Small Business Tech News This Week: Paying By Selfie And A Cool Speech Recognition Keyboard

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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 launches its competitor to eBay and Craigslist.

From Forbes: The social media giant has unveiled a new, prominent feature called Marketplace that allows users to buy and sell a range of items, such as “clothing, electronics, household goods, furniture, jewelry, art and cars.” Unfortunately (and not surprisingly), the release was marred by users offering drugs, guns, and sex within its first day, and Facebook officially apologizedfor the error in judgment.

Why this is important for your business:

If you’re not making enough money as an eBay or Craigslist seller, here’s another marketplace for your business to consider.

2 – A new study proves that responding to tweets pays off for businesses.

From TechCrunch: The study determined that “when a customer tweets at a business and receives a response, they are, on average, willing to spend 3 to 20 percent more on a product from that company.” The researchers also found that customers are “44 percent more likely to share their experience and 30 percent more likely to recommend the brand.”
Why this is important for your business:

So the study concluded that we all should be using Twitter more if we want to increase our sales. Want to take a guess who did the study? It was…Twitter (in collaboration with a research firm). Surprise! Twitter’s been having problems justifying its value to potential suitors this week. But regardless, these results do make sense – the more you put into the platform (or anything else in life), the more you get out of it.

3 – New tools are available to help you make your own social media videos.

From VentureBeat: Animoto has launched a “Marketing Video Builder” that is designed to let businesses craft social videos easily, and its pricing starts at about $22 per month with unlimited videos.

Why this is important for your business:

These tools can take your photos and video clips and turn them into professional video slideshows for social media and your blog – and its very user friendly. You can do voice-overs, add text and create different layouts. Me likey.

4 – Your customers will soon be able to pay by selfie.

From PYMNTS: The “MasterCard Identity Check” feature will allow a customer to confirm an online payment by showing his or her face to the smartphone’s camera. Since the customer will have already stored a photo on the app, a “digitized map” of the face can be used as a reference point anytime the customer wants to buy something. As a security measure, the app will ask users to blink before confirming the transaction. The company hopes to have this technology roll out worldwide sometime in 2017.
Why this is important for your business:

The good news: it’s for online purchases, so you won’t have to put up with more annoying selfies in your store. The new feature, however, should hopefully add another layer of security to a purchase, protecting both you and your customer.

5 – A new keyboard has been designed specifically for speech recognition.

From CNET: Baidu, often referred to as “the Google of China,” has released an Android keyboard called TalkType that is made entirely to recognize and record speech. The company had previously teamed up with Stanford University and found that its “speech recognition technology was three times faster than typing in English – and with an error rate 20.4 percent lower.”

Why this is important for your business:

For those salespeople on the road and others with stubby fingers that complain about entering data on their tiny smartphones, here’s a cool little tool that will make it easier for them to get the information you need back to the office and with fewer errors.

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