Top tech giants are reportedly gathering on Tuesday to discuss filing an amicus brief in support of a lawsuit challenging the Trump administration’s new immigration ban. “The meeting is being called together by GitHub, which makes software development tools,” Reuters reports. “Alphabet Inc's Google, Airbnb Inc and Netflix Inc are among the companies invited,” Reuters writes, citing a source.
Google is rolling out Chrome 56 for Windows, Mac, Linux and Android. “Among the additions is a new warning for websites that collect passwords or credit card numbers but don’t use HTTPS,” VentureBeat reports. “The latest version of the browser includes “improvements to performance and efficiency of page reloading … and a ton of features for developers.”
Multiple federal agencies have told their employees to cease communications with members of Congress and the press, sources have told The Huffington Post. The freeze stunned aides on the Hill and people at those agencies. They worry it could upend current operations and stifle work and discussions that routinely take place between branches of government. There also appears to be a lockdown on external communication at the Environmental Protection Agency.
The Trump administration has instituted what it described as a temporary media blackout at the EPA — forbidding staff from awarding any new contracts or grants. Emails sent to EPA staff since his inauguration and reviewed by AP detailed specific prohibitions banning press releases, blog updates or posts to the agency's social media accounts. Trump has questioned the validity of climate science showing that the Earth is warming and man-made carbon emissions are to blame. The Dept of Agriculture has been issued a similar ban.
In 2016, venture-capital funding for U.S. startups decreased significantly, according to a new PricewaterhouseCoopers/CB Insights report. “Nationally, companies raised $58.6 billion in 4,520 deals throughout the year, a 20 percent decrease in amount raised over 2015,” writes The Seattle Times, citing the report.
After 6 years of operation, Amazon Studios scored its first (and second) Golden Globe, on Sunday. “Casey Affleck won the best actor nod for his role in Manchester by the Sea, and Billy Bob Thornton won for best performance in a television series for Goliath,” Fortune reports. “Affleck's win for Manchester by the Sea -- which Amazon distributed in partnership with independent studio Roadside Attractions -- marked the e-commerce giant's first ever Golden Globe win in a film category.
VaynerMedia's Gary Vaynerchuk is buying women's lifestyle media company PureWow. Business Insider calls the deal “the latest sign of the convergence of publishers and digital advertisers.” Per the acquisition, “PureWow will become the cornerstone of a new portfolio of media companies, that will pair with Vaynerchuk's digital marketing agency.” Once merged, “the companies will form an online publisher with in-house advertising and marketing expertise.”
The robots haven’t quite yet taken over, but, at Amazon, the transition is well underway. “The world’s largest e-commerce retailer said it has 45,000 robots in some 20 fulfillment centers,” The Seattle Times reports. That’s up an impressive 50% from last year’s holiday season, “when the company had some 30,000 robots working alongside 230,000 humans.”
In India, Amazon is experimenting with the sale of used goods. “Amazon is eyeing old goods and the space of reselling those products as it works on expanding its ecommerce business in India,” Mashable reports. Yes, “Amazon has launched its ‘Sell as Individual’ service in India, allowing users to sell their used goods.”