Daily Crunch: Android phones become earthquake detectors

Google is using accelerometers in an interesting new way, Twitter allows everyone to limit tweet replies and Mozilla announces major layoffs. This is your Daily Crunch for August 11, 2020.

The big story: Android phones become earthquake detectors

Google said that smartphone accelerometers are sensitive enough to detect P-waves, which are the first waves to arrive during an earthquake. So if your Android phone thinks it has detected an earthquake, it will communicate with a central server to confirm.

In California, Google is also partnering with the United States Geological Survey and California Governor’s Office of Emergency Services to provide earthquake alerts. For everyone else, you’ll only see this earthquake data if you search for “earthquake” or a similar term.

This is part of a broader set of Android-related announcements today, including updates to Android Auto and Android’s emergency location service, new accessibility features and better sleep through the Android Clock app.

The tech giants

Twitter now lets everyone limit replies to their tweets — A small globe icon will start to appear at the bottom of your tweets, and if you tap it, you can limit replies just to those who follow you, or just to those who you tag in the tweet itself.

Dell’s latest Chromebook blends enterprise security with premium specs — Once relegated to consumer or education use, Chromebooks are gaining traction in enterprise environments.

Tencent and Universal Music to take Chinese artists global under joint label — Tencent Music Entertainment, which spun off from Tencent, commands the lion’s share of China’s music streaming industry.

Startups, funding and venture capital

Google, Nokia, Qualcomm are investors in $230M Series A2 for Finnish phone maker, HMD Global — Since late 2016, the startup has exclusively licensed Nokia’s brand for mobile devices, going on to ship some 240 million devices to date.

Atomwise’s machine learning-based drug discovery service raises $123 million — Atomwise has already signed contracts with corporate partners that include Eli Lilly & Co., Bayer, Hansoh Pharmaceuticals and Bridge Biotherapeutics.

Scribd acquires presentation-sharing service SlideShare from LinkedIn — According to LinkedIn, Scribd will take over operation of the SlideShare business on September 24.

Advice and analysis from Extra Crunch

How Moovit went from opportunity to a $900M exit in 8 years — Private investor (and former Moovit president) Omar Téllez shares the inside story.

No pen required: The digital future of real estate closings — One potential silver lining of the pandemic, at least for the real estate world, may be a forced reckoning with the mortgage closing process.

Emergence’s Jason Green still sees plenty of opportunities for enterprise SaaS startups — One consistent thread runs through Emergence’s portfolio: They focus on the cloud and enterprise, a thesis that has paid off big time.

(Reminder: Extra Crunch is our subscription membership program, which aims to democratize information about startups. You can sign up here.)

Everything else

Mozilla lays off 250 — This move comes after the organization already laid off about 70 employees earlier this year.

EU-US Privacy Shield is dead. Long live Privacy Shield — The EU’s executive body and the US Department of Commerce have begun talks toward fashioning a new “Privacy Shield.”

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