Airbnb Eyes A Billion, DARPA’s New Watchtower, Google Tracks Disease Outbreaks, And More…

couch sleeping


Airbnb Heading For the Big “B”

Crowdsourced room-rental website Airbnb has become a rising star in the sharing economy, after Ashton Kutcher gave it his patented Twitter love and a “significant” financial investment. The service has seen growth of 800% in the last year. Hotels are going to have to offer a lot more than overpriced room service and pillow mints to stay competitive.

Can Citywide Wi-Fi Solve Cell Phone Problems?

Towerstream plans to blanket seven square miles of Manhattan with 1,000 routers, which carriers can use to plug holes in areas with spotty reception. Towersteam has already tested a 200-strong Wi-Fi solution in the city without web promotion, which gives it confidence that it can handle the incoming traffic. Now that Bittorrent has come to the iPhone, we can pirate Lady Gaga songs on the go!

DARPA’s New Watchtower

The mad-scientist arm of the Department of Defense has shelled out $14 million for a sophisticated visual tracking system that can aggregate information about a target from a massive number of sources, from infrared video to text messages. The system should also be able to perform “behavioral (pattern-of-life) modeling including cultural, social, and insurgency dynamics,” for automated detection of threats.

Google Tracks Dengue Fever

A new Google search product, Dengue Trends, helps authorities and health workers identify early warning signs of Dengue fever through the search results of individuals in a threatened area. Google has been used before to track disease trends, and this new mapping system is part of Google’s nonprofit,

Sources: VentureBeat, Businessweek, Wired, BBC

[Image: Flickr user quinn.anya]