Giphy was never about the GIFs
Image: Truly Social via Giphy
Good morning! This Monday, a coming test for Facebook and Giphy, the rules for reopening Apple Stores, and the Indian startup everyone wants to invest in.
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On Protocol: Game-streaming could someday be a key to unlocking VR's potential, Facebook's Jason Rubin said:
The Apple-Google contact-tracing plan is a "flamboyant smokescreen," said Cornell professor Helen Nissenbaum:
It had been a while since we'd seen Facebook play real offense. But after a few years of dealing with one crisis after another, Facebook seems to be back up off the mat. Mark Zuckerberg has reportedly been far more engaged as CEO, the company's once more unabashed in making moderation decisions and product changes — and now it's spending $400 million to buy Giphy. (Hard G, by the way. Fight me.)
Giphy is essentially the default GIF search engine on the internet, with more than 700 million users. It's plugged into Twitter, iMessage, Signal, TikTok, Slack and many other apps and services. That's what Facebook paid for, not the GIFs:
There's an immediate privacy concern: Facebook can now see my texts! But I suspect that's overblown.
But even if Facebook doesn't learn more about you, there's lots to learn. Giphy stores every keystroke people enter in its search engine; every time one of its GIFs is viewed; and, as Byte creator Dof Hofman pointed out, the tracking ID of any device it's on.
Of course, Facebook's story is very different. The app's going to be part of the Instagram team, and Facebook's Vishal Shah said that "we plan to further integrate their GIF library into Instagram and our other apps so that people can find just the right way to express themselves."
Facebook promised not to shut down Giphy's third-party integrations. Obviously. But how Giphy's many partners react to the product's new corporate parent will speak volumes about how the rest of the tech world views Facebook right now.
There aren't many places that seem like they'd be harder to keep COVID-free than an Apple Store. People milling around? Touching things? Standing close together? Yikes.
So it's not entirely surprising that Apple's approach to reopening its U.S. stores will be seriously thorough, as SVP of retail Deirdre O'Brien wrote in a note over the weekend:
O'Brien said Apple will give masks to customers who don't already have one, and suddenly all I want to know is if Apple will be designing its own mask. I mean, the company built its own pizza boxes — I'd be disappointed if it didn't have a take on the N95 mask.
Making sure public places are safe for public consumption may be even trickier than reopening offices. Apple's been testing its playbook in China, and O'Brien said its policies have been working. Some of the rules — masks, temperature checks, lines down the block for every store — are just going to be facts of life for a while.
How Walmart Is Promoting A Safer Store Environment
The retailer has expanded paid leave policies, closed stores for overnight cleaning, installed plexiglass barriers and social distance markers and introduced temperature checks for associates.
Do you have lots of money? India's Reliance Industries will probably take it. Over the weekend, Jio Platforms, a tech subsidiary of the Indian conglomerate, raised $870 million from General Atlantic, the private equity firm that has also invested in Facebook, Slack, Uber, Airbnb and others.
Let's just quickly recap Reliance's deals from the last several weeks:
That gives Jio just shy of $9 billion in new capital when you include the General Atlantic deal. Reliance said it wants Jio to become "a global technology leader and among the leading digital economies in the world."
Oh, and there's no sign of things slowing down anytime soon. Bloomberg reported last week that Reliance is already talking with Saudi Arabia's sovereign wealth fund about an investment. All it needs is some SoftBank money, and it'll have investor bingo.
Protocol's next Virtual Meetup, with Rep. Will Hurd, is on Thursday at noon PDT. He'll be talking with Issie Lapowsky and Emily Birnbaum about surveillance, data, privacy and much more. Register now to join us!
Microsoft's Build developer conference kicks off virtually tomorrow. Based on what we know so far, it's going to be even deeper and developer-ier than usual — should be fun.
Nvidia, Baidu, HPE, and Alibaba report earnings this week.
When I graduated from college, I sat in the hot sun for what felt like a month and a half while our commencement speaker, the university's outgoing president, talked about how great he was. The 2020 graduating classes had a … different experience. In addition to all the Zoom graduations and virtual parties, Facebook held a 2-hour ceremony for graduates everywhere, featuring everyone from Miley Cyrus to Hugh Jackman, offering a mix of inspirational speeches, musical numbers and mostly very bad jokes. It was nice! And kind of uplifting! I recommend saving Oprah's epic closing speech for whenever you're feeling particularly down.
Walmart Makes Face Coverings a Requirement for Associates
Walmart is providing masks for associates in stores, clubs, offices, and distribution and fulfillment centers. This is in addition to in-store measures like plexiglass barriers and customer limits.
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