Salesforce is reportedly in talks to acquire Mulesoft and the stock is going nuts

After previously investing in Mulesoft, it looks like Salesforce may finish off the deal and is in advanced talks to acquire the data management software provider altogether, according to a report from Reuters this morning.

Mulesoft works with companies to bring together different sources of data like varying APIs. That’s important for companies that have data coming in from all over the place, whether that’s online applications or actual devices, and the company says it has Netflix and Spotify as customers. It would also give Salesforce another piece of the lock-in puzzle for enterprises that need to increasingly manage larger and larger pools of data as they look to start pumping out machine learning tools that can act on all that data.

As usual, these talks could fall apart — we saw this happen with Twitter a few years ago after the company looked at buying what was essentially the largest customer service channel on the planet (as in, great for whining at brands) — but Reuters reports that the deal could be announced as soon as this week. Mulesoft’s stock jumped nearly 20% this year after it went public last year amid a wave of enterprise IPOs jumping through the so-called IPO window while it’s open.

Salesforce is increasingly making a push into AI with products like Einstein, which it launched in 2016. Those tools give businesses predictive services and recommendations, a hallmark of what can come out of increasing piles of data based on customer activity. But all of that data has to come from somewhere, and for now, there are providers outside of the Salesforce ecosystem that stitch all that together. Having it all in one central place makes it easier to parse them through these machine learning algorithms and start building predictive models for their operations.

We reached out to Salesforce and Mulesoft for comment and will update the post when we hear back.

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Wayfair’s Android app now lets you shop for furniture using augmented reality

AR-enabled shopping is expanding again today. This time, online furniture retailer Wayfair is introducing an augmented reality feature in its mobile app for Android that will allow customers to visualize furniture in their own home ahead of purchase, just by holding up their smartphone.

The feature, called “View in Room 3D,” was previously available on iOS, leveraging Apple’s AR platform ARKit.

Now, Wayfair is taking advantage of Google’s ARCore to offer the same option to Android users.

ARCore, Google’s answer to Apple’s AR platform, was publicly released last month, giving developers a way to integrate AR technology into their Android applications, where they can reach a potential audience of over 100 million Android devices.

Wayfair is not the only shopping site to quickly roll out ARCore support now that it’s available – eBay yesterday launched a feature for sellers that helps them find the right shipping box using AR technology, and promised other AR-enabled features this year. IKEA also just released an Android version of its AR app IKEA Place this week.

Other retailers have been experimenting with AR, as well, including Amazon and Target.

Retailers’ interest in AR is not just because it’s new and trendy – it can help them address the real issue that online shoppers face, when trying to buy furniture from a website, instead of in person.

It’s often difficult for non-designers to really get a sense of what a piece of furniture will look like when placed in the room. Will the new sofa go well with the existing curtains, carpet, and other furniture? Will it fit in the space?

Wayfair’s app helps with those questions, as it projects the furniture or décor in 3D at full-scale, and anchors them to the floor. This lets shoppers see if the object in question fits in the room – without needing to break out their measuring tape. It also helps them get a visual sense of what the room will look like with the new furniture added.

And because the image is in 3D, you can walk around it to see it from different sides – which also helps with consum

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8bitdo’s wireless adapter adds flexibility to Xbox PlayStation and Switch controllers

Game controller compatibility is a labyrinthine nightmare most of the time: Some controllers work with some platforms some of the time, but it’s very hard to keep track of how and when. 8bitdo’s latest accessory adds some simplicity to the mix, enabling use of Xbox One, PlayStation 4 and Nintendo Switch controllers with Switch, Windows and macOS systems quickly and easily.

Yes, that means you can play your PC or Mac games with your favorite Xbox One X/S or DualShock 3/4 controller, or even use a Joy-Con. It also means that you can use a DualShock controller to play Breath of the Wild on the Switch, ion that’s what you want to do.

The USB dongle also works with Android TV hardware, and with Raspberry Pi-based devices. It supports DualShock 4 vibration and 6-axis motion control on Switch, and it works lag-free for low latency gaming requirements. It’s also a tiny bit smaller than either the dedicated Xbox or PlayStation dedicated PC wireless controller USB adapters (and supports a broader range of platforms).

Oh, and it’s also just $20 from Amazon. I’ve been using it for a couple of weeks now and it performs exactly as advertised. If you’re looking to cut down your controller clutter or just have a strong preference for once design over another, this is definitely a smart buy.

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Lyft hires ex-Googler as VP of talent and inclusion

Lyft has brought on Nilka Thomas to join the company as its new vice president of talent and inclusion . At Lyft, Thomas will be tasked with overseeing recruiting, inclusion, diversity and employee relations.

Most importantly, in my eyes, is that Thomas will “Ensure that inclusion and diversity efforts are seamlessly integrated from the earliest candidate touch points,” Lyft wrote on its blog.

Nilka Thomas, Lyft VP of Talent and Inclusion

Prior to joining Lyft, Thomas spent more than ten years at Google, as part of the company’s recruitment and business growth teams. Thomas is now the highest-ranking member of the Lyft team that is focused on inclusion and diversity.

In September 2016, Lyft brought on Tariq Meyers to serve as its first-ever head of inclusion and diversity. Within his first year on the job, Lyft released its first diversity report, which showed numbers that comparable to the likes of Uber, Facebook and Google.

At a high level, Lyft is 63 percent white, 19 percent Asian, 6 percent black and 7 percent Latinx. Lyft, like many other companies, did not report data regarding the employment of LGBTQ people, people with disabilities and intersectionality. That’s notable in light of Lyft facing a discrimination lawsuit over its lack of wheelchair-accessible options for people with disabilities.

Earlier this month, Disability Rights Advocates, on behalf of the Independent Living Resource Center and two people who use wheelchairs, filed a class-action lawsuit today against Lyft. The plaintiffs allege the ride-hailing company discriminates against people who use wheelchairs by not making available wheelchair-accessible cars in the San Francisco Bay Area. In a statement to TechCrunch, Lyft said,

There is no doubt that those living with disabilities face significant transportation challenges — challenges that have existed for decades. Since Lyft was founded in 2012, we have sought to increase access to transportation around the country for underserved populations, including those living with disabilities.  We currently have partnerships and programs in place to provide enhanced WAV access in various parts of the country, and are actively exploring ways to expand them nationwide.

In addition to bringing on a VP of talent and inclusi

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Google unveils its 300M News Initiative with tools for subscriptions security and fighting fake news

Google today announced a multi-pronged News Initiative, which Chief Business Officer Phillipp Schindler described as a way to tie together all the company’s efforts to work with the journalism industry.

Google says the News Initiative is focused on three broad goals — strengthening quality journalism, supporting different business models and empowering newsrooms through technological innovation. It’s also committing to spend $300 million over the next three years on its various journalism-related projects.

At a New York City press event, Schindler told journalists and other industry attendees, “Our mission is inherently tied to your business.” He acknowledged that this might sound like “big company rhetoric.” To put it less diplomatically, news organizations might not view Google or the other big Internet platforms as allies given their dominance of the online ad business and the role they play in spreading sensationalistic or questionable stories, not to mention misinformation and hoaxes.

However, Schindler said Google has “two clear business incentives” to support high quality journalism.

First, he said Google search “by its very nature depends on the open web and depends on open access to information and that obviously depends on high quality information.” Second, he noted that Google’s DoubleClick ad business is all about splitting revenue with publishers, with $12.6 billion paid out to partners last year.

“The economics are very clear: If you do not grow, we do not grow,” Schindler said.

Again, the initiative sounds like a mix of projects and products old and new, in several different categories. When it comes to strengthening quality journalism, Schindler said Google has already been adjusting its algorithms to prioritize “more authoritative sources,” and it’s also highlighting verified sources in its results with a Top News section.

Schindler also announced a partnership with the Harvard Kennedy School’s First Draft to launch something called the Disinfo Lab, which will “use computational tools and journalistic oversight to monitor misinformation during elections.”

And there’s a separate project called MediaWise, a partnership with the Poynter Institute, Stanford University and the Local Media Association.’s Jacqueline Fuller described t

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