Google Roils Digital Advertising Ecosystem with New Policies

Google revealed plans to stop individualized tracking to serve digital ads. Since it is the largest global purveyor of digital advertising, Google’s move will doubtless have an impact, possibly moving the entire industry away from the practice, which has been criticized by privacy advocates. Rather than build alternative tracking systems, Google is developing new technologies to target ads without collecting individuals’ information. One analyzes browsing habits and allows targeting of “cohorts” rather than individuals. Continue reading Google Roils Digital Advertising Ecosystem with New Policies

Netflix Rolls Out ‘First Laughs’ Comedy Clips for Mobile Users

Netflix just added First Laughs to its iPhone app, offering comedy clips from movies, TV shows and its own stand-up comedy specials, with the full-screen vertical video running via an auto-playing feed. The company stated it will debut up to 100 curated clips per day. Fast Laughs also includes social features and lets users add titles to their watch list or start watching a program immediately. The length of each video segment will run from about 15 seconds to up to 45 seconds or longer. The idea of watching content on the go echoes TikTok and the now defunct Quibi. Continue reading Netflix Rolls Out ‘First Laughs’ Comedy Clips for Mobile Users

Roblox Counting on Older Consumers to Join App, Buy Stock

Roblox, valued last month at $29.5 billion, told prospective investors it is trying to lure older users onto its gaming, concerts and educational platform. Chief executive David Baszucki said the company is counting on older adults not just to join the platform but to buy its stock when it goes public next month. The Apple and Google application has been a top earner during the pandemic, with 2020 revenue jumping 82 percent to $923.9 million and number of hours spent on the platform more than doubling to 30.6 billion. Continue reading Roblox Counting on Older Consumers to Join App, Buy Stock

Treasury Department May Put an End to Location Data Sales

The U.S. military, the Internal Revenue Service (IRS), Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) and Department of Homeland Security (DHS) are reportedly among the agencies that have been buying citizens’ location data from commercial services. Now, a Treasury Department inspector general report has indicated that this practice is illegal without first obtaining a warrant. The agencies in question say they are buying commercially available data from those who have consented to having their data collected. Continue reading Treasury Department May Put an End to Location Data Sales

Apple Reveals Platform Security Guide with Info on M1 Chip

Apple unveiled its annual Platform Security Guide, now 200 pages, which provides the first-ever detailed documentation of its new M1 chips. The company is known for being reticent to release much in-depth technical information as part of its “security through obscurity” strategy to fend off hackers. However, this latest edition of the guide offers “significantly expanded information,” including details about the secure enclave and other software features and is designed to enable customers use the technology’s defense attributes. Continue reading Apple Reveals Platform Security Guide with Info on M1 Chip

Nvidia Acquisition of Arm Faces FTC Probe, Big Tech Critics

As Nvidia moves to close its $40 billion deal to acquire Arm Holdings, tech companies Google, Microsoft and Qualcomm are saying the deal will harm competition and are asking for regulatory intervention. The UK-based Arm, which licenses its chip technology to Amazon, Apple, Huawei Technologies, Intel and Samsung Electronics among others, is known as the Switzerland in the semiconductor industry because it licenses its technology to companies rather than competes with them. Critics fear that Nvidia would change this policy or raise the cost. Continue reading Nvidia Acquisition of Arm Faces FTC Probe, Big Tech Critics

Top EU Privacy Regulator Calls for Total Ban on Targeted Ads

The European Data Protection Supervisor (EDPS) Wojciech Wiewiórowski, the European Union’s top privacy regulator, called for a complete ban on targeted advertising. That’s a harsher recommendation than that of the European Commission, which simply suggested increased transparency on political ads and limits to micro-targeting and psychological profiling. Wiewiorówski’s proposal was in response to a request for EU lawmaker consultation on the Commission’s Digital Services Act (DSA) introduced in December. Continue reading Top EU Privacy Regulator Calls for Total Ban on Targeted Ads

Facebook Developing a Product to Rival Chat App Clubhouse

According to sources, Facebook is developing an audio chat product to compete with Clubhouse, a social networking app that has gained popularity with young people who gather and chat about various topics. Facebook chief executive Mark Zuckerberg, reportedly interested in audio products, has appeared on Clubhouse to chat about augmented reality and virtual reality. Facebook is also known for cloning popular products. Facebook’s audio product is, added the sources, in an early stage of development. Continue reading Facebook Developing a Product to Rival Chat App Clubhouse

Twitter Experiences Subscriber Growth and Plans Expansion

Since Twitter banned former president Trump, the company said daily users rose to 192 million from Q3’s 187 million, including one million in the U.S. In January, the social platform gained more daily users than the average month in the last four years. Twitter chief exec Jack Dorsey revealed that 80 percent of its user base is outside the U.S., adding that it is “not dependent upon just news and politics.” The company is looking to expand and continue development of a decentralized social network. With regard to banning Trump, chief finance officer Ned Segal said the decision was well received by advertisers. Continue reading Twitter Experiences Subscriber Growth and Plans Expansion

U.S. and China Already in an Arms Race for 6G Technologies

Although most people do not have access to 5G networks yet, the U.S. and China are already in a race to be the first nation to develop and patent 6G, expected to be up to 100 times faster than 5G’s peak speed. Experts note that 6G is currently a “theoretical proposition” and the technology is at least 10 to 15 years away. However, the possibility that 6G can usher in “the next industrial revolution” — from flying taxis to real-time holograms — has made it a potent focus of a geopolitically-influenced race. China is currently considered the leader in 5G. Continue reading U.S. and China Already in an Arms Race for 6G Technologies

New Meta-Optic Lens Tech Enters Commercial Development

Massachusetts-based startup Metalenz, just out of stealth mode, is readying the debut of an entirely new lens system for smartphones. Its single flat lens system, based on optical metasurfaces, reportedly produces an image of the same or better quality as traditional lenses, while enabling brighter photos by collecting more light, and offering new forms of sensing. The company just announced a $10 million investment that will enable it to scale production and speed up development of miniature optics and a new lens system targeting smartphones, consumer electronics and applications in the automotive and healthcare industries. Continue reading New Meta-Optic Lens Tech Enters Commercial Development

Chip Shortage Affects Electronics, Gaming, Vehicles, Aviation

Qualcomm chief executive Cristiano Amon has announced a serious shortage of semiconductor chips impacting a range of industries. In the early days of the COVID-19 pandemic, manufacturers of electronics and vehicles first drastically cut back their demand for chips but then reversed course and demand skyrocketed. Amon is just one of several industry leaders warning of the shortages and highlighting manufacturers’ reliance on outsourcing chip production to companies such as Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company (TSMC) and Samsung Electronics. Continue reading Chip Shortage Affects Electronics, Gaming, Vehicles, Aviation

Senator Klobuchar Calls for Tough New Antitrust Legislation

As incoming head of the Senate antitrust subcommittee, Senator Amy Klobuchar (D-Minnesota) renewed her call to legislate major changes to U.S. trust laws. Specifically, the legislation would prevent companies that dominate in a sector from purchasing other companies unless they can prove the deals don’t “create an appreciable risk of materially lessening competition.” Klobuchar suggested such changes in Congress’ previous session and Republicans largely rebuffed them. Democrat control of the Senate could improve the odds of passage. Continue reading Senator Klobuchar Calls for Tough New Antitrust Legislation

Facebook Parries Apple’s Privacy Policy with Its Own Prompt

In response to Apple’s changes that require users’ consent to track their behavior, Facebook — which claims the privacy change will make targeted advertising too difficult — has responded with its own solution. The social media company plans to introduce an in-app prompt that asks users to give permission to use data collected from apps and third-party websites and provides information on how the data is used for personalized ads. That screen will appear with the Apple prompt detailing its new privacy policy. Continue reading Facebook Parries Apple’s Privacy Policy with Its Own Prompt

Amazon Exceeds $100 Billion in Quarterly Sales for First Time

Amazon’s robust holiday shopping quarter garnered $125.5 billion in sales and net income of $7.2 billion, the first time the company reached $100+ billion in quarterly revenue, and only days after Apple achieved the same milestone. Amazon amped up sales when it moved its two-day Prime Day shopping event from summer to October. The company’s overall 2020 sales hit $386.1 billion, a 38-percent year-over-year jump. According to analysts, e-commerce grew about 50 percent during the last year due to the coronavirus pandemic. Continue reading Amazon Exceeds $100 Billion in Quarterly Sales for First Time

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