Rental platform Goodlord raises £7.2M from Rocket Internet’s GFC, LocalGlobe, and Ribbit Capital

Goodlord, a U.K. startup that has built a platform to handle transactions and the ‘paperwork’ normally associated with renting a home, has raised £7.2 million in Series A funding. Rocket Internet’s GFC led the round, with participation from existing backer LocalGlobe and new investor Ribbit Capital.

That the Silicon Valley-based VC has joined the round is noteworthy. Ribbit is known for its fintech focus, but in some ways Goodlord can be seen as more financial tech than property tech in the sense the company wants to be the ‘transactional architecture’ behind rental transactions. This includes handling (and taking a cut of) payments, as well as offering add-on financial services such as landlord insurance.

“We see huge potential for disruption in the way that rental property in the U.K. is transacted,” says Meyer Malka, partner at Ribbit Capital, in a statement. “Goodlord is using technology to build transparency and ease of use for one of the most important moments in a consumer life: choosing a home to live in”.

Or, put another way, co-founder and CEO Richard White tells me that Goodlord wants to make it “as easy to rent a home as it is to make online payments with Paypal”.

“We want to take away the stigma of renting and professionalise the service tenants and landlords receive through lettings agents,” he says. “At the same time, we can significantly cut costs and administration for agents by automating and digitising the entire letting process”.

In other words, unlike other startups in the rental market space that want to essentially destroy traditional brick ‘n’ mortar letting agents with an online equivalent, Goodlord’s Software-as-a-Service is designed to support all stakeholders, including traditional high street letting agents, as well as landlords and, of course, tenants.

 The Goodlords SaaS enables letting agents to “digitise” the moving in process, including utilising e-signatures and collecting rental payments online. In addition to landlord insurance, new services are being introduced, such as rental guarantees, and “tenant passports”.

The latter means that, as Goodlord reaches scale, it should be possible for a tenant to easily take their rental transaction history and landlord references with them when moving from one rental property to another as proof that they are a trustworthy tenant.

As it stands, Goodlord provides a white-label platform for 355 estate agencies nationwide, both online and traditional letting agents. These include Sothebys, Strutt & Parker, Life Residential, and Remax, as well as much smaller independents.

Finally, eagle-eyed readers may have noted an anomaly (or perhaps not) in regards to GFC’s further backing of Goodlord. The Rocket Internet venture arm also recently invested in U.K. online letting agent OpenRent, which, let’s just say, has lots of potential overlap with the space that Goodlord is occupying and vice versa.

Alphabet’s Project Loon internet balloon effort just made a major breakthrough

Quite a few major tech companies are looking at ways to beam internet down from the sky, and even space. One of those is Alphabet, Google’s parent company, and today an intriguing and important breakthrough in an ongoing attempt to deliver internet to hard-to-reach places was revealed.

Project Loon, started by Google before it became Alphabet, intends to provide internet access with giant floating balloons. The initial idea was to have groups of balloons sail around the world, largely at the whimsy of the wind but, when they could, linger over a particular region.

Now, according to Astro Teller, the head of Alphabet’s moonshot programs, the team behind Project Loon has developed a machine learning-powered navigation algorithm that allows them to send “small teams of balloons” to cluster above a certain area – and stay there.

 

Instead of blankets of balloons being ushered away by the breeze, these groups can “dance on the winds in small loops to remain where needed.”

The development is far from perfect, Teller writes in a blog post, but he notes it’s a “positive sign for Loon’s economic and operational viability.”

With the improvement, a balloon network can get up and running in remote or rural places in a matter of weeks, and the effort to oversee the network would be much less challenging. Not as many balloons would be needed either, reducing costs across the board.

All this means more reliable internet could be delivered on a much faster timescale to the farthest reaches of the Earth, a huge step towards making global connections a reality.

Lost your password? Facebook thinks it can handle it for you

Forgot your password? Well, Facebook wants to help you recover your internet account.Facebook

The company is releasing an open source protocol that will let third-party sites recover user accounts through Facebook.

Typically, when people forget their password to a site, they’re forced to answer a security question or send a password reset request to their email. But these methods of account recovery can be vulnerable to hacking, said Facebook security engineer Brad Hill.

He recalled a time when he was granted permission to break into an online bank account. To do so, he took advantage of the password reset questions.

“It asked me what my favorite color was, and it let me guess as many times as I wanted,” he said Monday, during a presentation at the USENIX Enigma 2017 security conference.

Most other account recovery methods rely on sending a message to a user’s email address. But many people fail to properly secure their email accounts with strong passwords or two-factor authentication — and if there’s ever a breach, a hacker can reset passwords to the user’s other third-party accounts, Hill said.

Facebook is proposing it become another option for account recovery.

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Essentially, users would be able to link their Facebook account to a third-party site, and if password recovery is ever needed, they could do so through the social networking site, Hill said.

Facebook’s protocol works in the web browser over HTTPS and requires no plugins. GitHub, an online repository for open source projects, is the first to adopt it. On Tuesday, it’ll start using Facebook, as part of a two-factor method, to recover accounts on the site.

The thought of centralizing all password recovery with Facebook might alarm some people. But Hill stressed that the protocol isn’t exclusive to the social networking service.

“I hope you do trust Facebook, but first of all, we’re opening up this protocol,” Hill said. “You’ll be able to choose the accounts you trust, not just Facebook, to do secure recovery.”

The hope is to create a “diverse ecosystem,” where any site can rely on multiple trusted sources for account recovery, Hill said.

He compared the protocol to OAuth, an open standard that lets third-party applications access services like a user’s account, without the risk of handling sensitive password information.

Facebook is hoping to attract other early adopters. The company has released the protocol on GitHub.

Facebook to customers: download Moments or say goodbye to your synced pix

Facebook is turning into ever greater aggressive at pushing users towards its extended universe of offerings. First, it labored to push customers in the direction of its Messenger app rather than using the chat feature in the trendy fb cell app and site. Now, it’s coming on your synced pix.

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As TheNextWeb mentioned Saturday, facebook is notifying customers who automatically synced pics between their phones and fb that it’ll quickly delete the ones images—except you down load the fb Moments app, that is.

in step with a note from fb, as posted via Twitter consumer @aurevoiralexis, the social media behemoth will delete any pics you may have synced from your cellphone to the web site on July 7 except you download Moments and log into the app. you furthermore mght have until then to down load a zip report of your pix, because the Verge notes. (in case you’re already using Moments, of course, you shouldn’t have whatever to fear approximately.)

The story at the back of the story: facebook Moments helps you to percentage pictures together with your pals (and vice-versa), and sort and organization photographs by date and the people in them. The corporation started out pushing customers toward Moments late closing 12 months, while it announced that it would put off the photograph Sync function from its mobile apps, requiring customers to download Moments to continue syncing pictures. at the same time as the push in the direction of Moments is the modern-day try by using fb to sturdy-arm its customers into downloading extra of its apps, it likely received’t be the closing.
It’s all about the atmosphere

facebook hasn’t said what’s riding its push in the direction of Moments, however the enterprise has a clean vested business hobby in making sure you stay in its atmosphere as lots as viable. It wants to be in which you pass for information, wherein you visit touch your buddies, in which you go to view and manage your snap shots. And the more eyeballs it retains on its web site and services, the greater possibilities it has to serve up commercials.

something facebook’s motives, though, its selection need to serve as a reminder to each person of the energy fundamental tech groups wield over our information and our digital lives.

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Delhi Metro’s Proposed Driverless Train to Sport ODD, Public Wi-Fi Facility

Delhi Metro's Proposed Driverless Train to Sport ODD, Public Wi-Fi Facility

DMRC’s proposed automated train will be equipped with an obstruction deflection device (ODD) which will push away small obstacles on the track that can cause derailment.

Delhi Metro Rail Corporation is working on unmanned train project and the plan is not likley to fructify before next year. These trains will be initially run manually before the auto-pilot modes are enabled, officials said.

Public safety will be the utmost priority and it will not be compromised before running these unmanned trains, DMRC’s Managing Director Mangu Singh told reporters.

“The trials for the proposed project will itself take a year and until we are ready, we will not start the project,” he said.

Describing the features, Singh said, the trains will have all basic modern-day facilities like Wi-Fi, and LED screens besides three CCTV cameras. The trains will have two of them installed in the driver’s cabin. One of them will help officials keep a tab on any untoward incident that may occur.

“Eventually, these trains will not have a driver’s cabin and hence will increase the carrying capacity of the coach.

The features in these trains are so many that you can operate these trains without drivers,” DMRC spokesperson Anuj Dayal said.

Once the project becomes a reality, each and every basic function of these trains will be automated thanks to a two-way communication between the operation control centre (OCC) and the train, he said.

“The train will be monitored by our men at the OCC, and we have stations every 1km so immediate assistance is possible,” Dayal said.

Unmanned metro rail networks exist in cities like Barcelona in Spain and Vancouver in Canada.

Yahoo Expects Employee Count, Revenue to Fall in 2016

Yahoo Expects Employee Count, Revenue to Fall in 2016: ReportYahoo Inc expects a sharp decline in both its revenue and earnings this year compared with 2015, with revenue seen falling nearly 15 percent and earnings over 20 percent, Re/code reported on Wednesday, citing a Yahoo document.

The financial situation at the Internet company is becoming “increasingly dire,” Re/code said, citing pages from the “book” of disclosure documents that Yahoo bankers have given out to prospective buyers.

A Yahoo spokesperson declined comment on the report.

Yahoo also expects its employee count to fall to about 9,000 at the end of 2016, from 10,500 in 2015, but stock-based compensation remains steady, the technology news website said.

The company expects 2016 revenue, backing out traffic acquisition costs, of $3.5 billion (roughly Rs. 4,88,761 crores) in 2016 and earnings before depreciation, taxes and amortization of $750 million (roughly Rs. 4,987 crores), Re/code said.

Flipkart Unveils Mobile Site on UC Browser

Flipkart Unveils Mobile Site on UC BrowserLeading e-retailer Flipkart on Wednesday opened a mobile website using a UC Browser of China to enable its users to access its offerings even on a slow 2G network.

“Our mobile-site on UC browser brings a wider base of shoppers closer to a better mobile experience with core features such as search, offers and cart,” the city-based e-commerce major said in a statement in Bengaluru.

Aimed at providing faster interactive flow than other mobile sites on UC browser, the new mobile website will extend Flipkart’s reach to potential customers from locations where Internet and mobile phone connectivity is slow.

“Over 50 percent of our traffic comes from non-metros where customers gain access to all 30 million products across 70 categories,” said Surojit Chatterjee, vice president, Flipkart in the statement.

“Flipkart’s new mobile site on UC Browser reflects the company’s continued effort to provide a universal, enhanced user experience to mobile internet shoppers irrespective of their handsets and Internet capacity,” the statement added.

Earlier, in November 2015, the e-commerce major launched Flipkart Lite web app to offer a better experience to shoppers in offline mode as well.

Google Health Search Launched in India

Google Health Search Launched in India

Google on Tuesday announced that it is launching its health search feature in India, powered byKnowledge Graph. Google health, which is now live in the country, returns relevant and verified medical details, presented as cards, on the search page when online searches on health-related topics are made. India is the third country after Brazil and the United States where Google has launched this feature.

The company made the announcement at a media event in New Delhi, detailing how this capability is making it easier for users to quickly get accurate information. The company noted that one in 20 searches made online is health related. In India, the doctor to patient ratio is also something concerning, Google notes. It’s roughly at 1 doctor for 11,500 patients. The feature is also available in Hindi.

The feature, which is live on Google app and search on Android, iOS, and desktop, tells users known symptoms, affected age group and other relevant information to a disease. For instance, as you can see in the image below, searching for “heart attack,” on Chrome returns information such as symptoms of heart attack, and what kind of medical diagnosis is required. The search giant also noted that it is launching ‘Lite Cards’ in India so that it could also cater to users on slow-Internet plans. Users can also download information in pdf for offline viewing.

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The Mountain View-based company has integrated data from Apollo hospitals in Google Search for the insights. The company adds that it has also added India specific diseases information. As of current, Google offers information on more than 400 diseases. The company, however, warned that the search results are information only, and should not be considered medical advice. The company says that its program is open to all hospitals and that the reason for its partnership with Apollo was the hospital’s scale in India.

Google originally began displaying medical information in search results in February last year, andgreatly expanded it in February.

At the time of launch, the feature was only available in the United States. Given how lengthy the integration process is – for instance, to launch this program in India, Google first sourced health-related facts from reliable sites, which was then reviewed by a team of licensed medical doctors, after which illustrations were created, then multiple doctors checked for accuracy, and then Apollo Hospitals reviewed it again and made final revisions – it’s understandable why it took more than a year for this feature to trickle down to India.

Madras High Court Moved Against Online Pornography

Madras High Court Moved Against Online Pornography

A PIL has been filed in the Madras High Court seeking a direction to police to take steps to check online pornography, saying such content had an extremely bad effect on the youth and was leading to various types of social problems and perpetration of crime.

When the petition came up for hearing, a bench comprising justices M M Sundresh and S Vimala directed the Crime Branch, Central Investigation Department, Additional Director General of Police to file a counter affidavit and adjourned the matter to June 21 next.

Petitioner Akbar Ahmed submitted he came across a website while surfing on the Internet and found some porn content.

Submitting that the pornography content displayed online would clearly digress the youth of the country, he said, “Due to the growing free sex culture through cyber pornography strong steps be taken to check online porn content”.

He said pornography was having an extremely bad effect on the youth as well the adults leading to various types of social and medical problems as well as perpetration of crime.

The petitioner further submitted that Section 67 of the Information and Technology Act, 2000 is very clear on obscene material, pornography on computer or mobile a crime, attracting severe punishment to the producers, distributors and viewers of such sites.

He said he had given a representation to authorities in April last year in this regard but no action had been taken so far.