Last Week’s Tech, Digital & Business News 15 March – 19 March

Check out last week's tech, digital and business news to stay up-to-date in the business world. Keep reading for our top news stories of the week...

Top Tech, Digital & Business News from 15 – 19 March 2021

Photo by Markus Spiske on Unsplash.

Monday, 15 March 2021.

Google Opens Enrolment for Low-Cost Up-Skill Courses

Google has opened enrolment for Google Career Certificates in Project Management, Data Analytics and User Experience (UX) Design, with more expected to come. Business owners can recommend courses to up-skill employees and recognise these certifications when assessing applications.

The three courses cost $39 each a month and can be completed in a six-month period on Coursera.

Google also announced new improvements to the platform’s job search results to help people with any level of education find work. Jobs can specify if degrees or certifications are not required for certain positions, allowing job seekers to more easily find and apply for those jobs.

By collaborating with job hunting sites like LinkedIn and CareerBuilder, Google hopes to make education and experience requirements more transparent on job listings, in addition to giving people better access to affordable education.

Clubhouse Announces Creator Accelerator Program

Clubhouse CEO Paul Davidson announced the platform’s first creator program on Sunday, 14 March 2021, which will give users access to new features and resources. Clubhouse Creator First will allow creators and hosts to grow their audience, connect with brands and monetise their shows.

The voice-chat app will be taking applications until 31 March 2021 for the Creator Accelerator Program, which will be trialled on 20 creators to give them the right resources to grow their audience.

Clubhouse has also added new requested features, like link sharing and language filtering and will be coming out with more tools as it launches its creator accelerator program.

Users can apply by heading to creatorfirst.joinclubhouse.com.

Secondhand Style Resale Platform Poshmark Enters Aussie Market

Secondhand fashion resale platform Poshmark launched in Australia last month, widening the horizons for Aussie sellers. The platform is a combination of social media and an online marketplace, allowing users to interact with each other, share stories and enjoy a customised feed.

Poshmark Founder and CEO Manish Chandra explains she believes there is great potential for Poshmark in Australia, especially for small businesses.

“Currently there isn’t a marketplace that gives Aussies the opportunity to build businesses and connections in the way that Poshmark does for its community,” she said.

Poshmark is now competing with platforms like eBay, Gumtree and Depop, which are already established in Australia. However, the platform stands out with its combination of social media and retail, making it a favourite for younger audiences.

Sellers and consumers can use Poshmark now via desktop and mobile app.

Tuesday, 16 March 2021.

News Corp Secures News Content Deal with Facebook

News Corp announced a content-use agreement with Facebook this morning, becoming the first major outlet to secure a deal with the social media giant. The three-year deal will assist with Facebook News launch in Australia, including News Corp’s The Australian, News.com.au, The Daily Telegraph, Herald Sun, Courier Mail and regional titles.

The news giant’s Sky News Australia has a separate contract with Facebook adding onto an existing arrangement.

Andrew Hunter, News Partnership Lead for Australia and New Zealand at Facebook claims the platform is dedicated to bringing Facebook News to Australia.

“Together, the agreements with News Corp Australia and Sky News Australia mean that people on Facebook will gain access to premium news articles and breaking news video from News Corp’s network of national, metropolitan, rural and suburban newsrooms.”

Twitter to Allow Security Keys as Only Two-Factor Authentication Method

Twitter announced its new authentication method on Monday to help improve account security. The platform will allow accounts to use a security key as their only two-factor authentication (2FA).

Soon, users will also be able to allow multiple security keys per account, instead of just one, allowing even further security.

In a Tweet on their platform this morning, Twitter said, “Secure your account (and that alt) with multiple security keys. Now you can enrol and log in with more than one physical key on both mobile and web. And coming soon: the option to add and use security keys as your only authentication method, without any other methods turned on.”

With cyber attacks reportedly being on the rise, its expected more social media platforms will be enabling tighter security features in the coming months.

Pinterest Partners with Video Editing Platform to Boost Video Content Creation

International video editing platform ClipChamp has announced their partnership with Pinterest, creating more possibilities for video editing. The partnership will allow easier access and creation for video content on Pinterest.

With videos emerging as a highly engaging content for both consumers and businesses, the new integration partnership aims to bring better engagement to Pinterest users. Users can find the newly launched video templates in Pinterest’s new 2:3 aspect ratio collection.

Adding onto this, Joanna Hawley, Pinterest creator (Jojotastic), said, “Video can be so daunting, especially for small businesses, so being able to point to a platform like Clipchamp that allows you to create Pinterest specific content, in the correct specifications and post directly to Pinterest without having to leave the platform, that’s a game changer!”

Wednesday, 17 March 2021.

DoorDash to Connect Locals & Small Businesses with New Proposed Delivery Service

DoorDash’s new Australian General Manager, Rebecca Burrows, announced her plans for the food delivery app to expand beyond restaurants. Instead of competing with an already saturated market of restaurant delivery services, DoorDash plans to target alternative merchants like grocery stores and small businesses.

The delivery platform has already partnered with Hairhouse Warehouse and The Reject Shop to help deliver highly demanded goods. General Manager for DoorDash Australia Rebecca Burrows claims she wants the platform to expand locally, focusing on small businesses.

“My vision for what DoorDash can be in Australia is bringing the best of your city to your door,” Burrows said.

“It’s about bringing, you know, the local bakery, the local butcher, the local fruit shop, to your door,” she added.

TikTok Expands Partnership with OpenSlate to Bring Brand Safety for Advertisers in Australia

TikTok has expanded their partnership with OpenSlate, a third-party brand safety provider to Australia, Canada and the United Kingdom. The partnership will integrate OpenSlate’s tools to assess user posts for questionable content, giving advertisers confidence in being able to avoid unwanted association.

This expansion comes as a result of TikTok’s transparency report for H2 2020, which claimed over 89 million videos were removed for violating Community Guidelines or Terms of Service, with more than 3.5 million ads rejected in the second half of 2020 for violating advertising policies and guidelines.

Poppy Hill, managing director of OpenSlate for APAC, claims the agreement is positive for advertisers and users alike on TikTok.

“OpenSlate is delighted to announce our brand safety solution for TikTok Australia. The global scope and local nuance of our independent, third-party ratings provide marketers with the highest confidence in TikTok’s brand safety,” she said.

Facebook Rumoured to Begin Testing New Publishing Platform for Content Creators

Facebook is rumoured to be testing new partnerships for a new publishing platform, which is yet to be announced. The content publishing platform is said to be integrated into Facebook and will provide tools for writers, journalists and other professionals to publish content outside of text, including newsletters.

After an increase of journalists, writers and businesses launching their own newsletters in 2020, tech giants like Twitter and LinkedIn jumped on the opportunity to incorporate their own newsletter platforms for creators.

Users will be able to create video content like stories and live videos, set up subscriptions and view content performance metrics and more.

Facebook is rumoured to begin testing their new publishing platform with a handful of independent content creators to help develop the platform’s tools.

Thursday, 18 March 2021.

CommBank to Enter BNPL Market in Mid-2021

Commonwealth Bank (CBA) has announced their new buy-now, pay-later (BNPL) product, which will be launched mid-2021. CBA customers will be able to use BNPL where Mastercard payments are accepted and for payments up to $1,000 with no ongoing fees or additional costs to business.

With the BNPL market becoming more competitive following successful industry leaders like AfterPay and Zip Co, large competitors have begun to jump in. PayPal announced their plans to enter the BNPL market on 11 March 2021, followed by Comm Bank who announced their plans yesterday.

The CBA group’s Executive for Retail Banking Services, Angus Sullivan, claims allowing customers to make payments in four transactions will help make it easier for customers to plan their cash flow.

“We are excited to announce the first BNPL offered by a major bank which will give customers access to cash flow in a way that meets their changing preferences and expectations,” Sullivan said.

Westpac Teams Up with TAFE NSW to Offer Free Business Growth Course to 1000 Small Businesses

Westpac and TAFE NSW have come together to offer 1000 small businesses a free, online business growth course. The Small Business Growth Series will run for 12 weeks, helping business owners better manage their businesses.

Geoff Lee, New South Wales Minister for Skills and Tertiary Education, claimed the collaboration will help prepare small businesses for their recovery with strategy and skills training.

“It’s great to see Westpac and TAFE NSW join forces to give small business owners the skills and training required to assist their business in the COVID-19 recovery,” Lee said.

To be eligible, the business must be based in Australia, be an existing Westpac member, have an ABN and be one of the first 1000 customers to apply before 31 April 2021.

Applications can be made at www.westpac.com.au/help/disaster-relief/coronavirus/business/tafe.

Tourism Australia Launching $12 Million Content-Based Tourism Initiative

Tourism Australia yesterday announced the $12 million National Experience Content Initiative program, which aims to better tourism operator’s marketing efforts. The initiative will run until June 2022 and will provide new visual imagery for up to 1,800 tourism experiences across 57 regions in Australia.

By helping tourism operators create better marketing material, the initiative aims to make their listings stand out to help attract more visitors.

Managing Director of Tourism Australia Phillipa Harrison claims the tourism industry won’t fully recover until international travel reopens, which is why such campaigns are necessary to encourage national tourism.

“That is why we have set out to capture high-quality imagery and footage that showcases the best tourism experiences on offer from every corner of Australia, and to really bring these to life for consumer and trade audiences,” Harrison said.

Friday, 19 March 2021.

Afterpay Announces Banking App, Following CommBank’s New BNPL Service

Afterpay has announced they will be launching their own banking app. This follows Commonwealth Bank’s statement on Wednesday announcing a buy-now, pay-later product.

Lee Hatton, the new head of Afterpay’s banking effort, claimed the new banking app, Afterpay Money, will offer users a different experience to common banking apps.

“The user experience is more like a shopping experience than it is a banking experience. It doesn’t look like, here are your accounts and here are your balances. It’s more around things like, what are the things in my wish-list at the moment that I am saving for.”

Rather than being designed around transactions and products, Afterpay Money will focus on customer experience.

Facebook Experimenting with New AR Technology

Facebook is developing futuristic technologies, with neural wristbands, haptic gloves and augmented reality (AR) glasses already being tested. This technology would be able to make day-to-day activities require less picking up your phone and more ‘air tapping’.

For example, if you’re having a conversation with a friend but need to pause it while you set a timer to cook your pasta, you would instead be able to use the AR technology to perform this task by simply moving your finger.

Tanya Jonker, Facebook’s Research Science Manager and part of Facebook Reality Labs, claims new AR technology can better keep people more connected in real life through the use of advanced technology.

“One of the most exciting aspects of [AR] technology is really this opportunity to help people stay more engaged in the real world even while they’re interacting with their digital devices,” says Jonker.

There are currently no dates for any releases, but Facebook is developing and testing the possibilities these new technologies could bring.

Twitter Testing YouTube Video In-App Integration

Twitter announced this morning they will be testing a new way for users to watch YouTube videos directly on their home feed.

“Starting today on iOS, we’re testing a way to watch YouTube videos directly in your Home timeline, without leaving the conversation on Twitter,” the platform announced on their Twitter Support account.

Currently, users can view YouTube links in Tweets, which will send users out of Twitter and into YouTube. This has been a complaint for users for some time.

Twitter is testing this new ability over four weeks in Canada, the US, Japan and Saudi Arabia, with plans to scale if results are satisfactory.

The social media giant is also testing ways to upload 4k images on mobile devices, with other new improvements in the works.

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