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California could see self-driving cars with 'remote drivers' in April
Self-driving cars that back up their computerized system with a remote human operator instead of a fallback driver at the wheel could be tested on California roads as early as April, the state department of motor vehicles said. The race to develop autonomous vehicles includes such global automakers as General Motors and technology giants like Alphabet's Waymo unit.
Equity shot: Dropbox is going public, and Aaron Levie has some advice
Hello and welcome back to Equity, TechCrunch's venture capital-focused podcast where we unpack the numbers behind the headlines. At long last, after many predictions and even a private filing, Dropbox dropped its S-1 today. We got Aaron Levie, CEO of Dropbox competitor Box, on the phone to talk about the occasion. Dropbox going public indicates that a large chunk of that accreted, illiquid wealth will manage to liquify itself after all.
Blockchain could transform in-game economies
Now developers have infused in-game economies with real-world currency in an effort to better monetize their products. Instead of using virtual money earned in-game, you might just be asked to fork over real dollars for that next armor upgrade or level-up. A number of mobile games use this system, whereby the user pays money to install the app and then gradually earns in-game currency to pay for in-game rewards.
AI Weekly: AI is hunting the world's deadliest killer
It's the latest example of AI being used to tackle the biggest killer in the world: heart disease. That's not just terribly poetic irony, it also represents an instance of AI in which machines seem to routinely outperform humans. The advancement of AI to solve problems of the heart also reflects the duality of this technology. Hypergiant is launching out of stealth today to help large companies develop an AI strategy to meet their business goals.
The FCC's revamped internet speed map lets you covet nearby exotic broadband
A new official map of broadband access based on FCC data lets you browse block by block and see just what options are on offer, from gigabit fiber to DSL that would have been inadequate a decade ago. The map is powered by Mapbox and based on the forms submitted to the FCC by broadband providers. An ISP might serve one or two buildings on a given block or all of them - info isn't available at that level of granularity.
People are using glitches in Super Mario Odyssey's Balloon World
Nintendo updated Super Mario Odyssey with new, free content yesterday. This introduced the Balloon World online mode that enables players to have fun with an asynchronous hide-and-seek mode. This mode has also exposed some of Super Mario Odyssey's seams because players are using glitches to hide balloons out-of-bounds. The more people who fail at your balloon, the more coins you get - so the game encourages this kind of cheating.
Veil is private browsing for the ultra-paranoid
Veil takes things further than perhaps any other anonymous browsing method by masking the page you're viewing not just from would-be attackers, but from your own operating system. The browser may try to delete these traces, but success can vary depending on how things are set up. Veil takes things several steps further by handling delivery of the site via what they call a blinding server.
Somewhere: The Vault Papers's conspiracy plays out in texts and on Google Maps
The Vault Papers teases the possibility of an immense conspiracy unfolding - but the only way you can find out more is through texting. French developer Norseman Interactive has teamed up with publisher Playdius on its debut messaging-based narrative mobile game. It launches March 8 on iOS for $3, with an Android release to come at a later date. Norseman Interactive has added another mechanic to the mix: You'll also have to open up Google Maps to help Cat at certain points in the game.
The intensifying battle for Africa's burgeoning tech landscape
The scale and complexity of Africa's technical landscape sits at the heart of the problem, and connectivity issues are particularly prevalent. On the other side of the world, China has become Africa's most important economic partner over the last two decades. This is the lesson both Western and Eastern tech companies need to take into account when working in Africa. Innovation through collaboration is the best and only way to succeed in Africa's technical landscape.
Dropbox files to raise $500 million in IPO
Dropbox filed for an initial public offering today with the aim to raise $500 million for its cloud-based file storage and collaboration service. The San Francisco-based company brought in $1.1 billion in revenue last year, with a net loss of $111 million. It has more than 500 million registered users, with more than 11 million paying users. It will also be interesting to see how Dropbox fares on Wall Street compared to Snap's disappointing performance over the last year.
January 2018's top 10 Minecraft Marketplace creations: castles and the Wild West
Minecraft players downloaded 239,062 add-ons from the Minecraft Marketplace in January. The marketplace is available in the unified version of Minecraft on Windows 10 and mobile, and it features products made by both The Minecraft Team and community developers. In January, we saw a lot of returning favorites make the list like Blockception's Whiterock Castle and Noxcrew's Summer Minigame Festival. For now, however, fantasy worlds and licensed mash-up packs from The Minecraft Team are still dominating.
Twitch's first live game show 'Stream On' debuts March 8
Twitch's new reality show featuring up-and-coming streamers will premiere on March 8, the company announced this morning, along with the list of the fourteen personalities selected to participate. That list includes: 88bitmusic, Banzaibaby, CiraCorellia, CookingforN00bs, FerociouslySteph, GlanFM, Koibu, MajinTaj, Suchikuchi, thaButtress, TheOnlyRyann, TheStaceyRoy, Wavy, and Xmiramira. Throughout the 11-week period when Stream On airs live on Twitch, the creators will have their streamer skills tested.
Jeremy Fiance, the 26-year-old founder of House Fund, ups his VC ambitions
A little less than two years ago, we reported on Jeremy Fiance, a then 24-year-old recent UC Berkeley graduate who'd just taken the wraps off his new firm, The House Fund. According to a three-month-old SEC filing spied earlier today by Axios, Fiance's ambitions have grown eightfold. At least, according to the filing, the House Fund is now raising upwards of $50 million for its second fund.
Michigan's 'Marshall Plan for Talent' aims to become model for tech education nationwide
Many of the pillars of the plan echo some of the most popular ideas being currently being discussed in tech education. Gov Snyder, a former venture capitalist, told VentureBeat that representatives from Amazon did express concerns about the state's ability to provide talent. This line of thinking is one that has been echoed by some in tech, most notably Google CEO Sundar Pichai.
Google needs to give the AirPods better competition
Yesterday, reports emerged that Apple was working on a pair of follow-ups to its Airpods headphones that could bring them always-on Siri functionality as well as a splash-proof design. Google Assistant lends so much potential to a pair of smart wireless earbuds from Google.
ProBeat: Google's RCS business messaging push is too much, too early
Google yesterday announced that the rich communication services (RCS) messaging experience on Android is now open to businesses. Google is using this app to push its implementation of RCS so that Android phones can offer features like group messaging, IP voice calls, and file sharing. That's decent progress, and it's unfortunate the company is squandering things with its RCS business messaging push. If your first interaction with RCS is a business message, you're going to be even less likely to use it yourself.
Rainbow Six: Siege's Outbreak horde mode is a smart fit
The publisher is introducing something outside of the tactical shooter's core asymmetrical multiplayer with its new Outbreak mode. Unlike the head-to-head gameplay that has helped Siege grow to 25 million players, Outbreak has players teaming up for a cooperative horde mode. Outbreak launches soon on the live servers, but I tried it out on the Rainbow Six: Siege test server on PC. It is a three-player mode where you team up with friends or random strangers to take on waves of zombie-like aliens.
Ledger is working on new native apps for its cryptocurrency hardware wallet
French startup Ledger is making some of the most secure cryptocurrency hardware wallets out there. That's why the company announced that Ledger has been working on brand new native apps for all desktop and mobile platforms. Right now, Ledger relies on Google Chrome for its desktop apps. At some point, Google wanted to promote web apps and give them access to special APIs with Google Chrome Apps.
Microsoft and Xiaomi to collaborate on AI, cloud computing and hardware
Xiaomi and Microsoft have signed a Strategic Framework Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to work more closely in the areas of cloud computing, AI and hardware. This deal could point to how Xiaomi is looking to raise its game in the West, specifically in the US. At the same time, this partnership would allow Microsoft to reach more users around the world who are using Xiaomi products. Cloud support will include Xiaomi using Microsoft Azure for data storage, bandwidth and computing and other cloud services.

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