Cambridge Analytica shuts down

The company at the center of Facebook's growing privacy crisis, Cambridge Analytica, has imploded. Today the company voluntarily dissolved itself, even though it still doesn't think it did anything wrong:

“Over the past several months, Cambridge Analytica has been the subject of numerous unfounded accusations,” the statement said. “The siege of media coverage has driven away virtually all of the company’s customers and suppliers. As a result, it has been determined that it is no longer viable to continue operating the business.”

The reason for the shutdown: mounting legal costs and a complete dearth of clients in the wake of the accusations, as well as being banned from every major social media API. 

Here's the thing though: it isn't really going anywhere. It appears that the company is shuttering a bad name, and trying to reboot operations under a new moniker in the hope that it can continue. Over the past few weeks CA has transferred some assets to a new brand, Emerdata, where it hopes to continue business.

What's interesting about rolling up operations like this is what happens to the investigation going forward. It's unclear whether the UK will be able to complete its data audit or if Facebook will ever be able to determine what happened at the company — which still blames "unfair press coverage" for its demise.


Telegram's billion dollar IPO is a mess

Telegram raised a solid $1.7 billion in an IPO at a scale we hadn't seen before, promising to eventually launch a coin for public sale and build out technology that makes it a killer use-case for the blockchain. Yeah, that sentence made my head hurt too.

Now it's dead — sort of. Telegram has shelved plans for the public sale of its coin, leaving investors stranded with no way to cash out and no clear timeline or road-map for what happens next. The original plan was to build the 'TON' (Telegram Open Network) which promised to basically do, well, everything — now it's a bit more unclear.

It's easy to speculate that Telegram has done this to avoid the active SEC probe into unregulated securities, which are the exact reason investors are in this mess in the first place. The result, from Techcrunch:

Telegram is aware of the unofficial sales [of its coin] but, since they do not violate any laws — because ICOs are not regulated — there is nothing that it can do but watch. The issue with early sales is that the market can influence, or even set, the price of a token through unofficial deals which could complicate listing it on exchanges or setting a post-ICO price.

Telegram's ICO and the amount it raised dwarfs the nearest one, Filecoin, which raised $250 million, which also offered vague promises of technology that would both do everything and nothing all at once. There's a great John Oliver segment about the state of cryptocurrencies and ICOs like this, if you haven't seen it yet.


Tab Dump

Stack Overflow launches teams product
I've always wondered why this didn't exist — many programmers spend a few hours a week on the site, and having company knowledge for more sensitive questions (or those ones that repeat) seems obvious.

Google makes Maps API paid + unified
Google's finally monetizing its APIs for Maps better, and making it clearer that you have to pay to use them. Until now, there were 18 convoluted APIs for Maps with a paid endpoint for each individual part of of Google's mapping tech, from Places to geolocation. Now it's free for the first $200 each month, and there's just a single plan with access to them all.

Spotify's first earnings — a miss, but not all bad
75 million paid users, but it fell short of its own estimates. Whoops! 

.app domains are now available
You can pay a high price to get one now, or wait until next week to get yours for cheap. Yay, internet gold rushes!