Tuesday, June 27, 2023

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☕️ Techpresso: SoftBank's $170m phantom investment, TikTok, Lordstown Motors, Google and more...

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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:

💼 SoftBank gave $170m to a social app whose users are mostly fakes
🎵 TikTok discontinues BeReal clone, TikTok Now
🚘 EV startup Lordstown Motors files bankruptcy, blames Foxconn
🔍 Google's search experience impacted by Reddit blackouts
🧠 Snowflake-Nvidia partnership pushing generative AI

💼 SoftBank gave $170m to a social app whose users are mostly fakesLINK

  • In 2021, SoftBank invested over $170 million in social media app IRL, leading it to a $1.17 billion valuation, only to later discover that 95% of its claimed 20 million user base was falsified.
  • After suspicions about inflated user numbers, an SEC investigation ensued, leading to the suspension of IRL's founder Abraham Shafi and the appointment of a new acting CEO; IRL is now shutting down and returning capital to shareholders.
  • SoftBank suffered further losses after investing $400 million in a now-liquidated robot pizza maker company, tallying to a potential loss of $500 million in a single week, although it recently sold Boston Dynamics for a billion.
  • 🎵 TikTok discontinues BeReal clone, TikTok NowLINK

  • TikTok has announced the discontinuation of TikTok Now, its clone of the social media app BeReal.
  • The news of the feature's termination was captured in a screenshot by social media industry analyst, Matt Navarra.
  • The reason behind the discontinuation is likely due to TikTok's awareness of BeReal's own dwindling popularity.
  • 🚘 EV startup Lordstown Motors files bankruptcy, blames FoxconnLINK

  • Ohio-based EV startup Lordstown Motors has filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection and is suing its investment partner, Foxconn Technology, for breach of contract and fraud.
  • Foxconn, known for assembling Apple's iPhones, bought Lordstown's Ohio factory in late 2021, agreed to invest another $170 million, but threatened to terminate the deal in April when Lordstown's stock fell below $1 per share for 30 trading days consecutively.
  • Lordstown Motors has been grappling with ongoing production issues and underperformance of its first pickup EV, Endurance, including a drastic cut in its forecasted vehicle production numbers and a lower-than-promised mileage range.
  • 🔍 Google's search experience impacted by Reddit blackoutsLINK

  • Reddit users' protest against the company's changes to its API resulted in a blackout that impacted Google Search, as Google users often use "reddit" as a search modifier to get specific results.
  • Prabhakar Raghavan, Google's senior vice president of Search, noted at a company meeting that the blackout caused dissatisfaction among Google users due to irrelevant results and an increase in ads.
  • Google executives suggested the problem could be partially resolved by a new feature called Perspectives, designed to highlight human-generated content from platforms like TikTok, Reddit, and Quora in search results.
  • 🧠 Snowflake-Nvidia partnership pushing generative AILINK

  • Snowflake announced a new container service and a partnership with Nvidia to enable the building of generative AI applications using large volumes of data stored on Snowflake, while running on Nvidia GPUs.
  • The company's senior VP of products, Christian Kleinerman, expressed the aim of the developments as enabling customers to bring computation to their data without the need to transfer it to external systems.
  • Nvidia's VP of enterprise computing, Manuvir Das, noted the combination of Snowflake's data storage and Nvidia's GPU power and NeMo framework allows companies to build refined machine learning models based on their unique data.
  • Other news you might like

    Baidu's AI model, Ernie bot, outperformed OpenAI's ChatGPT in several key areas, including Chinese language tests against GPT 4.LINK

    President Biden announced a $42 billion plan to make high-speed broadband internet universally available in the U.S. by 2030. LINK

    Microsoft considered acquiring several gaming companies including Sega and Bungie, to expand Xbox/PC Game Pass library, revealed in FTC hearing. LINK

    US Supreme Court denied Genius' petition against Google, affirming lower-court rulings favoring Google in the song lyrics copyright dispute.LINK

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