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Activision Blizzard Strikes $18 Million Settlement With US EEOC
Popular game maker Activision Blizzard reached an $18 million settlement with the EEOC over allegations of sexual harassment and discrimination against female employees at the company.
The gaming giant known for their hugely popular game franchises Call of Duty, Candy Crush, and World of Warcraft said that the deal was reached with the EEOC on September 27.
Earlier in the day, the agency filed a civil rights lawsuit against the company in federal court in California.
The EEOC had accused the gaming company of failing to address claims made by employees about sexual harassment.
The company also allegedly discriminated against pregnant workers. When employees suffering from harassment or discrimination complained, the company fired them, said the employment watchdog.
Activision Blizzard struck a deal with the EEOC and agreed to use $18 million to compensate eligible employees who were harassed or faced discrimination.
The company also agreed to strengthen its workplace anti-harassment and anti-discrimination policies and programs.
Additionally, Blizzard said that it is developing an initiative to create software tools and training programs to improve workplace policies and practices for other tech employers.
Google Creates New Illustrations For Your Gmail Avatar
Google has created new images designed to be used in your Google profile photo, the tech giant announced on September 27.
The newly introduced Google illustrations include different images from various cultures, interests, and backgrounds.
The new library of illustrations suggests that Google is taking a fresh approach from avatars like Snap’s Bitmoji or Microsoft’s Xbox avatars, which allow you to make stylized representations of your appearance.
Google’s new artwork also offers you a wide variety of generic things and places to use with your avatar.
However, the illustrations are currently available only to Android users. So, if you are an Android user, you can set one as your profile picture in Google Workspace and Contacts on Android.
Google had said that it is working on bringing the new artwork to iOS and the web and more. Moreover, the tech giant will also expand the collection of illustrations available in the coming months.
Facebook to Spend $50 Million For Sci-fi Metaverse Project
Facebook has announced that it is investing $50 million to develop the Metaverse program.
The social media giant terms this as the XR Programs and Research Fund and will invest the money over a period of two years in “programs and external research” to aid in the efforts.
“Through this fund, we’ll collaborate with industry partners, civil rights groups, governments, nonprofits, and academic institutions to determine how to build these technologies responsibly,” said Facebook in a blog post.
Additionally, the company said that the Metaverse “isn’t a single product,” and it doesn’t plan to build it alone.
Instead, Facebook said that the program will exist whether the company does or not, and some of the products required for it will only be fully realized over the next 10–15 years.
Basically, the metaverse program refers to shared online spaces in which users — represented by 3D avatars — coexist and interact together.
Facebook said that users will be able to hang out with friends, work, learn, shop, create, and more.
The company also insists that the Metaverse isn’t about spending more time online but about spending time online meaningfully.
Dance Raises $19.4 Million For Its E-bike Subscription Services
German e-bike startup Dance has raised $19.4 million in its latest funding round.
The funding round was led by Eurazeo and also included participation from HV Capital, BlueYard, as well as Dave Morin and James Higa from Offline Ventures, Nicolas Berggruen, Roxanne Varza, and Verena Pausder.
The startup has designed a unique electric bike called the Dance One featuring a carbon belt, hydraulic disc, integrated smartphone mount, and removable battery with an estimated distance of 55km.
Customers don’t have to buy the bike directly and can subscribe at about $93 per month.
At Dance, there are no long-term commitments, which suggests that you can rent a Dance bike for a few months or several years.
This option is great for people who don’t have to use the bike regularly. This way, they can see if they sense like using a bicycle over the long run before purchasing their own bike.
With its latest funding round, Dance plans to double its team size with new hires in operations and engineering. The company will expand to more cities across Europe starting in 2022.
Around The Web
? Skype is about to get another significant makeover in the next few months (improved, faster, reliable, and super modern look).
? Morgan Stanley has doubled its ownership of Grayscale Bitcoin Trust (GBTC) shares, buying 58,116 additional shares of GBTC.
? Tesla asks owners to please share fewer clips of ‘Full Self-Driving’ beta crashing.
? Amazon releases home robot, Astro — aka Alexa on wheels.