Amazon Needs You to Deliver, Etsy Shops Get Crowdfunding, & More… [Tech News Digest]
Amazon doesn’t deliver, Etsy crafts crowdfunding, HTC adds ads, Hulu minus the Plus, Snapchat explains Snapchat, and watch all six Star Wars films at once.
Amazon Wants You to Make Deliveries
You could soon be making deliveries for Amazon, thanks to a new app called On My Way. The Wall Street Journal reports that On My Way is an official app Amazon is currently developing. This would allow ordinary people to sign up to deliver Amazon goods in their area, with the products being stored in local bricks-and-mortar stores.
On My Way appears to have emerged from the ashes of Rides, an on-demand taxi service similar to Uber and Lyft . Although that idea has now reportedly been abandoned, Amazon is still keen to crowdsource part of its business. Google, eBay, and Wal-Mart have all considered similar efforts.
Amazon still faces several hurdles before On My Way becomes a reality. The biggest of which is convincing people to deliver products for less than the $8 UPS (United Parcel Service) currently charges the company. Still, that figure also explains why Amazon is looking into crowdsourcing deliveries, as it sends out 3.5 million parcels a day. You do the math.
Etsy Now Offers Crowdfunding
Etsy has launched its own crowdfunding platform designed to help Etsy sellers expand their businesses. Fund on Etsy is essentially Kickstarter for handmade products. It exists within the Etsy ecosystem, which means most of the buyers and sellers involved will already have some sort of relationship.
Right now, Etsy only exists as a marketplace for handmade products , but Fund on Etsy means small businesses can seek funding in order to launch a new product. They can then use the profits to add employees, purchase new tools, or expand their studio space. Which means that, potentially at least, everyone’s a winner.
Fund on Etsy is starting life as a U.S.-only pilot program for selected sellers. This will run from now until August 16th, at which point Etsy will decide whether it was successful enough to roll out on a larger scale. In the meantime, just remember that crowdfunding can be a bit of a gamble, as there are no guarantees that sellers will deliver on their promises .
HTC Places Ads In BlinkFeed
HTC is placing ads in BlinkFeed, an app which is built into the company’s Android phones such as the HTC One M9 . BlinkFeed is a customizable feed reader offering updates from your favorite websites and social networks, and it’s actually rather good. Unfortunately, paid-for promotions are set to risk ruining BlinkFeed.
Users in countries including the U.S., the U.K., Germany, and China will start seeing “native, relevant promotions of sponsored apps” designed to look like typical BlinkFeed posts. HTC is keen to point out that this is a pilot scheme that is merely being tested out “in a limited number of markets”. However, that is unlikely to sway those who believe that adverts are the work of the devil .
This could be HTC preparing to launch BlinkFeed as a standalone app available to users of Android handsets other than its own. Monetizing BlinkFeed with promotional posts means the company could release it for free and still see a healthy return.
Hulu Drops the Plus
Hulu has officially dropped the Plus from its name, and will now be known simply as Hulu. Previously, the service had a free, ad-supported offering known as Hulu, and a subscription-based offering known as Hulu Plus . According to TechCrunch, from now on the service will simply be called Hulu, but with a free tier and a paid tier.
Hulu is thought to have made this decision based on customer feedback, with some people finding the Plus branding confusing. This move brings Hulu into line with other streaming services, which have consistent branding across the board, with multiple tiers available within that framework. This is just a name change though, and the service itself remains the same.
Snapchat CEO Explains Snapchat
Snapchat has posted a rather bizarre video of its CEO Evan Spiegel explaining what Snapchat is, how it works, and why it’s so popular amongst teenagers . The video appears to have been filmed using a potato, and Spiegel uses nothing more advanced than a notepad and pen to help parents get a handle on the messaging app.
This is all rather bizarre. Snapchat has been around since 2011, so it’s taken four years for the company to even think of explaining how it works to anyone other than the target audience. Then there’s the fact that Snapchat is worth somewhere in the region of $20 billion, and the guy in the video is (on paper at least) a billionaire. And this is the best they can do. Wow.
All Six Star Wars Films At Once
And finally, with the release of Star Wars: The Force Awakens fast approaching, we have the perfect video to help you prepare for the new movie. This is all six previous Star Wars films playing all at once. And it’s a beautiful mess that needs to be seen to be believed.
A YouTuber called Maurcs is responsible for putting this video together, and while it’s mostly unwatchable, it’s interesting to dip in and out of at various points. Even presented in this state you can easily see how much better the original films are than the prequels. [H/T Wired]
Your Views on Today’s Tech News
Would you sign up to deliver Amazon parcels? What do you sell through your Etsy shop? Will adverts put you off using HTC BlinkFeed? Do you currently subscribe to Hulu? What do you make of that bizarre Snapchat video? How long did you make it through that Star Wars video?
Let us know your thoughts on the Tech News of the day by posting to the comments section below. Because a healthy discussion is always welcome.
Image Credits: Stephen Woods via Flickr