Techmeme
June 17, 2021, 11:15 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.
Bloomberg:
Wise, previously known as TransferWise, plans to go public on the LSE via a direct listing, the first company to choose an alternative listing in the UK  —  - Founders, employees get extra voting rights for limited time  — Direct listings are becoming more popular among U.S. startups
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.
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.
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:
Russian lawmakers pass legislation that would force US tech giants to open offices in Russia by January 2022 or face punitive measures  —  Russian lawmakers passed legislation on Thursday that would oblige U.S. tech giants to open offices in Russia by January 2022 or face punitive measures …
Insider:
Sources: Google is downsizing its health team, which was working on sensors and health records, and moving them to Fitbit as part of a major reorganization  —  - Google's young health division is splintering, according to employees and an email seen by Insider.
Washington Post:
The recent surge in ransomware attacks has upended the cyber insurance industry, increasing costs and requirements just as more companies need it  —  Cyber insurance carriers are raising premiums and limiting coverage in the face of severe ransomware attacks, just as organizations are clamoring for more protection
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 …
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 …
Ashley Carman / The Verge:
Snap launches Creative Kit for Spotlight, which will let developers put their apps inside Snapchat's TikTok rival Spotlight  —  Ride the wave of virality for downloads  —  Snapchat is making it easier for developers to use viral content to directly promote their apps.
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 …
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 …
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
Gillian Tan / Bloomberg:
Fleet management software provider KeepTruckin raises $190M led by G2 Venture Partners at a $2.3B valuation  —  KeepTruckin Inc. raised $190 million in a new funding round that values the San Francisco-based provider of fleet management software at $2.3 billion.

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Earlier Picks

Mathew Olson / The Information:
Rebecca Kern / Bloomberg:
Tim Bradshaw / Financial Times:
James Vincent / The Verge:
James Vincent / The Verge:
Dieter Bohn / The Verge:
Lauren Feiner / CNBC: