Alphabet CEO Calls for Government Action in Tech Innovation

Sundar Pichai, CEO of Google and its parent Alphabet, is urging the U.S. government to step up innovation and more actively police cyberthreats. In a year beset with security breaches attributed to Russian and Chinese hackers, Pichai says it’s time to draft a Geneva Convention for technology, outlining international legal standards, safeguards and behavioral norms for the connected age. Pichai also made an appeal for state-sponsored innovation in the face of competition from China, where the Communist Party under President Xi Jinping has outlined plans to advance artificial intelligence and develop a proprietary semiconductor sector. Continue reading Alphabet CEO Calls for Government Action in Tech Innovation

Google Imagines Future Business Model for YouTube Shorts

Introduced in select markets a little more than a year ago and rolled out globally in July, YouTube Shorts generated more than 15 billion daily views worldwide by late September (up from 6.5 billion daily views worldwide in March), according to YouTube parent Google. The format caps videos at 60-seconds and is designed to rival TikTok, which claims 1 billion active monthly users, putting it among the most rapid-growth platforms ever. Even with YouTube Shorts’ healthy growth, the company has just begun testing advertising and monetization approaches for the short-form video experience. Continue reading Google Imagines Future Business Model for YouTube Shorts

UK Broadcasters Unite in Offensive Against Streaming Giants

The growth of streaming TV means it’s getting harder for networks to get their top shows noticed on welcome screens that feature services aggregated by the makers of the television, set-top box or dongle, but UK broadcasters are fighting back. A consortium of interests including the BBC, ITV, Channel 4 and ViacomCBS’s Channel 5 are banding together to create a shared program service designed to better-position them against U.S. tech giants and new local TV laws currently in the works. The effort is being mounted through Digital UK, owned by the BBC, Channel 4 and ITV. Continue reading UK Broadcasters Unite in Offensive Against Streaming Giants

Google Search Will Use MUM AI to Combine Text and Images

Google Lens visual search will be updated to incorporate the company’s new AI technology, the Multitask Unified Model (MUM), which understands context and draws from various formats, including text, images and videos. With MUM, users will be able to incorporate text in order to specify queries on visual search. For instance, you could use your phone to snap a photo of a favorite shirt using the Google Lens feature — or find a shirt you like through Google Search — then tap the Lens icon on the open image and type in “socks with this pattern” to search with specificity. Continue reading Google Search Will Use MUM AI to Combine Text and Images

U.S. and EU Conduct Their First Trade Tech Council Meeting

The European Union and United States agreed yesterday on strengthening cooperation regarding several major global concerns, including a “rebalancing” of supply chains for semiconductors, new approaches to regulating international tech companies, and practical models for contending with “non-market, trade-distortive policies and practices” (although China was not singled out in the group’s statement). During their first meeting in Pittsburgh yesterday, officials from the newly formed U.S.-EU Trade and Technology Council (TTC) promised to work together on the development of artificial intelligence and screening interests in sensitive dual-use technologies. Continue reading U.S. and EU Conduct Their First Trade Tech Council Meeting

Google to Update Its Product Searches to Attract Advertisers

In its latest effort to take on Amazon in e-commerce advertising, Alphabet announced that Google will update its product search pages to include more images of items such as accessories and apparel. Rather than Google’s traditional scroll of links with accompanying text, the results will feature a look more similar to a digital store. The move is part of the search giant’s larger strategy to fend off Amazon, Target, Walmart and others that have been ramping up their digital ad businesses to complement retail and e-commerce operations. While Google still enjoys the lead in online search, it does not join these competitors in directly selling products. Continue reading Google to Update Its Product Searches to Attract Advertisers

Disney+ Leverages Social Platforms to Draw Streaming Subs

After analyzing hundreds of social media ad campaigns by the top streaming ad platforms, BrandTotal has found that Disney+ is leading in paid share-of-voice, with 30 percent of all impressions. HBO Max is next with 23 percent, with Hulu in third place at 21 percent. The top-five included Peacock with 16 percent and Paramount+ at 7 percent. Meanwhile, the report found Apple TV+ and Netflix to be the least active social media advertisers, with 2 percent and 1 percent, respectively. BrandTotal’s report — Social Intelligence Competitive Snapshot: The Streaming Wars — analyzed paid social advertising campaigns over 90 days beginning June 23, 2021. Continue reading Disney+ Leverages Social Platforms to Draw Streaming Subs

Apple’s Autonomous Vehicle Chief Accepts New Post at Ford

Tesla veteran Doug Field joined Apple in 2018 to lead the tech giant’s self-driving car initiative. Now, his abrupt departure to join Ford Motor Company as its chief advanced technology officer brings the future of Apple’s project into question, including the progress it has made thus far. Field is Apple’s fourth executive to lead the project in its seven-year history. Other notable manufacturers pursuing autonomous vehicles — including Tesla, Alphabet’s Waymo and Uber Technologies — have had a difficult time advancing the technology. Continue reading Apple’s Autonomous Vehicle Chief Accepts New Post at Ford

Microsoft’s Windows 11 to Launch Oct. 5 as a Free Upgrade

Microsoft will begin its Windows 11 rollout October 5, marking the Seattle-based software giant’s first major operating system release in six years. In addition to AI-powered widgets, Windows 11 upgrades include cloud-based synchronization across multiple devices that allows easy access to recently viewed files, an improved desktop that uses Snap Layouts and Snap Groups to maximize multitasking and taskbar integration of chat in Microsoft Teams, Windows’ in-app videoconferencing, and enhanced sound and design. Continue reading Microsoft’s Windows 11 to Launch Oct. 5 as a Free Upgrade

White House Cybersecurity Summit Brings Leaders Together

At a White House summit, President Joe Biden asked leaders of Apple, Google, JPMorgan Chase and other major companies to step up their response to cybersecurity threats. The administration, which estimated that about half a million cybersecurity jobs remain unfilled, said it would assist in developing new guidelines for secure technology and assess the security of existing technology. Google, Microsoft, and insurance companies Travelers and Coalition have already signed on to the initiative. Microsoft plans to invest $20 billion over the next five years to integrate cybersecurity into its products and Google revealed its own $10 billion commitment. Continue reading White House Cybersecurity Summit Brings Leaders Together

Twitter Chooses Crypto Developer to Lead Its Bluesky Project

Twitter has selected startup founder and cryptocurrency developer Jay Graber to head up its open-source project Bluesky. Although Twitter funds Bluesky, it will operate independently of the social giant. Twitter chief executive Jack Dorsey stated that Bluesky is his “biggest focus right now,” and Graber explained that she is “excited to take on this role and build the future of social media.” Dorsey established Bluesky to create protocol technology that would break down the boundaries between various social media services. Continue reading Twitter Chooses Crypto Developer to Lead Its Bluesky Project

Apple Just Earned Its Biggest Profit in the Company’s History

The COVID-19 pandemic has reaped rewards for Big Tech companies that benefitted from the shift to remote working and learning. Apple earned $21.7 billion in profit for the quarter that ended in June, the most successful quarter in the company’s 45-year history, while Alphabet and Microsoft also enjoyed strong quarterly earnings. Apple’s revenue rose 36 percent from the same period a year earlier to $81.4 billion, exceeding Wall Street expectations. Apple is on track to earn $86 billion for the fiscal year, according to FactSet analysts. Continue reading Apple Just Earned Its Biggest Profit in the Company’s History

Google Reports Its Highest Quarter Ever for Sales and Profits

In Q2 2021, Google recorded its highest quarter ever for sales and profits: revenue of $61.88 billion, up 62 percent year-over-year; profit that more than doubled to $18.53 billion; advertising sales of $50.44 billion, a 69 percent surge, and YouTube ad business reaching $7 billion, up 84 percent from a year earlier. The numbers, which exceeded Wall Street expectations, were driven by e-commerce, streaming video and other online business and entertainment activities that surged during the COVID-19 pandemic, driving online advertising. Continue reading Google Reports Its Highest Quarter Ever for Sales and Profits

Big Tech Attempts to Balance Worker Needs Moving Forward

Alphabet conducted internal research that found Google software engineers felt as productive working from home as before the pandemic, although 75 percent of employees said they wanted more “collaboration and social connections” at work. Human resources vice president Brian Welle reported that “most staff also specifically craved physical proximity when working on new projects.” As a result, Alphabet still plans to bring employees back to the office this fall, although some will be able to work full-time from home. Continue reading Big Tech Attempts to Balance Worker Needs Moving Forward

Google Chief Warns That Free, Open Internet Is Under Attack

In an in-depth interview with the BBC, Alphabet and Google chief executive Sundar Pichai suggested that an open Internet is under attack in different parts of the world where the free flow of information is often restricted and the Internet model is generally taken for granted. He also expressed concern about key areas that have become increasingly controversial, such as privacy, data and taxes — and defends his company’s record on these fronts. Meanwhile, he also believes that the development of artificial intelligence will change the world and may prove “more profound” than the creation of fire, electricity or even the Internet. Continue reading Google Chief Warns That Free, Open Internet Is Under Attack