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Etsy, the online marketplace for buying and selling handmade goods and crafts, disclosed some interesting tidbits about the company’s business when it filed to go public Wednesday.

Did you know that 86 percent of Etsy’s U.S. sellers at the end of last year were women? Or that three-quarters of its sellers consider their online store a business rather than a hobby?

Etsy is hoping to raise US$100 million from the offering to help expand its business. Here are five other things we learned from combing through its S-1 filing.

1. International appeal

Etsy had 54 million members at the end of last year. Of those, it had 1.4 million active sellers and 19.8 million active buyers, where “active” means they bought or sold something in the last year. They’re located in nearly every country of the world; Etsy’s marketplace is available in 10 languages.

2. Revenue is booming, but there are no profits

Etsy generated revenue of $196 million last year, up 56 percent from 2013. It makes much of that money from fees it collects on items sold and services such as promoted placement of goods.

The company has been losing money, though. It lost $15.2 million last year, much more than its loss of $796,000 in 2013. The year before that it lost $2.39 million.

It expects operating expenses to increase “substantially” as it hires more employees, increases marketing and invests in new services. Which segues into…

3. Rising product development costs

Etsy’s costs in this area grew from $436,000 in 2012 to $785,000 in 2013 and $1.46 million in 2014. In addition to its desktop site, Etsy built mobile apps for iOS and Android that include search, curation and social features.

4. Rapid headcount growth

Etsy almost tripled its employee count between 2011 and 2014, from 251 to 685.

5. Do-gooder values

In January it formed Etsy.org, a nonprofit that builds education programs to “reimagine how and to whom business is taught.” It will focus on educating women and other groups under-represented in entrepreneurial activity. The company expects to use $300,000 of the proceeds from its IPO to help fund Etsy.org.

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Closing a gap with other enterprise cloud providers, Google has created a service to facilitate communications across applications that customers build on the company’s cloud platform.

The Google Cloud Pub/Sub service, made available as an open beta on Wednesday, is designed for exchanging messages across different Google cloud services and internal systems in great volume and with minimal delay.

The base service allows applications to dispatch missives to each other at a rate of up 10,000 per second. Google promises that the messages will arrive at their destinations in less than a second, even when customer systems are generating more than a million messages per second.

The Pub/Sub service can connect different components built on the Google App Engine and Google Compute Engine, as well as to outside applications by way of a secure Web connection.

Messaging for in-house enterprise applications has typically been handled by enterprise service bus (ESB) or enterprise integration suites, available from the likes of Progress Software, Red Hat, Pivotal, Oracle, Software AG, IBM, and Tibco.

With the Pub/Sub release, Google is catching up with other cloud providers. Amazon Web Services offers the Simple Queue Service. Microsoft offers the Azure Service Bus.

The service could be used in multiple ways, according to Google product manager Rohit Khare, who posted a blog entry about the new release Wednesday.

A human resources application could rely on the service to trade information among multiple components, such as a company directory and a payroll system.

Pub/Sub, accessible via an application programming interface (API), could be used to coordinate traffic on an Internet of Things-styled sensor network, routing all the information from the end-nodes to a data analysis application.

Messaging could also be used to power distributed caching systems, logging events to multiple systems, and balancing workloads across distributed systems

Google unveiled the service at its I/O developer conference last May, but testing was limited to a few customers. It’s now available for all to try as a beta service. An early tester, social networking service Snapchat, uses Pub/Sub for its Discover search feature.

Google will not charge for Pub/Sub during the beta period. The company has not announced when the service will be ready for full production use.

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If Windows 10 is key to Microsoft’s effort to succeed in mobile, then the universal app platform is the technology that could make that happen. It promises to bring developers the cross-device nirvana they have long sought from Microsoft, but there are still challenges before Windows 10 can make headway against Android and iOS.

The universal app platform aims to let developers build one application that will work on PCs, tablets, smartphones, even the Xbox. It’s not a new concept for Microsoft, but the company insists that this time around it has got it right.

“The platform enables a new class of Windows universal apps — apps that are truly written once, with one set of business logic and one UI,” said Kevin Gallo, Microsoft’s technical lead for the Windows Developer Platform, in a blog post this week.

It’s a big promise, one that Microsoft will need to fulfill if it’s to make headway in the important mobile market. According to a recent report from IDC, Windows Phone’s share of the worldwide smartphone OS market fell to a paltry 2.7 percent last year, from 3.3 percent in 2013.

Part of the logic behind the Universal App Platform is this: Developers have no incentive to write for a mobile OS with a minuscule share of the market. But if they can reuse most of their code, and enjoy other synergies that come from tightly aligned platforms, it’s a short hop and a skip to building compelling apps for the mobile version of Windows 10.

Analysts are still skeptical, however. The plan sounds good on paper, but why should a developer pursue a new programming model when the payoff will still be writing apps for a platform that has almost no users?

“Having one platform for everything sounds like a dream, but I’m not sure that developers will bite,” said Roger Kay, founder and president of Endpoint Technologies. “Developers don’t go to platforms where there aren’t any users. If Microsoft has a party and no one comes, people don’t end up caring. It’s a chicken-or-the-egg scenario.”

Michael Facemire, principal analyst at Forrester Research, doesn’t expect Microsoft’s new platform to hit it big with individual developers, either.

“It’s not really worth it to them to expand into a new platform, because we’re not seeing a take-off of the phones and Surface tablets in the consumer space,” he said. “If I were already developing a Windows tablet app or considering a tablet app, it’s nice because now I get Surface and phone support. But I don’t believe it’ll take off in the consumer space.”

Still, it’s hard to count out a company with huge resources and a new CEO who finally seems to understand the new world order.

Microsoft’s Gallo described some of the capabilities that will enable developers to engage customers across devices. These include adaptive UX, including considerations for screen layout and user controls; natural user inputs, such as speech, inking, and gestures; and cloud-based services, including Cortana AI, OneDrive and Applications Insights.

As Gallo explains it, the mobile experience has been mainly about the devices themselves. What users want now is a mobile “experience” that follows them regardless of the device they’re using, so interacting with an app on their PC flows naturally over to the tablet when they switch to that device. It’s highfalutin talk, and it’s what Microsoft says it’s enabling with the universal platform.

But Facemire says there are questions about how effectively the cross-device strategy can work, especially when it comes to user interface elements.

“There’s no reason why you can’t come up with a developer platform that will allow you to build apps on laptops, phones and tablets,” he said. But how users want to accomplish a task on a phone will vary significantly from how they would get there on a laptop, he said.

“Even though I have one code base, there are so many conditions that I go down only if I’m on a certain device. Supporting the use cases and interaction-types in a single code base, without making it so conditional, will be their biggest challenge.”

Microsoft will provide more technical details about its universal app platform at its Build conference in April.

Should it realize the vision, the upshot will be significant, Facemire said.

“If this does work, people will be building apps for phones without targeting the phone,” he said. “We’ve seen ecosystems drive hardware adoption. Microsoft and BlackBerry don’t have great ecosystems. If this succeeds, the positive momentum will expedite Microsoft’s success in mobile.”

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Google and Yahoo are both embracing the card format to help people better organize the contact information they store online.

Google is updating Contacts, which functions as an address book for communication software like Gmail and Hangouts.

The revamped Contacts, available in a preview version, will make it easier to keep track of a person’s contacts by pooling information stored in various Google services, the company said in a blog post Tuesday.

Google gave Contacts an interface overhaul based on the company’s material design language, which emphasizes showing information in card-like displays. This design appears in other Google products, including the Inbox mail service.

The ability to merge contact information has been improved, Google said. An updated “find duplicates” tool identifies repeat contact information and gives people the option to combine the details by clicking on a merge option.

Contacts will handle the task of making sure that a person’s information is current, Google said. When users update their Google profiles to reflect a new job or home address, for example, these changes will be automatically reflected in Contacts. Finally, the cards will show a user’s most recent emails and meetings with a contact.

The preview will be rolled out to Gmail users in the coming weeks, but people who are eager to test the updated service can try it out by visiting a preview website. For now, the Contacts preview isn’t available to Apps users.

On Wednesday, Yahoo unveiled its own new contacts feature, which also displays information in a card format. When a user hovers over a name in an email message, a contact card will appear and show information including job title, links to social media profiles and a phone number.

This information is gathered from users’ address books and their contacts’ Facebook and Flickr profiles and uses technology from Xobni, which Yahoo acquired in 2013. Yahoo’s cards automatically keep a contact’s phone number current by searching old emails for new information.

The cards allow people to perform actions including searching for emails from contacts, emailing those people and viewing their Facebook and Flickr profiles. However, viewing Facebook information requires linking a Yahoo account to the social media site.

U.S. desktop users will gradually receive the contacts feature in the coming weeks, Yahoo said.

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Facebook is taking steps to improve how it detects fake profiles, particularly those created by people claiming to be someone else.

Fake profiles are a real challenge for Facebook, especially in developing markets. For example, in India there is a significant problem with men creating profiles that impersonate real women, a violation of Facebook’s rules. This makes some women afraid of creating profiles.

It’s part of a larger problem in India, where more men are on the Internet than women in comparison to other parts of the world, Facebook chief Mark Zuckerberg said Wednesday.

Facebook, Zuckerberg said, is tackling this problem and trying to become faster at flagging fake profiles, in part by getting better feedback from its users.

“This is something we take very seriously,” said Zuckerberg, responding to a question about women’s online safety during a public Q&A session in Barcelona, Spain.

Facebook terms of service prohibit users from creating an account for anyone other than themselves, unless they have permission from the other person. Users also can’t create more than one personal account. Users can flag what they deem to be “imposter” accounts impersonating them from that person’s profile page, or by filling out this form, if they’re not on Facebook.

Still, Facebook has problems combating this. The user from India who submitted the question for the Q&A reported seeing more than 50 fake female accounts on the site.

Zuckerberg did not provide details about how exactly the company would be improving its processes and a company spokesman declined to comment further.

Last year, less than 2 percent of Facebook’s billion-plus monthly users either created personal profiles when they should have instead used a Page-type account, or created profiles in violation of the company’s terms, according to Facebook’s most recent annual report. That amounts to millions of accounts.

That estimate might be inaccurate because it’s based on an internal review of a limited sample of accounts, Facebook said in its report. Apparently, the company wants to improve the way it gathers information in this area, judging from Zuckerberg’s comments.

The company has taken public steps to stop the creation of false or deceptive profiles in the past. For example, Facebook asked the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration last year to stop impersonating others to investigate suspects.

Meanwhile, the company is working to give people like drag queens more leeway to create profiles using different names, but still representative of who they really are.

The event on Wednesday was Facebook’s fourth public Q&A — modeled after its own internal meetings — in which the company takes questions from a live audience and submitted from people online. It was held in Barcelona following Zuckerberg’s appearance at the Mobile World Congress telecommunications trade show, during which he gave an update on Facebook’s efforts to provide access to basic Internet services to people in developing countries through Internet.org.

More than 500 million people across world live in countries and regions where they can get access to basic Internet services through Internet.org, he said. The service is active in a handful of countries including India, Ghana, Colombia and Kenya.

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Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba Group is making a push into the U.S. cloud computing market, where it’s expected to run into competition from Amazon.com, Google and Microsoft.

Alibaba subsidiary Aliyun is already the biggest cloud player in its home market, and on Wednesday, it opened a data center in California, its first data center outside of China.

The U.S. business will first focus on attracting Chinese enterprises based in the country, before it expands to international customers in this year’s second half, Alibaba said in a statement.

No doubt Alibaba will face intense competition in the U.S., where Amazon Web Services and Microsoft Azure are major players. But opening the data center in Silicon Valley sends another message that it wants to be a global company, said Charlie Dai, an analyst with Forrester Research.

Although revenues from the U.S. business may be small at first, Dai added, “I think this is a good move, especially after their IPO. Every investor wants to know whether Alibaba has any huge potential globally.”

Last year, Alibaba listed in the U.S., with the world’s biggest IPO at US$25 billion. The company runs two of China’s largest online retail sites, but in addition, Alibaba has been building up its cloud computing services.

In the public cloud space, Alibaba has over 1.4 million customers in China, where it’s competing against Amazon and Microsoft for a share of the market.

To succeed in the U.S., Alibaba will have to find a way to stand out in a crowded market, Dai said. To do so, the Chinese company might choose to highlight its experience in running reliable e-commerce platforms.

Many Chinese businesses are also going global, giving Alibaba’s cloud business a potential stream of new customers in the U.S. But not all Chinese tech companies have fared well in the U.S. market.

Back in 2012, networking equipment suppliers Huawei and ZTE faced U.S. congressional scrutiny over alleged ties with the Chinese government. Given that Alibaba is based in China, a country often accused of sponsoring hacking attacks, the company’s cloud business could also face concerns over how it stores customer data.

Alibaba’s use of its own proprietary technology for its cloud business could pose problems, Dai said. “It’s totally different from Amazon and Microsoft,” he added. “It could be difficult If some customers want to migrate from their old platform to the Aliyun platform.”

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Apple is in talks to settle a lawsuit filed by electric-car battery maker A123 Systems, which has charged the iPhone maker with poaching five of its employees to set up a new battery division.

The lawsuit has added fuel to reports that Apple is getting into the electric-car business.

Apple filed a motion Tuesday that requested the court for more time to file its response to A123’s motions as it and the five engineers charged “are exploring potential resolution of this matter.”

A123 alleged in its complaint filed last month in the U.S. District Court for the District of Massachusetts that the engineers had worked at its System Ventures Technologies division in Waltham, Massachusetts, which does research and development in the area of lithium-ion battery technology.

Since June last year, Apple went on “an aggressive campaign” to poach A123’s employees and otherwise raid the company’s business in connection with Apple’s plans to set up a competing large-scale battery division, according to the complaint, which alleged that Apple had also targeted employees with experience in A123’s battery business at LG, Samsung and other companies.

A123 said it was filing the suit to prevent its ex-employees from using or sharing proprietary information, and also to prevent Apple from hiring more employees from A123. It also asked for an unspecified amount in damages.

The judge has extended the deadline for Apple to respond to March 11, according to court records.

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To start Nvidia’s Made to Game event late Tuesday, chief executive Jen-Hsun Huang promised an advanced television, a supercomputer, and a gaming console. As it turned out, it was all the same product: the Nvidia Shield. No, not the handheld.

“Desktops, workstations, notebooks, data centers, cloud, card–that journey has been incredible indeed, and today I want to talk about a brand new place that journey has taken us–the living room,” Huang said at a press event near the Game Developer Conference on Tuesday night.

Billed as the first 4K Android television, the US$199 console is a small box that Nvidia executive Jen-Hsun Huang said was designed to look good in any direction. Inside is a gigabit ethernet, an advanced Wi-Fi system, and the Tegra X1–the “mobile superchip” that Nvidia launched at the CS show in January. The Shield is capable of receiving 4K video at 40 bits per pixel at 60Hz when those services become available, Huang said. The console’s also battery-powered, and can run 40 hours on a single charge.

And yes, it’s compatible with Nvidia’s cloud-based Grid game-streaming service.

The Shield will be accompanied by a Bluetooth receiver, complete with a one-touch button and a microphone. It also has the capability to serve as a Bluetooth receiver, so that users can plug in headphones and stream video privately. It can also serve as a volume control just by stroking its surface.

Nvidia’s Shield will be bundled with a game controller, as well.

Smart devices with applications will replace dedicated devices over time, just as smartphones have replaced dedicated cameras, Huang said. What’s really exciting are the applications that you’ve never dreamed. “These applications are simply not predictable,” Huang said, predicting the same trend would occur in the smart television.

Because the Shield is an Android TV, users can search for actors shown on the screen and pull up information about each actor being shown. The included microphone in the remote also allows the user to search for movies or music orally, using the Google Play that’s tied to the Android TV service.

Games, games, and more games

But the Shield also will “do for gaming what Netflix did for videos,” Huang added. The Tegra X1, with 256 Maxwell cores and 3GB of memory, will expand the reach of gaming, he said, claiming that the console has twice as much power as the Xbox 360 found in so many homes today.

Nvidia’s Shield Store will include over 50 native games that gamers can download and play at launch, including Borderlands: The Pre-Sequel, Half-Life 2 Episode 1, and more. Tim Willits of iD showed off the Doom 3 BFG Edition, which looked fantastic on the new console. It can even run Crysis 3 at 30 frames per second

The Shield will also stream games from the cloud from Nvidia’s Grid, which was previously a beta app and now is an official service. Grid streams games at either 720p or 1080p at 60 frames per second, with a premium tier unlocking the higher-performance streaming service. It will serve users worldwide, Huang said.

“We could expand the reach of gaming in the way that no one in the history of mankind could,” Huang said.

Nvidia already has a history in streaming games. It launched Grid in North America and Western Europe as a free beta for buyers of the Nvidia Shield handheld or Shield Tablet. Until the free preview ends on June 30, 2015, users can access GRID at no charge. Nvidia has been adding at least one new game every week (though usually two). In our inital tests, the service was smooth as silk, though Huang said games may have up to 150 milliseconds of latency, which seems a bit worrisome. (Many people start to notice lag around 30 milliseconds, for reference.)

The Grid service will be available in two subscription tiers: Basic and premium. Resolution and frame rates likely tie into the tiers. But here’s the thing: You’ll also have to rent or buy at least some of the games, with many AAA games becoming available the day they launch. Pricing and details for the subscription plans were not announced.

Just want to stream the games from your PC to your TV and don’t care about all of the Shield’s Android TV’s streaming features? You might just be interested in the newly announced Steam Link set-top box, a Steam in-home streaming solution that Valve revealed hours before Nvidia’s event.

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Apple will replace a number of contract security positions with direct hires for its Silicon Valley operations, amid widespread demands from contract workers like drivers and security guards for better working conditions at tech companies.

The move by Apple comes in the wake of growing concerns about inequality in Silicon Valley, arising largely from the gentrification and high-costs in the area driven by the influx of hi-tech employees.

In October, Google said it would employ on its payroll security guards, rather than have them placed by a contractor, shortly after a report in August by community labor organization Working Partnerships USA that highlighted the poor working conditions of janitors, security guards and other contract staff, supplied by third-party companies, that are used extensively by tech companies in the valley.

“We will be hiring a large number of full-time people to handle our day-to-day security needs,” an Apple spokeswoman wrote Tuesday in an email. “We hope that virtually all of these positions will be filled by employees from our current security vendor and we’re working closely with them on this process.”

Apple has been under pressure previously to improve the working conditions of contract workers. The decision to hire people directly for key onsite security roles was the result of a comprehensive, year-long review of its security program, according to the company. It did not comment on why it had changed its policy on hiring security guards.

The company’s decision was welcomed by United Service Workers West, which described it as “a victory for Silicon Valley security officers who are rising up to fix the imbalance in our economy by securing dignified, full-time work and respect on the job.” The organization, a part of the Service Employees International Union, claims to represent over 40,000 janitors, security officers and other property service workers in California.

Apple, Facebook and other tech companies are also facing demands for better working conditions from shuttle drivers. Drivers of Compass International, the contractor which has service agreements with tech companies like Apple, Yahoo, eBay, and Zynga, last week decided to unionize with Teamsters Local 853 in San Leandro.

Last month, Loop Transportation drivers, who transfer Facebook employees to and from the company’s Menlo Park campus, reached an agreement with the contractor that, besides other benefits, could increase their average pay to US$24.50 an hour from the current $18 an hour. The agreement was sent to Facebook for approval as the paying client. They drivers had in November voted to be represented by the Teamsters.

Silicon Valley’s ‘invisible’ workers do not share in the success of the tech industry, which they labor daily to keep running, the Working Partnerships USA report said. Tech companies in the valley were charged with using underpaid black, Latino and immigrant contract workers as landscaping workers, janitors, cooks and security guards.

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IBM will roll out a cloud computing service next quarter using OpenPower-based servers, continuing an effort to expand the market for Power processors and challenge Intel in hyperscale data centers.

The company’s SoftLayer division will provide an infrastructure-as-a-service offering using OpenPower systems in the second quarter, initially from a data center in Dallas, Texas, it said Wednesday. It will roll out the service worldwide at a later date.

IBM kicked off its OpenPower initiative about two years ago. Its goal is to license its Power architecture to other server makers, who can use it to design systems targeted at online service providers like Google and cloud providers like Amazon Web Services.

Those companies rely on Intel x86 servers today, and part of IBM’s challenge is to show that OpenPower can be a good option for the cloud. That’s why SoftLayer is using servers from Tyan, a low-cost Taiwanese vendor, rather than IBM’s own pricier Power-based Unix servers.

IBM says Power chips offer a better balance of cost and performance than x86 processors for some workloads, particularly those that need a lot of main memory, like analyzing large data sets, or that can take advantage of a lot of compute threads.

“The key metric is total cost of ownership; you have to win at that equation,” said Brad McCredie, an IBM fellow and president of the OpenPower Foundation. He said OpenPower is a good option for IBM’s Bluemix app development platform, too.

The OpenPower systems are designed to run Linux applications, and IBM modified its latest Power chip to run in so-called “little endian” mode, a way of handling data that’s compatible with x86 processors. That should make it easier for developers to port their Linux applications from x86 to Power.

IBM won’t yet disclose pricing for its OpenPower cloud service or discuss system configurations, though it might say more in two weeks at its first OpenPower Summit, in Silicon Valley, where it’s also likely to provide an update on the latest OpenPower hardware in development.

The OpenPower Foundation has about 100 members including system builders Tyan, Hitachi and Wistron, component makers Nvidia, Mellanox and Micron, and Linux distributor Ubuntu. Google is a member too, and last year it showed off an OpenPower board it designed for testing, though it’s not known how widely it’s using it.

IBM might become the first company to provide an OpenPower-based cloud service, though RackSpace has said it will also offer a service, and OVH, a European hosting company, offers an OpenPower service for developers building data-heavy applications.

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