Square’s Data Viz Tool, Google Plus API Arrives, Rhapsody Goes Social, Twitter Translated Into 5 Languages

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



Square Open-Sources Its Data Viz Tool. Developers at the mobile pay upstart Square have released a time series visualization builder called Cube. While the drag-and-drop interface is nowhere near as user-friendly as Square’s payment screens and receipts, Cube does offer an amazingly simple way to build an analytics tool that draws on real-time data. The video below shows a brief demo of the open-source tool, which is still a work in progress. –NR

Virgin’s First Space Flight Within A Year Of Now. Virgin Galactic has pronounced its intention to fly its first space-bound mission of its VSS Enterprise SpaceShipTwo commercial space tourist vehicle within a year of now, noting its rocket tests are proceeding well. The company also reiterated its hopes to extend its space tourism service into a trans-global travel one, with a possible single hour journey time between London and Los Angeles. –KE

Google+ Offers Public Data APIs. Google released public data APIs for its social network, Google+ today. According to the new, official Google+ Platform Blog and comments published within Google+ by developer relations employees the APIs let developers publish content to Google+ or access and share content from Google+, among other things. It’s a first step, and more APIs that lead to more, creative apps that take advantage of Google+ circles, and other features are hotly anticipated, as noted by mobile developer blog, Smashapp. — LK


Amazon Brings Local Deals To Ad-Kindles. Amazon is enhancing its ad-supported Kindle e-readers by adding in its local deals offers to the displays that pop up when user’s aren’t reading e-books. The system will start in New York, but will roll out to other cities supported by AmazonLocal soon. Deals can be purchased directly from the Kindle’s interface, without needing to enter credit card data. –KE

Google Buys A Thousand IBM Patents. Continuting its recent patent acquisition spree, Google has bought 1,023 pieces of IP from Big Blue–covering a very diverse range of processes and innovations from circuit engineering to file system management. The move is likely defensive, in the continuing IP battle for the smartphone and tablet space, and continues Google’s penchant for strange numbers: 1,023 is just shy of 2 to the power of 10, and it bid a multiple of Pi for Nortel’s patents. –KE

–Updated 12:00 a.m. EST

Rhapsody Goes Social. Just ahead of Facebook’s expected announcement of a social music feature, and in the wake of web radio service Pandora‘s IPO (and recent addition of its own social feature), subscription music service Rhapsody launches a social layer. Members will find new “profile” and “people” tabs under the My Music menu that links up with Facebook or just lets them follow and browse other users within Rhapsody to see they’ve actually been listening to (not just what they say they like). Rhapsody’s also tracking leaders in genres, a la Foursquare. (We’ve been playing around with all of this; more to come, soon.) –TG

Twitter Embraces New Languages. Twitter‘s blog reports that the social network is now publishing in five new languages to “increase Twitter’s reach.” The new languages are simplified and traditional Chinese, Hindi, Tagalog, and Malay, bringing Twitter’s supported total to 17–all relying on a crowd-sourced translation system with almost 300,000 volunteers. Scandinavian languages and Polish are arriving soon, Twitter says. Twitter is currently inaccessible from Chinese web addresses due to governmental censorship. –KE 

Groupon On Track For IPO. Earlier this month reports suggested Groupon was delaying wooing banks and investors, but in the New York Times today the company is now said to be “back on track” and will be engaging financial partners in “late October or early November.” This is despite a still “rocky” situation in the markets, and is propelled by a resolution with the SEC to tackle alleged filing irregularities. –KE


Windows 8 Moves Away From Flash. Microsoft is taking a leaf from Apple’s book for Windows 8 and is taking Flash out of its Internet Explorer 10 for the new OS–instead favoring a non plug-in HTML5 design for the browser. This move applies to the tablet edition, since Adobe’s Flash will work on the desktop version of Windows 8, exactly as OS X supports the plug-in but it’s famously absent on the iPhone and iPad. –KE

–Updated 4:30 a.m. EST

Yesterday’s Fast Feed: Facebook and YouTube Debut New Features, Torrent Site Hacked, China Telecom To Promote iPhone 5 With $235M Campaign …and more…


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