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We talked about Cover last year, knowing it was going to get big - but big enough for Twitter to acquire? I didn't see that coming. The social network has acquired the Android-focused start-up.
Cover took to its blog to talk about the acquisition, where it said: "Twitter, like Cover, believes in the incredible potential of Android. They share our vision that smartphones can be a lot smarter - more useful and more contextual - and together we're going to make that happen". Cover launched last year, where it used your location and app usage history to predict which apps you would use next. It provided these apps in a beautiful quick access menu on your lockscreen, depending on where you were - home, at work, in the car, or when you're out.
With this acquisition, we can see that Twitter wants to be more of a force to be reckoned with on Android, and rightly so, considering that 75% of Twitter users are using the social network on their smartphones. Just what will Twitter do with Cover? That remains to me seen, but I'm now very interested in what the company will do with the exciting new start-up.
It took less than one week for companies in the United States to pick up 85,000 H-1B visas for 2015, according to U.S. Citizenship and Immigrations Services.
Applications were collected starting on April 1, but it didn't take long for the 65,000 general category and 20,000 advanced degree spots to be taken.
The small number of H-1B visas has led to Silicon Valley companies - and major corporations throughout the US - to petition the federal government to undergo immigration reform. Companies want to see the number of visas increase, and have the application process made easier than the current system.
A recent rash of Smart Cars being tipped over in San Francisco has the police department on the lookout for a small group of vandals. Three of the vehicles were flipped within a 10-block radius of one another, with a fourth flipped in a separate neighborhood.
The SFPD is investigating each case as felony vandalism, with early reports indicating the cars are likely total losses. A Smart Car weighs around 1,800 pounds, and can obviously be manipulated by a few motivated pranksters.
Yahoo has made no secret of its desire to compete in the video streaming market. It tried to buy DailyMotion last year, but failed to close that deal. Rumors continue to circulate that Yahoo will launch its own video streaming platform. Whether it will buy an existing service or roll its own remains to be seen.
Sources that claim to be familiar with the goings on at Yahoo are claiming that the company is looking to land four TV quality shows to help its streaming effort. According to this source, Yahoo wants a quartet of half hour comedy shows written and directed by people that have TV experience.
The budget for these programs is tipped to be in the range of $700,000 to a million dollars per episode. Each of the shows will have ten episodes making for a lot of money spent. There is no word at this time indicating if Yahoo is negotiating on specific shows.
According to a report by Recode, Dropbox has secured itself another $500 million in funding. Recode has said that it has confirmed the financial news with "sources close to the situation".
The last time we heard about Dropbox's financial position, the cloud storage startup was valued at $10 billion, where it raised some $350 million in equity funding.
The bitcoin cryptocurrency has hit a few bumps in the road, but consumers now find it easier to make purchases and spend their bitcoins online. Silicon Valley startup companies are going beyond simply trying to mine and own bitcoins, and want to focus on apps and services for consumers to use.
The US Internal Revenue Service (IRS) recently ruled that bitcoins are property, not a real currency, while other countries are struggling how to deal with the digital currency.
"It's all about to change over the next 12 to 24 months," said Marshall Hayner, a Silicon Valley entrepreneur hoping to bank on bitcoin with a QuickCoin app. "We are going to see all kinds of people adopt it. It's going to power transactions on the Internet."
Google is quite accustomed by this point to paying fines levied against it over its Street View service violating privacy laws both in the US and around the world. Today the Mountain View-based company was forced to pay a $1.4 million fine that the Italian government issued it over its Street View cars not being visible enough to warn citizens of its existence when driving down the road.
"Cars belonging to the giant of Mountain View roamed Italy's streets without being entirely recognizable as such, therefore not allowing the people present in those places to decide whether to be photographed or not," said Italian regulators on the subject. "The fine from the DPA relates to an old case that dates back to 2010. We complied with everything the (regulator) required of us at the time," a Google spokeswoman said. Google has since added more bright colors to the car's paint scheme, and clearly branded it as a Google vehicle.
The European parliament has voted on a very important step for the European Union, where it would see roaming fees completely wiped away between EU member states - something that is being bundled as telecom reforms.
The new package was originally proposed by EU lawmaker Neelie Kroes, where it would see Europe move toward being a single market for the mobile world. This news comes on the heels of 4G LTE roaming agreements between European carriers. If the law passes with ministers from member nations, citizens of the EU could see roaming charges being a distant memory.
We could see this pushed in as early as the end of next year. The EU telecom reform package includes stronger protection for net neutrality, which will make it illegal for network providers to block or impose speeds on data based on the sender, or recipient.
The former Creative Director of Naughty Dog, the studio behind the immensely popular Uncharted series, has joined Visceral Games. Amy Henning will work on a new Star Wars project over at EA.
Visceral's Vice President and General Manager, Steve Papooutsis, announced the news through EA's The Beat blog, where he said: "Amy has long been recognized as one of our industry's top visionaries, and is coming off an amazing run as the Writer and Creative Director of the Uncharted franchise. But her contributions go beyond the games she helped create at Naughty Dog and at Crystal Dynamics, where we worked together many years ago".
"As both a colleague and friend, I've always admired her approach to creative development - focusing on nailing down the soul of a game first, and then making sure the writing, the gameplay, the design and the art comes together to form a unified, interactive experience for the player. This fits in perfectly with what we're trying to do here at Visceral and Amy's going to help us continue in our pursuit to make the most thrilling, immersive games in the world".
Microsoft will move its San Francisco office to the Financial District's "crown jewel," located at 555 California St., renting the second and third floors. The San Francisco Microsoft office specializes in sales, marketing and engineering, and the employees won't have to move very far away.
The average price of office rentals in the area is about $58 per square foot, while Microsoft is expected to pay $62 per square foot. The 555 California Street building is the second tallest building in San Francisco, and is easily noticeable as it stands above the Financial District.
Microsoft also has a Silicon Valley location in Mountain View, California, where most of the company's regional employees work. Microsoft reportedly wants to expand into Sunnyvale in the near future, though an exact location hasn't been selected.
I've attended meetings and tech training sessions in the current Microsoft San Francisco office, and believe moving to a separate office building will be ideal. If visitors know to enter the Westfield mall and how to get on the elevator and find the appropriate floor, it's easy - but first-time visitors sometimes end up aimlessly wandering around in circles.