TechSummit Rewind 162

This is the TechSummit Rewind, a daily recap of the top technology headlines.

eBay steps up shipping game to compete with Amazon Prime

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eBay has announced plans to offer a Guaranteed Delivery program in the U.S. starting this summer, pledging deliveries in three days or less on over 20 million products. Shoppers will also be able to filter searches to see only items guaranteed to arrive in one, two, or three days.

“We know we need to continue to up our game on shipping.”

-Hal Lawton, eBay senior vice president of North America

New seller tools that will power the Guaranteed Delivery program will give eBay more information on sellers’ working hours and the location of products, so the company can provide more accurate shipping times from around the country.

“We’re huge fans of this. It’s going to be great for the consumer, it’s going to be great for the sellers that can take advantage of this.”

-Brett Thorne, Nebraska-based seller VMInnovations vice president of business development

Under the new program, if a product doesn’t arrive in the promised time, both eBay and the seller will chip in to refund shipping costs. If an item was shipped for free, eBay and the seller will provide an eBay coupon of about $5, according to Lawton. Two-thirds of eBay’s products include free shipping, according to the company.

The change doesn’t alter eBay’s principle of not competing with sellers on the site.

“We have no plans to have warehouses or take control of inventory or assortment.”

-Hal Lawton

Instagram now lets you save livestreamed videos to your phone

Instagram live videos

Live videos streamed on Instagram Stories can now be saved to your phone for later viewing.

After you’ve completed a live video, you can either leave it on Instagram Stories to fly into oblivion, or tap the “Save” button in the upper right corner.

Only the video will be stored, not comments, likes, number of viewers, or even the live interactions that take place. The video will be saved to your phone’s camera roll and you can then share it to Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, or anywhere else you’d like. However, the video “will no longer be available in the app,” according to Instagram.

The update’s available now in the latest update to Instagram for ___ and Android.

Vodafone, Idea agree on merger to create India’s largest mobile carrier

The Vodafone logo is seen at the counter of the shop as customers look at mobile phones in Prague

Vodafone’s Indian unit has agreed to merge with Idea Cellular to create a wireless company’s that twice the size of AT&T by subscribers – and a new leader in the highly competitive Indian market.

Vodafone will own 45.1 percent of the combined company, after selling a 4.9 percent stake to billionaire Kumar Mangalam Birla’s holding companies, according to a stock exchange filing from Monday. Birla’s companies will take a 26 percent stake, with the remainder being held by the public. The new company is worth $23.3 billion, based on the rough combination of both companies’ $12.4 billion and $10.8 billion enterprise values as separate entities.

The operator would have 395 million subscribers, exceeding that of market leader Bharti Airtel.

Both companies will control at least three seats in the combined company, which will also have six independent directors. Birla will also have the right to appoint a chairman.

According to a statement, the transactions is expected to close next year.

Y Combinator wants “robot factory” tech startups to apply for new AI track

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Y Combinator partner Daniel Gross has announced that the accelerator-turned-venture-fund will offer its first “vertical” track exclusively for AI startups. The company gathers founders from different industries together in each investment cycle, hosting interdisciplinary demo days and “dinners,” half-day sessions for knowledge sharing across founder teams.

The new track will include admitted startups along with all the others. The organization isn’t ready to break with its intersectional roots yet. However, these companies will get some additional benefits that others won’t. These include office hours with machine learning experts to help overcome technical problems and cloud compute credits for GPU instances. Making a machine artificially intelligent takes a lot more data and computing resources than having your groceries or meals delivered to your door.

In the announcement, Gross also included a request for startups with AI to enable “robot factories.”

“Many of the current techniques for robotic assembly and manufacturing are brittle. Robot arms exist, but are difficult to set up. When things break, they don’t understand what went wrong. As a result, humans are still leveraged to assemble products like an iPhone. We think machine learning (aided by reinforcement learning) will soon allow robots to compete [with humans].”

-Daniel Gross, Y Combinator partner

 

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