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Recode Daily: Uber files for its own 2019 IPO, hot on the heels of rival Lyft

Plus: Google CEO Sundar Pichai gets ready to face Congress on Tuesday; the U.S. Army is looking for a few good gamers; “Star Wars” meets “Star Trek” in a sci-fi inspired Silicon Valley smart home.

Uber CEO Dara Khosrowshahi.
Uber CEO Dara Khosrowshahi
Jerod Harris / Getty Images for Fortune

Following hot on the heels of its smaller rival Lyft, Uber confidentially filed S-1 paperwork for its own initial public offering. Both planned IPOs are shaping up to be among the biggest in a spate of offerings aimed for 2019. Uber’s filing indicates that it could go public as soon as the first quarter — sooner than many observers had expected. Uber has code-named planning around its IPO “Project Liberty,” which may be a sly reference to the thousands of employees and investors who have waited years to sell their full stake in the company for a profit. The company’s banking advisers have suggested the ride-hailing firm could go public at a valuation of $120 billion, which would dwarf the market capitalization of more established companies such as Goldman Sachs, putting it at around the same value as IBM or McDonald’s. [Greg Bensinger and Maureen Farrell / The Wall Street Journal]

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Tomorrow, Google CEO Sundar Pichai will face a roomful of members of Congress demanding answers. One of the topics he’ll have to address is a growing area of concern from both the political left and right: Google’s previously secret plans to build a censored search engine in China. Critics fear that the project, code-named Dragonfly, will enable the Chinese government to block its citizens from accessing information that it doesn’t like, and surveil its political opponents. The search giant and other tech firms have had a history of issues in the country over where to draw the line on government censorship. Many details of the project are still unknown, but here’s what has been made public about the project so far, and some important history around it. [Shirin Ghaffary / Recode]

The high-profile arrest of the chief financial officer of the Chinese telecom company Huawei at the behest of the U.S. government has tech executives worried that China will turn to retaliatory arrests of Americans in response. While everyone focuses on the drama of the Canadian arrest and its effect on the trade talks and stock prices, a much more important fight is brewing about tech hegemony. Specifically, who will control the next internet age, and by whose rules will it be run? [Kara Swisher / The New York Times]

The U.S. Army has a new recruitment plan: It’s looking for a few good gamers. The military is turning to “modern tactics” with an initiative called Army Esports, which sends active or reserve soldiers who are high-level gamers — along with a few recruiters — to eSports tournaments around the country to mix with competitively minded, strategically inclined gamers and to position the Army as a game-friendly environment and institution. Video games and the U.S. armed forces have been entwined ever since the commercial rise of gaming: In the 1980s, Atari released the tank shooter Battlezone, which the Army latched onto as a potential training tool; the same thing happened to the seminal PC shooter Doom.[Cecilia D’Anastasio / Kotaku]

Tesla doesn’t buy traditional advertising, so media coverage of CEO Elon Musk is a big part of how the company markets itself and its formidable brand. Musk has been on a bit of a charm offensive of late: He recently appeared on Kara Swisher’s Recode Decode podcast, as well as “Axios on HBO.” Musk appeared last night on CBS’s “60 Minutes,” where he blasted the Securities and Exchange Commission, asserted that he doesn’t smoke marijuana, and said he may be willing to buy some of the five factories that General Motors will idle next year. [Dana Hull and Alexandra Stratton / Bloomberg]

Top stories from Recode

Surprise! Two-thirds of U.S. residents would have been happy to have their city win Amazon’s HQ2. Most don’t think the split second headquarters is a big deal. [Rani Molla]

This is cool

Livestreaming is the new rent party.

“Star Trek” meets “Star Wars” in this sci-fi inspired Silicon Valley smart home.

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