Google Intros New Features for Search, Maps and Shopping

Google is starting to publicly roll out many of the new features introduced at its Search On event in September. Spanning Google Search, Shopping and Maps, the tools let consumers do things like search their favorite restaurant dish by name, like “truffle mac and cheese near me.” A visual search experience for Maps called Live View lets users glimpse street scenes in cities including London, Los Angeles, New York, Paris, San Francisco and Tokyo. And an AR shopping feature invites people to try on everything from makeup to accessories using a library of 148 models. Continue reading Google Intros New Features for Search, Maps and Shopping

Google, Amazon Reach an Accord in OS Battle for Smart TVs

Google and Amazon have struck a deal to end simmering hostilities over a battle for control of smart TVs. After a particularly damning report by the Competition Commission of India last week, Amazon announced that TCL — a major player in the drama — will this fall release in Europe two new models equipped with Amazon Fire TV software. The new pax has also paved the way for Amazon to work with consumer electronics companies including Hisense, Xiaomi, and more, who were previously forbidden from using the Amazon OS under Google’s licensing terms. Continue reading Google, Amazon Reach an Accord in OS Battle for Smart TVs

Gen Z Turning to TikTok and Instagram for Search and News

TikTok is at the center of yet another attention-grabbing trend: Gen Z has begun using it as a search engine, edging out Google. TikTok says a third of its billion or so global users are Gen Z, and these 10-to-25-year-olds are now using the short-form video platform for more than just entertainment and are increasingly turning to it as a source of information. Meta Platforms’ Instagram is also making a strong showing among information seekers in Gen Z — an important demographic among advertisers, as they are still forming brand loyalties and shopping habits. Continue reading Gen Z Turning to TikTok and Instagram for Search and News

Google Revamps News Display, Works to Settle EU Disputes

Google News is trying to keep peace with publishers while adding functionality to its feed with a revamped desktop that lets users customize up to three topics on the home screen. For example, Local News, World News and Top Picks can be set to display across three-columns. Meanwhile, the global payment battle between content providers and Alphabet’s aggregator has achieved closure in France, where the competition authority said a settlement has been reached after a two-year legal battle and a $525 million fine. Terms include a pledge from Google to give news providers estimates of indirect revenue generated from news content that appears in its search results. Continue reading Google Revamps News Display, Works to Settle EU Disputes

Google Reveals AR Glasses, Immersive View for Maps, More

Google seems to be angling for a slice of Apple’s pie, unveiling a universe of interconnected Pixel-branded gadgets across an ecosystem of watches, earbuds, smartphones and tablets. The Google I/O developers conference previewed next-generation Pixel 7 and 7 Pro smartphones, a new tablet and the highly anticipated Pixel Watch smartwatch. The company also showcased Pixel Buds Pro with noise cancellation and the budget Pixel 6a smartphone, ending with a teaser for AR glasses that translate languages. Google CEO Sundar Pichai led the Wednesday event, talking up the new Immersive View, coming soon to Maps. Continue reading Google Reveals AR Glasses, Immersive View for Maps, More

Google Workspace Updates Docs with Email, Map Integration

Google continues to add improvements to its Google Docs, adding AI-generated summaries, better email integration and inline Google Maps previews. The company also announced the suite-wide availability of pageless documents, in test mode since May. The update is a further attempt by Google to push against startups like Notion and Coda as well as making its Google Workspace suite more competitive with productivity market leader Microsoft Office and its dominant Microsoft Word. In November, Microsoft announced Loop, a real-time collaborative editing app. With the exception of the email feature, most of the updates will be immediately available. Continue reading Google Workspace Updates Docs with Email, Map Integration

Startups Want Consumers to Be Paid for Their Personal Data

Personal data is fueling a $455.3 billion online advertising market, and a crop of new startups wants consumers whose information creates the value to get a piece of that action. Among the startups are Brave Software, Tapestri, Reklaim and Streamlytics. Now real estate billionaire Frank McCourt has committed $250 million to fund Project Liberty, which he hopes will restyle the web as a platform owned by the public. Of that amount, McCourt — former owner of the L.A. Dodgers — earmarked $25 million to create a decentralized social networking protocol that aims to reinvent the model for consumer data governance online. Continue reading Startups Want Consumers to Be Paid for Their Personal Data

Google’s Bot-in-a-Box Brings Conversational AI to Enterprises

Google Cloud recently unveiled a new AI-powered service product named Bot-in-a-Box. The feature, available via Google Cloud Platform (GCP) Business Messages, will help enterprises easily manage conversations with their customers. Bot-in-a-Box creates chatbots that can naturally respond to customers’ questions by using Google’s Dialogflow software. The conversational bot does not require any additional coding but will learn directly from businesses’ customer service data. The new product is expected to cut the customer service budget for businesses and improve the service level of chat function on GCP Business Messages. Continue reading Google’s Bot-in-a-Box Brings Conversational AI to Enterprises

Niantic Releases Lightship Tools for a ‘Real-World’ Metaverse

Niantic, the San Francisco tech firm best known for publishing the wildly successful mobile AR app “Pokémon Go,” is opening a version of its platform to the world with the release of the Lightship augmented reality developer kit, designed to enable AR experiences for “the real-world metaverse.” Niantic CEO John Hanke, who led Google’s geospatial division through the transformation of Google Maps and Google Earth, says Lightship will incorporate a “visual positioning system” that interoperates with glasses to place objects in the real world. In March, Hanke teased an image of Niantic-branded glasses created by Qualcomm. Continue reading Niantic Releases Lightship Tools for a ‘Real-World’ Metaverse

Google Ad Growth Propels Alphabet to $65.12 Billion Quarter

Alphabet’s third quarter earnings saw revenue hit $65.12 billion, a 41 percent increase characterized as the company’s largest quarterly gain in 14 years. Profit of $21.03 billion is a nearly 300 percent increase over profits reported prior to the COVID-19 pandemic. Highlights include 43 percent growth in Google’s advertising sales business — across Search, Maps and YouTube — for a total of $53.13 billion. YouTube “recently surpassed 50 million Music and Premium subscribers, including those in trial,” Google and Alphabet CEO Sundar Pichai said on the Q3 conference call. Continue reading Google Ad Growth Propels Alphabet to $65.12 Billion Quarter

Google Debuts Enterprise IoT Essentials, New Analytics Apps

Google Intelligent Products Essentials is a new integrated solution designed to help enterprise clients quickly get hardware products online with a distributed Internet of Things. Intelligent Products Essentials aggregates critical components to launch distributed IoT and edge computing solutions. Essentially turn-key, Essentials does require a third-party system integrator to implement the system. As with other new offerings unveiled this week at the Google Cloud Next virtual event, Essentials is underpinned by analytics tools and designed to help organizations mine value from data for new and existing products. Continue reading Google Debuts Enterprise IoT Essentials, New Analytics Apps

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

Samsung Unpacks New Watches, Buds and Foldable Phones

At its second Galaxy Unpacked event, Samsung debuted two new versions of folding phones, the Galaxy Z Fold3 5G, which opens like a book and acts like a mini-tablet, and the Galaxy Z Flip3 5G, which opens like a compact mirror and offers a smaller form factor. Also new are two new smartwatches, the Galaxy Watch4 and Galaxy Watch4 Classic, both the first to run Wear OS 3, the Google-owned operating system co-developed with Samsung and Fitbit. Samsung also debuted Galaxy Buds2. All the new gear will go on sale August 27. Continue reading Samsung Unpacks New Watches, Buds and Foldable Phones

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

Senate Judiciary Committee Pursues New Antitrust Legislation

Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) and Amy Klobuchar (D-Minnesota) of the Senate Judiciary Committee are working together on antitrust legislation similar to some of the measures the House Judiciary Committee approved last month. Grassley has yet to offer specific details of proposed legislation but Klobuchar, who is chair of the judiciary panel’s antitrust subcommittee, said a focus on tech companies that offer their own version of products sold by rivals dependent on their platforms is “at the heart of two of the House proposals.” Continue reading Senate Judiciary Committee Pursues New Antitrust Legislation