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theEweekly Wrap

Whatsapp co-founder rejected by Facebook – New Google Maps is officially revealed – US to gain its first Bitcoin ATMs

Whatsapp co-founder was rejected by Facebook

Facebook's acquisition of social messaging service Whatsapp has given the company's co-founder the fairy-tale ending that most start-ups can only dream of.

Yesterday, the social media giant revealed that it had purchased the messaging app for a whopping $19bn (£11.4bn), the social network's largest purchase to date and making 2013's $3bn bid for Snapchat seem like pocket change.

The entrepreneurs behind Whatsapp have a colourful CV between them, including co-founder Brian Acton's rejection from Facebook in 2009, and fellow founder and college drop-out Jan Koum. A tweet from 2009 highlights Acton's good showmanship and an unyielding faith in his craft:

A mere five years on and former Yahoo! employees Acton and Koum have a 55 employee strong company, and have become billionaires overnight.


Google Maps reveals more of its revamp

The Google service has been rolling out its latest updates since last May, and finally after 9 months of customer feedback and amendments the new Google Maps will become available around the world.

On Wednesday, Google made an official statement on its blog outlining the features users can expect on the revamped Google Maps tool, including:

  • Searching your local area for amenities such as 'italian restaurant', rather than the name or postcode of your desired location being required; the map is also able to offer related results as part of its "smarter decisions" capabilities.
  • Users can find the most efficient route to a destination with real time traffic updates and public transport information.
  • Better images and advanced navigation enable users to explore their surroundings with 3D images and the newly introduced carousel of images at the bottom of the screen.

Brian McClendon, Vice President of Google Maps stated within the blog post:

"It's now even easier to plan your next trip, check live traffic conditions, discover what's happening around town, and learn about a new area... With any product redesign, there may be bumps along the road. We're hoping that you're as excited as we are to navigate uncharted territory in pursuit of the perfect map."

Bitcoin's first US ATMs to be installed in Austin

The maker of the first Bitcoin ATM, Robocoin, has stated that some US cities can expect their first instalments later this month.

Las Vegas based Robocoin fitted the world's first permanent Bitcoin ATM in Canada last year, and has revealed that the next cities to enjoy the service will be Seattle and Austin.

Unlike current ATMs, Robocoin's machines will allow users to exchange Bitcoin for cash or similarly deposit cash to purchase more Bitcoin by the transfer of funds via a virtual wallet. The virtual currency's value has been in a state of flux since entering the public eye in November last year; on the day of publishing a Bitcoin was worth £355.80.

As an increasing number of online retail outlets and various London restaurants have begun accepting the currency as tender, it is unsurprising that Europe is one of the next locations in Robocoin's plan to install ATMs.



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