Walmart signs partnership with Microsoft to boost digital innovation in retail
US retailer, Walmart, has signed a five-year agreement with Microsoft Corp. to help accelerate its digital transformation in retail.
Under the deal, Walmart has chosen Microsoft Corp. as its strategic cloud provider, pledging to leverage a full range of Microsoft’s cloud solutions, including Microsoft Azure and Microsoft 365, as part of a “broad set of cloud innovation projects.”
In doing so, the retailer hopes to double down on its e-commerce presence to better compete with Amazon whilst also making shopping faster and easier for customers.
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The retailer said it also plans to overhaul existing Walmart applications and “drive a more cloud-native environment.”
“Walmart’s commitment to technology is centred around creating incredibly convenient ways for customers to shop and empowering associates to do their best work," said Doug McMillon, Walmart CEO.
“Walmart is a people led, tech-empowered company, and we’re excited about what this technology partnership will bring for our customers and associates,” he adds.
“Whether it’s combined with our agile cloud platform or leveraging machine learning and artificial intelligence to work smarter, we believe Microsoft will be a strong partner in driving our ability to innovate even further and faster."
Walmart said that it will now embark on a range of cloud innovation projects that leverage machine learning, artificial intelligence, and data platform solutions for a range of external customer-facing services and internal business applications.
"Walmart is a pioneering retailer, committed to empowering its employees and delivering the best experience for its customers wherever they are," said Satya Nadella, CEO of Microsoft. “The world’s leading companies run on our cloud, and I’m thrilled to partner with Walmart to accelerate their digital transformation with Microsoft Azure and Microsoft 365."
Brave's new privacy-focused search engine is now in beta
Brave, the creator of a popular ad-blocking browser, has opened a public beta of its privacy-focused search engine, Brave Search.
The search engine was previously announced in March when Brave acquired Tailcat, and since then there have been over 100,000 users who signed up for preview access and testing. Brave recently passed 32 million monthly active users (up from 25 million last March), and Brave Search is the latest product offered by the company in its suite of privacy-preserving tools. Brave already offers privacy-preserving Brave Ads, Brave News, and a Firewall+VPN service.
Brave Search is available in beta release globally on all Brave browsers (desktop, Android, and iOS) as one of the search options alongside other search engines, and will become the default search in the Brave browser later this year. It is also available from any other browser at search.brave.com.
"Brave Search is the industry’s most private search engine, as well as the only independent search engine, giving users the control and confidence they seek in alternatives to big tech,” said Brendan Eich, CEO and co-founder of Brave.
“Unlike older search engines that track and profile users, and newer search engines that are mostly a skin on older engines and don’t have their own indexes, Brave Search offers a new way to get relevant results with a community-powered index, while guaranteeing privacy. Brave Search fills a clear void in the market today as millions of people have lost trust in the surveillance economy and actively seek solutions to be in control of their data,” added Eich.
How does Brave Search work?
Brave Search uses its own index and ensures ‘a fully anonymous search’. It is transparent in how search results are ranked and integrates with a privacy-preserving browser on desktop and mobile.
In order to present an alternative to big tech, Brave decided to build its own index rather than rent it from Google or Microsoft, as other smaller search engines are currently doing. Brave Search includes anonymised contributions from the community to improve and refine results. However, there are types of queries and certain areas such as image search, for which their results are not relevant enough yet, and in those cases, they are using APIs until they can expand their index.
Brave Search is not displaying ads during this early part of the beta phase, but will offer options for both ad-free paid search and ad-supported free search later.