Hello Hello! Welcome back to Week in Review, the newsletter where we provide a brief overview of the most-read toptecheasy.com stories from the past week. The idea: If you’ve had a busy few days, you should be able to browse Week in Review and still have a good idea of what’s going on in terms of technology lately. Want it in your inbox? Register here.
The most read This week’s story was about Battlegrounds Mobile India, a popular battle royale title that has found an audience of tens of millions in India. Players woke up to find that the game was suddenly blocked from both Google Play and Apple’s App Store by order of the Indian government. Why? That’s… not quite clear yet, but Manish has the breakdown of everything we know so far.
New Gmail for everyone: Using Gmail? Don’t be surprised if it looks different later. The company announced this week that the overhaul of the “Material You” interface it has been testing will be rolled out to all users in the coming weeks. Don’t like the new styling? For now, at least you can find a toggle hidden in the settings menu to toggle it back.
Bad move(s) from Instagram: As anyone can see, TikTok seems to be eating Instagram’s lunch. Is the answer for Instagram to become more like TikTok? Recent updates — like a focus on full-screen video and more content from people you don’t follow — have made the Insta interface feel more and more TikTok-y… and, well, the complaints were loud. However, Instagram at least pretends to listen and says it will roll back many of the changes mentioned. Could be.
Rivian fired: Rumors earlier this month suggested layoffs at Rivian; Sure enough, the company confirmed this week that it is laying off about 6% of its workforce as part of a “restructuring plan.”
A cent for your prompts?: OpenAI’s DALL-E 2 can generate incredible art that seemingly comes out of nowhere, but sometimes getting the exact results you want can take some… finesse. This startup wants to “sell strings of words that yield predictable results” on DALL-E 2 and other such systems. An interesting story made all the better by the oh-so-Seussian opening scene, which I’ll note was created by a real human (and a nice on that).
Meta shutters Tuned: Did you know that Meta had a social app for couples? Probably not! Called Tuned, it was part of Meta’s New Product Experimentation efforts, and it looks like this particular experiment is over. Meta announced this week that Tuned will be disappearing on September 19. The app was intended to help couples communicate and “create a shared scrapbook” of photos/videos/etc. It doesn’t help that it was launched at the beginning of the pandemic, when many couples probably had no trouble keeping in touch because they probably weren’t going anywhere anyway.
Is it ever a good thing to lower your company’s internal valuation? Natasha and Anita focused on that question on Wednesday delivery of Equity. In the meantime, on chain reactionLucas and Anita talked about Minecraft and said “No friggin’ thanks” to NFTs, and Lauren jumped up The toptecheasy.com podcast to tell us why (as we learned last week) Netflix is bleeding customers.
If you are a toptecheasy.com+ subscriber, (a) thank you! and (b) we have fun things for you this week. Like:
3 views on Amazon’s acquisition of One Medical: Love it or hate it, Amazon buys One Medical. Good thing? Bad thing? Alex Wilhelm, Walter Thompson and Miranda Halpern weigh in with their perspectives.
8 fintech VCs on how to pitch them: What are fintech investors looking for now? Mary Ann Azevedo has checked in with eight of the top investors in the space.
Could the CHIPS Act Spark a New Start in the US Startup Renaissance?: The US Senate clearly wants more semiconductor production in the United States, but the production of chips is enormously expensive. Is this “potential cash injection” an opportunity for new startups to change the way it’s done? As Haje puts it: “Those weird theories you studied as part of your dissertation? Now it’s time to dust them off.”