Microsoft, Oracle and Salesforce have joined hands to help curate the Vaccination Credential Initiative (VCI), which will create digital passports to accelerate access to the COVID-19 vaccination. The VCI will include one digitally receiving their immunization records through e-wallets such as Apple Wallet or Google Pay. Alternatively, one can receive a printed QR code with verifiable credentials.
Blue Origin is launching its New Shepard suborbital rocket for the first time in 2021, with a liftoff planned for 9:45 AM CST (10:45 AM EST/7:45 AM PST) Update: Now targeting 10:57 AM CST (11:57 AM EST/8:57 AM PST) from its launch facility in West Texas. This is the 14th flight of New Shepard, and it includes some key testing activities for Blue Origin.
Google announced on Thursday, that they have finalized the acquisition of wearable maker Fitbit. The deal, worth $2.1 billion was announced back in 2019. It faced scrutiny from officials of the EU regarding the Google’s use of the detailed health data collected by Fitbit. In order to receive approval, the tech giant promised not to use the data for targeted ads but can use it for other purposes.
Marcin Iwinski, co-founder of Cyberpunk 2077 developer CD Projekt, released a video in which he apologized for the bugs that plagued Cyberpunk 2077 – one of the most hyped games of 2020. The Polish developer said much of the game’s issues on older hardware resulted from its grand ambitions on PC. He vowed to release a patch to fix the bugs. Cyberpunk 2077 faced heavy criticism because of the bugs.
The microSD card is being ditched by Samsung on all three of its Galaxy S21 models. According to the company, the decision was taken as they feel microSD cards are no longer necessary. According to a spokesperson, Samsung provides the option to move from 128GB to 256GB storage at a lower rate than competitors with the upgrade only costing $50. Cloud storage has also been told as an option.
Jack Dorsey, Twitter’s CEO, has said banning President Donald Trump from the microblogging platform was the right thing to do. However, Dorsey acknowledged that the ban was in part Twitter’s failure as the company hadn’t done enough to encourage ’healthy conversations.’ He also said the ban ’sets a precedent I feel is dangerous.’ He said ’extraordinary circumstances’ forced Twitter to ban Trump.
Snapchat announced that it will permanently ban President Donald Trump’s account on January 20 – the day he leaves the White House. Snapchat had indefinitely suspended Trump’s account last week after the storming of the US Capitol by a mob of his supporters. Snapchat said it took the decision ’in the interest of public safety and based on his attempts to spread misinformation and incite violence.’
The chip world will be moved due to an announcement regarding an acquisition that has been made by Qualcomm. Nuvia, a start-up founded by three Apple A-series processors engineers, has been acquired by Qualcomm for $1.4 billion. The start-up’s technologies will be used by Qualcomm to develop chips to be used in devices such as laptops, smartphones, and even vehicles.
Personal loan apps which have violated Google’s user safety policies have been ’immediately removed’ by Google from its Play Store according to a statement by Google India. Hundreds of personal loan apps in the country were reviewed by Google based on the flags that users and government agencies had submitted. The number of apps which have been removed have not been provided by Google.
The European Union Agency for Law Enforcement Cooperation (Europol) said a multination operation took down ’world’s largest illegal marketplace’ – DarkMarket – on the dark web. DarkMarket had nearly 500,000 users and conducted 320,000 transactions worth $171 million in cryptocurrencies when it was taken down. Authorities stumbled upon DarkMarket while probing Cyberbunker, a Germany-based web host.
New figures have shown that the Australian government’s spending on their contact tracing app, Covidsafe, has risen to $14m. Other figures have shown that seven million users downloaded the app, with one third of them not updating the app to its latest version. According to data, more than two million users do not have the most up-to-date version of the app, which relies on more people running it.
Encrypted messaging apps Signal and Telegram are seeing huge upticks in downloads from Apple and Google’s app stores. Facebook-owned WhatsApp, by contrast, is seeing its growth decline following a fiasco that forced the company to clarify a privacy update it had sent to users. Mobile app analytics firm Sensor Tower said Wednesday that Signal saw 17.8 million downloads on Apple and Google store.
The US National Highway Traffic Safety Administration asked Tesla to recall 158,000 Model S and Model X vehicles over a known issue that can make touchscreens fail. The NHTSA argues that since the touchscreen failure results in the loss of the vehicle’s rearview and/or backup camera disabling drivers to use windshield defogging systems, it could lead to accidents. Tesla is yet to comment on this.
YouTube has suspended President Donald Trump’s Channel for seven days; citing concerns that his inflammatory rhetoric may incite violence amongst his supporters. In Texas yesterday, the President ended his Speech by saying: ’The 25th Amendment is of zero risk to me, but will come back to haunt Joe Biden and the Biden Administration; as the expression goes, be careful of what you wish for.’
Dropbox is cutting its global workforce by about 11%, the company said in an 8K filing released Wednesday. The company’s stock was down more than 4.5% in late-morning trading. The move will affect 315 people, who will be notified by the end of the business day. ’The steps we’re taking today are painful, but necessary,’ Dropbox CEO Drew Houston said in an employee memo Wednesday.
All political ads are set to be blocked by Google on its platforms due to the violence that occurred last week on Capitol Hill. The blockage will last until the day after Joe Biden’s inauguration on the 20th of January. Ads will be blocked starting Thursday. The blockage will affect ads which run through Google Ads, AdX Authorized Buyer, YouTube, and DV360.
The next big investments set to come out of the $100 million commitment made by Apple to racial equity and justice have been announced. An Apple Developer Academy is set to be launched in Detroit. Support for an Atlanta tech hub for historically Black colleges and universities will also be provided. Also, new grants, scholarships, and investments will be made for Black and Brown students.
Intel’s CEO Bob Swan will step down from his post on February 15, the company said. Pat Gelsinger, the CEO of VMware, has been appointed Intel’s new CEO. Swan’s resignation comes after just two years in the role, which presented itself after surprise resignation of former CEO Brian Krzanich in June 2018. Swan served as the interim CEO before being permanently appointed in the post in January 2019.
A recommendation has been launched by the advisor to EU’s top court to allow legal action to be taken against Facebook by data protection agencies in any EU country. Legal action can also be taken against any other tech firm even having their regional offices in a different EU state. Action could be prompted by national agencies against tech firms like Google if the recommendation is followed.