Google is piloting sponsored results for app searches

Google plans to pilot sponsored search results in Google Play in the next few weeks, offering a new way for app developers to promote themselves.

Under the program, sponsored results will include an orange “ad” tag, like you see with paid search results online. Clicking on the ads will direct you to an app instead of a website, though. In the coming weeks, Google says a “limited set of users” will see the ads from some advertisers who are already running search ads for their apps.

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Grofers, An On-Demand Delivery Service For Indian Cities, Raises $10M From Sequoia And Tiger Global

Large marketplaces like Flipkart, Snapdeal, and Amazon are benefitting as India turns into one of the world’s fastest-growing e-commerce markets, but many brick-and-mortar stores are missing out on the boom. A startup called Grofers wants to help local shops by not only providing them with a mobile platform for their inventory, but also facilitating on-demand delivery within 90 minutes.

Grofers’ business strategy is ambitious, but the startup just got a vote of confidence in the form of a $10 million series A round led by Sequoia Capital (a returning investor) and Tiger Global. This brings its total raised so far to $10.5 million.

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Instant’s New Android App Lets You Track Just About Anything

Quantified-self enthusiasts – those who are somewhat obsessed with using technology to better understand themselves, their daily habits and personal trends – have been fortunate to have a wide variety of niche apps to choose from for measuring everything from athletic activity, to travel time, and even time you’ve spent using your smartphone on a given day. But for the most part, you would have to download a handful of apps in order to log this data. Newly launched Instant 2.0, now available on Android, instead is offering a single destination for tracking nearly everything you want to record, including phone usage, app usage, fitness activity and traveling.

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China’s Top Two Taxi-Hailing Services Confirm That They Will Merge

The spirit of Saint Valentine’s Day is in full effect in China’s taxi app space today after the country’s two biggest players — Kuaidi Dache and Didi Dache — confirmed that they will merge.

Media reports of a possible alliance surfaced late this week. Xinhua — China’s state-run news service — reported that the companies will retain their respective branding and businesses after the merger. Neither side has disclosed the price of the deal, but analysts estimate the value of the combined entity at around $6 billion. That’s because both services are believed to account for more than 95 percent of the taxi-hailing app market in China, which is estimated at 150 million monthly users.

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Lyft Seeks To Raise Another $250 Million At A $2 Billion Valuation

Car-for-hire startup Lyft is going back to investors for another round of funding. As earlier reported by the New York Times, the company is looking to raise another $250 million at a $2 billion valuation.

The funding comes nearly a year since Lyft’s last financing — a $250 million round from Coatue Management, Alibaba and Daniel Loeb’s Third Point, along with existing investors Andreessen Horowitz, Founders Fund and Mayfield Ventures. To date, the company has raised more than $330 million since being founded as Zimride back in 2007.

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Microsoft Outlook Preview for Android lands in the Google Play Store

Microsoft Outlook Preview for Android app

We know that Microsoft is pushing forward with a vengeance to get Windows 10 and a new round of Office products into the hands of consumers. To that end, they have just released their new Outlook Preview app for your Android devices.

Microsoft Outlook Preview is free in the Google Play Store. They ask only that you remember this is not the final release software, you will find a few bugs, and they would love it if you could report them to help improve the app for future updates.

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Sportsman Tracker Raises $950k To Bring Hunters Into The Smartphone Age

Hunting is one of the oldest social activities. Even if the hunter goes out alone, there’s always a story to tell or a lesson to be learned. That’s where the Sportsman Tracker comes in. The app, which just raised $950k, aims to give hunters key information before they go out into the woods.

The Michigan-based company is today announcing that it raised just shy of a million led by Huron River Ventures and Start Garden, with additional investment from Detroit Innovate, Muskegon Angels and Karis Capital Partners.

The app provides maps, hunting and fishing locations and a way to record results from the field. The company says its proprietary algorithm will tell hunters and fishers when and where to go.

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