Image credit: Google I/O
Hey friends – you’ve reached the end of the week. Congratulations! That’s an achievement worth celebrating, I’d say. And what better way to ring in the weekend than by recapping the week in technology? This is Week in Review (WiR), TechCrunch’s weekly news roundup, where we highlight the most important, impactful and otherwise eye-catching stories of the past few days. We get it – you’re busy. Therefore a summary that highlights all important events.
Before we get to the good stuff, a reminder that TechCrunch Live, TC’s virtual speaker series, on May 17 will feature Intel Capital’s Mark Rostick and Garima Kapoor—the founder of MinIO, a startup building an enterprise-class but open-source platform. , object storage solution. On the further horizon is TC City Spotlight: Atlanta on June 7, which will host a pitch competition, a 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. Mark the dates!
Now, with that out of the way, here are the top headlines.
Google I/O, in summary: On Google I/O keynote day, the search and internet advertising giant made a rapid stream of announcements during its developer conference — including plenty of reveals of recent AI-related stuff 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 on the biggest news in an easy-to-digest, easy-to-understand list.
The cleaning continues: Twitter is purging inactive accounts on its platform, which could free up a number of long-coveted usernames, according to recent tweets from owner Elon Musk. Although Twitter has promised for years to put more usernames back into rotation, they had yet to make any large-scale efforts to do so, despite an inactive account policy in place suggesting that Twitter’s users should log in at least every 30 days to prevent accounts from being permanently removed.
New Twitter boss: In other Twitter news, Elon Musk says he has found a new CEO for Twitter. Musk did not initially specify who would take on the role, though The Wall Street Journal is now reporting that NBCUniversal head of advertising Linda Yaccarino is actively “in talks” for the position. IN a tweet, Musk announced that he will transition from the role of CEO of the company to serve as CEO and Chief Technology Officer. The new CEO is expected to start in six weeks, according to Musk.
Health records leaked: NextGen Healthcare, a US-based provider of electronic health record software, admitted that hackers breached its systems and stole the personal information of more than 1 million patients. In a data breach notification filed with the Maine Attorney General, NextGen Healthcare confirmed that hackers accessed the personal information of 1.05 million patients, including approximately 4,000 Maine residents.
Rapid layoffs: Rapid, formerly known as RapidAPI, a startup that built a $1 billion API marketplace last year, has laid off another 70 employees less than two weeks after letting go 50% of its workforce, TechCrunch has learned know. An affected employee, who wished to remain anonymous, told TC that only 42 people remain at the company – down from 230 in April – reflecting an 82% reduction in headcount.
Meta-entrepreneurs protest: Content moderators under Sama, Meta’s content review subcontractor in Africa, picketed the company’s headquarters in Kenya earlier this week demanding their April salaries. The 184 moderators have sued Sama for allegedly illegally laying them off, after Meta discontinued its content-review arm in March, and Majorel, the social media giant’s new partner based in Africa, for blacklisting at the behest of Meta.
From Pokémon to Peridot: From the creators of Pokémon Go comes another mobile game that brings cute little creatures to our fingertips: Peridot. Like a Tamagotchi toy from the 90s, Peridot is a pet simulator, but it takes place entirely inside augmented reality. You can feed, play with, walk, breed, and socialize with your peridots, but don’t worry—if you take a break from the game, your creatures won’t poop all over the screen and/or die.
Texting, but differently: “The medium is the message” is the common saying, but entrepreneur Alexis Traina believes that messages themselves – text messages, to be precise – also deserve attention. Traina is the CEO and co-founder of HiNOTE, an app that helps people create messages, superimposed over personalized backgrounds of everything from a tilted wine glass to a notepad with stationery. The idea, she said in an interview with TechCrunch, is that she wouldn’t want to 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 everyday commute – or the shower, for that matter? TechCrunch has you covered. At Equity, the crew dove 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. At Found, the team spoke to the co-founders of Juliet, which reimagines box wine. The Chain Reaction team released a bonus episode from a fireside chat with Nadya Tolokonnikova, creator of the protest art collective Pussy Riot, at NFT NYC in April 2023. The TechCrunch podcast covered Google I/O, including the technology, attending talks and demos. To round things out, TechCrunch Live spoke about developing anti-aging therapeutics with James Peyer, 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 research – which you know if you’re already a subscriber. If you’re not, consider signing up. Here are some highlights from this week:
Visions of a colorful future: How far has the psychedelic drug industry come in the last 12 months? Well, it depends on where you look. A recent survey indicates that instead of just looking for attractive opportunities, investors and entrepreneurs are increasingly turning their minds to building the foundations of an industry that can use the power of psychedelics to change lives.
AI’s food search: News from Google’s AI-infused developer event this week makes it clear that we’re entering a new era of search. Following Microsoft’s shaping of OpenAI’s technology into Bing, Google is experimenting with its own AI technology and opening up new ways of using search. It is clear that we are 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 how we interact with software – allowing us to describe what we want instead of clicking or tapping.
Get your TechCrunch fix IRL. Join us at Disrupt 2023 in San Francisco in September to immerse yourself in all things startup. From headline interviews to intimate roundtables to a packed startup show floor, there’s something for everyone at Disrupt. Save up to $800 when you purchase your pass now through May 15th, and save an additional 15% with promo code WIR. Learn more.