GOOGL Jun 2020 1245.000 call

OPR - OPR Delayed price. Currency in USD
0.00 (0.00%)
As of 10:20AM EDT. Market open.
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Previous close53.30
Expiry date2020-06-19
Day's range53.20 - 53.30
Contract rangeN/A
Open interest38
  • Zoom is facing heat over privacy — here are 4 more secure alternatives
    Yahoo Finance

    Zoom is facing heat over privacy — here are 4 more secure alternatives

    Nervous about all of the security and privacy issues facing Zoom? These 4 alternatives will help.

  • Google Stadia is now free for everyone, with a two-month trial for Pro tier

    Google Stadia is now free for everyone, with a two-month trial for Pro tier

    Google's game-streaming service Stadia is now free for anyone with a Gmail account, the company announced today. Assuming you've got a compatible device and controller — and good internet in one of the 14 supported countries — you can sign up right now and get the "Pro" edition with a handful of built-in games for two months. Until today, Stadia was only available via a $129 "Premiere Edition" that came with a controller, though a free "Base" version has been long promised.

  • E-learning a Rising Trend Amid Coronavirus Crisis: 3 Stocks

    E-learning a Rising Trend Amid Coronavirus Crisis: 3 Stocks

    The technology industry has been gaining traction in the wake of the pandemic on a surge in trends like e-learning.

  • 4 Cloud Computing Stocks to Beat Coronavirus Blues

    4 Cloud Computing Stocks to Beat Coronavirus Blues

    To stay connected amid the coronavirus-induced lockdown, people across the world are relying heavily on the Internet, which brightens up prospects for cloud players.

  • WTO’s Guide to a Quick Rebound Blotted With Export Bans

    WTO’s Guide to a Quick Rebound Blotted With Export Bans

    (Bloomberg) -- The bad news is well-known: The coronavirus pandemic could spark the deepest economic downturn of our lifetimes — something between the Great Recession and the Great Depression.Here’s the good news: If countries cooperate and keep their markets open, they could quickly rebound and avoid a repetition of the two darkest economic periods of the past century.That was the message World Trade Organization Director-General Roberto Azevedo delivered Wednesday from his residence on the outskirts of Geneva.During an extraordinary YouTube webcast, Azevedo offered an exit strategy for nations looking to regain their post-pandemic economic footing:Provide a robust fiscal stimulus package to consumers and businesses Contain the health crisis as expeditiously as possible Coordinate international efforts to limit trade restrictionsThat third part is crucial, he said, because “a turn towards protectionism would introduce new shocks on top of those we are currently enduring.”Right now some 70 nations — including the U.S., China and much of Europe — are imposing export curbs on critical medical supplies, according to the University of St. Gallen’s Global Trade Alert.These measures, the nations say, are essential to protect the health of their citizens and first responders. But some restrictions struggle to pass the smell test.Protectionism might be a natural instinct in a health crisis that respects no borders, but like consumer hoarding, it can cause more harm to the greater good. A far better way to propel rapid global economic recovery is for nations to cooperate and avoid unnecessary barriers to trade, Azevedo argued.Global markets should remain free of restrictions “so that we pull each other up and not hold each other down,” he said.While it’s too soon to say if Azevedo’s call for unity will fully resonate with world leaders, President Donald Trump nodded in that direction Wednesday.In a tweet, Trump thanked Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi for releasing stocks of an anti-malarial drug for possible treatment of the disease.“Extraordinary times require even closer cooperation between friends,” Trump wrote, just two days before a U.S. ban on exports of some personal protective equipment takes effect.Charting the Trade TurmoilThe coronavirus pandemic may cause a deeper collapse of international trade flows than at any point in the postwar era, the World Trade Organization said. The Geneva-based trade body presented two possible scenarios: In an optimistic case, the WTO forecasts global merchandise trade may fall 13% in 2020, while the pessimistic case sees those volumes drop by 32% this year.Today’s Must ReadsNo paychecks | Japan’s three biggest automakers are poised to add almost 32,000 people to the unprecedented ranks of North American workers seeking unemployment benefits. Export ban | The U.S. government’s ban on exports of some personal protective equipment to fight the virus will take effect Friday and will be in place for four months. Output cut | Airbus slashed its aircraft output by a third to about 48 planes a month, in a stark concession to the pandemic and travel restrictions rocking the aviation industry. Labor supply | Poland has leaned in recent years on more than a million workers from Ukraine to sustain its economy. The coronavirus is shaking up that relationship. Not so handy | Hand sanitizer will be hard to find in the U.S. for a long time because there aren’t enough chemicals and plastic containers to meet demand.  Stephanomics podcast | Senior trade reporter Shawn Donnan explains how the pandemic has shifted his focus from debates about globalization to looking at the damage happening on the ground right now. Bloomberg AnalysisBritain’s labor woes | Unemployment in the U.K. may have jumped to 6.3% from 3.9%, Bloomberg Economics estimates.  Brazil challenge | Coronavirus hits Brazil where it hurts the most, turning already-tepid growth into a recession. Use the AHOY function to track global commodities trade flows. See BNEF for BloombergNEF’s analysis of clean energy, advanced transport, digital industry, innovative materials, and commodities. Click VRUS on the terminal for news and data on the coronavirus and here for maps and charts.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.

  • France rules Google must pay news firms for content

    France rules Google must pay news firms for content

    France's competition authority ruled on Thursday that Google must pay French publishing companies and news agencies for re-using their content. The U.S. tech firm said it would comply with the French competition authority verdict, which followed a complaint by unions representing French press publishers. "Google's practices caused a serious and immediate harm to the press sector, while the economic situation of publishers and news agencies is otherwise fragile," France's 'Autorite de la Concurrence' said in a statement.

  • Bloomberg

    The Politics of 2020 Are Looking Less Ominous for Tech

    (Bloomberg) -- There has been concern for months in Silicon Valley that the eventual Democratic presidential candidate would be someone who wanted to break up large technology companies. Bernie Sanders’s decision Wednesday to end his campaign effectively ends that scenario, leaving a presumptive nominee—former vice president Joe Biden—who is comparatively content with the way Silicon Valley does business.The turn in the primary race corresponds with an upheaval in political priorities due to the Covid-19 crisis. It’s still uncertain how the aftermath of the pandemic will play out, but the political landscape the industry faces in 2020 has almost certainly been transformed over the last six weeks.The primary process first took a hostile turn to the tech industry last spring when Senator Elizabeth Warren proposed a plan to force Inc., Alphabet Inc. and Facebook Inc. to spin off parts of their businesses. Sanders, the democratic socialist senator from Vermont, later said he would “absolutely” aim to break up large technology companies if elected. At the same time, multiple investigations into allegations of anticompetitive behavior from large technology companies were accelerating.For his part, Biden has called it “premature” to call for breaking up companies like Facebook. The former vice president has criticized tech companies and their leaders, particularly Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg, telling the New York Times editorial board that he had “never been a big Zuckerberg fan.” In the same interview, Biden suggested revoking Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act, a law protecting tech companies from legal liability for what their users post. The industry has made defending the law one of its top political priorities.But Biden’s attacks have never provoked the concerns as those from Sanders and Warren. He has deep ties to the tech industry; his former director of communications, Jay Carney, is now Amazon’s top spokesman. Biden has also repeatedly framed his administration as a continuation of the Obama years, and several former Obama officials have set up shop in Silicon Valley.While the tech industry rank-and-file mostly donated to the industry’s antagonists, its executives seemed most excited about younger moderates Pete Buttigieg and Cory Booker. Biden is a happy consolation prize.An open question is who Biden surrounds himself with now that he seems to have locked up the nomination. Neither Warren nor Sanders has endorsed him, and may hold out to push Biden to pick staff supporting their priorities.The anti-tech momentum may also fade because of the coronavirus pandemic. While state and federal antitrust investigations will continue, new antitrust rules will likely take a back seat to more economic rescue legislation. Tech services seem even more vital when large swaths of the population are confined to their houses. And Google, Facebook, Apple Inc., and others have been quick to offer help in various ways.President Donald Trump has been vocally critical of technology companies, and he’s widely unpopular among tech workers. He has regularly called for crackdowns on social media companies and other perceived enemies in the industry. But his top policy achievement, a major corporate tax cut, helped send tech stock prices soaring. (They have since come back down after coronavirus fears have sunk the entire market.) Trump has also seemed to pick favorites among the tech sector, cozying up to Oracle Corp. and Apple, while repeatedly criticizing Amazon and Facebook.Silicon Valley voters generally lean Democratic. But it’s even harder than usual to predict what the upcoming election will look like. Even basic questions about the mechanics of voting remain unresolved. But for now, the things the tech industry was worried about at the beginning of this year seem like a distant memory.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.

  • U.S. approves Google request to use segment of U.S.-Asia undersea cable

    U.S. approves Google request to use segment of U.S.-Asia undersea cable

    The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) on Wednesday approved Alphabet Inc unit Google's request to use part of an U.S.-Asia undersea telecommunications cable after the company warned it would face significantly higher prices to carry traffic by other means. Google agreed to operate a portion of the 8,000-mile Pacific Light Cable Network System between the United States and Taiwan, but not Hong Kong. Google and Facebook Inc helped pay for construction of the now completed telecommunications link but U.S. regulators have blocked its use.

  • Zoom Says Platform Is as Safe as Peers, Boosts Privacy Tools

    Zoom Says Platform Is as Safe as Peers, Boosts Privacy Tools

    (Bloomberg) -- Zoom Chief Executive Officer Eric Yuan pledged that his company will meet the highest security standards, seeking to put millions of new users at ease after numerous security lapses on the video-meeting application.Zoom Video Communications Inc. is launching a feature called Security that sets all privacy settings to their highest level, including putting passwords on meetings and employing waiting rooms that force meeting hosts to filter conference attendees, Yuan said Wednesday on a webinar. The San Jose, California-based company also is planning to roll out upgraded encryption for its video calls and meeting rooms for large webinars. “Zoom is safe compared to peers,” Yuan said. “We are determined to do better and hold ourselves to the highest standard on security and privacy.”Zoom has never sold user data and never will, he said.The security webinar was part of Yuan’s mea culpa campaign to rebuild trust with the more than 200 million users who’ve turned to Zoom amid the Covid-19 pandemic. Zoom was sued by a shareholder Tuesday who alleged the company fraudulently concealed its lack of end-to-end encryption and its data transmissions to Facebook, just one of several lawsuits that have sprouted during the revelations about the software maker’s privacy problems. The steps to bolster security weren’t enough to allay concerns at Google, which is trying to move employees away from Zoom. The Alphabet Inc. company, which has a rival product called Meet, deactivated the Zoom app on its employees’ work computers.“We have long had a policy of not allowing employees to use unapproved apps for work that are outside of our corporate network,” Google spokesman Jose Castaneda said in an emailed statement. “Recently, our security team informed employees using Zoom Desktop Client that it will no longer run on corporate computers as it does not meet our security standards for apps used by our employees. Employees who have been using Zoom to stay in touch with family and friends can continue to do so through a web browser or via mobile.”Google’s policy was reported earlier by Buzzfeed News.Earlier Wednesday, Zoom announced it had hired Facebook Inc.’s former security chief Alex Stamos as an adviser and formed a security council to help guide its next steps. Before its recent surge in popularity, Zoom had focused primarily on corporate communications.“I am attracted to difficult problems, and this creates some doozies,” Stamos, now director at Stanford University’s Internet Observatory, wrote Wednesday in a blog post. “The adaptation of a successful enterprise collaboration tool into virtual classrooms, virtual doctor’s offices and a myriad of other applications (including at least one virtual Cabinet Room) has created privacy, trust and safety challenges that no company has ever faced.”The company, Stamos added, “has some important work to do in core application security, cryptographic design and infrastructure security, and I’m looking forward to working with Zoom’s engineering teams on those projects.”Zoom’s shares had jumped as much as 11% Wednesday before giving back most of those gains on news of Google’s decision. The stock increased 3.6% to $117.81 at the close in New York and has jumped 73% this year.(Updates with Google’s decision to restrict Zoom use for employees in the sixth 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 gifts two-months access to Stadia Pro as gamers stay at home

    Google gifts two-months access to Stadia Pro as gamers stay at home

    Users can access Stadia by downloading the app on their iOS or Android phones or by signing up on its website. The paid version, Stadia Pro, otherwise costs $9.99 a month and offers access to games such as "GRID" and "Destiny 2: The Collection" in 4K resolution. Google's Stadia, launched in November, is expected to compete with Microsoft Corp's upcoming Project xCloud.

  • Alphabet’s Delivery by Drone Surge to Stay-at-Home Customers

    Alphabet’s Delivery by Drone Surge to Stay-at-Home Customers

    (Bloomberg) -- Alphabet Inc.’s Wing unit is seeing a dramatic increase in the number of customers using its drone delivery service in rural Virginia during the Covid-19 pandemic.Wing, which began routine deliveries under a test program approved by the federal government last October, has added new vendors and expanded the items customers can order to better serve people during the epidemic, the company said in a statement Wednesday.“The technology is particularly useful at a time when people are homebound in many cases and the need to limit human-to-human contact is important,” spokesman Jonathan Bass said in an interview.Deliveries have more than doubled in the Christiansburg, Virginia, area where the U.S. test is being conducted and in a similar project in Australia, Bass said.In addition to partnerships with FedEx Corp. and the Walgreens drug-store chain, Wing recently began deliveries from a bakery and a coffee shop.Mockingbird Cafe sold 50% more pastries through Wing’s drones in its first weekend with the company than it typically sold in its store prior to the virus-related business disruptions.Deliveries from Walgreens have included toilet paper, medicine and toothpaste, the company said. They recently added items such as pasta and baby food to meet demands of people staying home.While the payload of Wing’s autonomous drones is limited, orders are fulfilled within minutes, Bass said.The program is being run in the community around Christianburg. Wing is working with nearby Virginia Tech, which has a drone-test program approved by the Federal Aviation Inc., United Parcel Service Inc. and many smaller companies are also experimenting with the concept of drone deliveries.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

    YouTube Tested by Flood of Star Doctors During 'Infodemic'

    (Bloomberg) -- On March 24, Jeffrey VanWingen, a family physician in Grand Rapids, Michigan, posted his first-ever video to YouTube. VanWingen, decked out in medical scrubs in his kitchen, spent 13 minutes explaining how to disinfect a cereal box, a carton of broth, and some broccoli, while a masked friend filmed him from a safe distance. He gave it a title likely to show up in anxious web searches: “PSA Grocery Shopping Tips in COVID-19.” Within a week, the video had over 20 million views, and VanWingen was fielding calls from across the world to translate it into other languages. By then, it was too late to alter the ninth minute, when VanWingen tossed bags of apples and oranges into a sink of soapy water—something scientists say could cause more harm than good. He tried futilely to contact YouTube to edit that portion out of the video. He settled on inserting a disclaimer: “Correction: Rinse fruits and vegetables with water—no soap.”Millions of people have been frantically scouring the internet in recent weeks for health advice, turning doctors like VanWingen into YouTube’s newest, unexpected stars—and putting significant weight behind their recommendations. “I’m not tech savvy and I am not vain. I just wanted to help people,” he said in a phone interview. “With something like this pandemic, there's no guidebook.”VanWingen didn’t tout an experimental drug or a “silver solution” as cures for Covid-19, and didn’t blame the spread of the virus on 5G networks – all claims that have appeared on YouTube. But his video, coming from a medical professional, did create alarm in a way that some viewed as irresponsible. “He’s treating handling your groceries like doing open heart surgery,” Donald Schaffner, a biologist at Rutgers University. “He’s giving people panic attacks.” There is no evidence that Covid-19 is transmitted through food or grocery packaging, according to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.  The World Health Organization has described the overabundance of covid-related communication online as an “infodemic,” making it hard for people to find credible information within the deluge. YouTube is relying on a secretive ranking system to separate legitimate medical advice from quackery. The choices aren’t always straightforward. The site has to decide how to handle videos from experts on contested medical topics or posts, like VanWingen’s, that are popular and useful but also contain seemingly honest mistakes. It’s even harder to know where to set boundaries when official opinion on subjects like whether people wearing masks in public is still in flux.A big part of YouTube’s solution is an authoritativeness score, an algorithm that gleans the credibility of people who post videos about news events and certain topics including health. The company has said it surfaces videos from news outlets, hospitals and “experts” to viewers most often. Videos from creators with lower scores aren’t necessarily taken down, but are punished by YouTube’s automated system for video recommendation. YouTube relies on medical doctors to review videos about medical treatments. Its process often includes multiple layers of review, a company spokeswoman said, but she wouldn’t name the doctors or say how many are involved. Even video creators that YouTube actively promotes during the pandemic, like Mikhail “Doctor Mike” Varshavski, who has some 5.5 million followers, know little about the process. “I don't know what my score is,” he said. “Honestly, it’s really confusing to us as creators.”Roger Seheult, a California pulmonologist, produces MedCram, an eight-year old YouTube page that, before January, posted mostly arcane lectures for medical students. Then Seheult turned to the coronavirus, posting dozens of dispatches on the outbreak. Traffic exploded. One of his most popular videos, with over a million views, is a seventeen-minute clip from March 10 in which he says he is “cautiously optimistic” about hydroxychloroquine, a malaria drug U.S. President Donald Trump has suggested as a coronavirus treatment, with mixed scientific support. In the video, Seheult reads through several medical studies and reports about the experimental drug. He ends the video by saying randomized control trials on hydroxychloroquine are still needed. In an interview, Seheult said he believes the drug’s potential benefits outweigh the risks “for many patients under my care.” Like other social-media platforms, YouTube was criticized in recent years for the way its recommendation engine promoted conspiracy theories about health, particularly those raising suspicions about vaccines. Since then, YouTube has worked to remove false claims from search results and recommendations. It now puts a link to health organizations and Google’s own virus information page below every clip about coronavirus and has instituted a policy to remove videos “promoting medically unsubstantiated” prevention and treatment. YouTube pulled down two clips from Brazil’s president for breaking that rule and has removed “thousands” more, according to the company.But wavs of new footage about the virus is posted to YouTube daily, even as Google’s own shift to remote work has led it to reduce its staff for content moderation.An added moderation challenge is that it isn’t immediately apparent some problematic videos are connected to coronavirus. Searches for chloroquine and other experimental treatments produce videos from YouTubers, some of them claiming to be doctors, who only recently joined the site. YouTube hosts pages and pages of videos filed under the hashtag FilmYourHospital, a viral stunt that encourages people to shoot footage suggesting the virus is a hoax. State officials have warned hospitals about the trend. Sheltered in Michigan, VanWingen spent hours on the phone trying to get in touch with someone at YouTube to cut out the soap washing part. (As a rule, YouTube lets creators change text but not video content after uploading.) YouTube didn’t promote his video on its newly created news section for the virus or widely in its recommendations, according to the company, but the clip still continued to spread on its own. Ultimately, he posted a revised version of his PSA a week later, shorter and more “toned down.” It only received a fraction of the original’s traffic.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.

  • Alphabet (GOOGL) Stock Moves -0.05%: What You Should Know

    Alphabet (GOOGL) Stock Moves -0.05%: What You Should Know

    Alphabet (GOOGL) closed the most recent trading day at $1,182.56, moving -0.05% from the previous trading session.

  • Bloomberg

    SoftBank-Backed Nuro Gets OK for Driverless Delivery Car Tests

    (Bloomberg) -- Nuro Inc. has won permission to test driverless, low-speed delivery vehicles in the San Francisco Bay Area, becoming the second company to allowed to operate on public roads without a driver.The startup backed by SoftBank Group Corp. received approval from the California Department of Motor Vehicles on Tuesday, after the agency granted a driverless testing permit to Alphabet Inc.’s Waymo unit. More than 60 other companies hold permits from the state to test autonomous vehicles with a safety driver behind the wheel.“The Covid-19 pandemic has expedited the public need for contactless delivery services,” David Estrada, Nuro’s chief policy officer, said in a blog post. “Our R2 fleet is custom-designed to change the very nature of driving and the movement of goods by allowing people to remain safely at home while their groceries, medicines, and packages are brought to them.”The permit allows Nuro to test two of its purpose-built, driverless delivery vehicles -- dubbed the R2 -- in parts of nine Silicon Valley cities on roads with speed limits of 35 miles per hour or less, according to the agency. The vehicles are designed to go no faster than 25 miles per hour.The testing permit will also allow the company to make deliveries for local businesses, Estrada said.“The safety of the motoring public is the DMV’s top priority, and we do not give out these permits lightly,” California DMV Director Steve Gordon said in a statement. “Nuro has met the DMV’s requirements to receive this permit to test their driverless delivery vehicles on California’s public roads.”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.

  • The Zacks Analyst Blog Highlights: Teladoc Health, Zoom Video Communications, Microsoft and Alphabet

    The Zacks Analyst Blog Highlights: Teladoc Health, Zoom Video Communications, Microsoft and Alphabet

    The Zacks Analyst Blog Highlights: Teladoc Health, Zoom Video Communications, Microsoft and Alphabet

  • Facebook (FB) Shares Location Data With Coronavirus Researchers

    Facebook (FB) Shares Location Data With Coronavirus Researchers

    Facebook (FB) boosts user location data collection initiatives to help researchers understand and derive measures to combat coronavirus outbreak.

  • How Scientists Track Us to Help Tame Covid-19

    How Scientists Track Us to Help Tame Covid-19

    (Bloomberg) -- It wasn’t ordered up by Washington, it doesn’t have a catchy name and its members don’t get paid. But the Covid-19 Mobility Data Network could mean the difference between life and death.The network sprang up voluntarily among universities, epidemiologists, public-health departments, database providers, advertising-technology companies and social-media giants like Facebook Inc. Their mission is to fight the pandemic’s spread by testing the effectiveness of stay-at-home and social-distancing policies using a single tool: your cell phone’s physical location.The new data-sharing relationship is just one way companies, academics and public-health officials are teaming up to curb the spread of coronavirus. The network is analyzing the data and sharing insights with governments in states like Massachusetts and California; in cities such as Boston, New York and Miami; and in other countries, including India, Italy and Spain.“A lot of these companies just came out of the woodwork,” said Andrew Schroeder, one of the network’s coordinators. “There’s a lot of location data out there,” he said, which needs to be shaped “into something that’s not just the Wild West, but is passing through an expert filter on what this means for public health.”The data show whether people are complying with stay-at-home and social distancing orders that have spread across the U.S. and countries around the globe.For example, people taking trips outside their neighborhoods in San Francisco decreased 40% to 50%, but dropped only 20% to 30% in other parts of California, Shroeder said.In New York City, residents were more mobile during the week than they were on weekends, and mobility rates were higher on Staten Island than in lower Manhattan, he noted.Facebook on Monday announced that it was expanding the kinds of location data it provides to researchers tracking the pandemic, which has infected more than 1.3 million people and claimed more than 74,000 lives worldwide.The company, which normally uses such data to help sell targeted advertising, has been sharing it with researchers in an anonymized, aggregated form since 2017 to track things like whether people evacuate disaster zones.The data sets are now being used by dozens of organizations studying Covid-19, the disease the virus causes. The expansion of the program means Facebook will also share more nuanced details on whether people are staying at home, or the “probability that people in one area will come in contact with people in another,” the company wrote on its blog.The network is also working with Camber Systems, a Washington-based data-analytics company, and will soon team up with Cuebiq Inc., a New York-based data-collection company, to provide reports to “decision-makers who are implementing social distancing interventions,” according to the network’s website.It’s in talks with Alphabet Inc.’s Google about using data from the search giant. Google is posting “mobility reports” to show how traffic to places such as parks and transportation hubs has declined.The mobility data project, which started in early March, is similar to work that Schroeder, along with others such as Caroline Buckee, an associate professor of epidemiology at Harvard University, had been doing to analyze mobility rates in disaster situations.Schroeder, vice president of research and analysis for public-health nonprofit Direct Relief, had worked with Buckee on travel trends in Mozambique after a cyclone tore through the country in 2019. He’s taken on similar initiatives for Houston after a tropical storm hit last year and for California after wildfires ravaged the state, Schroeder said.Once they realized the need for data would probably be greater than in previous natural disasters, Schroeder, Buckee and Satchit Balsari, another Harvard professor and medical doctor, came up with the network idea. They recruited others who had done similar work and reached out to government contacts to ask how they could help, Schroeder said.“All of these various public-health departments around the country were making these pretty big calls on shutting down big chunks of the economy and society,” said Schroeder. “Nobody had any visibility at all” into the question: “Are people listening to you when you say that everyone should stay home? Do they stay home?”Camber Systems is processing anonymized geo-location data from millions of U.S. cell phones and passing it to the mobility network, Schroeder said. The company receives the data from firms in the advertising-technology industry, and then strips it of any names, addresses or other personal identifying details before handing it to researchers in a digestible format. The data are refreshed every few hours to track how devices are moving throughout a region. Camber Systems declined to comment.The increased ability of mobile-app providers and digital-advertising companies to track cell-phone owners’ positions has made such projects possible -- and elicited criticism from consumer advocates concerned about privacy violations.Some fear that an emphasis on health over privacy could undermine the protection of civil liberties, similar to what happened after 9/11, when the U.S. secretly began collecting mass amounts of data on its own citizens in an effort to track down terrorists.Earlier: Pandemic Data-Sharing Puts New Pressure on Privacy ProtectionsFacebook and the mobility network insist that no one’s privacy is being jeopardized, and that no governments are receiving raw data. “We’re not aware of any active conversations or asks with the U.S. or other governments at this point asking for access to that data directly,” Facebook Chief Executive Officer Mark Zuckerberg said March 18.Since May 2019, Facebook has offered what it calls “disease prevention maps” to researchers and nonprofits. It hands over anonymous user-movement data that is aggregated into 0.6 kilometer-sized grids and updated every 8 hours, according to Schroeder.The researchers use that information to calculate changes in the number of trips Facebook users in a specific region take outside their homes in a day. Facebook said it only shares data from users who have opted in to the company’s location-tracking settings.In the coronavirus outbreak, the maps have found multiple uses. Direct Relief, the humanitarian aid group that Schroeder works for, has used them to help determine where to distribute medical supplies, he said. Researchers at Taiwan’s National Tsing-Hua University are using the data to model possible outbreaks of the disease on the island, said Hsiao-Han Chang, a professor at the university.Harvard researchers are also using Facebook’s data sets to study the effects of government social-distancing advisories. “We have no idea what they actually do in terms of subsequent epidemiology of the disease,” said Harvard’s Buckee. “Policy makers want to know things like, ‘Which of these policies actually work? And how long are we going to have to do them?’”“We are acting as an intermediary to help make sure that this information is processed together correctly,” Schroeder said. “We can help people make sense of it and not just dump a bunch of raw data on them.”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.

  • Facebook asks users about coronavirus symptoms, releases friendship data to researchers

    Facebook asks users about coronavirus symptoms, releases friendship data to researchers

    Facebook Inc said on Monday it would start surveying some U.S. users about their health as part of a Carnegie Mellon University research project aimed at generating "heat maps" of self-reported coronavirus infections. Facebook said it may make surveys available to users in other countries too, if the approach is successful. Alphabet Inc's Google, Facebook's rival in mobile advertising, began querying users for the Carnegie Mellon project last month through its Opinion Rewards app, which exchanges responses to surveys from Google and its clients for app store credit.

  • Uber’s Green Competitor That’s Taking The World By Storm

    Uber’s Green Competitor That’s Taking The World By Storm

    The pressure is growing across the globe to go green, and one ambitious ride-sharing service has risen up to the challenge in a big way

  • Facebook Expands Location Data Sharing With Covid-19 Researchers

    Facebook Expands Location Data Sharing With Covid-19 Researchers

    (Bloomberg) -- Facebook Inc. is expanding the user location data that the company offers to researchers and non-profits trying to study the outbreak of the Covid-19 coronavirus.The world’s largest social network shares anonymized, aggregated location information as part of an effort to study disease outbreaks, and more than 150 organizations partner with the company to use that data for research. Facebook is adding new data points for researchers fighting Covid-19, including information about whether people are staying at home, and other material that details “the probability that people in one area will come in contact with people in another,” the company said Monday.At Harvard University, researchers are using the information to measure whether government recommended “social-distancing” measures are actually helping to decrease spread of the virus, which has already infected a confirmed 1.3 million people worldwide.“We are putting in social distancing policies and currently we have no idea what they actually do in terms of subsequent epidemiology of the disease,” said Caroline Buckee, an associate professor of epidemiology at Harvard. “Policy makers want to know things like, ‘Which of these policies actually work? And how long are we going to have to do them?’”Facebook will also put a post atop users’ feeds in the U.S. directing them to a Carnegie Mellon University survey that will ask users, among other things, to self-report possible Covid-19 symptoms. Facebook says the survey is intended to “help health researchers better monitor and forecast the spread of Covid-19.”“[Researchers] won’t share individual survey responses with Facebook, and Facebook won’t share information about who you are with the researchers,” the company said. Only those 18-years-old or older will see the survey prompt.Alphabet Inc.’s Google said last week it would publicly release mobility reports that show anonymized data about where people are traveling to help researchers better track the disease. The company’s Maps app is used by more than 1 billion people worldwide.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.

  • Some Countries Are Taking Social Distancing More Seriously Than Others

    Some Countries Are Taking Social Distancing More Seriously Than Others

    (Bloomberg Opinion) -- Google has deployed the tracking data it collects from users around the world to assess our movements before and after the World Health Organization declared Covid-19 a global pandemic.Charted below are the location trends for places such as national parks, public beaches, marinas, dog parks, plazas and public gardens. They illustrate which countries reacted most swiftly to the call for social distancing (e.g. Italy) and which lagged behind (e.g. Sweden). This column does not necessarily reflect the opinion of Bloomberg LP and its owners.Ben Schott is a Bloomberg Opinion visual columnist. He created the Schott’s Original Miscellany and Schott’s Almanac series, and writes for newspapers and magazines around the world. For more articles like this, please visit us at now to stay ahead with the most trusted business news source.©2020 Bloomberg L.P.

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