ScreenPop is like Snapchat for your Android lock screen

Here’s an interesting Android app for the photo-sharing obsessed. It’s called ScreenPop and it lets you share or view photo messages with friends right from the lock screen of your handset.

ScreenPop reminds me quite a bit of Snapchat, only you don’t have to open an app to use it. Instead, you can take and share a photo — or choose one from your phone’s photo gallery — and immediately send it to other friends who have ScreenPop installed. Your sent picture will appear on their handset’s lock screen and then cease to exist once they unlock their phone. Here’s a quick look at how it works:


Conceptually, I like the idea; there’s less of a barrier for you to share photos that have a short shelf life because you don’t have to unlock your phone with a PIN or security code. You just choose or snap a pic, annotate it if you want, and send it off. Fundamentally, though, I don’t think I’d feel that comfortable with a non-secure app that could send pictures from my phone. And the same applies on the receiving end: You never know what image is going to pop up on your phone next, which could lead to some embarrassing moments.

Still, I’m sure there’s a market for ScreenPop, which comes from the same team that designed Locket, one of [company]Google[/company]’s picks for best apps in 2014 and an intelligent Android lock screen that surfaces interesting content similar to the Flipboard app. The key difference is that you’re getting that information right on your lock screen so you see it more quickly than in a traditional app.

Maybe it’s just me, though. I am getting old. I can’t help thinking the one time I leave my phone somewhere, someone is going to be sending photos to friends on my behalf and I have no control over that. Or that funny pic of a crazy party from a old classmate will suddenly appear on my phone for all to see when it was only meant for me.

If you have fewer reservations than I do, you can install ScreenPop for free from the Google Play Store provided your phone runs Google Android 4.0 or better.

Snapchat’s $10B value proves ephemeral messaging is here to stay

Snapchat’s new round of financing, which values the company at somewhere close to $10 billion, is more proof that it has tapped into a powerful need on the part of many users — namely, the desire to have their messages disappear rather than being permanent

Feds issue final order over Snapchat privacy incidents, but no fine

What do regulators do when a popular app deceives users about photos that “disappear forever” and scrapes their contact list without permission? Not much.

On Wednesday morning, the Federal Trade Commission announced the approval of a final order against Snapchat, a popular messaging app that lets people send text and images that disappear after a few seconds.

The service, which initially gained notoriety as a teen sexting app, landed in hot water this spring after it became apparent that users could deploy easy workarounds to capture permanent copies of the photos that were supposed to “disappear forever.”

According to an FTC complaint published this spring, Snapchat not only deceived users with such false marketing promises, but it also collected information from iPhone contact lists without permission, and employed lax security measures that exposed 4.6 million users to a data breach.

This week’s order serves to formally implement the terms of the settlement that were announced in March. Notably, the terms do not include any sort of financial repercussions for the company or its executives.

Instead, Snapchat’s punishment consists of a 20-year consent decree, which requires the company to comply with a series of obligations, including the implementation of a privacy program.

Such decrees, which the FTC also has in force against tech companies like Facebook and Google, provide the agency with a means to slap down harsher penalties, including multimillion dollar fines, in the event of future privacy breaches.

The downside of the Snapchat consent decree, however, is that it may reinforce perceptions among Silicon Valley startups that it’s okay to blow off privacy precautions, since little of consequence happens to first-time violators. Indeed, earlier this year, the maker of an Android flashlight app secretly recorded the location of 50 million people, but faced no fine from the FTC.

The original headline of this story used the word “breach.” That word has been changed to “incidents” in light of the fact that the primary issue in the FTC case — the capturing of photos — was facilitated by third party apps, rather than by overcoming Snapchat’s security measures.

Two charts that show why Uber’s valuation isn’t ridiculous

Uber’s latest funding brings the company into the stratosphere of private company valuations.

At $40 billion, Uber is believed to be four times more valuable than Airbnb, Snapchat, Palantir or Dropbox. Its valuation is eight times larger than Pinterest’s, fifty-seven times larger than Lyft’s, 100 times larger than Instacart’s.

The news sent the tech world into a tizzy. People called Uber’s new valuation eye-popping, ridiculous, absurd. Just like Uber’s last round of funding, it was heralded as proof of a bubble, an upcoming crash, the tech apocalypse, etc.

[dataset id=”898119″]

But when you plot Uber’s valuation compared to big public tech companies, it looks less dramatic. [company]Amazon[/company], [company]Facebook[/company], [company]Microsoft[/company], [company]Amazon[/company], [company]Oracle[/company] and others are — as you’d expect from mature companies — much larger by market cap than Uber’s current valuation. Twitter is much smaller. Investors are essentially saying that they think Uber will be nearly as valuable as [company]Yahoo[/company] or [company]eBay[/company] and more valuable than Twitter when it goes public. It’s not a totally outlandish conclusion for them to bet on, given current tech hype and market trends.

Uber’s staggering valuation says more about the changing nature of tech fundraising than it does about Uber investors’ ridiculousness. Companies are staying private longer, choosing to develop their product outside of the prying public market’s eyes. Uber is leading that trend, a pioneer for a new kind of growth model.

Without much precedent, it’s hard to know what Uber’s eventual IPO will look like. It has more money and time to hone its business, so it’s not entirely fair to compare is to the IPOs of yesteryear and call its valuation outsized. We’re playing by a new set of rules.

[dataset id=”898108″]

There’s another way to look at Uber’s valuation. CEO Travis Kalanick isn’t content for his company to remain a car-hailing app. He plans to move into urban logistics and shipping, doing everything from delivering food to transporting supplies. When Uber drops off kittens on National Cat Day, it’s not just a publicity stunt — it’s logistics testing.

On that note, perhaps Uber should be compared to public transportation, logistics and automotive corporations. Companies like [company]Ford[/company] and [company]Tesla[/company] are distant cousins to Uber, but given that Kalanick wants Uber to replace car ownership, they may be competitors down the line. The same goes for [company]FedEx[/company] and [company]UPS[/company].

Uber’s valuation puts it at less than half the market cap of UPS, but close to the market cap of FedEx ($51 billion). From an automotive standpoint, the numbers are even more optimistic, with Ford and [company]General Motors[/company]’ market caps not that much bigger than Uber’s valuation. Tesla and Hertz’s market caps, $29 billion and $11 billion respectively, are smaller than Uber’s $40 billion valuation.

Uber’s investors are essentially saying that they think when the company goes public, it will be worth at least half as much as GM and Ford and more than Tesla and Hertz.

[dataset id=”898118″]