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Friday Five: 1/11 – 1/15

Happy Friday! Here's your weekly round-up of industry news:

Animal Planet offers a look at the Puppy Bowl in VR - Engadget

Winning for the most adorable tech news all week, Animal Planet will feature the Puppy Bowl in virtual reality this year. While you will still have to watch the actual event live on TV, the network is offering preview access in VR to its event that stars 84 rescue puppies playing in a tiny football arena. The real action will take place on Feb. 7, but until then you can try to handle the cuteness overload while streaming the 360-videos.

Uber Bows to $7.6 Million Fine in California - WSJ

This week, Uber was forced to pay more than $7 million to the state of California after it failed to share data from rides taken via the app. The company was originally fined for violating state regulations for transportation companies for not providing the state with the data. The California Public Utilities Commission upheld the decision after Uber had challenged an earlier ruling by a California judge. Uber agreed to pay the fine, but will appeal the decision. This judgement comes after two different lawsuits filed in December from the district attorneys of San Francisco and Los Angeles for misleading riders about their employee screening policies.

ESPN launches its own esports vertical - Mashable

Yesterday, ESPN officially launched their own eSports section, hiring on new editors and reporters who are veterans of online-sports gaming. Through this venture, ESPN hopes to to connect with this growing  community by expanding into this new vertical. ESPN has already published a variety of content aimed at the serious gamer and casual enthusiast.  The launch gained a significant amount of attention after the sports network publicly announced their search for a leader to oversee the new section.

Bitcoin Declared An "Inescapable Failure" - Forbes

The digital currency that’s been dubbed “the currency of the internet” has been declared a true failure. One of bitcoin’s first developers and longest supporters, Mike Hearn, announced that the cryptocurrency has failed because it a strayed too far away from its original vision. Hearn explains that their dream of a decentralised monetary system has been ruined because of internal politics and the currency being limited to a handful of wealthy people. Also, he believes that the lack of technological advancement for systems that support these types of transactions has essentially killed the currency.

Dating App Once Uses Your Heart Rate To Help You Find Love - TechCrunch

Once, the dating app, that has attracted 600,000 users in just four months is using IoT devices to help you find a match.  The app just announced that it will be integrating with FitBit and Android Wear devices to track your heart rate to determine the perfect match for you.  Users without fitness trackers will still be able to use the app. However, when users sync up their device with Once, they will be able to see their heart rate and reaction to their match in real time. Eventually, users will be able to send their match this information. The app says that it is working to incorporate your body’s neurological and chemical responses to more accurately predict future matches.

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