Hashtag Trending Nov.23 – Video Chat for Twitter 2.0; Amazon Alexa at Risk of Losing $10 Billion; Alphabet aims to wipe out 10,000 underperforming Googlers

Elon Musk says he wants video chat, voice calls and encrypted DMs for Twitter 2.0, Amazon Alexa, which will lose $10 billion this year, and Google wants to sack 10,000 underperforming Googlers

That’s all the tech news that’s trending right now, welcome to Hashtag Trending. It’s Wednesday November 23rd and I’m your host, Samira Balsara.

Elon Musk told Twitter employees he wanted video chats, voice calls and encrypted DMs for Twitter 2.0, according to a leaked recording of a meeting obtained by The Verde. The new owner said he will enlist the help of the founder of encrypted instant messaging service Signal. Musk also explained how Twitter could enable secure calls without having to reveal the user’s number, which Signal does. It’s unclear yet if these communication features will be available to all users or through the $8-per-month Twitter Blue subscription.

Amazon Alexa’s voice assistant is one of the hardest-hit areas of the company’s current massive layoff plans, Business Insider reported. The Alexa division, which has been around for 10 years, failed to create its own revenue stream and lost $3 billion in the first quarter of 2022 alone, which is twice as much as any other division. Business Insider says the division is expected to lose $10 billion this year. Amazon Echo is one of the best-selling items on Amazon, but the goals of monetizing usage of the device never materialized as users would rather ask the AI ​​for simple, non-monetizable commands like play music, rather than trusting the AI ​​to make a purchase Pay for articles with their voice, according to insiders.

Pressure from an activist hedge fund has Google implementing some sort of stack ranking and performance improvement plan that could lay off 10,000 employees, Forbes reported. The performance system fires employees deemed underperforming and may withdraw bonuses and stock awards from others. According to the information, Google executives were asked to classify six percent of employees – representing 10,000 people – as underperforming, compared to the traditional two percent. The activist hedge fund also claimed that the company’s headcount was “excessive” compared to previous hiring trends and that the search engine could run efficiently with fewer, highly paid professionals.

According to Markup, major tax reporting services like H&R Block, TaxAct and TaxSlayer have shared sensitive information with Facebook when Americans file their taxes online. The data is sent via a widely used code called a meta pixel, which contains information such as names, email addresses, and often more sensitive information such as users’ income, enrollment status, and dependents’ grant amounts. This information may be used by Facebook to run its advertising algorithms and is collected regardless of whether the person using the tax return service has an account on Facebook or another Meta-owned platform. On Monday, TaxSlayer and Ramsey Solutions had removed the pixel from their tax return pages, and TurboTax had stopped sending usernames through the pixel at login. H&R Block’s website continues to collect information about health savings accounts and college grants, but says it does verify Markup’s findings.

That’s all the tech news that’s trending right now. Hashtag Trending is part of the ITWC Podcast Network. Add us to your Alexa Flash briefings or your daily Google Home briefing. Be sure to register with us Daily IT wire Newsletter to get all the important news straight to your inbox every day. Also check out the next episode of Hashtag Tendances, our weekly hashtag trending episode in French that comes out every Thursday morning. If you have a suggestion or tip, drop us a line in the comments or via email. Thanks for listening, I’m Samira Balsara.


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