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Good morning! This is the tech news you need to know this Thursday.
1. Apple announced it plans to contribute $350 billion (£253 billion) to the US economy over the next five years. The plan sees the company repatriating overseas profits, implementing new infrastructure projects, and hiring about 20,000 new employees.
2. Nintendo announced a new initiative for its Switch console that goes under the name of Labo. It includes a series of DIY cardboard kits that make use of the console’s modular structure to let developers create custom experiences.
3. Google announced that it will start making page speed relevant in mobile search results starting this July. The firm said that the change will only affect pages that “deliver the slowest experience to users.”
4. Google’s Project Fi will start capping data bills at $60 (£43). It will keep high speeds until users consume 15GB worth of data, and throttle them after that.
5. Google has launched a new machine learning-based platform, called Cloud AutoML. The service uses machine learning (ML) to build image recognition and other custom artificial intelligence models for developers, including those that have zero ML experience.
6. Facebook has started testing a new feature called Watch Party. It allows multiple users to watch a video simultaneously, even if they are remote, while also commenting and interacting with it live.
7. Amazon-owned streaming platform Twitch announced that COO Kevin Lin is stepping down. He will be replaced by former Pandora COO Sara Clemens.
8. Apple has opened Siri’s “Read me the news” feature to all users in the US, UK, and Australia running iOS 11.2 or later. Asking Siri to read the news will play an automated bullet list of news from organisations like NPR in the US and the BBC in the UK.
9. Facebook announced that it will open a standalone investigation on potential Russian interventions in the UK’s EU referendum. The move has come after pressures from UK politicians to look into the matter.
10. Microsoft is bringing the Surface Book 2 to all markets where the Surface brand is already present, in both the 13- and 15-inch versions. The initial rollout will bring the new models to 17 countries, including the UK, with more to follow throughout March and April.