Google To Be Penalized Under EU antitrust act

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The internet search engine giant has been under the axe of EU antitrust act

Sources familiar with the matter has disclosed that Alphabet Inc.’s subsidiary Google is likely to be penalized under the European Union antitrust sanction in the current year. The sources further expressed that the settlement of the test case with the bloc’s regulator is highly unlikely.

There are several incentives which either party can opt for reaching a deal in a six-year dispute. This could help establish a precedent for the Internet search giant’s searches for flights, hotels, and other services in addition to testing the ability of the regulators to safeguard Web diversity.

This was the second time that Google had been hit by EU antitrust charge. The company has been alleged for taking undue advantage of its strong dominance in the market and deliberately squeezing out the rivals. After years of arguing and fighting, the company shows little signs of backing down. Since 2010, the company had had three failed compromise attempts therefore, by the looks of it, the Internet search giant is not looking forward to settle the allegations put on it which blame the company for using its Web search results to accentuate its own shopping service unless the Commission takes its stance back.

Such turn of events is highly unlikely as Margrethe Vestager –European Competition Commissioner –shows no interest in going for a settlement when there is no discovery of any sort of wrongdoing or a fine against Google, sources privy to the matter cited.

The stakes are high for the Alphabet’s subsidiary which has constantly denied of any sort of breach. According to some of the rivals, any fine basically highlights the cost of doing the business and through its existing business model it has a lot to gain in profit.

The European Commission didn’t comment.

Thomas Vinje, a lawyer who has advised few of Google’s competitors has cited: “From a pure profitability perspective, it is better off dragging out the competition case, continuing its practices for as long as possible, and ultimately paying a fine that will be smaller than the profits it generates by continuing the conduct.”

On the contrary, according to several sources, the last week’s pact with the rival Microsoft indicates that since companies are trying to surrender all complaints against each other therefore Google is likely to go for a deal with the European Commission.

However, one of the sources cited that it is too early for the Alphabet’s subsidiary to come up with any decision regarding the EU case. Up till now, Google’s track record regarding the global cases has been mixed –winning some legal battles while losing the others.

In the near future, more details of the case will be unfolded. Alphabets Inc.’s shares have been flat meaning that the news didn’t affect them negatively whatsoever. At the market which closed on Friday, Alphabet Inc.’s stock stood at a price of $707.88. The 52 week range of the stock is $532 to $810.

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Supreme Court Declined Hearing Case Against Google

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The lower order courts had earlier sided with the internet giant and called its books’ scanning activities, “legal”

On Monday, the U.S. Supreme Court announced that it will not take up the case against Alphabet Inc.’s accusing the internet search giant of infringing the copyright of all a large number of books by scanning them and making them searchable online.

The justices opined, in writing, that they are not ready to take up Authors Guild and individual writers appeal who have been blaming that the internet titan has been involved in the infringement “on an epic scale.”

Additionally, the lower courts had favored the Mountain View, Calif. based firm and stated that the company had used the writer’s work without any infringement as it only allows the user to find a “specified term” in a cluster of around 20 million books and only enable the view of an excerpt.

Now, since the supreme-court has declined to entertain the case therefore the ruling of the lower courts which side the company are final.

In response to the lower-court decision, the authors expressed through the court petition that the court’s decision is unjust and highlights “an unprecedented judicial expansion” of the theory of fair use. They also blamed that through this move, the court is actually threatening the digital age’s copyright protection. They further added that Google’s act of copying shouldn’t be swept under the “perceived social benefit” of the search product.

The $538 billion organization responded that its database of the books is more favorable for the authors as it allows the users to find new books on its platforms. In a court brief, Google cited: “A copyright does not protect its holder against the listing of a work in either a traditional card catalog or in this vastly superior new form of search tool.”

This initiative was commenced by the company back in 2004 when few research libraries allowed it to scan the books from their collection. The internet giant then handed over the “digital copy” of the books to the libraries. A large number of the books available on Google’s database are “out of print.” Additionally, majority of the books are in the public domain –meaning that they no longer classify for the “copyright protection.”

However, lots of books are under the umbrella of the copyright protection and the Californian internet titan hadn’t sought permission before scanning them from the copyright holders.

According to the Wall Street Journal, in the most recent hearing last October, New York situated, Second U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals gave out the verdict that the “Google’s actions were legal.”

The court said: “Google’s making of a digital copy to provide a search function is a transformative use, which augments public knowledge by making available information about plaintiffs’ books without providing the public with a substantial substitute for matter protected by the plaintiffs’ copyright interests.”

Few prominent writers, however, including Margaret Atwood, Tony Kushner, Malcolm Gladwell, and J.M. Coetzee have requested the Supreme Court to hear the case.

Google Revives Beacon Technology With Security Upgrade

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Google is working on the long forgotten technology again

According to the most recent news, the long abandoned beacon technology has met its revival as Google is bringing the technology back with more upgrades.

Years ago, Google and Apple both have introduced the technology. It involved the use of Bluetooth Low Energy and low-cost transmitters, which enable the tracking of user’s positions to within feet. For marketers, the technology was profitable as they can easily distribute coupons and send notifications to the customers in nearby airports, shops, and stadiums. Customers didn’t show much excitement about it especially when they knew how they were being constantly tracked.

The Mountain View, Calif. firm has reintroduced the beacon technology by strengthening the security update of the format which might bring down the customers’ fears of security. Physical beacons will now come with Ephemeral IDs or EIDs. Each beacon will be equipped with the ID –which is somewhat similar to the computer’s IP address –used to identify the consumer’s tablet or phone, in addition to larger beacon networks. EIDs are encrypted IDs which can be self-destroyed. The destruction can take place after a second or can take maximum nine hours.

According to Google, this will make the user’s tracking tougher and will likely cover the location of the beacon. Chief Technologist, Joseph Hall, at Centre for Democracy & Technology, while speaking to Wired, said that through EIDs, the internet search behemoth’s Eddystone beacon technology now possess lesser threat to a user’s technology. He cited: “The threats that Google is trying to protect against here is some sort of persistent correlation between your identity, or some location, or the fact that you’re communicating with this thing quite often.”

Google has expressed that, from this week, around 15 beacon companies will support EIDs. It added that in the future, “more companies” would follow the same suit. Google is looking forward to showcase the wide spectrum if the uses beacons are likely to have. The Colorado based luggage manufacturer, Samsonite has installed Eddystone EID beacon in smart suitcases to circumvent the frequent luggage lost. In the similar fashion, Hong Kong Museum K11 is also using Google’s technology to render the exhibits’ information to the visitors’ phones and Washington Wizards is using EIDs in order to give rewards to fans at games.

Although the technology apparently sounds quite useful and interesting, it hasn’t quite yet touched the hearts of average customers. Customers are still skeptical regarding the security of the technology as nobody likes being tracked at every hour of the day. Even though the internet behemoth has enabled a security feature, it will not be enough for making the technology acceptable among the consumers. The company has to come up with more compelling features and cases if it really wants to revive the tech and not just abandon it like previously.

Alphabet’s shares are trading well at the market. The share closed at a price of $775, at Thursday’s market. The 52-week range of the shares is $529 to $810.

Cardboard Software Developer Kit for Google Cardboard

Cardboard Software Developer Kit for Google Cardboard

Google, after getting on board its android customers, is now working to get the target audience of Apple’s share as well.

Google recently decided to publish a Cardboard Software Developer Kit (SDK) with tools for iOS in an attempt to make it simpler for developers to develop content for the iPhone users. Despite the fact that Google Cardboard has not received the amount of attention that Oculus Rift attained, Samsung’s Gear VR that it is working on in collaboration with Facebook. Along with HTC Hive, it is pointed out that Google’s VR headgear is actually made of cardboard and costs only $15; which makes it easier for consumers to get their hands on the product.

Virtual Reality is the most upcoming and emerging technology attracting many tech enthusiasts. Technology companies are in a race to chase this opportunity including Facebook, Microsoft, HTC, and Sony etc. Presently, all these organizations are working on recording VR videos while on the other hand Google is working on achieving 360-degree content.

VR View, the developer kit is an open source system for apps that would work on both iOS and android. The search engine giant is making an effort to create more apps for the iPhone as it is likely to benefit the company’s own VR headset. It’s keeping its focus more towards the Web as app development only needs few programming additions while for the web, an embedding code is needed, quite similar to that for 2D Clips.

The Cardboard is a regular virtual reality device except that it is made out of cardboard; it allows users to experience the amusing VR world with apps and videos at a cheap price. However, to get a 360-degree content experience, users are required to attach their smartphone to it. In an attempt to encourage more people to use the product, the internet company has decided to introduce it on its competitor’s smartphones as well.

The reason for introducing the Cardboard on the iOS was mainly to increase the usage of the product and attract more customers. However, it would make sense to think that introducing it on a rival’s product would pose a threat to the company’s own android operating system – but that is not the case, as the headset can already be used on the android operating system. So people with android already have the access to it whereas bringing it on iPhone’s operating system simply means additional Google Cardboard users.

Furthermore, this push by the largest internet company in Silicon Valley further justifies how badly all the tech organization want to get in the virtual reality market and grab their market share before anyone else does. In addition to Google, Facebook is also taking its VR sector quite seriously; it started selling of its Oculus VR Rift Headset. Both Facebook and Samsung are tirelessly working on improving and penetrating into this market segment.

Google Being Discrete About Its Amazon Echo Rival

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The search engine organization is working on its own digital assistant to give Amazon’s Echo competition.

Google Inc. doesn’t like being left behind and this time, it is taking the battle up against Amazon.com, the retail giant. According to recent news, the search engine giant has been developing its own version of something close to Amazon’s Bluetooth Echo Speaker. However, at this point Alphabet Inc.’s subsidiary has not provided much information on the latest development or even when it will be launching the future product.

Amazon’s Echo has gained increased popularity in the technology market ever since its debut. This device is connect via Bluetooth to various home appliances etc. and users are able to perform various functions through voice commands.

Google currently has planned to exert its efforts in making this help-assistant without the support of its sister company, Nest. The search engine organization has decided to ditch Nest in the creation of this future product, mainly because of Nest’s lack of launching products on their release dates. The largest internet company did not want to risk being involved with its sister company due to its recent reputation.

Consequently, another reason for not involving Nest in its latest development is that the internet company wants to create its own digital assistant that is good enough to go up against Amazon’s Echo. Echo has already managed to take most of the market share in the digital help-assistant market; it works with the help was Alexa, that the users can speak to. It is integrated with complex voice recognition. Alexa, simply with the help of its user’s voice, is able to call an Uber, playback music, access the smart-lights in a user’s house.

Furthermore, the retail giant has expanded its Echo product line with the introduction of ‘Dot’ and ‘Tap’ devices – it becomes evident that Google needs to speed things up with the introduction of its digital assistant. Since Echo has managed to attract most of the market share, it will be a difficult task for the search engine internet business to attract consumers at once. However, given its credible name and reputation in the technology industry, we are sure people will buy and pursue Google’s latest product.

However, Alphabet Inc. has always been known for being discrete and secretive while working on a new product; hence we do not know much of the product at this point. In addition to that, given that it has not made any such announcement regarding the future device as it, we can conclude that the launch of this product will not be anytime soon. But the launch of such a product is likely to excite its user-base in case the company decides to integrate this with Google Maps, Play Music, and Gmail etc.

This introduction of digital assistants has gained quite the popularity in the tech world as many technology organizations have decided to experiment with their very own digital helpers. Amazon has been showing off its technology by integrating it with voice recognition on smart-homes, and smart appliances. It’s safe to say, that if Google rolls out a competitor for Echo, android users will be the first to get their hands on it ultimately helping the company boost its hardware sales.

 

Alphabet Inc.’s Gets Approval by Federal Authorities to Run Its Autonomous Cars

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The search engine giant is the first ever technology giant to get approval for its autonomous cars.

Alphabet Inc.’s dream of penetrating into the autonomous car segment is a step closer to its fulfilment. The US Vehicle Safety Regulators sent a letter to Google approving the artificial intelligence that was running the latest Google car and stated that under the Federal Law it can be considered as a driver. This approval has just brought the company a step closer to bringing its cars on the roads.

The search engine giant has submitted a proposal on November 12, 2015 to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration –NHTSA mentioning the design of its self-driving car and the technology that it was run on. This regulatory agency helps various organizations to work on their safety standards while designing cars; but they are willing to approve the software as a ‘driver’ that is running these autonomous cars made by Alphabet.

Google is not the only organization that is working on these self-driving vehicles; although it is the only technology giant to have gotten approval from the authorities. Other such technology giants in the business who are working on the same innovative vehicles include Tesla Motors and Apple, Inc. However these two companies have not yet been able to reach up to and fulfill the requirements of the regulators – as they have strict safety laws and regulations that the businesses need to live up to if they were want to see their autonomous cars running on the roads.

Due to the reason that the other companies working on the same technology have not yet gotten approval from the authority are not complaining that this is delaying the testing process as well as the deployment of these vehicles. Furthermore, the authorities have also stated that these latest cars need to have steering, wheels, brake pedals as well as a licensed driver so that it’s a simple car in its essence but could run without all these things as well.

It is safe to say that we will be able to get our hands on these self-driving cars soon enough since Google’s system has gotten approval but it still needs to work on a few strict things which might take a while. According to the approval given by the Federal Agency, these cars require further safety equipment which include the braking system activation by foot and it has also provided the company with a specific map on which these automobiles are allowed to function.

According to Google, having the dual system in the cars could actually be a major problem as it would give people the impression that they can take control of the vehicle. Because of the device gives people the option of a steering wheel and acceleration; they will want to override the automatic system of the cars. The chief of NHTSA did take this concern into consideration as stated that the standards set on the vehicle need to be rewritten before the company launched the autos.

 

Google Aims At Competing Facebook With Its Messaging Service

Google Aims At Competing Facebook With Its Messaging Service

The search engine giant is now working on building a mobile messaging app to compete with Facebook messenger and other messaging apps.

To compete with Facebook, Inc., Google is planning on launching its own mobile messaging app. The search engine giant is doing so by tapping into its artificial intelligence know-how and chatbot technology, according to people who are familiar with the matter. At this point, Google’s spokeswoman has declined to comment.

According to the Wall Street Journal, the search engine giant has been working on this mobile messaging service for over a year now but as of now there is no news about when it will be launching. There isn’t much information about this service yet but it is likely to be as powerful as the search engine itself which means a user will be able to ask for answers for normal questions related to details on a restaurant or the weather. The Journal further stated that the search engine company might allow outside developers to build their own bots on the service as well.

At this point, Google does not have a successful messaging service or application. The news sounded like the company was directly competing with Facebook’s “M” project. This project of the social media giant’s is aimed at helping a user do everything and anything online from shopping to booking restaurant reservations. Some tech savvy users call these new messaging app trend ChatOps, since 2015 has been the year of many messaging apps coming into being.

In other news, Ford Motor’s stock has managed to rise as talks of both, the automobile and search engine have been circling around. The stock is at $14.09 as of Tuesday, indicating an increase of 2.62%. According to these talks, google and ford motors might be coming together to work on building self-driving cars. The announcement for this collaboration will be made at the Consumer Electronics Show which is held in Las Vegas annually, if the deal is finalized. The show usually takes at the beginning of the year, according to reports by Automotive News.

At this point, the company has not commented on Automotive’s news but it did state the search engine company has been in talks with a number of automakers. According to The Street’s portfolio manager, Jim Cramer a person doesn’t buy Ford on a new like this but opts for buying Alphabet since it is an engine of ideas.

As for the messaging app, the search engine giant has been working on it since a year and the company’s veteran Nick Fox in October has offered to buy 200 Labs Inc. This is a small startup that works on building chatbots. However this offer was decline by the startup company.