Welcome to another round of global roundup.
Google was almost in every conversation last week, from the rollout of new features to major announcements, AI drama and even at the receiving end of major criticism for one action or the other.
The company’s CEO, Sundar Pichai, is facing backlash for a rise in his pay, which filings show swelled to $226 million last year, including stock awards as the company even as the company has cut jobs and is looking to eliminate 12,000 more jobs.
Also, the global search engine company has announced that it will introduce its first foldable phone this week, the Pixel Fold, during the Google I/O 2023 event on May 10. This is coupled with the fact that it has started rolling out passkeys which can be used to sign in to its apps and websites instead of passwords.
Google is also expected to introduce a slew of Android 14 features and explain to developers how to best take advantage of them.
Surprisingly, Geoffrey Hinton, a major pioneer of AI, has resigned from Google protesting the company’s accelerated pace towards AI adoption.
In other news this week, Shopify has announced that it will reduce its workforce by 20%, resulting in over 2,000 layoffs. It said it’s also selling off its Shopify Logistics division to Flexport for approximately 13% of shares.
Airbnb has proposed launching a dedicated Rooms category, which will now provide more details about the host users staying with on each listing.
Here is a summary of the bulletin
- Google set to introduce its first foldable phone
- Shopify to reduce workforce by 20%
- Airbnb is launching a dedicated Rooms category
- Twitter’s former CEO Jack Dorsey, openly criticizes Elon Musk
- Samsung instructs employees to stop using AI-powered chatbots
Read also: Elon Musk’s remarkable week
Google to launch foldable phones after Samsung
Google Pixel smartphone lovers are set to be treated to more exquisiteness and variety by Google’s latest launch of its first foldable phones. Verge said the company will introduce its first foldable phone, the Pixel Fold, during the Google I/O 2023 event next week.
Although Google hasn’t revealed any specs for the device, a brief teaser video shows off a full-size outer display on a phone that opens up similarly to Samsung’s Galaxy Z Fold devices.
The camera bar on the back is similar to other Pixel devices but doesn’t stick out as prominently, reflecting what we’ve seen in leaked marketing materials and even a hands-on video, Verge reports.
CNBC reported in April that the Pixel Fold would be a 5.8-inch phone that folds into a 7.6-inch tablet. It’ll reportedly include a Google Tensor G2 processor, weigh 10 ounces, and have “the most durable hinge on a foldable,” and a price over $1,700—Samsung’s latest foldable, the Z Fold 4, launched with a price of $1,799.
A page on the Google Store allows interested parties to sign up for more info once it’s officially revealed on May 10th.
Shopify to reduce workforce by 20%
According to TechCrunch, Shopify has announced that it will reduce its workforce by 20%, resulting in over 2,000 layoffs. Also, the global e-commerce company made known that it was selling off its Shopify Logistics division to Flexport for approximately 13% of shares, according to TechCrunch.
This comes almost a year after Shopify’s announcement that it would cut down 10% of its workforce, which accounted for roughly 1,000 employees. Three months ago, it also made some organizational changes that saw the layoff of about 600 employees.
Tobias Lütke, the CEO, in the blog post issued to employees said,
This new decision, however, was made in a bid to address some challenges that the company is going through. According to the company’s blog post, it will focus on its main quest to make commerce simpler, easier, and more democratized.
For the past year we’ve been subtracting everything that’s in the way of making the best possible product. This is extremely important, because we are heading into a decade of high velocity and massive change. We will require speed, agility, and a great deal of innovation.
The company made known its commitment to ensuring that those affected by the layoffs would get severance pay and other benefits.
“For those leaving us today, you will receive a minimum of 16 weeks severance plus a week for every year of tenure at Shopify. Medical benefits and access to our employee assistance program (EAP) will be covered through this same period“, it said.
Airbnb announces dedicated Rooms Category
Well, if you are a fan of Airbnb and its services, then it is very important to take note of the new offering the company is proposing for its customers going forward.
In a blog post shared on Wednesday, the platform announced that it’s launching a dedicated Rooms category, where it will now provide more details about the host you’re staying with on each listing.
“On Airbnb’s website and app, you can now select the Rooms tab to see a list of all the available rooms for rent in the location you want to stay. Each listing has a readily available “host passport” in its bottom-left corner with the host’s photo”, Verge reports.
Clicking into a passport reveals more information about the host, including their ratings, reviews, and how long they’ve hosted on Airbnb as well as any other information they choose to share, like their interests, job, pets, unique aspects of their home, or what types of food they cook.
Host passports also tell you whether a host has confirmed their identity, email address, and phone number with Airbnb. The company notes that every Room listing will contain information about whether the bedroom door has a lock, whether bathrooms are shared or private, and whether you’ll be staying with anyone else besides the host.
Jack Dorsey subs Elon Musk
Jack Dorsey, Twitter’s former CEO, openly criticized Elon Musk’s leadership of the microblogging platform in a series of social media posts, writing that “it all went south” and Musk “should have walked away” from the acquisition.
The conversation was started by users of Bluesky, the popular new social media platform founded by Jack that is being touted as a possible substitute for Twitter. When asked if he thought Musk was the best CEO for Twitter, Dorsey responded, “No.”
Recall that Dorsey had previously called Musk the “singular solution” to take over Twitter. In a tweet from April 2022, Dorsey said he trusted Musk’s “mission to extend the light of consciousness” through the platform.
But a year later, Dorsey’s opinion appears to have soured.
Samsung tells employees to stop using AI-powered chatbots
Samsung Electronics, the multinational electronics corporation based in South Korea, has recently prohibited its employees’ use of AI-powered chatbots, including ChatGPT.
This move is quite significant, especially given the recent AI hype in the tech industry. It also makes Samsung the latest company to take steps to prevent the potential leak of sensitive internal information through such platforms, especially after the recent accidental leak at the company.
According to the report, an employee uploaded a sensitive internal source code on ChatGPT last month. Though the extent of the leak is unclear, Samsung is taking precautions to prevent sensitive information from being shared on such platforms.
Citing the Bloomberg report, Samsung said,
Interest in generative AI platforms such as ChatGPT has been growing internally and externally. While this interest focuses on the usefulness and efficiency of these platforms, there are also growing concerns about security risks presented by generative AI.
This restriction only applies to company-related devices employees use and does not impact the devices sold to consumers, such as Android smartphones and Windows laptops. However, employees who violate these policies could face serious consequences, including termination.
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