Personalized Yelp; Opendoor Goes For Mortgages; Apple Letting Indies Fix iPhones; Better Battery Tech Coming

Yelp announced that it will start allowing users to tailor their search results and homepage based on their personal preferences. According to techcrunch.com, that means if you’re vegetarian, or if you’re parent who’s usually looking for kid-friendly restaurants, you won’t have to reenter that information every time you do a search. Instead, you can enter it once and Yelp will prioritize those results moving forward. Just select the “Personalize your experience” option, then choose options around dietary restrictions, lifestyle, accessibility needs, the types of food they prefer and other interests. Once you’ve made your selections, those preferences will start affecting the search results you see in your browser.

Opendoor, the well-funded San Francisco online real estate marketplace that buys and sells homes, is getting into mortgages, intensifying competition with Seattle rivals Zillow and Redfin. Geekwire.com reports the company is starting with six markets: Dallas-Fort Worth, Austin, Houston, San Antonio, Phoenix and Tucson. One of Opendoor’s major selling points is that it will cut the time to secure financing in half. If Opendoor fails to close a loan by the scheduled date, it will credit $100 back to the buyer for every day of delay. Opendoor is now buying and selling more than 3,500 homes per month in 20 markets across the U.S. The company aims to get to 50 markets by the end of 2020.

Apple is launching a new independent repair provider program that will provide independent repair businesses with the same Apple genuine parts, tools, training, repair manuals, and diagnostics as Apple Authorized Service Providers, starting in the United States. Reuters says the program will only allow independent repair shops to offer out-of-warranty repair service for iPhones, with no mention of in-warranty repairs or other devices at this time. Apple has set up a new page on its website with more details. To qualify, repair shops must be an established business with verification documents available for review by Apple, must be in a commercially zoned area, and must have an Apple-certified technician on staff to perform the out-of-warranty iPhone repairs when using genuine parts. There is no cost to join the program. 

For a couple of years now, scientists have touted lithium metal batteries as the next major breakthrough in battery technology. Engadget.com says they can store at least 33 percent more power per pound, and they’re significantly lighter. The problem with lithium metal batteries is that they frequently develop small, tendril-like protrusions called dendrites. Over time, they can puncture the protective film that separates the positive and negative ends of the battery, leading to fires. A team of researchers at Stanford thinks they’ve solved that problem.  This battery tech would be a game-changer for electric vehicles (EVs). EVs spend about a quarter of their battery capacity carrying around their power source. The range of EVs would increase significantly with these batteries.

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