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☕️ Meta's VR division keeps bleeding cash

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This is your daily dose of ☕️ Techpresso, where you get the latest tech news of the day effortlessly.

Here's the latest tech news from the last 24 hours:

💸 Meta's VR division keeps bleeding cash
🗺️ Google Maps introduces major AI-driven enhancements
📱 Microsoft CEO says his "most difficult decision" was exiting the mobile market
🖼️ Amazon launches a new AI product image generator
🏠 Airbnb turns to AI to help prevent house parties
📈 Threads reaches nearly 100 million monthly users

💸 Meta's VR division keeps bleeding cashLINK

  • Meta's Reality Labs XR division, overseeing its metaverse goals, reported a record low revenue of $210 million and losses of $3.74 billion in Q4.
  • The division's total losses since Q4 2020 have now reached a staggering $37.48 billion.
  • In response, Meta indicates it expects Reality Labs' losses to increase due to continued product development and ecosystem scaling endeavors.
  • 🗺️ Google Maps introduces major AI-driven enhancementsLINK

  • Google is updating its Maps service with new artificial intelligence-enabled features, aiming to improve user's ability to search and navigate within their surroundings.
  • Enhancements include better organized search results for local exploration, more accurate reflection of surroundings on the navigation interface, and additional charger information for electric vehicle drivers.
  • The tech giant is also expanding current AI-powered features like Immersive View for Routes and Lens in Maps to more cities across the globe.
  • 📱 Microsoft CEO says his "most difficult decision" was exiting the mobile marketLINK

  • Microsoft's CEO, Satya Nadella, considers exiting the mobile phone industry as one of his most difficult decisions.
  • Nadella believes that Microsoft could have succeeded in mobile by innovating the connection between PCs, tablets, and phones.
  • Despite resigning from Windows Phone, Microsoft continues to dabble in smartphones with its Surface Duo line, though it hasn't gained much popularity.
  • 🖼️ Amazon launches a new AI product image generatorLINK

  • Amazon has unveiled a new generative AI feature that allows vendors to enhance their product photos with AI-generated backgrounds for more effective advertising.
  • The new tool is similar to other text-to-image generators like OpenAI’s DALL-E 3 and Midjourney, and adds the function of integrating thematic elements like props according to the chosen theme.
  • This feature, still in beta version, aims to help vendors and advertisers without in-house capabilities create engaging brand-themed imagery more easily.
  • 🏠 Airbnb turns to AI to help prevent house partiesLINK

  • Airbnb has implemented an AI-powered software system to prevent house parties by assessing potential risks in user bookings.
  • The AI checks factors such as the proximity of the booking to the user's home city and the recency of the account creation to estimate the likelihood of the booking being for a party.
  • If the risk of a party booking is too high, the AI prevents the booking and guides the user to Airbnb's partner hotel companies instead.
  • 📈 Threads reaches nearly 100 million monthly usersLINK

  • Meta's social media app Threads now has nearly 100 million active users per month and shows potential to hit 1 billion users in the coming years.
  • The growth of Threads is attributed to new features and returning "power users", despite initial decline in engagement due to limited functionality.
  • Meta's ongoing focus on efficiency and generative AI projects doesn't detract from their metaverse spending, despite multibillion-dollar losses from their AR and VR division, Reality Labs.
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    Stellantis is investing $1.6 billion in Chinese EV firm Leapmotor, forming a joint venture to boost the Chinese brand’s global sales.LINK

    IBM's study reveals ChatGPT, OpenAI's AI, can craft near-human-like phishing emails swiftly, signaling a potential future risk to email users.LINK

    BP's EV unit orders $100M of Tesla's ultra-fast chargers, marking Tesla's first independent network deployment and new revenue stream.LINK

    Spotify plans a royalty model overhaul in 2024, establishing a minimum stream threshold for royalties, penalizing streaming fraud, and revising rules for non-music noise content.LINK

    Elon Musk's platform, X, introduced embryonic voice and video call features currently available to only premium subscribers, despite facing transformation struggles and financial losses.LINK

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