Today's top tech news: Huawei roars as Flipkart and Amazon wait on scores

Huawei CEO and founder Ren Zhengfei walks inside Huawei's headquarters in the southern Chinese city of Shenzhen, Guangdong provinceReuters

This Tech Insider’s daily dose of tech news. This is everything that’s happening in tech that you need to know about today:

1. Huawei’s next phone won’t have YouTube, Gmail or Google Maps
Google just ‘suspended’ its business activities with the Chinese smartphone maker, Huawei. This means that Huawei won’t have any access to Android Q until its released to the public and its future phones won’t be able to install the Google Play Store.

Why you should care:
Without the Google Play Store on Huawei phones, you won’t be able to download YouTube, Gmail and Google Maps — a map you probably use on a daily basis to get you home. Apparently, the Chinese company saw this coming and has been working on its own software. But, as of now, its only available on a few products in China.

2. Global tech giants are holding their breath to see who forms the next Indian government
Companies like Facebook, Amazon and TikTok are scheduled to meet with government officials after the final results of the Lok Sabha election come out on May 23. They’re coming (hoping) that the new government will be able to clear the doubts surrounding new data localisation and e-commerce regulations.

Why you should care:
E-commerce companies like Amazon and Flipkart are hoping to bring deep-discounting back. With a new government, they expect less lobbying and pressure from the offline bodies that form a massive vote bank.

And, WhatsApp Pay might finally be able to go beyond its ‘beta’ release once it receives some clarification around the new data regulation policies imposed by the country's central bank.

3. Flipkart’s ‘House of Flagships’ is its latest bid to get the ‘edge’ over Amazon in India
Flipkart is looking to gain the ‘edge’ over Amazon with its new portal the ‘House of Flagships’. There’s also Flipkart Edge membership for users that gets them access to exclusive features on the app.

Why you should care:
If you’re a Google, Samsung, Lenovo or ASUS fan — House of Flagships is where their flagship devices will be on sale. Membership to the Flipkart Edge club might not be on the agenda depending on how often you buy a new smartphone.

4. Amazon quietly removes items from store
Amazon was recently under the gun for having toilet mats with faces of Hindu Gods for sale on their US portal. The company issued a statement saying that it is asking the vendors to take down the products. Over the weekend, 33 products silently disappeared from the e-commerce site.

Why you should care:
Amazon may not have directly put the items on sale — pushing the responsibility onto third party vendors. But, this isn’t the first time that such an incident has occurred on the e-commerce platform. So, it calls into question the guidelines and regulations that Amazon has in place to counter such behaviour.

5. Political ad spend on Facebook, Google tops ₹530 million
Between the months of February to May, political ad spend across Google and Facebook ballooned to ₹530 million in campaigning for the Lok Sabha election 2019 — most of which was dominated by the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP).

Why you should care:
It shows how the political environment in India is getting more competitive and more radicalised. It also exhibits how the paradigm is shifting towards online campaigns being just as important as the offline ones — making the filtration of fake and misinformation all the more important.


6. TikTok isn't just ruling on Google, but in Apple's App Store as well
Tiktok recently overtook Facebook to become the most downloaded app of the first quarter of 2019. It has also retained its position in the Apple App Store as the most downloaded app with 33 million downloads — beating out the likes of WhatsApp and YouTube.

Why you should care:
The pivot from WhatsApp and Facebook to TikTok shows a shift in the way that people are communicating. Just as Hi5 was overhauled by Orkut and MySpace by Facebook, TikTok — or short video format apps like it — might be the next generation of social networking.

7. Firm suspected to be behind the WhatsApp spyware attack is facing charges
The Israeli firm, Pagesus, suspected to behind the spyware attacked WhatsApp is now facing a lawsuit by Amnesty International Israel.

Why you should care:
The spyware attack of WhatsApp was as simple as receiving a phone call on your smartphone. And, till now, it is unknown how many people were affected even though WhatsApp claims that it was a “relatively small amount of devices.” The Facebook-owned messaging app is recommending that all users should update their apps immediately as a precaution.

8. Now you can book your flight tickets on Amazon
The e-commerce giant, Amazon, is now selling flight tickets in India. The company has partnered with Cleartrip to bring one more service under its umbrella that already includes online payments, bill payments, shopping among others.

Why you should care:
If you’re a frequent Amazon user, this makes for one less app that you’ll have to download. It’s also offering zero cancellation charges on Amazon’s end, but you’ll have to pay the airlines as per their cancellation policy.

9. Facebook wants to test its crypto currency in India but is building it in Switzerland
Facebook’s cryptocurrency, only heard about in whispers and rumours, seems to finally have appeared on paper. The tech giant reportedly set up a company called Libra Networks in Switzerland that is working on Facebook’s blockchain technology.

Why you should care:
Facebook is looking to beta test its cryptocurrency in India. According to the company, the new coin is supposed to be stable since it will be pegged against the US dollar or a basket of currencies.

Tech Insider India curates the top tech news for the day from all its global editions and partner publications.
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