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Uber and Lyft sued for patent infringement by ‘Hailo,’ but not Daimler’s Hailo

Uber and Lyft sued for patent infringement by ‘Hailo,’ but not Daimler’s Hailo

A company called “Hailo Technologies, LLC”, has sued both Uber and Lyft over alleged infringement of

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Apple testing process for autonomous safety drivers revealed in DMV documents

Apple testing process for autonomous safety drivers revealed in DMV documents

Apple has developed a testing procedure for drivers who would act as failsafe controls during autonomous vehicle testing, documents discovered by

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Twitch opens up its money-making tools to tens of thousands of non-Partnered channels

Twitch opens up its money-making tools to tens of thousands of non-Partnered channels

On the heels of yesterday’s news about expanded subscription options  for partners, video streaming site Twitch today announced another way for its creator community to generate revenue, with the launch of an Affiliate program. Explains the company, the new program will allow non-partnered video creators to gain access to a variety of tools that will allow them to make money from their channels, even if they’re not large enough to gain “Partner” status.

The first of these tools is Cheering with Bits.

Cheering was introduced last year as a form of virtual tipping which involves purchasing “Bits” – animated emoji – using real-world money. You can then use Bits in chat messages as a way to support your favorite streamer. As you cheer, you’ll also earn Chat Badges for the channel to have that support recognized more broadly.

Bits are equal to one cent and both Partners and Affiliates each earn the same when those Bits are used in chat.

Twitch opens up its money-making tools to tens of thousands of non-Partnered channels

Cheering was initially only available to select Twitch partners at launch, with plans to expand to a wider group over time. Since its debut, users have posted over a billion Bits to be used in their Cheers, says Twitch, dubbing the program a “success.”

With this forthcoming Affiliate program, Twitch is essentially setting up a second tier of creators who will also gain access to this tool, and soon others. This perhaps blurs the line a bit between the larger and smaller communities on Twitch’s service, but it also gives more creators the ability to grow their channels.

Partners, meanwhile, will have specific tools for managing their larger communities that won’t be available to Affiliates. In addition, when the Affiliate program launches, Partners will also receive a new Verified Chat Badge that will further designate their Partner status on the platform.

According to Twitch, creators will be invited to the Affiliate program based on a number of criteria, including time spent streaming, viewership numbers, and follower count. In other words, it’s not open to just anyone streaming on Twitch – you have to be invited.

The company isn’t detailing the specifics of those requirements, but when pressed for details, a Twitch rep put it like this: “the bar is very low and essentially requires just streaming on a regular basis and a very small number of viewers.”

Twitch opens up its money-making tools to tens of thousands of non-Partnered channels

Cheering will be the first of several monetization tools made available to Affiliates in the months ahead. The company will also eventually roll out access to other features, like Subscriptions, Game Commerce, and Advertising to these creators, it says. Twitch did not offer a time frame for these other features becoming available.

While Twitch didn’t specifically say exactly how many Affiliates will be gaining access to these tools, it did note that today there are 17,000 Partners out of a total of 2.2 million unique streamers per month. Affiliates will be a slice of that larger audience – Twitch says that “tens of thousands” of non-Partnered channels will be invited to participate.

This is a significant move for Twitch

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Waymo accuses Uber of hiding a secret LiDAR device

Waymo accuses Uber of hiding a secret LiDAR device

In preparation for a preliminary injunction hearing next month, Waymo today filed new claims in its lawsuit against Uber, alleging that its competitor withheld information about technology Uber is using in its development of self-driving cars. Waymo is in the midst of a

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Duolingo launches paid subscriptions as it experiments with new ways to monetize its service

Duolingo launches paid subscriptions as it experiments with new ways to monetize its serviceEarlier this week, the popular language learning service Duolingo quietly introduced paid monthly subscriptions in its Android apps.

Subscribers get two benefits: they won’t see ads in the app and they will be able to download lessons for offline use. In addition, there is also a feel-good aspect to this, as Duolingo highlights that subscribers to Duolingo Plus, as the subscription is called, will help “millions around the world learn for free.”

The new subscription service, which you can buy through an in-app purchase, currently costs $9.99 per month. It’s live now on Android and will come to iOS in the future.

It’s worth stressing that this subscription is completely optional and a company spokesperson told me that “Duolingo’s learning content will always be free.”

Update : a Duolingo spokesperson tells me that the company expects to break even (or come close to it) by the end of the year and that the company has a “fully fleshed out monetization plan.” We have updated the headline to reflect this.

About a year ago , Duolingo CEO Luis von Ahn announced that the company would start experimenting with ads and optional in-app purchases to figure out how each would impact app usage and the financial health of the company. At the time, von Ahn said that Duolingo was spending about $42,000 per day on its servers, employees and other operating expenses, a number that has surely increased over the last year or so.

“Subscribers will help keep language education free for millions of people around the world,” von Ahn writes in this week’s announcement.

Ads in an educational app are always a difficult tradeoff between monetization and user experience because they are, by default, designed to take the user out of the app. Von Ahn acknowledged as much. “I don’t like ads any more than you do, but we need to test if a small non-intrusive ad at the end of a lesson makes people use Duolingo less. (We know this would take us a long way towards breaking even.),” he wrote a year ago.

Now, however, it doesn’t look like ads are going away anytime soon, because not seeing ads is, after all, one of the main benefits of paying for Duolingo Plus.

The original idea for monetizing Duolingo was to use the combined brainpower of its users to power a translation service. This service, however, remains in beta after all these years and the company doesn’t really highlight it anymore (and as far as I can see, there’s not even a link to it from its homepage at this point).

Duolingo’s mission is to “provide free language education to the world.” Having talked to von Ahn many times in the last few years, I know that he’s extremely passionate about this. At the same time, though, Duolingo also took almost $84 million in venture funding since it launched in 2011 — and those investors surely want to see a return.

It’s worth noting that Duolingo’s move here feels a bit similar to

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