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Archivo del Autor: Belen De Leon

Scooter startup Bird is reportedly about to hit a $2B valuation

More financing is coming in for Bird, this time potentially valuing the company at $2 billion, according to a new report by Axios.

There’s not a ton to add here compared to the last round (which happened just weeks ago), as the same dynamics are probably in play here. While Uber was a bet on car rides and generally getting around, Bird is that but at a dramatically more granular level — thinking short hops of a few miles in congested areas. Startups that are exceedingly hot can sometimes pull off these rolling rounds where investors are coming in at various points, especially as the model further proves out over time.

If you live in a major metropolitan area, you’ve probably seen Bird (and Lime) scooters hanging out on the sidewalks — potentially knocked over in a spot where someone might trip over them while checking his or her phone. That’s been a point of tension in areas like San Francisco, where Bird has had to temporarily come off the sidewalks as a permit system rolls out. Bird isn’t the first mobility-focused service that has faced regulatory challenges before, but it is one that’s become very popular very quickly.

This too, as Axios notes, could be an easy play to get into a hot market that a major ridesharing company could want to buy its way into. Uber acquired Jump, an on-demand bike service, in the midst of its own financing round. While bikes don’t seem to be getting quite the hype that scooters are, Lyft is also planning to acquire Motivate, an on-demand biking network.

Bird just weeks ago raised $150 million at a $1 billion valuation, while Lime raised an additional $250 million. Bird was valued at $300 million in a financing round earlier this year.


Source: TechCrunch

Marvel's Luke Cage season 2 trailer teases a mean queen – CNET

Will she rule Harlem?
Source: CNET

Amino raises $45M for to bring fan communities to smartphones

Amino has raised a big Series C round of funding — $45 million from GV, Venrock, Union Square Ventures, Goodwater Capital and Time Warner Investments, with Hearst Ventures joining as a new investor.

Co-founder and CEO Ben Anderson has described Amino as an way to help people who have “passionate niche interests” find others who feel the same way, via smartphone apps.

The company started out with apps focused a handful of topics like K-pop, anime and Doctor Who, but it later added the ability for anyone to launch a new community in the main Amino app, and there are now more than 2.5 million communities.

Of course, some of these communities are more active than others, and there’s some overlap between them — but Max Sebela, who’s general manager for Amino’s English-language apps, said there’s less than you might think, because “each interest is actually a universe of micro interest.” For example, there might be one community focused on sharing strategy and tactics around the video game Overwatch, while another might revolve around sharing Overwatch fan art.

Ultimately, Sebela said it’s up to the founders and leaders of each community to decide what the community wants to focus on, and which product features they want to use to enable that. Meanwhile, Anderson said Amino is constantly tweaking its algorithms to make sure it’s surfacing the best communities for each user.

“Instead of one big, blue ocean, we provide a million lakes and help you find the exact right one,” he added.

Amino Voice Chats

Perhaps even more impressive than the number of communities is the amount of time the average user spends in Amino — more than 70 minutes per day.

One of the initial inspirations for the startup was a real-world anime convention, and Amino getting closer to that experience with the addition of features like live voice and video chat, as well as the screening room, where you can watch videos with other users.

During our conversation, Sebela opened up one of the K-Pop communities on his phone and was quickly able to listen in on a chat room where multiple users were singing along together. (Sadly, we didn’t join the singing.)

“The technology not super unique,” Anderson acknowledged. “What makes it really special is, I can voice chat with my friends on a lot of idfferent networks, but here I can hop in and join a voice chat with 10 Harry Potter fans who I may not know in my real life.”

While these features are already live, Anderson said they’ve been “downplayed” while Amino tests them out and works out the kinks. Now it’s ready to put them “front-and-center” in the app.

Amino has now raised more than $70 million in total funding.

It’s also been testing out ways to make money, which Anderson said will occur primarily through a subscription service — though apparently it’s too early for him to offer more details.


Source: TechCrunch

Tomb Raider, Just Cause 4, Kingdom Hearts 3: Everything Square Enix is showing at E3 2018 – CNET

No Final Fantasy 7 Remake, but plenty of Tomb Raider.
Source: CNET

2019 GMC Yukon Graphite Editions add style and performance – Roadshow

It’s a way to get the 6.2-liter V8 engine without upgrading to the glitzy Denali.
Source: CNET

Germany orders Mercedes to recall 774,000 diesel models – Roadshow

Government authorities are requiring Daimler to fix emissions controls on its vehicles, but the automaker will avoid fines if it does so.
Source: CNET

Google Home can now handle three queries at once

In November, Google Home gained the ability to multitask with added support for a feature called “multiple queries,” which allows you to combine two requests into one voice command. For example, “OK Google, turn up the volume and play music.” Now, Google Home is getting even smarter about multitasking by enabling support three requests at once.

The new feature was announced on Google’s @madebyGoogle Twitter account on Monday, where users quickly discovered its limitations. Unfortunately for Google’s global customer base, multiple queries is only available in the English language for the time being, in the U.S., U.K., Canada and Australia.

The feature works by combining voice queries with the word “and” in between them, to separate the different requests. Each command must also be the sort of thing Google Assistant can respond to on its own without further input or clarification.

That means you can’t ask it to just “set an alarm,” you’d have to say “set an alarm for 7 AM” so it doesn’t need to ask a follow-up question.

Multiple queries was first rolled out in November 2017, also with little fanfare.

But it’s not the only way Google Home can multitask. In February, Google Assistant gained support for Routines, as well, which allow you to create custom workflows kicked off with a single voice command.

For instance, your “I’m home” routine could turn on the lights, adjust the thermostat and play some music. (Alexa also offers routines, as of last October.)

Meanwhile, at Google’s I/O developer conference in May, the company formally announced multiple queries for Google Home (then referred to as “Multiple Actions”), along with a host of other upgrades for Google Home Actions. This included Routine Suggestions, which allow voice app developers to prompt users to add their app’s Action to a Routine, plus Action Notifications, which allows voice apps to alert users to new features and content, and more.

Google is not providing an ETA on when multiple queries will roll out to non-English users, saying only that: “We look forward to supporting additional languages, but have nothing to announce at this time.” 

h/t: Voicebot


Source: TechCrunch

AutoComplete: Byton unveils K-Byte autonomous sedan concept video – Roadshow

Plus: The IIHS crash-tests midsize SUVs with varying results, and Porsche launches its own electric charging service.
Source: CNET

FBI lands a big catch, busts 74 and shuts down $16 million phishing ring

The FBI has coordinated the arrest of more than 70 people in six different countries in a crackdown on phishing scams. The raids targeted corporate fraudsters and managed to recover more than $16 million.

The post FBI lands a big catch, busts 74 and shuts down $16 million phishing ring appeared first on Digital Trends.


Source: Digital trends

Furbo Dog Camera Review: Remotely Amuse Your Pets

The Furbo helps you keep an eye on your dog and reward them, too.
Source: Wired

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