The security platform for Samsung Electronics Co.’s Galaxy S4 smartphone suffers from a vulnerability that could allow malicious software to track emails and record data communications, per cybersecurity researchers at Israel’s Ben-Gurion University of the Negev, notes All Things D. The gap, found earlier this month, comes as Samsung pitches Knox, the new security platform, to potential clients at the U.S. Department of Defense and other government and corporate entities.
Fortune goes inside Google Ventures, and its investors are interested in everything but search technology and online advertising. Current investments include Foundation, a newly public company that offers a diagnostic test to help doctors decide on drugs to fight specific tumors, and SynapDx, which is developing a blood test for the early detection of autism. “Collectively, they say a lot about where Google sees an opportunity to bring disruptive innovation to create a different future,” Fortune writes.
Google is trying to make it easier for search users to surface authoritative voices across various topics. “Google is working on promoting the content of authorities on topics, so if an expert writes on a topic on any site, Google will notice that and make sure the content ranks better than non-authorities,” Search Engine Land reports, citing comments from Google search engineer Matt Cutts. “It is not about demoting sites, but rather promoting the ‘good guy.’ ”
Music streaming and discovery startups are falling like flies. Less than a month after Turntable.fm streamed its last dance, ExFM says it’s shutting down. “The company, which operates a music-discovery Web site, as well as iPhone and Android apps, says it will shut down its apps, as well as the guts of its site, on Jan. 15,” AllThingsD reports. What happened? “Startups are hard, and music startups are much harder.”
Finishing 2013 strong, the privately held Answers.com just raised $300 million, and has agreed to buy customer experience analytics company ForeSee. “It’s an interesting move for Answers, which has had a complete turnaround in the past five years,” TechCrunch writes. “Answers originally only operated a community-generated Q&A site … and was a public company.”
Mobile messager WhatsApp now boasts 400 million monthly active users – up from 200 million April. “Just as stable as the user growth has been actual engagement,” Bloomberg reports. “Today, users send an average of roughly 40 messages each per day on WhatsApp -- the same number they were sending back in June.” WhatsApp CEO Jan Koum tells Bloomberg that the startup’s steady growth is largely due to its “focus on messaging.”
With billions of dollars in fines still hanging over its head, Google has yet to appease the EU over outstanding antitrust allegations. Likely pushing the saga into the New Year, European Union competition commissioner Joaquin Almunia on Friday rejected Google’s revised proposals to settle the case once and for all. “Google's original proposal in April was rejected by its competitors,” Reuters reports.
From Patch to Citysearch to Sidewalk, why have local journalism networks so far failed to prosper? For starters, they fail to fully appreciate “regional idiosyncrasies,” according to Folio. “Local markets need individual, customized management.” According to the trade magazine, the networks would be wise to take a page from Nicole Vogel, president of Sagacity Media, which publishes 10 titles across the Western United States.
Will The New York Times add legitimacy to native advertising, or will the divisive ad model muddy the publisher’s good name? Only time will tell, but, as NYT’s public editor reports, the paper of record is definitely diving into native. “After months of preparation and scrutiny, ‘native advertising’ is about to arrive at The Times,” Margaret Sullivan reports.
Flickr is finally giving users a broad set of options for embedding images on other Web pages. Putting the change into perspective, The Verge writes: “The past few months have seen Flickr take some major strides forward in catching up to its younger photo-sharing competitors.” In addition to the new embedding options, Flickr recently refreshed its Web interface and app offerings, and gave users a ton of extra data storage.