How ad-free subscriptions could solve Facebook

 At the core of Facebook’s “well-being” problem is that its business is directly coupled with total time spent on its apps. The more hours you pass on the social network, the more ads you see and click, the more money it earns. That puts its plan to make using Facebook healthier at odds with its finances, restricting how far it’s willing to go to protect us from the harms… Read More

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Uber is reportedly preparing to sell its Southeast Asian business to Grab

 Uber is preparing to sell its Southeast Asian business to Grab in exchange for a stake in the Singaporean ride-sharing company that has a big presence in that region, according to a new report from CNBC. This wouldn’t be an unfamiliar story for Uber, which was handily beaten by Didi in China before eventually caving and selling the company to the dominant ride-sharing startup in China.… Read More

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Essential Phone’s new ‘Halo Gray’ color goes on sale exclusively at Amazon

 The Essential Phone is currently in the midst of being rolled out in a range of new colors, including three that will be released excessively on Essential’s own website, with a staged release schedule that began Thursday. On Friday, however, Essential revealed a surprise fourth new color, “Halo Gray,” which will be exclusive to Amazon and which is now available to… Read More

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As tech automates, Blinkist keeps its book summary service very human

 When I first heard of Blinkist, a service that breaks down recent nonfiction books to easily digestible snippets, I was afraid it would turn out to be some machine-learning-driven auto-summary thing. But in talking to co-founder Niklas Jansen, I was pleasantly surprised to learn that the company is still very much people-powered — and in fact, that may be the root of its continuing success. Read More

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Snap CEO Evan Spiegel basically says the Snapchat redesign is here to stay

 Despite a lot of backlash over a big redesign for the Snapchat app — which to be sure is a very big deal for a product-centric company like Snap — Snap CEO Evan Spiegel vigorously defended the redesign and basically said people need to get used to it.
Spiegel said at the Goldman Sachs Internet & Technology Conference that even people complaining about the app was a sort of… Read More

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France’s telecom regulator thinks net neutrality should also apply to devices

 The ARCEP just published a thorough 65-page report (embedded below) about the devices we use every day. The report says that devices give you a portion of the internet and prevent an open internet. “With net neutrality, we spend all our time cleaning pipes, but nobody is looking at faucets,” ARCEP president Sébastien Soriano told me. “Everybody assumes that the devices that… Read More

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Essential Phone arriving in three new limited edition colors

 The Essential Phone, still among the best deals you can find in smartphones today, is now set to be available in three new colors, including “Ocean Depths,” “Copper Black” and “Stellar Gray.” These include two previously announced colours, the aquamarine-ish Ocean Depths and the dark matte “Stellar Gray,” but also the surprising third options,… Read More

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Google’s Project Fi now offers data coverage in 170 countries

 Project Fi, Google’s multi-network cell service, now provides you with data coverage in 170 countries.
That’s up from the 135 countries the company has long offered service in. New countries where service is now available include the likes of Belize and Myanmar.
The good thing here is that Project Fi still doesn’t charge you extra for your data usage in these countries. Read More

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This new text bomb crashes most Mac and iOS apps with a single unicode symbol

 TechCrunch has learned of a potentially serious new bug affecting a wide range of Apple devices. During their development work on an international news feed, software engineers at Aloha Browser discovered two unicode symbols in a non-English language that can crash any Apple device that uses Apple’s default San Francisco font. The bug instigates crashes on iPhones, iPads, Macs and even… Read More

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Facebook should actually be Tinder too

 There’s beauty in the double-blind opt-in. That’s the way you match with someone on Tinder. You like them, they like you, you both find out and get connected. But to date the feature’s largely been trapped in dating apps that match you with randos or that not everyone wants to be on. That means this anti-loneliness technology is leaving some people out. Facebook, meanwhile, is… Read More

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