In today’s Bulldog roundup of tech news: Snapchat closes $537M funding;GOP opposes FCC plan to subsidize Internet access for the poor; French server firm bringing HQ to Chapel HIll; Google+ changing but not dead yet; gifs on Facebook; Amazon same-day delivery.

Snapchat has closed a whopping $537 million funding round according to a regulatory filing, bringing the total the company raised to considerably more than $1 billion. CNBC first reported the funding and pegs the company’s new valuation at $16 billion. (See:

Snapchat closed its previous round of $485 million on New Year’s Eve,

GOP attack FCC plan to subsidize Internet for the poor

Republicans are attacking the U.S. Federal Communications Commission proposal to subsidize Internet access for the poor via its “Lifeline” program, the National Journal reports. “Republicans argue that the $1.7 billion program, which currently only subsidizes phone service, has already been plagued by fraud and has been growing out of control,” the Journal notes.

The proposed plan would not necessarily boost the overall size of the Lifeline program, which is funded via fees on all phone bills.

Nevertheless, Senate Commerce Committee Chairman John Thune has called the program an example of “waste, fraud, abuse, and a pervasive lack of accountability,” See the National Journal report at:

French server firm chooses Chapel Hill for new North American HQ

The Triangle Business Journal reports that French server firm 2CRSI has chosen Chapel Hill for its new North American headquarters.

The company currently has two employees in the Triangle, but will be making a $500,000 investment and hire an additional five to eight people in the area, TBJ reports, citing company COO Jean-George Perrin.

Read the full story here:

Google+ alive and well?

If you’re like us, we tried out Google+ but eventually reverted to using Twitter, Facebook and Linkedin as our primary social networks. The service, which has not gained a lot of traction with consumers, is changing, but not going away, said Bradley Horowitz during a Google I/O press event Thursday.

“There’s a renaissance in the thinking of what Google+ is, and what it’s for,” Horowitz said.

Google caused some doubt about its future when it introduced Google Photos at the event, turning Google+’s most popular feature into a stand-alone app.

Now you can use GIFs on Facebook

In the past, you couldn’t use the popular animated GIFs on Facebook, but now you can – if you upload a link to a GIF elsewhere on the Internet. Tumblr is awash with them.

If you try to upload a GIF directly to Facebook, it still converts them to a static photo.

Amazon same day shipping

Amazon will offer limited same-day shipping to Prime customers for $5.99 an order and for $8.99 plus .99 cents a unit for non-members, the company said Thursday. It also expanded the service to San Diego and Tampa Bay.

The new service has competitors. Google recently launched Express shipping, allowing retailers to use its network in some markets. Walmart plans to test its unlimited online shipping service this summer.

ReCode points out that Prime has become “the cornerstone of Amazon’s growth and a testing ground for new services.” It spent billions on Prime shipping in 2014 and invested $1.3 billion into its Prime video service the site reports. (See:,