Facebook is finally getting an office space in San Francisco, and is currently considering several different locations, one of which will house up to 100 Instagram employees, an industry source familiar with the lease plan confirmed to TechCrunch. Earlier today, The Registry reported Facebook is in talks for a space at 181 Fremont in the South Of Market district — a 70-story tower… Read More
Here we go again. Samsung (and its agency) has historically had no problem poking fun at overly-obsessed, iPhone-idolizing Apple fanatics, and just like clockwork, the Korean electronics giant has released a new commercial pointing out a handful of the iPhone 5’s omissions and foibles.
In case you don’t have a minute and a half to burn, here’s the whole thing in a nutshell: the commercial pokes at Apple’s (perhaps overly earnest) marketing language, the headphone jack’s new location, the new Lightning dock connector (twice!), the lack of NFC, and the general un-coolness of lusting after a smartphone your parents will probably want to own at some point too.
The message is, clearly, that the iPhone 5 just doesn’t match up to Samsung’s flagship Galaxy S III. The accuracy of that point of view is an issue I’ll leave for you to debate, but it’s a feisty little ad that I think makes a few decent (if completely ham-fisted) points about the perceived feature gap between the two phones. Either way, it’s hard to resist the temptation (for an ad nerd like me, anyway) to go digging for the commercial’s potential implications. Is going to put a dent in the iPhone 5′s sales? Hell no. As usual, people lined up nearly as soon as the damned thing was trotted out in San Francisco, and plenty of early reviews point out that the iPhone 5 seems like much more than just the sum of its changelog.
Interestingly enough, some people are already reading this commercial as an attempt to reach out to dyed-in-the-wool Apple customers (to see the errors of their ways, I guess). That seems like a hell of a stretch — after all, the portrayal of Apple line-goers as doe-eyed iPhone apologists probably won’t elicit much in the warm-and-fuzzy feelings department. It seems more like a way to keep the Galaxy S III name at the top of people’s minds when it comes time to buy a new phone, especially considering that Samsung’s sizable smartphone will be five or six months old — nearly ancient in mobile terms — once the holiday buying frenzy kicks off.
By the way, if you could use a laugh, be sure to check out the video’s comments on YouTube — you’ll surely see platform fanboyism at its finest.
Giftly, a San Francisco-based startup that lets you send any kind of gift to a friend or family member, has just come out with a native mobile app that makes it easier to send presents on the go. It’s the company’s first native mobile app after having a mobile web-based presence for awhile.
What’s unique about Giftly is that you can send any kind of gift without having to go through a merchant. There aren’t limitations on what kinds of presents you can send, unlike competitors like Karma (which was recently acquired by Facebook and has a limited catalogue of items to choose from). You enter the app and can pick from a suggested selection of items from beer to a meal to a day in Paris. Or you can invent your own gifts. Then you can select a couple of places like restaurants, bars or stores to redeem the gift at and then the monetary value of the gift. Then you send it to a friend.
The trick underlying the app is that Giftly has a web of relationships with banks and credit card processors. When the recipient goes to redeem their gift, they pay themselves, but Giftly will reimburse them that amount through their credit card. In a sense, the more gifts you receive and send to friends, the more Giftly can serve as a mobile wallet or a record of what you’ve consumed or where you’ve gone.
The company’s new app lets you send gifts directly through your phone. Before, you could only do it through the website. That makes it easier to — for example — give a friend a beer when you see them check into a bar. There’s also a bigger emphasis on items, since users tend to give smaller gifts.
“When people are giving gifts, they’re not necessarily thinking about a place, they’re thinking about an item that they want to give a person — whether that’s dinner or coffee via a Starbucks gift card,” said Giftly’s CEO Timothy Bentley, who was the first employee at social question-and-answer company Aardvark.
Another addition to the app is a news feed that shows birthdays and other notable events, which will help remind users when to give gifts.
There’s also more ability for follow-through after the recipient gets their gift. Giftly now has messaging, where there was only the ability to send a “Thank You” note before.
“When you use the gift, you’re encouraged to share what you got with the person who gave you it,” Bentley said. “It makes the whole process more interactive, fun, and lively and it really clues you in on what people care the most about.”
The 10-person company has raised $2.8 million so far from investors including Baseline Ventures, SoftTech VC, Floodgate, Thrive Capital, and Techstars’ David Tisch. Giftly earns a small cut of each transaction, which ranges depending on the value of the gift.
Zimride, a San Francisco-based startup that helps commuters share rides, is bringing itself to the East Coast with a new route between New York and Washington D.C.
With an already popular route between San Francisco and Los Angeles, this will add another one on the other side of the country. The average passenger from New York to Washington D.C. should pay about $25 for a seat, and the average Zimride driver should make $150 if they sell three seats.
“With recent Chinatown bus closures in New York city and increased summer weekend travel along the country’s most trafficked corridor, the time is right to bring our rideshare success east,” co-founder John Zimmer tells us.
The geographic expansion caps off a very hectic spring and summer for Zimride. The company just added a third leg of its business in on-demand, mobile ride-sharing. Called Lyft, the product resembles Uber’s model except that it uses regular people who bring their own cars. Zimride, of course, vets drivers for their driving history, criminal records, auto safety and so on. They add some personal touches too with a fist-bump for every passenger and pink moustaches on the cars.
Lyft comes on top of two other prongs of Zimride’s business. There is the original ride-sharing program that works with universities. Then there is long-distance ride-sharing. To engender trust, Zimride uses Facebook to show friends or interests in common. Passengers and drivers can also review each other for reliability and response times. Zimmer says all three arms of the business have made the company enough revenue that it doesn’t necessarily need to raise another round of funding. The business supports more than 30 employees.
Since launching back in 2007, the company has seen close to 200 million miles shared and 360,000 users. A year ago, it hit 100 million miles. The company has raised just over $7 million from Mayfield Fund, Floodgate, K9 Ventures, Keith Rabois and Facebook’s original incubator fbFund.
Apple’s withdrawal from an environmental ratings registry has prompted at least one city — San Francisco — to stop buying its computers.
Apple Pulls out of Environmental Ratings Registry