Author: Matthew Lynley

Gfycat wants to fix your low-fidelity GIFs with machine learning

TECHCRUNCH We all love to share GIFs — and there are plenty of ways to do that, through online portals or keyboards — but often times because there is so much content, you’ll end up surfacing up a lower-fidelity GIF. There can be plenty of copies of the same video clips as a GIF, or maybe it’s just difficult to capture and upload, but Gfycat hopes that it can be solved at a technical level. Gfycat is now making a big push on the technical front to make those GIFs look better and more discoverable as creators look to...

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This app will help you figure out if you can fit that Costco-sized paper towel box in your apartment

TECHCRUNCH You’re probably going to get a better deal when you buy consumer products — like paper towels — wholesale, but at the same time you’re also buying a very, very large package of said consumer products. So, they might not always fit in your apartment. Wholesale goods are the primary play for a startup called Boxed, a retailer looking to play the sort of digital-to-your-door Costco game. But there might be a bit of a challenge visualizing how big those packages are, so the company built an augmented reality tool to demo the sheer size of that massive box of Mac and Cheese you might buy through the app. All things said the AR demo is a little bit of a joke. Built during a hackathon, Fong said that it’s primarily a way to help get the brand out there. It’s a fun little application, though there will probably be a segment of the universe that would appreciate a warning as to how big a wholesale package of toilet paper will be when sitting in their apartment. Instead, the tool is matched with two other feature updates the company is rolling out: a chatbot and group orders. “It was a fun project for us to build, and one of the things that we kind of like to hammer in is the idea we sell these bulk goods,” CTO William Fong said. “Being able to...

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Facebook will no longer always divert international advertising revenue to Ireland

TECHCRUNCH Facebook today said it is shifting to a “local selling structure” in countries outside of the U.S., in which its advertising revenue in that country will be recorded by their local company in the country. That means that rather than directly route its revenue to its international headquarters in Dublin, local policymakers and governments will potentially get an opportunity for greater visibility into the company’s revenue related to local advertising sales. The change comes amid a period where there is increasing scrutiny over companies that have held offshore revenue, especially in Ireland, where the European Commission in October...

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Descript gets $5M to make sound editing like a word document

TECHCRUNCH Right before jumping on the phone Friday afternoon, Andrew Mason, who then ran a walking tour startup called Detour and ran Groupon, was hand-correcting a transcription of a speech by John F. Kennedy — which was transcribed by some new software he and his team built in-house. But Descript, Mason’s new startup that’s spun out from Detour, isn’t designed to just transcribe audio (even bad audio, like a recording of JFK’s speech). Instead, the goal for Descript is to take that transcription, put it into a word document, and allow an editor or producer to edit the sound...

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Pinterest brings on a new head of corporate and business development

TECHCRUNCH Pinterest today said it is hiring a new head of corporate and business development, bringing on former Facebooker Gary Johnson as it looks to continue to expand. The hiring comes at a time when Pinterest recently saw its president, Tim Kendall, depart to start his own company. As Pinterest looks to ramp up its pitch to advertisers, it needs to bring on people that can deal with potential partners — as well as one that can scout out new business opportunities that Pinterest can expand (or acquire its way) into. That’s going to be critical as the company positions...

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Lyft’s self-driving pilot with nuTonomy begins rolling out in Boston

TECHCRUNCH Lyft is beginning its self-driving car pilot with self-driving car company nuTonomy in Boston as it looks to ramp up its self-driving efforts, and is now matching its riders with self-driving vehicles in parts of Boston, nuTonomy said today. Lyft announced its partnership with nuTonomy in June this year, indicating that the pilots would begin in the coming months. It looks like the project is going to get out the door by the end of the year, which is a good sign for the company looking to capitalize on not only a pile of goodwill in the ridesharing industry but...

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Foursquare VP of business development Mike Harkey has left for Google

TECHCRUNCH Foursquare’s VP of business development Mike Harkey, who has been with the company for more than 5 years, has left to join Google as its director of global product partnerships. His LinkedIn page shows that he joined Google this month after serving a lengthy tenure at Foursquare, which has seen a significant shift from an early darling as a check-in product to one with a robust enterprise business and location data set. Foursquare now has products like City Guide, which provide a wide array of tips, locations and other information for venues in different cities. “[Harkey] moved on...

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Pinterest integrates deeper with Facebook with a new bot and messenger extension

TECHCRUNCH As Pinterest looks to further expand beyond just the audience you’d expect to use it, it’s going to have to start chasing down users and meet them on different territories — and that includes messaging apps. So today Pinterest is launching a pair of updates that is going to help it tap into that audience of people that are sharing content on Facebook Messenger. People might already be copying links to Pinterest and pasting them in Messenger, but the company is looking to make that a little more seamless to get to the point where you can go into...

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