IT News Weekly Recap – New Facebook Search Engine, Microsoft Acquires GitHub & More

Google’s Neighbourly – A New Hyperlocal Asking Service

Google Neighbourly App Screenshots

  • Neighbourly is a mobile app that allows you to ask and answer questions about local matters around your neighborhood
  • Currently in beta, the app is only available on Android in the Indian city of Mumbai. Voice recognition supports both English and eight of Indian languages.
  • The decision to launch Neighbourly in India first aligns well with the previous efforts of the company to conquer the local payments market. It’s also worth mentioning that in many parts of the U.S. and Europe a similar platform called Nextdoor is already popular, making for a stiff competition.

The First Russian Smart Speaker Is Out

Yandex Station Russian Smart Speaker

  • Last week, Yandex aka ‘The Google of Russia’ has announced its own voice-controlled smart speaker called Station.
  • The Yandex Station will cost about $160, and only be sold in Russia.
  • Security concerns aside, Station is a fairly solid device. In addition to everyday tasks like creating alarms and playing music, it also works as a TV set-top box.
  • The Yandex Station is powered by an AI named Alice, which the company unveiled in 2017.
  • The release date is still in question, but you can subscribe to the official updates on the Yandex website.

Confirmed: Leaked Facebook Search Engine For Infrequencer Marketing

Facebook Branded Content Matching search engine

  • Facebook is working on a new engine that will connect marketers to social media infuencers. The purpose – working together on sponsored-content Facebook ad campaigns.
  • For now, Facebook is not planning on monetizing the engine directly. The company hopes that the new tool will encourage the creation of original marketing content.
  • Influencer marketing has been proven more tolerable than common ads, thus helping user retention. The rise in original content also encourages businesses to spend more on Facebook ads to spread that content.
  • The Branded Content Matching search engine will work only on Facebook for now.

Microsoft has acquired GitHub for $7.5B

Microsoft Acquires GitHub

  • Last week the software giant has agreed to acquire GitHub, last valued at $2B in 2015
  • Microsoft is the top contributor to the site, with over 1,000 employees actively pushing code to repositories.
  • Microsoft has been investing in various open source projects since Satya Nadella became the company’s CEO. Most notably: PowerShell, Visual Studio Code, the Microsoft Edge JavaScript engine, a partnership with Canonical to bring Ubuntu to Windows 10, and Xamarin acquisition.

First Digital License Plates Hit The Road In California

Tesla Model S with digital license plate

  • A digital plate is a monochrome screen paired with a chip, battery, and wireless communication system. Apart from performing a regular license plate function, the screen will display the DMV-approved personal messages.
  • According to The Sacramento Bee, the new plates began rolling out the last week, and they don’t come cheap – $699 a piece.
  • For now, digital plates are only permitted on the rear of the vehicle.

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