THE NEWS WRAP: Former Facebook engineering chief becomes White House tech director

The White House has hired former Facebook engineering director David Recordon to be its director of technology, Yahoo! reports.


The newly created position will “ensure that the technology utilized by the White House is efficient, effective and secure”.


The hire is part of an effort by the Obama administration to grow its dedicated tech staff.


Smile to confirm

Alibaba founder and chief executive officer Jack Ma has unveiled a new facial recognition tool which is intended to be used to confirm transactions on its Alipay mobile payments service, Fortune reports.


The app validates mobile payments by matching a photo taken by the user at the point of purchase with a stored profile photo. The service will be rolled out in China, with other countries to follow.


E-book and audiobook startup bought for $410 million

Japanese e-commerce company Rakuten has acquired e-book and audiobook marketplace OverDrive for $US410 million ($A536m).


In a statement Rakuten says as it expands its global internet services ecosystem, digital content represents one of its three key strategic pillars alongside e-commerce and finance.



The Dow Jones Industrial Average is down 117.16 to 17,959.03. The Australian dollar is currently trading at US76 cents.

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