Starbucks has rolled out a voice-supported assistant for users to place orders via voice or messaging. The feature Starbucks Barista, has been integrated into the mobile app itself and will enable customers to order and pay for food and beverages at a Starbucks outlet just by speaking. The company also has a collaboration with Amazon’s voice assistant Alexa, named ‘Starbucks Re-order skill’.

Customers will be able to place their order via an Alexa supported device or Amazon’s very own Echo, thereby widening the scope of it’s voice assistant capabilities. This would also give Starbucks another stream to offer its services through.

Users can also type in their order to a chatbot, similar to the ones on Facebook, after which they’ll be asked to specify location and payment options. The feature is currently in beta and is available to a limited 1,000 iOS users only. An all device roll-out is expected to materialize in the next few months, whereas Android users will get a taste of the new voice service by the end of 2017.

Jobs for Refugees

Retaliating against US President Donald Trump’s controversial executive order to temporarily ban refugees from a number of middle-eastern countries including Syria, Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz has pledged to hire nearly 10,00 refugees in Starbucks outlets across the world, over the course of the next five years.

In an open letter, representatives of the company said they would do everything possible and adopt a legal course of action to support affected employees. Moreover, in what may sound as another slight to the plans of the newly formed Trump cabinet, Starbucks has plans to continue trade with Mexico in a committed manner. Starbucks has a significant presence in the neighboring country with more than 60 stores and 7000 employees.

He added that the move was to make clear that the company,

Will neither stand by, nor stand silent, as the uncertainty around the new administration’s actions grows with each passing day.

Schultz has been opposing Trump’s rise in political circles since last year, and had even compared America’s political environment to a circus.

Initially, the global coffee chain will focus on US refugees, especially those who have lent a hand to the US military for purposes like interpretation, etc. The CEO also said that Starbucks is reimbursing employees who are part of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program (also known as the “Dreamers” program) for the fee they have to pay every other year to be part of it. He emphasized that should Trump repeal Obamacare, workers could opt for Starbucks health insurance.

Trump’s executive order, issued on Friday and later blocked in part by federal judges, prohibits citizens from Muslim-majority Iran, Iraq, Yemen, Sudan, Somalia and Libya from entering the United States for at least 90 days. The order bans refugees from Syria indefinitely.

Trump denies it as an ‘anti-Muslim’ ban. As of now, it has been opposed by law makers and notable personalities all across the globe, including Silicon Valley tech majors including Microsoft, Google, Facebook and Uber.

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