Tech Shapes the Holiday Season and More amid the Pandemic

Emerging Tech Roundup — November 25

The Quantious team’s top picks for timely trending news in the tech world.

This week in tech: Small retailers focus on health and safety, Snapchat competes with TikTok, Facebook helps people in need, the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade evolves, an AR experience of “The Mandalorian” comes to smartphones, and Twitter experiences a bug with Fleets.

Small Business Saturday: The In-Store Tech Small Retailers Should Be Using This Year

(BizTech Magazine, November 24)

The COVID-19 pandemic has hit small retailers and local restaurants hard. As a result, there’s been a large movement encouraging people to help keep these businesses open by “shopping small,” especially after Thanksgiving on Small Business Saturday. However, for small business owners to succeed, there are in-store technologies they can leverage to help keep customers, and their own employees, safe and healthy amid the pandemic. Tech options like contactless payment, automated hand sanitizers, ultraviolet light sanitizers, capacity management tools to limit crowds, and more are available and can easily be implemented to provide safe in-store options for shoppers.

Snapchat Officially Launches In-App TikTok Competitor Called Spotlight

(The Verge, November 23)

Snapchat has a new section, Spotlight, which will enable users to post videos up to 60 seconds long. The move is seen as a way for Snap to compete with TikTok and the success it’s seen with short-form, viral videos. In the Spotlight tab, users will see snaps according to what Snapchat’s algorithm believes they’re likely to enjoy, based on past viewing history and view time. To encourage usage, Snap will be splitting up $1 million per day among the most popular creators (based mainly on unique views) through the rest of the year.

Facebook Launches ‘Drives,’ a U.S.-Only Feature for Collecting Food, Clothing and Other Necessities for People in Need

(Tech Crunch, November 23)

In light of the challenges people are facing due to COVID-19, Facebook is launching a new feature, Drives. With Drives, users in the U.S. can collect food, clothing and other items to help people in need in their local communities. Available via the Community Help hub, users can create and share efforts for collection to help others. To ensure safety, all posts in the section are reviewed for compliance with Facebook’s standards and policies. The feature is beginning to roll out and will become more widely available in the coming weeks.

Want to See the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade in Person? Go Back in Time Before the Pandemic.

(Salamanca Press, November 23)

In light of the COVID-19 pandemic, the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade will be a bit different this year — but augmented reality is helping to bring joy around the event. Through ReplayAR, an augmented reality app that overlays historic photos onto real-life locations, a video has been created so that users can experience past Thanksgiving Day parades. Filmed on an iPhone 11, creator Brandon Martin walked and filmed along the parade route, then added images of past parade floats over top to give users a unique view into Thanksgiving Day Parades from years ago. With this video, Martin hopes that users will have a new way to enjoy the magic of the event.

The Mandalorian AR Experience comes to 5G Google Pixel phones

(CNET, November 23)

The popular Star Wars show on Disney Plus, “The Mandalorian,” just released its second season. Fans of the show who own a 5G Pixel or other 5G Android devices are in luck — “The Mandalorian AR Experience” is available for download. With it, users can explore the show’s world, experiencing the setting and interacting with characters in augmented reality. Though the game focuses on the first season of the show, Google’s Play Store plans to release new experiences on a weekly basis through October 2021.

Fleets Are Still Visible on Twitter After 24 Hours Thanks to a Bug

(The Verge, November 22)

Twitter recently launched Fleets, short-lived posts that last only 24 hours, similar to Instagram or Snapchat stories. However, Twitter experienced a bug that caused Fleets to remain accessible for viewing and downloading by users beyond the one-day timeframe. “We’re aware of a bug accessible through a technical workaround where some Fleets media URLs may be accessible after 24 hours,” a Twitter spokesperson said, “We are working on a fix that should be rolled out shortly.”

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