Microsoft Takes On Slack, Facebook Has Overseas Leads, and Other Tech News For Small Biz This Week

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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 – Facebook is giving small businesses new tools to help them acquire more overseas customers.

From Fortune: The social media giant has launched an expanded version of its free Lookalike Audiences tool, which now allows businesses the ability to target international users that most closely resemble their customer base. The idea is to cut down the time, effort, and analytics required to specifically target international customers.

Why this is important for your business:

If your business is active on Facebook, this is yet another way to generate new business from overseas. If your business is not active on Facebook, but you’re interested in leads from other countries, it may be time to invest resources in this platform.

2 – Microsoft’s new team-based chat tool “Skype Teams” will take aim at Slack.

From Digital Trends: It’s rumored that “Skype Teams,” similar to the popular messaging service Slack, will allow users to chat with team members in dedicated chat rooms (channels). The service will also give users a way to speak directly to fellow workers via a direct messaging feature. One way “Skype Teams” will differ from Slack will be the use of threaded conversations, which will allow discussions to flow more naturally.
Why this is important for your business:

Slack is a very popular messaging tool for small and big businesses alike. But so many of us use Microsoft Office that having a similar tool included in this software may make it unnecessary for us to spend the extra time and effort with a different application.

3 – Android Pay will soon be available to use on Chrome for faster online checkouts.

From Engadget: Google’s Android Pay is coming to the web and will make checking out online a faster and more secure process, since it does not share account information with stores. Additionally, Android Pay can now be used with Chase Visa cards, and it is the first mobile wallet tied into Uber’s Payment Rewards program.

Why this is important for your business:

Google continues to take steps to expand the use of Android Pay, and as the service becomes more popular among your customers – in-store or now online – you’ll need to be ready to accept it.

4 – PayPal is partnering with MasterCard for store payments.

From TechCrunch: PayPal is expanding its partnership with MasterCard by allowing the credit card to be a clear payment option within PayPal, increasing PayPal’s presence at point-of-sale and enabling Masterpass (MasterCard’s digital wallet) as a payment option for its Braintree merchants.
Why this is important for your business:

PayPal is working hard to establish itself as the default payment provider for both brick-and-mortar and online merchants. As the company continues to partner with credit card services (they struck a similar deal with Visa earlier this summer), its attractiveness will increase for your customers.

5 – Chrome will begin to mark HTTP sites that transmit passwords or credit cards as non-secure in January 2017.

From VentureBeat: Google has said that after January 1, 2017, the Chrome address bar will show “Not secure” for those websites still using HTTP while transmitting passwords or credit cards.

Why this is important for your business:

Millions of people use Chrome. And if you’re asking visitors to your site to submit contact or payment information, you’ll scare some of them away when they get a “Not secure” message…and that will cost you money.

Bonus:  Researchers have discovered a method that transforms fish scales into a renewable power source.

From Gizmodo: Fish scales may be worth saving now, according to a new paper out in Applied Physics Letters. The modified fish scales could be used to power devices like pacemakers in the future.

Ew.

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