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JAN
20
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  BGR Show All 
Bad news, Netflix fans – a new price hike might be coming soon
Netflix account
  • Netflix prices for some users are likely to increase soon, depending on which analyst you talk to.
  • Following recent price hikes for Netflix users in the US and Canada, it's been suggested that prices might be going up soon for Netflix accounts in Europe as well as other global markets.
  • Netflix announced this week that it's now hit 200 million paying subscribers, and it will also add more original content in 2021 compared to 2020, the coronavirus pandemic notwithstanding.

Here's an interesting question for the Netflix fans among you -- how many of you, if I asked you right now, could quote me the exact price of your monthly subscription to the world's biggest streaming service? Oh sure, you can probably remember what you started out at, but there have been a number of price hikes since then. And in between bingeing everything from The Crown to Narcos, Tiger King, and all your other favorite shows and movies that comprise Netflix's utterly massive and constantly growing content library ... well, if you're like me, the power of inertia has kicked in and as long as the bill doesn't bite too much out of your wallet, you're content to just keep the subscription. Whatever the cost, while the streamer conveniently hits your credit card account month after month after month.

I opened my own credit card account a few minutes ago, because I wasn't actually sure what I was paying any more (it's a little over $15/month). That's how powerful a force Netflix has become, hooking us on a seductive value proposition -- the world's biggest streaming library of TV shows and movies -- for a super-low monthly price. One that's low enough for Netflix to be able to keep raising prices incrementally, and most of you will hardly notice. And it's about to happen again, if you ask some analysts who follow the company.

Today's Top Deal


Everyone's swarming Amazon for these best-selling Powecom KN95 masks

Everyone's swarming Amazon for these best-selling Powecom KN95 masks

Amazon Prime logo
Price: $26.99
Buy Now

Continue reading...

Today's Top Deals

  1. 10 awesome Amazon deals for Prime members only
  2. Amazon’s big Apple Watch Series 6 sale has the deepest discounts of 2021
  3. This foldable 4K camera drone is only $60 thanks to a double discount at Amazon

Trending Right Now:

  1. These are the only 5 states where coronavirus cases are still surging
  2. Here’s what Dr. Fauci thinks about Biden’s coronavirus vaccine plan
  3. This vegetable was just recalled because it could be dangerous – make sure you throw it out

Bad news, Netflix fans – a new price hike might be coming soon originally appeared on BGR.com on Wed, 20 Jan 2021 at 20:08:37 EDT. Please see our terms for use of feeds.


Want to catch a glimpse of Uranus? It’ll be very easy tonight
uranus
  • Uranus isn't the easiest planet to spot in the night sky, and most of the time we can't see it at all, but tonight it'll be a bit easier to spot the distant, frosty world.
  • NASA says that Uranus will be near Mars in the night sky, and if you have something like a nice pair of binoculars or, better yet, a telescope, you should be able to see it.
  • The planet, which is a pale blue and white, will appear tiny at such a distance, but it's actually nearly 15 times more massive than Earth.

When you gaze up at the night sky you see plenty of stars, but can you pick out planets when you see them? Sometimes it's possible to spot the likes of Jupiter and Mars without a telescope, but more often than not, folks with "average" eyes can't tell much of a difference. Tonight, however, you might be able to catch a glimpse of Uranus, and all you should need is a decent pair of binoculars.

Uranus huge, blue, and stinky. It's also one of the most interesting planets in our system, and it's not often that we have guideposts in the sky in order to see it. This time around, Uranus will appear close to Mars in the sky, making it a bit easier to spot, especially if you have the hardware to zoom in a little closer.

Today's Top Deal


Stock up on best-selling Powecom KN95 masks before they're sold out!

Stock up on best-selling Powecom KN95 masks before they're sold out!

Amazon Prime logo
Price: $25.99
Buy Now

Continue reading...

Today's Top Deals

  1. 10 awesome Amazon deals for Prime members only
  2. Amazon’s big Apple Watch Series 6 sale has the deepest discounts of 2021
  3. This foldable 4K camera drone is only $60 thanks to a double discount at Amazon

Trending Right Now:

  1. These are the only 5 states where coronavirus cases are still surging
  2. Here’s what Dr. Fauci thinks about Biden’s coronavirus vaccine plan
  3. This vegetable was just recalled because it could be dangerous – make sure you throw it out

Want to catch a glimpse of Uranus? It’ll be very easy tonight originally appeared on BGR.com on Wed, 20 Jan 2021 at 19:26:38 EDT. Please see our terms for use of feeds.


Amazon tries to get on Biden’s good side by offering to help with COVID vaccines
Coronavirus vaccine
  • Amazon executive Dave Clark has sent a letter to President Biden on the day of his inauguration, offering Amazon's help with the federal government's continuing rollout of the coronavirus vaccine.
  • Biden has pledged to work toward completing 100 million inoculations in the first 100 days of Biden's administration.
  • White House advisor Dr. Anthony Fauci says Biden's coronavirus vaccine goal is very doable.

Amazon wasted no time in reaching out to America's newly inaugurated 46th president on Wednesday, with a key executive penning a note to Biden that offers to help with the new administration's daunting challenge of expanding and stepping up the coronavirus vaccine distribution. The letter immediately raised eyebrows, because it's led more than a few people to question why it didn't extend a similar offer to the Trump administration.

According to NBC News senior media reporter Dylan Byers, it doesn't appear that they did. In response to this letter to Biden officials, an Amazon representative told him that the company had been "in touch" with the CDC's Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices, as well as the Dept. of Health and Human Services, while not mentioning a similar direct appeal to President Trump. So what does the company's letter to Biden, in fact, contain?

Today's Top Deal


Everyone's swarming Amazon for these best-selling Powecom KN95 masks

Everyone's swarming Amazon for these best-selling Powecom KN95 masks

Amazon Prime logo
Price: $26.99
Buy Now

Continue reading...

Today's Top Deals

  1. 10 awesome Amazon deals for Prime members only
  2. Amazon’s big Apple Watch Series 6 sale has the deepest discounts of 2021
  3. This foldable 4K camera drone is only $60 thanks to a double discount at Amazon

Trending Right Now:

  1. These are the only 5 states where coronavirus cases are still surging
  2. Here’s what Dr. Fauci thinks about Biden’s coronavirus vaccine plan
  3. This vegetable was just recalled because it could be dangerous – make sure you throw it out

Amazon tries to get on Biden’s good side by offering to help with COVID vaccines originally appeared on BGR.com on Wed, 20 Jan 2021 at 18:55:52 EDT. Please see our terms for use of feeds.


NASA is sorry for getting your hopes up
sls test
  • NASA's test-firing of its SLS rocket's core stage this past weekend was bizarre for a number of reasons, not least of which was that it lasted just one minute.
  • Now, NASA is reportedly a bit remorseful for hyping up the test and says that it should have been more forthcoming with the public beforehand.
  • During the test, one of the engines triggered a failure warning and the firing was immediately ceased.

NASA is apparently sorry that it got all of our hopes up ahead of the test firing of its oft-delayed SLS rocket core stage this past weekend. The test lasted just 67 seconds before a system monitoring the test triggered a shutdown due to what was described at the time as a "Major Component Failure," but what we now know was just a piece of data that exceeded predetermined limits.

As The Washington Post report, the test got a lot of publicity ahead of time, but in a private briefing on Tuesday morning, officials said that the possibility of the test succeeding in all of its objectives was nothing more than a coin flip. Those "50/50" odds weren't communicated ahead of time, especially not to the general public, and when the test was cut short it left many people worried that something serious had gone wrong.

Today's Top Deal


Stock up on best-selling Powecom KN95 masks before they're sold out!

Stock up on best-selling Powecom KN95 masks before they're sold out!

Amazon Prime logo
Price: $25.99
Buy Now

Continue reading...

Today's Top Deals

  1. 10 awesome Amazon deals for Prime members only
  2. Amazon’s big Apple Watch Series 6 sale has the deepest discounts of 2021
  3. This foldable 4K camera drone is only $60 thanks to a double discount at Amazon

Trending Right Now:

  1. These are the only 5 states where coronavirus cases are still surging
  2. Here’s what Dr. Fauci thinks about Biden’s coronavirus vaccine plan
  3. This vegetable was just recalled because it could be dangerous – make sure you throw it out

NASA is sorry for getting your hopes up originally appeared on BGR.com on Wed, 20 Jan 2021 at 18:24:09 EDT. Please see our terms for use of feeds.


If you get a text message for a free year of Netflix, you’re being scammed
Free Netflix scam
  • The Better Business Bureau's Scam Tracker has received "numerous reports" about text message scams offering a free year of Netflix in recent weeks.
  • Fraudulent text messages are being sent to victims with links to websites that aren't run by Netflix in an attempt to collect their private information.
  • Some victims have entered credit card numbers and had money stolen from their bank accounts.

2020 is finally over, but we're all still doing our best to avoid crowds and stay safe as the pandemic rages on. As such, streaming services continue to have outsized importance as we count down the days until we can get back to normal, which is why you should be especially wary of offers for those services that seem too good to be true.

Last week, the Better Business Bureau issued an alert on its site about scams involving the top streaming service in the world. According to the BBB, numerous reports have been sent to the organization's Scam Tracker in recent days from people who received text messages from illegitimate sources about getting Netflix for free. Here's what one such text message that was forwarded to the BBB looks like: “Due to the pandemic, Netflix is offering everyone a free year of service to help you stay at home. Click the link to sign up.

Today's Top Deal


Purell is still so hard to find in stores - but there are DEEP discounts at Amazon!

Purell is still so hard to find in stores - but there are DEEP discounts at Amazon!

Amazon Prime logo
Price: $51.90 ($0.54/Fl Oz)
You Save: $23.70 (31%)
Buy Now

Continue reading...

Today's Top Deals

  1. 10 awesome Amazon deals for Prime members only
  2. Amazon’s big Apple Watch Series 6 sale has the deepest discounts of 2021
  3. This foldable 4K camera drone is only $60 thanks to a double discount at Amazon

Trending Right Now:

  1. These are the only 5 states where coronavirus cases are still surging
  2. Here’s what Dr. Fauci thinks about Biden’s coronavirus vaccine plan
  3. This vegetable was just recalled because it could be dangerous – make sure you throw it out

If you get a text message for a free year of Netflix, you’re being scammed originally appeared on BGR.com on Wed, 20 Jan 2021 at 17:53:29 EDT. Please see our terms for use of feeds.


This is the most dangerous thing about coronavirus vaccines
Covid Vaccine Safe
  • People who receive a COVID vaccine from Pfizer or Moderna still need a few weeks to build up immunity.
  • People who immediately ease up on coronavirus safety guidelines after getting vaccinated put themselves and others at risk.
  • Another reason to maintain COVID safety rules post-vaccination is that it's unclear if vaccinated individuals can still transmit the virus to others.

When Pfizer back in November announced that its coronavirus vaccine was 95% effective at preventing a COVID-19 infection, health experts were blown away. The 95% figure not only stunned medical professionals but even surprised Pfizer executives who, while hoping for positive results from Phase 3 clinical trials, didn't imagine they'd see an efficacy rate of 95%.

A few weeks after Pfizer made its research results public, Moderna announced that its own COVID-19 vaccine was 95% effective at preventing a COVID-19 infection as well. It is, however, incredibly important to stress that receiving a COVID vaccine should in no way be viewed as a license to take coronavirus safety guidelines less seriously.

Today's Top Deal


Stock up on best-selling Powecom KN95 masks before they're sold out!

Stock up on best-selling Powecom KN95 masks before they're sold out!

Amazon Prime logo
Price: $25.99
Buy Now

Continue reading...

Today's Top Deals

  1. 10 awesome Amazon deals for Prime members only
  2. Amazon’s big Apple Watch Series 6 sale has the deepest discounts of 2021
  3. This foldable 4K camera drone is only $60 thanks to a double discount at Amazon

Trending Right Now:

  1. These are the only 5 states where coronavirus cases are still surging
  2. Here’s what Dr. Fauci thinks about Biden’s coronavirus vaccine plan
  3. This vegetable was just recalled because it could be dangerous – make sure you throw it out

This is the most dangerous thing about coronavirus vaccines originally appeared on BGR.com on Wed, 20 Jan 2021 at 17:22:40 EDT. Please see our terms for use of feeds.


This vegetable was just recalled because it could be dangerous – make sure you throw it out
squash recall
  • A recall from Publix earlier this week over the potential for some of the grocer's products being contaminated with Listeria has expanded.
  • Distributor Lancaster Foods has issued a massive recall of its butternut squash products that were sold all over the United States.
  • The recall, which is also due to the possibility of the food being contaminated with Listeria bacteria, includes vegetable mixes as well as products like noodles made from the possibly harmful squash.

It was only a couple of days ago that the grocery store chain Publix announced that it was recalling a number of its own store brand steamer bags containing butternut squash. The recall was due to the possibility that the squash had been contaminated with Listeria bacteria.

Now, a distributor called Lancaster Foods LLC has issued its own recall of butternut squash products that were sold all across the United States. This recall is also linked to Listeria Monocytogenes contamination, and considering how potentially dangerous that bacterial infection can be, this is something you definitely should not ignore.

Today's Top Deal


Purell is still so hard to find in stores - but there are DEEP discounts at Amazon!

Purell is still so hard to find in stores - but there are DEEP discounts at Amazon!

Amazon Prime logo
Price: $51.90 ($0.54/Fl Oz)
You Save: $23.70 (31%)
Buy Now

Continue reading...

Today's Top Deals

  1. 10 awesome Amazon deals for Prime members only
  2. Amazon’s big Apple Watch Series 6 sale has the deepest discounts of 2021
  3. This foldable 4K camera drone is only $60 thanks to a double discount at Amazon

Trending Right Now:

  1. These are the only 5 states where coronavirus cases are still surging
  2. Here’s what Dr. Fauci thinks about Biden’s coronavirus vaccine plan
  3. This is the most eye-opening coronavirus news you’ll read all week

This vegetable was just recalled because it could be dangerous – make sure you throw it out originally appeared on BGR.com on Wed, 20 Jan 2021 at 16:51:53 EDT. Please see our terms for use of feeds.


COVID-19 antibodies may not protect us from the South African variant
Coronavirus Reinfection
  • South Africa’s public health agency confirmed that the B.1.351 (501.V2) coronavirus mutation that was detected in mid-December could evade the action of neutralizing antibodies developed after COVID-19.
  • According to the agency, half of the blood samples tested against the strain showed that all neutralizing activity was lost. In the other half, the levels of antibodies were reduced, so the risk of reinfection could not be determined.
  • The National Institute for Communicable Diseases advises people who had COVID-19 to continue adhering to public health measures to limit the risk of reinfection.

The novel coronavirus has been infecting humans for more than a year old, but it’s still too new for researchers to know everything about it. There’s a massive scientific effort underway to understand the new threat, and we’ve witnessed plenty of breakthroughs so far. Scientists figured out early in the pandemic how to make effective and safe vaccines and delivered finalized products by the end of 2020. Other teams studied transmission and measures to prevent it. Doctors also tested numerous treatments, devising several protocols based on drugs that are effective against the pathogen. All these discoveries helped doctors and public health experts save more lives.

There is one major question that doesn’t have a definitive answer. We have no idea how long COVID-19 immunity lasts, which is a key detail for managing the pandemic. We saw an increasing number of studies in the past few months that showed coronavirus immunity might last longer than expected. Researchers have shown that neutralizing antibodies can patrol the blood for as long as 6 months after the infection, while COVID-specific B and T cells live for at least 8 months. This is all good news for vaccines, which will induce an even more powerful immune response than the virus. But researchers will also share bad news when such data presents itself, and that’s what happened earlier this week. South African health experts confirmed that the coronavirus mutation announced in mid-December could evade neutralizing antibodies that COVID-19 survivors develop.

Today's Top Deal


Stock up on best-selling Powecom KN95 masks before they're sold out!

Stock up on best-selling Powecom KN95 masks before they're sold out!

Amazon Prime logo
Price: $25.99
Buy Now

Continue reading...

Today's Top Deals

  1. 10 awesome Amazon deals for Prime members only
  2. Amazon’s big Apple Watch Series 6 sale has the deepest discounts of 2021
  3. This foldable 4K camera drone is only $60 thanks to a double discount at Amazon

Trending Right Now:

  1. These are the only 5 states where coronavirus cases are still surging
  2. Here’s what Dr. Fauci thinks about Biden’s coronavirus vaccine plan
  3. This vegetable was just recalled because it could be dangerous – make sure you throw it out

COVID-19 antibodies may not protect us from the South African variant originally appeared on BGR.com on Wed, 20 Jan 2021 at 16:20:02 EDT. Please see our terms for use of feeds.


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  TechNewsWorld Show All 
Microsoft, GM, Cruise Partner on Self-Driving Cars
A strategic partnership with Microsoft was announced Tuesday by General Motors and Cruise aimed at speeding up the commercialization of shared self-driving vehicles. In addition, Microsoft will be joining GM, Honda and some institutional investors in adding US$2 billion to Cruise's coffers, bringing the value of the shared self-driving vehicle company to $30 billion.

Search Milestone Gives DuckDuckGo Something to Quack About
DuckDuckGo reached a significant milestone last week when it racked up more than 100 million searches in a single day. While still a paltry number compared to the more than five billion daily searches performed by Google, the milestone is a major one for the search engine that doesn't store any of its users' personal information, archive their search histories, or track their search activity.

CES 2021: What Worked, What Didn't
We still seem to do these remote activities as we did when we met in person. Streaming and video conferencing tools we are using still don't allow us to do what we once did face-to-face, but they have other advantages that aren't being utilized to make the experience better. Let's talk about who did a great job, and what worked at CES; and then what sucked at the event. We'll close with a look at a promised new vehicle from GM: the Cadillac Lyriq.

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Coffee Sales 2.0
Coffee is one of the most widely consumed beverages in the U.S. and worldwide. As the market grows -- and becomes more competitive -- coffee companies are coming up with more creative ways to get their products to online consumers. The E-Commerce Times recently spoke with coffee and e-commerce experts to get their views on what's involved in successful online coffee sales.

Consumers Becoming More Tolerant of Chatbots for Certain Tasks
If you want to smooth over irate clients and offer more efficient customer services, consider conversational bots instead of a roomful of human company reps. Researchers see consumers' comfort levels with a variety of chatbot technologies softening towards customer service, scheduling, banking, and therapy.

Pet Products and Services Market Takes a Fancy to E-Commerce
As pet owners increasingly opt to shop from home, pet-related companies are stepping up their game to grab a share of industry expenditures forecasted for 2020 to reach approximately $99 billion in the U.S. The E-Commerce Times spoke with various experts in the field of online pet product sales and services to get their take on trends in this market.

Acquiring and Retaining Customers in an Era Without Brand Loyalty
E-commerce is now at an all-time high, with global sales figures projected to reach $4.1 trillion in 2020, almost doubling since 2015. While the spectrum of global customers has broadened, however, so has the scope of competition. As the need for customer support grows, there is a golden opportunity for brands to capitalize on the changes fueled by the pandemic and emerge from the crisis with a newfound customer base.

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  Engadget Show All 
'Hitman 3' players run into launch day server problems
IO Interactive released Hitman 3 yesterday, and while it was supposed to be a triumphant close to a story arc that began with the 2016 Hitman game, players have been tripped up by server issues. In order to continue progress from the first two games,...

Poly Effects fully merges Digit and Beebo into one super pedal
The Poly Effects Digit and Beebo are two of the more interesting guitar pedals to come out in the last few years. They feature large touchscreens and incredible depth for designing your own effects and instruments. They’re basically virtual modular s...

Google Calendar's desktop site can work offline again, in some cases
If you occasionally need access to your calendar when you’re not connected to the internet, then Google Calendar’s web interface is getting a bit more useful. When Google rolled out a new UI for the app in 2018, that meant removing the ability to acc...

The US will rejoin the Paris climate change agreement
With the third executive order of his new administration, President Joe Biden said the US will rejoin the Paris Agreement. Initially finalized in 2015, the climate change accord saw 143 countries, including the US, agree to limit global temperature i...

TikTok's new Q&A feature makes it easier for creators to respond to fans
TikTok has started a new feature that makes it easier for some of its most popular creators to host Q&A sessions with their fans. The feature was first spotted by social media consultant Matt Navarra, who shared images of it to their Twitter acco...

New White House website includes a hidden recruitment message for coders
With Joe Biden now the 46th president of the United States, the official White House website has gone live with an eye-catching new design. It’s fully responsive and even comes with a snazzy dark mode to match. And like all good websites, it also com...

Google is investigating an AI researcher over the handling of sensitive data
Google is investigating an artificial intelligence researcher after it detected that "an account had exfiltrated thousands of files” and shared them externally. Margaret Mitchell, a co-lead of the Ethical AI unit, has been locked out of Google's corp...

Amazon offers to help the incoming Biden admin with COVID response
Fast on the heels of now-President Joe Biden’s inauguration on Wednesday morning, Amazon Consumer CEO Dave Clark sent a letter on behalf of his employer to the incoming administration pledging its help with Federal government’s ongoing COVID pandemic...

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  WSJ.com: WSJD Show All 
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  CNET News Show All 
Hulu February 2021: Every new movie and show coming this month - CNET
The shortest month of the year is packed with fresh content on Hulu.
The lab leak theory and the twisted, messy hunt for COVID-19's origin - CNET
A tangle of conspiracy and politicking has complicated the investigation into the origins of the pandemic.
Bill Gates says he's ready to work with President Biden on COVID, climate - CNET
The Microsoft co-founder urges mask-wearing, sees the nation getting closer to a more normal life.
The best facial recognition security cameras of 2021 - CNET
Want a security camera that IDs faces? Here are our top picks.
Paleontologists finally have their first good look at a dinosaur's butt - CNET
For the first time ever, scientists take a closer look at the dinosaur's cloaca that was used to expel waste and, potentially, attract a mate.
LG exploring options that include scrapping the smartphone business - CNET
Facing stiff competition and heavy losses, LG has had a mixed track record in the phone business.
Google cuts corporate access of AI researcher following Timnit Gebru dustup - CNET
The search giant says it's investigating how Margaret Mitchell, who leads Google's Ethical AI group, handled sensitive data.
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Treasury Nominee Yellen Is Looking To Curtail Use of Cryptocurrency
An anonymous reader quotes a report from Ars Technica: Cryptocurrencies could come under renewed regulatory scrutiny over the next four years if Janet Yellen, Joe Biden's pick to lead the Treasury Department, gets her way. During

China Plans Online Payment Rules That May Hit Ant, Tencent
hackingbear writes: People's Bank of China, the country's central bank, said on Wednesday that any non-bank payment company with half of the market in online transactions or two entities with a combined two-thirds share could be s

Biden Rejoins Paris Climate Accord, Works To Overturn Trump's Climate Policies
During his first moments in the Oval Office on Wednesday, President Biden returned the United States to the Paris climate accord and directed federal agencies to begin unraveling Donald Trump's environmental policies. The Washingt

Kia Will Lead Apple Car Project Work Under Hyundai Motor, Report Says
Hyundai Motor, the parent automaker of Hyundai and Kia, will task the Kia division with Apple Car work. The brand also said on Wednesday it's looking at cooperation with foreign firms surrounding self-driving and electric vehicles

A Chinese Hacking Group Is Stealing Airline Passenger Details
An anonymous reader quotes a report from ZDNet: A suspected Chinese hacking group has been attacking the airline industry for the past few years with the goal of obtaining passenger data in order to track the movement of persons o

In Hidden Message on White House Website, Biden Calls For Coders
The recently updated website for President Joe Biden's White House carried an invitation for tech specialists savvy enough to find it. From a report: Hidden in the HTML code on www.whitehouse.gov was an invitation to join the U.S.

Opera Now Has a Game Engine To Go With Its Gamer-Focused Browser
Opera has acquired YoYo Games, a British game development platform best known for GameMaker Studio 2, and is launching its Opera Gaming division. Engadget reports: Opera has bought the company for a simple reason: Opera GX. The ga

LG Considers Exiting Smartphones In 2021
After losing around $4.5 billion over the past five years, LG is considering exiting the smartphone market in 2021. The Verge reports: The Korea Herald reports that [LG CEO Kwon Bong-seok] sent out an internal memo to staff on Wed


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Talking Tech

      

Biden and Section 230: New administration, same problems for Facebook, Google and Twitter as under Trump

Under siege from the political right and left, nation's leading tech companies can expect scrutiny that began under Trump to continue under Biden.

      

Netflix surpasses 200M subscribers as people continue to self-isolate at home

Netflix announced the streaming service surpassed 200 million subscribers, according to their fourth-quarter results released Tuesday.

      

Facebook rival MeWe gains 2.5M members in a week as users seek privacy

The social network MeWe gained 2.5 million new members in the last week as social media users flock to privacy-focused apps.

      

Joe Biden takes control of @POTUS Twitter account after being sworn in as 46th president

President Joe Biden has taken control of the @POTUS Twitter account after being sworn in Wednesday. His administration also took over other accounts.

      

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  TechCrunch Show All 
This startup says its AI can better spot a healthy embryo — and improve IVF success

With every year, AI is beginning to bring more standardized levels of diagnostic accuracy in medicine. This is true of skin cancer detection, for example, and lung cancers.

Now, a startup in Israel called Embryonics says its AI can improve the odds of successfully implanting a healthy embryo during in vitro fertilization. What the company has been developing, in essence, is an algorithm to predict embryo implantation probability, one they have trained through IVF time-lapsed imaging of developing embryos.

It’s just getting started, to be clear. So far, in a pilot involving 11 women ranging in age from 20 to 40, six of those individuals are enjoying successful pregnancies, and the other five are awaiting results, says Embryonics.

Still, Embryonics is interesting for its potential to shake up a big market that’s been stuck for decades and continues to grow only because of external trends, like millennial women who are putting off having children owing to economic concerns.

Consider that the global in-vitro fertilization market is expected to grow from roughly $18.3 billion to nearly double that number in the next five years by some estimates. Yet the tens of thousands of women who undergo IVF each year have long faced costs of anywhere from $10,000 to $15,000 per cycle (at least in the U.S.), along with long-shot odds that grow worse with age.

Indeed, it’s the prospect of reducing the number of IVF rounds and their attendant expenses that drives Embryonics, which was founded three years ago by CEO Yael Gold-Zamir, an M.D. who studied general surgery at Hebrew University, yet became a researcher in an IVF laboratory owing to an abiding interest in the science behind fertility.

As it happens, she would be introduced to two individuals with complementary interests and expertise. One of them was David Silver, who had studied bioinformatics at the prestigious Technion-Israel Institute of Technology and who, before joining Embryonics last year, spent three years as a machine learning engineer at Apple and three years before that as an algorithm engineer at Intel.

The second individual to whom Gold-Zamir was introduced was Alex Bronstein, a serial founder who spent years as a principal engineer with Intel and who is today the head of the Center for Intelligent Systems at Technion as well as involved with several efforts involving deep learning AI, including at Embryonics and at Sibylla AI, a nascent outfit focused on algorithmic trading in capital markets.

It’s a small outfit, but the three, along with 13 other full-time employees to join them, appear to be making progress.

Fueled in part by $4 million in seed funding led by the Shuctermann Family Investment Office (led by the former president of Soros Capital, Sender Cohen) and the Israeli Innovation Authority, Embryonics says it’s about to receive regulatory approval in Europe that will enable it to sell its software — which the team says can recognize patterns and interpret image in small cell clusters with greater accuracy than a human —  to fertility clinics across the continent.

Using a database with millions of (anonymized) patient records from different centers around the world that representing all races and geographies and ages, says Gold-Zamir, the company is already eyeing next steps, too.

Most notably, beyond analyzing which of several embryos is most likely to thrive, Embryonics wants to work with fertility clinics on improving what’s called hormonal stimulation, so that their patients produce as many mature eggs as possible.

As Bronstein explains it, every woman who goes through IVF or fertility preservation goes through an hormonal stimulation process — which involves getting injected with hormones from 8 to 14 days — to induce their ovaries to produce numerous eggs. But right now, there are just three general protocols and  a “lot of trial and error in trying to establish the right one,” he says.

Though deep learning, Embryonics thinks it can begin to understand not just which hormones each individual should be taking but the different times they should be taken.

In addition to embryo selection, Embryonics has developed a non-invasive genetic test based on analysis of visual information, together with clinical data, that in some cases can detect major chromosomal aberrations like down syndrome, says Gold-Zamir.

And there’s more in the works if all goes as planned. “Embryonics’s goal is to provide a holistic solution, covering all aspects of the process,” says Gold-Zamir, who volunteers that she is raising four children of her own, along with running the company.

It’s too soon to say whether the nascent outfit will succeed, naturally. But it certainly seems to be at the forefront of a technology that is fast changing after more than 40 years wherein many IVF clinics worldwide have simply assessed embryo health by looking at days-old embryos on a petri dish under a microscope to assess their cell multiplication and shape.

In the spring of 2019, for instance, investigators from Weill Cornell Medicine in New York City published own their conclusion  that AI can evaluate embryo morphology more accurately than the human eye after using 12,000 photos of human embryos taken precisely 110 hours after fertilization to train an algorithm to discriminate between poor and good embryo quality.

The investigators said that each embryo was first assigned a grade by embryologists that considered various aspects of the embryo’s appearance. The investigators then performed a statistical analysis to correlate the embryo grade with the probability of a successful pregnancy outcome. Embryos were considered good quality if the chances were greater than 58 percent and poor quality if the chances were below 35%.

After training and validation, the algorithm was able to classify the quality of a new set of images with 97% accuracy.

Photo Credit: Tammy Bar-Shay


Accounting automation startup Georges raises $42.4 million and rebrands to Indy

French startup Georges — or Georges.tech — is raising a new round of funding of $42.4 million (€35 million). The company is also getting a new name and will be called Indy going forward. The startup has been building an accounting automation application for freelancers and small companies.

Singular is leading today’s funding round. You might not be familiar with Singular, but it makes a ton of sense to see the VC firm on the cap table. Former Alven partners Jeremy Uzan and Raffi Kamber left the Paris-based VC firm to raise their own fund. Uzan previously invested in Indy when he was at Alven and he’s following up with Singular.

Existing investors Alven and Kerala are also investing once again. Overall, Indy has managed to attract 40,000 clients who pay a monthly subscription fee to access the service.

Indy first started with a product specifically designed for freelancers, self-employed people, doctors, architects, lawyers, etc. It can help you replace your accountant altogether. You first connect the service to your bank account. Indy then imports all your transactions and tries to tag and categorize as many transactions as possible.

You can go back and add missing data. You can also add receipts or invoices right next to your transactions. Once this is done, you know how much VAT you’re supposed to get back at the end of the year.

Indy then automatically fills out administrative forms based on your data. You can then download your tax documents or send them directly from Indy.

You can also use the platform to get an overview of your business. You can see your corporate revenue, track your expenses, and see how much you earn per year based on personal expenses and your own pay.

Over time, Indy has expanded its service so that it supports more types of companies. In addition to freelancers, Indy supports EURL, SARL, SAS and SASU. In 2020, the startup has tripled its revenue.

And the company plans to improve its product to support even more self-employed people, including people selling stuff under the BIC status in France. Indy plans to hire 100 people in 2021 in Lyon.

Indy has even bigger plans as it has been evaluating the U.S. as a potential market. There are a ton of self-employed people in the U.S. and that’s why it represents an interesting opportunity.


Wireless charging tech developer Powermat pivots to industrial applications with Jetsons Robotics partnerhsip

When the two year-old Indian company Jetsons Robotics began searching for a partner to help design charging stations for their autonomous rooftop solar installation cleaning robots, the Israeli company Powermat was an obvious choice.

While the company had made its name as the designer for wireless charging technologies for consumer electronics, over the past two years the company was shifting its focus to more industrial applications. So it made sense to work with the Indian company on new form factors and applications for its charging technologies.

Indeed, the consumer market that Powermat had hoped to capture had been, by that point, broadly commoditized, so the tech developer needed a new direction.

Cleaning rooftop solar installations can be a costly endeavor, running companies anywhere from $100,000 to $500,000 per year, according to Jetsons Robotics chief executive, Jatin Sharma. The use of robots to replace human labor can save money, but the autonomous solution that the company wanted to build necessitated some kind of wireless charging dock, he said.

Contact-based charging meant too many variables in the outdoor environment, but an inductive charger would be too costly. Until the company worked with Powermat on a solution, Sharma said.

Backed by 100x.vc, Sharma’s robots are already cleaning roughly 1.7 megawatts of solar installations on a daily basis.

For Powermat, the solar cleaning robots are a good test of the company’s new industrial focus, according to chief technology officer Itay Sherman.

“You can look at it like maturation of the market,” Sherman said. “Powermat had been a pioneer in driving wireless technology. This market is maturing and we are moving on to markets where the technology and innovation is important. We have decided to shift our efforts to these emerging markets. Robotics is one, medical devices, IOT, and the automotive market are others.”

 


Digital securities platform iSTOX closes $50 million Series A to make private equity accessible to more investors

Oi Yee Choo, chief commercial officer of digital securities platform iSTOX

Oi Yee Choo, chief commercial officer of digital securities platform iSTOX

iSTOX, a digital securities platform that wants to make private equity investment more accessible, has added new investors from Japan to its Series A round, bringing its total to $50 million. Two of its new backers are the government-owned Development Bank of Japan and JIC Venture Growth Investments, the venture capital arm of Japan Investment Corporation, a state-backed investment fund.

Other participants included Juroku Bank and Mobile Internet Capital, along with returning investors Singapore Exchange, Tokai Tokyo Financial Holdings and Hanwha Asset Management.

Founded in 2017 and owned by blockchain infrastructure firm ICHX, iSTOX’s goal is to open private capital opportunities, including startups, hedge funds and private debt, that are usually limited to a small group of high-net-worth individuals to more institutional and accredited investors. (It also serves accredited investors outside of Singapore, as long as they meet the country’s standards by holding the equivalent amount in assets and income.) iSTOX’s allows users to make investments as small as SGD $100 (about USD $75.50) and says it is able to keep fees low by using blockchain technology for smart contracts and to hold digital securities, which makes the issuance process more effective and less costly.

iSTOX’s Series A round was first announced in September 2019, when the company said it had raised an undisclosed amount from Thai investment bank Kiatnakin Phatra Financial Group while participating in the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) FinTech Regulatory Sandbox. The Singaporean government has been especially supportive of blockchain technology, launching initiatives to commercialize its use in fintech, data security, logistics and other sectors.

iSTOX completed the sandbox program in February 2020, and was approved by the MAS for the issuance, custody and trading of digitized securities. The new funding will be used for geographical expansion, including in China, where it already has an agreement in the city of Chongqing, and Europe and and Australia, where it is currently working on issuance deals. iSTOX also plans to add new investment products, including private issuances that investors can subscribe to in “bite-size portions.”

In a press statement, iSTOX chief commercial officer Oi Yee Choo said, “Capital markets are transforming rapidly because of advancements in technology. The regulator MAS and our institutional investors have been far-sighted and progressive, and they support the change wholeheartedly.”

The company is among several Asia-based fintech platforms that want to democratize the process of investing. For retail investors, there are apps like Bibit, Syfe, Stashaway, Kristal.ai and Grab Financial’s investment products.

Since iSTOX works with accredited and institutional investors, however, its most direct competitors include the recently-launched DBS Digital Exchange, which is also based in Singapore. iSTOX’s advantage is that it offers more kinds of assets. Right now, it facilitates the issuance of funds and bonds, but this year, it will start issuing private equity and structured products as well. The company’s securities are also fully digitized, which means they are created on the blockchain, instead of being recorded on the blockchain after they are issued, which means iSTOX is able to offer faster settlement times.


Indian stock exchanges approve $3.4B Reliance and Future deal in setback for Amazon

Indian stock exchanges approved the $3.4 billion deal between retail giants Reliance Retail and Future Group on late Wednesday in yet another setback for Amazon, which has invested over $6.5 billion in the world’s second largest internet market and sought to block the aforementioned deal.

The Bombay Stock Exchange said in a notification that it had spoken with India’s markets regulator, the Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI), and had no objection or adverse observation on the deal.

Wednesday’s notification is the latest setback for Amazon, which had written to SEBI and Indian antitrust watchdog to block the multi-billion deal between Future Group and Reliance Retail, the two largest retail chains in India. Last year, India’s antitrust group gave a go ahead to the deal to the Indian firms.

“We hereby advise that we have no adverse observations with limited reference to those matters having a bearing on listing/de-listing/continuous listing requirements within the provisions of Listing Agreement, so as to enable the company to file the scheme with Hon’ble NCLT [National Company Law Tribunal],” the notification read. SEBI has advised Future to share various aspects of its ongoing litigation with Amazon to NCLT, whose approval for the deal is pending.

Amazon bought 49% stake in one of Future’s unlisted firms in 2019 in a deal that was valued at over $100 million. As part of the deal, Future could not have sold assets to rivals, Amazon has said in court filings.

Things changed last year after the coronavirus pandemic starved the Indian firm of cash, Future Group chief executive and founder Kishore Biyani said at a recent virtual conference. In August, Future Group said that it had reached an agreement with Ambani’s Reliance Industries, which runs India’s largest retail chain, to sell its retail, wholesale, logistics and warehousing businesses for $3.4 billion.

Amazon later protested the deal by reaching an arbitrator in Singapore and asked the court to block the deal between the Indian retail giants. Amazon secured emergency relief from the arbitration court in Singapore in late October that temporarily halted Future Group from going ahead with the sale.

The two estranged partners also fought at the Delhi High Court last year, which in a rare glimmer of hope for the American giant rejected Future’s plea for an ad-interim injunction to restrain Amazon from writing to regulators and other authorities to raise concerns over — and halt — the deal between the two Indian giants.

An Amazon spokesperson told TechCrunch that the firm will continue to pursue legal remedies. “The letters issued by BSE & NSE clearly state that the comments of SEBI on the ‘draft scheme of arrangement’ (proposed transaction) are subject to the outcome of the ongoing Arbitration and any other legal proceedings. We will continue to pursue our legal remedies to enforce our rights,” the spokesperson said.

At stake is India’s retail market that is estimated to balloon to $1.3 trillion by 2025, up from $700 billion in 2019, according to consultancy firm BCG and local trade group Retailers’ Association India. Online shopping accounts for about 3% of all retail in India.


Genflow nabs $11M investment from BGF

Genflow, a London and LA-based brand-building agency that offers an e-commerce and mobile tech platform to let influencers start companies, has raised $11 million in funding.

Leading the round is U.K. investor BGF. The injection of capital will be used by Genflow to further scale its offering and for international expansion.

Founded in 2016 by entrepreneur Shan Hanif to help social media influencers develop their brands and extract revenue from their audiences, Genflow combines aspects of a traditional branding agency — such as strategy, design and planning — and a tech company with its own software stack.

This sees Genflow position itself as a brand-as-a-service (BaaS) platform, which helps influencers develop their own digital and physical products instead of promoting other brands, and enables them to launch their own membership club, gated community, mobile app or direct to consumer brand.

“Genflow offers the complete infrastructure from design, development, manufacturing and logistics through to strategy, marketing and content creation to drive revenue and profit,” explains the company.

Genflow says its client base are established influencers who typically have large followings on Instagram and YouTube.

“Genflow allows an influencer to start their own business instead of the traditional brand deals so if someone with an audience wants truly their own audience and business Genflow does that for them,” says Hanif. “We provide them the complete infrastructure to launch a business: design, manufacturing, development, content, strategy and marketing all in one place. This gives us the unique ability to execute to a very high level that drives revenue”.

Hanif says influencers typically approach Genflow either with an idea or when they need help figuring out what brand they can launch. “We use ‘Genlytics,’ our in-house built software, to see what the best brand they can release by checking their analytics, breakdown of their followers, what brands they have worked with in the past and to see how much they can potentially sell,” he explains.

Next, Genflow onboards the client and begins the brand building process, offering broadly two options: Gated content, membership clubs, community and mobile apps, or developing direct to consumer brand with physical products.

The first is akin to having your own OnlyFans, Patreon or social media platform. The second is a classic D2C e-commerce play and includes designing the products, and working with factories to create samples, manufacture the products and then handle all logistics etc.

“In both cases then we plan the launch of the brand, the marketing strategy and then work with the influencer to launch the brand itself,” adds Hanif.

“What’s interesting is that traditionally in startups you find a problem, get a team, some funding then try to find customers. What we have invented is the ‘audience first approach’ where we already have the audience and now just need the right products and it’s instantly a success. The metrics that I see for our brands are not normal: conversion rates that are 5-30%, 20% repeat purchase buys and around 6:1 return on Facebook ads.

“We are proud that every brand we have launched to date is profitable and growing year on year so we know our approach works.”

 


Daily Crunch: Trump pardons Anthony Levandowski

On his way out the door, President Donald Trump pardons a former Googler, Jack Ma reappears and Wattpad gets acquired. This is your Daily Crunch for January 20, 2021.

The big story: Trump pardons Anthony Levandowski

Although Donald Trump is no longer president of the United States as I write this, he still held the role on Tuesday evening, when he included former Googler Anthony Levandowski (who had been sentenced to 18 months in prison for stealing trade secrets) in his final set of 73 pardons. The pardon had been supported by Founders Fund’s Peter Thiel and Oculus founder Palmer Luckey, among others.

Today, of course, Joe Biden was inaugurated, prompting immediate changes to the White House website. And Amazon wasted no time offering the new president help with rolling out the COVID-19 vaccines.

Also, we have a piece from former White House deputy chief of staff Jim Messina about the relationship between the Biden administration and Silicon Valley.

The tech giants

Alibaba shares jump on Jack Ma’s first appearance in 3 months — Alibaba’s billionaire founder resurfaced as he spoke to 100 rural teachers through a video call.

Valve and five PC games publishers fined $9.4M for illegal geo-blocking — In addition to Valve, the five sanctioned games publishers are: Bandai Namco, Capcom, Focus Home, Koch Media and ZeniMax.

TikTok’s new Q&A feature lets creators respond to fan questions using text or video — The feature is currently only available to select creators who have opted into the test.

Startups, funding and venture capital

Wattpad, the storytelling platform, is selling to South Korea’s Naver for $600M — Naver plans to incorporate at least part of the business into another of its holdings, the publishing platform Webtoon.

SpaceX delivers 60 more Starlink satellites in first launch of 2021, and sets new Falcon 9 rocket reusability record — This puts the total Starlink constellation size at almost 1,000.

Landbot closes $8M Series A for its ‘no code’ chatbot builder — The startup has grown to around 2,200 paying customers.

Advice and analysis from Extra Crunch

Fintech startups and unicorns had a stellar Q4 2020 — The fourth quarter of 2020 was as busy as you imagined.

Dear Sophie: What are Biden’s immigration changes? — The latest edition of Dear Sophie, the advice column that answers immigration-related questions about working at technology companies.

Hello, Extra Crunch community! — Tell us what else you want from Extra Crunch.

(Extra Crunch is our membership program, which aims to democratize information about startups. You can sign up here.)

Everything else

MIT develops method for lab-grown plants that eventually lead to alternatives to forestry and farming — The process would be able to produce wood and fibre in a lab environment.

Reflections on the first all-virtual CES — We’ve long questioned whether in-person trade shows are a thing of the past. This year, we put it to the test.

Remote workers are greener, but their tech still has a real carbon cost — A new study examines tentative carbon costs on the connectivity and data infrastructure that make working from home possible.

The Daily Crunch is TechCrunch’s roundup of our biggest and most important stories. If you’d like to get this delivered to your inbox every day at around 3pm Pacific, you can subscribe here.


Curtsy, a clothing resale app aimed at Gen Z women, raises $11 million Series A

Curtsy, a clothing resale app and competitor to recently IPO’d Poshmark, announced today it has raised $11 million in Series A funding for its startup focused on the Gen Z market. The app, which evolved out of an earlier effort for renting dresses, now allows women to list their clothes, shoes and accessories for resale, while also reducing many of the frictions involved with the typical resale process.

The new round was led by Index Ventures, and included participation from Y Combinator, prior investors FJ Labs and 1984 Ventures, and angel investor Josh Breinlinger (who left Jackson Square Ventures to start his own fund).

To date, Curtsy has raised $14.5 million, including over two prior rounds, which also included investors CRV, SV Angel, Kevin Durant, Priscilla Scala and other angels.

Like other online clothing resale businesses, Curtsy aims to address the needs of a younger generation of consumers who are looking for a more sustainable alternative when shopping for clothing. Instead of constantly buying new, many Gen Z consumers will rotate their wardrobes over time, often by leveraging resale apps.

Image Credits: Curtsy

However, the current process for listing your own clothes on resale apps can be time-consuming. A recent report by Wired, for example, detailed how many women were spinning their wheels engaging with Poshmark in the hopes of making money from their closets, to little avail. The Poshmark sellers complained they had to do more than just list, sell, package and ship their items — they also had to participate in the community in order to have their items discovered.

Curtsy has an entirely different take. It wants to make it easier and faster for casual sellers to list items by reducing the amount of work involved to sell. It also doesn’t matter how many followers a seller has, which makes its marketplace more welcoming to first-time sellers.

“The big gap in the market is really for casual sellers — people who are not interested in selling professionally,” explains Curtsy CEO David Oates. “In pretty much every other app that you’ve heard about, pro sellers really crowd out everyday women. Part of that is the friction of the whole process,” he says.

On Curtsy, the listing process is far more streamlined.

The app uses a combination of machine learning and human review to help the sellers merchandise their items, which increase their chances of selling. When sellers first list their item in the app, Curtsy will recommend a price, then fill in details like the brand, category, subcategory, shipping weight and the suggested selling price, using machine learning systems training on the previous items sold on its marketplace. Human review fixes any errors in that process.

Also before items are posted, Curtsy improves and crops the images, as well as fixes any other issues with the listing, and moderates listings for spam. This process helps to standardize the listings on the app across all sellers, giving everyone a fair shot at having their items discovered and purchased.

Another unique feature is how Curtsy caters to the Gen Z to young Millennial user base (ages 15-30), who are often without shipping supplies or even a printer for producing a shipping label.

Image Credit: Curtsy / Photo credit: Brooke Ray

First-time sellers receive a free starter kit with Curtsy-branded supplies for packaging their items at home, like poly mailers in multiple sizes. As they need more supplies, the cost of those is built into the selling flow, so you don’t have to explicitly pay for it — it’s just deducted from your earnings. Curtsy also helps sellers to schedule a free USPS pickup to save a trip to the post office, and it will even send sellers a shipping label, if need be.

“One of the things we realized quickly is Gen Z does not really have printers. So we actually have a label service and we’ll send you the label in the mail for free from centers across the country,” says Oates.

Later, when a buyer of an item purchased from Curtsy is ready to resell it, they can do so with one tap — they don’t have to photograph it and describe it again. This also speeds up the selling process.

Overall, the use of technology, outsourced teams who improve listings and extra features like supplies and labels can be expensive. But Curtsy believes the end result is that they can bring more casual sellers to the resale market.

“Whatever costs we have, they should be in service of increased liquidity, so we can grow faster and add more people,” Oates says. “In case of the label service, those are people who otherwise wouldn’t be able to participate in selling online. There’s no other app that would allow them to sell without a printer.”

Image Credits: Curtsy

This system, so far, appears to be working. Curtsy now has several hundred thousand people who buy and sell on its iOS-only app, with an average transaction rates of three items bought or sold per month. When the new round closed late in 2020, the company was reporting a $25 million GMV revenue run rate, and average monthly growth of around 30%. Today, Curtsy generates revenue by taking a 20% commission on sales (or $3 for items under $15).

The team, until recently, was only five people — including co-founders David Oates, William Ault, Clara Agnes Ault and Eli Allen, plus a contract workforce. With the Series A, Curtsy will be expanding, specifically by investing in new roles within product and marketing to help it scale. It will also be focused on developing an Android version of its app in the first quarter of 2021 and further building out its web presence.

“Never before have we seen such a strong overlap between buyers and sellers on a consumer-to-consumer marketplace,” said Damir Becirovic of Index Ventures, about the firm’s investment. “We believe the incredible love for Curtsy is indicative of a large marketplace in the making,” he added.


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LG reportedly wants to sell its phone business to a Vietnamese manufacturer

LG might exit the smartphone business and it’s already in talks with potential suitors to buy its unit. After yesterday’s reports of LG‘s internal memo informing staffers of this step, Korean dailies are reporting today that the company might sell the smartphone segment to a Vietnamese conglomerate, VinGroup. According to Business Korea, VinGroup has the most attractive offer on the table for the Korean tech giant’s phone business. The Vietnamese group already produces LG‘s phones as an Original Design Manufacturer (ODM). It’s the third-largest phone maker in Vietnam after Samsung and Oppo. As Korea Times reported yesterday, continuous losses are one of…

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Or just read more coverage about: LG

The White House website reinstates Spanish version that Trump removed

Following President Joe Biden‘s inauguration, the White House‘s  official website has promptly re-instated a Spanish version of its website. ¡Por fin! For those wondering, @WhiteHouse already has a Spanish-language page up.https://t.co/veEo5k443Y pic.twitter.com/nbjx4PqJsl — Julio Ricardo Varela (@julito77) January 20, 2021 As noted by Julio Ricardo Varela of Latino Rebels the Spanish page is directly accessible from the White House website’s main menu, or at whitehouse.gov/es. There are new La Casa Blanca Twitter and Facebook accounts too. You might recall that upon the Trump administration taking over the website, the Spanish version was promptly removed. At the time, then Press Secretary Sean…

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After years of testing, Netflix confirms it’s launching a shuffle play feature this year

If you’re struggling to find something worth watching from Netflix’s vast catalog and you don’t trust the recommendations of your friends, the streaming service has some good news for you. The company is finally launching a “shuffle play” feature for users who would rather let an algorithm pick their next series to binge on. The streaming service confirmed it will roll out the feature globally during a Q4 investor interview on Tuesday. “Our members can basically indicate to us that they just want to skip browsing entirely, click one button, and we’ll pick a title for them just to instantly play,” said COO…

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Or just read more coverage about: Netflix

Scientists developed an AI system for predicting human psychosis

A team of European scientists led by researchers from the Max Planck institute recently developed the world’s first cybernetic system for predicting psychosis onset in high-risk patients. According to the NIH, about three percent of the general population (data is US-specific) will experience psychosis in their lifetimes. To put that in perspective, the odds you’ll be stung by a bee are approximately six million to one. Unfortunately, predicting psychosis in high-risk patients is a difficult task. The current paradigm requires intensive diagnosis by trained professionals at a specialized medical facility, something most of the world’s population lacks immediate access to.…

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New AI system counts endangered elephants from space

Scientists have unveiled a new tool for monitoring endangered wildlife: an AI system that automatically counts elephants from space. The tech combines satellite cameras with a convolutional neural network (CNN) to capture African elephants moving through forests and grasslands. In tests, the surveying technique detected elephants as accurately as human observers, while eliminating the risk of disturbing the species. The research joins a growing range of AI projects that are seeking to protect endangered animals. “Accurate monitoring is essential if we’re to save the species,” said Dr Olga Isupova, a computer scientist at the University of Bath who created the detection algorithm. “We…

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Sofa Summit is the first virtual event you need to join this year — here’s why

Much of the world is still online, but just because we’re at home doesn’t mean we can’t still enjoy an event with great speakers, sessions, and networking potential. Most conferences in 2020 went fully virtual so that no one would miss out on the experience — TNW 2020 included — and now we can begin the year right with the Sofa Summit. Sofa Summit is organized by Smartly.io, and it’s the world’s largest social advertising event. Lasting for almost 15 hours and running from January 27-28, Sofa Summit features over 50 sessions, as well as networking opportunities and a closing…

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5G-powered drones will soon deliver packages in Florida

This article was originally published by Sarah Wray on Cities Today, the leading news platform on urban mobility and innovation, reaching an international audience of city leaders. For the latest updates follow Cities Today on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Instagram, and YouTube, or sign up for Cities Today News. Verizon has announced a collaboration with United Parcel Service (UPS) to test 5G to deliver retail packages via drones to residents at The Villages retirement community in Florida. The announcement was one of several made by Verizon’s Chairman and CEO, Hans Vestberg, during a keynote at the virtual Consumer Electronics Show (CES), which opened yesterday. In 2020, Verizon,…

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Stone River eLearning is almost 5,000 hours of premium tech training for under $100

TLDR: Stone River eLearning offers more than 800 courses covering dozens of tech training staples to help get you hired or ready to tackle new challenges in your current job. Almost a year into the upheaval of COVID-19, the reverberations are still being felt. Jobs are upended, careers are in doubt, and millions are looking at other options for what to do next professionally. While charting a new life course can seem demoralizing at times, take heart — the tech industry remains eager for skilled new talent and they’re waiting with open arms. When half of LinkedIn’s top 15 job…

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