Friday, February 17, 2017

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Postmates now allows drivers to opt out of mandatory arbitration

Feb 17, 9:05PM

The Postmates sign outside the office In fall 2015, the National Labor Relations Board filed a complaint against delivery service Postmates which challenged the legality of the company’s mandatory arbitration agreement between it and its contractors. In Postmates’ fleet agreement, which contractors must sign as a condition of hire, the company had required that workers settle disagreements through arbitration. In… Read More

Weekly Roundup: CRISPR-Cas9 patent case concludes, Mark Zuckerberg's 5,000 word letter to global community

Feb 17, 8:51PM

PARIS, FRANCE - MARCH 24:  Laureate Professor Jennifer Doudna (for reinventing genetic research - she's from USA) attends the "L'Oreal-UNESCO Awards 2016 For Women in Science International", hosted by Fondation l'Oreal at Maison de la Mutualite on March 24, 2016 in Paris, France.  (Photo by Bertrand Rindoff Petroff/Getty Images for Fondation L'oreal) This week, the CRISPR-Cas9 patent case came to a close, an encrypted messaging app went open source and Facebook announced some big changes to its video product. These are some of the notable stories in tech from this week. You can also receive this post as a weekly newsletter, delivered to your inbox on Saturday mornings. 1. A judge has determined that CRISPR-Cas9 patents belong to the… Read More

NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio shows off designs for planned tech hub

Feb 17, 8:48PM

Union Square Tech Hub New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio and his team have revealed the designs for the 250,000 square foot Union Square Tech Hub. The hub, which was first announced in December, will include 58,000 square feet of “fluid space” for startups and a 36,500 square foot tech training center. (Partners in the training program include the New York City Foundation for Computer Science… Read More

GM said to be fielding thousands of self-driving test Bolts with Lyft in 2018

Feb 17, 8:41PM

Cruise Chevy Bolt Self-driving fleets of cars might be sharing the streets with human drivers sooner than many thought; Reuters reports that GM will field “thousands” of self-driving test electric test vehicles, primarily based on the Chevrolet Bolt platform, starting in 2018. The fleets will primarily be used with partner Lyft for on-demand ride-hailing service, according to the report. That’s… Read More

California congressman proposes an investigation into Trump's unsecured Android phone

Feb 17, 8:26PM

CHARLESTON, SC - FEBRUARY 18: Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump talks talks on the phone while making a stop for lunch between campaign events at Fratello's Italian Tavern in North Charleston, SC on Thursday Feb. 18, 2016. (Photo by Jabin Botsford/The Washington Post via Getty Images) Remember the unsecured Android handset that newly minted President Trump gave up, but then apparently didn’t actually give up? Things had seemingly gone silent on that front as the world took some time out to focus on the rest of the deluge of insanity that is politics in 2017. Today, however, the story is rearing its head yet again, as California Congressman Ted Lieu has proposed an… Read More

Theranos might be on life support

Feb 17, 7:44PM

theranos_paloalto_hq_1 It probably comes as no surprise Theranos, the blood testing technology company once worth billions, is struggling to survive. A new report from the Wall Street Journal says the company had just $200 million cash on hand left at the end of 2016 – a quarter of its $800 million in total funding. According to the Journal’s investor sources, Theranos disclosed that number on a… Read More

The importance of streaming to e-sports

Feb 17, 7:00PM

PARIS, FRANCE - OCTOBER 28:  Fans watch an electronic video game tournament with the game "League of Legends" developed by Riot Games during the "Paris Games Week" on October 28, 2016 in Paris, France.  "Paris Games Week" is an international trade fair for video games to be held from October 27 to October 31, 2016.  (Photo by Chesnot/Getty Images) There are three key ingredients for a game or pastime to become a sport: playing, competing and viewing. The ability to play and compete are necessary steps in the transformation from game to sport. However, broadcasting and viewing are the crucial components to enable widespread adoption and popularity. Just as with offline sports, e-sports require these elements. Read More

Twitter snags Showtime as a live streaming partner (but just for a boxing match)

Feb 17, 6:35PM

tumblr_inline_olj166raes1to727k_1280 Twitter has been picking up live-streaming deals left and right these days, including most recently for rugby matches, and before that with Dick Clark Productions. Today, the company announced another high-profile grab: Showtime. But before you get too excited, the deal is just for a Saturday night boxing match from Showtime Sports. This is the first time that Showtime has brought live boxing… Read More

Snap takes aim at Facebook in roadshow video

Feb 17, 6:32PM

In this Thursday, Oct. 24, 2013, Snapchat CEO Evan Spiegel poses for photos, in Los Angeles. Spiegel dropped out of Stanford University in 2012, three classes shy of graduation, to move back to his father's house and work on Snapchat. Spiegel's fast-growing mobile app lets users send photos, videos and messages that disappear a few seconds after they are received (AP Photo/Jae C. Hong) Snap is about to embark on its investor roadshow as it prepares to go public at the beginning of March. And a new video gives a glimpse at how they will be trying to persuade Wall Street to buy shares. The video starts off with CEO Evan Spiegel emphasizing their mission as a “camera company.” He compares Snap’s video experience to Alexander Graham Bell’s invention of… Read More

Trump is causing a political app boom, data shows

Feb 17, 6:12PM

Capitol Building. Photo courtesy of Flickr/Marìa Helena Carey The growth of politically focused mobile apps has been booming since November, with the top five political apps receiving a combined 300,000 downloads across iOS and Android over the past three months, according to new data from App Annie. Anyone surprised by this? Read More

How to build a brand in 2017: Tips from Glossier CEO Emily Weiss

Feb 17, 6:05PM

screen-shot-2017-02-17-at-8-21-47-am There’s no shortage of women’s beauty brands, yet for many millennial women in particular, the cosmetics company Glossier seems to stand out. Having products that customers like is undoubtedly one large reason. But Glossier has also found a way to establish a kind of cult following because of the numerous ways it keeps communication channels to its consumers wide open. Read More puts you inside your favorite music video

Feb 17, 5:20PM

screen-shot-2017-02-17-at-11-31-52-am A green-screen effect, or chroma keying, is nothing new. But it’s not really consumer technology — mainly because of the need for an actual green screen, a static camera and studio-quality lighting. But being able to have a live video background behind you is cool. Meet, a new app that’s figured out how to achieve a “mobile green-screen effect.” Read More

Mobileye outfits 4,500 for-hire cars in NYC with collision avoidance tech

Feb 17, 5:13PM

A driver displays Uber and Lyft ride sharing signs in his car windscreen in Santa Monica, California, U.S., May 23, 2016.  About a half dozen ride-hailing firms have rushed into Texas tech hub Austin after market leaders Uber and Lyft left the city a little over a monthago in a huff over municipal requirements that they fingerprint drivers.    REUTERS/Lucy Nicholson/Files Mobileye’s long-game is focused on autonomous driving, but some of the tech that feeds into that can have an impact now, including advanced collision avoidance systems. The company announced on Friday that it has completed the installation of accident prevention tech across 4,500 for-hire vehicles used by drivers for services including Uber and Lyft in New York City. Read More

Announcing the judges for the D.C. and Miami Pitch-offs

Feb 17, 4:49PM

meetups The TC Meetup + Pitch-off is headed to D.C. and Miami next week, and it’s finally time to introduce you to our esteemed judges. The pitch-off will consist of 60-second presentations from 10 startups in each locale. These pitches will aim to win over the audience and the judges, which include local VCs and TechCrunch editors. Read More

TesLab is the companion app Tesla owners have been waiting for

Feb 17, 4:01PM

screen-shot-2017-02-14-at-3-03-49-pm Tesla actually makes a lot of data available to vehicle owners via APIs and other endpoints, but it’s not always easy to find and make use of that info. Enter TesLab, a new app that tracks data and links it to your profile, while also letting you share it out to a community of other Tesla owners in a way that, during the beta spotted by Teslarati, users have really enjoyed. Read More

EasilyDo brings its powerful Email app to Android

Feb 17, 3:50PM

screen-shot-2017-02-17-at-10-30-29-am EasilyDo’s simply named “Email” application is one of the most popular productivity apps on iOS, because it closely resembles the look-and-feel of Apple’s default Mail app, but comes with more powerful features. Now EasilyDo’s Email has made its way over to Android. Read More

Student job finder WayUp acquires competitor Looksharp

Feb 17, 3:46PM

Liz Wessel, Andrew Maguire WayUp is making its first acquisition — it’s buying the similarly focused Looksharp. Both companies have created job listing sites for college students and recent graduates, but WayUp co-founder and CEO Liz Wessel told me they’re complementary in a rather specific way: search engine optimization — after all, that’s where job seekers usually start looking for… Read More

Apple assembling devices in India won't mean cheaper iPhones yet

Feb 17, 3:41PM

iPhone 7 Apple appears to be moving forward with plans to begin assembling its phones in India, but that doesn’t necessarily mean that its prices will drop in the country. India’s Economic Times reported that Apple will begin assembling the iPhone SE in the coming months in Karnataka, adding more detail to comments from the state’s minister of IT that seemingly confirmed an arrangement. Read More

The bull case for Snapchat

Feb 17, 3:00PM

snapchat-bull Before I make a product-driven case for Snap Inc. achieving a $100B market cap by 2020, I should note that I’ve been a Snapchat bear for much of the company’s existence. That guy at the water cooler scoffing at Evan Spiegel for turning down Facebook’s $3B acquisition offer and complaining that the Snapchat app violates every principle of user-centric design? Guilty. Read More

Harvard-led woolly mammoth de-extinction project gets closer to reality

Feb 17, 2:20PM

ST. PETER-ORDING, GERMANY - MAY 31:  Two replicas of mammoths are seen during the "Giganten Der Eizeit" exhibition opening on May 31, 2011 in St. Peter-Ording, Germany. Europes biggest ice age exhibition opens on 3rd of June.  (Photo by Krafft Angerer/Getty Images) The woolly mammoth is long extinct, but it’s beginning to look like they might make a comeback — or a comeback of sorts — as a hybrid elephant genetically edited to display many mammoth traits. A team of Harvard researchers presented their progress in making this happen, and, according to team leader Professor George Church, they’re closer than you might’ve believed. Read More

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