Author: Sarah Perez

Airbnb shows off new collaboration features that let co-travelers plan trips together

TECHCRUNCH In recent years, Airbnb has been working to expand its business beyond accommodations, by becoming a more robust travel companion with features like guidebooks, suggested experiences, and full-service hospitality for high-end travelers with its still invite-only Airbnb Beyond, for example. Now the company is preparing even more trip-planning features, including support for adding co-travelers to trips and other collaboration features for group travel. Airbnb offered a sneak peek at these otherwise unannounced features at a recent tech talk given at company headquarters. “Trip planning is not necessarily complete unless you can share your trip with someone. So now...

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Twitter Lite expands to 21 more countries, adds push notifications

TECHCRUNCH Twitter announced today its Twitter Lite app is expanding to 21 more countries, which makes the data-saving app available to now over 45 countries in total. The app was first introduced last year with the goal of bringing in more users from emerging markets to Twitter. Similar to other data-saving apps, like Facebook Lite or YouTube Go, Twitter Lite is designed to load faster on slower network connections, like 2G and 3G, and also has a smaller footprint, so it takes up less space on the phone. The app was first launched as a test in the Philippines in September, before rolling out to a couple dozen more countries in November. Twitter’s hope is that addressing the needs of those low-bandwith users in international markets, the company could help increase its overall user base, which has remained fairly stagnant. Today, the company is making the app available to 21 countries, including:  Argentina, Belarus, Dominican Republic, Ghana, Guatemala, Honduras, India, Indonesia, Jordan, Kenya, Lebanon, Morocco, Nicaragua, Paraguay, Romania, Turkey, Uganda, Ukraine, Uruguay, Yemen, and Zimbabwe. These join the other markets where Twitter Lite has been available, such as: Algeria, Bangladesh, Bolivia, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Ecuador, Egypt, Israel, Kazakhstan, Mexico, Malaysia, Nigeria, Nepal, Panama, Peru, Serbia, El Salvador, South Africa, Thailand, Tunisia, Tanzania and Venezuela, in addition to the Philippines. The app offers a variety of features for those on...

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Messenger Kids rolls out passphrases so kids can initiate friend requests themselves

TECHCRUNCH Facebook is making it easier for kids to add their friends on its under-13 chat app, Messenger Kids. Starting today, the company is rolling out a new feature that will allow kids to request parents’ approval of new contacts. To use the feature, parents will turn on a setting that creates a four-word passphrase that’s used generate these contact requests, the company says. Parents can opt to use this feature, which is not on by default. Once enabled, Facebook will randomly generate a four-word phrase that’s uniquely assigned to each child. When the child wants to add a...

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Netflix CFO David Wells to step down

TECHCRUNCH Netflix announced this morning its Chief Financial Officer David Wells would be stepping down from his role after helping the streaming service choose his successor. The company says it will be considering both internal and external candidates to fill the position. Wells has been with Netflix for fourteen years, and has served as CFO since 2010. “It’s been 14 wonderful years at Netflix, and I’m very proud of everything we’ve accomplished,” Wells said, in a statement about his plans. “After discussing my desire to make a change with Reed, we agreed that with Netflix’s strong financial position and...

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Twitch is closing its Communities

TECHCRUNCH Say goodbye to Twitch’s Communities. The game streaming service says it’s soon killing off this still relatively new addition to its site in favor of implementing a tagging system instead. With the changes, users will be able to filter streams by tags within a directory or across different games on the Browse page, in order to better find the sort of streams they want to watch. The closure of Communities and addition of tags is being planned for mid-September, says Twitch. Twitch launched Communities just last year, with the goal of better catering to users’ unique interests. For...

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Facebook now requiring Pages with large US audiences to go through additional authorization

TECHCRUNCH Facebook today announced it’s implementing a new measure to secure Facebook Pages with large U.S. followings in order to make it harder for people to administer a Page using a “fake or compromised account.” Beginning with those that have large U.S. followings, some Facebook Pages will now have to go through a “Page Publishing Authorization” process. This will require the Page managers to secure their accounts and verity their location. Facebook says the process only takes a few minutes to complete. If a Page requires this authorization, the Page admins will receive a notice at the top of...

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Google will lose $50 million or more in 2018 from Fortnite bypassing the Play Store

TECHCRUNCH When Fortnite Battle Royale launched on Android, it made an unusual choice: it bypassed Google Play in favor of offering the game directly from Epic Games’ own website. Most apps and games don’t have the luxury of making this choice – the built-in distribution Google Play offers is critical to their business. But Epic Games believes its game is popular enough and has a strong enough draw to bring players to its website for the Android download instead. In the process, it’s costing Google around $50 million this year in platform fees, according to a new report. As of its...

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Workona helps web workers finally close all those tabs

TECHCRUNCH A new startup, Workona, this week launched software designed for those who primarily do their work in a browser. The company’s goal is to become the OS for web work – and to also save web workers from the hell that is a million open tabs. To accomplish this, Workona offers smart browser windows you set up as workspaces, allowing you a place to save your open tabs, as well as collaborate with team members, search across your tabs, and even sync your workspace to different devices. The Palo Alto-based company was founded in fall 2017 by Quinn Morgan (CEO), previously the founding product manager at Lucidpress, and Alma Madsen (CTO), previously the first employee and Director of Engineering at Lucid Software, the makers of Lucidpress. “Last year, Alma and I decided we wanted to build something together again, and initially began working on a different startup idea,” explains Morgan, as to how Workona began. “As a remote team at the time, we were using cloud apps like Google Docs, Asana, Slack, and Zoom to stay connected. Both of us were wearing multiple hats and juggling ten different projects at once.” “One late night, with ten windows open for each project, the idea just struck us: ‘Why doesn’t the browser – the tool that we actually do most of our work in – not have a good way to manage...

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