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  • 🎮 YouTube Premium Unveils Playables: Free In-App Games Now

🎮 YouTube Premium Unveils Playables: Free In-App Games Now

+ Instagram Content Scandal | Musk's Grok Chatbot | Shein U.S IPO

Good day, tech aficionados!

It's November 28, and we've got a packed newsletter with highlights like YouTube's new gaming feature, Amazon's latest cloud solutions, and Google's AI strides against misinformation

  • YouTube Gaming Expansion - Playables introduced in YouTube Premium.

  • Instagram's Troubling Link - Adult content scandal involving child imagery.

  • Amazon's Cloud Leap - Launches trio of serverless database solutions.

  • Google AI vs Misinformation - Focused on developing factual AI models.

  • Google Prioritizes Users - New tools to enhance user-generated content.

  • Musk's AI Challenge - xAI's 'Grok' to compete with OpenAI's ChatGPT.

  • European Funding Dips - Startup investments fall to $42 billion.

  • Reddit's IPO Ambitions - Considering going public at $10B valuation.

  • Shein's IPO Strategy - Fast-fashion giant eyes U.S. market entry.

  • and more…

For detailed insights and more on these developments, keep reading.

Tech Companies

YouTube Premium has broadened its offerings with the introduction of Playables, free in-app games available on both mobile and desktop platforms without any downloads. The feature enables users to access various games such as Angry Birds Showdown, Brain Out, and Daily Solitaire among others, and will be available till March 28, 2024.

💡 Why this matters: YouTube's introduction of Playables suggests a strategic shift towards integrating gaming into streaming platforms. This highlights a potential rise in hybrid entertainment models that combine streaming and gaming. However, how this feature's pricing will evolve remains uncertain and could impact user adoption.

Instagram is facing intense scrutiny following a report disclosing that the platform's 'Reels' feature served adults inappropriate images of children. This is piling onto existing challenges from a lawsuit led by 33 state attorneys general accusing Meta, Instagram's parent company, of disregarding warnings about the potential harm to adolescent girls and ignoring underage account activity. Consequently, major advertisers, including Match and Bumble, are pulling ads in response.

Amazon has unveiled three new serverless offerings at its AWS re:Invent customer conference: an upgraded Aurora Serverless, Elastic Cache Serverless, and a smarter Redshift Serverless with AI. These updates aim to simplify data management and scaling, increase application response times, and decrease database costs, all with the intent of eliminating most back-end management work.

EU antitrust regulators have expressed concern that Amazon's $1.4 billion acquisition of iRobot may limit competition in the robot vacuum market. They suggest Amazon could hinder rival sales or degrade their access on Amazon's online marketplace. A decision is expected by February 14.

With a projection to deliver 5.9 billion packages in 2023, Amazon is on track to overtake UPS and FedEx in shipping volume. This surge is attributed to significant investments in its last-mile network and dominance in the online retail market.

Post its $69 billion acquisition of VMware, Broadcom has initiated layoffs. An unknown number of roles are being eliminated, causing concern and impacting customer deals.

Startup Scene

European startup funding experienced a significant drop to $42 billion in 2023 from $85 billion in 2022 due to adverse conditions in the technology sector. Atomico's report detailed a decrease in funding at all stages, including a dramatic fall in "unicorn" startups. Despite this, the overall value of the European tech ecosystem has bounced back to its 2021 level of $3 trillion. The funding patterns suggest a gradual recovery towards a healthier growth rate. Climate tech has emerged as the leading sector, accounting for 27% of all capital invested in European tech in 2023.

ZeroAvia raised $116m in Series C funding, spearheaded by investors such as Airbus and the UK Infrastructure Bank, to facilitate the acceleration of clean propulsion technology for aircrafts. The business move underpins the UK's aim to decarbonize aviation by 2050.

Failup Ventures has raised the first €30 million of a €50 million pre-seed fund for US and Nordic startups. The fund, led by experienced entrepreneurs, aims to support early-stage, value-driven enterprises.

AI Corner

Jeff Dean, chief scientist leading Google's AI units - DeepMind and Google Brain, discusses the company's struggle with ensuring generative AI models' factuality. Despite this, he defends the utility of these imperfect models, highlighting successes like Bard's constructive and educational capabilities. Despite Gemini's delays, Dean emphasizes it as a crucial part of many products. Google's AI ethics promise to mitigate bias, emphasize truth, and prioritize societal benefits. Dean also mentions the company's dedication to fair competition and innovation in the AI landscape, ensuring regulations won't hinder smaller companies.

Google has launched new tools enabling website owners to enhance the visibility of their content in search results. Features include the "Perspectives" search filter, highlighting posts from forums and social media platforms, along with an improved ranking algorithm for prioritizing user-generated content. Google is assisting sites in structuring their data for accurate representation and is also providing new features like ProfilePage markup for better content recognition. Changes have been inspired by concerns about SEO-optimized, machine-written content clouding search results.

Elon Musk’s xAI is set to launch its first product 'Grok', an AI chatbot, this week. For now, Grok will only be available to users on the most expensive plan of the social networking platform, X. The launch of Grok aims to challenge the dominance of OpenAI’s ChatGPT. Grok's distinguishing feature is its exclusive access to X's real-time posts and data, allowing it to provide updated information. Moreover, it will have distinct add-on features like a dedicated “fun” mode and shareable chats.

Markets & Money

The November market rally was partially driven by mild inflation readings, reinforcing the prevalent view that current Federal Reserve rates will maintain downward pressure on prices. This week's Personal Consumption Expenditures (PCE) rate, the Fed's preferred inflation measure, could challenge these beliefs. Further, there's high anticipation of this week's GDP estimate, with a projection of a 5% annualized increase. Market odds for unchanged Federal benchmark rates post the December meeting stand at 97%.

Social media powerhouse Reddit is reconsidering an IPO, following previous discussions with potential investors. Co-founded by Steve Huffman, Aaron Swartz and Alexis Ohanian in 2005, the company had confidentially submitted a draft registration to the SEC in 2021. Reddit, valued at $10 billion following a $410 million financing round, has previously involved Morgan Stanley and Goldman Sachs for a potential listing.

Fast-fashion behemoth, Shein, has confidentially filed for an IPO in the US. Last valued at $66 billion, the Chinese-founded company could begin public trading as early as 2024. Goldman Sachs, JP Morgan, and Morgan Stanley are expected to be the lead underwriters on the offering.

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