Truth in Tech Ep. 10: Acquisitions, Drones, & Starbucks Square

Our weekly series, Truth in Tech, is now a podcast! So you can listen at your convenience – at your desk or on-the-go.

1. Acquisitions Galore:

Pinterest Buys LivestarLivestar amalgamates reviews for restaurants, movies, and music from reputable sources such as newspapers, local news blogs, Facebook friends, or people in your contact list. The acquisition cost wasn’t revealed, but Livestar did have some top investors and $2 million in funding

Babbel Startup buys PlaySay: Babbel is a language learning startup. PlaySay is a English/Spanish learning app for the iPhone where you can have real conversations with pronunciation feedback. Again exact amount of buyout not revealed, but Babbel’s goal is to break into the US Market.

2. Google launches Keep on Android and Google Drive: Keep is Google’s version of Evernote that syncs to your Google Drive. It’s android only at the moment, but wired predicts an iOS version soon

3. The Senate Judiciary Committee held a hearing yesterday on the privacy implications of tiny, cheap drones.

“The drones, or unmanned aerial systems, have already helped the police find missing people and county planners measure the growth of a landfill. But they could also be used by drug dealers, pedophiles and nosy neighbors, the witnesses and a senator said.” Currently, only government agencies and police departments can fly drones, but the FAA will have rules in place for commercial use by 2015.

4. Starbucks’ Square Deal

Square may bill itself as the simplest way to pay–but it still requires training, which Starbucks seems to have failed to give to its baristas. Additionally, in many instances, the scanners don’t work, and employees are forced to type in square’s barcode number.

” At worst, the service simply did not work. On average, however, the user experience was buggy and awkward, with Starbucks employees seemingly more confused about how Square works than their own customers.”

5. Jeff Bezos: Another Lord of the Universe

A team lead by the Amazon CEO spent three weeks at sea looking for discarded F-1 engines from the Apollo program, and uncovered “an incredible sculpture garden” of them. After restoring the engines, Bezos plans to display them at the Museum of Flight in Seattle.

Now that Space-X has its self-piloting rockets, will this garden grow?

6. Boston News:  PAX East and 50 on Fire are heating up Beantown

​7. Apps of the Week

Throwback: Steals your photos and sends them to future you. How it works: take a picture, send it as an attachment to future you/group of friends. You can’t choose a date less than a month away. Once you receive it you can save it to your camera roll. Purposefully doesn’t integrate with social media. Future feature possibilities – auto-tweeting/facebook posting pics months later

Also nominating drunkspotting, which lets you upload photos of inebriated friends or strangers or cats and draw on them. It’s the hack of a hack, created by the StartupBus guys en route to SXSW, and lists Robert Scoble among its advisors.

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