Friday, June 9, 2017

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Dear Softbank, please let Boston Dynamics be Boston Dynamics

Jun 09, 1:50AM

 Hey Softbank, First of all, congratulations. You’re about to purchase some of the coolest toys in the history of human civilization. Seriously, it’s like Christmas in early June for you all. I’m sure you can’t wait to take one of those big, hulking robots for a spin and make all of your neighbors jealous. I get it. We had Spot on stage at an event last year and for… Read More

Facebook will lease its first San Francisco office, for Instagram

Jun 09, 12:45AM

 Facebook is finally getting an office space in San Francisco, and is currently considering several different locations, one of which will house up to 100 Instagram employees, an industry source familiar with the lease plan confirmed to TechCrunch. Earlier today, The Registry reported Facebook is in talks for a space at 181 Fremont in the South Of Market district — a 70-story tower… Read More

Softbank is buying robotics firms Boston Dynamics and Schaft from Alphabet

Jun 09, 12:15AM

 Here’s a surprise turn of events: Softbank — maker of the friendly Pepper robot and a major M&A player in the tech world — has just announced that it is acquiring two more robotics companies from Google owner Alphabet as part of its own deeper move into the field: it is buying Big Dog developer Boston Dynamics and the secretive bipedal robotics firm Schaft. A spokesperson… Read More

Taylor Swift embraces streaming, brings full catalog to Spotify and more

Jun 09, 12:04AM

 After breaking up in 2014, Taylor Swift and Spotify are getting back together. To celebrate her album 1989 hitting 10 million records sold and her selling 100 million total songs, today the pop singer announced she’s making her full back catalog available on all streaming services starting tonight at midnight. Swift was already on Apple Music but now she’s opening up to Spotify… Read More

Uber just pissed off dozens of longtime employees; now they're gunning for management

Jun 08, 11:51PM

 Earlier this week, at a staff meeting in San Francisco, Uber executives revealed to the company’s 12,000 employees that 20 of their colleagues had been fired over harassment, discrimination and inappropriate behavior, following a string of accusations that Uber had created a toxic workplace and allowed complaints to go unaddressed for years. Those complaints had pushed Uber into… Read More

Teaching teams of drones to work alongside humans and nature

Jun 08, 10:35PM

 The Robust Reactive Systems Lab just might have the highest ceilings of any lab on the Carnegie Mellon campus. It’s big and drafty, and were it not for the rows of computer workstations, it might easily be mistaken for an airplane hangar. The centerpiece looks more like a batting cage than a serious piece of lab equipment. But when the demo starts, everyone stops and watches. Read More

Technologists in the era of Trump

Jun 08, 10:30PM

 If innovation is the religion of the technology industry, then industriousness is the religion for the rest of America’s workforce. Read More

Techdirt's Mike Masnick says lawsuit has already had a chilling effect on his site

Jun 08, 9:56PM

mike masnick Techdirt is currently embroiled in a legal battle with Shiva Ayyadurai, a man who claims to have invented email. But regardless of the outcome, founder and CEO Mike Masnick said that the $15 million lawsuit has already had a big impact on his site — a 20-year-old, independent blog covering the intersection of law and technology. Read More

Acast introduces programmatic ads to its podcast platform

Jun 08, 9:51PM

 Acast says it’s time for podcasts to embrace programmatic advertising. With its publishing and monetization tools, Acast has already moved beyond the generally low-tech state of podcast advertising, but launching a marketplace for programmatic (i.e. automated algorithmic) ad-buying is the next step in that evolution. Read More

Uber is in talks to acquire valet startup Luxe's tech and engineers

Jun 08, 9:37PM

 Uber is in late-stage talks to acquire some technology and team members from Luxe, the on-demand car valet service. The deal hasn’t closed, and therefore could unravel. Read More

Amazon Rekognition can now recognize celebrities

Jun 08, 9:16PM

 Amazon Rekognition, Amazon’s deep learning-powered image detection and recognition service, is getting a little bit smarter today. The service can now recognize thousands of celebrities across a number of categories that include politics, sports, business, entertainment and media. Read More

Andy Rubin's Essential has reportedly raised $300 million

Jun 08, 8:29PM

 Hype hasn’t been an issue for Andy Rubin’s new hardware startup, Essential. Speculation has been circling the Android founder’s next move since he unceremoniously parted ways with Google. Funding, it seems, hasn’t really been a problem, either. Bloomberg is reporting that the nascent smartphone maker has raised $300 million to bring its technology to the masses. Read More

Skype retires older apps for Windows and more as it pushes new features

Jun 08, 8:14PM

 The newest version of the Skype app takes a big hat-tip from social media platforms like Snapchat and Facebook’s Messenger with its newest features, adding a Stories-like feature called Highlights, a big selection of bots to add into chats and a longer plan to upgrade group conversations with more features. Read More

Satellites are critical for IoT sector to reach its full potential

Jun 08, 8:00PM

 From connected vehicles to connected homes, the Internet of Things promises a host of benefits for industry and consumers. But what communications technology is prepared to handle 20 billion connections? Given the ubiquity of space-based communications, satellite technology will play a critical role in supporting the development of the IoT sector and realizing its full potential. Read More

Spektral raises $2.8 million for development of AI-powered green screen technology

Jun 08, 7:42PM

 The augmented reality acquisition space is hot — Facebook, Snap, Apple and others are throwing money at teams and technologies that promise to increase user engagement. Spektral, a Danish startup, is the latest venture-backed visual effects company setting its sights on the massive space. Spektral is announcing a $2.8 million round today from Litecap and Amp Ventures to continue… Read More

Shedul raises $6 million for hair salon booking

Jun 08, 7:33PM

 Beauty parlors manage a lot of appointments, but about half of them are still using pen and paper, estimates Shedul. The startup is trying to change that, by offering scheduling software for the the salon and spa industry. And it’s been catching on because it’s free. Now they’re raising $6 million. Read More

Kickstarter hires Slack's Erica Baker as director of engineering

Jun 08, 7:03PM

 Erica Baker, an engineer and outspoken advocate for diversity and inclusion in tech, is leaving her job at Slack, and moving from the San Francisco Bay Area to Brooklyn to work in an engineering leadership position at Kickstarter. Baker, who worked at Slack for about two years, will begin work at Kickstarter in early August as director of engineering. Read More

How Ethereum became the platform of choice for ICO'd digital assets

Jun 08, 7:02PM

 For most of the history of blockchain-based currencies and assets, the story has been all about Bitcoin. At a market capitalization of around $40 billion, it remains the most valuable cryptocurrency. But with the rise of a new ‘chain on the — ahem — block, namely Ethereum, and new ways to fund the development of new crypto-platforms with ICOs, the narrative is shifting somewhat. Read More

Pandora adds a continuous listening mode with AutoPlay, while considering a Sirius XM investment

Jun 08, 6:51PM

 Pandora today is rolling out a new feature to its Premium tier that will allow subscribers to continue to listen to music, uninterrupted, when their current track, album or playlist ends. Called, simply, “AutoPlay,” the feature works by shifting users to a personalized radio station based on whatever it is you were listening to before. Read More

Incubated by Kleiner Perkins, Packagd is creating a 'QVC for the mobile generation'

Jun 08, 6:00PM

 A team incubated out of venture firm Kleiner Perkins has created Packagd, which is building a series of mobile apps that combine unboxing and review videos with the ability to instantly purchase the products they talk about. Read More

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