Former Google Designer Blasts Google+, Says The Initiative Was A Mess From The Start

Former Google designer blasts Google+, says the initiative was a mess from the startYoni Heisler / BGR - 6 hours ago
  • When Google last week announced that it was axing Google+ for consumers, my first reaction was utter shock and disbelief — mostly because I had completely forgotten that Google’s ill-fated attempt at a Facebook clone was even still around.
  • Despite Google’s vast amount of resources and engineering talent, Google+ was something of a joke right from the start.
  • Knutson’s lengthy thread was first published on Twitter and was compiled into a single entry on Threader.
  • Interestingly, Knutson details how Google+ was given exceptionally favorable treatement because it was under purview of Vic Gundotra, a former Google executive with quite a bit of power and influence.

Spotify Ad Banned For Causing ‘distress’ To Children

Spotify ad banned for causing ‘distress’ to childrenBBC Technology / BBC - 7 hours ago
  • A Spotify ad has been banned for "unjustifiably" distressing children.The advert mimicked a horror film and showed young people being menaced by a scary doll when they played a particular song.In its ruling, the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) said the setting and events were "particularly likely" to scare younger viewers.Spotify has been told to make sure its future adverts are fit for children to watch and are targeted appropriately.In a statement, Spotify said: "We acknowledge the ruling from the ASA and regret any distress the ad may have caused the complainant."
  • And the ASA upheld both of these complaints "in part".The implied violence in the clip, its music, the reactions of the characters and the abrupt ways the doll appeared all served to make it likely to scare children, said the ASA."The fact that the ad was set inside a home, including a bedtime setting, and featured a doll, meant it was particularly likely to cause distress to children who saw it," it said in its ruling.
  • Spotify has been told to target ads appropriately in the future
  • Not enough had been done to make it clear that the advert was not a trailer for a horror movie, it said.The ASA said that the advert had been scheduled to run before content connected with a video game suitable for players aged 10 or above.

Facebook’s Latest Fake News ‘Purge’ Terminates Several Accounts Known For Their Criticism Of Law Enforcement

Tim Cushing / Techdirt - 8 hours ago
  • Mike Masnick's long, thoughtful post -- springing from multiple platforms' booting of Alex Jones -- pointed out two things that seem to get forgotten when discussing social media moderation:
  • This is raising its head again because Facebook's efforts to eradicate fake news and untrustworthy news sources has removed several pages belonging to controversial news sources.
  • As part of its purge, Facebook has removed the pages of several police accountability/watchdog/critic groups, including Cop Block, the Free Thought Project, and Police the Police.

Uber And Lyft Inch Closer To Early 2019 Initial Public Offerings

Uber and Lyft inch closer to early 2019 initial public offeringsDuncan Riley / SiliconANGLE - 9 hours ago
  • Leading the news, Uber is reported to have received proposals from Wall Street banks that value the company at as much as $120 billion in an IPO, according to The Wall Street Journal.
  • At that price, Uber would be valued at a $48 billion premium compared to its valuation of $72 million as of its last round – $500 million from Toyota Motor Corp.
  • The same report claims that the IPO could take place early next year, which is in line previous statements from the company. Chief Executive Dara Khosrowshahi said in May that Uber was on track for a public offering next year and the company hired Wall Street veteran Nelson Chai as chief financial officer in August to assist with the float.
  • Lyft, Uber’s smaller but quicker growing rival, is reported to have selected JPMorgan Chase to lead its offering along with Credit Suisse Group and Jeffries Group.

Huawei’s New 7.2-inch Gaming Phone Is Bigger And More Poweful Than Many Tablet

Huawei’s new 7.2-inch gaming phone is bigger and more poweful than many tabletChris Smith / BGR - 10 hours ago
  • Huawei on Tuesday unveiled not two, not three, but four new Mate phones, including the Mate 20 and Mate 20 Pro, the Porsche Design-branded Mate 20 RS, and the Mate 20 X.
  • The Mate 20 X is basically an even more powerful version of the Mate 20 Pro.
  • The Mate 20 X’s main features include a huge 7.2-inch OLED display that’s actually bigger than old 7-inch tablets, a 5,000 mAh battery (that’s supposed to deliver double the battery life of other devices, including the Nintendo Switch and iPhone XS Max), and a cooling system that uses graphene to dissipate heat.
  • Huawei insisted during the event on the improved cooling capabilities of the phone after prolonged use, saying that the Mate 20 X will stay cooler than its main rivals, including the Galaxy Note 9 and the iPhone XS, thanks to the Vapor Chamber and the Graphene Film layers.

Google’s Chinese Search Engine Now Seems To Be A Certainty

Google’s Chinese search engine now seems to be a certaintyJames Farrell / SiliconANGLE - 11 hours ago
  • The controversial search engine that Google LLC has been developing in China might soon become a reality, despite objections from inside the company and from some critics.
  • Speaking on Monday at the WIRED 25 Summit, Google Chief Executive Sundar Pichai (pictured) seemed unfazed regarding criticism the company has faced for once pulling out of China amid concerns over censorship and then taking a volte-face and developing a censored search engine known as Project Dragonfly.
  • “It turns out we’ll be able to serve well over 99 percent of the queries,” said Pichai, adding that the search engine would access much more information than was currently available.
  • Still, this hasn’t sat easy with a number of Google employees who have said that they are uncomfortable with “large companies and governments collaborating in the oppression of their people.” In a letter signed by 1,400 Google employees, they said they were frustrated with the lack of transparency about the search engine.

Google’s YouTube Outage Affected Users In US, Australia, Asia, Europe

Google’s YouTube outage affected users in US, Australia, Asia, Europe CNBC - 12 hours ago

Netflix Posts Impressive Earnings As Subscriber Base Jumps By 7 Million

Netflix posts impressive earnings as subscriber base jumps by 7 millionYoni Heisler / BGR - 14 hours ago
  • Following the close of trading today, Netflix posted its earnings report for the September quarter and easily bested analyst expectations.
  • Financial metrics aside, the streaming giant did a pretty solid job of adding new subscribers for the quarter.
  • Looking ahead, Netflix anticipates that it will add 9.4 million new subscribers during the 2018 holiday quarter, a figure which eclipses the 8.3 million new subscribers the company added during last year’s holiday quarter.
  • Taking a look at Netflix’s letter to shareholders, the streaming giant took some time to talk about its in-house film and TV studio:

Paperspace Raises $13M For Its AI Cloud Computing Platform

Paperspace raises $13M for its AI cloud computing platformDuncan Riley / SiliconANGLE - 15 hours ago
  • Cloud computing startup Paperspace Inc. today said it has raised $13 million in new funding to advance its artificial intelligence cloud computing and development solutions.
  • The Series A funding, its first since October 2016, came from Battery Ventures, SineWave Ventures, Intel Capital, Sorenson Ventures and Initialized Capital. Founded in 2014, Paperspace aims to disrupt the virtual desktop market with Gradient, a cloud-based development platform designed for building, training and deploying machine learning models.
  • Gradient is a data-as-a-service DaaS/virtual desktop infrastructure platform, accelerated by graphics processing unit chips.
  • “Gradient makes high-performance cloud computing less expensive, more powerful and easier to use than competitors by making it readily available on the cloud, and for everyday users,” Daniel Kobran, co-founder of Paperspace, said in an interview with SiliconANGLE in March.

Memory Raises $5M To Bring AI To Time Tracking

Memory raises $5M to bring AI to time trackingSteve O'Hear / TechCrunch - 16 hours ago
  • Memory, a startup out of Norway and maker of time tracking app Timely, has raised $5 million in further funding.
  • Founded by Mathias Mikkelsen, a designer by background and who I understand turned down a job offer at Facebook to try his hand at startup life, Memory is applying what it describes as AI and digital technology to create various tools to help solve “the abuses of time” that workers typically face in the modern workplace.
  • “The problem we’re trying to solve is with time tracking, the most common currency of work that exists,” Mikkelsen tells me.
  • The resulting product, dubbed Timely, is billed as a fully automatic time tracking tool.

India’s Biggest Internet Association Forms Committee To Build A ‘blockchain Ecosystem’

India’s biggest internet association forms committee to build a ‘blockchain ecosystem’ Matthew Beedham / The Next Web - 17 hours ago
  • Despite the Reserve Bank of India’s directive that prevents Indian banks from working with cryptocurrency businesses, the country is still forging ahead to explore blockchain technology.
  • In a tweet yesterday, the Internet and Mobile Association of India announced the forming of a blockchain committee.

Univ. Of Washington Launches Fintech Incubator With BECU In Seattle, Unveils Initial Startups

Univ. of Washington launches fintech incubator with BECU in Seattle, unveils initial startupsTaylor Soper / GeekWire - 18 hours ago
  • The University of Washington’s innovation arm is partnering with the state’s largest non-profit credit union to launch a new fintech incubator.
  • BECU and CoMotion this week will open the BECU Fintech Incubator, a new group housed inside Startup Hall near the UW campus in Seattle.
  • Participating companies will get support from BECU leadership and its financial services expertise, which includes anonymized data and connections to the credit union network nationally.
  • The first two startups joining the incubator include Noonum, a Seattle startup that helps financial advisors better understand potential investments by using machine learning and natural language processing.

Apple Apologizes For Account Hacks In China

Apple apologizes for account hacks in ChinaDuncan Riley / SiliconANGLE - 19 hours ago
  • Tencent Holdings Ltd., the second-largest mobile payments provider in China, also confirmed that its customers also had funds stolen by hackers utilizing Apple IDs.
  • It’s unusual for large tech companies — Ant Financial is an affiliate company of Alibaba Group Holdings Ltd., the company with the seventh-largest market capitalization worldwide and China’s most valuable — to call out Apple, itself the world’s most valuable company. The hack is said to have received wide media coverage in China including a detailed report from Chinese state broadcaster CCTV.
  • “We are deeply apologetic about the inconvenience caused to our customers by these phishing scams,” Apple said in a statement reported today by The Wall Street Journal, adding that it believed that the issue as limited to “a small number of our users’ accounts.”

Scribd Partners With The New York Times For A Cheaper Joint Subscription

Scribd partners with The New York Times for a cheaper joint subscriptionStefan Etienne / The Verge - 20 hours ago
  • If you already have or are looking into a subscription for The New York Times, then Scribd has a bundle for you that’s a great deal: for $12.99 a month, you can subscribe to both NYT and Scribd.
  • Scribd is an unlimited reading subscription service that enables you to read books, newspapers, and magazines, as well as listen to audiobooks.
  • It’s not the first time Scribd and NYT have partnered up: in 2017 they released an “Essential Student Bundle,” offering students access to both services.
  • The NYT partnering with a service to offer full reading access isn’t a first: the paper has also partnered with Spotify, offering full Premium service alongside full access, as part of their All Access subscription.

Tesla Buys New Plot For Its First China Factory

Tesla buys new plot for its first China factory CNBC - 21 hours ago
  • Shanghai Mayor Ying Yong and Tesla Chairman and CEO Elon Musk pose in from of a plaque for the Tesla (Shanghai) Ltd.
  • Tesla successfully acquired an 864,885-square meter plot in Shanghai's Lingang area for the electric car maker's new factory, according to an announcement from Lingang Wednesday afternoon.
  • Tesla expects the factory to produce its first cars in three years, according to an earnings release in August.
  • Funding will mostly come from local debt, and Tesla's own investment "will not start in any significant way until 2019," the company said in the August release.

Samsung Acquires Network Analytics Startup Zhilabs To Help Its Transition To 5G

Samsung acquires network analytics startup Zhilabs to help its transition to 5GCatherine Shu / TechCrunch - 22 hours ago
  • Samsung Electronics is betting that acquiring Zhilabs, a real-time networks analytics startup based in Barcelona, will ease its transition from 4G to 5G technologies.
  • The acquisition of Zhilabs is part of Samsung’s initiative, announced in August, to invest 25 trillion won (about $22 billion) in businesses working on AI, 5G, components for self-driving vehicles, and biopharmaceutical technologies.
  • In a statement, Youngky Kim, Samsung Electronic’s president and head of networks business, said “5G will enable unprecedented services attributed to the generation of exponential data traffic, for which automated and intelligent network analytics tools are vital.
  • Founded in 2008, Zhilabs’ products are used by customers including Hewlett Packard Enterprise, Vodafone, and Telefonica to analyze and test network performance in real-time.

Unifonic, Dubbed The Twilio Of Emerging Markets, Closes $21M Series A Round

Mike Butcher / TechCrunch - 22 hours ago
  • Those of you familiar with the incredible rise of Twilio, which came along to utterly disrupt the communications world, will be interested to hear that another player plans to do the same, but this time in the staid and tricky area of emerging markets.
  • Unifonic, which has been dubbed “the Twilio of emerging markets” has today closed a $21M Series A funding round led by Saudi Technology Ventures (STV), and the emerging market specialist fund Endeavor Catalyst, which is backed by LinkedIn co-founder Reid Hoffman, among others.
  • At $500M, STV is the largest VC fund in the region, and anchored by the Saudi Telecom Company (STC), the largest telecom company in the Middle East.
  • As far as we can tell, the is the largest Series A funding in the history of the Middle East technology sector.

Report: Facebook Is Developing A Camera-equipped Media Streaming Device

Report: Facebook is developing a camera-equipped media streaming deviceMaria Deutscher / SiliconANGLE - 23 hours ago
  • Online news network Cheddar detailed the project in a report published today, a week after the social network entered the smart home market with the introduction of the Portal (pictured.) The product is a kind of stationary tablet that sports a wide-lens camera built with video calls in mind.
  • In contrast with Portal, Facebook’s streaming device is reportedly designed to be used with standalone TVs.
  • The tipsters didn’t share any other details about how the device will work.
  • One of the tipsters said that Facebook plans to announce the system next spring.

Google CEO Finally Confirms Secret Censored Chinese Search Engine, Is Very Happy With It

Google CEO finally confirms secret censored Chinese search engine, is very happy with it(Deleted account) / Mashable - 24 hours ago
  • Google is doubling-down on its Chinese censorship-friendly search engine.
  • Google is finally going on the record with its once-secret Project Dragonfly, a censorship-friendly search engine for the people of China.
  • Speaking at the Wired 25 Summit, Google CEO Sundar Pichai not only confirmed the existence of the project but also boasted about how well testing of the search engine was going.
  • “It turns out we'll be able to serve well over 99 percent of the queries,” Pichai said of search results in the testing, pushing back on the controversy surrounding a product that must adhere to the Chinese-government's strict censorship laws.

With $300M In New Funding, Devoted Health Launches Its Medicare Advantage Plan In Florida

With $300M in new funding, Devoted Health launches its Medicare Advantage plan in FloridaKate Clark / TechCrunch - 1 day ago
  • Devoted Health, a Waltham, Mass.-based insurance startup, has raised a $300 million Series B and began enrolling members in eight Florida counties to its Medicare Advantage plan.
  • The company, which helps Medicare beneficiaries access care through its network of physicians and tech-enabled healthcare platform, has raised the funds from lead investor Andreessen Horowitz, Premji Invest and Uprising.
  • Devoted’s founders are brothers Todd and Ed Park — the company’s executive chairman and chief executive officer, respectively.
  • Venrock partners Bryan Roberts — Devoted’s founding investor — and Bob Kucker — its chief medical officer — are also part of the company’s founding team.