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Tag Archives: europe

Facebook and Instagram now show how many minutes you use them

It’s passive zombie feed scrolling , not active communication with friends that hurts our health, according to studies Facebook has been pointing to for the last seven months. Yet it’s treating all our social networking the same with today’s launch of its digital wellbeing screentime management dashboards for Facebook and Instagram in the US before rolling them out to everyone in the coming weeks. Giving users a raw count of the minutes you’ve spent in their apps each day in the last week plus your average across the week is a good start to making users more mindful. But by burying them largely out of sight, giving them no real way to compel less usage, and not distinguishing between passive and active behavior, they seem destined to be ignored while missing the point the company itself stresses. TechCrunch scooped the designs of the two separate but identical Instagram  and Facebook tools over the past few months thanks to screenshots generated from the apps’ code by Jane Manchun Wong . What’s launching today is what we saw, with the dashboards located in Facebook’s “Settings” -> “Your Time On Facebook” and Instagram’s “Settings” -> “Your Activity”. Beyond the daily and average minute counts, you can set a daily “limit” in minutes after which either app will send you a reminder that you’ve crossed your self-imposed threshold. But they won’t stop you from browsing and liking, or force you to dig into the settings menu to extend your limit. You’ll need the willpower to cut yourself off. The tools also let you mute push notifications (you’ll still see in-app alerts), but only for as much as 8 hours. If you want anything more permanent, you’ll have to dig into their separate push notification options menu or your phone’s settings. The announcement follows Instagram CEO Kevin Systrom’s comments about our original scoop, where he tweeted “It’s true

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CallPage lets you call your website visitors

Poland-based CallPage offers something other customer interaction apps don’t: the ability to call your website visitors as soon as they click on your page. In a world where the difference between a sale and a click past your site onto Facebook, this is a pretty cool little feature. CallPage began in 2015 when the founders, Ross Knap, Sergey Butko, and Andrew Tkachiv, tried to figure out why website visitors would leave their sites. They started out as a consultancy and the product was born out of some after-hours tinkering by the team. Instead of messaging users, they thought, why not let managers talk to them on the phone? “Our widget analyzes user behavior on your website,” said CEO Knap. “Then when it sees an interested visitor, it offers him a free callback in 28 seconds. The interested visitor leaves a phone number on your site, our widget calls to the first available manager’s mobile phone and then the next one if no one picks up. After the conversation client will receive an SMS of thanks. It doesn’t require any extra work.” The team raised a $4.5 million Series A from TDJ Pitango Ventures, Innovation Nest, and Market One Capital. They have 3,000 customers and it makes 280,000 calls monthly. The team started with a $50,000 seed check from an early investor. Knap and the team have big plans. “CallPage will continue the realization of our development plan,” said Knap

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Tractable is applying AI to accident and disaster appraisal

“Happy to spend 10 minutes on our vision and the journey we’re on, but then, really, 15 minutes on what we’ve got today, what it is we’ve achieved, what it is our AI does,” says Tractable co-founder and CEO Alexandre Dalyac when I video called him a couple of weeks ago. “You can probably speed up all of that,” I quip back. The resulting conversation, lasting well over an hour, spanned all of the above and more, including what is required to build a successful AI business and why he and his team think they can help prevent another “AI winter.” Founded in 2014 by Dalyac, Adrien Cohen and Razvan Ranca after going through company builder Entrepreneur First , London-based Tractable is applying artificial intelligence to accident and disaster recovery. Specifically, through the use of deep learning to automate visual damage appraisal, and therefore help speed up insurance payouts and access to other types of financial aid. Our AI has already been trained on tens of millions of these cases, so that’s a perfect case of us already having distilled thousands of people’s work experience Alexandre Dalyac Dalyac launches into what is clearly a well-rehearsed and evidently polished pitch. “We are on a journey to help the world recover faster from accidents and disasters. Our belief is that when accidents and disasters hit, the response could be 10 times faster thanks to AI. So what we mean there is, everything from road accidents, burst piping to large-scale floods and hurricane. Whenever any of these things happen, things get damaged.” Those things, he says, broadly break down into cars, homes and crops, roughly equating to $1 trillion in damage each year. But, perhaps more importantly, livelihoods get impacted. “If a car gets damaged, mobility is reduced.

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Dixons Carphone now says ~8.8M more customers affected by 2017 breach

A Dixons Carphone  data breach that was disclosed earlier this summer  was worse than initially reported. The company is now saying that personal data of 10 million customers could also have been accessed when its systems were hacked. The European electronics and telecoms retailer believes its systems were accessed by unknown and unauthorized person/s in 2017, although it only disclosed the breach in June , after discovering it during a review of its security systems. Last month it said 5.9M payment cards and 1.2M customer records had been accessed. But with its investigation into the breach “nearing completion”, it now says approximately 10M records containing personal data (but no financial information) may have been accessed last year — in addition to the 5.9M compromised payment cards it disclosed last month. “While there is now evidence that some of this data may have left our systems, these records do not contain payment card or bank account details and there is no evidence that any fraud has resulted. We are continuing to keep the relevant authorities updated,” the company said in a statement. In terms of what personal data the 10M records contained, a Dixons Carphone spokeswoman told us: “This continues to relate to personal data, and the types of data that may have been accessed are, for example, name, address or email address.” The company says it’s taking the precaution of contacting all its customers — to apologize and advise them of “protective steps to minimize the risk of fraud”. It adds it has no evidence that the unauthorized access is continuing, having taken steps to secure its systems when the breach was discovered last month, saying: “We continue to make improvements and investments at pace to our security environment through enhanced controls, monitoring and testing.” Commenting in a statement, Dixons Carphone CEO, Alex Baldock, added: “Since our data security review uncovered last year’s breach, we’ve been working around the clock to put it right. That’s included closing off the unauthorised access, adding new security measures and launching an immediate investigation, which has allowed us to build a fuller understanding of the incident that we’re updating on today. “Again, we’re disappointed in having fallen short here, and very sorry for any distress we’ve caused our customers. I want to assure them that we remain fully committed to making their personal data safe with us.” Back in 2015, Carphone Warehouse, a mobile division of Dixons Carphone, also suffered a hack which affected around 3M people. And in January the company was  fined £400k by the ICO as a consequence of that earlier breach. Since then new European Union regulations ( GDPR ) have come into force which greatly raise the maximum penalties which regulators can impose for serious data breaches

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Dixons Carphone says millions more customers affected by 2017 breach

A Dixons Carphone  data breach that was disclosed earlier this summer  was worse than initially reported. The company is now saying that personal data of 10 million customers could also have been accessed when its systems were hacked. The European electronics and telecoms retailer believes its systems were accessed by unknown and unauthorized person/s in 2017, although it only disclosed the breach in June , after discovering it during a review of its security systems. Last month it said 5.9M payment cards and 1.2M customer records had been accessed. But with its investigation into the breach “nearing completion”, it now says approximately 10M records containing personal data (but no financial information) may have been accessed last year — in addition to the 5.9M compromised payment cards it disclosed last month. “While there is now evidence that some of this data may have left our systems, these records do not contain payment card or bank account details and there is no evidence that any fraud has resulted. We are continuing to keep the relevant authorities updated,” the company said in a statement. In terms of what personal data the 10M records contained, a Dixons Carphone spokeswoman told us: “This continues to relate to personal data, and the types of data that may have been accessed are, for example, name, address or email address.” The company says it’s taking the precaution of contacting all its customers — to apologize and advise them of “protective steps to minimize the risk of fraud”. It adds it has no evidence that the unauthorized access is continuing, having taken steps to secure its systems when the breach was discovered last month, saying: “We continue to make improvements and investments at pace to our security environment through enhanced controls, monitoring and testing.” Commenting in a statement, Dixons Carphone CEO, Alex Baldock, added: “Since our data security review uncovered last year’s breach, we’ve been working around the clock to put it right. That’s included closing off the unauthorised access, adding new security measures and launching an immediate investigation, which has allowed us to build a fuller understanding of the incident that we’re updating on today. “Again, we’re disappointed in having fallen short here, and very sorry for any distress we’ve caused our customers. I want to assure them that we remain fully committed to making their personal data safe with us.” Back in 2015, Carphone Warehouse, a mobile division of Dixons Carphone, also suffered a hack which affected around 3M people

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Body scanning app 3DLOOK raises $1 million to measure your corpus

3D body scanning systems have hit the big time after years of stops and starts. Hot on the heels of Original Stitch’s Bodygram , another 3D scanner, 3DLOOK , has entered into the fray with a $1 million investment to measure bodies around the world. The founders, Vadim Rogovskiy, Ivan Makeev, and Alex Arapovd, created 3DLOOK when they found that they could measure a human body using just a smartphone. The team found that other solutions couldn’t let them measure fits with any precision and depended on expensive hardware. “After more than six years of building companies in the ad tech industry I wanted to build something new which was not a commodity,” said Rogovskiy. “I wanted to overcome growth obstacles and I learned that the apparel industry had mounting return problems in e-commerce. 3DLOOK’s co-founders spent over a year on pure R&D and testing new approaches and combinations of different technologies before creating SAIA (Scanning Artificial Intelligence for Apparel) in 2016.” The team raised $400,000 to date and most recently raised a $1 million seed round to grow the company. The team also collects “fit profiles” and is able to supply these profiles based on “geographic location, age, and gender groups.” This means that 3DLOOK can give you exact sizes based on your scanned measurements and tell you how clothes will fit on your body. They have 20,000 profiles already and are working with eight paying customers and five large enterprise systems. Lemonade Fashion and Koviem are both using the platform. “3DLOOK is the first company that managed to build a technology that allows capturing human body measurements with just two casual photos, and plans to disrupt the market of online apparel sales, offering brands and small stores an API for desktop and SDK for mobile to gather clients measurements and build custom clothing proposals,” said Rogovskiy. “Additionally, the company collects the database of human body measurements so that brands could build better clothing for all types of body and solve fit and return problems. It will not only allow stores to sell more apparel, it will allow people get the quality apparel.” 3D scanners have gotten better and better over the years and it’s interesting to see companies being able to scan bodies just from a few photos. While these things can’t account for opinions of taste they can definitely make sure that your clothes fit before you order them.

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Feature.fm offers free “pre-save” tool for upcoming releases on Spotify, Apple Music and Deezer

In an age where people stream music instead of buying it, how do you build something equivalent to a pre-order campaign for upcoming releases? The answer is to create a “pre-save” campaign, akin to a landing page where fans can authorise you to automatically add a new song, EP or album to their steaming library or playlist of their choice as soon as it becomes available. However, pre-save tools for Spotify — if you even knew they existed — are often perceived as expensive and solely for use at major labels or established music marketing companies. Now music marketing and technology startup Feature.fm wants to change that with its “Ultimate Pre-Save,’ a free tool for artists or labels of any size. Better yet, the Ultimate Pre-Save tool also supports Apple’s newly launched “Pre-Add” feature, which works in a similar way to a Spotify pre-save. Deezer’s version of pre-save is supported too. The set up process is simple. You register with Feature.fm as either an individual artist or label, select the Ultimate Pre-Save tool and click on create new pre-save. Next you are required to give the work a launch date and tell it which of the three services you plan to launch on. You then need to add a title, an image, preview link, and make any changes to the standard text. Later on, once you know the final URL for your new release on each respective service, you add that too.

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PSA: Drone flight restrictions are in force in the UK from today

Consumers using drones in the UK have new safety restrictions they must obey from today, with a change to the law prohibiting drones from being flown above 400ft or within 1km of an airport boundary. Anyone caught flouting the new restrictions could be charged with recklessly or negligently acting in a manner likely to endanger an aircraft or a person in an aircraft — which carries a penalty of up to five years in prison or an unlimited fine, or both. The safety restrictions were announced by the government in May , and have been brought in via an amendment the 2016 Air Navigation Order. They’re a stop-gap because the government has also been working on a full drone bill — which was originally slated for Spring but has been delayed. However the height and airport flight restrictions for drones were pushed forward, given the clear safety risks — after a year-on-year increase in reports of drone incidents involving aircraft. The  Civil Aviation Authority  has today published research to coincide with the new laws, saying it’s found widespread support among the public for safety regulations for drones. Commenting in a statement, the regulator’s assistant director Jonathan Nicholson said: “Drones are here to stay, not only as a recreational pastime, but as a vital tool in many industries — from agriculture to blue-light services — so increasing public trust through safe drone flying is crucial.” “As recreational drone use becomes increasingly widespread across the UK it is heartening to see that awareness of the Dronecode has also continued to rise — a clear sign that most drone users take their responsibility seriously and are a credit to the community,” he added, referring to the (informal) set of rules developed by the body to promote safe use of consumer drones — ahead of the government legislating. Additional measures the government has confirmed it will legislate for — announced  last summer  — include a requirement for owners of drones weighing 250 grams or more to register with the CAA, and for drone pilots to take an online safety test. The CAA says these additional requirements will be enforced from November 30, 2019 — with more information on the registration scheme set to follow next year. For now, though, UK drone owners just need to make sure they’re not flying too high or too close to airports. Earlier this month it emerged the government is considering age restrictions on drone use  too. Though it remains to be seen whether or not those proposals will make it into the future drone bill.

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Grover raises €37M Series A to offer latest tech products as a subscription

Grover , the Berlin-based startup that offers “pay-as-you-go” subscriptions to the latest consumer tech as an alternative to owning products outright, has raised €37 million in funding. The Series A round is led by Circularity Capital LLP — a VC that specialises in the so-called “circular economy” — with participation from fintech investor Coparion, Samsung NEXT, and Varengold Bank. Existing investors , including Commerzbank’s Main Incubator, also followed on. Noteworthy, the funding consists of €12 million in equity and a new €25 million debt facility. Building an inventory of new tech products to rent is quite capital insensitive, after all. Targeting Germany only, for now (after withdrawing from the U.K. and pausing a soft launch in the U.S.), Grover wants to be something akin to Netflix for gadgets. It offers individual tech products by monthly, three-monthly or yearly subscription, or via its newly launched “Grover Mix” subscription, which has a fixed monthly price and lets you switch item at any time. In addition, you are afforded some upside protection, should you wish to purchase the item after renting it first. You’re given the option to buy products with 30 percent of your subscription payments to date being deducted from the recommended retail price. For longer rental periods, Grover will also warn you if you are close to reaching 130 percent of the full purchase price and prompt you to consider buying it for €1. The startup has also been trialling a B2B product aimed at burgeoning companies, dubbed “Startups get Grover”. This I’m told came about after demand from startups who, for example, want to subscribe to a bunch of Macbooks to give to new employees, and as an alternative to deploying upfront capital. In a call with Grover founder and CEO Michael Cassau, he told me the new capital will be used to expand the company’s market leadership in Germany and re-boot international expansion in a bid to continue a current revenue growth rate of 20 percent per month. He said the startup had taken the decision in early 2017 to focus on Germany, temporarily abandoning internationalization, after it had signed a major partnership with German e-retailer MediaMarkt.

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The Not Company is looking to start a food revolution from Chile

Technology investors, tasting an opportunity to capitalize on the triple threat of malnutrition, resource scarcity and pollution brought on by the increasing globalization and industrialization of food, are investing billions into startup companies pitching alternative sources of sustenance. In the past five years, venture capitalists and corporations have invested over $9.5 billion into 2,100 deals around the world — all with the aim of replacing or supplementing traditional methods of growing, manufacturing, processing and distributing the world’s food, according to data from CB Insights. The Not Company , with its headquarters twenty-two minutes from downtown Santiago in the southeastern corner of the city, may seem like an unlikely rising contender in this multi-billion dollar business of food replacement; but it’s from there that chief executive Matias Muchnick and his two co-founders are plotting to bring the potential benefits of this food revolution to Latin America — and eventually the world. For Muchnick, a serial entrepreneur, The Not Company represents his second foray into food. The chief executive previously launched Eggless, a company selling plant-based dressings and a plant-based mayonnaise. That first taste of the food business revealed to Muchnick a few things… including how basic and inefficient the research and development process was in the food industry. Initially, that was the problem that Muchnick was hoping to tackle when he set out to the University of California, Berkeley to research the industry. “I  went to Berkeley and decided to go to the biochemistry department and really try to understand the data and the science,” Muchnick says. “Pharma is doing things way better than we are. So I decided to grab a lot of knowledge and things that were being done right in the pharma industry and explore this in the food industry.” From Berkeley, Muchnick went to Harvard where he recruited Karim Pichara, an astrophysicist who was using data science and machine learning to explore the inner workings of stars. With the data scientist in tow, Muchnick added a third co-founder, Pablo Zamora, who had been doing research at the University of California, Davis on plant genomics. So the dream team of The Not Company was formed. The Not Company co-founders Karim Pichara, Matias Muchnick and Pablo Zamora At the heart of The Not Company’s work, like its incredibly well-funded, once-troubled US-based competitor Just (which was formerly known as Hampton Creek) is a machine learning technology that maps the similarities between the genetic properties of plants and their corollaries in animals.  “If we can map the genome of a lentil or whatever bean there is,” says Muchnick, “you could easily understand and predict whether that bean could emulate an animal-based protein.” Although the three founders all came together in the US, they decided to return to their home country of Chile to start the business. For Muchnick, being based in Santiago was cheaper and the talent pool for researchers was just as strong.

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Stripe announces Stripe Issuing, a service for companies to quickly create, distribute, and manage their own physical and virtual payment cards using…

PYMNTS.com : Stripe announces Stripe Issuing, a service for companies to quickly create, distribute, and manage their own physical and virtual payment cards using an API   —  Payments company Stripe is rolling out a new solution that lets businesses create and issue their own credit and debit cards, the company announced on Thursday (July 26).

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Google to update event search results to show time, location, ticketing providers and more and add a For You tab with personalized suggestions next…

Barry Schwartz / Search Engine Land : Google to update event search results to show time, location, ticketing providers and more and add a For You tab with personalized suggestions next week   —  Upgrades to Google's event search features include time, location, ticketing providers, sharing, saving and much more.  —  Marketing an event?

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Google updates Play Store policies, no longer allowing crypto miners, apps that aid the sale of firearms or accessories, apps that primarily serve…

Corbin Davenport / Android Police : Google updates Play Store policies, no longer allowing crypto miners, apps that aid the sale of firearms or accessories, apps that primarily serve ads, and more   —  Google regularly updates its Play Store developer policies; the last time it happened, fake ID apps were banned from being submitted by developers.

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Tenable, a provider of subscription-based tools to quantify potential damage from cybersecurity breaches, closes up 31.5% after raising $250M in an…

Kate Fazzini / CNBC : Tenable, a provider of subscription-based tools to quantify potential damage from cybersecurity breaches, closes up 31.5% after raising $250M in an IPO   —  - The company's subscription-based model has been attractive to investors, according to a principal at Renaissance Capital.

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Amazon Web Services’ Q2 revenues were $6.1B, with $1.6B in operating income; Amazon’s retail operations earned nearly $47B in revenue and $1.3B+ in…

Matthew Lynley / TechCrunch : Amazon Web Services' Q2 revenues were $6.1B, with $1.6B in operating income; Amazon's retail operations earned nearly $47B in revenue and $1.3B+ in net income   —  Amazon's web services AWS continue to be the highlight of the company's balance sheet, one again showing the kind of growth Amazon …

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