Square

Square’s The Avengers stars vaguely familiar versions of Marvel’s iconic heroes

Posted by | e3 2019, Gaming, marvel, Square, the avengers | No Comments

This evening’s Square E3 press was…something. After more than an hour of Final Fantasy remasters, the publisher closed things out with far and away its most eagerly awaited game. Licensing some white hot IP, the RPG masters at Square are offering up their own take on Earth’s mightiest heroes.

Bay Area-based Crystal Dynamics addressed what appears to be an inability to license the likenesses of familiar actors like Robert Downey Jr. and Scarlett Johansson, referring to the team as its “interpretation of these iconic characters.”

Granted, the team has been around well before the Marvel Cinematic Universe, but those players hoping to play as their favorite actors are clearly S.O.L. here.

We didn’t see much in the way of gameplay here (more of that’s to come on the show floor this week), but Crystal’s describing the title as either a single or co-op gameplay, centered around an original story that involves the superheroes attempting to stop the destruction of the city by the Bay (from the uncanny valley to the Silicon one). From the looks of it, things don’t go great.

Hope you’re enjoying all of the exciting announcements we’ve assembled so far. Here’s one last update from @PlayAvengers. https://t.co/PoQw4wVGyB #SquareEnixE3 #E32019 pic.twitter.com/1Z7v1cbs4C

— Square Enix (@SquareEnix) June 11, 2019

Beyond that, the company gave a behind the scenes peek of the voice actors involved, to a smattering of applause from an audience clearly exhausted after cheerly maniacally over 60 minutes of remade Final Fantasies.

The game is coming to PS4, Xbox One and Google Stadia May 15, 2020. That should be just about enough time to get used to these faces…one hopes… Failing that, maybe Square can just rework it as an Alpha Flight game.

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Square launches its in-app payments SDK

Posted by | Developer, developers, in-app payments, Mobile, payments, sdk, Square | No Comments

Square today announced the launch of its in-app payments SDK that allows developers to build Square-powered payments right into their mobile apps. While Square remains best known for its offline payments solutions that grace virtually ever independent coffee shop and quirky corner store, the company has long offered APIs for taking online payments on the web and for working with its reader hardware.

Today’s launch expands the company’s reach into mobile apps, an area where it faces stiff competition from the likes of Stripe, Adyen and others. Square, however, argues that this launch puts it ahead of the competition, given that it now offers a complete online and offline payments solution.“With the introduction of in-app mobile payments to the Square platform, developers now have a complete, omnichannel payments solution for all their payment needs,” said Square developer lead Carl Perry in today’s announcement. “From software to hardware to services, Square offers a complete payments experience all in one cohesive open platform. Even better, developers and sellers can manage all their payments across in-store, mobile and online all in one place.”

The SDK is available for Android, iOS and Flutter, Google’s toolkit for building cross-platform applications. For now, only developers in the United States, Canada, U.K., Australia and Japan will be able to use it, though. The app provides a default payments flow, but developers can also customize it to match their apps and needs. Using this service, mobile app developers will be able to take payments through the usual credit and debit cards, as well as Apple Pay and Google Pay.

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Weebly brings more e-commerce features to mobile

Posted by | Apps, david rusenko, eCommerce, Mobile, Square, Weebly | No Comments

Weebly is part of Square now, but it continues to update as a standalone product. This week, for example, the company announced a number of new e-commerce features for the Weebly mobile app.

Those features include the ability to ship and print labels, to respond to customer questions (via Facebook Messenger, which can be embedded on Weebly sites), to approve customer reviews, to create branded coupon codes and to edit every aspect of your store, including product listing and pricing — all from the app.

Much of this functionality already existed on desktop, so the announcement is about moving these capabilities onto smartphones. In a blog post, the company outlined a vision for the mobile phone to become “the new back office.”

Weebly CEO David Rusenko told me that as his team has been adding more features for merchants, he wants people to think of Weebly “increasingly as an e-commerce platform,” not just a simple website builder. And support for mobile was an important part of that.

“This is what our customers were requesting,” Rusenko said. “Basically, people are taking their entrepreneurial lifestyle and having the freedom to work on things wherever you are.”

And apparently mobile usage is already up significantly, with a 75 percent increase over the past year in customers using the Weebly mobile app to manage orders, as well as a 120 percent increase in mobile usage to manage product listings.

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Square can now process chip cards in two seconds

Posted by | Mobile, payments, Square | No Comments

If you’ve made any payments with a chip card, you’ve probably had awkward moments — those long seconds after you’ve inserted the card and everyone behind you is (literally or metaphorically) tapping their foot, waiting for the card to be processed.

Well, Square has been working on this problem for a while now. Last fall, for example, CEO Jack Dorsey said the company had gotten the processing time down to under three seconds.

Today, the company is announcing that it’s shaved even more time off, and that Square contactless and chip Readers and Registers can now process chip cards in two seconds. To achieve this, it says it’s worked closely with payment partners — and it’s also streamlined the process so that you can remove your card as soon as it’s read, without waiting for the response from the card issuer.

In contrast, when the Wall Street Journal timed chip cards in over 50 transactions a couple years ago, it found that the average processing time was 13 seconds. Those extra seconds might not sound like much in theory, but again, if you’re in a hurry or you’ve got a line of people behind you, the wait can be painful.

Plus, it sounds like this can make a real difference for businesses. In the announcement, Regan Long, co-founder and brewmaster at Local Brewing Co., said that with his brewery’s location near the Giants’ AT&T Park in San Francisco, there’s usually “a rush of customers all ready to close out their open beer tabs at the same time.”

“With Square’s chip card reader update, we’ve cut processing time in half — helping us keep customers happy and on their way to catch the first pitch,” he added.

In addition to faster chip card processing, Square is making another speed-related announcement: With the latest update, Square’s free point-of-sale app will allow sellers to skip collecting signatures if they choose.

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Snapchat will shut down Snapcash, forfeiting to Venmo

Posted by | Apps, eCommerce, Mobile, payments, snap inc, Snapchat, Social, Square, TC | No Comments

Snapcash ended up as a way to pay adult performers for private content over Snapchat, not just a way to split bills with friends. But Snapchat will abandon the peer-to-peer payment space on August 30th. Code buried in Snapchat’s Android app includes a “Snapcash deprecation message” that displays “Snapcash will no longer be available after %s [date]”. Shutting down the feature will bring an end to Snapchat’s four-year partnership with Square to power the feature for sending people money.

Snapcash may have become more of a liability than a utility. With apps like Venmo, PayPal, Zelle, and Square Cash itself, there were plenty of other ways to pay back friends for drinks or Ubers, so Snapcash may have seen low legitimate usage. Meanwhile, a quick Twitter search for “Snapcash” surfaced plenty of offers of erotic content in exchange for payments through the feature. It may have been safer for Snapchat to ditch Snapcash than risk PR problems over its misuse.

TechCrunch tipster Ishan Agarwal provided the below screenshot of Snapchat’s code to TechCrunch. When presented with the code and asked if Snapcash would shut down, a Snapchat spokesperson confirmed to TechCrunch that it would, explaining: “Yes, we’re discontinuing the Snapcash feature as of August 30, 2018. Snapcash was our first product created in partnership with another company – Square. We’re thankful for all the Snapchatters who used Snapcash for the last four years and for Square’s partnership!” The spokesperson noted that users would be notified in-app and through the support site soon.

Snapcash gave Snapchat a way to get users to connect payment methods to the app. That’s increasingly important as the company aims to become a commerce platforms where you can shop without leaving the app. Having payment info on file is what makes buying things through Snapchat easier than the web and draws brands to use Snapchat storefronts.

We’ll see how Snapchat plans evolve its commerce strategy without this driver. Earlier this month, TechCrunch revealed that Snapchat’s code contained mentions of a project codenamed “eagle” that’s a camera search feature. It was designed to allow users to scan an object or barcode with their Snapchat camera and see product results in Amazon. But since our report, mentions of Amazon have disappeared from the code. It’s unclear what will happen in the future, but camera search could give Snapchat new utility and monetization options.

Snapcash won’t be a part of that future, though. Given Snapchat’s cost-cutting efforts including layoffs, its desperate need to attract and retain advertisers to hit revenue estimates its missed, and its persistent bad rap as a sexting app, it couldn’t afford to support unnecessary features or another scandal.

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Square’s bets beyond a register brought in $253M last year as it posts a largely positive fourth quarter

Posted by | Apps, Earnings, Enterprise, Finance, jack dorsey, Mobile, Square, TC | No Comments

 Square posted a largely successful fourth quarter that showed continuing growth with its Cash App — with users spending around $90 million on its Cash card in December, putting it on a potentially $1 billion run rate. That would offer another significant avenue for Square to snap up additional customers as it looks to chip away at the alternatives available for directly sending cash… Read More

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Pinterest hires former Square and Google exec Francoise Brougher as its first COO

Posted by | Francoise Brougher, Google, Mobile, Pinterest, Square, Startups, TC | No Comments

 Pinterest today is adding another executive to its upper c-suite with the hire of Francoise Brougher, who was most recently business lead at Square and prior to that VP of SMB global sales and operations at Google, as its first chief operating officer. Both of those previous positions are probably going to be of particular interest to Pinterest, as someone with Brougher’s experience… Read More

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Square’s dominant year hits a snag

Posted by | Apps, Earnings, Finance, Mobile, Square, TC | No Comments

 Square is continuing to make its bid to capture the payments of small businesses around the world, as well as tap into the momentum of peer-to-peer payments products with Square Cash, as its payments volume continues a steady and methodical rise — though, Wall Street still seems a little skeptical today as the stock is down slightly. Read More

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Square announces the Register, a $999 point-of-sale device for larger businesses

Posted by | Gadgets, jack dorsey, point-of-sale, Square, TC | No Comments

Square Register Square is expanding its hardware lineup with a new point-of-sale device called the Square Register. Square’s Head of Hardware Jesse Dorogusker explained that while the company’s existing products incorporate existing hardware (the Square Stand, for example, turns an iPad into a POS stand), the Square Register is “totally integrated — our hardware, our software, all in… Read More

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Yik Yak shuts down after Square paid $1 million for its engineers

Posted by | acquihire, Apps, chat apps, DEADPOOL, FAIL, Mobile, mobile apps, Square, Startups, TC, Venture Capital, venture funding, Yik Yak | No Comments

 Yik Yak co-founders Tyler Droll and Brooks Buffington published a farewell note to users on Friday, announcing they would shut down their once-popular anonymous social network this week. The app allowed people to connect with other users within a certain radius, and was widely marketed in and used on college campuses. Read More

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