What’s new in tech
The electric SUV race
Mercedes-Benz has unveiled its first all-electric SUV as it gets ready to take on Tesla, said Eric Adams in Wired.com. The Mercedes EQC was launched in Sweden last week and is “the first in a long line of electric vehicles the automotive juggernaut will roll out over the coming years.” With a planned range of more than 280 miles, the EQC can hit 60 mph in less than five seconds and “packs a tech-heavy punch.” It arrives amid a flood of announcements from automakers looking to contest Tesla’s dominance of the all-electric market. Audi is introducing an electric SUV later this month, BMW is taking orders for the iX3, and “Jaguar is gearing up to start U.S. deliveries of its much lauded electric i-Pace later this year.”
Instagram’s shopping app
“Facebook is planning a major new move into e-commerce,” said Casey Newton in TheVerge.com. The social media giant is building a new stand-alone app for its Instagram platform that will be devoted entirely to shopping. Unlike Instagram’s main application, the shopping app will let users make purchases right from a post. Instagram has more than 25 million business accounts; 2 million of those are paying advertisers. Many people already use Instagram for virtual window-shopping, and advertisers can provide links to their online stores. However, Instagram has been careful about commerce within the app, believing that getting it right takes more than an image and a “buy” button. The new app is a bet that users could be more open to sales pitches in a “dedicated home” for purchases.
U.S. cities plan for more cyberattacks
Most major U.S. cities are now buying insurance for attacks from hackers, said Scott Calvert and Jon Kamp in The Wall Street Journal. The ransomware attack that infected the city of Atlanta’s network earlier this year has spurred other cities into action. Now a majority of the 25 most populous U.S. cities have either purchased cyber insurance or are actively looking into it. Many U.S. cities say their security systems are already under a “constant barrage.” Houston, the fourth-biggest U.S. city, has invested in a $30 million plan with a $471,400 premium. Earlier this year, Atlanta refused to pay a $51,000 ransom, and hackers froze most of the city’s computer systems. The city estimates the cost at $20 million; it had just purchased an insurance policy three months earlier and has only now begun submitting claims.