Skip to main content

Filed under:

Friday’s top tech news: job cuts come for Google

Share this story

First came Twitter, then Meta, Amazon, and Microsoft, and now Google has become the latest tech giant to announce a round of layoffs affecting thousands of its employees. Around 12,000 jobs are expected to be cut globally, or over 6 percent of the company’s headcount. Google’s sister company Verily announced a smaller round of layoffs earlier this month.

Elsewhere, Netflix announced big news during its latest earnings release. Co-founder Reed Hastings is stepping down from his position as co-CEO after 25 years of running the company, but he’ll stay on as executive chairman. The company also plans to move forwards with its restrictions on password-sharing, which will see users charged extra if they want to stream outside of the primary household.

For now, here’s a tweet to start your day:

Stay tuned, as we continue to update this list with the most important news of today: Friday, January 20th, 2023.
  • Twitter will stop forcing you onto its ‘For You’ timeline

    Screenshot of the current Twitter UI with a pinned list selected.
    Soon you may be able to more-or-less set one of the tabs as default.

    Twitter’s next update should make it less insistent that you use the “For You” algorithmic timeline, according to a tweet from Elon Musk. He says the app will “stop switching you back to recommended tweets,” and remember if you left it on the reverse-chronological “Following” timeline or a pinned list.

    Musk’s promises should be taken with a grain of salt, but I hope the company delivers on this one. Until last month, Twitter had a button that let you set a preference on which version of the timeline you wanted to use. That option went away when the company rolled out a UI that let you swipe between the two timelines, with the app defaulting to opening on the algorithmic one.

    Read Article >
  • Britain’s prime minister was fined because of this Instagram video.

    There’s a long history of internet posts getting people into legal trouble, but this entry is unusual because it’s Britain’s prime minister Rishi Sunak.

    This promotional video on his Instagram showed him riding in a car without a seatbelt on. The New York Times reports that violation can result in a fine of up to  £500 (about $620 US), and said Sunak’s office confirmed he would pay without specifying an amount.

  • Part of the US’ no fly list has reportedly leaked.

    A security researcher says they found the file on a regional airline’s unsecured server. According to The Daily Dot, the airline has confirmed that “NoFly.csv” was indeed genuine, and from 2019.

  • Have you been wondering about Gemini, Genesis, and the Grayscale Trust?

    If so, this deep dive from the podcast Odd Lots is fantastic.

    Three Arrows Capital and BlockFi were both borrowing from Genesis in order to get involved with a Grayscale arbitrage trade... and now Genesis is bankrupt. Of course, this is also why CoinDesk is up for sale, since Genesis, Grayscale, and CoinDesk share a parent company.

  • Elon Musk admits at trial that he ignored pleas to stop tweeting

    An image of Elon Musk in a tuxedo making an odd face. The background is red with weight scales on it.
    Kristen Radtke / The Verge; Getty Images

    Elon Musk will never stop posting, no matter who tells him to stop.

    That was one of the takeaways from his brief testimony during his securities fraud trial, which took place in a San Francisco courthouse Friday. Lawyers for the plaintiffs peppered Musk with questions about his tweets as they work up to his infamous “funding secured” tweet from 2018 at the center of this case. Musk is being sued by a class of Tesla investors who claim his bumbling attempts to take Tesla private that year cost them millions of dollars.

    Read Article >
  • TikTok confirms that its own employees can decide what goes viral

    The TikTok logo on a white background with repeating circle imagery scattered throughout.
    Illustration by Nick Barclay / The Verge

    TikTok has confirmed to Forbes that some of its US employees have the ability to boost videos in order to “introduce celebrities and emerging creators to the TikTok community.” The statement comes as part of a report about TikTok’s “Heating” button, which Forbes says can be used to put selected videos onto users’ For You pages, helping boost views by sidestepping the algorithm that supposedly drives the TikTok experience.

    Jamie Favazza, a spokesperson for TikTok, told Forbes that increasing views to particular videos isn’t the only reason for heating. TikTok will also “promote some videos to help diversify the content experience” (read: make sure your feed isn’t entirely made up of one or two trends), he said. Favazza also suggests TikTok doesn’t do it that often, claiming only “.002% of videos in For You feeds” are heated. According to an internal document obtained by Forbes, however, heated videos reportedly make up “around 1-2 percent” of “total daily video views.”

    Read Article >
  • Humble Bundle’s Winter Sale kicks off today

    Humble Bundle’s Winter sale goes live today
    Humble Bundle’s Winter sale goes live today
    Image: Humble Bundle

    Here’s your PSA to remind you that the Humble Bundle Winter Sale has started, knocking up to 90 percent off a variety of titles until February 7th. The sale features discounts on a plethora of AAA and eccentric indie games, but we’ve put together a short list of highlights that we can personally vouch for. Buying a game off the Humble Bundle store allows you to donate a portion of your purchase to the charity of your choice once you’ve set up an account.

    The majority of the games on sale are unlocked via your Steam account, but a handful may require an Epic Games Store or Ubisoft Connect account.

    Read Article >
  • Today on The Vergecast: Elon Musk status update, M2 MacBook Pros, and tech layoffs.

    Alex Heath joins the show’s first segment to talk us through the latest update on Elon’s first few months at Twitter, and then we turn to Apple’s eventless hardware announcement, HomePod and all.

    We also dove into the revelations about CNET’s AI-written stories and discussed the recent spate of Big Tech layoffs, although we recorded the show (available in audio form here for your podcast apps) prior to Friday morning’s bombshell news from Google.

  • Nintendo reportedly projects Switch sales are going up in 2023

    Nintendo’s login a green circle with black and purple shapes around it
    Illustration by Alex Castro / The Verge

    Nintendo is planning to increase production of the Switch for the upcoming fiscal year beginning in March, according to a Bloomberg report citing anonymous sources. The news arrives on the same weekend as the company’s first big release in 2023, Fire Emblem Engage, and ahead of the long-anticipated The Legend of Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom, which will go on sale in May.

    Nintendo reportedly has pinged its suppliers and assembly partners about increasing production without putting a firm number on its expectations. In November, the company had decreased its Switch sales forecast for the current year to 19 million units (down from its initial 21 million projection in May) due to ongoing component shortages, but the sources said the number would be around the 21 million originally projected.

    Read Article >
  • Mia Sato

    Jan 20

    Mia Sato

    CNET pauses publishing AI-written stories after disclosure controversy

    A graphic showing a robot performing multiple functions
    Illustration by Alex Castro / The Verge

    CNET will pause publication of stories generated using artificial intelligence “for now,” the site’s leadership told employees on a staff call Friday.

    The call, which lasted under an hour, was held a week after CNET came under fire for its use of AI tools on stories and one day after The Verge reported that AI tools had been in use for months, with little transparency to readers or staff. CNET hadn’t formally announced the use of AI until readers noticed a small disclosure.

    Read Article >
  • Invincible season 2 is a work in progress coming later this year.

    The way streamers drop multiple new “seasons” of animated shows back-to-back these days often makes people forget how much work goes into animation. The reason there hasn’t been a second season of Amazon Prime’s Invincible adaptation yet? It isn’t finished.

    But from the looks and sounds of a new teaser dropped today, fans can look forward to seeing more Invincible sometime late this year.

  • How to easily share your Wi-Fi password on Android and iOS

    Illustration of a Samsung phone.
    Image: Samar Haddad; Allison Johnson / The Verge

    If you have a guest over to your house for any amount of time, there’s a fair chance they’ll ask you for the Wi-Fi password, which may begin a dreaded dance of you trying to remember what it is or read out a complicated string of numbers, letters, and symbols.

    Of course, you could always buy a Wi-Fi password sign or write it on a sticky note that you can quickly point guests to, but that’s not always the most convenient solution; if your password is long or contains hard-to-read symbols (is that an O or a 0?), it can be a pain to get your friends and family connected.

    Read Article >
  • Twitter tests adding more clutter to its cluttered interface.

    Twitter is testing yet another form of verification for journalists. The latest trial adds a small publication logo to the right of display names. It looks pretty messy to me, but that might just be the Daily Mirror logo used in the tests.

    Anyway, remember when Elon Musk was talking about dropping features because they were a “waste of screen space”?

  • T-Mobile announces another data breach, impacting 37 million accounts

    Illustration of the T-Mobile logo, the letter T in a pink box with two squares on either side of it, in front of a blue and aqua background.
    The breach went undetected for over a month before T-Mobile detected the malicious activity.
    Illustration by Alex Castro / The Verge

    T-Mobile has revealed the company’s second major breach in less than two years, admitting that a hacker was able to obtain customer data, including names, birth dates, and phone numbers, from 37 million accounts. The telecom giant said in a regulatory filing on Thursday that it currently believes the attacker first retrieved data around November 25th, 2022, through one of its APIs.

    T-Mobile says it detected malicious activity on January 5th and that the attacker had access to the exploited API for over a month. The company says it traced the source of the malicious activity and fixed the API exploit within a day of the detection. T-Mobile says the API used by the hacker did not allow access to data that contained any social security numbers, credit card information, government ID numbers, passwords, PINs, or financial information.

    Read Article >
  • Polar Ignite 3 review: style over substance

    Close-up of the purple Polar Ignite 3 showing the weather screen on a person’s wrist
    The Polar Ignite 3 is the company’s best-looking smartwatch yet.

    I really wanted to like the Polar Ignite 3.

    The $329.95 Ignite 3 was one of Polar’s more memorable launch announcements in recent years. With a shiny new OLED display, it looked like a Pixel Watch doppelgänger in photos. It also got new features like multiband GPS and Sleepwise, which helps you visualize when you’ll be at your best during the day — an “alertness forecast,” if you will. I’m not sure what exactly I was expecting, but I had a good experience with the original Ignite watch back in 2019. Sleeker design, better components, new features — on paper, it sounded like a formula for a successful update.

    Read Article >
  • Google is freaking out about ChatGPT

    Image of the Google “G” logo on a blue, black, and purple background.
    Illustration: The Verge

    The recent launch of OpenAI’s AI chatbot ChatGPT has raised alarms within Google, according to reports from The New York Times. Now, the Times says Google has plans to “demonstrate a version of its search engine with chatbot features this year” and unveil more than 20 projects powered by artificial intelligence.

    As recently as December, we’d heard Google execs were worried that despite investing heavily in AI technology, moving too fast to roll it out could harm the company’s reputation. But things are changing quickly. Earlier this morning, Google announced it’s laying off more than 12,000 employees and focusing on AI as a domain of primary importance.

    Read Article >
  • Microsoft has copied the best Windows audio app

    Microsoft is copying features from a popular third-party audio tool for Windows. In the latest test build of Windows 11, a new volume mixer can be enabled that looks a lot like EarTrumpet. The new Windows 11 feature provides quick access from the taskbar to switch audio outputs and control individual app volumes.

    That’s exactly what EarTrumpet was built for nearly five years ago. The awesome utility has improved audio in Windows for years, and I once called it “the Windows 10 volume control app Microsoft should have created.” How ironic.

    Read Article >
  • Google cuts 12,000 jobs in latest round of big tech layoffs

    Google Opens Cloud Hub In Krakow, Poland
    Photo by Beata Zawrzel/NurPhoto via Getty Images

    Google is cutting approximately 12,000 jobs — the latest technology firm to initiate significant layoffs as inflation rises and global markets brace for a downturn.

    Google SEO Sundar Pichai announced the cuts in an email to staff on Friday and a blog post. The job losses constitute around 6 percent of Google’s global workforce, compared to recent layoffs at Microsoft (10,000 jobs or 5 percent of the workforce), Amazon (18,000 jobs / 6 percent), and Meta (11,000 / 13 percent). Earlier this month, Google’s parent company Alphabet announced much smaller cuts at Verily, its health-focused subsidiary, and Intrinsic, a subsidiary developing software for industrial robots.

    Read Article >
  • Emma Roth

    Jan 19

    Emma Roth

    Netflix’s paid password sharing to roll out ‘more broadly’ in the coming months

    An illustration of the Netflix logo.
    Illustration by Alex Castro / The Verge

    The era of Netflix password sharing will soon come to a close. Netflix has plans to enforce password-sharing rules “more broadly” toward the end of the first quarter of 2023, the company announced in its earnings report today.

    “While our terms of use limit use of Netflix to a household, we recognize this is a change for members who share their account more broadly,” Netflix writes. “As we roll out paid sharing, members in many countries will also have the option to pay extra if they want to share Netflix with people they don’t live with.”

    Read Article >
  • Reed Hastings is stepping down as Netflix’s co-CEO

    Illustration of the Netflix wordmark on a red and black background.
    Nick Barclay / The Verge

    As Netflix announced its quarterly earnings, co-founder Reed Hastings revealed that after 25 years of running the company that grew from delivering video disc rentals by mail into a streaming behemoth, he is no longer its CEO.

    He named content chief Ted Sarandos co-CEO in 2020, and Sarandos will continue on in that role but will now share duties as co-CEO with Greg Peters, Netflix’s former chief operating officer. In other executive moves, Bela Bajaria is now Netflix’s chief content officer, and Scott Stuber has been named the chair of Netflix Film. 

    Read Article >