5 Things You Missed in Tech This Week – 4/9/16

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(This post originally appeared on Forbes)

Here are five things in technology that happened this past week and how they affect your business. Did you miss them?

1 – Amazon takes on PayPal and others with the launch of a new payments partner program.

From TechcrunchAmazon announced a plan to spread adoption of its payments service, Amazon Payments, to more third-party websites. With the launch of its Amazon Payments Global Partner Program, the retailer will help e-commerce platform providers and other developers integrate with Amazon Payments so their own merchants can offer the option to “Pay with Amazon” at checkout.

Why this is important for your business:

PayPal has long been a leader for small business e-commerce payments. Amazon now wants a piece of the market. And you don’t even need to be an Amazon retailer. This gives your website visitors yet another option for paying and could potentially expand your customer base. It will also make payments easier if your customers are already Amazon customers with Amazon login credentials. Quicker payments means quicker conversions…and that means more sales.

2 – Google Domains moves to a “.Google” domain.

From Venture BeatThe mighty Google has made an ever-so-subtle change to its domain-name buying service, Google Domains: It’s now hosted on its very own “.Google” top-level domain. Anyone visiting “domains.google.com” or “google.com/domains” will now be redirected to “domains.google.

Why this is important for your business.

“Not-coms” are a growing trend and Google’s move emphasizes its importance. Companies like Google and Donuts offer hundreds of domain names without a .com. That means that you can create a very personalized domain name for your business to help increase your brand, create conversation and more awareness for your company. For example if you run a beauty salon called Betty’s Beauty Salon you can now have your own domain: bettysbeauty.salon. Or if you’re in the flower business your new website can be called MainStreet.Florist. Athletes and celebrities are jumping on this trend and your business will probably be next.

3 – Microsoft and major banks strike a “blockchain” deal.

From Forbes: Microsoft and the R3 consortium of 43 banks announced a partnership that will help spur the adoption of distributed ledger technologies among R3’s members, in yet another sign of how established financial institutions and technology companies are racing toward what the industry sees as a distributed ledger future.

Why this is important for your business:

As Forbes contributor Laura Shin writes: The technology, commonly called blockchain, promises to enable faster, more secure, more efficient and transparent financial transactions — not only for financial institutions but for individuals using the technology without middlemen and disrupting traditional financial services. Microsoft will essentially provide “blockchain as a service,” in which the technology is accessed via the cloud similar to the way Google Docs offers word-processing software that the user need not download onto their computer.

4 – WhatsApp turns on encryption for all its data.

From ForbesWhatsApp, the Mountain View, Calif-based mobile messaging company that Facebook acquired for $19 billion, has enhanced its encryption technology so only the senders and receivers can read the content of each message. WhatsApp has been building out the encryption technology since the end of 2014 in order to make sure it works on various mobile platforms and message types.

Why this is important for your business:

By making this move, WhatsApp is taking the highest level of encryption technology to its billion users without those users (that’s you, by the way) having to spend money, time and pain to setup encryption on their messaging systems. It’s an enormous victory for privacy advocates. It will make it that much harder (although never impossible as demonstrated by the recent Apple-FBI adventure) for others to see your company’s private conversations.

5 – IKEA makes a kitchen showroom in virtual reality.

From Engadget: There are three different room styles to choose from, and you can change the color of the cabinets and drawers using the Vive’s wand controllers. Of course, it’s unlikely that these limited options will match up with the exact kitchen you’re looking to buy. Ikea has stressed, however, that the app is merely an experiment as it explores “the possible implications of (virtual reality) for the home.”

Why this is important for your business:

Think this is science fiction? No, it’s not. Virtual reality technology is very quickly being embraced by corporations to better market their products and make buying easier for their customers. IKEA’s VR showroom is just the start. Look for the cost of this technology to decrease over the coming years and even the smallest of businesses – from roofers to landscapers to merchants – using these tools to provide a better buying experience for their customers.

And here’s a good one: Scientists plan to open a mass-cloning factory in China.

Yeah, like China’s population isn’t big enough already!

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