ProsperWorks, a cross-platform customer relationship management (CRM) service that plugs into the Google for Work platform, has raised a $24 million. The company plans to use the new capital to invest into its technology and to grow its sales and marketing team. The funding comes at an interesting time for enterprise companies that sit on top of Google’s productivity suite. Google’s renewed interest in the enterprise means that (assuming Google’s plans work out) the platform will continue to grow. If that happens, it can only mean good things for the businesses in its ecosystem. Being so closely tied to Google comes with some risks, though. Google could release its own deeply integrated CRM solution, for example.
Enterprise chat app Slack is adding a "deep product partnership" with Salesforce - an integration that will make it much easier for businesses to share data across the two platforms, specifically around employee conversations and sales account information. The Salesforce integration will work essentially like many of those other Slack integraions - with a backslash and keyword “Salesforce” to bring data into the conversation. This partnership can also mean that Salesforce would like to acquite the collaboration service. The company had big ambitions for its own messaging app, Chatter, but it hasn't become very popular so far. Recall that according to rumors Microsoft is also interested in acquiring Slack.
Business-oriented social network LinkedIn (now owned by Microsoft) launched the e-learning portal called LinkedIn Learning, containing thousands of online courses from coding to accounting. It's based on startup Lynda.com, acquired by LinkedIn last year. The courses can be either selected by employees themselves or pushed by employers, who can use LinkedIn’s analytics products to monitor employees progress. LinkedIn education is available for free for LinkedIn Premium subscribers who look like they will get 25 new courses every week.
Mobile payment processing service Square launched a new feature called Card on File that allows to charge recurring customers without card swiping (and even without asking for the card). It's also suitable for customers, because they can come to your shop or restaurant without card and money, take what they want and go away. And you quietly charge the appropriate amount from the card. Of course, first these customers have to opt in and enter their card data to your company's Square account. Besides, using Card on File businesses can charge remote customers without internet payment. But this feature is a little more expensive for business: it will cost you 3.5% plus 15 cents, compared to the 2.75% commission for swiping a card.
Google Drive is getting a new search that understands natural language and can autocorrect your search query by suggesting corrections to misspelled search terms. For example, you can search your documents by saying things like “find my budget spreadsheet from last December” or “show me presentations from Anissa”. The feature will improve over time, too, so the results will become more accurate with more frequent use. The new feature probably means that soon Google also will add voice interface to Google Drive.
Google is launching Allo, its AI-centric messaging app for iOS and Android that contains Google Assistant, the new conversational assistant. Google Assistant is much more than a simple messaging bot, which tend to have a fairly limited set of capabilities. There are two ways to interact with Google Assistant. You can chat with it directly — Assistant appears alongside your other conversations in the app — or you can call it up while you're chatting with friends by starting a message with @Google. In both cases, it can help with many things that you would use a quick Google search for (think translations, conversions, directions, flight statuses etc.) and even has a few extra tricks, like (again) photo recognition. It's still in a "preview" stage, according to Google, who plans to bring the feature to many more products in the future.
Apple released the new version of its desktop operation system macOS Sierra. It’s available in the Mac App Store as a free download. One of the most promising changes is that Siri is coming to the Mac for the first time. The assistant can replace many of Spotlight’s features – like helping you find a file, perhaps, or search through photos. It can also help you interact with your Mac, like turning on or off your Wi-Fi, start FaceTime calls, set reminders, or adjust your volume. Siri on Mac is all about multitasking. So you can be working on one thing, like finishing up a document, and ask Siri to send a message to your coworker saying it’s on the way — without stopping what you’re doing.
Opera has become the first browser maker to ship a mainstream desktop internet browser that includes an unlimited VPN service baked-in. Opera 40 is bringing the privacy and security benefits of a VPN to all of the users of its desktop browser. The VPN inside Opera for desktop is notable for being unlimited - that’s to say that it is free but not restricted on time, such as services like TunnelBear - but there’s one catch: it only allows five different locations, unlike standalone browsers which offer locations in most countries worldwide. Another notable addition to Opera 40 is support for Google’s Chromecast streaming dongle, which might have deterred some Chrome fans from making the switch to Opera.
Task management app Asana is introducing a new product called custom fields, that will let you tailor Asana’s information management to cover a variety of structured data points. As Asana describes it, a company that, for example, might have been conducting a recruiting drive can now use Asana to create a form to track more details about actual candidates; a marketing team can now drill down into a larger plan to track specific campaigns; engineering teams can use it to record and monitor bug tracking; and design teams can use it to provide more detailed looks and updates about larger projects. The company also will be integrating custom fields into its API. It means that you could, theoretically, come up with new applications of it that expose Asana even as a customer-facing tool to instantly gather and start structuring information.
GitHub unveiled the "biggest update" of its Git-based code hosting service. With this update, GitHub is moving beyond code by adding some basic Kanban board-like project management features. GitHub always featured support for integrations with a number of project management tools, but now you will also be able to use this new built-in tool to move cards with pull requests, issues and notes between columns like “in-progress,” “done,” and “never going to happen” (or whatever else you want those columns to be called). Like Trello and similar tools, you’ll be able to drag and drop cards between columns as needed.