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What I’ve been waiting for: An integrated Starbucks digital experience

Earning Stars through Grab and Lazada? Sign me up!

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Hold up! Starbucks is expanding its Rewards program, as part of the company’s digital innovation initiatives for this year and beyond.

Earlier this year, Starbucks Philippines announced its expansion to digital services to enhance the coffee experience. The company launched its rehashed in-app feature called Mobile Pay & Order 2.0, and a partnership with Grab, Lazada, and GCash.

Now, the coffee company wants to push for a more connected future.

An integrated partnership with Grab

Earlier this year, Starbucks announced an integrated partnership with Southeast Asian superapp Grab. The partnership aims to provide a more seamless experience across Grab’s six Southeast Asian markets.

First in the market is the Philippines, where Starbucks is bringing the experience starting on June 23, 2022. Through the Grab superapp, customers can connect to their Starbucks Rewards program and earn 1 Star for every PhP 40 spent on Starbucks orders.

If you’re a member of the Starbucks Rewards program, you’d know that every 100 Stars collected can be converted to a free Starbucks beverage or food reward, redeemable in stores.

Starbucks Grab

With the partnership, customers will be able to enjoy the Starbucks experience through Grab’s services:

  • Pay your orders via GrabPay e-wallets both online and in-store
  • Order online for in-store pick-up via GrabFood
  • Instant delivery via GrabExpress using GrabFood’s self-pick-up feature

Together with Lazada

It’s not just Grab, though. Back in February, Starbucks announced the expansion of its Rewards program through Lazada. Rewards members can link their accounts to Lazada and start earning Stars — the same way as Grab — for every purchase from the Starbucks LazMall Flagship Store.

To link a Starbucks Rewards account, members can click the ‘Member’ tab found in the Starbucks LazMall Flagship Store. Sign-in using a registered Starbucks Rewards email and password, and voila!

Gifts for your loved ones

Previously, Starbucks teamed up with GCash to allow customers to order and send eGifts through GLife, starting at PhP 300. As the company expands its digital services, eGifting is also now available through GrabGift, starting at PhP 100.

eGifts from GLife can be used to pay in Starbucks stores. Meanwhile, eGifts from GrabGifts can be used to purchase orders from Starbucks on GrabFood.

FoodShare is here to stay

Starbucks FoodShare, a program established in the United States a few years ago, made its way to the Philippines early this year. The program capitalized on Starbucks and Grab’s partnerships, where participating stores can connect with Grab drivers to pick up and deliver food donations daily.

Donations are donated to the Philippine Food Bank Foundation, a local non-profit organization, to be distributed to select beneficiaries within Metro Manila.

The program started with 40 stores in Metro Manila and has expanded to 238 stores as of writing. To date, Starbucks FoodShare has served over 50,000 meals. The company is looking to make the program a long-term commitment, with the goal of expanding the program to stores outside Metro Manila and hopefully, serving more communities.

Apps

Twitter expands character limit to 4,000 characters

But not for everyone

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Despite the traditional limitations, the platform’s users have always found a way to express themselves beyond Twitter’s character limits. Whether broken through extensive threads or third-party sites, strict limitations don’t exist anymore. Now, Twitter is essentially getting rid of the character limit by introducing its biggest expansion to date.

Announced today, Twitter will allow users to post tweets with up to 4,000 characters. That’s a gigantic leap from the original 140-character limit and the expanded 280-character limit in 2017. But, of course, some good things come with a price.

Not everyone will have access to the new feature. Currently, only Twitter Blue subscribers in the United States can create tweets of up to 4,000 characters. Besides original tweets, subscribers can also quote tweet with the same expanded limit.

Thankfully, the new feature will not inundate everyone’s feeds with an ocean of text. Any tweets going beyond 280 characters will be cut off with a “show more” prompt.

Through the past few months, the platform has changed a few fundamental elements before Musk took over. Most importantly, Twitter Blue, the platform’s paid subscription service is now much more expansive. Among other things, subscribers now get the coveted blue checkmark attached to their profiles. Now, they also get a massive boost in capabilities when it comes to tweeting.

SEE ALSO: Twitter is teasing an ad-free subscription tier

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Alibaba is working on its own ChatGPT alternative

Joins Microsoft and Google

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The United States isn’t the only country interested in language learning software. After the widespread success of ChatGPT, a few other companies — including Microsoft and Google — are developing their own versions of the popular software. Today, a new contender is joining the fray. Alibaba has officially announced the development of its own chatbot.

Reported by CNBC, the Chinese giant is currently testing its alternative to ChatGPT. Unfortunately, the announcement did not come with any more details or a timeframe for its release. However, the company does assure enthusiasts that it has been working on generative AI since 2017.

Within only a few months, ChatGPT created a maelstrom of hype for language learning models. The software can generate lengthy but comprehensible essays about any topic. Though there is some debate as to how ethical it is, remarkably intelligent software is slowly finding its niche in today’s world.

To compete with ChatGPT, Microsoft and Google have announced their own software this week. Microsoft is infusing the technology into Bing and Edge. Meanwhile, Google has its own software called Bard.

Also, besides Alibaba, Chinese search engine Baidu is also testing a chatbot called “Ernie bot.” With several companies working on generative AI, the technology is undoubtedly here to stay.

SEE ALSO: Google is working on a ChatGPT competitor called Bard

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Google will blur NSFW photos soon

Turned on by default

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When I search for “food porn” in Google, I’m looking for enticing photos of food to whet my appetite for dinner. Sometimes, Google has other plans and shows me more than what I bargained for. Finally, the search engine is implementing a way to save us from those awkward moments. Google will soon blur explicit images from search results.

For Safer Internet Day, Google has announced the feature to help protect users from accidentally seeing graphic images — including both gore and pornography — from a search. The feature, which will start rolling out in the coming months, will turn on by default. Instead of showing the images directly, users will face the blurred version and a prompt to view the image despite the warning.

If you don’t mind an accidental shower of NSFW imagery, you can turn the feature off at any time. Alternatively, as always, users can also choose to filter out all explicit search results, blurred or otherwise.

Though the feature is easily adjustable, Google will not offer the same flexibility to supervised accounts. Any accounts supervised by a parent or a school will not be able to change how they view explicit content. Parents can add supervision to the accounts of their children.

SEE ALSO: Google is working on a ChatGPT competitor called Bard

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