TechSummit Rewind 169

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

Intel cancels developer events as it shifts beyond PCs

intel-idf-2016-overview-hero

Intel has canceled its Developer Forum program after 20 years thanks to an “evolved” event mix, according to a statement obtained by AnandTech. Essentially, this acknowledges that the company is about more than PCs nowadays.

According to Intel, monolithic events aren’t the best way to spread information anymore. Instead, a series of smaller, more focused events will be held that cater to specific audiences, like a particular region or device category.

Google reaches $7.8M settlement in Russia Android antitrust case

Android-robot-googleplex-2008

Google has reached a settlement with Russia’s Federal Antimonopoly Service agency in the antitrust case originally filed by Russian search rival Yandex, claiming Google violated local competition rules. The case revolved around how Google required handset makers to preload Google apps and services to get access to the Play Store.

FAS imposed a roughly $7.8M fine on Google, following the 2015 ruling.

According to Reuters, the settlement deal was approved by a Russian court on Monday for a term of six years and nine months.

The terms state that Google will no longer demand exclusivity of its apps on Android devices in Russia, according to FAS, and won’t restrict the pre-installation of any competing search engines and apps – including on the Android home screen. Google also will no longer require Google Search to be the only general search engine that’s pre-installed, and it will no longer enforce its prior agreements where handset makers agreed to any of these terms.

FAS says that Google will have to now allow third parties to include their own search engines into their own search engines into the choice window, and the company must develop an active “choice window” for the Chrome browser which will let users pick their preferred default search engine.

Within 60 days of the settlement’s approval, according to FAS, all the interested Russian search engines should have the opportunity to address Google about being included in the choice screen next year.

The deal also lets other applications to be pre-installed on Android devices in Russia.

“We are happy to have reached a commercial agreement with Yandex and a settlement with Russia’s competition regulator, the Federal Antimonopoly Service (FAS), resolving the competition case over the distribution of Google apps on Android.”

-A Google spokesperson, in a statement

Instagram lets you organize bookmarks into private collections

Instagram collections

Instagram will make its bookmarking feature more useful with the introduction of “collections.” The feature will let users organize the posts they save into private Pinterest-like groupings for easier access.

With bookmarking, you can privately save these posts to your profile so you can quickly get back to them later, instead of downloading the photos to your phone’s Camera Roll where they can get lost.

Since Instagram introduced the bookmarking feature a few months ago, 46% of users have saved at least one post according to the company.

To use collections, you’ll tap and hold on the bookmark icon underneath any post to directly save it to a collection, according to Instagram. You can either create and name a new collection at this time or save the post to one you’ve already created.

If you’ve already been saving posts, you can now go back and create a collection with those saves. To do so, you’ll tap in the “plus” icon on the top right corner of the screen, name the new collection, and then select the saved posts you’d like to add – similar to organizing photos into a photo album.

Once your collections have been created, you can get to them at any time from your profile. Like saved posts, collections are private so that only you can see them.

Collections are available now in an update to the Instagram app on iOS and Android.

Hotels pressure government to crack down on Airbnb

Airbnb community center

According to the New York Times, the American House and Lodging Association has been conducting a “multipronged, national” lobbying and research campaign to have politicians impose or toughen restrictions, selectively collect taxes, and draw attention to the negative side-effects of home sharing. The Association is believed to be at least partly responsible for some of the higher-profile regulatory moves against Airbnb in the past year.

For example, lobbying the governor’s office and state lawmakers led to steep penalties in New York. A letter Democrat Senators sent to the Federal Trade Commission “raising concerns” about Airbnb was reportedly the work of collaboration with the hotel association. Of course, the organization also took partial credit for laws and enforcement actions in cities like San Francisco. The group even takes a two-sided approach to taxes, insisting that Airbnb is evading lodging taxes in some cases and sometimes urging governments to avoid collecting taxes to give Airbnb an aura of illegitimacy.

The group will also fund studies highlighting some of the issues with Airbnb, such as the economic damage to hotels and communities. It even partners with affordable housing and neighborhood groups to channel their outrage.

Naturally, Airbnb isn’t happy with this. The company insists that the “hotel cartel” is conducting the campaign to “keep price-gouging customers.”

New York Taxi commission to propose in-app tipping requirement for Uber

New York City’s Taxi and Limousine Commission (TLC) will move forward with plans to require car services that accept payment exclusively via credit card to offer a tipping option with the same means, according to a report from The New York Times.

The proposal would still require formal introduction within the next few months, a public hearing soliciting feedback from the community, and a vote to decide whether to implement or reject the proposal.

The proposed rule comes after the Independent Drivers Guild (IDG), a group representing Uber drivers in the city, put forward a petition and received over 11,000 signatures supporting the implementation of in-app tipping. Under the proposed rules, anyone exclusively accepting cash would be able to continue doing that without having to offer a card-based tipping method.

“In-app tipping will mean a raise of hundreds of millions of dollars for New York City drivers each year. Drivers have long been denied access to the kinds of benefits and labor protections many workers take for granted, such as paid sick leave or the minimum wage. As a result, New York City’s professional drivers have traditionally depended on gratuities for a substantial portion of their income. Cuts to driver pay across the ride-hail industry has made tipping income more important than ever.”

-Jim Conigliaro, Jr.; Independent Drivers Guild founder

Uber had this to say:

“We have not seen the proposal and look forward to reviewing it. Uber is always striving to offer the best earning opportunity for drivers and we are constantly working to improve the driver experience.”

-Uber, in a statement

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