Author: Sarah Wells

Facebook sues BlackBerry over patent infringement of voice-messaging tech

Facebook has accused BlackBerry of stealing its voice-messaging technology in its instant messaging app. In an 118-page complaint filed Tuesday in San Francisco, Facebook claimed BlackBerry infringed on five other patents, including the tracking and analysis of GPS data, voice-messaging technology, and the ways in which the app displays graphics, video and audio. In the complaint, Facebook claims that the infringements have “caused and will continue to cause damage” to the company’s Messenger and WhatsApp messaging apps. Facebook hasn’t yet put a figure on possible damages, but the tone of the lawsuit itself rings hollow in retrospect of comments Facebook made...

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Language learning app Drops adds Native Hawaiian, more than doubles downloads

Drops, the game-based language learning app, has announced Native Hawaiian as the newest addition to the app’s thirty-language selection. With just under 300 Native Hawaiian speakers worldwide according to the Endangered Language Project, this addition is the app’s second foray into digitizing niche and endangered languages for a new generation. “Our native tongue is Hungarian,” Drops co-founder and CEO Daniel Farkas told TechCrunch. “And we’ve watched the rise and decline of many niche languages — including our own. We know how important language is in representing culture and connecting people, and understand the significance of bringing under served languages...

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Graphika visualizes Twitter’s filter bubbles in the US

It’s no surprise that political discourse in America is divided — especially online. And last week in MIT Technology Review, data visualization company Graphika brought those divides to life with 3D, colored depictions of the kind of filter bubbles found on Twitter in the U.S. Co-written by Graphika’s CEO John Kelly and the company’s research director Camille François, the graphics imagine Twitter users as colored orbs (larger or smaller depending on their follower sizes) and groups them depending on who follows whom. The authors told TechCrunch that to create these particular data visualizations they used data from about 13,500 of the best...

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Why engineers are looking to animals for new technology

As a race, human beings have a lot of shortcomings. We’re not very fast, not all that strong and while we have been able to create technology that helps us overcome our environments, we’re not very good at adapting to them. Animals, on the other hand, have been successfully adapting and evolving to meet the world’s challenges long before we were stumbling around. While it might be too late for us to learn these lessons ourselves from our animal counterparts, it’s not too late to pass them on to our inventions. And biomimetic and bio-inspired labs across the world...

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Eventbrite files for $200 million IPO

Eventbrite filed an IPO today for $200 million, confirming reports earlier this summer that the event-planning company plans to go public later this year. According to the document, the company plans to raise $200 million from selling Class A shares, but has yet to list the price per share. As for what Eventbrite intends to do with the new funds, many are pointing to the need to recover the company’s recent losses. While the company reported a net profit of $201.6 million in 2017, operating and loss expenses still left the company unprofitable that year. The company reported a...

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Crater rebrands as Shyft to focus on helping global nomads move

After finally settling on a new apartment, packing your last box and rushing out to pick up your moving van for the measly three hours you could book it for — have you ever taken a moment to think, “Wow, this is so easy?” Nope, and neither has anybody else. But Shyft, a logistics platform company based in San Francisco, is hoping to change that. Originally named Crater, the company has announced today a re-brand of its name and mission to focus on helping improve the corporate relocation process for millions of movers per year. The company is bringing with it three years of experience developing software and technology to help moving companies provide better estimates and service to customers. “We spend hours thinking about these global citizens who are moving everyday and literally shifting their lives,” Shyft CMO Rajiv Parikh told TechCrunch. “They’re moving to new communities, they’re finding new schools, they’re finding new opportunities. It’s a monumental and pivotal moment in someone’s life.” The process works two-fold. First, Shyft is continuing its partnerships with moving companies and selling its software to them in order to help update their portals and make the process as seamless as possible for their existing customers. As part of these partnerships, Shyft is able to create a reliable network of moving companies and services that it can utilize in the second part...

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Y Combinator invests in non-invasive breast cancer screening bra EVA

According to a report by the American Cancer Society, an estimated 266,120 women will be newly diagnosed with breast cancer in the United States this year and (according to a 2016 estimate) can expect to pay between $60,000 and $134,000 on average for treatment and care. But, after hundreds of thousands of dollars and non-quantifiable emotional stress for them and their families, the American Cancer Society still estimates 40,920 women will lose their battle to the disease this year. Worldwide, roughly 1.7 million women will be diagnosed with the disease yearly, according to a 2012 estimate by The World Cancer Research Fund International. While these numbers are stark, they do little to fully capture just how devastating a breast cancer diagnosis is for women and their loved ones. This is a feeling that Higia Technologies‘ co-founder and CEO Julián Ríos Cantú is unfortunately very familiar with. “My mom is a two-time breast cancer survivor,” Cantú told TechCrunch. “The first time she was diagnosed I was eight years old.” Cantú says that his mother’s second diagnosis was originally missed through standard screenings because her high breast density obscured the tumors from the X-ray. As a result, she lost both of her breasts, but has since fully recovered. “At that moment I realized that if that was the case for a woman with private insurance and a prevention mindset, then for most women...

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Facebook awards $200K to Internet Defense Prize winners

Facebook announced today the winners of its annual Internet Defense Prize and awarded first-, second- and third-place winners a total of $200,000 for research papers that addressed topics of internet security and privacy. Combined with $800,000 in Secure the Internet Grants awarded to security and privacy researchers earlier this week, the company has now completed its 2018 goal to invest $1 million toward securing the internet. The Internet Defense Prize first started in 2014, but this year the prize quadrupled from its original $50,000 award to $200,000 spread across three groups. In a statement announcing the winners, Facebook said that...

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