Stories for Apr. 16, 2014

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Stories for Apr. 15, 2014
In Brief

Automattic, the San Francisco-based company that is responsible for the WordPress web-publishing and blog-hosting platform — and the associated open-source community — is raising a round of venture capital that could value the company at $1 billion or more, according to a report in Fortune magazine. The financing is said to be in the $100-million to $150-million range. WordPress recently acquired Longreads, a content-sharing community, and has said it wants to get more into content recommendation. Web-publishing competitor Squarespace just closed a financing round of its own that was worth $40 million.

Disclosure: Automattic is backed by True Ventures, a venture capital firm that is an investor in the parent company of Gigaom.

In Brief

CrOS docking

Google’s Chrome OS is looking more and more like a traditional desktop operating system when it comes to usability and familiarity. Now, when using a Chrome app that normally opens in a small window, you can drag it to the side of your display and the main browser will automatically re-size to make room. Microsoft introduced a similar feature called Snap in Windows 7 and it works the same in Chrome OS. That’s likely not a coincidence. Working in a browser-based environment is a big change for some after decades of using Microsoft Windows. By replicating existing usability and navigation features, Chrome OS becomes more familiar to new users.

In Brief

Google has been quietly transforming Google+ into a useful way for Android users to backup and share photos, and its newest Gmail integration, announced Tuesday morning, is pretty nifty. If you use Auto Backup to offload and organize photos from an Android phone, the Insert Photo button gives you a one-click way to include those shots into a message when using Gmail on the web. In addition to the one-click feature, all photos inserted into Gmail now have re-sizing handles: To change the display size of a photo, simply drag a corner. Perhaps this isn’t as awesome — or silly — as Auto Awesome, but it’s certainly convenient.

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