Fast Company sits down with Jen Fitzpatrick, one of Google’s first female engineers who currently serves as head of Google Maps. "There’s absolutely no way I could have predicted back then what Google would become today," she tells FC. "It never, never crossed my mind in my wildest imagination." Yet she says "it was clear from the very early days that we were onto something in the sense that the more word of mouth spread, the more people discovered the Google experience.”
TechCrunch catches up with The Infatuation -- the New-York based company that bought Zagat from Google, earlier this year. Having previously raised $3.5 million, the firm plans to use a good chunk of the funds to develop the new Zagat platform, which will be kept separate from The Infatuation, it reports. “The Infatuation will also expand to new cities beginning this fall with launches in Boston and Philadelphia.”
If Google designed Android with the intention of preventing mobile OS monopolies, The Verge suggests that the search giant has failed. “Android was made to fend off the possibility that Microsoft could repeat with phones what it had achieved with desktops: a virtual monopoly,” it writes. Yet, “Android has taken the place in smartphones that Windows once held with desktops: dominant market share.”
An Australian court spared a young man jail time although he hacked into Apple’s systems, and downloaded sensitive data. “The now adult defendant, who was 16 at the time the hacking began, accessed Apple’s internal systems and copied data and authentication keys,” Bloomberg. Yet, it said: “Sentencing of juveniles is focused on rehabilitation and the defendant had shown remorse and cooperated with authorities.”
TechCrunch reviews this week’s Senate hearing on privacy, during which some tech giants in attendance expressed a desire for more federal regulation. “Tech companies spent the past year pushing back against the new state regulations, but have conceded that new privacy rules are inevitable,” it writes. “Now the companies realize that it’s better to sit at the table to influence a federal privacy law than stand outside in the cold.”
Google is adding a Group Planning feature to Google Maps to help people coordinate events with their friends and family. “When you’ve found places to go, you only have to press and hold to add it to a shortlist that stays on-screen as you find places,” Engadget writes. “Once you’re satisfied, you can both share the entire list on messaging services and vote on the choices from Maps itself.”
Facebook’s latest virtual reality headset, the Oculus Quest, is set to hit shelves in the spring of 2019 for $399, the social giant announced this week. “The standalone VR device will be the first wireless Oculus hardware to sport positional tracking, both for the headset itself and the dual hand controllers,” TechCrunch writes. “The headset will ship with 50-plus games made specifically for the device at launch.”
Gizmodo considers all the data that Facebook and its advertisers use to target consumers on the platform. "Facebook is not content to use the contact information you willingly put into your Facebook profile for advertising," it writes. "It is also using contact information you handed over for security purposes and contact information you didn’t hand over at all, but that was collected from other people’s contact books, a hidden layer of details Facebook has about you that I’ve come to call 'shadow contact information'."
Amazon is investing in a $6.7 million fund-raising round for Plant Prefab, a California company that manufactures modules that can be assembled quickly into a home at a job site. “The wager is being made through the Alexa Fund, a pool of capital Amazon created in 2015 to back startups working on new uses for voice technology,” Bloomberg reports.
In a new lawsuit, Qualcomm is accusing Apple of stealing “vast swaths” of confidential information and trade secrets, CNBC reports. As it writes: “Qualcomm hopes the court will amend allegations in its existing lawsuit against Apple accusing it of breaching the so called master software agreement that Apple signed when it became a customer of Qualcomm's earlier this decade.”