Google’s Tez payments app now lets users handle their utility bills and more
- Google’s Tez payment service in India has got a major update that allows users to pay their utilities and other bills via the app.
- Now the app has gotten support to pay for bills from more than 80 organizations — including national/state electric, gas and water, and TV/internet services — with more to come soon.
- Tez clocked 12 million users in December, just three months after launch, but Google has yet to provide an updated figure.
- WhatsApp, the Facebook-owned messaging app used by over 200 million people in India, began rolling out peer-to-peer payments in the country with the potential to massively disrupt the status quo.
- India is WhatsApp’s largest single country based on users, and the payment feature has been a year in the making prior to its release.
NBA all-star Baron Davis wants to prep athletes and entertainers for the startup game
- The Business Inside the Game (BIG) Power Summit, which took place during the NBA All Star Game weekend extravaganza in Los Angeles, saw Ice Cube and Lyft co-founder John Zimmer talk about disruption with Upfront Ventures board partner and Moviepass co-founder Hamet Watt; basketball stars Chris Paul and Chris Robinson and mega-producer Chris Budnick (the producer of “The Hangover” and “Old School”) shared insights on making an impact beyond sports and entertainment; and a panel of rising startup stars discussed how new technology trends are changing things for sports, entertainment, and culture at large.
- Two Bit Circus founder Brent Bushnell talked about his company’s vision for a new kind of live event space that could leverage the latest technology to be a proving ground and test bed for the latest and greatest in experiential entertainment.
The Real History of TechCrunch
- At the time I was working with Keith Teare on another project called Edgeio, a company that he founded.
- Because founders actually have to do something to help start or build a company, and Keith never did anything but to first try to actively stop me from writing TechCrunch, and afterward to try to get credit for it.
- I’m still gathering information on all of the ones that list Keith as a founder or cofounder of TechCrunch, and my lawyer will be reaching out to all of them to ask that they correct their documents and notify token holders.
- I’m also asking Keith to cease stating that he founded or cofounded TechCrunch, and donate any tokens or currency he has received while saying he did so to a mutually agreeable charity.
- Unlike Keith, she helped build that company, and gave way more value than she ever took.
Facebook will verify the location of U.S. election ad buyers by mailing them postcards
- Facebook’s global director of policy programs says it will start sending postcards by snail mail to verify buyers of ads related to United States elections.
- The cards will be sent to people who want to purchase ads that mention candidates running for federal offices, but not issue-based political ads, Harbath said, and contain a code that buyers need to enter to verify that they are in the U.S. The program is similar to ones used by Google My Business and Nextdoor when they need to verify business owners or users who want to join closed neighborhood groups, respectively.
- Harbath told Reuters that the postcards “won’t solve everything,” but were the most effective method the company came up with to prevent people from using false identities to purchase ads.
- In October, Facebook vice president of ads Rob Goldman published a blog post saying that the platform planned to create more transparency around ads by taking steps that include a searchable archive of federal-election ads and requiring political advertisers to verify their identity.
Technological solutions to technology’s problems feature in “How to Fix The Future”
- Larry Downes Contributor Larry Downes is a senior industry and innovation fellow at Georgetown University's McDonough School of Business.
- Larry Downes is a senior industry and innovation fellow at Georgetown University's McDonough School of Business.
- He is the author of several books on the Internet and business.
- In this edition of Innovate 2018, Andrew Keen finds himself in the hot seat.
- Keen, whose new book, “How to Fix the Future”, was published earlier this month, discusses a moment when it has suddenly become fashionable for tech luminaries to abandon utopianism in favor of its opposite.
- Eschewing much of the over-the-top luddism that now fills the New York Times (“Silicon Valley is Not Your Friends”), the Guardian (“The Tech Insiders Who Fear a Smartphone Dystopia”), and other mainstream media outlets, Keen proffers practical solutions to a wide range of tech-related woes.
South Korea aims for startup gold
- To provide a broader picture of how South Korea stacks up in terms of attracting startup investment and building scalable companies, Crunchbase News put together a data dive looking at funding totals, significant investments, exits and active investors.
- Venture funding for South Korean startups started to take off in 2014, per Crunchbase data.
- While totals are down some over the past few quarters, South Korean startups have continued to attract attention and big checks from both domestic and overseas investors.
- Korea’s startup scene is attracting a large and diverse collection of investors, including Korea-based funds, corporate VCs, Silicon Valley venture firms and others.
- Crunchbase data shows that more than 150 angel, seed, incubator and VC and corporate venture investors have participated in funding rounds for Korea-based companies over the past five years.
Fake news is an existential crisis for social media
- And, indeed, the social media firms themselves, whose platforms have been the unwitting conduits for lots of this stuff, shaping the data they release about it — in what can look suspiciously like an attempt to downplay the significance and impact of malicious digital propaganda, because, well, that spin serves their interests.
- In the case of Russian digital meddling connected to the UK’s 2016 Brexit referendum, which we now know for sure existed — still without having all of the data we need to quantify the actual impact, the chairman of a UK parliamentary committee that’s running an enquiry into fake news has accused both Twitter and Facebook of essentially ignoring requests for data and help, and doing none of the work the committee asked of them.
The CC Aurora is actually pretty fun, as far as projectors go
- From the looks of it, it’s kind of the perfect package for the apartment dweller: it’s compact, self-contained with a built-in speaker system and plays nicely with mobile devices.
- There’s actually a pretty nice controller included in the package, but really, why use it when you’ve got your phone.
- Once the fairly painless setup process is done, you’ll see a menu on the screen, containing a handful of apps, including YouTube and an Office reader, which I suppose is handy if you need a projector for work-related purposes.
- You’ll essentially input the projector as an extended display — again, a fairly painless process, though you may have to futz with the resolution a bit to get things right.
- The product’s MSRP will be around $600 — a bit of a tall order if you don’t feel like you absolutely need a projector in your life (a statement I assume applies to most humans).
Here’s how to keep track of Elon Musk’s Roadster and Starman in space
- Elon Musk’s Starman, the mannequin driver of the Tesla Roadster SpaceX launched aboard its Falcon Heavy rocket, is taking a trip around our solar system, in a large elliptical orbit that will bring him relatively close to Mars, the Sun and other heavenly bodies.
- Thanks to the work of Ben Pearson, a SpaceX fan and electrical engineer working in the aerospace industry, who created ‘Where is Roadster,’ a website that makes use of JPL Horizons data to track the progress of the Roadster and Starman through space, and to predict its path and let you know when it’ll come close to meeting up with various planets and the Sun. The website tells you the Roadster’s current position, too, as well as its speed and whether it’s moving towards or away from Earth and Mars at any given moment.
Robot assistants and a marijuana incubator
- We’ve had plenty of time to get used to our robot overlords and Boston Dynamics is helping us get there.
- This week we talk about the company’s addition of a door-opening arm to its SpotMini robot.
- It’s not spooky at all.
- We then switch gears and discuss Facebook’s Messenger for Kids.
- Is it good, bad or the company’s master plan to get every last human being with a smartphone on the platform?
- Later in the episode, MRD chats with Lanese Martin, co-founder of the Hood Incubator.
- The Hood Incubator is an Oakland-based organization that aims to foster equity in the marijuana industry.
- Through its programming, Hood Incubator supports people of color building businesses in the legal marijuana industry.
- Check it out at the top or head over to your favorite podcasting platform to download, subscribe and rate.
- Until next week!