House Hearings Consider Balance of Competition, Privacy

The House Judiciary Committee held hearings that included testimony about how tech giants Amazon, Apple, Facebook and Google have collected significant quantities of data that give them a dominant market power that endangers consumer privacy. House Republicans, however, noted that strong data protection regulations in Europe, as well as other privacy regulations, could hurt competition among these companies. The hearing is the latest effort in the House’s antitrust investigation into digital giants. Continue reading House Hearings Consider Balance of Competition, Privacy

Facebook and Twitter Execs Answer Questions on Capitol Hill

In Washington DC, as Facebook chief operating officer Sheryl Sandberg and Twitter chief executive Jack Dorsey were concluding testimony on efforts to repel foreign interference ahead of the midterm elections, Attorney General Jeff Sessions dropped a bombshell. He stated plans to convene state attorneys general on September 25 to look at what the Justice Department said is the intentional “stifling [of] the free exchange of ideas on their platforms.” Google, which had been invited to testify, did not send a representative. Continue reading Facebook and Twitter Execs Answer Questions on Capitol Hill

Senate Intelligence Committee to Question Tech Execs Today

Senate Intelligence Committee hearings will begin today to examine a host of issues regarding big technology firms, including Facebook, Twitter and Google, and weigh whether the issues might be addressed by legislative or executive actions. Those companies already stand accused of not controlling the use of their platforms to disseminate misinformation and, in general, not taking enough responsibility for content. Meanwhile, conservatives accuse the platforms of bias in policing content. Continue reading Senate Intelligence Committee to Question Tech Execs Today

Tech Giants Face More Questions Regarding Privacy Issues

Six years after Facebook deactivated facial recognition from its platform in Europe in response to regulators’ concerns about its consent system, the social media company has again introduced such tools in the European Union, as part of an update of its user permission process. Privacy groups and consumer organizations, along with a few officials, have responded, saying it violates people’s privacy. Meanwhile, in the U.S., the House Energy and Commerce Committee has asked Amazon and Apple to provide information on how they handle personal data. Continue reading Tech Giants Face More Questions Regarding Privacy Issues

Alphabet Stops Expansion of Google Fiber in Favor of Wireless

Alphabet is tightening up staffing at Google Fiber, sending hundreds of employees who work at the Google division Access to other parts of the company. Google Fiber, first announced in 2010, is installed in several U.S. cities, but Access revealed in October that it was pulling back on plans to expand to new locations. This isn’t the end of Google Fiber, says a spokesperson, but Alphabet is rethinking its plan moving forward. Although Fiber could be a part of the company’s future, Access has a new focus on wireless technologies. Continue reading Alphabet Stops Expansion of Google Fiber in Favor of Wireless

Alphabet Update on Wireless Internet, Search, Education, Cars

At its annual shareholders meeting, Alphabet chairman Eric Schmidt reiterated the company’s plan to wirelessly connect homes to high-speed Internet. The technology, viable now due to improvements in computer chips and more accurate wireless signal targeting, can deliver a 1 gigabit per second connection, equivalent to Google Fiber’s capabilities. Schmidt also delved into the company’s plans to advance search features, explore 3D printing for building construction, meatless meat, autonomous cars and other sectors. Continue reading Alphabet Update on Wireless Internet, Search, Education, Cars

Google Now a Subsidiary of New Parent Company, Alphabet Inc.

In a move that surprised Wall Street, Google created Alphabet Inc., a new publicly traded parent company. Google will be a subsidiary of Alphabet, with Google executive Sundar Pichai as its new CEO. Co-founders Larry Page and Sergey Brin will run Alphabet, which will include all of Google’s other ancillary businesses. Brin will also run Google X, the company’s experimental laboratory. Since the announcement was made after the close of trading on Wall Street, Google shares rose 6 percent in after-hours trading. Continue reading Google Now a Subsidiary of New Parent Company, Alphabet Inc.

The Future of Google Search May Be Like a Virtual Assistant

Tech giant Google may be tweaking the search engine that launched its success. The search engine of the future will use software based on inventor and futurist Ray Kurzweil’s theory of intelligence. The software will be like a virtual assistant with the ability to understand questions and give fully developed answers, instead of a list of links. The search engine may even alert users when there are updates on a previous search query. Kurzweil joined Google 18 months ago to help develop the new software. Continue reading The Future of Google Search May Be Like a Virtual Assistant

Google Products Reflect a Renewed Spirit of Superior Design

Since Larry Page became CEO of Google, the company has been more focused on the elements of design and cohesiveness. Google has been pursuing aesthetic appeal in a way that may allow it to rival Apple, and although the process is gradual, Google products are beginning to show that the company has raised its standards. The change is obvious when examining Google’s mobile apps, its Chromebook Pixel laptop and Google Glass. Continue reading Google Products Reflect a Renewed Spirit of Superior Design

Google I/O: New Music Service, Google+ Updates and More

Google kicked off its annual I/O developers conference yesterday with a three and a half hour keynote delivered before 6,000 attendees at the Moscone Center in San Francisco. In addition to a surprise appearance by CEO Larry Page, who discussed obstacles to technological progress and answered questions from software developers, the event detailed updates and new releases involving Google+, Google Maps, Hangouts, Google Play Music All Access, a special Galaxy S4 smartphone and more. Continue reading Google I/O: New Music Service, Google+ Updates and More

Google I/O: Chief Exec Calls for Technology Cooperation

As part of yesterday’s Google I/O keynote, the company’s CEO Larry Page made a surprise visit on stage to discuss his take on technological progress and answer questions from software developers in attendance. During his remarks, Page suggested that computer science has a marketing problem today, we should be doing more to encourage children’s pursuit of science, and technological progress has been hampered by needless competition among tech companies. Continue reading Google I/O: Chief Exec Calls for Technology Cooperation

New Products and Updates: Google I/O Kicks Off Tomorrow

Google’s I/O developers conference kicks off tomorrow with a three-hour keynote from the Moscone Center in San Francisco. During the three-day event, the company is expected to announce an update to its Android mobile operating system and an updated version of its 7-inch Nexus 7 tablet (and possibly a new 11-inch model), while there has been speculation that Google may also unveil a new smartphone from Motorola, a new design for Google Maps, new Chrome features and more. Continue reading New Products and Updates: Google I/O Kicks Off Tomorrow

Scoble Praises Google Glass: Says Device is Life-Changing

Tech evangelist Robert Scoble spent two weeks evaluating Google Glass, during which he delivered five speeches while wearing the device, passed through airports four times, and let hundreds of people try it out. He wrote that he had “barely taken it off since getting it other than to sleep.” Scoble offers high praise for the device’s potential, and suggests its adoption depends largely on the product’s eventual price. He says that if Larry Page can get it down to $200, he’ll have a “major hit” on his hands. Continue reading Scoble Praises Google Glass: Says Device is Life-Changing

Larry Page Talks Future of Search and Company Projects

  • Google CEO Larry Page, who rarely agrees to interviews, sat down with Fortune to discuss the future of search, clashes with Apple, the company’s numerous Google X projects, and more.
  • Page acknowledges the change in advertising models, but views disruption as a good thing. Google still devotes 70 percent of its effort into search and ads.
  • “The perfect search engine would really understand whatever your need is,” he says. “So one of my favorite examples I like to give is if you’re vacation planning. It would be really nice to have a system that could basically vacation plan for you. It would know your preferences, it would know the weather, it would know the prices of airline tickets, the hotel prices, understand logistics, combine all those things into one experience. And that’s kind of how we think about search.”
  • On Google’s competition with Apple, Amazon and others: “I’d like to see more cooperation on the user side. The Internet was made in universities and it was designed to interoperate. And as we’ve commercialized it, we’ve added more of an island-like approach to it, which I think is a somewhat a shame for users,” Page says.
  • “I think it would be nice if everybody would get along better and the users didn’t suffer as a result of other people’s activities. I try to model that. We try pretty hard to make our products be available as widely as we can. That’s our philosophy,” he notes.
  • The remaining effort at Google is split between apps (20 percent) and new projects (10). “I think investors always worry about this. You know, ‘Oh my God, they’re going to spend all their money on self-driving cars.’ I feel like no matter how hard I try, I can never make the 10 bigger, because it’s actually hard to get people to work on stuff that’s really ambitious. It’s easier to get people working on incremental things.”

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