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Southeast Asian Amazon clone raises $250 million

Posted November 29th, 2014 by admin No Comments »

We don’t often see companies announce funding rounds on the weekend, but that’s not stopping Lazada, the Rocket Internet-backed e-commerce firm in Southeast Asia, from revealing today that it has pulled in €200 million (around $250 million) in fresh capital. The round is lead by Singapore’s Temasek Holdings, which manages a $100-billion-plus portfolio and this year invested in another Amazon rival: Snapdeal in India. The deal includes participation from a number of existing Lazada investors, including Kinnevik, Verlinvest and Rocket Internet, and it values the company at €1 billion ($1.25 billion).

The Amazon of Southeast Asia, Lazada, has raised a whopping €200 million (about $250 million USD) to secure its position as a dominant force in ecommerce for the region, the company announced today. Lazada was founded by German incubator firm Rocket Internet, and claims to be Southeast Asia’s “largest online shopping mall,” which basically means it’s very similar to online retailer Amazon in a market that’s growing like crazy. It’s known for selling electronics, apparel, cosmetics, books, and more to customers in Thailand, Indonesia, Vietnam, and other countries in the area. And similar to Amazon, it also offers free shipping on many items, free returns (within 14 days), and more. The new funding was led by Singapore investment company Temasek, with participation from Rocket Internet. The move lowers Rocket Internet’s stake in Lazada to 23.8 percent from 26.7 percent, as Reuters points out. This isn’t the first big funding round that Lazada has raised, either. Last year the company picked up a $250 million investment led by Tesco, as VentureBeat previously reported.

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EU publishes official “right to be forgotten” guidelines

Posted November 29th, 2014 by admin No Comments »

When the European Union first put the “right to be forgotten” into effect, it didn’t really give search sites much help. Should search listings disappear simply because they’re embarrassing? What if you’re a notable figure? At last, though, there are some clearer answers. The European Commission has published guidelines that tell search providers how to handle your takedown requests. For the most part, the recommendations line up with what Google has been doing so far. Websites have to balance your privacy demands against the public’s rights; a search firm can pull details of your personal life, for instance, but it can refuse to hide criminal convictions or your official work record.

Europe’s Article 29 Working Party, the body comprised of data protection representatives from individual Member States of the European Union, has now published guidelines on the implementation of the so-called ‘right to be forgotten’ ruling, which was handed down by Europe’s top court back in May. The European Court of Justice ruling gives private individuals in Europe the right to request that search engines de-index specific URLs attached to search results for their name — if the information being associated with their name is inaccurate, outdated or irrelevant. The ruling does not generally apply to public figures, so requires search engines to weigh up requests against any public interest there might be to accessing the information in a name search de-listing request. Earlier this week the 29WP said it wanted the search de-listing ruling to extend to cover results on .com domains, not just European sub-domains. However Google, the major search engine in Europe, has been implementing the ruling only on sub-domains so far. So it remains to be seen whether the company will follow the guidance and extend de-listing to .com as well.


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Want your URL to match your channel?

Posted November 24th, 2014 by admin No Comments »
When Tati joined YouTube, her username was GlamLifeGuru, which made her channel’s URL But as her channel grew, her fans embraced “Tati” as her brand. So her channel web address — often the quickest way back for her fans to watch more of her content — didn’t match her channel name and branding.
To make sure creators like Tati and all of you have a consistent place for new and existing fans to find you, we’re introducing an easier way to pick custom URLs that match your channel names and branding.
Starting this week, if you’re a creator with at least 500 subscribers, you may receive emails and in-product notifications if your updated custom URL is ready to claim. You’ll see several options waiting for you that are based on your channel’s description, Google identity and associated websites. When you want to pick your URL, all you have to do is follow these instructions. Once you pick one, the new URL will automatically direct fans to your channel.

Don’t have 500 subscribers yet? Try these tips to spur your growth. And don’t worry, in the meantime your regular URL will continue to connect people to your YouTube channel.
Laura Rapin, Product Specialist, recently watched Lemonade – Alex Boye’

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Trending This Week: A Celebrity Supergroup for Ebola

Posted November 21st, 2014 by admin No Comments »

With temps turning arctic (at least at YouTube Trends HQ) and the holidays careening ‘round the corner, might we suggest curling up by the hearth with a steaming mug of viral videos?

This week on the Spotlight channel, we heard the moving voices and vlogs of the transgender community and unearthed the incredibly bizarre, fascinating ASMR phenomenon.

And here’s what else hit it big this week:

Band Aid 30 – Do They Know It’s Christmas?

There’s truly nothing we love more than a celebrity supergroup coming together for charity (we still can’t think about “We Are the World” without getting a little tingly, and it’s been like 30 years). Thirty years after leading his first “Band Aid” single, Bob Geldof brought together big names like Bono, Ed Sheeran, Ellie Goulding, and One Direction this week to raise money for Ebola. The track is headed for #1 on the British pop charts, but views and downloads aside, the only important metric is the money it raises for the cause – and the organization announced they raised $1 million in the first five minutes. Big claps for this charitable kick-off to the holiday season.

The Holderness Family – All About That Baste

You know this family: sporty, squeaky clean, super healthy-looking, dad who’s literally impervious to embarrassment … they’re now on YouTube. The Holderness family has been pumping out wholesome parodies (see their back to school spectacular “Baby Got Class” or last year’s resplendent holiday offering “#XMASJAMMIES”) for a year and picked up over 30 million views in total. We’d say “keep it up,” but we’re pretty sure they don’t need the encouragement.


Stunt driver and general insane human being Ken Block is back with a new installment in his “Gymkhana” series. Captured via some epic cinematography, he races a souped-up, 845 horsepower Mustang around the sexy streets of L.A., and the result is a captivating, stomach-churning watch. The Gymkhana videos have been massive YouTube hits – episode five racked up 68 million views – and the latest installment is proving no exception, with over 10 million views in the first 48 hours on YouTube.

OrsaraRecipes – How to pronounce Worcestershire Sauce?

Our “aww”-inducing pick of the week features 75-year-old YouTube chef Pasquale Sciarappa of New Jersey trying (and failing) to pronounce the classic British sauce (he also gets points for his great “no sweat, no sauce” tee). Gramps: this hug’s for you.

–Claire Stapleton

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Trending This Week: Taylor Swift, Plus the Saddest, Sweetest Video We’ve Ever Seen

Posted November 14th, 2014 by admin No Comments »

This week on the Spotlight channel, we bought whatever these fake commercials are selling and feted Movember’s finest moustaches.

And here’s what else bedecked our upper lip:

Taylor Swift – Blank Space

While a Swift hit is hardly @breakingnews here at YouTube, we’d be remiss not to mention the week’s single biggest kahuna. Bolstered by a surprise release and a tantalizing subject matter (Taylor’s mascara-streaked self-parodying as a crazy girlfriend), “Blank Space” set a new personal record for first-day view count, with over 4 million hits on Monday. Forget Kim K: from where we sit, it was Taylor Swift who broke the Internet this week.

Epic Rap Battles of History – Ghostbusters vs Mythbusters

At this point, ERB’s a bonafide institution. Back for their fourth season, their first video, a face-off between the ‘busters, proves their schtick’s still starp, the raps’re still smart, and they’re still bringing the views to the yard (over 6M in a couple days).

Obese2Beast – My Biggest Insecurity: Loose Skin

We recently wrote about YouTube’s body image empowerment videos, but we haven’t seen one like this. John David Glaude recently lost 160 pounds, and has a YouTube channel motivating others with tips, workouts, and Q&As. His latest video focuses on the loose skin left in the wake of extreme weight loss, but whether or not you can relate to this journey, his candid confrontation of the thing about himself he hates the most feels incredibly courageous. And with over 4 million views in three days, it clearly struck a chord.

K.C. Hohensee – Blackbird with Lennon

“Blackbird singing in the dead of night/Take these broken wings and learn to fly.” If there’s a more intimate, touching, tear-jerking “Blackbird” cover, we haven’t seen it. In this clip, which went viral this week, musician Chris Picco serenades his newborn son Lennon, who’d been delivered via emergency C-section after the sudden passing of Picco’s wife. The gentle tribute (shot just a day before little Lennon passed away) has drawn tears around the world.

– Claire Stapleton

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What YouTube’s new music features mean for artists

Posted November 12th, 2014 by admin No Comments »
As artists, creators, composers, remixers and directors, you’ve been at the forefront of making YouTube the ultimate home for music.  After nine years of unforgettable music moments you’ve created — Kutiman, Beliebers, “Gangnam Style” and countless others — we’re more committed than ever to making the music experience on YouTube better for you and your fans. That’s why today we’re launching new music features that will help your fans discover and enjoy more of your music and rolling out the beta of our new subscription service, YouTube Music Key.

Starting today, all music fans will see a new home just for music on their YouTube app for Android, iOS and on The music homepage will make it easier for fans to find their favorite music videos (including yours!) and discover new ones through personalized recommendations, trending playlists and playlists to perfectly fit their mood. What’s more, starting in the USA, UK, Spain, Italy, Portugal, Finland and Ireland, we’re launching the beta of our new music subscription service, YouTube Music Key, which gives subscribers access to ad-free music, background play and offline viewing. For artists, we believe the easier it is for fans to find and enjoy your music on YouTube — anytime, anywhere — the more opportunity you’ll have to build your fan bases and make money from your music.

If you’re wondering if your music is included in the YouTube Music Key beta, you should talk with your record label or distributor. If you’re an artist sharing your music directly through YouTube and you’re interested in being a part of the subscription service, you can let us know with this form. We’re excited about this new music experience on YouTube, and we’re continuing to bring on more artists in the coming months.

With all these new features, all our best practices still apply for growing your audience on YouTube. So keep creating great music, curating awesome playlists and mixtapes, and continue to share your music with the world. Because if we’ve learned anything over the past nine years, it’s that your creativity is limitless.

The YouTube Music team recently watched “Michael Jackson – Wanna Be Startin’ Somethin’ – YouTube Mix.”

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Google News & Weather now on the Play store with a new look

Posted August 27th, 2014 by admin No Comments »

Posted by Mayuresh Saoji, Product Manager, News & Social Team

UPDATE: The News & Weather App is now available on iOS here.

News happens 24/7. To keep up with a fast-paced news cycle, you need a fast-paced app. That was our objective in updating Google News and Weather. It makes the news easier to browse, simpler to digest, and more easily tailored to the news you care about.

Upgrade to the latest version of the app or download it from Google Play here — including a new tablet version — for the best of Google News:

  • Swipe through categories like Business, Technology and Sports or add your own sections for specific topics or places
  • Tap into any story for a variety of viewpoints, including in-depth articles, op-eds, and local perspectives
  • Get comprehensive coverage from over 65,000 publications worldwide, and a choice of more than 60 country-specific editions
  • Sign in with your Google account to take all your customizations with you when you access Google News from any device—phone, tablet, or desktop

We’re rolling out the app to all compatible Android devices and locations globally over the next few days, so stay tuned. We want as many users as possible to get a high quality Google News experience and look forward to launching on other platforms soon.

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