Good morning! This is the tech news you need to know this Wednesday.
- Facebook announced a new digital currency called Libra, which will let anyone send or receive money via their phones while paying zero or low fees. There is considerable uncertainty about how such a currency will work, but Facebook says it is targeted at the 1.7 billion people who don’t have a bank account.
- Facebook has set up its own subsidiary, Calibra, which will provide Libra payment services. Calibra will start as a digital wallet app that also integrates into WhatsApp and Facebook Messenger, and will eventually branch out into other services.
- France’s finance minister was among the first to voice his misgivings over Libra, saying it must not be allowed to become a “sovereign currency.” Politicians in Germany, Italy, and the US also voiced concern, with one saying Facebook could become a “shadow bank.”
- Chinese tech company Huawei has estimated the US blacklist will impact its revenue by $US30 billion. CEO and founder Ren Zhengfei said the firm was expecting revenue of $US100 billion this year and next, down from target growth of between $US125 billion to $US130 billion.
- Pokemon Go creator Niantic has made its second ever UK acquisition, buying British game studio Sensible Object. Sensible Object’s CEO, Alex Fleetwood, told Business Insider that the studio would become Niantic London and build new games like Pokemon Go on Niantic’s augmented reality gaming platform.
- Microsoft has resumed sales of its existing stock of Huawei laptops on its online store. Once the stock runs out, customers won’t be able to buy Huawei laptops until something changes in the US government’s decision to blacklist Huawei from doing business with US companies.
- The CEO of parenting benefits startup Cleo has resigned after Forbes and a subsequent internal investigation discovered she had lied about her age and CV. Shannon Spanhake resigned from the startup after the investigations, and after former employees complained of a brutal work culture.
- Alphabet’s Google on Tuesday announced an additional $US1 billion investment in housing across the San Francisco Bay Area. Google said over the next 10 years, it would repurpose at least $US750 million of its land, most of which is currently zoned for office or commercial space, as residential housing.
- Major advertisers, publishers, and platforms including Facebook, GroupM, and P&G announced a global alliance to improve digital safety. The immediate focus of the Global Alliance for Responsible Media is to create a working group to prioritise concrete steps to begin creating actions, processes and protocols for protecting people and brands from nefarious content online.
- YouTube launched a new augmented reality feature that allows a viewer to virtually try on makeup while watching beauty tutorials on the site. The tool is currently in alpha and uses a split screen, with the video playing on the top half and AR filters showing on the bottom half.
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