<![CDATA[NBC Bay Area - Tech News]]> Copyright 2015 http://www.nbcbayarea.com/news/tech http://media.nbcbayarea.com/designimages/nbc_bayarea_blue.png NBC Bay Area http://www.nbcbayarea.com en-us Tue, 01 Sep 2015 13:51:46 -0700 Tue, 01 Sep 2015 13:51:46 -0700 NBC Owned Television Stations <![CDATA[Google Changes Logos]]> Tue, 01 Sep 2015 12:54:30 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/new-google-logo.jpg

Google unveiled changes to the main and icon corporate logos on Tuesday.

The company showed off the largely subtle changes via an animated "Doodle" on the homepage and an evolutionary video posted to YouTube.

The main logo now has more pronounced lettering, while the icon, formerly a lowercase g, is now a rainbow colored capital G.

In a blog post, the company explained the new logos are easier to see across different platforms and on the smallest of screens. A new "Google mic" element will "help you identify and interact with Google whether you're talking, tapping or typing."

According to Fast Company, the logo change, which uses a sans serif typeface that Google created, is its "biggest update in 16 years."



Photo Credit: NBC Bay Area
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<![CDATA[Tech Migrates Back to South Bay]]> Mon, 31 Aug 2015 18:40:11 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/N6P-SJ-TECH-MIGRATION-PKG---00001123.jpg

The offices of Intelicare Direct are busy.

Filled with boxes, workers drilling holes, and lots of people training.

The company isn’t even open yet, but it’s getting ready. The startup is about to hire 130 people.

Immediately.

Intelicare, like Apple, Google, LinkedIn and many other tech companies, is making a move to the South Bay.

Why the South Bay?

“It’s where the action is, right now,” says Tech historian Michael Malone.

After a decade spent moving north to San Francisco, the tech industry is making its biggest move South since the days when chips ruled the industry.

Now, it’s about hardware and manufacturing, “good middle-class jobs,” says San Jose Director of Economic Development Kim Walesh.

Scott follows stocks on Twitter: @scottbudman



Photo Credit: NBC Bay Area]]>
<![CDATA[Eatsa Promises Automated Fast Food]]> Mon, 31 Aug 2015 17:19:49 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/202*120/eatsa.PNG

It's a brave new world.

Futuristic restaurant eatsa opened its doors in downtown San Francisco Friday, bringing customized quinoa bowls and a fully automated experience that promises blazing fast — and healthy — fast food.

There are no human beings at eatsa. At least no visible ones. And the founders want it that way.

"By developing new technology to automate every aspect of the food experience, we are able to deliver a product with the best qualities of premium fast casual at a price point that is accessible to everyone," said eatsa co-founder Tim Young.

eatsa, which is located at 121 Spear St., promises to serve $6.95 dishes with quinoa as the basis for each bowl, including salads and curries. Virtual cashiers mean no wait time for customers, eatsa says. You can order on an iPad and robot cubbies will present the food to customers at the touch of a button. "It's essentially lunch on demand," said co-founder Scott Drummond. "eatsa's Order Anywhere concept translates to zero wait time for customers. No more waiting in line. No more $12 lunch salads."

Possibly the most high-tech restaurant ever?



Photo Credit: Eatsa]]>
<![CDATA[Nearly 90,000 Women Joined Ashley Madison Last Week]]> Mon, 31 Aug 2015 08:51:58 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/GettyImages-484478072.jpg

Hundreds of thousands of people signed up for affair-seeking website Ashley Madison in the last week, parent company Avid Life Media said on Monday, even after a massive hack that leaked clients' information, Reuters reported. 

"Last week alone, women sent more than 2.8 million messages within our platform," Avid Life said, adding that 87,596 women had also signed up for Ashley Madison last week.

The company also struck back at reports that the site had few genuine female users, saying internal data released by hackers had been incorrectly analyzed.



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Crowdfunding Site Creates Gift Cards for Homeless]]> Fri, 28 Aug 2015 19:49:45 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/216*120/handupgiftcard.jpg

HandUp, a San Francisco based crowdfunding site that raises money for specific homeless cases, has created gift cards that can be redeemed for foods and goods.  

Available in $25 increments, the cards can be brought to partner organizations such as Project Homeless Connect and exchanged for needed items. The purchaser of the gift card is then sent an email detailing where the card was turned in and what items were procured.

According to TechCrunch, investors including Marc Benioff, Eric Ries and SV Angel have helped HandUp raise $850,000 in seed funding.

HandUp's got an even bigger mission to tackle.

"Some of our really big goals involve not only distributing private money, but also making distributing government benefits more efficient as well," founder Rose Broome told the publication.

 



Photo Credit: HandUp]]>
<![CDATA[Facebook Hits Billion Visitor Mark in One Day ]]> Thu, 27 Aug 2015 16:24:18 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/175*120/facebookaugust.jpg

Think Facebook has fallen out of social media favor? Tell the one billion people who visited the site on Monday.

"We just passed an important milestone. For the first time ever, one billion people used Facebook in a single day," founder Mark Zuckerberg wrote in a Facebook post on Thursday.

Zuckerberg noted that figure equates to approximately one in seven people on the planet.

"I'm so proud of our community for the progress we've made," he wrote. "Our community stands for giving every person a voice, for promoting understanding and for including everyone in the opportunities of our modern world. A more open and connected world is a better world."

The top "liked" comment to Zuckerberg's post came from user Susan Chesney: "In the 2011 earthquake in Japan - my family wouldn't have known that my kids and I were ok...or our whereabouts if it weren't for FB. Normal email communication and phone lines were down, but thank goodness FB was up!"

"It's amazing to hear this story," Zuckerberg replied. "This is what motivates us to keep making Facebook better."



Photo Credit: Bloomberg via Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Too Hip to Be Square: Instagram to Allow Landscape Photos]]> Thu, 27 Aug 2015 12:09:58 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/GettyImages-146168661.jpg

Instagram photographers around the world are pleased that the photo-sharing service has decided to think outside the box.

"You can now share photos and videos in both portrait and landscape orientation on Instagram," the online application announced on its website.

Square format images have been a part of Instagram since day one, however, the company realized that square imaging has caused some problems for users.

"We know that is hasn't been easy to share this type of content on Instagram: friends get cut out of group shots, the subject of your video feels cramped and you can't capture the Golden Gate Bridge from end-to-end," Instagram's announcement said. 

With the new feature, users now have the option to choose a square, portrait or landscape orientation when posting a video or photo. 

It's been long debated by videographers that cellphone videos should be shot in landscape or "long ways" rather than vertical.

Instagram hopes its new option to post a video in widescreen will make a mobile video be more "cinematic than ever." 



Photo Credit: AFP/Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA['Hey Siri, Give Us a Hint': Apple Event Scheduled for Sept. 9]]> Fri, 28 Aug 2015 10:51:50 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/229*120/siri.PNG

"Hey, Siri, give us a hint.”

That’s the cheeky opening Apple gave reporters this morning as part of an event invitation for the latest product update, scheduled for Sept. 9.

But as many reporters and analysts have already found, Siri isn't saying much. Apple tracker Carolina Milanesi of KWP Research, for example, got the response “I’d rather not say, Carolina" when she pressed the voice-activated feature for more clues about the event. 

The tight-lipped approach hasn't stopped the speculation surrounding Apple's plans. An update to the iPhone is due. But given Apple’s habit of updating incrementally, observers don’t expect a full-blown iPhone 7, rather an “S” update to the current phones. Perhaps more storage, a better camera, and some "gee-whiz" features to keep pace with recent Android smartphone updates from the likes of Samsung and 1+.

There’s also talk of an iPad update – perhaps a bigger tablet with more business-type features to try and make inroads into the business market – along with the ever-present rumors of an Apple TV update that includes apps, and maybe even a subscription service to take on the cable companies.

If the invitation’s tease is indeed a hint itself, look for more Siri integration in the latest gadgets.

NBC Bay Area tech reporter Scott Budman will provide Apple updates on Twitter: @scottbudman



Photo Credit: Apple
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<![CDATA[Pixar Teaching Next Generation How to Make Movies]]> Wed, 26 Aug 2015 18:46:38 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/160*140/tlmd_04_pixar_caricaturas.jpg Pixar is putting some if its secrets online to help others learn. Scott Budman reports.

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Google Files Patent for Monitoring, Reporting Potholes]]> Wed, 26 Aug 2015 17:42:12 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/potholes6.jpg

Among Google's many current concerns are addressing potential bumps in the road.

According to Gizmodo, Google has filed a patent for a system that could help Google Maps plot routes that minimize potholes.

It could also help avoid Google's self-driving vehicles avoid accidents.

The abstract for the patent, filed on Aug. 18, outlines a series of potential vehicle sensors that could work with an onboard GPS system to collect and transmit data on poor road conditions "to improve driving directions in mapping software."



Photo Credit: NBC 5 News]]>
<![CDATA[Nevada Man Pleads Guilty to Spamming Facebook Users]]> Tue, 25 Aug 2015 00:44:52 -0700 > on May 9, 2011 in San Anselmo, California.]]> > on May 9, 2011 in San Anselmo, California.]]> http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/204*120/GettyImages-113888441.jpg

A Nevada man pleaded guilty Monday to sending more than 27 million spam messages to Facebook users, federal officials said.

U.S. Attorney Melinda Haag said Sanford Wallace, of Las Vegas, admitted in federal court in San Jose, California, to accessing about 500,000 Facebook accounts and sending unsolicited ads disguised as friend posts over a three-month span.

Wallace collected Facebook user account information by sending "phishing" messages that tricked users of the social networking site into providing their passwords, prosecutors said.

He then used that information to log into their accounts and post spam messages on their friends' Facebook walls, according to the indictment. Those who clicked on the link, thinking it came from a friend, were redirected to websites that paid Wallace for the Internet traffic.

In 2009, Palo Alto-based Facebook sued Wallace under federal anti-spam laws known as CAN-SPAM, prompting a judge to issue a temporary restraining order banning him from using the website.

Wallace, 47, acknowledged accessing Facebook's computer network in order to send the spam messages on three occasions between November 2008 and February 2009.

Wallace also admitted that he violated a court order not to access Facebook's computer network. He was charged with fraud and criminal contempt, Haag said.

Wallace is free on bond and scheduled to be sentenced in December. He faces a $250,000 fine and up to three years in prison.

Wallace's lawyer could not immediately be reached for comment.



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Twitter Shuts Down Sites That Collect Deleted Tweets]]> Tue, 25 Aug 2015 09:55:06 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/242*120/politwoopsscreenshot.jpg

When politicians or diplomats delete controversial tweets, should they be allowed to just disappear? Twitter seems to think so.

Though The Guardian reported that the San Francisco company shut down Politwoops, an American website run by Sunlight Foundation, back in May, archival sites were still operating in several other countries until just a few days ago.

According to an announcement posted Sunday to Open State Foundation, publisher of a companion site for diplomats called Diplotwoops, Twitter announced over the weekend that it has blocked access to Diplotwoops as well as Politwoops sites in Argentina, Australia, Canada, Chile, Croatia, Denmark, Portugal, Egypt, Estonia, France, Greece, India, Ireland, Italy, South Korea, Macedonia, Norway, Belgium, United Kingdom, Germany, The Netherlands, Sweden, Spain, Switzerland, Tunisia, Turkey and the Vatican.

Open State Foundation revealed a portion of Twitter's statement to the organization said, "Imagine how nerve-racking – terrifying, even – tweeting would be if it was immutable and irrevocable? No one user is more deserving of that ability than another. Indeed, deleting a tweet is an expression of the user’s voice."

"What elected politicians publicly say is a matter of public record," said Open State Foundation's director Arjan El Fassed. "Even when tweets are deleted, it’s part of parliamentary history. These tweets were once posted and later deleted. What politicians say in public should be available to anyone. This is not about typos but it is a unique insight on how messages from elected politicians can change without notice."



Photo Credit: Politwoops]]>
<![CDATA[Google Maps Shows Interest in Food Photos, or 'Foodographs']]> Mon, 24 Aug 2015 17:32:01 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/180*120/sushigenerictp.JPG

Select Android users who are part of Google Maps' Local Guides program are now encouraged to upload photos of food — or, in company parlance, "foodographs."

TechCrunch noted that this newly added feature differs from the universal ability to upload photos to Google Maps in that it could be a conscious effort to recruit higher quality results from the current users, who have established an archive of at least 50 reviews as part of Local Guides.

It also pairs well with Google's recent restaurant delivery service partnerships to enable ordering food right from the Google homepage.

A company spokesperson told the publication that there are no announcements to make at this time as to whether this will be a feature that is eventually available to all users.



Photo Credit: Tamara Palmer]]>
<![CDATA[Tech Stocks Ride #BlackMonday Roller Coaster]]> Mon, 24 Aug 2015 17:35:29 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/NYSE+Floor+Bump+-+17172811.jpg

It’s being called Black Monday. #BlackMonday for the social media set.

Either way, Silicon Valley spent Monday watching the market whiplash, especially closely because tech stocks were caught up in some of the most roller coaster selling ever seen.

Netflix, for example: Remember how market pundits said the company’s 7-1 stock split would calm down those gut-wrenching moves? Not Monday. Netflix traded at $85 a share in the morning, then zoomed back to $109 before you could stream an episode of “Orange is the New Black.” That’s a range of $24 a share … in a morning.

Apple, too, was all over the place, and this is one of the Valley’s more mature stocks. It opened at $92 a share. Then, as the market improved, and word got out that Apple CEO Tim Cook sent an email to CNBC’s Jim Cramer about strength in the Chinese market, Apple shares zoomed to $108. Shares around $104 in the last half-hour of trading.

Both Netflix and Apple ended up down for the day, but it could have been worse. It’s been a Black Monday – it’s also been a Comeback Monday.

Scott follows stocks on Twitter: @scottbudman



Photo Credit: NBC
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<![CDATA[Apple to Replace Camera on Some iPhones]]> Mon, 24 Aug 2015 11:37:52 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/GettyImages-481503466.jpg

Apple announced a program to fix a camera issue on a batch of iPhone 6 Plus devices sold between September 2014 and January 2015, according to a statement on the company's website.

A component in the phone's camera is causing photos to appear blurry on some of the devices, the company said.

For this reason, Apple asks that anyone experiencing issues with blurry photos on a phone bought between this time to contact contact an authorized service provider, its technical support team, or to make an appointment at a retail store.

Once Apple determines the phone reaches the proper requirements, they will replace the device's iSight free of charge. Wireless carriers are not able to fix this issue. 

An iPhone 6 Plus with a cracked screen or other damage that will impair camera replacement must be fixed prior to service. 

Click here to see if your phone is eligible for the program. 



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Google Express Shutters Bay Area Delivery Hubs]]> Fri, 21 Aug 2015 13:38:48 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/Google-Shopping-Express.jpg

Bay Area customers of Google's Express delivery service will soon need to find a new alternative.

The company plans to close its Google Express delivery hubs in San Francisco and Mountain View, according to sources reported by Re/code.

Google hasn't commented on the decision. 

Last month, the publication noted imminent plans for Google Express workers to unionize.

Google Express still appears to operate in Los Angeles, New York City, Chicago, Boston and Washington, D.C.

Meanwhile, rival Amazon might be going ahead with plans for a drive-thru grocery store in Sunnyvale.



Photo Credit: AP]]>
<![CDATA[Stephen Hawking's Voice Now Available As Open Source Software]]> Thu, 20 Aug 2015 18:56:10 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/AP_901166803859.jpg

Stephen Hawking is known for his brilliant theories involving black holes, quantum mechanics ... and One Direction. He is also known for his distinctive voice.

Now Intel is making that voice available to the public for free. The technology -- called the Assistive Context-Aware Toolkit (ACAT) -- was developed over three years by Intel Labs for Hawking, who has suffered from amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) since he was 21 years old. 

Since then, it has allowed Hawking to share his views on everything from God to artificial intelligence.

"Our hope is that, by open sourcing this configurable platform, developers will continue to expand on this system by adding new user interfaces, new sensing modalities, word prediction and many other features," Sai Prasad, the ACAT project owner, wrote on Intel's website.



Photo Credit: Joel Ryan/Invision/AP
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<![CDATA[Hyperloop Company Sets Groundbreaking for May 2016]]> Thu, 20 Aug 2015 15:45:49 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/hyperloop1.jpg

The company working on building a 5-mile stretch of Hyperloop test track in California’s Central Valley has announced it will begin construction in May 2016.

California-based Hyperloop Transportation Technologies said Thursday it would break ground on the privately funded transportation project in Kings County and also announced three new partnerships to assist with development of the Hyperloop, which aims to transport passengers in pods that travel up to 750 mph.

Tech Insider reports HTT’s new partners will include a Swiss firm that builds high-tech vacuums and Southern California-based architecture firm Hodgetts + Fung, best known for their work on the new Hollywood Bowl and renovation of the Egyptian Theater.

HTT announced its plan to build a test track north of Los Angeles at a site called Quay Valley earlier this year, but didn’t give a clear timeline of when construction would begin until Thursday.

Passengers could be using the system as soon as 2018, the company said.

SpaceX and Tesla CEO Elon Musk first introduced the Hyperloop concept in 2013. With a functional Hyperloop, passengers would be able to travel from San Francisco to Los Angeles in just a half hour.

]]>
<![CDATA['RoboKiller' App Nets $25K Prize for NJ Hackers ]]> Thu, 20 Aug 2015 14:00:28 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/GettyImages-483836276smartphone82015.jpg

Tired of receiving phone calls about nonexistent grand prizes and luxury cruises at odd hours?

Well, the Federal Trade Commission has awarded two New Jersey hackers its top prize for developing an app intended to make those pesky robocallers go away.

The FTC announced the winner of its anti-robocall technology contest, Robocalls: Humanity Strikes Back, on Monday. The winning team, Ethan Garr and Bryan Moyles, received a cash prize of $25,000 for their mobile app, RoboKiller. Garr and Moyles work together at TelTech Systems, in South Amboy, New Jersey. The app relies on call forwarding and works on both landline and mobile phones. Users have greater control over how and when they receive calls by sending robocalls to a SpamBox and using personal filtering lists.

The FTC enlisted tech gurus at DEF CON, an annual hacker conference, as part of its broader campaign to fight illegal robocalls. This year’s conference was held from Aug. 6-9 in Las Vegas. A second-place winner, Hemant Sengar, was also announced. Sengar received a $10,500 cash prize.

The reason robocalls are still such a common problem is that telephone carriers do not have access to the content of calls themselves, said FTC spokeswoman Patty Hsue. "It's very difficult for carriers to really figure out what calls are good calls and bad calls," she said. "Until we figure out ways to differentiate good calls from bad calls, it's going to be a difficult issue to crack."

The FTC also announced the winners of DetectaRobo, a contest that asked participants to develop an algorithm that could predict which calls were likely to be robocalls. Team HaV was dubbed Champion RoboSleuth.



Photo Credit: Bloomberg via Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Golden Gate Park Risky Spot for Mobile Security]]> Thu, 20 Aug 2015 12:31:41 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/mobile-phone-lost.jpg

A new report cites Golden Gate Park as one of the worst tourist spots for getting a phone hacked in the country.

According to a new list compiled by mobile security firm Skycure, Golden Gate Park is the second worst attraction in the nation when it comes to cyber crime, following Times Square in New York.

To minimize threats, Skycure advises that online users should avoid free WiFi networks, keep their operating systems updated, disconnect from a network if your device crashes frequently or issues a warning notification, and to download their mobile security app.



Photo Credit: NBC 5 News]]>
<![CDATA[Robot Butler Starts Work at Silicon Valley Hotel]]> Wed, 19 Aug 2015 14:45:03 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/aloft-robot-butler.jpg

The day has come.

Aloft Silicon Valley in Newark now has a full-time robot butler on duty.

The so-called "Botlr" is the second automated employee for the hotel chain, which also installed one last year at Aloft Cupertino.

Duties include delivering morning newspapers, toothbrushes, and other amenities to guests in their room. Instead of tips, Botlr encourages Tweets.

According to Wired, the Botlr was developed in 2014 by Savioke, a Santa Clara firm that creates robot helpers for various service industries.

Critics have called on the hotel chain to invest in higher wages for its employees instead of robotic butlers. One union rep told the BBC last year the machines are nothing more than "a nifty little gimmick."

Meanwhile, the original Botlr at Aloft Cupertino is about to hit the road for a brief tour of the East Coast before returning to duty.



Photo Credit: Aloft Hotels]]>
<![CDATA[Dropbox Scouts for Diversity Leader]]> Wed, 19 Aug 2015 13:59:26 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/172*120/dropboxfounders.JPG

Dropbox is the latest Bay Area tech company to seek to hire a Head of Diversity.

"In this role, you’ll develop specific strategies to embed diversity and inclusion into Dropbox’s day-to-day operations, practices, processes and employee development," reads a job listing posted on Aug. 5.

According to International Business Times, this new position was advertised just a month after a former Dropbox employee made headlines for speaking out about her negative experiences working at the company as a black woman.

This included being frequently mistaken for one of the "few other" black women there and hearing from one co-worker following the murder of Michael Brown in Ferguson that "Black people get shot and killed every day — it's not that big of a deal."

Other jobs currently open in Dropbox's San Francisco office include a diversity sourcer — and a head pastry chef.



Photo Credit: Dropbox]]>
<![CDATA[New Google Tool Shows How Much Sunlight Your Home Receives]]> Tue, 18 Aug 2015 23:47:44 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/0818-2015-SolarPanel.jpg

As the cost of installing solar panels hits record lows, Google is now offering a tool that allows homeowners to see just how much they could save.

Launched Monday, Project Sunroof  calculates how many sunlight hours your roof receives each year, how much you could save over a 20-year period, and what system would work best for your house just by entering the street address.

Matthew Welch is the owner of Earth Electric, a company that installs solar panels. He thinks Project Sunroof will inspire homeowners to take the leap and go solar.

“It's going to generate a lot of buzz right now," Welch said. "I expect my phone to ring.”

The site offers an estimated savings. Welch says those prices may vary by company and based on whether you have any obstructions on your roof.

“For our quotes … we absolutely must come out to the house and do a site survey,” he said.

Earth Electric visited a homeowner on Tuesday who said the Project Sunroof estimates were spot on.

“We put a lot of research into our decision and [Project Sunroof] confirmed what we had found. It recommended a system very close to the size we got,” homeowner Anne Cowan said.

Project Sunroof is currently only available in the Bay Area, Fresno, Calif., and Boston, Mass.



Photo Credit: NBC Bay Area]]>
<![CDATA[You Can Now Review the TSA on Yelp]]> Wed, 19 Aug 2015 09:02:12 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/Yelp-Reviews-0520.jpg

Not a fan of the TSA? Or have something really nice to say about a TSA field agent who helped you at the security check point?

Now Yelp says you can review the agency – plus landmarks, national parks and other government agencies – on the app, and maybe even get a response.

In a blog post Tuesday, Yelp said it had reached an agreement with the federal government that will allow "federal agencies and offices to claim their Yelp pages, read and respond to reviews, and incorporate that feedback into service improvements."

"We encourage Yelpers to review any of the thousands of agency field offices, TSA checkpoints, national parks, Social Security Administration offices, landmarks and other places already listed on Yelp if you have good or bad feedback to share about your experiences," the company said in a blog post. "Not only is it helpful to others who are looking for information on these services, but you can actually make an impact by sharing your feedback directly with the source."

“This allows agencies to go in and engage, and dedicate customer service staff to monitoring the feedback,” said Justin Herman, social media manager for GSA’s Office of Citizen Services and Innovative Technologies, told the Washington Post.

Earlier this year, a group of Democrats in Congress had called for a branch of the federal government to work with Yelp on user reviews for government agencies. 

"In order to make government work better, we need to make it easier for people to say what's working – and what isn't," said Congressman Ron Kind (D-Wi) in a July 1 statement

Yelp will also be working with ProPublica to incorporate health care statistics and consumer opinion survey data onto the Yelp business pages of more than 25,000 medical treatment facilities, the company said.

The social networking, user review and local search company is also partnering with local governements to display restaurant health scores.

Yelp users have been reviewing various TSA checkpoints on their own for some time now, but Yelp's announcement about the new page makes it official.

Here are some reviews about the TSA at San José and San Francisco international airports from past years:

SJC TSA: "Of course, I think SJC has probably the best TSA because they're usually extremely fast. You're in and out within a few minutes and they have a strong focus on efficiency. I like that at airports where everything else takes forever and everything costs a bazillion dollars."

SFO TSA: "Not sure how I feel about the aggressive enhanced pat-downs they perform here."

Republican presidential candidate Carly Fiorina tweeted today that she gave TSA a one star in her Yelp review:



Photo Credit: AP / File
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<![CDATA[Uber Starts Food Delivery Service in Bay Area]]> Mon, 17 Aug 2015 23:37:38 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/180*120/UberEATS-menu-Godmother-1024x683.jpg

Uber has turned its business model to the food delivery world.

The rideshare company on Tuesday will expand UberEATS to San Francisco. The new service allows customers to order meals from a daily changing menu of restaurant entrees and have them delivered in the same way that they would summon a ride.

The service will be available in San Francisco's Financial and South of Market districts.

Uber is partnering with hot spots like the Ramen Bar and Nopalito, offering entrees between $8 and $12, plus a $3 delivery fee. Meals are promised to arrive in 10 minutes after an order is placed on the app.

Some downtown workers doubt UberEATS can deliver on that promise.

"I don't know if people are going to get here on time," San Francisco-resident Julia Routhier said.

Star Chef Michael Mina also is partnering with UberEATS.

"It's a game changer," Mina said. "So many things take away from the restaurant business -- this has food coming out of restaurants."

UberEATS has already been in place in Chicago and New York. The service was previously tested out in Barcelona and Los Angeles; it was known as UberFRESH in the latter city.



Photo Credit: Courtesy of Uber]]>
<![CDATA[SF Shower Head Start-Up Receives Funding from Tim Cook]]> Thu, 13 Aug 2015 19:10:08 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/232*120/nebiashower.jpg

San Francisco company Nebia has created a new drought-friendly shower system that uses 70 percent less water than conventional shower heads, a product that could make a serious impact on water conservation efforts.

The system utilizes atomized water droplets that spray in a larger than average surface area, using an average of seven gallons of water for an eight-minute shower as opposed to the typical 20 gallons used.

Two days ago, the company posted a crowdfunding campaign on Kickstarter with a goal of $100,000; as of this writing, $1,385,758 has been pledged by 3,903 backers.

Incentives to donate include the chance to get a Nebia for $299 instead of the eventual retail price of $399 expected when it is available to buy next year.

Apple CEO Tim Cook is an early investor, according to Apple Insider.



Photo Credit: Nebia]]>
<![CDATA[Tesla's Fremont Factory Closed After Crane Knocks Down Power Line]]> Fri, 14 Aug 2015 11:10:38 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/211*120/teslamain.PNG

Tesla Motors closed its Fremont factory early Friday morning after a crane accidentally brought down a power line into the factory at 6:35 a.m., a Tesla spokesperson said.

PG&E is currently on site, evaluating the situation and hope to have power restored later Friday afternoon. "Most non factory employees will work from our Palo Alto or other offices, or from home today," Tesla said.

Tesla's automobile manufacturing plant in Fremont is the company's principal production facility. Tesla describes the factory on its website as "one of the world's most advanced automotive factories."

Fremont police tweeted Friday morning that they had received several phone calls regarding a loud evacuation alarm going off near the Tesla factory. The incident is isolated to the Tesla plant, police said, adding that no widespread evacuations were in place.

The Fremont police and fire are not involved in the incident.



Photo Credit: NBC Bay Area]]>
<![CDATA[Steve Jobs' Old BMW for Sale on Craigslist?]]> Thu, 13 Aug 2015 19:15:24 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/219*120/stevejobscarwinegar.jpg

A BMW that may have once been owned by Steve Jobs is for sale or trade on Craigslist.

The Craigslist ad, posted on Sunday, is seeking $11,000 or an offer of trade for a 1995 BMW 325i Convertible.

SFist noted that the "Certified DMV history document" shown in the ad as proof that Jobs was the first owner of the vehicle is hard to read. The paper pictured in the ad does appear to show that it was first registered to his wife Laurene, though the Craigslist seller calls her "Lorraine" in the ad.

NBC Bay Area emailed the anonymous address on the Craigslist ad to ask the seller what types of items they might consider for trade. "Antiques, original art, newer reliable vehicles, anything that would again be traded for something of even greater value," replied a man who identified himself as Julius Winegar.

Turns out that this is the hopeful beginning of a game Winegar is playing with himself.

"I want to trade 10 times to see what I end up with, starting with this car," he wrote.



Photo Credit: Julius Winegar]]>
<![CDATA[Tinder CEO Leaves After Five Months]]> Thu, 13 Aug 2015 10:09:56 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/140411-tinder-dating-app-mn-1310_6f284758e68894d5f153e1d324a00965.nbcnews-fp-1360-600.jpg

Tinder's latest CEO Christopher Payne just didn't match with the company.

Payne is leaving the position after just five months on the job. Taking over will be Tinder co-founder and current president Sean Rad, NBC News reported.

"I enjoyed my time at Tinder but we mutually determined that this wasn't going to be optimal and thought that a quick transition served everybody best," Payne said in a statement.

Payne, a former eBay executive, took over Tinder's helm in March.

Rad returns to the top spot after he was accused in a lawsuit of ignoring an employee's complaints about being sexually harassed within the company. Tinder's parent company settled with the accuser, the former vice president of marketing. 

The move comes after Tinder said this week that its social media team had "overreacted" for posting more than two dozen tweets slamming a Vanity Fair article.

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<![CDATA['Startup U' Premieres on Reality TV]]> Wed, 12 Aug 2015 11:27:54 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/212*120/tim-draper-2015-04-03_14-56-32.jpg

San Mateo's Draper University is the setting for a new reality television program.

The self-described "ecosystem for innovators," founded by Tim Draper, is the subject of "Startup U," which premiered Tuesday on the ABC Family network.

Draper is perhaps best known for Six Californias, his ballot initiative to divide the state into six separate regions, which in 2014 failed to draw enough signatures to get it on the 2016 ballot.

According to TechCrunch, "Startup U" follows 10 students as they compete in Draper's seven-week entrepreneurship program.

"I don't know if it's good yet, we'll find out!" Draper joked to the publication.

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<![CDATA[BMW Looking Into Possible Trademark Infringement By Google]]> Wed, 12 Aug 2015 12:17:44 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/466915567.jpg

When Google announced Monday that it had created a new operating structure which includes a new holding company called Alphabet, other companies that use the name went on high alert.

According to Re/code, one of those companies is BMW, which employs the Alphabet name for a subsidiary that deals with corporate vehicle fleets.

"We are examining whether there are any implications over trademarks," a spokesperson for the automobile company told the publication, adding that there are no plans to take legal action at this time.

A successful trademark suit would have to prove that the names caused reasonable confusion to the public by offering similar products or services.

"We liked the name Alphabet because it means a collection of letters that represent language, one of humanity's most important innovations, and is the core of how we index with Google search!" Google CEO Larry Page wrote in a blog post on Monday. "We also like that it means alpha-bet (Alpha is investment return above benchmark), which we strive for! I should add that we are not intending for this to be a big consumer brand with related products--the whole point is that Alphabet companies should have independence and develop their own brands."



Photo Credit: AFP/Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[San Franciscans Prefer 'Haha' to 'LOL': Facebook]]> Tue, 11 Aug 2015 18:23:06 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/stephen-curry-laughing.jpg

Facebook research indicates that users throughout the country prefer to express laughter by typing, "Haha" or "hehe" rather than "LOL," the acronym for "laugh out loud."

The social media company published a report of regionalized data that showed that different parts of the country favor these expressions or emojis that depict laughter.

San Franciscans seem to prefer, "Hehe" and "haha," but they also use "LOL;" emojis are not popular in the area, according to the research.

But, overall, there's no competition for the top spot. Mashable noted that 51.4 percent of online users on Facebook use "haha" as compared to 33.7 percent who choose an emoji and 1.9 percent who use "LOL."



Photo Credit: Getty]]>
<![CDATA[Google to Be Part of New Holding Company, 'Alphabet']]> Mon, 10 Aug 2015 18:52:52 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/466915567.jpg

It’s Silicon Valley’s version of Alphabet Soup.

Tech giant Google on Monday announced plans for a new operating structure, including a new umbrella company called "Alphabet" which will include – among other things – Google.

Google will become a subsidiary of Alphabet under the new structure.

The big headlines from this, at least right away, are that Google has a new CEO: Longtime executive Sundar Pichai. Alphabet itself will be run by Google founders Larry Page and Sergey Brin. For investors, Google stock will convert to Alphabet stock.

Google CEO Larry Page announced the decision in a blog post: "Alphabet Inc. will replace Google Inc. as the publicly-traded entity and all shares of Google will automatically convert into the same number of shares of Alphabet, with all of the same rights. Google will become a wholly-owned subsidiary of Alphabet. Our two classes of shares will continue to trade on Nasdaq as GOOGL and GOOG." (Google SEC Filing)

At first blush, this doesn’t seem like it will affect most Google users. Users will still be able to search, use docs, and all that – but their investment is already changing, for the better. Google shares (for right now, at least, listed as GOOG) are moving sharply higher in after-hours trading, likely because Google itself will be a leaner company, focusing on what makes it the most money.

Page said both he and Sergey Brin were excited about this new chapter in the life of Google: "The birth of Alphabet."

"We liked the name Alphabet because it means a collection of letters that represent language, one of humanity's most important innovations, and is the core of how we index with Google search!" Page wrote. "We also like that it means alpha-bet (Alpha is investment return above benchmark), which we strive for! I should add that we are not intending for this to be a big consumer brand with related products--the whole point is that Alphabet companies should have independence and develop their own brands."

Alphabet will also include Google's X lab, which is an incubator for new efforts such as Wing, Google's drone delivery service. Page said he and Brin were "also stoked" about growing Google's investment arms, Ventures and Capital, as part of this new structure.



Photo Credit: AFP/Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[10 Things About Sundar Pichai: Google's New CEO]]> Mon, 10 Aug 2015 17:11:17 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/177*120/SundarPichai.jpg

Google's new CEO Sundar Pichai likes the Golden State Warriors, the San Jose Earthquakes and is pro gay marriage. He was also captain of his high school cricket team in India, leading them to a victory in the Tamil Nadu regional cricket tournament.

Google stock rose five percent Monday following the tech giant's announcement of their new company "Alphabet," of which Google will now become a subsidiary.

Alphabet itself will be run by Google founders Larry Page and Sergey Brin. Page praised Pichai in a blog post Monday: 'Sergey and I have been super excited about his progress and dedication to the company. And it is clear to us and our board that it is time for Sundar to be CEO of Google," Page, who promoted Pichai to head of Google product in October 2014, wrote.

He added that Pichai was someone who would "always be focused on innovation -- continuing to stretch boundaries."

Here's 10 things about Google's new CEO Sundar Pichai:

  • Pichai Sundararajan, better known as Sundar Pichai, joined Google in 2004
  • He previously worked at Applied Materials and McKinsey & Co.
  • He worked on Google Chrome, Chrome OS, Gmail, Google Maps.
  • He was born in 1972 in Chennai (previously Madras), India and is an Indian national.
  • He graduated from the Indian Institute of Technology Kharagpur and was educated at the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania, Stanford University.
  • He was nominated as the CNN-IBN Indian of the Year Global Indian.
  • Pichai lives in the San Francisco Bay Area.
  • His last post on Google+ was on May 28, 2015.
  • He is married to Anjali Pichai and has a daughter and a son.
  • Last activity on Twitter: Pichai, who currently has 143K followers, retweeted a tweet by Tesla. CEO Elon Musk on Jul 31 about an update on parallel autopark.



Photo Credit: Getty Images
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<![CDATA[#ILookLikeAnEngineer Campaign Exceeds Goals]]> Fri, 07 Aug 2015 16:35:04 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/180*120/zrhqauzhsn72uzehqtzl.jpg

A crowdfunding campaign to promote the diversity of the Bay Area engineer community is taking off.

As of this writing, $9,984 has been raised on Indiegogo to put towards the rental of a billboard in San Francisco that promotes a social media campaign called #ILookLikeAnEngineer. The financial goal was $3,500.

The hashtag, started by engineer Isis Wenger, encourages women and people of color to announce their positive presence in a field that isn't always recognized for being as multicultural as it really is.

Wenger told TechCrunch that she isn't behind the fundraising effort, but that "People have taken the message I started and are continuing the conversation themselves. I am absolutely taken with gratitude."



Photo Credit: #ILookLikeAnEngineer]]>
<![CDATA[SFPD Assigns Police Officer to 'Instagram Beat']]> Fri, 07 Aug 2015 20:20:56 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/180*120/INSTA1.jpg

Do you Instagram? Here's a cautionary tale for anyone who might need a reminder not to incriminate themselves online: The San Francisco Police Department has at least one officer for whom Instagram is a major beat.

In reviewing the decision of a case involving evidence found on Instagram ultimately used to win a conviction, Business Insider discovered that Officer Eduard Ochoa had been informally known as the "Instagram officer" in his department for three to four years, routinely using the app in investigations. "His training and experience had taught him 'how to monitor and track individuals through Instagram,'" the court document said.

A spokesperson for Instagram told NBC Bay Area the company was "not aware of any such officers."

SFPD spokesperson Officer Albie Esparza told NBC Bay Area that SFPD does not designate anyone solely for social media. "These are officers/investigators who use social media as an investigative tool as part of their investigations," Esparza said.

Instagram is just one of several social media sites that might be used when looking for answers in a case, according to SFPD.

In the firearms conviction case, police were scanning the Instagram account "40glock" which belonged to the defendant, a minor. Police were able to perform a probation search based on the Instagram photos in which the defendant appeared to possess a firearm.

A passage in the court ruling says: "San Francisco Police Officers Dave Johnson and Eduard Ochoa testified that they were on routine patrol on October 21, 2013. Throughout that day, Officer Ochoa scanned Instagram, a social media website, looking for postings. Officer Ochoa was the 'Instagram officer' in his department and had been so for three or four years. His training and experience had taught him 'how to monitor and track individuals through Instagram.'”



Photo Credit: AFP/Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Uber Lawsuit Could Decide Company's Future]]> Thu, 06 Aug 2015 18:55:27 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/uber-generic1.jpg

A legal face off in a San Francisco courtroom could decide the future of Uber and other ride-sharing companies.

Three Uber drivers are suing over their classification as independent contractors.

The case has huge implications because it challenges Uber’s entire business model. If the court decides that Uber drivers are employees, then the company could be obligated to pay expenses, workers compensation, unemployment insurance and other benefits.

Uber argues its drivers are wildly different and therefore should be seen as independent contractors. The other side is arguing that all the drivers are more alike than different because they all operate for the benefit of Uber and all must conform to Uber’s rules.

Out in front of federal court Thursday afternoon, Uber, which has traditionally steered clear of reporters, put on a rare news conference. Uber’s attorney Ted Boutrous had drivers lined up behind him. They’re some of the 400 drivers who, he said, oppose reclassification as employees.

“The No. 1 thing that draws me to this app is the freedom of scheduling,” Uber driver Sarah Napp said.

On the other side are Uber drivers who say they should be reimbursed for expenses, like gasoline, and would be if they were classified as employees.

At UC Hastings College of Law, law professor Reuel Schiller said this is about a lot more than gas expenses.

“There’s workers compensation. There’s unemployment insurance. There’s Social Security payments,” Schiller said. “There’s withholding taxes. There’s protection of our collective bargaining laws.”

All of that could put Uber out of business. The company is valued at $51 billion, but it’s been losing money as it grows and changing its business model, and adding a huge financial burden isn’t in the cards.

A decision not expected for several weeks.



Photo Credit: NBC Bay Area]]>
<![CDATA[Hackers Stealing Data on iOS Via Major Security Flaw]]> Thu, 06 Aug 2015 09:38:51 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/AP_256712263767.jpg

Hackers are taking advantage of vulnerability in Apple's iOS mobile operating system to install malicious software disguised as Facebook, Twitter, Skype and other apps to steal personal information, CNBC reported. 

According to a new report by cybersecurity firm FireEye, the installation happens when a user clicks a link that may have been sent to them via email, text message or even a fake advertisement on a website.

The fake app looks like the real version and can steal sensitive information and send it back to a remote server.

So far, the hack has been used on iOS version 8.1.3 and before, FireEye said.



Photo Credit: AP]]>