Today’s brief covers Karma, a new social gifting app, HBO comes to Xbox, a video chat with Jack Dorsey, how Cisco is re-creating Silicon Valley in Russia, the world’ most beautiful buildings, an infographic on beer, and more. Read on!
1. Karma, a social gifting app, just raised $4.5M in funding from Sequoia Capital, Kleiner Perkins, and more. Karma gives users options to gift from over 50 product companies, including Uber, Kate Spade, Magnolia Cupcakes, and more. Once you connect your social networks, Karma starts to pull in data from your social networks to filter what occasion you would want to send a gift for. You can even choose payment and delivery method, all through the app. Karma’s goal is to make sure we don’t forget the important moments to celebrate in life, and make gift-giving as seamless as possible. [TechCrunch]
2. HBO is launching its HBO Go app for Xbox Live in tandem with the premiere of Game of Thrones. No word on when the app will come to Playstation and Nintendo Wii. On a sidebar, if you haven’t read Game of Thrones yet, go download/buy/rent it now. [Gamestop]
3. Have a question for Jack Dorsey? The Square and Twitter founder will be hosting a video-mentoring session to encourage entrepreneurship among high school students. Dorsey sits on one non-profit board, BUILD, which promotes entrepreneurship training and and college prep for high school students in Silicon Valley. [TechCrunch]
4. NASA has created an incredibly detailed map of trees in the U.S. This is more interesting than it sounds, I promise. Its scientific visual design at its best; its so detailed it can change based on a tree being lost to a parking lot. [FastCoDesign]
5. The Skolkovo project in Russia aims to build a city of the future, housing innovators and entrepreneurs, a la our Silicon Valley. The Russian government has tasked Cisco to build the technical infrastructure to allow Skolkovo to become a “borderless hub of innovation.” The government has already put in $300 million into this project, and plans to boost that up to $4 billion by 2013. The question is, can Russia use money and technology to re-create the natural innovation that occurs in Silicon Valley? [FastCoExist]
6. Confused about what beer to order? Here’s a handy infographic explaining all the varieties. Get out your microscope. [Visual.ly]
7. By 2014, all vehicles will be required to have backup cameras. The proposal estimates $200 being added to the sticker price, but with new regulations, rising fuel costs, etc. it could end up adding a few thousand to the sticker price. [USA Today]
8. Here are 15 unusual beds. And by unusual, I mean weird. I don’t know anyone who would want to sleep in a bed that is a dinosaur’s open jaws. [Mental Floss]
9. Check out the world’s most beautiful buildings. How many of these have you visited? I’ve only been to the Taj… need to start racking up some miles! [Lonely Planet]
10. Is Google+ going the way of Google Wave? Recent comScore numbers show that users are spending an average of 3 minutes a month on the site from September to January, versus the 7 hours per month people are spending on Facebook. While I really like the concept of Google+, there’s almost too much of a learning curve to make me truly switch to using that over Facebook and Twitter. [WSJ]
That’s all from me today. Submissions and comments below!