Archive for day September 21st, 2011

RelayRides Names Former Shopping.com Head Andre Haddad As CEO

Screen Shot 2011-09-21 at 6.54.45 PM

RelayRides, a marketplace that lets car-owners rent out their cars a few hours at a time, has named former Shopping.com chief Andre Haddad as its CEO. The well-funded startup has raised $10 million to date, with investors including Google Ventures, August Capital, and Shasta Ventures.

RelayRides allows users to rent out their cars for select times during the week, and says that renters generate an average of $250 a month in revenue, of which they keep 65% (20% goes to insurance, 15% to RelayRides). Users on the other side of the deal benefit, because it’s generally much cheaper to rent a car through RelayRides than though traditional car rental services). And Haddad has plenty of experience with managing marketplaces — prior to joining Shopping.com, Haddad was SVP of Product at eBay and he founded European auction site iBazar.

RelayRides doesn’t share many specific numbers, but it says to date “thousands of owners have signed up their cars” for renting, and that the service has doubled revenue between June and August 2011 (obviously we don’t know what the revenue was in June, so it’s not clear how big a jump that is).

Alongside the news, the company is announcing that Jim Barnett (founder of Turn, former President of Overture) is joining RelayRide’s board.

RelayRides is a direct competitor with Getaround, which won TechCrunch Disrupt NYC earlier this year.


Company: RelayRides
Website: relayrides.com
Funding: $15M

We enable car owners to rent out their private vehicles to their neighbors by providing the insurance and technology to make the transaction safe, convenient and easy. RelayRides represents the first mechanism for car owners to monetize one of their most valuable assets, by enabling them to make $4,500-$8,000 per year by renting out their car when it would otherwise be idle. Further, we provide affordable, on-demand mobility to those who need access to a car, making it easier to...

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Jason Kincaid

September 21st

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How to Take, Print and Frame Your Own Gigantic Panoramic Photo for Just $150 [Video]

Clever: follow this video to see how to take a giant panoramic photo, turn it into a huge 5-foot-long metallic print and frame it using an inexpensive large mirror from Bed, Bath and Beyond. Impressive results. [RL Morris via Petapixel] More »


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Jesus Diaz

September 21st

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YouTube Now Converting 2D Videos To 3D, Removes 15 Minute Limit For Verified Users

3d

I hate 3D videos. Chances are, you hate 3D videos too. And yet, the electronics makers of the world insist on shoving 3D display technology into everything from TVs to smartphones, regardless of the fact that there’s still next to no worthwhile 3D content out there. Besides Avatar — but seriously, I could barely make it through that movie without nodding off the first time.

But wherever video trends go, Youtube will follow. YouTube has been playing around with 3D video support for some time now, with the biggest holdback being that only a very, very small chunk of the population owns a camera capable of capturing that extra dimension. Looking to get more 3D content onto their site, YouTube is today rolling out a Beta of a 2D to 3D conversion system. They also removed the 15 minute video limit for all verified users.

As opposed to traditional 3D video capturing setups which requires two simultaneously captured videos to be merged with fancy software trickery, Youtube’s new conversion tool measures the motion and color of a single video to simulate depth and hobble together a hacky, 3D-ish video. Youtube admits that it’s not on par with shooting 3D video the proper way — but hey, it’s a Beta. You’ll still need 3D glasses (or at least a glasses-free 3D display) to watch the videos properly.

YouTube also made another rather notable announcement, though they more so just mentioned it in passing: they’re removing the 15 minute video length limit for anyone who is in good standing (read: anyone who hasn’t uploaded porn or bootlegs) and has been “verified” (read: anyone willing to cough up their phone number). Finally, the hour-long Director’s Cut of your Chip & Dales Rescue Ranger fan music video can have a home online!

They also confirmed their new video editing partnership with Magistro (which we broke here), as well as a partnership with effects/title editing tool Vlix.


Company: YouTube
Website: youtube.com
Launch Date: November 9, 2005
Funding: $11.5M

YouTube was founded in 2005 by Chad Hurley, Steve Chen and Jawed Karim, who were all early employees of PayPal. YouTube is the leader in online video, sharing original videos worldwide through a Web experience. YouTube allows people to easily upload and share video clips across the Internet through websites, mobile devices, blogs, and email. Everyone can watch videos on YouTube. People can see first-hand accounts of current events, find videos about their hobbies and interests, and discover the quirky...

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Greg Kumparak

September 21st

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Nvidia Reveals Kal-El’s Secret Fifth Core For Ultra-Low-Power Tasks

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There has been a lot of whispering about Nvidia’s next-generation Tegra chip, code-named Kal-El (Superman’s Kryptonian name, for the uninitiated), since it was first detailed on a roadmap back in Februrary. But it hasn’t shown up quite yet in any actual handsets or tablets, though we’re told it has been adopted by the majors and will have its debut soon.

Nvidia today released some new information about the SoC that confirms Tegra’s status as the brand to beat in the mobile computing world. Turns out it’s not quad-core, it’s penta-core. And the “companion core” is designed to take over while all the others go to sleep.

As you have probably suspected, load balancing and optimizing processor use is important to the battery life of many devices. The screen is usually a bigger draw, but with demand for CPU- and GPU-intensive content rising, the portion of a battery used for that processing is as well. But when you’re not playing games or watching HD movies on your phone, those high-power cores don’t operate as efficiently as one designed for low-power, low-priority tasks. So Nvidia put another one on the die, a low-power optimized core, that takes over for mundane things like notification monitoring while the phone is inactive, low-bandwidth stuff like e-reading, and so on.

Nvidia explains it all in this handy diagram, though be on the watch for self-congratulatory jargon (“console-class gaming” isn’t an industry standard term):

It’s a bit like having a city car and a hot rod in your garage. You don’t want to drive your Aston Martin in bumper-to-bumper traffic. That’s why you have a Civic too, or perhaps a Leaf. Same here. Why use ten times the CPU power necessary to perform a simple task?

You can read the rest in Nvidia’s whitepaper (PDF), but take it with a grain of salt, because TI might have some tricks up its sleeve, and even Intel might be creeping up.



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Devin Coldewey

September 21st

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Massachusetts Attorney General to demand answers from Apple after iTunes breach

Massachusetts Attorney General Martha Coakley recently said her iTunes account was compromised by identity thieves and that she will press Apple for answers. It is unclear how the thieves gained access to Coakley’s account, perhaps through an application, but the hackers stole credit card information and made fraudulent purchases, ThreatPost said. Coakley brought up the attack during a speech for the launch of the Massachusetts Advanced Cyber Security Center. She noted that Dell blocked her credit card when the hackers tried to purchase a computer, believing the purchase to be fraudulent. Apple, however, did not. Coakley said she would reach out to the iPhone maker and demand information. ThreatPost argued that Coakley might have been speaking so strongly in an effort to build support for Massachusetts’ state data privacy, data protection and data breach notification laws. Coakley believes companies such as Apple should be held liable when in violation of the aforementioned laws. The Massachusetts Attorney General’s office said any company that has had a breach which “creates a substantial risk of identity theft or fraud against a resident of the commonwealth,” should publicly disclose the attack.

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Todd Haselton

September 21st

Apple

YouTube Integrates Magisto’s “Magical Video Editing” Tool

magisto logo 2

Yeesh — talk about a grand debut. After just going into public beta and announcing a $5.5 million Series B yesterday, cloud-based video editing service Magisto will later today announce a rather huge new partner: Youtube.

Magisto’s claim to fame is its ease of use; it is, to some extent, editor-less editing. You pick up to 16 videos, select some music, give the end project a title, click a button, and bam! You’ve got a rather slick, smoothly edited video to pass around to friends and family. Sure, no one will mistake it for something pieced together by the late, great Sally Menke — but it’s more than enough to jazz up that vacation footage before shootin’ it off to Grandma.

Beginning this evening, Magisto will be integrated into YouTube in two ways: via Youtube’s Create page, and as an option during the video uploading process. Youtube added their own fancy video editing tool to the site (with things like video rotation, stabilization, and brightness/color adjustment) just last week — and while this doesn’t replace that, it’s yet another option to help ensure that some percentage of the inimitable mountain of video uploaded to Youtube each day is that much less likely to be completely unedited garbage.

Youtube and Magisto should be announcing the partnership sometime within the next hour.


Company: Magisto
Website: magisto.com
Launch Date: January 1, 2010
Funding: $5.5M

Magisto is a web app that will simply make your video worth sharing. Magisto will take a long and boring video, take the gist of it and create a short and meaningful clip you’d be proud to share. Magisto is the brand name of SightEra Technologies LTD. SightEra was founded in 2009 by award-winning Computer-Vision experts Dr. Oren Boiman and Dr. Alex Rav-Acha out of the clear need to revolutionize the way people browse, search and share visual information by...

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Company: YouTube
Website: youtube.com
Launch Date: November 9, 2005
Funding: $11.5M

YouTube was founded in 2005 by Chad Hurley, Steve Chen and Jawed Karim, who were all early employees of PayPal. YouTube is the leader in online video, sharing original videos worldwide through a Web experience. YouTube allows people to easily upload and share video clips across the Internet through websites, mobile devices, blogs, and email. Everyone can watch videos on YouTube. People can see first-hand accounts of current events, find videos about their hobbies and interests, and discover the quirky...

Learn more


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Greg Kumparak

September 21st

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The End Of TechCrunch: The Song

At the risk of not only beating a dead horse, but cremating it with self-reflective posts, this video is too good not to post. Jonathan Mann, our favorite singer/songwriter is back with a song about what else: the end of TechCrunch.

As we begin this new era, it’s a fitting tribute to the old one. TechCrunch is dead, long live TechCrunch.


Company: TechCrunch
Website: techcrunch.com
Launch Date: November 6, 2005

TechCrunch, founded on June 11, 2005 by Michael Arrington, is a network of technology-oriented blogs and other web properties.

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MG Siegler

September 21st

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BankSimple Shows Its Web-Based Banking Tool On Video

banksimple

Since we first heard of BankSimple when Twitter’s Alex Payne left to join the venture, there has been a steady stream of funding news but not much in the way of real product. They’ve remedied that today with a walkthrough video of their web-based banking client. And I have to say, their promised of banking that “doesn’t suck” is looking intact.

This is strictly a broad-strokes video, showing the look and feel of the main screens and some of the more immediately-useful features. Considering the state of most online and mobile banking solutions, I don’t think they’re in too much of a hurry, but rather are content to explain at their own rate why their service will be better. Today is just the intro.

I don’t want to summarize the short and informative video, but a few points deserve commentary. The “safe to spend” balance is a great idea, but I’m afraid it might get complicated fast with linked accounts, credit lines, and the other details that tend to complicate banking. If all we ever did was deposit into and debit our accounts, banking might not even need the facelift BankSimple is aiming to provide.

That said, it’s a nice at-a-glance figure that both lets you know it’s okay to take the car in today and also reminds you of the goals for which you’ve sequestered money.

The searching really does look excellent. Understanding of search terms has evolved so far that it’s really inexcusable to have only simple string-matching queries for something as important as banking or medical records. It’s also helpful in the case of fraud. Having just recently had to clear up some fraudulent charges to my account, I would have loved to have quick access to my transactions with rich, plain-language search tools.

Hopefully sending money is as easy as it looks. As a commenter notes, it doesn’t debit immediately, which I would really expect from it. Since BankSimple already takes the liberty of presenting a “balance” that is strictly speaking a subjective interpretation of the data, it seems like that money should have disappeared from the safe-to-spend balance right away. That could very easily be implemented, but there might also be good reason for it. (Update: on rewatching the video, I find it’s clear that the moneygram is being “scheduled.” Still, it seems it should subtract from the safe-to-spend amount)

How versatile the money-sending and white cards are is also in question, though from their demos it appears they should work more or less identically to your “normal” bank card. But will we still have to deal with weirdo interstate banking laws, with international transaction fees, bank hour differences, holds on our accounts, things like that? Is this improving banking, or just the face of banking?

The interface is extremely promising, but when it comes to banking we need even more promises. Improving the searching and planning of month-to-month finances is a good thing, but what about all the other things about big banks that bother us so much? I like where they’re going with this (and the investment money says others do as well), but we should all maintain a healthy but hopeful skepticism until we see the whole story.


Company: BankSimple
Website: banksimple.net
Funding: $13.1M

BankSimple is creating a better interface for banking through the Web and mobile apps. In partnership with financial institutions which will hold the actual deposits, BankSimple is focussing on creating a better customer experience and simplifying the banking process by unifying all accounts into one, accessible through a bank card. Rather than making money from different fees, BankSimple plans to split the net interest margin with its partner banks (the difference between the rate they lend at and the...

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Devin Coldewey

September 21st

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Watching the Alphabet Animate Itself Is Way Too Much Fun [Video]

I've never had this much fun reading the alphabet since I was a kid and finally conquered the L, M, N, O stretch of my ABCs. But this video is way cooler—the letters actually animates itself to represent a word it begins with. It's so goddamn clever. More »


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Casey Chan

September 21st

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This Fluid Fly-By Video Is the Most Astonishing View of Earth I’ve Ever Seen [Video]

This weekend NASA published an awesome time-lapse flyby of planet Earth taken from the International Space Station. Awesome, but jerky—until now. Someone interpolated the original frames to achieve this smooth as silk motion film. It'll leave you stupefied. More »


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Jesus Diaz

September 21st

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