We may see self-driving trucks before we see a driverless taxi service, says Waymo CEO John Krafcik. The CEO says that there are two potential paths forward for the Waymo self-driving technology: A driverless taxi service or autonomous tasks.

“Ride-sharing makes a lot of sense for the world,” he said at Bloomberg’s Sooner Than You Think conference on Cornell University’s Tech engineering campus in New York City. “For goods transportation, which could travel primarily on highways, there’s a good and compelling use-case there, too. Either of those two might be the first ones you see.”

Krafcik says the company is looking at several models for logistics and delivery. He did not share any plans, but there are rumors that Waymo plans to launch a taxi service in Chandler, Phoenix as soon as 2018. Also, we know from Krafcik that Waymo has at least one truck with driverless technology in testing.

To get automakers on board, Waymo is proposing a radical alternative to the current business model. Krafcik is pitching a per-mile business model to the carmakers, where the carmakers would make money over the lifetime of a car rather than a one-time charge. He says that this model will earn the carmakers more.

Waymo is in talks with several carmakers and may sign deals to use their technology.


Google and Walmart are taking their respective battles against Amazon to the next level with a partnership that nobody saw coming. Starting late September, owners of Google Home will be able to order products from Walmart by voice.

You can order one item at a time, or place items into a shopping bag using Google Home, and then complete the purchase from the Home app. Walmart will also join Google Shopping Express, adding their products to the shopping service.

The partnership is a win-win for both sides. Google wants to increase the utility of its voice assistant, and Walmart wants to give consumers an alternative to shopping on Alexa. If voice shopping grows in popularity, Walmart is the only retailer that could offer a catalog of products that can match Amazon.

“More competition, more choice is great for consumers,” Google’s commerce and ads chief Sridhar Ramaswamy said in response to a question on Amazon’s voice shopping.

As part of this announcement, Google is removing the $95 annual membership fee for the Google Express shopping service. Now shoppers will only pay a $4.99 shipping fee if they do not meet the free-shipping threshold of the partner.

Starting in 2018 the partnership will extend to include in-store pickup and fresh grocery items.

This alliance could not have come at a better time for both Google and Walmart. Fighting Amazon alone, who has a lead in the home voice assistant market, and is making a play for the US grocery market, would be difficult and expensive.


2017 is the third consecutive year that LG reports that its top of the line phone is not selling well. This year LG places the blame on “weaker than expected premium smartphone sales and increase in component costs.” Last year, the G5 was to blame for a “weak quarter” and in 2015 the G4 sales “fell short of expectations.” All attempts by LG to break into the premium smartphone market are failing.

As a company, LG is doing okay and does not rely on smartphone sales. The company has three divisions: Home Entertainment, Home Appliances, and Automotive components that are all doing well. In fact, LG has never made a profit on its smartphones and still hasn’t given up.

LG saw Samsung as its primary competitor and built the G6 to beat the S8 to the market. It was the decision to use the year-old Qualcomm Snapdragon 821 processor, that was the downfall of the G6. By going for an older processor, LG thought it has a three week lead over the S8, however, by the time the phone was available in the US, Samsung was accepting pre-orders for the S8.

Most reviews say that the S8 is just a better-built version of the G6. By trying to beat the S8 to market, LG sacrificed using the latest processor, ending up with a phone that cost as much as the S8 but was a generation behind in CPU.


Summary: IT consultants can make or break your business.

One of the first things that you need to consider when hiring an IT consultant is what their employment status will be. Lay out the fundamentals of what you’re hiring him for. This is crucial when it comes to any legal issues that may arise.

It’s also important for companies to correctly determine whether the IT consultant is an employee or an independent contractor and follow through with the appropriate Social Security and Medicare contributions.

Relationship

If you’re going the route of using an IT staffing service as opposed to the independent contractor, they can help determine who’s right for your company. Be sure that you consider three different categories such as: behavioral, financial, and type of relationship. These all tie in together when it comes down to how your consultant will work in your company.

Protect Yourself In the Case of an Issue

It’s also key to protect your intellectual property. If a consultant holds your social media account hostage because of contractual issues, you’re probably going to have some difficulties when it comes to getting back what you need to run your business smoothly. This is why it’s so important that your company receives the IT consultant’s services address IP up front. Never forget to do this.

Prioritize the Interview Process

It consultants are often tied to core businesses. Be sure that you conduct a thorough interview like you would a regular employee. You want to be sure that the consultant can do what he claims he can along with other factors that play a role in determining whether he’s a good fit or not.

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With so many e-commerce platforms to choose from, there are several features that should be non-negotiable. Here we look at four of the most important features that you should be a part of your shopping cart software.

Responsive design

Already a majority of web traffic comes from mobile devices. Without a responsive layout, you risk losing sales to visitors from smartphones and tablets. With smartphone traffic set to reach 80% of all website traffic, responsive design is an immediate need.

User experience

The user experience of your website can be the difference between someone buying an item now or postponing the decision. When a visitor defers a buying decision, there is a high possibility of an impulse purchase somewhere else.

Support

One of the drawbacks of open source systems is the lack of support. Those open source systems that do provide support do so at a cost that is not all that different to a commercial offering. It is better to go with a commercial offering that has proper 24×7 support.

Payment

If there is one feature that can make a difference to sales, it is the ability to accept many different kinds of payment. For example, Secure Net Shop accepts credit cards, checks, PayPal® payments, Google Checkout® payments, Purchase Orders, COD, telephone, fax and mail orders. Different people find certain payment systems safer and are more likely to purchase if that option exists.