What’s new in tech
Senate votes to restore net neutrality
The Senate approved a measure last week to undo recent changes to net neutrality laws, said Brian Fung in The Washington Post. The Republican-controlled Federal Communications Commission voted last year to repeal Obama-era protections that prohibited internet service providers such as Comcast and Verizon from speeding up or slowing down traffic on specific websites and apps. The Senate measure, which passed with the backing of all 49 Democratic senators and three Republicans, restores these protections. The bill now moves to the House, where the Republican majority has shown little interest in passing it. “And given the White House’s endorsement of the FCC’s repeal, analysts say, it is unlikely that Trump will sign the resolution to make it effective.”
YouTube takes on Spotify
“YouTube has long been the world’s most popular music service,” said Anne Steele and Douglas MacMillan in The Wall Street Journal. The Alphabet-owned video platform “alone accounts for twice as much time spent listening to music as all paid audio streaming services combined.” Now YouTube is attempting to parlay that popularity into a viable music-streaming business. Like Spotify, YouTube Music will have a free, ad-supported option and a $9.99 per month ad-free model. “Similar to how Google Maps offers users directions to work in the morning without being asked, the music app will serve up playlists, albums, and stations based on time of day and location.” Anyone who already has a Google Play Music subscription gets YouTube Music as part of that membership.
EBay personalizes shopping
EBay is beginning to lean more heavily on its algorithms, said Thuy Ong in TheVerge.com. The online auction and shopping site is taking a page out of rival Amazon’s book by adding a customized homepage for users, featuring products “based on your interests.” You fill out a brief survey, and the “Shop Your Interests” feature “personalizes and curates items for you based on your hobbies, interests, and what you like wearing.” Mining its own vast trove of shopping data, the company has created several hundred shopping categories to select from. “The method is similar to how Netflix creates its own categories of content.” Category options include hobbies; interests such as cooking; gadgets; and brands, such as Apple. The update follows a recent redesign similarly focused on personalization.