This Week In Small Business Tech: Now You Can Be Like Amazon!

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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 – Artificial intelligence is becoming big business.

Per this Forbes report: “Facebook has introduced “Deep Text” a text understanding engine that can understand with near human accuracy the textual context of several thousand posts per second, spanning more than 20 languages. Google has also announced Magenta, a project from the Google Brain team, which aims to use machine intelligence for music and art generation.” eBay is also getting “really serious” about artificial intelligence.

Why this is important for your business:

Look for a new generation of software and services based on artificial intelligence technology that will use automation to help you better identify opportunities and more quickly respond to both customers and prospects. The businesses that invest in this technology will be able to keep their overhead lower and operate more efficiently than those still doing things the “old” way.

2 – Instagram is adding new features for businesses.

From Forbes, the new Instagram Business Tools will “allow companies to view post engagement and performance metrics across all content and to promote posts directly within the mobile app with the goal of reaching more customers. Instagram also launched ‘Business profiles’ for the first time to allow users to talk to companies via the app.”
Why this is important for your business:

Sure, Instagram is a fun photo-sharing service that’s used mostly by Millennials and teenagers. But it’s serious business too for those companies looking to do business with these potential customers, and Instagram is making a big push to attract more small businesses to its platform. These new tools will help you enhance your customer service capabilities for your Instagram community and make doing business with you easier.

3 – Google improves its website testing tool for small businesses.

Google launched a new tool this week to help business owners better understand how well your website performs on the mobile web. Go to testmysite.thinkwithgoogle.com and give it a try – you’ll get a report on your results and suggestions to make your site better and more searchable from mobile devices.

Why this is important for your business:

It’s a mobile world, and Google’s popular website analytics have now adjusted. As reported in TechCrunch, mobile searches have now surpassed desktop searches and “it’s critical for website owners – but also for Google – that the sites showing up in search results are accessible, functional and performant.”

4 – Microsoft launches a new venture fund focusing on cloud-computing startups.

The new fund, according to this report in GeekWire, will “make new investments in companies that align with its own interests in areas including cloud computing, enterprise technologies and machine learning.”
Why this is important for your business:

If you’re a tech firm developing that next killer cloud app – and if by coincidence it happens to dovetail with Microsoft technologies – you might find a friend with deep pockets in Redmond.

5 – MailChimp is making a product recommendation service available to small businesses.

From Fast Company: “The email marketing service is launching a feature to let its customers—many of them online merchants with fewer than 10 employees—incorporate statistically generated recommendations into the emails they send out without having to build any technology on their own.”

Why this is important for your business:

The most profitable leads come from our own customers, right? We all enjoy product recommendations from Amazon based on our browsing and buying experiences. And now even the smallest of companies (that’s me!) can set up automatically generated emails to people that visit our site and customers that buy our products online with recommendations for additional things of interest. Sign me up!

 

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