ShinyShiny snippets: WhatsApp adds Twitter-like new ‘channels’ feature

WhatsApp is adding the Twitter-like ability to follow accounts outside your personal contacts. The new feature will be in a new section of the app called “updates”, separate from your existing private chats, and behave similarly to news feeds on other social media platforms. Rather than needing to add a contact via their phone number, users will be able to search for individuals and organisations they might like to follow – including sports teams, government officials, and accounts dedicated to hobbies and interests. Owners of followable pages, dubbed “channels”, will also be able to invite people to join using direct links. Sky News 

Edward Snowden has warned that surveillance technology is so much more advanced and intrusive today it makes that used by US and British intelligence agencies he revealed in 2013 look like child’s play. In an interview on the 10th anniversary of his revelations about the scale of surveillance – some of it illegal – by the US National Security Agency and its British counterpart, GCHQ, he said he had no regrets about what he had done and cited positive changes. But he is depressed about inroads into privacy both in the physical and digital world. The Guardian

EVs are getting big — too big, some say — so it’s refreshing to see Volvo trend in the other direction. The Swedish automaker’s next EV, the compact EX30 SUV, is powered by a modest battery that nevertheless manages to churn out a decent amount of range. But more compelling than that is the starting price tag of $34,950, which is impressive when you consider how expensive EVs have gotten in recent years. The Verge

Google plans to crack down on employees who haven’t been coming into its offices consistently, CNBC has found. The company updated its hybrid work policy Wednesday and it includes tracking office badge attendance, confronting workers who aren’t coming in when they’re supposed to and including the attendance in employees’ performance reviews, according to internal memos viewed by CNBC. Most employees are expected in physical offices at least three days a week. CNBC

Companies in the future may use brain-monitoring technology to watch or hire workers, the data watchdog says. But there is a real danger of discrimination if the technology is not developed and used properly, the Information Commissioner’s Office says. Tech Futures: Neurotechnology is the first ICO report on “neurodata”, data from the brain and nervous system. It comes as companies such as Elon Musk’s Neuralink explore new ways to let computers connect to human brains. “Based on all the indicators that we’re looking at, we’re seeing quite rapid growth, both in investments and in patents being developed in this area,” the ICO’s Stephen Almond told BBC News. BBC 

A Tesla Model 3 refresh prototype was spotted ahead of the launch, which could be imminent as the automaker appears to be liquidating existing Model 3 vehicles. Late last year, we started hearing rumors that Tesla was working on a Model 3 refresh that would come during the second half of 2023. The project is reportedly codenamed “Highland.” In December, a Model 3 prototype with heavy camouflage was spotted being tested in California. Another prototype was spotted shortly after as Tesla is expected to be closer to releasing the vehicle. Elektrek 

Chris Price