|The big idea|
Google’s doubling down on headphones. Why?
Google doesn’t exactly have the best track record with hardware (cough, Google Glass, cough) but that doesn’t seem to be stopping the search giant from giving it another go.
Per Protocol, a series of recent moves suggest Google is gearing up to take a big swing at the headphone market.
The moves include…
… 4 acquisitions:
The moves also include some major hires — Google brought in employees from all 4 acquired companies, along with Peter Liu, a longtime Bose engineer who helped develop the Bluetooth LE Audio standard.
And it’s not done — recent job listings mention that the company is developing custom audio silicon to “distinguish our first-party devices.”
Google’s no stranger to headphones
In 2017, the company released Pixel Buds — its wireless headphones that came equipped with Google Assistant.
After disappointing sales from the 1st and 2nd generations, Google released new models last June at a reduced $99 price point, making them a budget alternative to Apple’s AirPods — which are kinda the elephant in the room:
So why double down on headphones?
Possibly, to be more like Apple. Apple’s tight integration between hardware and software has been key to its success (and led to plenty of regulatory hot water).
Whether the new headphones are successful, they’ll likely never be as polarizing as Google’s most infamous hardware play.
D2C activewear company Fabletics will open 30 new brick-and-mortar stores in 2022, bringing the leggings giant to 100+ stores.
Bummer: The US added 20% less new wind power in 2021 compared to 2020. Delays were caused by supply chain issues.
Plant-based music? Apparently, you can connect sensors to plants and wind up with some pretty cool synth jams.
Yikes: A cybersecurity firm says Chinese government-backed hackers got into 6 US agencies in the last 10 months.
Not so fast: Sen. Elizabeth Warren is putting together a bill that would make it harder for nations like Russia to use crypto to get around sanctions.
Google is acquiring Mandiant, a cybersecurity firm, for $5.4B to protect cloud customers. If approved, this will be Google’s 2nd-largest acquisition after Motorola Mobility ($12.5B).
Stats: In 1994, Jeff Bezos saw a stat saying the internet was growing 2.3k% per year, leading him to launch Amazon. What are the generation-defining stats of today? Read more from Steph Smith.
Meet the woman who builds the world’s most unique Airbnbs
Over the past decade, Kristie Wolfe has built some of the most unique vacation rentals out there, including:
Wolfe is an Airbnb legend — not just for her creative builds, but for her ability to figure everything out herself, often on an impossibly small budget.
Less than a decade ago, Wolfe was making $13/hr working odd jobs.
Today, her properties gross hundreds of thousands of dollars per year.
So, how did a potato factory worker from Idaho become one of the most influential Airbnb proprietors in the world?
|Read the full story →|
It’s Women’s History Month
You best believe we’re celebrating the women in business and tech.
In their honor, we’ve curated a podcast playlist to bump for the next week. Or binge in a day, we don’t know your cadence.
Listen to these episodes featuring female leaders in our network who are making magnificent moves.
A Women’s History Month playlist, by the HubSpot Podcast Network
Listen for your midweek lift.
|Women wisdom →|
What’s going on with ‘hacktivists’ and Ukraine?
A cybersecurity expert recently told The New York Times that the level of volunteer hacking in the Ukraine war is both “bonkers” and “unprecedented.”
But what are these hackers actually doing? And what impact will it have?
Each side has its own hackers
Russia is no stranger to hacking. Microsoft found that Russia was responsible for 58% of all nation-state cyberattacks in 2021, mostly targeting the US, UK, and Ukraine.
Recent attacks have targeted Ukrainian news outlets, government organizations, and a border station admitting refugees into Romania.
Since then, a Telegram channel providing instructions and Russian websites to target has attracted 302.4k+ subscribers.
What are they doing?
Both sides are launching DDoS (distributed denial-of-service) attacks, which is when websites are flooded with traffic and requests until they shut down.
Ukraine’s targets have included Russia’s government websites, financial institutions and media outlets, as well as Belarusian railways to slow Russian troops.
Ukraine is also keen on spreading antiwar info that shows the scale and devastation of the invasion.
Meanwhile, hacktivist collective Anonymous changed the call sign on Russian President Vladimir Putin’s yacht to “FCKPTN.”
How much impact will this have?
According to cybersecurity expert Lukasz Olejnik, not much when you’re dealing with on-the-ground destruction. Plus, he warns that hacktivism is hard to verify and often overhyped.
And it comes with possible risks, too:
However, hacktivists at least seem to have dissuaded pro-Russia ransomware group Conti by leaking 60k internal messages, per Ars Technica, so there’s that.
|AROUND THE WEB|
💅 On this day: In 1959, Barbie debuted at the American Toy Fair in NYC. Creator Ruth Handler named the doll after her daughter, Barbara.
😠 That’s interesting: Human Alexas are dedicated to reclaiming “Alexa” from Amazon. They say sharing their name with Amazon’s virtual assistant has led to bullying and forced name changes.
✏️ Useful: Here’s a free hand-drawn HTML/CSS theme you can use on your website.
🤔 How to: An examination of the phrase “fake it till you make it” — and a guide to reframing the idea of being a fake.
😕 Haha: What’s an NFT? No, what is it really?
|Meme of the day|
Wonder if Google’s headphones can help solve this? (Source: Pinterest)
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