Techmeme
June 17, 2021, 8:25 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 …
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 …
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.
Ingrid Lunden / TechCrunch:
Beamery, which develops software to manage hiring and retaining staff, raises $138M, sources say at a $800M valuation  —  Online job listings were one of the first things to catch on in the first generation of the internet.  But that has, ironically, also meant that some of the most-used …
More: Tech.eu and Bloomberg
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
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.
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.
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
The Economic Times:
Vianai Systems, an AI startup founded by former Infosys CEO Vishal Sikka, raises $140M Series B led by SoftBank Vision Fund 2  —  Vianai, which Sikka founded after his acrimonious exit from IT services giant Infosys in 2017, will utilise the capital to accelerate the delivery of its AI platform and products to enterprise customers
More: FinSMEs
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 …
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:
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 …
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.
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.

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