Live-streaming has become a big focus in 2017. From a controversial standpoint, features such as Facebook (FB) Live have drawn headlines for some disturbing incidences. But when used correctly, Facebook Live, Twitter's (TWTR) Periscope and other platforms have a lot of entertaining potential.
That's why the world's top video site, Alphabet's (GOOGL) YouTube, being involved makes a ton of sense. In fact, ranked right behind Google as the world's top website is YouTube at No. 2.
In any regard, YouTube has added a live-streaming option to its mobile app, which has helped push it to the top of Apple's (AAPL) App Store. It's the first time that YouTube has held the App Store's No. 1 position since December 2015.
Live streaming is growing in popularity. However, YouTube only allowed users with more than 10,000 subscribers to participate. As part of making it available on the app, YouTube has toned down those restrictions, allowing anyone with more than 1,000 followers to live stream.
Users can now stream directly from their smartphone, rather than having to do so on a desktop. The use of an app is meaningful, as users can stream not just on the go, but can broadcast more interesting content to its followers.
It can also be visualized where users live-stream breaking news or events right from their smartphone onto the YouTube platform.
Shares of Facebook closed $143.80 Thursday, up 1.1%.
How does Google make its billions? Among other ventures, it mostly comes down to its ad business. More specifically, Google operates the most popular website and search engine in the world. From there, it generates advertisement revenues from companies looking to get more exposure. So news of it creating an ad blocker on its own Google Chrome web browser seems ironic, right?
It might not be as crazy as it sounds, though. This won't be a case of Google shooting itself in the foot either. In fact, it will actually be shooting others in the foot.
According to reports, the company is considering creating a pop-up blocker for both its mobile and desktop Chrome versions. For those who aren't sure where Chrome stacks up against Safari and others, it reportedly has more than 1 billion mobile users. Some also suggest Chrome makes up more than 50% of the web browsing market.
Obviously, Google isn't targeting all ads broadly. It's only looking to eliminate the ones that users have deemed bothersome. You know, the ones where audio starts playing immediately opening a new page, pre-loaded landing pages and frustrating pop-ups.
So users get a cleaner experience and investors don't have to worry about ad sales. However, one might wonder with the ads that are being cancelled out on Chrome, will advertisers look to go the more traditional route with advertising on Google? That much remains unclear.
Shares of Alphabet closed $860.08 Thursday, up 0.4%.
When Walmart (WMT) acquired Jet.com for $3.3 billion, it made waves. Sure, the price tag is large, although we've seen much bigger on Wall Street. But it was more because it was the largest e-commerce acquisition ever at the time and it pitted Walmart more squarely against Amazon (AMZN) .
It's easy to argue that Amazon will steamroll Walmart over the next dozen years or so. But with Walmart's acquisition, its hoping that between its Jet.com property and enormous warehouse and logistics infrastructure, it can enter the new commerce battle and stand a serious chance.
While that's playing out, we've quietly seen the new likely-to-be largest deal in e-commerce, with PetSmart agreeing to buy Chewy.com for $3.35 billion.
It's hard to say, because we're dealing with private companies here. But according to reports, Chewy.com, which was founded in 2011, has already generated $1 billion in sales. Assuming PetSmart finalizes the move, it's a great piece to the puzzle for them. The company says acquiring Chewy "accelerates" their strategy and called it a "best-in-class pet retailer."
Having personally used Chewy.com for the past several years, I can attest to that statement. Its fast delivery and excellent customer relations is a leader in the online world. Again, at least in my experience. It also seemed to hold its ground fairly well against Amazon, which if so, makes it another attractive target for someone like PetSmart.
Shares of Amazon closed at $902.06 Thursday, up 0.3%.