YouTube’s New Moderation Team Stumbles Out the Gate

Following the mass school shooting which killed 17 people and wounded over a dozen others in Parkland, Florida this month, YouTube launched a campaign to use some of its 10,000 new moderators to somewhat thin out the ranks of the conspiracy peddlers and far-right nuts which have become rampant across the site. Though other tech companies have been pressured into such action over the past year, the matter was particularly pressing for YouTube—which yet again promoted virulent conspiracy theories speculating that the shootings were a hoax or that the survivors were “crisis actors.” Read More >>

Alphabet Launched A Moonshot Cybersecurity Company That Sounds Like Every Other Cybersecurity Company

X, the moonshot wing of Google’s parent company Alphabet, announced today that a new cybersecurity project called Chronicle is “graduating” to become a fully-fledged company. X functions as an incubator for Alphabet’s more experimental endeavours, like self-driving cars or giant balloons that deliver internet connectivity, and Chronicle is the first cybersecurity company it has launched. Read More >>

YouTube Is Asking Promoted Musicians to Sign Non-Disparagement Agreements

YouTube is asking musicians who have signed up for a new partnership programme in which it provides big-ticket funding for videos and promotional support to sign sweeping non-disparagement agreements, Bloomberg reported on Tuesday. Read More >>

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The Fascinating History of 10 Extra Letters the English Alphabet Used to Have

At 26 letters long, the English alphabet isn’t the most complicated string of symbols and characters to master, even for a five-year-old. But that’s because it has been put on a strict diet over the years that helped it slim down and shed 10 additional letters that were either deemed superfluous, redundant, or just downright confusing. Read More >>

Waymo Teams Up With Insurance Startup to Cover Riders in Its Self-Driving Cars

Whether you like it or not, self-driving cars are coming, and depending on where you live, they might already be here. Google’s parent company Alphabet has had fully autonomous cars on the road for over a month, while Uber has its own self-driving fleet cruising the streets of Pittsburgh in the US, with a deal to buy as many as 24,000 SUVs from Volvo that it plans to turn into autonomous vehicles. However, just because the tech is there, that doesn’t mean the infrastructure supporting self-driving cars has all been figured out, which is why Alphabet is partnering with the insurance startup Trov to cover passengers riding in its autonomous Waymo cars. Read More >>

Eric Schmidt Steps Down as Alphabet’s Executive Chairman

After six years as executive chairman of Alphabet—the parent company of technology giant Google—Eric Schmidt announced in a press release today that he will step down, taking on the role of technical advisor at the company and remaining on its board. Read More >>

Alphabet Swaps Project Loon Balloons for ‘Boxes’ to Bring Light Beam Internet to India

One of Alphabet’s crazier attempts to bring the internet to more rural and isolated areas was Project Loon. Using what is called Free Space Optical Communication (FSOC), Alphabet has sought to prove it’s possible to reliably send data wirelessly between balloons floating thousands of feet in the sky. However, the task of keeping balloons aloft indefinitely is tricky business, so for its next venture, Alphabet’s X team is taking the tech behind Project Loon and putting it in FSOC boxes that will be mounted all over the Indian state of Andhra Pradesh. Read More >>

YouTube Is Working on a Music Subscription Service No One Asked For

YouTube—perhaps the largest repository of free music on the planet—plans to introduce a paid music subscription service in March. What could go wrong? Read More >>

YouTube Is Probably, Maybe Hiring Some People to Make It Less Welcoming to Child Predators

As you may have heard, YouTube is growing its content moderation team to 10,000 staffers. Sounds like progress! Of course, the move comes as a response to the ever-expanding gallery of horrors the site has unwittingly played host to over the years—most recently, various forms of child exploitation and predation—but let’s review the actual announcement from CEO Susan Wojcicki: Read More >>

Alphabet X’s Project Loon Provides Internet to 100,000 People in Puerto Rico 

Project Loon has provided mobile data to more than 100,000 people in Puerto Rico, according to Google parent company Alphabet. Read More >>

I Went for a Ride in a Waymo Self-Driving Car, Which Was Surprisingly Chill

Waymo, the self-driving car group born out of Google’s secretive moonshot unit and recently spun out as its own company, has made a bunch of self-driving cars—around 500 of its current Chrysler iteration, with another 500 in the works, not to mention probably lots more than that in the future. Yesterday, Waymo let a gaggle of reporters ride around in said Chryslers at its test facility without putting anyone behind the wheel, giving us a first look at what our driverless future will look like. Read More >>

Alphabet Definitively Ends Friendship With Uber, Welcomes New Best Friend Lyft

Lyft announced today that Alphabet’s investment arm CapitalG—formerly known as Google Capital—leads a $1 billion (£760 million) investment round in the ride-sharing company. Read More >>

Alphabet’s X Approved to Deploy Project Loon LTE Balloons to Puerto Rico, US Virgin Islands

Project Loon, the former Google X Lab enterprise to provide mobile data to rural areas and disaster zones via high-altitude weather balloons, now run by Google’s parent company Alphabet, may soon get another major test drive. Read More >>

Alphabet Just Unloaded Its Crazy Robots on Japanese Telecom Softbank

Three years after acquiring the MIT robotics lab Boston Dynamics, makers of Atlas and other scary bots, Alphabet (Google’s parent company) is selling it off to Softbank, a Japanese telecommunications company already known for its less terrifying robots like Pepper that might soon be getting some impressive upgrades. It turns out that posting YouTube videos of nightmare-inducing robots isn’t as profitable as once hoped. Read More >>