GOOGL Jun 2020 620.000 call

OPR - OPR Delayed price. Currency in USD
811.98
0.00 (0.00%)
As of 10:46AM EST. Market open.
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Previous close811.98
Open0.00
Bid494.50
Ask504.50
Strike620.00
Expiry date2020-06-19
Day's range640.50 - 811.98
Contract rangeN/A
Volume0
Open interest2
  • The Office Isn't Dead. It's Just Convalescing
    Bloomberg

    The Office Isn't Dead. It's Just Convalescing

    (Bloomberg Opinion) -- I returned to the office this week, joining thousands of bankers from Citigroup Inc. to Morgan Stanley that are trickling back to their desks in Hong Kong. After almost five months working from home, it's going to take some getting used to.The easing of coronavirus lockdowns heralds the beginning of the end for the world's greatest work-from-home experiment. Perhaps. Twitter Inc. will let employees work from home permanently even after the outbreak recedes, while others such as Google have said staff should expect to stay away for the rest of the year. The upheaval caused by the pandemic has caused many to question whether we will ever return to business as usual, giving rise to headlines such as “the death of the office.” I have my doubts.My initial reaction at being told to stay home in January was panic. With two teenage daughters about to start online schooling and a husband who would also need to work from home, I struggled to see how our crowded 47th-floor apartment would cope. I’d had a taste already, when the office became all but inaccessible for several days during the height of Hong Kong’s protests last year, so I knew what we were facing. Over the following, fractious few months, I have jostled for space on the dining table, mediated disputes between the girls, and tussled over the yoga mat — a crucial stretching prop for laptop-induced shoulder strains, as well as an essential accessory for online PE classes.Somewhere along the line, I grew to like it. I'll miss the home-work experience, when it finally ends (like many other companies in Hong Kong, our return is on a split-team basis, so we aren’t back at the office full-time yet). The family has bonded more tightly as a result. I’ve grown accustomed to the home-office rhythm, acquiring some admittedly unhealthy habits along the way — such as snacking on Cheetos, bingeing on TV news channels, and reading the obituaries.I’m in the minority, though. We’re fortunate in having more living space than most. In a city such as Hong Kong, which is densely packed with tiny apartments, it’s simply not viable for many people to work from home indefinitely. The average apartment size is 40 square meters (430 square feet) compared with 137 square meters in New York City, according to Jones Lang LaSalle Inc. Many employees just don’t have the room to set up a home office. And living in such cramped quarters, they need to get out regularly. The cost-benefit equation for Hong Kong is skewed. With urban areas being closely packed and the subway system efficient, getting to the office is quick and easy for most people. It may be a different story in the U.S., where cities sprawl into the suburbs, commute times may be long, and public transport is often less reliable. Or in Asian metropolises such as Mumbai, which is densely packed but plagued with horrendous traffic congestion and a  more than 150-year-old train network that make suburban working attractive.That’s not to suggest that Hong Kong will escape any long-term impact from Covid. Macquarie Group Ltd. and Nomura Holdings Inc. are among companies that have already decided to cut space in the city’s skyscrapers. Other financial services firms can be expected to follow.Still, there are many office jobs that can’t be done remotely. At most, 30% of bank employees in the city can work from home, Bloomberg Intelligence analyst Francis Chan estimates. “In industries that thrive on information flow and speed, like sales and trading, you may see back offices and compliance work from home but traders will likely have to go back even if they already have three screens at home,” said Parijat Banerjee, a financial services consultant at Singapore-based Greenwich Associates.In any case, most people don’t want to get rid of the workplace, HSBC Holdings Plc analysts James Pomeroy and Davey Jose wrote in a report titled "Leaving the City." They just don’t want to be there all the time. That broad conclusion applies across all developed markets where the technology is adequate to enable remote working, Pomeroy said.Ultimately, offices are more than just a place to do business — like the cities that surround them, they are meeting points for social and cultural exchanges. Humans are social animals, and we need more contacts than those our immediate family provide.That’s a thought that resonated with me this week as I surveyed the near-deserted pantry at Bloomberg’s central Hong Kong offices, a space that was typically heaving with people and animated conversations before the pandemic. A return to normality can’t come soon enough. This column does not necessarily reflect the opinion of the editorial board or Bloomberg LP and its owners.Nisha Gopalan is a Bloomberg Opinion columnist covering deals and banking. She previously worked for the Wall Street Journal and Dow Jones as an editor and a reporter.For more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com/opinionSubscribe now to stay ahead with the most trusted business news source.©2020 Bloomberg L.P.

  • 3 Stocks to Buy as Cities Reopen
    Motley Fool

    3 Stocks to Buy as Cities Reopen

    Cities in the U.S. and around the world are beginning to reopen after lockdowns due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Quest Diagnostics (NYSE: DGX) could play a pivotal role in keeping people safe as they head back to work and start resuming their regular day-to-day lives. On May 27, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) gave Quest emergency use authorization for its coronavirus test, which will make it possible for people to collect samples at home.

  • Investing.com

    Point/Counterpoint: Social Media Bulls Vs. Bears

    By Yasin Ebrahim and Kim Khan

  • WhatsApp Gets a Raw Deal in Payments
    Bloomberg

    WhatsApp Gets a Raw Deal in Payments

    (Bloomberg Opinion) -- Money is many things, but it’s not fake news. So why block WhatsApp from spreading it around?India is the laboratory of choice for Western tech firms to test out their mobile payment capabilities so they can be rolled out from Bangladesh to Nigeria. Facebook Inc. CEO Mark Zuckerberg entered the fray two years ago by enabling the popular messaging service WhatsApp to send and receive money in India. But the beta version, limited to 1 million users, keeps getting blocked from becoming a full-fledged service.Meanwhile, rivals such as Alphabet Inc.’s Google Pay, Walmart Inc.-owned PhonePe and Softbank Group Corp.-backed Paytm are dominating India’s mobile transfers landscape. The troika led with 75 million, 60 million and 30 million customers transacting last month, respectively, according to TechCrunch.While Facebook Inc. deserves scrutiny globally for providing a platform for hate speech, voter manipulation and dissemination of untruth, cashless transfers is one area where WhatsApp can be a force for good. That’s especially true in emerging economies like India. As the Covid-19 lockdown has underscored, hundreds of millions of rural migrant workers in urban centers lack both liquid savings and a state-provided safety net. Increasingly ubiquitous smartphones can bring vulnerable citizens the financial security that bank branches can’t supply.   To restrain WhatsApp is a waste of the infrastructure India has built. Four years ago,  the country set up a shared interface linking more than 150 participating banks. An account holder in any of them can send or receive money to anybody else on the network. The two parties don’t need to know anything more than each other’s mobile number or a virtual ID. From Google to Walmart, any app can tap the common protocol, which already supports transactions worth more than 10% of gross domestic product. Google is so impressed it wants the U.S. Federal Reserve to consider adopting the standard. WhatsApp needs a nod from the regulator, the National Payments Corporation of India, to throw open the switch. The first roadblock was the central bank’s requirement that payment data be stored only locally. That hurdle has been crossed, but the service remains restricted. In February, a little-known think tank filed a lawsuit, asking India’s Supreme Court to block payments on WhatsApp “since it’s known to have failed to secure sensitive data of its users.” In an affidavit this week, WhatsApp said that the petition by the “busybody” was not maintainable. Legal challenges in India can drag on endlessly.The popularity of the messaging app, which has more than 400 million Indian users, is its biggest strength and its worst enemy. Take pinBox, which wants to introduce digital micro-pensions to the masses across Asia and Africa. It’s waiting eagerly for WhatsApp payments. The combination of financial and digital illiteracy can be a showstopper; it’s much easier to promote a saving culture on a messaging app where people spend most of their waking hours, anyway. The familiarity with the medium cuts both ways. Recently, the service was used to accuse Muslims in India of deliberately transmitting Covid-19, triggering assaults on the minority community. But then, disinformation isn’t limited either to WhatsApp or India. TikTok, the most-downloaded app during the pandemic, had posts claiming that 5G technology helps spread the virus, fueling violence against telecommunications workers and equipment across the U.K. and Europe. In India, the user-video platform has raised hackles for enabling sharing of content that promotes acid attacks on women.While regulators should push Zuckerberg to keep making social media safer, for instance by restricting message forwarding, they need to be pragmatic when it comes to online payments. China is far ahead. But that market, in the pincer grasp of Alipay and WeChat Pay wallets, isn’t open to U.S. firms. Besides, the scope for replacing cash is bigger in India, where 14% of money supply is still currency in circulation, a figure that China has crunched to 4%. The size of the opportunity is why India is attracting attention.Facebook recently took a 10% stake in Mukesh Ambani’s Jio Platforms Ltd. for $5.7 billion. Jio’s 4G network is India’s biggest, with nearly 400 million customers. Ambani, Asia’s richest man, wants to connect a billion-plus buyers with neighborhood stores, combining physical and digital retail. Payments via WhatsApp will be a way to achieve that link, with brands giving discounts and financiers offering in-store credit based on Jio’s scoring model.Others will catch up. Amazon.com Inc. is planning to take a $2 billion stake in Bharti Airtel Ltd., Jio’s closest rival, Reuters has reported. According to the Financial Times, Google is exploring an investment in Vodafone Group Plc’s struggling India wireless business. (Vodafone Idea Ltd. said there’s no such proposal before its board.) The rising global interest in digitizing the billion-plus-people economy could be sustained, as it coincides with what may be a long-drawn tech cold war between China and the West. Although India has recognized privacy to be a fundamental right, giving grounds for legal challenges against tech firms, it has yet to enact a data protection law. That’s where the focus has to be, not on limiting competition. The central bank needs to strike a balance between safeguarding financial stability and encouraging innovation such as “account aggregators,” who compile and share financial data with the consent of users looking for loans or insurance. With most manufacturing and services in disarray, helping money go viral is India’s best chance to break out of the Covid gloom.This column does not necessarily reflect the opinion of the editorial board or Bloomberg LP and its owners.Andy Mukherjee is a Bloomberg Opinion columnist covering industrial companies and financial services. He previously was a columnist for Reuters Breakingviews. He has also worked for the Straits Times, ET NOW and Bloomberg News.For more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com/opinionSubscribe now to stay ahead with the most trusted business news source.©2020 Bloomberg L.P.

  • And that's really it for Google+
    TechCrunch

    And that's really it for Google+

    Last year, Google launched the beta of Currents, which was essentially a rebrand of Google+ for G Suite users, since Google+ for consumers went to meet its maker in April 2019. While Google+ was meant to be an all-purpose social network, the idea behind Currents is more akin to what Microsoft is doing with Yammer or Facebook with Workplace. To complicate matters, Google kept Google+ around, even after the launch of Currents, but in an email to G Suite admins, it has now announced that Google+ for G Suite will close its doors on July 6, after which there will be no way to opt out of Currents or revert back to Google+.

  • U.S. states lean toward breaking up Google's ad tech business - CNBC
    Reuters

    U.S. states lean toward breaking up Google's ad tech business - CNBC

    The Justice Department and nearly all state attorneys general have opened investigations into allegations that Google has broken antitrust laws. Google's shares were up 1.6% on the day. Google spokeswoman Julie Tarallo McAlister said the company continued to engage with the Justice Department and the Texas attorney general's office.

  • U.S. states lean toward breaking up Google's ad tech business: CNBC
    Reuters

    U.S. states lean toward breaking up Google's ad tech business: CNBC

    The Justice Department and nearly all state attorneys general have opened investigations into allegations that Google has broken antitrust laws. Google's shares were up 1.6% on the day. Google spokeswoman Julie Tarallo McAlister said the company continued to engage with the Justice Department and the Texas attorney general's office.

  • Zoom in 'early stages' of security deal with Google: CFO
    Yahoo Finance

    Zoom in 'early stages' of security deal with Google: CFO

    Zoom continues to focus greatly on improving the security of its platform amid a surge in new users.

  • UK's COVID-19 health data contracts with Google and Palantir finally emerge
    TechCrunch

    UK's COVID-19 health data contracts with Google and Palantir finally emerge

    Contracts for a number of coronavirus data deals that the U.K. government inked in haste with U.S. tech giants, including Google and Palantir, plus a U.K.-based AI firm called Faculty, have been published today by openDemocracy and law firm Foxglove -- which had threatened legal action for withholding the information. Concerns had been raised about what is an unprecedented transfer of health data on millions of U.K. citizens to private tech companies, including those with a commercial interest in acquiring data to train and build AI models. In a blog post today, openDemocracy and Foxglove write that the data store contracts show tech companies were "originally granted intellectual property rights (including the creation of databases), and were allowed to train their models and profit off their unprecedented access to NHS data."

  • What is a VPN and should I use one?: Tech Support
    Yahoo Finance

    What is a VPN and should I use one?: Tech Support

    If you're looking for better online security and increased privacy, a VPN will have you covered.

  • Facebook, Twitter Remove Trump Floyd Video After Complaint
    Bloomberg

    Facebook, Twitter Remove Trump Floyd Video After Complaint

    (Bloomberg) -- Twitter Inc. and Facebook Inc. removed a Trump campaign video tribute to George Floyd due to copyright claims, the latest escalation in a confrontation between the social media platforms and one of their most influential users.The @TeamTrump account had tweeted a video collage of images and clips depicting peaceful protests, moments of mourning and law enforcement officers hugging civilians in the wake of the killing of George Floyd, an African-American man, while in police custody. Accompanied by a gentle piano soundtrack and President Donald Trump’s speech about “healing, not hatred,” it urged Americans to unite.The video, still available to view on the president’s YouTube channel, appears to have gathered most of its content from social media posts, and at least one copyright holder made a complaint to Twitter about the use of their photo, a company spokesperson told The Hill.Facebook also removed the Trump campaign team’s video from its website and Instagram after receiving a complaint from a copyright holder who was also an Instagram user, according to the company.“Organizations that use original art shared on Instagram are expected to have the right to do so,” a Facebook spokesman said.The U.S. president has an audience of 81.7 million followers on his personal Twitter account, which he uses to celebrate accomplishments of his administration and, often, lambaste opponents. In the wake of Floyd’s death and subsequent protests, he tweeted a warning that “when the looting starts, the shooting starts,” which Twitter deemed to have been in breach of its rules against glorifying violence and led the company to hide that message behind a warning label. Earlier, the social media giant had placed a fact-check notice on another Trump tweet, which also earned the president’s displeasure.Facebook took no action on the president’s post on the protests, drawing criticism from employees, former workers and advocates.Read more: Trump Ire Draws Eyeballs to Twitter, Where Attention Is an AssetIn retaliation for what Trump and his supporters have deemed political bias, the president issued an executive order targeting social media companies like Twitter. The move -- which could expose Twitter, Facebook and other technology giants to a flurry of lawsuits -- sparked broad condemnation from liberals and even some conservatives who accused the president of launching an unconstitutional assault on free speech.(Updates with further details on Facebook from first paragraph)For more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.comSubscribe now to stay ahead with the most trusted business news source.©2020 Bloomberg L.P.

  • Amazon Eyes $2 Billion Stake in Bharti Airtel: Report
    Bloomberg

    Amazon Eyes $2 Billion Stake in Bharti Airtel: Report

    (Bloomberg) -- Amazon.com Inc. is in preliminary talks to buy a stake in No. 2 Indian carrier Bharti Airtel Ltd. for at least $2 billion, Reuters reported, joining Facebook Inc. and other U.S. giants in betting on one of the world’s fastest-growing internet arenas.The U.S. online retailer is in early-stage discussions to buy about a 5% stake in the Indian wireless operator, Reuters said, citing anonymous sources. A deal will help Amazon access Bharti’s 300 million subscribers -- a user base akin to the entire U.S. population. On Friday, the Indian carrier said in a statement it wasn’t considering any proposal to sell a stake to Amazon, referring to reports as “speculative.”American technology and investment giants have been buying stakes in Indian companies to build their presence in Asia’s second-most populous nation. Facebook agreed to invest about $5.7 billion into a unit of Mukesh Ambani’s Reliance Industries Ltd. in April, while Microsoft Corp. is reportedly considering a stake in the same company.Amazon already has deep roots in India, where Chief Executive Officer Jeff Bezos has visited and vowed to build one of his biggest e-commerce operations outside of the U.S. Bezos, now the world’s richest man, said during a trip in January that his company would invest another $1 billion on top of the billions it’s shelled out to bring small and medium-size businesses online. Amazon is now vying with Walmart Inc.’s Flipkart to tap an increasingly affluent population adopting smartphones at a rapid clip.Read more: Jeff Bezos’s India Visit Marked by Probe and ProtestsAn Amazon spokeswoman in India declined to comment. “We routinely work with all digital and OTT players and have deep engagement with them to bring their products, content and services for our wide customer base. Beyond that there is no other activity to report,” a Bharti spokesperson said.An influx of capital would be welcome to New Delhi-based Bharti Airtel, which has come under pressure to beef up its offerings ever since Ambani’s technology venture went on a deal spree to secure about $10 billion in investment from Facebook to KKR & Co. Airtel’s billionaire Chairman Sunil Mittal may be looking to leverage the diverse businesses in his empire just as Ambani goes into overdrive to transform his oil-and-petrochemicals company into an Indian e-commerce and digital payments titan with Jio Platforms.Read more: How Facebook’s Reliance Deal Upends a $1 Trillion Digital ArenaIn its 25 years of operations, Bharti Airtel has survived frequent policy changes in one of the world’s toughest telecommunications markets. It lost its position as India’s largest wireless carrier last year to Ambani’s Reliance Jio Infocomm Ltd., which debuted in 2016 and shook up the industry with free calls and cheap data. The most recent blow to Bharti Airtel came in October, when the nation’s top court in a shock ruling ordered it to pay $3 billion in back fees.The technology ambitions of Ambani, Asia’s richest man, have turned the spotlight on his telecommunications rivals, including Vodafone Idea Ltd., the struggling Indian business of British operator Vodafone Group Plc. The Financial Times reported May 28 that Alphabet Inc.’s Google is considering acquiring a stake in that venture. Vodafone Idea said it isn’t currently considering any such proposal.Besides telecommunications, Mittal’s Bharti Enterprises has businesses spanning insurance, real estate, education and farm food.(Updates with Bharti Airtel’s comment from the second paragraph)For more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.comSubscribe now to stay ahead with the most trusted business news source.©2020 Bloomberg L.P.

  • Bloomberg

    Google Shakes Up Top Search, Advertising Leadership

    (Bloomberg) -- Alphabet Inc.’s Google is shaking up its leadership, putting control over the company’s search engine and advertising product teams under the same person and moving leaders who have been around since the company’s founding to less visible teams.Prabhakar Raghavan, who led advertising product since 2018, will replace Ben Gomes as head of search. The new advertising product chief, Jerry Dischler, will report to Raghavan, signaling that the two groups will now be run by one central leader.Philipp Schindler, Google’s chief business officer who oversees the company’s advertising operation and large ad sales force, will continue to report to Chief Executive Officer Sundar Pichai. Gomes, an engineer who has been at the company for two decades, will work on educational and culture projects, according to a Google spokesman. Jen Fitzpatrick, another 20-year Google employee, will move from Maps to lead a group of engineers running the company’s internal tech infrastructure. The moves were first reported by news site Search Engine Land and confirmed by a Google spokeswoman.The executive changes are the most significant since Pichai took over the dual role of Google and Alphabet CEO after founders Sergey Brin and Larry Page stepped down. Google shares fell 1.9% at 3:36 p.m. in New York(Updates with role of chief business officer in third paragraph)For more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.comSubscribe now to stay ahead with the most trusted business news source.©2020 Bloomberg L.P.

  • Google Spots Chinese Phishing Attempts on Biden Campaign Staff
    Bloomberg

    Google Spots Chinese Phishing Attempts on Biden Campaign Staff

    (Bloomberg) -- A Chinese hacking group targeted the personal email accounts of Joe Biden’s campaign staff, Google said Thursday.The company recently observed the Chinese activity against the Democratic presidential campaign, according to a company statement.Google also witnessed new Iranian phishing attempts against the personal email accounts of staff on U.S. President Donald Trump’s campaign -- continuing a phenomenon first observed in October.Neither of the attempts appeared to be successful, according to Google. The company shared information with the targets of the attacks, as well as with federal law enforcement, the company said.The Biden campaign confirmed in a statement that it was aware of the reports. The campaign has known that it would be targeted with attacks of this kind and was prepared, according to the statement. The Trump campaign didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment.Google’s announcement -- first shared on Twitter by Shane Huntley, who leads the company’s Threat Analysis Group -- comes amid fears that the 2020 election may face the same kind of hacking and disinformation campaigns that occurred in 2016. That year, Russian hackers infiltrated the Democratic Party and waged a covert social media campaign to sow chaos and division among U.S. voters.For more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.comSubscribe now to stay ahead with the most trusted business news source.©2020 Bloomberg L.P.

  • All Facebook users can now access a tool to port data to Google Photos
    TechCrunch

    All Facebook users can now access a tool to port data to Google Photos

    Facebook's photo transfer tool is now available globally half a year on from an initial rollout in Europe, the company said today. The data portability feature enables users of the social network to directly port a copy of their photos to Google’s eponymous photo storage service via encrypted transfer, rather than needing to download and manually upload photos themselves -- thereby reducing the hassle involved with switching to a rival service. Facebook users can find the option to “Transfer a copy of your photos and videos” under the Your Facebook Information settings menu.

  • Doctors Warn U.K. Lawmakers How Covid Misinformation Can Kill
    Bloomberg

    Doctors Warn U.K. Lawmakers How Covid Misinformation Can Kill

    (Bloomberg) -- Rajeev Fernando, a medical doctor and first responder working in New York, told U.K. lawmakers that one of the biggest challenges he’d faced is public belief in conspiracy theories and bogus cures about Covid-19.“I’ve also heard too many patients say Covid-19 is just like the flu; this misinformation has kept many at home thinking this will disappear,” Fernando said. “By the time some people are hospitalized, they’re already in multi-organ failure and death is inevitable.”Executives from Facebook Inc., Twitter Inc. and Alphabet Inc.’s Google were interviewed by British lawmakers on Thursday about how their companies handled the spread of medical misinformation during the Covid-19 pandemic.The parliamentary committee leading the investigation published a selection of evidence it had gathered in advance of the questioning from front-line medical professionals. It was strongly worded, centering around how the public has suffered as a direct result of misinformation via social media.Read more: Twitter Will Add Labels to Some Misleading Covid-19 TweetsThomas Knowles, a medical doctor in the U.K., said in his written evidence that he’d taken a call from a woman whose symptoms made him “strongly suspect that she was experiencing a heart attack,” he said.Knowles said the woman told him she wouldn’t allow emergency medics in her home to take her to hospital because her doctor had informed her that she had to shield herself because of her other health conditions, and that she’d read on Facebook that it meant she’d definitely die if she went to hospital and caught it.“I was forced to accept her right to decline treatment, and she received no specific care that I’m aware of,” he said.Read more: Google Helps Place Ads on Sites Amplifying Covid ConspiraciesFacebook ResponseMonika Bickert, Facebook’s head of product policy and counterterrorism, was also questioned about the company’s response to an aggressive post made by U.S. President Donald Trump concerning his response to the civil unrest that has swept across the country. Bickert said she wasn’t aware of an open letter published by the New York Times from dozens of former Facebook employees this week. The employees were angry the social network hadn’t followed Twitter’s example of removing the post made by Trump.“It’s a shocking indictment from a number of quite senior former employees,” lawmaker Kevin Brennan told Bickert in the hearing. “To me, it feels like there’s something rotten in the state of Facebook, but am I wrong?”“I haven’t seen the letter,” Bickert said, but added that Facebook’s decision not to remove the President’s message was because it “did not violate” the company’s “long-standing policies.”Deleted PostsGoogle, Twitter and Facebook have all said in the past that tackling the spread of misinformation on their platforms was a priority. Twitter, for instance, has hidden or deleted posts that contain what it determined potentially harmful information. Google includes links to the World Health Organization at the top of search results for information about the virus.Part of the research by the U.K. committee highlighted a statement from Duncan Maru, an epidemiologist and physician based in Nepal, who said his colleagues had treated patients suffering from consuming disinfectants “after reading online that this was a way to cure Covid-19. We can’t be fighting lies and saving lives at the same time.” Read more: 5G Virus Conspiracy Theory Drives Phone Mast Attacks in U.K.And Meenakshi Bewtra, an assistant professor of medicine and epidemiology at the University of Pennsylvania, concluded similarly: “It is extremely difficult to be fighting both the global pandemic and the infodemic on social media,” she said. “I have personally been contacted by people who have spent money they do not have on ‘remedies’ or engaged in various practices that have no efficacy whatsoever.”The written statements, published by the U.K.’s Digital, Culture, Media and Sports committee on Thursday, will inform the questions the lawmakers ask tech companies at the hearing. It follows a similar hearing in April that followed the spread of a widely discredited conspiracy theory that 5G wireless technology is contributing to the Covid-19 pandemic.(Updated with additional context throughout.)For more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.comSubscribe now to stay ahead with the most trusted business news source.©2020 Bloomberg L.P.

  • Fitbit Unveils Inexpensive COVID-19 Ventilator
    Motley Fool

    Fitbit Unveils Inexpensive COVID-19 Ventilator

    The maker of health tracking devices which is being acquired by Alphabet's Google got special approval to make the emergency ventilator.

  • Google Search a Target of U.S. Antitrust Probes, Rival Says
    Bloomberg

    Google Search a Target of U.S. Antitrust Probes, Rival Says

    (Bloomberg) -- U.S. federal and state authorities are asking detailed questions about how to limit Google’s power in the online search market as part of their antitrust investigations into the tech giant, according to rival DuckDuckGo Inc.Gabriel Weinberg, chief executive officer of the privacy-focused search engine, said the company has spoken with state regulators, and talked with the U.S. Justice Department as recently as a few weeks ago.Justice Department officials and state attorneys general asked the company about requiring Google to give consumers alternatives to its search engine on Android devices and in Google’s Chrome web browser, Weinberg said in an interview.“We’ve been talking to all of them about search and all of them have asked us detailed search questions,” he added.Weinberg’s comments shine a light into how the inquiry is examining Google’s core business -- online search. Bloomberg has reported that the Justice Department and Texas are already examining Google’s dominance of the digital advertising market. The Justice Department and a coalition of states led by Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton have been investigating the company for a year, and the DOJ has begun drafting a lawsuit, which could be filed in the coming months. It would kick off one of the most significant antitrust cases in the U.S. since the government sued Microsoft Corp. in 1998.The investigations have been wide-ranging and are looking into various parts of Google’s business. States including Utah and Iowa are focusing on search, according to people familiar with the matter. Texas is looking at the digital ad market and related technology.Google handles the majority of online searches in the U.S., with Microsoft’s Bing, DuckDuckGo and other providers trailing far behind. Google Search is free for users, but the company’s lead helps it charge thousands of businesses high prices for ads that run above the free web listings in results. Last year, that business generated almost $100 billion in revenue.Read more: Google Search Dominance Has Businesses Paying for Their Name“We continue to engage with the ongoing investigations led by the Department of Justice and Attorney General Paxton, and we don’t have any updates or comments on speculation,” a Google spokeswoman said. In the past, the company has said that online competition is just a click away.The Federal Trade Commission previously investigated whether Google stifled competition in the market for online search advertising, but it closed the probe in 2013 after the company agreed to relatively minor changes. However, portions of communications between FTC commissioners and staff later showed that staffers recommended bringing an antitrust lawsuit against Google.Read more: Google Should Be Afraid of Latest U.S. ScrutinyWeinberg said the questions he has fielded recently about requiring Google to present users of its tech alternatives to its own search engine suggest that’s something the government could include in a possible future settlement.“That’s one direction we think has a decent probability,” he added. The Justice Department declined to comment. Attorneys general in Utah and Iowa didn’t respond to requests for comment.In Europe, Google was fined a record $5 billion for antitrust violations in 2018. As part of that ruling, the company is required to give consumers using phones that run its Android operating system a choice of different search engines and web browsers. Competing services must bid in an auction to be included in a “choice screen.”“Could this be a precursor to similar changes in the U.S.?” Mark Shmulik, Toni Sacconaghi and other analysts at Sanford C. Bernstein, wrote in a note to investors earlier this week.Europe’s remedy has gone through various iterations and some rivals have argued that having to pay to be included in the choice screen is unfair.Read more: Google App Prompts Watched ‘Very Very Closely’ by EU’s VestagerEcosia, a not-for-profit search engine based in Germany, boycotted the auction. DuckDuckGo participated in the most recent auction, but said it may not be able to compete if prices rise.“This auction remedy, proposed by Google, was constructed to make Google money, not to provide meaningful consumer choice,” DuckDuckGo said in a blog post last week.It suggested scrapping the auction and said that an unpaid “search preference menu” has increased competition already in Russia. In 2010, Microsoft created a successful browser preference menu without an auction where the top five web browsers by market share appeared randomly, DuckDuckGo said.“While our view is that users are unlikely to switch search engines, Yandex grew their search engine share by 2,000 basis points to 58% in three years following a similar ruling in Russia,” Bernstein’s Shmulik wrote in the recent Bernstein note to investors.If the U.S. incorporates these suggestions, it could bypass Europe as the most successful regulator of Alphabet Inc.’s Google, Weinberg said.“The U.S. gets criticized for being behind Europe but in reality what’s happened in Europe hasn’t worked,” the CEO added. “The U.S. not only can do it right from the start but has the opportunity to leapfrog the EU.”(Updates with analyst comment in 13th paragraph.)For more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.comSubscribe now to stay ahead with the most trusted business news source.©2020 Bloomberg L.P.

  • 3 Top Artificial Intelligence Stocks to Buy in June
    Motley Fool

    3 Top Artificial Intelligence Stocks to Buy in June

    All was well the first two months of the new decade before all hell broke loose, and while the global economy remains in various stages of lockdown and in recession due to you-know-what, the U.S. stock market indices have rallied to close to where they started at the onset of the year. Leading the charge in this new era are technology stocks -- specifically those helping organizations and individuals cope with shelter-in-place and work-from-home orders. Artificial intelligence (AI) was already a promising growth industry, but recent events have made the need for automation and efficient use of data more important than ever.

  • Happy Birthday, Mr. President: Trump Hits Record On Google Ads
    Bloomberg

    Happy Birthday, Mr. President: Trump Hits Record On Google Ads

    (Bloomberg) -- President Donald Trump’s combative response to nationwide protests against police brutality has dominated the news in recent days, but a wave of ads on Google’s YouTube has sought to draw attention to another event: the President’s 74th birthday. In the last full week of May, Trump’s campaign spent $1.48 million on Google advertising, the highest weekly total of the 2020 campaign, according to the search giant’s data. Many of the ads take the form of a digital birthday card the president’s supporters can sign by sharing information like their email addresses.The spending surge shows how the presidential campaign season has continued on digital media even as in-person events, like the large rallies President Trump favors, have been placed on hold. In the interim, Trump’s campaign is increasing its spending, largely to accumulate potential supporters’ email addresses.Alphabet Inc.’s Google is a favorite destination. Trump’s campaign spent about the same amount on Facebook Inc., where it spent $1.48 million over the same period.During the week of May 23, the Trump Make America Great Again Committee spent $1.3 million on Google advertising, while Donald J. Trump for President Inc., another Trump campaign entity, spent $164,500, according to Google’s database.Former Vice President Joe Biden’s campaign spent $322,600 in the week of May 23. The campaign has pulled back its spending on Google since the primary concluded; Biden’s spending on Google hit a record of $1.72 million for the week of Super Tuesday. Biden spent about $570,000 on Facebook during the week starting May 23.The two main Trump campaign groups have spent $26.3 million on Google ads since July 2018. Over that same period, Biden’s campaign has spent $6.38 million on Google ads.Earlier this year, the Trump campaign outbid rivals to reserve the coveted ad space at the top of YouTube’s homepage in advance for election day and the days before, Bloomberg News reported earlier.A Google spokeswoman declined to comment on the candidates’ campaign spending.YouTube has taken a financial hit in recent months due to the economic downturn, but the company has noted the strong performance of “direct response” marketing -- video ads that prompt viewers to make a purchase or take an action, like Trump’s birthday card messages.“Democrats have just had a little more trouble raising money on Google versus Republicans, not due to a lack of good strategy but due to seeing better returns on other platforms,” said Julia Ager, founder and president of the Democratic digital advertising firm Sapphire Strategies.Digital political advertising has become increasingly prominent -- and controversial -- since the 2016 election. Both Google and Facebook, the market leaders, have begun to disclose more about spending levels and the types of ads candidates run.After an uproar over misleading campaign ads last year, Google banned political commercials with doctored images or “false claims.” It removed some ads from Trump and Democratic candidates in March. But Google has mostly avoided the uproar that Facebook and Twitter Inc. have faced over the past week as the two social media companies have made diverging decisions about how to handle incendiary posts from President Trump.Michael Bloomberg, the owner of Bloomberg LP, the parent company for Bloomberg News, who ended his presidential bid in March, remains the top political buyer on Google since May 2018 with $62.3 million spent.For more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.comSubscribe now to stay ahead with the most trusted business news source.©2020 Bloomberg L.P.

  • Google and Walmart establish dominance in India's mobile payments market as WhatsApp Pay struggles to launch
    TechCrunch

    Google and Walmart establish dominance in India's mobile payments market as WhatsApp Pay struggles to launch

    In India, it's Google and Walmart-owned PhonePe that are racing neck-and-neck to be the top player in the mobile payments market, while Facebook remains mired in a regulatory maze for WhatsApp Pay’s rollout. Google Pay had more than 75 million transacting users last month, ahead of PhonePe’s 60 million users, people familiar with the companies’ figures told TechCrunch. In comparison, SoftBank -backed Paytm's app saw 30 million transacting users last month and an average of 10 million users transacted each day, people familiar with the matter said.

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