Techmeme
June 16, 2021, 8:30 PM

Top News

Rebecca Kern / Bloomberg:
Democratic Rep. David Cicilline, leading a push for a new antitrust package targeting Big Tech, says Apple would be banned from pre-installing its own apps  —  - Cicilline comments on intent of antitrust legislation  — Proposal would prohibit companies from self-prefering products
Rolfe Winkler / Wall Street Journal:
Sources: some of Apple's healthcare efforts, including a pilot primary healthcare service with Apple-employed doctors, have stalled due to internal concerns  —  Tech giant has envisioned hiring doctors to offer primary care, now focused on Watch  —  Apple Inc. Chief Executive Tim Cook …
Ashley Carman / The Verge:
In an email to creators, Facebook says it will launch its podcast platform on June 22; podcasters can link up RSS feeds and decide if users can clip shows  —  Along with podcast clips  —  Facebook is planning to start rolling out its podcast product next week, on June 22nd, and, eventually …
Sarah Perez / TechCrunch:
Spotify launches Greenroom, an app that lets Spotify users worldwide join or host live audio rooms and turn those conversations into podcasts  —  In March, Spotify announced it was acquiring the company behind the sports-focused audio app Locker Room to help speed its entry into the live audio market.
Salvador Rodriguez / CNBC:
Facebook says it will begin testing ads on Oculus headsets, starting with the shooter game Blaston, and won't use data stored on devices to target ads  —  - Facebook on Wednesday announced that it will begin testing advertisements that will appear within the company's Oculus virtual reality headsets.
Igor Bonifacic / Engadget:
In Xbox's June update, Microsoft adds a Stories-like feature to the Xbox mobile app and rolls out text-to-speech and speech-to-text accessibility features  —  June update is here, and Microsoft has  —  detailed the latest software tweaks Xbox One and Xbox Series X/S users can look forward to trying out on their consoles.
Darrell Etherington / TechCrunch:
Interview with Apple's VP for Technology Kevin Lynch on Apple Watch's evolution, future health capabilities through sensor fusion with AirPods, and more  —  Apple VP of Technology Kevin Lynch charts a path from Apple Watch's early days to the sophistication of Health today.
James Vincent / The Verge:
Facebook launches a new suite of tools for admins of Groups, including AI-powered Conflict Alerts that identify “contentious or unhealthy conversations”  —  Part of a suite of new tools for managing Facebook communities  —  Facebook is launching a suite of new tools to help group admins get a grip on their communities.
Natasha Lomas / TechCrunch:
DuckDuckGo says it raised $100M+ in “mainly secondary investment” in late 2020 from WhatsApp founder Brian Acton, Sir Tim Berners-Lee, and others  —  Privacy tech continues cooking on gas.  To wit: Non-tracking search engine DuckDuckGo has just revealed that it beefed …
Alex Hern / The Guardian:
Amazon blames social media companies for its failure to remove fake reviews, saying they let bad actors use their platforms to buy and sell fake product reviews  —  Firm says sites are slow to act when warned that fake reviews are being solicited on their platforms
Tim Bradshaw / Financial Times:
Harry Stebbings, a 24-year-old Londoner with a popular podcast about tech investing, raises $140M fund from MIT, RIT Capital, and founders of Spotify and Calm  —  Harry Stebbings secures investment from MIT and Rothschild-backed RIT Capital Partners  —  A 24-year-old law school dropout …
Dieter Bohn / The Verge:
After years of pop-up experiments, Google says its first retail store, located in the Chelsea neighborhood of NYC, will open on June 17  —  Pixel, Nest, Fitbit, and third-party accessories will be on sale  —  After years of pop-up experiments, Google is finally dipping its toes …
Lauren Feiner / CNBC:
Waymo raises $2.5B from Alphabet, a16z, Tiger Global, and others, to advance its autonomous driving tech and grow its team  —  - Google sibling company Waymo announced a $2.5 billion investment round Wednesday, which will go toward advancing its autonomous driving technology and growing its team.
Mathew Olson / The Information:
Around 150 of Mapbox's 222 US staff have signed CWA union cards; they assert maps are political, and workers should be able to refuse to work on some projects  —  San Francisco-based Mapbox offers tools and navigation data that can power just about any use of digital maps you can imagine, including augmented reality.
Ben Sisario / New York Times:
Twitch, where even niche artists can make thousands of dollars per month by cultivating fan tribes, is becoming increasingly attractive to musicians  —  The gaming platform is becoming increasingly attractive to artists, who can earn money by cultivating fan tribes that express their loyalty through patronage.
Geoffrey Fowler / Washington Post:
Apple's obsession with thin design has made the new M1-powered iMac less useful by removing ports and making it virtually impossible to replace components  —  A half-inch desktop computer shows how Apple's obsession with thin design can work against us  —  Apple's newly redesigned iMac measures just 0.45 inches thick.
James Vincent / The Verge:
Facebook partners with Michigan State University to create a method for reverse-engineering deepfakes by using AI to reveal the ML model that created it  —  The work could help future deepfake investigations  —  Deepfakes aren't a big problem on Facebook right now, but the company continues …
Anna Edgerton / Bloomberg:
At a Senate antitrust hearing, Amazon and Google defended their smart home device businesses from criticism by Democrats and Republicans  —  Alphabet Inc.'s Google and Amazon.com Inc. defended their smart-speaker businesses as U.S. senators warned the grip the companies have over the market could harm competition and consumer privacy.
More: Protocol
Ingrid Lunden / TechCrunch:
Tractable, which uses computer vision and AI to help make damage appraisals for car insurance claims, raises $60M Series D, giving the company a $1B valuation  —  As the insurance industry adjusts to life in the 21st century (heh), an AI startup that has built computer vision tools …
More: VentureBeatThanks:@ingridlunden
Ingrid Lunden / TechCrunch:
Novo, a neobank targeting small businesses, raises $40.7M Series A led by Valar Ventures  —  Small businesses have traditionally been underserved when it comes to IT — they are too big and have too many requirements that can't be met by consumer products, yet are much too small to afford …
Sarah Krouse / The Information:
Sources: Google is developing a conversational AI product, known internally as Tivoli, which aims to teach foreign languages through Google Search  —  Google CEO Sundar Pichai last month previewed an artificial intelligence model that he said would enable people to have open-ended conversations with technology.
Reuters:
At the summit, Biden told Putin that certain critical infrastructure should be “off-limits” to cyberattacks; Putin agreed to “begin consultations” on the issue  —  U.S. President Joe Biden told Russian President Vladimir Putin on Wednesday that certain critical infrastructure …

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