Hi again from Seattle, where I'm interviewing eBay CEO Devin Wenig later this morning at GeekWire Summit.
Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates is still set on saving the world, but he's also got some side gigs, like helping launch a new social recommendation engine, called Likewise. The iOS and Android app is designed to be a place to get trusted recommendations on everything from restaurants to books to TV shows.
How it all started: The free app, which launches today, began as the brainchild of Larry Cohen, a longtime Gates aide who serves as CEO of Gates Ventures.
“It’s not the next Office, but there’s a real need here,” Cohen tells Axios.
The app will not include ratings. While there are plenty of sites that offer crowdsourced reviews with numeric ratings, Cohen and Morris say most people are looking for positive recommendations.
"You don’t call your friend and say 'I’m going to Boston — what are some places I should avoid?'" Morris says.
The key hurdle: Even with Gates' backing, Likewise faces an uphill battle to get critical mass.
"That is the biggest challenge any app faces, certainly one with a social component," Morris says.
What's next: The app hopes to generate some initial interest with recommendations from Gates, as well as other celebrities including Tom Friedman, Bono and Howard Schultz.
Tim Cook in an interview with "Vice News Tonight" on HBO. Photo: "Vice News Tonight"
Apple CEO Tim Cook has accepted an invitation to address the International Conference of Data Protection and Privacy Commissioners in Brussels later this month.
European regulators hope Cook's Oct. 24 speech will help further the global conversation around Big Tech and privacy issues.
"Tim has been a strong voice in the debate around privacy and as the leader of a company which has taken a clear privacy position we look forward to hearing his perspective."— Giovanni Buttarelli, European data protection supervisor, via statement
Why it matters: Privacy has become an increasingly important selling point for Apple. Cook stressed the issue in an interview that aired last night on HBO's "Vice News Tonight."
Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios
Reminder: Don’t freak out when your phone starts buzzing this afternoon. Federal officials are planning a nationwide test of the wireless emergency alert system.
This test, which was delayed, is of one particular type of alert — the kind that can only be sent by the president and one that consumers aren't able to turn off.
Why it matters: There's been some concern that President Trump could use the alerts to broadcast his own political messages, even though that’s not allowed under a law governing the alerts.
There are two other types of alerts — AMBER Alerts for missing children and alerts notifying people of dangerous events like natural disasters — which are typically limited to certain geographical areas. Consumers can choose not to receive those.
Go deeper: Axios' David McCabe has more here.
Redfin CEO Glenn Kelman still wants to change the home-selling business, but regrets the tone he took in a "60 Minutes" appearance a decade ago when he said "real estate is the most screwed up industry in America."
"I wish I hadn’t been so brash about the industry when I'd just joined the industry," Kelman said, speaking Tuesday at the GeekWire Summit in Seattle. "I still think it could be better."
Flashback: I remember that appearance, largely because of the subsequent rant I heard from my dad, who spent most of his career as a real estate agent. While he still sees the business of home selling as too expensive, Kelman said he eventually came to realize that many real estate agents truly did have their clients best interest at heart.
What he's saying now: Kelman railed against typical corporate leadership with its perennial charts that show business constantly growing "up and to the right."
"I hate the baloney-gorged, bullshit-filled corporate world, and my whole goal is to try to build a business that goes beyond that,” Kelman said.
Yes, but: His words continue to cost Kelman at times. For instance, Redfin shares dropped earlier this year when he warned of a slowing national real estate market.
Sign outside Facebook headquarters. Photo: Justin Sullivan/Getty Images
Facebook said Tuesday night that an investigation had unearthed "no evidence" that stolen keys to 50 million accounts were used to access third-party applications that let users log in with their Facebook credentials.
Why it matters: 50 million Facebook accounts is already a significant breach, but if Facebook's findings are correct, it means that the stolen "access tokens" weren't used to breach even more services.
What they're saying: Guy Rosen, VP of product management, said in a statement...
"Any developers using Facebook Login security best practices were automatically protected when we reset people's access tokens."
"Given that some developers will not have done this, we analyzed third party access during the time of the attack we have identified. That investigation has found no evidence that the attackers accessed any apps using Facebook Login."
Between the lines: There's a difference between having "accessed" an app and still having the token to do so. This statement appears to concern the former.
Go deeper: Third-party apps are among those scrambling for answers a week after the breach was discovered.
This seems a little tough to do.