TechSummit Rewind 078

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

Google launches Nearby for Android to discover apps, websites based on location

Google Nearby

Google has launched Nearby, a new Android feature that suggests helpful apps and websites based on your location.

In theory, this eliminates the need to search Google Play for an app while out and about, letting Google do all the suggesting and searching for you. For example, if you’re in a CVS Pharmacy, Google will ping the CVS Pharmacy app to your notifications. You can then download the app and beam photos directly to your photo kiosk.

Google provided other examples in a blog post:

  • Explore historical landmarks at the University of Notre Dame.
  • Download the audio tour when you’re at The Broad in LA.
  • Skip the customs line at select airports with Mobile Passport.
  • Download the United Airlines app for free in-flight entertainment while you wait at the gate

Select Google devices, like Google Cast and Android Wear smartwatches, will also allow you to tap a notification from your smartphone when you’re near them to set up new devices.

According to Google, Nearby will be available for Android 4.4 KitKat devices and newer through a Google Play Services release. The feature is opt-in by turning on Bluetooth and Location settings.

Tom Perkins dead at 84

tom-perkins

Tom Perkins, co-founder of prominent venture capital firm Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers, has passed away, at the age of 84, according to his assistant Kathy Daly.

Perkins co-founded Kleiner Perkins in 1972, after helping to launch HP’s computer division, and served on the boards of technology and media giants like Compaq, Genentech, and News Corp.

“As co-founder of Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers, Tom was a pioneer in the venture capital industry. He defined what we know of today as entrepreneurial venture capital by going beyond just funding to helping entrepreneurs realize their visions with operating expertise. He was there at the start of the biotech industry and the computer revolution. Tom was our partner and friend, and we will miss him.”

-Frank Caufield, Brook Byers; Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers co-founders

Facebook unlocks tilt-viewing of panoramas with 360 Photos

Facebook 360 Photos

Facebook’s 360 Photos, a tool to view panoramas and VR content on your phone, rolls out today on iOS, Android, web, and Gear VR.

Upload an iPhone or Samsung Galaxy panorama, or a 360 app/camera photo just like any other photo, and Facebook will convert it to a 360 photo. People who see a 360 photo with a compass icon can scan around it by tilting their phone of click/tap-and-draggging. Those with a Gear VR can hit the “View in VR” button in the top left corner, pop their phone into said headset, and look around by moving their head.

At launch, you’ll be able to check out the International Space Station from NASA, look out at a crowd of 100,000 fans while standing behind Paul McCartney, or go behind the scenes of the Supreme Court with the New York Times.

“We introduced photos on Facebook more than a decade ago, and they quickly became one of the main ways that people share their experiences.”

-Andy Huang, Facebook product manager

Uber customers can soon book rides up to 30 days in advance

Uber_NY_request-screenshot

Uber has announced a new feature that allows riders to book a ride up to 30 days in advance. It’s only being tested in Seattle currently, but will eventually be available in other “top business travel cities.”

The service will only be available to business travelers at launch.

“We expect to make the feature broadly available to all riders as we continue the rollout.”

-Uber, in a statement

Microsoft launches free trial of Minecraft: Education Edition for teachers to test over summer

Minecraft_Xbox_One_Edition

Microsoft has released a free trial of Minecraft: Education Edition, the version of the popular game meant for the classroom, to educators worldwide. This “early access” version of the program includes new features and updated classroom content and curriculum, according to the company.

According to the Redmond, Wash.-based company, this early access release includes more lesson plans across a range of grade levels and subjects. Sample lessors include City Planning for Population Growth, Exploring factors and multiples, and Effects of deforestation.

This early release version is not the final version of the software, as there will be some kinks to work out. Microsoft is still interested in hearing feedback from teachers who participate in the trial.

This release includes new features based on feedback from a May beta test including easier classroom collaboration, non-player characters and chalkboards for instruction, camera and portfolio features that let students snapshot and document their work.

Up to 30 students can play in a world together, without the need for a separate server, and they can work together or in groups. In a future release, Microsoft will launch a “Classroom Mode” Interface for teacher with a map and list view of all their students, teleport capabilities, and a chat window for communication.

The update builds on Microsoft’s acquisition of MinecraftEdu earlier this year, and plans to launch to schools this fall with costs ranging from $1-$5/user based on the school’s size and volume licensing agreements.

Winnie helps parents find family-friendly places, share experiences

Winnie

Winnie is a new mobile app that’s launching to make parents’ lives easier by offering information about kid-friendly places, and detailing what sort of facilities for families a location may have (stroller access, quiet nursing areas, changing tables, restrooms, etc.). The idea is to make going out with little ones less stressful, whether it’s just running errands around town or exploring a new city.

The startup behind it is co-founded by CEO Sara Mauskopf, who has worked in consumer technology and product management at companies like Postmates, Twitter, YouTube, and Google and CPO Anne Halsall, a product designer and developer with experience at Postmates, Google, Quora, and Inkling.

According to Mauskopf, this data comes from a combination of sources. The place “metadata” (changing tables, etc.) has been entered manually and came from the team calling and researching places themselves.

Meanwhile, other data comes from crowdsourcing. Parents can leave comments and tips in the app (Stories), and scout places in Winnie that they want to include. Stories will allow parents to relate their personal experiences with a place, which makes the app seem a lot like Yelp.

“Having a child changed the way I saw the world around me. I was scared to go anywhere they’d have the right facilities for me to care for my daughter, or whether we’d even be welcome there.”

-Sara Mauskopf, Winnie CEO

At launch, Winnie offers information for over 100,000 locations.

“Right now, the app is free and our big priority is building something that’s really useful to parents. In the future, there will be aspects of the product that we will make money from, but the core product will always be free.”

  • Sara Mauskopf

Winnie is run by a team of four with a small “pre-seed” funding round.

Sherpa Capital raises $470 million for two new funds

Sherpa Capital

Sherpa Capital, the San Francisco-based venture capital firm led by Shervin Pishevar and Scott Sanford, announced that its raises $470 million for a pair of new funds.

The first $172 million is for Sherpa Ventures II, which focuses on early-stage opportunities (including follow-on investments through Series D). The remaining $298 million is for Sherpa Everest, a mid-stage fund that could eventually be larger due to expected LP co-invest opportunities.

Tinder discontinues service for users under 18

Tinder

Tinder will be discontinuing the use of its app for users under the age of 18 next week, according to company VP of communications Rosette Pambakian.

“On a platform that has facilitated over 11 billion connections, we have the responsibility of constantly accessing our different user experiences. Consistent with this responsibility, we have decided to discontinue service for under 18 years. We believe this is the best policy moving forward.”

-Tinder, in a statement

“We’ve been reviewing this policy since early this year and believe it’s the right thing to do.”

-Rosette Pambakian, Tinder VP of communications

The company’s massive and growing user base requires tight specification and policy to keep the dating app safe for its users.

According to Tinder, this affects less than three percent of the app’s global user base.

“A number of factors go into making a decision like this, but we’re confident we landed on the right policy.”

-Rosette Pambakian

France fines Uber $900K over ‘illegal’ UberPop service, two execs spared jail

Uber_Logobit_Digital_black

A Paris criminal court has ruled that Uber must pay $900,000, though half of that is suspended, pending Uber’s future conduct, after accusations that the company’s UberPop service is illegal.

Both Uber Western Europe general manager Pierre-Dimitri Gore-Coty and Uber France general manager Thibaud Simphal escaped jail time, but face fines against them.

 

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