Is digital technology – and its impact on eCommerce and fintech – your cup of tea (or coffee)? Then prepare for the ride.

Our round of industry updates continues with big announcements from key industry players, which inevitably have created a lot of buzz in the media this week.

Let`s take them one by one.

  • Artificial intelligence (AI)

During its annual I/O developer conference in California, Google announced that its AI Assistant can now make real phone calls. Due to its Duplex feature, Google Assistant can call a business on your behalf and will schedule an appointment for you. You can watch the demo here.

As expected, the announcement sparked a lot of reactions, ranging from enthusiasm in the huge benefits that AI will bring to humanity to the ethical implications of such technologies. We will elaborate more on the AI topic in an upcoming blog article. Meanwhile, join our discussion on Quora regarding this subject.

  • Updates from India

Following the discussions from last week, Amazon has lost the battle for eCommerce dominance. On Wednesday, Walmart announced that it reached a USD 16 billion deal to buy a majority stake in Flipkart, India’s leading eCommerce platform. As also mentioned in our updates last week, this development also has a significant impact on eBay, which, as a result of this acquisition, is selling its holdings in Flipkart and relaunching eBay India.

Our recommended reading on the working philosophy of Walmart here

We’re curious to see what the near future holds for this interesting market and how its potential will be explored. Meanwhile, if you`re attending India Ecommerce Expo next week, reach out to our team, we will be there as well.

  • Hello, Microsoft Pay!

Microsoft announced that its payment service called Microsoft Pay will be integrated with Outlook, enabling users to send requests for payments via email. As a result, the recipients will be able to view their invoice, choose a payment method and approve payment, all from within Outlook, without the need to open another app. As part of the initial stage, Microsoft will make the service available to a limited number of Outlook.com users over the next few weeks.

This move is part of the company`s strategy to position itself as a payments service. Originally launched in 2016 as Microsoft Wallet, Microsoft Pay is the company`s answer to Android Pay and Apple Pay.

  • Facebook aims to explore blockchain …

As part of a massive executive reorganization, the social media company has revealed plans to explore the blockchain technology by appointing a research and development team dedicated for this project. As The Verge reports, this move comes four months after CEO Mark Zuckerberg said in a Facebook post that he wanted the company to go deeper and study the positive and negative aspects of cryptocurrencies“.

  • … while Instagram adds payments feature to its app

Instagram has also decided to up its payment game by rolling out a feature enabling users to make purchases directly in the application. Via this functionality, users can register a debit or credit card to their profile, add a security PIN and start making purchases within the app itself. Instagram has confirmed that is currently live with some early partners.

2018 and the upcoming years will be particularly exciting with major players like Amazon, Microsoft and Facebook strengthening their technical capabilities to build next-generation technology for their customers.

And don’t forget: 2 weeks left until GDPR comes into force. The regulation will not be overseen only by one authority, but rather a patchwork of national and regional watchdogs across Europe. However, Reuters has unveiled this week that 17 of 24 such authorities involved in their recent survey claim they lack the necessary funding, “or would initially lack the powers to fulfill their GDPR duties”. In preparation, you can check the extensive guidance on GDPR implementation, released by the European Commission.

Social media question of the week: “If I have bad credit history, can I use the GDPR right to be forgotten to erase it?”  via David Birch, Consult Hyperion.

Stay tuned for more developments to be covered by us in the upcoming weeks and follow us on Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn.