|Day's range||269.01 - 269.01|
(Bloomberg Opinion) -- “Oh, I like HER,” she says, referring to a berry-toned lipstick. Sarah Hyland, the 29-year-old funny actress best known for playing Haley Dunphy on ABC’s “Modern Family,” is trying on makeup for an Instagram Live audience while at home riding out the pandemic, seemingly as bored as the rest of us. It’s by no means a production: just Hyland in front of her cell phone, using an in-app filter that gives her eyeliner and oversize lashes, sitting at what looks to be a desk, weeding out her cosmetics collection.I don’t know why I’m watching. “Why am I watching this?,” one of her thousands of other viewers suddenly posts in the scrolling comments, as if from my thoughts to that person’s fingertips. Having our normal daily lives upended by the coronavirus has heightened the demand for entertainment — and not just Netflix. We’re looking for content that provides some semblance of human connection, intermittent LOL moments to briefly escape reality. As Kevin Roose put it in the New York Times last week, “The virus is forcing us to use the internet as it was always meant to be used.”There’s also something comforting about seeing celebrities going through the same thing as everyone else, flattening the societal hierarchy so that their feeds run alongside that of our own friends and families. Social media is a place for wholesale interaction, whether it be through memes, amateur TikTok dances, silly Snapchat snaps, Instagram boomerangs of the night’s meal or photos of the view outside, where we all suddenly wish we could be. It’s just enough pleasant distraction; we don’t have to commit our full attention to a 45-minute TV episode, especially when there’s already too much lonely, idle couch viewing happening because of the shelter-in-place orders.Kantar, a consumer research firm, is finding that as countries move deeper into the pandemic, TV viewing and social media engagement both rise by more than 60%. (At that rate, we could quickly grow bored with apps like Netflix and Disney+.) The U.S. may still be in the relatively early stages, but in Italy, one of the hardest-hit countries, Facebook Inc. said that Instagram and Facebook Live views doubled in a week. That yearning for connection is giving more adults a window into why younger people are so amused with watching their peers and celebrities just going about their lives — even when they appear to be doing nothing special at all. George Costanza would love it: videos about nothing.View this post on Instagram A post shared by Cardi B (@iamcardib) on Mar 20, 2020 at 12:31am PDTBut if that is what’s missing from Netflix and other TV, could it be that someday it’s not? Perhaps the future of streaming is to aggregate both studio-produced content and user-generated content in a way that allows you to seamlessly scroll between both. That’s how we’re starting to use entertainment, but that’s not yet how it’s delivered to us. Facebook Watch is a step toward the idea, though it has a long way to go. And Google’s YouTube is more of a video-search platform than a sit-back-and-stream service (notwithstanding its YouTube TV subscription for live programming).Quibi, a streaming app launching April 6, borrows from the brevity of user-generated social content, but leaves out the human-connection aspect. It’s the brainchild of Jeffrey Katzenberg and Meg Whitman, a pair of Hollywood and tech old timers, who say the name is short for “quick bites” (though it’s pronounced “qwih-bee”). All of its programs will have episodes that are 10 minutes long or less. Plenty have scoffed at the idea of Quibi trying to get 25- to 35-year-olds to pay $5 a month for an app with bite-size content that still contains ad interruptions. Yet, Katzenberg and Whitman have managed to raise nearly $2 billion for the service and have struck production deals with major studios and entertainers, including Chrissy Teigen and actress Sophie Turner.Social media used to be something college kids did on their laptops, separate from TV time. Now we all do it on our phones, often while the TV is playing. It shows that what’s missing from Netflix, Disney+ and all the other emerging streaming ecosystems is the ability to connect with one another. This column does not necessarily reflect the opinion of Bloomberg LP and its owners.Tara Lachapelle is a Bloomberg Opinion columnist covering the business of entertainment and telecommunications, as well as broader deals. She previously wrote an M&A column for 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.
The company is working with Magid Glove and Safety to produce 2 million to 3 million face masks, and will financially support efforts to boost the production capacity for lifesaving medical devices and personal protective equipment, Pichai said. The rapid outbreak, which has killed nearly 25,000 people globally, has strained healthcare systems around the world and led to a shortage of medical equipment including face masks and ventilators. The company will provide $340 million in Google ad credits to small and medium businesses active on its platform and $250 million in ad grants for the World Health Organization and many government agencies, Pichai said in a blog post.
(Bloomberg) -- Google is pledging $800 million in relief funds to customers and health-care workers, joining a list of corporations providing money and materials to address the coronavirus pandemic.The contributions include $250 million in advertising credits for the World Health Organization and $340 million to small businesses to run promotions with Google, Sundar Pichai, chief executive officer of Google and parent Alphabet Inc., announced Friday. The economic fallout from the pandemic has dried up marketing spending. Another $20 million gives researchers working on the novel virus credits to use the company’s cloud-computing services.Google also said it would be working with a partner, Magid Glove and Safety Manufacturing LLC, a supplier based in Illinois, to produce between 2 million and 3 million face masks in the coming weeks. Protective masks are in dire shortage across hospitals in the U.S.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) -- Apple Inc. joined technology giants such as Alphabet Inc.’s Google in launching Covid-19 screening tools for users to help curb the spread of the coronavirus.The Cupertino, California-based company on Friday released an app for iPhones and iPads with information abut the pandemic and questions to help users determine if they should be tested for the illness. Apple also released a corresponding website with similar functions. The company said it partnered with the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the White House Coronavirus Task Force and the Federal Emergency Management Agency to build the tools.Apple previously added CDC guidelines about social distancing and curbing the spread of the virus to many of its online platforms, including its website, the App Store and Apple Music. It also recently added answers about the virus to its Siri digital assistant.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) -- The coronavirus pandemic has put on indefinite hold a major portion of the U.S. Supreme Court’s docket, including a multibillion-dollar clash between software giants Google and Oracle Corp. and cases that could affect President Donald Trump’s re-election chances.What was supposed to have been a drama-filled spring at the high court has instead become a season of waiting, especially for the lawyers and litigants in 20 arguments that had been scheduled for March and April. The court has postponed 11 of those cases and could do the same soon for the remaining nine.The cases include fights over congressional and grand jury subpoenas for Trump’s financial records -- clashes that need to be resolved in the court’s current term to give the president’s critics any chance of seeing the documents before the November election. Also on hold is a clash over the Electoral College for presidential elections and an $8 billion copyright dispute between Alphabet Inc.’s Google and Oracle.It’s not clear whether the justices are still hoping to resolve those cases in their current term, possibly by forgoing argument or by breaking tradition and hearing arguments by phone or online. Lawyers say they’ve received no guidance from the court on the subject, though briefing deadlines are still in force. The term normally ends in late June, although that time frame is now in doubt as well.‘Just Waiting’“As far as oral arguments go, we’re just waiting upon the court,” said Jay Sekulow, the lead lawyer for Trump in the president’s bid to block a New York grand jury subpoena for the president’s financial information. The case had been set for argument March 31.Courtroom arguments are unlikely anytime soon. Elderly people are at increased risk of dying should they contract the coronavirus, and two justices are in their 80s -- Ruth Bader Ginsburg, 87, who’s been treated in recent years for pancreatic and lung cancer, and Stephen Breyer, 81. Four others are 65 or older, including Justice Sonia Sotomayor, 65, whose type 1 diabetes puts her at additional risk.The court is moving ahead with rulings in dozens of cases that have already been argued. The justices issued four opinions earlier this week and plan to issue more on Monday. All nine justices are healthy and took part in a scheduled private conference by phone Friday, spokeswoman Kathy Arberg said.Time-Sensitive CasesThe grand jury subpoena case shows the difficulty of holding arguments in the near future. Sekulow’s adversary would be Carey Dunne, a lawyer in the Manhattan district attorney’s office whose city is at the epicenter of the Covid-19 outbreak. The White House says anyone traveling from New York should self-quarantine for 14 days.And yet the subpoena cases are also among the most time-sensitive, at least from the standpoint of the Democrats seeking the information. Lower courts required Trump’s banks and accountants to turn over the records, which could include his tax returns, but those rulings are on hold.“Delaying this case is effectively picking a side,” seven liberal groups led by Demand Justice said Wednesday. “Every day that Trump is allowed to keep his tax returns secret is a day that he has won and the public has lost.”Similarly, the court had been aiming to resolve clashes over the Electoral College, the body that will formally select the next president, before any election controversies may arise. At issue in cases scheduled for argument April 28 is whether states can stop “faithless electors” who try to cast a vote for someone other the candidate who won their state’s balloting.“We’ve gotten no indication about whether it’s going forward,” said Lawrence Lessig, a Harvard Law School professor and the lawyer for two groups of electors who say they have the right to vote as they please. But “we’re preparing as if it is.”Google and OracleOther cases could more easily be deferred until the new term opens in October. That includes Google’s appeal of a ruling that the software giant improperly used Oracle’s copyrighted programming code in the Android operating system. Oracle says it’s entitled to at least $8.8 billion in damages in the case, which had been scheduled for a March 24 argument.Google’s lawyer, Tom Goldstein, said he is preparing as if the argument will now be in April even though “it’s unlikely.” That includes taking part in “moot court” practice arguments using Google video chat, he said.Joshua Rosenkranz, Oracle’s lawyer, said he’ll put his three planned moot courts back on his schedule once the court sets a new argument date. He said he expects Chief Justice John Roberts, who argued 39 Supreme Court cases before becoming a judge, will ensure the lawyers have ample time to ramp back up.“The chief justice certainly knows how much time it takes to prepare to stand up in the Supreme Court,” he said.(Updates seventh paragraph to show opinions will be released Monday, justices are healthy)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 (AMZN) collaborates with Conduent to trace the exponentially increasing number of COVID-19 infected people by integrating the latter's Maven platform with AWS.
Yandex (YNDX) rolled out a project called Helping Hand, which will manage transportation, medicinal deliveries, and food and other essential commodity supplies to fight COVID-19 pandemic.
(Bloomberg) -- Major Google services including YouTube, video-calling and Gmail were hit by partial outages Thursday while the internet giant’s infrastructure is experiencing record usage during the coronavirus pandemic.People around the world tweeted that various services were down. Urs Holzle, who overseas Google’s data centers, said the problem came from a router failure in Atlanta and wasn’t virus-related.“This wasn’t related to traffic levels or any kind of overload, our network is not stressed by Covid-19,” Holzle said on Twitter. “Things should be back to normal now.”Alphabet Inc.’s Google has largely been able to keep its services running as millions of people have been forced to stay at home to help slow the spread of the virus. The company’s Hangouts video-calling service is being used by students around the world to attend class remotely. YouTube is seeing a surge in traffic as more people look for entertainment and information online. The company has already lowered the default quality of streamed video to reduce the toll on internet service providers.(Updates with comment from Google executive in 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.
Ads for face masks are still appearing on Facebook, Instagram and Google, according to a review of the platforms carried out by the Tech Transparency Project (TTP). This despite pledges by the platforms that they would stamp out ads which seek to profit from the coronavirus pandemic. Facebook said on March 6 that it would temporarily ban commerce listings and advertisements for medical face masks, in an effort to combat price-gouging and misinformation during the COVID-19 crisis.
(Bloomberg) -- Huawei Technologies Co. is about to test the demand for flagship smartphones in China, and the chief executive officer of its consumer business said he’s confident markets and manufacturers are ready.Richard Yu said that the Chinese government’s strict limitations on public mobility at the start of the year to bring the spread of Covid-19 under control are beginning to relax as the virus has died down, and the country is open for business again.“It’s under control and most stores are open,” he said in an interview on Thursday ahead of the company’s launch of its P40 range of flagship smartphones. “The supply chain and manufacturing in China has recovered.”The Covid-19 outbreak is just the latest in a number of high-profile existential challenges to Huawei. The company’s also been battling global scrutiny over its telecom equipment, and was added to a U.S. government blacklist that blocked it from using popular versions of the Android operating system.Yu said he’s confident a relationship with the U.S. can be rebuilt.“We want to continue our partnership with Google,” he said, adding that Huawei is in discussions with the Alphabet Inc. company. “We hope this issue can be solved, but we’re not the government so we can’t make the decision. They’re a smart government, and I hope they can give a license.”Coronavirus, SalesIn the first quarter of 2020, amid the novel coronavirus’s rapid spread across the globe, shipments of Huawei’s wearable devices grew 75%, while PCs and wireless earphones grew about 110% and 150% respectively, a spokeswoman for the company said.Yu said one significant contributor to the growth of these products was the large number of people working and going to school from home.Still, demand for smartphones is slowing, and manufacturers are trying to find new ways to convince consumers they should upgrade their devices. Bendable products are an increasingly popular strategy being tried out by some of the world’s biggest device makers, including Huawei.In February, it announced a second-generation version of its Mate X folding phone, which up to that point had been sold mostly in its home country. Yu said the phone isn’t profitable, but demand is outpacing supply.“With time and more production we can bring the cost down and make it more competitive,” he said.Yu also said that the P40 -- which comprises three models with a range of features and price points -- is the first Huawei smartphone to only support fifth-generation, or 5G, networks.He said he was confident that “2020 is the first year 5G will take off, so that’s why the P40 is purely a 5G phone.”Ben Wood, chief of research at analyst group CCS Insight, said that although “arguably there could not be a worse time to launch a set of premium smartphones, Huawei may be in a better position than some rivals.”Wood agreed that indications are that Huawei’s home market is starting to recover from the impact of Covid-19, and “given that Huawei has been shipping over 40 million units a quarter in China in recent times, this provides a strong foundation for the business.”The P40 range announced Thursday sits at the top end of Huawei’s product line and comprises three variants: the P40, P40 Pro, and P40 Pro Plus. They all feature high-resolution multi-lens camera systems, and the top models include screens that curve at the edges.The phones also introduce Huawei’s Celia voice assistant as an alternative to the Google Assistant, which as a result of the U.S. trade embargo isn’t available on the open-source version of Android used by Huawei for the devices.The P40 goes on sale in April, starting at 799 euros ($878).As the Covid-19 pandemic continues to spread across Europe and the U.S., Yu said he’s hopeful governments in affected countries would be able to contain the crisis.“I hope the U.K. and the world recovers soon from coronavirus,” he said. “The experience from China was that the government very strictly limited the mobility of people, and quickly everything came under control. I think governments in the rest of the world are taking action like China and will quickly control it too.”(Updates with analyst comment, P40 specifications from 14th 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.
Huawei has unveiled new flagship phones today, the P40, P40 Pro and P40 Pro+. There is no Gmail, no Google Maps and no Google Play Store. Last year, the U.S. government restricted U.S. firms from maintaining a business relationship with Huawei.
(Bloomberg Opinion) -- Work-from-home neophytes are providing some much needed moments of levity right now. The Italian priest livestreaming mass with cat’s ears and whiskers accidentally superimposed on his head. The woman who failed to switch her camera off when she took a bathroom break during a conference call. Children and pets generally making a nuisance of themselves. Even if staged, they warrant a chuckle.The laughter, however, doesn’t resolve the difficulties that many are experiencing as millions more people head into self-isolation and log on from home. For all of the telecommunications operators’ assertions that their networks can cope with the peak loads, there are still things you can do to reduce the likelihood of dropped calls or spotty connections. More than that, the small changes you make can lessen the load on telecoms networks more broadly.Britain’s regulator Ofcom on Tuesday proffered advice on how best to stay connected during Covid-19 self-isolation. It’s well worth reading in its entirety, but top of the list was using your landline or Wi-Fi when possible, rather than a mobile connection. Because most of the top video-calling apps are made by U.S. firms, they’re built for users with ready access to high-speed mobile connections, since unlimited data plans are more common there than in Europe or Asia, according to Nick McQuire, head of enterprise research at market intelligence firm CCS Insight.He says the app conferencing companies have neglected the issue of bandwidth optimization in general. As rising numbers of people use video calls — not just for work, but family visits with the grandparents, third-grade art class and virtual happy hours — those problems risk being highlighted. That’s one reason why Ofcom is encouraging the use of landlines. Spikes in network usage mean operators are having to lean on more and more servers to manage the load than usual, Italian data from network analysis firm Tutela Technologies Ltd. show.In the age of Covid-19, video conferencing is an important channel for maintaining social contact, but some products are easier on the network than others. Stuck at home like many others in London, I carried out a series of tests to see how much data each of the most popular apps required for the same calls, as scientifically as I could given the circumstances. On average, Zoom Video Communications Inc.’s eponymous service and Google Inc.’s Hangouts used more than twice as much data as Apple Inc.’s FaceTime or Cisco Systems Inc.’s Webex.To use FaceTime, though, the participants all need an Apple device — not a given when a top-of-the-range iPhone starts at $1,000. And Webex isn’t exactly easy to use, as my girlfriend grumbled while she helped me test: “The setup for this is definitely the worst.” With Zoom, the data requirements dropped significantly when we tried it around 5 p.m., when usage seems to peak — it appeared to throttle its needs as network capacity became limited.At times it might actually be better to use the mobile network instead of Wi-Fi, according to data from Tutela. Since Italy went into full lockdown on March 12th, the mobile network has on average provided a better quality of service(1) until about 2 p.m., after which Wi-Fi connections have given a more reliable connection. That differs by country, of course, but the trend elsewhere is similar. On March 24th, the first day after British Prime Minister Boris Johnson outlined stricter self-isolation measures, the U.K.’s mobile networks provided better service until about 9 a.m., after which the Wi-Fi was again more reliable.It’s not all about work, of course. There’s been a massive leap in the demands imposed on the network by online gaming. In the week from March 9th, gaming data usage jumped 75% in the U.S., Verizon Communications Inc. said last week. It’s far better to avoid network gaming if you can. And if you plan to park the kids in front of one or more films during the day, think about downloading them overnight rather than streaming them real time.Netflix Inc., Alphabet Inc.’s YouTube, Amazon.com Inc. and Walt Disney Co. are already reducing their streaming services’ bandwidth consumption in Europe to alleviate the load on the region’s networks. Using video conferencing smartly could not only make your calls more reliable, but also preempt any limitations being imposed on that technology.And for goodness sake, if you’re on a conference call and not talking, make sure you mute yourself. You know who you are.(1) Tutela considers the test to pass the Excellent Consistent Quality thresholds if it meets all the following criteria: 5 Mbps or greater download speed 1.5 Mbps or greater upload speed 50ms or less one-way latency 30ms or less jitter 1% or less packet lossThis column does not necessarily reflect the opinion of Bloomberg LP and its owners.Alex Webb is a Bloomberg Opinion columnist covering Europe's technology, media and communications industries. He previously covered Apple and other technology companies for Bloomberg News in San Francisco.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.
Kat Volpe laid out an exercise mat and tried to sync her iPhone with her big screen TV for a fitness class webcast on Instagram last week during New York's coronavirus lockdown. Apps with surging demand for live streaming such as Zoom Video Communications Inc and Facebook Inc's Instagram are among major holdouts in adopting the phone-to-TV casting technology from Alphabet Inc's Google. Others lacking Chromecast support include Apple Inc's Apple TV+ subscription video service, Twitter Inc's video offering and Bytedance's video entertainment app TikTok.
A $2 trillion stimulus package is moving forward in the United States, Google Podcasts comes to iOS and ClassPass offers livestreamed fitness classes. After five days of negotiations, Senate leaders and the Trump administration said early this morning they have reached a deal on a $2 trillion stimulus package to help relieve the economic impact of COVID-19.
(Bloomberg Opinion) -- In 1999, this week's guest on Masters in Business, David Dunning, professor of psychology at the University of Michigan, cowrote a paper with colleague Justin Kruger titled "Unskilled and Unaware of It: How Difficulties in Recognizing One’s Own Incompetence Lead to Inflated Self-Assessments," describing why so many of us who are unskilled are also wholly unaware of our own lack of skills. The results of that landmark research became known as the Dunning-Kruger effect.In our conversation, we discuss those issues of skill and self-evaluation and how the second depends upon the first. (Self-evaluation is very much dependent on the underlying skills). Much of Dunning’s academic work has explored the psychology of human misperception. Each of us has our own pockets of ignorance and we can wander into them at any time. A cautionary example that Dunning uses is those of new pilots. It isn't the pilots with 100 hours of training who are dangerous; rather, it's those pilots with 700 to 800 hours of flight time who are lethal. They know enough to believe they're competent when they really aren't. The results can be catastrophic.Dunning’s research also focuses on social norms and their impact on peoples’ thoughts and behaviors. He also studies hypocognition, the state of not having awareness about your own blind spot. For their novel insights, the Dunning and Kruger were give an IG Noble Award in 2,000.Dunning favorite books can be seen here..You can stream and download our full conversation, including the podcast extras, on Apple iTunes, Spotify, Overcast, Google, Bloomberg and Stitcher. All of our earlier podcasts on your favorite pod hosts can be found here.Note: This week’s Masters in Business was recorded March 3, just before the work-at-home lockdown began. Next week, we speak with Wall Street Journal’s Ben Cohen, who covers the National Basketball Association. His new book is "The Hot Hand: The Mystery and Science of Streaks." This column does not necessarily reflect the opinion of Bloomberg LP and its owners.Barry Ritholtz is a Bloomberg Opinion columnist. He is chairman and chief investment officer of Ritholtz Wealth Management, and was previously chief market strategist at Maxim Group. He is the author of “Bailout Nation.”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.