Daily Crunch: Google publishes coronavirus mobility reportsApril 4, 2020
Google uses its ad-tracking data to provide a glimpse at how the world is responding to coronavirus, the CDC changes its tune on face masks and Apple accidentally reveals that AirTags are coming. Here’s your Daily Crunch for April 3, 2020.
Google is giving the world a clearer look of exactly how much it knows about people everywhere — using the coronavirus crisis as an opportunity to repackage its persistent tracking of where users go and what they do as a public good in the midst of a pandemic.
In a blog post, the tech giant announced the publication of what it’s calling COVID-19 Community Mobility Reports, an in-house analysis of the much more granular location data it maps and tracks to fuel its ad-targeting, product development and wider commercial strategy, now used to showcase aggregated changes in population movements around the world.
On Thursday, the White House said that it will likely adjust previous guidelines that discouraged non-health workers from wearing face masks. The change would be issued as “guidance” from the CDC, but according to President Trump, it will not be mandatory.
In a video tutorial about resetting an iPhone to factory settings, at around the 1:43 mark, you can see an option for “Enable Offline Finding” is shown, and beneath that, the text references AirTags by name. AirTags are believed to be small tracking tiles with Bluetooth connectivity that can be used to find lost items — just like Tile.
The idea is to introduce new technologies and processes that will support existing businesses and organizations, not to use the funding to build new startups from scratch.
TechCrunch recently spoke with a half-dozen venture capitalists, asking after how their world has changed and how they are approaching dealmaking in the new reality. One common note was that startup valuations are declining. And past valuation adjustments, there’s going to be more change. (Extra Crunch membership required.)
That headline might sound familiar: SpaceX’s first prototype, the Mk1, was also destroyed during pressure testing of its fuel tank, and the next full-scale prototype under development, SN1, was also destroyed during a pressure test in late February.
I didn’t manage to get my recommendations to Matt Burns in time (sorry Matt!), but I will say that Star Trek — whether it’s the original series or the latest spinoff, “Picard” — is the best comfort viewing, now more than ever.
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