Visa takes on Stripe and PayPal with launch of developer platform

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SAN FRANCISCO — Visa is looking to take on Silicon Valley payments companies like Stripe and is turning to developers to jumpstart its efforts.

The company launched a far-reaching developer platform Thursday that will allow developers and other companies to access the company’s payments tools. The move marks the first time Visa has made its payments processing tech widely available to third parties.

Right now, Visa Developer consists of more than 150 application program interfaces (APIs) that enable everything from fraud prevention, mobile checkouts and person-to-person payments. These tools are open to any third-party company or developer who wants to experiment with using Visa’s infrastructure into its services. (Though developers can test the tools out for free, Visa will charge developers who launch apps using its APIs.) Read more…

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Find out how you're connected to every single person on Facebook

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In honor of its 12th birthday, Facebook has calculated the degrees of separation between you and every other person on the website

With a total of 1.59 billion users on the site, it’s mind blowing just how linked we are to one another — in most cases, you’ll be connected with others, even CEO Mark Zuckerberg himself, in far less steps than six.

In a blog post, Facebook said the average degrees of separation between everyone on Facebook through friend connections comes to 3.57, less than famed author Frigyes Karinthy proposed in his short story “Chains.”

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GoPro now sells just 3 different cameras

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GoPro announced it is discontinuing its older series of cameras alongside a pretty negative financial report for 2015The report describes an unexpected $57 million hit to the company’s revenues due to an excess of camera inventory and obsolete technology.

The new GoPro lineup starting in April will only include three cameras: the Hero4 Black, Hero4 Silver and Hero4 Session. Everything else will be discontinued, including the cheapest Hero GoPro, which the company describes as “the perfect entry-level GoPro.”

Following GoPro’s announcement, its stocks have taken a sharp fall, going down over 10% over the last day. Read more…

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Twitter is testing a button that serves up ready-made GIFs for users

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Twitter users may soon see more GIFs in their newsfeed, thanks to a dedicated button the company is quietly testing.

It appears the social network is currently working on a GIF button that would allow users to select from a pool of ready-made animated images, so it could be easily added to a tweet to help convey their current mood.

Various Twitter users have tweeted, naturally, that a dedicated GIF tool has popped up in between the photos and polls options on their mobile app. Twitter user Phil Pearlman, who was among the first to spot the update, told TechCrunch tapping the GIF button reveals a collection of GIFs that are trending or fall into certain mood categories. Read more…

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Roomba maker iRobot sells defense robots business

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iRobot is officially out of the military.

The 26-year-old robotics company sold the defense portion of its business to Arlington Capital Partners for $46 million on Thursday. While the deal will take a few months to finalize, the newly private company will focus on defense, public safety and the industrial market.

This means robots like the bomb-disposing PackBot and First Look, which some know as the “ThrowBot” for its ability to literally be thrown into dangerous situations, will now be part of the new iRobot Defense & Security (D&S) organization.

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Spotify users can now listen to their music on Amazon Echo

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Echo, Amazon’s voice-controlled, wireless home speaker, can now play your Spotify tunes

The new feature, available for Spotify Premium subscribers in the U.S., lets you ask Amazon’s virtual assistant, Alexa, to play an artist, playlist or genre from Spotlight’s catalog

“Music is one of the most popular features on Amazon Echo, and Spotify has been one of the most requested services, so we’re excited to bring it to our customers today,” Toni Reid, director at Amazon Alexa, said in a statement

With this move, Spotify joins Amazon Music, Prime Music, iHeartRadio, Pandora, and TuneIn, all of which are already available on the Echo. With Spotify being the largest streaming music service around, with more than 20 million paying subscribers, it’s a huge feather in Amazon’s cap. Read more…

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