The Week in Mobile: July 2-8, 2017

Ticketmaster to use smartphone audio for event entry, Google tests new Triangle app, Snapchat adds URL sharing for users and more

Each week we round up the top news stories, think pieces and other content that centers on the fast-paced, quickly changing world of mobile technology. We tell you which companies are employing clever mobile strategies, illuminate new ways of thinking about mobile and offer a peek at meaningful trends in the industry. This content is designed to inspire you and your company to take advantage of the many benefits mobile can offer.

Ticketmaster Partners With Lisnr to Get You Into Events Using Audio Signals

Ticketmaster will soon get you through ticketing and security at events by using audio signals from your smartphone. The ticketing vendor has joined forces with data transmission company Lisnr, which utilizes inaudible, ultrasonic sounds called “smart tones” to share information between devices. With Lisnr’s technology, Ticketmaster can broadcast ticket data to more quickly and securely admit event goers, and even keep tabs on their location once they’re there. Lisnr has been around since 2012, but its agreement with Ticketmaster marks its largest commercial partnership yet as it looks to bring its smart tone technology to the masses. The new ticketing feature has already been deployed at some venues, but Lisnr said it will take the two companies about four years to roll out the technology worldwide.

Google Testing New App to Help Users Monitor Data Usage

Google has created a new tool called Triangle to help users monitor and block apps from using mobile data. The Android app can be used to view remaining mobile data, track apps that are consuming the most data and even restrict usage on certain apps. Users can even tailor when apps are permitted to use data by selecting from options that limit how long apps can operate in the background. Google is currently testing Triangle in the Philippines. Data usage in the US is less of a concern with the rise of unlimited plans, but for emerging markets where less bandwidth is available, data limitations can be a major headache for users.

Snapchat Introduces New Linking Capabilities

Snapchat has added some highly anticipated features in its latest update. Users can now attach website links to their photos or videos that can be opened through an internal browser within Snapchat. The new tool, which Snapchat calls Paperclip, has been requested by users for several years now. Previously, only Discover content partners or brand advertisements could attach links. The move gives Snapchat a leg up against rival service Instagram, which only allows verified users to include URLs within posts.

In addition to Paperclip, Snapchat also added new backdrop and voice filter options with the latest update. Backdrops allow the user to cut and paste their photos onto colorful new background images, while voice filters provide a menu of zany options to change the way voices sound.

Facebook is Developing a New Group Video Chat App

According to a new report, Facebook is looking to develop a video chat app that will allow FaceTime-style calls for groups. The app is said to be similar in nature to Houseparty, a group video app released last year that has already garnered more than one million users. The working title for Facebook’s soon-to-be rival app is Bonfire. While the company did not confirm any details, the app is reportedly set to launch sometime this fall.

Bixby’s US Release is Delayed Again

The US release of Samsung’s Bixby voice assistant has been delayed yet again. Bixby is currently available in South Korea, but plans to release English and Chinese versions of the voice assistant in spring were pushed back without much explanation. A Samsung spokesperson has now revealed that those versions of the virtual assistant have been held up by a lack of data needed to support Bixby’s deep learning technology. Samsung also confessed that geographical and language barriers between its South Korean and US-based teams have contributed to setbacks as well. A new release date for the English version of Bixby has not been set, but industry predictions target a fall launch at the latest.