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News (TechCrunch)

  • Finnish autonomous car goes for a leisurely cruise in the driving snow


     It’s one thing for an autonomous car to strut its stuff on smooth, warm California tarmac, and quite another to do so on the frozen winter mix of northern Finland. Martti, a self-driving vehicle system homegrown in Finland, demonstrated just this in a record-setting drive along a treacherous (to normal drivers) Laplandish road. Martti is one of two cars designed by VTT Technical… Read More
  • UPS bets on blockchain as the future of the trillion-dollar shipping industry


     Freight and logistics in the U.S. alone account for nearly $1.5 trillion annually. As the world’s economies scale up, that number is only expected to increase. The industry, however, is not prepared for growth, as it sits on top of an infrastructure prone to systematic inefficiencies and rampant fraud. However, disruption is coming in the form of blockchain technology. Read More
  • Alexa skills top 25,000 in the U.S. as new launches slow


     Amazon this week officially launched the first skills for Alexa offering premium content that customers can purchase while using the voice apps – a move the company had announced was in the works back in November. The ability for developers to generate money from their skills comes at an opportune time, as it turns out, given that new data indicates the rate of skill growth is beginning… Read More
  • Dog-walking app Wag may be raising a huge round of funding


     It looks like Wag may get another huge injection of cash following a big financing round earlier this year, according to a report by Recode, and also based on what we are hearing. We had heard a bit ago that Wag was looking to raise around $100 million, which the Recode report also suggests. But it now looks like Softbank is in talks to invest around $300 million in the dog-walking app.… Read More
  • EyeEm’s new products aim to understand brand aesthetics


     EyeEm is unveiling new tools to help the brands and marketers using the site to source their images. Underlying these tools is a technology called EyeEm Vision, which we described in-depth earlier this year. The goal is to expand image recognition so that it’s not just identifying the objects in the photo, but also its aesthetic qualities. EyeEm’s co-founder and chief product… Read More
  • Live-streaming app Spotlite raises $10 million from Sequoia Capital to help singers make money


     Described to me as “American Idol meets musical.ly,” startup Spotlite recently raised more than $10 million from Sequoia Capital and BlueRun Ventures. The plan is to use the funding to build out the product, make key hires and expand its marketing and advertising efforts. Read More
  • Fitbit is having a bad day


     Fitbit is, again, not having a good day after spending the year in mostly middling status as it looks to prove there’s a market for fitness trackers and its own smartwatch. The culprit today: a Wall Street firm slapped a “sell” rating on the company’s stock, which often results in a rejection of its potential and sparks a sharp drop-off in the company’s share value. Read More
  • Original Content podcast: Netflix’s ‘Mudbound’ offers a somber look at Mississippi in the 1940s


    Mudbound Mudbound, a Dee Rees-directed film currently streaming on Netflix, is both epic and intimate, telling the intertwined stories of two families (one black, one white) farming on the Mississippi delta. That description might make the movie sound like a home work assignment, or perhaps a too-neat dissection of race relations in the American South. On the latest episode of the Original Content… Read More
  • With $10M in new funding, Huddly launches its smart GO camera for video conferencing


     Huddly has built a smart camera that only has one mission: make your video meetings more productive. Now for the most part, you probably don’t think much about what camera you use for your video conferences. They are pretty much all the same, after all. But Norway-based Huddly thinks its smart wide-angle GO camera, which is now shipping for $499 through its resellers and which will be… Read More
  • Facebook adds a Snooze button for muting people, groups and Pages for 30 days


     Facebook today is launching a new feature designed to give users more control over what content they see in their News Feed: a “Snooze” button. The option, which will become available via the top-right dropdown menu on a post, will mute content from a person, Page or group for 30 days. The new feature can serve as a way to dial down the content you don’t want to see,… Read More
  • SpaceX launches a reused Dragon atop a reused Falcon 9 for the first time


     SpaceX has moved one step closer to its dream of affordable, efficient reusable space flight: Today for its CRS-13 resupply mission for the International Space Station it managed to launch a previously flown Dragon spacecraft atop a Falcon 9 rocket with a flight-proven first stage booster. That’s the first time it’s flown both types of reused equipment at the same time. The… Read More
  • Adobe had a record quarter, but still has substantial untapped potential


     Adobe announced a record quarter yesterday with $2.01 billion in revenue for Q42017. That represents a healthy 25 percent year over year increase for the company, but about half of that continues to come from Creative Cloud. Experience Cloud, which includes Adobe Marketing Cloud, Adobe Analytics Cloud and Adobe Advertising Cloud in many ways represents promise for even greater revenue in… Read More
  • Watch SpaceX launch its first re-flown capsule and rocket combo live here


     SpaceX is taking another shot at a historic launch today, should everything go as planned. It’s targeting a launch window of 10:36 AM EST (7:36 AM PST) this morning for its CRS-13 mission, which is its 13th resupply mission for the International Space Station. The mission will deliver a payload of around 4,800 lbs of supplies and experimentation materials for ISS research. It’ll… Read More
  • Alexa can now play the top songs in a city and similar tracks


     Amazon Alexa can now play music that’s popular in a given city through a new feature called “Local Popularity.” That means you can ask Alexa to play the “top songs in Los Angeles” or the “hits in Tokyo,” and the assistant will play different tracks every day, the company says. The goal with the addition is to aid in music discovery – by… Read More
  • AIM is officially dead


     Say “goodbye” (in the AOL voice, if possible) to Aol Instant Messenger. Back in October, Oath (the combined entity of Yahoo and Aol) announced that it would shutter AIM on December 15. Yes, today is the day. All good things come to an end. On Dec 15, we'll bid farewell to AIM. Thank you to all our users! #AIMemories https://t.co/b6cjR2tSuU pic.twitter.com/V09Fl7EPMx —… Read More
  • Equity podcast: Apple’s $400M deals, Target buys a startup and uh-oh net neutrality


     Hello and welcome back to Equity, TechCrunch’s venture capital-focused podcast where we unpack the numbers behind the headlines. This week Katie Roof, Matthew Lynley and myself — Alex Wilhelm — were joined by Eric Liaw from IVP to dig through the pre-Christmas news. Normally, happenings are slow this time of the year. But, living up to its reputation as a year-apart, 2017… Read More
  • Let’s meet in New York to talk token sales


     I’ve been holding a few micro meet ups over the past few years and thought I’d start it up again in honor of token/ICO mania. I’d love to hear what you all are working on in the New York area so we’ll all meet at Union Hall in Brooklyn next Wednesday at 7pm. The event is very informal and we’ll plan the next few months of micro-meetups during the event. My goal is… Read More
  • Pied Piper’s decentralized internet is planned for Dubai, courtesy of startup Moeco


     We’re slowly moving from the Big Data era to the “OMG HOW MUCH DATA?!,” to use the technical term. But, all joking aside, it’s getting bigger, or worse, depending on your point of view. By some estimates over 2.5 Quintillion (yes, that’s a thing) bytes of data are now generated by us daily and this is increasing exponentially monthly. Of course, most of that data… Read More
  • Uber Eats couriers in Europe to be offered free accident and sickness insurance


     Uber has announced it’s launching a free insurance package for independent couriers delivering food for its Uber Eats business in nine European markets.It says all couriers with an active account in the covered markets will be able to take up the product free of charge. Read More
  • Australia’s Airwallex raises $6M to grow its cross-border payment business


     Airwallex, an Australia-based fintech startup that helps banks and businesses handle cross-border transactions at scale, has closed a $6 million investment ahead of a planned Series B next year.The new funding comes from Square Peg — a VC firm located in Melbourne, the same city as Airwallex HQ — which joins Tencent, MasterCard, Gobi Ventures and Sequoia China as backers of… Read More