Google Shows Off Impressive Range of AI at NY Media Event

Google Research is touting new advances in artificial intelligence, which can now generate its own code and write fiction, in addition to better text-to-video and language translation. At a New York media event at Google’s Pier 57 office — which opened earlier this year to become the company’s third Manhattan outpost — roughly a dozen projects in various stages of development were on display, with robot learning, LaMDA (language model for dialogue applications) and text-generated 3D images sharing the spotlight with practical AI for things like disaster management, weather forecasts and healthcare. Continue reading Google Shows Off Impressive Range of AI at NY Media Event

Google Unveils Its First Smartwatch and New Pixel 7 Phones

Google debuted its new flagship smartphones, the Pixel 7 and Pixel 7 Pro, powered by updated Tensor G2 processors. The company also showcased a new Pixel Watch with built-in Fitbit. The devices were touted at Thursday’s Made by Google event in Brooklyn, following months of leaks after a developer conference preview in May. The phones run on the updated Android 13, which was rolled out to the Pixel 6 in August. The new gear ships October 13, and Google says the new phones pack five years of security updates. With 8GB of RAM, the entry level Pixel 7 phone costs $599, while Pixel 7 Pro pricing starts at $899 with 12GB of RAM (with configurations up to 512GB). Continue reading Google Unveils Its First Smartwatch and New Pixel 7 Phones

Researcher Says TikTok Can Track User Data via Keystrokes

Popular short-form video platform TikTok is garnering more unwanted attention, this time for tracking users’ keystrokes via a the ByteDance-owned video app’s browser. The feature was discovered by privacy researcher Felix Krause, a former Google engineer, who reported the Chinese company embeds the tracking capability within the in-app browser that opens when someone clicks an external link. Krause noted his research is limited to the Apple iOS platform. Krause did not speculate as to how TikTok is using the capability, but suggests he finds it troubling because it indicates TikTok is able to track users’ online activity if it so chooses. Continue reading Researcher Says TikTok Can Track User Data via Keystrokes

Google’s Ad Growth Slows While Search Exceeds Projections

Alphabet had a rocky second quarter with revenue of $69.69 billion, up 13 percent from the same period in 2021, though net income was down 14.6 percent to $16 billion. It was Alphabet’s slowest growth rate since Q2 2020, when COVID-19 wreaked havoc on the economy. In a contracting 2022 advertising market, Alphabet posted 12 percent ad growth, totaling $56.3 billion for the quarter ended June 30 versus the same period the previous year. Ad growth was down substantially over the 69 percent increase of Q2 2022, but increased nonetheless where others are declining. Continue reading Google’s Ad Growth Slows While Search Exceeds Projections

U.S. Cities Are Luring Silicon Valley Firms and Tech Workers

Tech workers are adjusting to new hiring conditions, with the larger firms in traditional digital power corridors said to be cutting back while diverse cities step-up to attract new businesses that can boost the local economy. Hiring freezes and layoffs among larger tech firms such as Apple, Netflix and Twitter are meant to mitigate fear of a looming recession. Into the void comes an increasingly aggressive phalanx of cities and towns across the U.S. providing grants and other perks to attract companies. The idea is businesses bring a tax base and staff can work remotely or take advantage of cost savings by relocating to more affordable markets. Continue reading U.S. Cities Are Luring Silicon Valley Firms and Tech Workers

FCC’s Carr Says TikTok Should Be Banned from App Stores

TikTok is facing blowback from the Federal Communications Commission, with one member asking Apple and Google to remove the social video platform from their app stores. FCC commissioner Brendan Carr warned in a joint letter to Apple CEO Tim Cook and Alphabet CEO Sundar Pichai that “TikTok is not what it appears on the surface. It’s not just an app for sharing funny videos and memes,” but a sophisticated surveillance tool “that harvests extensive amounts of personal and sensitive data.” As a division of China’s ByteDance, TikTok is “required by Chinese law” to share data with the PRC government. Continue reading FCC’s Carr Says TikTok Should Be Banned from App Stores

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

Apple Faces U.S. Legislation, Dutch Fines for App Store Fees

The legislative tide seems to be turning against Apple and its App Store, marking what some note is a shift in attention previously trained on Meta Platforms and its alleged child endangerment through Facebook and Instagram, Amazon’s behavior toward its retailers, and Alphabet’s advertising controls on Google. The Apple attack is building worldwide, as Dutch antitrust watchdog Authority for Consumers and Markets (ACM) on Monday fined Apple $5.7 million over what it says are abusive payment requirements that prohibit developers from using third-party platforms for dating app fees. Continue reading Apple Faces U.S. Legislation, Dutch Fines for App Store Fees

Google Advertising Puts Alphabet Profit Up 36 Percent in Q4

Google parent Alphabet posted Q4 2021 revenue of $75.33 billion, a 32 percent increase over the same period in 2020 that outperformed expectations. The blowout results were attributed to small and large businesses embracing digital advertising as a way to reach consumers housebound by COVID-19. Profits rose 36 percent to $20.64 billion in Q4. Alphabet revenue for the year ending December 31 was $257.6 billion, a 41 percent increase over 2020. The company also announced a 20-for-1 stock split. Alphabet CEO Sundar Pichai cited “a quarterly sales record for our Pixel phones despite supply constraints” among the achievements. Continue reading Google Advertising Puts Alphabet Profit Up 36 Percent in Q4

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

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