Tag Archives: calendar

On-demand food delivery service DoorDash raises $40M in a KPCB led Series B round (Liz Gannes/Re/code)

In what we’ve called the instant gratification economy , a mess of on-demand delivery companies are now sorting themselves out. And Palo Alto, Calif.-based takeout app DoorDash is getting a big vote of confidence with a $40 million Series B funding round led by Kleiner Perkins — that venture capital firm we keep writing about while it’s on trial — along with existing investors Sequoia Capital, Khosla Ventures and Charles River Ventures. DoorDash, which is about a year and a half old and has 65 employees and many more contract workers, now operates in eight markets, a number CEO Tony Xu said he hoped to double before the end of the year. The company currently only delivers food from restaurants. Xu said he wants to deliver other things, too. Xu wouldn’t give much in the way of details about how large DoorDash’s business is, but he claimed one in three households in the San Francisco Bay Area has ordered food from the service. He also said every market where the company has launched since the Bay Area has larger order volume. DoorDash has many competitors, and some of the other startups have already been bought, including Caviar by Square and Eat24 by Yelp. Compared to others in the space, DoorDash has developed a reputation for smarts around how to manage the many factors that make a delivery reliable — how long it takes to prepare food, how many people to keep on call based on irregular demand, which “dasher” is best to pick up an order and deliver it, what mode of transportation the dasher should take, etc. “The technology in this company was enormously appealing,” said Kleiner Perkins’ John Doerr in a phone interview about the deal. “Just the number of Stanford machine-learning experts they could hire — machine-learning people go crazy for this problem. It’s way more complicated than people realize.” What’s the big deal here? Is there really a huge company to be built around a takeout service? Yes, Doerr said — the delivery market is already something like $70 billion in the U.S

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Galaxy S6 release date is April 10th, and US pre-orders start tomorrow (Dan Seifert/The Verge)

Samsung today announced that the Galaxy S6 and S6 Edge will be available on US carriers starting April 10th, the same time as they are scheduled to be available for sale across the world. Additionally, customers in the US will be able to pre-order the phones starting tomorrow, March 27th, with certain AT&T, Sprint, T-Mobile, Verizon Wireless, U.S. Cellular, and Best Buy locations having the phones on hand for in-person demos starting tomorrow. The Galaxy S6 and S6 Edge coming to the US will largely be the same as the model available globally. They have 5.1-inch, qHD Super AMOLED displays, 32, 64, or 128GB of internal storage, Samsung's octacore Exynos processors, and 16-megapixel cameras with optical image stabilization. Unfortunately, US customers will only be able to choose from black, white, or gold color options — the striking emerald green S6 Edge and navy blue S6 are not coming to the US, at least not at this time. AT&T has listed pricing in a press release , but oddly (and annoyingly) only on its Next installment plans. The 32GB version of the Galaxy S6 starts at $22.84 per month for 24 months, which works out to about a $550 off-contract price. The Galaxy S6 Edge is $27.17 per month for 24 months, which works out to about $100 more for the off-contract price. We'll fill in prices for Verizon, T-Mobile, and Sprint as soon as they're announced.

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Tinder hack fools men interested in female bait profile into unwittingly flirting with each other (Michael Zelenko/The Verge)

Like other semi-anonymized digital spaces, Tinder creates a forum for individuals — namely men — to test the limits of aggressive and lewd behavior with seemingly little repercussion. At Vox, we have a chat room dedicated to staffers’ Tinder misadventures. It is a bleak landscape: women at the company have reported receiving a range of pick-up lines from the inane ("whats ur favorite beanie baby?"), to the bizarre ("Name a better song than Heartbreaker by the late Maria Carry" sic), to the gross and offensive and ("Those lips are so gorgeous that they make me wonder what your other set looks like"). But over the last few weeks, a California-based computer engineer — we’ll call him Patrick — has pitted heterosexual male against heterosexual male. Patrick’s program identifies two men who "like" one of his bait profiles (the first used prominent vlogger Boxxy's image; the second used an acquaintance who had given Patrick consent) and matched them to each other. The suitors’ messages — some aggressive, others mundane, but all of them unabashedly flirtatious — are then relayed, back and forth, to one another through the dummy profile. Tinder is notoriously vulnerable to hacks: in 2013, a loophole in the app could be harnessed to reveal users’ locations to within 100 feet. Last summer, Valleywag reported on a number of techies who tweaked the system to automatically "mass-like" every girl they come across. Patrick was a Tinder user (in fact, it's where he met his current girlfriend) and says that female friends of his would often complain about the messages they received on Tinder. "The original idea was to throw that back into the face of the people doing it to see how they would react." Initially, he set out to build a Twitter bot that tweeted every first message a female friend received, but then he looked into Tinder’s API and found it had little safeguard from more extensive tweaks. "Tinder makes it surprisingly easy to bot their system. As long as you have a Facebook authentication token, you can behave as a robot as if you were a person." The program made matches within minutes of activation; Patrick estimates he was overseeing 40 conversations within the first 12 hours. He developed code to scramble phone numbers and stepped in when a real-world meeting was imminent, but he also feels ambiguous about the ethics of the prank: "They ignore all the signs, they ignore all the weird things," he says of the users. "When someone is so quick to meet up without any detail or know anything about the person at all — maybe it’s deserved." Patrick's exploit reveals the weakness of Tinder's API — but also shows what happens when men's desperation is turned on each other: some turn to anger, others are confused, and still others appreciate the humor of it.

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Hands on with Hyundai’s BlueLink car companion app for Android Wear: requires paid subscription and cumbersome PIN, voice commands offer limited…

If you own a reasonably modern car (say, within two or three years old), there's a significant chance that car has some kind of cellular connectivity embedded in it, and this allows the car to do stuff remotely. Like, start. Or unlock the doors. Or lock them. Or honk the horn. These things have names... like mbrace (Mercedes), AcuraLink, Enform (Lexus), OnStar (GM), MyLincoln, and so on. Hyundai's version, BlueLink, isn't the most fully-featured of the bunch, to be honest. But, as one of the first and arguably most enthusiastic Android Auto partners, Hyundai's shown an interest in Android that few automakers have, as evidenced by the fact that BlueLink now has an app for Android Wear. The Wear app does what you'd expect - lock, unlock, remote start, stop, flash lights, honk horn, call roadside assistance, or dial BlueLink. Hyundai is the first auto manufacturer to officially embrace Android Wear, and it's not difficult to see why - a smartwatch makes a pretty ideal replacement for a lot of key fob functions, in theory. But can it actually replace one yet?

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Google is working on a project that lets users receive and pay bills with debit or credit cards from Inbox app and Gmail, to debut in fourth quarter…

Google’s mission to organize the world’s information is now targeting your physical mailbox. The company is currently working on a project that will allow Gmail users to more easily receive bills in their email inbox instead of their mailbox. Called Pony Express, the service also is designed to let people pay their bills within Gmail, rather than having to go to a telecom or utility company’s website to complete a payment. Those details are outlined in a lengthy document viewed by Re/code . The new service is scheduled to start in the fourth quarter, according to the document. It’s not clear whether Pony Express is a code name or one that’ll be used if it comes to market. A Google spokeswoman declined to comment. Such a service fits Google’s ongoing desire to bring all of the world’s information online, most notably its Google Books project, which has so far digitized well over 30 million volumes. With Pony Express, Google could suck in the type of financial data that would allow it to expand into new businesses. Credit card bills and payment history would be a gateway into industries such as personal finance or lending. And the data could be used to refine how advertisements are targeted to individuals on Google, YouTube and partnering sites, though such a move would likely stoke privacy concerns. It’s not clear whether Google would generate any revenue directly from the Pony Express service. The document features a step-by-step walk-through of how people can sign up.

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Slack Is Said to Be in Funding Talks at $2 Billion-Plus Value (Serena Saitto/Bloomberg Business)

(Bloomberg) -- Slack Technologies Inc., whose software helps people collaborate at work, is in talks with investors to raise financing at a valuation of more than $2 billion, according to people with knowledge of the matter. The funding round hasn’t yet closed, and the size and terms of the deal may change, said the people, who asked not to be identified because the talks are private. A representative of the San Francisco-based company declined to comment. In October, Slack raised $120 million in a round of financing co-led by Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers and Google Ventures, valuing the company at $1.12 billion. The investments are a further validation for Stewart Butterfield, who co-founded Tiny Speck Inc. and raised $17 million to develop an online game called Glitch. Tiny Speck had $5 million left when in 2012 Butterfield and the founders decided to shut down the game and return cash to stakeholders. Instead, their investors encouraged them to keep the money and start a new business, which became Slack. Butterfield had previously sold photo-sharing website Flickr to Yahoo! Inc. in 2005. More than 50 U.S. technology companies reached a valuation of at least $1 billion in the past two years, according to CB Insights. Other startups such as Airbnb Inc. and Snapchat Inc

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Facebook testing app that provides info on callers and automatically blocks calls from commonly blocked numbers on Android (David Ruddock/Android…

David Ruddock 2015/03/20 1:24pm PDTMar 20, 2015 Facebook, that company that is constantly trying to confuse you by naming its own branded apps after system apps, may launch another app it would now like to confuse you with, and it's called - wait for it - Phone. At least, that's what screenshots from a couple of folks who tipped us seem to say. Facebook, as we know, generally does major interface updates to its application server-side, so users occasionally get seemingly random glimpses of new features or UI designs before they launch . The FB-ONLY tag on this button for Phone would seem to indicate somebody flipped the wrong switch, and this element went live before it was supposed to. Tapping the button to install or update it does nothing but throw you to a "no page found" error, which is probably because the application is stored internally on Facebook's intranet for security purposes. What we can divine from this button is, well, not a huge amount - but then again, it does just seem to be a dialer replacement. Phone will block calls from commonly blocked numbers and show you detailed information about incoming calls, a lot like the Whitepages Caller ID app . Presumably, Facebook will also be anonymizing your incoming call data for marketing and research purposes, because why else would they want to release an app like this? We don't know if or when Phone will come to exist as a thing publicly, but it does seem like Facebook is at least testing it. David's phone is whatever is currently sitting on his desk. He is an avid writer, and enjoys playing devil's advocate in editorials, and reviewing the latest phones and gadgets. He also doesn't usually write such boring sentences.

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Adobe unveils Document Cloud service with electronic signature support, launching April, to cost up to $15/month (Blair Hanley Frank/GeekWire)

Adobe’s work productivity business is getting a subscription overhaul with the announcement today of the company’s new Document Cloud. Much like the Creative Cloud and Advertising Cloud before it, the Document Cloud offerings are designed to give professionals a suite of tools for handling documents at the price of a single monthly subscription. Unsurprisingly, it’s based around Acrobat, Adobe’s software for authoring and editing PDFs. The cloud will give users a single document-storage location that syncs between their computers and mobile devices. Adobe has also redesigned Acrobat from the ground up with an emphasis on touch-friendliness (for Windows tablet users), adding the ability to convert photos into PDFs and then edit them, and making it easier for users to access key tools within the app. One of the important technologies integrated into the Document Cloud is Adobe’s electronic signature product, based on its acquisition of EchoSign in 2005. Anyone with a Document Cloud subscription will be able to send other people documents to sign using the EchoSign service. In addition, Adobe is making just the EchoSign capabilities available for $1.99 a month. It’s a swipe at DocuSign, which has taken off as one of the leaders of the growing e-signature market. In an interview with GeekWire, Adobe spokesman Alex Dewey said the company believes Document Cloud will be a more appealing choice for enterprises because, first, much of the enterprise PDF workflow already revolves around Acrobat, and second, Adobe’s expertise with the PDF format (which it created) makes it a logical choice for managing signatures and forms inside those documents. “And then the third thing, Adobe doesn’t really believe that e-sign is a category that’s unique or should be a point offering,” he said. “Really, what we want to do is to deliver a product for enterprises (with) a broader set of digital document capabilities.

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Teardown Reveals New 13-Inch MacBook Air SSD is Nearly Twice as Fast as SSD in New 11-Inch MacBook Air (Juli Clover/MacRumors)

Apple on Monday refreshed its MacBook Air lineup , adding Broadwell chips and Intel 6000 graphics. Both models received the same processor updates, but the 13-inch MacBook Air got an extra boost -- new PCIe-based flash storage that Apple says is "up to two times faster" than the flash storage used in the previous generation MacBook Air. The 11-inch MacBook Air did not receive the same flash storage update. iFixit decided to test Apple's "two times faster" claim by comparing SSD speeds between a new 11-inch MacBook Air and a new 13-inch MacBook Air, with results that suggest the SSD in the 13-inch MacBook Air is indeed nearly twice as fast as the SSD in the MacBook Air. Average write speeds for the 11-inch MacBook Air using Black Magic's Disk Speed Test were 315MB/s, while average read speeds were 668MB/s. The 13-inch MacBook Air saw average write speeds of 629.9MB/s and average read speeds of 1285.4MB/s. An iFixit teardown of the 13-inch MacBook Air conducted this morning suggests the notebook is using Samsung flash memory with a Samsung controller. A teardown of the 11-inch MacBook Air , which does not feature the faster flash storage, was equipped with SanDisk flash memory and a Marvell controller. In comparison to the Samsung flash storage used in the previous-generation 13-inch MacBook Air , iFixit said "it's definitely an update." The new 13-inch MacBook Air is available from Apple's online and retail stores with prices that start at $999. The higher-end $1,199 model can be configured with up to 512GB of flash storage. Related roundup: MacBook Air , Tag: iFixit

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Sources: Alibaba to invest $200M in Snapchat at a valuation of $15B (Serena Saitto/Bloomberg Business)

Don't Miss Out — Follow us on: Facebook Instagram Youtube 5:34 PM EDT March 11, 2015 (Bloomberg) -- Alibaba Group Holding Ltd. plans to invest in Snapchat Inc., the mobile application for sending disappearing photos, at a valuation of $15 billion, people familiar with the situation said. China’s biggest e-commerce company intends to invest $200 million, said the people, who asked not to be identified because the discussions are private. Snapchat, based in Los Angeles, was in discussions last month to raise $500 million in a round of financing that could value the company at $16 billion to $19 billion, a person familiar with the situation said at the time. Alibaba’s investment would be outside of that round, one of the people said Wednesday. Alibaba declined to comment. A representative for Snapchat didn’t respond to messages seeking comment. Snapchat’s valuation has skyrocketed since it was founded in a Stanford University fraternity house in 2011. Chief Executive Officer Evan Spiegel turned down a $3 billion acquisition offer from Facebook in 2013 and went on to raise funds from 23 investors at a $10 billion valuation last year. That increase has corresponded with a surge in venture spending to the highest level in more than a decade. To contact the reporter on this story: Serena Saitto in New York at ssaitto@bloomberg.net To contact the editors responsible for this story: Jillian Ward at jward56@bloomberg.net Reed Stevenson, John Lear Tech Valuation Los Angeles Stanford University

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Google Calendar – iOSnoops

iOSnoops Google Calendar iOSnoops Get the official Google Calendar app for your iPhone to save time and make the most of every day. ○ A new Schedule View - See your schedule at a glance with photos and maps of the places you're going. ○ Events from Gmail - Flight, hotel, concert, ... and more »

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Gigaom, unable to pay creditors in full, ceases all operations, does not currently intend to file for bankruptcy (Gigaom)

A brief note on our company Gigaom recently became unable to pay its creditors in full at this time. As a result, the company is working with its creditors that have rights to all of the company’s assets as their collateral. All operations have ceased. We do not know at this time what the lenders intend to do with the assets or if there will be any future operations using those assets. The company does not currently intend to file bankruptcy. We would like to take a moment and thank our readers and our community for supporting us all along. — Gigaom management

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Nike+ app gets four new device partners in Garmin, Tom Tom, Wahoo Fitness, and Netpulse (Kevin C. Tofel/Gigaom)

After going it alone with health tracking hardware, Nike is expanding relationships to use its Nike+ app with non-Nike devices. The company announced four new hardware partners on Friday — Garmin, Tom Tom, Wahoo Fitness and Netpulse  — with a new “Partners” app feature to connect the Nike+ app with third-party devices. The updated Nike+ Running App makes pairing with the new partners easy. Users will see a “Partners” screen when they update or download the app. The “Connect a Partner” button guides users to settings to manage preferences and establish the seamless connection between Nike+ and the partner apps and devices. The idea here is to expand the use of Nike+ and give the app’s users more freedom to choose a wearable device or software platform. That’s a sharp change from Nike’s several-year approach of exercise tracking with devices ranging from footpod step-trackers and, more recently, its FuelBand wearable band. Change has been in the wind for some time, however, as Nike first kept its software limited to Apple iOS devices for several years and recently releasing a Nike+ app for Android . And roughly a year ago there were reports of Nike abandoning its own hardware efforts and laying off much of the Fuelband team . As a long-time runner, I welcome the change from app to platform; it’s long overdue.

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Judge halts movie industry-backed probe against Google (Jeff John Roberts/Gigaom)

A federal judge has agreed to put the brakes on an investigation into Google by Mississippi Attorney General Jim Hood after the company complained that Hood’s inquiry was an illegal censorship campaign cooked up by Hollywood. In a Monday ruling, U.S. District Judge Henry T. Wingate issued an order that will temporarily bar Hood from forcing Google to comply with the terms of a 79-page subpoena. “Today, a federal court entered a preliminary injunction against a subpoena issued by the Mississippi Attorney General. We’re pleased with the court’s ruling, which recognizes that the MPAA’s long-running campaign to censor the web—which started with SOPA—is contrary to federal law,” Google wrote in an update to an earlier blog post describing the case. The ruling by Judge Wingate came from the bench, and a written version is expected to follow in the next week or two. “Google has the better side of the legal arguments,” the judge told the court, according to a spokesperson for the company. The ruling is a major victory for Google, which filed a lawsuit challenging Hood’s 79-page subpoena in December. The ostensible goal of the subpoena is to help Hood discover if Google is violating Mississippi laws by exposing internet users to drugs and pornography. Google, however, filed a court challenge on the ground Hood overstepped federal laws that shield internet companies from liability for what others post online

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