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Daily Crunch: Uber will require masks for drivers and passengers


Uber announces some COVID-19 related changes, Google’s Chrome browser is giving users a way to organize their tabs and the Senate rejects an amendment that would have raised the bar for law enforcement access to browsing data.

Here’s your Daily Crunch for May 14, 2020.

1. Here’s how your Uber ride will change, starting May 18

The changes — which include an online checklist for all rides, limits on the number of passengers in vehicles and a face mask verification feature for drivers — are designed to stop the spread of COVID-19, the company said Wednesday.

Riders and drivers, as well as delivery workers and even restaurants that use Uber Eats, will have the power to report unsafe COVID-19 behavior and give low ratings. For instance, a delivery worker can give feedback that a restaurant doesn’t have proper protocols in place, such as social distancing.

2. Google Chrome will finally help you organize your tabs

Google announced the launch of “tab groups” for the beta version of its web browser, which will allow you to organize, label and even color-code your tabs for easy access. The feature will make its way to the stable release of Chrome starting next week.

3. Senate narrowly rejects plan to require a warrant for Americans’ browsing data

Senators have narrowly rejected a bipartisan amendment that would have required the government first obtain a warrant before accessing Americans’ web browsing data. The amendment brought by Sens. Ron Wyden (D-OR) and Steve Daines (R-MT) would have forced the government to first establish probable cause (or reasonable suspicion of a crime) to obtain the warrant.

4. Kustomer acquires Reply.ai to enhance chatbots on its CRM platform

Reply.ai is a startup originally founded in Madrid that has built a code-free platform for companies to create customized chatbots to handle customer service inquiries. Its customers include Coca-Cola, Starbucks and Samsung.

5. Why we’re doubling down on cloud investments right now

Three investors at Bessemer Venture Partners argue that COVID-19 is a turning point for the cloud and cloud company founders, and that the cloud model offers businesses a promising future in the age of social distancing and beyond. (Extra Crunch membership required.)

6. Facebook, telcos to build huge subsea cable for Africa and Middle East

The project, called 2Africa, will see the companies lay cables that will stretch to 37,000km (22,990 miles) and interconnect Europe (eastward via Egypt), the Middle East (via Saudi Arabia) and 21 landings in 16 countries in Africa.

7. 7 top mobility VCs discuss COVID-19 strategies and trends

TechCrunch spoke to seven venture capitalists about how COVID-19 affected their portfolio and investment strategy, their current advice for startup founders and where they think the next hot opportunity will be. (Extra Crunch membership required.)

The Daily Crunch is TechCrunch’s roundup of our biggest and most important stories. If you’d like to get this delivered to your inbox every day at around 9am Pacific, you can subscribe here.



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