Monthly Archives: April 2013

Foursquare’s future is veering toward e-commerce, as the company’s social media roots have failed to yield revenues strong enough to excite investors.

What began as a virtual social competition for clocking the most “check-ins” at local restaurants and coffee shops is evolving into a play for a cut of local retail business.

“Twenty per cent of Foursquare check-ins are happening at retail locations, like clothing stores and shoe stores,” said Dennis Crowley, Foursquare’s chief executive and co-founder. 

“Die, my dear doctor? That is the last thing I shall do.” — the last words of former British prime minister Lord Palmerston.

Of course, he never had to worry about leaving behind a Facebook profile, an email account, or other abandoned online haunts.

The question of what happens to our online real estate after we die is a sensitive subject, as people grow concerned that what gets left behind could be used illegally or, even worse, become a source of post-mortem embarrassment.

In an effort to address these issues, Google has rolled out “Inactive Account Manager”, which can be set up to delete an account, send messages, and even share data in the event of an untimely demise.

 

Robert Cookson

Duedil, a start-up that provides information on every private company in the UK, has raised $5m in funding ahead of an expansion into more than a dozen countries across Europe.

The London-based company takes data from public and private databases and links it together to provide users with insights that would otherwise have been impossible to obtain. 

Richard Waters

A new technology platform needs new apps. And new apps need funding.

So it is that two of Silicon Valley’s best-known venture capital firms – Kleiner Perkins and Andreessen Horowitz – have got together with Google Ventures to offer money to developers working on ideas for Google Glass. According to Kleiner partner John Doerr, this “goes well beyond the the world of websites, documents and mobile apps”. 

Roy and Eldar Tuvey, the British brothers who sold their startup ScanSafe to Cisco for up to $183m in 2010, have announced a new venture, this time in mobile services.

Wandera helps companies save money on data roaming by compressing data in the cloud before it is sent to an employee’s phone or tablet. On Wednesday it received $7m in backing from Bessemer Venture Partners, whose past investments include Skype, Box and Linkedin. 

TransferWise, the money-moving service launched by former Skype director of strategy Taavet Hinrikus, is allowing start-ups to transfer up to $100m between different currencies without paying any fees.

The offer is open to 1,000 businesses that launched in the past two years on a first-come, first-served basis; they can transfer up to $100,000 each over the next year. TransferWise would normally collect around $500,000 in fees on the whole lot – $3m or so less, it estimates, than banks would. 

From the newspaper that brought you “How to spend it”, we now bring you “How to spend it: bitcoin edition”.

Looking for a guitar, a new Samsung tablet, or even some real estate? Open up that digital wallet and fork over your virtual currency.

Bitcoin hit another high today, leaving sceptical pundits in its wake as it broke through the $200 level. The currency is mostly seen as a store of value – with the FT’s Izabella Kaminska adroitly pointing out that it might serve as a type of online memory more than a monetary unit – but that doesn’t mean you can’t spend it.

 

“It’s free and always will be.” That’s what newcomers to Facebook are told when they sign up online. So there is some surprise that the site is now charging some UK users between 71p and £10.68 to send messages to people they don’t know.

The scheme was launched in December in the US, but the UK roll-out is a strong signal that Facebook believes it is actually a runner. Never mind the critics who called the idea “almost too ridiculous to believe”. The site already charges users to “promote” their posts among their friends and followers. 

Tim Bradshaw

Facebook is an incredible innovator, but one of its greatest strengths is its ability to absorb – the less charitable might say copy – its competitors’ best features. We saw it with Twitter and status updates; with Foursquare and Places; with Pinterest and last autumn’s Collections tool; and most recently Snapchat and the Poke app.

That’s fine when startups are nipping at your heels, but does that work when you’re competing against the tech industry’s biggest platforms?

 

If I didn’t already obsessively look at my phone in search of distraction, while waiting for the train or a friend who’s running late, Facebook has just made it ten times easier to get a quick fix.

With the new Facebook “Home” for Android, photos and status updates from my Facebook newsfeed will be the first thing I see when I pick up my phone. (I’ll have to explain the demotion to my cat, Lucas, whose yellow eyes will no longer stare up at me from the screen on first swipe).

Instead, a rolling stream of photos passes over the screen as they are being uploaded and posted by friends. If I want a closer look, I just tap once. One more tap and I can see who Liked or commented on the photo, or type a comment myself.