1. Lyft Announces Share Price for IPO
Lyft is going public at $62 to $68 a share. The plan is to raise $2.1B through the sale of stock, pushing the company’s value to an expected $20B. However, not all of the shares will be sold to the public; a fair amount will be given to company employees and some will be made available to its front-line drivers. Who are these front-liners? Drivers that have hit certain milestones leading up to Feb. 25, 2019. For example, those that have completed at least 20K rides will get $10K, granting the option to put the bonus towards company shares. Lyft may have a 40% market share in ride-sharing, but their losses in 2018 equated to $911M, with $2.1B in revenue. They have warned investors that growth could mean more losses, yet tech investors are no stranger to seeing companies lose out on a lot of cash after first going public. You may remember Amazon going public in 1997; they didn’t make a profit until close to 2002. Tech investors are betting on Lyft’s prospects for future growth. Lyft is scheduled to debut on Nasdaq March 29 under the symbol “LYFT.”
2. Google Enters $140B Industry
In its next move, Google is making plans to enter the gaming world. The official announcement is anticipated tomorrow (March 19) at the Game Developers Conference in San Francisco. For years, Google has been hinting at this initiative to compete against Microsoft (Xbox), Amazon (Twitch) and Facebook (Oculus). Google’s differentiating factor revolves around their cloud services; streaming games over the internet and digitally distributing them. This, in turn, will resolve the disadvantages with large game sizes and the required real-time input from players. Coined as a “Netflix for video games,” it works “by wiring up the necessary hardware in a data center, running the game on a remote machine, and sending the video and receiving player commands over the internet.” You may recall the successful Project Stream, an experimental test using the new Assassin’s Creed Odyssey game to test out streaming gaming technology in a Chrome browser on any machine. If Google manages to live up to its hype, this could be a game-changer for the gaming market, however, some analysts believe the complexities and competition will make it impossible to pull off.
3. Hashing Debate on Violent Videos
Last Friday, a gunman killed 50 people at a mosque in New Zealand. As social media sites such as Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube worked around the clock to remove millions of video uploads surrounding the shooting from their platforms, some experts say there may be a better strategy for flagging and deleting inappropriate content. Hashing is a method that breaks a video down into frames (AKA hash) and collects each hash into a central database, allowing each uploaded video or photo to be compared against that dataset. Hashing is typically used to monitor copyright infringement and combat child pornography. If social media platforms had used hashing, it wouldn’t have prevented the original live video of the attacks, but it would have prevented re-uploaded copies from spreading. Both Facebook and YouTube have admitted to using some type of hashing method, however, according to a Dartmouth College professor, Hany Farid, who is familiar with hashing, “If Facebook were using “robust” hashing, it should be finding the majority of reposts.” Some companies are skeptical of this method as hashing could prevent the upload of proper, legal content such as news stories reporting on the event. New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern plans to discuss the attacks with Facebook directly. “This is an issue that goes well beyond New Zealand but that doesn’t mean we can’t play an active role in seeing it resolved,” said Ardern.
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