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11.16.16 | 12:30 pm

Airbnb’s new “magical trips” could take your travel experiences to a whole new level

Airbnb CEO Brian Chesky is making an announcement tomorrow, and chances are it will be something the company refers to internally as "magical trips," according to Skift

That sounds like something out of Disney, but it really amounts to tours from locals and other travel excursions and activities. Airbnb had already been testing a beta program called City Hosts since June, Skift writes:

A quick sampling of the experiences includes: a 7-hour Wynwood Tour and Party in Miami for $300 per person; a day spent with life coaches with a welcome brunch, walk and mediation, and an early morning rave for $346 per person in London; a three-hour retail tour of Tokyo's Akihabara District in search of the coolest anime collectibles and toys with an online retailer for $34 per person; and learning how to make your own ramen with a second-generation ramen maker in Tokyo.

As Airbnb hospitality head Chip Conley told Skift, this aligns with the company's desire to move beyond just home sharing. "Our goal is to become the super brand of travel," Conley said. "We want to help people not just with accommodations but with experiences as well."

05.23.17 | 28 minutes ago

A neural network generated pickup lines that are better than half the stuff on Tinder

Janelle Shane has been teaching her neural network a thing or two about modern love. Specifically, pickup lines and the results are sublime. A personal favorite is this gem: "You look like a thing and I love you," which may have been taken directly from Tinder.

The neural network, which has also been taught how to write recipes like "Tued Bick Car," was fed a bunch of material and then learned the art of the pickup line or something like it. The network then starting hitting on everyone in the room with lines like "Are you a camera? Because I want to see the most beautiful than you." The lines ranged from the adorable ("I want to get my heart with you") to the nonchalant ("You are so beautiful that you know what I mean") to the delightfully odd ("You must be a tringle? Cause you're the only thing here.") 

Read more of them here and you'll agree that surely one of these lines will work and the neural network will soon be whipping up a batch of Tued Bick Car for someone special. 

[Source photo: Flickr user Ji Hoon Lee

05.23.17 | 43 minutes ago

Instagram is making Stories more findable with locations and #hashtags

When Instagram introduced its Snapchat-esque Stories last year, its presentation suggested that it thought there were two reasons you might want to view a Story—either because it was created by someone you were following, or because it was created by someone who was popular on Instagram.

Now the company's apps are adding two new ways to find Stories you may care about, regardless of who created them. The Explore section will now show you Stories that use location stickers pertaining to your current whereabouts as well as let you search for ones that relate to any other location in the world. And if you use Explore to search for a hashtag, the results may include Stories that use that hashtag as a sticker. (People who want to use location and hashtag stickers without their Stories showing up in Explore will be able to opt out on a Story-by-Story basis.)

05.23.17 | an hour ago

A Waymo spin-off could compete with Tesla, say analysts

Waymo may be primed to become a stand-alone company, say analysts at Morgan Stanley, noting that it could be worth more than $70 billion if it can grow to approximately 1% of global miles driven. That's assuming the Google unit can put 3 million cars on the road, each driving 65,000 miles a year and earning roughly $1.25 on each mile. 

The Lyft partnership could help it get there, they add. Waymo could reach operating profitability by 2022 with its operating margin hitting 8% by 2030, say analysts. Currently, Morgan Stanley's Brian Nowak doesn't believe this opportunity is reflected in Google's share price. But that's not necessarily a bad thing: It gives Google room to test its technology before possibly spinning out Waymo.   

05.23.17 | an hour ago

Subaru is slowly figuring out this whole electric car thing

As Subaru looks to the future, they are trying to decide whether to offer an electric version of the trusty Outback or to launch a new line of all-electric cars. Bloomberg spoke with CEO Yasuyuki Yoshinaga, who said the car company wants to expand on its slow push into green technology (which their customer base will undoubtedly appreciate) but is still debating the best way to do it, as they want to "capitalize on their reputation for safety while eliminating the need to partner with another automaker." 

Subaru's currently aiming to have a plug-in hybrid on sale next year, with a battery-electric vehicle to follow in 2021, which might be just long enough off for consumers to save up and buy a Tesla instead.

Read the full story over at Bloomberg while doing the math.

[Photo: Subaru]

05.23.17 | 2 hours ago

Snapchat introducing custom Stories to help your friends avoid their FOMO

Have you been frustrated by the fact that you can't Snapchat your DJ Khaled-themed birthday party without sending everyone you didn't invite to the hospital with a severe case of FOMO? Snapchat is finally fixing that problem. Today Snapchat is unveiling custom Stories, which can be sent just to a specific group. The Stories can even be geo-fenced to a specific location or created as a group effort, perhaps as part of a team bonding exercise at a corporate retreat. According to a Snapchat blog post, "Snapchatters can create a Story in collaboration with friends and family—perfect for a trip, a birthday party, or those new baby Snaps for family members across the country." That means you can finally Snapchat baby photos to your Nana. 

To get in on the Story fun, simply tap the "Create Story" icon located in the top right corner of the Stories page and remember "you decide who can add to the Story and who can view it," so use your power wisely. Just remember, stories disappear if no one has contributed to them in the past 24 hours so they won't fully replace commemorative keychains as souvenirs of a great party.

[Photo: Snap, Inc.]

05.23.17 | 3 hours ago

Scribd adds top newspapers to its premium digital subscription service

The digital reading subscription service is adding articles from the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, The Guardian, and Financial Times to its mix of books, audiobooks, magazines, and documents. It's also introducing platform enhancements, including a redesign and enhanced recommendation tools that feature the articles right next to its existing selection of content. Last November, Scribd expanded into magazine content, featuring current and archived stories from Ad Age, Bloomberg Businessweek, Entrepreneur, ESPN The Magazine, Foreign Policy, Fortune, New York Magazine, People, Time, and more.

"The holistic reading experience we present through books, audiobooks, magazines—and now premium newspapers—will continue to keep our in-the-know readers both informed and engaged in what's going on in the world," said Scribd CEO Trip Adler. "Additionally, we're continuing to help our publishing and trusted news partners reach new audiences."

05.23.17 | 6:37 am

Watch live as NASA astronauts spacewalk to repair the ISS

Astronauts Peggy Whitson and Jack Fischer will replace a data box that controls solar arrays and other equipment on the space station.

05.23.17 | 6:20 am

Hong Kong has arrested 21 Uber drivers

The arrests are the latest in a clampdown by the city on illegal car-hiring, reports Reuters. The 21 drivers were arrested for "illegally driving a car for hire and driving without third-party risk insurance." In a pointed message to Uber, Hong Kong's chief inspector of police for the Kowloon West district said:

"I would like to stress that our law enforcement action is ongoing and we do not rule out further arrests. We would like to say to the operator of the mobile phone application, as a responsible organization, you need to ensure cars for hire are equipped with a permit as required by Hong Kong laws. This is a basic responsibility to passengers and (shows) respect for Hong Kong laws."

05.23.17 | 5:56 am

Google’s AlphaGo AI just beat the world’s number one Go player

Thankfully, humanity has a chance to fight back as there are still two more matches to go. Until then, we will admit it's getting scary at how well software is able to not only match but beat the strategic thought processes of a human. If you have six hours to kill, you can check out the first match below.

05.23.17 | 5:48 am

Apple and Nokia bury the hatchet and hope to team up on health

The two companies have issued a joint statement announcing they've settled the patent suit Nokia brought against Apple last year. As part of the agreement, Nokia will receive an up-front cash payment from Apple, and its line of health tech products (formerly the Withings brand) will return to Apple Store shelves. Interestingly, the statement also says the two companies will be "exploring future collaboration in digital health initiatives" but doesn't get more specific than that.

05.23.17 | 5:32 am

Here’s the latest on the terror attack in Manchester, England

• At 10:33 p.m. local time (5:33 p.m. EDT) a suicide bomber detonated an improvised explosive device (IED) as fans were leaving an Ariana Grande concert at the Manchester Arena.

• 22 people have so far died from the attack. Children are among the fatalities.

• 59 additional people were injured and many are being treated for life threatening conditions.

• U.K. Prime Minister Theresa May has called the incident a "callous terrorist attack"

• The attack was Britain's worse since 7/7, the July 7, 2005, London bombing where 56 people were killed on public transport including the tube and buses.

• Greater Manchester Police said the attack was carried out by a lone male who died in the explosion. However, they do not yet know if he was acting alone in planning the attack. The police believe they know the attacker's name, but is withholding that information for now.

• Greater Manchester Police have confirmed they have arrested a 23-year-old man. The arrest is connected to the terror attack.

The Independent is reporting that the first confirmed victim of the attack was 18-year-old Georgina Bethany Callander. In the tweet below you can see her standing next to Ariana Grande.

• President Donald Trump has called the attacker a "loser": 

"We stand in absolute solidarity with the people of the U.K., so many beautiful young innocent people killed, living their lives [and] killed by evil losers. I won't call them monsters because they would like that term. They would think it was a great term. I will call them from now on losers. Because that's what they are—losers. We will have more of them but they are losers. Remember that."

• The vice president of the EU Commission's statement on the attack:

• Ariana Grande had this to say:

• Other major cities are stepping up security as a precautionary measure:

• Leaders around the world have expressed their condolences:

05.22.17 | 5:22 pm

Twitter picks e-sports king to lead its live business

Twitter CFO announced today that the company has hired Todd Swidler as its new "Global Head of Live Business." According to LinkedIn, Swidler was most recently CEO of the e-sports gaming company ESC Games.

Twitter is trying to become a more dominant digital player, and video is one of the company's big priorities, as CEO Jack Dorsey has repeatedly emphasized in recent months.