Bezos Calls for Global COVID-19 Testing; Google Slowing Hiring; Facebook Warns Users Re Interacting With Fake COVID-19 Info; Apple-Modular, High-End Noise Cancelling Headphones

Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos has called for testing everyone regularly for COVID-19, and not just his own employees, as the effort begins to bring the world back to work and some intermediate step towards normalcy as we wait for a vaccine for the virus. Geekwire.com reports that Bezos made the virus and response to it the main topic of his annual letter to shareholders. He noted how the company has been adapting to the crisis, and also how Amazon has seen the extent of how people depend on the company. Bezos feels that there needs to be regular testing of people, even those showing no symptoms, as we move to get the economy back up and running. People who test positive would be quarantined and those who aren’t could continue working without fear of constantly being exposed to the virus. Bezos ended the letter quoting Dr. Seuss: He quoted Dr. Seuss to end the letter: “When something bad happens you have three choices. You can either let it define you, let it destroy you, or you can let it strengthen you.”
“I am very optimistic about which of these civilization is going to choose,” Bezos said.

Google has said that it will slow hiring for the rest of 2020, and will adjust its investments in areas like data centers and marketing…all due to the COVID-19 pandemic. According to theverge.com, the info came out in an email from CEO Sundar Pichai to employees, which was obtained by Bloomberg. The Verge got this from Google when they inquired: “We’ll be slowing down the pace of hiring, while maintaining momentum in a small number of strategic areas, and onboarding the many people who’ve been hired but haven’t started yet.” Google had hired 20,000 in 2019, and had planned on a similar number of hires in 2020. Microsoft is also temporarily ratcheting back hiring a bit due to the epidemic. As we reported earlier, Facebook will still tack on an additional 10,000 this year, so it wouldn’t be surprising if Google drops back to a similar number.

Facebook will start notifying users if they have liked, reacted, or commented on COVID-19 misinformation that has since been removed. Engadget.com says that the alerts will appear in a person’s news feed, and will include links to COVID-19 myths debunked by the WHO. The alerts should start popping up in the next few weeks. The effort will be similar to the bogus pages run by the Russian troll farm called the Internet Research Agency. There will also be notices posted when users search for vaccine related content, and referrals to the WHO and CDC for actual, credible information. In March, Facebook displayed warnings on about 40 million posts related to COVID-19. Facebook claims that on flagged posts 95% of users didn’t go ahead and view the fake content.

Apple has been rumored to be working on pricey noise-cancelling headphones…bearing the Apple brand and not Beats. Now, techcrunch.com reports that the noise-cancelling ‘cans’ will use tech like the AirPod and AirPod Pro ear buds have…and more. They will apparently be made with interchangeable parts that will allow some moddiing with custom accessories. They may have some different headbands and ear cups for workouts as opposed to long term wearing, for example. They will apparently have a ‘retro look,’ stealing from such brands as Master + Dynamic…which already makes high-end, noise-cancelling headphones with Bluetooth and replaceable ear cups. As previously reported, Apple will continue to market the Beats brand as a separate line of headphones. An FCC filing points to imminent release of an updated PowerBeats Pro fully wireless in ear sport headphone.



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