Techmeme
December 4, 2019, 4:00 PM

Top News

Paresh Dave / Reuters:
Instagram says it will now require birthdates from new users, in order to improve safety features for minors and better target ads for age-restricted products  —  SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) - Facebook Inc's Instagram said it will require birthdates from all new users starting on Wednesday …
Jason Schreier / Kotaku:
Sources: Microsoft is planning a cheaper, disc-free Xbox, codenamed Lockhart, to go alongside its high-end Project Scarlett console  —  In June, Microsoft announced Project Scarlett, a new iteration of the Xbox that the company said would “set a new bar for console power, speed and performance.”
Sarah Perez / TechCrunch:
Plex launches a free, ad-supported streaming service featuring thousands of movies and shows from studios like MGM, available in ~220 countries  —  Plex today is launching its own ad-supported streaming service, a rival to The Roku Channel, Tubi, Crackle, Vudu's Movies on Us …
Abner Li / 9to5Google:
Google says Focus mode, a Digital Wellbeing feature for Android that mutes notifications, is rolling out to Android 9 and 10 users  —  At I/O 2019 in May, Google announced the latest Digital Wellbeing features to build on last year's initial launch.  In testing for the past several months …
Sarah Perez / TechCrunch:
Reddit publishes its 2019 retrospective: 430M MAUs, up 30% YoY, with 199M posts, 1.7B comments, and 32B upvotes; Bill Gates AMA had the most upvotes with 110K  —  In a year-end retrospective released this morning, Reddit says its user base grew 30% this year to reach 430 million monthly active users, as of the end of October.
Caroline Haskins / VICE:
Internal and public documents portray efforts by Amazon's Ring to entice police with parties and batches of 40+ free Ring doorbells for promoting the service  —  This is the second of a three-part series exploring how Ring transformed from start-up pitch to the technology powering Amazon's …
Manish Singh / TechCrunch:
Amazon launches a battery-powered portable Echo speaker in India with an enclosed 4,800mAh battery, claims up to 10 hours of continuous music playback  —  After launching nearly a dozen Echo speaker models in India in two years, Amazon said on Wednesday it is adding a new variant to the mix …
Newley Purnell / Wall Street Journal:
India, which is increasingly trying to shelter local companies, has erected regulatory hurdles over the past year for how US tech firms operate in the country  —  New barriers make world's biggest untapped digital market a slog for Walmart, Facebook; taking cues from China's protectionism
Li Yuan / New York Times:
Huawei's reputation in China, once unimpeachable, has been dented by a labor dispute over severance pay with an employee, who was recently freed from jail  —  When an executive wrote about her house arrest in Canada, an outcry about a former employee's treatment arose on social media.
Andrei Frumusanu / AnandTech:
An in-depth look at Qualcomm's upcoming Snapdragon 865 SoC, which gets a major speed boost over the 855, big improvements with new camera tech, and 5G for 2020  —  We're here in Maui for the second day of Qualcomm's fourth annual Snapdragon summit, for what is probably the most exciting part of the event …
TechCrunch:
SEC filing: Sequoia Capital has raised nearly $1B for later-stage US investments and ~$2.4B for venture and growth deals in China  —  Noted Silicon Valley venture capital fund Sequoia Capital has raised nearly $1 billion for later-stage U.S. investments and roughly $2.4 billion for venture …
Catalin Cimpanu / ZDNet:
Mozilla removes four Firefox extensions made by Avast and AVG after reports that they were harvesting user data and browsing histories  —  The four extensions, two from Avast and two from AVG, are still available on the Chrome Web Store.  —  Mozilla removed today four Firefox extensions …
Anna Wiener / New Yorker:
A profile of Hipcamp, a platform for campsite booking where listings include off-grid plots, RV hookups, ski huts, farmhouses, tepees, tree houses, and cabins  —  Can a startup save the wilderness by disrupting it?  —  In Northern California, booking a public campsite is a blood sport.
Will Oremus / OneZero:
A study by Avaaz may have overstated the problem of false stories on Facebook, but it also revealed cracks, loopholes, and limitations in Facebook's systems  —  And in 2021.  And 2022.  —  hree and a half years after the pope endorsed President Donald Trump (or didn't), Facebook has put in a lot of work to clean up its News Feed.
Emil Protalinski / VentureBeat:
Firefox 71 arrives with Picture-in-Picture support on Windows for all video sites, Enhanced Tracking Protection and Lockwise password manager improvements, more  —  Mozilla today launched Firefox 71 for Windows, Mac, Linux, Android, and iOS.  Firefox 71 includes Lockwise password manager improvements …
Nick Brown / Reuters:
Interviews show how the Census Bureau's decision to outsource the tech behind the 2020 census has led to costly problems and made it vulnerable to hacking  —  The bureau chose Pegasystems Inc, reasoning that outsourcing would be cheaper and more effective.  —  Three years later …

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