Techmeme
February 8, 2024, 12:30 PM

Top News

David Pierce / The Verge:
Google releases Gemini Ultra 1.0, its largest and most capable LLM, and renames Bard to Gemini, which now has a dedicated Android app and, soon, an iOS app  —  Google is famous for having a million similar products with confusingly different names and seemingly nothing in common.
Abner Li / 9to5Google:
Google adds a $20 per month AI Premium plan to Google One, offering Gemini Advanced with the Ultra 1.0 model, and rebrands Duet AI as Gemini for Workspace  —  Sundar Pichai announced last week that Google One is about to cross 100 million subscribers.  Google One is now getting a new AI Premium plan that costs $19.99.
Ethan Mollick / One Useful Thing:
Google Gemini Advanced hands-on: clearly a GPT-4 class model, but doesn't obviously blow away GPT-4 in benchmarks; Gemini is better than GPT-4 at explanations  —  And then there were two.  —  Right around the time you are getting this email, Google finally released their long-awaited powerful AI …
Lauren Goode / Wired:
Diane Brady / Fortune:
Mozilla CEO Mitchell Baker steps down to focus on AI and internet safety as chair of the nonprofit; Mozilla board member Laura Chambers will be interim CEO  —  Mozilla has named a new CEO effective immediately.  —  Mozilla Corp., which manages the open-source Firefox browser …
Molly White / Citation Needed:
In his new book, a16z GP Chris Dixon fails to identify a single blockchain project that has successfully provided a non-speculative service at any kind of scale  —  Prominent crypto venture capitalist Chris Dixon provides an unconvincing bible for blockchain solutionists.  —  1×
David Shepardson / Reuters:
The US says OpenAI, Anthropic, Microsoft, Meta, Google, Apple, Amazon, Nvidia, Palantir, and over 200 others are joining the new AI Safety Institute Consortium  —  The Biden administration on Thursday said leading artificial intelligence companies are among more than 200 entities joining …
Josh Boak / Associated Press:
Foo Yun Chee / Reuters:
Jessica Conditt / Engadget:
Filing: the FTC seeks a pause in Microsoft's Activision Blizzard acquisition, arguing layoffs in Microsoft's gaming division contradict Microsoft's prior claims  —  The FTC isn't done questioning gaming's biggest acquisition.  —  One week after Microsoft laid off nearly 2,000 employees …
Bill Toulas / BleepingComputer:
The Danish data protection authority orders schools to stop sending student data to Google via Chromebooks and Workspace, after an over four year investigation  —  The Danish data protection authority (Datatilsynet) has issued an injunction regarding student data being funneled to Google through …
Mishaal Rahman / Android Authority:
A leaked image allegedly shows the Google Pixel Fold 2, including a narrower cover screen, a squarer inner screen aspect ratio, and redesigned camera bump  —  Here's a very early look at what could be Google's second-generation foldable phone.  —  •  —  TL;DR
Martin Young / Cointelegraph:
SEC filing: NYSE-listed Bakkt, a crypto trading platform backed by the Intercontinental Exchange, warns that it might not be able to stay in business in a year  —  The institutional digital asset trading platform unveiled in 2018 amid huge fanfare has just disclosed it “might not be able to continue as a going concern.”
Kurt Wagner / Bloomberg:
Battle for the Bird book excerpt: how Jack Dorsey's plan to get Elon Musk to save Twitter failed, as Musk dismantled the company after taking over, and more  —  An excerpt from Battle for the Bird shows how Twitter's two most prominent leaders contributed to its current dilemma.
Drew Harwell / Washington Post:
TikTok quietly removed view counts for hashtags in January, after researchers used them to show the disparity in views of pro-Israel and pro-Palestinian videos  —  The change came after researchers cited TikTok's video-view counts to discuss the relative prominence of pro-Israel and pro-Palestinian videos on the app.
Sarah Whitten / CNBC:
Disney plans to invest $1.5B for a stake in Epic Games and collaborate on a new “universe” connected to Fortnite with content from Disney, Pixar, and more  —  - Disney is investing $1.5 billion for an equity stake in Epic Games in its biggest jump yet into the gaming world.
Sam Sabin / Axios:
US, UK, Australia, Canada, and New Zealand advisory: China-backed hacking group Volt Typhoon has had access to some major US infrastructure for over five years  —  China-backed hackers have had access to some major U.S. critical infrastructure for “at least five years,” according to an intelligence advisory released Wednesday.
Adnan Aamir / Nikkei Asia:
Pakistan suspended mobile services across the country as voters went to the polls on February 8; the Interior Ministry cited a deteriorating security situation  —  Outages in name of security fuel suspicion over polls' legitimacy  —  Poll workers walk past police officers outside a voting station in Peshawar on Feb. 8.
Ivan Mehta / TechCrunch:
Google debuts a pilot program in Singapore to prevent users from sideloading certain apps that abuse Android app permissions to read one-time passwords  —  To reduce financial scams, Google has started a new program to prevent users from sideloading certain apps in Singapore.
The Information:
Sources: OpenAI is developing two types of agent software: one to automate tasks by effectively taking over a user's device, and the other for web-based tasks  —  OpenAI's first major product, ChatGPT, proved so popular that it sparked a generation of wannabes.

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