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Your five-minute guide to the best of Protocol (and the internet) from the week that was, from the cloud-based future of video games to a look inside Timnit Gebru's last days at Google.

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Best of Protocol

Microsoft is building its own streaming devices as part of a major Xbox Game Pass expansion, by Nick Statt

  • If you care about gaming, this is the biggest shift in the industry in a while: Microsoft is beginning a move away from consoles and toward a streaming-first, game-on-any-screen future. Heck, even if you don't care about gaming, what this means for the way the internet works — and all the other things you might soon be able to stream — might be just as big a deal.

The great decoupling: Why web developers are looking at the edge, by Tom Krazit

  • Jamstack is a new way of thinking about web design, by building for the edge instead of relying on faraway servers for everything. It means the back and front ends of an app or site are treated as two different things, and some people think it could make the web feel faster and more interactive. Others, like Matt Mullenweg, aren't so sure.

Galileo's CEO saw banking go online. Here's what he sees coming next, by Ben Pimentel

  • Derek White left Google Cloud because, as he told Ben, "open banking is the next big trend." (And White has a long history of being right about trends.) In this interview he dives into the fight between fintech and big banks, the competitive landscape and why banking as a service is going to be huge.

Everything you need to know about the DiDi IPO, by Shen Lu and Zeyi Yang

  • Could this be the biggest IPO of the rest of 2021? China's ride-sharing giant could be valued as high as $70 billion, and made clear to investors that it has global ambitions. But what will the market make of the company in a time of so many questions about gig work, benefits, transportation regulation and more?

Glitches and confusion are blocking some from FCC internet discounts, by Issie Lapowsky

  • The Emergency Broadband Benefit was meant to help people continue to have internet access even during the hard times brought on by the pandemic. But not only are some cable companies playing bait-and-switch games with those benefits; system glitches and complicated interfaces are making it too hard for too many people.


In 2018, Amazon increased their starting wage to at least $15 an hour for all employees across the U.S. The positive impact on employee morale and retention—and the surge in job applicants—was immediate.

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Best of Everything Else

Young Creators Are Burning Out and Breaking Down — The New York Times

  • The internet speeds everything up, including fame. And creators are discovering that they don't know how to cope with the blistering rise and even faster burnout that can come from life on TikTok or Instagram. It's a question for everyone betting on the creator economy going forward: How can this become more sustainable?

What Really Happened When Google Ousted Timnit Gebru — Wired

  • This story caused a bit of a stir among its characters, particularly Margaret Mitchell, but all involved said it was a fair and accurate representation of what was happening inside of Google's Ethical AI team. It makes clear that reckoning with ethics and AI is hard, and that too many companies don't seem to want to help.

'We Have to Run a Good Company': How the FBI Sold Its Encryption Honeypot — Vice

  • Remember that story from last year about how the CIA covertly sold encryption devices to other countries, which of course it knew exactly how to decrypt? This feels like a spiritual successor: the FBI creating a (supposedly) secret messaging app called Anom, through which it spied on criminals all over the world.

McDonald's french fries, carrots, onions: all of the foods that come from Bill Gates farmland – NBC News

  • Bill and Melinda Gates have many titles and accolades between them, but "farming magnates" wouldn't have been top of the list. And yet: They own more than 269,000 acres of farmland across 18 states. And as always happens when tech money gets into other industries, the farming biz is worried about what might come next.


  • A fun thing has been around for a while but came to people's attention again this week: Photopea, an app that is practically a pixel-for-pixel re-creation of Photoshop inside a browser. Here's a good interview with Ivan Kuckir, Photopea's creator, and a fun Hacker News AMA he did a couple of months ago.


A recent study from the University of California-Berkeley and Brandeis University found that when Amazon raised their starting wage to $15/hr, the average hourly wage in the surrounding area rose by 4.7% as other employers followed their lead.

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Today's Source Code was written by David Pierce. Thoughts, questions, tips? Send them to, or our tips line, Enjoy your day; see you tomorrow.

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