The White House is bringing in Twitter exec Nicole Wong as its new deputy U.S. chief technology officer. “Wong, who has been Twitter’s legal director of products since November, will be working on Internet privacy and technology issues,” The Washington Post reports. Regarding Wong, WaPo writes: “She is widely admired in the industry as a leading thinker on free speech and privacy issues.”
Smartphone messaging app WhatsApp says it has surpassed 250 million monthly users. “It makes WhatsApp one of the largest messaging platforms and possibly bigger than Twitter,” The Wall Street Journal’s Digits blog reports. What’s more, “The figure is impressive for a company that launched its app just four years ago and that spends no money marketing itself.”
To the delight of Alec Baldwin and other gadget-happy consumers, the Federal Aviation Administration is ready to relax the ban on using some types of personal-electronic devices at low altitudes, The Wall Street Journal reports. For fliers, the new rules would likely mean an end to familiar admonitions to turn off and stow all electronic devices.”
Twitter is reportedly preparing to let retail brands show promoted tweets to consumer who open mobile apps within close proximity to their stores. “Twitter will enable ads to be targeted to people who are near specific latitudes and longitudes and could be ready as soon as the fourth quarter,” AdAge reports, citing sources.
Spindle’s days are numbered now Twitter has acquired the social startup. As AllThingsD reports, Twitter plans to shut down the service -- which focuses on the location and check-in space, and discovering local places of interest nearby -- and put its team of engineers to work on related projects.
The Associated Press is making a strategic investment in mobile video startup Bambuser. “The upstart mobile video service … has carved out a name for itself as a crucial tool for eyewitnesses to record and transmit footage of major events -- be they political uprisings, bombings or a star sighting,” TechCrunch reports. The investment is reportedly in the mid six figures.
A new “mobile meter” will soon limit the amount of content The New York Times mobile readers can access on a daily basis. “The restrictions mean that non-subscribers will have access to just three stories per day from across all sections of the site, including blogs and slideshows,” The Next Web reports.
Worldwide, paid digital news products are on the rise, according to a new Digital News Report from the Reuters Institute at University of Oxford. “Newspaper publishers beleaguered by digital developments for the past decade are starting to believe that business models to support digital journalism have emerged,” The Guardian reports.
Travel portal TripAdvisor has scooped up mobile app GateGuru for an undisclosed sum. GateGuru’s app offers real-time information on airports, weather, and flights. “Much of that [information] is picked up from crowdsourcing, not unlike Waze -- acquired by Google last week -- does with road travel,” TechCrunch write of GateGuru.
Unlike Netflix, Amazon apparently doesn’t want viewers binging on its original content. As such, Amazon’s new political comedy starring John Goodman, “Alpha House,” will not be offered to subscribers all at once, The Wrap reports. Netflix, by contrast, “has made a habit of making its original programs available all at once.”