TechSummit Rewind 095

This is the TechSummit Rewind, a daily recap of the top technology headlines.

Intel acquires Nervana Systems

An employee walks past an Intel logo during the 2014 Computex exhibition at the TWTC Nangang exhibition hall in Taipei

Intel is acquiring San Diego, Calif.-based deep learning startup Nervana Systems.

“There is far more data being given off by these machines than people can possibly sift through.”

-Jason Waxman, Intel vice president

“Raising money was not the problem. That was going to be relatively easy. [By selling to Intel], “we have access to technology we’d never dream about.”

-Naveen Rao, Nervana Systems CEO

“There’s always a next wave. I firmly believe this is not only the next wave but something that will dwarf the last wave.

“This is a real thing at Baidu; this is a real thing at Google. They are using deep learning techniques. It is not just papers any more.

-Jason Waxman

Chrome will block Flash content in September, make HTML5 default in December


Google has shared more details on its plan to replace Flash with HTML5 in Chrome.

In September, Chrome will block Flash content that loads behind the scenes (roughly 90 percent of Flash on the web, according to Google). In December, Chrome will make HTML5 the default experience for central content (games, videos, etc), except on sites that only support Flash.

At that point, you’ll be prompted to enable Flash when you first visit the site.

Google Maps for Android gets WiFi-only mode, SD card download option

Google Maps for Android

Google has updated Google Maps’ Android app with a WiFi-only mode and the option to download map data to an SD card.

Google also added more transportation options to the mapping app, including integrations with Go Jek and Grab in Southeast Asia, and expanding its existing support for Gett, Hello, and MyTaxi to cover Ireland, Poland, Italy, Austria, Russia, and Israel.

Facebook now bypassing ad blockers on desktop


Facebook announced in a blog post Tuesday that it’s now circumventing ad blockers. This means that desktop users will continue seeing ads regardless of if they have an ad blocker active.

However, the Menlo Park, Calif.-based company is giving users more control over what ads they’re subjected to.

Its updated “Ad Preferences” panel now lets you opt out of ads related to particular subjects, like “travel” or “cats,” or those from a specific company/organization. It also shows you a rundown of business that’ve added you to a customer list.

According to Facebook, the change comes after a survey conducted by Ipsos Connect with 2,000 people in six countries about ad blocking. The survey found that most of those that use ad blockers do so because they’re tired of disruptive/intrusive ads and are worried about potential security risks.

“Facebook should be applauded for its leadership on preserving a vibrant value exchange with its users. For hundreds of years, advertising and marketing have been central to the delivery of entertainment and services that are otherwise free to consumers. In addition, advertising is essential to the functioning of democratic capitalism.”

-Randall Rothenberg, Interactive Advertisement Bureau president & CEO

“This is an unfortunate move, because it takes a dark path against user choice.”

-Ben Williams, AdBlock Plus spokesperson

Disney investing $1 billion in streaming tech, new streaming sports network

disney-logo-PrintingRay.Com_ (1)

Disney is buying a third of New York-based based streaming tech company BAMTech for $1 billion to eventually launch an ESPN-branded subscription streaming service that won’t include the aforementioned cable networks.

Google Inbox adds Drive file attachments

Google Inbox

Google has added the ability to directly attach Google Drive files to emails in mobile-optimized email client Inbox.

Now, notifications from Trello and GitHub that come into your Inbox will automatically show you a summary of their contents, in a similar style to newsletters from places like Medium.

Inbox can also pull Google alerts in the same newsletter style, with a preview of the contents from your inbox. Tapping the email will start with an auto-generated summary of the items inside. You can tap or click on those specific items to get the full story, or scroll down to read the full email.

It’s now easier to put emails directly into the trash instead of the archive. Hovering over a message in the Web on Inbox, a trash can icon is prominently displayed next to the “done” and “snooze” options.

All of these changes should be rolling out now for Inbox users on the Web, along with the Android and iOS apps.

Google tests more personalized Now virtual assistant

Google Now

Google Now is testing a new feature called “Explore Interests,” which will give users more control over the information Google will track on their behalf, and will make it easier to tell Google the information you want to know about.

The app informs users they can “pick teams, bands, movies, and more” and a click through takes them to a screen where there are colorful titles for sections like Sports, TV, Movies, Musicians, People, Stocks, and more.

As you dive into each section, you can browse through cards of individual items across a number of subcategories, and click plus signs to add the item to the list of things you’re tracking.

You can also see which topics are “Popular in Your Area,” for a bit of local flair.

Yelp Q2 earnings: Revenue $173.4 million, EPS $0.16


Yelp has reported Q2 2016 earnings with revenue of $173.4 million ands earnings per share of $0.16.

In addition, the company partnered with and made an investment in Nowait, a mobile platform that allows restaurants to manage their waitlists.

“In the coming months, Nowait will be integrated onto Yelp Platform, allowing consumers to conveniently view wait times at thousands of restaurants and even add themselves to the waitlists remotely via the Yelp app.”

-Yelp, in a statement

The company also announced Jed Nachman as its chief operating officer, effective immediately. Former COO Geoff Donaker will continue as a strategic advisor to the company.

Profit was $449,000, compared to a $1.3 million loss a year ago.

“In the second half of the year, we look to execute against our three strategic priorities of growing the core local advertising business, boosting awareness of Yelp and driving transactions.”

-Jeremy Stoppelman, Yelp co-founder & CEO

Rackspace sells Sites business to Liquid Web


Rackspace has sold its Cloud Sites business unit to hosting company Liquid Web.

“As Rackspace continues to focus on delivering expertise and Fanatical Support for the world’s leading clouds, while serving more enterprise customers, it has been divesting services that are not core to this strategy.”

  • Rackspace, in a statement

The deal is expected to close before Sept. 30, according to Liquid Web, and will leave the unit based from Rackspace’s San Antonio headquarters.

BitTorrent offers creators cash grants, promotional support through Discovery Fund

BitTorrent Now

BitTorrent is funding the work of select creators through the San Francisco-based company’s Discovery Fund.

The fund intends to find an audience for the work of the aforementioned creators.

BitTorrent will provide between $2,500 and $100,000 in funding to roughly 25 different creators. Some of that funding will come from support and promotion on BitTorrent, but the money could also pay for ad campaigns on other sites.

According to BitTorrent vice president of creative initiatives Straith Schreder, the company’s asking for a brief exclusivity period (seven to 10 days for music, 30 days for video), but after that, the creator can distribute said content anywhere they please.

“It’s about being able to – via a grant – explore new work across mediums. And understanding how to build content, how to build art for the Internet, and being able to back it.”

-Straith Schreder, BitTorrent vice president of creative initiatives

BitTorrent has already announced one winner – the filmmakers behind the dream-focused anthology movie collective:unconscious.

According to Schreder, the focus on distribution and promotion has made BitTorrent look for products that are already in progress.

“It’s really about getting [the project] over the line, in collaboration with the creator.”

-Straith Schreder

Walmart buys for $3B


Walmart has acquired ecommerce startup for $3 billion. co-founder Marc Lore will join Walmart to run e-commerce for both companies.

“We started Jet with the vision of creating a new shopping experience. Today, I couldn’t be more excited that we will be joining with Walmart to help fuel the realization of that vision. The combination of Walmart’s retail expertise, purchasing scale, sourcing capabilities, distribution footprint, and digital assets – together with the team, technology and business we have built here at Jet – will allow us to deliver more value to customers.”

-Marc Lore, co-founder

The deal includes another $300 million in share incentives.

Hulu goes subscription only, moves free stuff to Yahoo

Chromecast Hulu Plus

Hulu is ending its free tier, leaving only the $7.99 tier with limited commercials and the $11.99 one with no ads.

According to Hulu, it’s committed to enhancing its standard paid service with original shows and exclusives and has been forced to limit the free tier into something that’s “no longer aligned with the Hulu experience or content strategy.”

Most of Hulu’s free stuff — the five most recent episodes of shows from ABC, NBC, and Fox eight days after their premiere, some clips, and full seasons of some anime and Korean dramas – will be moved to Yahoo’s View website.

Kaltura raises $50M from Goldman Sachs, confirms IPO plans


Kaltura, the New York-based open source video platform, has raised $50 million from Goldman Sachs, and has confirmed its plans to go public.

The cash will be used to “extend its footprint” worldwide, according to the company.

“Video is booming – it is the favorite data type for communication, collaboration, teaching & learning, marketing, and entertainment. Kaltura is in a unique position to capitalize on this huge market opportunity since it provides the broadest set of video products and capabilities to customers across all industries.”

-Ron Yekutiel, Kaltura chairman & CEO

“Kaltura has an impressive roster of marquee customers across a large and diversified set of markets and an experienced management team that has demonstrated excellence, agility, and leadership.”

-Hillel Moerman, Goldman Sachs Private Capital Investment group co-head

As part of its investment, Goldman Sachs investment vice president Holger Staude will be joining Kaltura’s board of directors.


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