Hashtag Trending Jan 23rd- Area 120 impacted by Google’s layoffs, police contractor hacked, gravity batteries in abandoned mines

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Google’s in-house incubator hit by layoffs, police contractor promising to track down homeless people hacked, gravity battery’s potential to power the entire planet.

This is all the tech news that is trending right now. Welcome to trending hashtags. Today is Monday the 23rd of January and I am your host Asha Pamma.

Area 120, the Google in-house incubator responsible for products like Check, Tables, Stack and ThreadByte, has been hit hard by layoffs at Google parent company, Alphabet. According to TechCrunch, much of the Area 120 team has been downsized and only three projects from the division will graduate into core Google product areas later this year. Area 120 was created in March 2016 by Sundar Pichai, CEO of Alphabet and Google, with the aim of creating experimental apps and services that can then be integrated into established profit drivers. Over the years, the division has launched several successful products including HTML5 gaming platform GameSnacks, and AI-powered conversational advertising platform AdLingo. A source previously told TechCrunch that Area 120 had fewer than 100 employees after the last round of cuts. Google declined to confirm the number.

source: techcrunch

According to a report by Vice, ODIN Intelligence, a police contractor that recently planned to track the homeless with facial recognition, has been hacked. Over 15GB of data has been stolen from the tool. The cache contains many sensitive information, such as photos, reports, and other ODIN customer and internal data. The law enforcement contractor’s gallery contained 5,900 files that included images such as mugshots, images of people’s homes, vehicles and people’s tattoos. Some files included the individual’s name on the file name or identification and social security card. The police contractor already had several security issues and as of now ODIN’s website is still offline.

source: vice president

According to a report in TechSpot, gravity batteries in abandoned mines could be the key to storing additional renewable energy, reusing closed mines, and providing jobs. Gravity batteries attempt to solve one of the central problems associated with renewable energy sources such as wind and solar, and that is the storage of excess energy. Wind and solar often generate more energy than a grid can use immediately, so power companies usually have to store what’s left over in batteries. A report by the International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis (IIASA) suggests using abandoned mines as there are already millions across the planet that can be cheaply converted for this purpose. Most have the infrastructure in place for the job and are already connected to the power grid. The report states that operating gravity batteries in abandoned mines could restore jobs lost when the mines close.

source: techspot

Several YouTube videos sharing the first episode of the BBC documentary “India: The Modi Question” have been banned, following instructions from the country’s Ministry of Information and Broadcasting. The federal government has also directed Twitter to block over 50 tweets containing links to YouTube videos. Both YouTube and Twitter complied with the government after the direction was reportedly issued on Friday using emergency powers under IT rules. The two-part series sought to attack Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s stance as Gujarat’s chief minister during the 2002 Gujarat communal riots, in which more than 1,000 people died, by official count – most of them Muslims. On Thursday, India condemned the controversial BBC documentary series on PM Modi, describing it as a “propaganda piece”.

source: reuters

All these technology related news are trending right now. Hashtag Trending is a part of the ITWC Podcast Network. Add us to your Alexa Flash Briefing or your Google Home Daily Briefing. Be sure to sign up for our Daily IT Wire Newsletter to get important news straight to your inbox every day. Plus, check out the next episode of Hashtag Tendence, our weekly hashtag trending episode in French, which drops every Thursday morning. If you have any suggestion or tip, drop us a line in the comments or via email. Thanks for listening, I’m Aashi Pamma.

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