This Week in Apps: Instagram restricts teens’ accounts, Elon Musk criticizes App Store fees, Google Play’s new policies

Welcome back to This Week in Apps, the weekly TechCrunch series that recaps the latest in mobile OS news, mobile applications and the overall app economy. The app industry continues to grow, with a record 218 billion downloads and $143 billion in global consumer spend in 2020. Consumers last year also spent 3.5 trillion minutes using apps on Android devices alone. […]

Pittsburgh Google contractors ratify deal with HCL

Nearly two years ago, contractors for Google’s Pittsburgh operations voted to join the United Steelworkers union in a bid to secure more labor rights representation. It was an early example of a building union movement for tech workers across the spectrum. But as other hard-fought battles have been waged among blue and white collar workers […]

Another banner quarter as Chromebook shipments grow 75% YOY

Last quarter, Chromebooks saw 275% year-over-year growth up to 12 million units. The figure isn’t quite as unwieldy for Q2, but a 75% year-over-year growth is still extremely respectable, with the category hitting 11.9 million shipments, per the latest figures from research firm, Canalys. Chromebooks joined the rest of the PC market in getting an […]

EU hits Amazon with record-breaking $887M GDPR fine over data misuse

Luxembourg’s National Commission for Data Protection (CNPD) has hit Amazon with a record-breaking €746 million ($887 million) GDPR fine over the way it uses customer data for targeted advertising purposes. Amazon disclosed the ruling in an SEC filing on Friday in which it slammed the decision as baseless and added that it intended to defend […]

Facebook’s next product will be its long-awaited Ray-Ban smart glasses

Facebook’s booming business is dominated by digital ads, but it also has hardware ambitions beyond VR. During the company’s latest earnings call, CEO Mark Zuckerberg said its next product release would be a pair of smart glasses from Ray-Ban. “The glasses have their iconic form factor, and they let you do some pretty neat things,” the Facebook […]

Google TV mobile app redesign adds new services and recommendations

Following last fall’s debut of Google TV, the new user interface for Chromecast devices, Google is today giving its Google TV companion app for Android a makeover. The updated version of the mobile app for Google TV includes an updated user interface, expanded set recommendations, and more TV and movies to watch. The app in […]

Apple Music brings its spatial audio and lossless streaming to Android

It takes a really specific consumer to buy an Android phone, yet use Apple Music. But the small overlap in that Venn diagram may be getting bigger. Last month at WWDC, Apple unveiled a free update for Apple Music subscribers that added lossless audio streaming and spatial audio with support for Dolby Atmos. Now, Android […]

Alphabet’s Intrinsic aims to make industrial robots more capable

Alphabet’s public-facing history with robotics has, thus far, been a spotty one. Most notably, Google X’s big acquisition push culminated in its selling Boston Dynamics to SoftBank (who eventually flipped it to Hyundai). Alphabet/Google’s subsequent approach has been less flashy and focused on more immediate robotic tasks. Unveiled today through the X blog, Intrinsic certainly […]

DeepMind puts the entire human proteome online, as folded by AlphaFold

DeepMind and several research partners have released a database containing the 3D structures of nearly every protein in the human body, as computationally determined by the breakthrough protein folding system demonstrated last year, AlphaFold. The freely available database represents an enormous advance and convenience for scientists across hundreds of disciplines and domains, and may very […]

Spotify partners with GIPHY to connect users with artists’ music via GIFs

Spotify announced this morning a new partnership with online GIF database GIPHY to enable discovery of new music through GIFs. No, the GIFs themselves won’t play song clips, if that’s what you’re thinking. Instead, through a series of new Spotify-linked GIFs, there will be an option to click a button to be taken to Spotify […]

Untitled Ventures joins the scramble for Russian & Eastern European startups with a $118M warchest

Sorry Mr. Putin, but there’s a race on for Russian and Eastern European founders. And right now, those awful capitalists in the corrupt West are starting to out-gun the opposition! But seriously… only the other day a $100 million fund aimed at Russian-speaking entrepreneurs appeared, and others are proliferating. Now, London-based Untitled Ventures plans to […]

YouTube to pilot test shopping from livestreams with select creators

YouTube will begin pilot testing a new feature that will allow viewers to shop for products directly from livestream videos. The feature will initially launch with just a handful of creators and brands, the company says, and is an expansion of the integrated shopping experience YouTube began beta testing earlier this year. That feature was […]

YouTube’s newest monetization tool lets viewers tip creators for their uploads

YouTube announced its latest feature, Super Thanks, on Tuesday. This is YouTube’s fourth Paid Digital Good, which is what the platform calls any product that lets fans directly pay creators. So far, these tools include Super Chat, Super Stickers and channel subscriptions — but Super Thanks is YouTube’s first of these features that allows fans […]

Biden nominates another Big Tech enemy, this time to lead the DOJ’s antitrust division

The Biden administration tripled down on its commitment to reining in powerful tech companies Tuesday, proposing committed Big Tech critic Jonathan Kanter to lead the Justice Department’s antitrust division. Kanter is a lawyer with a long track record of representing smaller companies like Yelp in antitrust cases against Google. He currently practices law at his […]

YouTube acquires Indian social commerce startup Simsim

YouTube has acquired social commerce startup Simsim, the Google-owned firm said on Tuesday. Neither of the firms disclosed the terms of the deal, but two people with knowledge of the matter told TechCrunch the Indian startup was valued at more than $70 million. Two-year-old Simsim had raised about $17 million prior to today’s announcement and […]

Could Cloud PCs be Microsoft’s gateway to Chromebook-like hardware?

When Microsoft announced that it was releasing a cloud PC service called Windows 365 this morning, it got me thinking. While Windows 365 is about packaging a virtual Windows business desktop in a cloud context, if you think about the announcement in a different way, perhaps it could herald the beginning of a lightweight, cloud-based […]

Javier Soltero, Google’s head of Workspace, will join us at TC Sessions: SaaS

When it comes to big SaaS products, few are bigger than Google Workspace (formerly known as GSuite). So it’s maybe no surprise that one of the first people we contacted to speak at our SaaS conference on October 27 was Google’s Javier Soltero. Today, Puerto Rico-born Soltero is Google’s VP and GM in charge of […]

Facebook adds a ‘Payout Time Bonus’ to help retain bug bounty hunters

When it comes to bug bounties, Facebook lags behind the likes of Microsoft and Google in terms of overall payouts and volume of tips received: last year, Microsoft and Google respectively paid out $13.6 million and $6.7 million; Facebook meanwhile paid out just $1.98 million as of November. But on the other hand, Facebook’s a […]

Google fined $592M in France for breaching antitrust order to negotiate copyright fees for news snippets

France has hit Google with a fine of half a billion euros after finding major breaches in how it negotiated with publishers to remunerate them for reuse of their content — as is required under a pan-EU reform of digital copyright law which extended neighbouring rights to news snippets. The size of the fine is […]