Google’s Deep Mind masters the game of Go and the weekly roundup in tech and retail

News and commentaries

Just to punctuate my love for all things Google (or Alphabet, it will take awhile before I get used to that), Nature magazine just published a paper describing Alphabet-owned artificial intelligence company Deep Mind’s* system which used deep learning to beat the top player in the game of Go. Beating a human in the 2,500 year-old game of Go has long been considered an important milestone in artificial intelligence.

Unlike other strategy games such as chess and checkers, Go has never been beaten by a computer – until now. We all know the famous match between Deep Blue and Kasparov in 1996. Less well known (at least to me anyway) is Chinook, which mapped every possible move in Checkers – 500 billion moves in all – making sure that it can never be beaten by a human.

The game of Go however cannot be beaten by brute force alone. There is simply not enough computing power that exists that can map out every possible move.

In chess, at any given turn, there are an average 35 possible moves. With Go—in which two players compete with polished stones on 19-by-19 grid—there are 250. And each of those 250 has another 250, and so on. As Hassabis points out, there are more possible positions on a Go board than atoms in the universe. (Wired)

The very best human players also rely on intuition, looking at the board and just “knowing” that it “looks” good.

“It’s something subconscious, that you train through years and years of playing. I’ll see a move and be sure it’s the right one, but won’t be able to tell you exactly how I know. I just see it.” (Redmond in Wired)

And that’s sort of what Deep Mind did. They trained the system to learn the game by looking at 30 million Go moves from expert players. And in order to beat those expert players, they then matched the system against itself, coming up with even more winning moves.

So anyway, exciting times to be had. And maybe scary too. Because even if it’s a baby step for AI, who’s to say that the progress from here on out will be limited to baby steps? For more on AI in general, here’s a lengthy, but wonderful read on it, from my favorite blog: The AI revolution: The Road to Superintelligence. And if you want to understand more on deep learning, here’s a great read (haven’t finished it but as a “poet” and non-hacker, I find it very readable): Neural Networks and Deep Learning.

Here are this week’s most relevant news in tech and retail:

In tech:

  1. Scientists make a ‘true’ neural network using brain-like chips
  2. Apple Reports Slowing Growth in iPhone Sales
  3. Walgreens won’t use “unsafe” Theranos lab for tests
  4. SpaceX: Nickelodeon is sponsoring a team in Elon Musk’s Hyperloop competition; SpaceX unfurls its astronaut parachutes for the first time
  5. Oracle’s finally killing its terrible Java browser plugin

In retail:

  1. Amazon: Amazon stock plunging after earnings but analysts predict 27% gain; Your impulse buys are costing Amazon a fortuneAmazon to delivery companies: Yes, we’re building our own service but don’t worry
  2. Under Armour shares jump 17%
  3. Coach: Upbeat 2Q earnings but revenues disappoint
  4. Uber partners with Nordstrom, Google, T-Mobile, SAP for UberRush package delivery service
  5. Chanel CEO Maureen Chiquet leaving company

*Acquired by Google in 2014 and is now part of Alphabet

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Clickbait part two and the weekly roundup in tech and retail

News and commentaries

I have talked before of how much I dislike clickbait (so much so that this will have the same title) and sensational headlines. At the same time, I can’t help but click on said ridiculous headlines because I just have to know. This week, I saw two that led the pack.

Google was in the news a lot this week due to disclosures from its five-year battle against Oracle. According to a lawyer for Oracle, Google’s Android operating system has generated $31B in revenues and $22B in profit for Google. Thus the first clickbait above. Not only are iPhones (hardware) and the Android OS (mobile operating system) in entirely different categories, they also differ in how profit margins are generated. Apple sells the iPhone 6 for $649, while only costing $200 in components and manufacturing. Google develops Android as a platform, gives the code for free and makes money from ads supplied by Google on Android phones and via the Google Play Store.

The comparison is so egregious (I have to use a fancy word here because it is that appalling) and unfortunately these days, people glance at headlines like these and wisely nod their heads, “Oh yeah, of course, that completely makes sense.”

The second headline on the other hand is a cry for attention to Tesla to say, “We’re sorry we made a mistake, here’s a Tesla for you at the price we initially agreed with.” Elon Musk did not actually steal the car, rather a car from the test fleet was mistakenly offered for sale.

I get it. There’s so much noise out there that in order to be heard, you have to shout a little louder. It’s like when they tell you, don’t cry “help” to get people’s attention. Scream “fire” instead because people might ignore the former but rarely would they ignore the latter. Unfortunately, it’s up to us readers to discern the facts from sensationalism.

Here are this week’s most relevant news in tech and retail:

In tech:

      1. New prime number discovery breaks record at 22 million digits
      2. Facebook is opening an Oculus research office in Pittsburgh
      3. Google: Google paid Apple $1 billion to be the search engine on your iPhone; Google launches free Wi-Fi service in India with Mumbai Central Station; Google just published a free, three-month course on deep learning
      4. Auto: Apple opening R&D facility in hotbed for driverless car research; Tesla sues German supplier over failed Model X falcon doors; Uber hails victory after Transport for London drops restrictions
      5. Space: 9th planet http://m.caltech.edu/news/caltech-researchers-find-evidence-real-ninth-planet-49523; Successful drone ship landing proves elusive for SpaceX

In retail:

      1. China: Meituan-Dianping, China’s Largest Group Deals Site, Closes Massive $3.3B Round At $18B Valuation; Alibaba teams up with Nvidia in $1B bet on cloud computing
      2. Walmart: Walmart’s E-Commerce Push: It’s Among Top Companies Posting Jobs For Software Developers; Walmart wants to sell Suburbia clothing chain in Mexico; Walmart to give pay raises to most of its workers
      3. Apple applies to open stores in India
      4. Amazon: Amazon Offering Refunds on Sales of All Two-Wheeled Hoverboards; Amazon exec: Our drones will deliver in 30 minutes or less; Amazon steps up recruitment as it expands in Europe; Amazon veers into labor law fight zone for hurried deliveries
      5. Avon soars after discussing overseas growth, vowing to cut costs

Google surprises with Alphabet and the weekly roundup in tech and retail

News and commentaries

Google is big – not just in market cap but in the breadth of what it’s trying to do. The ubiquitous use of Google as a verb speaks to how most people think of the company’s business. But the company is way beyond search, Android OS, Maps or Ads. In the past 3 years, the company has acquired companies and started divisions related to home automation (Nest), robotics (Boston Dynamics), drones (Titan Aerospace), AI (DeepMind), satellites (Skybox Imaging) and life sciences (Calico). A division called Google X became the bucket for some of the most “moonshots” of these acquisitions, some of which have spun off to separate divisions such as Google Glass (despite some claims, yes, it is still alive).

Many investors were starting to question Google’s focus and that of its CEO Larry Page. As Box CEO Aaron Levie once tweeted:

Google’s answer? Form a new holding company, Alphabet:

https://abc.xyz/

It’s not a name change. It’s a new corporate structure that will put Google as a subsidiary to Alphabet. It separates Google’s core business of search and ads from the “moonshots” and put the guy, Sundar Pichai, who has largely been in charge of that core business anyway, as CEO. A lot has been said on the implications of this move and one of the most succinct and informative articles I found is here. Just to share some highlights:

I personally can’t wait how this reorganization turns out and how it will affect Google’s, or Alphabet’s, pursuit of moonshots.

Here are this week’s most relevant news in tech and retail:

In tech:

  1. More Google: Bill Gates and Google join $120M funding for Massachusetts-based genome editing firm, Editas Medicine, Inc.; Google enters into agreement with DexCom to develop bandage-size glucose monitoring devices
  2. Adobe joins Netflix, Microsoft in expanding maternity leave to 16 weeks for primary caregivers and 4 weeks for secondary caregivers
  3. Tesla to raise $642M in stock offering; Elon Musk to purchase 84,000 shares worth around $20M
  4. Smartphones companies: Samsung unveils Galaxy Note 5, Galaxy S6 Edge+ and Samsung Pay at Galaxy Unpacked 2015 event in New York; HTC announces plans to cut 15% of workforce after warning of an expected third-quarter net loss of up to 4.8B New Taiwan dollars
  5. Researchers in Australia have developed 3D-printed brain tissue to serve as laboratory of the brain for drug testing, studying nerve cell behavior, injury and disease

In retail:

  1. Alibaba: Alibaba reports slowest quarterly revenue growth; partners with Macy’s to launch an online flagship store on Tmall Global; will invest $4.6B in China electronics retailer Suning Commerce Group Co Ltd, equivalent to 19.99% stake
  2. Earnings: Gap reports 2% net sales drop for Q2 fiscal year 2015 compared to last year; Macy’s reports 26% drop in Q2 profit and lowers sales forecast for 2015; Nordstrom Q2 report exceeds expectations, sales up by 9%
  3. Amazon participates in $8M Series B funding round for fashion shopping site Who What Wear
  4. New York-based hedge fund Tiger Global leads $30M investment in e-commerce robotics/logistics firm GreyOrange
  5. Jessica Alba’s Honest Co. raises $100M in new funding round, valuing company at $1.7B

The power of technology and the weekly roundup in tech and retail

News and commentaries

Some of the things that I love most about reading technology news are the vision and hope that they can impart. Some people might find it cold but I find tech news to be more hopeful than human-interest stories. This week, as I found myself too caught up in life’s little details, news such as: SpaceX’ third attempt at recovering a rocket via drone ship; NASA’s recent images of pyramid-shaped structure on dwarf planet Ceres; and Google’s built-from-the-ground-up self driving car being tested in California, fill me with hope for the future and a sense of wonder. News like these made me take a pause to reflect on our place in the universe and how we are starting to live with technology conjured by science fiction not so long ago. I hope you find these as uplifting as I did.

The solitary peak juts out from the horizon in this image snapped by Dawn

Here are this week’s most relevant news in tech and retail:

In tech:

  1. Space news: Microsoft’s augmented reality headgear HoloLens will be used on board the International Space Station in partnership with NASA; SpaceX will attempt another drone ship rocket landing this Sunday (you can watch it here); NASA’s Dawn probe reveals pyramid-like structure on dwarf planet Ceres
  2. Google news: Google’s panda-shaped self-driving cars are now being tested in California; Google Genomics collaborates with the Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard to develop data-driven tools to fight diseases;
  3. IAC/InterActiveCorp is planning an IPO for The Match Group, conglomerate behind dating websites Match.com, Tinder and OKCupid
  4. French company Thales unveils robots that could replace immigration officers
  5. Music streaming: Google launches free, ad-supported tier to its Google Play Music streaming service; Jay-Z’s music streaming service Tidal loses interim CEO; Taylor Swift’s 1989 album will be available on Apple’s music streaming service (to launch on June 30) after Apple’s change of royalty policies

In retail:

  1. H&M Q2 profits up as sales rise with store and product expansions
  2. Lululemon Athletica recalls 318,000 women’s tops over reported injuries of elastic drawstrings
  3. Walmart to start charging vendor fees as costs increase; will affect 10,000 U.S. suppliers in the
  4. Olapic raises $15M in new funding to help brands boost sales with user-generated images from social media such as Instagram
  5. On-demand delivery startup raises Series D round of $80M at a $400M valuation

Earnings, Google Maps and the weekly roundup in tech and retail

News and commentaries

This week, earnings calls for the first quarter of 2015 dominated the news in tech and retail. Too bad that I barely had time to really read the reports but I posted the most important ones here for future reference. Just a short note this week as we are T minus 6 days to a move. Can’t leave without sharing this, though:

wpid-screenshot_2015-04-24-08-16-37.png

The image above is located south of the Pakistani town of Rawalpindi.  Contrary to some reports, this is not one of Google’s Easter eggs but most likely the result of a user abusing Map Maker. It was seen here but as of this writing, the image has been removed and Google has apologized. I took the screenshot above early this morning. For posterity, of course.

Here are this week’s most relevant news in tech and retail:

In tech:

    1. Google Q1 revenue rose to 12% at $17.3B but misses expectations for the sixth time in the last nine quarters; announces Project Fi in partnership with Sprint and T-Mobile in the US, wireless plans starts at $20/month
    2. Amazon Q1 revenue beats expectations and reveals for the first time how big its cloud business is, at $4.6B revenue accounting for 7% of Q1 revenue of $22.7B
    3. Facebook Q1 revenue rose by 42% to $3.54B but misses estimates, video views per day at 4 billion views
    4. Comcast drops $45.2B merger agreement with Time Warner Cable amidst heavy opposition from consumers and likely veto from federal regulators
    5. Yahoo‘s Q1 revenue drops 4% from last year; might spin off Japan operations

In retail:

  1. Amazon, Audi and DHL to test package delivery to cars in May in Munich
  2. Kering reports drop in Q1 like-for-like sales (Financial Times paywall) as Gucci undergoes transition
  3. eBay Q1 earnings beat expectations, buoyed by PayPal unit
  4. Secondhand fashion marketplace Poshmark raises $25M, on track to $200M in revenues this year
  5. Lilly Pulitzer for Target sells out within hours and crashes website

iOS vs. Android and why I shop less on Android

News and commentaries, Technology

IBM and Adobe recently released some numbers for Black Friday and Cyber Monday online sales in the US. Here are some highlights from the IBM report and Adobe report:

  • Overall Thanksgiving online sales were up 14.3% compared to 2013 (IBM)
  • Total online spend on Thanksgiving day reached $1.33B (Adobe)
  • Thanksgiving day mobile traffic accounted for more than half of all online traffic (IBM)
  • Black Friday online sales were up 9.5% YoY (IBM)
  • Black Friday mobile traffic increased by 25% over 2013, accounting for 49.6% of all online traffic while mobile sales accounted for 27.9% of total online sales (IBM)
  • Total online spend on Black Friday reached $2.4B (Adobe)
  • Cyber Monday sales were up by 8.5% compared to 2013 (IBM)
  • Cyber Monday mobile traffic accounted for 41.2% of all online traffic while mobile sales accounted for 22% of online sales (IBM)

With the historic numbers related to the use of mobile devices, there is a lot of focus on iOS vs. Android shoppers. Simply put, iOS users use their mobile devices more for online shopping and more importantly, buy more than Android users – in this case, four times more. This comparison is not new. Historically, iOS users spend more on apps than Android users. With these recent numbers, there’s again a lot of talk on how these affects future app development. Developers will almost always develop for iOS first and may even forego developing for Android.

As an Android user, it irks me to have to hold on to my iPad because some apps are simply not available on Android but I understand why. It further irked me when I saw this quote from Jay Henderson, director of IBM Smarter Commerce:

iPhone and iPad buyers tend to be slightly more affluent and more comfortable with technology.

Affluent, I can agree but more comfortable? The iOS’ value proposition is its simplicity – don’t offer too many choices on how something is done and the user will just get it. This is why, even your most un-tech savvy friend or family member has an iPhone/iPad. Go to an Android and the learning curve is a little steeper (but once you’re there, you can do so much more productive things on an Android). But I digress, this post is not about pitting iOS and Android users’ tech-savviness. This post is to poke some holes on those mobile spend numbers because as an Android and iOS user who happens to *love* shopping, I have experienced firsthand as to why I browse/buy less on my Android.

Why I browse and buy less on my Android vs. iOS

  • There are fewer shopping apps for Android. Thankfully, most sites are now mobile-friendly but they are far from perfect. Case in point is Net-a-Porter: I was filtering for dresses in size S. But after sorting for low-high prices, it resets the size. This only happens in the sale section which is what Black Friday and Cyber Monday are all about.

net_a_porter

Incidentally, browsing the sale section at Barney’s mobile site is limited to filtering between “Men”, “Women”, “Home”, “Kids”, etc. There are no filters for size and sub-categories so results number to 12,000 items which can test the patience of even the most avid shopper.

Based on sites that I use, here’s a sample of shopping apps for iOS and Android:

iOS_Android_apps

*Recently launched on November 24, 2014

  • Even when shopping apps exist, they can be buggy. During Black Friday when Zara, site-wide was 30%, the bugginess of the app was very pronounced in my Android. While the iOS experience remained smooth, I saw blank spaces where images of items should be when I scrolled down. This happens all the time but during big sale periods, the blank space stays longer (minimum 5 seconds) and the app crashes constantly.

zara_blank

Google’s ambitions for Android are not focused on the users’ immediate dollar value
As more and more metrics pit the dollar value of Android users vs. iOS users, it will only perpetrate the cycle: developers will focus less on making the Android experience more robust; Android users spend less money; iOS users are more valuable – and so on. In this case, I sometimes get frustrated with Google for not marketing the Android platform better to developers. I understand that they have ambitions beyond users spending money within their devices but at some point, will Apple’s easy/seamless ecosystem trump Android adoption globally? But then again, Google’s currency, to put simply, is information and large amounts of it. Even if Android dominance falters in North America, there’s billions in the rest of the world who will not be able to afford iOS devices (especially if Apple continues to act like a Veblen good*) and will most certainly adopt the Android platform. And that’s several billions of users using a platform that Google controls. Scared yet?

Tech x Fashion: Google Glass x Diane von Furstenberg

Fashion, News and commentaries, Technology

Fashion collaborations especially between mass retailers and premium designers (eg. H&M x Lanvin) are a way for either party to reach a new audience/market. In that same spirit, Google Glass announces today the new DVF | Made for Glass collection  which will be available for purchase starting June 23 on Net-a-Porter and Google. Diane von Furstenberg will debut the collaboration today on the runway for DVF’s 2015 Resort collection.

Ms. Furstenberg who is well-known for the iconic wrap dress was one of the first in fashion to embrace Glass during the spring 2013 runway show when her models wore Glass. The footage taken during the show was later condensed into a short film entitled “DVF through Glass.” It then seems fitting that the brand would also be the first to design Glass for the fashion set, despite past rumors of a Glass and Warby Parker collaboration.

Glass has been getting a lot bad rep, with industry insiders coining the term “glasshole”. This collaboration and a future collaboration with Luxxotica (for Ray-Ban and Oakley frames) are moves to overcome the insensitive-tech-geek persona associated with it. It certainly is a great move for glass and perhaps a sign of things to come under Glass’ new leadership, former retail veteran, Ivy Ross.

Instacart’s entry into US grocery delivery market

News and commentaries, Technology

Grocery warsOn April 17, Techcrunch reported that Instacart, the Y Combinator alum and grocery startup, could potentially raise a big round of financing that would value the two-year old company at $400M. Instacart, which has raised $10.8M to date, is a web and mobile app for grocery deliveries. With the use of “Personal Shoppers”, customers can order grocery items from local stores as well as big grocery chains such as Whole Foods and Costco. The company operates independently with no requisite affiliation with the stores. Instacart makes money through delivery fees of $3.99/order and by marking up grocery items by as much as 30%. “Personal Shoppers” are considered independent contractors and paid per delivery. It is currently serving San Francisco Bay Area, Los Angeles, New York City, Chicago, Boston, Washington, D.C. and Philadelphia.

My personal experience with grocery deliveries
I first heard of Instacart in March 2013 while living in Palo Alto with a startup, Kalibrr. We used it once because of a discount code; not knowing that grocery items were marked up and despite the company’s promise of delivering within the hour, that was not necessarily the case. We have not used Instacart again after that.

However, I am a big fan of grocery delivery services in general since I dislike grocery shopping and have mostly been car-less while living in metropolitan cities. In New York City, most grocery stores deliver but they still require for you to show up and pick up the items yourselves. Still, it was a convenient way to shop without having to lug the bags around the city. In Boston, I had a great experience with the Peapod grocery service. My only complaint was that I was limited to picking items from Stop & Shop – not exactly my favorite grocery store.

Whether it’s Instacart in Palo Alto, Peapod in Boston or Whole Foods in NYC, the reasons I would use a grocery delivery service are similar across the board:

  • Convenience. Without a car, carrying groceries from the store is a pain. Also, grocery stores in big cities are relatively small which makes grocery shopping stressful and time consuming (due to the volume of shoppers).
  • Time constraints. There are times when there is simply no time to go to the store and buy the essentials. This can only happen if you have the sudden urge to invite a bunch of friends for a dinner – I’ve been know to do that (at least before motherhood).
  • Ease of use. If using the service gives the same amount of headache as simply showing up at the store then it’s not worth it. The headache can come from the time window for the grocery, the in-app user experience, and the quality of the grocery items especially for fruits and vegetables. Except for the time window, I’ve mostly had positive experiences with the services I’ve used.

I actually did not consider pricing, having the belief that the differences were too minimal. That is, until Instacart which I perceived to be too high of a markup for it to be worth the money.

Who are the players in grocery delivery?
With this recent news of Instacart’s impending round of financing, it got me interested in the grocery delivery landscape in the US. Most of us know of Amazon’s determination to dominate the market with Amazon Fresh but it is less well-known that Google is also testing the service. Apart from Instacart, here are the major players so far:

  • Amazon Fresh. Initially started in Seattle, WA, it has since expanded to Los Angeles and San Francisco. In order to access the service, customers have to subscribe to Amazon Prime Fresh for $299/year and includes all the benefits of Amazon Prime. Notable features within the subscription includes Dash, a device that allows customers to add items to the grocery list by saying or scanning grocery items. Another feature called Prime Pantry was recently added for heavy and bulky items, though this is also available to Amazon Prime members.
  • Google Shopping Express. The same-day delivery service was first introduced in San Francisco and the San Jose peninsula area on March 2013. Customers can shop from big retailers such as Target, Costco, and Whole Foods for $4.99/order after a free 6-month trial. It has recently expanded to Los Angeles but still limited to Google employees.
  • Peapod. The company is the oldest of the bunch, which was started in 1989 in Illinois. The company claims to be the world’s first e-commerce only company and has since been acquired by a Dutch company Royal Ahold in 2001. Groceries are from Ahold USA companies: Stop & Shop and Giant Food Stores. The service is available in: Chicagoland; Milwaukee; southeast Wisconsin; Indianapolis, IN; Connecticut; Massachusetts; southern New Hampshire; New York; New Jersey; Maryland, VA; Washington, DC; Philadelphia, PA and southeast Pennsylvania. Customers are charged a per delivery charge which varies on the delivery time window that the customer chooses; averaging around $8/order.
  • FreshDirect. First introduced to New York in 2002, the company differentiates itself by delivering organic and locally grown produce as well as freshly prepared meals. It has since expanded to Philadelphia in October 2012. FreshDirect charges $5/delivery.
  • Walmart To Go. The service for same-day delivery of general merchandise was launched in October 2012 in Northern Virginia, Philadelphia, Minneapolis and San Jose/San Francisco. It has since included grocery deliveries for Denver, CO and San Francisco. Starting at a minimum order of $30, it charges customers $5-$7/order.

What is the play for Instacart
With the entry of massive companies like Amazon and Walmart, it is difficult to envision the profitability of Instacart. While big companies can leverage their logistics and play with razor thin margins, Instacart has to mark up grocery items to remain profitable; a move that might scare away price-sensitive customers. Scalability becomes a problem as well since the company relies on contractual foot-runners to do the deliveries. Complaints regarding delivery times can only increase as they expand and acquire more customers. These are definitely top of mind for the founder and CEO, Apoorva Mehta, who used to work in Amazon’s fulfillment optimization engine.

There’s also a question on the lack of affiliation with grocery companies. At the moment, the startup is still under the radar but would Whole Foods eventually catch on and crack down on the Personal Shoppers and Instacart’s pricing? If the grocery chains enforce a revenue affiliation program with Instacart, that could further cut into the company’s profits.

With these questions in mind vis-a-vis Instacart’s potential valuation, investors might be gearing Instacart as an acquisition target rather than as a viable business model. A company like Amazon with ambitions of dominating the $500B grocery industry can certainly leverage the company’s rapid expansion in major cities (7 cities in 2 years), growing customer base, and its last-mile delivery system with their Personal Shoppers. It doesn’t hurt that the CEO/Founder is a former Amazon exec.

May 9, 2014 update: Instacart is now in Seattle; Google is out of beta in LA; and Amazon Fresh is also now in LA.

Weekly roundup in tech and retail

News and commentaries

Here are the most relevant news this week in tech and retail.

In Tech:

  1. Apple’s Q1 results show strong iPhone sales, record revenues; company authorizes a stock split, shares surge at 8% and activist investor Carl Icahn is pleased
  2. The Supreme Court heard oral arguments that will decide the fate of Aereo, the startup that lets subscribers watch live TV for $8/month
  3. Microsoft finalizes acquisition of Nokia’s phone unit
  4. Google+ lead Vic Gondotra is leaving Google; media speculates on the death of Google+
  5. Zynga founder, Mark Pincus to leave chief product officer role, remains chairman on the board

In retail:

  1. Nike fired the majority of FuelBand teaminsists that FuelBand is still alive and well
  2. Amazon Q1 earnings meet expectations with 23% rise in sales despite a report saying that online sales tax has reduced consumer spending
  3. More Amazon news: Prime members now have access to HBO programs and Pantry, a service that delivers bulk grocery items for $5.99/four-cubic-foot box
  4. Kering, owner of Gucci, reports higher than estimated quarterly sales
  5. UK fast fashion retailer Primark to enter US market via Boston; will occupy the former Filene’s Basement space 

Weekly roundup in tech and retail

News and commentaries

Here’s the most relevant news this week in tech and retail.

In Tech:

  1. A massive 2-year security flaw in OpenSSL, Heartbleed, was discovered April 7 and affected companies scramble to patch it up – from websites to routers
  2. Google news. Google Glass will be available to anyone in the US for 1 day only on April 15 at 6 AM ET, sign up here for the reminder; Google can now continuously scan apps for Android users to protect against malicious code
  3. Dropbox news. Dropbox announces: Project Harmony, which allows for collaboration for Microsoft Office files; Mailbox for Android; and Carousel, an app for photo/video archiving and sharing
  4. Amazon news. Amazon introduces Dash device for scanning and adding items to Amazon Fresh shopping list; Amazon acquires Comixology, a cloud-based digital comics platform
  5. Twitter acquires Cover, an Android lock screen app, which displays apps on an Android lock screen based on context and historical use

In Retail:

  1. LVMH  shares surge Thursday as company reports 9% rise in Q1 2014 like-for-like sales of its fashion and leather goods, Louis Vuitton – a good sign for Nicolas Ghesquire’s appointment as artistic director
  2. After closing its stores in February, Loehmann’s is set to come back online in May
  3. Calvin Klein owner PVH invests in Karl Lagerfeld – the minority investment will allow the company to have the “right of first offer to license the brand in North America
  4. Social shopping app, The Hunt, raises $10M in Series B funding led by Khosla Ventures
  5. Kering, owner of Gucci may acquire lifestyle and sports brands within 3 years as it assesses its Puma brand