This week, Tesla revealed its newest model; the HTC Vive VR headset dropped; the internet saw the largest leak of private documents ever; and Facebook’s chatbot plans were revealed. Here are the top tech stories from this week.
1. Tesla unveiled the $35,000 Model 3. So far, we know that the base model will do 0-60 in under 6 seconds and get at least 215 miles per charge. All Model 3s will have autopilot hardware and come with supercharging standard. Here are 16 actual pictures of the car.
2. Last week saw the biggest leak of private documents ever seen on the Internet. The “Panama Papers” contained roughly 2.6 terabytes of documents, related to hundreds of thousands of offshore companies, leaked from a small Panamanian law firm called Mossack Fonseca.
3. Facebook had a huge week just ahead of its annual F8 developer conference. The network introduced a mobile video discovery tab for Live video and a new suite of tools for Pages designed to help Facebook users better connect with businesses. Oh, and spoiler alert: we learned that Facebook chatbots, which could replace 1-800 numbers, are going to be revealed at F8.
4. The HTC Vive virtual reality headset dropped at a $799 price point (just a week after Facebook’s Oculus released its highly-anticipated Rift headset). We liked the room-scale tracking, the surprisingly useful camera and quality optics. The motion-tracked controllers are top notch. We weren’t fans of the bulky headset design and the UI bugginess.
5. Amazon took on Paypal with the launch of Amazon Payments. The idea is that merchants can tap into Amazon’s huge user base, eliminating the need for customers to create a new username/password on the merchant’s site. Quicker checkout = more sales. Bonus: Amazon expanded same day delivery to more mid-sized U.S. cities.
6. Twitter signed a deal with the NFL to stream Thursday Night Football. The partnership will also include pre-game Periscope broadcasts from players and teams, as well as in-game highlights.
7. WhatsApp is now officially fully encrypted. This means the content of communications are not stored in plaintext on WhatsApp’s servers, and the company doesn’t hold the encryption keys needed to decrypt messages. So, even if authorities demanded access, WhatsApp would be unable to hand over any messaging data.
8. Reddit launched its first official mobile apps and Alien Blue shut down. The site also introduced a new user blocking tool to help fight harassment and trolls.
9. An ugly string of events has transpired in the UK gig-economy space after Delivery Hero shuttered Valk Fleet, its food delivery startup. Drivers and staff have claimed that they are owed money and Valk Fleet UK has put itself into ‘administration‘ (a voluntary process in the UK when a company has incurred debt that it is unlikely to be able to service). Valk Fleet’s management team says they have received “death threats” from disgruntled drivers who, due to their self-employed status, have no employment rights beyond the contract they signed with Valk Feet.
10. Salesforce acquired MetaMind, a Palo Alto-based AI startup.
11. Ron Miller wrote about Microsoft’s missing mobile strategy, posing the question of whether or not Microsoft can succeed without a strong Windows mobile position.
12. Sarah Buhr introduced us to 13 women leading the life sciences movement in Silicon Valley.
13. Valet service Luxe confirmed it has raised a $50 million Series B round from can rental company Hertz. Told you so.