Uber resists California gig worker bill – gpgmail


The Daily Crunch is gpgmail’s roundup of our biggest and most important stories. If you’d like to get this delivered to your inbox every day at around 9am Pacific, you can subscribe here.

1. Uber plans to keep defending independent contractor model for drivers

Despite California lawmakers passing a bill designed to turn gig workers into regular employees, Uber has made it clear it plans to do whatever it takes to keep classifying its drivers as independent contractors.

“We will continue to advocate for a compromise agreement,” Uber Chief Legal Officer Tony West said. That agreement might include a guaranteed earnings minimum while on a trip, portable benefits and a “collective voice” for drivers.

2. Spotify acquires SoundBetter, a music production marketplace, for an undisclosed sum

This looks like another step for Spotify to diversify its business model.

3. Simbe raises a $26M Series A for its retail inventory robot

Simbe has been showcasing its inventory robot Tally since 2015. And earlier this year, U.S. supermarket chain Giant Eagle announced plans to begin a pilot program, deploying Tally in select stores.

4. Loot boxes in games are gambling and should be banned for kids, say UK MPs

U.K. MPs have called for the government to regulate the games industry’s use of loot boxes. They’re urging a blanket ban on the sale of loot boxes to players who are children, suggesting that kids should instead be able to earn in-game credits to unlock these boxes.

5. How Kobalt is simplifying the killer complexities of the music industry

The second part of our in-depth look at Kobalt focuses on the complex way royalties flow through the industry, and how Kobalt is restructuring that process. (Extra Crunch membership required.)

6. Yelp adds predictive wait times and a new way for restaurants to share updates

With Yelp Connect, restaurants will be able to post updates about things like recent additions to the menu, happy hour specials and upcoming events. These updates are then shown on the Yelp homepage, in a weekly email and on the restaurant’s profile page.

7. 5 reasons to attend Disrupt SF this October 2-4

If you haven’t bought a ticket to Disrupt yet, you’re probably a bad person who’s making bad decisions.


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Apple unveils new iPhones – gpgmail


The Daily Crunch is gpgmail’s roundup of our biggest and most important stories. If you’d like to get this delivered to your inbox every day at around 9am Pacific, you can subscribe here.

1. Here’s everything Apple announced today at the iPhone 11 event

The biggest announcement was a new lineup of iPhones, including the iPhone 11, with a new dual-camera system, as well as two iPhone Pro models with three cameras each. Cameras galore!

In addition, the company announced new iPads and Apple Watches, as well as pricing and launch dates for Apple Arcade (launching September 19) and Apple TV+ (November 1).

2. California passes landmark bill that requires Uber and Lyft to treat their drivers as employees

The bill says that if a contractor’s work is part of a company’s regular business, then they must be designated as employees. And thus, these workers will get access to more protections such as minimum wage, the right to unionize and overtime.

3. Peloton plots $1.2B Nasdaq IPO

In an amended S-1 filing released Tuesday afternoon, the developer of internet-connected stationary bikes and treadmills announced a proposed price range of $26 to $29 per share, allowing the company to raise as much as $1.2 billion in its public offering.

4. Uber lays off 435 people across engineering and product teams

Speaking of Uber, the company laid off about 8% of the workforce, with 170 people leaving the product team and 265 people leaving the engineering team.

5. Mozilla launches a VPN, brings back the Firefox Test Pilot program

The Test Pilot program allows users to try out new features before they are ready for mainstream usage.

6. Aerospace Corp CEO Steve Isakowitz to talk how to raise non-dilutive capital at Disrupt SF

Aerospace Corp is not that widely known outside space circles, but its 59-year-old R&D legacy is remarkable. The nonprofit works with the U.S. Air Force and other government space programs to identify emerging technologies from the commercial sector that could apply to future space programs.

7. What the iPhone 11 says about Apple’s present — and future

Let’s wrap this up with some thoughts on what yesterday’s announcements mean for Apple’s strategy — particularly the company’s growing focus on content and services, and its new thinking on how to position the iPhone. (Extra Crunch membership required.)


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Stripe launches a credit card – gpgmail


The Daily Crunch is gpgmail’s roundup of our biggest and most important stories. If you’d like to get this delivered to your inbox every day at around 9am Pacific, you can subscribe here.

1. Payments giant Stripe debuts a credit card in its latest step into the financing fray

Following the launch of its money-lending program Stripe Capital, the company is unveiling the Stripe Corporate Card, a Visa card open to businesses incorporated in the United States.

Those businesses can use the card without worrying about interest rates or fees — Stripe’s Cristina Cordova said the company expects to have “fewer problems” with this, particularly because participants will be approved based on their revenue in the Stripe platform.

2. Jack Ma officially retires as Alibaba’s chairman

Ma is handing the role over to the company’s current CEO, Daniel Zhang. The transition was announced a year ago.

3. Watch Apple unveil the new iPhone live right here

The event starts at 10am Pacific!

A customer exits the drive-thru lane at a McDonald’s Corp. fast food restaurant in Shepherdsville, Kentucky, U.S., on Monday, Jan. 14, 2019. Photographer: Luke Sharrett/Bloomberg via Getty Images

4. McDonald’s acquires Apprente to bring voice technology to drive-thrus

The company has already been testing Apprente’s technology in select locations, creating voice-activated drive-thrus (along with robot fryers) that it said will offer “faster, simpler and more accurate order taking.”

5. Facebook tightens policies around self-harm and suicide

Facebook will no longer allow graphic cutting images, which can unintentionally promote or trigger self-harm.

6. Why am I seeing this ad? AI, ML & human error in advertising

Adboy founder Adam Zelcer investigates why he’s being served irrelevant ads. (Extra Crunch membership required.)

7. The CEO of Naspers — one of the world’s most powerful and lowest-flying investment firms — is coming to Disrupt

Naspers CEO Bob van Dijk is joining us to talk about the process of spinning out a new holding company called Prosus NV. We’ll also ask about how the company thinks about new investments, including how it views different sectors and different geographies.


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Joi Ito resigns from MIT Media Lab – gpgmail


The Daily Crunch is gpgmail’s roundup of our biggest and most important stories. If you’d like to get this delivered to your inbox every day at around 9am Pacific, you can subscribe here.

1. Joi Ito resigns as MIT Media Lab head in wake of Jeffrey Epstein reporting

Joi Ito and the MIT Media Lab were already facing criticism for the funding they’d received from disgraced financier Jeffrey Epstein, and the criticism intensified after a New Yorker piece reported that Ito and others at the media lab worked to conceal Epstein’s contributions.

In an email to the university administration, Ito wrote, “After giving the matter a great deal of thought over the past several days and weeks, I think that it is best that I resign as director of the media lab and as a professor and employee of the Institute, effective immediately.”

2. Fitbit Versa 2 review

The Versa gave Fitbit a way forward beyond simple fitness trackers, and Brian Heater says the new smartwatch is a worthy update.

3. The Vivaldi browser lands on Android

Vivaldi for Android retains the desktop browser’s look, feel and speed without getting bogged down trying to bring all of its features to mobile.

4. Top VCs say the landscape for enterprise startups is changing

We sat down with Jason Green of Emergence Capital, Rebecca Lynn of Canvas Ventures and Maha Ibrahim of Canaan Partners, who said that startups shouldn’t expect a big M&A event right now. (Extra Crunch membership required.)

5. AppZen nabs $50M to build AI tools for expenses and other finance team work

To date, AppZen’s biggest product has been a service that automatically audits expenses — comparing, for example, an employee’s charges with the travel they’ve undertaken.

6. Pagerduty’s Jennifer Tejada and Box’s Aaron Levie will talk IPOs at TC Disrupt SF

Tejada and Levie both guided their companies to successful IPOs, with Box going public in 2015 and Pagerduty listing its stocks only a few months ago.

7. This week’s gpgmail podcasts

Speaking of Box, the latest edition of Equity includes a discussion of why the content management company is underappreciated, while the Original Content team reviews the Amazon series “Carnival Row.”


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Apple Music comes to the web – gpgmail


The Daily Crunch is gpgmail’s roundup of our biggest and most important stories. If you’d like to get this delivered to your inbox every day at around 9am Pacific, you can subscribe here.

1. Apple Music launches a public beta on the web

While this is the first time Apple has made its music service available on the web, the recent popularity of an unofficial website suggested that there’s some pent-up demand here.

The beta website includes most of Apple Music’s core features, but if you’re a new user looking to sign up, you’ll have to do that elsewhere, through the mobile or desktop app, for now.

2. NY attorney general will lead antitrust investigation into Facebook

In a statement, New York Attorney General Letitia James said her team “will use every investigative tool at our disposal to determine whether Facebook’s actions may have endangered consumer data, reduced the quality of consumers’ choices, or increased the price of advertising.”

3. Alibaba acquires NetEase Kaola in deal worth $2 billion

Alibaba-owned Tmall Global and Kaola are China’s largest and second-largest cross-border e-commerce platforms, respectively, and as a result of the deal, Kaola will be integrated into Tmall.

4. Xiaomi has shipped 100 million smartphones in India

The Chinese giant, which has held the top smartphone vendor position in India for eight straight quarters, said budget smartphone series Redmi and Redmi Note have been its top selling lineups in the nation.

5. Facebook is making its own deepfakes and offering prizes for detecting them

Facebook, Microsoft and many others are banding together to help make machine learning capable of detecting deepfakes — and they want you to help.

6. YouTube launches a dedicated Fashion vertical

The new vertical, YouTube.com/Fashion, will attempt to better organize some of the video platform’s fashion content, including style videos from top creators, industry collaborations, live streams from the runway, inside looks into the fashion industry, behind-the-scenes video and vlogs from fashion icons.

7. How early-stage startups can use data effectively

Koen Bok outlines what he’s learned from his experience using data to take design software company Framer from seed round to Series B. (Extra Crunch membership required.)


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Facebook Dating comes to the US – gpgmail


The Daily Crunch is gpgmail’s roundup of our biggest and most important stories. If you’d like to get this delivered to your inbox every day at around 9am Pacific, you can subscribe here.

1. Facebook Dating launches in the US, adds Instagram integration

The integration means users will be able to add their Instagram accounts to their dating profiles and add Instagram followers to their “Secret Crush” lists.

If you’re wondering how this stacks up against other dating apps, the Secret Crush feature seems particularly interesting: While you won’t see your Facebook friends among your regular dating matches, you can list them as a crush that will only be revealed if the feeling is mutual.

2. Sonos gets portable

At six pounds, the Sonos Move is best positioned as augmenting a home setup. It’s a compelling device for barbecuing in the backyard, or taking out to the garage.

3. Federal judge rules that the ‘terrorist watchlist’ database violates US citizens’ rights

A federal judge appointed by President George W. Bush has ruled that the “terrorist watchlist” database compiled by federal agencies violates the rights of American citizens who are on it.

4. Google launches an open-source version of its differential privacy library

That means developers will be able to take this library and build their own tools that can work with aggregate data, without revealing personally identifiable information either inside or outside their companies.

5. A huge database of Facebook users’ phone numbers found online

The exposed server contained more than 419 million records over several databases on users across geographies, including 133 million records on users based in the United States.

6. Why Walmart’s Flipkart is betting heavily on Hindi

Flipkart’s major bet on Hindi — a language spoken by more than 500 million people in India — illustrates a growing push from local and international companies as they adapt their services and business models to go beyond India’s urban areas. (Extra Crunch membership required.)

7. Ashton Kutcher, Ann Miura-Ko and Mamoon Hamid are coming to Disrupt!

Specifically: They’re going to be judging the finals at the Startup Battlefield, hosted by yours truly.


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Google reaches $170M settlement with FTC – gpgmail


The Daily Crunch is gpgmail’s roundup of our biggest and most important stories. If you’d like to get this delivered to your inbox every day at around 9am Pacific, you can subscribe here.

1. Children’s privacy costs just $170 million for Google in settlement with the FTC

The complaint from the Federal Trade Commission and the New York Attorney General’s office focused on YouTube’s use of cookies to track viewers of kids’ channels without getting permission from parents. Under COPPA regulations, websites and online services targeting children need to disclose their data collection practices and receive consent from parents.

In addition to the payment — a relatively small sum for YouTube-owner Google — the settlement requires the company to develop a system that allows channel-owners to identify content aimed at children.

2. Amazon unveils a new Fire TV Cube, soundbar and over a dozen Fire TV Edition products

The new products include a next-generation Fire TV Cube, a Fire TV Edition soundbar from Anker — its first foray into Fire TV Edition audio products — and 15 other Fire TV Edition products, including the first OLED Fire TV Edition smart TVs.

3. Porsche unveils the $150,900 Taycan Turbo electric sedan

Porsche has poured more than $1 billion into the development of its first all-electric vehicle.

LOS ANGELES, CA – AUGUST 16: Actor Joseph Gordon-Levitt attends the 2014 Creative Arts Emmy Awards press room held at the Nokia Theatre L.A. Live on August 16, 2014 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Tommaso Boddi/WireImage)

4. Joseph Gordon-Levitt is coming to Disrupt SF 2019

Gordon-Levitt isn’t just the star of movies like “500 Days of Summer” — he’s also the founder of production company HitRecord, which he’s trying to turn into “GitHub for creativity.”

5. Ginger, an MIT spin-out providing app-based mental health coaching to workers, raises $35M

Ginger works with companies and their healthcare providers to provide employees with an app-based way to connect with coaches to talk through their issues and suggest ways forward.

6. Mental health websites in Europe found sharing user data for ads

Europeans going online to seek support for these issues are having sensitive health data tracked and passed to third parties, according to Privacy International’s findings.

7. Light Phone’s founders discuss life beyond the smartphone

The company has run two successful crowdfunding campaigns for a pair of minimalist phones designed to augment or replace the smartphone. Today the startup announced that it will be shipping its second version of the handset. (Extra Crunch membership required.)


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Facebook might remove Like counts – gpgmail


The Daily Crunch is gpgmail’s roundup of our biggest and most important stories. If you’d like to get this delivered to your inbox every day at around 9am Pacific, you can subscribe here.

1. Now Facebook says it may remove Like counts

Instagram is already testing something similar in seven countries, including Canada and Brazil. Instead of showing the total number of Likes for a post, it displays the names of just a few mutual friends who have Liked it.

Jane Manchun Wong spotted Facebook prototyping the hidden Like counts in its Android app. When we asked the company, it confirmed that it’s considering a test to remove Like counts, though this isn’t live for any users yet.

2. WeChat restricts controversial video face-swapping app Zao, citing ‘security risks’

Zao went viral in China this weekend for its realistic face-swapping videos. But following controversy about its user policy, messaging platform WeChat restricted access to the app.

3. OpenGov raises $51M to boost its cloud-based IT services for government and civic organizations

The company was co-founded by Palantir’s Joe Lonsdale to help governments and other civic organizations organize, analyze and present financial data and more, using cloud-based architecture.

ANAHEIM, CA – JUNE 21: YouTube Chief Product Officer Neal Mohan speaks onstage during the YouTube Keynote: Building Communities and the Next Generation of Media Companies Panel during VidCon. (Photo by FilmMagic/FilmMagic for YouTube)

4. YouTube’s Neal Mohan is coming to Disrupt SF

YouTube has found itself front-and-center in the recent debates about free speech, the internet and how the online world is shaping our offline lives, so there will be plenty to talk about when Mohan joins us at Disrupt.

5. Kabbage acquires Radius Intelligence, the marketing tech firm with a database of 20M small businesses

It’s been a tumultuous period for Radius, which announced a merger with its big competitor Leadspace last year, only to quietly cancel the deal three months later. Two months after that, it replaced its longtime CEO.

6. Apple still has work to do on privacy

Natasha Lomas examines whether iPhones are generally superior to Android devices when it comes to security. (Extra Crunch membership required.)

7. This week’s gpgmail podcasts

On Equity, Alex and Kate share their thoughts on Peloton’s finances and prospects. And on this week’s Original Content, we review the Netflix series “The Dark Crystal: Age of Resistance.”


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Apple will unveil the next iPhone on Sept 10 – gpgmail


The Daily Crunch is gpgmail’s roundup of our biggest and most important stories. If you’d like to get this delivered to your inbox every day at around 9am Pacific, you can subscribe here.

1. Apple will unveil the next iPhone September 10

Apple has sent out invites confirming rumors that its next major press event will happen on September 10. The event is expected to focus on the iPhone 11, unveiling three different models — the standard 11, as well as two Pro options.

If this happens, it would mark a subtle-but-significant shift in the way Apple structures its phone lineup. With a lower-priced flagship replacing the budget XR, the company could appeal to consumers who’ve been turned off by the rising prices for higher-end options.

2. Uber and Lyft are putting $60M toward keeping drivers independent contractors

In the event that California’s Assembly Bill 5 passes — forcing Uber and Lyft to make their drivers W-2 employees — each company is putting in $30 million to fund a 2020 ballot initiative that would enable them to keep their drivers as independent contractors.

3. Google lets David Drummond do the talking

Anyone wondering if Alphabet might reprimand its chief legal officer David Drummond for a long-ago extramarital affair with a former subordinate (which recently resurfaced in a much-discussed blog post), the answer seems to be . . . not right now.

Image via Getty Images / vladwel

4. ‘Filmmaker Mode’ will automatically turn off all the dumb motion smoothing and noise reduction on new TVs

Most new TVs come with a bunch of random junk turned on by default; things like motion smoothing that makes epic movies look like soap operas, or noise reduction that can wash out details and make an actor’s skin look cyborg-y. With Filmmaker Mode, you’ll be able to push a button and all that crap gets turned off.

5. Nike Huaraches get updated for the smartphone age

Slowly but surely, Nike has made its self-lacing motor technology more accessible. The next step: Bringing the tech to its Huarache line next month.

6. What is Andela, the Africa tech talent accelerator?

To put it succinctly, Andela is a startup — backed by $180 million in venture capital — that trains and connects African software developers to global companies for a fee. (Extra Crunch membership required.)

7. Marc Benioff will discuss building a socially responsible and successful startup at gpgmail Disrupt

Benioff is coming to gpgmail Disrupt in San Francisco to discuss how to build a highly successful business while giving back to the community.


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Apple changes audio review program – gpgmail


The Daily Crunch is gpgmail’s roundup of our biggest and most important stories. If you’d like to get this delivered to your inbox every day at around 9am Pacific, you can subscribe here.

1. Apple is turning Siri audio clip review off by default and bringing it in house

Following reports that contractors were reviewing customers’ Siri audio samples for quality control, Apple says it has revamped the process. Moving forward, users have to opt-in to participate, and the audio samples will only be reviewed by Apple employees.

“As a result of our review, we realize we haven’t been fully living up to our high ideals, and for that we apologize,” the company said.

2. Mozilla CEO Chris Beard will step down at the end of the year

Mozilla is currently seeking a replacement for Beard, though he’s agreed to stay on through year’s end. Executive chairwoman Mitchell Baker announced in her own post that she’s agreed to step into an interim role if needed.

3. Federal grand jury indicts Paige Thompson on two counts related to the Capital One data breach

Thompson allegedly created software that allowed her to see which customers of a cloud computing company (although the indictment does not name the company, it has been identified as Amazon Web Services) had misconfigured their firewalls, and as a result accessed data from Capital One and more than 30 others.

A woman is holding a Juul e-cigarette, in Montreal. (Photo: Josie_Desmarais/Getty Images)

4. Juul introduces new POS standards to restrict sales to minors

The Retail Access Control Standards program, or RACS for short, automatically locks the point-of-sale system each time a Juul product is scanned until a valid, adult ID is scanned as well.

5. Apple expands access to official repair parts for third-party shops

Until today, if you were a non-authorized repair shop, you couldn’t get official parts. This could result in mixed experiences for customers.

6. Spotify aims to turn podcast fans into podcast creators with ‘Create podcast’ test

The streaming music service is testing a new ‘Create podcast’ feature that shows up above a user’s list of subscribed podcasts. It directs them to download Anchor, the podcast creation app that Spotify acquired in February.

7. How UK VCs are managing the risk of a ‘no deal’ Brexit

The prevailing view among investors about founders is that Brexit means uncertain business as usual. One response: “Resilience is the mother of entrepreneurship!” (Extra Crunch membership required.)


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