Facebook’s internet.org portal, which emerging-market carriers offer for free in order to give new customers a taste of the web, has rolled out in the Indian states of Tamil Nadu, Mahararashtra, Andhra Pradesh, Gujarat, Kerala and Telangana. Provided by Reliance Communications, the app includes free access to almost 40 services and information sources. If someone wants to click through to the open web, they need to start paying. This scenario exemplifies the mixed impact of “zero-rating” particular content in emerging markets: it gets people online for the first time, offering potentially life-changing services from job search to farming information, but it also raises net neutrality issues by promoting the idea of Facebook’s portal effectively being the internet.
Sight Machine, a startup trying to simplify the collection and analysis of industrial data, has raised a $5 million venture capital round from Mercury Fund, Michigan eLab, Huron River Ventures, Orfin Ventures and Funders Club, as well as its existing investors. The company originally focused on computer vision and letting users easily analyze images from assembly-line cameras, but has expanded its platform to include data from sensors, robots, and other industrial instruments and systems. Sight Machine was co-founded by Nathan Oostendorp, who also co-founded tech news site Slashdot.
SpaceX aborted the launch of its Falcon 9 rocket today due to problems with an Air Force radar tracker. The mission is designed to carry NASA’s Deep Space Climate Observatory, a space weather satellite, to space. It is also SpaceX’s second attempt to land its rocket back on Earth, which would be a major step in creating reusable rockets to bring down the cost of spaceflight.