Business

Shazam gets into the augmented reality game with liquor

Shazam gets into the augmented reality game with liquor

Shazam is perhaps best known for being able to recognize and name that tune just by listening to it. Two years ago, it ventured into a new kind of recognition, recognizing objects, particularly QR codes, using a smartphone camera. Now it is embarking on the next leg of that journey, entering augmented reality territory. Interestingly, its first customer for its new AR platform is Beam Suntory, not a music company, but “the world’s third largest premium spirits company”.

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Microsoft teams with Steelcase to pair Surface with creative-friendly furniture

Microsoft teams with Steelcase to pair Surface with creative-friendly furniture

Microsoft sees a market for their work-friendly Surface products, but one that could benefit from the right furniture. To make this a reality, Microsoft has paired up with the folks at Steelcase to create Creative Spaces. Each of these spaces showcases the potential for welcome, workable, inspiring places to work. They've all got multiple Microsoft Surface products inside, of course.

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Spotify reaches 50 million paid subscribers milestone

Spotify reaches 50 million paid subscribers milestone

There's little doubt at this point that Spotify is the leading service when it comes to streaming music, but the company has just further cemented its position with its latest milestone: 50 million paid subscribers. The company revealed the achievement earlier this week, but what makes it really impressive is the fact that it was only back in September when Spotify topped 40 million paid users.

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Uber has secret ‘Greyball’ tool to evade law enforcement and other opponents

Uber has secret ‘Greyball’ tool to evade law enforcement and other opponents

Uber's already fledgling reputation as a reputable company is continuing its downward spiral this week, as Friday it was revealed that the ride-hailing service uses a secret program to sidestep and evade government authorities and local law enforcement. Known as "Greyball," this tool, which is currently in use worldwide, is used to allow Uber to operate in cities where the service is not approved or outright banned due to regulations.

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Blue Origin wants to prep a delivery service for humans on the moon

Blue Origin wants to prep a delivery service for humans on the moon

NASA is looking into returning to the moon, and companies are scrambling to get in on that action. One such company is Blue Origin, which anticipates setting up a delivery service of sorts near the moon’s south pole. Such a service would utilize solar power and function as a lunar cargo delivery service, taking supplies to the moon where they could then be utilized by future humans landing on and living on the moon.

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Moto is dead! Long live Motorola!

Moto is dead! Long live Motorola!

Names come and go and rebranding is pretty much fact of life. But no turnover is probably quicker than Lenovo’s game with Motorola, formerly Moto, formerly Motorola. After it completed the acquisition of Motorola Mobility from Google in 2014, Lenovo set out to “reframe” the iconic brand as part of a larger whole, calling it “Moto by Lenovo”, or simply “Moto” instead. After realizing the almost Herculean task of reinvigorating the brand, Lenovo is now reported to be switching back to the more familiar “Motorola” name instead.

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Uber eats humble pie, applies for California self-driving permit

Uber eats humble pie, applies for California self-driving permit

When told it had to get a self-driving permit to operate its autonomous vehicles in California, Uber puffed its chest out and, like a petulant child, packed up its fleet and went to Arizona instead. That happened very recently, just a few days before Christmas 2016, but the ride-hailing company has already relented: it will be applying for the proper permit to operate its self-driving cars on California roads, something it should have done the first time around.

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Walmart is cutting down lines by expanding ‘scan and go’ feature

Walmart is cutting down lines by expanding ‘scan and go’ feature

Walmart stores can, depending on the time of day and location, have exceedingly long checkout lines, a problem amplified during holidays and major sporting events. That all may be changing in the near future, however, as the retailer introduces a new ‘scan and go’ feature in its mobile app that basically enables users to self-checkout using their phone rather than a dedicated cashier or automated checkout machine. The feature, for now at least, is limited to the stores’ pharmacies and money centers.

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Mozilla acquires Pocket read-it-later service

Mozilla acquires Pocket read-it-later service

Mozilla might be best known as the creators of the Firefox web browser but it has also dipped its fingers in a few other products as well. Most notable is the Thunderbird e-mail client/PIM suite and most recent is Firefox OS for mobile and then for IoT. But here’s the rub: none of those endeavors have survived the test of time or of the market. Undaunted, Mozilla has just made its “first strategic acquisition” by buying Pocket, one of the most popular “read-it-later” services on the Web.

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Takata pleads guilty in airbag debacle, will pay $1 billion fine

Takata pleads guilty in airbag debacle, will pay $1 billion fine

As the latest update in the company’s long-running airbag scandal, Takata Corp has pleaded guilty to hiding the problems affecting its airbag inflators. As a result, it is confirmed that Takata will pay $1 billion as a fine, of which $850 million will go to automakers affected by the recalls, another $125 million will go toward victims affected by the defect, as well as their families, while the remaining $25 million will cover the criminal charge itself.

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EVgo launches 150kW high-power fast charging station in California

EVgo launches 150kW high-power fast charging station in California

EVgo, the operator behind more than 900 electric vehicle fast charging stations throughout the U.S., has announced the launch of a high-power EV fast charger in Fremont, California. This has been done in conjunction with ABB, but it isn't available to the general public. Instead, EVgo says the charging station will be made available to automotive research vehicles to help with research and development.

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Amazon said to be developing its own suite of office productivity apps

Amazon said to be developing its own suite of office productivity apps

For the longest time, there have been two titan when it comes to office productivity software: the ever enduring Microsoft Office suite, and the more recent web-based Google Docs. But there soon could be a new challenger in the form of Amazon, as sources have indicated the company is planning to beef up its Amazon Web Services (AWS) platform with a productivity suite that will attempt to lure enterprise customers away from Microsoft and Google.

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