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Facebook turns WhatsApp into a shopping hub with virtual storefronts

Facebook has slowly but surely been looking for ways to monetize its investment in WhatsApp, adding new several features for businesses over the past few years. Now the company is turning it into a straight-up shopping hub — in a few countries, at least. Facebook introduced Shops in 2020 as a way to turn Facebook and Instagram pages into digital storefronts, with a particular emphasis on small businesses. The company noted at the time that the feature would be coming to WhatsApp (and Messenger),...
Tags: Startups, Facebook, Instagram, Insider, Plugged


Tinder’s new feature lets users chat before they match

For the first time, Tinder is letting users chat before they match. The app has launched a game called Hot Takes that connects potential spouses in a speed dating-style game that’s now available every day from 6PM-midnight local time. Users will first be shown some multiple-choice questions, such as: “Which of these is most pretentious? Bragging you don’t have TikTok, natural wine, saying your found something first, or or Oxford comma enthusiasts.” Tinder will then drop them into a chat with ano...
Tags: Startups, Insider, Neural


This UFO expert is excited about the Pentagon’s new report — but don’t expect aliens

2020 will forever be the year of COVID-19, but it has a different meaning for UFO enthusiasts. This marked the time when the Pentagon’s covert UFO operation became an above board government program. And on Friday June 25, it will publish its first report covering 120 UFO sightings. Does this means aliens exist? Disappointingly, the Pentagon will probably point to high-tech aircraft by Russia or China as an explanation. Still, it won’t completely rule out extraterrestrials.  To try and get to the...
Tags: Startups, Space, China, Russia, Netherlands, Pentagon, TNW, Insider, COVID, Alex Griffioen


EU says YouTube’s not (always) responsible for user copyright infringements

YouTube has won a skirmish in its copyright war with the EU’s creative industries — but suffered some losses on the way. Europe’s top court ruled on Tuesday that YouTube and other online platforms are not responsible for copyright-infringing material uploaded by users. However, they could be liable if they fail to act “expeditiously” to remove or block content once they’re aware of breaches. They could also be liable if they don’t adopt “the appropriate technological measures” to tackle copyrigh...
Tags: Startups, Europe, Tech, Eu, Insider


Clubhouse’s biggest threat? Facebook launches Live Audio Rooms

Facebook has unleashed another threat to the future of Clubhouse. The social media giant on Monday started rolling out Clubhouse-clone Live Audio Rooms, continuing the company tradition of ripping off competitors. Like Clubhouse, Live Audio Rooms lets users listen to and join live conversations. Initially, only public figures and select Facebook Groups on iOS in the US will be able to create Live Audio Rooms, but users on both Android and iOS will be able to join them. Hosts can invite up to 50 ...
Tags: Startups, Facebook, US, Insider, Russell, Plugged


Bitcoin hits two-week low after US and China lay the smackdown

The crypto market plummeted again over the weekend, amid concerns over a crackdown on bitcoin mining in China and a policy tilt at the US Federal Reserve. Bitcoin dived by as much as 9% on Monday, dropping to $32,288 — its lowest price in almost two weeks. Ether, meanwhile, slid by as much as 12%, dipping below $2,000 for the first time in nearly a month. At the time of writing, Coindesk lists their prices as $32,448 and $1,959 respectively. Analysts attributed the dip to two key factors: a hawk...
Tags: Startups, China, US, Federal Reserve, Insider, Hard Fork, US Federal Reserve Bitcoin


Texas Gov. Greg Abbott signed a new state budget that defunds the entire state legislature

Texas Gov. Greg Abbott vetoed Article X of the state budget, effectively defunding the entire legislature. Eric Gay/AP Texas Gov. Greg Abbott defunded the state legislature while signing the state budget on Friday. Abbott made the decision after Democrats staged a walkout in May to prevent restrictive voting legislation from passing. Texas legislator pay is written into the state constitution, so legislative staffers will be most affected. See more stories on Insider's business page. T...
Tags: Politics, Texas, News, Senate, Trends, Democrats, Insider, Abbott, Greg Abbott, Legislature, Harris County, Texas Legislature, Texas Harris County, Public Treasury, Eric Gay, Sheryl Cole


This AI lets you generate new verses from your favorite rappers

If you’ve ever dreamed of making songs with Tupac or Jay-Z, an AI tool called Uberduck can take you close to fulfilling your fantasies. Uberduck is one of a range of tools that lets you choose a celebrity voice and then enter text for them to speak. What sets it apart from the others is it can do a pretty impressive job of replicating a rapper’s flow. You can synthesize speech into a “calm” or “intense” Tupac verse, for example, or try an Eminem “freestyle” verse or “pre-Eminem Show” flow. Uberd...
Tags: Startups, Jay Z, Eminem, Insider, Neural, Uberduck


These laughable depictions of AI can have serious consequences

What do you imagine when you think about artificial intelligence? For many of us, the question conjures up images from movies, novels, posters, media reports, and stock libraries. But these visualizations are often risibly unrealistic depictions of robots and AI. Just check out these beauties: You’re a screen. If serial killers made sexbots… Without a blackboard, how could robots master geometry? Pull me in, I’ve had enough. A fittingly dreadful headline for a horrifying image. “It’s like lookin...
Tags: Startups, Insider, Neural


Facebook’s ‘immersive’ VR ads are the capitalist hell no one asked for

VR can provide an immersive escape from the mundane. But there’s one thing it won’t let you escape from for much longer: advertising. Facebook announced on Wednesday that it will soon start testing ads inside Oculus headsets — despite the VR brand’s founder once promising that it would never happen. “We are not going to track you, flash ads at you, or do anything invasive,” pledged Oculus creator Palmer Lucky, shortly after Facebook bought his firm in 2017. That always sounded optimistic, given ...
Tags: Startups, Facebook, Insider, Palmer Lucky, Plugged


Coinbase adds Polkadot's DOT to its selection of tradable cryptocurrencies, fueling the bull case for ethereum's closest rival

Coinbase Co-founder and CEO Brian Armstrong speaks onstage during Day 3 of TechCrunch Disrupt SF 2018 at Moscone Center on September 7, 2018 in San Francisco, California. Photo by Steve Jennings/Getty Images for TechCrunch Coinbase has added polkadot's dot to its Pro trading platform, the company said Wednesday. The polkadot network allows different blockchains to link up to transfer data and assets. Native token DOT, used to secure the network, has surged 200% over the past year. ...
Tags: Trends, Coinbase, Moscone Center, Insider, San Francisco California, Brian Armstrong, Steve Jennings Getty, Polkadot, Gavin Wood, Keld Van Schreven, Coinbase Co, Anna Cooban, Singapore Coinbase, KR1


Scientists developed filters for regular eyeglasses that could let you see in the dark

Scientists have developed new night-vision filters for eyeglasses that allow people to see clearly in the tech. The ultra-thin film is comprised of nanometre-scale crystals that transform infrared light into images that people can see. Per the study paper: In this process, an infrared image of a target is mixed inside the metasurface [of nanocrystal layers] with a strong pump beam, translating the image from the infrared to the visible in a nanoscale ultrathin imaging device. The researchers say...
Tags: Startups, Insider, Neural


5 things you need to know about Big Tech’s new nemesis — FTC chair Lina Khan

Big tech has a new threat to its market dominance: FTC chairwoman Lina Khan. President Joe Biden appointed Khan chair of the Federal Trade Commission on June 15, putting a prominent proponent of breaking up monopolies in charge of the competition regulator. “I look forward to working with my colleagues to protect the public from corporate abuse,” Khan said in a statement. Progressives have heralded the appointment as an opportunity to rein in the increasing power of Silicon Valley, which will be...
Tags: Startups, Tech, Joe Biden, Silicon Valley, Khan, Federal Trade Commission, Ftc, Insider, Lina Khan


Web’s daddy jumps aboard NFT hype train — but is he already too late?

The NFT bandwagon attracts a curious mix of passengers, from celebrity robots to convicted animal abusers. The latest luminary to grab a ticket is British inventor Sir Tim Berners-Lee, who’s auctioning off his original source code for the web as a non-fungible token. [Read: Why entrepreneurship in emerging markets matters] For those of you lucky enough to have missed the hype train, NFTs are unique digital tokens secured by blockchain tech. They’re used to authenticate claims of ownership to dig...
Tags: Startups, Insider, Tim Berners Lee, NFT, Hard Fork


Google Chrome is testing two new features for tab addicts

I have a confession to make: I’m a tab addict. My browser is so stuffed with the bastards that they’re practically microscopic. It puts my poor laptop under so much strain, sometimes I hear it scream. The folks at Google must have heard the cries, because they’re working on new ways to help manage the addition. Reddit user Leopeva64-2 spotted an option in the Canary build version of Chrome that allows users who’ve closed a tab group to easily restore the pages both individually and en masse. The...
Tags: Google Chrome, Google, Startups, Apps, Reddit, Insider


Watch a 360-degree video of Mars captured by the Perseverance Rover

The Perseverance rover has beamed back a stunning collection of the sights and sounds on Mars since it touched down in February, and its latest footage is the most entrancing yet. NASA has released an interactive 360-degree panorama of the red planet, which was captured by Perseverance’s Mastcam-Z stereo imaging system. The space agency says the 2.4-billion-pixel image is a blend of 992 separate images of the Van Zyl Overlook. The pictures were taken between April 15 and 26, while Perseverance w...
Tags: Startups, Nasa, Mars, Insider, Neural


New Amazon robots could enable ‘safer’ exploitation of warehouse staff

Weeks after a study revealed that Amazon warehouse workers are injured at higher rates than staff at rival firms, the company has revealed it’s testing new robots designed to improve employee safety. The e-commerce giant has ingratiatingly named two of the bots after Sesame Street’s Bert and Ernie. Bert is an Autonomous Mobile Robot (AMR) that’s built to navigate through Amazon facilities. In the future, the company envisions the bot carrying large and heavy items or carts across a site, reducin...
Tags: Amazon, Startups, Insider, Bert, Ernie, Neural, Ernie Bert


Great news for the industry: Big events get green light in the Netherlands

Boy, what a nice surprise we got from the Dutch government. The minister of Economic Affairs, Mona Keijzer, announced that as of June 30, ticketed events are allowed regardless of size, without face masks, nor social distancing! To ensure safety, event attendees will need to show that they are vaccinated or provide a valid covid test (taken max 40 hours before the event) at the entrance. This is big news for the events industry, and it comes at a time we’re all longing for in-person events. With...
Tags: Startups, Europe, Events, Netherlands, Insider, Mona Keijzer


Google Workspace is now free for everyone — here’s how to get it

Google has some good news for the cash-strapped or tight-fisted: Workspace is now available for free to every user. Starting today, anyone with a Google account can use the integrated platform (formerly known as G Suite) to collaborate on the search giant’s productivity apps. The service essentially provides a more integrated system for using the likes of Gmail, Chat, Calendar, Drive, and Docs. It’s not likely to revolutionize your user experience, but it will allow you to access Google apps in ...
Tags: Google, Startups, Tech, Insider, Google Workspace


Another Biden gaffe? Joe says he’s ‘open’ to exchanging cybercriminals with Russia

Russian President Vladimir Putin and American counterpart Joe Biden recently agreed that relations between the two nations are a low point, but the two leaders may have found some common ground on the issue of cybercrime. Biden said at the G7 summit on Sunday that he was “open” to Putin’s proposal for the two countries to exchange cybercriminals: I’m open to — if there’s crimes committed against Russia that, in fact, are — and the people committing those crimes are being harbored in the United S...
Tags: Startups, Putin, Vladimir Putin, Russia, Tech, Joe Biden, United States, Biden, Joe, Insider


Bitcoin isn’t suitable as a real currency — El Salvador is making a mistake

Nayib Bukele, president of El Salvador, has got himself a pair of laser eyes – on his Twitter profile at least. Laser eyes are something social media users give themselves to show they love cryptocurrency – and Bukele proved his crypto-enthusiasm last week by having El Salvador become the world’s first nation to make Bitcoin legal tender. El Salvador’s parliament passed Bukele’s proposed legislation on June 9, after he announced his plan just a few days earlier. The law will take effect in Septe...
Tags: Startups, El Salvador, Insider, NAYIB BUKELE, Hard Fork, Bukele


New mysterious ‘fast radio bursts’ reveal secrets of the universe

On June 9, 2021, my colleagues and I announced the discovery of 535 fast radio bursts that we detected using the Canadian Hydrogen Intensity Mapping Experiment telescope (CHIME). Detected in 2018 and 2019, these bursts of radio waves last only milliseconds, come from far across the universe, and are enormously powerful – a typical event releases as much energy in a millisecond as the Sun does over many days. Fast radio bursts are the subject of a young and emerging field in astrophysics, with on...
Tags: Startups, Space, Insider


Chipotle customers are complaining about receiving 'tiny' burritos even as the chain says it's raising prices

Hollis Johnson Chipotle customers are complaining about small portions on social media. The chain says it is not facing any supply chain shortages or issues. Many brands are shrinking boxes and keeping prices the same to deal with inflation. See more stories on Insider's business page. Something strange is happening at Chipotle, at least according to dozens of social media posts.Customers have taken to Twitter to show off tiny serving sizes and small burritos. People used dollar bills...
Tags: Digital, Trends, Chipotle, The Washington Post, Insider, Hartung, Laurie Schalow, Jack Hartung, Edgar Dworsky, Mary Meisenzahl, Hollis Johnson Chipotle, Elisa Lippincott, Allen Mason, Guests of Chipotle


OpenAI says it can make GPT-3 less toxic without enforcing ‘universal values’

GPT-3 is renowned for generating two things: strikingly human-like text and toxicity. On Thursday, the model’s creators said they’ve found a way to keep the latter out of the former. OpenAI’s new technique alters AI language model “behavior” by fine-tuning on a small, curated dataset of specific values. The method aims to narrow down a language model’s universal set of behaviors to a more constrained range of values that operators embed in their individual applications. [Read: Why entrepreneursh...
Tags: Startups, Insider, GPT, Neural


Merida Capital raising $250 million

Marijuana plants for sale at the ShowGrow dispensary, a medical marijuana provider in downtown Los Angeles. AP Photo/Richard Vogel Welcome to Insider Cannabis, our weekly newsletter where we're bringing you an inside look at the deals, trends, and personalities driving the multibillion-dollar global cannabis boom.Sign up here to get it in your inbox every week.Happy Friday,I had an interesting chat with Cronos Chairman Michael Gorenstein and Gingko Bioworks CEO Jason Kelly about their n...
Tags: UK, New York, California, Boston, Politico, US, NFL, Toronto, Los Angeles, Trends, Bloomberg, Aclu, Connecticut, Reddit, Nevada, CBG


Vvolt launches $1399 ebikes with a motor made by… Acer?

Here at TNW, we’ve written a lot about ebikes and a lot about Acer, but not about any ebikes powered by Acer components. As it turns out, Acer recently began making motors via its cycling sub-brand Xplova, and a new ebike company named Vvolt will be the first to bring these motors to the US in two of its four launch models. Acer partnership aside, Vvolt’s bikes look like welcome additions to the American ebike market. The company’s bikes are designed with reasonable prices and durability in mind...
Tags: Startups, US, Acer, Shift, Insider, Vvolt


Don’t be dull, NASA — let us explore some strange space moons

It’s been 30 years since Nasa last visited Venus, with the Magellan orbiter in 1990. Now, two new missions have been selected to explore the deadly atmosphere, crushing pressures, and volcanic landscape. The process dates back to February 2020, when Nasa announced that four missions were to undergo a nine-month peer-review process for feasibility. They were all part of the Discovery program, started by Nasa in 1992 to bring together scientists and engineers to create exciting, groundbreaking mis...
Tags: Startups, Space, Nasa, Venus, Insider, Magellan, Next Featured


Study: People are more likely to exploit trustworthy AI than other humans

Cooperation between people holds society together, but new research suggests we’ll be less willing to compromise with “benevolent” AI. The study explored how humans will interact with machines in future social situations — such as self-driving cars that they encounter on the road — by asking participants to play a series of social dilemma games. The participants were told that they were interacting with either another human or an AI agent. Per the study paper: Players in these games faced four d...
Tags: Startups, Insider, Neural


Yo, plastic soup! These tiny swimming bots are coming to destroy you

Microplastics are everywhere, from the Mediterranean seafloor to Mount Everest, and the tiny fragments of litter can take hundreds of years to degrade. They can also absorb heavy metals and pollutants that could harm humans or animals that inadvertently consume them. At less than 5mm in length, the polymers are hard to remove manually. But there may be a more efficient method of eliminating the plastic scourge: attacking them with bacteria-sized robots. Scientists at the University of Chemistry ...
Tags: Startups, Prague, Mount Everest, Mediterranean, Insider, Neural, University of Chemistry and Technology


Apple might’ve leaked the ‘M1X MacBook Pro’ on YouTube, and no one noticed

Here’s a fascinating little mystery. Going into WWDC 2021, it seemed quite likely Apple would announce the rumored redesigned MacBook Pro, along with a more powerful update to the M1 processor, perhaps called the M2. That didn’t happen, so many concluded the leakers just got it wrong this time. But then @maxbalzer_ on Twitter noticed something interesting about the WWDC live stream on YouTube: Apple tagged it with the keywords ‘M1X’ and ‘M1X MacBook Pro.’ OK OK OK Everyone stay calm… but I just ...
Tags: Apple, Startups, Youtube, Macbook Pro, Insider, Plugged