Tinder co-founder asks court to dismiss $250 million lawsuit from Tinder’s owner


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Tinder co-founder and former CEO Sean Rad has asked the New York Supreme Court to dismiss a $250 million lawsuit against him by Match Group and IAC, the owners of Tinder. Match claims that Rad copied internal files and proprietary information before he left the company, violating his employment contract. In his motion to dismiss, however, Rad says the contract gave him the right to back up internal emails and hold on to those correspondences even after his tenure at Tinder ended.

Match’s claims are meant to counter a multibillion-dollar lawsuit from Rad. In August 2018, Rad and other former Tinder employees sued Match Group and IAC over claims that the company purposefully undervalued Tinder to avoid having to pay the team billions more…

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WhatsApp tests in-app reverse image searches to prevent the spread of hoaxes


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The WhatsApp team at Facebook is continuing to build features to help thwart fake news. WABetaInfo reports that a new beta version of WhatsApp includes an in-app web browser and the ability to reverse image search an image that’s sent in a chat so that you can try to figure out where the image really came from.

The in-app browser on its own likely won’t do much to combat fake news, although it’s at least a helpful feature that’s been missing for some time. WaBetaInfo notes that WhatsApp doesn’t allow people to screenshot or video record while using the in-app browser.

The more useful feature, especially in cases where viral photos spread through chain texts on the platform, is the ability to reverse Google image search. Users can select…

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Tinder says it no longer uses a ‘desirability’ score to rank people


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Tinder wants to set the record straight about how its platform ranks and shows people potential matches, so today it published a blog post on the subject — but still kept things fairly vague. The company’s Elo score was a “hot topic” a few years ago, according to the blog post, but the ranking feature has now been depreciated.

The idea behind the Elo score was that Tinder would rank people by attractiveness. Elo scores are used to rank chess players, too, but in the context of Tinder, the more people that swiped right (or Liked) a person’s profile, the higher their assigned score went up. Their card would then be served to other people with a similar score, thereby keeping the most desirable people interacting with one another. On…

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Spotify’s podcast ambitions involve exclusive shows, better discovery, and lots of ad money


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     The podcast future is forming

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Dying social robot Jibo goes out with a song and a dance


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The servers running Jibo, a connected home robot, are about to be shut down, and the robot has started informing its owners with a bittersweet message. Reporter Dylan Martin tweeted a video showing Jibo saying that its functions will soon be “limited,” but it “really enjoyed our time together.”

“Thank you very, very much for having me around,” Jibo says. “Maybe someday, when robots are more advanced than today, and everyone has them in their homes, you can tell yours that I said ‘hello.’”

Jibo then proceeds to dance.

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Sphero is crowdfunding its new Raspberry Pi-compatible robot


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Sphero, the Colorado-based connected toy company, has had a successful, conventional run making sphere-shaped, smartphone-controlled robots. But for its next launch, Sphero is taking a different path to retail: a Kickstarter campaign.

Adam Wilson, co-founder and chief creative officer, tells The Verge his company opted to crowdfund its new bot, called RVR, in order to “get feedback and make sure we’re building the thing that people want.” RVR is designed for kids and adults. Unlike prior robots, this one can accept peripheral accessories through its universal expansion port, so that means devices like a Raspberry Pi, webcam, Arduino microcontrollers, external battery, or whatever else users want to connect can be used for coding…

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The best new Twitter bot is an endless game of Jeopardy where the winners are good at puns


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Web artist Neil Cicierega has created a new bot that’ll forever distract us on Twitter. His new Twitter account, @endlessjeopardy, creates “randomly generated clues” that fellow Twitter users can reply to with an answer. A new clue comes every hour. There’s no correct answer, but whoever’s response receives the most likes will win points. A bot keeps score, and it seems some users already have multiple wins.

Here’s a sample statement and the winning question.

The bot picks five winners per question, although each receives a different amount of points. People can lose points if they submit a winning response but don’t phrase it as a…

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LG partners with smart oven startup for automated cooking


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LG keeps making its ovens smarter — not by building its own software, but by outsourcing the effort to startups. The company announced today that its 2019 smart ovens will now recognize pre-packaged meals from Tovala, a smart oven company based out of Chicago. Owners of LG’s 2019 smart ovens will be able to scan meals through Tovala’s app, then have their oven automatically move through the correct settings to cook them.

While multiple smart oven companies, like June and Brava, have built food recognition systems into their devices, the Tovala team is the only one to have launched a companion meal shipment service. The team creates meals every week, cooks and packages them, and then ships them to customers. It’s a big undertaking that’s…

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The NBA app-controlled ‘smart jersey’ of the future lets you change your player name and number


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NBA Commissioner Adam Silver gave the world a peek at the future of jerseys during this week’s NBA All-Start Technology Summit, an event dedicated to illustrating how technology might advance the sport by 2038.

In addition to mentioning fans gaining entry into games via facial recognition, hologram mascots, and more personalized game experiences, Silver demonstrated the future of jerseys: a piece of smart clothing that can change the name and number displayed on them through a mobile app. Details on how the jersey is made weren’t shared, but it’s a neat, concept and something we haven’t seen before.

You can check out the demo below:

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A new dating app mashes up HQ Trivia with Tinder


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A new app’s creators think they know the key to dating success: a trivia-oriented game show where the questions revolve around a bachelorette. It’s a unique idea, for sure, albeit one that I can’t imagine having wide appeal. The game, called Quiz Date Live, comes from a company called East Meets East, which has raised $4 million in funding to get its iOS show off the ground. The team plans to monetize in a way similar to the mobile HQ game show by giving users the option to purchase extra lives. The game has two parts, and the second part has three rounds. Try to stick with me while I explain.

The first part involves a contestant who the company chooses based on email entries, telling potential participants about herself. The second part…

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Bumble now lets users pay to bring their profile to the top of the match stack


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Bumble launched a new feature today called Spotlight that brings a user’s profile to the top of people’s swipe page for 30 minutes. Users have to pay two Bumble Coins — or $1.99 — to access the feature, and Spotlight doesn’t call these users out in-app, so no other user knows why someone is at the top of their profile card stack, not that they normally would anyway.

This feature hits on one insecurity of dating app users: whether they’re actually being seen, or just not getting matches because of… themselves. Dating apps often try to rank users based off proprietary algorithms, so Hinge, for example, looks at users’ swipe history and tries to offer up users that are similar to others that they’ve already liked. OkCupid looks at…

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Tinder added more than 1 million subscribers last year


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Tinder is still unstoppable. Match Group, Tinder’s parent company, announced its fourth quarter earnings today, in which it disclosed that Tinder added 1.2 million subscribers last year alone. That surge led the brand to close the year out with $805 million in revenue.

That’s nearly as much as what the rest of Match’s dating brands, which include Match.com and OkCupid, pull in combined at $872 million. Match says most of Tinder’s revenue growth is thanks to Tinder Gold, which gives members certain limited features like more Super Likes per day, the ability to swipe around the world, and insight into who’s already liked them. Tinder has also made it a goal to focus on a younger demographic of 18 to 22-year-olds through Tinder U, the…

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What Spotify needs in order to become a great podcast app


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Spotify announced today that the company plans to spend up to $500 million on podcast-related acquisitions. The first purchases in that journey are Gimlet Media, which makes Reply All and other popular shows, and Anchor, which allows anyone to easily create their own podcasts. This is huge news for the growing podcast industry, as it’s already expected to generate nearly $700 million in revenue by 2020.

Spotify made its name as a music app, but now CEO Daniel Ek says the company is interested in not only being a listening platform for any podcast, but also creating its own exclusive releases. Suffice it to say, Spotify wants to be a big player in the podcast space and is heavily investing to fill that role. Before it’s a podcast…

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Snap has stopped losing users


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After two quarters of losing users, Snap’s losses seem to have stabilized. The company says today that it has the same number of daily active users globally as it did last quarter at 186 million. That’s still fewer than the 191 million it had at this same time last year, but suggests the platform’s user base may have stabilized.

Beyond the stable user base, Snap set a new record for quarterly revenue at $390 million, which brings its yearly total to more than $1.1 billion. The company still isn’t profitable, but CEO Evan Spiegel says spending has leveled out. Today’s earnings report represents a great cap to a miserable year for Snap. Spiegel lost multiple top executives in 2018, including his head of finance, chief strategy officer,…

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Fine, here’s a $100 Lightning to Ethernet dongle for iPads


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The Belkin Ethernet + Power Adapter with Lightning Connector dongle — a long, but descriptive name — gives Lightning iPads an Ethernet connection and a Lightning power port. The Ethernet port supports connections up to 480 Mbps, and can deliver 12W of power. This dongle might be handy if you’re using an older iPad, but given that the new iPad Pro has a USB-C port, the support comes at a strange time in Apple’s port strategy. But then, it’s been a strange time in Apple’s port strategy for several years now.

Belkin says you’ll want the Belkin Connect app to keep things updated and compatible, but the dongle should work with any iOS device 10.3.3 or later. It’s unclear whether you need the app for the dongle to function. The Ethernet +…

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Instagram head admits platform has a problem policing self-harm posts


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Instagram hasn’t effectively protected users from self-harm and suicidal content, Adam Mosseri, the head of the company, admits in an op-ed today, and he says that the company is working to remedy that.

Mosseri writes in The Telegraph that the death of 14-year-old Molly Russell in 2017 moved him and pushed the company to take a deeper look at its self-harm content screening. Russell died by suicide, and her family says she followed multiple self-harm and suicide Instagram accounts, which led her to kill herself. After hearing Russell’s story, and after UK health secretary Matt Hancock issued a warning to tech giants about their handling of these issues, Mosseri and his team began a “comprehensive review” of how the platform handles…

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Samsung cancels its fake Supreme collaboration in China


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Samsung has canceled its partnership with a knock-off Supreme brand after announcing its plans to work with it last December. In a short update posted to Weibo, Samsung said it would discontinue the partnership with Supreme Italia, a brand that clones Supreme’s red box logo but is actually a copycat hiding under an Italian trademark.

Supreme Italia planned to launch stores in China, and Samsung had signed on to create exclusive products for it. Samsung was promptly called out for working with a knock-off, and the company said it would reevaluate the partnership in response. Now, the company says it’s definitely not happening. Engadget translated Samsung’s statement, and it says:

Samsung Electronics had previously mentioned a…

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Comedians are coming for one of Instagram’s biggest joke aggregators


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Comedians have started a campaign to take down Fuckjerry, one of Instagram’s biggest joke aggregators. The Instagram account, run primarily by Elliot Tebele with contribution from others at Jerry Media, posts jokes and memes from around the internet — while profiting off sponsored posts sent to the 14.3 million followers those jokes have attracted.

This week, comedians on Instagram and Twitter are speaking out against Fuckjerry with the hashtag #fuckfuckjerry and encouraging people to unfollow the account. The campaign comes in light of renewed attention on Jerry Media, from its recent role in documenting — and working for — Fyre Fest, to a recent Vulture article about how it profits off other peoples’ jokes.

Here’s what’s happening and…

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What would happen if Apple fully banned Facebook from the App Store?


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Apple did something unprecedented this week: it temporarily revoked Facebook’s ability to distribute internal iOS apps, in a punishment to the company. The fast, strong response came after the discovery that Facebook abused its enterprise privileges to install monitoring software on teenagers’ phones.

But Apple didn’t wield all of its power. In theory, Apple could have banned Facebook from the consumer-facing App Store entirely — a possible catastrophe for the social platform. The showdown demonstrates how vulnerable the tech giants are to one another, but some developers say that even if Apple made this decision, which it likely won’t, the results might not be as devastating as you’d imagine.

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Google invented the AI version of a Hallmark card


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I don’t have the time, energy, or attention span to give every email a thoughtful reply.

It’s a problem Google has been trying to solve with a Gmail feature called Smart Replies, the automatically generated, prewritten responses that pop up when you’re composing an email. But I worry these simple responses will make us lazy and our language homogeneous. Email’s terrible, but do I now need to worry about it destroying language and cratering our relationships, too?

Most short email responses aren’t carefully written as it is, so we aren’t exactly losing out on poetry, says Naomi Baron, a professor of linguistics emerita at American University and author of Words Onscreen: The Fate of Reading in a Digital World. “We like to assume that…

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