Penalties issued in upwards of $450,000 over information collected in violation of COPPA
Popular online review site Yelp and mobile application developer TinyCo have decided to settle their respective charges with the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) over the collection of personal information from children. The FTC states that in both cases, the information was collected in violation of the Children's Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA).
Bill imposes fines on parties, businesses trying to enforce non-disparagement clauses
Last week, California Governor Jerry Brown signed a bill into law that would make it illegal for businesses that provide services or sell goods to impose a contract on consumers that would waive their right to make statements against it. Assembly Bill 2365 adds a section into the California Civil Code that makes it unlawful for a business to take action against a customer who decided to voice their displeasure, imposing penalties for each attempt to do so.
Yelp iOS app adds ability to create up to 12-second video clips
Branching out in its ability to offer reviews of local businesses, Yelp has now updated its iOS app to version 8.1, which gives users the option to create a shortly 3-12 second-long video message alongside or in place of written reviews, comments or images. The video option is the only significant new feature, alongside the usual bug fixes and tweaks, and "lives" alongside the photo option -- which can now be toggled between photos and videos. Users can find existing video reviews alongside photos in both the app and on the company's website.
Court demands Yelp provide names of users giving carpet cleaning business bad reviews
Yelp must reveal the identities of several users that posted negative comments about a business, a US court has decided. The Virginia Court of Appeals sided with Hadeed Carpet Cleaning, and demands that the details for a group of anonymous users on the review service must be revealed, with Yelp claiming the ruling "fails to adequately protect free speech rights on the Internet."
Yelp adds review submission option to Android app
Yelp has updated its Android app to allow users to submit reviews to the service. The update, coming after a similar update for the iOS version, also adds photographs taken at businesses to be shown directly underneath its review. Yelp also reveals that reviews submitted by mobile users closely mirror those of website submissions, with 80 percent of reviews scoring three stars or more.
Vevo adds AirPlay support to iPhone/iPad apps
Vevo has pushed out updates for the iPhone and iPad versions of its music video steaming app. Along with some minor bug fixes, the updates also introduce full AirPlay streaming support. The updates come less than a week after rumors of a native Vevo Apple TV app surfaced. According to Advertising Age the app will give Apple TV users access to the company's 24-7 music video channel. Vevo TV, which launched in March, offers an alternative method to finding and watching videos from the traditional web search.
RunKeeper adds integrated social function and premium upgrade option
FitnessKeeper has released the latest update for its RunKeeper- GPS Track Running Walking Cycling app, available on iTunes. RunKeeper tracks workout statistics such as pace, distance and time while exercising. Users are able to control their music and listen to built-in audio cues through headphones, as well as capture and save photos. Version 3.5 includes a revamped social experience, offering new options for interacting with friends directly within the app. Users can now follow all of their friends' activities and progress, including activity stats, photos and maps. New options for comparing workouts to previous activities are also included.
Yelp points to Google search, lawsuit, auditor's results to deny claims
Crowdsourced review service Yelp has come under attack again over reports of business owners complaints that reviews are "too self-centered and not trustworthy" and that the company hides reviews to its own benefit. A blog post by Yelp's Vice President of Communications Vince Sollitto refutes the claims which have been reported to the media, and hopes to clear up the service's reputation.
Rare public photo practically a 'who's who' of Silicon Valley
An unusual photo was posted to Facebook showing a CEO dinner gathering -- hosted by Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer -- that included a significant number of tech CEOs from a wide array of companies, and notably included Sir Jonathan Ive, Apple's SVP of Design. Ive was perhaps the only non-CEO at the table, but was seated next to Mayer in the rare, candid shot. Attendee Mike Cassidy -- of Google X, the experimental project arm of Google -- posted the photo, which includes executives from Dropbox, Path, Twitter, Yelp and more.
Hard Shell Case for rMBP
Yelp has released a major update for its iOS app, adding new features for both the iPhone and iPad. The iPhone version has gained a new business page interface, improved navigation for users who are not logged into an account, and the ability to compliment and like Tips. Meanwhile, the iPad version now allows users to edit business information, add photos, and provide Useful, Funny, and Cool votes in reviews. In addition, both versions have also received support for Yelpy Insights.
May boost Yelp's prominence in check-in services
The iOS 6 Maps app will allow people to check-in through Yelp, according to developer material examined by Bloomberg. People should, more importantly, be able to check-in without leaving their current map and launching the dedicated Yelp app. The technology is hinted at in screenshots from the SDK given to developers earlier this month.
Apple, Path, Facebook, others in lawsuit sights
A new lawsuit (below) filed last week and uncovered on Friday by CNET could try and take Apple and key iOS app writers to task for alleged unapproved contact access. The potential class action case accuses those who've admitted to any access, such as Path, Twitter, and Instagram, of violating privacy by becoming "mobile radio beacons" that were "broadcasting and publicly exposing" contact lists to everyone. Questionably, however, it also names the developers of numerous other unverified apps of doing the same thing, including Beluga, Burbn, Chillingo, EA, Facebook, Foursquare, Foodspotting, Hipster, Gowalla, Kik, LinkedIn, Rovio (Angry Birds), and ZeptoLab (Cut the Rope).
Oink shuts down under claims of test
Tech idea incubator Milk posted notice Wednesday that it was shutting down its local rating service Oink. While the iOS app had already stopped checking for new updates, the company told users they would have until March 31 before the site and existing content would be taken down. The company argued that Oink was its "first test" in quickly building ideas and that it wanted focus as it was "preparing to move onto the next project."
Apple talks milestones and Android tablet UIs
Apple during its new iPad event touted its iOS device count and was also heavily critical of Android tablet apps. Apple had sold a total of 315 million iPads, iPhones, and iPod touch players in its history. About 172 million of those were sold in 2011, CEO Tim Cook said, while recapping mention that 62 million had been sold just in the fall.
Senate committee leads worry Google hurting rivals
Senate antitrust committee chairman Herb Kohl and supporter Mike Lee sent a formal letter (below) to the Federal Trade Commission backing an investigation of Google over its dominance of search. The Democrat and Republican together were worried enough about Google's lead in search following Senate hearings that they wanted a "thorough" look. They cited familiar arguments that Google might be abusing a dominant position to favor an increasing number of its own services in results on desktop and mobile, in many cases ousting challengers like Nextag or Yelp.
Free Verizon UpNext app offers 3D city views
Those with an Android tablet from Verizon Wireless can now download the UpNext HD Maps -- Verizon Edition app (free, Android Market). The app gives users interactive maps, 3D views and a detailed look at roads, road signs and buildings for 55 large US cities, 22 of which have Enhanced 3D viewing for more detail. Users can explore recreation choices, restaurants and local stores and access reviews from sites such as Yelp.
Adds augmented reality to learning experience
Rutgers University has made the iPad 2 an integral part of its Digital Mini-MBA program. The school's Center for Management Development (CMD) will be providing an iPad 2 as part of an upcoming four-day executive program it will be offering in September. The tablet will be preloaded with all instructional material as well as several augmented reality apps.
Apps include Yelp, Twitter, Expedia
TomTom has introduced its latest navigation device, the Go Live 1535M. The standalone GPS unit is claimed to be the first to offer a full app platform, enabling users to take advantage of travel apps and social networking features that have been available on various smartphone platforms. The Live connected services will include Twitter, Yelp, TripAdvisor and Expedia.
FTC to focus on Android fairness and search
The FTC's investigation into Google is centering heavily on Android alongside the expected search, sources leaked Wednesday. A major thrust of the case has been gauging whether Google is preventing Android makers from using rival services. What these were wasn't divulged to WSJ informants.
Includes traffic updates, Yelp and Google search
Magellan has released RoadMate App 2.0 for the iPhone. The new version of the app ($60, App Store) includes "lifetime" map updates for the US, Canada, and Puerto Rico, as well as Magellan's Lifetime Traffic service. New features include reviews of local businesses through Yelp as well as local Google search.
Facebook mobile adds location write, deals, more
Facebook during its special mobile event today changed some of the fundamental structure of its mobile platform to bolster third-party apps and add Foursquare-style deals. Android and iPhone apps will now have access to the write and search components of the Places location interface. The update allows apps to not only check into Places themselves but to search and take advantage of the new mobile feature set.
Facebook Places arrives with mobile apps
(Update: app is now live) Facebook today launched Facebook Places, its own equivalent to location check-in services such as Foursquare. The service both provides a way of marking both immediate presence but also adds a more social component. Visitors can post status updates that stay after they leave and tag friends who are in the area, even if they don't have a device that can check in.
Yelp 4.0.0 adds several major features
Developers Yelp and Skype have updated their flagship iPhone apps, introducing significant changes. The free Yelp app is now at v4.0.0, and adds a check-in option, which tells friends that a person is visiting a particular business. Frequent visiting marks a person as a regular, and the system can also be used to locate a user via map or Monocle views.
Yelp may be courted by a new buyer
A follow-up rumor today claims that Yelp has stepped away from an offer from Google for unknown reasons. Now thought to be worth as much as $550 million, the buyout was reported by TechCrunch to be near completion but dismissed by Yelp on the weekend. The immediate reasons behind the exit are unknown.
Google would get local searching firm
Google is deep in talks to acquire Yelp, more than one source claimed late Thursday. The local business location and reviewing site is deemed "very likely" to sell itself for over $500 million based both on its valuation and its heavy Internet traffic.
Droid picked for free nav, keyboard, more
Time today provided a minor surprise by giving the Motorola Droid a first-place finish in its Gadget of the Year countdown (video below). The Android phone won for including free turn-by-turn GPS through Google Maps Navigation as well as having both a large (3.7-inch) touchscreen and a hardware QWERTY keyboard. In comparison, the iPhone 3GS only reached fourth place, earning the spot for popularizing augmented reality through apps like Layar and Yelp.