Amazon launches free channels, checkmarks come to Gmail, and OpenAI raises more money

It’s that time of the week again, folks: Week in Review (WiR) time. For those new to the scene, WiR is TechDigiPro’s regular newsletter rounding up the biggest tech stories of the past few days. There’s no better summary for the person on the go, we’d say, but of course we’re a bit biased.

Before we get into the nitty-gritty, a quick reminder that TC City Spotlight: Atlanta is fast approaching. On June 7th, TechDigiPro heads to Atlanta where we’ll be hosting a pitch competition, a talk on the economics of equality, a panel discussion on investing in the Atlanta ecosystem, and more.

Elsewhere, there’s a TechDigiPro Live event with Persona and Index Ventures on May 10, which will address how Persona keeps pace with new threats and how Index made a prescient move to spot and support Persona early on. And we’ve got Disrupt in San Francisco on September 19-21 – our annual conference is packed with expert-led sessions and interviews with the movers and shakers of the tech space.

Now with that out of the way, here are the main headlines.

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Amazon launches free channels: Amazon is doubling down on free, ad-supported content with this week’s introduction of Fire TV Channels. The new free and ad-supported video experience, which arrived on Fire TV devices this week, will be continuously updated throughout the day and integrated into various areas of the Fire TV interface. Sarah reports.

Bio update for a check: Briefly, a bug on Twitter allowed legacy blue check holders to get their badge back by updating their bio. Readers will recall that the blue ticks on Twitter once meant that a user was “verified,” but now they serve as an indication that they’re paying for Twitter’s premium subscription service, Twitter Blue. Verified users who opted out recently faced the possibility of having their blue check removed, but not necessarily permanently judging by the error.

Google changes passwords to passkeys: This week, Google released passcodes to Google account users around the world, about a year after the company, along with Apple, Microsoft and the FIDO Alliance, announced a partnership to broadly promote passcode adoption. . With passkeys, user authentication is synced between devices via the cloud using cryptographic key pairs, allowing users to sign in to websites and apps using the same biometrics or screen lock PIN they use to unlock your devices.

Microsoft launches Pegasus: Microsoft announced this week that it will expand Startup Founders Hub, its self-service platform that provides founders with free resources, including Azure credits, with a new incubator program called the Pegasus Program. Pegasus will select startups with products that “fill a market need” and give them up to $350,000 in Azure, GitHub and LinkedIn credits plus support from advisors, as well as “access to the best Microsoft technology,” Microsoft says.

Blue check marks are coming to Gmail: Google will start displaying a blue check mark next to the names of selected senders in Gmail to verify their identity, the company saying On Wednesday. Checkmarks will automatically appear next to companies that have adopted Gmail’s existing brand indicators for message identification, reporting Aisha.

OpenAI rakes in the dough: open AI, the startup behind the widely used ChatGPT conversational AI model, has garnered new backers. In an exclusive report, jag reunion and ingrid reveal that venture capital firms including Sequoia Capital, Andreessen Horowitz, Thrive, K2 Global, and Founders Fund have invested just over $300 million in OpenAI, valuing the company between $27 billion and $29 billion.

Apple releases security fix: On Monday, Apple released its first batch of publicly available “fast security” patches, intended to quickly fix security vulnerabilities that are under active exploitation or pose significant risks to its customers. Apple says these patches, which are enabled by default, were intended to allow customers to update their devices faster than a typical software update.

Musk settles for less: A libel case brought against Tesla CEO Elon Musk by critic Randeep Hothi is coming to an end, reportedly costing the billionaire big ten. Lawyers representing Hothi, a vocal member of the TSLAQ community of short sellers on Twitter that rose to prominence As a skeptic of Tesla’s gigafactory plans and “total self-driving” technology, he said in a statement that Musk filed to settle the nearly three-year-old case in March.

A new LLM for Alexa: Amazon is building a more “pervasive and capable” big language model to power Alexa, Amazon CEO Andy Jassy said during the company’s meeting. first quarter earnings call this week. He added that while Amazon has had an LLM that powers Alexa, Amazon is working on one that is more capable than the current one.


TechDigiPro’s stable of podcasts is growing by the day, and it’s all quality stuff. This week, the Equity People covered First Republic Bank, the Poparazzi closure, the Databricks acquisition, who is going toe-to-toe with Stripe, the rise in rounds to the downside, and why Bluesky made them feel less grey. Meanwhile, Found spoke with Stefan Bauer about how his company, Marker Learning, is reducing the cost of learning disability assessments by conducting them remotely. Chain reaction interviewed Jake Chervinsky, director of policy at the Blockchain Association, a non-profit organization focused on promoting “pro-innovation” policy for the world of digital assets. In The TechDigiPro podcast — which, like WiR, covers the week in tech news — Devin spoke about whether Meta’s cavalier approach to compliance might finally be coming to an end. And last but not least, Tech Crunch live profiled Sam Chaudhary, the founder of ClassDojo, and Chris Farmer, the founder and CEO of SignalFire, on playing the long game in edtech, investing in companies that aren’t rushing to monetize, and the “outside edge.”


TC+ subscribers get access to detailed feedback, analysis and surveys, which you know about if you’re already a subscriber. If you’re not, consider signing up. Here are some highlights from this week:

A cloudy future: Lyft’s capital is being sold on the back of the US ride-sharing giant’s first-quarter results and its comments on the current quarter, and how its new strategic stance will affect its growth and economy in coming quarters. But there is not necessarily reason to panic. Alex and Ana Write about Lyft’s new tactic and the potential advantages, of which there are several.

Down but not out: For the past year, everyone has been predicting that the muted exit environment and completely dry funding market would bring a reckoning for many late-stage companies. Negative rounds have a negative connotation and are often interpreted as the fault of the company or the founder. But in a market where everything seems to be going down, they shouldn’t imply that a company or its founders made a mistake; often, you just can’t help it. Rebeca writes

ChatGPT, learn about educational technology: Shares of edtech company Chegg fell off a cliff this week even after the company reported first-quarter results that beat analysts’ expectations. In their earnings call, company executives noted that ChatGPT was slowing its ability to add new subscribers, not only potentially slowing growth, but also raising uncertainty in its ability to predict its future financial results. Alex and natasha m. you deeper.

Get your TechDigiPro IRL fix. Join us at Disrupt 2023 in San Francisco this September to dive into all things startup. From headline interviews to intimate panel discussions to a packed startup show floor, there’s something for everyone at Disrupt. Save up to $800 when you purchase your pass now through May 15, plus save 15% on top with promo code WIR. Learn more.


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