Who should learn data science skills? UC Berkeley Dean AnnaLee Saxenian believes that everyone could benefit from knowing how to interpret data. Read more »
Feeling nostalgic? In honor of Twitter’s eighth birthday, the microblogging platform released a tool on Thursday that helps users relive their very first action on the site. The tool, called #FirstTweet, allows users to plug in any username and jump back automatically to the first tweet that person sent — perhaps even to a time before hashtags:
Looking 4 food—
Om Malik (@om) July 15, 2006
Another mega-round of funding may be on its way for Airbnb, which could reportedly raise up to $500 million in funds. Read more »
Facebook presented data on its gaming platform Monday at the Game Developer Conference, which makes a strong case for cross-platform gaming. Read more »
Turing AI founder Juliette Powell spoke onstage at Structure Data about how personal data can be used to better enrich the health and wellbeing of communities. Read more »
Deploying a radical, new customer experience platform in 90 days seems on par with startups, but what about a major company? MetLife takes its big data challenges on by staying lean. Read more »
In an attempt to get more riders during slower times, Lyft is introducing a “Happy Hour” discount that cuts prices at times of low demand. Read more »
Monday was a rough day for ridesharing companies in Seattle, as Geekwire reports that the city council voted to approve a cap on ridesharing programs. The council voted unanimously to limit the number of cars allowed on Seattle roads to 150 per company, separating the regulations of a “transportation network company” from the longstanding Seattle taxi and for-hire service. The ordinance is expected to go into effect 30 days after Seattle mayor Ed Murray signs it (he has no veto power as the vote was unanimous). It’s a crushing blow to ridesharing companies that have set up shop in Seattle and see it as a key to the Pacific Northwest.
Facebook is putting its interest in curation to work, as its alternative mobile app Facebook Paper will partner with the TED brand and curate the “Ideas” vertical during the TED 2014 conference in Vancouver this week. According to an email from Facebook, the partnership will bring exclusive content surrounding the TED talks, as well as news and insights related to the talks and conference, to Facebook Paper. This is also the first branded partnership for the app since its launch a few months ago.
Google is having some Monday troubles, as Hangouts, Google Talk and Drive are down for many users. Read more »
Sina Weibo, a Chinese microblogging company that operates much like Twitter, has filed an IPO to raise money in America. Read more »
Secret has finally spoken up about that rumored funding round it had last week, clarifying the number and offering some pertinent user statistics for the 45-day-old app in a Medium post that went live Friday. The company confirmed that it raised $8.6 million from the likes of Google Ventures, Alexis Ohanian, Pete Cashmore and others — a slightly lower number than the reported $10 million from last week. In addition, it noted two interesting facts: 75 percent of people with more than five friends open the app daily, and 90 percent of users that engage in a conversation come back within the week.
Uber’s insurance policy has gotten a makeover, designed to erase ambiguity for how drivers are covered while on the job. Read more »
Facebook is pulling the trigger on its video ad unit, which it began testing back in December. Read more »
Ticketing and event startup Eventbrite may be getting ready for a big year:
Fortune reports the company just raised $60 million in new funding, with participation from Tiger Global and T. Rowe Price, at a $1 billion valuation. Eventbrite, which is rumored to be a likely candidate for a 2014 IPO, confirmed that a round of funding was raised, but declined to give specifics. The money will reportedly go toward expansion and product development.
WhatsApp is challenging a security report claiming weakness in its Android app, calling the threat “overstated” and the report inaccurate. Read more »
Travel website Hipmunk is known for its minimalist UI — which turns flight searches into organizable, tabbed windows — but its interface is getting more useful to those who search for travel both at home and on the go. On Wednesday, the company announced “Hipmunk Anywhere,” a cross-platform feature that allows users to start their search on a computer or mobile device, and pick it up on another device. The feature requires users to log in, but cross-platform coverage not only means that users can start searching on one platform and finish on another, but they can actively track long-term searches via tabs.
Google Capital has done it again, this time leading a major round for finance website Credit Karma. Read more »
Twitter, and apps that rely on Twitter’s API, were down Tuesday around 11:10 PT. Read more »
Instagram users for Android have a big update coming their way, as the company announced Tuesday that the redesigned Instagram 5.1 for Android cuts loading times in half. The boost in speed, according to the company, is the result of cleaning up the app’s design — it’s half as large as Instagram 5.0. The smaller package and sleeker design also help with Instagram’s accessibility — a lighter app means better performance on lower-end phones.
Whisper is already raking in more money from a new funding round led by Shasta Ventures. Read more »
After updating its News Feed last week, Facebook has introduced a one-column, minimalist look for Pages. Read more »
Facebook is finally rolling out that News Feed redesign it has talked about for a year, but the end result is a lot less drastic than it was originally meant to be. Read more »
Facebook will crack down on how guns are sold on its platform, but is it enough to curb it entirely? Read more »
Adventure and travel site Peek announced on Wednesday that it’s raised $5 million in a Series A funding round led by Montage Ventures. The company, which operates as part travel guide, part deals and booking service, is best known for its high-profile investor pool: Twitter’s Jack Dorsey and Google’s Eric Schmidt participated in the company’s initial seed round of $1.4 million. The company says that the money will go towards expanding Peek’s reach to 11 new cities (it currently operates domestically and internationally, including cities like San Francisco, New York and London) as well as accelerating its vendor platform, Peek Professional.
Twitch’s latest SDK allows users to livestream plays of their favorite mobile games. Read more »
Google Capital is taking a foray into real estate with a large investment in Auction.com. Read more »
Facebook is reportedly in talks to acquire a drone company as a way of expanding its Internet.org initiative. Read more »
Events-focused site Meetup has been offline intermittently since Thursday, due to a massive DDoS attack on the company’s servers. According to a blog post from co-founder and CEO Scott Heiferman, it’s the first attack of this magnitude in the 12 years since Meetup was founded, and the chain of attacks were attached to a ransom of $300. The company made the decision not to negotiate with the hackers, and continues to fight off attacks — as of 10 a.m. PST, the website remains down and redirects to the blog post.
On Monday, Kickstarter announced that it passed the $1 billion dollar mark in pledges to projects, with a few interesting insights into how that money was raised. Read more »
Former Jawbone co-founder Alex Asseily is now in the business of opinions with his new social network, State, where users can express their feelings on millions of topics. Read more »
If you’ve taken Uber before, you know all about surge pricing: when cars in the area are limited, Uber can raise the fare price of the ride to astronomical levels. It’s a pain point for users that’s likely to become more painful now that a report from The Verge reveals the company purposefully kept drivers off the road in San Diego to encourage surge pricing and “to make earnings even higher” for drivers. Uber confirmed the message, saying the company wanted to “reward” its drivers with good paychecks. While those seem like good intentions, the fact that Uber is subjectively controlling its prices in some markets goes against the supply-and-demand pricing the company has touted in the past.
Rideshare companies are struggling to navigate the nuances of auto insurance policies, which currently leave drivers to rely on personal insurance in between rides. Read more »
Twitter users may see something new when they search: The company announced via a blog post Tuesday that it will now include “relevant promoted accounts” in search results. (Promoted tweets have shown up in search results since 2010.) The promoted accounts will show up in Twitter’s “who to follow” recommendations. The move is clearly a way to add value for brands that advertise on Twitter — but it may turn off users looking to get the right answer to their query, not just who has paid enough to appear on top.
Facebook email, a service you probably never used, is going to the app graveyard today. Read more »
Uber remains the top dog in the rising transportation app market, but its surge pricing model — which places a multiplier on rates when traffic is high — has drawn ire from many users. But CEO Travis Kalanick said at the 2014 LAUNCH Festival today that the company is making the process more “humane” by adding push notifications to users when surge pricing ends, according to The Next Web. The notifications, which will roll out to iPhone users next week and Android users in the near future, may keep users from obsessively refreshing the app to get a better price, but it doesn’t solve the problem of enraging users when they need rides the most.
Facebook’s latest acquisition, WhatsApp, will roll out voice calling to all users sometime during the second quarter of this year. Read more »
Airbnb’s new safety laws make sure guests have access to first aid and working fire detection technology. Read more »
Anonymous confessional app Secret has a new update that will give users more control over posts. Read more »
After nine years of leadership, Y Combinator founder Paul Graham is stepping down as president and passing the title on to entrepreneur Sam Altman. Read more »