I love the smell of acquisitions in the morning! We’ve just heard that Groupon has acquired Adku, a stealth startup that uses big data in order to personalize the online shopping experience for people visiting eCommerce sites like eBay, Amazon and Zappos.
The company built their personalized targeting technology in three months, and have basically been in stealth since they launched at the Angelpad Demo day a year and a half ago. Adku is backed by Greylock Partners, Battery Ventures and True Ventures in addition to being an Angelpad startup.
Although CEO Ajit Varma and several members of the six person team are former Googlers, from what I’m hearing this wasn’t a talent acquisition or acqhire but a team + technology play – with a price beyond $10 million. Varma would not disclose what the team will be working on when they get to Groupon.
While it’s not clear what the technology will be applied to, the acquisition makes sense on a lot of levels, especially because a personalized experience is where most of eCommerce is headed. Greylock VC David Thacker now runs product for Groupon, so that couldn’t have hurt either.
Wrote Varma in a blog post, “We started talking to Groupon to bring our technology to more customers and quickly realized that we wanted to be a deeper part of a company that people love and is empowering merchants and customers in a way that’s never been done before.”
LimeWire has been kaput as a file-sharing service since October but that hasn’t stopped its legal woes. Now, after settling with the RIAA to the tune of $105 million, the MPAA and a host of indie music labels have filed lawsuits against the company as well. Talk about beating a dead horse.
Six studios—Twentieth Century Fox, Viacom, Comedy Partners, Disney, Paramount Pictures, and Warner Brothers—have filed suit, citing the court’s summary judgement in the RIAA case as basis for their claims. In that case, the court concluded that LimeWire “intentionally encouraged direct infringement.” Now, the court will have to decide LimeWire’s culpability in the illicit trade of movies and TV shows as well.
In addition, a group of independent record labels are arguing that, because of the same summary judgement, that they too are owed $105 million. There’s no word yet on how much the MPAA is asking for in damages, but if its anything near what it enjoy threatening the common user with, LimeWire’s going to need to find some deeper pockets. [Hollywood Reporter via Techdirt]
Image: Pakhnyushcha / Shutterstock
Convinced you’re more environmentally aware than your neighbors? Now you can find out: scientists have mapped the entire energy use of New York City, building by building.
The interactive map, created by Bianca Howard, a PhD student in mechanical engineering at Columbia University, uses publicly available data to work out which buildings are using the most energy and how they are using it. Then, it displays the energy use on a color-map. Howard’s PhD supervisors, Professor Modi, explains:
“While discussions frequently focus on electricity use, homes in New York City, whether a townhouse or a large apartment building, use far more energy in form of heat rather than electricity. Nearly all of this heat is obtained from heating oil or natural gas. In addition, current electricity distribution infrastructure in many urban areas relies on large amounts of electricity brought in from outside the city, making it difficult to support increased future use without requiring significant investment of resources and funds. We are looking at ways we can address both these issues-reducing our heating bills and increasing local electricity generation capacity.”
The resulting interactive map is great fun to play around with, allowing you to see how energy use is split down between electricity, space heating and cooling, and water heating. The best bit is that, as mentioned, its detail lets you study energy use down to the scale of individual buildings. You can play around with the map here. Every city needs something like this. [Columbia Engineering via Boing Boing]
Starting on March 1, Google will allow itself to share your personal information across Google services, as long as you’re signed in.
Google previously had 60 separate privacy policies for different products. Now, it’s got just one.
Among the changes:
- Google can now look at what you’ve been doing on YouTube, Gmail, and Google+ to suggest search results and “more relevant ads.”
- Google can take information you provide on your Google Profile, including your name and photo, and use it on all your other Google products like Gmail — and can replace past names you used, so you’re the same on all sites.
- Google will collect information from your mobile device, including your phone number, and associate it with your Google Account.
Here’s the most relevant bit pulled from the full policy:
We use the information we collect from all of our services to provide, maintain, protect and improve them, to develop new ones, and to protect Google and our users. We also use this information to offer you tailored content – like giving you more relevant search results and ads.
We may use the name you provide for your Google Profile across all of the services we offer that require a Google Account. In addition, we may replace past names associated with your Google Account so that you are represented consistently across all our services. If other users already have your email, or other information that identifies you, we may show them your publicly visible Google Profile information, such as your name and photo.
You can compare it against the current version here.
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I don’t live in a high risk area for deadly tremors, but after watching this earthquake-proof table easily survive having a 2,200 pound block dropped on it, I think I still want one for my office—just in case.
The table was designed by Ido Bruno and Arthur Brutter primarily for use in schools. Students are typically taught to hide under their desks in the event of an earthquake, but most desks aren’t designed to support the weight of all the debris were the building to collapse. Which is clearly demonstrated in this video when they drop just a 1,000 pound weight on a traditional desk and it’s immediately pancaked.
In addition to providing a safe haven for students, the desk’s supporting structure is designed in such a way that it also provides several escape routes depending on how debris has fallen. It’s also light enough to be lifted by just two students, and is built with durable but inexpensive materials so it’s actually affordable for a school to purchase en masse. Now it’s not available just yet, but based on these tests being conducted at the Structural Engineering department at Padua University in Italy, it shouldn’t have much trouble getting approved for sale. [designboom]
Intel’s about to get its peanut butter all over Motorola’s chocolate. And, in addition to the Reese’s Pieces, we’ll see the first Intel-powered, Android smartphone in the second half of this year.
The two companies announced today that they’ve signed on for a multi-year strategic relationship which will span multiple platforms—including tablets and phones. Specifically, Motorola hopes to employ Intel’s low power system-on-chip architecture. “With Android as the leading smartphone OS globally and advancements in computing technology we see tremendous opportunity.” Sanjay Jha, Chairman and CEO of Motorola Mobility told Business wire. Intel’s new Medfield chip could to be on-board.
And, while the phones may not end up as sleek as the Intel design reference above, with the Medfield’s ability to support up to a 24MP camera and 1080p playback, Apple may have some real competition on its hands. What’s more, given that Google owns Motorola, these phones could very well have an inside track to the latest and greatest Android OS builds. [Marketwatch]
What looks like the card slot from a Chase Bank ATM is actually a sophisticated card skimmer removed from a branch in West Hills, California. And police believe a 3D printer may have been used to create it.
Those green bulbous card slots that were supposed to make it very difficult for a card skimmer to be attached to an ATM have turned out to be just a minor inconvenience for sophisticated thieves. Investigators believe this skimmer—which perfectly fits over the ATM’s regular slot— was created from a mould that came from a 3D printer. Which means those behind this particular ATM scheme had some very expensive tools at their disposal.
In addition to being a perfect replica of the ATM’s standard card slot, this skimmer incorporates a small pinhole camera that starts recording the PIN pad whenever a card is inserted. On the underside is a series of holes that investigators believe allowed the thieves to download data and footage, but the complex electronics on the inside may have been salvaged from a cellphone, giving this skimmer wireless connectivity. So in the future, like in many situations, make sure you take a good look at the hardware before you stick your thing in the slot. [KrebsonSecurity via BoingBoing]
Dr. Augustine Fou is Digital Consigliere to marketing executives, advising them on digital strategy and Unified Marketing(tm). Dr Fou has over 17 years of in-the-trenches, hands-on experience, which enables him to provide objective, in-depth assessments of their current marketing programs and recommendations for improving business impact and ROI using digital insights.
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