Twitter Search Tool From Anonymous, Apple Wins Samsung Tablet Battle In Germany, Airbnb Launches Concierge Service

This and more important news from your Fast Company editors, with updates all day.


Daily Deals Site BuyWithMe Acquires Another One. The daily deals site and Boston-based startup of the same name, BuyWithMe, acquired TownHog, another daily deals provider from DotBlu in San Francisco, the companies announced today. The acquisition marks the sixth for BuyWithMe, and brings the startup into two new U.S. cities. The site still lags behind competitors including Groupon, Living Social, or Amazon Local in terms of reach. 


Airbnb Launching Concierge Service. Travelers looking for recommendations for things to see and eat and do in a new place can now get help from Airbnb. Concierge service, usually a hotel stay luxury, is the social accommodation finder’s newest feature. Airbnb users get a phone number with their reservation, and can dial in for tips on food, weather forecasts, flights, tickets to shows and attractions, medical needs, and more. 

Sprint Planning Unlimited Data With iPhone 5? Sprint may offer an unlimited data and voice service with the iPhone 5 for a flat fee, Bloomberg reports. Sprint has yet to include the iPhone on its wireless service, but is set to take on the new iPhone in October, unnamed sources told Bloomberg, and their data and service plan could be a draw for their competitors’ customers. Sprint already offers unlimited voice and data plans for the other smartphones it sells. In comparison, both Verizon and AT&T split their voice and data offerings: Verizon’s data costs $30 per month for 2 gigabytes, and $80 for 10 gigabytes, and AT&T’s monthly rates are $15 for 200 megabytes, $25 for 2 gigabytes, and $45 for 10 gigabytes. 

Amazon, California Reach Sales Tax Agreement. Amazon has been able to offer lower prices on its online store because, unlike brick and mortar stores, it does not collect sales tax. In California, that streak was set to change after the state enacted a law that would require the online retail to collect taxes. Amazon fought, and the dispute has ended in a truce of sorts. According to a new agreement between between the state and online retailer, Amazon will begin collecting sales tax in the state from September 2012, an estimated $200 million annually, NPR reports. That’s unless Amazon is able to issue a change in federal tax policy by that time. –NS

Twitter Search Tool From Anonymous. Hacking group Anonymous has created a program to better follow and contribute to trending topics on Twitter, and use popular hashtags to “raise awareness of problems going on in this world,” the group wrote on their website. “URGE,” or “Universal Rapid Gamma Emitter (Twitter edition)” can be downloaded from the group’s website, and is intended for use by “Anonymous and anyone else who cares to use this for awareness and bashing corrupt politicians.” –NS

Apple Wins Samsung Tablet Sales Ban In Germany.
A German court has sided with Apple and banned the sale of Samsung Galaxy 10.1 tablets in Germany. “The court is of the opinion that Apple’s minimalistic design isn’t the only technical solution to make a tablet computer, other designs are possible,” Judge Johanna Brueckner-Hofmann said in the verdict, Bloomberg reports.  –NS


TomTom GPS Gets Smart
. TomTom Go Live 1535, the company’s newest GPS model, comes outfitted with a slew of handy travel apps that you no longer need to reach for their smartphones to use. You can tweet along your drive, find hotels with the Tripadvisor and Expedia apps, look up restaurants with the Yelp app, and search for anything else with the Google search app. There’s a weather forecast app too, and a safety camera app to tell you when to slow down. –NS

–Updated 9:00 a.m. EST

Apple Pushes New Charity Scheme. Tim Cook has made one of the first noticeable changes to Apple policy since the resignation of Steve Jobs: In an email to Apple staff Cook revealed that if employees donate money to non-profit 501©(3) organizations, Apple will match the totals up to $10,000 annually. The scheme will begin in the U.S. and then roll out to other nations. Apple has over $50 billion in cash reserves which facilitate this generosity. –KE

6-Ton Satellite to Deorbit. NASA has revealed that a dead 6-ton atmospheric monitoring satellite will likely fall to Earth between the end of September and early October (it’s hard to predict when due to variations in ionospheric drag). About 1,200 pounds of metal and components will probably survive the descent, and could hit the ground in a swath between Juneau and the tip of South America. The chances of hitting anyone are estimated as 1 in 3,200, but the deorbit does prevent the formation of more dangerous space junk. –KE


Brit E-Reader Inspired By Nook. U.K. bricks-and-mortar bookseller Waterstones has announced that it will be launching its own e-reader, inspired by the success of Barnes and Noble’s Nook devices in the U.S. market. It’s a direct attack on Amazon’s dominance of the e-book and physical book markets, and the company’s CEO has said it will offer a “good, and preferably substantially better” digital reading experience compared to “our internet rival.” –KE

–Updated 06:00 a.m. EST

Yesterday’s Fast Feed: Twitter’s User Tally, Google Acquires Zagat, Facebook’s Half-Billion Earnings …and more…

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