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Recode Daily: Why Google is shutting down Google+; Facebook’s tone-deaf camera device

Plus, Taylor Swift dips her toe into politics with an Instagram post; former Trump aide Hope Hicks will be the communications head of the “New Fox”; gym selfies are changing the way we work out.

After its launch on June 28, 2011, Google+ hit 50 million users in 88 days, making it the fastest-growing social network in history.
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Google is shutting down its Google+ social network for consumers following the revelation that a major security flaw had exposed the private profile data of up to 500,000 users from 2015 to March 2018. Google opted not to disclose the software bug sooner over concerns that doing so would draw regulatory scrutiny and damage the company’s reputation. The company plans to shut down all consumer functionality of Google+, effectively putting the final nail in the coffin of a product that was launched in 2011 to challenge Facebook and is widely seen as one of Google’s biggest failures. [Ashley Carman / The Verge]

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Facebook is audaciously launching a video gadget for your home, called Portal. Is that a good idea? The new device, a sort of kitchen/living-room computer, includes Amazon’s Alexa assistant and a handful of apps like Spotify and Pandora. But the main feature Facebook is touting is a video-calling service that automatically zooms, pans and focuses as people move around the room. After missing out on the smartphone boom, it makes sense for Facebook to try owning one of the next iterations of the personal computer — connected speakers, like Amazon’s Echo, are a fast-growing market. But how tone deaf is Facebook to launch a video- and audio-recording device the same year as its numerous privacy crises? [Kurt Wagner / Recode]

Pop superstar Taylor Swift dipped her toe into politics with an Instagram post endorsing former Tennessee Gov. Phil Bredesen, a Democrat, in the state’s Senate race alongside a harsh rebuke of Rep. Marsha Blackburn, the Republican nominee. The endorsement — which garnered more than 1,160,000 “Likes” — marked the first time the 28-year-old singer-songwriter has explicitly spoken out about politics, and came the day after she finished the North American leg of her “Reputation” stadium tour. [Cindy Watts and Natalie Allison / Nashville Tennessean]

Former White House communications director and Trump aide Hope Hicks will be the executive vice president and chief communications officer of “New Fox,” the company that will emerge after the Walt Disney Company’s $71.3 billion deal to acquire much of 21st Century Fox is formally approved. And several Fox executives will assume top leadership positions at Disney’s television division: Peter Rice, the president of 21st Century Fox, will become the chairman of Walt Disney Television; Dana Walden, a co-chief executive of the Fox Television Group, will become the chairwoman of Disney Television studios and ABC Entertainment. [Jeremy Barr / The Hollywood Reporter]

Microsoft’s LinkedIn spent more than $400 million on Glint, a startup whose software helps human resources managers understand how workers feel about their employers. It’s the professional networking company’s biggest purchase as part of Microsoft, which acquired LinkedIn for $26.2 billion in 2016; in Microsoft’s most recent fiscal year, which ended on June 30, LinkedIn’s revenue surged 130 percent to $5.3 billion. [Jordan Novet and Ari Levy / CNBC]

Tesla is looking for a manager to handle Elon Musk. As part of its settlement with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission, Tesla is required to appoint an independent chairman to replace Musk and add two directors to its board. Names being floated as candidates for the chairmanship have ranged from former Vice President Al Gore to one-time CEOs including Jim McNerney of Boeing and Alan Mulally of Ford. The job posting might read: “Wanted: A seasoned executive with a steady hand, a passion for electric cars and the mettle to rein in a CEO with itchy Twitter fingers.” [Emily Chasan / Bloomberg]

Meet the investors who are betting on climate change getting worse. As the U.S. grapples with a second straight year of record hurricanes, floods and wildfires, a small but growing number of hedge funds, pension plans and other investors are testing strategies to take advantage of those signs of climate change. If electric cars and clean energy aren’t enough to prevent rising oceans, then there’s money to be made in seawalls, indoor agriculture and emergency housing. [Christopher Flavelle / Bloomberg]

Top stories from Recode

Is this robot really going to replace a security guard?

Or is it just an expensive office toy? [Shirin Ghaffary / Recode]

This is cool

The inevitable Instagram-ization of fitness is quietly changing the way we work out.

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