Like Protonet, Sherlybox offers a collaboration-friendly alternative to public cloud services — although this Raspberry Pi-based device can also play nicely with those services as well, for those who want it. Read more »
We’ve covered TransferWise quite a few times – along with one or two rivals such as CurrencyFair, the London-based financial technology startup offers a genuinely disruptive foreign exchange service that significantly undercuts the banks. Its backers apparently also continue to see great potential: having led TransferWise’s $6 million Series A round just over a year ago, PayPal co-founder Peter Thiel’s Valar Ventures has again participated in the firm’s $25 million Series B, alongside Index Ventures, Virgin boss Richard Branson, IA Ventures, TAG, and Le Monde owner Xavier Niel. TransferWise, run by former Skype director Taavet Hinrikus, says it will use the funds for marketing.
Google is still dealing with the fallout of a “right to be forgotten” law. The company has suggested it will leave a marker where search results used to be — but it’s unclear whether the law will allow Google to do so. Read more »
Can we turn ordinary plants into sensors, in order to learn more about the environment? A bunch of European researchers with nearly $1.5 million in funding think it can be done. Read more »
The carrier group has published a very lengthy and reasonably detailed breakdown of its interactions with law enforcement and spy agencies, covering 29 countries where its operators have faced metadata and wiretap requests. Read more »
It may seem obvious, but it’s a ruling that puts to rest a genuine debate in Europe over the limits of copyright law. Read more »
Finally, a full-blown investigation has been launched. It’s only focusing on the phone-bugging incident, though, not the NSA’s alleged surveillance of normal Germans. Read more »
The German company has set what appears to be a new record for crowdfunding a million bucks. The cash will mostly go towards the launch of Protonet’s privacy-centric Maya server for individuals and small teams. Read more »
The not-at-all-creepily-named “digital engagement” firm LivePerson has bought a German startup called Synchronite for its co-browsing technology. The deal should help LivePerson boost its real-time customer service product by allowing agents to see what the customer sees, so they can guide him through form-filling, completing purchases and other functions of the client’s website. Other outfits doing similar things include Unblu, LiveLook and Firefly. The purchase price for Mannheim’s Synchronite was not revealed.
With 93 percent global penetration already, the mobile industry is on pace to surpass 100 percent in 2015, according to new projections from wireless infrastructure maker Ericsson. Read more »
Finland’s Pryte developed technology that lets carriers charge for mobile data on a per-app, short-term-pass basis. Is this the way forward for Facebook’s Internet.org initiative? Read more »
A new right to remove results from Google poses hard choices for Europe. It offers people a chance to forget and start over, but also recalls the continent’s early efforts to whitewash the past. Read more »
The SPARC partnership between the European Commission and the private sector will create many jobs and help keep Europe competitive, the Commission claims. Read more »
Wearable computing and the internet of things are two trends that are set to take off and ARM – the British company whose processor designs already power the vast majority of the world’s mobile devices – wants to be riding those rockets. On Monday ARM announced a new CPU design center in Taiwan that will focus on ARM Cortex-M processors for the internet of things, wearables and other embedded systems that require connectivity delivered through a small form factor with low power consumption. ARM CEO Simon Segars said the new center, due to open this year, will allow the firm to “work even more closely with key regional partners seeking to accelerate this market.”
The web giant’s plans reportedly involve sending at least 180 small satellites into the skies to enable connectivity using Ku-band spectrum. However, as with Facebook’s Internet.org initiative, it’s not clear who would pick up the bill down the line. Read more »
The Austrian-German company, which is a finalist in this year’s Structure Launchpad contest, offers technology born out of the frustration of scaling a large social network. Read more »
Confidential documents from the BND, Germany’s answer to the NSA and GCHQ, suggest the agency could soon get major funding to improve its online surveillance and hacking capabilities. Read more »
Nokia has bought a virtual travel agent, one that just happens to have deeper insight than a typical search engine into travel destinations and your own personal preferences. Read more »
The search engine has begun to comply with a landmark Court of Justice of the European Union ruling that says people must be able to force search providers to de-link certain content about them that is out-of-date or unwelcome. Read more »
The U.K.’s keenness to identify and prosecute online trolls and bullies is well-documented, but a Freedom of Information request by Sky News has given us some numbers. The channel found that British police deal with around 20 “social media abuse” cases a day. In the last 3 years, there have been 20,000 investigations involving adults and almost 2,000 targeting children – although, since around a third of police forces did not give up their data, the number must be higher. Over 1,200 children have been “charged with a criminal offence or given a caution, warning or fine,” including four 10-year-olds and one 9-year-old. All this points to both a serious bullying problem and increasing watchfulness over what happens online.
The city’s transport authority says it reckons the services of companies like Uber don’t qualify for regulation in the same way as traditional taxi services do, but it realizes the law is unclear on this point and wants senior judges to step in. Read more »
The configuration management specialist has taken on Justin Arbuckle, a long-time systems architect in the banking industry, as chief of its expanding European operations. Read more »
Facebook has asked the European Commission’s antitrust watchdog to review its $19 billion takeover of the messaging service WhatsApp, according to the Wall Street Journal and also my own sources. The move may seem counterintuitive, but it would save Facebook the hassle of seeking regulatory approval in each European member state. European carriers in particular are reportedly worried that the deal – already green-lit by U.S. regulators — would give Facebook too much leverage in the SMS-revenue-stealing mobile messaging market. Personally, I think that market is in too much flux for a dominant position to be a sure thing just now, at least in Europe, but the concern is understandable.
Witness the power of forward-thinking net neutrality law in action! This sort of thing could be hugely detrimental to the growth plans of Facebook in particular, but it’s ultimately very pro-consumer. Read more »
Turns out Chromecast didn’t just launch in Japan and Australia this week: Google is also bringing its streaming stick to Belgium, Switzerland and Portugal. Combined with the European launch earlier this year and the expansion to South Korea two weeks ago, this means that Chromecast is now available in a total of 18 countries. Google VP of Product Management Mario Queiroz told me late last year that the company intended to launch in “a number of international markets,” in 2014, adding that people were going to be “pleasantly surprised” by the scope of this international expansion.
The system is one of several options being weighed by Germany after this month’s seismic European ruling about the removal of unwelcome information from search results. It sounds ominous, but it beats automated takedown. Read more »
The personal details of hundreds of thousands of people were taken in an attack on the antivirus outfit’s web forum. Read more »
MaidSafe’s project is absurdly ambitious — a serverless network system that offers free storage, repels surveillance and effectively constitutes a distributed supercomputer. But maybe, just maybe, it might work. Read more »
Even the giant IT vendors themselves admit we’re in for a huge shakeout. The question is which of them will be left standing — or independent — in two to three years. Read more »
The German company has come up with a way to turn anything into a user interface, through a combination of existing augmented reality techniques and thermal imaging. Read more »
Russia’s new Kremlin-friendly search engine Sputnik – planned since last year — reportedly achieved lift-off on Thursday. As spotted by Tech.eu on Wednesday and confirmed to me today by local sources, Sputnik was launched on Thursday by state-controlled Rostelecom. Recent reports suggest the venture cost $42 million to develop and Sputnik, unavailable from outside the country, will be the default search engine for government departments and state-controlled companies. Russia is increasingly keen on censoring the internet there, and having an amenable search engine will prove useful to the authorities … if they can get significant numbers of people to switch from rivals such as Google and market leader Yandex. Sputnik’s name may harken back to past days of technological glory, but it’s also fitting for these days of Cold War revivalism.
It’s nice of Vodafone to give customers a free Netflix subscription, but the promotion highlights the absurdity of running a 3GB-per-hour service on a plan that only offers 3GB a month. Read more »
Truphone’s international service zone just got 58 countries bigger. Its business customers can now travel from Europe to China to Mexico while tapping the same bucket of minutes, text messages and gigabytes. Read more »
Putting a surface transducer into a charging dock is quite smart, as is the functionality run through an accompanying app. Read more »
The investment bodes well for business models built around security and privacy, and for the chances of the soon-to-be-released Blackphone. Read more »
Netflix is making its worst-kept secret official: It’s expanding to Germany, France and four adjacent countries later this year. Read more »
Sigfox’s dedicated wireless network for the internet of things will debut in the U.S. in the next few months. The low-power, low-bandwidth network is optimized for the expected explosion of smart sensors, appliances and wearables. Read more »
Bloom.fm was hoping to find a buyer to continue its service, but a possible deal fell through at the last minute. Read more »
The small IaaS player, which already offers an array of infrastructure to small businesses through VARs, says the money will help it add to its roster in part via strategic acquisitions. Read more »
If you think SoundCloud you probably think of music first, but that’s not all the platform is about — maybe Twitter was thinking more Vine than Spotify when it looked into the Berlin-based audio outfit. Read more »