TechSummit Rewind #037

Editor’s Note: This is the TechSummit Rewind, a daily recap of the top technology headlines.

Microsoft HoloLens shipping to developers “within the next year”: Nadella

win10_holoLens_livingRoom_WebTechSummit Rewind

Microsoft will release the first developer version of its HoloLens virtual reality headset “within the next year,” according to company CEO Satya Nadella. This version will be focused “more around developers and enterprises,” according to Nadella, and the headset is a “five year journey.”

Facebook adds Lollapolooza content to Place Tips

Facebook Lollapolloza place tips

Thanks to Facebook’s rollout of remotely-accessible “Place Tips,” you can still see photos, posts, and the lineup from Lolllapolooza even if you aren’t in Chicago.

You should start seeing a “Place Tips” info box when you fire up the Facebook app. Press it to start scrolling through content from the Chicago-based festival.

“Lollapalooza Place Tips are just one example of the deeper, more immersive Place Tips we’re developing for specialized events and offers new applications, too.”

-Facebook, in a statement

Mark Karpeles arrested by Japanese police

Mark Karpeles

Mark Karpeles, the head of the Mt. Gox bitcoin exchange, was arrested on Saturday by Japanese police on allegations that the company’s computer system was used to increase an account’s balance.

Japanese media showed footage of Karpeles being led by police officers from his apartment before 7AM Saturday. He is suspected of manipulating his own account at the Tokyo-based company by making it appear that $1 million was added to it, according to a police spokesman.

Kapeles hasn’t formally been charged.

Google straps Aclima sensors to Street View cars to map air pollution

Google Earth Outreach

If a city knows what intersections are full of smog, they could add trees or change stoplight schedules to improve the air its citizens breathe. Google’s Earth Outreach program, which equips nonprofits and public-benefit organizations with data to give the world these insights, has revealed that it’s been working with San Francisco-based startup Aclima for the last year and a half to attach air quality sensors to its Street View cars.

“We designed our cities without data.”

-Davida Harzl, Aclima founder

In the first pilot, three Street View cars collection 150 million air quality data points over a month of driving around Denver. They measured for chemicals that are hazardous to breathe, like nitrogen dioxide, nitric oxide, ozone, carbon monoxide, carbon dioxide, methane, black carbon, particulate matter, and Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs).

The goal is to make this data available to citizens so they and their local governments can see pollution on their own streets.

“We hope that one day this information is as accessible as the weather.”

-Davida Harzl

Google has now agreed to purchase more of Aclima’s outdoor sensors for a bigger rollout to map air quality. Aclima-equipped Street View cars will criss-cross the Bay Area and other cities this year as part of the next big data collection.

“We know that trees absorb pollution, NO2 specifically. If we can know where pollution hotspots are, we can know where to put green spaces. There’s a whole new world of opportunities to make our cities healthier, not just smarter.”

-Davida Harzl

Lyft forgoes global expansion to dominate U.S. market

Lyft

Lyft has walked back promises about a global expansion, and the San Francisco-based company is instead doubling down in the U.S. market, hoping to beat Uber.

“There is absolutely no reason why it can’t match Uber in the U.S. They have the luxury of being able to win at home as a minnow rather than a whale.”

-Sam Hamadeh, PrivCo founder and CEO

“The only advantage of going international is just to be bigger. I think it’s absolutely sensible to stay focused on the U.S. market. It does mean it will be a smaller company, but the profitability will be just as much.”

-Dan Sperling, UC Davis professor, founding director of university’s Institute of Transportation Studies

“We think that this hyper-local strategy is the way to expand Lyft. It’s a very expensive proposition to try to be in every country before you figure out what that country needs. You can’t go launching in other countries for the sake of launching in other countries and burning investor capital.”

-Rex Tibbens, Lyft chief operating officer

With a new round of funding from activist investor Carl Icahn, the company is building operating centers in cities nationwide and establishing relationships with local officials and businesses, according to Tibbens. Operations in each city will be overseen by a local manager, instead of in Lyft’s San Francisco headquarters. The company currently has 10 managers, and expects to have up to 30 by the end of the year. Lyft operates in over 60 cities.

The company is also building out its Lyft Line carpooling services in major cities around the U.S. Currently, it’s in four. In San Francisco, more than half of Lyft rides are done using Line, which picks up several passengers along a route for a nominal cost, while over 30% of all New York rides use the carpool feature, according to the company.

“If you take a look at Uber, they are fighting localized battles in almost every country that they are involved in and one reason that they have to keep raising capital is to fight these battles. Not only does it suck up financial resources, but it can be distracting.”

-Aswath Damodaran, New York University Stern School of Business

“I think there is no question that there is some egg on their face. They had high hopes. But now they are thinking, ‘Let’s look at our reality, and our reality is our competitor is worth 20 times what we’re worth and can outspend us overseas.’ It makes sense that they have to focus locally.”

-Sam Hamadeh

Trevor O’Brien leaves Twitter

Twitter HQ

Trevor O’Brien, who joined Twitter 18 months ago from YouTube and oversees product for the company’s iOS and Android apps, is departing the company, according to a company spokesperson.

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