Ahead of a vote to determine whether Gawker Media will be the first large digital news organization to unionize, there doesn’t appear to be a consensus among staffers. “In a comment thread underneath an article inviting Gawker Media employees to justify their anticipated votes, employees cited a variety of reasons why they’re voting not to unionize,” Poynter reports. “Among them: Inadequate communication surrounding the unionization effort.”
Amid a slew of news coming out of Google’s I/O conference, this week, the search giant unveiled “Jump.” As The Verge explains: “Jump is an entire ecosystem for creating virtual reality videos, and it sounds like the kind of thing that could help VR take off by making it much more accessible to both create and consume.” The effort includes a camera rig Google built with GoPro, software that automatically assembles and processes the footage, and a player.
Shazam wants to make the whole world, er, shazamable. “The company … is moving beyond music identification and introducing a new visual recognition capability,” Mashable reports. “Shazam's new visual recognition capability is about helping brands serve up extra, customized content to consumers, in a manner similar to QR codes.”
From 2009 to 2014, the number of technology start-ups with at least one female founder has doubled from 9.5% to 18%, according to new figures from CrunchBase. “At the same time, the absolute number of companies (along with the total number of start-ups) with a female founder more than quadrupled from 117 in 2009 to 555 in 2014,” TechCrunch notes. “That news should be encouraging to the startup and technology community, as well as aspiring female founders.”
Adding a prominent -- if not hugely popular -- title to its growing empire, Vox Media has reached a deal to buy Re/Code for an undisclosed sum. “The all-stock deal … will give ReCode access to a wider audience, something it has struggled to build since the site split off from The Wall Street Journal about a year and a half ago,” The New York Times reports.
Brit Morin -- who some are calling the Martha Stewart of Silicon Valley -- has raised $23 million, Business Insider reports, citing a form filed this week with the SEC. Brit is the founder and face of Brit + Co. a lifestyle site featuring articles, recipes, and tutorials for skills like knitting, hand-lettering, and 3D printing. “The site also has an ecommerce component, selling DIY boxes called "Brit Kits’ and other home décor,” BI notes.
Yahoo is taking a pounding on Wall Street on concerns that a potential change in U.S. tax law could affect the company’s plans to unload its stake in Alibaba Group Holding. “The potential change … could complicate Yahoo’s plan announced in January to spin off its shares in Alibaba tax-free,” Reuters reports. “The IRS said it was considering changing its rules regarding spinoffs and would suspend requests starting on Tuesday.”
Facebook is facing a growing chorus of critics over its Internet.org initiative. “A total of 67 digital rights groups … have signed a letter to Facebook's founder, Mark Zuckerberg, stating concerns about the initiative,” BBC News reports. “They say the project threatens freedom of expression, privacy and the principle of net neutrality.” Internet.org lets subscribers of partner mobile networks use a limited number of online services, including Facebook, without paying for the cost of the data.
Initially built on its Bing service, Microsoft’s is preparing to open its Cortana digital personal assistant to Web and application developers. “The APIs make it possible to add image and speech processing to just about any application, often by using just a single Web request,” Ars Technica reports. “For now, the missing piece is the intelligence that can take text and speech interactions for applications to the next step.”
Finally realizing one of its longtime dreams, Google is about to start filling the roads with self-driving cars. “The latest version of Google's self-driving car … will make its debut on public roads this summer,” ABC News reports. “At first, it will likely even have a steering wheel and gas pedal — current California regulations require them … Those regulations also require a driver to be able to take back control of the car at any time.”