Technology

Technology

A look back at the best tech ads of the last 35 years

Last week the Association of Independent Commercial Producers announced the winners of its annual awards honoring the best moving image marketing of the year and Apple’s “Welcome Home” ad took home the prize for Advertising Excellence in the single commercial category. Directed by Spike Jonze, the person behind movies like Her and Being John Malkovich, the musical short film follows the journey of a young woman, FKA Twigs, as she returns home from a challenging work day to an empty apartment. After asking Siri to “play something [she’d] like” her world is literally transformed as the music of Anderson .Paak’s “Til It’s Over” spills out of her HomePod. [embedded content] With stunning visuals (most of which were not CGI) and captivating choreography, Jonze breathes life into a product that ...

VC Brian O’Malley jumps from Accel to Forerunner Ventures

Brian O’Malley may be the most-poached venture capitalist in Silicon Valley. While rising through the ranks at the global investment firm Battery Ventures, where O’Malley had led deals in Hotel Tonight among others, he was plucked out of the firm by Accel Partners in 2013, where both O’Malley and Accel thought he could be even more successful. Now, fast forward five years, and O’Malley is announcing today (through Forbes) that he just joined Forerunner Ventures, the top e-commerce investing firm launched in 2010 by founder Kirsten Green. That O’Malley is willing to make moves is hardly a knock. For someone whose job it is to create and manage promising portfolios, he seems to be managing his career with that same, smart mindset. The move also reflects well on Forerunner, a much younger fir...

Twitter buys a startup to battle harassment, e-cigs are booming, and a meditation app is worth $250M

Hello and welcome back to Equity, TechCrunch’s venture capital-focused podcast where we unpack the numbers behind the headlines. This week TechCrunch’s Silicon Valley Editor Connie Loizos and I jammed out on a couple topics as Alex Wilhelm was out managing his fake stock game spreadsheets or something. (The jury is out on whether this was a good or bad thing.) First up is Twitter buying Smyte, a startup targeting fixes for spam and abuse. This is, of course, Twitter’s perennial problem and it’s one that it’s been trying to fix for some time — but definitely not there yet. The deal terms weren’t disclosed, but Twitter to its credit has seen its stock basically double this year (and almost triple in the past few years). Twitter is going into a big year, with the U.S. midterm elections, the 2...

Tinder takes on Coffee Meets Bagel with test of Tinder Picks

Tinder will begin testing a new feature aimed at helping people find more matches who fit their particular interests across areas like education, job type, hobbies and other details. “Tinder Picks,” as the new feature is being called, will be available only to those on Tinder Gold – the existing subscription offering that includes a number of Tinder Plus features, like Passport, Rewind, Unlimited Likes and more, but also allows users to see who has already liked them. Combined, Tinder Plus and Gold had an average of 3.5 million paid subscribers in Q1, but Tinder doesn’t break down the two offerings individually. Tinder Gold launched globally in August 2017, and is being tested at different price points in various markets. The company says that during its first month, subscribers saw an ove...

Announcing the agenda for The Europas Unconference, July 3, London

There are only 10 more days until The Europas where the winners of this year’s startup awards will be announced at our gala dinner, in association with TechCrunch! The Europas half-day “Unconference” will have a fantastic lineup of panels taking place in the afternoon before the awards. This year, we’ve done away with mainstage lectures, and we’ve created a series of more tightly focused discussion panels that give you a front-row seat to the biggest investors, founders and thought leaders in tech. No more seeing a huge investor or founder on stage and not even getting to talk to them! Our goal at The Europas is to break down the barriers between speakers and audience and to get the discussion going! This year our panels are focused around three themes: Tech + Society; Start Up Central, an...

Labstep wants to fix the way science experiments are recorded and reproduced

Labstep, an app and online platform to help scientists record and reproduce experiments, has raised £1 million in new funding, including from existing investors. The company, whose team has a background in commercial R&D and academic research, including at Oxford University, is backed by Seedcamp and says it plans to use the new capital to double its team to 12, and for further product development. This will include the launch of a marketplace for lab supplies, and is one of the ways Labstep plans to generate revenue. The startup will also add features to its app that streamline how scientists outsource elements of their research. First conceived of in late 2013 and soft launched in 2015, Labstep has set out to digitise the lab experiment tracking and sharing process, and in turn give ...

Bag Week 2018: Mission Workshop’s Radian rolltop starts simple but grows piece by piece

Welcome to Bag Week 2018. Every year your faithful friends at TechCrunch spend an entire week looking at bags. Why? Because bags — often ignored but full of our important electronics — are the outward representations of our techie styles, and we put far too little thought into where we keep our most prized possessions. I’ve always been wary of modular, rail-based bag systems. They’ve always struck me as rather military and imposing, which I suppose is kind of the point. Even Mission Workshop, whose other bags I have always enjoyed, put out one that seemed to me excessive. But they’ve tempered their style a bit and put out the Radian, a solid middle ground between their one-piece and modular systems. The Radian is clearly aimed at the choosy, pack-loving traveler who eschews roller bags for...

Twitter ‘smytes’ customers

Twitter today announced it was acquiring the “trust and safety as a service” startup Smyte to help it better address issues related to online abuse, harassment, spam, and security on its platform. But it also decided to immediately shut down access to Smyte’s API without warning, leaving Smyte’s existing customers no time to transition to a new service provider. The change left Smyte’s current customer base stranded, with production issues related to the safety of their own platforms. Needless to say, many were not happy about this situation and took to Twitter to register their complaints. According to Smyte’s website, its clients included Indiegogo, GoFundMe, npm, Musical.ly, TaskRabbit, Meetup, OLX, ThredUp, YouNow, 99 Designs, Carousell, and Zendesk – big name brands that used Smyte’s ...

The future of AI relies on a code of ethics

Matthew Howard Contributor More posts by this contributor Brands, Platforms, The Live Video Labyrinth And How Everyone Can Win Facebook has recently come under intense scrutiny for sharing the data of millions of users without their knowledge. We’ve also learned that Facebook is using AI to predict users’ future behavior and selling that data to advertisers. Not surprisingly, Facebook’s business model and how it handles its users’ data has sparked a long-awaited conversation — and controversy — about data privacy. These revelations will undoubtedly force the company to evolve their data sharing and protection strategy and policy. More importantly, it’s a call to action: We need a code of ethics. As the AI revolution continues to accelerate, new technology is being developed to solve key pr...

Bag Week 2018: Chrome’s Yalta 2.0 is a roomy rolltop that keeps up

At first, I didn’t know where the Yalta fit in. With a 30L capacity, the Yalta 2.0 (Chrome Industries, $96) is not a small bag but it’s not massive either. It’s a little bulkier on the bottom than the top, an inversion of most bike-friendly bags that usually crunch most of your carry weight high up on your shoulders. As a classic Chrome bag, I’ve always admired the Yalta from a distance for its unique profile, full side zipper and its decision to opt for a tension hook clasp instead of velcro or a Chrome buckle (cool but heavy). The Yalta’s adjustable closure hook feels good to use and means that you don’t have to deal with the noise velcro makes, which if you’re me is definitely not your primary ASMR trigger. TechCrunch / Taylor Hatmaker I tested the Yalta in two contexts: during the week...

Microsoft and Nintendo release Minecraft trailer focused on cross-play

In the world of gaming, cross-compatibility between platforms has always bene a bit of a white whale. While most players hope for it, console makers and game publishers haven’t always been so willing. Until recently. Microsoft, Nintendo and PC game makers have started making games more cross-compatible. Most notably, the companies have made Fortnite Battle Royale, the biggest game of the year, cross-compatible on the Switch, Xbox, iOS, and PC. Yes, there is a big name missing from that list. Sony has yet to budge, forcing PS4 players inside of a walled garden. Obviously, players have been outraged. But today, Microsoft and Nintendo are seemingly putting salt in the wound with a new trailer for Minecraft. [embedded content] Rather than focusing on the game, the trailer’s entire thesis is ce...

Fb Messenger auto-translation chips at US/Mexico language wall

Facebook’s been criticized for tearing America apart, but now it will try to help us forge bonds with our neighbors to the south. Facebook Messenger will now offer optional auto-translation of English to Spanish and vice-versa for all users in the United States and Mexico. The feature could facilitate cross-border and cross-language friendships, business, and discussion that might show people in the two countries that deep down we’re all just human. It could be especially powerful for US companies looking to use Messenger for conversational commerce without having to self-translate everything. Facebook tells me “we were pleased with the results” following a test using AI to translate the language pair in Messenger for US Facebook Marketplace users in April. Now when users receive a message...