Beepl is a questions and answers service, which launches today. Co-founder/CEO and ex-TechCrunch blogger Steve O’Hear actually left TC to do this startup is convinced that Beepl can take on the the so-called Q&A field better than Quora. But how?
Unlike Quora where the questions come first and can thus make the service look quite chaotic, it’s Beepl’s aim to first find the experts in a subject who can answer the questions. It does this by applying its semantic engine to users’ interests as surfaced through various social media profiles, such as their Facebook likes, LinkedIn skills and recent tweets, along with their explicit activity on Beepl itself. It’s the startup’s use of this semantic technology that makes it different from Quora. Instead of experts having to look for or follow a question, the questions essentially “follow” the experts.
To continue the inevitable comparison to Quora, O’Hear told me that Beepl is more like social media rather than a wiki-type resource, “so we don’t care if the same question is being asked again and again” he says. Why? Because the experts it surfaces are always changing and improving,so the answers can be ever more relevant.
The questions can be also asked on Twitter with a hash tag #ask and the answers are fed into Beepl and represent additional source of information. This function however has not yet been tested as Beepl was in a closed alpha up until now (it opens up today). The experts are awarded expertise points, but their PeerIndex or Klout scores are not taken into account. Perhaps that could change – given that Beepl could become a social ranking for experts answering questions. We’ll see I guess.
Beepl raised $400,000 from Czech venture capital firm Credo Ventures last summer and is headquartered in London, but its R&D team is based in Prague, Czech Republic.
Meanwhile, Beepl is not alone in trying to improve the effectiveness of a Q&A services. In Poland a startup called Wisdio has recently raised $140,000 of seed money from local VCs and business angels. According to its founder and CEO Sebastian Zontek, the service aims to deliver questions to the right people taking into account their activity data on Wisdio, other social networks as well as their behavioural profiles.
Apple finally unveiled their hotly anticipated fifth generation iPhone at the Let’s Talk iPhone event.
iPhone 4S comes with a number of new features and improvements, including Apple’s faster dual-core A5 chip, 8-megapixel camera, Siri – Apple’s new revolutionary personal assistant feature, improved battery life, faster download speeds, support for both GSM and CDMA networks and more.
Apple has announced that the new iPhone 4S will be available in the US, Australia, Canada, France, Germany, Japan and the UK on October 14th. Apple will start accepting pre-orders from Friday, October 7th from 12:01 am PST (3:01 am EST) or pick it up from a retail store at 8:00am on October 14th.
Apple has also announced that iPhone 4S will be available in 22 more countries, including Austria, Belgium, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Mexico, Netherlands, Norway, Singapore, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden and Switzerland on October 28th.
If you are existing iPhone user in the US, you can checkout the upgrade eligibility usingÂ this tool.
Do you plan to pre-order your iPhone 4S or plan to wait in the line to get your hands on one?
What’s the News: You might think that identical twins have an advantage when it comes to crime—withÂ the sameÂ DNA, who could tell them apart? But new research with a squad of scent-trained Czech police dogs reveals that even identicalÂ twins have their own individual smells, even if they live in the same house and eat the same food.
How the Heck:
- Scent line-ups for identifying suspectsÂ are regularly used in theÂ Czech Republic, Russia,Â Denmark, the Netherlands, and several other European countries. Trained dogs are provided with a scent from the scene of a crime and then sniff out the matching scent from sweat samples taken from suspects.
- The researchers took sweat samples from two sets of identical twins and two sets of fraternal twins (whose status they verified with DNA testing), as well as plenty of samples from unrelated children. All the samples were taken in the same room and with the same scientist present, so background odors wold cancel out.
- Then, 10Â trained German Shepherds,Â police dogsÂ used solely for identifying suspectsÂ by scent,Â were put through a total of 120Â scent line-ups byÂ police officers who had no knowledge of which pads were which.Â
- In every single trial, the dogs correctly identified the individuals they were seeking, even when an individual’s identical twin was also in the line-up.
What’s the Context:
- Previous studies investigating whether dogs can tell twins apart were somewhatÂ haphazard, some using untrained dogs or police dogs that were used in a variety of capacities, not just for scent line-ups, or very few dogs. The technique hasn’t caught on in many countries because of a lack of scientific back-up, but the researchers think that this study provides a more Â rigorous proof of the procedure.
- What are the dogs smelling? The major histocompatibility complex (MHC), an area of the genome thatÂ codes for immune system proteins, is linkedÂ to people and animal’s ability recognize each other by smell—in a well-known 1995 study, young women overwhelmingly preferred the aroma of sweaty T-shirts of men who hadÂ different MHC profiles than they. It’s possibleÂ that what the dogs are sniffing is some variation in the expression of those proteins, though this study doesn’t attempt to address a biochemical mechanism.
- The study suggests thatÂ even very small differences in environment or experience, such as thoseÂ experienced by young identical twins in the same household, can lead to biological differences—another mark against DNA determinism.
The Future Holds: The youngest twins were only five years old, indicating that even people who have the same DNA and the same surroundings begin to diverge at a very early age. The scientists suggest thatÂ future studies could look intoÂ when this starts to happen, with an eye toÂ discovering the mechanism.
Reference: Pinc L, BartoÅ¡ L, ReslovÃ¡ A, Kotrba R (2011) Dogs Discriminate Identical Twins. PLoS ONE 6(6): e20704. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0020704
Image credit: PLoS One
As expected, white iPhone 4 is now available on Appleâ€™s online store after few hours of downtime in the US and also in Austria, Australia, Belgium, Canada, China, Czech Republic, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Hong Kong, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Luxembourg, Macau, Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Singapore, South Korea, Spain, Switzerland, Sweden, Taiwan, Thailand, and UK.
The white iPhone 4 is also available on Verizon and AT&T website in the US. Internationally,Â it should be available in local carrier stores and Apple’s authorized resellers.
MacLife reports that according to Brian White, an analyst at Ticonderoga, white iPhone 4â€™s “mystique and scarcity value” will drive sales of iPhone 4:
The purchase of consumer electronic devices is not always a completely rational decision, and people buy Apple products for many different reasons, including status, aesthetics, functionality, quality and the â€˜cool factor.â€™
In our view, this delay has created a certain mystique and scarcity value around the white iPhone 4 that we believe could drive incremental iPhone 4 purchases in the range of 1 million to 1.5 million units per quarter until the iPhone 5 potentially comes to market in September.
Are you planning to buy or switch to the white iPhone 4? Let us know in the comments.
Source: White iPhone 4 Is Finally Here
Apple has announced that the white iPhone 4 will be available beginning tomorrow, April 28th from Appleâ€™s online store, Appleâ€™s retail stores and Appleâ€™s authorized resellers in Austria, Australia, Belgium, Canada, China, Czech Republic, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Hong Kong, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Luxembourg, Macau, Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Singapore, South Korea, Spain, Switzerland, Sweden, Taiwan, Thailand, and UK.
Apple issued the following press statement earlier today:
Apple today announced that the white iPhone 4 will be available beginning tomorrow. White iPhone 4 models will be available from Apple’s online store (www.apple.com), at Apple’s retail stores, AT&T and Verizon Wireless stores and select Apple Authorized Resellers.
White models of iPhone 4 will be available in Austria, Australia, Belgium, Canada, China, Czech Republic, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Hong Kong, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Luxembourg, Macau, Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Singapore, South Korea, Spain, Switzerland, Sweden, Taiwan, Thailand, UK and the US, beginning Thursday, April 28 and in many more countries around the world soon.
Some lucky users have already managed to get their hands on a white iPhone 4 have already started sharing unboxing photos and videos along with their first impressions.
What do you think?