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Friday Five: 2/1 – 2/5

Happy Friday! Here’s a roundup of this week’s industry news:

Microsoft Plumbs Ocean’s Depths to Test Underwater Data Center –  New York Times

Researchers at Microsoft just tested a prototype of a self-contained data center that will enable computer storage hundreds of feet below sea level. Their hope is that this new technology will eliminate the need for air conditioning, one of the industry’s most expensive problems. The effort, code-named “Project Natick,” will help meet growing energy demands in the technology sector while placing data centers closer to users and preventing delay. Microsoft currently manages more than 100 data centers and hopes that this suspended technology will use the ocean current to generate electricity.

JPMorgan Moves Forward with Blockchain Technology –  Business Finance News

JPMorgan Chase & Co. is entering a partnership with Digital Asset Holdings that could reduce the cost and complexity of trading. This trial project reveals that Blockchain, which is best known as a database for the digital currency Bitcoin, will have wide-ranging application for some of the largest banks on Wall Street.

To Fight Clickbait, Facebook’s Feed Prioritizes What Surveys Say –  TechCrunch

While visibility on Facebook posts used to rely solely on likes and comments, the social network is now taking into consideration user feedback to deliver more meaningful news. Facebook’s team surveyed tens of thousands of their 1.6 billion user network, asking them to rate the stories on their news feed from one to five stars. Engineers then used these answers to update their sorting algorithm to provide a feed that has both posts with a large amount of engagement and posts that users are likely to want to see. The tuning of these algorithms has allowed Facebook to remain a leader in social networking services.

Alphabet Passes Apple to Become the World’s Most Valuable Company –  Wired

On Feb. 1, Alphabet, Google’s parent company, released its fourth quarter earnings that showcased the extreme growth of the digital advertising market. The company reported a net income of $8.67 per share on revenue of $21.33 billion, and this iconic quarter marked Alphabet surpassing Apple as the most valuable company in the world. The news shot company stock up ten percent with it’s marketing cap now up to $560 billion.

Fitbit's Alta is Dressed to Kill –  Tech News World

Fitbit recently launched the Alta, its newest fitness tracker combining muted colors and innovative fashion design. According to the company, this is the most advanced Fitbit to date, offering a stainless steel body that supports interchangeable bands. Priced at $129, the Alta highlights a “New Reminders to Move” feature that encourages users to get active for about three minutes when they have been sitting for too long. The new wearable will connect with more than 200 phones, tracking movements such as steps taken, hours slept and even user’s record workouts.

Read anything that caught your eye this week? Give us a shout out on Twitter @WalkerSands.