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Trump to block TikTok and WeChat downloads in the U.S. from September 20 - venture beat

Trump to block TikTok and WeChat downloads in the U.S. from September 20

(Reuters) — The Trump administration will ban WeChat and video-sharing app TikTok from U.S. app stores starting Sunday night, a move that will block Americans from downloading the Chinese-owned platforms over concerns they pose a national security threat. Current TikTok users will see little change on Sunday and U.S. Commerce Department officials said they will […]
venture beat - 20 minutes ago
NASA to test precision automated landing system designed for the Moon and Mars on upcoming Blue Origin mission - techcrunch

NASA to test precision automated landing system designed for the Moon and Mars on upcoming Blue Origin mission

NASA is going to be testing out a new precision landing system designed for use on the tough terrain of the Moon and Mars for the first time during an upcoming mission of Blue Origin’s New Shepard reusable suborbital rocket. The ‘Safe and Precise Landing – Integrated Capabilities Evolution’ (SPLICE) system is made up of […]
techcrunch - 29 minutes ago
What makes Checkout.com different from Stripe - techcrunch

What makes Checkout.com different from Stripe

While Checkout.com has kept a low profile for many years, the company raised $380 million within a year and reached an impressive valuation of $5.5 billion. It wants to build a one-stop shop for all things related to payments, such as accepting transactions, processing them and detecting fraud. You might think that it sounds a […]
techcrunch - 35 minutes ago
Calling VCs in Zurich & Geneva: Be featured in The Great TechCrunch Survey of European VC - techcrunch

Calling VCs in Zurich & Geneva: Be featured in The Great TechCrunch Survey of European VC

TechCrunch is embarking on a major new project to survey the venture capital investors of Europe, and their cities. Our <a href=”https://forms.gle/k4Ji2Ch7zdrn7o2p6”>survey of VCs in Zurich and Geneva will capture how those cities are faring in terms of investment, and what changes are being wrought amongst investors by the coronavirus pandemic. (Please note, if you […]
techcrunch - 41 minutes ago
Steven Yang and Sonny Vu discuss COVID-19’s impact on tech manufacturing - techcrunch

Steven Yang and Sonny Vu discuss COVID-19’s impact on tech manufacturing

Like most of the rest of the world, COVID-19 hit the manufacturing sector by surprise. That China — which continues to comprise the vast majority of electronics manufacturing — was the first global epicenter of the virus certainly didn’t help the industry sufficiently brace for the impact of a pandemic on a scale the world […]
techcrunch - 1 hour ago
German space agency reveals an autonomous, electric urban mobility prototype for use right here on Earth - techcrunch

German space agency reveals an autonomous, electric urban mobility prototype for use right here on Earth

The German Aerospace Center (DLR) has debuted a prototype of what it calls ‘U-Shift,’ an urban mobility vehicle designed for multiple uses. U-Shift is a fully electric vehicle, designed for autonomous operation, and could serve in a number of capacities including as an on-demand shuttle, a bus, a mobile distribution center for package delivery, or […]
techcrunch - 2 hours ago
TikTok and WeChat will be banned in the U.S. from Sunday - techcrunch

TikTok and WeChat will be banned in the U.S. from Sunday

The Commerce Department announced this morning that it will require mobile app stores to remove popular social media apps TikTok and WeChat. New users will not be able to download these apps, and while existing users will still be able to use their existing apps installed on their phones, new updates will not be allowed […]
techcrunch - 2 hours ago
VCs have to train themselves to ‘ask the stupid questions’, says Hoxton Ventures’ Hussein Kanji - techcrunch

VCs have to train themselves to ‘ask the stupid questions’, says Hoxton Ventures’ Hussein Kanji

If venture capitalists could predict the future, why wouldn’t they just start companies themselves? That’s the question Hussein Kanji, founding partner at Hoxton Ventures, asked rhetorically at Disrupt 2020. “If anyone says that they have predictive power in this industry and says they know where the future is gonna be, I just question the wisdom […]
techcrunch - 4 hours ago
China’s vaping giant Relx gears up for US entry - techcrunch

China’s vaping giant Relx gears up for US entry

The backlash against vaping in the United States has not deterred a Chinese challenger from entering the world’s largest vaping market. Relx, one of China’s largest e-cigarette companies, is seeking to submit its Premarket Tobacco Product Application to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration by the end of 2021. Upon completion of a review process […]
techcrunch - 4 hours ago
Google pulls India’s Paytm app from Play Store for repeat policy violations - techcrunch

Google pulls India’s Paytm app from Play Store for repeat policy violations

Google has pulled Indian financial services app Paytm from the Play Store for repeatedly violating its policies, two people familiar with the matter told TechCrunch. Paytm is India’s most valued startup and claims over 50 million monthly active users. Its marquee app, which allows users to exchange money with one another, disappeared from the Play […]
techcrunch - 6 hours ago
Ride-hailing was hit hard by COVID-19. Grab’s Russell Cohen on how the company adapted. - techcrunch

Ride-hailing was hit hard by COVID-19. Grab’s Russell Cohen on how the company adapted.

Ride-hailing services around the world have been hit hard by the COVID-19 pandemic, and Grab was no exception. The company is one of the most highly-valued tech startups in Southeast Asia, where it operates in eight countries. Its transport business suffered a sharp decline in March and April, as movement restriction orders were implemented. But […]
techcrunch - 8 hours ago
TikTok’s Chinese rival Kuaishou becomes a popular online bazaar - techcrunch

TikTok’s Chinese rival Kuaishou becomes a popular online bazaar

In China, short video apps aren’t just for mindless time killing. These services are becoming online bazaars where users can examine products, see how they are grown and made, and ask sellers questions during live sessions. Kuaishou, the main rival of TikTok’s Chinese version (Douyin), announced that it accumulated 500 million e-commerce orders in August, […]
techcrunch - 11 hours ago
Benchmark’s Peter Fenton: “10 to 20 years of innovation just got pulled forward” - techcrunch

Benchmark’s Peter Fenton: “10 to 20 years of innovation just got pulled forward”

Earlier today at TechCrunch Disrupt, venture capitalist Peter Fenton joined us to talk about a variety of issues. Among them, we discussed how he’s putting his stamp on Benchmark now that, 15 years after joining the storied firm, he’s its most senior member. Fenton said that he’s mostly focused on ensuring that firm doesn’t change. […]
techcrunch - 15 hours ago
Meet the five startup Battlefield finalists at Disrupt 2020 - techcrunch

Meet the five startup Battlefield finalists at Disrupt 2020

TechCrunch hosted an unusual Startup Battlefield this week — the founders, judges, audience and moderator (me) were all in different locations, doing our best to interact over WebEx. But the 20 startups still demonstrated their products and explained their visions, then were grilled by expert judges. And those judges helped the TechCrunch team select our […]
techcrunch - 15 hours ago
Schools are closing their doors, but OpenDoor isn’t - techcrunch

Schools are closing their doors, but OpenDoor isn’t

Hello and welcome back to Equity, TechCrunch’s venture capital-focused podcast (now on Twitter!), where we unpack the numbers behind the headlines. This week Natasha Mascarenhas, Danny Crichton and myself hosted a live taping at Disrupt for a digital reception. It was good fun, though of course we’re looking forward to bringing the live show back to the conference […]
techcrunch - 16 hours ago
Daily Crunch: Twitter tightens security ahead of election - techcrunch

Daily Crunch: Twitter tightens security ahead of election

Twitter takes preemptive steps to avoid election-related hacks, we check out the new Apple Watches and Facebook launches new business tools. This is your Daily Crunch for September 17, 2020. The big story: Twitter tightens security ahead of election Twitter said today that “high-profile, election-related” accounts in the United States will be receiving notifications telling […]
techcrunch - 16 hours ago
Ron Howard and Brian Grazer say that their accelerator can help diversify Hollywood - techcrunch

Ron Howard and Brian Grazer say that their accelerator can help diversify Hollywood

Impact Creative Systems (formerly Imagine Impact) is bringing a startup accelerator-style approach to finding fresh creative talent, and it announced this morning that, with funding from venture capital firm Benchmark, it’s spinning out from Imagine Entertainment — the production company founded by director Ron Howard and producer Brian Grazer. Right after the news broke, the accelerator’s […]
techcrunch - 16 hours ago
Fabletics eyes what’s next for its activewear empire - techcrunch

Fabletics eyes what’s next for its activewear empire

Like plenty of other modern direct-to-consumer companies, influencer marketing has been an essential part of Fabletics’ journey. Actress Kate Hudson co-founded the company and co-CEO Adam Golderberg believes that its network of spokespeople has been key to the company’s growth. We were joined on our virtual TechCrunch Disrupt 2020 stage by Goldenberg and comedian Kevin […]
techcrunch - 18 hours ago
Jennifer Doudna sees CRISPR gene-editing tech as a Swiss Army knife for COVID-19 and beyond - techcrunch

Jennifer Doudna sees CRISPR gene-editing tech as a Swiss Army knife for COVID-19 and beyond

Jennifer Doudna, one of the pioneers of the gene-editing technique known as CRISPR, thinks the biotech tool could be an essential one for combating COVID-19 and future pandemics. Due to its capacity to be “reprogrammed” like software, CRISPR could eventually be integral to countless tests and treatments. In an interview at Disrupt 2020, Doudna was […]
techcrunch - 18 hours ago
Twitter tightens account security for political candidates ahead of US election - techcrunch

Twitter tightens account security for political candidates ahead of US election

Twitter is taking steps to tighten account security for a range of users ahead of the US presidential election, including by requiring the use of strong passwords. “We’re taking the additional step of proactively implementing account security measures for a designated group of high-profile, election-related Twitter accounts in the US. Starting today, these accounts will […]
techcrunch - 19 hours ago
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techcrunch
Messenger launches a new chat plugin for business websites to reach non-Facebook customers

Messenger launches a new chat plugin for business websites to reach non-Facebook customers

techcrunch - 1 month ago

Facebook is making it easier for businesses to leverage its Messenger service on their own websites. The company in November 2017 first launched a new customer chat plugin which allowed customers to talk directly with a business on the business’s own website using the Messenger service. However, that plugin had required the website visitors to be logged into Facebook, limiting adoption. Today, that’s changing, Facebook says.

The prior version of the plugin may have worked for smaller businesses who couldn’t afford a more robust live chat service, but it also limited customers’ ability to interact. Customers who didn’t use Facebook, couldn’t remember their password, or who were visiting the website from a different device than their own, for example, wouldn’t have been able to chat with the business.

Other customers may have simply wanted to submit their queries more anonymously — perhaps worried that the business would continue to bother them later in their Messenger app, even if they weren’t ready for such a direct relationship.

The updated plugin will now allow customers to talk to businesses without being logged in, Facebook says. Instead, a “continue as guest” option will be available. However, on the business’s side, they’ll still be able to use all their same tools to manage their conversations with these online users, whether logged in or not.

Facebook hints that its requirement around being logged in may have limited adoption of the product. Developers who built websites for clients, for instance, claimed the plugin wasn’t always an easy sell, as it required the business to offer some sort of alternative for the non-logged in users.

“As a developer, its much easier to convince a business to use a live chat offering that is available to all their customers,” noted Soma Toth, founder of Recart. “Our business customers are seeing sales directly tied to engagement on Messenger, and the Chat Plugin helps them leverage the same investment across both their Facebook page and their website at no additional cost. It also reduces the complexity of having to work with or support a fallback for users who are not logged into Facebook.”

The update will also bring a redesigned look and feel for the plugin, which Facebook claims had resulted in a 45% increase in customer chats with businesses, during its tests.

To some extent, though, that increase could be partly attributed to the surge of customers shopping online due to the coronavirus pandemic, not just the better plugin.

Though Facebook’s plugin has the benefit of being tied to the larger social network, where many businesses today run their own Page to reach customers, it’s still facing a range of chat software competitors, large and small, including solutions from brands like HubSpot, Intercom, Live Chat, Zendesk, Zoho, and dozens of others. These competing solutions will often offer deeper integrations with other services the business may need to use, like CRM, analytics, help desk software, tools for lead gen and sales, and more.

Businesses can now choose to install the plugin themselves, or they can work with partners like WooCommerce, ManyChat, and Haravan to have it installed for them, Facebook says.

 

 

sauce: techcrunch
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