TechCrunch Weekly Roundup

By TechCrunch | Catch up on this week's tech news with the weekly roundup of the best TechCrunch stories. 

Police use-of-force data is finally coming to light

When Oscar Grant was shot and killed in 2009, there was no data about the shooting of black men by Bay Area Rapid Transit police.<p>All we knew was that BART had received 66 complaints, with excessive use of force being the primary allegation, according to a 2010 audit. In 2015, when a homeless man …

Papa, what’s a shitpost?

As we romp further into this silly and messy political season it’s come to light that Palmer Luckey, creator of the Oculus Rift and the boy who was last seen floating in a tropical paradise on the cover of time magazine, was the money man behind a group of Trump supporters calling themselves Nimble …

North Korea accidentally lets slip all its .KP domains — and there aren’t many

North Korea is famously secretive and restrictive — the regime goes to great lengths to both prevent the outside world from learning what goes on there and prevent its citizens from learning about the outside world. An IT error just gave us a glimpse at the country’s online ecosystem — and it’s a …

Voice is chat’s next battleground

Chatbots were meh. Sure, they’ll get better. But the upcoming innovation in chat is about being more human, not less. With the proliferation of adequate speech recognition, AI assistants and wireless headphones, the tech is ready to unlock the potential of our most basic form of communication.<p>Soon, …

Angel.ai, a company that builds chat bots, acqui-hired by Amazon

<b>Update on 21st of September:</b> A day later, Amazon has decided to offer further comment. A spokesperson for the company now says “Amazon did not acquire Angel.ai. We made an individual hire of Navid Hadzaad. His title is Product Lead, New Initiatives”. That’s seen Hadzaad update his LinkedIn profile …

Google acquires API.AI, a company helping developers build bots that aren’t awful to talk to

Google has just disclosed that it has snatched up the team behind API.AI. API.AI provides tools to developers to help them build conversational, Siri-esque bots.<p>As humans, we’re pretty good at communication. If someone says “the girl saw a man with the binoculars,” we can generally use contextual …

Twitter’s new, ‘simpler’ rules for character counts in tweets go live

Did you hear? Twitter would like you to know that its service is now easier to use, thanks to a series of rule revisions announced in May, which have just gone live. Starting today, Twitter is cutting down on what counts towards your 140 characters. As a refresher, that means media content like …

Facebook miscalculation significantly inflated average video view times for years

Facebook has come clean on a slight error in how it presented video view time on its platform. A mismatch in how average video view time is <i>calculated</i> and how it is <i>defined</i> — resulting in that number being reportedly inflated by half or more, for a short period of two years.<p>The issue came to light in …

Airbnb files $555M round with the SEC led by Google Capital and TCV

Airbnb formally filed a Form D with the Securities and Exchange Commission this afternoon announcing that it had raised $555,462,180 in an equity deal.<p>Last month, TechCrunch independently verified that Airbnb had filed a 28-page document with the State of Delaware indicating that it had intentions …

Yahoo confirms state-sponsored attacker stole personal data of “at least” 500 million users

As indicated by an earlier report, Yahoo today confirmed it’s working with law enforcement to investigate a data breach which affected the account information of “at least” 500 million users. The company says that the user account information was stolen from its network in late 2014 by what it now …

Mike Rothenberg allegedly wired $5.2 million from Silicon Valley Bank without investor permission

As we first reported last month, Mike Rothenberg, the beleaguered founder of the San Francisco-based venture firm Rothenberg Ventures, has been involved in an ongoing SEC inquiry into possibly deceptive financial practices within his firm that include wire fraud, bank fraud, breach of fiduciary …

Up the mountain with GoPro

“Demand for GoPro is better than it’s ever been,” Nick Woodman explained to a rapt audience at GoPro’s mountain press conference yesterday. “Demand is kicking tail,” he said as the crowd cheered loudly.<p>That’s how it went pretty much all day. Enthusiastic uniformed GoPro employees as far as the eye …

Apple could also be in talks to acquire Lit Motors

Apple is rumored to be in talks to acquire McLaren, but that’s not all. While the New York Times was digging on the McLaren story, they also found out that Apple is also talking with Lit Motors for a potential acquisition.<p>Now you might be thinking “Lit who?” While Lit Motors is nowhere as big as …

macOS Sierra review: the Mac is now a mature platform

With every new major update for Apple’s operating system for the Mac comes the mandatory review. This year, OS X is now called macOS — while this is a small cosmetic change, it’s also a good opportunity to take a step back and look at the current state of macOS. After more than 15 years and 13 …

The first real Apple Watch

The Apple Watch Series 2 is the first real Apple Watch.<p>It delivers on the promise of a mostly passive device that can accomplish simple tasks in 1-3 seconds. There is now built-in GPS which allows for exercising without having to lug along a comparatively heavy iPhone just to get accurate tracking. …

Apple’s AI if by Air

After only a few days with Apple’s wireless AirPod headphones, it’s clear that there will be a huge platform business based on the reliable, persistent availability of a contextual artificial intelligence that can talk to you and receive commands.<p>That platform will benefit Apple first, but it will …

DraftKings raises $150M in new funding just in time for the NFL season

DraftKings has closed $150M in new funding this morning, the company confirmed to TechCrunch.<p>The round was led by Washington D.C-based Revolution Capital, the venture firm helmed by AOL founder Steve Case and Washington Capitals and Wizards owner Ted Leonsis. As part of the deal, Revolution …

Blue Apron’s “Farm Egg” makes me question everything

Farm egg.<p>It may seem as simple as just that. An egg. The food that Atkins and Paleo diets made popular once again. The food that draws one of many dividing lines between vegetarians and vegans. But this particular egg is one of the more layered, even scrambled (if you will), symbols of Silicon …

Fitbit’s new Charge brings much-welcomed features without breaking much ground

Fitbit’s run has been an impressive one. Hard to believe, really, that the company only started life nine or so years back. In under a decade, it’s become a household name, synonymous with an entire space, even as nearly every hardware manufacturer large and small has issued a competing …

Washio on-demand laundry service shuts down operations

Washio, the on-demand laundry startup that launched in 2013, has today announced that it will shutter its service.<p>In a letter posted to the website, Washio founders announced that the company will shut down operations, effective immediately. No new orders will go through the service, and …

Sufferers of iPhone 6’s ‘Touch Disease’ may soon have a class action lawsuit

iPhones around the world are dying in a peculiar way, and Apple isn’t doing right by affected users, asserts a lawsuit filed over the weekend. The plaintiffs are three in number for now but hope to elevate the case to class action status.<p>It all concerns “Touch Disease,” a problem an unspecified but …

Facebook clones Snapchat once again with new ‘instant video’ feature for Messenger

Facebook can’t stop copying Snapchat, it seems. Remember how Instagram shamelessly injected Snapchat Stories into its service last month? Well now Messenger is getting a very Snapchat-like new feature: instant video.<p>Messenger already includes video calling, but, acknowledging that this is often …

After boosting FedEx, is Amazon about to pull an AWS in shipping?

Amazon’s growing shipping operation is profiled at length in a new Bloomberg feature, and the article paints a picture of the e-commerce giant putting together the pieces to build one of the largest and most effective global shipping operations in the world, from centralized distribution hubs, to …

Google said to undercut Uber with expanded ride-share service in San Francisco

Google is running its own ride-sharing service in San Francisco, The Wall Street Journal reports. The move would put Google in direct, immediate competition with Uber, which helps explain even further the recent departure of Alphabet executive David Drummond from Uber’s board. Google’s new offering …

Apple ordered to pay up to $14.5 billion for illegal tax benefits in Ireland

The bill is getting quite expensive as the European Commission has just released a statement saying that Apple has benefited from illegal tax benefits in Ireland for its European operations. The commission says that Ireland must recover the “illegal aid” — it is worth $14.5 billion (€13 …

Dropbox employee’s password reuse led to theft of 60M+ user credentials

Dropbox disclosed earlier this week that a large chunk of its users’ credentials obtained in 2012 was floating around on the dark web. But that number may have been much higher than we originally thought.<p>Credentials for more than 60 million accounts were taken, as first reported by Motherboard and …

Security

43 million passwords hacked in Last.fm breach

Crikey: 43,570,999 user accounts were breached in a hack of Last.fm that occurred in March of 2012, according to a report from LeakedSource. Three months after the breach, in June of 2012, Last.fm issued the following statement:<p>“We are currently investigating the leak of some Last.fm user …

Facebook’s Trending Topics algorithm already screwed up

Well, that was fast.<p>Three days after Facebook said it would remove the human editors who curate the Trending topics section and replace them with a purely algorithmic system, the company trended a fake news story about Fox News anchor Megyn Kelly.<p>The mistake seems like an easily avoidable one — the …

Apple will unveil the next iPhone on September 7

Apple just sent out invites for a press conference on Wednesday, September 7. The company will most likely unveil the next iPhone. The invite doesn’t say much. Apple usually likes to give hints — but this time, it just says “See you on the 7th.” The event will be held at the Bill Graham Civic …