Microsoft Is Dropping Passwords…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 — Microsoft is dropping passwords for good.

Do you hate remembering passwords? So does Microsoft, apparently, since it has announced a new Authenticator app that does away with passwords completely. The Authenticator app is available on iOS and Android now. (Source: Ars Technica). My company, The Marks Group PC, is a Microsoft partner.

Why this is important for your business: 

Simple. Faster. Better. Instead of providing a username and password, now Microsoft Account users (Office 365 and Azure Active Directory are not supported currently) can just enter their email address. After that, the app sends users an alert on their smartphones that must be approved or rejected. Once they have approved the notification, users have fully authenticated their accounts, no passwords necessary.

2 — Facebook’s Workplace will soon be free, and Messenger is now focused on chatbots.

Facebook has announced that a standard version of its office collaboration tool will soon be available free of charge, and its premium version will be free as well until September 30th. In addition, Facebook Messenger has been completely revamped with a focus on its chatbots. The Messenger Platform 2.0 will have new tools like a “Discovery” tab to find relevant bots, “QR codes that can be used at events like sports games that people can scan to learn more from a Messenger bot” and “smart replies” that allow businesses to automatically reply to frequently asked questions. (Sources: Engadget and Forbes)

Why this is important for your business:

Facebook’s VP of messaging, David Marcus, said, “People prefer to use Messenger to interact with companies.” The social media giant is quickly becoming a player in business applications, particularly for businesses like yours and mine.

3 — Shopify is getting into the hardware game with its own credit card reader.

The ecommerce giant has announced that it will be competing against Square with an easy-to-use credit card reader that was designed in-house over the past year. (Source: TechCrunch)

Why this is important for your business:

Shopify continues to flex its ever-growing muscles. The device has a detachable reader and can be used for both swipes and chip-based “dips.” The reader also uses a micro USB to plug into a base and can “easily handle a full week’s worth of transactions even if left unplugged.” Best of all, Shopify’s card reader is free for any current Shopify merchant with a Shopify POS solution. If you are not a Shopify merchant, the technology can be purchased for $29 on their online store. Shopify’s credit card reader will begin shipping to merchants in June.

4 — Google has new plans: a job site to rival LinkedIn.

Called “Google Hire,” Google is currently testing out the job platform with a handful of technology companies by invite-only. While Google has not made an official announcement about its upcoming job platform, the minimalist website is live (hire.withgoogle.com) and should be available to more businesses soon.  (Source: Tech Times)

Why this is important for your business:

Google Hire will be a “job application tracking system that allows recruiters to post job listings and accept, track and manage applications.” Bring it on.

5 — Uber has a new way for you to order multiple cars for your clients.

The ridesharing app has announced a new service called “Uber Central” that provides a way for businesses to book multiple rides at once for their customers and clients. (Source: ZDNet)

Why this is important for your business:

Don’t #deleteuber yet, OK? According to the ZDNet article above, “…using a single-view dashboard via the Uber for Business platform, a business can request a ride on a clients’ behalf, or request multiple rides at once.” What’s even better is that clients do not need to have an Uber account to use this service – all that is required is a smartphone that gets SMS messages. An additional feature is that Uber Central can save frequently used routes as well as specific pick-up and drop-off locations.

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