March 25, 2019

Bits: The Week in Tech: Apple’s Watch Steals the Show

It is significant that Apple is consulting with regulators as it does so. The prevailing ethos across much of the industry is to charge forward with new tech — to beg forgiveness from the world when things go wrong, instead of asking permission first. How refreshing it is, then, that Apple went through proper channels here. When it comes to health, moving fast and breaking things isn’t an option.

There was some other news in tech this week:

■ The spotlight on Google grew harsher. Breitbart, the right-wing outlet, posted a leaked video of a Google staff meeting that took place shortly after the 2016 presidential election. The contents aren’t surprising: Google executives and employees were visibly shaken and horrified by Donald J. Trump’s victory. Breitbart and many on the right took those political views as support for the notion that Google biases its search results against the right, a claim that President Trump has made repeatedly. The video added to political pressure on Google, which had escaped the scrutiny that fell on Facebook and Twitter after the election.

■ Jeff Bezos, the founder of Amazon, and his wife, MacKenzie, pledged $2 billion to fund initiatives for the homeless and for preschools. It’s the first major foray into philanthropy for Mr. Bezos, who recently became the world’s wealthiest man. It’s hard to criticize someone who’s giving money away, but it’s worth noting that $2 billion isn’t that much. Other billionaires have given away much more of their wealth — Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg has pledged $45 billion, which at the time was nearly all he was worth — and as Amazon’s stock price keeps rising, Mr. Bezos, who is worth $164 billion, is likely to keep getting richer still.

And that’s it, folks! See you next week.

Farhad Manjoo writes a weekly technology column called State of the Art. You can follow him on Twitter here: @fmanjoo.

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