Wednesday, December 21, 2016

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Alphabet tried to convince Wall Street it's not just a search engine this year

Dec 21, 6:00PM

Alphabet CEO Larry Page speaks at the Fortune Global Forum in San Francisco, Monday, Nov. 2, 2015. (AP Photo/Jeff Chiu) Google (or Alphabet, if you prefer) has long been plagued with a problem with its advertising business: while the number of ads people are clicking on has been growing, the value of those ads has been constantly dropping. Google has always excelled at showing the best ads against a search result, but that business may not last forever as the way people interact with technology starts to… Read More

Snap Inc. has a new China tech R&D office focused on Spectacles

Dec 21, 5:59PM

1-spectacles Spectacles seem to be a hit for Snapchat parent Snap Inc., thought their unconventional rollout via pop-up shops (including a new one at a Dave & Busters in Illinois this morning) makes it hard to judge the scale of their success. Here’s a decent indicator: Snap is opening a new research and development technology office in Shenzhen, near where Spectacles are assembled, CNN reports.… Read More

Apple's bulletproof Wall Street growth story came to a halt this year

Dec 21, 5:07PM

SAN FRANCISCO, CA - OCTOBER 22:  Apple CEO Tim Cook speaks during an Apple announcement at the Yerba Buena Center for the Arts on October 22, 2013 in San Francisco, California.  The tech giant announced its new iPad Air, a new iPad mini with Retina display, OS X Mavericks and highlighted its Mac Pro.  (Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images) This year was an interesting one for Apple — but not necessarily in a good way. iPhones aren’t selling the way they used to, the Apple Watch isn’t a big hit and Alphabet is emerging as a bigger and formidable competitor. And that has Wall Street asking some serious questions about Apple’s future. Read More

Family-friendly streaming service VidAngel refuses to shut down, despite court order

Dec 21, 5:02PM

Photo: Getty Images/Jan Stromme/Stone Family friendly streaming service VidAngel is refusing to shut down, in defiance of a court order issued earlier in December. The service, which alters copyrighted material in order to remove adult language, violence and nudity, was found to be in violation of the law and ordered to temporarily stop circumventing copyright protections, copying copyrighted materials, and streaming them over… Read More

You can now Uber to people directly, and use custom Snapchat filters as you ride

Dec 21, 4:00PM

teleport_launch_blog_960x480_story_r1 Uber has some late 2016 feature additions it’s unveiling Wednesday, including a way to hail a ride directly to people in your contacts list, and a new Snapchat team-up that opens access to custom filters during your Uber ride. The new location feature lets you request a one-time static location share from your contacts, which the app will then automatically set as your destination and use… Read More

Chariot offering free holiday transit services around Tahoe ski resort

Dec 21, 4:00PM

chariot-tahoe Chariot’s roots may be in easing the grinding urban commute in the San Francisco Bay area, but the crowdsourced commute company is getting a little more recreational with a pilot holiday season project with Tahoe’s Squaw Valley / Alpine Meadows ski resort. Chariot, which is owned by Ford Smart Mobility as of earlier this year, is deploying a free transit service that will operate… Read More

What to expect from CES 2017

Dec 21, 3:48PM

CES 2016 TechCrunch Stage For most, this week marks the beginning of the holiday season. Presents and office parties and an extra day off here and there. In the tech world, it means we’re a mere two weeks away from the Consumer Electronics Show, the annual event held the first week of the year in Las Vegas that will set the tone for the next 52 weeks’ worth of hardware announcements. Over the past few… Read More

U.S. wearables market is doing much worse than expected

Dec 21, 3:15PM

Apple Watch Series 2 Apple may still be claiming that sales of its Apple Watch are “doing great,” but overall, the wearable device category is failing to grow at the rates forecasted earlier. According to a new report from eMarketer, wearables like Apple Watch and Fitbit were expected to grow more than 60 percent year-over-year from 2015 to 2016. However, the firm is now cutting that estimate down to… Read More

Enterprise social comes roaring back

Dec 21, 2:17PM

Employees in connected in social network web You’ll be forgiven if you missed it, but lost in the avalanche of this year’s tech news, enterprise social software made an impressive comeback. Led by products like Slack, Workplace by Facebook and Microsoft Teams, a software category that had been languishing for the last several years, suddenly came alive. A decade ago, as social software emerged, it was coined Enterprise 2.0… Read More

OurMine hacks Netflix, Marvel Twitter accounts

Dec 21, 2:10PM

screen-shot-2016-12-21-at-12-20-32-pm OurMine is up to its old tricks again, with an attack on Netflix’s official U.S. Twitter account. The hacking team has been responsible for taking over a number of high-profile Twitter accounts during the past year or so, including Google’s Sundar Pichai, actor Channing Tatum – and us, TechCrunch dot com. The team is made up of a small group of young people (one of whom might… Read More

Super Mario Run breaks records with 40 million downloads in its first 4 days

Dec 21, 1:30PM

super-mario-run-ios Nintendo has confirmed what we all knew was likely – Super Mario Run got a lot of downloads at launch. The company says that the app was downloaded over 40 million times during its first four days on the App Store, which breaks records for Apple’s mobile software shop. Previous third-party estimates suggested the new game was on track to topple Pok√©mon Go’s previous early… Read More

Brain-training app Peak sells majority stake to French publisher Hachette

Dec 21, 12:32PM

active brain Something of a sleeper hit, the makers of Peak — a subscription-based service specifically designed to entertain a user while simultaneously exercising their cognitive skills — have sold a majority stake to French publisher Hachette Livre. Created by London-based app company Brainbow, Peak has been downloaded over 15 million times and was named Best App in 2014 by Apple, while… Read More

EU court rejects data retention law, throwing cold water on UK's 'Snooper's Charter'

Dec 21, 11:45AM

shutterstock_139834159 The highest court in Europe today ruled that “general and indiscriminate” data retention directives contravene European Union law — dealing a significant blow to governments and organizations who have been pushing for stronger surveillance and data collection, and giving a boost to privacy advocates in the process. More specifically, European Court of Justice threw… Read More

Bringing Europe together at The Europas, London, 13 June, 2017

Dec 21, 10:36AM

europas11 It’s time to mark your diaries for June 13, 2017 for The Europas Tech Conference & Awards TechCrunch is the exclusive media partner for the one-day event which takes a different approach to the usual events (tickets). As well as main stage speakers and panels, the ‘special sauce’ of The Europas is the small, intimate breakout sessions where delegates can deep-dive into… Read More

Uber losses expected to hit $3 billion in 2016 despite revenue growth

Dec 21, 8:11AM

FILE - In this Dec. 16, 2015 file photo a man leaves the headquarters of Uber in San Francisco. Uber and advocates for the blind have reached a lawsuit settlement in which the ride-hailing company agrees to require that existing and new drivers confirm they understand their legal obligations to transport riders with guide dogs or other service animals. The National Federation of the Blind said Saturday, April 30, 2016, that Uber will also remove a driver from the platform after a single complaint if it determines the driver knowingly denied a person with a disability a ride because the person was traveling with a service animal. (AP Photo/Eric Risberg, File) Uber’s losses are growing from $2.2 billion last year to an expected $3 billion this year, according to multiple reports this week from The Information and others. It’s hard to fathom Uber operating so far from profitability at a time when it feels like an established mainstream brand on the global stage. Hip hop stars like Drake or Wiz Khalifa commonly name check… Read More

iStockNow tells you which Apple Stores have AirPods in stock right now

Dec 21, 5:48AM

screen-shot-2016-12-21-at-12-36-41-am One of the best things about Apple’s retail strategy is that when it comes to inventory, they don’t ignore their brick-and-mortar stores like some other retailers do. So while the initial inventory of a product like AirPods may sell out online within minutes of going up on Apple’s site, you can typically count on Apple’s retail stores to carry stock on launch day. This… Read More

Crunch Report | Cyclists Don't Like Uber's Self-Driving Cars

Dec 21, 4:00AM

The U.S. Navy deploys a few drone boats, First Round’s annual holiday video gets released, 7-Eleven and Flirtey get us closer to drone delivery and cyclists don’t like Uber’s self-driving cars. All this on Crunch Report. Read More

With a bet on diversity, Blizzard reveals Overwatch's queer character

Dec 21, 2:59AM

screen-shot-2016-12-20-at-8-29-12-pm After months of hinting, Blizzard finally revealed which member of Overwatch’s colorful cast of characters counts themselves part of the LGBTQ community. The much-anticipated reveal came in a seasonal digital comic centered around Tracer, the spritely Londoner with gravity-defying hair who proved to be an early fan favorite and the literal face of the game. The comic… Read More

BMW to open a new autonomous driving development center near Munich

Dec 21, 1:48AM

p90245194-highres BMW has already staked its claim in the self-driving production timeline, with plans to release an autonomous electric car by 2021. To help meet that goal, the carmaker is opening a dedicated facility aimed at developing connected and automated driving tech in Unterschleissheim, Germany near Munich. The facility is designed to begin operations in mid-2017, and will host more than 2,000… Read More

Turkey maintains Tor block, flicks social networks offline for 12 hours

Dec 21, 1:29AM

The Republic of Turkey flag hangs on the side of a building as show of solidarity following a July 15 Coup. (DoD Photo by Navy Petty Officer 2nd Class Dominique A. Pineiro) In light of the assassination of Russian Ambassador Andrey Karlov, Turkey further tightened its already restrictive limits on certain forms of internet use. The most recent censorship thrust followed the revelation that the state now blocks Tor within its borders. Turkey appears to have clamped down on social app use for a roughly 12-hour period following the international incident. According… Read More

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