BTW — There will be no newsletter Monday in observance of Martin Luther King Jr. Day. We’ll be back in your inboxes on Tuesday.
Now, let’s get started.
1. Wordle is taking over the internet — and spurring knockoffs. Wordle, a daily word game that’s quickly growing in popularity, is garnering so much attention that Apple said it had to remove several knockoffs from its App Store.
- Attempting to capitalize on the game’s success, app developers have been copying Wordle and putting their versions in the App Store.
- A direct iOS clone of Wordle was removed after receiving backlash from fans online, Variety reported. The developer created “Wordle — The App,” a version that offered unlimited play for a $30 yearly subscription. He has since apologized.
Heard of Wordle, but not sure what it is? We’ve got you covered. Wordle is a puzzle that only exists on the game’s website, so you don’t need an app — or even a cell phone — to play. You can play the game here.
- It’s a puzzle with a relatively simple (but tricky) premise: try to guess the five-letter word. After each guess, the game tells you if any of the letters are correct, and if they’re in the right order. You have six chances to get it right — but you can only play once a day.
- It was created by Josh Wardle (get it?), a software engineer from Brooklyn, who made it for his word-game-loving partner.
In other news:
2. The Jan. 6 committee subpoenaed the nation’s tech giants. The committee, in an attempt to understand the spread of misinformation, efforts to overturn the 2020 election, and domestic extremism, has subpoenaed Twitter, YouTube, Meta, and Reddit. Here’s what you need to know.
3. Hackers are breaking into Amazon cloud accounts to mine crypto — and leaving the owners with huge bills. Crypto miners can run up huge charges for the raw computing power needed to produce even small amounts of digital currencies like Bitcoin. One hacking victim describes finding a $53,000 bill on his account.
4. Meta dropped 36 places on Glassdoor’s annual Best Places to Work list. Facebook’s parent company — which has snagged the top spot three times — fell from 11th to 47th place after a string of PR crises. If you’re on the hunt for a new job this year, these 10 companies have the happiest employees.
5. Alphabet has distanced its “other bets,” like self-driving cars and healthcare, from Google. Alphabet, Google’s parent company, has given its other businesses like Waymo and Verily more freedom to set their own rules around job structures. The move gives the businesses more autonomy as they evolve, and could help them better attract outside talent. What we know so far.
6. Google’s full-time staff get rapid COVID-19 tests, but its temps don’t. Google’s army of temporary workers and contractors must go through a slower process than full-time employees, using mail-in tests — a policy that’s reignited discussions about the way it treats its temp workers.
7. The founder of a Muslim dating app is battling Tinder-owner Match in court. Shahzad Younas says Match tried to buy his startup Muzmatch on four occasions and that after he turned down the offer Match Group sued – twice. Read more about the legal tussle.
8. Tesla will give an update on the Cybertruck in two weeks. After removing the 2022 production date for Cybertruck from its website last month, Tesla is expected to give a roadmap update on the car in late January. Everything we know about the forthcoming update.
9. The $19,995 Ford Maverick proves less really can be more. Less than half the price of the average new car, the bare-bones Maverick lacks features like cruise control and power mirrors — but offers a basic, versatile pickup for budget buyers. Check out the new Ford Maverick.
10. Tesla’s Cyberquad for kids is starting to arrive. Earlier this week, YouTubers began posting unboxing videos of the toy, which went on sale in December and sold out within a week. Now, some resellers are listing the Cyberquads on eBay for more than double their original price. See videos of the Cyberquad here.
The latest people moves in tech:
- Amazon has promoted Stephen Schmidt, an AWS cybersecurity veteran, to its S-team, the company’s elite group of execs. More on his new role.
- Two of Facebook’s top PR executives left the company. What we know about their departures.
- Amazon’s SaaS business applications team suffered its second top exec departure in less than a year.
- Ousted WeWork chief Adam Neumann is entering one of real estate’s hottest markets — and tapped two former confidants to help him out.
- Index Ventures is losing its first-ever female partner in a blow to the Silicon Valley heavyweight.
- Tesla’s most prominent Black executive, HR chief Valerie Capers Workman, is leaving the company. More on her next steps.
- Facebook added DoorDash co-founder and CEO Tony Xu to its board of directors.