Shiny Shiny tech round up: Dating app Bumble gives staff a break to ‘destress’

Bumble boss Whitney Wolfe Herd has given staff a week off to tackle ‘burn out’

Bumble, the dating app where women make the first move, has closed its doors for a week to give its some 700 employees a “much-needed” break to destress. In a now-deleted tweet, the company’s head of editorial content praised chief executive Whitney Wolfe Herd’s decision to give staff a paid holiday. Clare O’Connor said bosses had “correctly intuited our collective burnout”, adding that the break feels like a “big deal” since annual leave is “notoriously scarce” in the US. A Bumble spokeswoman confirmed the week-long break to Sky News. The global team has had a challenging time during the pandemic and wanted to give everyone a chance to shut off and focus on themselves, and staff will return to work on 28 June. Sky News 

Phones across the country are to issue “emergency alerts” as part of a nationwide test, the government has said. The test could lead devices to make a “loud siren-like sound”, the government has warned. The tests are part of a government system that allows it to issue warnings about potential dangers or issues by sending them out to people’s phones. The system is set to launch in summer 2021, according to the UK’s website. “Emergency alerts will warn you if there’s a danger to life nearby,” its website says. “In an emergency, your phone or tablet will receive an alert with advice about how to stay safe.” Independent 

Elon Musk’s Starlink is targeting global coverage from its satellite broadband network by September as it attempts to overtake rivals including Amazon and Britain’s OneWeb. Gwynne Shotwel, president of SpaceX, said its 1,800 satellites should be able to provide continuous coverage. It is targeting a total of 12,000 satellites at a cost of $10bn (£7.2bn), which orbit at a height of 340 miles above the earth. Starlink’s beta version of its broadband service is available in 11 countries. The satellite company will still need regulatory approval for its system as it enters new markets. Telegraph 

Facebook’s first partner for advertising in its virtual reality headset has pulled out of the initiative less than a week after it was announced after a backlash from the gaming community.  The world’s largest social media platform said last Wednesday that it planned to start testing advertising in Oculus, its popular virtual reality gaming headset, with commercials running in the shooting game Blaston and “a couple other developers”. But Blaston, a title from Resolution Games, ditched the plan on Monday, following a deluge of complaints from users. “After listening to player feedback, we realize that Blaston isn’t the best fit for this type of advertising test. Therefore, we no longer plan to implement the test,” it said on Twitter. FT

European Union regulators have launched a fresh antitrust investigation of Google, this time over whether the U.S. tech giant is stifling competition in digital advertising technology. The European Commission said Tuesday that it has opened a formal investigation into whether Google violated the bloc’s competition rules by favoring its own online display advertising technology services at the expense of rival publishers, advertisers and advertising technology services. The commission, the EU’s executive arm and the bloc’s top antitrust enforcer, is looking in particular at whether Google is restricting access by third parties to user data for ad purposes on websites and apps. AP News 

The release of a report by the Pentagon, detailing what the US government knows about what it calls “unidentified aerial phenomena”, is being seen as a moment of validation by members of the UFO community. Researchers and investigators, for so long mocked as conspiracy theorists and worse, say the revelation that a “UAP Task Force” has been collecting evidence for the Department of Defence for more than a decade confirms their suspicions. “The phenomenon has just been validated by the papers coming out that, yes, there’s something out there. No, we don’t know what it is, but it’s worth looking into. And that’s what we’ve been doing for decades,” said Chris Jones of the Mutual UFO Network. Sky News


Chris Price