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Tag Archives: google-maps

Facebook paid $88 million this year to build out its Seattle area Oculus hub

Facebook continues to expand its VR ambitions in the Pacific Northwest. The company has been quietly growing its footprint 16 miles East of Seattle, in Microsoft’s backyard. A new analysis by real estate resource BuildZoom sheds additional light on the Menlo Park-based company’s efforts to build a satellite virtual reality HQ in and around Seattle. Over the last three years, Facebook has spent $106 million on construction and development permits for Oculus offices in Redmond. In 2018 alone, Facebook spent $88.3 million on Oculus -related permits for as many as eight new offices in the area. BuildZoom’s analysis identifies five properties in particular, all on Willow Road in Redmond, that span more than 90,000 square feet of lab and office space. Those locations are 10545 Willows Rd., 10785 Willows Rd., 9805 Willows Rd., 9845 Willows Rd. and 9461 Willow Road. Last November, Seattle-based news site GeekWire reported that Facebook was on the hunt for 200,000 square feet worth of R&D space in Redmond, to expand its existing Oculus research efforts there. At the time, Oculus listed more than 60 job positions in Redmond in additional to a smaller amount of hiring for its Oculus operations in Seattle proper. Oculus is currently hiring for 121 positions in Redmond , with 42 of them in research. 9805 Willows Rd, via Google Maps TechCrunch reached out to Facebook about its plans for the new Oculus offices but the company declined to comment. Late last year, an Oculus spokesperson told TechCrunch that the company is growing its Seattle team to achieve its goal to “ get 1 billion people into VR .” This May, Oculus announced that its Oculus Research division would be rebranded as Facebook Reality Labs

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Uber Users Will Be Able To Rent Lime Scooters – Ubergizmo

Ubergizmo Uber Users Will Be Able To Rent Lime Scooters Ubergizmo Not too long after Lyft announced that it was acquiring the top bike-sharing company in the United States, its biggest rival Uber has announced that its users will now be able to rent scooters from Lime. Uber is investing in the company as part of a ... Uber Will Rent Scooters Through Its App in Partnership With Lime Bloomberg Lime's Next Chapter In Smart Mobility Backed By GV And Uber - Lime Bike Lime Bike all 123 news articles »

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Google Earth now lets you measure distances and areas

Only a few years ago, Google Earth was the only practical way to see all of Google’s satellite and 3D imagery. These days, Google Maps pretty much offers all of the mapping features that casual users need, but Google continues to quietly develop Earth and today, the company announced  it is adding an area measurement tool to the service on the web (today), Android (later this week) and iOS (“coming soon”). Now that’s obviously not an earth-shattering new feature, especially given that you have long been able to measure distance with a virtual ruler in Google Maps, too. But the addition of a feature for measuring area seems useful, especially for students. As is so often the case, more than anything, the launch of this new feature is a reminder of how much overlap there often is between Google products — and not just in the chat app category. Indeed, seeing this announcement was the first time I thought about Google Earth in years, I think. And while Google Earth has a few features that Maps doesn’t currently offer, including tours , for the most part, there doesn’t really seem to be a need for the web and mobile versions of Earth these days. And why is Google adding an area measurement tool to Earth, but not to Maps?

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Winnie raises $4 million to make parents’ lives easier

An app that has the needs of modern-day parents in mind, Winnie , has now raised $4 million in additional seed funding in a round led by Reach Capital. Other investors in the new round include Rethink Impact, Homebrew, Ludlow Ventures, Afore Capital, and BBG Ventures, among others. With the new funds, Winnie has raised $6.5 million to date. The San Francisco-based startup, which begun its life as a directory of kid-friendly places largely serving the needs of newer parents, has since expanded to become a larger platform for parents. Winnie was founded by Bay Area technologists, Sara Mauskopf, who spent time at Postmates, Twitter, YouTube and Google, and Anne Halsall, also from Postmates and Google, as well as Quora and Inkling. As new parents themselves, they built Winnie out a personal need to find the sort of information parents crave – details you can’t easily dig up in Google Maps or Yelp. For example, you can use Winnie to find nearby kid-friendly destinations like museums or parks, as well as those that welcome children with features like changing tables in restrooms, wide aisles in stores for stroller access, areas for nursing, and other things. "Babies are people too, and they deserve a designated clean bathroom space just like the rest of us." https://t.co/Ps8egQcDLL — Winnie (@Winnie) June 5, 2018 Winnie serves as a good example of what investing in women can achieve. Somehow, the young, 20-something men that receive the lion’s share of VC funding had never thought up the idea of app that helps new parents navigate the world. (I know, shocking, right?) And yet, the kind of questions that Winnie tries to answer are those that all parents, at some point, are curious about. The data on Winnie is crowd-sourced, with details, ratings and reviews coming from other real parents. Listings in San Francisco may be more fleshed out than elsewhere, as that’s where Winnie got its start. However, the app is now available in 10,000 cities across the U.S., and has just surpassed over a million users. In more recent months, Winnie has been working to expand beyond being a sort of “Yelp for parents,” and now features an online community where parents can ask questions and participate in discussions. “The crowdsourced directory of family-friendly businesses is still a huge component of what we do…and this has grown to over 2 million places across the United States,” notes Winnie co-founder and CEO Sara Mauskopf

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StreetCred is building a blockchain-based marketplace for location data

While applications like Google Maps and Yelp seem to provide an inexhaustible source of information about local restaurants, stores and other points of interest, they also can come up short — moments when you arrive somewhere only to discover that the hours you had were wrong, or the store is closed for a holiday, or it’s just shut down altogether. The team at StreetCred is trying to build a better system for gathering and selling that data. And it’s raised $1 million in seed funding from Bowery Capital and Notation Capital. CEO Randy Meech explained that if someone wanted to build the next Uber or the next Pokémon GO, they’d need location data to make it work. And while they could buy that data now, it’s “very difficult, very expensive.” Plus, he sees room for lots more data — while Foursquare has data about 105 million points of interest and Google has 100 million, Meech estimates that there are more than 1 billion POIs across the world, many of them in developing nations where the data is more spotty. So StreetCred is building a marketplace where users should be rewarded for collecting this data, while interested companies should be able to buy the data more easily. Meech has been working on mapping for years, serving as the CTO at MapQuest (which, like TechCrunch, is owned by Verizon/Oath) and then as CEO at Mapzen, an open-source mapping subsidiary of Samsung. That’s where Meech met his StreetCred co-founder Diana Shkolnikov — he said StreetCred was created partly in response to the disappointment of shutting down Mapzen earlier this year. “If we can get this protocol and data economy right, it can’t be shut down,” Meech said. That means leveraging blockchain technology: “It’s a very natural way to open up and decentralize the data and also to build a payment mechanism around that.” StreetCred is just starting to test the system out around New York City. The idea is that users can download an app and then collect location data around the city, earning crypto tokens as they do. (They take photos to validate their location, and the data is also verified by other users.) Then companies that want to buy the data can do so by purchasing tokens. Meech drew parallels to Foursquare, which started as a location-sharing app before building a business around its data .

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CityMapper, the urban transportation app, is integrating with bike-sharing company Mobike

Hot on the heels of getting acquired for $2.7 billion by on-demand services startup Meituan-Dianping  en route to its own $60 billion IPO , Chinese bike-sharing startup Mobike is ramping up its international push as companies like Uber , Lyft and other standalone bike-on-demand startups take their own expansion strategies up a gear. The company will this week start integrating with Citymapper , the mapping and navigation app focused on urban areas and public transportation, in all cities where both companies operate (Citymapper is now live in 39 cities; while Mobike calls itself the world’s largest bike-sharing startup, in 200 cities in some 15 countries). This will mean that users of Citymapper will be able to select bike routes on the app, and also see where they can find a Mobike to complete those journeys, giving the bike-hire-on-demand company one more way to snag customers in what is shaping up to be a very competitive market for transportation options geared to single users. TechCrunch first learned of the integration by way of an anonymous tip, which was then confirmed to us by a spokesperson from Mobike itself. (We sent multiple emails to Citymapper, but didn’t receive any replies.) “Bikesharing is a true new emerging global transport platform, so a partnership with Citymapper, one of the most popular transport apps in the world, is a logical step,” said the spokesperson. “Partnering with Citymapper means that more and more people will realise how easy using a Mobike is, encouraging cycling everywhere for short urban trips.” London-based Citymapper taps APIs from city transportation networks to provide bike routes alongside walking, bus, train, ferry and car routes. In cities where there are city bike schemes — for example in London  and New York — it shows locations for bike docking stations and, if available, information on how many bikes are available. But while there are in London — as one example — some 750 docking stations in the city covering 11,000 bikes, there are large swathes of the city, particularly outside the center, where the city bike scheme doesn’t reach. That presents an opportunity for these bike startups, which are often not banked at docks but parked on sidewalks, to cater to people who may not own a bike but would like to ride one from points A to B, when one or both of those are not near a docking station. For the moment, you still have to register through the Mobike app to be able to reserve a Mobike you find on Citymapper. And it’s not a given that you will ever be able to book these directly: if you look at Citymapper’s Uber integration it gives you an estimate but links to the Uber app to actually seal the deal (this is now also what  Google Maps does, too )

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US Office of Government Ethics says in advisory that executive branch staff must report digital currency holdings since it’s property held for income…

Stan Higgins / CoinDesk : US Office of Government Ethics says in advisory that executive branch staff must report digital currency holdings since it's property held for income production   —  Those working for the executive branch of the U.S. government must disclose their cryptocurrency holdings, ethics officials said Monday.

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Estonian startup Veriff, which develops a SaaS platform to help companies verify identities, raises $7.7M Series A led by Mosaic Ventures (Steve…

Steve O'Hear / TechCrunch : Estonian startup Veriff, which develops a SaaS platform to help companies verify identities, raises $7.7M Series A led by Mosaic Ventures   —  Veriff, the Estonian startup that wants to become something akin to the ‘Stripe for identity’, has raised $7.7 million in Series A funding.

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Tech giants and automakers form Partnership for Transportation Innovation and Opportunity (PTIO) group to explore the impact of self-driving cars on…

Andrew J. Hawkins / The Verge : Tech giants and automakers form Partnership for Transportation Innovation and Opportunity (PTIO) group to explore the impact of self-driving cars on human jobs   —  A crisis in labor is brewing, and the big AV companies are on it  —  Driverless vehicles could eliminate millions of jobs in the future …

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SaaS endpoint protection firm CrowdStrike raises $200M Series E at a $3B+ valuation co-led by General Atlantic, Accel, and IVP (Jonathan…

Jonathan Shieber / TechCrunch : SaaS endpoint protection firm CrowdStrike raises $200M Series E at a $3B+ valuation co-led by General Atlantic, Accel, and IVP   —  CrowdStrike, the developer of a security technology that looks at changes in user behavior on networked devices and uses that information to identify potential cyber threats …

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Brex, a fintech startup that provides a credit card for startups and is backed by PayPal cofounders Peter Thiel and Max Levchin, raises $50M Series B…

Jen Wieczner / Fortune : Brex, a fintech startup that provides a credit card for startups and is backed by PayPal cofounders Peter Thiel and Max Levchin, raises $50M Series B led by YC   —  Brex, a fintech startup backed by PayPal cofounders Peter Thiel and Max Levchin, has raised $50 million in new venture capital, the company announced Tuesday.

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Amazon is rolling out Alexa for Hospitality, a version of Alexa for hotels that can help order room service, request housekeeping, and more, by invite…

Chris Welch / The Verge : Amazon is rolling out Alexa for Hospitality, a version of Alexa for hotels that can help order room service, request housekeeping, and more, by invite   —  Order room service, request housekeeping, or play some tunes  —  Amazon is today introducing Alexa for Hospitality …

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