TechSummit Rewind 098

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

Google Duo launches

google-duo-screenshots

Google Duo, its latest video-call app that lets you call people one-on-one with their phone number, is rolling out today.

The app is available now on Android and iOS in 78 languages.

“The logic is that [apps] will succeed if they’re solving a use case really well.

“If there’s anything that was our North Star, it was to be super, super simple. You don’t hear Google talk about [the human element] all that often, but we wanted to enable the human on the other end of the call to really be the experience.”

-Nick Fox, Google VP of product management for consumer communication

Linux traffic hijack flow also affects most Android devices

Android-robot-googleplex-2008

Up to 80 percent of Android devices are vulnerable to a recently disclosed Linux kernel vulnerability.

According to security firm Lookout, the flaw affects all devices running Android 4.4 KitKat and later, which comes with the affected Linux kernel 3.6 or later.

A patch wasn’t available in time for the latest Android monthly patch.

Hike raises $175M at $1.4B valuation

Hike Messenger

Hike, has closed $175 million in Series D funding led by Tencent and Foxconn, according to company founder and CEO Kavin Bharti Mittal, valuing the company at $1.4 billion.

Existing investors Tiger Global, Bharti, and SoftBank also took part in the round.

“Hike deeply understands India; a highly diverse market with many nuances. It is on a mission synergistic to ours, which is to enhance the quality of human life through Internet services. With our investment, Hike will be able to leverage our deep domain expertise in the messaging platform space to provide more value to its users in India.”

-Martin Lau, Tencent president

Google discontinuing Google+ Hangouts on Air Sept. 12, pushes users to YouTube Live

google-hangouts-hands-on-2

Google is discontinuing Google+ Hangouts on Air on Sept. 12. Users will be pushed to YouTube Live instead.

After that date, you won’t be able to schedule a new Hangout on Air through Google+. Existing events scheduled after Sept. 12 will also have to be moved to YouTube Live.

To use Hangouts On Air with YouTube Live, do the following:

  • Go to Live Streaming Events in the YouTube Creator Studio
  • Click New live event
  • Select Quick (using Hangouts on Air)
  • Give your live stream a title
  • Click Go live now or enter details to schedule your event
  • Use Hangouts to broadcast live

Recorded events will be unaffected.

Oculus Rift launches Sept. 20 in UK, parts of Europe, Canada

Oculus Touch

The Oculus Rift will be available in a number of European and North American retailers starting on Sept. 20. Customers in the U.K, France, Germany, and Canada can pre-order the Rift today for a ship date next month.

In the U.K., pre-order partners include Amazon, John Lewis, Curry’s PC World, GAME, and Harrods. In France and Germany, it’ll be available on Amazon. Lastly, Canadians can pick it up on Amazon, Best Buy, and Microsoft Store, with a suggested retail price of £549 (€699). Some retailers will also let customers book in a demo.

If you pre-order, Oculus will bundle VR platformer Lucky’s Tale, hundreds of 360-degree videos, movies, localized manuals, and software. The company is also working with developers to ensure games and VR experiences are relevant for a global audience.

LinkedIn sues anonymous data scrapers

The logo for LinkedIn Corporation is pictured in Mountain View

LinkedIn has filed suit against 100 unnamed individuals last week to harvest user profiles from its website. The lawsuit is the first step to revealing their identities, with the company intending to reveal the scrapers’ identities, and maintain its exclusive hold on users’ resumes.

“During periods of time since December 2015, and to this day, unknown persons and/or entities employing various automated software programs have extracted and copied data from many LinkedIn page. To access this information on LinkedIn’s site, the Doe Defendants circumvented several technical barriers employed by LinkedIn that prevent mass automated scraping, and have knowingly and intentionally violated various access and use restrictions in LinkedIn’s User Agreement, which they agreed to abide by in registering LinkedIn member accounts. In so doing, they have violated an array of federal and state laws, including the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act.

“LinkedIn ‘whitelists’ a number of popular and reputable search providers, search engines, and other platforms so as to permit them to query and index the LinkedIn website, without being subject to all of LinkedIn’s security measures.”

-LinkedIn, in the lawsuit

“If you make it illegal for bots to access websites, you’ve given existing search engines a monopoly. Google and Bing got started by crawling the entire web. That’s essentially what LinkedIn is talking about here. To call scraping a CFAA violation is extremely anti-competitive. Using the CFAA to stifle innovation is certainly not what it was intended for.”

The case is scheduled to be fought in U.S. District Court in San Jose.

Spotify launches Kids category with focus on learning activities, language development

Spotify Kids

Spotify is relaunching its Kids category to include new playlists focused on vocabulary and language development activities, along with voiceover prompts between songs encouraging parents to interact with their children while listening to music.

According to the Stockholm-based company, music can help promote early brain and language development, specifically among ages 0 to 3.

The new Kids playlists are designed around everyday activities, like bedtime, bath time, or traveling in the car. However, the big difference is the voiceover prompts.

For example, a prompt may ask “What should be our next song?,” and then suggest that parent and child to choose a song together that’s slow and calming before bedtime.

According to Spotify, the voiceovers are narrated by celebrities including Fantasia, Sarah Michelle Gellar, Wiz Khalifa, Tyler Perry, Juanes, Diego Torres, Frankie J, Laurie Berkner, Busy Philipps, and Ashley Williams.

The playlists themselves have “evergreen” songs that you’ll remember from your childhood, while others come from those popular on Spotify today with other listeners and families.

Voiceovers/playlists are available in both English and Spanish.

According to the company, the new features were based on research provided by Too Small to Fail, a joint initiative of the Clinton Foundation and The Opportunity Institute, along with Vroom, a Bezos Family Foundation initiative. The latter provided brain-building tips and activities.

In addition, Spotify is working with several other organizations to continue building out themed playlists, including Univision, the GRAMMY Museum, VH1’s Save the Music Foundation, Fatherly, The Bump, Carnegie Hall, Gerber, and ZERO TO THREE.

The company is also teaming up with the Family Independence Initiative to collect program feedback from families in its network, then award grants to those wanting to host singing and music activities.

The section is available now in the Spotify apps and here.

Bumble monetizing with paid features to help find a match

Bumble

Bumble has turned on the monetization button in its girl-dominated dating app.

Users can now pay for a package subscription model that gets them new features Beeline, Rematch, and Busybee for $9.99/month, with discounts available for 3/6-month prepayments.

Beeline will pre-populate a queue of users who have already “liked” you, so matching with them can be done just by tapping yes.

Rematch keeps expired matches in your queue (they expire in 24 hours if no conversation is started), so you can try again to get their attention.

Busy Bee lets you extend the 24-hour window so you can have another day to try matching with someone. Previously, that was available for men as “extend,” a feature that was only available on day. Now, paying male users will get unlimited extends, and the feature will make its way to paying females for the first time.

However, the company stresses that non-paying users won’t lose anything that isn’t currently free.

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