Monday, January 17News That Matters

Tag: Google Inc

Google CEO Sundar Pichai Signed Off on Deal at Center of Antitrust Case, States Say

Technology
Google’s chief executive approved an agreement with Facebook at the heart of an antitrust lawsuit that 16 states and Puerto Rico have lodged against the search giant, according to a portion of the complaint revealed on Friday.The lawsuit, led by the Texas attorney general, Ken Paxton, argues that Google has obtained and abused a monopoly over the network of technology used to deliver ads online.When publishers started using an alternative system for selling their ad space, Google worked to undermine it by creating a similar system that it controlled, according to the lawsuit. The states argue that Google reached a deal with Facebook to have the social network join its effort in an effort to “kill” the publishers’ competing plan.In the newly unredacted portion of the lawsuit, filed in feder...

Why Some Workers Are Getting All the Covid Tests They Need

Business
The latest Covid-19 wave has left millions of Americans scrambling for tests, braving long lines in the cold at pop-up sites or searching furiously online for kits to use at home. But for a select group of employees at some of the country’s largest companies, tests are free and often readily available.Without an adequate federal system for developing and distributing rapid tests, companies have put their own testing services in place.Google will send full-time employees in the United States free at-home tests that deliver results within minutes and retail for more than $70 each. BlackRock, an investment firm that manages nearly $10 trillion in assets, offers tele-health supervision as employees self-administer rapid tests for international travel. At JPMorgan Chase, bankers, including thos...
Google Infringed on Sonos Speaker Technology, Trade Court Rules

Google Infringed on Sonos Speaker Technology, Trade Court Rules

Technology
OAKLAND, Calif. — Google infringed on five audio technology patents held by the speaker manufacturer Sonos and is not allowed to import products that violate Sonos’s intellectual property into the United States, a trade court ruled on Thursday.The final ruling by the United States International Trade Commission, a quasi-judicial body that decides trade cases and can block the import of goods that violate patents, closes a two-year investigation into the intellectual-property dispute.Sonos had asked the trade commission to block imports of Google products that the speaker company says infringes on its patents. They include Google Home smart speakers, Pixel phones and computers, and the Chromecast streaming video device. Those items are made in China and shipped to the United States.The impo...

Election Falsehoods Surged on Podcasts Before Capitol Riots, Researchers Find

Technology
Weeks before the 2020 presidential election, the conservative broadcaster Glenn Beck outlined his prediction for how Election Day would unfold: President Donald J. Trump would be winning that night, but his lead would erode as dubious mail-in ballots arrived, giving Joseph R. Biden Jr. an unlikely edge.“No one will believe the outcome because they’ve changed the way we’re electing a president this time,” he said.None of the predictions of widespread voter fraud came true. But podcasters frequently advanced the false belief that the election was illegitimate, first as a trickle before the election and then as a tsunami in the weeks leading up to the violent attack at the Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021, according to new research.Researchers at the Brookings Institution reviewed transcripts of nearl...

Snow Closed the Highways. GPS Mapped a Harrowing Detour in the Sierra Nevada.

Technology
The road once carried stagecoaches during the Gold Rush, twisting its way through what is now a national forest and an area of the Sierra Nevada known for snowmobiling.In the winter, the rugged passage, known as the Quincy-La Porte Road or County Road 511 in Plumas County, Calif., is closed.But Wendy Becktold, an editor from the Bay Area who was on her way to visit an ailing relative in Reno, Nev., on Monday, said that she had been unaware of that when she navigated her rented Toyota Corolla onto the backcountry road during a record-setting snowstorm.Google Maps had guided her that way because two major highways near Lake Tahoe were shut down, she recounted in an interview on Wednesday, echoing concerns of other drivers and public safety officials about the potential hazards of relying too...

Big Tech Journeys Into the Virtual Reality Reaches of the Metaverse

Technology
“We were giving away the hardware but making money on the data,” he said. “For every dollar of hardware, we were making three dollars on software and data sales.”This is why companies like Apple, Google, Microsoft and Meta are exploring similar technologies. For some, they might be a way of selling software and services. For others, they might be a way of selling ads, Dr. Bautista said.But experts say perfecting this technology could take a decade — if not more. Some augmented reality glasses are as small and light as ordinary eyewear, but they do not yet offer the computing power needed to generate the convincing but unobtrusive images that everyday use would require.“It sometimes feels like ‘10 years’ is code for ‘I have no idea,’” said Dr. Balram, who is developing augmented reality gla...

The Year in Tech Empires

Technology
This article is part of the On Tech newsletter. Here is a collection of past columns.Big Tech got bigger-er and stronger in 2021. The empires of technology also appeared more vulnerable than ever to the forces of regulation, competition, a complicated public mood and perhaps hubris.Yup, this is a contradiction. But this stronger-but-weaker phenomenon for Big Tech is likely to continue in 2022.Behind this trend is the same question I keep asking in this newsletter: Are American technology superpowers including Google, Amazon, Apple, Microsoft and Facebook invincible in a way that prior generations of corporate titans were not?First, here’s a glimpse at ways that Big Tech reached the stratosphere in 2021. Apple, already the world’s most valuable business, is close to reaching an unimaginable...

Lawmakers Urge Big Tech to ‘Mitigate Harm’ of Suicide Site and Seek Justice Inquiry

Technology
Families of those who spent time on the website and learned ways to die have long sought accountability from tech companies that lead people to the site, including search engines. The site draws six million page views a month, and nearly half of all traffic is driven by online searches, according to data from Similarweb, a web analytics company.A representative for Microsoft said that in response to The Times’s investigation, the company had “taken action in line with our policies” and “addressed the ranking associated with this website in our results,” making the site rank lower for most related searches.Citing The Times’s reporting, Mr. Blumenthal wrote in his letter, addressed to Google’s chief executive, Sundar Pichai, that the content on the suicide site “makes the world a dark place ...
The New Get-Rich-Faster Job in Silicon Valley: Crypto Start-Ups

The New Get-Rich-Faster Job in Silicon Valley: Crypto Start-Ups

Business
OAKLAND, Calif. — When Sandy Carter left her job as a vice president of Amazon’s cloud computing unit this month, she announced in a LinkedIn post that she was joining a crypto technology company. She included a link for open positions at the start-up.Within two days, she said, more than 350 people — many from the biggest internet companies — had clicked the link to apply for jobs at the firm, Unstoppable Domains. The start-up sells website addresses that sit on the blockchain, the distributed ledger system that underpins cryptocurrencies.“It’s the perfect storm,” Ms. Carter said. “The momentum we’re seeing in this space is just incredible.”Ms. Carter is part of a wave of executives and engineers leaving cushy jobs at Google, Amazon, Apple and other large tech companies — some of which pay...

Google Pledged to Remove Ads From Climate Denial Sites, but Many Still Run

Technology, World
Ahead of last month’s United Nations global climate summit, Google, the world’s biggest provider of ads online, made a big announcement: It would stop placing ads on sites that deny the scientific consensus on climate change.Banned from profiting from its advertising program, Google said, were sites and videos falsely referring to global warming as a hoax or a scam. Also no longer welcome to run Google ads: Content falsely claiming that greenhouse gas emissions, or human activity, do not contribute to climate change.But new research shows that Google’s policy has had limited effect so far.As of Wednesday, ads placed by Google were still running on scores of articles, including ones on major right-wing sites like Breitbart, that falsely called global warming a hoax and described the United ...