Technology

Twitter buys a startup to battle harassment, e-cigs are booming, and a meditation app is worth $250M

Hello and welcome back to Equity, TechCrunch’s venture capital-focused podcast where we unpack the numbers behind the headlines. This week TechCrunch’s Silicon Valley Editor Connie Loizos and I jammed out on a couple topics as Alex Wilhelm was out managing his fake stock game spreadsheets or something. (The jury is out on whether this was a good or bad thing.) First ...

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Google Assistant’s ‘Continued Conversation’ feature is now live

Google I/O was awash with Assistant news, but Duplex mystery aside, Continued Conversation was easily one of the most compelling announcements of the bunch. The feature is an attempt to bring more naturalized conversation to the AI — a kind of holy grail with these sorts of smart assistants. Continued Conversation is rolling out to Assistant today for users in ...

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Microsoft backpedals on VR promise

If you were still waiting patiently for the virtual reality features that Microsoft promised in 2016, then I have some bad news for you. During E3 last week, Microsoft’s chief marketing officer for gaming, Mike Nichols, told GamesIndustry.biz that the company had no plans to fulfill that promise. “We don’t have any plans specific to Xbox consoles in virtual reality or mixed reality,” ...

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Instagram launches IGTV app for creators, 1-hour video uploads

Instagram is ready to compete head-on with YouTube. Today at a flashy event in San Francisco, the company announced it will begin allowing users to upload videos up to one hour in length, up from the previous one-minute limit. And to house the new longer-form videos from content creators and the general public, Instagram is launching IGTV. Accessible from a ...

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Google adds a search feature to account settings to ease use

Google has announced a refresh of the Google Accounts user interface. The changes are intended to make it easier for users to navigate settings and review data the company has associated with an account — including information relating to devices, payment methods, purchases, subscriptions, reservations, contacts and other personal info. The update also makes security and privacy options more prominent, according ...

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States will be able to charge sales tax on online purchases thanks to the Supreme Court

In a five-to-four decision issued today, the Supreme Court ruled that states can make online businesses collect sales taxes — even if they don’t have a physical presence in that state. Today’s ruling overturns a decision from the Court in 1992 that paved the way for the explosion of online retail in the United States. At issue was the Quill ...

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Species-identifying AI gets a boost from images snapped by citizen naturalists

Someday we’ll have an app that you can point at a weird bug or unfamiliar fern and have it spit out the genus and species. But right now computer vision systems just aren’t up to the task. To help things along, researchers have assembled hundreds of thousands of images taken by regular folks of critters in real life situations — ...

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Microsoft and Nintendo release Minecraft trailer focused on cross-play

In the world of gaming, cross-compatibility between platforms has always bene a bit of a white whale. While most players hope for it, console makers and game publishers haven’t always been so willing. Until recently. Microsoft, Nintendo and PC game makers have started making games more cross-compatible. Most notably, the companies have made Fortnite Battle Royale, the biggest game of ...

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FB Messenger auto-translation chips at US/Mexico language wall

Facebook’s been criticized for tearing America apart, but now it will try to help us forge bonds with our neighbors to the south. Facebook Messenger will now offer optional auto-translation of English to Spanish and vice-versa for all users in the United States and Mexico. It’s a timely launch given the family separation troubles at the nation’s border. The feature ...

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Bag Week 2018: WP Standard’s Rucksack goes the distance

WP Standard – formerly called Whipping Post Leather – makes rugged leather bags, totes, and briefcases and their Rucksack is one of my favorites. Designed to look like something a Pony Express rider would slip on for a visit to town, this $ 275 satchel is sturdy, handsome, and ages surprisingly well. There are some trade-offs, however. Except for two ...

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