Stories by Blair Hanley Frank

Slack apps can now use drop-down menus

Apps that integrate with Slack can now include drop-down menus in the messages that they post to the service, as part of a push to improve the interactivity of third-party integrations.

Microsoft acquires Deis to boost its Kubernetes chops

Microsoft is acquiring Deis, a company that makes tools to work with the Kubernetes open-source container orchestration system. The deal, announced Monday, marks Microsoft’s continued interest in container orchestration.

Facebook's M assistant launches in US, will offer chat suggestions

More than a year after introducing a virtual assistant in its Messenger app, Facebook is launching M to the masses. While it was originally conceived as a bot that users would chat with, M now only offers a set of suggestions that are supposed to help with the conversation being carried out.

Google is helping to build another Asia-Pacific submarine cable

Google is investing in another massive undersea fiber-optic cable as a part of its plans to build out network connectivity around the world. The company announced Wednesday that it is helping to fund a project called Indigo, which will connect Jakarta, Singapore, Perth and Sydney to one another.

Google's Espresso networking tech takes SD-WAN to internet scale

Google is working to accelerate the performance of its applications over the internet by building out a software-defined network at broad scale. On Tuesday, the company announced Espresso, a system that provides increased network performance to users of the company’s applications.

HelloSign branches out to fix frustrating forms

Getting set up at a new job can be a frustrating maze of forms that require overlapping information to be entered perfectly. That’s the idea behind HelloWorks, a new service from HelloSign designed to simplify the process of filling out forms.

Here's how Microsoft is helping companies build IoT hardware

One of the biggest challenges with building connected hardware is getting from proof-of-concept (PoC) prototypes to a devices that are ready for a large-scale production rollout. Microsoft is aiming to help with that issue through a trio of lab spaces that allow companies to come in and work with experts on building internet-connected hardware.

This company is turning FAQs into Alexa skills

People looking for an easier path to integrating with Amazon’s Alexa virtual assistant have good news on the horizon. NoHold, a company that builds services for making bots, unveiled a project it’s working on that can turn a document into an Alexa skill.