You can now put your Twitter profile on Vine and vice versa

vine messages

Twitter today announced closer integration with Vine. If you’ve connected your Twitter and Vine accounts, you can put your Twitter account on your Vine profile and your Vine account on your Twitter profile.

You can now put your Twitter username on your Vine profile and it will also show up “in other places throughout the app, like in VMs.” When someone taps your Twitter username, they’ll be taken to your Twitter account, and they can follow you there. This is more than just a simple link that confirms your Vine account is actually yours: Vine users will be able to search for your Twitter handle to find you on Vine.

You can now also choose to show and link to your Vine account from your Twitter profile. When people go to your Twitter profile, they’ll see a Vine icon alongside your total loops. Tapping that link will take them to your account on Vine, and they can follow you from there.

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Vine profiles have also gained a new feature: account loops. The same number you see when Vine is shown on Twitter profiles will also show up on your Vine profile. Loops are counted every time a Vine is watched on the service, which includes the official Vine mobile apps and website, embeds across the web, and Twitter.

Here is Twitter’s explanation of why this number matters:

As people make great Vines that others love and want to watch, those creators get more and more loops. By surfacing that number to the world, anyone can quickly get a sense of that creator and the impact of their Vines.

In other words, this is just another number that social media addicts will compete over for the hell of it.

All of the above requires that you have the latest versions of Vine for iOS, Twitter for iOS, or Twitter for Android. A Vine for Android update is also on its way.

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I, for one, welcome our new surveillance robot overlords

A Knightscope K5 robot patrols an empty parking lot.
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Knightscope founder and CEO William Santana Li is not modest in his ambitions.

He estimates that crime — of all kinds — has an annual global economic impact of a trillion dollars. That’s $1 trillion lost every year due to theft, vandalism, robbery, violence, and more.

He wants to cut that in half. And to do that, he’s building a fleet of surveillance robots.

The Knightscope K5 is a tall (about 5.5 feet), dome-headed, wheeled robot loaded with cameras and sensors. It rolls around at a slow speed, just a few miles per hour, and as it goes it emits a sort of drone-like humming sound. The sound is deliberate, so the robot doesn’t surprise people by rolling up silently behind them, but it also gives it a somewhat eerie presence — a sensation that’s probably appropriate, given that it’s watching your every move with a sensor suite that includes light detection and ranging (LIDAR) devices; high-definition, low-light video cameras; a camera designed to read and recognize the digits on license plates; directional microphones; proximity sensors; an inertial measurement unit; and a GPS unit.

The K5 looks a bit like a cross between R2-D2 and a Dalek, and that’s right where Knightscope wants it. The design challenge, Santana Li told me, is to make something that commands respect but isn’t frightening; that’s serious-looking but approachable. So, for instance, even though the technology might allow it, Knightscope is not going to make black-painted robots that zoom around at 20 miles per hour, because that would terrify people. Like police officers and security guards, the K5 aims to be a constant, calm, reassuring presence.

Knightscope seems to be succeeding in that. I find the robots eerie, but I’m also a born cynic. Most people apparently find them charming, and many people take selfies or family photos with the robots.

Now, Santana Li’s approach might strike some people as a little overly optimistic. Indeed, he had a difficult time convincing any Silicon Valley venture capitalists to back him. “Hardware is too hard,” is the refrain that many investors will tell you: It’s simply too expensive and too difficult to build a sustainable hardware business, particularly in a world where fast, professional, and cost-effective Chinese manufacturing is so dominant.

Santana Li has little patience with that. In a recent onstage interview I had with him at GSV Labs’ Pioneer Summit, he expressed exasperation at the crop of tech entrepreneurs who are tackling social media sharing and apps instead of challenging hardware innovations.

“It’s un-American for an entrepreneur to take the path of least resistance!” Santana Li yelled.

Undeterred by the lack of venture backing, Santana Li raised a total of $7 million from a State Farm-backed incubator, Flextronics, and NTT DoCoMo. The company said it has just four customers so far, but claims to have over 100 on its waiting list.

Santana Li is also impatient with the arguments that privacy advocates bring up. You don’t like having a robot rolling around your neighborhood, recording video 24-7? Well, think how you’d feel if you were a victim of crime, Santana Li said. Now what’s more inconvenient?

I don’t find that argument fully persuasive, but the analogy he draws with beat cops and security guards is a good one: Sometimes the mere presence of authority is enough to deter crime, and — given the recent push to put body cameras on police officers — it’s maybe not such a big step to having a fully autonomous camera-equipped robot rolling around.

Besides, for the most part, Knightscope is punting on the privacy and data storage issues: It will let its customers sort those questions out.

The pricing model is what’s perhaps most intriguing. Knightscope plans to rent its robots out for $6.50 an hour — far lower than the $20 per hour most security guards make. With that, you’d get 24-7 coverage, a web-based console, and a slew of features that can supplement, not replace, whatever security force you already have. Customers could include businesses (for monitoring a mall or a parking lot, for instance), neighborhoods, or maybe someday even police forces.

And if Santana Li’s ambitions pan out, it could turn into a very big business. According to the National Institutes of Health, the U.S. spends $179 billion a year on police protection, legal proceedings, and corrections. At $6.50 per hour, supplemental security monitoring might look like a very economical alternative to policing and security guards — and with billions already being spent, Knightscope has the potential to carve off quite a big slice of revenue.

Just as long as it can keep from freaking people out too much.

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Runkeeper’s New Apple Watch App Lets You Ditch Your iPhone When Tracking Your Runs

RunkeeperWatchOS2 With the release of the second version of Apple’s Watch operating system, watchOS 2, apps can be loaded directly onto the device and run natively, instead of being tied to the iPhone. Today, the Runkeeper mobile app, a popular health and fitness tracker with over 45 million worldwide users, has put this new capability to good use: its updated app now lets you ditch your iPhone and track… Read More

Microsoft Edge extensions won’t arrive until 2016

The Microsoft Edge browser.

Microsoft now says extensions for its new Edge browser, which ships with Windows 10, will not become available this year. You’ll have to keep waiting.

“We’re committed to providing customers with a personalized web experience, which is why bringing extensions to Microsoft Edge continues to be a high priority,” a Microsoft spokeswoman told VentureBeat in an email today. “We’re actively working to develop a secure extension model to make the safest and most reliable browser for our customers, and look forward to sharing more in a future Windows 10 update in 2016.”

Previously Microsoft said that would happen by the end of the year, according to the Verge.

Extensibility in Edge should be exciting to developers, but it will be more important from a consumer standpoint. More tools will become available — I really want to use Pocket instead of Edge’s first-party Reading List, for example — and that should help boost adoption of the browser.

Microsoft clearly wants Windows 10 users to stay committed to Edge. Earlier in the year Microsoft was populating Bing search results in Edge with the message “Microsoft recommends Microsoft Edge for Windows 10” when users searched for “chrome” and “firefox.”

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Facebook dramatically widens the reach of its search to include all public posts

Facebook ANdroid opopododo Flickr

Facebook users already had the ability to search for updates posted by their friends, but Zuck and company have now decided to extend the search function to capture all public posts.

The move will dramatically increase the pool of up-to-the minute content that users can search. It may give Facebook the Twitter-like ability to show users trending discussions and events that are journalized on the platform in near real-time. Since Facebook posts are immediate and personal, the new search capability could pose a threat to products like Google Trends.

Facebook says it now hosts more than 1.5 billion searches per day, and has more than 2 trillion posts stored in its servers. Two trillion.

The move may touch digital marketers by increasing the number of searches Facebook members do, which could provide a fuller picture of users’ interests and intent.

Developing . . .










Controversial cyber security bill advances in Senate

A lock icon, signifying an encrypted Internet connection, is seen on an Internet Explorer browser in a photo illustration in Paris April 15, 2014. REUTERS/Mal Langsdon

WASHINGTON (Patricia Zengerle) – A long-delayed bill that would make it easier for corporations to share information about cyber attacks with each other or the government without fear of lawsuits advanced in the U.S. Senate with strong support from members of both parties on Thursday.

Dozens of industry and business groups, including the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, back the Cybersecurity Information Sharing Act (CISA), saying it would help encourage companies and the government to share information that might help thwart high-profile cyber attacks.

But many privacy activists and a few lawmakers, including Republican Senator Rand Paul and Democratic Senator Ron Wyden, vehemently oppose it. Several big tech companies also have come out against the measure, arguing that it fails to protect users’ privacy and does too little to prevent cyber attacks.

“The bill would grant legal immunity to companies who in sharing information actually violate your privacy,” Paul said in the Senate shortly after the procedural vote of 83 to 14, well above the 60 “yes” votes needed to move ahead.

The Senate began debating amendments to the measure, which is on track to pass next week.

The House of Representatives passed its version of CISA in April with strong support from Republicans and Democrats.

Any version of CISA passed by the Senate would have to be reconciled with the House bill before it could be sent to the White House for President Barack Obama to sign into law.

A source close to the White House said the administration would applaud CISA’s passage and push for revisions as it was being reconciled with the House bill.

Those would enhance the privacy protections in the Senate bill and make clear that the National Security Agency could not get information directly from companies and also reduce the major liability exemptions for over-sharing contained in the House bill, the source said.

(Additional reporting by Joe Menn in San Francisco; editing by Grant McCool)

 










Facebook Parse now lets you easily deploy mobile apps to Heroku

Mark Zuckerberg speaks at the Facebook Parse Developer Day in 2013.

The Facebook-owned Parse mobile-backend-as-a-service (MBaaS) cloud for hosting mobile apps is announcing today new tools that will make it easier for developers to run apps on the Heroku platform-as-a-service (PaaS) cloud from within Parse’s tools.

The news is interesting because, for the most part, building apps with Parse has necessarily meant deploying apps to Parse, which runs on top of the Amazon Web Services (AWS) public cloud. Now Parse is becoming more open when it comes to where people run apps.

“We’ve created a smooth experience for you to run code on either Heroku or the Parse Cloud, and we’re excited about the opportunities this combination has to offer,” Parse engineer Pavan Athivarapu wrote in a blog post on the news.

The integration into Parse’s command line interface is a result of a partnership with Salesforce, which Heroku bought in 2010, Athivarapu wrote.

Just like Parse, Heroku runs on top of AWS. Still, this is a win for Salesforce, because it’s picking up a new on-ramp for mobile app workloads.

Competing MBaaS services, such as Kinvey, provide deployment options across multiple clouds. AWS itself announced a full-fledged MBaaS, AWS Mobile Hub, earlier this month.

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Funding Daily: Today’s tech funding news, in one place

Money

Here’s a list of today’s tech funding stories, updated as the day unfolds. Tip us here if you have a deal to share.

Former Google exec raises $28M to start shipping his smart payment terminals

Last year, Osama Bedier introduced what he deemed the future of payment terminals: a developer-friendly payment point of sale that accepts everything from Apple Pay to Samsung Pay, Android Pay, and chip-based credit cards.

To deliver on the promise of the new payment terminal, Poynt needs to ramp up manufacturing.

Today, the company is announcing a series B round of $28 million to help it build and ship terminals before the year is out. Growth equity fund Oak HC/FT led the round. Stanford-StartX Fund, Matrix Partners, Webb Investment Network, and Nyca Partners also contributed.

Read more

Startupy fashion company Betabrand raises $15M

San Francisco-based fashion label Betabrand, the startup that brings you the Dress Pant Yoga Pants, announced today that it has closed $15 million in funding from Morgan Stanley and Foundry Group. Betabrand is not your usual clothing brand; the startup crowdsources designs and then jumps into production, creating items like the Best Travel Pants and the Women’s Activewear Casual Blazer.

Read more

 

This list will be updated with breaking funding news all day. Check back for more.










Phhhoto Launches On Android

Screen Shot 2015-10-22 at 11.35.51 AM Phhhoto, the animated photo-sharing app that started out as an iPad-powered photo booth for parties, has finally gone live on Android. The app lets users capture four frames in a row, threads them together and makes them sharable to social networks alongside the main Phhhoto feed. Users can speed up or slow down the frame rate, and Phhhotos that get the most engagement pop up on the #wow feed. Read More