Techmeme
January 11, 2024, 11:00 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 …
More: Coinbase, Grayscale Investments, CoinDesk, PYMNTS.com, New York Times, Decrypt, CoinDesk, Crypto Daily, Fortune, CryptoSlate, CoinDesk, BBC, New.blicio.us, Wall Street Journal, Reuters, Cointelegraph, The Block, Bankless Times, Crypto Adventure, Bloomberg, Cointelegraph, Bitcoin Insider, The Block, Bitcoin News, Reuters, Finextra, Cointelegraph, Bitwise Investments, CoinDesk, Blockworks, Unchained, Engadget, CyberScoop, Blockworks, Gizmodo, The Daily Hodl, Decrypt, The Defiant, Forkast, Ticker, Nasdaq, BNN Bloomberg, Business Insider, Fortune, Decrypt, The Block, and The Block
Forums: Hacker News and Slashdot
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.
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, a podcast generated by AI and curated by humans, releases an hour-long comedy special featuring an AI 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 lobbying operation, ending an effort to overturn the US bans  —  - Chinese firm lost its last Washington fixers in recent months  — Hired hands and Huawei itself have told Congress they're done
Rachel Metz / Bloomberg:
OpenAI debuts a GPT Store for paid users to share and find custom chatbots and plans to start sharing revenue in Q1; users have already made 3M+ chatbots so far  —  The store will feature a bot leaderboard, and will eventually introduce payments.  —  OpenAI has launched an online store …
Kyle Wiggers / TechCrunch:

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