GOOGL Jun 2021 1220.000 call

OPR - OPR Delayed price. Currency in USD
271.10
0.00 (0.00%)
As of 2:15PM EDT. Market open.
Stock chart is not supported by your current browser
Previous close271.10
Open271.10
Bid368.70
Ask377.50
Strike1,220.00
Expiry date2021-06-18
Day's range107.00 - 271.10
Contract rangeN/A
Volume1
Open interest26
  • California reportedly launches antitrust investigation into Google
    TechCrunch

    California reportedly launches antitrust investigation into Google

    According to a report in Politico, California has become the 49th state to launch an antitrust investigation into Google. California and Alabama were the only states that did not participate in an antitrust investigation by 48 states, Puerto Rico and the District of Columbia, that began in September and is focused on Google’s dominance in online advertising and search. It is still unclear on which aspects of Google’s business the reported California investigation will focus.

  • Google to Restrict Advertising of Tracking Technology, Spyware
    Bloomberg

    Google to Restrict Advertising of Tracking Technology, Spyware

    (Bloomberg) -- Alphabet Inc.’s Google is changing its policies next month to restrict advertising for spyware and other unauthorized tracking technology.The change “will prohibit the promotion of products or services that are marketed or targeted with the express purpose of tracking or monitoring another person or their activities without their authorization,” according to the company.The policy will prohibit advertisement of spyware and malware “that can be used to monitor texts, phone calls, or browsing history,” according to Google. It will also ban ads for “GPS trackers specifically marketed to spy or track someone without their consent” and of cameras or recorders “marketed with the express purpose of spying.”The new policy will be implemented globally on Aug. 11, and the accounts of advertisers that violate it will be suspended, according to Google.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 Places Advertisers Are Still Increasing Spend Despite COVID-19
    Motley Fool

    3 Places Advertisers Are Still Increasing Spend Despite COVID-19

    Ad buyers expect overall ad spend to decline about 20% in the second half of 2020, according to a survey from IAB last month. Traditional media will see a decline in ad spend, but most digital advertising channels will grow considerably in the second half of 2020. 59% of connected TV advertisers expect to increase their spend in the second half of the year, according to IAB's survey.

  • Bull of the Day: Alteryx (AYX)
    Zacks

    Bull of the Day: Alteryx (AYX)

    Bull of the Day: Alteryx (AYX)

  • Who’s Desperate to Get Back to the Gym?
    Bloomberg

    Who’s Desperate to Get Back to the Gym?

    (Bloomberg Opinion) -- When you return to the gym, your workout will be noticeably different than before the coronavirus lockdown. Don’t plan on pumping iron for more than an hour, or taking a shower. And you can probably forget those trendy boxing classes that have you making contact with your fellow gym-goers.Welcome to the new world of fitness, which will be characterized by social distancing, obsessively wiping down equipment and, for those who don’t want to brave the gym, sessions with a virtual coach on a Peloton bike at home.The Covid-19 pandemic has hit something that we largely take for granted: our health. So people are now likely to spend even more of their incomes on well-being, including staying in shape. But with a plethora of choices, from Zoom yoga to ballet barre via Instagram Live, not all of this money may find its way into the traditional fitness sector.That is likely to lead to a shakeout of an industry that has seen the number of global facilities roughly double over the past 15 years. Many clubs could now close or shrink. Those best placed to survive are the trendy boutiques that can successfully pivot to providing digital content and the no-frills operators that can appeal to cash-strapped fitsters.  Some fitness fans can’t wait to get back to the gym. For others, being in close proximity to other people engaging in sweaty exercise is the last place they will feel comfortable. And for now, workout chains remain closed in some parts of the U.S. Clubs in England will be able to open from July 25. Where gyms are trading, they’re limiting the number of people inside at any one time and offering “busyness trackers” on their apps, so customers can decide the best time to visit. At peak hours, people may be asked to book ahead of time, or keep their workouts to an hour. As for showers it’s a mixed picture, depending on particular clubs and locations. Many people are choosing to get changed at home anyway.For gyms, in addition to contending with costly measures to contain the spread of the virus and keep customers feeling safe, it’s a changing landscape in terms of where their customers are and what they may want.Because many fitness centers are located in business districts, there may be far less demand when they reopen as working from home becomes entrenched. Virgin Active, owned by investment holding company Brait SE, whose clubs are mostly in metropolitan areas, looks particularly exposed here. And the new routines people have embraced while at home may lend themselves to working out in one’s kitchen or bedroom, rather than going to the gym at all. Consequently, clubs could face a wave of cancellations.Already, months of closure and higher reopening costs have taken their toll. Bodybuilder favorite Gold’s Gym International Inc. and 24 Hour Fitness Worldwide Inc. have filed for bankruptcy protection. But it is not just the legacy gyms, already caught in the ultimate barbell economy between chic boutiques and budget operators, that are feeling the burn.The boutiques, such as those that specialize in cycling, yoga or Pilates, face unique and acute challenges. The economics of many of these businesses are built around cramming lots of class participants into a tiny space — the kind of set-up people are likely to want to avoid.These fitness outposts are experimenting with ways of hanging onto their members. In a particularly fanciful example, SoulCycle Inc. is offering some outdoor classes in the Hamptons this summer that cost $50 for a single class. In such a posh location, there may be plenty of takers, but that’s hardly a model that can be replicated across the country. And outdoor classes will lose their appeal in the dead of winter.That is why some gyms, both boutiques and big-box outlets, are turning to digital content. Yogaworks Inc., for example, is live-streaming more than 100 daily classes from teachers at their studios all over the U.S. If this becomes really popular, it’s not hard to imagine the company needing to upend its business model, perhaps by reducing its roster of instructors, closing underperforming brick-and-mortar studios and hiring more technologists.Going online is far from a sure bet. It’s a highly competitive space that includes everything from free workouts on YouTube to Nike Inc.’s activity app and subscription programs like Glo and Daily Burn. In the U.K. alone, David Minton of the Leisure Database Company said he counted more than 600 Instagram Live workout classes in one day.It also puts operators in more direct competition with trendy home-workout programs such as the Mirror, which was just acquired by yoga-wear maker Lululemon Athletica Inc. for $500 million, and Peloton Interactive Inc., which has seen such explosive demand for its stationary bikes that it paused advertising back in March while it moved to accelerate its supply chain.The budget sector, which has been booming on both sides of the Atlantic, is not immune to the new pressures either. It faces a future with higher hygiene-related costs, such as the more regular and intensive cleaning of equipment. These may be difficult to accommodate when clubs are typically charging only about 20 pounds ($25) a month.  Even so, companies such as Planet Fitness Inc. in the U.S. and Basic-Fit NV in Europe, as well as U.K. operators The Gym Group Plc and Pure Gym Group Plc, are probably best placed. Their clubs tend to be large, and many are located in suburban areas. In some cases, members are younger, and so may be less cautious about coming back. Pure Gym found that when its clubs reopened in Switzerland, people under 30 were three times more likely to return than those over 50. Yes, some people may ditch their subscriptions as the hard economic impact of the lockdowns hits. But no-frills clubs may also benefit from cash-strapped fitness fans trading down.The result is that even the most nimble, well-situated competitors will have to work up more of a sweat to compete in the Covid-19 era. This column does not necessarily reflect the opinion of the editorial board or Bloomberg LP and its owners.Andrea Felsted is a Bloomberg Opinion columnist covering the consumer and retail industries. She previously worked at the Financial Times.Sarah Halzack is a Bloomberg Opinion columnist covering the consumer and retail industries. She was previously a national retail reporter for the Washington Post.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.

  • TikTok Teens Try To Trick Trump Campaign, Again
    Bloomberg

    TikTok Teens Try To Trick Trump Campaign, Again

    (Bloomberg) -- The TikTok-tivists are at it again.Thousands of users of the popular video app flocked to the Apple App Store in the last few days to flood U.S. President Donald Trump’s 2020 campaign app with negative reviews. On Wednesday alone 700 negative reviews were left on the Official Trump 2020 app and 26 positive ones, according to tracking firm Sensor Tower.TikTok fans are retaliating for Trump’s threats to ban the app, which is owned by China’s Bytedance Ltd. and is hugely popular in the U.S., especially among teens. The thought of taking away a key social and entertainment hub in the midst of the Covid-19 pandemic has led to outrage.“For Gen Z and Millennials, TikTok is our clubhouse and Trump threatened it,” said Yori Blacc, a 19-year-old TikTok user in California who joined in the app protest. “If you’re going to mess with us, we will mess with you.”Blacc said the movement gained steam Wednesday when a popular TikTok user, DeJuan Booker, called on his 750,000 followers to seek revenge. He posted a step-by-step primer on how to degrade the app’s rating, notching 5.6 million views. “Gen Z don’t go down without a fight,” said Booker, who goes by @unusualbeing on TikTok. “Let’s go to war.”The Trump campaign said the effort hasn’t had any impact.“TikTok users don’t affect anything we do. What we do know is that the Chinese use TikTok to spy on its users,” said Tim Murtaugh, director of communications for the Trump Campaign. ByteDance has always denied such accusationsThe efforts to push the app low enough so that Apple will remove it from the app store may be misguided. Apple doesn’t delete apps based on their popularity. The App Store may review those that violate its guidelines or are outdated, but not if their ratings sink. A similar tactic was tried in April to protest Google Classroom by kids frustrated with quarantine home-schooling.But young people are looking for ways to make their voices heard, even if some of them can’t yet vote. Last month, many young people organized through TikTok to sign up to attend Trump’s first post-shutdown campaign rally in Tulsa, Oklahoma, but then didn’t show up. The Trump campaign denied the online organizing effort contributed to lower-than-expected attendance.Nearly 60% of Gen Zers are opposed to a TikTok ban, according to a survey conducted from Tuesday to Thursday of 2,200 adults by Morning Consult Brand Intelligence. Across all ages, about a third of Americans have never heard of TikTok, while a third have a favorable impression and a third have an unfavorable view of the app, the survey found.Apple didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment. TikTok experienced connectivity issues on Thursday, according to Downdector, which measures web traffic, but the company said it had resolved them later the same day.Trump’s re-election smartphone app is a big part of the president’s unrivaled digital operation and was meant to circumvent tech companies like Facebook Inc. and Twitter Inc. and give the campaign a direct line to supporters. The app has helped the campaign engage Trump’s die-hard supporters, especially in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic, by feeding them his latest tweets and promoting virtual events. Supporters can donate to the president’s campaign or earn rewards for recruiting friends like VIP seats to rallies or photos with the president.The Official Trump 2020 app has been downloaded more than 500,000 times on Google’s Android store as of June 15. Apple doesn’t publish information on downloads.Reviews with titles such as “Terrible App” or “Do Not Download!” have been flooding the App Store since late June. Official Trump 2020 now has more than 103,000 one-star reviews for an overall rating of 1.2.But the uptick of activity has also caused the app to rise in rankings. Users have to download the app to review it, vaulting it to second place on the Apple store from No. 486 on Tuesday, according to Sensor Tower.“Do I think that this is going to fundamentally change the election? No,” said Tim Lim, a veteran Democratic digital strategist. “But it goes to show that they are just as susceptible to these mass actions as anyone else. Trump is starting to see what it feels like to have a massive online army committed to defeating him.”Trump earlier this week said his administration is considering banning TikTok as one way to retaliate against China over its handling of the coronavirus. Trump’s comments came after Secretary of State Michael Pompeo told Americans not to download the app unless they want to see their private information fall into “the hands of the Chinese Communist Party.” Bytedance is also facing a U.S. national security review for its acquisition of startup Musical.ly. It has denied allegations that it poses a threat to U.S. national security.Trump didn’t offer specifics about a potential decision and Pompeo seemed to walk back the idea of a ban in a later statement, saying that the U.S. efforts to protect American consumers’ data don’t relate to any one particular company.Many TikTok users say they care less about potential Chinese snooping and more about Trump taking away their digital hangout. In the U.S., TikTok has been downloaded more than 165 million times, according to Sensor Tower.“I don’t believe Trump is trying to take TikTok away because of national security, but more to retaliate against activism on the app and all the videos about him that drag him through the mud,” said Darius Jackson, an 18-year-old TikTok user in Champaign, Illinois, who asked his followers Wednesday to give Trump’s app a one-star rating.“This is the first year I’ll be able to vote and I think activism on TikTok is going to make a big difference,” Jackson said.(Updates with Trump campaign response from sixth paragraph. A previous version of the story corrected the spelling of the Illinois city in the penultimate 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.

  • SoftBank-Backed Coupang Buys Hooq Assets to Take on Netflix
    Bloomberg

    SoftBank-Backed Coupang Buys Hooq Assets to Take on Netflix

    (Bloomberg) -- South Korean e-commerce giant Coupang Corp. is buying the software of Hooq Digital Ltd., the Southeast Asian video streaming service owned by Singtel, Sony and Warner Bros that’s filed for liquidation, according to people familiar with the deal.Coupang has already struck a deal to acquire the assets, the people said, asking not to be named because the information hasn’t been announced.The deal ushers SoftBank-backed Coupang into a competitive but fragmented video streaming arena and pits it against the likes of Amazon.com Inc. and Netflix Inc. U.S. giants have emerged as frontrunners, squeezing out a number of domestic players with splashier local programming and fuller Hollywood slates. In a sign of accelerating consolidation, Tencent Holdings Ltd. recently agreed to buy the assets of Malaysian streaming platform iFlix Ltd. And last month, ride-hailing giant Gojek won funding from Golden Gate Ventures and other backers for its own video foray.Coupang, backed also by BlackRock Inc. and Sequoia Capital, has designs too on its own home market. Korea in recent years birthed blockbusters that captivated global audiences from “Parasite” to “Train to Busan,” yet Netflix and Alphabet Inc.’s Youtube remain dominant local players. South Korea’s government announced a plan last month to nurture five homegrown over-the-top or streaming service providers into global companies, and support their growth by expediting deals and investment in content.A Coupang representative declined to comment.Read more: Tencent Buys Assets of Struggling Streaming Platform IFlixHooq, a joint venture between Singapore Telecommunications Ltd., Sony Pictures Television Inc. and Warner Bros Entertainment Inc., filed for liquidation in March and discontinued service at the end of April. Set up in 2015, it offered movies and drama series across Singapore, the Philippines, Thailand, Indonesia and India, but ran into trouble during the pandemic.Coupang, widely regarded as South Korea’s Amazon, has been aggressively expanding into new businesses such as food delivery and digital payments, mirroring the U.S. giant by broadening its services. The Seoul-based company, founded in 2010 by Chief Executive Officer Bom Kim, was said to be valued at $9 billion in late 2018 and has been eyeing a public listing as early as next year, Bloomberg News reported in January.Buoyed by the growth in subscribers to its delivery service, sales at the startup rose to a record 7.15 trillion won ($5.9 billion) in 2019.Read more: Coupang Grew Revenue 64% in Boost For SoftBank’s Startup Cred(Updates with details on Asian market from the 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.

  • Report: Alphabet Must Offer Concessions for Fitbit Acquisition to Win EU Approval
    Motley Fool

    Report: Alphabet Must Offer Concessions for Fitbit Acquisition to Win EU Approval

    The European Union (EU) expects concessions before its regulator allows Alphabet (NASDAQ: GOOG)(NASDAQ: GOOGL) unit Google to acquire Fitbit (NYSE: FIT). According to a report from Reuters citing "people familiar with the matter," the U.S. tech giant will have to give up something in order for the deal to clear the European Commission's (EC) antitrust review process. One possible solution is that Google concretely promises that it will not misuse Fitbit user data by culling it to target advertising, the article's sources said.

  • Runup in Tech Mega-Caps Sows Doubt Before Key Earnings
    Bloomberg

    Runup in Tech Mega-Caps Sows Doubt Before Key Earnings

    (Bloomberg) -- Some of Wall Street’s biggest stocks are coming off their best quarterly performance in years, and with the broader economy still grappling with the pandemic, analysts are starting to express some skepticism about high-profile rallies.The S&P 500 surged 20% in the second quarter, its biggest quarterly gain since 1998. While the superlative nature of the rally was partly a function of timing -- many components hit a bottom right before the end of the first quarter -- the move was fueled by tech and internet stocks, which outperformed the benchmark and have heavy weightings due to their massive market capitalizations.Apple and Amazon.com both gained more than 40% during the quarter, making it the iPhone maker’s best quarter since 2012 and Amazon’s best since 2010.On Wednesday, Deutsche Bank confessed it was “surprised at both the speed and magnitude of the rebound” in Apple shares, adding that the move “has us nervous.” Raymond James echoed this tone on Tuesday, seeing uncertainty surrounding Apple’s forecast given an expected delay in the iPhone 12, a product Nomura Instinet expects “will fall short of a supercycle.” Both Deutsche Bank and Raymond James still recommend buying Apple shares.Amazon remains a consensus favorite on Wall Street -- more than 90% of the firms tracked by Bloomberg recommend buying it -- but the degree to which the share price exceeds analysts’ average price target is near a multiyear high, suggesting that even bulls aren’t expecting much additional upside.Among other mega-cap names, Microsoft rose 29% over the second quarter, its best such showing since 2009. Both Facebook and Google-parent Alphabet notched their biggest quarterly gain since 2013, with Facebook up 36% and Alphabet up 22%, based on its Class A shares. Netflix rose 21% last quarter.All are at or near record levels, and the rallies will soon be tested as each member of the group is scheduled to post quarterly results before the end of the month, with Netflix reporting next week.Apple EstimatesFor Apple, the rally has come despite a more tepid view for its upcoming results. Wall Street expects third-quarter earnings, excluding some items, of $2.03 a share, a consensus that is down 6.8% from where it was three months ago. The consensus for revenue has declined 0.9% over the same period.While analysts debate whether the results will justify the recent gains, many of these names are seen as potential pandemic winners. Microsoft is expected to see stronger demand for its cloud-computing and workplace collaboration products as people continue to work remotely, while the e-commerce wave lifting Amazon and others is seen as outlasting the coronavirus’s impact on brick-and-mortar stores.Apple analysts also see a number of reasons to be optimistic for the long term, including the company’s services business, wearable products, and its stock-buyback program. “Overall, we believe the directionality and reasoning behind AAPL’s stock rise,” Deutsche Bank’s Jeriel Ong wrote. Still, the firm has “ambivalence at these levels.”Firms expressed a similar sentiment about Netflix, which has seen higher engagement during the pandemic. Rosenblatt Securities “struggle[s] to see the upside” from current levels given “uncertainty over how [long] this favorable environment will last.” Stifel continues “to grapple with the risk/reward profile given limited 2H visibility.”Imperial Capital downgraded the stock earlier this week, moving away from an outperform rating that it had held since starting coverage on Netflix about two years ago, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. Following the recent advance, Netflix “will begin a fairly extensive range-bound trend as other long opportunities emerge in the media space,” the firm said.(Removes reference to Microsoft reporting next week in seventh paragraph of story originally published July 8.)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.

  • Exclusive: Google can ward off EU antitrust probe into Fitbit deal with data pledge
    Reuters

    Exclusive: Google can ward off EU antitrust probe into Fitbit deal with data pledge

    Google may be able to stave off a full-scale EU antitrust investigation into its planned $2.1 billion bid for Fitbit <FIT.N> by pledging not to use Fitbit's health data to help it target ads, people familiar with the matter said. The deal announced in November last year allows Google, a unit of Alphabet <GOOGL.O>, to take on Apple <AAPL.O> and Samsung <005930.KS> in the fitness tracking and smart watch market, alongside others including Huawei and Xiaomi <1810.HK>. Apple is the leader in the global wearables market with a 29.3% market share in the first quarter of 2020, followed by Xiaomi, Samsung and Huawei, according to data from market research firm International Data Corp. Fitbit's share of the market was 3%.

  • Exclusive: Google can ward off EU antitrust probe into Fitbit deal with data pledge - sources
    Reuters

    Exclusive: Google can ward off EU antitrust probe into Fitbit deal with data pledge - sources

    Google may be able to stave off a full-scale EU antitrust investigation into its planned $2.1 billion bid for Fitbit by pledging not to use Fitbit's health data to help it target ads, people familiar with the matter said. The deal announced in November last year allows Google, a unit of Alphabet, to take on Apple and Samsung in the fitness tracking and smart watch market, alongside others including Huawei and Xiaomi. Apple is the leader in the global wearables market with a 29.3% market share in the first quarter of 2020, followed by Xiaomi, Samsung and Huawei, according to data from market research firm International Data Corp. Fitbit's share of the market was 3%.

  • Musk Says Tesla Is ‘Very Close’ to Developing Fully Autonomous Vehicles
    Bloomberg

    Musk Says Tesla Is ‘Very Close’ to Developing Fully Autonomous Vehicles

    (Bloomberg) -- Tesla Inc.’s Elon Musk said the carmaker is on the verge of developing technology to render its vehicles fully capable of driving themselves, repeating a claim he’s made for years but been unable to achieve.The chief executive officer has long offered exuberant takes on the capabilities of Tesla cars, even going so far as to start charging customers thousands of dollars for a “Full Self Driving” feature in 2016. Years later, Tesla still requires users of its Autopilot system to be fully attentive and ready to take over the task of driving at any time.Tesla’s mixed messages have drawn controversy and regulatory scrutiny. In 2018, the company blamed a driver who died after crashing a Model X while using Autopilot for not paying attention to the road. Documents made public last year showed the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration had issued multiple subpoenas for information about crashes involving Tesla vehicles, suggesting the agency may have been preparing a formal investigation of Autopilot.Read more: Businessweek’s October 2019 cover story on Tesla AutopilotWhile other self-driving developers have tempered expectations for when their technology will be ready for deployment, Musk is undeterred. He said in a prerecorded video played Thursday during the World AI Conference in Shanghai that Tesla is “very close” to level five autonomy, meaning its cars won’t require human intervention.“I remain confident that we will have the basic functionality for level five autonomy complete this year,” Musk said. “I think there are no fundamental challenges remaining for level five autonomy. There are many small problems, and then there’s the challenge of solving all those small problems and then putting the whole system together, and just keep addressing the long tail of problems.”Shares of Tesla rose as much as 3.1% to $1,408.56 in early New York trading on Thursday.Musk’s view contrasts with Alphabet Inc.’s Waymo, which recently acknowledged it will be relying on human safety drivers to back up its robotaxis for many years to come. General Motors Co.’s Cruise last year backed off plans to make autonomous vehicles available for hailing rides and hasn’t set a new timetable for when such a service will be ready.Related: The State of the Self-Driving Car Race 2020Musk, 49, has repeatedly described autonomous driving as transformative for Tesla. He’s not alone in this sense: Cruise CEO Dan Ammann has estimated there will be a $1 trillion addressable market in the U.S. for autonomous ride hailing.During Thursday’s video, Musk said that original engineering on Tesla technology is an important facet of the company’s operations in China, which are anchored by its massive new factory near Shanghai.(Updates with shares in 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.

  • Investing.com

    Dow Off Lows as Tech Resistance Continues

    By Yasin Ebrahim

  • Google expands its Swirl 3D ad format
    TechCrunch

    Google expands its Swirl 3D ad format

    Google is announcing the global availability of Swirl, an ad format the company unveiled in beta just over a year ago. The Swirl format involves banner ads that include interactive 3D product models. Swirl lets consumers engage with a product like it's right in front of them by allowing them to rotate, zoom and expand the creative in the ad.

  • Cloud Investments Increase Amid Coronavirus: Stocks in Focus
    Zacks

    Cloud Investments Increase Amid Coronavirus: Stocks in Focus

    With people now preferring to work remotely due to growing number of coronavirus cases, investments in the cloud space have increased.

  • What You Need to Know About Fitbit
    Motley Fool

    What You Need to Know About Fitbit

    Fitbit (NYSE: FIT) is a household name in the fitness market thanks to its simple but effective exercise-activity trackers. With a roster of products including smart watches and wristband activity trackers, Fitbit's offerings record health metrics including heart rate, distance travelled, and steps walked. Most of Fitbit's activity trackers cost between $100 and $175; the company's most recent tracker, the Fitbit Charge 4, cost $149 upon its release in March.

  • Black YouTubers Ask Why They’re Left Out of YouTube Kids
    Bloomberg

    Black YouTubers Ask Why They’re Left Out of YouTube Kids

    (Bloomberg) -- About a year ago, Zerius Zontay discovered that his family’s work was no longer appearing on YouTube Kids. He and his wife, Symphony, regularly post short clips on the giant video-sharing site, featuring their three sons, who play with toys, sing songs and joke around. Zontay wanted to get their clips back on YouTube’s app for kids, a destination where the video site tries to direct viewers who are under the age of 13. For months, Zontay lobbied YouTube, repeatedly sending emails to community managers, to no avail. Then, in June, as protests against police misconduct spurred a national conversation on race, his frustration simmered over. “I’m seeing YouTube promoting Black Lives Matter, but with the Kids app, they’re showing that certain kids don’t matter,” said Zontay, a former music teacher. “You scroll for a long, long, long, long time before you get to a Black face.”In recent years, YouTube has come under intense pressure for how it handles kids content, both for letting too many underage people use YouTube’s main site and for allowing harmful programming in the Kids app. In 2017, YouTube published a “Field Guide for Creating Family Content,” and began restricting more types of programming from appearing in the app. Last year, the Zontays’ channel disappeared from YouTube Kids at a time when the video site was removing thousands of channels in bulk to try and cleanse the app of inappropriate content.When reached for comment, a YouTube spokesperson sent a statement in response. “We are committed to supporting and amplifying Black creators on YouTube Kids and have launched programming initiatives designed to highlight equality, racial justice, and activism for kids of different ages, but we recognize there’s more to be done,” it read. YouTube, part of Alphabet Inc.’s Google, pitches itself as an equalizer in the media world, allowing anyone to upload videos and amass an audience. But some of YouTube’s video producers say the company hasn’t done enough to support diversity. In June, four Black YouTube creators sued the company for racial discrimination, arguing that the service automatically removed their videos. YouTube has said it doesn’t discriminate and that the suit is without merit. On June 11, YouTube announced a new $100 million fund for Black creators.  The opacity surrounding YouTube’s recommendations, rules and content-moderation process is a frequent source of frustration among its users. YouTube staff members don’t select the videos or the content creators that get promoted, instead letting its software surface programming based on viewing habits. The Zontays were never notified directly that their programming had been removed from the Kids app. Instead, they learned about it when a fan reached out and asked why their videos were missing. While they waited for an answer from YouTube, the Zontays saw a post on Facebook from a YouTube creator with the inverse problem: Their video was inadvertently appearing on the Kids app even though they had uploaded footage not intended for minors. “It makes no sense,” said Symphony Zontay. Melanie, the owner of CrayCrayFamilyTV, a Black family-friendly vlogging channel, said she has experienced similarly puzzling problems. (She asked that Bloomberg News not use her last name for privacy reasons.) Videos of her two daughters, Naiah and Eli, have been removed from YouTube Kids without explanation while the family’s clips of doll videos have remained on the app. She suspects YouTube’s algorithm may be at work, surfacing similar videos from families with a different racial profile. “It’s more digestible to see very lily-white families doing things,” she said. “It’s just unfortunate.” A company spokeswoman told Bloomberg News that some channels have been removed because a number of their videos—showing the binge consumption of junk food or “pranks where kids were in distress”—were “not enriching or appropriate” for children. The company said that many of those channels have since “adjusted” their content and, as a result, would be reinstated on the Kids app. YouTube didn’t specify which channels had run afoul of the rules.Zerius Zontay said his family has not produced any inappropriate videos and pointed to several examples of clips currently available on the Kids app that feature pranks and skits involving junk food. “We do not have this type of content, but others do and they are on the app!” he wrote in an email. YouTube Kids draws a fraction of YouTube’s main audience, but the app is where parents, educators and YouTube steer children. Last fall, after settling with U.S. regulators for violating children’s-privacy laws, YouTube began promoting the app with videos that creators or the company deemed “Made for Kids.” For millions of children, YouTube has replaced television as the central medium for passing the time and learning how the world works. There are Black creators on YouTube Kids, and the site’s top-earning channel, Ryan’s World, features an Asian-American family.Even after being kicked off of the Kids app, the Zontay family’s programming continued to thrive on YouTube’s main site. Their primary channels, ZZ Kids TV and Goo Goo Colors, have more than 6.5 million subscribers—just shy of Nickelodeon’s numbers on YouTube. In 2019, the two channels brought in over 97 million views on the Kids app before being removed, according to Zerius Zontay.“In parts of the country where they aren’t seeing Black faces, how else are they going to learn about diversity if not through YouTube?” said Melissa Hunter, head of Family Video Network, a multichannel network that represents the Zontays.On June 28, the Zontays posted a 52-minute video about the issue. In it, Zerius, Symphony and their three sons are wearing shirts that read, “Black Entertainment Matters.” A few days later, they found that their channels had been reinstated on YouTube Kids with no explanation. 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 Campus Security Singled Out Black, Latinx Employees
    Bloomberg

    Google Campus Security Singled Out Black, Latinx Employees

    (Bloomberg) -- Google’s campus security system subjected Black and Latinx workers to bias and prompted complaints to management, according to people familiar with the situation, leading the company to scrap a key part of the approach.The internet giant encouraged employees to check colleagues’ ID badges on campus, and asked security staff to do the same. This went beyond the typical corporate office system where workers swipe badges to enter. The policy was designed to prevent unauthorized visitors and keep Google’s open work areas safe.But some staffers told management that Black and Latinx workers had their badges checked more often than other employees, according to the people, who experienced this themselves or saw friends and colleagues go through it.As a result, these employees felt policed on campus in a similar way that they are under suspicion elsewhere in life, said the people, who weren’t authorized to speak publicly about the issue. It’s an example of the unconscious, or overlooked, biases that make working in Silicon Valley harder for minorities, the people added.Some workers complained about the security system to Chief Executive Officer Sundar Pichai, and, in the midst of recent nationwide protests against racism and police brutality, he committed to change. In a June 17 blog post, the CEO pledged donations and more diverse leadership, and said the practice of asking Googlers to check each other’s ID badges would end. The change seems small, but it illuminates how Black and brown employees struggle to fit in at Google, and elsewhere in Silicon Valley. A Google spokeswoman declined to comment.Read more: For Black CEOs in Tech, Humiliation Is a Part of Doing Business“We’re working to create a stronger sense of inclusion and belonging for Googlers in general and our Black+ community in particular,” Pichai wrote in the blog, which was also sent as a memo to staff. “We have realized this process is susceptible to bias.”Alphabet Inc.’s Google has tried to increase the diversity of its workforce. The company was among the first to release an annual diversity report, and it has pledged to hire more minorities, women and LGBTQ employees for years. However, progress has been slow, especially when it comes to hiring and retaining Black people. Just 3.7% of Google’s U.S. workforce is Black and 5.9% is Latinx, according to its most recent diversity report. Other tech giants have also struggled with this.Read more: Facebook, Google Diversity Pledges Follow Scant Progress on Race The recent wave of anti-racism protests and a broader embrace of the Black Lives Matter movement spurred underrepresented workers at Google to push for more and faster change. A Black Leadership Advisory Group met multiple times with Pichai after the police killing of George Floyd. The badge-checking system was one of the top issues highlighted by the group. So the CEO’s decision to scrap the policy was a big deal for Black and Latinx workers, according to the people familiar with the situation.Pichai said Google had been researching changes to its campus security policy over the past year, but the protests likely prompted faster action. The company had been increasing workplace security since April 2018, when three employees were shot at the Silicon Valley headquarters of its YouTube video unit.The insistence on checking employee IDs was meant to discourage “tailgaters” -- people who followed others into Google buildings without swiping badges to enter. But in practice, Black and Latinx employees were stopped and told “Let me see your badge,” even after they proved they had the right to enter the office by swiping in, one of the people said.The resulting impression Black employees got is that they don’t belong, that their education, credentials and gainful employment aren’t enough to avoid suspicion based on the color of their skin, the people said. One staffer described the policy as death by a thousand cuts, which may have contributed to some Black and Latinx employees leaving the company. Retaining diverse workers is a challenge other companies face, too.Another Google worker noted that Google’s previous policy empowered employees outside of security staff to weigh in on who belonged on campus and who didn’t. Pichai conceded in his memo that the policy may have added to a loss of “psychological safety” among Black workers and other underrepresented employees.Even with the CEO’s recent changes, some Black employees don’t expect the company to become a haven for Black advancement any time soon. One worker pointed out that the company has committed to hiring and promoting “underrepresented” executives, not specifically Black people.Another Black employee said they were heartened to see that Pichai’s pledge included a specific target this time -- increase leadership from underrepresented groups by 30% by 2025. There are some big open roles at Google right now, so workers will be watching to see if real change happens, this person said.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 reportedly cancelled a cloud project meant for countries including China
    TechCrunch

    Google reportedly cancelled a cloud project meant for countries including China

    After reportedly spending a year and a half working on a cloud service meant for China and other countries, Google cancelled the project, called “Isolated Region,” in May due partly to geopolitical and pandemic-related concerns. Bloomberg reports that Isolated Region, shut down in May, would have enabled it to offer cloud services in countries that want to keep and control data within their borders. According to two Google employees who spoke to Bloomberg, the project was part of a larger initiative called "Sharded Google" to create data and processing infrastructure that is completely separate from the rest of the company’s network.

  • TikTok Says a Quarter of Videos Removed Involve Misbehaving Kids
    Bloomberg

    TikTok Says a Quarter of Videos Removed Involve Misbehaving Kids

    (Bloomberg) -- Almost a quarter of the videos TikTok took down in 2019’s second half involved inappropriate behavior by minors, from illegal drug use to sexual activity.The Chinese-owned social video service said 24.8% of the clips removed were “depicting harmful, dangerous, or illegal behavior by minors, like alcohol or drug use, as well as more serious content we take immediate action to remove.” Another 15.6% “violated our suicide, self-harm, and dangerous acts policy,” TikTok said in its second transparency report.TikTok -- which has insisted it operates independently of Beijing despite its Chinese ownership -- has come under fire in the U.S. and India for the way it polices content on a platform used by more than a billion people. Parent ByteDance Ltd. has been accused of censoring content that may anger the Chinese government, even as scrutiny grows about its control over the personal information of youths.The report made no mention of requests related to China, where ByteDance is based but TikTok doesn’t operate. A company spokesperson said it also didn’t receive a single data request in the second half from Hong Kong, a market it’s abandoned after Beijing passed a controversial law to grant police sweeping powers over online content. This week, U.S. internet giants from Facebook Inc. to Google said they will stop processing data requests from the city’s government, signaling their opposition to the legislation. TikTok was no longer available on Apple’s and Google’s Hong Kong app stores as of Thursday.Read more: TikTok Pulling Out of Hong Kong After China Law ControversyThe video sharing app said it removed more than 49 million clips overall, according to its report on enforcement of content policy and government takedown requests. Of those removed videos, more than 16 million originated in India, a small portion of which came down after government request. TikTok said that of the total videos removed, its systems proactively caught and removed 98.2% before a user reported them, while 89.4% were taken down before they got any views.The disclosure from TikTok comes in the same week as reports that the Federal Trade Commission and the U.S. Department of Justice have started to inquire about the company’s data practices -- specifically accusations that the app collected data on users under the age of 13. A prior iteration of the app paid $5.7 million in 2019 to settle similar claims by the FTC.“TikTok takes the issue of safety seriously for all our users,” a spokesperson said this week, “and we continue to further strengthen our safeguards and introduce new measures to protect young people on the app.” He declined to comment on whether the FTC or DOJ had approached TikTok about an investigation.Read more: TikTok Owner’s Profit Said to Hit $3 Billion as Sales DoubleFor 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 Scrapped Cloud Initiative in China, Other Markets 
    Bloomberg

    Google Scrapped Cloud Initiative in China, Other Markets 

    Jul.09 -- Google abandoned plans to offer a major new cloud service in China and other politically sensitive countries due in part to concerns over geopolitical tensions and the pandemic, according to two employees familiar with the matter, revealing the challenges for U.S. tech giants to secure business in those markets. Bloomberg's Selina Wang reports on "Bloomberg Markets: Asia."

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