Facebook Messenger now sends money via PayPal

PayPal peer-to-peer (P2P) payments can now be sent in Facebook Messenger. The service will begin to roll out to customers in the United States starting today, PayPal COO Bill Ready said in this morning’s blog post.

Payments can be made with Facebook chat extensions, a feature brought to Messenger earlier this year.

“When composing a message in Messenger with one person, or even a group, people can tap on the blue plus icon, and then select the green Payments button to quickly send or request money,” Ready said. “People can then choose PayPal as their funding source when making a P2P payment with their Messenger contacts.”

PayPal also today launched a customer service Messenger bot for help with their account or to challenge payments or account activity.

This year, PayPal has also launched a P2P bot for payments on Slack and struck partnerships with Mastercard, Visa, Vodafone, and Alibaba.

Today’s news continues the progression of payments on Facebook Messenger, a chat app with 1.3 billion monthly active users.

P2P payments for Messenger were first introduced in 2015, with group payments introduced in April 2017.

Since the launch of bots on the Messenger platform in spring 2016, financial services like TransferWise, Western Union, Mastercard, and MoneyGram have also been introduced to facilitate things like money transfers.

A payments beta began about a year ago that allowed developers to use services including PayPal for transactions within Messenger.

Social – VentureBeat

5 Spook-tacular Ways to Help Animals This Halloween

5 Spook-tacular Ways to Help Animals This Halloween

Scary costumes and tasty treats will always be a part of Halloween. This year, let’s add activism to the tradition! Check out these five easy ways to help animals and still have a scream of a time:

1. Make a statement with your costume. Dress up as a sinister butcher, a creepy Colonel Sanders, an evil Ronald McDonald, or a declawed kitty cat (and be sure to keep leaflets handy!).

2. Be sure to pass out treats that are vegan and include PETA Kids’ stickers.

Packs on packs on packs.

A post shared by Sour Patch Kids (@sourpatchkids) on

3. Attach adorable tags to the treats that you hand out.

4. Host a spooky Halloween party and, of course, keep all the food flesh-free.

5. Share the ultimate horror movie, “Face Your Food,” on Facebook and Twitter.

Now, go have a spooktacular time! Mwahahaha!

Inspired to help animals?

The post 5 Spook-tacular Ways to Help Animals This Halloween appeared first on PETA.

Action – PETA

Stop what you are doing and watch Nathan for You’s brilliant Uber episode right now

 If you have not yet had the pleasure of being introduced to Nathan for You, you’re in for a treat! The man behind the show, Nathan Fielder, is so wonderfully awkward in his delivery he might just make you pee your pants from laughing so hard. Last week’s episode “Andy vs. Uber” almost made me do just that. Warning: lots of spoilers in this post so stop reading if you… Read More

Grab raises $700M in debt to add more drivers to its ride-hailing service in Southeast Asia

 Grab is in the process of raising $ 2.5 billion for it ride hailing service in Southeast Asia, but that hasn’t stopped the Uber rival from tapping banks for $ 700 million in debt facilities to develop its business. The Singapore-based company said it had pulled in the financing from “leading global and regional banks” to expand its car rental fleet in Singapore and Indonesia,… Read More
Fundings & Exits – TechCrunch

Lyft raises $1 billion at $11 billion valuation led by Alphabet’s CapitalG

 Ride-hailing company Lyft has raised a new $ 1 billion funding round, putting its post-money valuation at $ 11 billion total. The round was led by Alphabet’s CapitalG, its growth-focused investment fund, and CapitalG partner David Lawee will join Lyft’s board as part of the transaction. Lyft shared the news in an official blog post, and noted that it has run over 500 million rides… Read More
Fundings & Exits – TechCrunch

WhatsApp’s Live Location feature lets friends track each other in real time

WhatsApp has announced a notable new feature today, one that may prove popular with millions of security-conscious, nosy, and impatient people globally.

Landing on both Android and iOS “in the coming weeks,” the new Live Location feature allows WhatsApp users to share their real-time location with friends and family. It’s worth noting here that WhatsApp already allows you to share your current location, however that feature is static — if you’re moving around, friends are not able to see where you’re going.

The new Live Location feature, on the other hand, lets people track where you are for a period of time stipulated by you.

How it works

To initiate Live Location, go to the conversation — individual or group — that you want to share your location with. Then hit the little “attach” (paper clip) button that exists in the message field and go to “Location.” Now, in addition to the existing static location-sharing feature, you’ll see “Share Live Location,” as well.

You can stipulate how long you wish to share your location for, be it 15 minutes, one hour, or eight hours, although there doesn’t appear to be a customizable timer that lets you share your location for “18 minutes,” for example.

Above: Set time

But you can cease sharing your location at any time by hitting the “stop sharing” button.

Above: Stop sharing?

And, interestingly, multiple people from the same group can all share their location on the same map.

Above: Group locations

This kind of location-sharing functionality is nothing new, of course. Glympse has offered something similar for years, while France’s Zenly has been gaining traction for its location-sharing app. Google, too, had embraced real-time location sharing with Latitude, a service it killed off back in 2013. However, last year Google launched its new standalone Trusted Contacts app, which offers near-identical functionality, before bringing another similar feature directly into Google Maps back in March.

But with more than one billion active daily users, WhatsApp has emerged as the social glue for countless social interactions — covering friends, families, neighbors, work colleagues, and everyone in between.

There are many use-cases for this feature — if you’re the sort of person who hates hanging around waiting for someone to arrive at a designated meeting spot, you can see (if the other person allows) exactly how long you’ll have to wait. But perhaps the most common use-case will be worried parents or partners wanting to know where their loved ones are late at night.

For the privacy-concerned, WhatsApp is quick to remind users that — like messages and calls — Live Location is “end-to-end encrypted.”

Social – VentureBeat

Credit giant Experian leads $30M investment in India’s BankBazaar

 Indian credit marketplace BankBazaar has pulled in $ 30 million in fresh funding led by Experian, the London-headquartered credit giant with a £14 billion ($ 18 billion) market cap. BankBazaar seems to have a penchant for big name backers. Amazon led its $ 60 million Series C funding in 2015 while Experian is the main investor behind this Series D raise. The company didn’t specific the… Read More
Fundings & Exits – TechCrunch

ProBeat: Facebook ramps up its VR price war

In July, there was a single week when Facebook’s Oculus cut prices for its Rift VR headset and Touch controller to $ 400 for a limited time, a rumor suggested a $ 200 standalone Oculus VR headset was coming next year, and the company made the aforementioned two-product bundle permanent, promising to make $ 500 the regular price once the deal was over. At the time, I declared Facebook wanted to start a VR price war. In August, HTC cut the Vive price to $ 600, at which point I screamed “Called it!” in our virtual newsroom.

This week at Oculus Connect 4, we learned Facebook was just getting started.

Three months after starting its price war, the company is already adding fuel to the fire. The Oculus Rift VR headset and Touch controller bundle is now priced at $ 400, no longer for a limited time. Oculus unveiled plans to sell $ 900 VR bundles directly to businesses. Oh, and that rumor? It’s true — Facebook unveiled the Oculus Go, the most affordable standalone headset yet at just $ 200.

For a fraction of the price of any VR headset on the market in 2017, you’ll be able to jump into VR in 2018.

Fraction? Yes, fraction.

Sure, the Oculus Rift now costs $ 400. But that doesn’t include the cost of a high-end PC.

Sure, the Gear VR is $ 100. But that doesn’t include the cost of a flagship smartphone.

$ 200 for a standalone headset is a steal. It makes the competition look either useless or expensive, or both.

To be fair, the new product isn’t here yet. We don’t know enough about the device. Nobody outside of Facebook has tried it.

Put another way, Oculus Go still has plenty of time to be a flop.

But that’s not the part that matters. The bigger picture here is the product lineup Oculus is putting together — it’s extremely aggressive.

The lineup is headed in a clear direction: affordable, wireless, and standalone. Not requiring a PC or a smartphone doesn’t just mean you only need to buy one device, it also means you can just put on the headset and go. There’s nothing to set up.

Facebook is pushing the envelope, and if the rest of the industry wants to compete, they’re going to have to a) catch up and b) price accordingly. Everyone knows that VR and AR headsets can’t become mainstream if they’re expensive and take time to set up. Facebook just wants to speed up the process.

I can’t in good faith recommend a Samsung Gear VR or a Google Daydream View right now. Doing a comparison between all the mobile VR headsets and telling readers which is the best option seems pointless.

There’s a $ 200 one coming early next year. Wait for that.

I would want to say that HTC Vive, PlayStation VR, Windows Mixed Reality, and Oculus Rift devices deserve your attention because, at least, they’re more powerful. But even those seem like a poor use of your money given what we know about Project Santa Cruz.

If the main disadvantage of being a tech giant is that you’re too big to move quickly, the greatest advantage is that you have deep pockets. Oculus within Facebook, at least from the outside, appears to be successfully setting up the startup-within-corporation structure that all tech giants desperately try to recreate.

Facebook is cannibalizing Oculus’ lineup. The company is moving very quickly, and there’s a big risk there. After all, I basically just told you shouldn’t buy a VR device this year, because what’s coming next is much more interesting.

But Facebook is betting this the way to go if it’s going to lead the VR space. It doesn’t want to leave room for a nimble startup to swoop in and steal the show. You can’t dominate a category if you’re standing still.

And you certainly can’t reach 1 billion people in VR by standing still.

ProBeat is a column in which Emil rants about whatever crosses him that week.

Social – VentureBeat

User outcry prompts OnePlus to step down its excessive data collection

 Earlier this week, it was revealed that independent phone maker OnePlus was collecting all manner of information from phones running its OxygenOS — without telling users, of course. Caught red-handed, the company is backing off from the opt-out data collection program, giving users a choice up front instead of buried in the options. Read More

Fandango is acquiring rival online ticketer MovieTickets.com

 A consolidation in the advance movie ticketing space is happening today, with Fandango’s announcement that it’s acquiring rival MovieTickets.com for an undisclosed sum. The deal, which is expected to close before year-end, will help Fandango expand its international footprint, particularly in Latin America, as well as bring new cinemas to its ticketing platform. Read More
Fundings & Exits – TechCrunch