British police use facial recognition technology to make an arrest for the first time

Police have used facial recognition technology to arrest a man for the first time in the UK. 

The arrest was made May 31 but police didn’t release many details, probably because the investigation is ongoing. 

South Wales Police have been trialling the technology, known as AFR (Automatic Facial Recognition), for the past 18 months. And UK police have been testing facial recognition technology for a while, raising privacy and security concerns among civil rights organisations and members of the public. 

At the end of May, law enforcement announced a partnership with the company NEC to test AFR during the Champions League finals week in Cardiff. Trained officers monitored “the movement of people at strategic locations in and around the city centre”. 

A number of camera positions were set up to identify people who are on the police’s watch list, either because they’re suspects, missing persons, or persons of interest. 

The arrest was “of a local man and unconnected to the Champions League,” a South Wales Police spokesperson told Mashable. 

The man’s face was probably included in the police’s Niche Record Management system which stores 500,000 custody images. 

Police said the UCL final “has clearly provided a perfect testing ground” for the AFR trial with NEC, which has been working on real-time facial recognition along with UK police. 

“The world we live in is changing and with that comes a need to change the way we police,” Assistant Chief Constable Richard Lewis said. 

According to Alun Michael, South Wales police & crime commissioner, AFR helps law enforcement in early intervention and prevention of a crime “by allowing us to identify vulnerability, challenge perpetrators and reduce instances of offending within environments where the technology is deployed.”

While this is the first arrest attributed to facial recognition technology, it’s been in use in the UK for a while now.

In 2015, Leicestershire police scanned the faces of 90,000 festival-goers at Download Festival, checking them against a list of wanted criminals across the country. It was the first time anywhere in the UK that facial recognition technology — NeoFace — was used at a public outdoor event.

Privacy campaigners — and Muse frontman Matt Bellamy — expressed their fury at authorities after they casually mentioned the use of the surveillance project on Police Oracle, a police news and information website. Police didn’t use any other method to warn festival-goers about the controversial initiative. 

Facial recognition is also widely used in the U.S. enforcement agencies. 

According to a study published by researchers at Georgetown University’s Center on Privacy and Technology, about half of American adults — 117 million Americans — are already in a “law enforcement face recognition network.”

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Who needs a HomePod when you could have an iPod Hi-Fi with Alexa?

You’d think I’d be right on board with the HomePod, Apple’s Siri-powered speaker coming out later this year. I actually really like Apple Music as a service, and after buying a Google Home six months ago I’ve grown quite fond of talking to a speaker to tell it what song to play. Something with better sound quality and slicker execution should be an obvious purchase.

Well, the problem is I’ve already rolled my own Apple-speaker-with-smart-assistant solution, and I’m not convinced the HomePod will be much better.

The iPod Hi-Fi is one of Apple’s most maligned products. Unveiled with characteristic hubris at an overblown event, the $349 price was seen as wildly excessive at the time for what amounted to a glorified iPod dock. I loved the design, though, as well as its bassy, room-filling sound. I bought a used one for my bedroom last year because I just missed having it around.

Amazon’s Echo, meanwhile, is the product that defined the whole voice-assistant-speaker category that Apple just entered with the HomePod. It’s not available where I live, but I picked up a $50 Echo Dot when I was in the US for CES this past January. It’s a little microphone-equipped puck that plugs into any speaker and pretty much turns it into a better-sounding Echo.

homepodhomepod

See where I’m going with this? That’s right — my bedroom speaker is an Apple iPod Hi-Fi equipped with Amazon’s Alexa voice assistant. And it’s great! So great that I’m really not sure I’ll want to pick up a HomePod.

I think Apple was smart to focus the HomePod presentation on music. Everyone loves music, and positioning the HomePod as a smart, modern way to listen to your favorites gives the device a clear use case. Compare the muddled introduction of the Apple Watch to the confident, fitness-focused Series 2 announcement last year — it’s important to explain to people exactly why they might want a given product.

The problem is I have my doubts that the HomePod will be a better speaker than the iPod Hi-Fi. It’s way smaller, for one thing, and I am pretty suspicious of Apple’s claims about its audio processing. We’ve reported that it sounds good in a controlled demo, but who knows how that’ll translate to reality? It’s hard to imagine the HomePod reproducing the Hi-Fi’s thumping sound in such a small enclosure.

But let’s give it the benefit of the doubt and assume its sound quality is on par with the Hi-Fi. Is Siri really going to be on par with Alexa at launch? I vastly prefer Alexa at this point, and it’s hard to see how Apple will catch up with its functionality and flexibility by the end of the year. The company certainly didn’t show much intent to open Siri up to a wider range of developers at WWDC, whereas it’s trivial to get Alexa working with Spotify and countless other services.

That said, the only reason I keep up my Spotify subscription at all is so that I can invoke songs by shouting at various speakers. The $349 HomePod — same price as the iPod Hi-Fi was in 2006, remember — would pay for itself in two and a half years if it got me to cancel Spotify. And maybe that’s the only way Apple can win me over — if its integrated approach results in a notably better experience.

That is, of course, the principle that drives Apple’s entire business model. From the iPhone to the MacBook Pro, the company justifies its high prices by positioning its products as experiences that you just can’t get from competitors. And that’s why I might end up getting a HomePod after all, even if I do own a better speaker with a better voice assistant plugged in. If nothing else, Apple is good at providing new experiences, and they’re rarely less than intriguing.

Your cracked iPhone screen might soon be easier and cheaper to repair

About once a month, someone who’s cracked their iPhone’s screen asks me what to do. And sadly, I have to tell them that repair will be costly; so costly, in fact, that they might be better off selling the broken phone for parts and getting a new one. 

But this will soon change. According to a detailed Reuters report, by the end of 2017 Apple will make its iPhone screen repair machine available to around 400 authorized third-party retailers in 25 countries. The price at which Apple will sell the machine wasn’t disclosed. 

Previously, Apple kept the machine — which of course has a name, Horizon Machine — to itself, only making it available to employees of its 500 retail stores. The company guarded the machine’s design, making it harder for third-party stores to fix broken iPhone screens. In fact, this is the first time Apple even publicly admitted such a machine existed. 

The Horizon Machine isn’t necessary for some types of repairs, but when the fingerprint sensor is damaged, it’s a must. 

Reuters’ reporters had a chance to see the machine in action. The process of repairing an iPhone sounds quite mundane and similar to what you’d see at third-party repair shops, and involves screwdrivers and suction cups. But then, after the new screen is properly fitted, the phone is placed into the microwave-like Horizon Machine, which re-pairs the fingerprint sensor to the phone’s CPU. The Horizon Machine also tests the new screen’s fit and allows for precise image calibration. 

So why the change? Apple wouldn’t tell, but Reuters speculates it might have to do with eight U.S. states passing “right to repair” legislation which requires consumer tech giants such as Apple to make repairing their wares easier. 

Apple has been pilot-testing the idea for a year, with some machines already operating in the Bay Area, London, Shanghai, and Singapore. It will gradually roll out the Horizon Machine to third-party retailers. In practice, you can expect retailers such as Best Buy to get one, ideally resulting in shorter repair queues everywhere. Of course, lower prices aren’t guaranteed, but it’s quite likely some third-party retailers will give you a better deal than Apple. 

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Apple’s debut TV series, Planet of the Apps, kicks off


After months of trailing a move into original TV content, Apple yesterday pushed play on the first episode of Planet of the Apps, which can now be watched online via iTunes if you’re a subscriber of the company’s streaming music service, Apple Music.

The 50-minute show combines a celebrity judging aesthetic familiar from the likes of The Voice, with entrepreneurs pitching their apps — a la Shark Tank.

Apple’s four judges for Planet of the Apps are: Jessica Alba, Gwyneth Paltrow, Will.i.am and Gary Vaynerchuk, along with in-house host Zane Lowe.

While Lightspeed Venture Partners is the VC firm being looped in as a possible investor for entrepreneurs whose ideas impress.

App makers have 60 seconds to pitch their idea in front of the judges on a slow-moving escalator — for a visual twist on the idea of an ‘elevator pitch’.

Judges then have to vote on whether they want to hear the idea fleshed out in a bit more detail — after which they can vote on whether or not they would like to mentor the company for a chance to gain funding at the end of the show.

The first episode is billed as including an Air Force vet pitching an augmented reality app, two college friends with a public safety app idea, and an entrepreneur hoping to crowdsource a 3D model of the entire world.

For Apple several promotional threads are very obviously being looped together here, from the core push to apply (yet more) celebrity sparkle to the app ecosystem, generally, to raise public awareness and feed more ideas in; to the original content being hooked to Apple Music as a strategy to drive more subscribers to its streaming service.

Kicking off its WWDC conference on Monday, Apple’s CEO Tim Cook said Apple Music now has 27 million subscribers — ergo, plenty of room for more growth there.

Apple says new episodes of Planet of the Apps will be released on Tuesdays, with the first series set to be 10 episodes long.

The first episode is also available here for a time for anyone to watch — although only in certain countries.

Google is finally fixing an annoying Pixel bug that caused the phone to freeze

Image: dustin drankoski/mashable

Google’s Pixel phones are finally getting a long awaited bug fix.

For months some Google Pixel and Pixel XL owners have been experiencing frequent hangups where the phone becomes unresponsive for a small period of time. 

Google has finally released a new OTA update that the company said “should address many of the freezing issues that have been reported.” The fix was posted to a community forum by a Pixel Community Manager who said that freezing and device performance can have many different causes, so the fixes may not address all of them.

Users have been reporting the issue since at least November 2016, soon after the phone was made available. Many users reported that their Pixel XLs would become unresponsive randomly, and would not respond to pressing any buttons. Some reported these issues as frequently as every other day. Many of the users tried a number of different fixes to no avail. 

The Pixel is the company’s first premium flagship phone and not without its hiccups. By the time the Pixel 2 comes around, hopefully Google will deliver a smoother hardware experience.

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Tesla shares first image of upcoming Model Y

Want to know what Tesla’s upcoming compact SUV, the Model Y, will look like?

Well, you can’t. Not just yet. Sure, Tesla did share an image of the car during a shareholder meeting at the Computer History Museum in Mountain View, California, on Tuesday, but it doesn’t show much, except that the car will have a front window, and, probably, headlights. 

Sometimes, though, what’s missing in a photograph is more revealing than what’s there. Check out that photo again. That’s right, the car has no side mirrors.

According to Tesla CEO Elon Musk, Tesla Model Y will be built on an entirely new platform with a dramatically enhanced production line and will likely debut in late 2019 or 2020. The car will also have a completely redesigned electronics system, leaving the old 12-volt system behind. 

We’ll see if the no-mirrors thing sticks, however. Tesla wanted to ship the Model X without side mirrors (arguing that the car can offer a better view of its surroundings with the use of cameras and its humongous center display), but regulators wouldn’t have that. 

Little else is known about the car, except that it will be smaller than the Model X, and that it will complete Tesla’s lineup of cars to say “sexy,” with models S, 3, X and Y on offer. 

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Apple will put its screen repair machines in 400 third-party service centers by end of 2017

Apple will put its proprietary screen repair machines in hundreds of third-party locations by the end of 2017, making it easier for customers to fix cracked, damaged, or otherwise broken iPhone displays. Reuters reports that Apple will outfit some 400 authorized repair centers in 25 different countries with the machines, which it calls “Horizon.”

The move comes after eight US states raised legislation targeting tech companies’ proprietary and restrictive repair practices. Service procedures like the use of the Horizon Machine — which is used to validate the repair of screen breakages — are the target of so-called “right to repair” bills. Until now, the company only allowed the machines to be housed at its own stores, and did not formally acknowledge its existence.

Despite this pressure, Apple says that such legislation wasn’t the driving force in the adoption of its new program. “We’ve been on a quest to expand our reach,” senior director of service operations Brian Naumann told Reuters, claiming that the move was inspired by increasing wait times for repairs at particularly busy Apple stores.

Apple allows authorized third-party repair centers to fix broken iPhones without voiding the devices’ warranty, but the Horizon Machines are required in some more serious cases. The machine is the only one that can install a replacement fingerprint sensor, for example, as other repair procedures won’t be able to tell the iPhone’s processor to accept the new hardware.

US repair provider ComputerCare announced two days ago that it was one of three third-party firms in the US selected as part of a new pilot to get new calibration machines and complete repairs on site. The first wave of Apple’s new plan reportedly goes further, aiming to install the Horizon machines in around 200 of its 4,800 authorized third-party repair providers, with another 200 planned to arrive before the end of the year. Among the first to receive the machines are Best Buy stores, including one in the Miami area, and one in Sunnyvale, California.

Reuters was able to see the Horizon Machine in action at a location in California, marking an apparent softening in Apple’s previously strict secrecy around the procedure. That secrecy may be due to the machines’ ability to access every part of the iPhone — rather than simply exchanging components, the machine can also connect to iOS itself and potentially give access to proprietary software. Apple (and other firms) lobbied against right to repair bills for this reason, saying that giving such machines to third-party vendors opened up its phones to hacker attacks.

But it could also be indicative of Apple’s previous desire to keep part of the lucrative repair industry to itself. Reuters notes that the company doesn’t specify how much it earns from screen repairs, but with standard procedures costing $129 without AppleCare+, analysts estimate it pulls in between $1 and $2 billion a year in revenue. That’s a significant chunk of the $4 billion in revenue the entire global screen repair industry is believed to generate annually, with manufacturers’ locked-down repair practices forcing third-party repair centers to use unauthorized parts.

As part of a previous pilot that began a year ago, machines are also in place at repair centers in London, Shanghai, and Singapore. Reuters says that centers in countries with no official Apple stores — including Colombia, Norway, and South Korea — will also be early recipients of the machines.

You’ll soon be able to complain to businesses directly via iMessage

Why it matters to you

Any system that makes it easier for customers to get hold of someone that can help with an issue is surely a good thing.

Apple injected a lot of fun stuff into iMessage with the release of iOS 10 in 2016, but in the coming days it’ll announce Business Chat for the messaging app, a somewhat drier feature aimed at making it easier for users to connect with businesses.

A short post about Business Chat is already showing on the company’s website ahead of an official unveiling on Friday at this week’s WWDC event in San Jose, California.

Launching as part of iOS 11 in the fall, Apple is touting Business Chat as “a powerful new way for businesses to connect with customers directly from within Messages.”

It says anyone with an iPhone, iPad, and Apple Watch will be able to use their device to “get answers to questions, resolve issues and complete transactions,” adding that customers will be able to find businesses and start conversations from Apple apps such as Safari, Maps, Spotlight, and Siri. In other words, it seems likely that when business information shows up in listings inside Apple’s apps, the option to initiate a  chat session via iMessage will be offered alongside the company’s phone number and other details.

The decision to bring customers and businesses closer together via one of its core apps mirrors similar moves by the likes of Facebook with both Messenger and WhatsApp, while Twitter, too, has been developing its app to enable customer service interactions in the Direct Messages section of its social media app.

Adding extra features like this is also in Apple’s interest as it increases the likelihood of users staying inside the app instead of heading off to another service or a company’s website to get in touch. Better for Apple if a user stays with iMessage, especially as the app will soon be offering extra services like Apple Pay where you’ll be able to make financial transactions between yourself and family and friends — all part of the tech giant’s ongoing efforts to broaden Apple Pay’s appeal and ultimately to keep customers within its burgeoning ecosystem.

Amazon Fire HD 8 (2017) review

Amazon’s Fire tablets aren’t as trendy or powerful as Apple’s popular iPads, but they’re far more affordable. For 2017, the online retail giant has updated its Fire HD lineup with a refreshed Fire HD 8, Fire 7, and Fire 7 Kids Edition, along with a new Fire HD 8 Kids Edition.

Price is a crucial factor for these tablets because it’s low. Amazon has the most affordable tablets on the market. The 7-inch starts at just $50, and the HD 8, which we reviewed here, starts at just $80. Yep, for less than $100 you get all of Amazon’s services, access to Alexa, the voice assistant that can control your smart home, as well as a functional tablet that can perform most smartphone tasks adequately well.

Let’s take a deeper look.

Lackluster display

The Fire HD 8’s 1,280 x 800-pixel resolution screen isn’t eye-catching, but it’s just bright enough to be visible outside on a sunny day. It offers decent viewing angles, and the colors aren’t over-saturated.

But it’s far from sharp. Pixels are easily visible, text isn’t as sharp as we’d like, and overall it’s not a good tablet for video consumption. It’s strange, considering Amazon has a whole section promoting its Prime Video service. Upgrading the screen to a 1,080-pixel resolution would greatly help, but understandably it would also jack up the price of the tablet. There’s a high chance that your phone offers a higher, more crisp, resolution, so you may want to stick with it for videos.

Amazon’s blue-light filter, Blue Shade, is a handy option to make it easier to fall asleep at night. It removes blue light from the display, which is said to disrupt sleep.

This display does the job, for the most part.

Solid build, standard design

The Fire HD 8’s design is fairly straightforward. The front offers a lot of unused space around the display (on all four sides), and you’ll find a front-facing camera at the top. The back and the frame are made of plastic, and it feels slippery. The Amazon logo sits in the center — it easily attracts dust and dirt — and on the top left you’ll find the rear camera.

The display seems to attract fingerprints, so make sure you carry around a microfiber cloth if that sort of thing bothers you.

We like the 8-inch size of the tablet, but it’s a little harder to hold in one hand than the 7-inch Fire. The display seems to attract fingerprints, so make sure you carry around a microfiber cloth if that sort of thing bothers you.

All the buttons are situated on the top edge of the tablet — the power button is on the right, and the volume rocker is on the left. The headphone jack sits between the two, next to the Micro USB port, which is how you charge the Fire HD 8. Unsurprisingly, Amazon hasn’t updated its tablet to the reversible USB Type-C charging port standard that the fanciest Android smartphones and tablets now use.

Thankfully, the Fire HD 8 doesn’t feel fragile. The build quality seems solid, even if the plastic on the back feels a little cheap, and the buttons offer nice, clicky feedback.

The black color option is a little boring in our opinion, so we recommend opting for the red, blue, or yellow variants.

Decent performance, good battery life

The Fire HD 8 doesn’t have a lot of internal improvements over the 2016 model, but it does have dual-band Wi-Fi support — you’ll be able to connect to 2.5GHz and 5GHz Wi-Fi bands, and it allows for faster internet download speeds. 5GHz lines are often more stable, and if you don’t have one at home, consider upgrading your router.

It’s powered by the MediaTek MT8163V system-on-a-chip, which has a quad-core processor with 1.5GB of RAM. It offers decent performance for the price, and it’s the same found on the 2016 Fire HD 8.

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The Fire’s interface is speedy and smooth, but we noticed stutters when scrolling through the Facebook app. Games like Crossy Road performed well, though again with the occasional stutter or lag. Don’t expect to easily play graphically-intense games, or to use this tablet as a productivity tablet. It’s best for browsing the web, playing light games, reading, and listening to music. This is probably why it’s a popular tablet for kids and teenagers.

Amazon offers 16GB or 32GB storage options, but thankfully there’s also support for a MicroSD card — you can expand your storage space to 256GB if needed. The only reason you’ll need this is if you download a lot of offline Amazon content.

The battery is supposed to be an improvement in the 2017 model. Amazon says it should last up to 12 hours on a single charge, which is 2-3 hours more than your standard tablet. We used the Fire HD 8 for five hours and saw its battery drop from 100 percent to 60 percent, which is on target and pretty impressive. What’s better is the battery life on standby — we left the Fire HD 8 on for four days and only saw the battery life drop from 100 percent to 70 percent.

There are also cameras on both sides of the tablet, but they’re really only there if you’re in a bind. The front offers a sub 1-megapixel sensor, so it can do basic video chats, and the rear camera is packed with 5 megapixels. The image quality is dreadful — stick to using your smartphone, which will undoubtedly have a better camera. But again, having a camera is better than none at all.

The stereo speakers are located on the edge of the left side — when in landscape mode, they end up as bottom-firing speakers. They get surprisingly loud, likely thanks to Dolby Atmos technology, and they sound nice.

Overall, despite some stutters and lag, performance is largely unmatched against tablets at this price range.

Fire OS

Our favorite use of the tablet is reading books, news articles, and browsing the web. It’s a great size, making it easy to carry around, and reading feels like you’re holding a book or a folded newspaper.

But Amazon’s Fire OS, which is based on Android, is currently on version 5.4. More specifically, it’s based on Android 5.1.1 Lollipop, an operating system version from 2015. Needless to say, it’s a little outdated. Amazon representatives told us that the company does regularly provide software updates for the Fire tablets, which include “new features, performance enhancements, security patches, and other updates.”

It’s a great size, making it easy to carry around, and reading feels like you’re holding a book or a folded newspaper.

Fire OS is different from regular Android phones or tablets. This doesn’t look like a Google Pixel or Samsung Galaxy tablet. The notification drawer and navigation buttons work the same as any normal phone or tablet, but the home screen shows all the apps you have installed in a vertical list. Swipe right and you can see recently-used apps (or just press the Recents button); and swiping left takes you to various “pages.” These include Books, Video, Games, Shop, Apps, Music, Audible, and Newsstand. Within these pages, you can buy and access all your multimedia Amazon content — you’ll need a Prime subscription to truly take advantage of everything it has to offer.

There’s no Google Play Store, which means there are a lot of apps that aren’t accessible. Most of Google’s apps, for example, are simply wrappers of the web version — some, like Google Maps, aren’t even on Amazon’s Appstore. Dropbox, for example, is another app that’s not available. That’s not to say there isn’t a wide variety of apps to choose from — just don’t expect everything to be there. You can browse Amazon’s app selection online, if you’re curious.

Alexa is available on the Fire HD 8, now for U.K. users as well. You can use it to control smart home devices, ask it questions like, “What’s the weather,” ask the voice assistant to launch apps, and more. It responds quickly and works pretty well. If you’re buying a Fire tablet as a cheap way to access Alexa, know that you’ll have to always have the tablet in your hand if you want to launch a voice command. It requires some button pressing, unlike the Amazon Echo.

Warranty information, pricing, and availability

The Fire HD 8 is covered by a limited 90-day warranty in the U.S. and Japan that protects your device of manufacturing defects from the date of purchase. If you buy the tablet from Amazon or authorized sellers in any other country, you will get a 1-year limited warranty.

The new Fire HD 8 actually has a price cut from the last generation, from $90 to $80. The $80 Fire HD 8 comes with “special offers,” or advertisements. You can buy a model without these special offers, but it will cost $15 more. The Kids Edition is the exact same, but it offers educational content, a parental control service, and it comes in a rugged case for protection.

It’s available for purchase from Amazon.

Amazon Fire HD 8 (2017) Compared To

Our Take

Amazon’s Fire HD 8 is a fantastic tablet for the money, but just know what you’re buying it for: Amazon media and a few apps.

If you’re buying this for your little one, go with the $130 Kids Edition as the rugged protection alone is worth the extra money. We see zero reason to upgrade if you have a Fire tablet from 2016, but it’s worth the extra $30 to buy the Fire HD 8 over the refreshed Fire 7, if anything for the HD screen.

While most of the Fire HD 8’s features aren’t impressive if you compare them to a fancier tablet, it’s tough to find a polished tablet with solid performance at this price range.

Is there a better alternative?

For iOS users, not at this price. You’ll either have to shop for older iPads on Amazon, but they still don’t come close to the Fire HD 8’s price. We recommend the $330 9.7-inch iPad for iOS lovers who want a tablet, though it is undoubtedly pricier.

Most other Android tablets are still a little more expensive than the Fire HD 8, but if you have a little more money to spend, the Nvidia Shield K1 is a great value at $200. You can also look at Amazon’s own Fire tablet lineup for other options, such as the Fire HD 10, and the new Fire 7. We’d still choose the Fire HD 8 over those, though.

How long will it last?

Amazon’s Fire HD 8 should last you two years or so, at the most. The company told us that it does push regular security and software updates, but considering Fire OS is still based on the 2015 Android 5.1.1 Lollipop, we’re not expecting a jump to Android 7.1.2 Nougat any time soon.

Should you buy it?

Yes. The Fire HD 8 is perfectly usable and it’s best feature is its price, which starts at $80. There’s hardly any competition at that price, and if you’re looking for an affordable tablet for media consumption, this is it.

Misterb&b raises $8.5 million to build the Airbnb for the LGBTQ community


Is there room for smaller, more focused Airbnb competitors? French startup Misterb&b thinks so as the startup just raised $8.5 million from Project A and Ventech to build an apartment renting platform focused on the LGBTQ community.

As the name suggests, Misterb&b started with a focus on gay people, but the company says that it wants to become the inclusive platform for the LGBTQ community. While you’ll find plenty of apartments in gay areas on Airbnb, you don’t really know the person you’re dealing with.

According to founder Matthieu Jost, this can be an issue as he had a bad experience with a host when he was traveling with his partner. And this can get even worse if you’re going to a country where homosexuality is still illegal.

When you book an apartment on Misterb&b, everybody is on the same page and you don’t need to lie to your host. And if you’re the kind of traveler who likes asking your host for tips, you could learn more from your host when it comes to places to hang out in a foreign city.

Right now, Misterb&b works with 100,000 hosts in 135 countries. And if you browse the website, it looks and feels just like Airbnb, so you’ll feel right at home.

Now let’s come back to my initial question for a minute. Airbnb has become an all-encompassing giant. It’s now too big too fail, and nothing is going to replace it. But Airbnb also created an untapped space, and there’s still room to grow.

That’s why Onefinestay managed to build an ultra high-end Airbnb for instance. AccorHotels then acquired Onefinestay for $170 million. Misterb&b is another good example of a startup branching out from an industry-leading tech company with a smaller focus.

So I think there’s enough room for multiple companies in this space. As long as the market is not too fragmented, it’s going to be a win for consumers as everybody will get more options.