Good morning! This is the tech news you need to know this Wednesday.
- Business Insider spoke with 30 current and former Amazon workers across the US, the UK, and Europe about what it’s like to work during peak season, from Black Friday to Christmas. They described a “brutal” reality of long hours, physical labor, fears about taking time off, workplace injuries, and the pressure to keep the wheels turning, even when the weather is treacherous.
- Google says the built-in microphone it never told Nest users about was “never supposed to be a secret.” In early February, Google announced that Assistant would now work with its home security and alarm system Nest Secure, but users didn’t know a microphone even existed on their Nest security devices to begin with.
- A new iPod is reportedly coming in 2019. Apple analyst Ming-Chi Kuo released a new research note over the weekend, detailing upcoming Apple products to be released in 2019, and the note said a new iPod Touch was on the way.
- Elon Musk doubled down on a bold claim he made about how quickly Tesla vehicles will be able to drive themselves. Musk said he is “certain” that Tesla vehicles will be able to operate without any driver intervention by the end of this year, pending regulatory approval, during an interview with ARK Invest.
- Google will reportedly reveal details of its Netflix-esque game-streaming service “Project Stream” at next month’s Game Developer’s Conference, Fortune reports. Sources told Fortune that the event will be a “coming out party” for Google’s entry into the video game industry.
- Google’s former chief financial officer, Patrick Pichette, has said European startups need more funding to become giants before companies like Google “take them out.” Pichette said British AI company DeepMind, acquired while he was at Google, could have been a UK champion had it stayed independent.
- YouTube announced that it’s overhauling its community guidelines with a new strike system for offending content, the Verge reports. The biggest change will be a new first-time “warning strike” which carries no punishment.
- Google’s new cloud boss made his first acquisition. Google Cloud announced Tuesday that it would acquire the Israeli startup Alooma, an “enterprise data pipeline” platform.
- A controversial startup that was charging $8,000 to fill your veins with young blood says it’s halted operations after a warning from regulators. Last month, Business Insider reported exclusively that blood-transfusion startup Ambrosia claimed to be up and running in 5 cities.
- Amazon’s new Virginia data center is getting a bunch of tax breaks, and it gives insight into how the company reduces its tax liability. Even outside of the deal that Virginia offered to Amazon to expand its operations there, the company has been benefiting from tax breaks in the state.
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