Techmeme
January 11, 2024, 3:10 PM

Top News

Louise Matsakis / Semafor:
Google lays off hundreds of staff working on Assistant and says the restructuring would help improve Assistant as the company explores integrating newer AI tech  —  Google is laying off hundreds of people working on its voice-activated Google Assistant software and eliminating a similar number …
Abner Li / 9to5Google:
Google reorganizes its Devices & Services teams responsible for Pixel, Fitbit, and Nest; Fitbit co-founders James Park and Eric Friedman are leaving Google  —  Google is reorganizing the Devices & Services teams responsible for Pixel, Nest, and Fitbit hardware.
Nico Grant / New York Times:
Sources: several hundred Google engineering employees received notices that their roles were eliminated and lost corporate access; most hardware cuts were in AR  —  The company, which has been working to trim expenses, laid off employees who worked on core engineering, the Google Assistant product and hardware such as the Pixel phone.
Abner Li / 9to5Google:
Google plans to remove 17 “underutilized” Assistant features in February, including controlling audiobooks, media alarms, recipes, messages, events, and more  —  Bard is the future of Assistant.  Ahead of that happening, Google announced today that Assistant features with low usage will be removed in February.
Jesse Hamilton / CoinDesk:
US SEC Chair Gary Gensler concedes that losing in court after rejecting Grayscale's spot bitcoin ETF left the agency with little choice but to approve such ETFs  —  The SEC chair said a court forced his hand and that the agency's decision to greenlight a spot bitcoin ETF doesn't signal support of that or any other digital asset.
Reuters:
The US SEC approves spot bitcoin ETFs from BlackRock, Grayscale, ARK 21Shares, Bitwise, WisdomTree, Fidelity, VanEck, Invesco, Valkyrie, Hashdex, and Franklin  —  The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission has approved 11 spot bitcoin exchange-traded funds, including those of Grayscale …
More: CoinDesk, Cointelegraph, Coinbase, Finbold, CoinDesk, Grayscale Investments, Cryptopolitan, New York Times, Financial Times, Crypto Daily, CryptoSlate, CoinDesk, Financial Times, BBC, Fortune, Bitcoin Insider, Decrypt, Wall Street Journal, Reuters, PYMNTS.com, Cointelegraph, Bloomberg, The Block, Bitcoin News, Reuters, The Block, Bitwise Investments, Cointelegraph, CoinDesk, Blockworks, Business Insider, Unchained, Engadget, CyberScoop, Blockworks, Gizmodo, The Daily Hodl, Decrypt, The Defiant, Ticker, Nasdaq, BNN Bloomberg, Fortune, Decrypt, and The Block
Forums: Hacker News and Slashdot
Alex Heath / The Verge:
Internal memo: Discord CEO Jason Citron says the company is laying off 17% of its staff, or 170 people, after growing its workforce “by 5x since 2020”  —  Discord is laying off 17 percent of its staff, a move that CEO Jason Citron said is meant to “sharpen our focus and improve …
Reuters:
USDC stablecoin issuer Circle confidentially files for a US IPO, without saying the number of shares for sale or a price range; Circle was valued at $9B in 2022  —  Circle Internet Financial, the company behind stablecoin USDC, said on Thursday that it had confidentially filed …
Carly Page / TechCrunch:
Ivanti confirms hackers are exploiting two critical vulnerabilities in its corporate VPN software, but says patches won't be available until the end of January  —  U.S. software giant Ivanti has confirmed that hackers are exploiting two critical-rated vulnerabilities affecting …
Charisma Madarang / Rolling Stone:
Dudesy, an AI-driven podcast curated by humans, releases an hour-long comedy special featuring an AI-generated recreation of George Carlin, who died in 2008  —  The hour-long special arrived from Dudesy, a podcast run by artificial intelligence … Following the special's release …
Emma Roth / The Verge:
After announcing the $199 R1 “Large Action Model” AI handheld at CES, Rabbit sold 10K units in one day; second batch orders are set to ship in April to May 2024  —  The R1, the pocket-size gadget from Rabbit that's supposed to use your apps for you, has already sold out of its first batch.
Naman Ramachandran / Variety:
Netflix removes an Indian film depicting a Hindu character eating meat after backlash from Hindu groups; producer Zee apologizes and plans to edit the film  —  Tamil-language film “Annapoorani: The Goddess of Food,” headlined by “Jawan” actor Nayanthara, has been pulled from Netflix …
Alanna Durkin Richer / Associated Press:
eBay will pay $3M to resolve charges over a harassment campaign by staffers who sent spiders and other disturbing items to those behind the EcommerceBytes blog  —  Online retailer eBay Inc. will pay a $3 million fine to resolve criminal charges over a harassment campaign waged by employees …

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