in November for $69 (roughly Rs. 4,600).

The Google Home (seen below) smart speaker represents an important move in an intensifying battle between Google and other major tech players to establish the dominant “digital assistant.” Google Assistant, Amazon’s Alexa and Apple’s Siri are vying for supremacy as more people search the Web and make purchases online through voice commands, which may eventually supplant keyboards and touchscreens as the primary means of controlling some digital devices.

Google Home was described as a voice-based virtual assistant that lets people tap into the company’s online capabilities to answer questions, manage tasks, set up alarms and calendar events, control devices in homes, stream videos, audio casting, and more. Activated by the ‘Ok Google’ hotword, it acts as the centre of home automation, it connects to third-party IoT devices and platforms such as Next, Philips Hue, Samsung SmartThings, and IFTTT. It features a mic mute button, to reassure privacy conscious users it is not listening to them all the time. A Google Assistant SDK will be released later this year to help developers create compatible bots – for example, booking an Uber through the speaker.

Describing the audio capabilities, Google says the Home speaker features a three-speaker setup, alongside a dual passive radiator design for “crystal-clear highs and deep lows”. It also sports two omni-directional microphones and neural beamforming to recognise the user’s voice in spite of background noise and music. Apart from grouping several Home speakers across the house, the speaker can also be paired with Chromecast Audio and Cast-enabled speakers for multi-room support. The base will come in several colour variants and finishes, while the top portion remains the same, and features a capacitive touch surface to control it if required.

Coming to Google Wifi (seen below), the smart router uses mesh Wi-Fi technology to support modularity, letting users distribute several of the small routers across their home to ensure a widespread Wi-Fi network, instead of one single massive router for the purpose. The 3-pack is meant for users with a house larger than 1,500 square feet. It sports a LED light to show network status, an Ethernet port, and a USB Type-C port for power. It supports dual-band 5GHz Wi-Fi and AC1200 standards, with additional support for the Bluetooth Smart specification.

Google says the router uses machine learning-based Network Assist tech to let connected devices intelligently switch between one router to another, with a handoff time of less than 150 milliseconds. Everything about the router will be managed by a smartphone app for both Android and iOS, including administrator settings like parental controls and bandwidth prioritisation. Privacy and security features like verified boot and auto updates were also touted.

The Chromecast Ultra’s biggest USP is its support for 4K video streaming as well as HDR and Dolby Vision. The company is touting major Wi-Fi improvements that will let it load videos up to 1.8 faster than previous Chromecast dongles, and bears an Ethernet port if required. Chromecast Ultra (seen below) supports the new Google Home smart speaker hub, letting users control their TV via voice commands.

Finally, we come to Daydream View, the company’s first Daydream-ready headset and controller. The company says the headset is inspired by clothing, and features soft, breathable fabric that make it comfortable to wear and also 30 percent lighter than competing devices – it also works over spectacles. The headset is also hand-washable – a thoughtful addition considering the sweat and grime that can collect after hours of use. It will be available in Slate, Snow, and Crimson colours. Google says users just have to insert their Daydream-ready smartphones in the headset, and it takes care of alignment by itself.

As for the Daydream View controller (seen below), Google says the Bluetooth powered device can fit into the headset for easy storage, and features motion tracking sensors and a volume button. Apart from the US, the Daydream View headset will make its way to Canada, the UK, Australia, and Germany. Content partners such as The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, and J.K Rowling’s Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them were also announced, apart from MLB, NBA, Hulu, HBO, and Netflix.

Written with agency inputs

Disclosure: Gadgets 360’s travel and hotel for the event in San Francisco were sponsored by Google.

Subscribe to Orbital: The Gadgets 360 Podcast via iTunes or RSS and just hit the play button below to catch us discuss Pixel phones and all other announcements from Google’s event on Tuesday.

[“Source-Gadgets”]

Google Home, Google Wifi, Daydream View, Chromecast Ultra, and Other Announcements

Google Home, Google Wifi, Daydream View, Chromecast Ultra, and Other AnnouncementsGoogle Home, Google Wifi, Daydream View, Chromecast Ultra, and Other Announcements
HIGHLIGHTS
Google unveiled an array of hardware products on Tuesday
The products are the fruits of the unified hardware division
The central theme of the products was smart home automation
Google at its #MadeByGoogle event unveiled its hardware portfolio, the fruits of the newly-formed hardware division under Rick Osterloh, the former President of Motorola Mobility. Apart from the Pixel and Pixel XL smartphones, Google unveiled the Home smart speaker, the Daydream View VR headset and controller, the Google Wifi smart router, and Chromecast Ultra.

The Google Daydream View virtual reality headset and controller have been priced at $79 (roughly Rs. 5,300), and will go on sale in the US in November. The Google Home smart speaker, powered by Google Assistant, will be available for $129 (roughly Rs. 8,600) – it goes up for pre-orders on Tuesday, and will start shipping from November 4 with a 6-month subscription to the ad-free YouTube Red.

The Google Wifi router is priced at $129 (roughly Rs. 8,600), and will be available for pre-orders from November, and will ship in December in the US. A 3-pack of the router will cost $299 (roughly Rs. 19,900). The Chromecast Ultra, which now supports 4K video streaming, will be available in November for $69 (roughly Rs. 4,600).

The Google Home (seen below) smart speaker represents an important move in an intensifying battle between Google and other major tech players to establish the dominant “digital assistant.” Google Assistant, Amazon’s Alexa and Apple’s Siri are vying for supremacy as more people search the Web and make purchases online through voice commands, which may eventually supplant keyboards and touchscreens as the primary means of controlling some digital devices.

Google Home was described as a voice-based virtual assistant that lets people tap into the company’s online capabilities to answer questions, manage tasks, set up alarms and calendar events, control devices in homes, stream videos, audio casting, and more. Activated by the ‘Ok Google’ hotword, it acts as the centre of home automation, it connects to third-party IoT devices and platforms such as Next, Philips Hue, Samsung SmartThings, and IFTTT. It features a mic mute button, to reassure privacy conscious users it is not listening to you all the time. A Google Assistant SDK will be released later this year to help developers create compatible bots – for example, booking an Uber through the speaker.

Describing the audio capabilities, Google says the Home speaker features a three-speaker setup, alongside a dual passive radiator design for “crystal-clear highs and deep lows”. It also sports two omni-directional microphones and neural beamforming for hearing the user despite background noise and music. Apart from grouping several Home speakers across the house, the speaker can also be paired with Chromecast Audio and Cast-enabled speakers for multi-room support. The base will come in several colour variants and finishes, while the top portion remains the same, and features a capacitive touch surface to control it if required.

Coming to Google Wifi (seen below), the smart router uses mesh Wi-Fi technology to support modularity, letting users distribute several of the small routers across their home to ensure a widespread Wi-Fi network, instead of one single massive router for the purpose. The 3-pack is meant for users with a house larger than 1,500 square feet. It sports a LED light to show network status, an Ethernet port, and a USB Type-C port for power. It supports dual-band 5GHz Wi-Fi and AC1200 standards, with additional support for the Bluetooth Smart specification.

Google says the router uses machine learning-based Network Assist tech to let connected devices intelligently switch between one router to another, with a handoff time of less than 150 milliseconds. Everything about the router will be managed by a smartphone app for both Android and iOS, including administrator settings like parental controls and bandwidth prioritisation. Privacy and security features like verified boot and auto updates were also touted.
The Chromecast Ultra’s biggest USP is its support for 4K video streaming as well as HDR and Dolby Vision. The company is touting major Wi-Fi improvements that will let it load videos up to 1.8 faster than previous Chromecast dongles, and bears an Ethernet port if required. Chromecast Ultra (seen below) supports the new Google Home smart speaker hub, letting users control their TV via voice commands.

Finally, we come to Daydream View, the company’s first Daydream-ready headset and controller. The company says the headset is inspired by clothing, and features soft, breathable fabric that make it comfortable to wear and also 30 percent lighter than competing devices – it also works over spectacles. The headset is also hand-washable – a thoughtful addition considering the sweat and grime that can collect after hours of use. It will be available in Slate, Snow, and Crimson colours. Google says users just have to insert their Daydream-ready smartphones in the headset, and it takes care of alignment by itself.

As for the Daydream View controller (seen below), Google says the Bluetooth powered device can fit into the headset for easy storage, and features motion tracking sensors and a volume button. Apart from the US, the Daydream View headset will make its way to Canada, the UK, Australia, and Germany. Content partners such as The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, and J.K Rowling’s Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them were also announced, apart from MLB, NBA, Hulu, HBO, and Netflix.

Written with agency inputs

Disclosure: Gadgets 360’s travel and hotel for the event in San Francisco were sponsored by Google.

We discuss everything Google announced at its October 4 event, including Pixel smartphones, and the relevance of these products for India on Orbital: The Gadgets 360 Podcast. You can either subscribe to via iTunes or RSS or just hit the play button below.

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/ 21:53

Tags: Google Home, Google Assistant, google wifi, Daydream View, VR headset, Chromecast Ultra, Made by Google, Google, Home Entertainment, wearables, Virtual Reality, Internet, IoT, Home automation

[“Source-Gadgets”]