January 6, 2015, 8:00 AM

Top News

Sources: Verizon approached AOL about possible acquisition or joint venture to strengthen mobile-video offerings  —  Verizon Said to Approach AOL About Possible Takeover or Venture  —  Verizon Communications Inc. has approached AOL Inc. (AOL) about a potential acquisition or joint venture …
Jon Fingas / Engadget:
Samsung updates SmartThings Hub, unveils subscription home monitoring service, coming April 2015  —  Samsung unveils next-gen smart home hub and monitoring service  —  Looks like you didn't have to wait long to see what Samsung would do in the smart home world after acquiring SmartThings …
Ev Williams / Medium:
Values of companies are too complex to be measured accurately by any single metric, like MAUs  —  A mile wide, an inch deep  —  I was recently quoted as saying, “I don't give a s**t” if Instagram has more users than Twitter.  If you read the article you'll note there's a big “if” before my not giving of said s**t.
Austin Carr / Fast Company:
Amazon executes sweeping reorganization of hardware group Lab126 following Fire Phone flop  —  Following Fire Phone Flop, Big Changes At Amazon's Lab126  —  In recent months, a string of departures and managerial changes has hit Amazon's Lab126, the company's Silicon Valley-based R&D group …
Daniel Jalkut /
Historical perspective on the notion that Apple has reached a peak of bugginess or that its marketing is prevailing  —  The Functional High Ground  —  Marco Arment laments his perception that Apple's software quality is in such a rapid decline that the company has “completely lost the functional high ground.”
Frederic Lardinois / TechCrunch:
Glassdoor Closes $70M Funding Round Led By Google Capital And Tiger Global  —  Glassdoor, the site that lets employees rate their companies' work environment and anonymously disclose their salary information, today announced that it has raised a $70 million funding round led by Google Capital …
Roger Cheng / CNET:
Key wireless charging groups A4WP, PMA agree to merge  —  The alliance should help bring a little bit of clarity to the fragmented world of wireless charging technologies.  —  Powermat technology, pushed by the PMA, is already available at select Starbucks.  —  LAS VEGAS—Two down, one to go.
Dan Goodin / Ars Technica:
Gogo issues fake HTTPS certificates to block in-flight YouTube streaming, says no user info collected  —  Gogo issues fake HTTPS certificate to users visiting YouTube  —  Gogo has been caught issuing a fake digital certificate for YouTube, a practice that in theory could allow …
Chris Ziegler / The Verge:
CarPlay and Android Auto will be in Volkswagen cars this year  —  At CES this week, Volkswagen finally announced its plans for Apple's CarPlay and Google's Android Auto: both will be available later this year.  The technologies will work on VW's MIB II dash electronics …
Peter Kafka / Re/code:
Dish announces Sling TV: stream channels like ESPN, CNN, and TNT over the internet for $20 per month without a cable subscription  —  You Can Finally Get ESPN on the Web, for $20 a Month  —  Lots of people say they want to ditch cable TV for the Web, but can't because they want to watch sports …
Josh Constine / TechCrunch:
Facebook Acquires To Help Its Developers With Speech Recognition And Voice Interfaces  —  Facebook today acquired, a Y Combinator startup founded 18 months ago to create an API for building voice-activated interfaces. already has 6,000 developers on its platform who have built hundreds of apps.
James Kendrick / ZDNet:
CES 2015: Lenovo unveils Yoga tablets, laptops, and new pen technology  —  Summary:Lenovo intends to continue riding its Yoga line of tablets and laptops, and launched a Yoga Tablet 2 with a strange feature, along with the Yoga 3 and ThinkPad Yoga laptops.  —  The Yoga line of tablets …
Ruth Reader / VentureBeat:
Yahoo Mail mobile app now tracks packages on iOS  —  Yahoo Mail just issued an update to its iOS app that will help you keep an eye on your goods while they're still in transit.  —  In the Yahoo Today section of the mobile app users can track packages from Amazon, eBay, Zappos, Target, Best Buy, Macy's and others.
Michael Kan / Computerworld:
ZTE Grand Max X Plus prepaid smartphone with 6-inch display, 4G LTE, 5 megapixel front facing camera coming to Cricket this week for $200 off-contract  —  ZTE attacks US prepaid handset market with 6-inch smartphone  —  ZTE sees big promise in the U.S. prepaid handset market …
Mitchel Broussard / MacRumors:
TapSense announces platform for contextual ads on Apple Watch as developers scramble to deliver ads through Watch SDK  —  TapSense Announces Platform to Bring Contextual Ads to Apple Watch  —  Amidst the new and upcoming product launches at this year's Consumer Electronics Show …
Janko Roettgers / Gigaom:
Samsung is adding Slingbox-like features to its new smart TVs  —  Janko Roettgers  —  Credit: Kobby Dagan /  —  Credit: Kobby Dagan /  —  This is interesting: Samsung is adding what amounts to a kind of Slingbox to all of its new smart TVs …
Caleb Pershan / SFist:
Mark Zuckerberg's New Book Club Sold Out Its First Title On Amazon  —  Mark Zuckerberg is not like us.  For example, when it comes to New Year's resolutions, the Facebook CEO actually achieves things.  And in the five short days of 2015 so far, he's already become Oprah Winfrey.
Mike Masnick / Techdirt:
Intel Turns Off Russian Forums, Blogs & Comments In Response To Russian Blogging Law  —  Back in April of last year, we were among the first to report on a very dangerous new law in Russia targeting bloggers, requiring any blogger or social media user with more than 3,000 “visitors” a day to register their real name with the government.

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Lynn La / CNET: