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The 13 coolest car keys in the world

Posted: 31 Mar 2018 01:09 PM PDT

tesla key

  • Many manufacturers create brilliantly designed keys to add to the experience of driving their cars.
  • Key wristbands, mobile apps, and touchscreen keys are just a few of the innovative ways carmakers are improving keys

The excitement around innovative car exteriors often overshadows smaller details like a car key. But from simple, sleek key fobs to high-tech designs that ditch the physical key all-together, car makers are constantly trying to create keys as innovative and well-designed as the cars themselves. 

Here's a look at some of our favorite key designs: 

Business Insider's Aaron Brown wrote a previous version of this article.

SEE ALSO: These are the tech features you should get in your next car

Tesla's Model S key is shaped like a mini-Model S, and has an option to pull the car forward and backward remotely, without anyone in the car.

This Ferrari key is simple and classic, and all you have to do is slip it into your pocket to drive off.

McLaren's carbon fiber key makes it ultra-light, with only three buttons adding to the simple lightweight design.

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See the rest of the story at Business Insider

THE VOICE APPS REPORT: The issues with discoverability, monetization, and retention, and how to solve them

Posted: 31 Mar 2018 01:04 PM PDT

bii voice app skills growth over time

This is a preview of a research report from BI Intelligence, Business Insider's premium research service. To learn more about BI Intelligence, click here.

The voice app ecosystem is booming. In the US, the number of Alexa skills alone surpassed 25,000 in January 2018, up from just 7,000 the previous January, in categories ranging from music streaming services, to games, to connected home tools.

As voice platforms continue to gain footing in homes via smart speakers — connected devices powered primarily by artificial intelligence (AI)-enabled voice assistants — the opportunity for voice apps is becoming more profound. However, as observed with the rise of mobile apps in the late 2000s, any new digital ecosystem will face significant growing pains, and voice apps are no exception. Thanks to the visual-free format of voice apps, discoverability, monetization, and retention are proving particularly problematic in this nascent space. This is creating a problem in the voice assistant market that could hinder greater uptake if not addressed.

In this report, Business Insider Intelligence, Business Insider's premium research service, explores the two major viable voice app stores. It identifies the three big issues voice apps are facing — discoverability, monetization, and retention — and presents possible short-term solutions ahead of industry-wide fixes.

Here are some of the key takeaways from the report:

  • The market for smart speakers and voice platforms is expanding rapidly. The installed base of smart speakers and the volume of voice apps that can be accessed on them each saw significant gains in 2017. But the new format and the emerging voice ecosystems that are making their way into smart speaker-equipped homes is so far failing to align with consumer needs. 
  • Voice app development is a virtuous cycle with several broken components. The addressable consumer market is expanding, which is prompting more brands and developers to developer voice apps, but the ability to monetize and iterate those voice apps is limited, which could inhibit voice app growth. 
  • Monetization is only one broken component of the voice app ecosystem. Discoverability and user retention are equally problematic for voice app development. 
  • While the two major voice app ecosystems — Amazon's and Google's — have some Band-Aid solutions and workarounds, their options for improving monetization, discoverability, and retention for voice apps are currently limited.
  • There are some strategies that developers and brands can employ in the near term ahead of more robust tools and solutions.

 In full, the report:

  • Sizes the current voice app ecosystem. 
  • Outlines the most pressing problems in voice app development and evolution in the space by examining the three most damning shortcoming: monetization, discoverability, and retention. 
  • Discusses the solutions being offered up by today's biggest voice platforms. 
  • Presents workaround solutions and alternative approaches that could catalyze development and evolution ahead of wider industry-wide fixes from the platforms.

Interested in getting the full report? Here are two ways to access it:

  1. Subscribe to an All-Access pass to BI Intelligence and gain immediate access to this report and over 100 other expertly researched reports. As an added bonus, you'll also gain access to all future reports and daily newsletters to ensure you stay ahead of the curve and benefit personally and professionally. >> Learn More Now
  2. Purchase & download the full report from our research store. >> Purchase & Download Now

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I tested a $73,000 Cadillac XTS V-Sport sedan — here's the verdict (GM)

Posted: 31 Mar 2018 12:13 PM PDT

2018 Cadillac XTS Platinum V-Sport AWD

  • The Cadillac XTS V-Sport is a somewhat retro sedan that still has performance cred.
  • It is big, comfy, and has a large trunk — but it also has a powerful V6, twin-turbo engine.
  • The Cadillac Cue infotainment system and the Bose audio setup make for blissful highway cruising.

The Business Insider Transportation team is fortunate in that we get to road test some extremely exciting cars.

But humans are diverse in their desires, and spine-tingling performance isn't always what we're looking for. Sometimes, we're looking for a ride that's just easy in the old backbone.

My backbone is no longer exactly young, and over the past few years, whenever an old-school, all-American freeway-cruising machine has landed in my driveway, I've quietly rejoiced. 

This happened again last year when Cadillac loaned me a nice, big XTS V-Sport sedan. 

It was so, so soothing. Here's why:

SEE ALSO: The Buick LaCrosse is a great choice among sedans for under $50,000

FOLLOW US : on Facebook for more car and transportation content!

You can tell you're in for something special when your 2018 Cadillac XTS Platinum V-Sport sedan with all-wheel-drive arrives on a Stone Gray Metallic pain job and ...

... with a Maple Sugar interior, with Jet Black accents. Maple sugar!

The Caddy came well-equipped. This trim level has a base price of $71,695, with just about everything already included. Out tester stickered at just over $73,000 thanks largely to a compact spare tire that added $350.

Without all the V-Sport goodies, the XTS comes in at about $46,000.

See the rest of the story at Business Insider

We've reviewed more over 40 sedans in the last 2 years — here are the 4-doors that impressed us the most

Posted: 31 Mar 2018 12:08 PM PDT

Kia Stinger

  • SUVs have been surging, but there are still plenty of great sedans on the market.
  • We've driven many four-doors over the past few years.
  • Here are 12 of our favorites.

One of the big stories in the car business over the past two years has been the realignment of sales in the US. Pickup trucks have always done well, but as the market was setting records in 2016 and 2017, SUVs were moving up while sedans were moving down. At the New York auto show, which opened to public on Friday, there's no shortage of SUVs for every purse and purpose on display.

Four-doors aren't the be-all, end-all products they once were, for both mass-market and luxury brands. But for luxury brands in particular, mainstays such as the BMW 3-Series and the Mercedes S-Class have been watching as their SUV counterparts capture new buyers. 

Does that mean that sedan is dying? Not really. Ask anybody in the industry and they'll tell you that Toyota Camrys and Honda Accords and even Chevy Malibus are still important vehicles. Audi continues to take four-doors seriously. But it's also clear that a customer can now start out with a small SUV and work his or her way all they up to a big one, and never look twice at a sedan.

Too bad, as there are some great ones for sale. We rounded up a dozen of the best:

FOLLOW US: On Facebook for more car and transportation content!

Kia Stinger

Here's what I had to say about the $52,000 test car in our review:

The Stinger takes things to a whole new level. This is easily the best car Kia has ever made, but more than that, it's among the best cars of its type that I've driven. The comparison that jumped immediately to mind was the Alfa Romeo Giulia Quadrifoglio, a 505-horsepower beast that was a finalist for Business Insider's 2017 Car of the Year.

BMW 7-Series

We were impressed enough the say in our review that the $90,000 bimmer is "easily the finest 7 Series that BMW has ever built."

Plus, we named it a finalist for our 2015 Car of the Year. The new 7-Series is basically incredible. Crammed with technology and capable of BMW-level performance and pure cruising comfort, it has reset expectations for what is probably BMWs history least-loved car.

Audi A4

In our review of a $52,000 tester, BI's Ben Zhang wrote that the "Audi A4 is everything you could want in a modern compact luxury sedan," adding that "it's the best car Audi has ever made."

The A4 was a finalist for BI's 2017 Car of the Year. It was also one onf those cars that we unanimously adored. We literally couldn't find anything wrong with it. Nothing. 


See the rest of the story at Business Insider

THE AI DISRUPTION BUNDLE: The guide to understanding how artificial intelligence is impacting the world (AMZN, AAPL, GOOGL)

Posted: 31 Mar 2018 12:03 PM PDT

global ai commerce financing trend

This is a preview of a research report bundle from BI Intelligence, Business Insider's premium research service. To learn more about BI Intelligence, click here.

Artificial intelligence (AI) isn't a part of the future of technology. AI is the future of technology.

Elon Musk and Mark Zuckerberg have even publicly debated whether or not that will turn out to be a good thing.

Voice assistants like Apple's Siri and Amazon's Alexa have become more and more prominent in our lives, and that will only increase as they learn more skills.

These voice assistants are set to explode as more devices powered by AI enter the market. Most of the major technology players have some sort of smart home hub, usually in the form of a smart speaker. These speakers, like the Amazon Echo or Apple HomePod, are capable of communicating with a majority of WiFi-enabled devices throughout the home.

While AI is having an enormous impact on individuals and the smart home, perhaps its largest impact can be felt in the e-commerce space. In the increasingly cluttered e-commerce space, personalization is one of the key differentiators retailers can turn towards to stand out to consumers. In fact, retailers that have implemented personalization strategies see sales gains of 6-10%, at a rate two to three times faster than other retailers, according to a report by Boston Consulting Group.

This can be accomplished by leveraging machine learning technology to sift through customer data to present the relevant information in front of that consumer as soon as they hit the page.

With hundreds of hours of research condensed into three in-depth reports, BI Intelligence is here to help get you caught up on what you need to know on how AI is disrupting your business or your life.

Below you can find more details on the three reports that make up the AI Disruption Bundle, including proprietary insights from the 16,000-member BI Insiders Panel:

AI Banking Cover

AI in Banking and Payments

Artificial intelligence (AI) is one of the most commonly referenced terms by financial institutions (FIs) and payments firms when describing their vision for the future of financial services.

AI can be applied in almost every area of financial services, but the combination of its potential and complexity has made AI a buzzword, and led to its inclusion in many descriptions of new software, solutions, and systems.

This report cuts through the hype to offer an overview of different types of AI, and where they have potential applications within banking and payments. It also emphasizes which applications are most mature, provides recommendations of how FIs should approach using the technology, and offers examples of where FIs and payments firms are already leveraging AI. The report draws on executive interviews BI Intelligence conducted with leading financial services providers, such as Bank of America, Capital One, and Mastercard, as well as top AI vendors like Feedzai, Expert System, and Kasisto.

AI Supply Chain

AI in Supply Chain and Logistics

Major logistics providers have long relied on analytics and research teams to make sense of the data they generate from their operations.

AI’s ability to streamline so many supply chain and logistics functions is already delivering a competitive advantage for early adopters by cutting shipping times and costs. A cross-industry study on AI adoption conducted in early 2017 by McKinsey found that early adopters with a proactive AI strategy in the transportation and logistics sector enjoyed profit margins greater than 5%. Meanwhile, respondents in the sector that had not adopted AI were in the red.

However, these crucial benefits have yet to drive widespread adoption. Only 21% of the transportation and logistics firms in McKinsey’s survey had moved beyond the initial testing phase to deploy AI solutions at scale or in a core part of their business. The challenges to AI adoption in the field of supply chain and logistics are numerous and require major capital investments and organizational changes to overcome.

explores the vast impact that AI techniques like machine learning will have on the supply chain and logistics space. We detail the myriad applications for these computational techniques in the industry, and the adoption of those different applications. We also share some examples of companies that have demonstrated success with AI in their supply chain and logistics operations. Lastly, we break down the many factors that are holding organizations back from implementing AI projects and gaining the full benefits of this disruptive technology.

AI in E-Commerce Report

ai ecommerce

One of retailers' top priorities is to figure out how to gain an edge over Amazon. To do this, many retailers are attempting to differentiate themselves by creating highly curated experiences that combine the personal feel of in-store shopping with the convenience of online portals.

These personalized online experiences are powered by artificial intelligence (AI). This is the technology that enables e-commerce websites to recommend products uniquely suited to shoppers, and enables people to search for products using conversational language, or just images, as though they were interacting with a person.

Using AI to personalize the customer journey could be a huge value-add to retailers. Retailers that have implemented personalization strategies see sales gains of 6-10%, a rate two to three times faster than other retailers, according to a report by Boston Consulting Group (BCG). It could also boost profitability rates 59% in the wholesale and retail industries by 2035, according to Accenture.

This report illustrates the various applications of AI in retail and use case studies to show how this technology has benefited retailers. It assesses the challenges that retailers may face as they implement AI, specifically focusing on technical and organizational challenges. Finally, the report weighs the pros and cons of strategies retailers can take to successfully execute AI technologies in their organization.


Access the three in-depth reports referenced above today when you claim our exclusive AI Disruption Bundle. By purchasing the full bundle today you will SAVE 33% 0ff list price! But act now, as this is a limited-time offer.  
Access my AI Disruption Bundle NOW


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THE MOBILE CARRIER LANDSCAPE: How AT&T, Verizon, T-Mobile, and Sprint are overcoming slow user growth amid a fierce price war

Posted: 31 Mar 2018 11:02 AM PDT

bii big four carrier revenue

This is a preview of a research report from BI Intelligence, Business Insider's premium research service. To learn more about BI Intelligence, click here.

It hasn't been smooth sailing for telecoms in recent years. Native voice and messaging services, which once accounted for the vast majority of telecoms' subscriber revenue, are struggling to compete with over-the-top (OTT) apps, like Facebook Messenger, WhatsApp, and Viber — and they're losing.

A fierce and ongoing price war among the Big Four carriers is only compounding the pressure telecoms are facing. The consequent resurgence of unlimited data plans is straining carriers' networks, and revenues are suffering.

Nevertheless, telecoms are now better positioned than ever to play a bigger role in their subscribers' lives. Consumers spend more than half of their digital time on smartphones, compared with a third on PCs. This shift has effectively placed telecoms at the front door of consumers' digital experience.

In a new report from BI Intelligence, we examine where the wireless industry stands as a result of the price war and uptick in data demand from consumers. We also look at how technological advancements and the adoption of new product lines could incentivize the next wave of revenue growth for telecoms. Finally, we explore potential barriers to carriers' growth, and examine which of the Big Four carriers are poised to lead the pack.

Here are some of the key takeaways from the report:

  • Native voice and messaging services, which once accounted for the vast majority of telecoms' subscriber revenue, are struggling to compete with over-the-top apps.
  • A fierce ongoing price war among the Big Four is only compounding the pressure telecoms are facing.
  • Still, consumers' growing dependence on smartphones and data means telecoms are now better positioned than ever to play a bigger role in their subscribers' lives.
  • As digital continues to reshape the wireless industry, telecoms are preparing for the next wave of disruption, including connected cars, augmented reality, and 5G.
  • Despite a plethora of opportunities, several existing and emerging threats could impede telecoms' growth and expansion efforts.

In full, the report:

  • Describes how the US wireless carrier is shaping up.
  • Explores the effect of the fierce pricing wars taking place, and the methods carriers are using to retain their subscribers.
  • Highlights the new technology carriers are using to drive growth and revenue. 
  • Looks at the potential barriers that could limit carriers' growth and examines who's best positioned to come out on top.

To get the full report, subscribe to an All-Access pass to BI Intelligence and gain immediate access to this report and more than 250 other expertly researched reports. As an added bonus, you'll also gain access to all future reports and daily newsletters to ensure you stay ahead of the curve and benefit personally and professionally. >> Learn More Now

You can also purchase and download the full report from our research store.

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Angelina Jolie shed light on a rare but potentially misleading mutation that ups your risk of breast cancer — and now 23andMe will test you for it

Posted: 31 Mar 2018 10:11 AM PDT

23andMe kit

  • "Direct to consumer" genetics tests have soared in popularity in recent years as the cost of genetics sequencing has plummeted.
  • AncestryDNA, Helix, and 23andMe are some of the companies offering the tests.
  • But 23andMe is the only one with approval from the Food and Drug Administration to include information about breast-cancer risk based on three mutations on the BRCA 1 and 2 genes.
  • Experts say a "negative" result on 23andMe's test may be give some people a false sense of security that they are not at risk for the disease.

The eyes may be the windows to the soul, but spit is increasingly the portal to your health.

The consumer genetics company 23andMe recently got a green light from the US Food and Drug Administration to include information on breast-cancer risk in its online customer reports, based on screening for three of the multiple genetic mutations linked to the disease. But the new test could be dangerously misleading, according to several genetics experts in the industry who spoke with Business Insider about the new test.

23andMe is one of a handful of new companies offering spit-in-a-tube genetics tests that don't require a doctor, also known as direct-to-consumer genetic testing. The tests have soared in popularity in recent years as the cost of genetics sequencing has plummeted.

According to 23andMe, the company has taken multiple steps to ensure that customers do not misinterpret their results. Still, experts say many people could be misled because they fail to read the so-called fine print.

The problem with 23andMe's new test is simple, according to John Witte, the program leader for the cancer genetics program at the University of California at San Francisco. If you do 23andMe's most recent genetics test and come up "negative" for the three cancer-linked mutations it screens for, you may believe your cancer risk is either low or nonexistent.

But it isn't.

That's something 23andMe clearly states in the report that will accompany the new test, Andy Kill, a representative for 23andMe, told Business Insider. The company's report will include a mandatory eight-page "education module" that customers must complete before they can see their results. It contains the following statement:

"Women without a variant are still at risk of developing cancer. It's important to continue with any cancer screenings your healthcare provider recommends."

Despite all those warnings, Witte and other experts believe the test could still be troublesome — especially for people who don't thoroughly read all of that information.

"There are many other genetic variants that are linked to breast cancer that wouldn't be picked up by 23andMe's test," Witte said. "A 'negative test' just means you don't carry one of the three mutations it tests for. That's all it means."

Angelina Jolie and the importance of genetic counselors

angelina jolie leg dress 2012 oscars23andMe's latest test, which will be available to customers in the coming weeks, reveals whether you have a mutation on two genes that have been found to be closely linked to breast and ovarian cancer — also known as the BRCA genes.

The actress Angelina Jolie brought public awareness to the mutations when she made the decision to have her breasts and ovaries removed after testing positive for the BRCA1 mutation.

The problem with a genetics report coming without accompanying information from a doctor or genetic counselor, experts say, is that testing positive or negative for the mutations doesn't reveal whether you'll get breast cancer. It is merely one of several factors, including things like family history, ancestry, and lifestyle, that ultimately determine the development of the disease. To understand the next steps you should take, you should have a physician or a genetics counselor at hand, Witte said.

Jolie did not make the decision to have her breasts and ovaries removed solely because she carried the BRCA1 gene mutation, which interferes with how genes — the blueprint for the proteins that make up cells — function. As she wrote in a 2015 essay for The New York Times, Jolie also had a family history of breast cancer, and that strongly influenced her choice.

Normally, BRCA genes function as safeguards against cancer. They protect cells from growing out of control and developing into the disease. Healthy BRCA genes repair genetic errors that can occur when cells multiply, for example, which is why an improperly functioning or mutated BRCA gene — though rare among the general population — can sharply increase cancer risk.

It's the job of a physician or genetic counselor to walk through all of this dense, complicated information with a patient.

"I hope the people who take this test have genetic counselors," Witte said. "I hope people will at least go see their doctor."

Other limitations of the new test

Because BRCA mutations are so rare among the general population, 23andMe's new test holds real value only for people with Ashkenazi Jewish heritage, Pamela Munster, a professor of oncology at the University of California at San Francisco who is a coleader of the Center for BRCA Research, said in an email. For people with Ashkenazi Jewish heritage, the chances of inheriting the mutation are 10 times as high as they are for the general population, of whom only 0.25% have the mutation.

"If you're Ashkenazi Jewish, those are the most common ones for that population, but I don't know that that distinction is going to come through to the average person," Witte said.

The new test does not address breast-cancer risk variants that are unusually common among members of other populations, such as people with Latino/Latina heritage, Witte added.

"I do know that in the Latino/Latina populations there are other variants linked with breast cancer risk. So the test isn't going to be very informative for them. But the point is — will they know that it's non-informative? That's a concern."

Kill, the 23andMe representative, said the new test underwent months of FDA review and was safe: "The BRCA-related report is in the same format as our other genetic health risk reports which have undergone extensive user comprehension studies submitted to FDA."

SEE ALSO: I tried 23andMe's new genetics test — and now I know why the company caused such a stir

Join the conversation about this story »

NOW WATCH: What Silicon Valley is doing to make humans live longer

A cynic's guide to Facebook's decision to dump third party data for advertising (FB)

Posted: 31 Mar 2018 09:37 AM PDT

Mark Zuckerberg

  • Facebook said its move to eliminate the use of third party data for ad targeting is all about protecting its users. But some see a more calculated move.
  • It's possible that this targeting option wasn't a key revenue driver for Facebook, yet eliminating it makes the company look privacy-sensitive.
  • Facebook may also have been planning this move to protect itself against GDPR or to even strengthen its own data advantage.

Former President Barack Obama has often warned against cynicism

That's a lovely, noble sentiment. But the thing is, Obama never worked in advertising.

Facebook's announcementt that it plans to weed out ads that employ third party data sources for targeting was of course presented as being about protecting its users. 

But there are other viable theories.

Facebook is getting rid of a targeting option that isn't all that important, and it's getting a great PR stunt out of it.

Removing the option to target users with ads based on their past shopping habits and other information culled by third parties sends a strong signal that Facebook got the "privacy memo" following the embarrassing Cambridge Analytica saga – and that it's taking drastic action.

Yet it's hard to believe that Facebook would elect to kill an ad targeting option that would severely hurt its thriving ad business. It's more likely that in phasing out its Partner Categories program, Facebook is eliminating a less-than-vital revenue source.

“Certainly some categories (of advertiser) use this third party data tool (third party data) more than others," said Lance Neuhauser, CEO of the digital ad buying tech company 4C. “We have a ton of clients that don't touch these offerings. [Third party data integrations) is certainly not where Facebook’s strength is."

Facebook knows it was never going to make big TV brands happy anyway, so it stopped trying.

It's true that big, traditional marketers like Procter & Gamble and Unilever have been cutting back on digital advertising and have questioned the viability of Facebook's data for targeting (when you're trying to sell toothpaste for instance, you kind of just need to target everybody).

So rather than continuing to try to bend over backwards for these brands, Facebook can stick to its bread and butter - catering to advertisers that rely on Facebook's, or on their own data.

That could hinder Facebook's growth in the short term. “We have a lot of brands without first party data that are still tiptoeing into social, so this might impact them," said Phillip Huynh, Director, Paid Social Lead New York at the ad agency 360i. "Facebook has always promised 'one to one' marketing. This gets those brands away from that.”

Facebook is really worried about getting regulated. And this gives them something to talk about in front of Congress.

You see Senator Rubio? We're on this!

Facebook was going to do this anyway as it gets ready for European regulation – and Cambridge gave them a great excuse.

In May, the General Data Protection Regulation act, or GDPR, goes into effect in Europe, but will impact any digital company that operates globally. At the heart of that regulation is that advertisers, publishers and ad tech companies are going to need express permission from consumers to use their data for ad targeting.

It's possible that Facebook was planning to dump any third party ad targeting just to shield itself from GDPR – and the Cambridge crisis gave it cover. "This is much more about preparation for GDPR," said Neuhauser. "It does kill two birds with one stone."

The most jaded theory: the Cambridge crisis gave Facebook justification to make the walls in its walled garden even higher.

It's quite possible that Facebook never really liked the idea of bringing in any outside data to its platform, given its desire to protect the value of its own consumer data, and to keep that within its own walls.

This move potentially makes Facebook look pro-privacy, while theoretically giving it more business leverage. 

Said one marketer: "This was a master stroke of deception," he said. "Now the only alternative is to use FB’s black box targeting solution."

But again, try not to be cynical.

SEE ALSO: Nobody knows how many people actually watch Cheddar, but that hasn't stopped it from raising millions

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NOW WATCH: The surprising reason why NASA hasn't sent humans to Mars yet

Google Cloud is experimenting with blockchains — and it could make us think totally differently the technology (GOOGL)

Posted: 31 Mar 2018 08:30 AM PDT

diane greene google

  • Google has several teams that are exploring potential uses for blockchain technology.
  • It's not clear if or how Google will use the technology, but Brian Behlendorf, an expert on the technology, thinks the company will offer a blockchain product through its Google Cloud service.
  • Blockchains are designed to be decentralized, but one that's linked to a public-cloud service could actually make sense, Behlendorf said.

Google has long been fond of experimentation, so it should be no surprise the internet giant is looking into what blockchain technology could do for its cloud business.

Several different teams inside the company are examining the hyped technology, which is the hard-to-edit digital ledger system that underlies bitcoin, ethereum and other cryptocurrencies, a Google representative said. But the representative declined to share details. 

"Like many new technologies, we have individuals in various teams exploring potential uses of blockchain but it's way too early for us to speculate about any possible uses or plans," the Google representative said.

Fortunately, it doesn't take inside information to imagine what Google may have in store. Indeed, thinking through how Google might use blockchain technology is something Brian Behlendorf, executive director of the open-source blockchain project Hyperledger, has been doing a lot lately.

Behlendorf's hunch? Google's going to offer blockchain technology as a product available through its Google Cloud service. Just as Google Cloud customers today can easily set up databases through the service or use it to access Google's machine learning technology, they might be able to someday set up a blockchain through it.

Behlendorf doesn't speak for Google. But he's in a good position to speculate on what it might do. His organization, after all, works with companies including IBM and Oracle to develop their enterprise-grade blockchain offerings.

The blockchain would be for businesses, not cloud infrastructure

Google could potentially develop a blockchain system from scratch. But that could take a lot of time and resources, so the company might just use one that's already been developed, potentially even one from Hyperledger. Hyperledger has two different open-source blockchain systems — Fabric and Sawtooth — that it offers for enterprises to use for their projects. 

Either way, its service would likely allow Google Cloud clients to set up a blockchain ledger and authorize different users — or nodes — to make entries on it.

"The basic idea is you might take something like Hyperledger Fabric or Sawtooth and go to a company or set of companies and say, 'We will set up your nodes on a permission ledger for a fee,'" Behlendorf said.

BI Graphics_Blockchain_What is a blockchain

Strategically, it would make sense for Google to add a blockchain product to its cloud service. Google's cloud-related products — which include Google Docs and a broad range of other services — account for $1 billion in quarterly revenue. But Google Cloud itself is in third place in the cloud-computing market, trailing behind Amazon Web Services and Microsoft's Azure, and it could use something to help set its service apart from the leaders.

A public cloud blockchain won't necessarily be decentralized 

Hosting a blockchain product on a public cloud service may sound strange if you know something about the digital-ledger technology. One of the big selling points of blockchains is that they're decentralized.

Exact copies of blockchain ledgers are stored in multiple places, typically on different computers or nodes. In the case of bitcoin's blockchain, the number of nodes is in the thousands. A change to a ledger won't be recognized unless multiple nodes agree on the change.

By contrast, public clouds, by their nature, are services that centralize data from multiple companies or users.

BI Graphics_Blockchain_How changes get made on a blockchain

Despite that apparent contradiction, Behlendorf said users shouldn't be worried about a public cloud-based blockchain.

Just because a blockchain may start in a public cloud doesn't necessarily mean it can't be decentralized. Indeed, if Google offers a blockchain product through Google Cloud, it likely will embrace decentralization and allow customers to set up nodes for their blockchain ledgers elsewhere, including on other public cloud services such as AWS, he said.

That may seem counterintuitive that Google would allow its blockchain product to be accessed through competing cloud services. But it would almost have to offer that flexibility, Behlendorf said. After all, many businesses operate worldwide and will want their blockchains to be accessible wherever they operate, but Google Cloud isn't accessible in China, because the country bans Google. 

Besides, the main reason for decentralization is to ensure trust among parties that don't know each other. You may not know who's operating a particular node on the bitcoin blockchain, but you can trust that the person has an unadulterated copy of the ledger if it matches up with those on every other node in the system.

But public cloud services don't have the same bar for establishing the trust of users. People already know Amazon, Microsoft, Google and trust their services. If you would use a cloud service to store information about your business, you should feel comfortable putting a blockchain on it as well, Behlendorf said.

In fact, it's already happening. While neither AWS or Azure offers a blockchain product, people already host blockchains on those cloud services, he said.

Still not sure what a blockchain is? Check out this explainer for more info.

SEE ALSO: Here's everything you need to know about blockchains, the ground-breaking tech that could be as disruptive as the internet

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Here's how Amazon's and Apple's new smart speakers stack up with consumers (AMZN, AAPL)

Posted: 31 Mar 2018 08:09 AM PDT

tech adoption likely buyersThis is a preview of a research report from BI Intelligence, Business Insider's premium research service. To learn more about BI Intelligence, click here.

Smart speakers — Amazon's Echo, for example — are the latest device category poised to take a chunk of our increasingly digital lives. These devices are made primarily for the home and execute a user's voice commands via an integrated digital assistant. These digital assistants can play music, answer questions, and control other devices within a user's home, among other things. 

The central question for this new product category is not when they will take off, but which devices will rise to the top. To answer this question, BI Intelligence surveyed our leading-edge consumer panel, gathering exclusive data on Amazon's recently released Echo Show and Echo Look, as well as Apple's HomePod. 

In a new Smart Speaker report, BI Intelligence analyzes the market potential of the Echo Look, Echo Show, and HomePod. Using exclusive survey data, we evaluate each device's potential for adoption based on four criteria: awareness, excitement, usefulness, and purchase intent. And we draw some inferences from our data about the direction the smart speaker market could take from here.

Here are some of the key takeaways:

  • Amazon's new Echo Show is the big winner — it has mass-market appeal and looks like it will take off. The combination of usefulness and excitement will drive consumers to buy the Echo Show. The Echo Look, though, seems like it will struggle to attract that same level of interest.
  • Apple’s HomePod looks likely to find a place in the smart speaker market but won’t dominate its space like the iPhone or iPad did.
  • The smart speaker market will evolve rapidly in the next few years, with more devices featuring screens, a variety of more focused products emerging, and eventually, the voice assistant moving beyond the smart speaker.

In full, the report:

  • Showcases exclusive survey data on initial consumer reactions to the Echo Look, Echo Show, and HomePod.
  • Highlights the aims and strategies of major players in the smart speaker market.
  • Provides analysis on the direction this nascent market will take and the opportunity for companies considering a move into the space.

Interested in getting the full report? Here are two ways to access it:

  1. Subscribe to an All-Access pass to BI Intelligence and gain immediate access to this report and over 100 other expertly researched reports. As an added bonus, you'll also gain access to all future reports and daily newsletters to ensure you stay ahead of the curve and benefit personally and professionally. >> Learn More Now
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Every Steven Spielberg movie, ranked from worst to best

Posted: 31 Mar 2018 08:06 AM PDT


Spanning more than 40 years, Steven Spielberg's work boasts an extremely diverse array of stories, characters, and themes.

He's made whimsical fantasies aimed squarely at children ("E.T.," "The Adventures of Tintin"), complex morality stories ("Bridge of Spies," "Amistad"), and graphically violent dramas ("Munich," "Saving Private Ryan").

For his latest, "Ready Player One," the Oscar winner returns to his popcorn blockbuster roots and proves that he's still the king of the genre.

Here we take on the difficult task of ranking from worst to best all 32 of Spielberg's feature-length movies. 

SEE ALSO: All 30 Steven Spielberg movies, ranked by how much money they made at the US box office

32. "Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull" (2008)

Earning its rightful place at the bottom of this list is the fourth entry in Spielberg's "Indiana Jones" anthology. There are so many problems with this movie. If you really want to understand all of them, we suggest watching Red Letter Media's in-depth analysis of why it's so bad. Disney announced that Spielberg and star Harrison Ford will reunite for a fifth "Indy" movie. Hopefully, in the words of Max Von Sydow's character in "Star Wars: The Force Awakens," it "will begin to make things right."

31. "The Lost World: Jurassic Park" (1997)

Spielberg rushed to deliver a sequel to his 1993 record-breaking box-office smash "Jurassic Park." In the process, he failed to produce a worthy successor to the groundbreaking original. He also created a scene in which a little girl uses gymnastics to fight a dinosaur that many refer to as the worst thing he's ever done.

30. "A.I. Artificial Intelligence" (2001)

Stanley Kubrick originally intended to direct this project, but Spielberg took it over after Kubrick passed away in 1999. While it possesses many solid attributes, such as a superb John Williams score, the marriage of Spielberg's sensibilities with those of Kubrick result in an uneven mess that will hopefully improve with repeated viewings. 

See the rest of the story at Business Insider

The Tesla story is under pressure — and it should worry investors (TSLA)

Posted: 31 Mar 2018 07:47 AM PDT

Tesla Model 3

  • Tesla boosters are seeing their story tested by a deluge of negative news about the company.
  • This distracts from what Tesla has actually achieved.
  • The company doesn't need to take over the world to be successful.

Gene Munster, a former technology analyst, now a venture capitalist, thinks Tesla will take over the world. 

But on the heels of a recall last week, along with some other negative news, Munster admits that his patience is being tested.

"[D]o we still believe in the story?" he asks in a research post on the Loup Ventures site.  "The answer is yes. Our support is based on a view that the company is uniquely positioned to capitalize on a dramatic shift in auto (computer on wheels), innovate in both EV and autonomy, and usher in a new paradigm of manufacturing efficiencies."

This is, of course, wrong. Tesla isn't anymore uniquely positioned than Waymo and Jaguar, which announced a self-driving-vehicle partnership last week, or General Motors, which has been selling thousands of all-electric Chevy Bolts, a sub-$40,000 car that the automaker rolled out in 2016, more than a year ahead of the Tesla Model 3.

Tesla is part of a transportation ecosystem where a tremendous amount of experimentation and investment is taking place. And in the grand scheme of things, Tesla is a minor player. Yes, it attracts outsized buzz due to the celebrity of CEO Elon Musk. But this is a carmaker that took 15 years to break the 100,000-cars-per-year production barrier.

Tesla is also a carmaker that fans see as both disruptive and embattled, which is also wrong. A company selling 100,000 vehicles annually, at an average price of $100,000, isn't disrupting anything. Rather, it's adding to the mix of luxury vehicles in the market.

Nor is Tesla under assault by competitors. In fact, the rest of the auto industry — contrary to what Musk often says about traditional companies wanting to kill Tesla off — is happy to watch Tesla take all the risks involved with electric vehicles and admires the emergence of a brave, new brand.

Concocting a story that doesn't match reality

elon musk

Tesla enthusiasts such as Munster, however, find themselves in a weird position. Profitability has long been a measure of success in the auto industry, which is hugely capital-intensive. But Tesla has never really made any money. Growth in the car business is determined by sales, but with the exception of China, sales growth is constrained in most markets. But Munster thinks Tesla could be selling 11 million cars a year in just the US, a 65% share in a market where the biggest company, GM, now has less than 20%.

Consequently, Tesla boosters have concocted a story that entails a radical remaking of mobility and how we relate to automobiles. This goes miles beyond Tesla commercializing a propulsion technology that's been around for over a century. I'd even wager that to call it a "story" is quaintly misdirected. At the extremes, it's a fantasy.

A lucrative fantasy, as it turns out. Even with Tesla's stock swoon of the past month, down close to 30%, if you'd bought after the 2010 IPO, you'd still be sitting on a nearly 900% return. For eight years, Tesla has been a great way to trade to the future.

It is worth it to know when a fantasy or a story is colliding with reality and becoming something else. From Tesla's point of view, the cars aren't even the full tale: ever since late 2016, when Tesla acquired SolarCity, the firm has been a holding company with an integrated vision about sustainable energy. Electric cars are just one piece of that strategy.

But for the moment, Tesla is still overwhelmingly a car company because that's where the money is being brought and being spent. And that aspect of the narrative is the one that's coming under tremendous pressure. 

An information vacuum for investors

Tesla Factory

Why? Simple: investors have nothing else to go on. It's easy to tell how Toyota and GM are faring. Just look at how much money they're making, what their return in invested capital is, how many assets they have, and how much cash they've stocked away to weather a sales downturn. 

Tesla won't even tell investors how many vehicles it's selling every month — we have to wait until the close of a quarter to get those numbers — and the earnings reports every three months are simply opportunities to assess how much money the company is losing, and to get updates on ambitious production targets that aren't being met. 

The cars are cool, Musk is an exciting personality, and Tesla has ridden a story that's very much of Silicon Valley and its values, rather than the more plodding, execution-based narrative that Detroit has cranked out for decades. But ultimately, the Tesla investment narrative is starved for meaningful plot points. That why Munster can have a minor crisis of confidence over something as trivial as a power-steering recall — a defect that a big carmaker would deal with in a month and move on.

Actually, this is the only really unique thing about Tesla. If the company beats expectations by a few thousand sales, the markets go bonkers. Accidents can send the stock into a tailspin. The fundamentals are objectively not very good. Lately, all anybody wants to talk about is the company's financial situation, which, technically speaking, isn't that far from bankruptcy (despite that, bankruptcy is unlikely, for now). 

Meanwhile, there are plenty of wonderful stories coming out of Tesla that have nothing to do with computers on wheels or how seductively unique the company is. The Model 3 has been a struggle, but the Model S and Model X luxury business is actually pretty solid. Tesla is nowhere near what Waymo is doing with self-driving tech, but its Autopilot technology is, with Cadillac's Super Cruise system, the best cruise control money can buy.

It causes me pain to see the good Tesla story subsumed by the need to push this nonsensical, world-changing fantasy to ever-more-skeptical investors. Tesla has been a great tale for a decade and a half. It can stay that way without taking over the world.

SEE ALSO: Tesla's latest recall could be just the beginning — here's how it compares with other car companies

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NOW WATCH: Jim Chanos says Elon Musk just told his 'biggest whopper' about Tesla yet

Meet the kids of the world's richest billionaire business moguls

Posted: 31 Mar 2018 07:43 AM PDT

Billionaire Richard Branson and kids

  • Many of the world's richest people and most recognizable business moguls are also parents.
  • They raise their kids just like everyone else, but with billions of dollars to do so.
  • Education is usually a priority: Bill Gates sent his children to the private school he graduated from, and Elon Musk's five sons attend a secret school founded by their father.

Most kids face the same problems growing up, but some do so with a billionaire parent.

When not running their tech company and managing other executives, many of the world's richest people and most recognizable business moguls have the universal job of taking care of their children.

The kids of the richest business moguls have many of the same experiences as everyone else. They go to school, relax on vacation, date, and eventually have children and careers of their own. 

However, they may also attend secret schools, pursue expensive hobbies like riding horses, or head up their father's charity organization — less than ordinary experiences that make their childhood the opposite of average. 

Below, find out more about the children of some of the most successful billionaire business moguls: Mark Cuban, Mark ZuckerbergElon MuskRichard BransonBill Gates, and Warren Buffett

SEE ALSO: Meet the kids of the world's richest tech billionaires

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Mark Cuban is a father to three children — Alexis, Alyssa, and Jake.

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Cuban and his wife, Tiffany, keep family time fun. Last summer, the Cuban family took a vacation to Disneyland.

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Cuban has admitted that it is difficult to get his children off their phones. He limits Netflix time for his kids and has instituted a technology curfew.

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Source: CNBC

See the rest of the story at Business Insider

10 female-founded startups that are expected to take off in 2018

Posted: 31 Mar 2018 07:30 AM PDT

Liz Wessel

Female-founded companies are on the rise.

From talks with investors and leaders in venture capital, we've rounded up a list of 10 female-founded companies that you should be paying attention to in 2018. These leading founders have set their sights on disrupting major markets like fashion, cosmetics, feminine products, online networking, and grocery delivery. 

Check out the companies you should be paying attention to this year: 

SEE ALSO: The 50 best-paying big companies, according to employees

DON'T MISS: The 50 best small companies to work for of 2017, according to employees

Maven is a telemedicine company that provides digital solutions for women's health.

Founder: Katherine Ryder

Funding: $15.3 million 

What it does: Maven's app connects women to healthcare practitioners through video and private messaging and provides a community centered on women's health.

Why it's taking off: The company has partnered with several high-profile companies (including Snapchat's parent company, Snap, and a number of Fortune 500 companies) that now offer Maven's maternity services to their employees. 


Shippo, which was founded five years ago by Laura Behrens Wu, helps small businesses mail out packages with ease and efficiency.

Founder: Laura Behrens Wu

Funding: $20 million Series B

What it does: Shippo connects businesses with a network of shipping carriers worldwide.

Why it's taking off: Shippo is tackling the e-commerce industry by providing a way for small businesses to send out goods with the efficiency of Amazon.

Glossier is redefining the online cosmetics marketplace.

Founder: Emily Weiss

Funding: Since 2015, Glossier has raised $86.4 million.

What it does: Glossier is an online cosmetics marketplace. 

Why it's taking off: In just three years, Glossier has overtaken a sizeable portion of the cosmetics market with its direct-to-consumer approach to beauty products. 

See the rest of the story at Business Insider

A 'Star Trek' writer made a 1999 prediction that absolutely nailed what technology is like today

Posted: 31 Mar 2018 07:00 AM PDT

star trek

  • A column from 1999 went viral because its predictions are dead-on.
  • You have to read it to believe it. 

An 18-year-old magazine column went viral over the past week because it's just so good. The column effectively predicts the iPhone, Siri, and even Facebook's privacy scandals — all the way back in 1999.

The prediction was made by science fiction author David Gerrold, who writes novels and used to write for "Star Trek." It was shared this week by technology writer Esther Schindler. It was published in a now-defunct magazine called Smart Reseller, according to Fast Company

Check it out: 

What makes this so special is that not only did Gerrold foresee smartphones, but he also clearly saw the privacy issues that have come with them. 

If there's one quibble with the prescient column, it's that voice assistants — whether Apple's Siri, Google's Assistant, or Amazon's Alexa — can't really do complicated queries the way Gerrold predicted. But maybe the prediction is still ahead of its time. 

SEE ALSO: Facebook employees are in disbelief that a bombshell memo justifying questionable practices to grow at all costs was leaked

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It makes perfect sense that Trump would take on Amazon — but Amazon is going to be a brutal foe

Posted: 31 Mar 2018 06:30 AM PDT


  • Donald Trump is "obsessed" with Amazon, in the words of Axios.
  • He thinks the online retailer has unfair advantages and is putting traditional companies out of business.
  • Trump talks about Amazon like he talks about the foreign trade partners, and he may want to start a domestic version of a trade war.
  • But Amazon is the best-liked large company in America and will be a tough enemy.

The most obvious explanation for President Donald Trump's antipathy for Amazon — and, I'm sure, one of the main contributing factors — is that Amazon founder Jeff Bezos owns The Washington Post, which Trump hates.

But there must be more to it than that.

After all, Trump talks about Amazon and Bezos much more than he talks about Carlos Slim, the Mexican telecom billionaire who owns a large stake in The New York Times, which he also hates.

Axios reported this week that Trump is "obsessed" with Amazon, and it offers several reasons for his obsession that go far beyond a personal feud. Read the list, and Trump's obsession with Amazon makes sense — because it dovetails with his populist, protectionist and nostalgic view of the broader economy.

Amazon is all about change, and not the kind of change Trump likes.

With Trump, look for the real-estate angle

"His real estate buddies tell him — and he agrees — that Amazon is killing shopping malls and brick-and-mortar retailers," Axios reports.

This objection aligns with Trump's views on trade: He's more focused on protecting old industries than fostering new ones.

Trump is not moved by the idea that cheap imported steel is good for Americans who buy steel products, or for American companies that make products out of steel. He worries about the loss of steel mills that are, or were, job anchors in certain Rust Belt communities.

It doesn't hurt that Trump has friends with relevant business interests that would benefit from the protection of the status quo, whether those are ownership stakes in steel mills or shopping malls.

There is also a community aspect to resistance to Amazon. In a time where people are less likely to go to church or participate in bowling leagues, Amazon is contributing to the loss of some of the remaining public spaces where Americans gather with their neighbors: malls.

Maybe Trump isn't nostalgic for hanging out at the mall. But the nostalgic desire he's expressing here, of wanting to keep communities the way they once were, with a steel mill to work in and a mall to shop at, clearly resonates with a slice of the electorate.

Trump is obsessed with who's cheating

donald trump

There's another echo of the tariffs fight: Trump is convinced that Amazon must be gaining its advantage in the retail sector by cheating.

Trump says Amazon is getting a free ride from the US Postal Service, even though this is no more true than his claim that Canada has a trade surplus with the US.

In fact, the post office makes a lot of money delivering Amazon's packages — for now, at least, though we'll see what happens as Amazon expands its in-house airline.

But again, as on trade, not all of Trump's accusations are wrong. He says Amazon skirts state and local taxes, which is quite true: After years of resistance, Amazon collects sales tax on its own sales, but not necessarily on sales by marketplace sellers using their platform.

If I were Trump, I'd raise another form of cheating that he hasn't publicly discussed yet. It's called showrooming: when customers check out products in physical stores, where a brick and mortar retailer pays the bill to keep the lights on, and then they order online, where the price is lowest.

You can't make money running a showroom, and as brick and mortar stores close, jobs and tax revenue are getting lost — and even Amazon customers are losing something, in the form of a convenient place to check out products.

Trump is scrambling usual left-right alignments on the economy

CNN President Jeff ZuckerIn some areas, especially tax policy, Trump has spoken populist rhetoric and then gone along with Republican policy orthodoxy.

But in other cases, he's shown a willingness to break with Republicans and push a policy that aims to slow the pace of economic change, even over the objections of corporate interests.

The most obvious example of that is his tariff policy. But another example is his Justice Department's choice to object to the AT&T-Time Warner merger, after Republicans have spent decades pushing for more lax antitrust enforcement.

As with Amazon, in the AT&T-Time Warner case it's tough to tell where Trump's personal vendettas end and his policy interests begin. Trump has complained bitterly about coverage from Time Warner subsidiary CNN.* But there is also a valid policy argument that companies that own both cable channels and cable wires have excessive power over pricing, and that blocking such a merger is a good use of anti-trust power — even if it's an argument you'd usually hear from the left side of the aisle.

Trump isn't the first person to raise concerns about online retail, but once again it's unusual to hear them from a Republican. Usually, it's people on the left who emphasize the need for metrics other than prices and profit margins when deciding whether economic changes like the ones Amazon drives are good.

(A liberal critic of Amazon would probably also raise concerns about pay and labor conditions at Amazon's warehouses, but I wouldn't hold my breath for Trump to discuss this.)

Trump will take on companies that bug him, but Amazon can bite back

If I were Trump I'd be afraid to go to war with Amazon, because Amazon is very popular.

Each year, the Harris Poll conducts its "Reputation Quotient" study, examining public opinion on the 100 most visible companies in America. In 2018, Harris found Amazon had the most positive public image out of all 100 companies. 

AT&T was 70th, and Time Warner was 81st, probably because people still think Time Warner owns Time Warner Cable.

It's not surprising Amazon is so popular. Amazon improves convenience, choice and value for consumers, offering them two-day delivery on an immense variety of well-priced products. People like that.

Lots of people talk a good game about supporting mom-and-pop retail and wanting their communities to stay the way they once were, but in practice, they're busy and they like having products cheaply and reliably delivered to their door.

Trump's nostalgia does not always align with the public's

jeff bezos blue origin amazon founder sunglasses tough face GettyImages 813884326 2x1

There are some things for which people really are nostalgic. People have a sense that medium-skilled industrial jobs at big factories used to hold communities together, and that after those plants closed, communities hurt in ways both economic and social.

But are people really nostalgic for the old ways of retail? Do they miss the experience of having to leave home to shop, and do they feel the mostly low-paying jobs in those stores were the backbone of their communities?

Do they feel that nostalgia if none of their friends own commercial real estate?

People's individual shopping behaviors say no, they do not. They like shopping at Amazon. And if the Harris Poll is to be believed, they like it a lot.

And since Trump is quite unpopular, he may not want an enemy as popular as Amazon.

*I am a paid contributor to MSNBC, a competitor to CNN. MSNBC's parent company, Comcast, is in both the telecommunications and television content businesses.

SEE ALSO: If Trump wants to take a shot at Amazon, there's a potential billion-dollar deal staring him right in the face

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The Galaxy S9 has 11 great features buried in the settings you should check out

Posted: 31 Mar 2018 06:30 AM PDT

galaxy s9

Android phones can be customized way more than iPhones, and Samsung adds its own little touches that take customization to another level. 

The thing is, Samsung rarely mentions these cool little features when it announces its new phones, and they can go unnoticed for your entire ownership of a Samsung phone. 

Many of the features mentioned here aren't exclusive to Samsung's new phone, the Galaxy S9. You'll find most of them in previous models, too, but I added them to the list just in case you missed them. 

Check out 11 cool tips and tricks for your Galaxy S9:

SEE ALSO: Samsung is making some good-looking cases for your new — fragile — Galaxy S9

1. Make the screen even sharper.

Out of the box, the Galaxy S9's screen is set to 1080p. That's somewhat odd considering the display's native resolution is a sharper 1440p.

You can set the phone to make full use of its sharp display by heading to Settings > Display > Screen resolution, then set it from FHD+ to WQHD+.

Setting the display to a higher resolution means you'll take a small hit on battery life, but it's not a dramatic difference by any means. The sharpness difference isn't massive, but it's there, and you get the full effect of Samsung's smartphone displays that are the best in the business. 

2. Make the screen less harsh-looking at night time.

Many phones have this feature now. Apple calls it Night Shift, Samsung calls it Blue Light Filter. It basically reduces the intensity of bright blue colors that can appear overly bright and keep your brain awake when you're trying to wind down around night time.

Head to Settings > Display > Blue light filter > Turn on as scheduled. You can set it for the default sunset to sunrise, or set the feature to run during your own custom times. 

3. Squeeze more apps onto your home screen.

By default, the Galaxy S9's home screen positions its apps pretty far apart from each other, and it doesn't give you much control of where you want the app icons to go. 

Head to Settings > Display > Home screen > Home screen grid. There, you can set it to show more apps that you can position closer together. 

See the rest of the story at Business Insider

This is the most beautiful phone I've ever seen — here's how it was made

Posted: 31 Mar 2018 06:00 AM PDT

Essential Phone 3

"Someone finally made a phone for me."

That was my first thought when I unwrapped the ocean depths Essential Phone, which is neither blue nor green, but a deep jewel tone.

It's made out of ceramic, and around the edge is a shiny, copper-colored titanium band. Altogether, it's a color combination that's never been used on a smartphone before — and it's quite possibly the best-looking phone I've ever seen. 

The Essential Phone, which is the brainchild of Android creator Andy Rubin, launched in August 2017. The phone debuted at $700, but its price was slashed by $200 a few months later amid reports of poor sales. Last month, research firm IDG estimated that Essential had sold fewer than 90,000 phones, a fraction of what Apple and Samsung typically sell. 

Still, there's no denying that the Essential Phone is one of the more innovative smartphones to launch in recent years, and after using the device for a few weeks, I wanted to know how Essential's designers came up with the design for its phone — and why they chose such unusual color combinations.

I talked with Linda Jiang, Essential's head of industrial design and the woman responsible for creating one of the most beautiful and unusual phones you can buy:

SEE ALSO: 6 reasons you should buy Samsung's new Galaxy S9 instead of the Galaxy Note 8

With the Essential Phone — technically called "PH-1" — Jiang and her team were starting from scratch.

"It was actually really liberating," Jiang told Business Insider. "Rather than focusing on a previous design and evolving it, we just started from the inside out. Design is one thing, but what are the technologies we want to feature, and what are some ways we can really push the boundaries of what a smartphone can be?"

Jiang said she wanted the Essential Phone to be "function first," meaning she didn't want there to be a lot of flash, or distractions from the technology itself. 

If you look closely, you'll notice something different about the Essential Phone: it doesn't have any logos or branding on the back.

The Essential Phone's lack of logos is unusual compared to other high-end smartphones.

Apple slaps its logo right on the center of the phone. Samsung places two different logos on that back of its Galaxy phones. Google places a small but noticeable "G" on the back of the Pixel. 

But Jiang says Essential eschewed branding from the beginning, and wanted "the design to be the brand."

Instead of logos, Jiang says, Essential made design choices like adding magnetic connectors for accessories like Essential's 360 cameraEssential's goal was to make the phone look different enough from the back that people would know who made it. 

Plus, Jiang says she thinks logos aren't what's best for consumers. 

"Sometimes it’s not fair to the customers to have this giant brand slapped on the back of the phone," Jiang said. "They're basically just walking advertisements — 'whether you like it or not, you’re doing to be advertising for us.'"

The front of the Essential Phone looks like an average smartphone — except for the notch.

The Essential Phone came out in August, which means its "notch" — that cut-out towards the top of the display that houses the front-facing camera — pre-dates the iPhone X. 

Since then, Android makers have started adding the notch to their own designs, which Jiang says is "gratifying."

"It was actually controversial within our own company; some people hated it, some people loved it," Jiang said. "But we kind of felt like, we're trying to do something that's never been done before and it was actually a nice thing to know that it started such controversy."

See the rest of the story at Business Insider

'They can't afford to be precious': Why lots of advertisers aren't playing hardball with Facebook

Posted: 31 Mar 2018 05:44 AM PDT

MENLO PARK, CA - APRIL 04: Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg speaks during an event at Facebook headquarters on April 4, 2013 in Menlo Park, California. Zuckerberg announced a new product for Android called Facebook Home. (Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)

  • Even as many top marketers go public in their criticism of Facebook's handling of the Cambridge Analytica controversy, there's another side to the story.
  • There are thousands of advertisers on Facebook who are not even thinking about cutting or threatening to cut Facebook ads.
  • That's because these brands rely on Facebook to generate much if not all of their business. "They can't afford to be precious," one executive says.

Big advertisers have been letting Facebook have it.

But lots of advertisers aren't shouting about the Cambridge Analytica fallout. They simply can't afford to.

Recently giant marketers like Procter & Gamble and Unilever have been rethinking how much they need to advertise via digital media at all. And they're getting fed up with Facebook's misadventures with consumer data and reluctance to employ third-party measurement to the degree they'd prefer.

Following the Cambridge mess, big advertisers have become more emboldened to push back, reported the Wall Street Journal. That's led Facebook's sales chief to spend much of her time doing damage control.

But there's another side to all this — and it's important to remember that Facebook has 6 million advertisers. So many of the advertisers that thrive on Facebook, as well as Google, Instagram, and other platforms, are not of the Procter & Gamble ilk.

Instead of worrying about how Facebook will replace their shrinking TV audiences, these brands have built their business on Facebook. That means cutting ads on Facebook means cutting off their own business.

"Of course these kinds of brands care about brand safety," said Sam Appelbaum, General Manager at YellowHammer Media Group, which specializes in brands that sell directly to consumers via digital media. "But they can't afford to be precious. Advertising on Facebook is crucial for driving their business. And in some cases, its where most of their business is generated."

That's not the case for most of the big marketers who are shouting about Facebook's data ills. Those companies often don't have their own consumer data, and many of them rely on selling their wares in physical stores. 

And they've developed their brands in a traditional media, Madison Avenue-image-focused era. So any association with consumer data breaches, fake news, Russian bots, etc. are greeted with a desire to protect their good names.

"Those guys are 100% focused on their image and the PR angle. We’re focused on generating customers," said Brian Schwartz, partner at Fuego Box, a startup that sells high-end hot sauce consumers, primarily via social media.

Of course, Fuego Box cares about its brand, said Schwartz. And if Facebook or Google or another outlet proved to be clearly detrimental to their image, they'd have to rethink things. 

But Fuego Box and the thousands of other marketers like them don't always have the luxury to threaten to cut spending from a giant platform to negotiate or prove a point. Which in a way likely insulates Facebook from too much damage.

"There's stuff that’s in our control, and stuff that's out of our control," he said. You kinda have to bake everything in how you evaluate your media spending. But for the most part, if it works it works, it doesn’t it doesn't."

Or as one exec from a large, direct-to-consumer brand put it: "We’re a performance marketer...[Facebook has]the audience...So fewer decisions based on politics and values and more based on performance."

Join the conversation about this story »

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Here are the 24 cars you need to see at the 2018 New York Auto Show

Posted: 31 Mar 2018 05:05 AM PDT

Genesis Essentia

After the annual supercar festival that was the Geneva Motor Show, the New York International Auto Show is a much more laid-back affair with a focus on cars that will one day find their way to your local showroom.

This year, the big story is crossover SUVs. And they are here en masse, in every color, size, and price point imaginable. It makes perfect sense because crossovers are the hottest segment of the market. 

 This year, major brands such as Acura, Audi, Cadillac, Genesis, Honda, Hyundai, Kia, Lincoln, Nissan, Jaguar, Subaru, Toyota, and Volkswagen all unveiled important new product offerings. 

The 2018 New York Auto Show is open to the public and will run until April 8 at the Javits Center.

Here's a quick rundown of some of the coolest and most important cars at this year's show:

SEE ALSO: We drove Jaguar's new $70,000 I-PACE electric crossover SUV to see if it's ready to take on the Tesla Model X

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This year, the New York Auto Show is dominated by mainstream, mass-market brands. Crossovers and SUVs are especially present. Leading the way is the Volkswagen Atlas Cross Sport. It's a five-seat crossover concept based on the brand's existing seven-seat Atlas SUV.

Alongside the Cross Sport, you'll find the Volkswagen Atas Tanoak Concept. It's a crossover utility truck concept that may one day make it to US showrooms.

Other heavy hitters to debut at the show include the 2019 Toyota RAV4 ...

See the rest of the story at Business Insider