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Friday’s top tech news: Jury rules in Elon Musk’s favor in securities fraud trial

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To close out Friday’s news, a ruling arrived with unexpected speed in a securities fraud trial accusing Elon Musk of fraud based on his 2018 tweets that he was thinking about taking Tesla private.

The jury deliberated for less than two hours before finding Musk is not liable for losses incurred by investors based on the tweet, avoiding a verdict that could have potentially cost him billions of dollars in damages.

It’s funny, Google has been promoting its AI efforts for years, but something about the mainstream attention ChatGPT has been getting, combined with Bing-owner Microsoft’s interest in the technology, seems to have lit a fire underneath the search giant. Google is holding an event about search and AI next week on February 8th. And CEO Sundar Pichai’s recent comments really make it sound as though Google will soon let people interact with its AI technology in a way that’s very similar to ChatGPT.

As we prepare to welcome Sony’s PSVR2 into the world later this month, Meta CEO Mark Zuckerberg wants you to know it hasn’t forgotten about its own Quest headset. During Meta’s earnings call, the CEO said the new headset would support its mixed reality tech when it launches later this year.

Finally, Aqara, a smart home company that announced a very interesting presence detection sensor at CES this year, is gearing up to support the new Matter smart home standard. Although this paves the way for its tech to integrate more seamlessly with other smart home devices, there are, unfortunately still a lot of caveats.

Stay tuned, as we continue to update this list with the most important news of today: Friday, February 3rd, 2023.
  • A remastered version of Myst is coming to iOS

    Myst logo and key art with island illustration.
    Indie studio Cyan is bringing its latest Myst remaster to iOS.
    Image: Cyan

    The classic puzzle game Myst is celebrating its 30th birthday this year with a new way to play: on your iOS device. Myst Mobile is based on the remastered version of the original that’s been released for Oculus headsets and PCs over the past few years. It hits mobile devices on February 9th.

    The new iOS port will support iPhones and iPads with A12 bionic chipsets and newer, so you can experience the mind-numbing frustration of turning dials and locating switches wherever you take your phone. Compatible iPhones include the XS, XS Max, XR, and newer; the eighth-gen iPad, third-gen iPad Air, and fifth-gen iPad Mini and newer will all be compatible, too.

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  • Here’s a video of TikTok’s new transparency center.

    The Washington Post’s Taylor Lorenz shared an Instagram video of the recent media tour of the center. The Verge got to visit, too; check out our written story from Alex Heath.

  • Elon Musk cleared of fraud in ‘funding secured’ trial

    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

    A jury deliberated for about an hour, then found Tesla CEO Elon Musk is “not liable” for losses incurred by investors who accused him of fraud based on his tweets in August 2018 that he was thinking of taking the company private, adding “funding secured,” according to reports from The New York Times and CNBC.

    The deliberation was exceptionally quick. While cases can be difficult to compare directly, juries took days to deliberate on verdicts for Elizabeth Holmes and Martin Shkreli, both of whom were on trial for fraud. The decision for Musk took a fraction of that time.

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  • How much storage are your phone’s system files using?

    Mishaal Rahman is polling his users after hearing that the Galaxy S23 Ultra reserves almost 70GB for system files.

    Here are some numbers from Verge staffers: 27GB on a Galaxy S22, 8.8GB on a Unihertz Titan Pocket, 17GB on a Pixel 6, and 13GB on a Pixel 6a. For iPhones, we found that iOS took up around 9GB on two iPhones, with “System Data” ranging from 11 to 28GB.

  • Pakistan is reportedly blocking Wikipedia

    Illustration of the Wikipedia logo on a black, red, and tan background.
    It’s currently unclear what the government wants removed from the site.
    Illustration by Alex Castro / The Verge

    Wikipedia has been blocked in Pakistan over “sacrilegious” content on the site, according to a report from Bloomberg. The ban comes after the government ordered the site to remove offending content within 48 hours, and the country’s telecom authority “degraded” its services.

    It’s not currently clear what Wikipedia is being asked to remove, though Bloomberg reports that it’s still in talks with Pakistani officials. Wikimedia, the foundation in charge of Wikipedia, didn’t immediately respond to The Verge’s request for comment on the matter. According to research from the OpenNet Initiative, the country blocks sites that have content it considers to be “blasphemous, anti-Islamic, or threatening to internal security.”

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  • The EU has reportedly issued a formal warning to Microsoft over the Activision Blizzard deal

    An illustration of the Xbox logo.
    It’s more regulatory pressure on the deal.
    Illustration by Alex Castro / The Verge

    Microsoft is seemingly facing more regulatory opposition to its proposed acquisition of Activision Blizzard. According to Politico, the European Union has issued a formal antitrust warning against Microsoft regarding the $68.7 billion deal.

    Politico didn’t share exact details about the contents of the warning, but the publication says that in a “statement of objections,” EU officials “laid out the reasons why the deal could threaten fair competition on the video game market.”

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  • It is Bandcamp Friday.

    As always, I checked first. And now it’s time to make some shortsighted financial decisions that at least benefit musicians a bit more than your average streaming service probably does.

    There’s more info on Bandcamp Friday here.

  • PSA: Twitter’s API changes may make it difficult to log in to your favorite games

    Screenshot from Genshin Impact featuring a large dragon roaring at an ensemble cast of Genshin Impact characters
    Image: Mihoyo

    Elon’s messing up the game — literally. Two extremely popular online games, Arknights and Genshin Impact, have warned that players who use Twitter to log in may be affected by Twitter’s pending API changes.

    “We are in the process of confirming the impact of the Twitter API adjustments on game account login and the corresponding resolutions,” read the tweet on Genshin Impact’s official Twitter account. “To prevent possible account login problems, we recommend going to the HoYoverse Account page to link your email address for account logins.”

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  • Is this Microsoft’s ChatGPT-powered Bing?

    A screenshot of the homepage for Bing, Microsoft’s search engine. A banner says “Introducing the New Bing: Ask real questions. Get complete answers.”
    A screenshot purportedly showing the “new Bing,” inviting users to query an AI chatbot.
    Image: Owen Yin

    Microsoft is reported to be capitalizing on the success of ChatGPT by integrating the AI chatbot into its search engine Bing. But what might that look like? We may now have some idea, thanks to Bing users who said a new, AI-assisted version of the search engine mysteriously appeared (and disappeared) earlier today.

    Student and designer Owen Yin reported seeing the “new Bing” on Twitter this morning. He told The Verge via Twitter DM that he has Bing set as his homepage on Microsoft’s Edge browser and the new UI just loaded up. “Didn’t do anything to find it,” said Yin. “After a couple of minutes it stopped working ... Jaw dropped when I realized what I was looking at!”

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  • Feb 3

    Richard Lawler, Nilay Patel and 2 more

    Today on the Vergecast — Samsung’s Galaxy S23 and Galaxy Book3 Ultra.

    We’re back in video form (audio feeds for your podcast app are here), and this time yes, I admit it — I was occasionally using Nvidia AI to enhance my eye contact with Nilay, Allison, and Monica.

    Other than the Galaxy Unpacked news, we also discussed earnings results from Apple and Google as they were announced on Thursday and tried to get a handle on what’s happening to big tech companies.

  • Google invested $300 million in AI firm founded by former OpenAI researchers

    Illustration of Google’s wordmark, written in red and pink on a dark blue background.
    Illustration: The Verge

    The competition between Google and Microsoft over tech’s AI future continues to heat up. While Microsoft is firmly entangled with ChatGPT creator OpenAI, Google may have turned to a company founded by former OpenAI employees: the little-known Anthropic.

    According to a report from the Financial Times, in late 2022, Google invested around $300 million in the startup, though the news was not reported at the time. In return for the money, Google got a 10 percent stake in the company. Separately, Anthropic announced this week that Google Cloud is its “preferred cloud provider,” with the companies “co-develop AI computing systems.”

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  • Elon Musk will share Twitter ad revenue — but only with creators who pay for Twitter Blue

    Illustration of Elon Musk with stacks of money in the background, adorned with Twitter logos
    Image: Laura Normand / The Verge

    Elon Musk says that Twitter will start sharing revenue from reply-thread ads with creators who are subscribed to Twitter Blue Verified. (According to Musk, “legacy” verified marks will be going away in “a few months.”) He says the program will start today, though there are currently very few details about how it will work.

    Currently, subscribing to Blue will cost you $8 per month if acquired directly via its site or $11 per month from Apple’s App Store or Google Play, but the cheapest version is an annual subscription directly from Twitter for $84. It’s unclear how many viral tweets it would take to pay that off, but it could be difficult given Twitter’s rocky relationship with advertisers right now.

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  • The Last of Us Part I on PC delayed by a few weeks

    A screenshot from The Last of Us Part I for PC with protagonist Joel Miller.
    Sorry, Joel, you’re going to have to wait a bit longer to play the game on PC.
    Image: Sony

    The Last of Us Part I for PC has been delayed to March 28th, developer Naughty Dog announced on Friday. The remake of the first The Last of Us game was originally set to launch on March 3rd, so the delay isn’t too long, but it still might be disappointing to fans who may have circled the original date on their calendars.

    “We want to make sure that The Last of Us Part I PC debut is in the best shape possible,” Naughty Dog wrote in a tweet. “These additional few weeks will allow us to ensure this version of The Last of Us lives up to your, and our, standards.”

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  • How to stereo pair two Apple HomePods

    An illustration featuring Apple’s second-generation HomePod speaker and other smart home gadgets.
    Samar Haddad / The Verge

    If you’ve read through our review of the latest HomePod, you’ll know that one of Apple’s smart speakers alone sounds pretty good. But combining two of them in a stereo pair really takes the listening experience to a different level. It’s not a cheap proposition, but you’ll end up with even more immersive room-filling sound — and if you use two HomePods as speakers for an Apple TV, they’ll outperform many sound bars that are in a similar $600 price range.

    It’s important to note that you need two of the exact same model (first-gen HomePod, HomePod Mini, or second-gen HomePod) for a stereo pair; you can’t mix the old and new HomePods together, for example.

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  • Developer pleads guilty to hacking his own company after pretending to investigate himself

    A cartoon illustration shows a shadowy figure carrying off a red directory folder, which has a surprised-looking face on its side.
    Nickolas Sharp worked on one of the teams investigating his illegal activities while holding Ubiquiti data ransom for 50 Bitcoin.
    Illustration: Beatrice Sala

    A former employee of network technology provider Ubiquiti pleaded guilty to multiple felony charges on Thursday after posing as an anonymous hacker in an attempt to extort almost $2 million worth of cryptocurrency while employed at the company.

    Nickolas Sharp, 37, worked as a senior developer for Ubiquiti between 2018 and 2021 and took advantage of his authorized access to Ubiquiti’s network to steal gigabytes’ worth of files from the company during an orchestrated security breach in December 2020. The press release announcing his plea does not mention the company’s name, calling it only Company-1, but he has been identified publicly as a former employee and in a lawsuit filed by Ubiquiti.

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  • Breaking a 16-year-old tradition in Dwarf Fortress

    Key art for Dwarf Fortress.
    Image: Kitfox Games

    The much-anticipated Steam and version of Dwarf Fortress was announced in 2019, and brothers Tarn and Zach Adams kept working on the game until its release last December. But it was exactly two years after the original announcement that Putnam — a developer who has been involved in the community for around 10 years now working on popular mods and reverse engineering the game — sent Tarn a decisive email.

    “We knew just from our Steam wish list numbers that our game was going to do pretty well,” says Tarn in a Zoom call as he searches for Putnam’s email in his inbox. “Then we asked ourselves: ‘do we want to bring someone else?’ It wasn’t even something we could consider before in a normal capacity.”

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  • Emm aims to upgrade periods with a smart menstrual cup

    The Emm lineup from left to right: carrying case, Emm cup, portable UV sanitizing case, and applicator.
    The Emm product lineup includes a case, a cup with biosensors, a portable UV sanitizer, and a tampon-like applicator.
    Image: Emm

    In wearable tech, menstrual health often feels like an afterthought. Case in point: Fitbit, the first major wearable maker to add period tracking to its platform, did so in 2018 — over a decade after launching its first device. So is it any surprise that, in the era of smartphones and smartwatches, people are still using menstrual products that have remained largely unchanged over the last 90 years? Not really, but that might soon change. Emm, a smart menstrual cup, is currently going through beta testing. If all goes well, the product could launch as early as this year.

    What exactly is a smart menstrual cup? In Emm’s case, it’s a suite of products that center around a wearable device that kind of looks like a shuttlecock-shaped ketchup cup. The reusable cup is made of medical-grade silicone and contains biosensors that can purportedly measure metrics like volume, flow rate, cycle length, and regularity. Aside from obvious fertility information, these metrics can also help people with hard-to-diagnose conditions like polycystic ovary syndrome and endometriosis. It’s inserted with a tampon-like applicator, and the cup’s design is meant to create a “dynamic seal” that adjusts to fit any body shape. The cup connects with an app that automatically tracks your flow and notifies users when it’s nearing capacity. (It can also generate a downloadable PDF so you can share concerns with your doctors.) It even comes with a portable sanitizer that uses UV to sterilize the cup when you’re on the go.

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  • Meta’s Quest 3 headset will have better mixed reality tech, according to Zuckerberg

    The Meta Quest 2 sits in a dark room, lit by some purple and blue effect light.
    The current-gen Quest 2.
    Photo by Owen Grove / The Verge

    A key feature from Meta’s $1,499.99 Quest Pro headset will make an appearance — in some form — in a more affordable consumer-focused headset coming later this year, CEO Mark Zuckerberg said in the company’s latest earnings release. That key feature is support for Meta Reality, the technology that’s designed to allow virtual reality headsets to also be used for augmented reality, resulting in a so-called mixed reality headset.

    Meta confirmed in a previous earnings call that the headset, likely to be called the Meta Quest 3, is planned for release in late 2023. Zuckerberg expects it to cost between $300 and $500, around a third of the enterprise-focused Quest Pro. 

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  • Aqara’s affordable smart home lineup makes first jump to Matter

    A selection of three Aqara hubs laid out on a table with a garden and chair visible in the background.
    A selection of Aqara hubs. From left to right: Hub M2, Camera Hub G2H, and Hub M1S.
    Photo by Thomas Ricker / The Verge

    After a brief delay, Aqara is taking its first tentative step towards supporting the new Matter home connectivity standard with the release of a beta firmware update for its M2 hub. Aqara is first targeting M2 hubs manufactured in 2022 and sold outside of China. The company estimates it will take four to six weeks for all M2 hubs to be updated to version V4.0.0 (beta). Other Aqara hubs will receive the Matter-enabled firmware in “the following months.”

    Over 40 Zigbee-based Aqara devices will be accessible via Matter by anyone that activates it (by selecting “Bind to Matter”) after receiving the firmware update on their M2 hub.

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  • Google is holding an event about search and AI on February 8th

    Google logo and black swirls
    Illustration: The Verge

    Google is about to share more about its work in artificial intelligence. Next week, Google will be holding an event about how it’s “using the power of AI to reimagine how people search for, explore and interact with information, making it more natural and intuitive than ever before to find what you need,” according to an invite sent to The Verge. The 40-minute event will be streamed on YouTube on February 8th at 8:30AM ET.

    The timing of the event is interesting given that Google CEO Sundar Pichai just announced that the company is planning on letting people “interact directly” with its “newest, most powerful language models as a companion to search” soon. Google, long the de facto way to find information on the internet, is likely facing some pressure from Microsoft, which is reportedly planning on integrating ChatGPT into Bing. That could allow Bing to offer more intelligent summaries and results, which is something that Google has struggled with.

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  • It sounds like Google’s getting ready to compete with ChatGPT

    An illustration of the Google logo.
    Illustration: The Verge

    Google may be gearing up to compete with OpenAI’s ChatGPT by letting people “interact directly” with its “newest, most powerful language models as a companion to search,” according to CEO Sundar Pichai. It would be a big move for the company — as systems like ChatGPT and DALL-E have gone viral, Google — a company that’s been flexing its AI muscles for years and producing tons of research in the area — hasn’t had a public answer to those sorts of tools, some of which could threaten its core businesses.

    During an earnings call today, Pichai talked about how the company plans to “unlock the incredible opportunities AI enables,” saying the tech is “reach[ing] an inflection point.” He also says that it was Google’s earlier AI research that helped spawn “the generative AI applications you’re starting to see today.”

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