Mobile payments startup Dwolla today launched realtime payments, which it says has been under development for the last three months. You can sign up for the beta now over at realtime.dwolla.com.
Not much is known about the feature right now, but Dwolla does make the following promises:
- It will allow you to buy the things you love, immediately.
- It will introduce a new level of convenience to the community.
- It will carry the same low transaction cost.
- It will introduce some new friends to the network.
- It will open up the network to new ideas and possibilities.
The first, second, fourth, and fifth points are rather obvious: realtime means buying and selling much faster, which can be very useful and offer a lot of potential for both new and old players. The third point, however, is the icing on the cake: if Dwolla isn’t going to charge more for this feature, it will be seriously stepping up the competition against PayPal.
See also – Dwolla raises $16.5M from Andreessen Horowitz to help it scale, double staff and open SF office and US payments startup Dwolla now supports wire transfers
Top Image Credit: Christa Richert
Back in May, Google announced new quick action buttons, letting users respond to emails without opening them. So, for example, if you want to let the sender know that you’re attending an event, you can do so directly from your inbox. No typing required.
Now it seems that Twitter has signed up, letting those who receive email notifications carry out actions with a single click. As you can see here, @mentions let you click ‘View Tweet’, which opens the message in the browser.
The same applies to other actions too. For example, Simon Owens first brought this feature to our attention earlier when he tweeted this out, and it clearly shows
a ‘Follow Back’ quick action in response to notifications for new followers.
Other users, including Abraham Williams and HTeuMeuLeu, have reported seeing this feature in their inbox too, so this covers the US, France and the UK at least, meaning it’s likely this is probably available globally, though it’s perhaps being tested with a select number of users in a handful of countries.
It’s not a huge development for sure, but it’s one designed to remove any semblance of friction from the Twitter user experience. You can read more about the these new Actions by following the link below.
Google | Actions in the Inbox
BlackBerry has fired 250 people from its research and development division while it attempts to re-establish itself as a leading smartphone manufacturer and stabilize its business.
As reported by TechCrunch (via CTV News) all of the affected employees were based in the company’s new product testing facility in Waterloo, Ontario. A company spokesperson said the changes have been made to help BlackBerry streamline their product development.
“I can confirm on the record, that BlackBerry on Tuesday informed 250 employees of their termination in Waterloo,” BlackBerry’s Lisette Kwong said. “These employees were part of the New Product Testing Facility, a department that supports BlackBerry’s manufacturing and R&D efforts.
“This is part of the next stage of our turnaround plan to increase efficiencies and scale our company correctly for new opportunities in mobile computing. We will be as transparent as possible as those plans evolve.”
The move follows the resignation by David Smith, BlackBerry’s Vice President in charge of its struggling PlayBook tablet vision. That was less surprising given that BlackBerry CEO Thorsten Heins recently ruled out porting BlackBerry 10 to the unsuccessful slate – admitting that multiple teams had spent “a great deal of time and energy” looking at various solutions.
Richard Piasentin, BlackBerry’s US managing director, was also fired earlier this month.
Both departures follow BlackBerry’s announcement last year that it would shed 5,000 jobs from the company. A further 250 from its R&D team is certainly worrying, given that it’s the first place where new products and ideas would be conceived.
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We’ve all done it: one minute you’re happily sitting there sending emails and the next you have that horrible moment of realization that, actually, you hadn’t meant to send that confidential or potentially embarrassing file to that Sam, you meant to send it to the other Sam. The one you actually know and work with.
While potentially embarrassing in our personal lives, you can usually recover. An apology goes a long way. But in a work context when you’re a lawyer or banker where the need for secrecy is imperative – in some cases a legal imperative. For example, when an investment bank is managing a takeover but there are other teams in the same banks that can’t know it is taking place. Sending an email to the wrong Sam in that sort of situation could lead to far more serious consequences than feeling a bit silly.
This is why Quiver, a London-based startup with an eye on making sure this never happens again, has developed Recipicheck. It’s also why the company’s attentions have gone purely on businesses where data privacy is paramount, Quiver’s co-founder and director Tim Sadler, told The Next Web.
“It’s targeted at organizations that deal with highly-sensitive information. It uses algorithms that we’ve designed and developed just to try and predict whether you’re sending the email to the correct person or not. And kind of integrating with all the other processes that go on in an investment bank usually.”
Sadler explained that while the software has a critical mission, it has been designed to be non-intrusive for the end-user.
Through its algorithms it identifies situations in which it thinks you might be sending an email to the wrong person, either through possible name confusion, or by learning that you normally email certain things to certain groups of people, and that actually, in this instance you’re sending it to the usual group plus two other individuals.
“One of the things that we wanted was for it not to get in peoples’ way and for it not to be a burden for them. It’s completely discreet and operates in the background.
When it detects you’re sending an email regarding a certain set of information, whether that’s because there’s a certain attachment in there, or because it’s regarding a certain project or deal that you’re working on, the software will look to see if it thinks you are sending it to someone who is not approved to see that information.”
If it does it just pops-up a prompt asking if you really still want to send the email to the people addressed. Pricing for the service is just as simple, if not opaque. Businesses just pay a monthly fee, negotiated on an individual basis.
The company’s founders met as engineers at Imperial College in college, and as such mostly have a background in programming. After realizing that toiling for others as software engineers in investment banks wasn’t for them, they left their jobs and spent 9 months developing the software with feedback from the industry; the first public iteration was just last week.
But how does this help me?
Well, Quiver wants to take Recipicheck (which as a name I don’t like) far and wide – put it in the cloud and make it interoperable with every single email service, client and device on the planet, whether a desktop installation of Windows Live Mail or that random little cloud email provider that you still use for some yet to be revealed reason.
It wouldn’t be a Web email client (as you might be thinking because of the word cloud), instead, it would allow you to stop yourself from accidentally sending an email to the wrong person from any device, account or platform. It’d be totally agnostic.
To do this would mean putting the service server-side (it’s currently all client-side, avoiding most potential issues), but to do that would mean all sorts of navigation of European (and beyond) data regulation laws, as well as some other headaches.
“Going server-side means we obviously have to have a host server that deals with this kind of information and these kind of email communications. We’re talking with engineers at the moment about how we can encrypt the data as it comes in so we wouldn’t even be able to see the data that came in. I think that’s something that would be of a major concern and will be a challenge for us as engineers to find a solution.”
Data regulation and practical encryption aside, I have bigger concerns for Recipicheck. The first thing that sprang to mind was, “aren’t there people already doing this? I’m pretty sure Gmail has a feature in Labs called Got the wrong Bob?”
When I asked Sadler about this and whether they had protected the software and algorithms’ IP (intellectual property). He said they were still looking into what Quiver’s claims to the technology could be.
Don’t misunderstand, I like the idea. I sent an email to my colleague Martin Bryant that was intended for someone else just yesterday. I’m just a little concerned that with no IP protection in place and rival/similar in effect, if not in method, filter services already out there Recipicheck could be ripe for copying.
However, with the launch just last week and the immediate plan to focus on the UK financial and legal business sectors, to be followed by expansion to other large financial centers, the service could service it’s niche very nicely. Whether or not the company will be able to break the service out of the niche is yet to be determined.
The long-term goal would then be to widen it out to every device and service under the sun before someone else does it. Maybe Recipicheck will manage it; I imagine Martin hopes so, that way he shouldn’t get any more emails like the one yesterday that wasn’t really meant for him.
Featured Image Credit – Thinkstock
Zynga confirmed today in its second quarter earnings announcement that it will not pursue a license for real-money gaming in the US.
In April, the company launched ZyngaPlusPoker and ZyngaPlusCasino real-money games in the UK in partnership with Bwin.party. At the time, reports emerged that Zynga had applied for a license to provide real-money poker in the state of Nevada. It’s not clear what happened with the application, but Zynga says it will instead focus on free games.
Here’s the statement directly from the earnings release:
Zynga believes its biggest opportunity is to focus on free to play social games. While the Company continues to evaluate its real money gaming products in the United Kingdom test, Zynga is making the focused choice not to pursue a license for real money gaming in the United States. Zynga will continue to evaluate all of its priorities against the growing market opportunity in free, social gaming, including social casino offerings.
Zynga’s second quarter performance was not stellar. It posted a net loss of $15.8 million and revenue was down 31 percent year over year to $231 million. After-hours trading pushed Zynga shares down over 12 percent, erasing the stock’s 6.71 percent gains from earlier in the day.
The company’s future is now in the hands of former Microsoft executive Don Mattrick, who took over as CEO earlier this month.
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