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Grab kickstarts growth of digital economy in the Philippines

Here’s how Grab can help small businesses sell more

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For almost a decade, Grab affixed itself as a staple in Filipinos’ lives. The ride-hailing app’s advent revolutionized mobility in the Philippines, making living in the metro relatively convenient.

In 2020, Grab takes things a step further, launching Small Business Booster Program. Moreover, the company partnered with the Department of Agriculture, Department of Tourism, and the Department of Trade and Industry.

Grab is aiming to support local businesses in their transition to a growing digital economy. It seeks to bridge the gap between MSMEs and consumers relying on digital-based services. Furthermore, it kickstarted initiatives that are accessible to small business owners — particularly mom-and-pops or independent, family-owned businesses.

Transitioning to digital services

“Small, independent businesses are the backbone of our economy,” according to Grab Philippines Brian Cu.

Believing that supporting government initiatives will help these businesses rejuvenate the economy amid the pandemic, the Small Business Booster Program strives to provide digital support to businesses, such as GrabMerchant.

This all-in-one platform helps business owners augment their customer base efficiently. Some features include Insights — providing analytics to a merchant’s sales, marketing campaigns, and its customers’ profile and buying behavior.

There’s also an ads creation tool, which allows merchant-partners to create their own advertisements and track performance in Grab’s platform.

GrabMerchant is available to existing Grab merchant-partners as an app. A web portal is already in the works, which will roll out by the end of August 2020. Currently, there are over 78,000 merchant-partners onboarded in the Grab app across Southeast Asia.

In the Philippines, Grab recorded almost 12,000 merchants between March and June 2020, with small businesses seeing at least 57 percent growth in their online revenues. Interested merchants can sign up through this link.

Photo by Grab Philippines

Free, personalized ads

Aside from GrabMerchant’s Ads creation tool, Grab is committed to supporting Filipino merchants with advertising solutions. Most merchant-partners saw up to 300 percent return on ad spend, after placing an ad on GrabFood’s homepage.

Through its “Homegrown Heroes” initiative, Grab will create personalized ads for over 1,000 merchant-partners, featuring their businesses for five weeks on the most prominent spaces within the app. Costs and resources required to produce materials will be covered by Grab.

An easy way to receive payments

If you’re a social seller, take advantage of Grab’s Offline to Online (O2O) Merchant Support Program. Businesses with no online presence can set up their online stores, and utilize an integrated GrabPay checkout for virtual payments through a landing page on Grab.com.

Since the lockdown, people turned to social selling for sustenance. However, online selling plies with tricky payment methods. Grab aims to ease purchasing and receiving payments through its Remote GrabPay link solution, where sellers can hand out URLs to their customers.

These links will allow customers to make direct payments from their GrabPay Wallet, which sellers receive easily. Access the service through this link.

Connecting rural entrepreneurs

Grab is also leveraging its leadership in technology and innovation to help expand livelihood opportunities to Filipino farmers across the country.

It has been actively working with local governments in helping traditional ecosystems maintain their presence in a growing digital economy. Together with the Department of Agriculture’s Kadiwa ni Ani at Kita program and the Department of Tourism’s Philippine Harvest Initiative, Grab seeks to create an avenue for Filipino farmers to earn through the Grab platform. More importantly, their fresh produce will be delivered to customers across Metro Manila.

To learn more about Grab’s response in the COVID-19 impact, check their social report, Grab for Good through this link.

Apps

Firefox for Android about to become faster, sleeker

Expect big changes in version 70

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One of the main Android browsers out there is Mozilla Firefox. For a long time though, Firefox for Android remains largely unchanged. Also, some people complained about performance issues compared to other browsers. That is set to change, however, as a new version of the browser land on these coming months.

This new version is actually in development by Mozilla for a long time now. Internally referred to as “Fenix”, the upcoming Firefox version is actually rebuilt from the ground up. As such, the Firefox browser that most people are using now is actually a legacy browser. Mozilla stopped the development of this legacy browser until versions 68-69 but continued issuing minor updates along the way.

Version 70 marks the new browser that will slowly roll out in the coming months. This new version is focused on speed and simplicity. One of the biggest changes is the location of the navigation bar. Users will now find it on the bottom along with the menu button, making navigation much easier with one hand. Plus, Firefox is introducing a new “Collections” feature which is basically a list of your favorite sites.

Also new is support for dark mode, and enhanced tracking protection. The latter is a feature that Mozilla has been pushing to its users across its desktop and mobile users.

Firefox is also getting a much-needed performance and speed boost with the latest version. Mozilla reworked the Gecko engine that powers this browser. Developers put an optimized version of the Gecko engine — GeckoView — inside. Aside from a revamped UI and faster browser engine, Firefox promises support for add-ons. For now, however, users can only install a limited number of add-ons.

Coming sooner than later

Mozilla has already begun the process of updating existing Firefox users to the new browser last February. For users to receive the update, they have to be on Firefox 59 or higher. Plus, they should be running Android 5 Lollipop or higher. They must also have automatic updates enabled.

Eligible users don’t have to do anything to upgrade to the latest Firefox. Mozilla will handle the update process for them. Most browser data from the legacy browser will also be migrated to the new one. These browsing data include history, bookmarks, cookies, default search engine, add-ons, and more.

Meanwhile, ineligible users won’t receive the new browser. Mozilla is devoting its development resources to the new browser, so there won’t be any more updates to the legacy browser after 2020. Users who upgraded to the new browser can’t downgrade too.

Indeed, the beloved Firefox browser had come a long way. Recent developments to the browser mean that Firefox users can expect more on months and years to come.

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Chrome for Android will soon accept biometric authentication

Never too late!

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Google Chrome for Android will soon start accepting your fingerprint for authentication, coupled with advanced auto-fill options.

Once released, you’ll be able to add your payment credentials within a second by using your fingerprint. According to XDA Developers, the card’s CVC or CVV number will be needed for the first transaction only.

A majority of phones today ship with a fingerprint sensor and this can be leveraged to improve the web experience on Chrome. Pixel users will also be able to use facial recognition instead of a fingerprint scanner.

The biometric authentication feature will be optional and users will be able to enable or disable it from within Chrome settings. The biometric payment feature is not yet available but is expected to arrive sometime in the next few weeks.

Furthermore, Google is now bringing support for Chrome to share its passwords with different apps on iOS. This will create a seamless experience for iOS users who rely on Google services. Android and iOS are two completely different ecosystems and Google is trying to bridge this gap by providing a smoother service.

Earlier this year, Google Chrome released support for Windows Hello authentication system, letting compatible devices run a smoother payment experience.

Apple, on the other hand, already has a similar system in place on the Safari browser. The newer generation of MacBooks also has Touch ID support that’s deeply integrated with macOS and the rest of the Apple ecosystem.

SEE ALSO: Google Chrome gains tab grouping in a new update

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Google wants Samsung to favor Google Assistant over Bixby

Do you actively use Bixby?

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Samsung Bixby

Samsung has managed to retain a lot of proprietary technology on its Android-powered phones. One UI, Samsung apps, and Bixby are a few of them that come pre-installed on every Galaxy-branded phone. And Google wants to change this.

According to a report in Bloomberg, Google is negotiating with Samsung to provide more prominence to Google services and, in turn, reduce Samsung’s indigenous technology. If the talks are successful, we could potentially see Google services like Google Assistant become primary on all Galaxy phones.

Obviously, making Google Assistant primary doesn’t mean Samsung ditches its self-developed Bixby assistant. The two are co-existing right now, and the same can be carried forward.

Samsung relies on Android for all its phones, but it has never stopped depending on its proprietary technology. It has tried to push Bixby a lot in recent years. Some phones have a dedicated assistant button that’ll summon Bixby on a single tap. However, adoption by users hasn’t taken off as expected.

The South Korean giant has always wanted to make an ecosystem of its own. Bixby assistant is found on Samsung’s home appliances as well. It isn’t the first time the two companies have clashed over ecosystem conflicts. Before One UI, Google wasn’t okay with Samsung shipping all its phones with TouchWiz UI since it could pose a challenge to stock Android’s adoption.

If Google can convince Samsung to remap the dedicated button and program it for Google Assistant, it’ll indirectly acquire a considerable part of the market. Apple has aggressively pushed Siri on all its products, and Amazon is also trying to make a mark with Alexa.

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