Amazon fires two employees who criticized the company’s COVID-19 response, Google may be creating its own chips to use in Pixel phones and more details emerge about Apple and Google’s contact tracing plan. Here’s your Daily Crunch for April 14, 2020.
1. Amazon fires two more employees who were openly critical of working conditions during pandemic
Two additional employees who were publicly critical of Amazon’s warehouse conditions amid the COVID-19 pandemic have been fired by the company. Those employees — UX designers Emily Cunningham and Maren Costa — were also members of Amazon Employees for Climate Justice, an organization of employees “who believe it’s our responsibility to ensure our business models don’t contribute to the climate crisis.”
Amazon has pushed back against the notion that the employees were fired expressly due to their criticisms of its treatment of workers during the pandemic. But, at the very least, the optics are less than ideal.
2. Google said to be preparing its own chips for use in Pixel phones and Chromebooks
Axios reports that Google is readying its own in-house processors for use in future Pixel devices, including both phones and eventually Chromebooks, too. The in-house chip is apparently code-named Whitechapel, and it’s being made in collaboration with Samsung.
3. Q&A: Apple and Google discuss their coronavirus tracing efforts
On a media call, Apple said it will roll out the feature update to the broadest number of iOS devices as possible — more than three-quarters of iPhones and iPads are on the latest version of iOS 13 and will receive the update. Google said it will update Google Play Services with the feature so that the contact tracing system can run on the entire fleet of Android devices running Android 6.0 or newer.
4. Reddit announces updates, including a new subreddit, to increase political ad transparency
Reddit announced an update to its policy for political advertising that will require campaigns to leave comments open on ads for the first 24 hours. The platform also launched a new subreddit, r/RedditPoliticalAds, that will include information about advertisers, targeting, impressions and spending by each campaign.
5. Venture capitalists chat edtech’s new normal after COVID-19
TechCrunch asked top investors in the space for their predictions on what’s ahead once life resumes to its new normal. One investor mentioned how in March, they spent a third of their time in edtech — now, they’re spending almost all their time vetting startups there. (Extra Crunch membership required.)
6. Nintendo Switch update adds ability to transfer game downloads to SD card
Previously, Switch owners had few options if their console ran out of storage space. With the update, if storage is running low, a person can transfer a game directly to an SD card.
7. UK tech job vacancies fall 31% in less than 4 weeks, according to job site data – so who is still hiring?
According to numbers shared exclusively with TechCrunch from job sites Adzuna (which also powers the U.K. government’s “Find a job” service and provides data to No. 10) and WorkinStartups, tech hiring activity amongst 100 of the U.K.’s top tech companies has fallen 31% in the last month.
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