California legislators approved a landmark bill on Tuesday that requires companies like Uber and Lyft to treat contract workers as employees, a move that could reshape the gig economy and that adds fuel to a yearslong debate over whether the nature of work has become too insecure. The bill passed in a 29 to 11 vote in the State Senate and will apply to app-based companies, despite their efforts to negotiate an exemption.
An internal project to rewrite how Apple’s Siri voice assistant handles “sensitive topics” such as feminism and the #MeToo movement advised developers to respond in one of three ways: “don’t engage”, “deflect” and finally “inform”. The project saw Siri’s responses explicitly rewritten to ensure that the service would say it was in favor of “equality”, but never say the word feminism – even when asked direct questions about the topic.
A French inventor has successfully crossed the Channel on his jet-powered hoverboard for the first time. It was the second attempt at the 21-mile crossing for the inventor, who failed his first effort back in July after encountering problems at a refueling station. But after making some necessary changes to his refuelling arrangements, the 40-year-old former jet ski champion was able to make his second attempt a success.
A French inventor has failed in his attempt to cross the English Channel on a jet-powered flyboard. Franky Zapata, a former jet-ski champion, had been hoping to cross from northern France to southern England in just 20 minutes. But the 40-year-old fell into the water halfway across as he tried to land on a boat to refuel. Mr Zapata was not injured when he fell.
Google is investigating how 1,000 conversations recorded by one of its smart speakers were leaked. Belgian broadcaster VRT exposed the recordings made by Google Home devices in Belgium and the Netherlands. The search giant said the recordings came from one of the human reviewers who helps to refine Home’s linguistic abilities. It said it took steps to protect the privacy of people whose recordings its reviewers sampled.
SpaceX successfully launched a Falcon 9 rocket containing 60 satellites from Cape Canaveral in Florida Thursday evening. The satellites, meant to bring broadband internet to underserved communities, deployed into low-Earth orbit an hour later, according to Space News. The launch is the first of many in SpaceX’s effort to create a global internet mega constellation with one terabit per second of user capacity, Space News reported. SpaceX plans to do three to seven launches this year with the goal of eventually launching up to 12,000 satellites in the next few years, according to Space News.
Apple on Monday unveiled streaming service “Apple TV Plus,” the consumer electronic giant’s first foray into an increasingly crowded field of online content providers that seek to capitalize on the move by consumers away from the cable box. The Cupertino, California-based company also announced a slew of other updates, including a new no-fee credit card and subscription news service — initiatives that diversify Apple’s revenue stream away from the iPhone, sales of which have declined recently.
The European Union on Wednesday ordered Google to pay 1.49 billion euros ($1.69 billion) for stifling competition in the online advertisement sector. The European Commission said Google had placed exclusivity contracts on website owners, stopping them from including search results from Google’s rivals. The EU’s competition commissioner, Margrethe Vestager, said Google had prevented rivals from being able to “compete and innovate fairly” in the online ad market.
Google is expected to unveil a new streaming game service at the 2019 Game Developers Conference (GDC) in San Francisco this week. The tech giant will be making its foray into online gaming, joining Microsoft, Sony and Nintendo in a $140 billion industry. Google has kept the project carefully under wraps and not much is known about the service, set to debut Tuesday, March 19. There is expected to be both a software and hardware component to Google’s announcement.
A consortium of global technology firms has shared on its collective database the digital fingerprints of more than 800 versions of the video of New Zealand’s mass shootings that killed 50 people, it said on Monday. “This incident highlights the importance of industry cooperation regarding the range of terrorists and violent extremists operating online,” the grouping, which includes Facebook Inc, Alphabet Inc’s Google and Twitter Inc, said of the attack. The Global Internet Forum to Counter Terrorism (GIFCT) was created in 2017 under pressure from governments in Europe and the United States after a spate of deadly attacks.