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Jun 24, 2014

Google’s Nest opens doors to third-party apps

SAN FRANCISCO, June 23 (Reuters) – Nest, the Google
Inc-owned maker of smart thermostats and other home
automation products, will allow other companies to create apps
that communicate with its devices.

The program marks the first time Nest has allowed
third-party companies to access its gadgets, potentially opening
the door to the rich selection of apps and services that have
made smartphones popular.

Jun 17, 2014

YouTube to launch paid music service

SAN FRANCISCO, June 17 (Reuters) – Google Inc’s
YouTube said on Tuesday that it plans to launch a paid streaming
music service, amid criticism that its existing, free video
website might block the music videos of labels that do not agree
to its terms.

YouTube has partnered with “hundreds of major and
independent” music labels for the new service, the company said
in a statement, confirming long-running rumors that the world’s
most popular online video website will offer a paid music
service.

Jun 17, 2014

Facebook launches mobile app that does not require Facebook account

SAN FRANCISCO, June 17 (Reuters) – Facebook Inc
launched a smartphone app on Tuesday that will allow consumers
to exchange disappearing photos and videos without requiring
Facebook accounts, the Internet company’s latest effort to
develop mobile services beyond its core social network.

The new app, dubbed Slingshot, allows users to sign up for
the service with their mobile phone number and connect with
friends in their phone’s contact list or, if they want, by
finding their Facebook friends.

Jun 13, 2014

Silicon Valley’s latest perk: World Cup viewing parties at work

SAN FRANCISCO, June 13 (Reuters) – Theme lunches, giant TVs and viewing parties. Silicon Valley may be far from the World Cup in Brazil but tech employees are getting in on the globe’s most prestigious soccer event.

Twitter, LinkedIn and Nvidia are among several tech companies airing matches in their offices during the next month and encouraging employees to follow the action.

Jun 12, 2014

Facebook expands users’ ad targeting profiles with website data

SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) – Facebook Inc is expanding the internal user profiles that underpin its targeted advertising system, for the first time including personal information based on activities that did not occur within the boundaries of its social network.

While Facebook has long maintained internal profiles of users based on the comments they make and the posts that they “like” within its social network, the company will now flesh out those profiles with information based on some of the external websites and mobile apps its members use, a move that could further inflame concerns about how it treats personal privacy.

Jun 10, 2014

Google to buy satellite company Skybox Imaging for $500 million

SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) – Google Inc (GOOGL.O: Quote, Profile, Research, Stock Buzz) (GOOG.O: Quote, Profile, Research, Stock Buzz) said on Tuesday it is acquiring satellite company Skybox Imaging for $500 million in cash, the Internet company’s second high-profile acquisition of an aerospace company this year.

Google said that Skybox’s satellites will provide images for Google’s online mapping service. Google, the world’s No.1 Internet search engine, said that Skybox’s technology could also eventually be used to provide Internet access and help with disaster relief.

Jun 9, 2014

Head of eBay’s PayPal unit steps down to join Facebook

SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) – David Marcus, who has led eBay Inc’s fast-growing payments unit PayPal for the past two years, will step down this month to run Facebook Inc’s messaging products, the companies announced on Monday.

EBay shares fell a little more than 2 percent in trading after hours. Under Marcus, PayPal has moved more aggressively into the physical world by developing a mobile wallet for consumers as well as point-of-sale systems for retailers.

Jun 9, 2014

Facebook’s Instagram to expand ads beyond U.S.

SAN FRANCISCO, June 9 (Reuters) – Instagram, the mobile
photo service owned by Facebook Inc, is expanding its
nascent advertising business beyond the United States and will
begin showing ads to users in Britain, Canada and Australia, the
company said on Monday.

The ads will start to appear on versions of the service in
the three countries later this year, Instagram said in a post on
its official blog.

Jun 3, 2014

Facebook acquires mobile data plan firm Pryte

SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) – Facebook Inc is acquiring Pryte, a Finnish company that aims to make it easier for mobile phone users in under-developed parts of the world to use wireless Internet apps.

Facebook did not disclose financial terms of the deal, which spokeswoman Vanessa Chan said is expected to close later this month.

May 30, 2014

For Web startups with big ambitions, regulation increasingly on the radar

By Alexei Oreskovic

RANCHO PALOS VERDES Calif. (Reuters) – Internet startups are starting to see what could come between them and their ambitions: regulators.

Recent lawsuits and government investigations into high-flying “sharing economy” services have put the issue front and center. Now, Web companies developing services in everything from healthcare to transportation are crafting strategies for working with government agencies.

    • About Alexei

      "I write about Internet companies including Google, Yahoo and Facebook. I’ve covered technology and business for more than ten years at publications including TheStreet.com, CNET and The Industry Standard magazine."
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