Good morning, Austin! We have perused the internet to bring you the latest in tech news. Here’s what’s happening:
Apple’s ‘big wow’ moments: a voice speaker and augmented reality
Apple has at last jumped into two of the hottest tech trends of the last two years — voice-activated speakers and augmented reality, with a vow to dominate the markets pioneered by its rivals.
Two years after Amazon introduced its sleeper hit Echo device, and a year after Google Home, Apple now has the voice-activated HomePod, a high-end music speaker priced at $349 that will be powered by Siri.
Apple also unveiled a new augmented reality developer kit that would help Apple app developers integrate the technology that overlays digital images on the physical world, made popular by Pokemon Go.
There were few other wow moments at the Apple 2017 Worldwide Developer Conference, extending a trend in recent years of incremental refinements that keep loyalists happy but which fail to carve out huge new markets, like the first iPhones or iPods did.
For a recap of the two-hour event, check out this video recap from Recode.
Snap acquires Placed, a tracker of online ads
Snap has acquired Placed, a Seattle-based ad tech company that tracks whether online ads actually lead to store visits and offline purchases.
As part of the deal, more than 100 employees from Placed will join Snap, and continue to work out of their existing offices in Seattle, New York and Los Angeles.
Bloomberg reports that Snap paid about $125 million for the company.
The obvious goal for Snap is that advertisers will spend more if they can see that their Snap ads lead to real sales. Snap isn’t the only company trying to figure this out -- Facebook and Twitter, which generate billions in ad revenue, are doing the same.
San Francisco investigates whether Uber and Lyft are public nuisances
San Francisco has issued subpoenas to Uber and Lyft for a broad scope of records on driving and business practices as part of an investigation to determine whether the ride-services companies have become a public nuisance.
City Attorney Dennis Herrera said on Monday he was seeking records to investigate whether Uber and Lyft fail to adequately serve poor neighborhoods and the disabled and whether their drivers create hazards on the road.
Investigating whether Uber and Lyft are a public nuisance in the city is an unusual approach for San Francisco. An influx of cars driving for the two companies often clog city streets and block bicycle lanes and double-park while they wait for passengers, according to the city.
The subpoena sets up San Francisco and Uber for yet another legal battle, as the two are already locked in a fight over the city's demands for drivers' names and addresses.
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