Report shows that Safari reaches one billion worldwide users, still behind Google Chrome

Based on a recent report, Apple’s Safari finally hit one billion users, becoming the second browser to hit the milestone, next to Google Chrome which still shines brighter in popularity. According to Atlas VPN, 1,006,232,879 internet users (19.16% of all internet users) currently use the Safari browser. Meanwhile, Google Chrome has three times more, with a whopping 3,378,967,819 users. Microsoft Edge sits in third place with about 212,695,000 users.

Atlas VPN’s findings are based on the GlobalStats browser market share percentage, which was converted into numbers using the Internet World Stats internet user metric to retrieve the precise numbers. Its report seems to suggest that Safari’s growth could be related to the browser’s adoption of privacy and security features, but it’s likely more a reflection of mobile marketshare where Safari and Chrome come pre-installed on Apple and Android devices.

Image Credits: Atlas VPN

Apple’s web browser is automatically installed on every Apple device, while Chrome is pre-installed with most versions of Android. This helps to give both tech behemoths a leg up in the competition. And while Microsoft ships its Edge browser with Windows, it lost out on the mobile market due to Windows Phone’s failure.

That said, Apple has introduced several new privacy features to the browser over the past year which could help attract users. The browser’s new privacy report, for example, shows how many and which cross-site trackers Intelligent Tracking Prevention (ITP) stopped from accessing your information.

Chrome is often considered a more attractive browser, however, with web applications such as YouTube, Drive, Calendar, Docs, Earth, and Maps, among others. Just last week, Google rolled out a new way to use Google Lens on the desktop, allowing Chrome browser users on desktop to search any image on a web page with Google Lens. In April, a new “multi-search” feature via Google Lens was launched on the Google mobile app as well.

Additionally, Version 100 of Google Chrome launched in late March, and Chrome on Android became 15% faster.

Other browsers in the report included Microsoft Edge, Firefox, Samsung Internet, and Opera. As noted, Microsoft Edge was the third most popular browser with over 212 million users, overtaking Firefox, which has 179 million internet users. Since the release of Windows 11, Microsoft Edge became the default browser on all devices and, in turn, received a big increase in its userbase.

Firefox browser is oriented towards more privacy-concerned users as it offers protection features like security against tracking, pop-up blocking malware, and phishing. Mozilla launched version 100 of the browser at the beginning of May.

Fifth on the list was the Samsung Internet browser, which is used by more than 149 million users. Last is the Opera browser, with more than 108 million users. Not only can people utilize Opera for everyday tasks, but it also has a Crypto Browser and app with a built-in crypto wallet that supports Ethereum, Polygon, and Celo blockchain technology.

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YouTube’s mobile app can now sync to your TV without casting for a ‘second screen’ experience

YouTube is improving its app’s experience for those who watch videos via their TVs, the company announced today. After observing that many YouTube users were already using the mobile app and engaging with videos as they watched on the big screen, the company is now introducing a new feature that allows users to connect their TV to their iOS or Android device in order to sync videos between devices. This makes it easier for users to engage with other YouTube features, like comments, the like button, or creator support, among other things, YouTube says.

The company pointed to research that found that over 80% of people claimed to use another digital device while watching TV as driving this product decision. It then looked at how people were using its own YouTube mobile app, and saw that many would open the video while watching YouTube on their TV and would engage with the content on their device by liking, subscribing, and more.

YouTube said it saw the opportunity to tap into this user behavior to address the challenges it has faced in designing a big-screen experience. Over the years, its designers have struggled with making the TV app easier to use, given that remote controls are difficult to navigate with, most TVs don’t have built-in web browsers, and there’s often less space to work with — especially when users are watching full-screen videos.

The new mobile feature helps to solve some of these challenges as it allows users to turn to their mobile app instead to synchronize their phone to the TV. After opening the YouTube app on the TV, they can then open the mobile app on their phone and click “Connect” on the prompt that appears to sync up their viewing.

This is sort of the reverse of the typical DIAL, in order to work. Instead, users just stay signed into their YouTube account on both devices — there’s no technical complexity to the experience for the end user, a spokesperson said.

Once synchronized via the new feature, users can then directly interact with the video from their phone while they watch, which YouTube says makes it easier to read video descriptions, leave comments, share a video with a friend, or use other features to support creators, like Super Chat or channel memberships, among other things.

But this feature also lays the groundwork for other experiences YouTube is building, including e-commerce. The company says it’s already testing new designs for its video watch page that would make it easier for users to browse and shop for products seen in videos directly from the big screen. These designs will help to guide users to their mobile device when they’re ready to buy.

In this case, a message may appear on the big screen that suggests users open …read more

Google TV’s new app launches on the iOS App Store with the ability to use a mobile device as a remote

Google TV has had a busy couple of months, with a variety of changes, launches, and updates. Today, the company announced that the Google TV app is now available on the iOS App Store. With this new announcement, iPhone users can get recommendations from across streaming apps (the ones you subscribe to, that is), a Watchlist for their discoveries, the “For you” tab with Watchlists from their favorite stars, on-the-go content library, the ability to rate movies and shows, all the latest info on all their favorite content, as well as the option to use their phone as their remote for Google TVs and other Android TV OS devices.

Before this, Google had a “Movies and TV” section from the Play Store that was available for iOS users. As of this month, the company has removed the Play Movies & TV app and updated the section to the new Google TV app. Don’t worry, though. You don’t need to delete the Play Movies & TV app for iOS if you have it already. The app will update to the new Google TV app.

Image Credits: Google

Android users got to experience the rollout two years before iPhone users when it was announced in September 2020. When Google Play Movies & TV was changed to Google TV for Android, the app was given a new look and feel that made discovering new content easier. The logo changed also, but everything else was pretty much the same.

At its Google I/O developer conference earlier this month, Google announced that Android users would be able to cast TV shows and movies directly from their Android phone or tablet to their TV using the Google TV app. With this announcement, it appears that both Android and iPhone users can now click the remote button in the Google TV app and connect to their TV.

Another recent announcement was given to the big screens at home. For instance, Google TV launched personalized user profiles for television users. This allows up to 12 profiles, including profiles for kids, which was launched in 2021.

Also, last year, the company redesigned the Google TV app with an updated UI (user interface) and expanded set recommendations as well as additional TV shows and movie options. Lastly, in October 2021, its screensaver-like feature “Ambient Mode” was updated as well, which now has more personalized information and recommendations cards.

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The most surprising part of Buick’s announcement isn’t that it will become an EV brand

Buick said Wednesday it will launch its first EV in 2024 and revealed a sleek concept car that will set the direction on its journey to becoming a fully electric brand in North America by 2030. But that’s not the most surprising news. Buick, it seems, is opening the door to coupes and sedans.

Even though Buick jettisoned its sedans two years ago to reposition itself as an SUV brand, the Buick Wildcat EV concept is a low-slung 2+2 coupe, which indicates that the brand is open to adding cars back into its lineup as it launches electric models.

The concept bears Buick’s new tri-shield badging, which will begin appearing on Buick models next year, and emphasizes aerodynamic lines. The fascia features a low-mounted, trapezoidal grille and high-mounted, check mark-shaped headlamps that executives said will be incorporated into future Buick models.

Buick also announced that it will launch five EVs in China, the brand’s biggest market, by 2025.

As it transitions to an EV-only lineup, Buick is reviving two names from its storied past. The Wildcat nameplate harkens to the series of 1950s concept cars created by GM Chief Designer Harley Earl to preview Buick’s next-generation design. Meanwhile, Buick’s forthcoming EV portfolio will carry the long-running Electra name, which the brand retired in 1990.

The company stopped making coupes in 1999, with the Buick Riviera. It resurrected the two-door body style to create the flashy Buick Avenir concept in 2015 but did not bring that car into production.

Buick did not reveal any performance details about the Wildcat concept such as battery range, speed or price but said its future EVs will be underpinned by General Motors’ new Ultium battery-electric propulsion system. The cost-saving, scalable platform, which also powers the Cadillac Lyriq and GMC Hummer EVs, can be configured to produce 19 different battery and drive unit configurations.

“It can be applied across the portfolio,” Duncan Aldred, global vice president of Buick-GMC, said in a briefing Wednesday. “It can produce different body styles. It gives huge inherent advantages.”

The Wildcat concept features semi-swing doors, turbine 18-spoke wheels, and a wraparound windshield designed to underscore its sloping silhouette. The headlamps use micro LED technology to animate when the driver approaches.

Inside, the cabin features a touchscreen that stretches the length of the dashboard, as well as a smaller screen in the center console.

Buick said that the car incorporates AI, biometrics and aromatherapy. The cabin will be able to adapt to its user to make suggestions on a variety of functions. For example, Zen mode dims the lighting, adjusts the cabin’s temperature and audio volume, activates the car’s massaging seats and releases calming aromatherapy scents, according to Buick.

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As fintech valuations fall, even Stripe isn’t immune to a changing market

Fintech startups are taking the downturn harder than most other sectors, data indicates. So much so that even the largest and best-known private fintech companies are suffering from embarrassing revaluations.

Data collected by Andreessen Horowitz, a well-known venture capital firm with a history of investing in financial technology — most recently, crypto — shows that public fintech companies are suffering from greater valuation declines than other technology categories. At the same time, new information from Fidelity’s various funds indicates that the investing giant has changed its mind about the worth of some of startup land’s highest-flying companies, including Stripe.

The Exchange explores startups, markets and money.

Read it every morning on TechCrunch+ or get The Exchange newsletter every Saturday.

There is a well-worn chestnut in Silicon Valley that no matter the market conditions, the best startups will always be able to raise. The argument implies that during looser market conditions, as we saw in parts of 2020 and 2021, startups with less core strength will be able to raise capital only to later struggle when the market turns. In contrast, the best startups, no matter the macro situation, will plug along.

In one sense, the saying is a tautology; of course the best companies will have the highest chance of success — they are, after all, the best companies. In another sense, it’s a narrow comment. Yes, the best startups will always be able to raise. But at what price?

Left unsaid is the fact that even the private-market upstarts that have collected the most plaudits, valuation, capital and revenue during a boom may endure a repricing when the market shifts. That’s what’s going on with Stripe, though we shouldn’t be too shocked given the cyclone of data points supporting Fidelity’s latest. Let’s explore.

What’s Stripe worth?

Let’s start with a broad look at the value of technology companies. The Bessemer Cloud Index has lost more than half its value since late-2021 highs, with the basket of modern software companies falling from a peak of $65.51 to just over $30 today. If we slice the market more finely, we can see even greater valuation compression in fintech.

Enter Future, a16z’s in-house publication that it built during a fit of anti-media sentiment among the technology class. Per this piece on the investing group’s blog, public fintech companies’ valuations peaked at around a 25x forward revenue multiple in October 2021. Since then, the same fintech cohort of stocks has fallen to around 4x their forward revenue (we’re reading from a chart, so the data cited here is more directional than exact).

Other categories of public tech company saw sharp declines, like enterprise companies’ peak forward multiples falling from perhaps 16x or 17x to around 7x. But no category took more stick since the 2021 bubble burst than fintech. (This is one reason why we are not seeing fintech IPOs this year, among other contributing factors.)

From that perspective, seeing Fidelity revalue its stake in Stripe is not a surprise.

To get a feel for …read more

Google Duo and Meet will soon become one

Google Duo, the company’s video chat service for consumers, will soon merge with Google Meet, the company’s video chat service for business users.

The Duo app will soon get all of Meet’s features, including scheduled calls, and then, once the transition is complete, change its name to Google Meet. At that point, the current Meet app will simply launch the new Duo/Meet app. It’s a bit complicated, but to be fair, moving millions of users to the new platform was always going to be a heavy lift.

All of this isn’t a major surprise, given that Google has already sunset Allo, Duo’s chat-focused sibling. Both launched to a bit of confusion in 2016, as Google already offered a bunch of text and video chat options at the time. Now Google is finally consolidating most of these under the Chat and Meet brands.

Image Credits: Google

Javier Soltero, Google’s GM and VP, told me that this move has been in the making for quite a while. Back in 2020, the company brought the Duo and Meet teams together with the goal of collapsing these two products into one. “We think it’s incredibly important and strategically critical for Google to be able to serve the full breadth of the video market, from consumer use all the way to organizational and commercial use with a common service platform and a product whose user experience is guided by the same sense of simplicity and intuitiveness,” he explained.

Dave Citron, the director of product management for these products, also noted that as the pandemic hit, both Duo and Meet suddenly saw their usage increase rapidly and found a new kind of product-market fit. That led the teams to look for ways to iterate more quickly. “The great thing about bringing the teams together is that we’ve brought some of the best of both products to each other, strengthened the foundation and…it’s now fairly straightforward because of the work we’ve done over the last few years to take that final step and actually bring them fully together,” Citron explained.

Image Credits: Google

Over the course of the last few years, Google actually brought a number of Duo features to Meet, and now the Duo app will soon get all of Meet’s features, including scheduled meetings. This will happen over the next few weeks, though Soltero and Citron noted that Google will take a very measured approach here and monitor its metrics for potential issues and slow the process down to fix bugs, if necessary.

It’s no secret that, originally, Duo and Allo were meant to become the consumer-centric versions of the more business-focused Google Chat and Meet. But that’s clearly not what consumers wanted — especially in the case of Allo — and if anything, the pandemic helped collapse the difference between people’s work and private lives even faster than anybody could have anticipated. Google’s colleagues at Microsoft saw the writing on the wall when they launched …read more

3 days left to save: Beat the deadline, get your pass to TechCrunch Disrupt now

Do you have your mind set on attending TechCrunch Disrupt in San Francisco, California, on October 18–20? Excellent, we can’t wait to see you there. If you’ve put off registering, however, it’s time to change that mindset — and pronto.

Why? Prices increase on Friday, June 3 at 11:59 p.m. (PT). We’re talking on the dot, people. Don’t procrastinate — buy your pass before the deadline strikes, and you’ll save up to $1,500. Bonus: Your pass includes access to the TC Disrupt online event on October 21.

TC Disrupt always keeps its figurative fingers on the pulse of the early-stage startup ecosystem. It’s where you’ll find tomorrow’s unicorns today; hear from trendsetters, rising stars and iconic successes; and learn from the leading experts across the entire startup spectrum.

We’re still months away from kicking off the first in-person Disrupt since, well, the Before Times, and the agenda is a dynamic work in progress. However, we can share a few of the incredible presenters and the topics they’ll tackle on the TechCrunch+ stage (or, with apologies to Prince, the stage formerly known as the Extra Crunch stage).

We start with one topic — How to Raise First Dollars in a More Difficult Market — and look at it from two sides. 

  • The Venture Perspective — with Annie Case (Kleiner Perkins) and Sheel Mohnot (Better Tomorrow Ventures): The venture market has changed this year, and startup founders looking to raise their first capital can’t follow last year’s playbook and expect results. What do founders need to know, and how can they snag investor attention in a market where the rules are changing? We know and trust these VCs to share the real nuts and bolts of early fundraising in 2022.
  • The Founder Perspective — with Amanda DoAmaral (Fiveable), Sara Du (Alloy Automation) and Arman Hezarkhani (Parthean): It’s always good to hear from VCs when it comes to money, but it’s just as important to know how founders navigate the capital market. These three founders will talk us through what worked for them and how they’ve updated their perspective in light of the changing economy.

And also this hot session:

  • What Does Product-Market Fit Mean When Hype Tanks — with Pali Bhat (Reddit) and more: We’re still finalizing this panel, but Pali Bhat is coming to Disrupt to help founders hone their definitions of product-market fit (PMF). This tricky concept is not easily defined for all startups at once. But one thing that happens when market sentiment takes a dive is that definitions tighten. How should founders measure PMF in a more difficult market, from both a fundraising and a customer perspective? We’ll find out.

We’ll have many, many more speakers, topics, events and discounts to announce in the run-up to Disrupt. Want to stay informed? Sign up for updates on the Disrupt website

TechCrunch Disrupt takes place in person from October 18 to 20 in San Francisco, California, with an online event on October 21. You …read more

Announcing the startups pitching at the TC City Spotlight: Columbus pitch-off

Today, TechCrunch is virtually hosting TC City Spotlight: Columbus — an event shining a spotlight on the innovation, investment and entrepreneurship in the region. The event will feature panels highlighting the successes and challenges facing the massive tech scene. In true TechCrunch fashion, part two is a pitch-off with an amazing group of of founders from the Ohio region. Register here for free.

Each founder will pitch for four minutes followed by a Q&A with our stellar panel of judges:

  • Anna Mason, Managing Partner, Rise of the Rest Seed Fund at Revolution
  • Parul Singh, General Partner, Initialized Capital

We know you are excited to see who has made it. Tune in at 3:10 pm local time (1:10 pm PT), to watch the TC Spotlight Columbus Pitch-Off. Without further ado, here are the companies presenting in the pitch-off:

  • Skuld  – “Develops new metal casting processes for manufacturers designing more cost effective and efficient metal parts”
  • Healia Health – “An AI-powered assistant that uses automation and data science to help companies and its employees save money on healthcare.”
  • SureImpact – “Equips the social-service ecosystem with a user-friendly case management platform that enables organizations to seamlessly measure and communicate their unique social impact”


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Discord is giving voice channels their own text-based chat rooms

Discord text chat in voice channel

Discord is giving its voice channels text-based chat too. The company announced Wednesday that it would roll out text chat for the platform’s voice-based chat rooms, adding a way for anyone hanging out out loud to easily share links and other text without having to channel hop to go find it.

The feature will roll out globally to all Discord servers by June 15. Servers that haven’t enabled community features will see text chat for voice pop up right off the bat, while community servers will need to opt into the new feature.

Image Credits: Discord

Discord tends to be keenly aware of community pain points and the measures its enthusiastic users take to make things work for their communities. Splicing text chat into voice-based chat channels gives those communities some overdue functionality to make their experience of the platform a bit smoother.

In big Discord servers, it’s not uncommon to see voice chat channels with their own dedicated text-based chat channel, a workaround that gets out of hand quickly when you’ve got a ton of different voice chat rooms. The new feature rollout will solve the need for redundant channels that people have to go digging around for if they want to share something they just mentioned via voice.

Like normal text-based channels, text chat in voice channels will allow Discord users to share links, messages, emojis, GIFs and stickers. Mods can customize these permissions on a granular level like they’re able to with existing text chat channels.

Server members who don’t want to voice chat will still be able to check out a channel’s shared text and links by hovering over the channel and selecting the chat icon.

Discord notes that mods and server owners can choose which voice channels will have text chat enabled and who is able to use the text chat feature within voice channels, based on permissions level. The company says that it worked with developers before the launch so many moderation bots are ready to handle text chat in voice channels out of the gate.

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Costa Rica’s public health system hit by Hive ransomware following Conti attacks

Costa Rica’s public health service, known as the Costa Rican Social Security Fund (CCSS), has been forced to take its systems offline after being hit by Hive ransomware.

In a statement on Twitter, the CCSS said the attack started early on Tuesday morning and that an investigation was being conducted. It added that several payroll and pension databases – including the Unified Digital Health system and the Centralized Tax-Collection System – were not affected by the attack. In an address to local media, the CCSS added that the Hive ransomware was deployed on at least 30 out of 1,500 government servers and that any estimation of time to recovery remains unknown. 

Several employees of the CCSS said they were told to shut down their computers after all of their printers began spitting out unintelligible documents. Another employee said that as a result of the attack, COVID-19 results cannot currently be reported.

The attack comes just weeks after Costa Rican President Rodrigo Chaves declared a state of emergency in the country in response to cyberattacks from the Conti ransomware group. Costa Rica’s Finance Ministry was the first government body to be hit by the Russia-linked hacking group, and in a statement on May 16, Chaves said the number of institutions impacted had since grown to 27. 

In a message posted to its dark web leaks blog at the time, Conti urged the citizens of Costa Rica to pressure their government to pay the ransom, which the group doubled from an initial $10 million to $20 million. In a separate statement, the group warned: “We are determined to overthrow the government by means of a cyber attack, we have already shown you all the strength and power.”

Cybersecurity experts have suggested that the cybercriminals behind this latest Hive ransomware attack could be working with the Conti gang to help the group rebrand and evade international sanctions targeting extortion payouts to cybercriminals operating in Russia.

According to threat intelligence company AdvIntel, Conti “can no longer sufficiently support and obtain extortion” due to its public allegiance to Russia in the first days of the Russian invasion of Ukraine, and believes the group is in the process of shutting down. The gang’s official website and negotiations service site has gone dark, while the rest of the infrastructure: from chatrooms to messengers, and from servers to proxy hosts was going through a major reset.

As a result, AdvIntel believes the gang has formed alliances with other ransomware groups, including Hive, a ransomware as a service (RaaS) operation that has been active since at least June 2021.

Brett Callow, a ransomware expert and threat analyst at Emsisoft, tells TechCrunch: “The same individual could be an affiliate with both Conti and Hive and potentially other RaaS operations too. It’s also possible that Conti and Hive have established a working relationship, as other researchers have claimed. 

“Some negotiating firms have refused to transact with Conti since they sided with Russia and threatened attacks on US critical infrastructure due to the risk …read more