A lot of people get fired from Uber. One employee was reportedly fired last year for helping his female coworkers raise complaints about sexual harassment. Drivers get deactivated from the platform if their ratings slip below a certain number (Uber says the minimum rating varies by city, but driver forums say dipping below a 4.6 out of 5 is enough for deactivation). Even executives sometimes get axed — Uber senior vice president of engineering Amit Singhal was asked to resign after sexual harassment allegations against him at a former job became public.
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Last night, Waymo, the self-driving car division of Alphabet — parent company to Google — filed a blockbuster lawsuit against Uber. The suit alleges that a former Google engineer stole trade secrets and proprietary designs of Waymo's self-driving car system, which he subsequently used when starting his own company that was later acquired by Uber in 2016.
Google announced Tuesday that it is "pausing" its Fiber operations in ten cities. Google Fiber will remain in cities that Google has already laid the infrastructure for, but Alphabet is putting a halt on future development. Google will also be laying off nine per cent of its Fiber team, according to Ars Technica. The CEO of Google Access, Craig Barratt, is also stepping down.
Cities are so trendy right now that every big tech company wants to build its own. Zappos did it in Downtown Vegas. Amazon is kind of doing it in a Seattle. Alphabet is probably doing it somewhere soon. And now Y Combinator wants in on the fun, too, with a plan to build some kind of alt-Silicon Valley... somewhere.
Hearing the alphabet through movie scenes is totally dumb and silly but also loads of stupid fun. Burger Fiction took scenes from 85 different movies and stitched them together to spit out all 26 letters, and it's almost captivating, in a "damn, they're really going to be able to get every letter" sort of way.
Google Assistant sounds like it could be just what smart home fans have been looking for in a digital assistant, but it's pretty near worthless if it doesn't have some good hardware to go along with it. That's where the Google Home (previously codenamed Chirp) comes in.
Much like the city in which it was originally founded, the annual Burning Man festival has gentrified, and its wealthier attendees have been criticised for building walled-off compounds and bringing private chefs in the name of comfort. That's why a group of longtime Burners who also happen to be tech company millionaires decided to break off and start their own festival.
After dropping hints at a recent event that the Google parent company Alphabet might be building its own urban-scale laboratory, Footpath Labs CEO Don Doctoroff confirmed that a plan to build a city is in motion, and it's named "Project Footpath".
Getting a robot to balance and walk on two feet is a massive challenge, as the DARPA Challenge revealed. But it turns out it's a little less tricky when you focus on just the legs, as the Alphabet-owned SCHAFT's newest bipedal creation demonstrated by confidently walking out on stage at the New Economic Summit going on in Tokyo.
Last week, we reported that Alphabet, the holding company for Google and all its disparate moonshot affiliates, would surpass Apple as the most valuable company in the world. That future has now come to pass.