Our tech news roundup for January 2021

Our tech news roundup for January 2021

Rebecca Graham

Rebecca Graham

The end of last year seemed somewhat of a blur with the scramble to finish off campaigns, deliver end of year reports, start prepping for 2022 and not to mention personal planning for the holidays. So, for some, keeping abreast of technology news last month may not have been a priority.

Not to worry though, we have you covered. Here is a roundup of some tech news from the past month.

The battle for online safety privacy continued as Twitter prevented users from sharing pictures and videos of others without their permission, and Twitch rolled out  AI to prevent banned users from rejoining the site. Shortly after this, proposals to make big changes to the UK’s Online Safety Bill were also announced.

The end of the year also announced a number of firsts:

  • A NASA spacecraft ‘touched’ the surface of the sun for the first time in history.
  • The US authorized the use of the Pfizer COVID-19 pill, the first ever oral at-home treatment for the illness.
  • A robotic hand, strong enough to crush cans and dexterous enough to use tweezers, was developed.
  • Apple also became the first company to hit $3 trillion market value, and while it did later slip it was still marked a landmark moment in tech.

There were also challenges for some of the biggest names in tech, with many placed under scrutiny. The Uber business model was challenged by both the UK and EU and, not long after, gig economy workers demanded visibility into how the apps they worked for used algorithms to make decisions.  Apple and Google also faced criticism for holding a smartphone market monopoly by the UK’s Competition and Markets Authority (CMA). Finally, separate outages hit AWS and Google’s calendar app, affecting thousands of customers.

In more positive news, there was lots of evidence that 2021 was a good year for many. The UK’s Digital Economy Council found that a quarter of the UK’s unicorns were created in 2021 alone, spotlighting the year as a time for innovation in the tech sector. And, on the ground, Strava’s data showed that people were 38% more active in 2021 than 2020. It’s good to hear we’ve all been taking care of ourselves! Although, let’s be honest, that may have tailed off during the festive period for some (most) of us…

And that’s it for our January roundup! Want to receive a daily news roundup of the biggest tech stories? Sign up to our Firewire here

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