SocialRank sells biz to Trufan, pivots to a mobile LinkedIn

What do you do when your startup idea doesn’t prove big enough? Run it as a scrawny but profitable lifestyle business? Or sell it to a competitor and take another swing at the fences? Social audience analytics and ad targeting startup SocialRank chose the latter and is going for glory. Today, SocialRank announced it’s sold its business, brand, assets, and …

SmartNews raises $92M at a $1.2B valuation

Looks like there’s still money to be made in news aggregation — at least according to the investors backing the news app SmartNews. The company is announcing the close of a $92 million round of funding at a valuation of $1.2 billion. The funding was led by Japan Post Capital Co. and ACA Investments, with participation from Globis Capital Partners …

Salesforce, Apple partnership begins to come to life

Last year at Dreamforce, Salesforce’s enormous annual customer conference, Apple and Salesforce announced the beginnings of a partnership where the two organizations would work together to enhance Salesforce products running on Apple devices. Today, the companies announced the fruits of that labor with general availability of two new tools that were first announced at last year’s event. For starters, Apple …

Daily Crunch: TikTok starts experimenting with commerce

The Daily Crunch is TechCrunch’s roundup of our biggest and most important stories. If you’d like to get this delivered to your inbox every day at around 9am Pacific, you can subscribe here. 1. TikTok tests social commerce The short-form video app said it’s allowing some users to add links to e-commerce sites (or any other destination) to their profile, …

Spotify confirms it’s testing real-time lyrics synced to music

With the launch of iOS 13, Apple added perfectly timed live lyrics to its Apple Music app. Now Spotify may do the same. Several users in international markets are now seeing a similar synced lyrics feature in their Spotify mobile app, where lyrics scroll by in time with the music. The feature is powered by Musixmatch, according to the screenshots. …

Facebook quietly built “Popular Photos”, an in-app Instagram

Facebook is copying Instagram while simultaneously invading its acquisition with branding and links back to the mothership. TechCrunch has spotted Facebook testing a feature called Popular Photos, which affixes an endless scroll of algorithmically selected pics from friends beneath the full-screen view of a photo opened from the News Feed. The result is an experience that feels like the Instagram …

Instagram tests hiding Like counts globally

Instagram is making Like counts private for some users everywhere. Instagram tells TechCrunch the hidden Likes test is expanding to a subset of users globally. Users will have to decide for themselves if something is worth Liking rather than judging by the herd. The change could make users more comfortable sharing what’s important to them without the fear of people …

Disney+ to launch in India, Southeast Asian markets next year

Disney plans to bring its on-demand video streaming service to India and some Southeast Asian markets as soon as the second half of next year, two sources familiar with the company’s plans told TechCrunch. In India, the company plans to bring Disney+’s catalog to Hotstar, a popular video streaming service it owns, after the end of next year’s IPL cricket …

Yahoo Japan and Line are reportedly going to merge

According to Nikkei, messaging app Line and Yahoo Japan are about to merge and form a single tech company. Despite the name, Yahoo Japan is currently 100% owned by Z Holdings, a company that is controlled by Japanese telecom company SoftBank (Yahoo Japan isn’t related with TechCrunch’s parent company Verizon Media). Line Corporation is owned by Naver Corporation, a South …

Minecraft Earth is live, so get tapping

Microsoft’s big experiment in real-world augmented reality gaming, Minecraft Earth, is live now for players in North America, the U.K., and a number of other areas. The pocket-size AR game lets you collect blocks and critters wherever you go, undertake little adventures with friends, and of course build sweet castles. I played an early version of Minecraft Earth earlier this …

Instagram Stories launches TikTok clone Reels in Brazil

Instagram is launching a video-music remix feature to finally fight back against Chinese social rival TikTok. Instagram Reels lets you make 15-second video clips set to music and share them as Stories, with the potential to go viral on a new Top Reels section of Explore. Just like TikTok, users can soundtrack their Reels with a huge catalog of music, …

Facebook finally lets you banish nav bar tabs & red dots

Are those red notification dots on your Facebook home screen driving you crazy? Sick of Facebook Marketplace wasting your screen space? Now you can control what appears in the Facebook app’s navigation bar thanks to a new option called Shortcuts Bar Settings. Over the weekend TechCrunch spotted the option to remove certain tabs like Marketplace, Watch, Groups, Events, and Dating …

Instagram to test hiding Like counts in US, which could hurt influencers

“We will make decisions that hurt the business if they help people’s well-being and health” says Instagram’s CEO Adam Mosseri. To that end, next week Instagram will expand its test of hiding Like counts from everyone but a post’s creator to some users in the United States. But there are major questions about whether the change will hurt influencers. Mosseri …

Popular Android phones can be tricked into snooping on their owners

Security researchers have found several popular Android phones can be tricked into snooping on their owners by exploiting a weakness that gives accessories access to the phone’s underlying baseband software. Attackers can use that access to trick vulnerable phones into giving up their unique identifiers, such as their IMEI and IMSI numbers, downgrade a target’s connection in order to intercept …

Spotify’s podcasting app Anchor now helps you make trailers

Spotify’s simple podcasting suite, Anchor, is today introducing a new feature designed to help creators promote their podcast: trailers. On the Anchor app for iOS and Android, podcasters will now be able to create a dedicated trailer for their podcast that combines an introduction and some background music, then turns it into an animated video that can be shared across …

With $6.5M in funding, Aircam offers a fast, easy way to share photos at events

Aircam is a new startup that allows anyone to get instant access to pictures taken by professional photographers at weddings, parties and other events. The company was founded by brothers Evan and Ryan Rifkin, who previously co-founded Burstly, the company behind mobile app-testing service TestFlight (which was acquired by Apple). In addition to officially launching Aircam today, they’re also announcing …

Tinder’s interactive video series ‘Swipe Night’ is going international next year

Tinder’s big experiment with interactive content — the recently launched in-app series called Swipe Night — was a success. According to Tinder parent company Match during its Q3 earnings this week, “millions” of Tinder users tuned into to watch the show’s episodes during its run in October, and this drove double-digit increases in both matches and messages. As a result, Match confirmed its plans …

FCC approves T-Mobile/Sprint merger despite serious concerns

The FCC has given its stamp of approval to T-Mobile and Sprint’s proposed merger, saying the deal will “enhance competition” and hasten 5G deployment. Those opposed say the merger defies common sense, creating a triumvirate of mobile giants that will “divide up the market, increase prices, and compete only for the most lucrative customers.” The two mobile companies have been …

AT&T will pay $60 million over fake unlimited data ‘bait and switch scam’

AT&T is being punished at last for its shady claims of plans with “unlimited data” but were in reality nothing of the kind: The company has agreed to a $60 million settlement with the FTC, which has pursued the case for years. Some 3.5 affected customers can expect partial refunds — little more than pocket money, but it’s something. The …

Huawei calls hackers to Munich for secret bug bounty meeting

Chinese tech giant Huawei has asked some of the world’s best phone hackers to a secret meeting in Munich later this month as the company tries to curry favor with global governments, TechCrunch has learned. Sources with knowledge of the November 16 meeting said Huawei will privately present its new bug bounty program, which would allow researchers to get financial …

Daily Crunch: Adobe launches Photoshop for iPad

The Daily Crunch is TechCrunch’s roundup of our biggest and most important stories. If you’d like to get this delivered to your inbox every day at around 9am Pacific, you can subscribe here. 1. Adobe Photoshop arrives on the iPad Adobe has released Photoshop for the iPad, making good on an announcement that it made last October. The tablet version …

TikTok expands its influence to third-party apps with new developer program & SDK

TikTok is looking to expand its influence by integrating with popular third-party video creation and editing apps. The company today announced a new TikTok for Developers program which will introduce tools for third-party app developers, including those that allow them to access TikTok’s creative offerings as well as push content from their apps to TikTok directly. The first of these …

Adobe’s Photoshop Camera is an AI-powered photo editor for your phone

Instagram and Snapchat have changed the way people look at photo editing. What was once a task limited to those with wildly expensive tools and years of training has become accessible to anyone with a smartphone. These apps and their filters aren’t going to replace Photoshop for the pros… but for people just looking to upload a quick selfie to …

Mario Kart Tour will test real-time multiplayer in December

The mobile version of Nintendo’s iconic racing franchise, Mario Kart Tour, will soon support multiplayer races, bringing the game closer to its competitive roots. A limited multiplayer beta test is planned for December, just in time for holiday laziness, but only for paying subscribers — the rest of us will have to wait. Mario Kart has had a focus on …