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February 25 2014


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January 22 2014

SF Approves Tech Bus Pilot Program Despite Public Dissent
Screen Shot 2014-01-21 at 5.00.43 PMToday the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency approved a controversial pilot program that will see some 200 area bus stops made available to private shuttles that ferry corporate tech workers to campuses outside of the city. Despite impassioned, and occasionally coherent, commentary — not to mention more than a handful of Google talking points — the agency’s final deliberation was quick and to the point: Yes. The shuttles, often referred to as ‘Google Buses,’ have become frontline in an increasingly bitter argument between the younger, newer and wealthier technology workers that call San Francisco home, and long-time residents concerned about the balkanization of the city’s less well off. Toss in a still weak job market for most sectors, spiraling rent costs, and tax incentives to wealthy tech firms to stay local, and the miasma begins to boil. Shuttling employees south instead of forcing them to commute has ecological benefits: Fewer cars means less congestion and a lowered carbon footprint. But for private companies to use public spaces in flagrant violation of the law has many up in arms. The meeting room was packed. Also, the proposed one-dollar-per-stop fee that Google et al will pay is viewed by many as little more than a perfunctory donation, given that the folk of the city pay more for a bus ride inside the confines of their own area code. Frankly, tech companies have played their hands poorly: Instead of apologizing, offering to pay a fee for past transgressions, and a more reasonable tax per stop, they have offered little and placated no one. Still, they got their pilot program, so they won. The cleaving of San Francisco into two camps — those who think that Google is a public benefactor, and those that view it as a public menace — is not healthy for our little community. But then again as an Uber taking, young tech-related bastard, I’m probably biased. Whatever the case, the shuttles will continue to run. The pilot will proceed, and following something more permanent will take its place. That’s where we are now. Top Image Credit: Flickr
Tags: Drama TC

December 25 2013

Google Destroys Rap Genius’ Search Rankings As Punishment For SEO Spam, But Resolution In Progress
Goolge Vs Rap GeniusGoogle hit back hard today after it learned lyrics site Rap Genius had been using dubious SEO tricks to attain top spots in search results. Now doesn't appear on the first page of results for a search of "Rap Genius", and popular queries like "Jay-Z Holy Grail Lyrics" don't bring up the startup like they used to. The reduced traffic could devestate the well-funded startup.

October 28 2013

VKontakte's Pavel Durov Explains Bizarre Money-Throwing Incident
It was a seemingly tasteless stunt that caught headlines around the globe for Pavel Durov, the founder of Russia’s biggest social network, VKontakte. Cameras caught him throwing paper planes made out of 5,000 Russian ruble notes (worth about $157 each in U.S. dollars) from his office windows high above St. Petersburg streets last year. Eventually, a fight broke out as he and another colleague watched below. They stopped at the brawl turned ugly. So what the hell was he thinking? Durov explained the backstory behind the bizarre incident on-stage today in a surprise interview at TechCrunch Disrupt in Berlin. “This is one of the funniest moments in the history of our company,” he said. They were bestowing a big bonus on a friend and vice president at the company. “We began to congratulate him: ‘You’re a rich guy now.’” Durov said. Durov said the vice president replied, “I don’t work for money. Money is completely not important to me. The idea is what’s important to me.” Durov responded back, “Look, if the it’s only the idea that’s important, why don’t you throw away the money? Get rid of it.” The vice president started to throw the bonus cash out the window, when Durov stopped him. He said, “Don’t throw your money from the window like that. You have to do it in a creative way.” Durov started showing him how to fold paper planes out of the bills, and they began tossing them out on the street. It ended up being about $4,000 to $5,000 in ruble bills. “Unfortunately, people at some point started to fight for the money and we stopped our actions, of course,” he said. Co-editor Alexia Tsotsis asked him what it taught him about human nature. “Not everybody’s actions are based on ideas. Some people’s actions are based on profit,” he said. “These people on the street clearly showed us that we are pretty much different from the guys downstairs.” Coincidentally, the paper plane is now the new logo of Durov’s next project, a super-encrypted messaging app called Telegram. The connection between the two was just incidental at first, he says. “I think it was a couple months ago when we came up with it. It came unintentionally. We just loved the idea of paper planes,” he said. “At first, it wasn’t really related to the paper plane event. But then we realized there was a

September 28 2013

NSA's Targeting Prowess Doesn't Extend To Ads
If the NSA only invited TechCrunch to its birthday party, it’d have to eat its cake alone. While we aren’t big fans of the NSA, it appears to fancy our readers, as it consistently advertises on our site. This makes me slightly uncomfortable, as I have spent a good portion of my time these past few months excoriating and blasting the NSA for what I view as unconstitutional abrogation of our Fourth Amendment rights. And here is the NSA, spending dollars to reach our audience, through those very posts. I suppose it is vaguely democratic to grant them part of our space to make their case, but as this is a financial relationship (they pay us, either directly or through a third-party), it’s not a question of free speech. I’ve never felt a conflict of interest with an advertisement before, due in no small part to the fact that I tune them out like the rest of you. But to have the NSA directly hawking its wares on pages that sport my name doesn’t sit right with me. Here’s the NSA advertising its career listings on our Microsoft subject page: My name appended to a page that sports bright (lurid?) NSA branding. Please, no. Today brought fresh revelations on how the NSA collects data on United States citizens. Here’s the New York Times reporting the tracking of our social graph, based on documents leaked by Edward Snowden: Since 2010, the National Security Agency has been exploiting its huge collections of data to create sophisticated graphs of some Americans’ social connections that can identify their associates, their locations at certain times, their traveling companions and other personal information [...] Because of concerns about infringing on the privacy of American citizens, the computer analysis of such data had previously been permitted only for foreigners. Because of my distaste for the NSA and its surveillance programs, I don’t want it making payments (again, either directly or through some third-party targeting or retargeting) to any group that I have a financial relationship with. And as TechCrunch pays the rent, some NSA dollars have likely leaked into my own bank account. That’s revolting. Also revealed recently is the fact that the Justice Department targeted Edward Snowden’s email provider the day right after he went public. That ended poorly. And the Senate just admitted what we already knew, that the NSA directly taps the core fiber cables of the

August 12 2013

Twenty People Injured At LG G2 Promotional Event
LG held a promotional event in Seoul, South Korea where 20 people were injured in a race to grab balloons containing free certificates for the company's latest smartphone, the G2. According to the Korea Times, LG is covering medical costs of those injured during the event.
Tags: Drama Mobile TC LG G2

August 04 2013

A Year Of Spam: The Twoo Experience
Twoo, “the fastest growing place to meet new people,” has been spamming people for over a year. Users have been complaining that they get unsolicited mail from the app, that the app emails all of their contacts without their understanding, and that it’s unclear how to delete their accounts.
Tags: Drama TC Twoo spam

July 19 2013

This is the worst email our tips line received today. I look forward to having a drink with this dude.

July 09 2013

American Intern
I live in the Milano building in Crescent Village in North San Jose. Since I moved in last month, I have had loud parties, late-night hot-tubbing sessions, and generally involved myself in other, nefarious, un-neighborly behavior. I’ve even jaywalked.
Tags: Drama TC

July 30 2012

Stop Me If You’ve Heard This One Before: Olympic Athlete Kicked Out Of Games For Tweet
Switzerland's Michel Morganella runs on
Michael Morganella, a defender on the Swiss Olympic soccer squad, has been kicked off the team for an offensive tweet about South Koreans, hours after losing to the country's team. Five days ago, Voula Papachristou, Greece’s triple-jump champion, was kicked off her team for an offensive tweet about West Nile virus. Morganella's Twitter account, @morgastoss, has been deleted, but Swiss newspaper Le Matin grabbed a shot of the tweet.
Tags: Drama Social TC
Critic Of NBC Olympics Coverage Has Twitter Account Suspended for Posting Exec’s Email
Twitter shut down Independent reporter Guy Adams after he tweeted a top NBC executive's email address. Adams has been a staunch critic of NBC's Olympics coverage, tweeting up a storm about NBC's factual inaccuracies and other broadcast shortcomings. Adams tweeted the corporate email address of Gary Zenkel, President of the NBC Olympics. 

July 27 2012

Pinwheel Changes Name To Findery Following Injunction
Location-based note-sharing app Pinwheel has changed its name to Findery, after the U.S. District Court of New York granted Pinweel, a photo-sharing app, a preliminary injunction over the similar names. In February, Caterina Fake (yep, last name Fake involved in a naming-rights lawsuit...I can't make this stuff up) launched Pinwheel. The older Pinweel demanded that Pinwheel change its name, and eventually they wound up in court.

July 26 2012

Greek Athlete Kicked Off Olympic Team For Tweet
Voula Papachristou, Greece's triple-jump champion, was barred from competing in the London Olympic Games by the Hellenic Olympic Committee after an offensive tweet on Monday. She tweeted, "with so many Africans in Greece, at least the West Nile mosquitos will be eating food from their own home."

May 05 2012

Facebook Likes Just Got Cray Cray
Screen shot 2012-05-04 at 7.47.55 PM
In light of its impending multi-billion-dollar IPO, its user base of 900 million and its increasingly sprawling design and user experience, some people have come to believe that Facebook has gone crazy. Excuse me, "cray cray." What's more, even though it's only two-odd years old, Facebook's "Like" button is now ubiquitous on the Webs. But with how quickly these young people are picking up new technology these days, let's be honest, "Liking" things is for old people. Everyone else has moved on. That's why Ben Schaechter, Sam Grossberg, and Paul Kompfner have coded up a new Chrome extension, which went live this evening, called CrayBook. (Check it out in the Chrome Web Store here.)

May 04 2012

Please Also Welcome Ryan Lawler, TechCrunch’s Newest New Star Writer
Screen Shot 2012-05-04 at 12.01.13 PM
We've been writing so many "please welcome star writer" posts lately that we're having to work hard to think of new versions of that headline. But that's the only painful part of this one, as we're very excited to announce that pro blogger Ryan Lawler will be joining the team on Monday. You might know him for his work over last five years covering various media, telecom, online video, and -- as he made his way from New York to San Francisco with GigaOM -- startups.
Tags: Drama TC

April 18 2012

A Sign Of The Hiring-pocalypse
Oh San Francisco, has it really come to this? Are we now at the point where the disheveled men on street corners no longer ask for change, but rather developers? Apparently so. I walked out of the TechCrunch offices yesterday afternoon and passed this guy. He handed me a business card, cut out of cardboard with the URL scrawled onto it in black Sharpie pen. "Find me a programmer and we'll buy an island together," he said.
Tags: Drama TC

April 08 2012

An Open Letter to IBM CEO Virginia Rometty
People like to kick up a fuss about sexism in tech and how this contributes to a lack of women in the field, whether that's through badly promoted "perks" at hackathons, over-abundance of alcohol at events or scantily clad women in promo videos, etc. But do you want to know why there's sexism in tech? Because it comes from society at large, and even at the very top, we allow it to happen. Traditionally, the Augusta National Golf Club has bestowed honorary green jackets representing membership to the club upon the CEOs of its three main television sponsors for the U.S. Masters – except for this year. Virginia Rometty is the current CEO of IBM, and so far has not been given membership – like every other CEO before her, solely because she is a woman.

April 06 2012

Arianna Huffington No Longer Runs The Aol Tech Sites
Screen Shot 2012-04-05 at 8.02.18 PM
You know every once in a while you come across news about your company and it turns out your boss is no longer your boss anymore. If you're me this probably happens to you every three months. Anyways this morning I read in the media that Arianna Huffington (who I think used to be my boss) gained more control within Aol and then subsequently read that actually she had been "demoted." Okay truth please guys?!
Tags: Drama TC AOL
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