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Play Store developers can link to outside payment offers in the EU this week.

Google noted the change as part of an update on its compliance with the Digital Markets Act. The update highlights more options it’s already announced or rolled out, including new choice screens and data sharing options, plus changes to how Play Store developers can collect payments — all preparing for the deadline of March 6th.

This third-party iOS app store will be available in Europe this week.

German IT service provider Mobivention will launch its corporate-focused Mobivention App Marketplace on March 7th, the same date that the European Union’s Digital Markets Act (DMA) comes into force.

Alternatives to Apple’s iOS App Store have also been announced by Epic and MacPaw, though it seems Mobivention will beat both to market. The company says its App Marketplace is focused on enterprise app distribution, and provides:

Simplified rules for the publication of apps, alternative billing models, a reduced revenue share for in-app purchases and the option of integrating alternative payment solutions.

An ad banner for Mobivention’s App Marketplace, showing an open hand holding a smartphone.
The DMA is forcing Apple to open up its iOS platform to third-party app distributors in the EU.
Image: Mobivention
The Verge
Some details on Google’s Gemini scandal.

In case you missed the last issue of Command Line:

After talking to sources at Google, I’ve come to the conclusion that these bad Gemini responses slipped through testing because everyone felt rushed to ship. An illustrative example: the photo generation in the Gemini app is not actually powered by the Gemini model. It’s an older, text-to-photo model that was tacked onto the Gemini user-facing experience to get the feature out the door faster.

I’m told that there’s also a lack of alignment between Demis Hassabis’s research team building the underlying models and Prabhakar Raghavan’s search organization that’s putting them into user-facing products. Perhaps the coming “structural changes” Pichai hinted at in his memo to employees last week will address that.

Google’s morale crisis is about to get worse

The layoffs keep rolling, Gemini is in trouble, and now Google employees are bracing for lower raises.

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What’s attending a Formula 1 race like?

This is a spectacular read even if you don’t care about car racing. Think “The Kentucky Derby is Decadent and Depraved,” but with cars and much, much more money:

If a tornado came through and wiped the whole thing out, the stock market would plummet and the net worth of a country the size of Slovenia would vanish from the ledgers in a day.

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Seven banks who have Elon Musk-related debt are trying to negotiate with Musk.

They are discussing options that may make the debt less risky to hold. After the events of 2022, when Musk bought Twitter, it was difficult for these banks to offload the debt; they’ve agreed — for now anyway — to coordinate a sale together when X is “on firmer financial footing.”

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Welcome to March Meowness!

If you have a deactivated library card for Worcester Public Library in Worcester, Massachusetts, you can get it reactivated by bringing in a photo of a cat. Or a drawing of a cat. Or “any ungovernable animal.”

The very best food stuff on the internet

Plus, in this week’s Installer: Dune is back, a new tech book, Teenage Engineering, and Final Fantasy VII Rebirth.

Checking in on the wee Wii landscape.

This run-down of five different designs for portable Wiis (as in, literal Wii circuit boards trimmed to fit in tiny packages) shows just how far the hobbyist world of classic console miniaturization has come.

It comes from YouTuber GingerOfOz, whose work we’ve covered before. For the record, I call dibs on the GameCube-inspired one here.

The Verge
The methane-tracking satellite Jeff Bezos essentially paid for just launched.

But it’s not on one of his rockets. SpaceX’s Falcon 9 is carrying MethaneSat, a satellite made to measure the potent greenhouse gas methane. The Bezos Earth Fund gave the nonprofit Environmental Defense Fund (EDF) $100 million to build and launch the satellite. Google is also partnering with EDF to create a global map of methane pollution coming from oil and gas infrastructure.

Mr. Beast tells creators to ditch the jump cut.

In a message on X, the trendsetting 25-year-old YouTuber known for frenetically paced videos like “I Adopted EVERY Dog In A Dog Shelter” reveals that he’s “slowed down” and focused on storytelling over the past year, which he says brought in even more views.

Even longer videos may be on the horizon. Puck News reported that Amazon is close to signing a $100 million deal with Mr. Beast for a new talk show series.

Today’s smart homes: the hopes and the realities

The Verge team and others share their experiences of how smart technologies affect their lives — how it can often help and sometimes frustrate.

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Whole Foods is planning to launch convenience stores for city-dwellers.

The Amazon-owned upscale grocer is launching Whole Foods Market Daily Shop stores.

The Seattle Times reports that, like at the larger stores, customers can pay using a palm print and associate it with their payment method through Amazon One, the biometric payments system Amazon debuted in 2020 that can be used to buy things or even verify you’re old enough to buy beer.

The Verge
Steam will finally let you hide your questionable game purchases.

Now that the feature’s out of beta, you can start marking games as private, which means your friends won’t spot them in your library or in their activity feeds. They won’t even know when you’re playing them.

Aside from that, Steam is also rolling out a streamlined gifting process that allows you to gift games to multiple friends with one purchase.

The Vergecast’s last ride in the Apple Car.

If you squint hard enough, you can kind of see the opportunity Apple might have seen in the car industry... at least in 2014. But “a Lexus with some cameras on top” evidently wasn’t going to be enough. Come hang with us while we talk about the Apple Car, the Supreme Court’s online speech hearings, and a whole bunch more!

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Lawsuits blame an electric utility in Texas for the state’s largest wildfire.

The devastating Smokehouse Creek fire has already burned more than a million acres, killing at least two people, and destroying hundreds of structures. Officials are still investigating the cause of blaze. But at least one homeowner and one rancher have filed suits against utility Xcel Energy. A pole owned by Excel subsidiary Southwestern Public Service Company reportedly fell within the area where the blaze might have started.

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AI tax prep chatbots are giving bad advice.

A review by The Washington Post finds that AI-powered chatbots from leading tax prep companies H&R Block and Intuit Turbo Tax gave either irrelevant or unhelpful tax filing advice.

Here’s one example: Where should your child file taxes if she goes to college out of state? When I asked, TurboTax’s “Intuit Assist” bot offered irrelevant advice about tax credits and extensions. H&R Block’s “AI Tax Assist” bot gave me the wrong impression she has to file in both places. (The correct answer: She only files in the other state if she has earned income there.)

Question after question, I got many of the same random, misleading or inaccurate AI answers. 

H&R Block announced AI Tax Assist in December, while Turbo Tax released a similar service in November. Both companies have said AI chatbots learned from the same datasets human experts use to answer tax questions, but their disclaimers mention that users should always double-check AI-provided advice.

Are we getting a new Logitech webcam?

This teaser sure makes it look like it. Logitech says it’s getting ready to “invite the world in like never before” on March 6th.

The Verge
3DS emulator Citra’s source code is gone.

It wasn’t immediately clear from Bunnei’s memo whether the Nintendo 3DS emulator was toast or might live on under new management — they only said that “Yuzu’s support of Citra” was being discontinued.

But now, the source code has vanished from GitHub — just like Yuzu’s source code did. Here’s our full story:

DJI’s first US brick-and-mortar shop looks like a tiny old-school Apple Store.

Can’t say much ‘cuz I’m ethically bound, but gosh does this remind me of the old narrow San Jose Oakridge Apple store, particularly the metal walls, which in turn always reminded me of the trash compactor scene in Star Wars.

It’s located right here, and DJI says it’ll open 10AM on March 5th, with free swag for the first 100 customers.


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The epic, high-tech story of... a marshmallow startup.

I love a good tale of absurd startup behavior, and the Smashmallow story is both about marshmallows and somehow still extremely on brand:

Smashmallows were designed to look like an artisanal, boutique product, but that wasn’t enough for Sebastiani: He wanted to manufacture billions of them, to build a company that would bestride Candyland like a squishy colossus.

Turns out that if you try hard enough, you can Silicon Valley Brain almost anything.

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Apple’s visionOS update that could make Persona avatars better-looking is almost here.

The visionOS 1.1 release candidate that’s now available to developers includes some upgrades to the Personas avatars, such as improved rendering of eyes, mouth representation, and hair and makeup appearance.

MacRumors points out that this release also has updates for the virtual keyboard, Mac Virtual Display, mobile device management, and more. With the iOS 17.4 update close to a public launch, Apple also put out release candidates for tvOS, macOS, watchOS, and Xcode.

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The US Department of Energy has to start over if it wants to survey Bitcoin miners’ electricity use.

The DOE reached a settlement with crypto miners who sued to block data collection. The agency tried to make companies disclose their energy use through an emergency data request. But a federal judge placed a temporary restraining order on it in February, saying the situation probably didn’t warrant emergency authorization. On Friday, the DOE agreed to destroy information it’s already collected. It can start over without emergency authorization, but would have to propose a new survey and give the public 60 days to comment.

How smart is the smart kitchen, really?

For part two of our Vergecast smart kitchen series, we let the kitchen do the cooking. Chaos ensues.

Bunnei confirms Yuzu is shutting down — and it’ll hit Nintendo 3DS emulator Citra too.

Here’s the whole memo from Bunnei, who was lead contributor on both emulators. We’ve also added the full text to our main story if that makes it easier to read. Yuzu’s source code is already down.

This just got posted to the Yuzu discord.
This just got posted to the Yuzu discord.
Screenshot by Sean Hollister / The Verge
A Google Maps test shows where building entrances are.

Android Police spotted the test in Google Maps version 11.17.0101, which could make it easier to find the entrances to large buildings. You can only see the entrances when you tap and zoom in on a building, but not every location — or device — has the feature yet.

What if phones actually bent to our needs?

We’ve been busy shaping our habits and thinking around our phones. But what would it look like if they shaped themselves to better fit our lives?

An old Pixel Watch can learn new tricks.

On top of public transit directions (which are also available on any Wear OS 3 watch or later), as part of the March Pixel Feature Drop, the original Pixel Watch is getting the ability to auto track certain workouts, set goal paces within exercises, and heart rate zone training. It’s also getting the Relax app, which guides you through breathing exercises.

Most of these were already available on the Pixel Watch 2, but it's nice to see Google give the first-gen watch some love.

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“This was never about burgers in the first place.”

Former Verge Fellow Ian Carlos Campbell put Carl’s Jr.’s AI drive-thru ordering to the test for Inverse. The AI agent — which might be an actual human! — kept up surprisingly well. But even with the correct number of chicken tenders in his order it proved to be an unsatisfying experience — one that’s blatantly designed to pad out the company’s bottom line.