posted 7 days ago on techmeme
Emil Protalinski / VentureBeat: Google's Project Loon can now launch up to 20 balloons per day, and they fly 10 times longer than in 2013  —  Google today shared an update from Project Loon, the company's initiative to bring high-speed Internet access to remote areas of the world via hot air balloons.

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Re/code: Re/code drops comments on its site, noting that most discussion takes place on social media  —  A Note to Re/code Readers  —  Like all websites, Re/code is in a constant process of iteration.  So, starting today, you'll notice a few changes on our site, and we wanted to let you know about them.

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Josh Kosman / New York Post: GoDaddy seeks nearly $4.5B IPO valuation, talks diversifying  —  GoDaddy pitchwoman Danica Patrick.  —  GoDaddy.com is pushing ahead with an initial public offering early next year that would value the world's biggest domain registration service at roughly $4.5 billion, The Post has learned.

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Sarah Buhr / TechCrunch: PCH International In Talks To Buy Fab For $15 Million  —  Multiple sources have confirmed that Fab is in talks to sell to PCH International for $15 million in a half cash and half stock deal.  —  Contractual agreements are in the very early stages between the two companies (and these things could always fall apart).

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Todd Spangler / Variety: YouTube Music Awards to Return in 2015, But Not as a Live Event  —  Vidsite pacts with Vice Media to produce original music videos to debut in March 2015  —  YouTube, as part of its stepped-up push into the music biz, will bring back the YouTube Music Awards next March and has renewed a pact with Vice Media to produce it.

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Josh Constine / TechCrunch: Jaunt VR Releases Its First Content With App That Puts You On Stage With Paul McCartney  —  Jaunt wants to give you something to watch on makeshift virtual reality headsets like Google Cardboard, Dodocase, and Mirage.  So today the 360-degree camera and VR production software maker launches …

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Dennis Schaal / Skift: Sources: Amazon to launch hotel booking service in January 2015  —  Exclusive: Amazon to Get Into Hotel Booking With Launch of Travel Site  —  Amazon.com is poised to launch its own travel service, featuring booking at independent hotels and resorts near major cities, Skift has learned.

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Greg Bensinger / Wall Street Journal: Amazon leases 470,000 square-foot, 12-story space in midtown Manhattan for next 17 years  —  Amazon to Lease Entire Manhattan Building, Hinting at Retail Ambitions  —  Amazon.com agreed to lease 470,000 square feet of space in midtown Manhattan from Vornado Realty Trust …

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Hayley Tsukayama / Washington Post: Comcast testing feature to track technicians in real-time; trials begin outside Boston this week, will be rolled out nationally 2015  —  Comcast is testing a way to tell you exactly when the cable guy is coming  —  Comcast is trying out a way to let customers track technicians.  (AP Photo/Gene J. Puskar, File)

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Jeff Barr / Amazon Web Services Blog: Amazon's enterprise storage and sharing service Zocalo gets iOS, Android apps, 5TB file support  —  Amazon Zocalo Update - Mobile Apps + 5 TB Files  —  I have a couple of pieces of good news for current and potential users of Amazon Zocalo.  Both items are available now and you can start using them today.

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Sarah Perez / TechCrunch: Airbnb Rolls Out Million-Dollar Liability Insurance Program For Hosts  —  Airbnb today announced an additional liability insurance program that will provide U.S. hosts with up to $1 million worth of protection in the case a guest is accidentally injured anywhere in a host's building or on their property during their stay.

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posted 7 days ago on techmeme
Reuters: Google, Rockstar agree to settle patent litigation: filing  —  (Reuters) - Google Inc has agreed to settle litigation with patent consortium Rockstar, though terms of the deal were not disclosed in a court filing made public this week.  —  Rockstar, which counts Apple Inc as an investor …

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Sarah Perez / TechCrunch: Flickr Now Lets You Buy Wall Art From Professional Photographers And Creative Commons  —  Flickr today is expanding its Wall Art print service to include access to images from Flickr's licensed artists and Creative Commons.  The expansion comes only a month after the launch of Flickr Wall Art …

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Peter Kafka / Re/code: Web Video Channel Guide PlutoTV Raises $13 Million  —  Lots of people have tried to build TV guides for the Web-video era, and no one has succeeded so far.  —  But PlutoTV has convinced investors that it's onto something.  The company, which presents “channels” of Web video in a format …

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Douglas MacMillan / Wall Street Journal: Uber's Massive Fundraising Campaign Forges Ahead Amid Controversy  —  A recent controversy ensnaring Uber doesn't appear to be lessening the company's appeal to investors as it moves forward with plans to raise one of the largest venture-capital funding rounds in history.

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Emil Protalinski / VentureBeat: The Windows 10 store will let businesses buy apps in bulk and offer private sections for their own apps  —  Microsoft today shared some more details about the Windows Store coming as part of Windows 10, which it previously revealed would be unified to work across all types of Windows devices (phones, tablets, and PCs).

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Husain Sumra / MacRumors: Sony Drops Aaron Sorkin's Steve Jobs Movie, Universal May Take Over  —  Despite Aaron Sorkin's Steve Jobs movie being in the casting process and moving towards full fledged production, Sony Pictures has dropped the movie and put it “in turnaround”, which allows another large studio to purchase the movie and take over, reports Deadline.

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Roberto Baldwin / The Next Web: Twitter launches sharing public tweets in Direct Messages  —  Twitter is moving towards making DMs (Direct Messages) more like the messaging apps that have captured the globe.  But first, it wants to make sure you can share public tweets privately with your friends.

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Peter Kafka / Re/code: Former Fake Steve Jobs and HubSpot content marketer Dan Lyons to head up Valleywag in January  —  Dan Lyons Used to be Fake Steve Jobs.  Now He's the Chief Valleywag.  —  Valleywag's chief editor Nitasha Tiku just left for the Verge.  Here's her replacement: Dan Lyons …

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posted 7 days ago on techmeme
Tim Culpan / Bloomberg: Foxconn will spend $2.6B to build dedicated Apple display plant in Taiwan  —  Foxconn to Build Dedicated Apple Display Plant in Taiwan  —  Foxconn Technology Group will spend NT$80 billion ($2.6 billion) over the next two years on a new factory in Taiwan to supply displays exclusively for a client.

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posted 7 days ago on techmeme
Emil Protalinski / VentureBeat: Microsoft updates Bing homepage with HD backgrounds, image captions, and new Office Online menu  —  Microsoft today updated the Bing homepage with high-definition backgrounds, image captions, and a new Office Online menu.  Unlike other Bing rollouts, this one isn't gradual: The new features are available worldwide today.

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Mathew Ingram / Gigaom: Google launches Contributor, a crowdfunding tool for publishers  —  Google is launching a new service for websites called Contributor, which allows users to sign up and pay anywhere from $1 to $3 a month to sites that they visit frequently.  In return for contributing, they won't see any Google ads on those sites

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Steven Mufson / Washington Post: Washington Post launches twice-daily tablet editions on Amazon Fire app  —  The Washington Post tablet app for Kindle Fire is a highly visual news experience aimed at a national and international readership.  It offers two editions a day, as well as updates for breaking news.  (The Washington Post)

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Alyson Shontell / Business Insider: Exodus of revived Valleywag's original team complete as Nitasha Tiku heads to The Verge to bolster Silicon Valley coverage  —  Valleywag Lead Editor Nitasha Tiku Joins The Verge  —  Less than one month ago, Nitasha Tiku was promoted to Editor-in-Chief of Gawker's tech lifestyle section, Valleywag, in place of Sam Biddle.

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posted 7 days ago on techmeme
Kia Kokalitcheva / VentureBeat: Amid Uber controversy, taxi-hailing app Flywheel raises $12M, adds new management  —  At the end of Uber's first full day of PR wreckage on Tuesday, one of my bosses announced she was downloading taxi-hailing app Flywheel and deleting Uber's app — like many have tweeted they have done.

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