Technology News Headlines for June 19 2012 ( Tuesday )

FAA And NASA Sign Memorandum Of Understanding To Regulate Commercial Space Flight
The Federal Aviation Authority and NASA are collaborating to effectively regulate commercial and federally backed space flight. The FAA will regulate and license private U.S. companies launching from or reentering U.S. soil, as well as launch sites world-over, if they involve U.S. citizens. "Working together, we will assure clear, consistent standards for the industry," Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood said in a statement announcing the Memorandum of Understanding between the two. The FAA has signed over 200 space flight licenses so far, including a recent approval to Virgin Galactic for rocket-powered test flight of its WhitenNightTwo and SpaceshipTwo. Elon Musk's SpaceX-made Dragon capsule also just completed its first round trip as the first commercial vehicle to launch, dock with the International Space Station, and return to Earth.

Box Goes Global With London Office

Box, a tough player in the market for corporate cloud-storers in the U.S., is reaching across the Atlantic. AllThingsD has heard that the company is opening an office in London and will hire 100 employees in Europe this year, and an official announcement is due today. CEOAaron Levie told D that 40 percent of its 120,000 business and 110,000 individual users are from Europe--in fact, half of Box's traffic comes from outside the U.S. To help with its growth as a whole, Box has recently hired LinkedIn exec Stefan Apitz, the latest of a string of new senior hires.

Spotify Challenges Pandora With Free Radio For iOS
Spotify is challenging Pandora on home turf, finally launching a radio service for free for its iOS users in the U.S. Music on mobile was only available for Spotify's Premium subscribers (who fork over $10 a month), but Spotify's new service is free. AllThingsD picked up on a few characteristics of Spotify's radio service that were a little different from the way Pandora does things: For one, Spotify relies on a social graph (and the tastes of humans) to line up selections similar to a song or theme you picked. Pandora's method, on the other hand, is to use similarities in the musical structure of the song or band at hand.

Google+ API Expanding, Flipboard Integration Coming Soon
Google's Bradley Horowitz, VP of Product Management, has just announced at the LeWeb conference that it has partnered with Flipboard and that Google+ streams will soon be appearing in the app alongside familiar feeds from Facebook and Twitter. Horowitz revealed the news as part of a bigger reveal about Google+'s API, which is opening up properly for the first time, and which could transform how Google+ is used online. Google has faced some criticism until now that its API is restrictive, and while it integrates with other services like Twitter, it's only possible to send data out from G+ not into it--forcing active social networkers to directly login to the site if they want to engage with it. More interlinks are coming, Horowitz says, when it's "good for users and safe." The moves to link G+ to other online properties are an attempt to drive interest in Google's social web.

Fab Buys Llustre, Comes To The UK

Fab, the design-based social commerce site, announced today that it's headed to the UK after snapping up British site Llustre. The acquisition comes just one year after Fab launched, and it's the third company Fab has absorbed, following the acquisition of Fashionstake, which inaugurated its apparel vertical in January, and Casacanda in Germany, which launched the company's European operations in February.

As evidence of how quickly this new social-commerce industry is moving (and perhaps also why it pays to be a copy cat in a desirable geography), Llustre only opened its virtual doors in April. According to Fab, membership and orders on the site have tripled in the past five weeks. Fab is now relaunching Llustre as Fab UK. The company also says its European operations team has grown from 30 to 85 people in the last four months, and its membership there now tops 1 million. The company says it expects Europe to account for 20% of its sales in 2012.
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