5 things that happened in tech this week

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It’s 2015 and the thought on everyone’s minds (at least those dominating the tech world) is what the year will bring us. 2014 saw the release of the long anticipated iPhone 6, security breaches from celebrities to Sony and what is now known as the infamous “Instapurge.” From wearable tech to cars that drive themselves, we’re ready for 2015.

Here’s five things that happened in tech this week:

Facebook launches friend-friend payments

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0czclezYB_8

Users will now be able to send money to their friends through Facebook’s messenger app. Facebook dropped their payment feature earlier this week and much like other payment apps, this is a quick, convenient way to send your friends money. The idea behind the move is to bring the payments back to where the conversations likely began. Planning on seeing a movie or concert with friends? “I bought the tickets, everyone owes me X amount” – just got a whole lot more convenient. Facebook announced the app will only accept Visa and Mastercard debit cards to avoid additional fees associated with credit cards. The feature is set to roll out in the U.S. over the next few months and hopefully will make its way up to Canada shortly after.

Starbucks to test out deliveries to your door

Image: Starbucks

Starbucks has partnered with Postmates to bring your Venti Non-fat Vanilla Latte with an extra shot of espresso right to your door. The company announced on Wednesday that it would be launching two test pilot methods to get you your morning fix – without even stepping outside your door. This first test is set to run in Seattle, where the coffee giant originated. Using the Starbucks mobile app, consumers will be able to order coffee and food deliveries via the startup, Postmates. The second test will take place in Manhattan’s Empire State Building, where Starbucks employees will deliver coffees inside the building to customers working in the offices that are also located in the building.

Netflix ‘God Mode’ gets rid of horizontal browsing

Image: Netflix via Shutterstock

Image: Netflix via Shutterstock

I don’t know about you but the horizontal browsing on Netflix drives me crazy. But someone out there is looking out – and his name is Renan Cakirerk. The San Francisco developer has created Netflix God Mode, where you can see all the titles in a given category that are going to consume your life for the next week – I mean, hours. That’s respectable right? Cakirerk reportedly came up with the idea during a Netflix break while working late one night. This effect currently only works inside your web browser as it’s not an official Netflix rollout but hey, maybe Netflix will pick up on the idea.

“To install the boomarklet, head over to the website, and drag the green bookmarklet button onto your browser’s bookmarks bar (it works with Chrome, Firefox and Safari). Then, open Netflix.com, click the bookmarklet and voilà, no more horizontal scrolling.”

Pinterest raises $367 million in funding

Image: Pinterest

Pinterest has raised $367 million so far in the company’s latest round of funding. Wall Street Journal reports the latest round of funding puts the company at an $11 billion valuation – more than double of its $5 billion valuation last May. The round of funding isn’t over yet and the regulatory filing says the company could still raise up to $208 million more. Since Pinterest’s founding in 2009, the company has raised $762.5 million in seven rounds of funding and the latest $11 billion valuation secures the company’s spot as one of the most highly valued private tech companies in the world. Other companies on the list include Xiaomi (valued at $46 billion), Uber (valued at $41.2 billion), and Snapchat (valued at $15 billion).

Alibaba reveals “Smile to Pay”

Alibaba has revealed the future of mobile payments – and it involves taking a selfie. Jack Ma, Alibaba founder, revealed the facial recognition technology for mobile payments at the CeBit conference earlier this week. The new technology called “Smile to Pay” allows users to complete mobile payments simply by scanning their face – similar to the way Apple Pay uses fingerprint technology. The product is currently in test mode and there is no official release date at this time. However, the innovative tech is likely to be rolled out and tested in China before it makes its way over to North American markets.

(Smile to Pay demo starts at 1:17:40)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WQn7vntyoMw&t=4673

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Kirsten Armour Kirsten is a Vancouver local born and raised. A sharp wit, keen interest in tech, and a passion for writing is the driving force behind the content she produces. She is an avid outdoors person constantly exploring and seeking out adventure whether it be on the beautiful BC coast or somewhere far away in the world. In her downtime, find her curled up with a good book and glass of wine.
@kirstenarmour

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