UPS researching its own delivery drones to compete with Amazon’s Prime Air – Amazon made headlines Sunday night when it announced it was working on small drones that could someday deliver customers packages in half an hour or less. But the e-commerce giant isn’t the only company researching how to harness the potential of small unmanned aircraft: The Verge has learned that the world’s largest parcel service, UPS, has been experimenting with its own fleet of flying parcel-carriers.
Sources familiar with the company’s plans say it has been testing and evaluating different approaches to drone delivery. Asked for a comment, the company confirmed its interest. “The commercial use of drones is an interesting technology and we’ll continue to evaluate it. UPS invests more in technology than any other company in the delivery business, and we’re always planning for the future,” said a spokesman.
Hmmm … Apple buys Twitter consumer sentiment company Topsy for $200M+ – Apple just bought social media analytics company Topsy for over $200 million. Sources have confirmed the purchase to VentureBeat, and added that the Topsy team officially started work at Apple today.It’s not entirely clear why Apple bought a Twitter sentiment company.
Apple, as usual, is not very forthcoming about its acquisitions, providing its standard PR response: ”Apple buys smaller technology companies from time to time, and we generally do not discuss our purpose or plans.”
Topsy’s social media search engine is still functioning as of this moment, allowing you to “search and analyze the social web.” And it’s a very useful search engine as well, allowing you to sort Twitter search results by authority and relevance. One thing that’s interesting is that Topsy claims to be able to search all tweets since 2006, which means of course that it has access to Twitter’s firehose of data.
Google takes aim at Microsoft and Amazon with its Cloud Platform – Google is taking on Amazon, Microsoft, and the rest with a web hosting solution aimed at individuals and businesses. Although previously available to a select few, Google’s Compute Engine server platform is now available for everyone. Compute Engine forms part of the Google Cloud Platform, which now offers computing, storage, and application services that can underpin website and apps. In addition to announcing availability, Google also lowered the prices of Compute Engine and its storage solutions for general release.
Spotify tries to win over artists by predicting their future royalties – While Spotify may have shown that a streaming music model could be successful, it’s consistently come under fire over an apparent lack of financial support for new artists. To boost that relationship, the company has launched a new website, Spotify Artists, with the intention of cutting through the noise to explain how much musicians could be paid if they decide to stream their music. Spotify uses real-world, albeit anonymized, examples to demonstrate how its business model works and details how it calculates royalties, which have already passed the $500 million mark this year.
Spotify realizes it can’t do it all alone, so it’s brought on board two new partners to provide some additional muscle. Next Big Sound’s Artist Analytics dashboard processes Spotify’s music metrics to track how music spreads and who’s listening to it, helping artists decide when might be the best time to embark on a tour or new promotional campaign.
Google+ modernizes telethons with charity Hangout-a-thon – It may need a bit more work from Google’s branding department, but the company’s first ever Hangout-a-thon is all set to take place later today, aiming to raise donations for charitable causes working around the globe.
After the consumerist excess of Black Friday and Cyber Monday, today’s been designated a Giving Tuesday, a day for charities to collaborate and remind everyone of the need for donations to good causes.
Netflix breaking from all-at-once release strategy with first kids series ‘Turbo Fast’ – Netflix’s first original series for kids, Turbo Fast, will debut on December 24th. The show is a collaboration between Netflix and DreamWorks Animation, borrowing characters from the studio’s feature film Turbo.
But with its latest original programming, Netflix is deviating from the all-at-once release strategy it’s followed for House of Cards, Orange is the New Black, and the fourth season of Arrested Development. Instead of releasing an entire season on day one, just five episodes of Turbo Fast will be available for streaming on Christmas Eve.
Sony says it sold 2.1 million PS4s in November – One million units in a day was a pretty good start, and SCE’s Andrew House has just announced that the company’s now sold 2.1 million PlayStation 4s as of December 1st.
That combines sales from the US and Europe, although the Sony console hasn’t yet reached every corner of the globe just yet.
Buy Han Solo’s blaster for a quarter of a million dollars – Han Solo’s trusty blaster — most famously used to shoot bounty hunter Greedo first in Star Wars — is set to be auctioned later this month. The “non-firing” sidearm is one of a set of movie props being sold on December 21st, and is expected to reach a price of between $200,000 and $300,000. Other Harrison Ford-related items in the auction include a rubber “stunt” version of Deckard’s pistol used in Blade Runner, and a rifle carried by Ford in Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull likely to sell for between $8,000 and $10,000.
The resin DL-44 blaster — modeled after the real-life Mauser C96 — was used during the filming of The Empire Strikes Back and Return of the Jedi.
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