Techmeme
January 11, 2024, 11:40 AM

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.
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 …
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.
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.
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 …
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 …
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.
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 …
Bloomberg:
After spending $13M+ on US lobbying in the past decade, Huawei quietly shutters its in-house DC lobbying operation, ending its effort to overturn the US ban  —  - Chinese firm lost its last Washington fixers in recent months  — Hired hands and Huawei itself have told Congress they're done
Kyle Wiggers / TechCrunch:
OpenAI launches ChatGPT Team, a new subscription plan for teams of up to 149 people, for $30 per user per month, or $25 per user per month billed annually  —  OpenAI is launching a new subscription plan for ChatGPT, its viral AI-powered chatbot, aimed at smaller, self-service-oriented teams.
Rachel Metz / Bloomberg:

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