What’s new in tech
Apple expands health data
Apple has unveiled a new feature allowing users “to automatically download and see parts of their medical records on their iPhones,” said Natasha Singer in The New York Times. Included as part of its popular Health app, the feature signals the tech giant’s “growing ambitions in the digital health market.” Apple says users will be able to transfer clinical data such as cholesterol levels and lists of medications prescribed by their doctors “directly from their medical providers to their iPhones.” A dozen major medical institutions, including Johns Hopkins Medicine in Baltimore and Cedars-Sinai in Los Angeles, are participating. Apple says any consumer medical data it compiles will be encrypted and stored locally on iPhones and will not be visible to Apple “unless the user chooses to share it.”
Snapchat permits outside sharing
“Snapchat has cracked open its walled garden,” said Georgia Wells in The Wall Street Journal. The social media app will soon begin allowing users to share videos and stories generated within Snapchat outside of its app. A new redesign will permit the sharing of Snaps to social platforms such as Facebook and Twitter as well as via email and text. The move demonstrates Snap’s readiness “to evolve beyond the basis for the app’s early popularity”: disappearing, one-on-one messages and cloistered social groups. Snap’s primary rivals, Twitter and Facebook, began permitting the outside sharing of posts in 2011 and 2013, respectively. The redesign was launched this week in Australia and Canada and will be available in the U.S. in several weeks.
Spotify adds news, sports, and politics
“Spotify will begin offering news and political coverage to lure listeners away from radio and podcasts,” said Lucas Shaw in Bloomberg.com. The world’s largest paid music service has already targeted archrival Apple by hosting many of the podcasts available on iTunes. Its latest initiative, dubbed Spotlight, has drafted eight media companies, including BuzzFeed and Refinery29, to produce daily programming. Initially available only to Spotify’s U.S. customers, Spotlight will kick off with a daily newscast “featuring reporting from BuzzFeed journalists.” The new shows debut this month and cover news, sports, politics, and pop culture. Although the as-yet-unprofitable streaming service “almost single-handedly reversed the record industry’s long decline,” it clearly has its eyes on the $18 billion radio ad market.