Daily Crunch: Snapchat is getting mini apps

Anthony Ha

Snap announces a bunch of new features, Moderna prepares for the final-stage trial of its coronavirus vaccine and Sony shows off the PlayStation 5.

Here's your Daily Crunch for June 12, 2020.

1. Snapchat debuts Minis, bite-sized third-party apps that live inside chat

Snap Minis are lightweight third-party programs that users can quickly pull up in the Chat section. This allows them to complete tasks without switching apps, like ordering movie tickets, comparing class schedules, studying a flashcard deck or going through a guided meditation.

The news came at a virtual version of the Snap Partner Summit, in which the company also announced a number of AR updates, including Lens voice search, a bring-your-own machine learning model update to Lens Studio and a geography-specific AR system that will turn public Snaps into spatial data.

2. Moderna set to start final-stage trial of its coronavirus vaccine by July

Pharmaceutical company Moderna told Bloomberg that it’s on pace to begin by July the final-stage clinical trial of its vaccine for the novel coronavirus that causes COVID-19. The company has previously said that it could potentially begin offering experimental doses available to healthcare workers in limited capacities as early as this fall.

3. And finally … here’s Sony’s PlayStation 5

Sony finally revealed the PS5 tower in all its glory. It doesn't look entirely un-router-like — but if so, it's a sleek-looking router.

4. Chris Cox returns to the fold as Facebook’s chief product officer

After a very high-profile departure last year, Facebook’s former chief product officer Chris Cox will return to his long-held position. He said the unique national and global climate of 2020 influenced his decision, particularly the coronavirus pandemic, its subsequent economic devastation and the nation’s current focus on “a reckoning of racial injustice.”

5. Why are unicorns pushing back IPOs when the Nasdaq is near record highs?

Instacart just announced that it has raised fresh capital at a valuation north of $13 billion. DoorDash, meanwhile, is reportedly looking to add more cash at a pre-money valuation that exceeds $15 billion. Both announcements make it plain that late-stage unicorns are still able to attract huge sums despite a putatively uncertain IPO market. (Extra Crunch membership required.)

6. Microsoft’s Brad Smith says company will not sell facial recognition tech to police

Microsoft is joining IBM and Amazon in taking a position against the use of facial recognition technology by law enforcement — at least, until more regulation is in place.

7. UK competition watchdog launches investigation into Facebook’s $400M acquisition of Giphy

The UK Competition and Markets Authority — the country’s antitrust watchdog — announced that it has launched an investigation into Facebook’s acquisition of Giphy. Specifically, it’s looking to see how and if the deal will lessen competition in the two companies’ respective markets.

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