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  • Fri, Jun. 3, 4:24 PM
    • Nest Labs, acquired by Alphabet/Google (GOOG, GOOGL) for $3.2B in 2014, is responsible for Nest-branded smart thermostats and smoke detectors, as well as Dropcam's home cameras and cloud video recording services. Fadell founded Nest, and is often referred to as the Podfather for the major role he played in developing the iPod at Apple.
    • His departure follows major employee turnover at Nest, as well as numerous critiques - some on the record, some off the record - from current and former Nest/Dropcam employees over Fadell's leadership.
    • In addition, Nest has been dealing with product delays (perhaps due to the employee turmoil), and reportedly hasn't been meeting Google's sales expectations. Re/code reported on March 30 Nest was initially given a $500M/year budget, and (with Dropcam's help) produced 2015 sales of $340M.
    • The Information reports Fadell will be replaced at Nest by former Motorola Mobility EVP Marwan Fawaz (was responsible for Motorola's set-top unit), and will remain an advisor to Alphabet. In addition to Nest, Fadell had been put in charge of the oft-criticized Google Glass, for which an enterprise model is expected to arrive soon. However, former Motorola president Rick Osterloh was recently given authority over Glass and various other hardware products.
    | Fri, Jun. 3, 4:24 PM | 45 Comments
  • Mon, May 30, 4:06 AM
    • It could be a long time before investigators complete the analysis of data seized in last week's raid of Google's (GOOG, GOOGL) Paris headquarters, which resulted from a probe into suspected tax evasion.
    • "We have collected a lot of computer data," French financial prosecutor Eliane Houlette said on Sunday. "We need to analyze (the data)... (it will take) months, I hope that it won't be several years, but we are very limited in resources."
    • Previously: Google's Paris HQ raided in French tax probe (May. 24 2016)
    | Mon, May 30, 4:06 AM | 14 Comments
  • Thu, May 26, 4:46 PM
    • A jury has found in favor of Google (GOOG, GOOGL) in its retrial of a patent fight with Oracle (NYSE:ORCL) over Java.
    • The 10-member panel decided that Google's use of the language in its Android OS was fair use. Google had incorporated parts of Java in Android when Java was owned by Sun Microsystems, later acquired by Oracle in 2010.
    • Oracle has claimed that Google has cost billions of dollars in mobile opportunity by not paying license fees for using Java APIs.
    • It's not the end, though: "We strongly believe that Google developed Android by illegally copying core Java technology to rush into the mobile device market," an Oracle statement says. "Oracle brought this lawsuit to put a stop to Google's illegal behavior. We believe there are numerous grounds for appeal and we plan to bring this case back to the Federal Circuit on appeal."
    • For its part, Google calls it "a win for the Android ecosystem, for the Java programming community, and for software developers who rely on open and free programming languages to build innovative consumer products."
    • After hours: ORCL -0.3%; GOOG +0.1%; GOOGL +0.3%.
    | Thu, May 26, 4:46 PM | 29 Comments
  • Tue, May 24, 2:37 PM
    • In an overhaul of the company's core AdWords search ad service (easily the company's biggest profit engine), Google (GOOG +2.1%) is expanding the amount of text that can respectively be shown in ad headlines and descriptions to 30 and 80 characters from 25 and 35, and set bids for ad prices based on device type (PCs, phones, and tablets).
    • The company is also launching an ad solution for the 2M+ sites/apps on its display ad network that automatically adapts to the kind of content being shown, and giving advertisers access to cross-exchange inventory (increases the number of sites/apps they can reach).
    • Google argues support for longer ad headlines and descriptions is helpful on mobile, where consumers "[want] to know exactly what you offer before tapping into your website." Tests showed an increase of up to 20% in click-through rates.
    • Meanwhile, in a fresh attempt to get more of the local ad dollars moving to online channels, Google is launching local search ad options for Google Search and Maps that let advertisers prominently show their business locations. It's also testing Promoted Pins, which allow a business' logo to appear within Google Maps, and giving local businesses the ability to showcase special offers and inventory on their pages.
    • The local ad efforts represent additional competition for Yelp (YELP +2%), which is going after the same ad dollars. Google notes nearly 1/3 of all mobile searches are location-related, and that location-related searches are growing 50% faster than mobile searches in general. Over half of Google's total searches are now via mobile devices.
    • Now read Google: Instant Apps Technology A Game Changer
    | Tue, May 24, 2:37 PM
  • Tue, May 24, 7:32 AM
    • "As far as our country is concerned, back taxes concerning this company amount to 1.6 billion euros," said a French finance ministry official three months ago. Today, Reuters reports authorities as having raided Google's (GOOG, GOOGL) Paris headquarters as part of its tax probe.
    | 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 »
    | Fri, May 20, 10:31 AM | 4 Comments
  • 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 »
    | Thu, May 19, 6:56 PM | 18 Comments
  • 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, 2:02 PM | 44 Comments
  • 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.
    | Wed, May 18, 3:47 AM | 18 Comments
  • 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.
    | Tue, May 17, 2:11 AM | 11 Comments
  • 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, 12:10 PM | 29 Comments
  • 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.
    | Mon, May 16, 2:06 AM | 71 Comments
  • 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, 2:59 PM | 8 Comments
  • 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.
    | Wed, May 11, 4:29 AM | 17 Comments
  • 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 »
    | Tue, May 10, 10:01 AM | 64 Comments
  • 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
    | Wed, May 4, 2:01 PM | 6 Comments