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Recode Daily: Amazon’s Alexa avalanche

Plus, Facebook Dating could become a multi-billion dollar business; Linux creator Linus Torvalds steps aside to get help after years of abusive emails; lobsters prefer getting baked before being boiled.

Dave Limp, senior vice president of Amazon Devices, demonstrates the Amazon Basics Microwave, which can be voice-controlled by an Alexa device.
Dave Limp, senior vice president of Amazon Devices, demonstrates the Amazon Basics Microwave, which can be voice-controlled by an Alexa device, at the Amazon Spheres, on September 20, 2018, in Seattle Wash.
Stephen Brashear / Getty Images

At a press event yesterday, Amazon spent more than 80 minutes unveiling more than a dozen new voice-powered, hands-free products, including everything from an Alexa-powered microwave to a portable Alexa gadget to use in your car. (Here are all the biggest announcements, including an Amazon DVR.) But while the trillion dollar retailer seemingly discussed every conceivable way to embed its voice assistant more deeply into our daily lives, it didn’t utter a word about the potential privacy risks that these burgeoning human-robot relationships pose. Meanwhile, Amazon also announced that it is experimenting with giving Alexa a rudimentary form of emotional awareness — including responding in a whisper and listening for frustration in a user’s voice. [Jason Del Rey / Amazon]

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In the days after President Trump’s early 2017 travel ban, Google employees discussed the possibility of showing users how to contribute to pro-immigration organizations and contact lawmakers. None of the ideas were implemented. [John D. McKinnon and Douglas MacMillan / WSJ]

Facebook has found a new kind of marketplace: Dating. The social network launched its new match-up product, Facebook Dating, with a test in Colombia. Facebook executives say there are 200 million people on Facebook who identify as “single” — an enormous potential audience for a dating service. And while Facebook emphasized that it doesn’t want its new service to emulate Tinder’s user experience, it might be in Facebook’s best interest to emulate Tinder’s business model: A subscription dating service, if popular, could potentially bring in billions in new revenue for Facebook, helping diversify its business from advertising. [Kurt Wagner / Recode]

Adobe is buying marketing software company Marketo for $4.75 billion.The deal is Adobe’s largest acquisition ever, further pushing its transformation into a subscription software company. Last week Adobe announced Q3 earnings of $2.29 billion, a 24 percent year-over-year increase and a new record for the company, boosting its push to become a $10 billion company. [Alex Sherman / CNBC]

Meredith Perry stepped down as CEO of uBeam, the ambitious (and sometimes controversial) wireless charging startup she founded in 2011. The company wants to commercialize its technology via licenses to embed it in third-party products, and Perry felt she wasn’t the right person for that task. She will remain a “senior adviser” to uBeam and will aid in the search for a permanent CEO; finance and HR head Jacqueline McCauley will lead on an interim basis. [Dan Primack / Axios]

After years of abusive emails, Linus Torvalds, the creator of the open source Linux operating system, has temporarily stepped aside to get behavioral help. Known as Linux’s “benevolent dictator for life,” Torvalds has had final say over every line of code of the Linux kernel that runs the enormous computers of Google, PayPal, Amazon and eBay, and the two billion mobile phones using the Android OS. His decision came after the New Yorker asked a series of questions for a story about his abusive behavior discouraging women from working as Linux-kernel programmers. [Noam Cohen / The New Yorker]

Online ticketing company Eventbrite made its stock market debut, trading on the NYSE as “EB.” Shares opened at $36 and climbed as high as $39.30 before ending the session 59 percent up at $36.50; the first-day gains made Eventbrite’s IPO one of the biggest opening-day pops in recent months. Eventbrite charges creators for the tickets people buy to attend events; more than 203 million tickets were issued through the service last year. [Sara Salinas and Jordan Novet / CNBC]

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