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Friday Five: 8/15 – 8/19

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As you get hyped for the weekend, get hyped about the week’s latest tech trends:

How autonomous taxis will create an urban infrastructure that adapts to people’s needs – Fast Company

Just when we thought Uber was the height of technological convenience, taxibots came into play. Some urban areas are looking into city-run autonomous taxis that rove around the city based on predetermined routes. The taxis would have access to real-time city traffic data and would reroute based on patterns to eliminate congestion. Commuters will be able to set up machine learning-enabled automatic pick-ups from their homes, workplaces or other frequent destinations. Developers predict that taxibots will become so inexpensive that they may replace buses entirely.

Rakuten buys struggling bitcoin startup Bitnet to create a ‘blockchain research lab’ - TechCrunch

Online transactions may never be the same. Tokyo-based e-commerce giant Rakuten recently acquired the assets of Bitnet, a bitcoin wallet startup, to create a “bitcoin lab.” The new lab in Belfast will explore blockchain technology’s potential through research and development. This could have a huge impact on the fintech sector, and may finally provide some answers on how e-commerce leaders can best-utilize blockchain.

The stakes for iPhone 7 have never been higher – Business Insider

Apple plans to announce details about the iPhone 7 on September 7 – but are users feeling the hype? With iPhone sales fluctuating dramatically in recent years, the pressure is on for the tech giant to deliver. Experts say that it’s questionable whether the iPhone 7’s launch will generate the same amount of excitement and revenue as past versions like the iPhone 6s. Many fans are overlooking this version and waiting for the iPhone 8, which is expected to bring a radical design overhaul in 2017.

Eddie Bauer is latest retailer infected with data breach malware – Fortune

If you purchased an outdoorsy vest or some earthy hiking boots from Eddie Bauer recently, your credit card info may be in trouble. The outdoor clothing retailer is the latest in a string of point-of-sale malware attacks and recently announced that its customers’ card details may have been stolen.  Eddie Bauer estimates that about 350 of its stores in the U.S. and Canada were affected by the breach. This comes as part of a broader, sophisticated malware attack directed at many retailers, restaurants and hotels.

Google just made it even easier for you to vote this November – The Huffington Post

After simplifying nearly every aspect of our lives, Google has taken yet another step to assist its users. On Tuesday, the search engine giant unveiled its “how to vote” search guide in an effort to assist voters for the upcoming presidential election. When users search “how to vote” or a similar query, Google will provide a straightforward info box that’s personalized to users’ locations. The box will provide “how-to,” “requirements,” and “when to vote” tabs in order to streamline the process and encourage more people to engage in political participation.

What tech news did you come across this week? Share it with us on Twitter @WalkerSands!