How ad-free subscriptions could solve Facebook

 At the core of Facebook’s “well-being” problem is that its business is directly coupled with total time spent on its apps. The more hours you pass on the social network, the more ads you see and click, the more money it earns. That puts its plan to make using Facebook healthier at odds with its finances, restricting how far it’s willing to go to protect us from the harms… Read More

Uber is reportedly preparing to sell its Southeast Asian business to Grab

 Uber is preparing to sell its Southeast Asian business to Grab in exchange for a stake in the Singaporean ride-sharing company that has a big presence in that region, according to a new report from CNBC. This wouldn’t be an unfamiliar story for Uber, which was handily beaten by Didi in China before eventually caving and selling the company to the dominant ride-sharing startup in China.… Read More

As tech automates, Blinkist keeps its book summary service very human

 When I first heard of Blinkist, a service that breaks down recent nonfiction books to easily digestible snippets, I was afraid it would turn out to be some machine-learning-driven auto-summary thing. But in talking to co-founder Niklas Jansen, I was pleasantly surprised to learn that the company is still very much people-powered — and in fact, that may be the root of its continuing success. Read More

Snap CEO Evan Spiegel basically says the Snapchat redesign is here to stay

 Despite a lot of backlash over a big redesign for the Snapchat app — which to be sure is a very big deal for a product-centric company like Snap — Snap CEO Evan Spiegel vigorously defended the redesign and basically said people need to get used to it. Spiegel said at the Goldman Sachs Internet & Technology Conference that even people complaining about the app was a sort of… Read More

France’s telecom regulator thinks net neutrality should also apply to devices

 The ARCEP just published a thorough 65-page report (embedded below) about the devices we use every day. The report says that devices give you a portion of the internet and prevent an open internet. “With net neutrality, we spend all our time cleaning pipes, but nobody is looking at faucets,” ARCEP president Sébastien Soriano told me. “Everybody assumes that the devices that… Read More

Essential Phone arriving in three new limited edition colors

 The Essential Phone, still among the best deals you can find in smartphones today, is now set to be available in three new colors, including “Ocean Depths,” “Copper Black” and “Stellar Gray.” These include two previously announced colours, the aquamarine-ish Ocean Depths and the dark matte “Stellar Gray,” but also the surprising third options,… Read More