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Google lays off workers, Tesla cans its Supercharger team and UnitedHealthcare reveals security lapses


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Welcome, folks, to Week in Review (WiR), TechCrunch’s regular newsletter that recaps the week that was in tech. This edition’s a tad bittersweet for me — it’ll be my last (for a while, anyway). Soon, I’ll be shifting my attention to a new AI-focused newsletter, which I’m super thrilled about. Stay tuned!

Now, on with the news: This week Google laid off staff from its Flutter, Dart and Python teams weeks before its annual I/O developer conference. A total of 200 people were let go across Google’s “Core” teams, which included those working on app platforms and other engineering roles.

Elsewhere, Tesla CEO Elon Musk gutted the company’s team responsible for overseeing its Supercharger network in a new round of layoffs — despite recently winning over major automakers like Ford and General Motors. The cuts are so complete that Musk suggested in an email that they’ll force Tesla to slow the Supercharger network’s expansion.

And UnitedHealthcare’s CEO, Andrew Witty, told a House subcommittee that the ransomware gang that hacked U.S. health tech giant Change Healthcare — UnitedHealthcare’s subsidiary — used a set of stolen credentials to access Change Healthcare systems that weren’t protected by multifactor authentication. Last week, UnitedHealthcare said that the hackers stole health data on a “substantial proportion of people in America.”

Lots else happened. We recap it all in this edition of WiR — but first, a reminder to sign up to receive the WiR newsletter in your inbox every Saturday.

News

Hallucinations, hallucinations: OpenAI is facing another privacy complaint in the EU. This one — filed by privacy rights nonprofit noyb on behalf of an individual complainant — targets the inability of its AI chatbot ChatGPT to correct misinformation it generates about individuals.

Just walk out … of Sam’s Club: Sam’s Club customers who pay either at a register or through the Scan & Go mobile app can now walk out of the store without having their purchases double-checked. The technology, unveiled at the Consumer Electronics Show in January, has now been deployed at 20% of Sam’s Club locations.

TikTok circumvents Apple rules: TikTok is presenting some users with a link to a website for purchasing the coins used to tip digital creators on the platform. Typically, these coins must be bought via in-app purchase — which requires a 30% commission paid to Apple — suggesting TikTok might be attempting to skirt Apple’s App Store rules.

NIST’s GenAI platform: The National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST), the U.S. Commerce Department agency that develops and tests tech for the U.S. government, companies and the broader public, has launched NIST GenAI, a new program to assess generative AI technologies, including text- and image-generating AI.

Getir pulls out: Getir, the quick commerce behemoth, has pulled out of the U.S., U.K. and Europe to focus on Turkey, its home country. The company — once valued close to $12 billion — said that the move would impact thousands of gig and full-time workers.

Analysis

Inside the Techstars “cold war”: Brilliant reporting by Dom peels back the curtains on a year of financial losses and employee cuts at startup accelerator Techstars, whose CEO, Maëlle Gavet, has been a controversial force for change.

AI-powered coding: Yours truly takes a look at Copilot Workspace, somewhat of an evolution of GitHub’s AI-powered coding assistant Copilot into a more general tool — building on recently introduced capabilities like Copilot Chat, which lets developers ask questions about code in natural language.

Autonomous car racing: Tim Stevens dives into the Abu Dhabi racing event that pitted a driverless car against a Formula 1 driver.



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