Tue, May 24, 7:32 AM| Tue, May 24, 7:32 AM | 17 Comments
Fri, May 20, 10:31 AM
- Shares in Sohu.com (NASDAQ:SOHU) are up 3.5% in U.S. trading after a Chinese newspaper reported it's in talks to partner with Google (GOOG +1.3%, GOOGL +1%) on searches.
- The South China Morning Post says the two have talked about a partnership where Google would perform "some of the searches," while Sohu's search engine Sogou would screen the results. Meanwhile, other Google applications (including Google Play and Google Maps) would return to China's market, TheFly noted.
- Now read Sohu.com: The Next Privatization Target »
Thu, May 19, 6:56 PM
- Google's (GOOG -0.9%, GOOGL -0.9%) CEO of autonomous cars says there's no plans to expand a partnership with Fiat Chrysler (FCAU -3.3%) on building such a car for market.
- "This is just FCA and Google building 100 cars together," John Krafcik said at an energy conference in Washington.
- The two companies described a partnership early this month where the two would build 100 Pacific minivans, but each firm said the deal wasn't exclusive and that they could seek out other partners.
- Those vehicles weren't designed for sale, and Google said it wasn't sharing proprietary info with Fiat Chrysler, but FCA CEO Sergio Marchionne had suggested the deal could evolve into something stronger.
- There's no timetable for marketing the cars, Krafcik says, but: "We have a responsibility to get this out there as soon as we can and really as soon as we have data that says we're better than the current system of flawed human drivers ... As soon as we're better, we should push the button and go."
- Now read Google's Payoff: After A Decade Of Research, Search Turns Into AI »
Wed, May 18, 2:02 PM
- "We want users to have an ongoing, two-way dialogue with Google," says CEO Sundar Pichai at the Google I/O conference as he reveals Google Assistant, a "conversational" assistant service that builds on Google Now's existing voice search service and competes with Apple's Siri and Amazon's Alexa. In addition to phones, Google Assistant will find its way into cars, smartwatches, and living room gear. (live blogs: The Verge, Re/code)
- One of those living room devices will be Google Home, a small speaker/voice assistant that (as previously reported) competes with Amazon's Echo line. Google (GOOG +0.2%) declares the device to be "unmatched in far-field voice recognition," and is capable of controlling other speakers and Chromecast sticks. Home will be available at some point later this year; no word on pricing yet.
- Looking to shore up Google's relatively weak position in a mobile messaging market where Facebook Messenger, WhatsApp, WeChat, and Snapchat loom large, Google has launched Allo, a messaging app that will support Google Assistant and third-party chatbot services (echoes of Facebook's Messenger bots) and also suggests automated "smart replies" for various messages. The Verge's Casey Newton: "The question is, is Allo good enough to be the 11th messenger app on your phone?"
- Also: 1) A video call app called Duo has been launched; it emphasizes speed and simplicity. 2) Google says it has sold 25M Chromecast devices, up from a prior 20M. 3) Google Photos now has over 200M monthly active users. 4) Google Play saw 65B installs last year.
- Update: Google is also showing off the next version of Android (codenamed Android N). It features a slew of incremental improvements such as better GPU performance, 75% faster app installation times, a 50% reduction in compiled code size, improved notifications, and built-in split-screen and (for Android TV devices) picture-in-picture support.
- Update 2: Google has also shown off a reference design for a VR headset that will be powered by Android N phones, and work with a controller featuring buttons and a trackpad. HBO, the NBA, Ubisoft, and CNN are among Google's VR content partners.
Wed, May 18, 3:47 AM
- Google (GOOG, GOOGL) will introduce its much-anticipated entry into the voice-activated home device market today at its annual developers' conference in Silicon Valley.
- Named Google Home, the device is a virtual agent that answers simple questions and carries out basic tasks, and will come to market in the fall.
- The gadget is also set to ratchet up competition with Amazon's Echo, which was introduced less than two years ago and has already sold an estimated 3M units.
Tue, May 17, 2:11 AM
- Alphabet (GOOG, GOOGL) has unveiled a pilot program that will enable several thousand San Francisco-area workers to hitch rides to or from work with its Waze navigation app. Riders will pay drivers $0.54 a mile, and the company won't take a cut during the pilot.
- Alphabet said it began testing its carpooling app, called Waze Rider, in Tel Aviv in July 2015. Thousands of people now use the app across Israel, where the tech giant takes a 15% commission for each trip.
Mon, May 16, 12:10 PM
- Leon Cooperman's Omega Advisors sold its roughly 3M share stake in Citigroup (NYSE:C) in Q1, which had accounted for about 3.4% of the fund's holdings.
- He took new stakes in PayPal Holdings (NASDAQ:PYPL), UnitedHealth (NYSE:UNH), Coach (NYSE:COH), Lowe's (NYSE:LOW), Autozone (NYSE:AZO), and Electronic Arts (NASDAQ:EA).
- Cooperman also cut his FANG exposure, selling more than 50% of his Facebook (NASDAQ:FB), and about one-third of his Google (GOOG, GOOGL).
- While the 13F also shows a new 227K share stake in Apple (representing 0.7% of the total portfolio), CNBC reports that holding has since been sold.
Mon, May 16, 2:06 AM
- European antitrust authorities will impose a record fine on Google (GOOG, GOOGL) in coming weeks for abusing its dominance of the online search market in the region, according to the U.K.'s Telegraph newspaper.
- The European Commission is planning to fine the tech giant about €3B, surpassing the toughest antitrust punishment to date - a €1.1B fine levied on Intel.
- Google will also be banned from continuing to manipulate search results to favor itself and harm rivals.
Wed, May 11, 2:59 PM
- Shares in Alphabet are slipping (GOOG -1.2%, GOOGL -1.3%) on news that the FTC is back asking questions about whether Google's abusing a dominant position in the search market.
- That means the agency could reopen a probe it closed over three years ago, Politico reports. It's been talking with a major rival who's raising objections again.
- Since what Google critics called a "slap on the wrist" back then, the search giant has faced increasing scrutiny over competitive behavior in Europe, over its shopping services and Android operating system.
- The report may not mean a full new investigation; a majority of commissioners would have to vote to go forward in a closed-door session.
- Now read Google IO: Positioning Android To Disrupt The PC Industry »
Wed, May 11, 4:29 AM
- The search giant faced off against Oracle (NYSE:ORCL) in a retrial on Tuesday over whether it infringed the latter's copyrights for the Java code to develop Android in 2006.
- If the new jury rules against Google (GOOG, GOOGL) on fair use, then it will consider Oracle's $9.3B damages request.
- Meanwhile, Russia's antitrust authorities today are expected to fine Google for misusing its Android dominance.
- The Internet company denies any wrongdoing, but the possible penalty - up to 7% of the company’s annual revenue in Russia - comes a month after EU officials made similar allegations.
Tue, May 10, 10:01 AM
- Amazon.com (NASDAQ:AMZN) is up 2.8% and touching an all-time high, just shy of $700/share, following news that it's launching its own YouTube-esque user video upload service.
- Users can start today in uploading their own or licensed videos to Amazon Video Direct, and earn royalties based on hours streamed. The company's users can even decide whether the videos are free to all, to rent or own, or offered as a subscription channel or behind the Prime paywall.
- That's a direct lineup with YouTube (GOOG +0.9%, GOOGL +0.9%) and another front in a rivalry with Google that now broadly covers shopping and Web services as well as areas like devices.
- Like YouTube, Amazon will keep 45% of revenues from ads on the free broadcasts. Users who choose to upload ad-free Prime videos will get $0.15/hour streamed in the U.S. and $0.06/hour overseas; Amazon keeps 50% of revenue from subscriptions, purchases and rentals.
- Launch partners include Conde Nast, The Guardian, Mattel and Mashable.
- Now read Amazon Web Services: The New Face Of Tech Giant's Profitability »
Wed, May 4, 2:01 PM
- Bloomberg reports Google/YouTube (GOOG +0.6%) is working on a subscription-based online TV service called Unplugged that's expected to debut as soon as 2017. Talks have been held with TV network owners such as NBCUniversal, Fox, CBS, and Viacom, but no rights have yet been secured.
- The report comes on a day that has seen Hulu announce it plans to offer live TV services to complement its on-demand content. It also arrives seven months after the launch of YouTube Red, a $10/month service that combines ad-free YouTube access with the Google Play Music subscription service. YouTube could potentially bundle Red with an online TV service.
- Sony and Dish Network currently provide online TV services, and Verizon appears set to launch a rival offering later this year. Apple reportedly suspended plans to enter the young market due to stalled licensing talks, but still wants to enter at some point.
- In other news, ad agency giant IPG's Magna Global unit has struck a multi-year deal to spend $250M on YouTube ads at this Digital Content NewFronts ad sales presentations. Notably, the money will come from Magna's TV ad budget rather than its online ad budget, and is 4-5x the firm's typical YouTube budget. AdWeek says Magna will now "spend less on traditional marketing overall this year as TV ratings dip."
- Now read Alphabet Counting On Cloud And YouTube
Tue, May 3, 4:35 PM
- Fiat Chrysler Automobiles (NYSE:FCAU) and Alphabet's (GOOG, GOOGL) Google plan to build 100 Pacific minivans together as part of a partnership between the two companies.
- Google will take deliver of 100 slightly-tweaked 2017 Pacificas to make the necessary autonomous driving installations.
- John Krafcik, an automobile industry heavyweight now at Google, says partnerships with other manufacturers are still part of the tech company's future strategy.
- Previously: Google and Fiat Chrysler talk car project (April 28)
Fri, Apr. 29, 10:09 AM
- With little prospect of settlement, Google (GOOG +0.6%, GOOGL +0.7%) is headed for its first European Union sanction this year, sources tell Reuters.
- The company has no further plan for a settlement after three failed compromise attempts since 2016, sources said, and neither party has much left in the way of incentives to reach a deal.
- That means a likely sanction in the test case tied to Google's shopping service, which European regulators charged was favored by its search results. A second charge recently followed over Google's Android operating system.
- Last week's news that Google and Microsoft were burying the hatchet may be a sign that Google will strike a deal with the EC, and avoid repeating Microsoft's own damaging fight with Europeans (That company ended up with fines of more than €2.2B after a decade-long fight).
- Now read Alphabet/Google Approaching A Fork In The Road »
Thu, Apr. 28, 3:02 PM
- Re/code reports Rick Osterloh, once the President of Motorola Mobility (sold by Google to Lenovo in 2014), is rejoining Google/Alphabet (GOOG -1.3%) to run a new division encompassing all of Google's hardware products. The news comes a month after Lenovo announced Osterloh is leaving as part of a restructuring.
- Products covered by Osterloh's unit include Google's Nexus hardware line, its Chromecast HDMI stick, Chromebook laptops, the OnHub home router, the Project Ara modular phone initiative, and (notably) Google Glass. Glass has been overseen by Nest Labs chief Tony Fadell, recently the subject of multiple reports regarding employee discontent within Nest (particularly within its Dropcam home camera unit).
- Fadell, still Nest's CEO, will reportedly remain an "adviser" to the Glass team. An enterprise-focused version of Glass has been in development under his watch.
- Earlier: Google reportedly in advanced talks with Fiat Chrysler for self-driving car partnership
Thu, Apr. 28, 12:30 PM
- Fiat Chrysler Automobiles (NYSE:FCAU) is in advanced discussions with Google (GOOG, GOOGL) over a car project, according to CNBC which cites a Dow Jones report.
- It's no surprise that Fiat is looking to partner up with all its talk about industry consolidation, while Google has been at the forefront of the self-driving car technology push.
- Shares of Fiat Chrysler are up 2.63% on the day. Google parent Alphabet is down 0.5%.
Alphabet, Inc. is a newly founded holding company for the Google group of businesses. Under the new operating structure, its main Google business will include search, ads, maps, apps, YouTube and Android and the related technical infrastructure (the 'Google business'). Businesses such as Calico,... More
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