Stories for Jul. 10, 2014
In Brief

Turns out I’m not the only hater in town when it comes to the “solar freakin’ roadways” project. Since I wrote that “we don’t need solar roadways, we need to unleash current solar panels,” back in May the solar roadway’s Indiegogo project raised $2.2 million, over double their goal of $1 million. But Scientific American just published a well researched take down of the hard road ahead that such a technology would face — the article looks into the technical and cost hurdles. Check it out here if you’ve been following this project.

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A handful of technology companies big and small have vowed to support and contribute to Kubernetes, Google’s open source technology for managing Docker containers. That’s a big boon for portability in cloud computing, and a good way for Google to show off its infrastructure edge. Read more »

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In Brief

Ads from the U.K. government, charities and multinational corporations have been running ahead of jihadi recruitment videos on sites like YouTube and Dailymotion, a BBC investigation has revealed. That may mean the likes of the National Citizen Service (NCS) and Oxfam have been unwittingly putting money into the pockets of Islamist extremists, as uploaders get a cut of the ads shown before their videos. Following the investigation, NCS, Oxfam and the BBC itself – in a similar position – have complained and/or had their ads removed from the offending videos. YouTube said it removes violent extremist videos when users flag them up.

Google (GOOG)
photo: Getty Images / Justin Sullivan

The web giant’s investment arm is setting up a London office. Details are pretty sketchy when it comes to the type of investments it will make, and it certainly isn’t the biggest pot in town, but Google says European startups have “enormous potential”. Read more »

Stories for Jul. 9, 2014
In Brief

Aereo isn’t ready to give up, and just revealed its plan B in a court filing: The company wants to get access to broadcast networks through compulsory licenses, arguing that now that the Supreme Court found it to be like a cable system, it wants to be treated as such (hat tip to the Hollywood Reporter.) That’s a stark contrast from Aereo’s previous stance, but it’s also a maneuver unlikely to succeed, as my colleague Jeff John Roberts recently explained.

In Brief

Two news stories from Wednesday — one about a startup trying to play data broker between user and website and another about a study into what people would charge for their personal data — offer more evidence that there’s an appetite for a market where consumers sell their data to advertisers and website. The idea isn’t new (we wrote about its traction back in 2012) and actually has merit because it puts money in consumers’ pockets and higher-quality data in advertisers’ databases. But monetizing the idea might be easier said than done: Enliken, one of the startups we covered in that 2012 piece, appears to have closed its doors.

In Brief

You may think the U.S. fell short on telecom competition, but in Mexico a single company has long dominated the communications landscape: América Móvil. It services 70 percent of all mobile connections and 80 percent of all landline phone links in the country. But billionaire Carlos Slim, the carrier’s controlling owner, is bowing to regulator pressure and is divesting substantial portions of Slim’s empire, according to Bloomberg. The sales and spin offs will reduce América Móvil’s market share in mobile and wireline to below 50 percent, as well as remove it from the communications tower and satellite TV businesses. It doesn’t look as if América Móvil’s substantial operations in Latin America or the U.S. (where it owns prepaid giant TracFone) will be affected.

In Brief

Dell launched two new Android tablets Wednesday, built around Intel’s new 64-bit Merrifield SoCs and dual-core Atom processor. Although the current version of Android is 32-bit, these tablets should be able to take advantage when Android L, with 64-bit support, is released to the public. The 7-inch Venue model, with a 1280 x 800 resolution screen, costs $150. The Venue 8,which sports a full 1920 x 1200 display, can be had for as little as $180. At those prices, you’re getting a pretty good value — just don’t confuse them with Dell’s impressive Venue 8 Pro, which runs Windows.

In Brief

Android Chromecast mirror
photo: Google

Hints of Android devices streaming their screens to a Chromecast appeared months ago and now the feature is live. Officially announced at Google I/O, certain Android devices can now mirror their display to a large screen using a Chromecast. The feature is technically a beta and Google says support for additional devices is coming soon. To use the feature, Android users will need the updated Chromecast version 1.7 app found in the Google Play Store. With the right device and updated app, anything you see on your Android’s small screen can now be shared on a larger screen.

In Brief

Swedish Square competitor iZettle has added an extra €5 million ($6.8 million) to the Series C round it announced back in May, bringing the total for the round to €45 million ($61.2 million), and iZettle’s total investment thus far to €85 million ($118 million). The new cash comes from Hasso Plattner Ventures, the SAP co-founder’s investment vehicle, while existing investors include banking and payment giants American Express, MasterCard and Banco Santander. As usual, iZettle says it will use the money to sell its little card readers in more countries.

In Brief

It’s not just the U.S. that wants air passengers to prove their electronic devices aren’t bombs by turning them on – the same now goes in the U.K., according to an update from aviation authorities on Tuesday. The authorities refused to say which routes were affected, so all passengers flying into and out of the U.K. will have to charge their devices before traveling, on pain of having those phones, tablets and laptops confiscated. Meanwhile British Airways announced even more restrictive measures on Monday – passengers with dead devices wouldn’t be able to fly, whether or not they offer to abandon the devices — but later backed down.

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