Jet Launches Amazon War, Google Kills Streamus, & More… [Tech News Digest]
Jet targets Amazon, Streamus stops streaming, Ninja Cat saves the day, StreamSquid loves Grooveshark, Wii U loses Project CARS, and Amazon Prime Day 2016.
Jet Powers Amazon Rival
Jet.com, a new online retailer promising shoppers “the lowest prices on everything,” is now live. Jet is a U.S.-only shopping site with an annual membership fee of $49.99. In return for that upfront cost, which is cheaper than Amazon Prime , Jet promises to undercut its rivals, and offer extra savings on top, with, for example, discounts for multiple purchases.
According to Re/Code, during testing with selected users, Jet visibly compared prices with a range of rivals. However, after this system caused confusion among shoppers, Jet has now zeroed in on Amazon, displaying its (cheaper) prices alongside those offered by the ubiquitous online retailer.
This appears to be the opening shots of an impending war between the two online retailers. Amazon will not want to lose customers to its upstart rival, but Jet needs to eat away at Amazon’s market share and brand awareness if it hopes to succeed in a sector with such tight profit margins.
YouTube Shutters Streamus
Google has successfully shut down Streamus, a Chrome extension that used YouTube to power a music streaming service. Streamus had been operating for three years, building a userbase 300,000-strong in that time. But Streamus has now disappeared from the Chrome Web Store after Google revoked its YouTube API key.
The story of how Google killed Streamus after a battle of wills with its creator Sean Anderson is a rather long and epic one. Thankfully, The Next Web has all the details, which basically boil down to Google believing Streamus operates contrary to its Terms of Service. Anderson is understandably aggrieved at the treatment he received, but for the time being, Streamus is dead.
Microsoft Embraces Ninja Cat
Microsoft is changing. And how. A company that was once happy to be seen as a corporate powerhouse lacking in humor and humanity is softening. As demonstrated by its embrace of Ninja Cat, the new unofficial mascot being used to promote Windows 10.
Windows 10 arrives on July 29th, and in order to help get the word out there, Microsoft is leveraging the power of Ninja Cat; Ninja Cat being a play on Jason Heuser’s infamous “Welcome to the Internet” image, altered so that the stealthy kitty is carrying a Windows flag rather than a golden gun.
In order to help spread the word, Microsoft has released a number of Ninja Cat wallpapers. One has him riding a dinosaur, another has him riding a unicorn, and another has him riding a bacon-obsessed swordfish. Microsoft is even asking its fans to get creative by Photoshopping the original Ninja Cat images with mashups of their own. How can you possibly resist?!
StreamSquid Channels Grooveshark
StreamSquid has launched to offer an alternative to Grooveshark, which shut down at the end of April under intense legal scrutiny from record labels. StreamSquid is a newcomer to the streaming music scene which claims to have resurrected 90 percent of the old Grooveshark playlists.
The creators of StreamSquid, who are working on the project on a part-time basis, maintain the service is perfectly legal, telling Ars Technica the songs are all sourced from a combination of YouTube and SoundCloud. So expect the same legal pressures to be applied to StreamSquid as was previously applied to Grooveshark. Because music can never be free , apparently.
Wii U Loses Project CARS
Project CARS is no longer coming to the Wii U, with Slightly Mad Studios officially cancelling the port of the PC, PS4, and Xbox One driving game. This is a crying shame for Nintendo, as Project CARS is a cracking racing sim. However, it seems the hardware simply isn’t up to the task.
SMS Creative Director Andy Tudor told GameSpot “[Project CARS] is simply too much for Wii U.” He then explained, “Despite much perseverance on the Wii U version of Project CARS, we will no longer be actively pursuing development on it as the quality does not meet our own high standards nor our intended vision for the title on this platform.”
The one hope for the company is that Slightly Mad Studios suggests it’s keen to develop titles for future Nintendo consoles. In other words, the forthcoming Nintendo NX, which is due to replace the Wii U at some point in the near future.
Amazon Announces Prime Day 2
And finally, Amazon certainly seems happy with how its first annual Prime Day went, but the rest of the Internet has spent the past week ragging on the online retailer over the quality and quantity of the products on offer. So, will they do better next year?
Amazon has offered us a sneak peek of what to expect from Prime Day 2, coming to a browser near you in 2016. Or perhaps not. That’s because far from being an official preview of Amazon Prime Day 2016, this video is the work of YouTube channel ThinkHeroPro. [H/T Reddit]
Your Views on Today’s Tech News
Can Jet possibly compete with Amazon? What should Google have done about Streamus? Is Microsoft changing its image for the better? Are you interested in trying out StreamSquid? What is your honest opinion of the Wii U?
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