Techmeme
June 17, 2021, 7:35 AM

Top News

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.
Jordan Novet / CNBC:
Microsoft has named CEO Satya Nadella as chair of its board, replacing independent director John Thompson who succeeded Bill Gates as chair in 2014  —  - Satya Nadella, Microsoft's CEO, is becoming the software company's chair, after running the company for seven years, when he replaced Steve Ballmer.
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 …
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 …
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.
Nilesh Christopher / Rest of World:
Experts say India's courts, not India's government, have power to decide whether Twitter should keep its safe harbor protections in India under new IT rules  —  India's courts, not the government in New Delhi, have the authority to end ‘safe harbor’ protections for the platform.  —  • BANGALORE, INDIA
Mike Butcher / TechCrunch:
Akur8, which uses AI to automate insurance claims, raises $30M Series B, bringing its total raised to $42M  —  Automating insurance claims is a big business, and the world of AI is coming at it ‘full pelt’.  The latest is Akur8, an insurtech automating insurance platform whose ‘Transparent AI’ product …
More: FinSMEs
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.
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.
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 …
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.
Rebecca Kern / Bloomberg:
Rep. David Cicilline, leading a push for a new Big Tech antitrust legislation, says it will prohibit Apple from impeding users from removing pre-installed apps  —  - Cicilline comments on intent of antitrust legislation  — Proposal would prohibit companies from self-prefering products
Reuters:
Sources: China's market regulator has begun an antitrust probe into Didi Chuxing, as it prepares for a US IPO  —  China's market regulator has begun an antitrust probe into Didi Chuxing, three people with knowledge of the matter said, just as the ride-hailing giant is pushing ahead …
More: BBC
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 …
Liza Lin / Wall Street Journal:
Leaked memo: ByteDance says its annual revenue in 2020 grew 111% YoY to $34.3B, while gross profit rose 93% YoY to $19B  —  ByteDance's gross profit rose 93% to $19 billion last year, according to a memo to staff  —  ByteDance Ltd., the owner of popular short-video app TikTok …
Kyle Wiggers / VentureBeat:
Imply, which runs a real-time data analytics platform, raises $70M Series C led by Bessemer Venture Partners, at a $700M post-money valuation  —  Elevate your enterprise data technology and strategy at Transform 2021.  —  Imply, a startup developing a real-time analytics platform …
More: CRN
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.

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