Author: Brian Heater

Google said to be releasing its own smart display this year

TECHCRUNCH Back at CES in January, Google put on a big show with the launch of a new product category designed to take on Amazon’s Echo Show and Spot. Three companies — LG, Lenovo and JBL — were waiting in the wings with their own take on the screen-powered smart speaker. Google itself, on the other hand, was conspicuously absent. The company seemed content to rely on third-party hardware makers to do the heavy lifting in taking on Amazon. According to a new report from Nikkei Asian Review, however, the company is planning a screen sporting Home device before...

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Google updates Location History language after tracking backlash

TECHCRUNCH Four days after admitting that it continues to track users even after the Location History tracking has been disabled, Google has updated its website to more accurately reflect the nature of its location policy.  “This setting does not affect other location services on your device, like Google Location Services and Find My Device,” the updated Google Account Help page now reads. “Some location data may be saved as part of your activity on other services, like Search and Maps. When you turn off Location History for your Google Account, it’s off for all devices associated with that Google...

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China is the fastest growing smart speaker market

TECHCRUNCH No surprise that smart speaker sales are on the rise. That certainly comports with recent numbers from NPD. The latest report from Canalys, however, pulls the camera back a bit to give a better picture of the global market. Seems that while smart speaker sales continue to be hot here in the States, they’re positively on fire in China. Global shipments increased by 187 percent year-over-year for a total of 16.8 million units. China accounted for 52-percent of the total growth worldwide, with Alibaba and Xiaomi accounting for 17.7 and 12.2 percent, respectively. The growth is large, in...

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MoviePass is limiting selection to ‘up to six films’ a day

TECHCRUNCH One gets the distinct impression that nothing is ever permanent with MoviePass — including, of course, MoviePass itself. The troubled film subscription service has been through a number of different rule changes in recent months, as it’s worked to stem the financial bleeding. In an email, CEO Mitch Lowe outlined the latest updates to the once-unlimited subscription plan. Most notable among the changes is the limiting of selection to “up to six films to choose from daily, including a selection of major studio first-run films and independent releases.” On top of that, there may be further limitations on...

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Slack is down, take the rest of the day off

TECHCRUNCH No, it’s not just you. Slack is experiencing issues, as noted on the company’s status page. The issues appear to largely be focused on its Workspace/Org Administration service. We here at TechCrunch HQ East are no longer able to send one another direct messages, and honestly the idea of swiveling our chairs around to speak to one another is giving us some intense anxiety. Thank goodness for Twitter DMs, right? According to the latest update, “Our team is looking into the issues preventing private channel membership from displaying in Enterprise Grid workspaces.” We’ll update as we hear more. Until...

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Android 9 Pie (Go edition) arrives this fall

TECHCRUNCH With Android Pie now available (on a handful of devices, at least), Google’s prepping the launch of its low-powered counterpart. Android 9 Pie (Go edition) — the successor to the more pithily named Android Go — will be hitting arriving on devices this fall. Like Android Oreo (Go Edition), the latest OS is a stripped down version of its latest full operating system, designed to run on devices with 1GB of RAM. The more modest hardware requirements make it a compelling match for low-cost devices and thus a solid option for developing markets. Among other things, it will offer faster boot times than standard Android and will free up space on the phone’s storage. There are new security features on board as well, along with a dashboard for monitoring data consumption. There are a number of updates to individual Go apps, too, including the ability to read sites’ content aloud in Google Go and navigation in Maps Go. According to Google, the Android (Go edition) is currently available on 200 devices in more than 120...

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Airbnb pledges $10 million to New York charities

TECHCRUNCH Airbnb this morning announced the launch of A Fair Share. The initiative promises to donate $10 million to seven organizations, including The New York Immigration Coalition, New York Mortgage Coalition, New York State Rural Housing Coalition Inc., Win, GMHC, CSNYC and Abyssinian Development Corporation. It’s not all just a goodwill gesture, however. As The New York Times notes, the generosity comes as the popular subletting service is looking to raise the profile of NY Assembly Bill A7520, which would go a ways toward helping legitimize the service within the confines of the country’s largest metropolitan area. “We wanted to...

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MoviePass’ parent company had a really rough quarter

TECHCRUNCH The company that owns MoviePass lost a ton of money last quarter. Unsurprising, I realize, but in context, it’s actually a bit of a mind boggling. The more austerely named Helios and Matheson Analytics had one heck of a tough quarter, posting a $126.6 million operating loss, as compared to a loss of $2.7 million a year prior. If one chose to simply look at adoption rates, as MoviePass is no doubt hoping from its shareholders, things have been sunshine and lollipops over that same time period, with the movie subscription service growing to three million users. That,...

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