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The TechCrunch Top 3
- Image prompts: Microsoft is enabling Bing users to tap into their most creative selves — through AI, of course, via the use of OpenAI’s DALL-E image creator, Frederic reports. Frederic also writes about two additional features, Visual Stories and Knowledge Cards. “Best I can tell, Microsoft has been testing these quite a bit in recent weeks since they’ve been popping up in my searches with some frequency.”
- Look who’s getting into generative AI: Firefly is Adobe’s approach to generative AI and “will be made up of multiple AI models ‘working across a variety of different use cases,’” Kyle writes. More Adobe news in Big Tech.
- Get in line: Speaking of generative AI (because that’s really all we’ve been talking about for weeks now), Google opens early access to Bard, its AI chatbot. You can join the waitlist. Romain has more.
Startups and VC
The worlds of technology and medicine are making big bets on AI playing a central role in the delivery of healthcare in the future. Today, a startup out of Durham, North Carolina, called Bionic Health — built by two early movers in the commercializing of AI — is throwing its hat into that ring to build out its approach, Ingrid reports. It raised $3 million for its AI health clinic.
Last week, the FBI arrested a man alleged to be “Pompompurin,” the administrator of the infamous and popular BreachForums, Lorenzo reports. Days after the arrest, the cybercrime website’s new administrator announced that they are shutting down the forum for good.
Another handful of stories worth mentioning:
SaaS is still open for business, but it’s going to take longer to buy and sell
More than 225,000 tech workers have been laid off in the last year, which is having a direct effect on SaaS renewal and purchase cycles.
SaaS customers that reduced headcount are buying fewer seat licenses, and sales cycles are taking a little longer than they used to, says Ryan Neu, CEO and co-founder of SaaS-buying platform Vendr.
“Over the last three years, our data has shown a steady decline in multi-year deals,” he writes. “Yet we have also seen a significant increase in [average contract value] from purchase to renewal in mission-critical and sticky software categories, like CRM or email.”
Three more from the TC+ team:
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Big Tech Inc.
Well, this is an interesting turn of events in the age of credit: DoorDash is adding support for cash. Sarah writes that it’s only being rolled out as a DoorDash Drive feature, but that when it was tested, about 20% of U.S. customers ordering pizza paid with cash. She notes that the cash option has helped attract customers who aren’t a fan of handing over their payment information.
Meanwhile, Devin wants to have some words with Amazon, which he reports is shutting down DPReview, “the best camera review site on the web.” He writes that the company’s team was let go as part of Amazon’s latest round of layoffs and that “DPReview is hardly the first media property to get the axe during these turbulent times, but it is surely one of the oldest and most unique. Here’s hoping the talented and knowledgeable team lands on their feet, and Amazon comes to regret its decision.”
And we have five more for you:
- Control, I like to have a lot: And a lot you shall have. A new WhatsApp feature gives admins an easier way to control who can join a group, Aisha reports.
- Over at Adobe: There is much to unpack. Ivan writes about Adobe Express’ enterprise tier, while Frederic has a look at the Experience Cloud. And Kyle writes that there are some new generative AI tools aimed at marketers, and Ron reports on artist compensation for works used to train Adobe’s generative AI product.
- Car talk: Ford unveiled its €45,000 Explorer EV for the European market, Matt writes. And Ferrari says a ransomware attack exposed customers’ personal data. Carly has more.
- Poised in the face of adversity: Before speaking in front of Congress, TikTok’s CEO Shou Zi Chew shared that the streaming giant has 150 million active users in the U.S., Ivan reports. Meanwhile, Aisha writes that TikTok overhauls its community guidelines, adding some new policies on AI and climate misinformation.
- Priorities: Some goods and services might be more expensive amid inflation, but a new Counterpoint study shows consumers are still splurging on premium smartphones. Ivan has more.