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Snapchat CEO Evan Spiegel speaking at Snaphcat Partner Summit on April 4th in Santa Monica. Screenshot: Axios
A slew of new updates, features and services unveiled by Snap Inc. Thursday capture the Santa Monica-based "camera company" in mid-evolution — from a chat platform to a broker of value-added services modeled on China's tech giants.
Why it matters: Snap has faced investor skepticism that its media model of youth-oriented ephemeral photo and video sharing can support an ad business on the scale of Google's or Facebook's, Sara Fischer reports.
The details: Snap announced it will launch the Snap Audience Network, which will allow other companies to run "Snap ads" inside their own apps. Snap will allow advertisers to sell ads through its technology, while keeping a cut of the ad revenue.
Snap also announced major updates for developers and its camera, and rolled out a new gaming platform as well as a slate of original shows.
The bottom line: Tech giants are rushing to create better software to increase user engagement with their software and to make money off of things like payments, advertising and storage.
Google has pulled the plug on an outside advisory group that was intended to guide AI work following a series of controversies, the company confirmed on Thursday.
Why it matters: Google, like Microsoft, had been looking for outside input to help shape its AI efforts. However, Google's panel drew almost immediate outcry for, among other things, including the president of the Heritage Foundation.
Thousands of Google employees and others had signed a petition calling for the removal of Kay Coles James, citing views they said were anti-transgender, anti-gay and anti-immigrant.
What they're saying:
A source had earlier told Axios that Google planned to hold firm and keep Coles, citing a desire to hear from a range of voices and draw on Coles' free market perspective.
The group's disbanding was first reported by Vox.
A passenger boards a bus featuring 5G network service in March in Nanning, China. Photo: Yu Xiangquan/VCG via Getty Images
Sprint CEO Michel Combes and and T-Mobile CTO Neville Ray have a message for Washington: If you want to beat China in the 5G race, you'd better approve our merger.
Why it matters: As Kim Hart reports, the $26 billion deal that would combine the 3rd and 4th largest U.S. wireless carriers and has been waiting on federal approval for nearly a year.
Sprint has a boatload of mid-band spectrum that complements T-Mobile's low-band and millimeter wave spectrum — all of which are needed for 5G. Combining financial resources would allow the companies to build faster, Ray said. "It's not '1+1=2,'" he said. "It's 1+1=4."
Reality check: Verizon and AT&T are moving full-speed ahead on their own 5G deployments, and Verizon flipped the switch on commercial 5G service in Minneapolis and Chicago this week.
Photo: Thomas Trutschel/Photothek via Getty Images
Cisco's Talos research team announced Friday it had discovered 74 Facebook groups where hackers bought and sold cybercrime tools and services. The groups networked together as many as 385,000 members speaking a bevy of different languages, Joe Uchill reports.
The big picture: Though this appears to be the largest roundup of criminal Facebook hacker groups in history in terms of total hackers served, it's not the first. Reporter Brian Krebs discovered 120 groups hiding 300,000 members in 2018.
Facebook has dismantled several groups discovered by Talos, according to the report, but some that were taken down have already resurfaced.
The bottom line: "If something is free, criminals are going to find a way to abuse it," said Williams.
Qualcomm President Cristiano Amon. Photo: Paco Freire/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images
Qualcomm President Cristiano Amon said Thursday that the company would be happy to consider working with Apple on its 5G plans if their reported struggles to bring a product to market continue, David McCabe reports.
Why it matters: Qualcomm and Apple have been locked in a lengthy, acrimonious legal battle that includes patent, contract and antitrust complaints.
The big picture: Apple is reportedly struggling with its effort to add 5G to next year's iPhones. Apple had used Qualcomm modem chips until 2017, when it started using a mix of Qualcomm and Intel before going all Intel with its 2018 lineup.
What they’re saying: While Amon said that he “can’t really comment on what Apple is doing,” he also said that the longer any company waits to introduce a 5G product, the higher the bar will be for them to meet.
Tim from Cupertino, you're on the air: Apple CEO Tim Cook called in to an ESPN show on Thursday to discuss his alma mater, Auburn, making it to the men's Final Four for the first time.