10 things in tech you need to know today
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1. Amazon is putting a cap on its take-home COVID-19 tests. The online retailer started limiting the number of at-home COVID tests shoppers can purchase as the Omicron surge spurred shortages. Walgreens and CVS previously limited purchases, too.
- President Biden announced a plan on Tuesday to roll out 500 million free COVID-19 test kits beginning in January.
- Amazon is also reportedly reinstating its mask mandate for US warehouse workers due to Omicron concerns.
- Even if staffers are vaccinated or if they do not have local mask mandates, they must still comply within Amazon warehouses.
In other news:
2. TikTok got more traffic than Google in 2021. The short-form video app jumped from the eighth most popular website in 2020 to the top spot this year, surpassing even Google. More on TikTok's meteoric rise.
3. Shopify is rolling out "Gift Shop," a new curated marketplace. The quiet new release pushes Shopify into Amazon's turf, as both sport many similar features. Users can browse through hand-picked collections and send items as gifts. The custom gift link feature is intended to be one of the main selling points.
4. OnlyFans has a new CEO. The company's founder Tim Stokely unexpectedly stepped down this week. He'll be replaced by Amrapali Gan, the company's chief marketing and communications officer, whose first job was marketing the "first cannabis restaurant in the US." Meet OnlyFans' new CEO.
5. Waze's chief product officer has left the Google-owned company after multiple employees accused the executive of sexual misconduct. He had announced his resignation from the company in September, but Google terminated his employment early after conducting an investigation. Read our full report here.
6. The government is investigating Tesla letting people play video games while driving. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration opened a probe into Tesla's "Passenger Play" feature, which allows drivers to play video games on the cars' touchscreens while in motion. What we know about the investigation so far.
7. We kept track of Google's biggest hires and departures of 2021. A total of 15 top executives left Google — including its health chief, a top Cloud VP, and the CEO of Waymo — while 11 more joined. Meet the most important people who joined and left Google this year.
8. The mysterious winning bidder of a $28 million seat on a Blue Origin rocket just revealed himself.
9. Instacart is testing a robotic "warehouse on wheels" as it looks to challenge ultrafast delivery players. Insider reviewed leaked documents and discovered new sidewalk robots meant to save on real-estate costs and complete rapid grocery deliveries. See how these so-called floating warehouses on wheels work.
10. Elon Musk has reportedly been staying in a $12 million Austin estate. While Musk boasts of living in a $50,000 home near his SpaceX site, the Wall Street Journal reported he's been staying at a waterfront property, owned by a "PayPal Mafia" member, for about a year. What we know about the property.
Curated by Jordan Parker Erb and Phil Rosen in New York. Edited by Michael Cogley in London.
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