Where in the world is Larry Page? While Google parent company Alphabet has increasingly been dragged into the public eye as a central player in the fight against online misinformation and foreign election interference, co-founder and CEO Page has largely checked out and is spending more time on his private Caribbean island. Page has removed himself from day-to-day operations at the internet giant and is “bordering on emeritus, invisible to wide swaths of the company.” His absence was widely noted last week when a seat set aside for a top Google executive at a congressional hearing remained empty. [Mark Bergen and Austin Carr / Bloomberg Businessweek]
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A year after Jeff Bezos asked for suggestions on how he should use his money for good, the world’s wealthiest person announced that he would dedicate at least $2 billion to philanthropic projects, with a focus on combating homelessness and supporting preschool education (including schools where “the child is the customer.”) Called the Bezos Day One Fund, the project is a long time coming for the Amazon CEO, who had yet to spend any real amount of his $163 billion in assets on charity, despite external pressure. But don’t expect this announcement to put a pause to questions about how Bezos spends his fortune and how to understand his legacy. [Theodore Schleifer / Recode]
Salesforce is leading 21 companies in a new alliance to harness emerging technologies to fight climate change. While the Trump administration is rolling back fuel efficiency regulations and limits to carbon dioxide emissions, Lyft, Autodesk, Bloomberg, Uber, WeWork and HP are among the companies pledged to achieving 100 percent renewable energy by 2022. [Natasha Bach / Fortune]
San Francisco got its first completely automated cashierless store last week. Standard Market is the latest entry in the emerging fray of retail automation, where companies are installing ceiling cameras, sensors and machine learning into grocery stores to replace the checkout line — and predict theft. Meanwhile, paying is voluntary at a selfie-friendly Manhattan health-drink store, which uses the honor system: Customers are expected to text to say they have grabbed something, and a store representative will text back with a link to enter their credit card information. [Nellie Bowles / The New York Times]
Wearables have arrived. Here come the surroundables. Imagine a box, similar to a Wi-Fi router, that sits in your home and wirelessly tracks all kinds of physiological signals as you move from room to room: breathing, heart rate, sleep, gait, and more. An MIT professor built this box in her lab, and believes it will be able to replace the array of expensive, bulky, uncomfortable gear we currently need to get clinical data about the body. [Rachel Metz / MIT Technology Review]
Volkswagen is calling it quits for its iconic Beetle, ending an 80-year global run for the quintessential “hippie car” of the baby boomer generation. The latest generation of the Beetle debuted in 2011, but its roots go back to 1938 as VW’s first vehicle. It is one of the longest-lived and best-selling vehicles of all time, with 23 million sold worldwide, but VW sold only 15,000 Beetles in the U.S. last year, less than 5 percent of its total unit sales here.[Chester Dawson / The Wall Street Journal]
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