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Latch raises $70M for its apartment smart lock system

Latch announced this morning that it has raised $70 million in Series B funding. The round was led by Brookfield Ventures, the investment arm of Brookfield Asset Management. As part of the deal, Brookfield Properties will also be installing Latch systems in its multi-family properties that are currently under development. “We are thrilled to support Latch, the clear market leader in a nearly $25 billion space that is expected to grow at twice the rate of traditional access over the next several years,” said Brookfield’s Josh Raffaelli in the funding announcement. Lux Capital, RRE Ventures, Primary Venture Partners, Third Prime, Camber Creek, Corigin Ventures, Tishman Speyer and Balyasny Asset Management also participated int he new funding. Latch’s smart lock system is designed for apartment buildings rather than single family homes, allowing you to open doors with a smartphone, keycard or door code. It also allows residents to create temporary access codes for guests and service providers. Speaking of service providers, Latch announced a pilot partnership with UPS earlier this summer that will allow UPS drivers to receive unique credentials for entering buildings to make deliveries. Latch was founded five years ago, but stayed in stealth mode until 2016 . It previously raised $26 million funding .

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Facebook is removing over 5,000 ad targeting options to prevent discriminatory ads

Facebook announced this morning it’s making a change to how its ad targeting system works in order to tackle the misuse of its platform to discriminate and exclude audiences based on factors like ethnicity and religion. The company says it’s now removing over 5,000 ad targeting options that could have been misused to place discriminatory ads across its platform. The news comes shortly after the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) filed a new complaint against Facebook that accuses it of helping landlords and home sellers violate the Fair Housing Act. It says that Facebook’s ad settings disregard the law by allowing advertisers to target certain demographics. “When Facebook uses the vast amount of personal data it collects to help advertisers to discriminate, it’s the same as slamming the door in someone’s face,” Assistant Secretary for Fair Housing and Equal Opportunity, Anna María Farías had said in a statement issued by the department. Facebook responded by saying this practice was prohibited in its advertising policies and that it would continue to work with HUD to address its complaints. Today, the company says that it will remove over 5,000 targeting options which have the potential for misuse. “While these options have been used in legitimate ways to reach people interested in a certain product or service, we think minimizing the risk of abuse is more important,” the company explained in a blog post. Facebook didn’t provide a list of the options being removed, but noted they related to attributes such as religion and ethnicity. It also said that it would roll out a new certification to U.S

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Apple is now a $1 trillion company

Apple's success hit a new milestone today: It's the first publicly traded trillion-dollar American company. Yesterday the firm announced an adjusted (higher) share count, and by this morning the stock price was rising with news that the company had a...

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The Morning Hype: Tesla Stock Up, Facebook Security Chief to Leave, and the World’s Highest Paid DJs – Nasdaq

Nasdaq The Morning Hype: Tesla Stock Up, Facebook Security Chief to Leave, and the World's Highest Paid DJs Nasdaq Facebook Chief Security Officer to Leave, There Will Be No Replacement (via The Verge). The Next iPad Could Look A Lot Like the iPhone (via Mashable ). DoJ Says They Found Hackers Who Stole Card Info from Chipotle, Chili's and Arby's (via Gizmodo).

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SpaceX lands Falcon 9 booster on Just Read The Instructions drone ship

SpaceX confirmed on Twitter this morning that it recovered the booster from the latest Falcon 9 launch. Shortly after launching from Vandenberg Air Force Base in Southern California at 7:39AM ET this morning, the booster stage landed on the Just Read The Instructions drone ship. The company will now try to catch the rocket’s fairing with a giant net attached to the ship Mr. Stevens. Despite challenging weather conditions, Falcon 9 first stage booster landed on Just Read the Instructions. — SpaceX (@SpaceX) July 25, 2018 SpaceX has become more adept at landing its booster rockets but it’s still a spectacle every time it happens. This landing is extra special as the winds were gusting around the time of the launch. The rocket company has so far been less successful with catching the payload shrouds. SpaceX’s high-speed recovery boat Mr. Steven took to the seas this time around with a larger net in the hopes of recovering the fairings. Reusing as much as possible is critical to SpaceX’s mission to lower the cost of space flight. Today’s launch was SpaceX’s seventh mission for the company’s client Iridium who contracted with SpaceX to launch 75 satellites into orbit. According to SpaceX, today’s payload of Iridium satellites so far deployed without an issue. SpaceX is contracted for one more launch with Iridium.

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Comcast drops its pursuit of Fox, making way for Disney acquisition

Comcast announced this morning that it’s halting its efforts to acquire the film and television assets of 21st Century Fox. Disney made a deal to acquire those assets last year, but after a district court judge approved the merger of AT&T and Time Warner (despite the antitrust-related objections of President Trump’s Department of Justice), Comcast announced another, higher bid . That, in turn, prompted Disney to make an even higher offer of $71.3 billion (split between cash and stock). With Comcast dropping out, it seems like this bid will go through — if it can get regulatory approval. Comcast says that instead of continuing to pursue a Fox acquisition, it’s focusing on its offer to acquire British satellite broadcaster Sky. Another possible factor: The DOJ says it’s appealing the court’s approval of the AT&T-Time Warner merger . “I’d like to congratulate Bob Iger and the team at Disney and commend the Murdoch family and Fox for creating such a desirable and respected company,” Comcast Chairman and CEO Brian L. Roberts said in a statement. As of 10:08am Eastern, Comcast shares were up 2.85 percent and Disney shares were up 2.52 percent, while 21st Century Fox shares had dropped 1.68 percent.

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Netflix redesigns its TV interface with new navigation, full-screen trailers

Netflix this morning announced the launch of a new interface for those who watch the streaming service on TV. The updated design is aimed at improving navigation by way of a remote control, making it quicker to get to the content you want to watch. The change involves relocating some of Netflix’s key features like the “Search” button and users’ “My List” over to a ribbon menu on the left side the screen which pops out when you navigate over. Here, it has also added new shortcuts to “Movies” and “TV” to filter its catalog by films and shows, as well as a button to see what’s “New.” Related to this change, when you browse into a given section,  you’ll now see a full-screen preview of a top show or movie autoplaying above the rows of content suggestions. The company says the redesign was based on “rigorous research and testing” and should make Netflix simpler and more intuitive in a number of ways. The changes should be fairly welcome by TV viewers – except for those who despise auto-playing trailers, of course. As Netflix’s catalog has expanded over the years, it’s gotten more difficult to find something what to watch due to the paradox of choice. The service makes recommendations based on your past viewing history, and offers thematic groupings, like “Trending Now,” “Comedies,” “TV Dramas,” plus things like your “Top Picks”  and more, which will have you scrolling down endless rows of suggestions. But when you decide you want to start over and go back to your List or start a new search, you have to click, click, click on the remote to move back to those options. With the redesign, you’ll only have to click over to the side. It’s an obvious change – and Netflix even admits that – but says that it still took “extensive research, testing and technology improvements” to make it happen. The larger goal in simplifying navigation is to reduce the time users spend browsing, thereby increasing their viewership hours.

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