OpenAI launches Sora, a credit score-based dating app and anti-Tesla ad comes under fire

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Welcome, my friends, to Week in Review (WiR), TechCrunch’s regular newsletter covering noteworthy happenings in the tech industry.

This week, OpenAI stunned the blogosphere with the release of Sora, a new AI model capable of generating videos with impressive fidelity. We’ve seen video generators before. But what makes Sora unique is its understanding of time and physics, which not only allows it to create more consistent videos than previous video generators, but also 3D worlds. Wild stuff!

Elsewhere, startup Score has released a dating app exclusive to people with good to excellent credit scores. And an anti-Tesla Super Bowl ad came under fire from the National Transportation Safety Board for using its seal without authorization.

Many other things happened. We recap it all in this edition of WiR — but first, a reminder to register to receive the WiR newsletter in your mailbox every Saturday.

News

Cleaning costs started: Airbnb is slowly removing cleaning fees in an effort to achieve more transparent pricing, Amanda writes.

Silenced before his time: Layoffs at Spotify have put an end to Glenn McDonald’s beloved Every Noise at Once project, a musical encyclopedia of sorts — and fans are pissed.

Mozilla is reducing its workforce: Following a reduction in its workforce, Mozilla plans to reduce its investments in a number of products, including its VPN, Relay and Online Footprint Scrubber, reports Frédéric.

Google upgrades Gemini: Google has expanded the range of its Gemini AI models available to developers on its platforms. And his previewed a new Gemini model capable of analyzing entire books, hours of audio, and hour-long videos.

Slack gets GenAI: Slack has introduced a few new features designed to make information more accessible, including a new AI-powered search tool and the ability to summarize information in channels.

Variston pleats: Spyware startup Variston is losing staff – and some say it’s closing its doors entirely. The Barcelona-based startup’s malware has been used to target iPhones, Android devices and PCs, Lorenzo writes.

Analysis

Bluesky vs. Mastodon: Amanda writes about the struggle over how – and if – to connect the two decentralized social networks Bluesky and Mastodon and how this could shape the future of the Internet.

Fortnite and the mouse: With Disney magic (“magic” here referring to intellectual property and a $1.5 billion investment), Fortnite is poised to win the metaverse, Taylor writes.

Podcasts

On Equity, the team talked about how Bret Taylor’s new startup, Sierra, is turning heads. Taylor – known for his work at Facebook, Salesforce and OpenAI – says Sierra aims to create conversational AI agents.

Find ” presented Tigran Sloyan, co-founder and CEO of CodeSignal, a skills assessment platform used by many technology companies to hire engineers based on their engineering skills rather than their resume.

And Chain reaction spoke to Yat Siu, Executive Chairman of Animoca Brands, which has invested in over 400 Web3 projects across a range of sectors such as DeFi, education, infrastructure, blockchain gaming and the metaverse.

TechCrunch+

Flash in the pan: Rebecca writes that, for a variety of reasons, venture capitalists are no longer shy about launching gun startups.

Ethics requirement: The regenerative community organization (RCO), a new organizational model that aims to be a practical approach to integrating sustainability into the core of operations, is gaining momentum in the startup world, reports Haje.

Bonus round

Foundry Group shutters: Foundry Group, an 18-year-old venture capital firm with nearly $3.5 billion in assets under management, has quietly decided to close its doors and no longer raise funds.

Play hardball: Apple has confirmed that it is voluntarily discontinuing iPhone web apps in the European Union (EU), blaming the EU’s new regulation, the Digital Markets Act, for the change.

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