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 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

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

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

Google and Microsoft End Truce as Ad Tech Battle Heats Up

The five-year truce between Google and Microsoft has broken down. Sources say that neither company is interested in renewing the former alliance. Microsoft wants marketers to have equal access to search engines when they build campaigns with Google technology, but Google believes that, in fact, Microsoft sees it as a threat to Microsoft’s Azure cloud computing and Office productivity businesses. Both companies are now “handing ammo” against each other to regulators, a strategy that might backfire on both of them. Continue reading Google and Microsoft End Truce as Ad Tech Battle Heats Up

Google’s Solution to Replace Cookies Under Review at W3C

By 2022, Google plans to block cookies on its Chrome browser, used by about 70 percent of global desktop computer owners, instead offering a solution that will protect privacy and still target ads. Even as privacy advocates find flaws in Google’s idea, advertising technology companies are joining forces to create tracking tools based on email addresses. Amazon has responded by blocking Chrome from collecting data on which users go to its websites. Politicians from around the world say Google’s move could hurt its rivals. Continue reading Google’s Solution to Replace Cookies Under Review at W3C

YouTube to Reward Creators of Shorts with $100 Million Fund

YouTube unveiled its $100 million YouTube Shorts Fund, which rewards creators who post the most engaging clips on its new “TikTok-style” feature. The program will debut in Fall 2021 and continue into 2022. Shorts was introduced in India before debuting in the U.S. in March. Regarding monetization, YouTube plans to experiment, including testing ads, sometime this year. YouTube Shorts director of global partnership enablement Amy Singer said the company will “reach out” to thousands of creators every month. Continue reading YouTube to Reward Creators of Shorts with $100 Million Fund

YouTube Unveils Interactive Features, New Original Programs

As part of its IAB NewFronts presentation, YouTube demonstrated interactive advertising features for smart TVs and mobile devices, which will enable advertisers to create more engagement with viewers by sending links to their phones or connected second screens. Other newly introduced interactive features include those that expand shopping for direct response video ads, such as browsable images that click through to websites. The company stated that it intends to continue to introduce more interactive features for advertisers. Continue reading YouTube Unveils Interactive Features, New Original Programs

Google Adopts Futuristic Hybrid Plan for Work Post-Pandemic

Google is creating a post-pandemic workplace to appeal to employees who got used to working remotely last year and may not want to return to the office full-time. Over the next year, the company plans to try out a variety of different ways to design office spaces, based on research done before COVID-19 hit. A variety of consultants were asked to imagine the future workspace, one of which is “Team Pods,” where desks, chairs, whiteboards and storage units are all on casters and can be rearranged in numerous configurations. Continue reading Google Adopts Futuristic Hybrid Plan for Work Post-Pandemic

Biden Plan Aims to Build U.S. Semiconductor Manufacturing

President Joe Biden stated that investing in the manufacturing of semiconductors is part of his administration’s effort to improve the nation’s infrastructure, in order to “build the infrastructure of today and not repair the one of yesterday … [as well as] protect our supply chain and revitalize American manufacturing.” A shortage of semiconductors has impacted industries worldwide and hit the automotive industry particularly hard, forcing a slowdown or cessation of production across the U.S. To assess the problem, White House officials met with 20 chief executives from tech and automotive companies this week. Continue reading Biden Plan Aims to Build U.S. Semiconductor Manufacturing

Congress Grills Big Tech Executives on Accountability Issues

Prior to a House hearing on social media’s role in extremism and disinformation, Facebook chief executive Mark Zuckerberg submitted written testimony on Section 230, suggesting that “platforms should be required to demonstrate that they have systems in place for identifying unlawful content and removing it.” Section 230 of the 1996 Communications Decency Act holds that platforms are not liable for content posted by their users. In a bipartisan effort, lawmakers are pushing for change. “Our nation is drowning in disinformation driven by social media,” suggested Rep. Mike Doyle (D-Pennsylvania). “We will legislate to stop this.” Continue reading Congress Grills Big Tech Executives on Accountability Issues

Australia Plans Law That Would Make Big Tech Pay for News

Microsoft is urging the United States to adopt Australia’s proposal that Big Tech companies pay newspapers for content, in direct opposition to the positions of Google and Facebook. In Australia, that proposal is before a parliamentary committee. Google, which is responsible for 95 percent of searches in that country, has threatened to pull its search engine should the proposal become law. Microsoft is betting that, especially if the Australians pass the law, other countries will join in demanding payment for publishers. Continue reading Australia Plans Law That Would Make Big Tech Pay for News

Google Breaks Revenue Records, Boosts Cloud Investments

Due largely to robust online holiday shopping, Google’s parent company Alphabet reached a record-breaking $56.9 billion in revenue for Q4, up from $43.2 billion in the same quarter last year. The numbers represent an ongoing recovery in ad spending, which was hard hit in early 2020. FactSet reports that analysts predicted the company would post $52.7 billion in revenue, including $42.3 billion from advertising. Chief financial officer Ruth Porat said Google Search and YouTube led the positive performance numbers. Continue reading Google Breaks Revenue Records, Boosts Cloud Investments