Our weekly Truth in Tech series, where we cover the week’s wackiest, useful, and just downright interesting tech stories, is now available for download on itunes…for free. We sift through a ton of tech news on the daily. Usually we tweet about our findings, but 140 characters doesn’t leave room for much nuance. So buckle up, tune in, and join us as we uncover acquisitions, startups, apps and the ever-evolving tech landscape.
Truth in Tech Ep. 15: The Path Less Taken
Your plumber called. He wants to know about those photos you have to share. The capped social network beloved by designers and San Francisco technorati alike has come under a second round of fire for its spammy adoption practices. On Monday Stephen Kenwright downloaded Path, and then quickly deleted it without adding connections or uploading photos. On Tuesday, starting at 6:30 AM, Kenwright began receiving calls and texts from his friends, family, coworkers, and his plumber, all inquiring about the photos Path had told them he wanted to share with them.
Boston: Placesetter, a cambridge-based startup for realtors, raised $2.5million in funding. Placesetter is a real estate marketing platform to help professional realtors build their own websites. The funding was raised from a Boston seed fund, Romulus Capital, and angel investors.
New York: Rap Genius takes on the news. The spitballing Yalies behind Rap Genius are applying some of their a16z racks to a new vertical called News Genius. Since news stories these days are, like, so hard to parse, the Genii will do it for you. Right now, News Genius is in soft launch, but you can see some of the annotated stories, e.g. the FBI’s Jean Seberg Memo, via itstwitter feed.
IPO or M&A for Twitter? Reuters reports that Twitter has hired Cynthia Gaylor, a well-known IPO and M&A lawyer who previously worked for Morgan Stanley. Gaylor will run Twitter’s corporate development team. Past deals she’s advised on include Amazon’s purchase of Zappos and Google’s acquisition of Admob.
The new phone-a-thon. NPR’s Planet Money wants to trace the life of a tee-shirt, from cotton seed to cargo ship to your credit card. To fund this complex investigation, they’ve turned to Kickstarter. Their goal: $50k. And yes, backers will receive t-shirts.
Bitcoin trying to make a comeback? (Well, Trump is biting.) One big detriment to bitcoins is that banks can shut down the accounts that Bitcoin exchangers use to turn old currencies into Bitcoin. Now, a mini-ATM will handle the exchanges. The ATMs cost approximately $5,000, with cheaper deals for wholesalers.
Apps/Product of the week:
- SmartCap – digitally enhanced bottle cap. pop the cap and it ignites a larger event – such as firing off confetti, turning on the music, checking you in
- Songza, the app that matches expert-created music playlists to your mood or activity, has just released a huge update to its iOS app, streamlining the experience quite a bit and cleaning up the UI to ensure that users are getting the best music to match their mood and activity in the fastest time possible. One of the biggest pain points with Songza is that it’s difficult to find the right music based on artists. Sure, you can hunt for mixes by genre, mood, activity and artists
Truth in Tech Ep. 14: Hacked
Boston: TV Next Hack Hackathon: This weekend, Hill Holiday and Mashery are hosting a hackathon around next generation TV apps. Participants will break into teams and build apps in one of the following categories: Guides, Connected TV, Companion Apps, TV Everywhere, and Analytics & Data Visualization. Winning teams also have a chance of nabbing the Best in Show award, plus $2500, and a slew of gadgets and gift cards.
Facebook acquires Parse: The mobile-backend-as-a-service startup built a useful set of back-end tools for mobile developers, including cloud data storage, and managed identity log-ins, push notifications, and custom code. Apparently other suitors came a’ calling, but FB won out.
There will be 9.4 Million Smart Glasses shipped by 2016: According to a new report from ISH iSuppli, the controversial eyewear will soon be, well, everywhere. Lest you cry “dork,” IHS analyst Theo Ahadome says that the glasses’ success will hinge on the robustness of their app ecosystems. If this is true, Google Ventures’ new joint glass app fund with Andreesen Horowitz makes a lot of sense.
Bill Clinton joins Twitter: Though sadly, he’s ditched @prezbillyjeff for the staider @billclinton. On the Colbert report, the president blamed his recalcitrance on insecurity–what if he tweeted something and no one tweeted back? I think it’s safe to say that won’t happen, as he’s already amassed 450k followers in under 24 hours.
A Tweet from the AP’s Hacked Account Sends Stock Market for a Brief Tumble: A tweet about explosions in the White House caused the Dow to drop 145 points in seconds. Almost as quickly, the same machines that had alerted the hedgefunds and govt agencies of the news were able to determine that the tweet had been false, and shares immediately rebounded.
+Google Trends: Stock Market Predictor: A new study from Nature Scientific Reports shows the promise of search terms as market balewick. Researchers analyzed the query volumes for 98 finance-related search terms and found that a trading plan based on changes in search volumes for the word “debt” would have yielded a 326% return on investment.
NY: Andreesen Horowitz backs 3D Printing company Shapeways: The VC firm is not known for being particularly NYC-friendly, but they’re making a $30 million exception for the originally Netherlands-based startup, which prints things that can’t be printed on home 3D printers, like metal jewelry. This is also the first time a West coast VC has invested in a 3D printing company.
With Connected China, Reuters maps the power structures of the People’s Republic: The app, which took 18 months to build, maps who’s who in China, who they’re connected with, and how they got there.