Entrepreneurs have so much on their plate that staying on top of tech news is hard to fit in. But tech influences business, which means falling behind could have an adverse affect on your ability to run your business effectively. To help you stay on top of the fast-moving tech world, here’s April’s entry in our series on top tech trends to watch each month.
1. Consumers Express Concern About Loss of Internet Privacy
This is quite possibly the most talked about tech issue in the country right now. The Congressional vote at the end of March reversing an FCC privacy law that prohibited internet providers from selling customer data has left many US citizens feeling shaken. The move makes it possible for companies like Time Warner and AT&T to sell data on their customers’ browsing habits to the highest bidder and has unleashed a backlash of concerned citizens who aren’t comfortable with the idea of their private internet use becoming a product for corporations.
2. Windows 10 Creators Update Launches
The next update for the Windows operating system goes beyond your typical OS update, rolling out whole new features and programs designed to change how people think about the Windows operating system. The Windows 10 Creators update will launch April 11 and provide users with an app for 3D painting, new gaming features, and intuitive browsing features. Based on early reviews, this is an update Windows users can look forward to.
3. Twitter Says Goodbye to Egg Icons
The Twitter egg avatar has become iconic, but not in a good way. Twitter eggs have increasingly become associated with online trolls and harassers who critics accuse of hiding behind the generic avatar rather than showing who they are. In an attempt to alleviate the issue, Twitter has changed the default avatar from an egg to a nondescript figure on a gray background with a generic floating head and shoulders. The goal is to make the icon explicitly less interesting in the hopes that people treat it more as a placeholder than an avatar for long-term use. Of course, critics aren’t all that confident the change will get at the root of the larger problem of anonymous harassment on the platform.
4. Twitter Increases Reply Lengths
The Twitter character limit is part of the service’s appeal, but also oftentimes a limiting frustration for users. It becomes an inconvenience when replying to threads that include multiple people, since each username takes up some of the available character count. Twitter decided to tackle that issue by removing usernames from reply Tweets themselves, and instead letting users know with a little note above the tweet who it’s in reply to. Reply to on Twitter
5. Facebook Adds Personal Fundraising Feature
Taking a cue from the popular website GoFundMe, which people use to help raise money for needs like health procedures or educational expenses, Facebook now provides a personal fundraising option within the social media platform itself. Users can raise funds for projects that fall within any one of six categories: education, medical, pet medical, crisis relief, personal emergencies, and loss. This is one of many functionalities Facebook has been building into the platform, giving users more reason to turn to Facebook for an ever growing number of uses.
6. Reviewers and Consumers Explore the Galaxy S8
One of last month’s big tech stories was the release of Samsung’s Galaxy S8. This month, we can expect to see a preponderance of articles from consumers and tech journalists that examine the smartphone’s features. Journalists have already written pieces on the weaknesses of the product’s facial scanning technology, its display size, and its wireless speed. More opinions are sure to come.
7. Google Home Launches in the UK
Little by little, smart home technology is making its way into the bedrooms and living rooms of people around the world. This month, Google announced that their smart assistant, Google Home, will now be available to people in the UK as well as the US. The product helps connect the different smart devices a customer has in their home and provides Siri-style answers to voice commands. This is one more step in the move toward smart homes becoming more of a norm for people around the world.
8. Tesla’s Solar Roof Tiles Become Available
Elon Musk announced via Twitter that Tesla’s solar roof tiles will become available for sale this month. The technology resembles regular roof shingles and Musk has suggested they’ll cost a comparable amount as well. The availability of this technology could pave the path to solar power becoming mainstream in homes throughout the US.
9. Cloudera, Yext, and Okta IPOs
A new month means new IPO offerings and this month we can expect to see three big tech companies go public. The enterprise data company Cloudera already announced their IPO filing and early estimates put the IPO at about $200 million. Yext should be joining the stock market this month as well, probably at around $100 million. And the identity management company Okta has filed as well for a value of $100 million. Tech investors have a few new and promising options to consider for their portfolio this month.
10. NAB Show Meets in Las Vegas
Media, entertainment, and technology will converge from April 22-27 in Las Vegas at the NAB show. Exhibitors include a number of key tech players, particularly those in the fields of online video, mobile media, audio, and radio. Sessions will cover subjects like the future of broadcasting and the influence of new technologies on the media. Like most months, April is a busy one for the tech world. Check back next month to see what tech trends to look forward to in May.