posted less than an hour ago on re/code
So says tech critic Andrew Keen, whose next book “How to Fix the Future” is about finding real solutions. After a long honeymoon period, the mounting backlash to Silicon Valley indicates that tech is becoming more and more like any other business, author Andrew Keen says. “We’re in a new stage, the political stage, where you don’t have Eric Schmidt running the White House,” Keen said on the latest episode of Recode Decode, hosted by Kara Swisher. “Silicon Valley now is no longer the apple of most American citizens’ eye. They’re going to have to work hard — like Wall Street, like any other industry — to get what they want.” Keen’s new book, “How to Fix the Future,” is scheduled to be released Feb. 6. In it, he argues for reasonable solutions to problems created by the Digital Revolution, including economic inequality and an “imminent crisis of jobs.” “We need to recognize that many of the skills that were essential in the industrial economy are not going to be essential now,” he said. “One of the most important ways of dealing with the jobs crisis is through education. I think we need to rethink education, we need to focus on the skills we can do where we’re not competing with thinking machines.” You can listen to Recode Decode on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Pocket Casts, Overcast or wherever you listen to podcasts. On the new podcast, Keen also talked about his history as critic of tech, as expressed in books like “The Cult of the Amateur,” “Digital Vertigo” and “The Internet Is Not the Answer.” While writing his new book, he consciously looked for a pragmatic way to be hopeful about what might come next, and part of the answer was putting the disruptions of the internet age into historical context. “We can flip this thing on its head, and suddenly from being our savior, technology becomes the problem, and neither of those things is true,” Keen said. “We’ve got to walk a fine line between digital utopianism and dystopianism.” “I think the most culturally problematic thing about Silicon Valley is this general amnesia, this idea that, ‘If we’ve thought of it, no one’s thought of it before,’” he added. “You see that in the work of people like Tristan Harris, who have suddenly discovered that tech is addictive. There are lots of people who knew that before; all you had to do is read Nick Carr.” If you like this show, you should also sample our other podcasts: Recode Media with Peter Kafka features no-nonsense conversations with the smartest and most interesting people in the media world, with new episodes every Thursday. Use these links to subscribe on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Pocket Casts, Overcast or wherever you listen to podcasts. Too Embarrassed to Ask, hosted by Kara Swisher and The Verge’s Lauren Goode, answers the tech questions sent in by our readers and listeners. You can hear new episodes every Friday on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Pocket Casts, Overcast or wherever you listen to podcasts. And Recode Replay has all the audio from our live events, including the Code Conference, Code Media and the Code Commerce Series. Subscribe today on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Pocket Casts, Overcast or wherever you listen to podcasts. If you like what we’re doing, please write a review on Apple Podcasts — and if you don’t, just tweet-strafe Kara.

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posted about 17 hours ago on re/code
Free! Legal! (Pretty) easy! There are two NFL games left before the Super Bowl: The New England Patriots play the Jacksonville Jaguars today at 3:05 pm eastern, on CBS, and then the Philadelphia Eagles play the Minnesota Vikings at 6:40 pm, on Fox. It’s easy to watch the games: Turn on your TV, and there they are. You don’t even need a pay TV subscription to watch CBS or Fox (though you may need an antenna). You can also stream the games pretty easily. There are a couple free, legal options, and several more if you want to pay. FREE STREAMS: CBS is streaming the Pats-Jags game for free, via its CBSSports.com site and related apps for a variety of devices, including iOS, Android and Roku. This year you can also stream both playoff games for free on any mobile phone, via the Yahoo Sports app, no matter what carrier you have. That’s the result of a new Verizon-NFL deal; Verizon subscribers can also stream the game on Verizon’s Go90 app and the NFL’s own mobile app. PAID STREAMS: If you are already paying for TV — either via a traditional cable/satellite company or a new internet streaming service — you can probably stream the games. Fox is streaming Eagles-Vikings via its Fox Sports Go site and apps, but you’ll need to prove you have a pay TV subscription (or the password for your friend or family’s subscription) to watch it. Paid streaming services like Sling, Hulu and YouTube will probably let you watch the game, assuming they have deals with your local TV affiliate. Most of them have free trials, so you could sample and see for yourself. One thing we would not advise doing is walking around Philadelphia, because you may be splattered with Crisco or worse: Good morning from Philly where crews from the city are greasing the light poles with Crisco to prevent #Eagles fans from climbing after the #NFCChampionshipGame tonight. #Vikings pregame coverage starts at 3 on FOX9. They call themselves the #CriscoCops pic.twitter.com/w1ZkYWZhYG— FOX 9 Sports (@Fox9Sports) January 21, 2018 Speaking of the Eagles: This outpost of the Recode Brooklyn Bureau is a Minnesota Vikings household. And we also have access to the Vox Media Getty photo subscription. So while we are here, let’s remember what happened last week. And if things go south today, we can return to this page and bask in its glow. Photo by Hannah Foslien/Getty Images Photo by Hannah Foslien/Getty Images Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images

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posted about 17 hours ago on re/code
Free! Legal! (Pretty) easy! There are two NFL games left before the Super Bowl: The New England Patriots play the Jacksonville Jaguars today at 3:05 pm eastern, on CBS, and then the Philadelphia Eagles play the Minnesota Vikings at 6:40 pm, on Fox. It’s easy to watch the games: Turn on your TV, and there they are. You don’t even need a pay TV subscription to watch CBS or Fox (though you may need an antenna). You can also stream the games pretty easily. There are a couple free, legal options, and several more if you want to pay. FREE STREAMS: CBS is streaming the Pats-Jags game for free, via its CBSSports.com site and related apps for a variety of devices, including iOS, Android and Roku. This year you can also stream both playoff games for free on any mobile phone, via the Yahoo Sports app, no matter what carrier you have. That’s the result of a new Verizon-NFL deal; Verizon subscribers can also stream the game on Verizon’s Go90 app and the NFL’s own mobile app. PAID STREAMS: If you are already paying for TV — either via a traditional cable/satellite company or a new internet streaming service — you can probably stream the games. Fox is streaming Eagles-Vikings via its Fox Sports Go site and apps, but you’ll need to prove you have a pay TV subscription (or the password for your friend or family’s subscription) to watch it. Paid streaming services like Sling, Hulu and YouTube will probably let you watch the game, assuming they have deals with your local TV affiliate. Most of them have free trials, so you could sample and see for yourself. One thing we would not advise doing is walking around Philadelphia, because you may be splattered with Crisco or worse: Good morning from Philly where crews from the city are greasing the light poles with Crisco to prevent #Eagles fans from climbing after the #NFCChampionshipGame tonight. #Vikings pregame coverage starts at 3 on FOX9. They call themselves the #CriscoCops pic.twitter.com/w1ZkYWZhYG— FOX 9 Sports (@Fox9Sports) January 21, 2018 Speaking of the Eagles: This outpost of the Recode Brooklyn Bureau is a Minnesota Vikings household. And we also have access to the Vox Media Getty photo subscription. So while we are here, let’s remember what happened last week. And if things go south today, we can return to this page and bask in its glow. Photo by Hannah Foslien/Getty Images Photo by Hannah Foslien/Getty Images Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images

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posted about 18 hours ago on re/code
“Alexa, send in the next city.” Earlier this week, Amazon announced the 20 cities in North America that the company was still considering to be the home of its second headquarters. Among them were Newark, NJ; Boston, Mass.; Pittsburgh, PA; and Atlanta, GA. With the promise of 50,000 new jobs and $5 billion in spending, cities have clamored to persuade Amazon to bring its new headquarters there. The company received a total of 238 proposals from various cities and districts across North America. But this kind of Hunger Games, very public manner of seeking a city for a second headquarters was bound to get the “Saturday Night Live” treatment at some point. And it’s finally here. In a new skit — featuring Amazon CEO “Jeff Bezos,” “Sen. Cory Booker,” “Paula Dean” and, of course, Alexa — SNL brought us behind the scenes of the pitches for some of the final cities. Watch the full, cringeworthy segment here:

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posted about 21 hours ago on re/code
It’s the store of the future. Amazon is getting into more brick-and-mortar stores. While the retail giant purchased Whole Foods last year, Amazon had previously opened up a convenience store for employees under its own brand in Seattle in 2016. Amazon Go was supposed to be a cashier-less, checkout line-free store to help get people in and out faster — a convenience store of the future. But while Amazon employees have been able to use the store for the past year or so, it had failed to open the public. Until now. Recode senior editor Jason Del Rey recently got a look at the store, which is based at the bottom of Amazon’s main office tower in Seattle, before it opens to the public on Monday, January 22. Let’s take a look. You scan a special Amazon Go app on the way in to get access to the store. On the way out, you just walk out — no scanning. Jason Del Rey Jason Del Rey Amazon Go has food for all day parts: breakfast, lunch and dinner. One dinner option is meal kits that are exclusive to Amazon. Jason Del Rey Jason Del Rey Jason Del Rey Jason Del Rey While the Amazon Go store is cashier-less, there will be a worker checking IDs in the wine and beer section. So don’t get any ideas. Jason Del Rey See those black squares on the ceiling? Those are cameras and they are all over the store. Jason Del Rey This might be an Amazon Go store, but Amazon isn’t wasting an opportunity to feature the Whole Foods 365 brand. Jason Del Rey Surprisingly, some of Amazon’s other private labels — like Wickedly Prime — do not have special placement on the shelves. Jason Del Rey No grocery would be complete without the LaCroix sparkling water. One thing to note: the out-of-stock Pamplemousse LaCroix. The head of Amazon Prime Now told Recode recently that it is one of the most popular Prime Now orders in Seattle. Jason Del Rey Jason Del Rey So a reminder if you live in Seattle (or feel like going), the cashier-less Amazon Go store opens to the public on Monday, January 22. Jason Del Rey

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posted about 21 hours ago on re/code
Amazon Go allows customers to grab items and just walk out without stopping to pay. Amazon’s store of the future has been five years in the making. But the unveiling is just about here. Amazon Go, the company’s first brick-and-mortar convenience store, will open to the public on Monday on the ground floor of Amazon’s new headquarters on Seventh Avenue in Seattle. Though the unveiling will take place about a year later than the company originally planned, it will still be met with great intrigue because of the store’s unique technology that Amazon believes can make checkout lines a thing of the past. On the surface, the store, which resembles what a 7-Eleven might look like if it got a high-end makeover, was laid out in part like a Pret a Manger sandwich shop, dreamt up by the same tech powerhouse that had previously made one-click buying and two-day shipping the industry norm. Upon entering, shoppers are greeted by a selection of salads, sandwiches and beverages, as well as ready-to-eat meals for breakfasts, lunches and dinners. Amazon Go also carries small selections of beer and wine, as well as produce, meat and even Amazon’s own meal kits. Following Amazon’s acquisition of Whole Foods, one section is also set aside for chips, cookies and nuts, all from the grocer’s 365 Everyday Value brand. (Here’s a full photo tour of the store.) Jason Del Rey for Recode The wine section inside the Amazon Go store in Seattle. But the store’s real reason for being is to test what could be a breakthrough Amazon hypothesis: that by adding even more convenience to the convenience store model — with the help of a healthy dose of technology — Amazon might be able to carve out a loyal customer base outside of its website and inside a physical store where the vast majority of food and grocery shopping still occurs. To that end, Amazon Go is outfitted with a cocktail of modern technology that enables shoppers to simply grab items off of shelves and automatically get charged the right amount without stopping to pay upon exit. No lines, no waiting. While that means no cashiers are necessary, there are still people working at the store. On a recent visit, a greeter stood by the entrance, an ID checker was stationed near the booze, and at least six workers were visible inside the kitchen that passersby can view from the street. The idea was first incubated inside of Amazon five years ago with a question: “What can we do to improve on convenience?” according to Dilip Kumar, the Amazon Go technology chief who once served as CEO Jeff Bezos’ technical adviser for nearly two years. “What we always came back to was people don’t like waiting in line,” he added. On a recent visit to the store, Amazon handed me a phone to test out the Amazon Go technology using a demo account. Shoppers need to download an Amazon Go app to their smartphone, and scan it at a high-tech turnstile upon entering the store. After that, customers shop like they normally would, except for one crucial exception: when they’ve selected everything they want to purchase, they simply leave the store with the items and don’t stop to pay. If the store’s technology works as it should, their Amazon account is automatically charged for the right stuff they took as soon as they exit. How? The store is outfitted with cameras and shelf sensors to help Amazon’s computer vision system work some magic. The technologies, in turn, connect you and the phone you scanned at the entrance with the items you grabbed off of shelves and carried out the door. On rare occasions, a human is needed to confirm that the technology got it right. Jason Del Rey Cameras, including depth-sensing devices, line the ceiling of the new Amazon Go store On my visit to the store last week, the technology charged me correctly after I entered, grabbed a sparkling beverage, and exited — all in less than one minute. The real tests, however, will come during normal shopping days when, say, the store gets crowded, or an item is removed from one shelf and placed on another, or two people who have similar appearances are shopping in close proximity to each other. Such instances led to a delay in the store’s public opening, multiple news outlets previously reported and Recode since confirmed. When Amazon first announced the store’s existence in December 2016, it said it would open first to Amazon employees and then to the general public in “early” 2017. Instead, the public launch is just happening now — around a year later than planned. In a recent interview inside the store, Kumar, the vice president of technology for Amazon Go as well as the company’s 13 Amazon Books stores, would not concede that technology problems caused the long delay. “We [originally] felt that we needed to open it up to the public early enough in order to get the traffic that we needed,” he said. “Traffic is necessary to train our algorithms to be able to learn things about the assortment, customer behavior.” “But we were overwhelmed with the amount of Amazon response that we’ve had,” he added, “so there was no need for us to rush this...we were able to learn what we needed to learn from the Amazon Beta program.” Whatever the excuse, no one will remember the delay if the store becomes a hit. While waiting on line for a few minutes might not sound like an annoyance, the hope is that once customers experience the faster option of Amazon Go, their expectations of a convenience store visit will change. Looking ahead, you can bet that Amazon didn’t spend five years building this technology to only use it in one store. Kumar was candid when he said that would like to open up more Amazon Go stores, but is focused on this one for the time being. What about rolling out the technology to Whole Foods or Amazon Books locations, as many have speculated the company would do? “There are no plans to...introduce this technology in any of the other physical settings that we have.” Of course, you shouldn’t think about a new Amazon technology platform without considering the possibility that Amazon may eventually make it available to other businesses for a healthy fee. Amazon created Amazon Web Services, but turned out to simply be its first customer. The Amazon Echo pushed Alexa into the mainstream, but in some ways is just Alexa’s first customer, too, as the internet analyst Ben Thompson has noted. Five years from now, will we look back and realize that Amazon Go was simply the first customer of Amazon’s “Just Walk Out Technology”? That’s to ask: Will Amazon end up licensing the system to other retailers or will they have to build their own? “It’s too early to speculate on that,” Kumar said flatly. “For now,” he added, “we’re just focused on this store.”

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posted 1 day ago on re/code
Noto is one of Twitter’s most important executives. Anthony Noto, Twitter’s COO and the most important full-time executive at the company, is considering leaving. Noto, who joined Twitter as CFO in 2014 and moved to COO in late 2016, is considering the open CEO role at finance startup SoFi, according to multiple sources. The Wall Street Journal first reported the news. Both Twitter and SoFi have declined to comment. But no one is denying the story. Noto may end up staying at Twitter, but just the fact that he is thinking about leaving will unsettle Twitter employees and investors. Noto has been the architect for Twitter’s big strategy push into live video programming, like its deal with the NFL in 2016 to to stream Thursday Night Football games. Those who know Noto, a former Goldman banker, believe that he’s long wanted to be a CEO. With Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey still running Square, his other company, part-time, Noto has been the most senior day-to-day operator at the company and a de-facto CEO at times. Running SoFi would be his first fulltime CEO job. Twitter has an executive leadership retreat next week in New York City, according to multiple sources. It’s safe to say this will be a topic on everybody’s mind. Wall Street has been more enthusiastic about Twitter recently. The stock is up over 40 percent in last 12 months.

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posted 2 days ago on re/code
All the news that’s fit to post. Facebook’s emphasis on trustworthy news is helping The New York Times’ stock. Shortly before markets closed yesterday, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg posted that the social media company’s News Feed would prioritize news from sources that are “trustworthy, informative, and local.” Facebook users themselves will be responsible for determining what those are. Immediately afterward, New York Times stock shot up, ending the day up nearly 9 percent, according to data from FactSet. At $21.90, the paper’s stock price is the highest it’s been since before the recession. The New York Times has been riding high following the election of Donald Trump, hitting record growth in digital news subscriptions last year. News Corp, which owns The Wall Street Journal and The New York Post, also saw its stock rise, yesterday as did FOX News owner 21st Century Fox. Those gains, however, were small in comparison to The New York Times. if("undefined"==typeof window.datawrapper)window.datawrapper={};window.datawrapper["KUnPd"]={},window.datawrapper["KUnPd"].embedDeltas={"100":575,"200":525,"300":525,"400":500,"500":500,"700":500,"800":500,"900":500,"1000":500},window.datawrapper["KUnPd"].iframe=document.getElementById("datawrapper-chart-KUnPd"),window.datawrapper["KUnPd"].iframe.style.height=window.datawrapper["KUnPd"].embedDeltas[Math.min(1e3,Math.max(100*Math.floor(window.datawrapper["KUnPd"].iframe.offsetWidth/100),100))]+"px",window.addEventListener("message",function(a){if("undefined"!=typeof a.data["datawrapper-height"])for(var b in a.data["datawrapper-height"])if("KUnPd"==b)window.datawrapper["KUnPd"].iframe.style.height=a.data["datawrapper-height"][b]+"px"}); Earlier this month Facebook announced that it would prioritize posts from friends and family over news from publishers. Zuckerberg expects the changes will cause news to make up 4 percent of the News Feed, down from a current 5 percent.

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posted 2 days ago on re/code
All the news that’s fit to post. Facebook’s emphasis on trustworthy news is helping The New York Times’ stock. Shortly before markets closed yesterday, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg posted that the social media company’s News Feed would prioritize news from sources that are “trustworthy, informative, and local.” Facebook users themselves will be responsible for determining what those are. (function(d, s, id) { var js, fjs = d.getElementsByTagName(s)[0]; if (d.getElementById(id)) return; js = d.createElement(s); js.id = id; js.src = 'https://connect.facebook.net/en_US/sdk.js#xfbml=1&version=v2.11'; fjs.parentNode.insertBefore(js, fjs); }(document, 'script', 'facebook-jssdk')); Continuing our focus for 2018 to make sure the time we all spend on Facebook is time well spent... Last week I...Posted by Mark Zuckerberg on Friday, January 19, 2018 Immediately afterward, The New York Times stock shot up, ending the day up nearly nine percent, according to data from FactSet. At $21.90, the paper’s stock price is the highest it’s been since before the recession. The New York Times has been riding high following the election of Donald Trump, hitting record growth in digital news subscriptions last year. News Corp, which owns The Wall Street Journal and The New York Post, also saw its stock rise yesterday, as did FOX News owner 21st Century Fox. Those gains, however, were small in comparison to The New York Times. if("undefined"==typeof window.datawrapper)window.datawrapper={};window.datawrapper["KUnPd"]={},window.datawrapper["KUnPd"].embedDeltas={"100":575,"200":525,"300":525,"400":500,"500":500,"700":500,"800":500,"900":500,"1000":500},window.datawrapper["KUnPd"].iframe=document.getElementById("datawrapper-chart-KUnPd"),window.datawrapper["KUnPd"].iframe.style.height=window.datawrapper["KUnPd"].embedDeltas[Math.min(1e3,Math.max(100*Math.floor(window.datawrapper["KUnPd"].iframe.offsetWidth/100),100))]+"px",window.addEventListener("message",function(a){if("undefined"!=typeof a.data["datawrapper-height"])for(var b in a.data["datawrapper-height"])if("KUnPd"==b)window.datawrapper["KUnPd"].iframe.style.height=a.data["datawrapper-height"][b]+"px"}); Earlier this month, Facebook announced that it would prioritize posts from friends and family over news from publishers. Zuckerberg expects the changes will cause news to make up four percent of the News Feed, down from a current five percent.

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posted 2 days ago on re/code
New year, new additions to our running tally. New year, new giant investments for SoftBank. Earlier this week SoftBank officially closed its $1.25 billion investment in Uber, making SoftBank Uber’s largest shareholder. We learned yesterday that SoftBank could be looking for an uncommonly large 45 percent stake in dog-walking app Wag in turn for investing up to $300 million in the company. Of course, that would barely be a drop in the bucket for SoftBank’s $98 billion Vision Fund, which has been upending venture capital investing with its mammoth deals. In case you’re having trouble keeping track of SoftBank’s diverse investments, here’s our running tally: if("undefined"==typeof window.datawrapper)window.datawrapper={};window.datawrapper["XiWPj"]={},window.datawrapper["XiWPj"].embedDeltas={"100":968,"200":722,"300":666,"400":613,"500":599,"700":571,"800":571,"900":571,"1000":571},window.datawrapper["XiWPj"].iframe=document.getElementById("datawrapper-chart-XiWPj"),window.datawrapper["XiWPj"].iframe.style.height=window.datawrapper["XiWPj"].embedDeltas[Math.min(1e3,Math.max(100*Math.floor(window.datawrapper["XiWPj"].iframe.offsetWidth/100),100))]+"px",window.addEventListener("message",function(a){if("undefined"!=typeof a.data["datawrapper-height"])for(var b in a.data["datawrapper-height"])if("XiWPj"==b)window.datawrapper["XiWPj"].iframe.style.height=a.data["datawrapper-height"][b]+"px"});

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posted 2 days ago on re/code
New year, new additions to our running tally. New year, new giant investments for SoftBank. Earlier this week, SoftBank officially closed its $1.25 billion investment in Uber, making SoftBank Uber’s largest shareholder. We learned Friday that SoftBank could be looking for an uncommonly large 45 percent stake in dog-walking app Wag in turn for investing up to $300 million in the company. Of course, that would barely be a drop in the bucket for SoftBank’s $98 billion Vision Fund, which has been upending venture capital investing with its mammoth deals. In case you’re having trouble keeping track of SoftBank’s diverse investments, here’s our running tally: if("undefined"==typeof window.datawrapper)window.datawrapper={};window.datawrapper["XiWPj"]={},window.datawrapper["XiWPj"].embedDeltas={"100":968,"200":722,"300":666,"400":613,"500":599,"700":571,"800":571,"900":571,"1000":571},window.datawrapper["XiWPj"].iframe=document.getElementById("datawrapper-chart-XiWPj"),window.datawrapper["XiWPj"].iframe.style.height=window.datawrapper["XiWPj"].embedDeltas[Math.min(1e3,Math.max(100*Math.floor(window.datawrapper["XiWPj"].iframe.offsetWidth/100),100))]+"px",window.addEventListener("message",function(a){if("undefined"!=typeof a.data["datawrapper-height"])for(var b in a.data["datawrapper-height"])if("XiWPj"==b)window.datawrapper["XiWPj"].iframe.style.height=a.data["datawrapper-height"][b]+"px"});

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posted 2 days ago on re/code
There are lots of reasons, according to the local press. When Amazon said last year that it was looking for place to locate its second headquarters, cities around North America inundated it with proposals. Most didn’t make it. In total, Amazon received 238 proposals from cities, states, districts and territories — all hoping for Amazon’s 50,000 new jobs and $5 billion in spending. As of yesterday, just 20 cities are left on the shortlist. Here are some reasons why some didn’t make the cut, according to local press: Baltimore, Maryland Bad news about crime might have soured Amazon on Baltimore. Or maybe it was the lack of good mass transit. Did Baltimore's rash of bad news push Amazon away? https://t.co/7dNMwNnrVZ pic.twitter.com/s7Y7WF11cq— Sun Breaking News (@BaltSunBrk) January 18, 2018 Charlotte, North Carolina “Our bid had the distinct feel of a 50-year-old putting on Adidas and a craft brew shirt to look cool to the kids,” wrote the editorial board at The Charlotte Observer. Still Charlotte was able to buck up and congratulate its neighbor city, Raleigh. Amazon HQ2: Charlotte's out. Raleigh's alive. It's hard to say what we're about to say. #HQ2 https://t.co/dvvuGbgIuw— Peter St. Onge (@saintorange) January 18, 2018 Detroit, Michigan Detroit didn’t have a big enough pool of tech talent, The Detroit Free Press wrote. Its lack of mass transit might have hurt, too. Why Detroit may have fallen short in its Amazon bid https://t.co/FUihe4QQk7— Detroit Free Press (@freep) January 18, 2018 Kansas City, Missouri Kansas City lamented its minimal incentives to lure in Amazon and its relatively small population of tech workers, among other reasons. Why Kansas City didn’t make Amazon’s top 20 list for new headquarters https://t.co/UaYyrbguP0— The Kansas City Star (@KCStar) January 18, 2018 Minneapolis, Minnesota Minnesota’s $3 million to $5 million in incentives to Amazon were far smaller than the “more than $1 billion in incentives offered by at least nine of the 20 cities still on Amazon’s list.” Twin Cities out of the running for Amazon's second headquarters https://t.co/BwRTzsPPza pic.twitter.com/dsRGQ7zzAG— Star Tribune (@StarTribune) January 18, 2018 Oklahoma City, Oklahoma Oklahoma City’s mayor put some of the blame on a lack of state investment in education. And indeed, failures at the state level to fund core services like education are undoubtedly a significant reason neither OKC or Tulsa were serious Amazon contenders. I will work arm-in-arm with @gtbynum to advocate for progress at the state level. https://t.co/o8k23LzQGZ— Senator David Holt (@davidfholt) January 18, 2018 Salt Lake City, Utah The governor’s office chalked it up to Salt Lake City’s tiny population and western location. Left off @Amazon's list of finalists for its second headquarters, a Utah official say he suspects the Beehive State's population was too small and its location too close to the West Coast HQhttps://t.co/4EOlnGbBGE— The Salt Lake Tribune (@sltrib) January 19, 2018 St. Louis, Missouri St. Louis pitched a sky tram and a dedicated Amazon welcome center at its airport, but “Amazon just wasn’t that into us.” Its aging population might also have had something to do with it. Amazon narrows HQ search to 20 cities, St. Louis doesn't make the cut https://t.co/lXTmxTbrow pic.twitter.com/5tL5PAqhxX— St. Louis Post-Dispatch (@stltoday) January 18, 2018 Tucson, Arizona A giant saguaro cactus, vacant land and tax breaks weren’t enough to lure Amazon to Arizona. Here are the cities that made the cut.

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posted 2 days ago on re/code
There are lots of reasons, according to the local press. When Amazon said last year that it was looking for a place to locate its second headquarters, cities around North America inundated it with proposals. Most didn’t make it. In total, Amazon received 238 proposals from cities, states, districts and territories — all hoping for Amazon’s 50,000 new jobs and $5 billion in spending. As of yesterday, just 20 cities are left on the shortlist. Here are some reasons why some didn’t make the cut, according to local press: Baltimore, Maryland Bad news about crime might have soured Amazon on Baltimore. Or maybe it was the lack of good mass transit. Did Baltimore's rash of bad news push Amazon away? https://t.co/7dNMwNnrVZ pic.twitter.com/s7Y7WF11cq— Sun Breaking News (@BaltSunBrk) January 18, 2018 Charlotte, North Carolina “Our bid had the distinct feel of a 50-year-old putting on Adidas and a craft brew shirt to look cool to the kids,” wrote the editorial board at The Charlotte Observer. Still Charlotte was able to buck up and congratulate its neighbor city, Raleigh. Amazon HQ2: Charlotte's out. Raleigh's alive. It's hard to say what we're about to say. #HQ2 https://t.co/dvvuGbgIuw— Peter St. Onge (@saintorange) January 18, 2018 Detroit, Michigan Detroit didn’t have a big enough pool of tech talent, The Detroit Free Press wrote. Its lack of mass transit might have hurt, too. Why Detroit may have fallen short in its Amazon bid https://t.co/FUihe4QQk7— Detroit Free Press (@freep) January 18, 2018 Kansas City, Missouri Kansas City lamented its minimal incentives to lure in Amazon and its relatively small population of tech workers, among other reasons. Why Kansas City didn’t make Amazon’s top 20 list for new headquarters https://t.co/UaYyrbguP0— The Kansas City Star (@KCStar) January 18, 2018 Minneapolis, Minnesota Minnesota’s $3 million to $5 million in incentives to Amazon were far smaller than the “more than $1 billion in incentives offered by at least nine of the 20 cities still on Amazon’s list.” Twin Cities out of the running for Amazon's second headquarters https://t.co/BwRTzsPPza pic.twitter.com/dsRGQ7zzAG— Star Tribune (@StarTribune) January 18, 2018 Oklahoma City, Oklahoma Oklahoma City’s mayor put some of the blame on a lack of state investment in education. And indeed, failures at the state level to fund core services like education are undoubtedly a significant reason neither OKC or Tulsa were serious Amazon contenders. I will work arm-in-arm with @gtbynum to advocate for progress at the state level. https://t.co/o8k23LzQGZ— Senator David Holt (@davidfholt) January 18, 2018 Salt Lake City, Utah The governor’s office chalked it up to Salt Lake City’s tiny population and western location. Left off @Amazon's list of finalists for its second headquarters, a Utah official say he suspects the Beehive State's population was too small and its location too close to the West Coast HQhttps://t.co/4EOlnGbBGE— The Salt Lake Tribune (@sltrib) January 19, 2018 St. Louis, Missouri St. Louis pitched a sky tram and a dedicated Amazon welcome center at its airport, but “Amazon just wasn’t that into us.” Its aging population might also have had something to do with it. Amazon narrows HQ search to 20 cities, St. Louis doesn't make the cut https://t.co/lXTmxTbrow pic.twitter.com/5tL5PAqhxX— St. Louis Post-Dispatch (@stltoday) January 18, 2018 Tucson, Arizona A giant saguaro cactus, vacant land and tax breaks weren’t enough to lure Amazon to Arizona. Here are the cities that made the cut. Atlanta, Ga. Austin, Texas Boston, Mass. Chicago, lll. Columbus, Ohio Dallas, Texas Denver, Colo. Indianapolis, Ind. Los Angeles, Calif. Miami, Fla. Montgomery County, Md. Nashville, Tenn. Newark, N.J. New York City, N.Y. Northern Virginia, Va. Philadelphia, Pa. Pittsburgh, Pa. Raleigh, N.C. Toronto, Ontario, Canada Washington. D.C.

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More details on an unusual story we told you about last month. SoftBank could acquire as much as 45 percent of Wag, the dog-walking app startup that is in talks to accept $300 million in funding despite originally only seeking one third as much money. Recode reported last month that Wag was pitching investors on a $100 million round of financing. But then, amid fundraising troubles, the Japanese giant SoftBank — which is on a funding rampage in the U.S. tech sector — and Wag entered talks to triple that. The deal has not yet closed and could still fall apart. But the mere offer has been a hot topic in Silicon Valley, because it vividly shows how SoftBank has influenced fundraising outcomes in tech. Now we’ve learned something even more unusual: The deal could give SoftBank and co-investors around 45 percent of the company, according to multiple sources familiar with the deal. The transaction values the dog-walking company at around $650 million when you include the $300 million in cash. Typically a venture firm leading a round might acquire between 15 to 20 percent of a company. It is quite rare to see this type of ownership percentage in a venture-backed company, especially from a single investment round. And it’s another sign of how SoftBank — which is investing a mammoth $100 billion fund — is changing the rules here in Silicon Valley. Wag serves as a marketplace for dog owners and dog walkers, but has encountered fierce competition from Rover, another venture-backed company that offers a similar service. The onerous terms of the deal suggest Wag does not have significant leverage in fundraising negotiations, perhaps a sign of troubled finances at the company. SoftBank and Wag declined to comment. SoftBank is the lead investor behind the $300 million, though other smaller investors could join the round. Wag had already received an $100 million investment offer from a top venture capital firm before SoftBank arrived, a person familiar with the conversations told Recode last December. The company was valued at around $200 million just last April, according to PitchBook, meaning this would be the company’s second round of financing in just a year. Previous investors include Sherpa Capital and General Catalyst.

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posted 3 days ago on re/code
Sacco, who tweeted before she got on a plane, is back with Barry Diller’s company. Justine Sacco, the communications exec who was very publicly fired from IAC back in 2014 for an inappropriate tweet, has returned to the IAC family: She’s now running all corporate communications for Match Group, the online dating company that IAC spun off in 2015. It still owns close to 80 percent of the new entity. Sacco, who was most recently running communications for the daily fantasy sports startup FanDuel, will oversee corporate comms for Match, which includes the business’s online dating properties like Tinder, Match.com and OkCupid. LinkedIn It’s a notable new job considering how Sacco left IAC a few years back, where she was senior director of corporate communications. Sacco was fired after she sent an inappropriate tweet right before boarding a flight to South Africa. “Going to Africa. Hope I don’t get AIDS. Just kidding. I’m white!” she wrote at the time. The post blew up on Twitter while she was in the air, and Sacco landed to a ton of angry tweets, and the fact that #HasJustineLandedYet was trending on the service. She became a totem for internet shaming and was the focus of countless essays. She took some time away from the industry to regroup. During that time, she spoke with author Jon Ronson for a book and offered an explanation. “To me it was so insane of a comment for anyone to make,” she told him. “I thought there was no way that anyone could possibly think it was literal.” The passage, which was excerpted in New York Times Magazine, continues with a more extensive response from Sacco: “Unfortunately, I am not a character on ‘South Park’ or a comedian, so I had no business commenting on the epidemic in such a politically incorrect manner on a public platform...To put it simply, I wasn’t trying to raise awareness of AIDS or piss off the world or ruin my life. Living in America puts us in a bit of a bubble when it comes to what is going on in the third world. I was making fun of that bubble.” A statement from Joey Levin, CEO of IAC and chairman of Match Group, welcomed Sacco back into the fold. “With one notable exception, Justine’s track record speaks for itself,” he wrote in a statement shared with Recode. “Very few people in the business world have Justine’s indomitable spirit, tenacity, and drive to persevere. That’s the kind of talent we seek. I’m very happy to have her great mind and boundless positive energy back on the team.” Sacco spent the past few years at FanDuel, and as far as corporate communications go, pretty much ran the gamut. Sacco handled press for the company as it raised — and spent — ridiculous amounts of investor money; battled publicly to keep FanDuel operating in states that considered daily fantasy to be a form of online gambling; and eventually attempted to merge with rival DraftKings. (It was ultimately abandoned due to regulatory concerns.)

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posted 3 days ago on re/code
Some companies use NDAs to keep former employees from going public with their negative experiences. Google’s top executives say that they don’t want employees, particularly women, to be forcibly silenced when it comes to speaking out about workplace issues, like sexual harassment. In a conversation with Recode’s Kara Swisher and MSNBC’s Ari Melber today, Google CEO Sundar Pichai said that he would have “no issues” with releasing women from contracts known as nondisclosure agreements, which some companies use to keep women from talking publicly about workplace issues once they’ve reached a settlement with a company. The exchange took place during the taping of a new Recode TV show coming to MSNBC, called “Revolution.” YouTube CEO Susan Wojcicki, who was also part of the discussions, agreed. Here’s the exchange: Kara Swisher: “Will you release the women at Google from their non-disclosures that you may or may not have signed so they can tell their stories?” Sundar Pichai: “I have no issues with that. I don’t think we typically do non-disclosure agreements around these types of issues.” Susan Wojcicki: “I mean, I think we’re open to it. We haven’t discussed this, but I think it can make sense. We want to provide a more open environment and if there are issues and stories, we want to hear about them and talk about them. And I think at the end of the day it comes from the CEO, it comes from the very top. And we need the leadership to be able to say, ‘this is the right thing to do, this is how you run a tech company’. And we need the CEOs of Silicon Valley to take a strong stance that they want an open and diverse environment.” It’s not known if there are any former Google employees currently under such NDA agreements. When BuzzFeed wrote a story about these kind of NDAs last November, a Google spokesperson told the publication: “We encourage our employees to report concerns about harassment...Our employment agreements don’t prohibit anyone from talking publicly about instances of harassment.” (Employment agreements are not the same as nondisclosure agreements, though.) Today’s discussion came on the heels of what was a significant year of self-reflection in Silicon Valley with regards to issues of workplace culture. At Uber, for instance, numerous top executives, including CEO Travis Kalanick, stepped down or were fired as stories of the company’s bro culture leaked out. Others, including some well-known Silicon Valley investors, have been exposed for similar issues related to sexual harassment. At Google, the company dealt with its own discrimination issue, though it may not be what you would have expected. A former engineer, James Damore, was fired after he sent an internal memo suggesting that women were under-employed in the tech industry because of biological reasons. He’s now suing the company for discriminating against white men.

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Join the conversation.

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Congress isn’t going to be happy. Twitter revealed on Friday that trolls tied to the Russian government spread far more disinformation during the 2016 U.S. presidential election than the company first reported — and pledged to notify hundreds of thousands of users who had seen that content. The update comes as Twitter continues to face criticism on Capitol Hill that it has failed to fully confront the scourge of Kremlin propaganda — and neglected to respond to the demands of lawmakers who are probing Russia’s meddling on popular social media sites. Ahead of a series of congressional hearings last year, Twitter initially said it had discovered 2,200 accounts tied to the Internet Research Agency, a troll army connected to the Russian government. On Friday, though, Twitter said it had actually identified 3,814 accounts related to the IRA. Also last year, Twitter calculated that there were roughly 36,000 bots originating out of Russia -- and tweeting about the election — as Americans headed to the ballot box. By Friday, though, Twitter said it had found an additional 13,000 bots, bringing the total tally of automated accounts tweeting about the presidential race to more than 50,000. And Twitter revealed for the first time on Friday that Russian propaganda — content that sought to stir social and political unrest in the United States — reached scores of its users. The company said it would notify 677,000 people in the United States who had followed one of these suspect accounts, or retweeted or liked their content. Twitter said it would do so by email. In announcing its findings, Twitter sought to stress that Russian disinformation only amounted to a small portion of the tweets shared regularly on its platform. And it stressed that it had taken steps to prevent such abuse as another election — a 2018 race to determine the composition of Congress — fast approaches. That includes a series of previously announced changes to the way it displays political ads. But the news is sure to infuriate federal lawmakers, who repeatedly have needled Twitter during the course of their investigation into Russian influence. Democratic Sen. Mark Warner, for one, blasted Twitter in September for a “deeply disappointing” response to his questions about the election. When the company later appeared with its tech peers, Facebook and Google, at a series of congressional hearings on the issue, lawmakers from both parties demanded that Twitter take more aggressive steps to prevent such manipulation of its platform in the future. This year, the company completely blew a deadline by which it was supposed to respond to written questions it was sent by congressional investigators. And for months, Twitter had ignored public demands by lawmakers like Sen. Richard Blumenthal that it notify users who had seen or interacted with such Russian propaganda. Only this week did Twitter finally acknowledge that it would take that step. This time, Twitter might face additional criticism: It released its latest findings in a blog post published at 5 p.m. on a Friday — a news dump that comes as the U.S. Congress barrels toward a potential government shut down

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How dangerous is fire or AI? Make no mistake about how seriously Google is taking artificial intelligence. “AI is one of the most important things that humanity is working on. It’s more profound than, I don’t know, electricity or fire,” Google CEO Sundar Pichai said on Friday as part of a new show hosted by MSNBC’s Ari Melber and Recode’s Kara Swisher. “Fire’s pretty good,” Swisher said. “But it kills people, too. They learn to harness fire for the benefits of humanity, but we have to overcome its downsides, too,” he said. Pichai, whose company is doing some of the most extensive research into the field, said AI could play a role in curing cancer. But he still acknowledges there is a “balance” to be reached in society. “It’s fair to be worried about AI,” Pichai said. “We want to be thoughtful about it.” Pichai was interviewed alongside YouTube chief Susan Wojcicki. The show, a joint effort between Recode and MSNBC called “Revolution: Google and YouTube Changing the World,” is scheduled to air soon on MSNBC.

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Mark Zuckerberg says he wants better news on his social network, but he doesn’t want to figure it out for himself. Facebook is doing a very un-Facebooky thing: It’s going to start declaring that some news sources you see in your Facebook feed are better than others, and act accordingly. But Facebook being Facebook, it’s going about it in the most Facebooky way possible: It’s going to rely on users — not the super-smart people who work at Facebook — to figure out which of those sources are better. Mark Zuckerberg says the move is part of an effort to prioritize “news that is trustworthy, informative, and local,” within the network, and suggests that there will be more announcements to come. The one he describes today will prioritize what kind of news sources pop up in your Facebook News Feed, and will reward ones that Facebook thinks are “broadly trusted,” based on user polls, so it can “build a sense of common ground.” It’s a reminder that despite Facebook’s announcement last week that it is going to distribute less news to its users, it is still going to distribute plenty of news, given its enormous power and weight. Facebook is also using today’s news to refine last week’s roll-out: Zuckerberg says the previously announced changes will reduce the amount of news stories people see in their feed to 4 percent, down from 5 percent. But what’s most telling about today’s announcement is that Facebook remains insistent on arguing that it’s not really in a position to make judgements about the stuff it shows its two billion users — someone else needs to do it. “The hard question we’ve struggled with is how to decide what news sources are broadly trusted in a world with so much division,” Zuckerberg writes in a blog post today. But to be clear, it’s not because the people who work at Facebook, who build their own internet-beaming drones, aren’t smart enough to figure out the difference between the New York Times and the Denver Guardian, which doesn’t actually exist. It’s that they don’t want to do it, Zuckerberg says. ”We could try to make that decision ourselves, but that’s not something we’re comfortable with.” So instead, there’s this: “As part of our ongoing quality surveys, we will now ask people whether they’re familiar with a news source and, if so, whether they trust that source. The idea is that some news organizations are only trusted by their readers or watchers, and others are broadly trusted across society even by those who don’t follow them directly. (We eliminate from the sample those who aren’t familiar with a source, so the output is a ratio of those who trust the source to those who are familiar with it.)” Sounds ... okay? Particularly if you like reading established news sources. Not so good if you’d like to expand your news diet beyond that. And not so good if you’re a new publisher trying to make your way in a media universe dominated by two giant digital companies. Do you have more questions about this and Facebook’s other efforts to clean up its News Feed? So do we. So we’ll be asking Facebook execs Adam Mosseri and Campbell Brown about it next month at our Code Media conference. You can join us there.

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Plus, what has Travis Kalanick been up to? And Spotify is reinventing radio, and are you old money or new money? Here are the 20 cities Amazon is considering for its second headquarters: The list isn’t very surprising, comprised of a bunch of the bigger East Coast and Midwestern cities; Toronto was the only non-U.S. city on the list. Here’s how the city finalists compare on metrics including tech talent, office space and time to the airport. [Jason Del Rey / Recode] You’ve read all about the travails of Uber and its troubled co-founder and CEO Travis Kalanick nearly every day over the past year; now here’s a vivid recounting of Kalanick’s contentious final few months as the company’s CEO, and what he’s been up to after being pushed out of the company. Fun fact in a rather dark tale: Kalanick is using his downtime to set up a family office, spend time his father and indulge his obsession with the addictive smartphone game 2048. [Eric Newcomer and Brad Stone / Bloomberg] On the brighter side for Kalanick: SoftBank completed its investment agreement with Uber, which makes SoftBank Uber’s largest shareholder, and means a huge payday for the co-founder and other early backers. Kalanick will walk away from the deal with $1.4 billion. [Deirdre Bosa / Anita Balakrishnan / CNBC] Spotify has a plan to compete with terrestrial radio and maybe reinvent podcasting. The world’s largest paid music service has made deals with eight companies, including BuzzFeed and Refinery29, to produce programming for a news-and-politics initiative called Spotlight. The move comes as the company preps for an IPO this spring. [Lucas Shaw / Bloomberg] Snapchat’s parent company, Snap, laid off about two dozen people.Most of the layoffs were in Snap’s content division, which includes editors who work with publishing partners like NBC and BuzzFeed to produce original videos for the app. [Alex Heath / Cheddar] A committee of journalists in the Los Angeles Times newsroom called for CEO and publisher Ross Levinsohn to be fired, based on findings from an investigative report by NPR. The NPR piece paints Levinsohn as a frat-boy executive whose conduct in work settings has been called into question repeatedly by female colleagues over the past two decades. [David Folkenflik / NPR] Recode Presents ... Recode is partnering with MSNBC to produce a town hall event series — and it launches today. The first event will feature Google CEO Sundar Pichai and YouTube CEO Susan Wojcicki, and will be co-hosted by Recode’s Kara Swisher and MSNBC’s Ari Melber. From artificial intelligence to robotics and automation, they’ll examine the challenges and successes of tech. You can watch it in person for free today at noon PT at the Yerba Buena Center for the Arts in San Francisco, Calif., and it will air on MSNBC at 10 pm ET. on the same date. We don’t need to tell you much about The New York Times’ star political reporter Maggie Haberman. You’re already consuming her must-read stories — and her Twitter feed — every day for crucial insight into the Trump administration. We’re delighted she’s joining us our Code Media conference in Huntington Beach, Calif. Next month, along with the rest of our powerhouse lineup of speakers — a who’s who of the most influential and interesting people at the intersection of media and technology. Registration information is here. Top stories from Recode Here’s the chart that explains why CBS and Viacom want to merge. They’re big. But not nearly big enough. Facebook has added American Express CEO Ken Chenault to its board. CEO Mark Zuckerberg claims he’s been “trying to recruit Ken for years.” A bill to put more self-driving cars on U.S. roads is stuck in the Senate. California’s own senator, Dianne Feinstein, isn’t convinced that the technology is ready Google CEO Sundar Pichai: Digital technology must empower workers, not alienate them. Coding alone will not prepare workers for our tech-filled future. How worried should I be about the Spectre and Meltdown security flaws? On the latest episode of Too Embarrassed to Ask, Axios’ Ina Fried says most consumers might be okay — if they update their systems ASAP. This is cool How to tell if you’re old money or new money.

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From $10.99 to $12.99 Amazon Prime memberships are getting more expensive — for those customers who want the flexibility to pay for the speedy shipping and media streaming program on a monthly basis. The company is announcing on Friday that the Amazon Prime monthly fee is increasing from $10.99 to $12.99 in the U.S., an increase of 18 percent. The new price works out to nearly $156 a year. The increase comes less than two years after Amazon first introduced the monthly payment option as a way to attract new Prime members who either couldn’t afford the annual membership of $99, which is not increasing, or didn’t want to commit to using the service continuously. As I wrote this summer: The monthly payment option was seen as a way to attract lower-income customers — the type of shopper who might otherwise prefer, say, Walmart — who could not cough up $99 at one time. Since then, Prime membership growth has been the strongest among households making less than $50,000 annually, an R.W. Baird study found. Prime is the engine at the center of the Amazon commerce machine — Prime members buy from Amazon more frequently than non-Prime members and also spend more, hence why Amazon introduced the monthly option to lure new members. So if the company is raising the fee, you can bet that it discovered the current $10.99 was just not sustainable. “Prime provides an unparalleled combination of shipping, shopping and entertainment benefits, and we continue to invest in making Prime even more valuable for our members,” the company said in a statement. “The number of items eligible for unlimited Free Two-Day Shipping increased in recent years from 20 million to more than 100 million items. We have expanded Prime Free Same-Day and Prime Free One-Day delivery to more than 8,000 cities and towns. We also continue to introduce new, popular and award-winning Prime Originals...Members also enjoy a growing list of unique benefits like Prime Music, Prime Reading, exclusive products and much more.” Translation: this stuff is really expensive. The price of Amazon’s monthly Prime program for students, which just launched this past fall, is also jumping 18 percent — from $5.49 to $6.49. At the same time, the cost of a monthly Prime Video membership, which doesn’t include shipping benefits, will remain at $8.99; the monthly Prime membership option for customers on government assistance will also remain unchanged at $5.99.

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Axios’ Ina Fried says most consumers might be okay — if they update their systems ASAP. In June 2017, Google researchers discovered major security vulnerabilities in common computer processors, which were disclosed to the public earlier this month. And you should pay attention — because those vulnerabilities affect the computer processors that are in almost everything. “This is actually a flaw in the way chips have been designed for more than the last decade,” Axios chief technology correspondent Ina Fried said on the latest episode of Too Embarrassed to Ask. “Basically, it is really all chips — the chips in your phones, the chips in your PCs, the chips potentially in other things.” The flaws, known as Spectre and Meltdown, take advantage of how modern chips do calculations in advance for things they might need to do in the future. Fried explained that this makes certain tasks faster for some users, but opens the door for hackers to steal data that would normally be locked away if that user is running a malicious script. “If you think of this as a bank, right now it’s easy to go back and forth between the lobby of bank and the high-security vault,” she said. “To close that, [companies are] making it really hard to get between those two things.” “You had these chips that were incredibly powerful, and they had extra brain cycles and people were like, ‘What do we do with these extra brain cycles?’” Fried added. “What surprises me isn’t that they went to that, it’s that they didn’t foresee [that] unlocking the bank vault could cause problems. Nobody in the industry seemed to have seen it.” You can listen to the new podcast on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Pocket Casts, Overcast or wherever you listen to podcasts. On the new podcast, Fried said the advice for consumers is easy: Patch your devices to the latest updates. But unfortunately, not everyone with a smartphone may have that option yet. “I think what we’re going to see over time is, if there are exploits, Android is more vulnerable because people don’t fix their Android systems,” Fried said. “Even though Google has put out a patch, that’s not the same as the phone maker. Samsung might not have put out a patch. [And] the different chipmakers — it’s just a more crowded atmosphere.” “Apple has said a little less,” she added. “They’ve said, ‘We’ve updated iOS and Mac OS.’ As is typical, they don’t go into a ton of detail about how vulnerable they were. They do have the advantage, though, that they can see the software, the chips and the hardware, and they can be more elegant in the way they fix it, because they control all those things.” Have questions about Spectre and Meltdown that we didn’t get to in this episode? Tweet them to @Recode with the hashtag #TooEmbarrassed, or email them to [email protected] Be sure to follow @LaurenGoode, @KaraSwisher and @Recode to be alerted when we’re looking for questions about a specific topic. If you like this show, you should also check out our other podcasts: Recode Decode, hosted by Kara Swisher, is a weekly show featuring in-depth interviews with the movers and shakers in tech and media every Monday. You can subscribe on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Pocket Casts, Overcast or wherever you listen to podcasts. Recode Media with Peter Kafka features no-nonsense conversations with the smartest and most interesting people in the media world, with new episodes every Thursday. Use these links to subscribe on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Pocket Casts, Overcast or wherever you listen to podcasts. And finally, Recode Replay has all the audio from our live events, such as the Code Conference, Code Media and the Code Commerce Series. Subscribe today on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Pocket Casts, Overcast or wherever you listen to podcasts. If you like what we’re doing, please write a review on Apple Podcasts — and if you don’t, just tweet-strafe Kara and Lauren. Tune in next Friday for another episode of Too Embarrassed to Ask!

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They’re big. But not nearly big enough. In 2016, Shari Redstone wanted Viacom and CBS — the media companies her family controls, to merge — In 2017, she changed her mind, and said they were fine on their own. Now she wants them to hook up again. Last year, Redstone’s argument for keeping the two companies apart was that Viacom, the once-mighty cable programmer that had fallen into disrepair, could improve on its own. But even if Redstone believed that, it looks like the rest of the media industry won’t wait for Viacom’s turnaround. A series of proposed mergers, kicked off by AT&T’s planned acquisition of Time Warner, is forcing smaller media companies to look for larger homes. The operating theory: Programmers need to bulk up in order to get leverage with distributors — or find a distributor who just wants to buy them. And while Viacom and CBS are giant media companies that reach tens of millions of people every night, by the standards of today’s media landscape, they’re comparatively small: Investors value CBS at $23 billion, and Viacom at $14 billion. By comparison, Time Warner is worth some $72 billion, and Disney, which is worth $168 billion, is swallowing a big chunk of 21st Century Fox, which for now is worth $67 billion. Here’s a visual representation of the market: We’ve grouped distributors and content companies by market cap, and highlighted some of their main lines of business. Note the digital guys on the right side of the chart — many people think Netflix, with its boom streaming business, is spurring some of this consolidation, and we’re still waiting to see if the truly big tech companies like Apple and Amazon enter the market for real.

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Coding alone will not prepare workers for our tech-filled future. This is a contributed article by Sundar Pichai, CEO of Google. A version of the essay was originally published on NBCNews.com. Tune in to MSNBC Friday, January 19, at 7 pm PT/10 pm ET to see Pichai and YouTube CEO Susan Wojcicki onstage in San Francisco with Recode executive editor and co-founder Kara Swisher and MSNBC’s Ari Melber in a special town hall, “Revolution: Google and YouTube Changing the World.” It’s clear that people need more options to thrive in the digital world. The next generation of workers will depend on how we evolve education and tech in the coming years. When you think of how to help our workforce thrive and find opportunities in the digital world, the first word that often comes to mind is “code.” Nearly every digital-skills program over the past decade has focused on computer science, with a lot of emphasis on young students. Coding, of course, is vital and a core skill for America to invest in. Google has focused resources and employee time helping people from all backgrounds to code — from helping introduce students to the basics, to offering 10,000 free Udacity courses in coding for apps, to training other businesses in how to become experts in programming artificial intelligence. All of this will help meet the growing need for workers who can write the software that will power everyone’s businesses. And it will help countless people more move into in-demand, high paying careers. But the focus on code has left a potentially bigger opportunity largely unexplored. In the past, people were educated and learned job skills, and that was enough for a lifetime. Now, with technology changing rapidly and new job areas emerging and transforming constantly, that’s no longer the case. We need to focus on making lightweight, continuous education widely available. This is just as crucial to making sure that everyone can find opportunities in the future workplace. There are two areas that are relevant here. The first is around basic digital skills training. An office admin, for example, now needs to use online programs to run budgets, scheduling, accounting and more. While digital technology should be empowering people, it can often alienate them from their own jobs. Jobs in the U.S. requiring “medium-digital” skills in America have grown from 40 percent of jobs in 2002 to 48 percent of jobs in 2016. Some of these skills didn’t exist five years ago, yet workers are today expected to have them. A recent report by the Brookings Institute says that jobs in the US requiring “medium-digital” skills in America have grown from 40 percent of jobs in 2002 to 48 percent of jobs in 2016. The digital skills necessary to do these jobs are far easier to learn than code, and should be easier to deliver at scale. For example, we rolled out a “Grow with Google” program, and partnered with Goodwill last year to incorporate digital skills training into its already amazing training infrastructure for job seekers. One trainee spoke of the value of her own experiences. “Before I learned digital skills, I felt unsure of myself,” she says. “Now I feel confident. You have to feel confident in what you do in order to be successful and move on in life.” Through these trainings, people learn about using technology to research, to plan events, analyze data and more. They don’t require a formal degree or certificate. We think there’s great scope to expand this model, and teach hard and soft skills that can empower a workforce that has access to constant, accredited learning opportunities as job requirements change. Second, we have a huge opportunity to rethink training for jobs that are core to the digital economy, but that don’t require coding. IT support is a clear opportunity, here. Just as anyone has a clear path to becoming an auto mechanic, we need a similar path to the 150,000 open positions for IT support, in which people maintain the machines and software that underpin technology services. Yet no training today efficiently connects people to that opportunity. We learned this ourselves through an IT-support apprenticeship program we offered, with the Bay Area’s Year Up job-training program. Over 90 percent of the young adults met or exceed Google’s expectations as apprentices, but we noticed they didn’t return to apply for full-time jobs. It turned out that the standard, two-year computer science degree cost too much time and money, teaching skills that those former apprentices simply didn’t need to start their careers. We should make sure that the next generation of jobs are good jobs, in every sense. So we developed, and just announced, a new IT certificate program alongside Coursera that’s far more focused and flexible. We believe in just 8 to 12 months, it teaches everything you need to be an IT support technician. IT support jobs are predicted to grow by 10 percent from 2016 to 2026, faster than most other occupations the government tracks. We’re giving 10,000 people free access to the course and will connect graduates to job opportunities at places like Bank of America, Walmart, Sprint, GE Digital, Infosys, TEKSystems, and the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center — as well as Google. If the program works, the payoff will be substantial. The median annual wage for IT support is close to the median salary in America. You can imagine this lightweight, focused model being applied to other tech-related jobs of the future: Robust certification programs for project management, delivery fleet operation, and other jobs no one can imagine today, but that will be obvious — and ubiquitous — in five years’ time. Moving beyond code and intensive degrees to these constant, lightweight and ubiquitous forms of education will take resources and experimentation. But that effort should help close today’s skills gaps, while making sure future skills gaps don’t open. That’s part of the reason Google has invested $1 billion over five years to help find new approaches to connect people to opportunities at work and help small and medium businesses everywhere grow in the digital economy. We should make sure that the next generation of jobs are good jobs, in every sense. Rather than thinking of education as the opening act, we need to make sure it’s a constant, natural and simple act across life — with lightweight, flexible courses, skills and programs available to everyone. As Google’s CEO, Sundar Pichai is responsible for Google’s product development and technology strategy, as well as the company’s day-to-day-operations. Reach him @sundarpichai.

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