SRAX Recap: Shell launches electric car charger, Disney+ adds more apps, Facebook recruits journalists

In this week’s digital news, Shell ventures into the electric-vehicle charging business, Disney adds more apps to its streaming platform, Facebook wants veteran journalists to choose top news content, and more.

Shell’s electric vehicle fast charger lands in Singapore

Earlier this week, Royal Dutch Shell company launched its first DC fast charger at a Shell gas station in Singapore. The energy giant decided to venture into the electric vehicle industry after acquiring EV charging startup, Greenlots. The move to launch the company’s first charger in Singapore came from Greenlots’ strategy to plant EV charging stations all across Asia and North America. Both companies having a strong connection to Singapore, which more than likely played into this decision. Greenlots, although based in Los Angeles, was actually founded in Singapore and Shell is one of Singapore’s largest foreign investors as well.

It’s also important to note that Singapore heavily promotes the use of electric vehicles. Especially for their implementation in car-sharing and ride-hailing platforms. In fact, the city-state has built up its EV infrastructure to meet the anticipated demands of ride-hailing drivers and commercial fleets that will make the switch to electric. As of now, this is the first of ten DC fast chargers Greenlots is bringing to Shell stations in Singapore over the next several months. But hopefully the company has a plan set for the U.S. in the near future. 

electric car chargers
Via Pexels

Disney+ develops apps for iOS, Android, and more

With the highly anticipated launch of the Disney+ streaming service right around the corner, the company shared more details about the service earlier this week. Usually, Disney shares updates on the content offered, but this time the company addressed how users will be able to watch the content. Disney already announced that Disney+ will be available on Roku and Playstation 4. However, the company’s making it official that Disney+ will support iOS, Android, Apple TV, Google Chromecast, as well as Xbox One.

On Apple devices specifically, people can subscribe to Disney+ via in-app purchase. This move makes the sign-up process faster and easier for customers. But Disney working to develop  apps on all major platforms shouldn’t come as a surprise. Especially with the digital footprint of other Disney applications such as Hulu and ESPN+. Disney plans to reveal more insight on the streaming service leading up to its official roll out date on November 12th.

Facebook hiring  journalists to staff its news tab

Facebook recently shared plans to recruit a “small team” of journalists to choose which content to feature on the Top News section of its News tab. The social network further explained that the team’s job will be entirely curatorial for that specific section. Chosen content for other sections of the News tab is all done algorithmically by Facebook. One reason being that a main feature of the News tab is the focus of topic interests for each specific user. Even so, the Top news content pushed out should help Facebook redeem itself from the trending topic scandal back in 2016.

After backlash hit from dismissing conservative news and hiding news about Facebook, the remodeled News tab will need more open-mindedness to succeed. On another note, Facebook also intends to pay certain publishers $3M in licensing fees to feature their content in the news tab. But that doesn’t mean the company is buying news. The curators still have the final say to include that content or leave it out. Hopefully this new team will bring journalistic integrity back to Facebook News.

facebook news tab
Via Pixabay

Google Go launches globally on Android

Google launched Google Go globally in the Google Play Store earlier this week. The app is a lightweight search app designed for fast internet access on a weak connection, with the bonus of using less storage and memory. However, the app comes with a few more bells and whistles. First off, Google Go reads and translates text in the world around you with ‘Google Lens’ that allows users to interpret words in the physical world with their phone’s camera. In addition, Go lets users listen to any web page (in 28 languages) using a read-out-loud feature powered by artificial intelligence. Don’t worry about getting lost in the content though. The features also highlights over the text so users can read along.

Although there’s so much going on with Google Go, it’s actually one of several “lite” Go-branded apps including YouTube Go, Google Maps Go, and Gallery Go. That’s right, Google Go weighs in just over 7MB which helps contribute to the app’s speedy internet searches. As of now, Google Go is available on all running Android devices and has over 100M app downloads.

Waze adds easy access to YouTube Music for drivers

Once again, Waze raises the bar for making drivers’ commutes as easy as possible. Early Wednesday the popular navigation app announced its integration of YouTube Music to the platform. And it’s a very smart addition considering all cell phone use on the road is distracting to drivers. This innovation will eliminate a key distraction: scrolling for the right song or playlist. Ergo, the safest GPS app is the best GPS app. Waze is always optimizing its platform to give drivers easier access to what they need on the road. Nevertheless, consumers are wondering how YouTube Music got the jump on the partnership over bigger companies such as Google. The answer isn’t very shocking though. Waze apparently had many third-party services lined up at the door, YouTube Music got there first.

However, Waze users will definitely find this new feature useful. The collaboration brings playback controls to the navigation screen on both Android and iOS devices. Users can also skip a track or give a thumbs-up similar to other music platforms as well. But on Waze, they won’t have to switch back and forth between apps. Of course this probably won’t persuade people to switch loyalties with their favorite streaming platform. Yet, it could definitely be an easier way to stream music for those less-picky. As of this week, the feature is available and should reach all markets very soon.

Published on August 23, 2019

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