Google Maps keeps track of your conversations with local businesses

Last year, Google began rolling out a feature that let users message businesses through their Google profiles. Now, it’s integrating that feature into Google Maps. Any messages you’ve sent to businesses through their Google profiles will now be accessible in Maps for iOS and Android. Just tap the menu button, and then “Messages,” and you’ll be able to see those conversations without having to leave the app. Google is also bringing the messaging feature to more countries this week.

social experiment by Livio Acerbo #greengroundit #engadget


Gift Guide: 10 suitcase-friendly gifts for frequent flyers

Welcome to TechCrunch’s 2018 Holiday Gift Guide! Need more gift ideas? Check out our Gift Guide Hub.

I’ve been traveling a lot this year — more than any year in the past. It’s been both a blessing and a curse, so thanks, TechCrunch, for that. Honestly, I should probably be packing for Asia instead of writing this, but I’m looking out for you instead.

Rather than writing the standard Travel Guide or Holiday Gift Guide, we’ve opted to combine them into one. Because if there’s one key to making the most out of your time on the road, it’s efficiency. Technology can play an important role in helping streamline the packing process and generally making the most out of your trip.

Of course, as with everything, too much tech can also be a bad thing. I know I’ve found myself packing too many gadgets or jamming a messy rat king of cables in my carry-on, making a mess of things in the process.

What follows is a collection of gadgets, accessories and other [...]  read more

Ransomware attacks see huge year-on-year rise

Malware and ransomware are both on the rise according to new global figures from the security firm SonicWall.

The cybersecurity company detected a 44 per cent increase in the amount of malware infecting users’ machines between January and October of this year.

At the same time, Ransomware which is a type of malware that encrypts all of the data on a victim’s machine in exchange for a ransom paid in cryptocurrency, saw a 117 per cent jump during the same period.

Over 300,000 new attack variants were spotted by SonicWall so far in 2018 which breaks down to 1,095 new attacks each day. Surprisingly, 50,000 of these attack variants have never been seen before.

Ransomware is no longer limited to enterprises

SonicWall also revealed that its web apps experienced 108 per cent more attacks to reach a total of 93,816 threats this year when compared to 2017. Additionally, encrypted threats which are “the hardest for the average web user to detect’, were up by 62 per cent.

The firm also warned that businesses of all sizes should [...]  read more

No display for your Mac Mini? No problem.

Astropad’s Luna Display isn’t just for your MacBook. It turns out that you can take advantage of that tiny little red dongle to turn your iPad into your one and only Mac Mini display.

The Luna Display was designed to extend your laptop display. Many desktop users who travel tend to feel limited with a 13-inch or 15-inch display. That’s why the Luna Display turns any iPad into a second monitor. It works wirelessly and pretty well.

But the team behind the device tried a fun experiment. Many Mac Mini users tend to use the Mac Mini as a headless server. It sits below your TV, near your router or in a closet. In that case, there’s no display connected to your Mac Mini.

You can control it using screen sharing or a VNC client. And, of course, you can also enable SSH access to control it using the command line or even an SSH app on your phone.

But it also works as expected with the Luna Display. After plugging the dongle into a Thunderbolt 3 port, you can launch the Luna [...]  read more

Only half of businesses are as secure as they should be

New research from Tanium has revealed that despite the fact that 99 per cent of UK business leaders say that making technology resilient to business disruptions such as cyber attacks should be an integral part of their firms wider business strategy, the reality is actually quite different.

Of the 1,000 UK business leaders surveyed for the Resilience Gap study, only half (54%) claim their organisation is as resilient as it needs to be with 20 per cent admitting they would not be able to calculate the indirect costs from lost revenue and productivity following a cyber attack.

Tanium’s study shed light on the fact that there are more barriers to achieving the resilience that UK businesses believe to be important. When it comes to the barriers holding them back, 38 per cent blame their organisation’s complexity while 21 per cent blame siloed business units.

Looking to their teams and tools, over a third (35%) said that hackers being more sophisticated than their IT teams poses a [...]  read more

ServiceTitan raises $165M for its home services software, now valued at $1.65B

ServiceTitan, a startup out of Glendale, CA that has built a software platform for home services businesses — in areas like air conditioning, plumbing and electrical repairs — to manage their work, has raised $165 million in what it claims is the “largest software raise in Southern California history.”

(That distinction might be specifically for B2B software, since Snap, as one example, raised billions before it went public, when it was still known as the app startup Snapchat.)

The company has confirmed that its valuation is now at $1.65 billion — making it the newest unicorn out of the region (and fulfilling a prediction we made earlier this year).

This latest round, a Series D, was led by Index Ventures. New backers Dragoneer and T. Rowe Price also participated, along with existing investors Battery Ventures, Bessemer Venture Partners and ICONIQ Capital.

It’s coming just 7 months after ServiceTitan raised its last round: rapid funding rounds of large sums of money, raised [...]  read more

The best free iPhone apps of 2018

You’ve got an iPhone, and have ventured into the melee of Apple’s App Store, which has well over a million apps.

Great news! Many of them are free. Not so great news! You’ve got to sift through them to work out the very best. Fortunately, that’s what we’re here for, listing them here.

Our selection’s sorted into handy categories, so whether you need a no-cost photo editor, translation app, sat-nav or anything else, you can just jump straight to the relevant category.

Click through to the following pages for each category, but first check out our free iPhone app of the week below, and make sure you give this page a cheeky bookmark so you can keep up with our latest free iPhone app pick every seven days.

Free iPhone app of the week: Enlight Pixaloop

Enlight Pixaloop enables you to animate your photos. This is achieved through you manually drawing ‘path’ arrows to define the direction of animation, [...]  read more