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13 TechCrunch stories you don’t want to miss this week

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NASA’s next Mars mission scheduled for May 2018

This week, Facebook made a selfie filter app acquisition, Google surprised us with the Android N preview and we ate bugs. Yeah, seriously. Silicon Valley is eating bugs now. These are the tech headlines you don’t want to miss this week.

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1. Google unexpectedly announced the Android N Developer Preview — and it’s available as an over-the-air update. Google says the company wanted to release the preview to get more feedback from developers earlier in the process, and get the final N release into the hands of device manufacturers this summer.

2. Awhile ago, Snapchat bought Looksery to supercharge its animated selfie filters. Now Facebook has made an image-filtering acquisition of its own to keep up the messaging pace. MSQRD adds filters to your smartphone videos.

3. The controversial people-rating app Peeple went live, and it has a plan to profit from negative reviews. The app was described as a “Yelp for humans.” That is, you can sign up to leave reviews of anyone you know — from co-workers and bosses to exes and friends.

4. When Slack announced new voice and video services, the startup signaled a move into the territory of Microsoft’s Skype. We heard from a source that Microsoft eyed Slack as a potential acquisition target for as much as $8 billion. Apparently, Bill Gates and CEO Satya Nadella were among those unconvinced by the idea, with Gates pushing instead to add more features to Skype to make it more competitive with Slack in the business market, said our source.

5. Apple shut down what appears to have been the first, fully functional ransomware targeting Mac computers. This particular form of cyber threat involves malware that encrypts the data on your personal computer so you can no longer access it. Afterwards, the hackers request that you pay them in order for you to retrieve your files.

6. Facebook announced last month that it would be bringing the company’s 360 dynamic streaming to Gear VR to improve experiences. Now, Oculus announced that the Oculus Video app on Gear VR would be incorporating a new Facebook video tab that lets you connect your Facebook and Oculus accounts to bring personalized info to your VR content absorption experience. This will give individual VR users a more custom experience across virtual reality.

7. Amazon’s logistics arm took a big step forward by leasing a fleet of Boeing 767s that will ship packages to customers in North America.

8. More and more people are using ad blockers. Mobile marketing company Tune released a report saying that 24.6 percent of survey respondents said that they’d downloaded an ad-blocking app or browser.

9. Google made it so that you can now sign up for Project Fi, the company’s first foray into offering its own cell phone service, without an invite.

10. Jordan Crook wrote about the massive impact social media has on the presidential election, and poses the question: What if Facebook forgot Donald Trump?

11. In honor of International Women’s Day, Megan Rose Dickey rounded up 21 women disrupting tech. 

12. We demoed the Virtuix Omni, a $699 device that allows you to walk through virtual reality while wearing a VR headset.

13. Silicon Valley produces some truly weird food concepts — like lab-grown hamburgers and Soylent. The latest experiment comes from Exo, a startup selling protein bars made of crickets. Yeah, you heard that right. They just raised a $4 million Series A, so we tried them.