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By TechCrunch | The Best Stories Of The Week From TechCrunch.

A Weekend With The All-Electric BMW i3

I’ve never driven a BMW, or an electric car, so I might have been an odd choice to test drive the new BMW i3, the German car maker’s all-electric hatchback, which packs the equivalent of 170 HP into its electric engine. But an unexpected reviewer might be the perfect candidate for an unexpected car.

BMW

Keith Rabois’ Homebuying Startup OpenDoor Raises $9.95M From Everyone

Well.

It seems like a lot of Valley investors want to see the process of buying homes become a lot more efficient.

After Khosla Ventures VC and former Square COO Keith Rabois teased that he was working on a project to make buying homes as simple as clicking a few buttons, a horde of Valley angels and …

Startups

General Harmonics Is Basically Pied Piper From “Silicon Valley”

General Harmonics is a small startup from Canada that’s looking to revolutionize the way we stream media. And rather than risk sounding like I’m writing some kind of self-parody, I’ll be blunt about it: they’re basically Pied Piper from HBO’s Silicon Valley, only with a few decades more experience …

Silicon Valley

4 MusicTech Insights From Wall Street Journal Writer Taylor Swift

When millions of people point camera-phones at you while you sing, you learn a thing about music and technology. You could laugh at pop starlet Taylor Swift for her fluffy teddy bear of a column in the Wall Street Journal today, or chide the WSJ for printing it, but there are some poignant nuggets …

Taylor Swift

‘The Satellite’ Is A Science Project To Bring You A Live Portrait Of Earth

When you try to picture Earth, you might recall the iconic blue marble photograph taken on the Apollo 17 mission in 1972, or perhaps now you visualize Google Earth or the beautiful shots of our planet in Alfonso Cuaron’s Gravity. The Satellite wants to change that perception of Earth into something …

Satellites

Hack Your Brain With A Machine That Reads Minds

Star Wars first planted the idea over 35 years ago that we could move objects with our minds. That idea is now a reality that has come a long way in the last few years. Emotiv is on the cutting edge of that technology with headgear that allows you to do things, such as make a toy car whiz by or …

The Brain

Google Hangouts Will No Longer Require A Plugin For Chrome Users

Has your distaste for one-off browser plugins kept you from using Google+’s group video chat service, Hangouts? That’s okay. I feel you. Plugins are the worst. What is this, 1999? Want me to install Shockwave, too? Hell, give me a couple sketchy browser toolbars while we’re at it. BONZAI BUDDIES …

Google Chrome

Hands On With The Moto 360, The First Round-Faced Android Wear Smartwatch

Motorola’s Moto 360 was ironically probably the most-coveted smartwatch at Google I/O this year, because despite high interest it’s also the only one that wasn’t available. It’ll still be shipped out to all conference attendees when it becomes publicly available later this summer, but for now we …

Google

A New App Called Moment Shows You How Addicted You Are To Your iPhone

Some of us jokingly say that we’re addicted to our iPhones. A newly released app called Moment will show us just how true that statement may be. Designed to promote a healthier balance between our real lives and those lived through the small screens of our digital devices, Moment tracks how much …

iPhone

How Can Chromecast Connect To Your Friend’s Phones Without Using WiFi? Ultrasonic Sounds

During yesterday’s I/O keynote, Google announced a rather fantastic new feature coming to the Chromecast: soon, your friends won’t need to be connected to your WiFi to be able to send things to your TV. As long as they’re in the same room, it should just work.

But how?

While Google’s Rishi Chandra …

Phones

Hands On With Google’s Incredibly Clever Cardboard Virtual Reality Headset

Each year at I/O, Google gives all of the developers in the audience a gift. Some years it’s a tablet. Some years it’s a laptop.

This year? It was a piece of cardboard. Yeah, yeah, they gave attendees some other stuff, too — but that cardboard!

Once you tear the seal on Google’s lil’ slab of …

Virtual Reality

Less Than 1/4 Of Android Phones Work With Google’s New Smartwatches

Looking to pick up one of those fancy new Android Wear smartwatches? You’re not crazy. Even in this ultra early form, Android Wear is surprisingly slick.

But you should know: as it currently sits, there’s a pretty good chance the watches won’t actually work with your phone.

The problem is one as old …

Google

How To Make Your Own #Cardboard VR Goggles

Google really spoiled developers attending its I/O conference yesterday by handing out a piece of cardboard. Not just any piece of cardboard, though. Pull the tab on this Amazon-esque package, reconfigure its pieces, slot in your phone and viola, your very own cardboard VR Goggles.

Out of the box, …

DIY

Watch Our Wrap-Up Of The Google I/O Keynote And Day One

Google’s I/O developer conference kicked off today, and the company held its keynote address to give an overview of all the news it revealed at the event. The changes included a preview of the upcoming version of Android, dubbed “L” for now, which brings a new design paradigm to Google’s OS that …

Google

Samsung’s Gear Live Android Wear Smartwatch First Impressions

The Gear Live is Samsung’s first kick at the Android Wear can, and like the other hardware in this category, it offers Android Wear basically as Google intended it. Software wise, there’s almost nothing to distinguish these devices – which means it’s all down to hardware design for Wear makers to …

Google

A Tale Of Two Patents: Why Facebook Can’t Clone Snapchat

Facebook released Slingshot, its second attempt at an impermanent sharing app, last Tuesday. The app borrows heavily, in concept and features, from Snapchat, as well as smaller startups like Frontback and Look.

Slingshot and Facebook Messenger feature the same photo and video recording interface–a …

Facebook

Android Wear Wars: The Moto 360, LG G Watch And Samsung Gear Live Compared

The first Android Wear smartwatches aren’t yet available to consumers (though two start shipping July 7), but already we’ve managed to enjoy some time with each of the new devices, and while we can’t speak to things like battery life and durability over time, we can share impressions on the …

Samsung

Google Invests $50 Million In “Made With Code” Program To Get Girls Excited About CS

This week, Google launched a new initiative called Made With Code, aimed at getting young women excited about learning to code and close the gender gap in the tech industry. The idea behind it is to show young girls that the things they love, from apps on their smartphones to their favorite movies …

Google

Watch This Film About Why Aaron Swartz Matters More Than Ever

Aaron Swartz was a young, bright genius who believed in the open Internet. A self-made millionaire by the age of 19, he co-founded Reddit, was part of the creation of RSS and became a political organizer and Internet hacktivist who was instrumental in the fight against SOPA.

The Internet’s Own Boy, …

Aaron Swartz

Greenpeace And The EFF Flew A Protest Blimp Around The NSA’s Massive Utah Data Center

The cheek. The cheek!

When the government is out building a massive data center so that it can store more of the data that it hoovers up from around the world, what do you do? Well you probably can’t get much in the way of a day pass, but as Firefly taught us, you can’t take the skies from me.

And so …

National Security Agency

This Waterproof Kindle Paperwhite Is Humanity’s Greatest Achievement

Sometimes a device comes so close to being perfect that you’d be forgiven for not realizing that with just a single tweak, it can become, in actual fact, perfect. The Kindle Paperwhite is such a device, as an e-reader that Amazon has crafted so well that you pretty much never need look beyond for …

Kindle

Google and Nest Acquire Dropcam For $555 Million

Remember those rumors a few weeks ago that Google was looking to acquire the plug-and-play security camera company, Dropcam?

Yep. It just happened.

Just months after being acquired themselves, the now Google-owned Nest has just announced that they’ve acquired Dropcam. We’re digging for more details …

Google

The Co-Creator Of Dogecoin Talks About Building One Of The Funniest (And Most Popular) Cryptocurrencies In The World

Cryptocurrencies are much interesting. While bitcoin churns along like some sort of cyber juggernaut, there are a number of smaller currencies created, mostly off-the-cuff, by programmers and hackers. Dogecoin – pronounced dozhe, like the ancient Ventian dukes – is one of those currencies.

Created …

Shiba Inu

FAA Bans The Use Of Drones To Deliver Packages

The FAA made it plain this week that Amazon, or anyone else for that matter, won’t be able to deliver packages using a drone in the near future. In a document soliciting feedback regarding drone policy — a “Notice of Interpretation with Request for Comment ” — the FAA calls “delivering packages to …

Drones

VCs Ben Horowitz And Lars Dalgaard Want To Bridge SF’s Growing Digital Divide

Pews were packed at San Francisco’s Glide church in the city’s Tenderloin district last night with people who wanted to hear the gospel thoughts of two of Silicon Valley’s most successful VCs, Ben Horowitz and Lars Dalgaard.

The event was designed to support a $10K Crowdtilt fundraiser for the …

Northern California

Apple To Cease Development Of Aperture And Transition Users To Photos For OS X

With the release of OS X Yosemite later this year, Apple will cease the development of its ‘pro’ photo editing app Aperture. Users of that program will be transitioned to Photos, a new app that was introduced during the WWDC keynote and that will be released next year.

Photos integrates many of the …

Aperture

Google Shames Apple’s iOS For Adding What Android Did Years Ago

Apple’s Tim Cook insulted Google at WWDC earlier this month saying “Android dominates the market in malware”, and quoted an article calling the fragmented open operating system a “toxic hellstew of vulnerabilities.” Well Google punched back this morning at its I/O conference when Sundar Pichai put …

Google

This Mechanical Watch Has A Magic Button That Sets It By GPS

If there’s a single problem with mechanical watches its that they’re often considered inaccurate. A collection of gears and springs, no matter how carefully put together, will always lose a little time here or there. There’s a solution, quartz, but these tickers are accurate but boring. But why not …

Machinery

YouTube’s New Creator Tools Include Donations, Fan-Submitted Subtitles, And A Mobile Creator Studio App

YouTube is by far the largest platform for online video viewership in the world. But frankly, it wouldn’t be anything without its creators. That’s why in a keynote today at Vidcon, the company announced a wide range of new tools for the people that upload videos to the platform, all in the hopes …

YouTube