Sam Altman backs teenagers’ startup, Google unveils the Pixel 8 and TikTok checks an ad-free tier


Hiya, people, and welcome to Week in Review (WiR), TechCrunch’s digest of the previous week in tech information. It’s TC’s column that highlights the foremost tales over the previous few days, and — we humbly submit — it’s a darn helpful useful resource for folk on the go.

This week, we cowl Sam Altman backing a teen’s AI startup, Google’s {hardware} occasion (and first impressions of the Pixel 8 Pro), Flexport drama, and the continued FTX fallout. Also on the agenda: Gmail’s harsher guidelines to stop spam, TikTok testing an ad-free subscription plan, and LinkedIn going massive on AI instruments. And that’s not all.

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Altman backs teen entrepreneurs: Sam Altman is among the many backers of an AI startup, based by two youngsters, that’s aiming to help companies in automating workflows in “previously unexplored” methods. Manish writes that Induced AI, based this yr, lets companies enter their back-office duties in plain English and converts the directions to pseudo-code in actual time.

Google unveils new {hardware}: This week was Google’s annual {hardware} occasion, the place the search and client tech large confirmed off what it’s been engaged on. Christine wrote up a thorough roundup of the information, which included updates on the Pixel 8 and Pixel 8 Pro, Pixel Fold, Android 14, Pixel Buds, Google Assistant, Bard, Pixel Watch 2 and different goodies.

Hands on with the Pixel 8 Pro: Darrell took the newly unveiled Pixel 8 Pro for a whirl, and he appreciated what he noticed. While similar to final yr’s mannequin (the Pixel 7 Pro), Darrell felt that the improved cameras, brighter display screen and enhanced AI-powered options made it sufficient of an improve to (doubtlessly) warrant a purchase order — minus the underutilized temperature sensor. Stay tuned for his full assessment.

Turmoil at Flexport: Dave Clark, the previous Amazon govt who was ousted as CEO of Flexport only a yr into the job, fired again at its founder and board, calling latest reporting on the logistics firm “deeply concerning.” Clark made the feedback Monday in a prolonged put up on social media web site X following a report from CNBC that offered new details about his final days at Flexport, a freight forwarding and customs brokerage startup valued at $8 billion.

SBF allegedly tried to purchase off Trump: The TC crew’s been educated on the Manhattan Federal Court for the trial of Sam Bankman-Fried, the disgraced entrepreneur accused of orchestrating the collapse of cryptocurrency alternate FTX. But fascinating particulars about SBF’s political dealings are rising from a ebook by Michael Lewis, “Going Infinite,” that debuted on the primary day of the trial, like SBF’s try to purchase off Trump to get him to not run once more for president.

Gmail fights again in opposition to spammers: Google this week introduced a sequence of great adjustments to the way it handles e mail from bulk senders in an effort to chop down on spam and different undesirable emails. The firm says that, beginning subsequent yr, bulk senders might want to authenticate their emails, supply a straightforward solution to unsubscribe and keep below a reported spam threshold.

TikTok checks an ad-free tier: TikTok is testing an ad-free subscription tier for some customers. For $4.99, subscribers get an ad-free expertise on TikTok — no different strings hooked up. But don’t search for the choice to reach anytime quickly. TikTok says that it’s piloting the plan in a single, English-speaking market outdoors the U.S. for now.

LinkedIn leans into AI instruments: LinkedIn this week unveiled a string of recent AI options spanning its job searching, advertising and gross sales merchandise, Ingrid writes. They embody a giant replace to its Recruiter expertise sourcing platform, with AI help constructed into it all through; an AI-powered LinkedIn Learning coach; and a brand new AI-powered device for advertising campaigns.

Musk comes clear about X’s metrics — possibly: In September, Elon Musk mentioned that X customers have been producing plenty of content material — creating 100 million to 200 million posts on daily basis, excluding retweets. But talking at an occasion this week, X CEO Linda Yaccarino provided a contradictory determine. She claimed X was seeing 500 million posts per day on the platform. So who’s proper? Beats us.

Former NSA director’s startup shutters: IronNet, a once-promising cybersecurity startup based by a former NSA director, has shuttered and laid off its remaining employees following its collapse. The Virginia-based IronNet was based in 2014 by retired four-star common Keith Alexander and had raised greater than $400 million in funding. But IronNet failed to realize traction after going public in August 2021, and its inventory worth continued to steeply decline within the wake of an preliminary spike.


On the hunt for a brand new podcast to take heed to when you work out, do the dishes or rake the leaves (now that fall’s arrived)? Look no additional than TechCrunch’s roster, which covers the world of startups, the blockchain and extra.

On Equity this week, the crew talked concerning the SBF trial; offers from VR corporations Rainforest, At One Ventures, Section 32 and Greylock, the place enterprise funding has declined; and the way Fearless Fund, a agency based to put money into girls of colour, is being barred from awarding grants to Black girls founders.

Meanwhile, Found featured Esther Rodriguez-Villegas from Acurable, a medical gadget firm that makes patient-friendly wearable units to diagnose and handle respiratory circumstances at residence. As a career-long tutorial, Rodriguez-Villegas talks about how she by no means meant to be a founder till she realized about how the at the moment out there medical units make it extraordinarily tough to detect and deal with illnesses like sleep apnea and epilepsy.

And over on Chain Reaction, Jacquelyn did a crossover episode with Alex concerning the SBF trial. Jacquelyn has been on the bottom on the Southern District of New York courthouse, listening in to the trial in the identical room as Bankman-Fried, so there was heaps to speak about.


TC+ subscribers get entry to in-depth commentary, evaluation and surveys — which you realize in case you’re already a subscriber. If you’re not, contemplate signing up. Here are a couple of highlights from this week:

Inside the SBF trial: Rebecca and Jacquelyn report on the second day of the SBF and FTX trial. The prosecution painted Bankman-Fried as somebody who knowingly dedicated fraud to attain nice wealth, energy and affect, whereas the protection countered that the FTX founder acted in good religion, by no means meant to commit fraud or steal and principally received in over his head.

Battery-boosting software program tech: Tim covers Breathe Battery Technologies, a startup that’s developed a little bit of software program that may be slipped into nearly any lithium-ion battery in use at present — endowing it with both quicker charging speeds or larger longevity.

What lies past ChatGPT: Anna surveyed 10 traders about the way forward for AI and what they consider is perhaps the subsequent massive factor. Among different matters, they touched on the place startups nonetheless stand an opportunity, the place oligopoly dynamics and first-mover benefits are shaping up and the worth of proprietary knowledge.


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