Hi Guys! It’s the end of another busy week in which many interesting things happened across the global tech space. From fundraising to business expansions and the release of new products and services.
Here is a quick roundup of some of the major stories around the globe you might have missed during the week.
Waymo driverless ride-hailing goes Public
Alphabet’s self-driving technology company, Waymo has started offering fully driverless rides to members of the public.
While the company has offered plenty of self-driving rides before, they usually came with a human in the driver’s seat for safety. Waymo has about 600 vehicles in its fleet with about 300 to 400 of those operating in the Phoenix area of Arizona.
The company said members of its Waymo One program in Phoenix will be able to go fully driverless with friends and family. It also added that over the next few weeks, the program will open up to even more passengers.
Apple, Amazon dismiss Antitrust Report
Apple and other big tech companies affected by the antitrust report have dismissed the recommendation that includes creating new separations to prevent dominant platforms from operating in adjacent lines of business. It also contains new requirements for interoperability and data portability and increased restrictions on mergers and acquisitions.
The recommendation is one of the major highlights of the report submitted by the House Judiciary Committee to add additional regulation to big tech companies.
Following the report, Amazon, Apple, Facebook and Google have responded negatively to the recommendation. Amazon dismissed the committee’s views as fringe notions and regulatory spitballing while Apple expressly disagrees with the report’s conclusions.
G Suite becomes Google Workspace
Google has rebranded G Suite to Google Workspace. The notable difference is the new sets of logos for Gmail, Calendar, Drive, Docs and Meet. The logos with the trademark yellow, blue, red and green make it a lot more google-y as it closely matches the Google logo itself and Google Maps.
Apart from the logo, the new workplace also has a number of new features including the previously announced integration of Meet, Chat and Rooms across applications.
Pricing remains the same, although there’s now an $18 per user per month Business Plus plan with additional security features and compliance tools
Other features include the ability to collaborate on documents in Chats and a “smart chip” with contact details and suggested actions that appear when you @mention someone in a document. This is not yet available.
Square Invests $50 Million in Bitcoin Development
Square Inc. has invested about $50 million in Bitcoin. The financial company founded by Jack Dorsey said it bought about 4,709 Bitcoins, representing about 1% of Square’s total assets as of the end of the second quarter of 2020.
“We believe that Bitcoin has the potential to be a more ubiquitous currency in the future, for a company that is building products based on a more inclusive future, this investment is a step on that journey.”Amrita Ahuja, Chief Financial Officer Square
The company isn’t the first public company to make a foray into the crypto space in recent weeks. MicroStrategy Inc. over the summer has invested over $400 million in Bitcoin.
Virgin Hyperloop to test its futuristic 700km/h transport system in West Virginia
Virgin Hyperloop One has revealed plans to build a $500 million certification center to advance its vision of the future of high-speed transportation in West Virginia.
The facility will serve as a locus for testing, developing, and validating the technology that underpins the still-theoretical hyperloop system. The company has a test facility in the desert north of Las Vegas, where it has achieved speeds of up to 240 mph (370 km/h). However, it is far less than the hyperloop’s theoretical maximum speed of 700 mph.
There is no fully functional hyperloop in the world, and it has never been tested with human passengers. Virgin Hyperloop One with the new facility believes they are close to eventually breaking grounds on a full-sized operational hyperloop system.
However, to achieve this it will still need to raise millions of dollars in funding, acquire the enormous tracks of land, and certify that the hyperloop can be operated safely.
You can check out other news that happened during the week here. Have a nice weekend!!
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