Welcome to this week’s edition of “The Week in Tech,” where we recap some of the most interesting technology and mobile stories from the past week.
This week we cover Yahoo’s foray into original streaming content, big announcements from Facebook, Foursquare’s app split, MIT’s Bitcoin project, and RadiumOne’s Gurbaksh Chahal’s domestic violence issue.
Yahoo takes the leap into developing original video content
Yahoo has dabbled with short-form videos in the past but is now jumping head-first into TV-style programming.
At the Digital Content NewFronts this week, Yahoo announced that it will produce two original half-hour comedies called “Other Space” and “Sin City Saints.” The company also will launch new shows from global anchor Katie Couric and stream one live concert everyday via a partnership with Live Nation. The original content will be available on the Web, mobile apps, and through set-top boxes such as Apple TV and Roku.
Yahoo looks to take advantage of consumers’ changing TV consumption habits, but they’ll face much competition from Netflix, HBO, Showtime, and many others in this crowded market.
Facebook F8 Announcements
The announcements focused on three themes: 1) stability for developers, 2) more control for users, and 3) cross-platform tools. The highlights include:
- New Facebook Login, including Anonymous Login, that allows users to control what information they share with apps.
- Improved stability and lower pricing for developer products.
- App links, which help make linking between mobile apps easier.
- Mobile Like button, which lets users Like the content of individual apps through a native button.
- The mobile ad network to help developers monetize their apps.
These are huge moves by the leading social network, and Quartz claims Facebook is now on par with Google on mobile. It’s now a much closer race, for sure.
Foursquare breaks up with itself
Foursquare is ditching the check-in as the primary user action and is splitting itself up into two apps: 1) Swarm, which shows which of your friends are in the vicinity and opens up the opportunity for a dialog, and 2) a redesigned Foursquare app that focuses on local discovery and exploration.
Foursquare isn’t what is used to be, and to the company, that’s a good thing. CEO Dennis Crowley stated that “the point of the company…was never to build an awesome check-in button,” and he’s truly acting on that now. Swarm will join the ranks of other find-people-around-me apps like Highlight and Glancee, which ultimately failed to gain mass adoption, and the new Foursquare will compete with Yelp.
MIT students raise money to give $100 in Bitcoin to all undergraduates
It’s raining Bitcoin at MIT.
Two students have raised over $500,000 so that every undergraduate at MIT can receive $100 of the cryptocurrency. They want to educate the student body on BTC and hope to have all on-campus merchants accept it by next year. Students should receive their money next fall when the campus is likely to be Bitcoin compliant.
This is awesome. Who better to launch a testbed for Bitcoin than the future technology elite at MIT?
RadiumOne CEO ousted for domestic abuse plea
117. That’s the number of times former RadiumOne CEO Gurbaksh Chahal allegedly hit his girlfriend. And for that, he’s gone.
What a horrible story. Last week, Chahal apparently got into an argument with his girlfriend and video cameras in his apartment showed him striking her 117 times. But the videotape was inadmissible since it was improperly seized. Regardless, Chahal struck a plea deal for misdemeanor charges of battery and domestic violence but denies any wrongdoing. Until Sunday, the five-person board of his company stood behind Chahal and planned to move forward with an IPO. Then the media storm took hold and he was fired.
Just another day in the male- and ego-centric tech bubble that is the Bay Area.
What do you think of these stories? Have you read other interesting mobile and technology stories this week that are worth mentioning? Feel free to add your thoughts to the comments.