Tech

Why IGTV should go premium
techcrunch.com
It’s been four months since Facebook launched IGTV, with the goal of creating a destination for longer-form Instagram videos. Is it shaping up to be a high-profile flop, or could this be the company’s next multi-billion-dollar business? IGTV, which features videos up to 60 minutes versus Instagram’s normal 60-second limit, hasn’t made much of a splash yet. Since there are no ads yet, it hasn’t made a dollar, either. But, it offers Facebook the opportunity to dominate a new category of premium video, and to develop a subscription business that better aligns with high-quality content. Facebook worked with numerous media brands and celebrities to shoot high-quality, vertical videos for IGTV’s launch on June 20, as both a dedicated app and a section within the main Instag [...]
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Microsoft’s new expense tracker Spend hits the App Store
techcrunch.com
The team behind mileage-tracking app MileIQ, a company Microsoft acquired a few years ago, is out with a new application. This time, the focus isn’t on tracking miles, but rather expenses. The new app, simply called “Spend,” arrived on the App Store on Thursday, offering automatic expense tracking for work reimbursement purposes or for taxes. Spend doesn’t appear to be a part of some grand Microsoft plan to take on expense tracking industry giants, like Expensify or SAP-owned Concur, for example. At least, not at this time. Instead, the app is a Microsoft Garage project, the App Store clarifies. Microsoft Garage is the company’s internal incubator when employees can test out new ideas to see if they resonate with consumers and business users. Through the prog [...]
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Embracing multimodality, Uber pioneers ride recommendations
techcrunch.com
For the first time, Uber will make contextual, personalized suggestions about the best way to get from point A to point B. The startup offers more than just cars now, and it’s starting to understand the trade-offs between price, speed, convenience and comfort amidst its multi-modal fleet. Most noticeably, you’ll soon see JUMP bikes get premier billing right alongside Uber’s other vehicles. Going a short distance and there’s a charged up bike nearby? Uber will suggest you pedal. Might need extra room for luggage on your way to the airport? UberXL and SUV will appear. Always take cheap Pools? It won’t show you a pricier Black car. Uber is finally getting smart. It has to if it’s going to make sense of its growing patchwork of ride types without overwhelmi [...]
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Spotify’s Premium app gets a big makeover
techcrunch.com
Spotify has given its app a big makeover, with a focus on making the experience better for its paying subscribers. The company has simplified the app’s navigation by reducing the numbers of buttons and has revamped its Search page, which now incorporates elements previously found in “Browse,” like favorite genres or music to match a mood. And it’s given its Radio service a redesign as well, with the addition of new and easy-to-use Artist Radio Playlists. The most immediately noticeable change is the app’s navigation. Spotify has always felt a bit cluttered, with its five navigation buttons – Home, Browse, Search, Radio and My Library. The new app has chopped this down to just three buttons – Home, Search, and My Library. Recommendations will appear [...]
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N26 faces criticism regarding its identification processes
techcrunch.com
Fintech startup N26 is growing quite rapidly. Building a startup is hard, but building a startup that manages your bank account is even harder given the increased scrutiny. German weekly magazine Wirtschaftswoche published an article that questioned N26’s identification processes. According to Wirtschaftswoche, it’s quite easy to create an account with a fake ID document. “One or two people got through with a fake ID document. And we detected that afterward. Unfortunately, we didn't detect it in real time,” co-founder and CEO Valentin Stalf told me. “Unfortunately, it can happen.” But Stalf also insisted that it’s not a widespread problem and that all banks face the same issue. According to him, N26 complies with all regulations when it comes to onboarding. Currently, N [...]
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Macaw will curate Twitter for you, help expand your network
techcrunch.com
Twitter today inserts activity-based tweets into your timeline, alerting you to things like the popular tweets liked by people you follow, or those Twitter accounts that a lot of people in your network have just started to follow. These alerts can be useful, but their timing is sporadic and they can be easily missed. Plus, if you turn off Twitter’s algorithmic timeline (as may be possible for some), you’ll lose access to this sort of info. A new Twitter app called Macaw aims to help. Macaw, which recently launched on Product Hunt, offers a set of similar information as Twitter does, with a few changes. Macaw works by first pulling in a list of people you follow. It then tracks what tweets they like throughout the day and turns that into a feed of tweets that were most popular. [...]
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With TodayTix Presents, TodayTix is starting to produce its own live shows
techcrunch.com
Mobile ticketing app TodayTix is getting into the show production business with the launch of a new program called TodayTix Presents. While TodayTix is sometimes described as the mobile version of the TKTS booth where you can pick up last-minute tickets to Broadway shows, CEO Brian Fenty said that he sees the service’s real competitors as “anything you can do with your night, outside of work — that’s Netflix and ‘Orange is the New Black,’ that’s post-season baseball, that’s a pitcher of margarita.” At the same time, Fenty said after driving a total of $250 million in sales and to 4.6 million customers, the company has built a rich trove of data about people’s cultural interests. So with that in mind, it made sense for TodayTix to fol [...]
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Truphone, an eSIM mobile carrier that works with Apple, raises another $71M, now valued at $507M
techcrunch.com
Truphone — a UK startup that provides global mobile voice and data services by way of an eSIM model for phones, tablets and IoT devices — said that it has raised another £18 million ($23.7 million) in funding; plus it said it has secured £36 million ($47 million) more “on a conditional basis” to expand its business after signing “a number of high-value deals.” It doesn’t specify which deals these are, but Truphone was an early partner of Apple’s to provide eSIM-based connectivity to the iPad — that is, a way to access a mobile carrier without having to swap in a physical SIM card, which has up to now been the standard for GMSA-based networks. Truphone is expanding on this by offering a service for new iPhone XS and XR models, taking [...]
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