5 things you need to know in Australian tech today

Prague old town. Photo: Getty Images

Good morning! It’s Thursday. Let’s do it.

1. Airbnb is reportedly raising nearly $US1 billion. And with a valuation of $US24 billion, the funding round is heftier than the enormous hotel chain Marriott (worth about $US21 billion) and more than twice the valuation of travel site Expedia. There’s more on that here.

2. Free Dropbox access for Fishburners startups. Entrepreneurs in Australia’s largest startup space are getting complimentary access to Dropbox for Business as part of a new partnership. More here.

3. Oculus and Getty Images teamed to capture these stunning 360 degree photos. Virtual reality is coming and these shots are just a small taste of what we can expect. From the Cannes Film Festival to the 2014 FIFA World Cup, enjoy them here.

4. Facebook and Yahoo are spawning billion-dollar startups. There’s an increasing business case to be made for giving software away for free. We wrote about the advantages of software-driven businesses yesterday and the pace of innovation is only increasing. There’s more on how the big players are doing it here.

5. A California judge just ruled that Uber drivers are employees. Why does this matter? Well, it could dramatically change Uber’s business model and while the ruling only applies to drivers in California it sets a precedent for ride-sharing companies, which may lead to similar cases in other countries. More here.

Willard S. Boyle, left, and George E. Smith pose in the Bell Labs with a camera using their CCD invention, 1974.

BONUS: This is how digital photography was born. At Bell Labs in 1969, two scientists were told they had to make progress on a key research project or they would lose their funding. After just an hour of work, they had a breakthrough. Read all about it here.

Have an awesome day! I’m on Twitter.