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Twitter said to have held acquisition talks with Clubhouse on potential $4B deal

Twitter held talks with Clubhouse around a potential acquisition of the live drop-in audio networking platform, with a deal value somewhere around $4 billion, according to a report from Bloomberg. TechCrunch has also confirmed the discussions took place from a source familiar with the conversations.
While the talks occurred over the past several months, they’re no longer taking place, though the reason they ended isn’t known according to the report. It’s also worth noting that just a few days ago, Bloomberg reported that Clubhouse was seeking to raise a new round of funding at a valuation of around $4 …

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PingPong is a video chat app for product teams working across multiple time zones

From the earliest days of the pandemic, it was no secret that video chat was about to become a very hot space.
Over the past several months investors have bankrolled a handful of video startups with specific niches, ranging from always-on office surveillance to platforms that encouraged plenty of mini calls to avoid the need for more lengthy team-wide meetings. As the pandemic wanes and plenty of startups begin to look toward hybrid office models, there are others who have decided to lean into embracing a fully remote workforce, a strategy that may require new tools.
PingPong, a recent launch …

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Apple Maps adds COVID-19 travel guidance for over 300 airports worldwide

Apple has updated its native Maps app with more helpful information designed to assist with travel while mitigating the spread of COVID-19. Apple Maps on iPhone, iPad and Mac will now show COVID-19 health measure information for airports when searched via the app, either through a link to the airport’s own COVID-19 advisory page, or directly on the in-app location card itself.
The new information is made available through a partnership with the Airports Council International and provides details on COVID-19 safety guidelines in effect at over 300 airports worldwide. The type of information provided includes requirements around COVID-19 testing, …

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Apple releases important iPhone, iPad, Mac and Watch security patches

Apple has released a set of security updates for iPhones, iPads, Macs and Watches. There are no new features — but these are updates you will still want to install.
As part of these security fixes, iPhones and iPads will update to iOS and iPadOS 14.4.1, watchOS users will update to 7.3.2 and macOS Big Sur will update to 11.2.3. Those on older versions of macOS can install the latest version of Safari, bumping the version to 14.0.3.
Apple says these are “important” security updates and are “recommended for all users.”
These patches fix the same vulnerability — a memory corruption bug in WebKit, the engine …

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Kleeen raises $3.8M to make front-end design for business applications easy

Building a front-end for business applications is often a matter of reinventing the wheel, but because every business’ needs are slightly different, it’s also hard to automate. Kleeen is the latest startup to attempt this, with a focus on building the user interface and experience for today’s data-centric applications. The service, which was founded by a team that previously ran a UI/UX studio in the Bay Area, uses a wizard-like interface to build the routine elements of the app and frees a company’s designers and developers to focus on the more custom elements of an application.

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Will this time be any different for Twitter?

As Twitter seems to buy its way into competing with Clubhouse and Substack, one wonders whether the beleaguered social media company is finally ready to move past its truly awful track record of seizing opportunities.
Twitter’s pace of product ambition has certainly seemed to speed in the past several months, conveniently following shareholder action to oust CEO Jack Dorsey last year. They’ve finally rolled out their Stories product Fleets, they’ve embraced audio both in the traditional feed and with their beta Spaces feature, and they’ve taken some much-publicized steps to reign in disinformation and content moderation …

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Proving voicemail doesn’t have to be wack, the Slack-backed startup Yac raises $7.5 million

Yac, the Orlando, Fla.-based startup that’s digitizing voice messages for remote offices, has raised $7.5 million in a new round of funding.
The company’s service has garnered enough attention to pick up a pretty sizable new round from investors led by GGV Capital and a return investment from the Slack Fund.
Apparently, reinventing voicemail is a multi-million dollar endeavor.
“The future of meetings will be asynchronous, in your ears and hands free,” says Pat Matthews, the chief executive and founder of Active Capital, when the company announced its seed round nearly a year ago.

Co-founded by Justin Mitchell, …

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This Week in Apps: TikTok viral hit breaks Spotify records, inauguration boosts news app installs, judge rules against Parler

Welcome back to This Week in Apps, the weekly TechCrunch series that recaps the latest in mobile OS news, mobile applications and the overall app economy.
The app industry is as hot as ever, with a record 218 billion downloads and $143 billion in global consumer spend in 2020.
Consumers last year also spent 3.5 trillion minutes using apps on Android devices alone. And in the U.S., app usage surged ahead of the time spent watching live TV. Currently, the average American watches 3.7 hours of live TV per day, but now spends four hours per day on their mobile devices.
Apps aren’t …

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Google refreshes its mobile search experience

Google today announced a subtle but welcome refresh of its mobile search experience. The idea here is to provide easier to read search results and a more modern look with a simpler, edge-to-edge design.
From what we’ve seen so far, this is not a radically different look, but the rounded and slightly shaded boxes around individual search results have been replaced with straight lines, for example, while in other places, Google has specifically added more roundness. You’ll find changes to the circles around the search bar and some tweaks to the Google logo. “We believe it feels more …

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Scraped Parler data is a metadata goldmine

Embattled social media platform Parler is offline after Apple, Google and Amazon pulled the plug on the site after the violent riot at the U.S. Capitol last week that left five people dead.
But while the site is gone (for now), millions of posts published to the site since the riot are not.
A lone hacker scraped millions of posts, videos and photos published to the site after the riot but before the site went offline on Monday, preserving a huge trove of potential evidence for law enforcement investigating the attempted insurrection, many of which allegedly used the platform …

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