Google’s New Feature May Drive Customers Away And Other Small Business Tech News 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 – Google’s new feature may be a problem for bars and restaurants.

The new tool, which will be included in both Search and Maps, will alert users as to how crowded your bar or restaurant is in real time. The technology will use aggregated, anonymous location history data. (Source: The Verge)

Why this is important for your business:

If your restaurant or bar is popular – and crowded – potential customers may decide to just stay away. And no business owner I know wants to turn away customers, regardless of how busy they are. If your business is popular enough to generate a buzz because of the crowds it attracts, your numbers may be affected by this new feature.

2 – A startup can help make it easier to listen to group conversations.

Ava will allow deaf and hearing-challenged people to better follow group conversations by using a “threaded speech-to-text application.” Each participant must download the app and set up a profile, and then the technology is able to follow the conversation. The company says that deaf people who can only understand 20 percent of a conversation will see their comprehension levels rise to 80 or 90 percent. (Source: TechCrunch)
Why this is important for your business:

If you have hearing-impaired employees at your company, this application could significantly improve their job performance and their participation in group events and meetings. I can’t promise it will keep them awake while you drone on though.

3 – Amazon is testing out secret, fraud-fighting tools for retailers.

Well, if I’m writing about this, it’s probably not so secret. The retail giant is taking on counterfeit products with a suite of digital tools to help sellers protect their brands from fakes and knockoffs. (Source: CNET)

Why this is important for your business:

Although details are still sketchy because the tools haven’t been released yet, if you’re an Amazon retailer, you should keep a close eye on these features that will help better protect your trademarks and intellectual property.

4 – A startup will help book meeting spaces in luxury hotels.

Bizly, a New York City startup, has an app that will list hotels in your city with available hourly rental prices. (Source: TechCrunch)
Why this is important for your business:

Lots of companies, mine included, hold events for clients and marketing purposes in our home cities, and searching for the best location and price is always a challenge – and time-consuming. If this app can help me find the right place and save me time, then sign me up!

5 – You can now get a “.blog” domain for your blog. 

Millions of new “.blog” domains are available for anyone who writes a blog, and WordPress says that it’s “intuitive, descriptive and it creates millions of new naming options” for your brand or business. (Source: WordPress)

Why this is important for your business:

For only $30 a year, you can make your blog easier to find and draw more attention to your business and your brand.

Finally, two shopping centers in the Bay Area will be employing robots to help customers. It begins.

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