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TWiST #171 News Stories

News stories we're covering for This Week in Startups Episode #171, airing on Friday, July 29, will be posted here. Vote up the stories you most want to see discussed on the show. If you have suggestions for news topics that aren't listed here, leave them in the comments section below and we can add them! And don't forget to click through to Page 2 for more of the stories we're covering!

TWiST #171 News Stories Software
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    Brands will now be able to pay to have Twitter feature their tweets in the streams of their followers

    Twitter has long promised that a solution like this for brands would debut

    When a brand you follow tweets, they will automatically be placed at the top of a users stream, regardless of when they fall in the chronological timeline

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    San Francisco renter EJ used the service to rent out her apartment for one week

    When she returned she found her locked closet smashed open and her passport, jewelry, cash and electronics missing

    EJ says Airbnb has been helpful and the company says that they are working with the authorities and using their security infrastructure to assist the police in their investigation

    LAUNCH got confirmation from Airbnb that an insurance offering is in the works (read more:

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    Just weeks after entering the US market, European music service startup Spotify was sued by streaming music service PacketVideo

    The patent in question is for a "device for the distribution of music information in digital form"

    PacketVideo bought the patent a several years ago and the idea contained within it is not new

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    As Verizon has already done, AT&T will limit data rates in an effort to curb the problem of data congestion that has hurt their 3G network performance since the iPhone’s debut

    The heaviest users will see significant speed decreases once they go over a threshold of data, estimated to be somewhere between 2 and 4GB

    Since the iPhone 1’s debut in the summer of 2007, AT&T has seen an 8000% increase in mobile data traffic

    AT&T’s new data throttling is rumored to begin in the first week on October, as is Virgin Mobile’s--coincidence, or sign that the iPhone may be coming to yet another carrier?

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    According to disclosure documents just filed, Google and Facebook both spent record amounts on lobbyists this quarter

    Earlier this year Facebook had to offer an explanation of its privacy efforts to the FTC and Google confirmed it was the target of an FTC antitrust investigation

    Spending $2M in Q2 is the first time that Google has out-spent Microsoft on lobbyists

    Facebook spent $320k in the second quarter (last year their most costly lobbyist spend in a quarter was $130k)

    Google targeted online advertising, privacy issues, openness and competition in online services, and cloud computing, while Facebook targeted international regulation of software companies, restrictions on Internet access by foreign governments and federal privacy legislation

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    The partnership between the two brands launched on July 11 and sold 15,000 deals within the first three days

    The first 25 deals to launch have almost all sold out

    Deals that have performed best are for major US tourist destinations like Las Vegas

    Expedia also revealed that its mobile apps (including stand-alone hotel booking apps) are downloaded an average of 36 times per minute, an increase of 20% over their Q1

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    Now live for one month, traffic on Google+ declined 3% from the week before

    Although the service is still limiting sign-ups, it’s already an impressive 20 million users according to comScore

    Lead writer Marshall Kirkpatrick tell us that it’s one of his top traffic sources at ReadWriteWeb

    In related news, Google announced changes that will make the +1 button on websites up to three times faster

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    Google’s new tool uses their maps technology to allow users to search an book hotels through the property sites or deal sites like Expedia, and Priceline

    Sorting options abound: hotel class, user ratings, average price per night, and how far above or below the current price is to the hotel’s average price

    From there, you can make a "short list" of favorites you want to compare or review later

    The "map view" features a free-form drawing tool that you can use to indicate the areas to search

    The site is currently ad-free and only available for US hotels

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    This Week in VC host Mark Suster of GRP Partners said in a Business Insider interview that a lot of the VCs who are saying "no bubble" publicly are privately admitting that there is one

    He believes that the bubble is primarily in early-stage investments on unrealistic expectations of excessive growth potential, but that the "big guys" (Microsoft, Apple) are actually undervalued

    Suster believes that the fear of missing out is driving increased investment activities and also pointed to the trend of VCs investing in hot later-stage companies like Twitter

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    The new Mac mini model, released at the same time as the OSx Lion update, now has the option of much more powerful graphics, boasting 256MB of GDDR5 memory

    To make space for the improved performance feature, Apple is dropping the optical DVD drive

    Is this yet another signal that it’s all about the cloud?

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    After a net loss of $29.6 million in their first quarter, Logitech announced that it plans to cut the price of their Revue box to $99

    Also cut--their CEO Gerald P. Quindlen, who was a big supporter of the Google TV device

    This isn’t the first price drop for the device; it went from the original $300 down to $250 in May of this year

    The price cut puts the device in line with Apple TV and the top-end Roku, both at $99

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    At the premiere of a film about the controversial rave the Electric Daisy Carnival, DJ Kaskade tweeted that he would be at Grauman's Chinese Theatre for a "block party," saying "let's see if social networking works today"

    It worked--over 1000 people flooded the street around the theatre and reportedly threw rocks and stated fires

    In response, the LAPD shut down the area of Hollywood and Highland and threw non-lethal bean bag in an attempt to get a hold of the unruly crowd

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