Stories for Jun. 25, 2014

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In Brief

The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) on Wednesday approved a final settlement with fourteen companies that allegedly breached the U.S.-EU Safe Harbor treaty, which requires U.S. companies to adhere to the EU’s privacy laws in their storage of EU customer data. As a result of the settlements, the companies — including BitTorrent, DataMotion, Level 3 Communications, Apperian and others — must not misrepresent themselves if they say they are complying with government-sponsored privacy or data security programs or “any other self-regulatory or standard-setting organization.” The FTC filed its original complaint in January.

In Brief

Pay-by-bitcoin will be a new payment option for invoices, thanks to a free service from Intuit announced today. Small businesses who use QuickBooks Online can register for a wallet with Coinbase and link it to their account. Intuit’s new PayByCoin service then allows customers to pay with bitcoin (in addition to all the normal ways) and the business records the transaction as usual. How many people will use the service? It will depend on how many existing customers already have quantities of bitcoin laying around to spend, but it’s still a move that makes it just a little bit easier for businesses to accept the cryptocurrency.

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In Brief

Germany’s Moviepilot has taken an unusual trajectory, beginning as a film recommendation site called Moviepilot.de and expanding into the U.S. and elsewhere with a fan site called Moviepilot.com. Now it’s going to focus on the newer company with a fresh $20 million cash infusion that comes from French media firm Webedia, the proud new owners of Moviepilot.de. The German site has 5 million monthly users and 2 million Facebook fans, along with popular German-language YouTube channels. Moviepilot CEO Tobias Bauckhage said the sale would let his team “press ahead with even more energy and focus on our expansion into the U.S. market.”

In Brief

On July 1st, you might notice some changes on your Samsung Galaxy device. The Korean company is renaming its app store from the — somewhat unoriginal – Samsung Apps name it currently uses to Samsung Galaxy Apps. It’s a minor change, but another sign that Samsung’s simplifying its branding, and using Galaxy as its term for its Android hardware and software. The move gives Samsung a way to distinguish between the app store it hopes springs up for its homegrown Tizen operating system and the app store it installs on Android devices. Samsung has already removed the Galaxy moniker from its Tizen-based smartwatch, the Gear 2.

Stories for Jun. 24, 2014
In Brief

The day before Google’s annual developer conference, Google Glass is getting a lot of improvements. First, although Glass receives subtle hardware tweaks from time to time, its Google Plus page has announced a bump to 2GB of RAM and a slightly bigger battery, among “several [other] hardware updates.” Second, there are 12 new Glassware apps available for download, including Shazam, Duolingo, and other big names. A complete list is here. There’s also a general software update that brings a viewfinder to the device’s camera function. Google’s I/O conference may be the largest collection of Glass Explorers ever assembled, but we’re not expecting a ton of Glass announcements. However, there are three Glass-centered sessions scheduled for Thursday.

Whisper may get lumped in with Secret and other trendy anonymous-sharing apps, but the editorial team behind the service — led by former Gawker writer Neetzan Zimmerman — is doing some interesting things with it from a journalistic perspective, and that bears watching Read more »

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