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Twitter held discussions for $4 Billion takeover of Clubhouse

Inside Telecom Staff

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Clubhouse takeover

Twitter might be interested in buying Clubhouse, according to Bloomberg, adding that “The social media platform held talks in recent months to buy Clubhouse, the buzzy, audio-based, social network, for $4 billion.”

The talks between the two social media platforms have reportedly stopped, and it is unclear why. It is also unclear whether Twitter or Clubhouse approached the other first, which could give an idea on how either platform is feeling about the competition in the social audio space.

Bloomberg also noted that Clubhouse is looking to raise money at a $4 billion valuation; it is possible that number came out of these Twitter discussions, or that Clubhouse is shopping that figure around.

Clubhouse, an invite-only social media app that lets users join and host audio talks, is in talks for a funding round that would value the company at $4 billion, per Bloomberg. The startup has raised $110 million in funding as of January 24, giving it a valuation of up to $1.4 billion.

The app also faces lots of competitors, including Facebook, Twitter, Discord, LinkedIn, and Slack, among others. These other platforms already come with built-in user bases of millions of people, as well as fully built web, iOS, and Android apps.

On their side, both Twitter and Clubhouse representatives did not immediately give a comment about the matter.

Still, Clubhouse is rapidly trying to innovate whilst it has staffed up in recent months and hired an engineer to build its Android app. It also, this week, launched tipping within the app as a way for creators to make money.

Clubhouse’s popularity has skyrocketed this year after being downloaded 11.4 million times as of March 1, according to App Annie, up from 3.5 million the month prior. The app has attracted high-profile users like Paris Hilton, Oprah Winfrey, and Mark Cuban.

Twitter reported promising earnings in February 2021 and announced the firm increased user count 27 percent to 192 million at the end of 2020. Last year, the platform made the contentious decision to permanently suspend former president Donald Trump due to his part in inciting violence during the January 6 Capitol uprising.

For its part, Twitter Spaces has already launched on both iOS and Android. The company also plans to launch a web version and to open hosting abilities up to all users this month.

As such, the reasons for Twitter to acquire Clubhouse does not add up, unless it simply wanted to wipe the competition out and gain its dedicated user base and buzzy name.

However, Clubhouse and Twitter will continue to face each other in the contest to dominate social audio.

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The latest: vaccines to be made available at Alaska airports

Associated Press

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Alaska airports

JUNEAU, Alaska — Alaska Gov. Mike Dunleavy says COVID-19 vaccines would be made available at key airports in the state starting June 1.

He made the announcement Friday, as he unveiled plans aimed at bolstering Alaska’s pandemic-battered tourist industry.

Dunleavy, a Republican, outlined plans for a national marketing campaign aimed at luring tourists and said the vaccine offering is “probably another good reason to come to the state of Alaska in the summer.”

Dunleavy and other state leaders have been pushing to allow large cruise ships to return to Alaska after COVID-19 restrictions kept them away last year.

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2.7 million products on display at China’s digital Canton Trade Fair

Inside Telecom Staff

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Digital Canton Trade Fair

The China Import and Export Fair (Canton Fair) opened its 129th session on Wednesday, and what is its third digital exhibition. 260 thousand exhibitors present a record-breaking 2.7 million products across 16 categories, 82 thousand of which will be new products.

Exhibitors will showcase their products through cutting-edge digital presentations such as pictures, videos, 3D and livestreams, including 2,600 virtual reality showrooms and 137 online new product launches.

Xu Bing, spokesperson of the Canton Fair, noted that the 129th Canton Fair, built on the previous two digital sessions successfully held in 2020, has further optimized its digital platform to facilitate accessible and convenient business communication between suppliers and buyers.

“The Canton Fair has been promoting trade exchanges and stabilizing the global industrial supply chain over the years, and we hope the 129th session can contribute to China’s new development pattern where domestic and foreign markets can boost each other,” Xu said.

Canton, now known as Guangzhou, is the capital and most populous city in the province of Guangdong, which popularly called “the factory of the world.”

Located on the Pearl River about 120 km north-northwest of Hong Kong, Canton (Guangzhou) has a trade history of over 2,200 years and was historically the major trading terminus for the ancient, globalized Silk Road which traveled from China to the Mediterranean and southern Europe.

The metropolis continues in the modern era as a major port and transportation hub and is one of China’s three largest cities. 

This year’s Canton Fair brings functional improvements to enable efficient business matching, including leveraging resources in livestreams, allowing easy access to the Help Center, offering an upgraded Exhibitor Centre management tool, and providing an intelligent customer service system with multiple language support.

Aiming to provide buyers with an optimal experience throughout the grand online international trade event, the Fair is also embracing an inclusive participation with targeted market segment incentives and activities.

Focusing on China’s global “Belt and Road Initiative” and Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) countries, the Canton Fair has been working closely with international business associations.

Forty-four exhibition virtual events hosted in 32 countries with topics covering promotion, matchmaking, and cooperation agreement signing, along with over 300 trainings for overseas buyers, email direct marketing and global partnership programs, will help global buyers understand their targeted industries and the product categories of interest which are showcased at the Canton Fair.

To allow buyers to do barrier-free business across borders, the Canton Fair is introducing a wide range of supporting services, such as professional settlements, financing to insurance, logistic support for transportation, inspection to quality certification, as well as online customs support and policy interpretation.

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Google Earth adds time lapse video to depict climate change

Associated Press

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Google Earth adds time lapse video to depict climate change

The Google Earth app is adding a new video feature that draws upon nearly four decades of satellite imagery to vividly illustrate how climate change has affected glaciers, beaches, forests and other places around the world.

The tool unveiled Thursday is rolling out in what is being billed as the biggest update to Google Earth in five years. Google says it undertook the complex project in partnership with several government agencies, including NASA in the U.S. and its European counterpart, in hopes that it will help a mass audience grasp the sometimes abstract concept of climate change in more tangible terms through its free Earth app.

Cornell University climate scientist Natalie Mahowald believes that mission may be accomplished.

“This is amazing,” she told The Associated Press after watching a preview of the new feature. “Trying to get people to understand the scope of the climate change and the land use problem is so difficult because of the long time and spatial scales. I would not be surprised if this one bit of software changes many people’s minds about the scale of the impact of humans on the environment.”

This isn’t the first time time-lapse satellite imagery has been used to demonstrate show how parts of the world are changing before our eyes due to a changing climate. Most scientists agree that climate change is being driven by pollution primarily produced by humans.

But earlier images have mostly focused on melting glaciers and haven’t been widely available on an already popular app like Google Earth, which can be downloaded on most of the more than 3 billion smartphones now in use around the world

Google is promising that people will be able to see a time lapse presentation of just about anywhere they want to search. The feature also includes a storytelling mode highlighting 800 different places on the planet in both 2D and 3D formats. Those videos also will be available on Google’s YouTube video site, a service more widely used than the Earth app.

The feature was created from 24 million satellite images taken every year from 1984 to 2020 and provided by NASA, the U.S. Geological Survey and the European Union, according to Google. The time lapse technology was created with the help of Carnegie Mellon University.

Google plans to update the time lapse imagery at least once a year.


SAN RAMON, Calif. (AP) — By MICHAEL LIEDTKE AP Technology Writer

AP Science Writer Seth Borenstein contributed to this story from Washington.

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