Hello! I’m Dave Smith. You may remember me from such newsletters as “These might be the last words you ever read,” and “Newsletter? I hardly know ‘er!”
But in all seriousness, I was a deputy tech editor at Insider years ago, and now I’m part of the group running Insider’s newsletters. It’s nice to formally meet you. Our US team is off today in observance of Martin Luther King Jr. Day — and if you’re also off, I hope you’re having a restful day.
You know what doesn’t take a holiday though? You guessed it: technology. Today’s edition will be a bit shorter, but don’t you fret my fine-feathered friend, we’ll be back with our regular programming tomorrow. For now, though, let’s dive right in.
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Google CEO Sundar Pichai speaking during a Google event in California in 2016.
1. Google’s cookie concept crumbles. In an effort to stave off regulatory scrutiny around privacy, Google has spent the last few years devising a plan to replace third-party cookies in its Chrome browser. Cookies, if you remember, let advertisers track you as you browse the web to serve you ads — and ads are the preeminent way Google makes its money.
Google’s been testing a bunch of cookie-less proposals since 2020. And one of those ideas, called Topics API, would let advertisers target ads to users based on broad topics from their browsing history, like “fitness.”
Unfortunately, the web standards body W3C rejected Google’s Topics API proposal, saying it maintains “the status quo of inappropriate surveillance on the web.”
Mind you, this proposal was the follow-up to a different failed proposal to replace cookies, and the deadline to end third-party cookies has already been delayed multiple times. Google, meanwhile, is facing pressure from regulators.
Read more about Google’s various paths forward.
In other news:
A Tesla car dealership in Maplewood, Minnesota.
2. Tesla kicks off an electric-car price war. The company announced a series of discounts ranging from 6% to 20% on its Model 3 and Model Y cars. That’s putting added pressure on legacy car companies like Ford and GM that are trying to enter the space. Why one analyst calls this a “strategic poker move.”
3. Billionaire Larry Ellison got a speeding ticket — on an island he owns. What a flex, am I right? He ran a stop sign on the Hawaiian island of Lanai, but told the officer “there’s no excuse.” Read how it all went down.
4. “I’m a college student, and my YouTube side hustle brought in $31,000 last year.” Thirty-one thousand smackers can buy you a whole lot of Ramen noodles. Here’s how this 23-year-old established himself as an editor and producer.
5. The coolest electric cars hitting the streets this year. Tesla may have been the car company to make electric cars cool again, but this year you can expect major brands like Chevy and upstarts like Polestar to explode onto the scene with some new hotness. From an electric Hummer to the much-hyped Cybertruck, here’s a look at what’s coming.
Curated by Dave Smith in Toronto. Feedback or tips? Email firstname.lastname@example.org or tweet @redletterdave. Edited by Hallam Bullock in London.