When shopping for the best extension monitor for your laptop or the for your next picnic, consider the similarities and differences, so you know what you’re looking for. Just because you play games on your TV or watch shows on your computer monitor doesn’t mean they are the same thing. TVs and monitors have very different designs and features. However, there are also a few things they have in common. Size Monitors generally have a smaller screen than TVs. A 30-inch monitor is significant, while a 42-inch HDTV is on the low end of the spectrum. People sit closer to their computer than to the TV, so it doesn’t need to be visible from a distance. Ports There isn’t much of a comparison in a monitor vs. TV when it comes to ports. They both support HDMI, VGA, USB, and DVI. You could use either to connect a multitude of other components like DVD players, Roku, Chromecast, flash drives, and much more. Types Each device serves its unique purposes, but these may overlap. For instance, there are LCD TVs and plenty of smart TV options that allow you to stream your content while we generally use monitors for gaming. However, a TV can be used for gaming, too. Modern monitors and TVs have flat-panel displays, and you would rarely find a new CRT monitor or TV. It’s possible at exclusive stores that cater to the types of gamers who prefer CRT setups, but unlikely. Keep in mind that monitors and TVs have a very different refresh rate, aspect ratio, resolution, and display specifications. A gaming monitor is likely your best bet when it comes to gaming on a screen. You can still have a pleasant gaming experience on a TV with a high Hz refresh rate, though, even if you’re doing console gaming. Buttons In their most basic form, monitors and TVs have buttons and screens. At the very least, you’ll find power buttons and menu buttons, but a TV usually also has a remote with buttons, whereas a monitor does not. HDTVs and more complicated devices have additional buttons that help you control brightness and other settings. This control can improve your image quality or picture quality. Speakers All TVs have built-in speakers, but only some monitors do. However, you can upgrade or attach different speakers to either to improve your sound quality. For monitors that do have built-in speakers, they are generally basic and don’t sound nearly as good as TV speakers do. Interchangeability Monitors and TVs are interchangeable when doing many things, including gaming, photo editing, or streaming shows. The important things to keep in mind are the kind of ports you need to connect your components. If you need an HDMI port to connect your Amazon Fire Stick, make sure you purchase either a TV or a monitor with that kind of connection. TVs are for comfort and visibility, so the viewing angles are broader and more conducive to a living room setting. However, the refresh rate is much slower, making it hard to game in certain situations. The post appeared first on .
Video games are surrounded by a stigma that they are inherently bad from a mental health perspective. This negative perception led to the . But there is a widening group of people, including those who work in mental health, who believe games can be an important and positive tool for those dealing with mental health issues. This was the subject of a panel at this weekend’s PAX West game convention in Seattle, called Roll for a Sanity Check: Games and Mental Health. The panelists, all of whom suffered from some type of mental health issues, were unanimous in that games can be a powerful coping mechanism, whether you need to relax or face your fears. The panel consisted of gaming industry professionals and mental health experts. The games they discussed were both digital and physical. The panelists said they suffered from a laundry list of conditions throughout the group, including bipolar disorder, post-traumatic stress disorder, depression, anxiety, and chronic insomnia. Panelists from left to right: Jimmy Chi, Dr. Barbara McCann, Robert Schuster, Liz Leo, and Tifa Robles Dr. Barbara S. McCann, a professor of psychiatry and behavioral sciences from the University of Washington, said she became intrigued by games as a coping device after hearing a news story about “Space Invader Thumb,” a phrase that was coined to describe a repetitive stress injury from playing the game. “I had always played games as a way to cope,” she said. “I started with pinball and moved on to the early games like Space Invaders. When I heard how people were studying games from a negative standpoint, it made think about ways games could be positive, as well.” This first spark of interest has played a huge role in her career and how she helps her patients. Other panelists including Tifa Robles, a product marketing manager for Xbox, Liz Leo, a creative producer at Wizards of the Coast, and Robert Schuster, also from Wizards of the Coast, said they use games mainly as a way to calm down when feeling symptoms of anxiety. They mentioned that most of their gaming for that purpose happens on their mobile devices. “The great thing about app games,” said Schuster, “is that you have them with you all the time. You don’t need a console or a TV to quickly put yourself back into a better mental state.” Dr. McCann also praised mobile games, especially augmented reality games like or because they encourage the player to “get out and do things,” which can be hugely beneficial, but also a challenge for those suffering from depression or social anxiety disorder. Leo added that the types of games that help her relax are open-ended resource management games like , developed by Seattle developer Eric Barone, aka Concerned Ape, which tasks the player with running a farm and interacting with nearby villagers at their own pace. Jimmy Chi, a support operations lead at Humble Bundle, pointed to the growing number of games in which the goal is much more simple than in traditional games. He brought up a game called , where the player is placed in a party where he or she doesn’t know anyone and is encouraged to cope by finding dogs throughout the house to pet. It’s a way to help the gamer feel more comfortable in a new social setting. But the panel’s suggestions didn’t solely consist of relaxing games. Sometimes, they said, a different way to cope with your problems is to look them straight in the face and try to relate to characters in games who are going through the same issues you are. They all recommended a game called , a tabletop game where the end of the world is imminent and the player is tasked with telling the story of the character in his or her last few hours of life. “It’s a real exercise in bringing closure to something and finding peace with it, which can be applied to something you might be dealing with yourself… except for the end-of-the-world part,” Leo said. Another game in that same vein is , which was brought up by Schuster, who had been dealing with health issues for his own child recently. In that game, the player follows the four-year fight of a child with cancer. “But make sure you’re in the right frame of mind before you play it,” he warned, after saying that it made him feel like “I’m not alone.” In fact, not feeling alone was another major topic of the panel, including the sense of community around games and how important that can be as a support system. The toxic elements of gaming communities are often at the forefront of the discussions, but the positive aspects outweigh the negative, according to the panelists. “Whether they’re people online whom you’ve never met, or those sitting around the table playing or , the people you meet through gaming can be as valuable a resource as anything else,” said Robles.
Internet providers are real bastards: they have captive audiences whom they squeeze for every last penny while they fight against regulation like net neutrality and donate immense amounts of money to keep on lawmakers’ good sides. So why not turn the tables? Here are 13 ways to make sure your ISP has a hard time taking advantage of you (and may even put it on the defensive). Disclosure: Verizon, an internet provider guilty of all these infractions, owns TechCrunch, and I don’t care. 1. Buy a modem and router instead of renting The practice of renting a device to users rather than selling it or providing it as part of the service is one of the telecommunications industry’s oldest and worst. People pay hundreds or even thousands of dollars over years for equipment worth $40 or $50. ISPs do this with various items, but the most common item is probably the modem. This is the gadget that connects to the cable coming out of your wall, and then connects in turn (or may also function as) your wireless and wired router. ISPs often provide this equipment at the time of install, and then charge you $5 to $10 per month forever. What they don’t tell you is you can probably buy the exact same item for somewhere between $30 and $100. The exact model you need will depend on your service, but it will be listed somewhere, and they should tell you what they’d provide if you ask. Look online, buy a new or lightly used one, and it will have paid for itself before the year is out. Not only that, but you can do stuff like upgrade or change the software on it all you want, because it’s yours. Bonus: The ISP is limited in what it can do to the router (like letting other people connect — yes, it’s a thing). 2. Avoid service calls, or if you can’t, insist they’re free I had an issue with my internet a while back that took them several visits from a service tech to resolve. It wasn’t an issue on my end, which was why I was surprised to find they’d charged me $30 or so every time the person came. If your ISP wants to send someone out, ask whether it’s free, and if it isn’t, tell them to make it free or ask if you can do it yourself (sometimes it’s for really simple stuff like swapping a cable). If they charge you for a visit, call them and ask them to take it off your bill. Say you weren’t informed and you’ll inform the Better Business Bureau about it, or take your business elsewhere, or something. They’ll fold. When someone does come… 3. Get deals from the installer If you do end up having someone come out, talk to them to see whether there are any off the record deals they can offer you. I don’t mean anything shady like splitting cables with the neighbor, just offers they know about that aren’t publicized because they’re too good to advertise. A lot of these service techs are semi-independent contractors paid by the call, and their pay has nothing to do with which service you have or choose. They have no reason to upsell you and every reason to make you happy and get a good review. Sometimes that means giving you the special desperation rates ISPs withhold until you say you’re going to leave. And as long as you’re asking… 4. Complain, complain, complain This sounds bad, but it’s just a consequence of how these companies work: The squeaky wheels get the grease. There’s plenty of grease to go around, so get squeaking. Usually this means calling up and doing one of several things. You can complain that service has been bad — outages and such — and ask that they compensate you for that. You can say that a competing ISP started offering service at your location and it costs $20 less, so can they match that. Or you can say your friend just got a promotional rate and you’d like to take advantage of it… otherwise you’ll leave to that phantom competitor. (After all, we know there’s often little or no real competition.) What ISPs, and, more importantly, what their customer service representatives care about is keeping you on as a customer. They can always raise rates or upsell you later, but having you as a subscriber is the important thing. Note that some reps are more game than others. Some will give you the runaround, while others will bend over backwards to help you out. Feel free to call a few times and do a bit of window shopping. (By the way, if you get someone nice, give them a good review if you get the chance, usually right after the call or chat. It helps them out a lot.) Obviously you can’t call every week with new demands, so wait until you think you can actually save some money. Which reminds me… 5. Choose your service level wisely ISPs offer a ton of choices, and make it confusing on purpose so you end up picking an expensive one just to be sure you have what you need. The truth is most people can probably do pretty much everything they need on the lowest tier they offer. A 1080p stream will work fine on a 25 Mbps connection, which is what I have. I also work entirely online, stream high-def videos at a dozen sites all day, play games, download movies and do lots of other stuff, sometimes all at the same time. I think I pay $45 a month. But rates like mine might not be advertised prominently or at all. I only found out when I literally asked what the cheapest possible option was. That said, if you have three kids who like to watch videos simultaneously, or you have a 4K streaming setup that you use a lot, you’ll want to bump that up a bit. But you’d be surprised how seldom the speed limit actually comes into play. To be clear, it’s still important that higher tiers are available, and that internet providers upgrade their infrastructure, because competition and reliability need to go up and prices need to come down. The full promise of broadband should be accessible to everyone for a reasonable fee, and that’s still not the case. 6. Stream everything because broadcast TV is a joke Cord-cutting is fun. Broadcast TV is annoying, and getting around ads and air times using a DVR is very 2005. Most shows are available on streaming services of some kind or another, and while those services are multiplying, you could probably join all of them for well under what you’re paying for the 150 cable channels you never watch. Unless you really need to watch certain games or news shows as they’re broadcast, you can get by streaming everything. This has the side effect of starving networks of viewers and accelerating the demise of these 20th-century relics. Good ones will survive as producers and distributors of quality programming, and you can support them individually on their own merits. It’s a weird transitional time for TV, but we need to drop-kick them into the future so they’ll stop charging us for a media structure established 50 years ago. Something isn’t available on a streaming service? 100 percent chance it’s because of some dumb exclusivity deal or licensing SNAFU. Go pirate it for now, then happily pay for it as soon as it’s made available. This method is simple for you and instructive for media companies. (They always see piracy rates drop when they make things easy to find and purchase.) This also lets you avoid certain fees ISPs love tacking onto your bill. I had a “broadcast TV fee” on my bill despite not having any kind of broadcast service, and I managed to get it taken off and retroactively paid back. On that note… 7. Watch your bill like a hawk Telecoms just love putting things on your bill with no warning. It’s amazing how much a bill can swell from the quoted amount once they’ve added all the little fees, taxes and service charges. What are they, anyway? Why not call and ask? You might find out, as I did, that your ISP had “mistakenly” been charging you for something — like equipment — that you never had nor asked for. Amazing how these lucrative little fees tend to fall through the cracks! Small charges often increase and new ones get added as well, so download your bill when you get it and keep it somewhere (or just keep the paper copies). These are really handy to have when you’re on the phone with a rep. “Why wasn’t I informed my bill would increase this month by $50?” “Why is this fee more now than it was in July?” “Why do I pay a broadcast fee if I don’t pay for TV?” These are the types of questions that get you discounts. Staying on top of these fees also means you’ll be more aware when there are things like mass refunds or class action lawsuits about them. Usually these have to be opted into — your ISP isn’t going to call you, apologize and send a check. As long as you’re looking closely at your bill… 8. Go to your account and opt out of everything When you sign up for broadband service, you’re going to get opted into a whole heap of things. They don’t tell you about these, like the ads they can inject, the way they’re selling this or that data or that your router might be used as a public Wi-Fi hotspot. You’ll only find this out if you go to your account page at your ISP’s website and look at everything. Beyond the usual settings like your address and choice of whether to receive a paper bill, you’ll probably find a few categories like “privacy” and “communications preferences.” Click through all of these and look for any options to opt out of stuff. You may find that your ISP has reserved the right to let partners email you, use your data in ways you wouldn’t expect and so on. It only takes a few minutes to get out of all this, and it deprives the ISP of a source of income while also providing a data point that subscribers don’t like these practices. 9. Share your passwords Your friend’s internet provider gets him streaming services A, B and C, while yours gives you X, Y and Z. Again, this is not about creators struggling to get their content online, but rather all about big media and internet corporations striking deals that make them money and harm consumers. Share your (unique, not reused!) passwords widely and with a clean conscience. No company objects when you invite your friends over to watch “Fleabag” at your house. This just saves everyone a drive! 10. Encrypt everything and block trackers One of the internet companies’ many dirty little deals is collecting and selling information on their customers’ watching and browsing habits. Encrypting your internet traffic puts the kibosh on this creepy practice — as well as being good security. This isn’t really something you can do too much to accomplish, since over the last few years encryption has become the rule rather than the exception, even at sites where you don’t log in or buy anything. If you want to be sure, download a browser plug-in like HTTPS everywhere, which opts you into a secure connection anywhere it’s available. You can tell it’s secure because the URL says “https://” instead of “http://” — and most browsers have other indicators or warnings as well. You should also use an ad blocker, not necessarily to block ads that keep outlets like TechCrunch alive (please), but to block trackers seeded across the web by companies that use sophisticated techniques to record everything you do. ISPs are among these and/or do business with them, so everything you can do to hinder them is a little mud in their eye. Incidentally there are lots of ways you can protect your privacy from those who would invade it — . 11. Use a different DNS Bryce Durbin / TechCrunch On a similar note, most ISPs will usually be set up by default with their own “Domain Name Service,” which is the thing that your browser pings to convert a text web URL (like “techcrunch.com”) to its numerical IP address. There are lots of these to choose from, and they all work, but if you use your ISP’s, it makes it much easier for them to track your internet activity. They also can block certain websites by refusing to provide the IP for content they don’t like. TechCrunch doesn’t officially endorse one, but lots of companies offer free, fast DNS that’s easy to switch to. ; there are big ones (Google, Cloudflare), “open” ones (OpenDNS, OpenNIC) and others with some niche features. All you need to do is slot those two numbers into your internet configuration, following the instructions they provide. You can change it back at any time. is another option for very privacy-conscious individuals, but it can be complicated. And speaking of complicated… 12. Run a home server This is a bit advanced, but it’s definitely something ISPs hate. Setting up your home computer or a dedicated device to host a website, script or service seems like a natural use of an always-on internet connection, but just about everyone in the world would rather you sign up for their service, hosted on their hardware and their connection. Well, you don’t have to! You can do it on your own. Of course, you’ll have to learn how to run and install a probably Unix-based server, handle registry stuff, install various packages and keep up to date so you don’t get owned by some worm or bot… but you’ll have defied the will of the ISP. That’s the important thing. 13. Talk to your local government ISPs hate all the things above, but what they hate the most by far is regulation. And you, as a valued citizen of your state and municipality, are in a position to demand it. Senators, representatives, governors, mayors, city councils and everyone else actually love to hear from their constituency, not because they desire conversation but because they can use it to justify policy. During the net neutrality fight, a constant refrain I heard from government officials was how much they’d heard from voters about the issue and how unanimous it was (in support, naturally). A call or email from you won’t sway national politics, but a few thousand calls or emails from people in your city just might sway a local law or election. These things add up, and they do matter. State net neutrality policies are now the subject of national attention, and local privacy laws like those in Illinois are the bane of many a shady company. Tell your local government about your experience with ISPs — outages, fees, sneaky practices or even good stuff — and they’ll file it away for when that data is needed, such as renegotiating the contracts national companies sign with those governments in order to operate in their territories. Internet providers only do what they do because they are permitted to, and even then they often step outside the bounds of what’s acceptable — which is why rules like net neutrality are needed. But first people have to speak out.
chairman, co-founder and CEO Marc Benioff took a lot of big chances when he 20 years ago. For starters, his was one of the earliest enterprise SaaS companies, but he wasn’t just developing a company on top of a new platform, he was building one from scratch with social responsibility built-in. Fast-forward 20 years and that company is wildly successful. In its most , it announced a $4 billion quarter, putting it on a $16 billion run rate, and making it by far the most successful SaaS company ever. But at the heart of the company’s DNA is a charitable streak, and it’s not something they bolted on after getting successful. Even before the company had a working product, in the earliest planning documents, wanted to be a different kind of company. Early on, it designed that set aside 1% of Salesforce’s equity, and 1% of its product and 1% of its employees’ time to the community. As the company has grown, that model has serious financial teeth now, and other startups over the years have also adopted the same approach using Salesforce as a model. In , the company’s enormous annual customer conference, in 2016, Benioff outlined his personal philosophy around giving back: You are at work, and you have great leadership skills. You can isolate yourselves and say I’m going to put those skills to use in a box at work, or you can say I’m going to have an integrated life. The way I look at the world, I’m going to put those skills to work to make the world a better place. This year Benioff is coming to to discuss with TechCrunch editors how to build a highly successful business, while giving back to the community and the society your business is part of. In fact, he has a book coming out in mid-October called , in which he writes about how businesses can be a positive social force. Benioff has received numerous awards over the years for his entrepreneurial and charitable spirit, including Innovator of the Decade from Forbes, one of the World’s 25 Greatest Leaders from Fortune, one of the 10 Best-Performing CEOs from Harvard Business Review, GLAAD, the Billie Jean King Leadership Initiative for his work on equality and the Variety Magazine EmPOWerment Award. It’s worth noting that in 2018, a group of 618 Salesforce employees presented Benioff with a petition protesting the . Benioff in public comments stated that the tools were being used in recruitment and management, and not helping to separate families at the border. While Salesforce did not cancel the contract, at the time, co-CEO Keith Block stated that the company would donate $1 million to organizations helping separated families, as well as match any internal employee contributions through its charitable arm, Salesforce.org. Disrupt SF runs October 2 to October 4 at the Moscone Center in the heart of San Francisco. Did you know Extra Crunch annual members get 20% off all TechCrunch event tickets? Head over to get your annual pass, and then email firstname.lastname@example.org to get your 20% discount. Please note that it can take up to 24 hours to issue the discount code.
A UK group of climate activists is planning to fly drones close to Heathrow Airport next month in a direct action they hope will shut down the country’s largest airport for days or even longer. The planned action is in protest at the government’s decision to green-light a third runway at Heathrow. They plan to use small, lightweight “toy” drones, flown at head high (6ft) within a 5km drone ‘no fly’ zone around the airport — but not within flight paths. The illegal drone flights will also be made in the early morning at a time when there would not be any scheduled flights in the air space to avoid any risk of posing a threat to aircraft. The activists point out that the government recently — when it also pledged to reduce carbon emissions to net zero by 2050 — arguing there is no chance of meeting that target if the UK expands current airport capacity. A press spokesman for the group, which is calling itself , told TechCrunch: “Over a thousand child are dying as a result of climate change and ecological collapse — already, every single day. That figure is set to significantly worsen. The government has committed to not just reducing carbon emissions but reducing them to net zero — that is clearly empirically impossible if they build another runway.” The type of drones they plan to use for the protest are budget models which they say can be bought cheaply at UK retailer — which, for example, sells the Sky Viper Stunt Drone for £30; the Revell GO! Stunt Quadcopter Drone for £40; and the Revell Spot 2.0 Quadcopter (which comes with a HD camera) for £50. The aim for the protest is to exploit what the group dubs a loophole in Heathrow’s health and safety protocol around nearby drone flights to force it to close down runways and ground flights. Late last year a spate of drone sightings near the UK’s second busiest airport, Gatwick, led to after the airport responded by grounding flights. At the time, the government was sharply criticized for having failed to foresee weaknesses in the regulatory framework around drone flights near sensitive sites like airports. In the following months it responded by what was then a 1km airport exclusion zone to 5km — with that expanded ‘no fly’ zone coming into force in March. However a wider government plan to table a comprehensive drones bill has faced a number of delays. It’s the larger 5km ‘no fly’ zone that the Heathrow Pause activists are targeting in a way they hope will safely trigger the airport’s health & safety protocol and shut down the airspace and business as usual. Whether the strategy to use drones as a protest tool to force the closure of the UK’s largest airport will fly remains to be seen. A spokeswoman for Heathrow airport told us it’s confident it has “robust plans” in place to ensure the group’s protest does not result in any disruption to flights. However she would not provide any details on the steps it will take to avoid having to close runways and ground flights, per its safety protocol. When we put the airport’s claim of zero disruption from intended action back to Heathrow Pause, its spokesman told us: “Our understanding is that the airport’s own health and safety protocols dictate that they have to ground airplanes if there are any drones of any size flying at any height anywhere within 5km of the airport. “Our position would be that it’s entirely up to them what they do. That the action that we’re taking does not pose a threat to anybody and that’s very deliberately the case. Having said that I’d be surprised to hear that they’re going to disregard their own protocols even if those are — in our view — excessive. It would still come as a surprise if they weren’t going to follow them.” “We won’t be grounding any flights in any circumstances,” he added. “It’s not within our power to do so. All of the actions that have been planned have been meticulously planned so as not to pose any threat to anybody. We don’t actually see that there need to be flights grounded either. Having said that clearly it would be great if Heathrow decided to ground flights. Every flight that’s grounded is that much less greenhouse gas pumped into the atmosphere. And it directly saves lives. “The fewer flights there are the better. But if there are no flights cancelled we’d still consider the action to be an enormous success — purely upon the basis of people being arrested.” The current plan for the protest is to start illegally flying drones near Heathrow on September 13 — and continue for what the spokesman said could be as long as “weeks”, depending on how many volunteer pilots it can sign up. He says they “anticipate” having between 50 to 200 people willing to risk arrest by breaching drone flight law. The intention is to keep flying drones for as long as people are willing to join the protest. “We are hoping to go for over a week,” he told us. Given the plan has been directly communicated to police the spokesman conceded there is a possibility that the activists could face arrest before they are able to carry out the protest — which he suggested might be what Heathrow is banking on. Anyone who flies a drone in an airport’s ‘no fly’ zone is certainly risking arrest and prosecution under UK law. Penalties for the offence range from fines to life imprisonment if a drone is intentionally used to cause violence. But the group is clearly taking pains to avoid accusations the protest poses a safety risk or threatens violence — including by publishing extensive details of their plan online, as well as communicating it to police and airport authorities. A detailed protocol on their sets out the various safety measures and conditions the activists are attaching to the drone action — “to ensure no living being is harmed”. Such as only using drones lighter than 7kg, and giving the airport an hour’s advance notice ahead of each drone flight. They also say they have a protocol to shut down the protest in the event of an emergency — and will have a dedicated line of communication open to Heathrow for this purposes. Some of the activists are scheduled to meet with police and airport authorities tomorrow, face to face, at a London police station to discuss the planned action. The group says it will only call off the action if the Heathrow third runway expansion is cancelled. In an emailed statement in response to the protest, Heathrow Airport told us: We agree with the need to act on climate change. This is a global issue that requires constructive engagement and action. Committing criminal offences and disrupting passengers is counterproductive. Flying of any form of drone near Heathrow is illegal and any persons found doing so will be subject to the full force of the law. We are working closely with the Met Police and will use our own drone detection capability to mitigate the operational impact of any illegal use of drones near the airport. Asked why the environmental activists have selected drones as their tool of choice for this protest, rather than deploying more traditional peaceful direct action strategies, such as trespassing on airport grounds or chaining themselves to fixed infrastructure, the Heathrow Pause spokesman told us: “Those kind of actions have been done in the past and they tend to result in very short duration of time during which very few flights are cancelled. What we are seeking to do is unprecedented in terms of the duration and the extent of the disruption that we would hope to cause. “The reason for drones is in order to exploit this loophole in the health and safety protocols that have been presented to us — that it’s possible for a person with a toy drone that you can purchase for a couple of quid, miles away from any planes, to cause an entire airport to stop having flights. It is quite an amazing situation — and once it became apparent that that was really a possibility it almost seemed criminal not to do it.” He added that drone technology, and the current law in the UK around how drones can be legally used, present an opportunity for activists to level up their environmental protest — “to cause so much disruption with so few people and so little effort” — that it’s simply “a no brainer”. During last year’s Gatwick drone debacle the spokesman said he received many enquiries from journalists asking if the group was responsible for that. They weren’t — but the mass chaos caused by the spectre of a few drones being flown near Gatwick provided inspiration for using drone technology for an environmental protest. The group’s website is hosting video interviews with some of the volunteer drone pilots who are willing to risk arrest to protest against the expansion of Heathrow Airport on environmental grounds. In a statement there, one of them, a 64-year-old writer called Valerie Milner-Brown, said: “We are in the middle of a climate and ecological emergency. I am a law-abiding citizen — a mother and a grandmother too. I don’t want to break the law, I don’t want to go to prison, but right now we, as a species, are walking off the edge of a cliff. Life on Earth is dying. Fires are ravaging the Amazon. Our planet’s lungs are quite literally on fire. Hundreds of species are going extinct every day. We are experiencing hottest day after hottest day, and the Arctic is melting faster than scientists’ worst predictions. “All of this means that we have to cut emissions right now, or face widespread catastrophe on an increasingly uninhabitable planet. Heathrow Airport emits 18 million tons of CO2 a year. That’s more than most countries. A third runway will produce a further 7.3 million tons of CO2. For all Life — now and in the future — we have to take action. I’m terrified but if this is what it will take to make politicians, business leaders and the media wake up, then I’m prepared to take this action and to face the consequences.”
Based in London, is a general partner for , the VC firm formerly known as Google Ventures. And Hulme isn’t your average VC as he likes to focus on hard problems instead of quick wins. He has become an important figure of the European VC landscape, that’s why I’m excited to announce that Glovo founder Oscar Pierre is joining us at . has had an interesting start in Europe. The firm originally announced a new, separate fund focused on European startups exclusively. A dedicated GV Europe team was supposed to lead the fund. A few years later, GV has switched to a more global and unified strategy. The European team is now part of GV at large. But it doesn’t mean that GV stopped looking at European startups altogether. Tom Hulme is evidence that GV is still very much active in London, the U.K. and Europe. A couple of years ago, . It is a fascinating read and I would recommend it to anyone interested in startup investment. GV doesn’t want to stop at low-hanging fruits. The firm is looking at startups working around artificial intelligence and deep learning, virtual and augmented reality, the car of the future, life sciences and more. For instance, Tom Hulme and his team looked at over 60 companies in Europe and Tel Aviv focused on AI. In other words, if you’re working on something big that requires a lot of capital, chances are you should meet up with GV. Tom Hulme has invested in , , , , , and many other startups. And I can’t wait to hear what’s going to be his next investment. to listen to this discussion — and many others. The conference will take place on December 11-12. In addition to panels and fireside chats, like this one, new startups will participate in the Startup Battlefield to compete for the highly coveted Battlefield Cup. Tom is a general partner at Google Ventures. Previously, Tom was a design director at IDEO Europe, where he founded OpenIDEO, an open innovation platform that has over 150,000 users from more than 170 countries. Tom also launched OIEngine, an online platform for IDEO clients, including Harvard Business School and the Knight Foundation. Before IDEO, Tom was managing director of Marcos, a British sports car manufacturer. As a serial entrepreneur, Tom also founded Magnom, a magnetic filter startup. Tom’s filter designs have been widely used in Formula One, Superbikes, JCB loaders, and central heating systems. Tom has been recognized as a Young Global Leader by the World Economic Forum, and has been featured in WIRED UK’s Top 100 Digital Power Brokers list every year since the list has been published. He has also been included in the Evening Standard list of London’s 1000 Most Influential People. Tom earned a first class bachelor’s degree in physics from the University of Bristol, and an MBA from Harvard Business School, where he received the Baker Scholar Award of high distinction. Tom has also received an honorary doctorate from University Arts London.
Sonderangebot! That sounds like a super-cool robotics startup you’d find at , right? But it’s German for special offer — and that’s super cool, too. Our premier tech conference takes place on 11-12 December, and we want to make attending Disrupt Berlin as easy on the budget as possible. Hence, our buy-now-pay-later Sonderangebot! It’s our super early-bird season and, depending on which Disrupt Berlin pass you buy, you can save up to €600. But now you have the option to stretch your payments over four months and avoid an upfront layout of your hard-earned cash. . Here’s how our buy-now-pay-later installment plan works. Follow the normal process to purchase your pass. When it comes time to pay, select the payment plan option. You pay 25% of the pass price (plus fees) now and then pay off the remaining balance in three equal monthly payments. Note: Discounted student, government or nonprofit Innovator passes do not qualify for payment installments. Want to bring your whole team to Disrupt Berlin? Combine the buy-now-pay-later option with our for even more bottom-line comfort. Perhaps you’re keen to introduce your early-stage startup to 3,000+ attendees — from more than 50 countries — as they stream through our exhibit hall. Yes? Then scoop up a super early-bird for €745 + VAT and yes, you can take advantage of the payment plan option. Whatever startup role describes you — founder, investor, industry leader, developer or technologist — you can lock in your pass price and experience all the excitement and action of Disrupt Berlin 2019. Dive into two full days of hands-on workshops, product demonstrations, top-notch speakers, and world-class networking. We’ll announce more exciting news in the weeks ahead — like how you can apply to compete in or earn a coveted spot as a and exhibit in Startup Alley for free. Join our mailing list to stay in the loop. We’re in the process of building our roster of Disrupt Berlin speakers, and TechCrunch editors want to hear your recommendations. Opportunities are limited, so as soon as possible. The team reviews submissions on a rolling basis and when they’ve reviewed yours, you’ll receive the editorial decision by email. takes place on 11-12 December, and you can give your budget breathing room with our buy-now-pay-later installment plan. Buy your passes, take advantage of this Sonderangebot, and we’ll see you in Berlin! Is your company interested in sponsoring or exhibiting at Disrupt Berlin 2019? Contact our sponsorship sales team by .
This is how to give your outdated phone new life.
A $28 million financing has made , an AI-powered news aggregation app, a unicorn. Japan Post Capital has led the Series E round, which brings the company’s total investment to $116 million and pushes its valuation to $1.1 billion. Existing investors in SmartNews include Development Bank of Japan, SMBC Venture Capital and Japan Co-Invest L.P. The company, founded in Tokyo in 2012, boasts 20 million monthly active users in the U.S. and Japan. Growing at a rate of 500% per year, its audience checks into the app for a mix of political, sports, global and entertainment news curated for each individual reader. To make money, the company sells inline advertising, video ads and deals with publishers to sell ads against “SmartViews,” its equivalent of Google’s AMP or Facebook’s Instant Articles SmartNews has nearly 400 U.S. publishing partners including The Associated Press and Bloomberg. It competes with the likes of Apple, which earlier this year, a subscription news product that offers access to more than 300 magazines and newspapers for $9.99 per month. SmartNews says it will use the infusion of capital to expand its global footprint. “We are very pleased with our strong progress in the United States,” SmartNews co-founder and chief executive officer Ken Suzuki said in a statement. “We will continue to share our vision of informed, balanced media consumption with our current and future users in the U.S. and all over the world.”
We predict the exact date when Apple will unveil the iPhone 11, 11R and 11 Max.
Hello and welcome back to Startups Weekly, a weekend newsletter that dives into the week’s noteworthy startups and venture capital news. Before I jump into today’s topic, let’s catch up a bit. Last week, I wrote about . Before that, I noted some . Remember, you can send me tips, suggestions and feedback to email@example.com or on Twitter . If you don’t subscribe to Startups Weekly yet, you can do that What’s new? This week DoorDash announced an agreement to acquire Caviar, an on-demand delivery business, from Square. DoorDash says it will pay $410 million for the company in a combination of cash and stock. If you’re thinking that seems like a lot of money, you are very much correct. It’s so much money that all of us over here at TechCrunch were scratching our heads trying to understand why DoorDash would shell out that kind of cash. After all, Square paid only $90 million in stock for Caviar when it acquired the company back in 2014. However, DoorDash is VC cash-rich. The business, still privately-owned, has raised an astronomical sum of venture capital. This year alone it’s raised $1 billion, including a Series G funding of $600 million that valued it at $12.6 billion. This is fucking insane. — Kate Clark (@KateClarkTweets) When a company raises that many huge rounds so close together, you can only assume it’s burning through a lot of cash. When it comes time for DoorDash to begin pitching Wall Street for an IPO — we’re thinking late next year — established subsidiaries like Caviar will at least help bolster its IPO-ready narrative. With monster companies like DoorDash, Grubhub and UberEats owning the food delivery space, we will no doubt see more big M&A deals and more startups die. () But will any of these efforts ever become profitable? Or will DoorDash burn through cash until there’s just no more cash left to burn? #Equitypod If you enjoy this newsletter, be sure to check out TechCrunch’s venture-focused podcast, Equity. In this week’s episode, available , Equity co-host Alex Wilhelm and I attempt to make sense of DoorDash’s acquisition of Caviar. Equity drops every Friday at 6:00 am PT, so subscribe to us on , and Big Deals Little Deals M&A Plus: Read TechCrunch’s Lucas Matney’s on Salesforce’s major acquisition of Tableau. (Extra Crunch membership required.) Venture Fundraising Extra Crunch Here’s your weekly reminder that for a low price — a complete bargain really — you can learn more about the startups and venture capital ecosystem with a. We offer exclusive deep dives, Q&As, newsletters, resources and recommendations, and fundamental startup how-to guides to our subscribers. Here are some of the best EC posts of the week:
has tweaked the settings for its Alexa voice AI to allow users to opt out of their voice recordings being manually reviewed by the company’s human workers. The policy shift took effect Friday, according to , which reports that Alexa users will now find an option in the settings menu of the Alexa smartphone app to disable human review of their clips. The Alexa T&C did not previously inform users of the possibility that audio recordings captured by the service might be manually reviewed by actual humans. (Amazon still doesn’t appear to provide this disclosure on its either.) But the Alexa app now includes a disclaimer in the settings menu that flags the fact human ears may in fact be listening, per the report. This disclosure appears only to surface if users go digging into the settings menu. Bloomberg says users must tap ‘Settings’ > ‘Alexa Privacy’ > ‘Manage How Your Data Improves Alexa’ before they see the following text: “With this setting on, your voice recordings may be used to develop new features and manually reviewed to help improve our services. Only an extremely small fraction of voice recordings are manually reviewed.” The policy tweak comes as regulators are dialling up attention on the privacy risks posed by voice AI technologies. it emerged that Google was ordered by a German data protection watchdog to halt manual reviews of audio snippets generated by its voice AI, after thousands of recordings were leaked to the Belgian media last month which was able to identify some of the people in the clips. Google has suspended reviews across the whole of Europe while it liaises with EU privacy regulators. In a statement on its website the Hamburg privacy watchdog raised concerns about other operators of voice AIs, urging EU regulators to make checks on providers such as Amazon and Apple — and “implement appropriate measures”. Coincidentally (or not) Apple also suspended human reviews of Siri snippets — globally, in its case — following privacy concerns raised by a recent UK media report. The Guardian newspaper quoted a whistleblower claiming contractors regularly hearing confidential personal data captured by Siri. While Google and Apple have entirely suspended human reviews of audio snippets (at least temporarily), Amazon has not gone so far. Nor does it automatically opt users out. The policy change just lets users disable reviews — which requires consumers to both understand the risk and act to safeguard their privacy. Amazon’s disclosure of the existence of human reviews is also currently buried deep in the settings, rather than being actively conveyed to users. It’s not clear whether any of this will wash with regulators in Europe. Bloomberg reports that Amazon declined to comment on whether it had been contacted by regulators about the Alexa recordings review program, saying only: “We take customer privacy seriously and continuously review our practices and procedures We’ll also be updating information we provide to customers to make our practices more clear.” We reached out to Amazon with questions but at the time of writing a spokesperson was not available.
In an era of massive data breaches, most recently the fiasco, the risk of a cyberattack and the are the top existential threat to corporations big and small. At TechCrunch’s first-ever enterprise-focused event (), that topic will be front and center throughout the day. That’s why we’re delighted to announce United’s chief information security officer will join in San Francisco on September 5, where we will discuss and learn how one of the world’s largest airlines keeps its networks safe. Joining her to talk enterprise security will be a16z partner and DUO / Cisco’s head of advisory CISOs , among others still to be announced. At United, Heath oversees the airline’s cybersecurity program and its IT regulatory, governance and risk management. The U.S.-based airline has more than 90,000 employees serving 4,500 flights a day to 338 airports, including New York, San Francisco, Los Angeles and Washington, D.C. A native of Manchester, U.K., Heath served as a former police detective in the U.K. Financial Crimes Unit where she led investigations into international investment fraud, money laundering and large scale cases of identity theft — and ran joint investigations with the FBI, SEC and London’s Serious Fraud Office. Heath and her teams have been the recipients of CSO Magazine’s CSO50 Awards for their work in cybersecurity and risk. At , Heath will join a panel of cybersecurity experts to discuss security on enterprise networks large and small — from preventing data from leaking to keeping bad actors out of their network — where we’ll learn how a modern CSO moves fast without breaking things. Join hundreds of today’s leading enterprise experts for this single-day event when you purchase a ticket to the show. The $249 early-bird sale ends Friday, August 9. Make sure to and save $100 before prices go up.
They say that cleanliness is next to godliness and if that’s true you want the that will make you feel like Zeus on top of a sparkling clean Mount Olympus. Me too. That’s why I recently tested the ILIFE V5s Robotic Vacuum Cleaner with Water Tank Mop. This robotic mop/vacuum is said to do a good job on hardwood floors, has a low price and is both a vacuum and a mop with water tank. You have to love that 2in1 functionality. But does it live up to the hype? Read my vacuum guide below to find out. Does This Mop And Vacuum Robot Suck? Or Is It A Clean Purchase? This little robot will clean your floors like a champ. $196.17 The ILIFE V5s Robotic Vacuum works well if you have various hard floor surfaces and want them to be as clean as possible. It is primarily a mop and so it has an interchangeable 0.3-liter water container that is actually larger than most of the competition and easy to clean. Pros: Mops hardwood floors beautifully Great value Also a top-rated vacuum Cons: Sometimes can’t find charging base Cheaper than a Roomba ILIFE V5s Robotic Vacuum Build Quality And Design As far as robot vacuum cleaners go, this one seems pretty durable. Your pets won’t be able to break it and it should hold up well enough to give you years of cleaning. The design stands out as it has a gold-like face on the top and isn’t all black or all white. If looks are important to you, this model is a winner already. Cleaning Power The ILIFE V5s has a charing time of 250-300 minutes, which gives you a cleaning time of 90-110 minutes. In my tests, I cleaned the kitchen, mudroom, dining and living room, which is about 1000 sq feet in one charge. I would guess this cleaning robot could handle at least 1200. When you want to vacuum just replace the tank with the dirt bin, then attach the side bristles/cleaning brush. Even though it is mostly for hardwood floors, it is a good carpet cleaner that can vacuum low-pile carpets with fairly strong suction. The wet cleaning mode works using a mop mat holder that holds a mop pad that is continually soaked by the water tank. This gives you a damp mop. Performance I have a few different floor types of hardwood in my house and they all look beautiful thanks to this little robot vacuum and mop. The mopping function on the v5 pro works flawlessly as does the vacuum function. It has a more powerful suction than I expected, sucking up pet fur, debris, dust, and dirt easily and efficiently. On 2 occasions out of three weeks of use, it could not find it’s charging base, so most of the time it works perfectly. Aside from that, the mop cleaning pad sometimes gets stuck on some surfaces, and you also can’t charge it with the water tank inside. So it requires some maintenance. Bottom Line The ilife v5s pro has both auto charging or manual charging, while modes include everything from spot and edge cleaning to auto and scheduled cleaning, It does an excellent job on hardwoods and I highly recommend it for that. As I said, it does require some maintenance, but it is still a top-rated vacuum and mop in our section. Plus, you can’t beat the price. I actually love how it gets the floors clean and it is a great value for your money. If you’re looking at for a robot vacuum with other features, the Roomba s9, iRobot Braava 380t, Chuwi ilife, or any other home gadget, you can always consult a vacuum buying guide from . That is also true for other . Related Posts: The post appeared first on .
Here are five words you’ll never hear spring from the mouth of an early-stage startupper. “I don’t mind paying more.” We feel you, and that’s why we’re letting you know that the price of admission to , which takes place on September 5, goes up next week. Our $249 early-bird ticket price remains in play until 11:59 p.m. (PT) on August 9. now and save $100. Now that you’ve scored the best possible price, get ready to experience a full day focused on what’s around the corner for enterprise — the biggest and richest startup category in Silicon Valley. More than 1,000 attendees, including many of the industry’s top founders, CEOs, investors and technologists, will join TechCrunch’s editors onstage for interviews covering all the big enterprise topics — AI, the cloud, Kubernetes, data and security, marketing automation and event quantum computing, to name a few. This conference features more than 20 sessions on the main stage, plus separate Q&As with the speakers and breakout sessions. Check out . Just to peek at one session, TechCrunch’s Connie Loizos will interview three top VCs — (Emergence Capital), (Canaan Partners) and Rebecca Lynn (Canvas Ventures) — in a session entitled Investing with an Eye to the Future. In an ever-changing technological landscape, it’s not easy for VCs to know what’s coming next and how to place their bets. Yet, it’s the job of investors to peer around the corner and find the next big thing, whether that’s in AI, serverless, blockchain, edge computing or other emerging technologies. Our panel will look at the challenges of enterprise investing, what they look for in enterprise startups and how they decide where to put their money. Want to boost your ROI? Take advantage of our group discount — save 20% when you buy four or more tickets at once. And remember, for every ticket you buy to TC Sessions: Enterprise, we’ll register you for a free Expo Only pass to on October 2-4. takes place September 5, but your chance to save $100 ends next week. No one enjoys paying more, so today, cross it off your to-do list and enjoy your savings. Is your company interested in sponsoring or exhibiting at TC Sessions: Enterprise 2019? Contact our sponsorship sales team by .
Grab popcorn. As Internet fights go this one deserves your full attention — because the fight is over your attention. Your eyeballs and the creepy ads that trade data on you to try to swivel ’em. In the blue corner, the Internet Advertising Association’s CEO, who has been taking to Twitter increasingly loudly in recent days to savage Europe’s privacy framework, the GDPR, and bleat dire warnings about California’s Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA) — including amplifying studies he claims show “the negative impact” on publishers. , tweeted August 1: More on the negative impact of on publishers (and more reasons is trying to fix so publishers, brands, & retailers don’t get killed). — (@r2rothenberg) NB: The IAB is a mixed membership industry organization which combines advertisers, brands, publishers, data brokers* and adtech platform tech giants — including the dominant adtech duopoly, Google and who take home ~60% of digital ad spend. The only entity capable of putting a dent in the duopoly, Amazon, is also in the club. Its membership reflects the sprawling interests attached to the online ad industry, and, well, the personal data that currently feeds it (your eyeballs again!), although some members clearly have pots more money to spend on lobbying against digital privacy regs than others. In a what now looks to have been deleted tweet last month Rothenberg publicly professed himself proud to have Facebook as a member of his ‘publisher defence’ club. Though, admittedly, per the above tweet, he’s also worried about brands and retailers getting “killed”. He doesn’t need to worry about Google and Facebook’s demise because that would just be ridiculous. Now, in the — I wish I could call it ‘red top’ corner, except these newspaper guys are anything but tabloid — we find premium publishers biting back at Rothenberg’s attempts to trash-talk online privacy legislation. Here’s the New York Times‘ data governance & privacy guy, Robin Berjon, demolishing Rothenberg via the exquisite medium of … One of the primary reasons we need the and (and more) today is because the , under 's leadership, has been given 20 years to self-regulate and has used the time to do [checks notes] nothing whatsoever. — Robin Berjon (@robinberjon) I’m going to quote Berjon in full because every single tweet packs a beautifully articulated punch: One of the primary reasons we need the #GDPR and #CCPA (and more) today is because the @iab, under @r2rothenberg’s leadership, has been given 20 years to self-regulate and has used the time to do [checks notes] nothing whatsoever. I have spent much of my adult life working in self-regulatory environments. They are never perfect, but when they work they really deliver. #Adtech had a chance to self-reg when the FTC asked them to — from which we got the joke known as AdChoices. They got a second major chance with DNT. But the notion of a level playing field between #adtech and consumers didn’t work for them so they did everything to prevent it from existing. At some point it became evident that the @iab lacked the vision and leadership to shepherd the industry towards healthy, sustainable behaviour. That’s when regulation became unavoidable. No one has done as much as the @iab has to bring about strong privacy regulation. And to make things funnier the article that @r2rothenberg was citing as supporting his view is… calling for stronger enforcement of the #GDPR. If that’s not a metaphor for where the @iab’s at, I don’t know what is. Next time Facebook talks about how it can self-regulate its access to data I suggest you cc that entire thread. Also chipping in on Twitter to champion Berjon’s view about the IAB’s leadership vacuum in cleaning up the creepy online ad complex, is Aram Zucker-Scharff, aka the ad engineering director at — checks notes — The Washington Post. His punch is more of a jab — but one that’s no less painful for the IAB’s current leadership. “I say this rarely, but this is a must read,” he writes, in a quote tweet pointing to Berjon’s entire thread. I say this rarely, but this is a must read, Thread: — Aram Zucker-Scharff (@Chronotope) Another top tier publisher’s commercial chief also told us in confidence that they “totally agree with Robin” — although they didn’t want to go on the record today. In an interesting twist to this ‘mixed member online ad industry association vs people who work with ads and data at actual publishers’ slugfest, Rothenberg to Berjon’s thread, literally thanking him for the absolute battering. “Yes, thank you – that’s exactly where we’re at & why these pieces are important!” he tweeted, presumably still dazed and confused from all the body blows he’d just taken. “supports the competitiveness of the hundreds of small publishers, retailers, and brands in our global membership. We appreciate the recognition and your explorations,.” Yes, thank you – that’s exactly where we’re at & why these pieces are important! supports the competitiveness of the hundreds of small publishers, retailers, and brands in our global membership. We appreciate the recognition and your explorations, & — Randall Rothenberg (@r2rothenberg) Rothenberg also took the time to thank Bloomberg columnist, Leonid Bershidsky, who’d to point out that the article Rothenberg had furiously retweeted actually says the GDPR “should be enforced more rigorously against big companies, not that the GDPR itself is bad or wrong”. Who is Bershidsky? Er, just the author of the Rothenberg tried to nega-spin. So… uh… owned. May I point out that the piece that's cited here (mine) says the GDPR should be enforced more rigorously against big companies, not that the GDPR itself is bad or wrong? — Leonid Bershidsky (@Bershidsky) But there’s more! Berjon tweeted a response to Rothenberg’s thanks for what the latter tortuously referred to as “your explorations” — I mean, the mind just boggles as to what he was thinking to come up with that euphemism — thanking him for reversing his position on GDPR, and for reversing his prior leadership vacuum on supporting robustly enforced online privacy laws. “It’s great to hear that you’re now supporting strong GDPR enforcement,” he writes. “It’s indeed what most helps the smaller players. A good next step to this conversation would be an statement asking to transpose the GDPR to US federal law. Want to start drafting something?” It's great to hear that you're now supporting strong GDPR enforcement. It's indeed what most helps the smaller players. A good next step to this conversation would be an statement asking to transpose the GDPR to US federal law. Want to start drafting something? — Robin Berjon (@robinberjon) We’ve asked the IAB if, in light of Rothenberg’s tweet, it now wishes to share a public statement in support of transposing the GDPR into US law. We’ll be sure to update this post if it says anything at all. We’ve also screengrabbed the vinegar strokes of this epic fight — as an insurance policy against any further instances of the IAB hitting the tweet delete button. (Plus, I mean, you might want to print it out and get it framed.) Some light related reading can be found here: including a … !!!
Starting early next year Google will present Android users in Europe with a search engine choice screen when handsets bundle its own search service by default. In a announcing the latest change to flow from the European Union’s record-breaking $5B antitrust enforcement against Android , when the Commission found Google had imposed illegal restrictions on device makers (OEMs) and carriers using its dominant smartphone platform, it says new Android phones will be shown the choice screen once during set-up (or again after any factory reset). The screen will display a selection of three rival search engines alongside its own. OEMs will still be able to offer Android devices in Europe that bundle a non-Google search engine by default (though per they have to pay it to do so). In those instances Google said the choice screen will not be displayed. Google says rival search engines will be selected for display on the default choice screen, per market, via a fixed-price sealed bid annual auction — with any winners (and/or eligible search providers) being displayed in a random order alongside its own. Search engines that win the auction will secure one of three open slots on the choice screen, with Google’s own search engine always occupying one of the four total slots. “In each country auction, search providers will state the price that they are willing to pay each time a user selects them from the choice screen in the given country,” it writes. “Each country will have a minimum bid threshold. The three highest bidders that meet or exceed the bid threshold for a given country will appear in the choice screen for that country.” If there aren’t enough bids to surface three winners per auction then Google says it will randomly select from a pool of eligible search providers which it is also to participate in the choice screen. (Eligibility criteria can be .) “Next year, we’ll introduce a new way for Android users to select a search provider to power a search box on their home screen and as the default in Chrome (if installed),” it writes. “Search providers can apply to be part of the new choice screen, which will appear when someone is setting up a new Android smartphone or tablet in Europe.” “As always, people can continue to customize and personalize their devices at any time after set up. This includes selecting which apps to download, changing how apps are arranged on the screen, and switching the default search provider in apps like Google Chrome,” it adds. Google’s blog post makes no mention of whether the choice screen will be pushed to the installed base of Android devices. But a spokeswoman told us the implementation requires technical changes that means it can only be supported on new devices. Default selections on dominant platform are of course hugely important for gaining or sustaining marketshare. And it’s only since competition authorities dialled up their scrutiny that the company has started to make some shifts in how it bundles its own services in dominant products such as Android and Chrome. Google quietly added rival pro-privacy search engine DuckDuckGo as one of the default choices offered by its Chrome browser, for example. In it also began rolling out choice screens to both new and existing Android users in Europe — offering a prompt to download additional search apps and browsers. In the latter case, each screen shows five apps in total, including whatever search and browser is already installed. Apps not already installed are included based on their market popularity and shown in a random order. French pro-privacy search engine, Qwant, told us that since the rollout of the app service choice screen to Android devices the share of Qwant users using its search engine on mobile has leapt up from around 2% to more than a quarter (26%) of its total userbase. Qwant co-founder and CEO Eric Léandri said the app choice screen shows that competing against Google on search is possible — but only “thanks to the European Commission” stepping in and forcing the unbundling. However he raised serious concerns about the sealed bid auction structure that Google has announced for the default search choice — pointing out that many of the bidders for the slots will also be using Google advertising and technology; while the sealed structure of the auction means no-one outside Google will know what prices are being submitted as bids, making it impossible for rivals to know whether the selections Google makes are fair. Even Google’s own FAQ swings abruptly from claims of the auction it has devised being “a fair and objective method” for determining which search providers get slots, to a flat “no” and “no” on any transparency on bid amounts or the number of providers it deems eligible per market… “Even if Google is Google some people can choose something else if they have the choice. But now that Google knows it, it wants to stop the process,” Léandri told TechCrunch. “It is not up to Google to now charge its competitors for its faulty behavior and the amount of the fine, through an auction system that will benefit neither European consumers nor free competition, which should not be distorted by such process,” Qwant added in an emailed press statement. “The proposed bidding process would be open to so-called search engines that derive their results and revenues from Google, thereby creating an unacceptable distortion and a high risk of manipulation, inequity or disloyalty of the auction.” “The decision of the European Commission must benefit European consumers by ensuring the conditions of a freedom of choice based on the intrinsic merits of each engine and the expectations of citizens, especially regarding the protection of their personal data, and not on their ability to fund Google or to be financed by it,” it also said. In a further complaint, Léandri said Google is requiring bidders in the choice screen auction to sign an NDA in order to participate — which Qwant argues would throw a legal obstacle in the way of it being able to participate, considering it is a complainant in the EU’s antitrust case (ongoing because Google is appealing). “Qwant cannot accept that the auction process is subject to a non-disclosure agreement as imposed by Google while its complaint is still pending,” it writes. “Such a confidentiality agreement has no other possible justification than the desire to silence its competitors on the anomalies they would see. This, again, is an unacceptable abuse of its dominant position.” We’ve reached out to the Commission with questions about Google’s choice screen auction. founder, Gabriel Weinberg, has also been quick to point to flaws in the auction structure — writing on : “A ‘ballot box’ screen could be an excellent way to increase meaningful consumer choice if designed properly. Unfortunately, Google’s announcement today will not meaningfully deliver consumer choice. “A pay-to-play auction with only 4 slots means consumers won’t get all the choices they deserve, and Google will profit at the expense of the competition. We encourage regulators to work with directly with Google, us, and others to ensure the best system for consumers.”
Yesterday, Tyler “Ninja” Blevins announced that , moving his streaming career over to Microsoft’s Mixer platform. This morning, has shot to the top of the App Store’s free app charts. Microsoft , back when it was called Beam, and has been trying to grow the platform since. However, Mixer has had a tough go of it with competition from the industry leader, Twitch, as well as other tech giants like Google (YouTube) and Facebook. In fact, Mixer represented just three percent of game streaming viewership hours in the last quarter, according to . Microsoft had this to say about Ninja’s move: We’re thrilled to welcome Ninja and his community to Mixer. Mixer is a place that was formed around being positive and welcoming from day one, and we look forward to the energy Ninja and his community will bring. Ninja announced the news with , which didn’t offer much by way of reasons for the move. It’s highly likely that Microsoft paid a pretty penny for it, though that hasn’t been officially confirmed. In less than 24 hours, his new has picked up more than 250K followers, and Mixer has risen to the top of the App Store charts. It’s early days for the switch, but it’s still a long way to go to get back to the 14 million followers Ninja enjoyed on Twitch.
Taking care of your newborn child is one of the hardest jobs there is. Some statistics say that over 85% of women experience anxiety while taking care of their newborn. Naturally, this is this bad for the mother’s health, and it doesn’t do the baby any good. Both of you should be enjoying this special time. And parents may need to look at . from Levana can help. Levana is made up of all the kinds of people who have experience with newborns: Parents, aunts, uncles, and grandparents. They have all been there and have plenty of experience with newborns. And this led to the creation of Oma Sense, a simple and reliable breathing movement monitor. Oma Sense Is Peace Of Mind This breathing monitor doesn’t need Wi-Fi or Bluetooth and is completely safe for the baby. This device will monitor your baby’s breathing movements and alert you if no movement is detected. So you can rest easy knowing that your child is being looked after. How it works is very simple. If the device does not detect any breathing for 15 seconds, Oma Sense will vibrate, while LED lights and audible alerts help stimulate the child and encourage them to begin moving again. If the baby does not begin moving after 5 seconds, the device will sound an alarm that you can hear with LED lights. The device is for infant from 0-6 months old. It takes much a new parent’s worries away. There’s no need to worry while Oma Sense is watching out for your child. You only need to worry if the alarm goes off. Just look for the blue LED light that flashes every 30 seconds. This tells you that the device is working and monitoring your child. Oma Sense is battery powered and can go wherever your baby goes, whether in the crib, a playpen or beside you on the bed. This helpful child aid will help relieve parents of unneeded stress and anxiety, allowing them to just enjoy their newborn child and rest easy. Frankly, that’s worth much more than the asking price. Worry when you need to and relax the rest of the time. Check out our for a restful night’s sleep. Our and sections can help keep you healthy. And check out for the latest news. Related Posts: The post appeared first on .