Hey, friends – you made it to the end of the week. Congratulations! That is an achievement to be celebrated, I would say. And what better way to ring in the weekend than by wrapping up the week in tech? This is Week in Review (WiR), TechCrunch’s weekly news roundup, where we highlight the most important, impactful, and otherwise eye-catching stories from the past few days. We get it – you’re busy. Hence a summary that highlights all the important events.
Before we get into the good stuff, a reminder that on May 17, TechCrunch Live, TC’s virtual speaker series, will feature Intel Capital’s Mark Rostick and Garima Kapoor – the founder of MinIO, a startup building an enterprise-grade, but open source, solution for object storage. On the further horizon is TC City Spotlight: Atlanta on June 7, which will feature a pitching contest, panel discussion on investing in the Atlanta ecosystem, and more. Last but not least is Disrupt in San Francisco (September 19-21), a conference packed with expert-led sessions and interviews with movers and shakers in the tech space. Note the dates!
Now, with that out of the way, here are the main headlines.
Google I/O, in summary: On Google I/O keynote day, the search and internet advertising giant released a rapid stream of announcements at its developer conference, including many revelations of recent AI-related things it’s been working on. If you didn’t have time to watch a two-hour presentation, the TechCrunch team took it upon themselves, delivering story after story about new products and features – plus quick hits of the biggest news in an easy-to-digest, easy-to-use format. understand – short list.
The purge continues: Twitter is deleting inactive accounts on its platform, potentially freeing up some long-coveted usernames, according to recent tweets from owner Elon Musk. While Twitter has been promising for years to bring more usernames back into circulation, it hasn’t acted on that on a large scale, despite an inactive account policy which suggests that Twitter users should log in at least every 30 days to avoid accounts being permanently deleted.
New Twitter CEO: In other Twitter news, Elon Musk says he has found a new CEO for Twitter. Musk did not initially specify who will take on the role, although The Wall Street Journal now does report that Linda Yaccarino, head of advertising at NBCUniversal, is actively “in talks” for the position. In a tweet, Musk announced that he will transition from his role as CEO of the company to his position as executive chairman and chief technology officer. The new CEO is expected to start in six weeks, Musk said.
Health data leaked: NextGen Healthcare, a US-based provider of electronic health record software, admitted that hackers had breached his systems and stolen the personal information of more than 1 million patients. In a data breach notification filed with the Maine Attorney General’s Office, NextGen Healthcare confirmed that hackers had access to the personal data of 1.05 million patients, including about 4,000 Maine residents.
Rapid fires employees: Rapid, formerly known as RapidAPI, a startup that built a $1 billion API marketplace last year, laid off another 70 employees in less than two weeks after laying off 50% of its workforce, TechCrunch has learned. An affected employee who wished to remain anonymous told TC that there are only 42 people left at the company – down from 230 in April – reflecting an 82% drop in headcount.
Meta contractors protest: Content moderators led by Sama, Meta’s content review subcontractor in Africa, staged a protest at the company’s headquarters in Kenya earlier this week, demanding their April paychecks. The 184 moderators have sued Sama for allegedly unlawfully firing them, after Meta shut down its content review arm in March, and Majorel, the social media giant’s new partner in Africa, for blacklisting on behalf of from meta.
From Pokémon to Peridot: From the creators of Pokémon Go comes another mobile game that puts cute little creatures at your fingertips: peridot. Like 90s Tamagotchi toys, Peridot is a pet simulator, but it takes place entirely inside augmented reality. You can feed, play with, walk, breed, and socialize your Peridots, but don’t worry, if you take a break from the game, your creatures won’t shit all over your screen and/or die.
Texting, but different: “The medium is the message” is the usual expression, but entrepreneur Alexis Traina believes that the messages themselves, to be precise text messages, also deserve attention. Traina is the CEO and co-founder of HiNOTE, an app that allows people to create messages on personalized backgrounds of anything from an overturned wine glass to a branded notebook. The idea, she said in an interview with TechCrunch, is that she wouldn’t get up every day and dress in green, blue, and gray — so why do our text messages stick to those colors?
Do you need listening material for your weekday commute — or shower, for that matter? TechCrunch has you covered. On Equity, the crew delved into a range of new Mayfield funds, as well as how Wellthy is helping caregivers feel less overwhelmed and the slowing growth of tech companies. In order to Found it, the team spoke to the co-founders of Juliet, who are reimagining boxed wine. The Chain reaction team released a bonus episode of a fireside chat with Nadya Tolokonnikova, the creator of the protest art collective Pussy Riot, at NFT NYC in April 2023. The TechCrunch Podcast covered Google I/O, including the technology, attended lectures and demos. To wrap things up, TechCrunchLive talked about developing anti-aging therapies with James Peyer, the co-founder of Cambrian BioPharma, and Maryanna Saenko, co-founder and partner at Future Ventures.
TC+ subscribers get access to in-depth commentary, analysis and surveys – which you’ll know if you’re already a subscriber. If you’re not, consider signing up. Here are a few highlights from this week:
Visions of a colorful future: How far has the psychedelic drug industry come in the past 12 months? Well, it depends where you look. A recent study shows that rather than simply looking for compelling opportunities, investors and founders are increasingly focused on laying the groundwork for an industry that can harness the power of psychedelics to change lives.
AI’s food search: News from Google’s AI-infused developer event this week makes it clear we’re on the cusp of a new era of search. After Microsoft pours OpenAI’s technology into Bing, Google is experimenting with its own AI technology and opening up new ways to use search. Clearly, we’re about to see the first major overhauls in the market for finding information on the Internet in a very long time.
Salesforce Embraces Generative AI: Salesforce is increasingly investing in generative AI as it becomes clear that the technology has the potential to transform the way we interact with software, enabling us to describe what we want rather than click or tap.
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