yesLevi SumagaysayNone
×

Get access to Protocol

I’ve already subscribed

Will be used in accordance with our Privacy Policy

People

By the numbers: How COVID-19 transformed tech this week

Revenue is down, workers are worried, and everybody wants to know how to break up while in quarantine.

An empty office

Three-quarters of CFOs said in a recent survey they expect to permanently shift some of their workers to remote status in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic.

Photo: Moment/Getty Images

As dire numbers — and occasionally hopeful ones — continue to define the coronavirus crisis, here are 12 that jumped out at us this week as the pandemic reshapes the tech landscape:

72%

Share of 7,000 tech employees surveyed by Blind this month who reported being concerned about job security — a 33% increase from March, according to Business Insider. Expedia employees were the most worried, Facebook workers the least.

28%, 74%

Increase in remote job postings on LinkedIn during March, and the share of CFOs who in a recent Gartner survey said they expected to shift at least 5% of jobs to remote status. The question is whether coronavirus-driven changes will last beyond the crisis.

22%

Year-to-year decline in U.S. venture capital deals in March, according to PwC and CB Insights' first-quarter MoneyTree report, which said some of the drop likely owes to the coronavirus crisis. The next quarter will be the one to watch: In Q1, nearly half of U.S. funding came from megarounds; 58 companies raised rounds worth $100 million or more.

$60 million to $80 million

Drop in Uber's expected revenue in the second quarter as a result of the company's financial aid program for drivers and deliverers, up from $17 million to $22 million in the first quarter. Uber is expected to report Q1 earnings May 7.

27,200 and 99,500

Jobs lost in March in the Bay Area and California, respectively, according to state figures. The Bay Area loss was the worst monthly loss in 11 years, The Mercury News reported. Joint Venture Silicon Valley predicted that Silicon Valley's 3.1% unemployment rate in March will rise significantly in April.

160%

The percentage increase in searches for "breaking up during quarantine" over the past week in the U.S. and Canada, per Google Trends. A Google search using that phrase Friday yielded news articles and essays galore, with intriguing titles like: "A text message is the best way to break up with someone (even when there's not a pandemic)" and "The boomerang exes of quarantine."

Less than $500 million

Price Verizon is set to pay for Blue Jeans, a San Jose maker of videoconferencing software, The Wall Street Journal reported. While BlueJeans competes with Zoom, which has surged with coronavirus-related demand, it isn't available for free and is aimed at business users, not consumers.

$100

Price per COVID-19 test envisioned by biotech firm DxTerity, which hopes to supply tests to businesses reopening offices and factories. High-volume customers may negotiate discounts.

20,000

Hires Google parent Alphabet had planned to make in 2020, before the coronavirus outbreak. CEO Sundar Pichai told employees in a memo obtained by Bloomberg, "We believe now is the time to significantly slow down the pace of hiring."

270,000+

Times Bill Gates' Twitter handle was mentioned in the 24 hours after he criticized the Trump administration's decision to stop funding the World Health Organization, The Wall Street Journal reported. Online mobs are targeting the Microsoft co-founder over his work fighting COVID-19, The New York Times wrote, falsely portraying him on YouTube, Facebook and Twitter "as the creator of COVID-19, as a profiteer from a virus vaccine, and as part of a dastardly plot to use the illness to cull or surveil the global population."

Microsoft wants to replace artists with AI

Better Zoom calls, simpler email attachments, smart iPhone cases and other patents from Big Tech.

Turning your stories into images.

Image: USPTO/Microsoft

Hello and welcome to 2021! The Big Tech patent roundup is back, after a short vacation and … all the things … that happened between the start of the year and now. It seems the tradition of tech companies filing weird and wonderful patents has carried into the new year; there are some real gems from the last few weeks. Microsoft is trying to outsource all creative endeavors to AI; Apple wants to make seat belts less annoying; and Amazon wants to cut down on some of the recyclable waste that its own success has inevitably created.

And remember: The big tech companies file all kinds of crazy patents for things, and though most never amount to anything, some end up defining the future.

Keep Reading Show less
Mike Murphy

Mike Murphy ( @mcwm) is the director of special projects at Protocol, focusing on the industries being rapidly upended by technology and the companies disrupting incumbents. Previously, Mike was the technology editor at Quartz, where he frequently wrote on robotics, artificial intelligence, and consumer electronics.

People

Google's union has big goals — and big roadblocks

Absence of dues, retaliation fears and small numbers could pose problems for the union's dream of collective bargaining, but Googlers are undeterred.

Recruiting union members beyond the early adopters has had its challenges.

Photo: David Paul Morris/Getty Images

When the Alphabet Workers Union launched with more than 200 Googlers at the beginning of the year, it saw a quick flood of new sign-ups, nearly quadrupling membership over a few weeks. But even with the more than 710 members it now represents, the union still stands for just a tiny fraction of Google's more than 200,000 North American employees and contractors. The broader Alphabet workforce could prove difficult to win over, which is a hurdle that could stand in the way of the group's long-term ambitions for substantive culture change and even collective bargaining.

The initial boom of interest from Googlers was thrilling for Alex Peterson, a software engineer and union spokesperson. "It's really reinvigorating what it means to actually be a community of Googlers, which is something that's been eroding over the past four or five years, or even longer."

Keep Reading Show less
Anna Kramer

Anna Kramer is a reporter at Protocol (@ anna_c_kramer), where she helps write and produce Source Code, Protocol's daily newsletter. Prior to joining the team, she covered tech and small business for the San Francisco Chronicle and privacy for Bloomberg Law. She is a recent graduate of Brown University, where she studied International Relations and Arabic and wrote her senior thesis about surveillance tools and technological development in the Middle East.

The current state-of-the-art quantum computers are a tangle of wires. And that can't be the case in the future.

Photo: IBM Research

The iconic image of quantum computing is the "Google chandelier," with its hundreds of intricately arranged copper wires descending like the tendrils of a metallic jellyfish. It's a grand and impressive device, but in that tangle of wires lurks a big problem.

"If you're thinking about the long-term prospects of quantum computing, that image should be just terrifying," Jim Clarke, the director of quantum hardware at Intel, told Protocol.

Keep Reading Show less
Dan Garisto
Dan Garisto is a freelance science journalist who specializes in the physical sciences, with an emphasis on particle physics. He has an undergraduate degree in physics and is based in New York.
Election 2020

Google says it’s fighting election lies, but its ads fund them

A new report finds that more than 1,600 brands, from Disney to Procter & Gamble, have advertisements running on sites that push pro-Trump conspiracy theories. The majority of those ads are served by Google.

Google is the most dominant player in programmatic advertising, but it has a spotty record enforcing rules for publishers.

Photo: Alex Tai/Getty Images

Shortly after November's presidential election, a story appeared on the website of far-right personality Charlie Kirk, claiming that 10,000 dead people had returned mail-in ballots in Michigan. But after publishing, a correction appeared at the top of the story, completely debunking the misleading headline, which remains, months later, unchanged.

"We are not aware of a single confirmed case showing that a ballot was actually cast on behalf of a deceased individual," the correction, which quoted Michigan election officials, read.

Keep Reading Show less
Issie Lapowsky
Issie Lapowsky (@issielapowsky) is a senior reporter at Protocol, covering the intersection of technology, politics, and national affairs. Previously, she was a senior writer at Wired, where she covered the 2016 election and the Facebook beat in its aftermath. Prior to that, Issie worked as a staff writer for Inc. magazine, writing about small business and entrepreneurship. She has also worked as an on-air contributor for CBS News and taught a graduate-level course at New York University’s Center for Publishing on how tech giants have affected publishing. Email Issie.
People

Google’s productivity guru has some advice for you

Here's how Laura Mae Martin helps Google's top execs work smarter.

Laura Mae Martin, Google's executive productivity adviser, works one-on-one with the company's top brass.

Image: Google

If productivity were a product at Google, then Laura Mae Martin would be its product manager.

She's Google's executive productivity adviser, a job she created following a successful 20% project about managing inboxes that she debuted while working in keyword sales. As the company's top expert on productivity, her remit seems simple enough: Make Googlers more efficient in their day-to-day work lives. But in practice, that means working directly with the top executives of a trillion-dollar company to make some of tech's most sought-after talent better at what they do.

Keep Reading Show less
Kevin McAllister

Kevin McAllister ( @k__mcallister) is an associate editor at Protocol, leading the development of Braintrust. Prior to joining the team, he was a rankings data reporter at The Wall Street Journal, where he oversaw structured data projects for the Journal's strategy team.

Latest Stories