Apple Secretly Acquired “Pandora For Books” Startup BookLamp To Battle Amazon

Originally posted on TechCrunch:

TechCrunch has learned that Apple has made another acquisition, one that it is using to boost its e-books effort and “beat Amazon at its own game.” It has bought BookLamp, a startup based out of Boise, Idaho, that developed big data-style book analytics services.

[Update 6:45pm PST: Apple has confirmed our report of the acquisition. The company tells us "Apple buys smaller technology companies from time to time, and we generally do not discuss our purpose or plans."]

A second source says Apple bought BookLamp’s employees and technology for a price that was “higher than $10 million, and lower than $15 million.”

BookLamp’s most well-known product was the Book Genome Project, a platform that let users find suggestions for books to read based on natural language analysis of other titles. BookLamp’s tech and talent could help Apple improve its iBooks service with better recommendations, search, and categorization.

TechCrunch has…

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This is how you invent a person online

Originally posted on Quartz:

On April 8, 2013, I received an envelope in the mail from a nonexistent return address in Toledo, Ohio. Inside was a blank thank-you note and an Ohio state driver’s license. The ID belonged to a 28-year-old man called Aaron Brown—6 feet tall and 160 pounds with a round face, scruffy brown hair, a thin beard, and green eyes. His most defining feature, however, was that he didn’t exist.

I know that because I created him.

Fake drivers license

(Curtis Wallen/The Atlantic)

As an artist, I’ve long been interested in identity and the ways it is represented. My first serious body of work, Springfield, used the concept of a Midwestern nowhere to explore representations of middle-American sprawl. A few years later, I became interested in the hundreds of different entities that track and analyze our behavior online—piecing together where we’re from, who we’re friends with, how much money we make, what we like…

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