How to Play Google’s Text Adventure Easter Egg in Chrome

Who doesn’t love a good round of Zork? While you are unlikely to be eaten by a Google Grue, you can play a text adventure in the company’s Chrome browser. It’s a clever little Easter egg that’s actually kind of fun, if you have some time to kill. Better still, the game isn’t just some marketing BS for Google products;… Read more...

Eight Roads Ventures targets Southeast Asia deals

Eight Roads Ventures, the investment arm of financial giant Fidelity International, is moving into Southeast Asia where it sees the potential to plug the later stage investment gap. The firm has funds across the world including the U.S, China and Europe, and it has invested nearly $6 billion in deals over the past decade. The firm has been active lately — it launched a new $375 million fund for Europe and Israeli earlier this year — and now it has opened an office in Singapore, where its managing partner for Asia, Raj Dugar, has relocated to from India. The firm said it plans to make early-growth and growth stage investments of up to $30 million, predominantly around Series B, Series C and Series D deals. The focus of those checks will be startups in the technology, healthcare, consumer and financial services spaces. Already, it has three investments across Southeast
Continue reading "Eight Roads Ventures targets Southeast Asia deals"

Google’s fingerprints were all over today’s Amazon event

Hidden amongst the 70 or so announcements Amazon made at today’s big Alexa event was one key hidden presence. Google’s offerings loomed large over much of the news flowing out from the big event.

It’s easy to understand why, of course. Assistant and Home have steadily been making up ground on Amazon over the last couple of years. In fact, just in time for today’s event, a study dropped noting that Google Home Mini was the best-selling smart speaker for Q2 of this year, dethroning Amazon’s popular Dot.

As one of the first products unveiled at the event, the newly refreshed Dot certainly bore the mark of Google’s influence. A new, fabric-covered design with improved sound promised to put the low-cost smart speaker on better footing against the Home Mini. It’s the first big hardware redesign for the product.

While Amazon also beat Google to the punch with the

Continue reading "Google’s fingerprints were all over today’s Amazon event"

Facebook’s Camera AR platform head is coming to TC Sessions: AR/VR

Augmented reality has the potential to change how we interact with the internet, as these technologies scale you can certainly bet that Facebook is going to be looking to shape what’s possible. At our one-day TC Sessions: AR/VR event in LA next month, we’ll be joined by Ficus Kirkpatrick, Facebook’s Head of Camera AR Platform, to chat about the company’s strategies in 2018 and beyond for augmented reality. While the bulk of Facebook’s VR ambitions have taken up residence under the Oculus name, the biggest AR platform available right now are the hundreds of millions of smartphones that people already have. Fortunately, Facebook has quite the presence on mobile but that’s made it even more of a challenge to fit AR ambitions into apps that already have so much going on. Facebook is not the place most people turn to when they want to take a photo, but the company’s
Continue reading "Facebook’s Camera AR platform head is coming to TC Sessions: AR/VR"

Google’s GitHub competitor gets better search tools

Google today announced an update to Cloud Source Repositories, its recently relaunched Git-based source code repository, that brings a significantly better search experience to the service. This new search feature is based on the same tool that Google’s own engineers use day in and day out and it’s now available in the beta release of Cloud Source Repositories. If you’ve been on the internet for a while, then you probably remember Google Code Search. Code Search allowed you to search through any open-source code on the internet. Sadly, Google shut this down back in 2012. This new feature isn’t quite the same, though. It only allows you to search your own code — or that from other people in your company. It’s just as fast as Google’s own search, though, and allows you to use regular expressions and other advanced search features. One nifty feature here is that for Java,
Continue reading "Google’s GitHub competitor gets better search tools"

Google brings vulnerability scanning to its Cloud Build CI/CD platform

Google today announced an important update to its Cloud Build CI/CD platform that brings vulnerability scanning to all container images built using the service. Container Registry vulnerability scanning, which is now in beta, is meant to ensure that as businesses adopt modern DevOps practices, the container they eventually deploy are free of known vulnerabilities. As Google rightly notes, the only way to ensure that security protocols are always followed is by automating the process. In this case, all new Cloud Build images are automatically scanned when Cloud Build creates an image and stores it in the Container Registry. The service uses the standard security databases to find new issues. Currently, the service can identify package vulnerabilities for Ubuntu, Debian, and Alpine, with CentOS and RHEL support coming soon. When it finds an issue, the service will notify the user, but businesses can also set up automatic rules (using Pub/Sub notifications and
Continue reading "Google brings vulnerability scanning to its Cloud Build CI/CD platform"

Google’s Cloud Memorystore for Redis is now generally available

After five months in public beta, Google today announced that its Cloud Memorystore for Redis, its fully managed in-memory data store, is now generally available. The service, which is fully compatible with the Redis protocol, promises to offer sub-millisecond responses for applications that need to use in-memory caching. And because of its compatibility with Redis, developers should be able to easily migrate their applications to this service without making any code changes. Cloud Memorystore offers two service tiers — a basic one for simple caching and a standard tier for users who need a highly available Redis instance. For the standard tier, Google offers a 99.9 percent availability SLA. Since it first launched in beta, Google added a few additional capabilities to the service. You can now see your metrics in Stackdriver, for example. Google also added custom IAM roles and improved logging. As for pricing, Google charges
Continue reading "Google’s Cloud Memorystore for Redis is now generally available"

Google will match up to $1M in donations for Hurricane Florence relief

As cities in Hurricane Florence’s path deal with its aftermath, Google will match up to $1 million in donations to help with relief efforts. The disaster’s death toll is currently 35 people and about 343,000 people in North Carolina are without electricity. The hurricane caused widespread flooding and property damage throughout North Carolina, South Carolina and Virginia.   Google drew attention to its Hurricane Florence donation campaign with a banner that appeared on top of Gmail for some users. Google has matched donations for other disasters before, including Hurricane Irma and Hurricane Harvey last year. It’s also raised money for humanitarian efforts crises, like a 2015 matching program for up to $5.5 million in donations to provide aid to refugees in Europe. For that campaign, it temporarily added a “Donate” button to its search homepage. The company is partnering with non-profit Network for God to collect and distribute funds.
Continue reading "Google will match up to $1M in donations for Hurricane Florence relief"

Google’s Work Insights helps businesses better understand how they work

At an event in Tokyo, Google today announced the launch of Work Insights, a new tool that gives businesses more insights into how their employees use the company’s G Suite productivity tools and how teams collaborate using those tools. In addition, Google is also launching its investigation tool for helping business better secure their data in G Suite into general availability. “Work Insights is a tool built specifically to help businesses measure and understand the impact of digital transformation within their organizations, driven by G Suite,” Reena Nadkarni, a group product manager for G Suite, explains in today’s announcement. Data is aggregated at the team level (where a team needs to have 10 people or more) to help businesses understand how their employees are adapting G Suite apps. As enterprises bet on one vendor or the other, there’s always a bit of a transition period and not everybody makes the
Continue reading "Google’s Work Insights helps businesses better understand how they work"

Google launches new AI initiatives in Japan

It’s no surprise that Google used its Cloud Next 2018 event in Tokyo today — one of a number of international Cloud Next events that follow its flagship San Francisco conference — to announce a couple of new initiatives that specifically focus on the Japanese market. These announcements include a couple of basic updates like translating its Machine Learning with TensorFlow on Google Cloud Platform Coursera specialization, its Associate Cloud Engineer certification and fifty of its hands-on Qwiklabs into Japanese. In addition, Google is also launching an Advanced Solutions Lab in Tokyo as well. Previously Google opened similar labs in Dublin, Ireland, as well as Sunnyvale and New York. These labs offer a wide range of machine learning-centric training options, collaborative workspaces for teams that are part of the company’s four-week machine learning training program, and access to Google experts.

(Photo by Hitoshi Yamada/NurPhoto via Getty Images)

The company also
Continue reading "Google launches new AI initiatives in Japan"

Committed to privacy, Snips founder wants to take on Alexa and Google, with blockchain

Earlier this year we saw the headlines of how the users of popular voice assistants like Alexa and Siri and continue to face issues when their private data is compromised, or even sent to random people. In May it was reported that Amazon’s Alexa recorded a private conversation and sent it to a random contact. Amazon insists its Echo devices aren’t always recording, but it did confirm the audio was sent.

The story could be a harbinger of things to come when voice becomes more and more ubiquitous. After all, Amazon announced the launch of Alexa for Hospitality, its Alexa system for hotels, in June. News stories like this simply reinforce the idea that voice control is seeping into our daily lives. The French startup Snips thinks it might have an answer to the issue of security and data privacy. Its built its software to run 100% on-device, independently from
Continue reading "Committed to privacy, Snips founder wants to take on Alexa and Google, with blockchain"

Answering its critics, Google loosens reins on AMP project

Accelerated Mobile Pages, or AMP, has been a controversial project since its debut. The need for the framework has been clear: the payloads of mobile pages can be just insane, what with layers and layers of images, Javascript, ad networks, and more slowing down page rendering time and costing users serious bandwidth on metered plans. Yet, the framework has been aggressively foisted on the community by Google, which has backed the project not just with technical talent, but also by making algorithmic changes to its search results that have essentially mandated that pages comply with the AMP project’s terms — or else lose their ranking on mobile searches. Even more controversially, as part of making pages faster, the AMP project uses caches of pages on CDNs — which are hosted by Google (and also Cloudflare now). That meant that Google’s search results would direct a user
Continue reading "Answering its critics, Google loosens reins on AMP project"

Google partners with Renault-Nissan-Mitsubishi to put Android into millions of vehicles

Google will partner with Renault -Nissan-Mitsubishi, the largest auto alliance in the world by vehicle sales, to put Android-based infotainment systems into millions of cars, the companies told Wall Street Journal. The alliance’s next-generation infotainment system and dashboard displays will use Android and launch in 2021. Drivers will be able to access Google’s maps, app store and voice assistant from their vehicle’s dashboards. The new partnership is a giant step forward for Google’s ambitions to get its operating system into more cars (the alliance sold a combined 5.5 million vehicles in the first half of this year, putting it ahead of Volkswagen and Toyota Motor). The alliance’s executives told WSJ that they decided on the partnership because many of their customers are accustomed to using Google Maps and other apps and prefer sticking with them instead of using software developed by automakers when they drive. Auto executives have also
Continue reading "Google partners with Renault-Nissan-Mitsubishi to put Android into millions of vehicles"

Go-Jek plans to raise $2B more for Southeast Asia ride-hailing battle

Indonesia’s Go-Jek is planning to raise $2 billion from investors to fuel its ride-hailing battle with Grab in Southeast Asia. Go-Jek raised $1.5 billion earlier this year from investors that include Chinese trio Tencent, Meituan and JD.com, as well as Google, Allianz and Singapore sovereign fund Temasek. Now it is planning to raise a further $2 billion, two sources with knowledge of details told TechCrunch, as it seeks to expand on numerous fronts. Those plans include both extending the scope of its services in Indonesia — where beyond rides it offers services on demand and financial products — and moving into new markets. The company recently went live in Vietnam, its first expansion, and it has plans to enter Thailand, the Philippines and Singapore this year. Bloomberg first reported the fundraising plans, although a source told TechCrunch that the deal is far from being done. Existing
Continue reading "Go-Jek plans to raise $2B more for Southeast Asia ride-hailing battle"

Mobile social network Path, once a challenger to Facebook, is closing down

It’s that time again, folks, time to say goodbye to a social media service from days past. Following the shuttering of Klout earlier this year, now Path, the one-time rival to Facebook, is closing its doors, according to an announcement made today. The eight-year-old service will close down in one month — October 18 — but it will be removed from the App Store and Google Play on October 1. Any remaining users have until October 18 to download a copy of their data, which can be done here.

Path was founded by former Facebook product manager Dave

Continue reading "Mobile social network Path, once a challenger to Facebook, is closing down"

Everyday home gear made smart

Editor’s note: This post was done in partnership with Wirecutter. When readers choose to buy Wirecutter’s independently chosen editorial picks, Wirecutter and TechCrunch may earn affiliate commissions. If you only have one smart home device, it’s likely something simple and fun like a voice-controlled speaker or color-changing LED light bulb. As you expand your smart home setup, you can begin to swap out gear that isn’t as flashy but you still use everyday. Switching to connected locks, power outlets and smoke alarms are all simple installs that can improve your safety and comfort in your own home. We’ve pulled together some of our favorite essentials made smart for anyone looking to upgrade. Smart lock: Kwikset Kevo Smart Lock 2nd Gen
Continue reading "Everyday home gear made smart"

The new iPhone’s here, so Google wants to talk Pixel 3

In the off-chance you haven’t already had your fill of phone news for the week, Google just offered up a few friendly reminders that it’s got its own handset coming out in the not so distant future.

The company’s event isn’t happening until early next month, but Google’s started with the teasers. Here’s a site with a big number 3, while over here a “coming soon” placeholder shows off the rough outline of what one assumes is the new phone.

It’s pretty bare bones at the moment, but a click of the “G” logo unleashes a slow, steady stream of confetti. As Android Police handily notes, the phone’s silhouette is shown in three colors — black, white and a kind of mint green.

The former have already been leaked like crazy all over the internet. The pale green, on the other hand, could be a surprise — well,

Continue reading "The new iPhone’s here, so Google wants to talk Pixel 3"

Mary Meeker, author of the Internet Trends Report, is leaving Kleiner Perkins

Mary Meeker is leaving Kleiner Perkins to build a new fund and she’s taking the firm’s growth team with her. The news, first reported by Recode and confirmed to TechCrunch, is the latest high-level departure at one of the most prominent Silicon Valley venture capital firms. Joining Meeker in her new fund are Kleiner Perkins GPs Mood Rowghani and Noah Knauf, as well as Juliet de Baubigny, a partner. According to the firm, this is less of a messy break-up and more of an amicable and intentional decision to spin-off Kleiner’s growth-investing unit. “The environment for venture has evolved — with larger checks being written for seed and A rounds and more support from partners required to build companies — demanding a high degree of specialization and extreme focus to excel,” a spokesperson for Kleiner Perkins said in a statement provided to TechCrunch. “The changes in both areas have led
Continue reading "Mary Meeker, author of the Internet Trends Report, is leaving Kleiner Perkins"

Golden Gate Ventures closes new $100M fund for Southeast Asia

Singapore’s Golden Gate Ventures has announced the close of its newest (and third) fund for Southeast Asia at a total of $100 million. The fund hit a first close in the summer, as TechCrunch reported at the time, and now it has reached full capacity. Seven-year-old Golden Gate said its LPs include existing backers Singapore sovereign fund Temasek, Korea’s Hanwha, Naver — the owner of messaging app Line — and EE Capital. Investors backing the firm for the first time through this fund include Mistletoe — the fund from Taizo Son, brother of SoftBank founder Masayoshi Son — Mitsui Fudosan, IDO Investments, CTBC Group, Korea Venture Investment Corporation (KVIC), and Ion Pacific. Golden Gate was founded by former Silicon Valley-based trio Vinnie Lauria, Jeffrey Paine and Paul Bragiel . It has investments across five markets in Southeast Asia — with a particular focus on Indonesia and Singapore — and that portfolio includes Singapore’s
Continue reading "Golden Gate Ventures closes new $100M fund for Southeast Asia"

It’s the end of crypto as we know it and I feel fine

Watching the current price madness is scary. Bitcoin is falling and rising in $500 increments with regularity and Ethereum and its attendant ICOs are in a seeming freefall with a few “dead cat bounces” to keep things lively. What this signals is not that crypto is dead, however. It signals that the early, elated period of trading whose milestones including the launch of Coinbase and the growth of a vibrant (if often shady) professional ecosystem is over. Crypto still runs on hype. Gemini announcing a stablecoin, the World Economic Forum saying something hopeful, someone else saying something less hopeful – all of these things and more are helping define the current market. However, something else is happening behind the scenes that is far more important. As I’ve written before, the socialization and general acceptance of entrepreneurs and entrepreneurial pursuits is a very recent thing. In the old days –
Continue reading "It’s the end of crypto as we know it and I feel fine"