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LATEST TECH NEWS: India bans Chinese TikTok app alongside 58 others. Four other things and a trivia you need to know today, July 1, 2020

These five latest stories from the tech space will keep you updated with trends today.

1. India bans Chinese TikTok app alongside 58 others

India has banned the use of 59 Chinese apps including video social networking app Tiktok. The development, according to industry experts, threatens the market size and success of tech company ByteDance, the brain behind TikTok. The weight of this blow becomes apparent given that Indian is the largest market of TikTok. Recall that China, over the past decade, had built an alternate online reality where Google and Facebook barely exist.

With the Indians pulling the plug, the chances that other countries might join the trend is high. Meanwhile, a pitfall for Chinese could translate into success for America given the existing trade war and relative competition from both indigenous tech drivers. Hence, the ban could have a ripple effect such that the ban could lead to wider geographical consequences. According analysts, as the country bars WeChat amongst the 59 apps that were flagged, Indians can go on to adopt Facebook as a replace or subscribe more to YouTube to make up for TikTok.

2. Grocery delivery with robots commences in Michigan

In Ann Arbor, a city in the Midwestern state of Michigan, Refraction AI company has built robots capable of handling grocery delivery. Following a trial that marked the startup’s first foray into grocery delivery after the launch of its restaurant delivery service, the move comes as Refraction reports a 3-4 times uptick in pandemic-related demand. Although, experts have noted that the worsening COVID-19 health crisis in much of the U.S. seems likely to hasten the adoption of self-guided robots and drones for goods transportation.

Going forward with the development, Refraction stated that customers within a three-mile radius of Produce Station can have orders delivered by its REV-1 robot. Going by the trial launch, after customers order through a dedicated website, Refraction’s employees load the vehicles at the store, and recipients receive text message updates, along with a code to open the robot’s storage compartment when it arrives. However, new protocols and adjustments to operations have been implemented in accordance with current health guidelines.

Tech Trivia:

Google as a search engine currently controls a market share of …. …. …. percent.
A. Less than 80
B. Above 80
C. Less than 40
D. Above 90
Answer: See end of post.

3. Nigerian fintech startup Paystack launches ecommerce platform

Money payment gateway Paystack has launched a new offering to help users sell online. The 5-year-old company, operating as a money page, allowing merchants to receive live, platform-agnostic payments, and facilitating processes of recurring billing, becomes a new player to head into the ecommerce space.

While analysts are yet to see a complete success in the development for Paystack as the space is saturated with existing players who are largely burdened with the challenge of logistics, many are on the lookout to see what the platform will offer differently to users. Recall that the startup raised a US$8 million in a Series A funding round almost two years ago. The fund and its reputation in the tech space is expected to therefore boost its services as a new ecommerce player.

 

READ ALSO: LATEST TECH NEWS: Fintech MFS Africa acquires East African startup Beyonic. 4 other things and a trivia you need to know today, June 30, 2020

4. Kenyan Zuru launches car rental app services

Kenyans can now cut off the place of agents when hiring a car as its local startup Zuru has launched its vehicle-sharing app that allows car owners to rent out their cars without using the traditional agent. According to Zuru, its new car rental service enables car owners to upload images and descriptions of their car, and set a rental price, with users able to book and pay for the rentals through the app’s secure M-Pesa-based escrow service.

Rawlings Otini, the company’s chief executive officer (CEO) while describing the use of the new system noted that the startup aimed at increasing transparency within the car rental industry by applying an Airbnb model, additional security features, and insurance. He said: “Currently, there is a lack of order and credibility in the industry. There are con-men posting cars online and asking customers for deposits, after which they switch off their phones. We want to end that.”

5. Andela embraces fully-remote working culture

Obviously influenced by the pandemic, New York-based startup Andela that helps tech companies build remote engineering teams while at the same time shrinking the digital divide by tapping talent out of hubs in Africa for those teams, today, Wednesday, announced taking a big step in its efforts. The company will be going fully remote, and as part of that it’s widening the pool of people that it taps to work and train by extending its reach across the whole of the African continent, while also shutting down its existing physical campuses.

Speaking on the new development, Jeremy Johnson, the co-founder and CEO, said that he believes that the move will extend the talent pool that it can tap to more than 500,000 engineers from the 250,000 that it could reach through its earlier model. Going by data, about 100,000 engineers have applied to and used Andela’s skills training tools (working in partnership with a number of other tech companies to provide these, including Google, Microsoft and Facebook). To date, the team has connected an average of 1,000 people to job opportunities.

Tech Trivia Answer: Above 80

In April 2020, online search engine Bing accounted for 6.25 percent of the global search market, while market leader Google had a market share of 86.02 percent. Chinese search engine Baidu’s market share was 0.83 percent.

Ever since the introduction of Google Search in 1997, the worldwide market share of all search engines has been rather lopsided. Google has dominated the search engine market, maintaining an 86.02 percent market share as of April 2020.

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