Daily Crunch: Google Meet goes free for everyone

Google is making a big push for its Zoom competitor, Samsung outlines how COVID-19 is reshaping consumer demand and Ford delays its autonomous vehicle plans.

Here’s your Daily Crunch for April 29, 2020.

1. Google is making Meet free for everyone

Meet is Google’s video meeting tool for businesses. (Hangouts is the company’s free consumer equivalent.) Until now, you could participate in a Meet call without being a paying user, but you needed a paid G Suite account to start calls.

Meanwhile, Google’s parent company Alphabet reported that its business grew more than expected in the first quarter of the year — but with a “significant slowdown” in March.

2. Samsung expects COVID-19 to hurt smartphone and TV sales, but increase demand for memory

More earnings news: In its first-quarter report, Samsung said it expects the COVID-19 pandemic to continue impacting its business for the rest of the year, cutting into sales for smartphones and TVs, but increasing demand for PCs, servers and memory chips as people continue to work or study from home.

3. Ford postpones autonomous vehicle service until 2022

“Understanding customer behavior is a critically important part of building a new mobility service built around trust and making people’s lives easier,” the company said. In fact, Ford said COVID-19 has already affected consumer behavior in China, prompting the automaker to turn to online sales.

4. As COVID-19 misinformation grows, YouTube brings video fact-checking to the US

Fact-check articles will begin appearing in relevant search results, using information pulled from a dozen or so third-party publishers, including The Dispatch, FactCheck.org, PolitiFact and The Washington Post Fact Checker.

5. A conversation with Sasha Astafyeva, Atomico’s new consumer-focused investment partner

We caught up with Astafyeva for a conversation that spanned the coronavirus crisis’ impact on her area of interest, new trends during and potentially after lockdown and how it feels to be a consumer-focused investor in turbulent times. (Extra Crunch membership required.)

6. Spotify Q1 beats on sales of $2B with monthly active users up 31% to 286M

The coronavirus may be decimating some corners of the economy, but the impact on the digital music — as evidenced by the world’s biggest music streaming company — appears to be minimal.

7. Smart contact lens startup Mojo Vision raises $51M

Mojo Vision’s technology still felt early-stage when we met with the company back at CES — but the demos we did see were enough to convince us that there really could be something to the California startup’s smart content lens technology.

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