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Messenger adds Venmo-like QR codes for person-to-person payments in the U.S.

This spring, Facebook confirmed it was testing Venmo-like QR codes for person-to-person payments inside its app in the U.S. Today, the company announced those codes are now launching publicly to all U.S. users, allowing anyone to send or request money through Facebook Pay — even if they’re not Facebook friends.
The QR codes work similarly to those found in other payment apps, like Venmo.
The feature can be found under the “Facebook Pay” section in Messenger’s settings, accessed by tapping on your profile icon at the top left of the screen. Here, you’ll be presented with …

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Tinder finally adds a Block Contacts feature

Despite the complications of meeting new people in the midst of a global pandemic, dating apps have shown a recent spike in both downloads and usage. Now, as COVID-19 vaccines become more widely available, it’s likely that this trend will continue.
In other words, Tinder is anticipating a “post-pandemic uncuffing season,” and they’re rolling out a new feature to prepare. Now, users can upload their phone contacts to select certain people that they’d rather not see on the app, whether that’s an ex, a co-worker or a family member. According to a survey commissioned by Tinder, 40% …

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Google hires former SiriusXM CPO/CTO to lead its Maps team

Almost exactly a year ago, Google announced a couple of leadership changes that saw Prabhakar Raghavan, who joined the company back in 2012, take over the lead of Search, Assistant and Maps. Now, sources familiar with the hiring tell us, the company has hired Christopher Phillips, who was previously the chief product and technology officer at SiriusXM, to lead its geo team, which is responsible for products like Google Maps, Google Earth and Google Maps Platform, the company’s enterprise business around these products. Google has confirmed his hire but declined to share any additional information. Phillips will officially join the …

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Twitter to begin pilot testing Fleet ads starting today

Ads are coming to Twitter’s version of Stories, known as Fleets. The company announced today it will began pilot testing Fleet ads in the U.S., which will bring full-screen, vertical format ads to Twitter for the first time, allowing it to better compete with the vertical ads offered across social media platforms, including Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat and TikTok, among others.
The new Fleet ads will appear in between Fleets from people you follow and will support both images and video in 9:16 format. The video ads support up to 30-seconds of content, and brands can also include a “swipe …

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White House teams up with dating apps to give vaccinated users free perks

With vaccination rates slowing in the U.S., the White House is getting creative about getting shots in arms. Beyond protecting yourself and others from a deadly disease, the latest incentive to get vaccinated could help you find love (or get laid).
The White House COVID-19 response team announced Friday that a number of popular dating apps would offer new perks for users who get vaccinated, with Tinder, Bumble, Hinge, Match, OkCupid, BLK, Chispa, Plenty of Fish and Badoo all participating in the promotional push. The White House hopes to make inroads with the 50 million users across those dating apps …

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In China, Apple Compromises on Censorship and Surveillance

On Chinese iPhones, Apple forbids apps about the Dalai Lama while hosting those from the Chinese paramilitary group accused of detaining and abusing Uyghurs, an ethnic minority group in China.The company has also helped China spread its view of the world. Chinese iPhones censor the emoji of the Taiwanese flag, and their maps suggest Taiwan is part of China. For a time, simply typing the word “Taiwan” could make an iPhone crash, according to Patrick Wardle, a former hacker at the National Security Agency.Sometimes, Mr. Shoemaker said, he was awakened in the middle of the night with demands …

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Merge raises $4.5M to help B2B companies build customer-facing integrations

Merge, a startup that helps its users build customer-facing integrations with third-party tools, today announced that it has raised a $4.5 million seed round led by NEA. Additional angel investors include former MuleSoft CEO Greg Schott, Cloudflare CEO Matthew Prince, Expanse co-founders Tim Junio and Matt Kraning, and Jumpstart CEO Ben Herman.
Launched in 2020, the core focus of Merge is to give B2B companies a unified API to access data from what is currently about 40 HR, payroll, recruiting and accounting platforms, with plans for expanding to additional areas soon. But Merge co-founders Shensi Ding and Gil Feig, who have been …

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YouTube announces a $100M fund to reward top YouTube Shorts creators over 2021-2022

YouTube is giving its TikTok competitor, YouTube Shorts, an injection of cash to help it better compete with rivals. The company today introduced the YouTube Shorts Fund, a $100 million fund that will pay YouTube Shorts creators for their most viewed and most engaging content over the course of 2021 and 2022. Creators can’t apply for the fund to help with content production, however. Instead, YouTube will reach out to creators each month whose videos exceeded certain milestones to reward them for their contributions.
The company expects to dole out money to “thousands” of creators every month, it says. And these creators …

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Online Cheating Charges Upend Dartmouth Medical School

HANOVER, N.H. — Sirey Zhang, a first-year student at Dartmouth’s Geisel School of Medicine, was on spring break in March when he received an email from administrators accusing him of cheating.Dartmouth had reviewed Mr. Zhang’s online activity on Canvas, its learning management system, during three remote exams, the email said. The data indicated that he had looked up course material related to one question during each test, honor code violations that could lead to expulsion, the email said.Mr. Zhang, 22, said he had not cheated. But when the school’s student affairs office suggested he would have …

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Freemium isn’t a trend — it’s the future of SaaS

Kyle Poyar
Contributor

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How to overcome the challenges of switching to usage-based pricing
Why do SaaS companies with usage-based pricing grow faster?

As the COVID-19 lockdowns cascaded around the world last spring, companies large and small saw demand slow to a halt seemingly overnight. Enterprises weren’t comfortable making big, long-term commitments when they had no clue what the future would hold.
Innovative SaaS companies responded quickly by making their products available for free or at a steep discount to boost demand.
While Zoom gets all the attention, there were hundreds of free SaaS tools …

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