Thu, Jul. 21, 10:32 AM
- Bundled in a note announcing a new Oregon Cloud Region (us-west1) for its Cloud Platform, Google (GOOG, GOOGL) also shared news on language and speech machine learning APIs the company has been working on.
- Cloud Natural Language and Cloud Speech are now in open beta.
- Cloud Natural Language has the ability to analyze sentiment within blocks of text and identify people, organizations, locations, events, product and media. It is also capable of recognizing structure and meaning of text.
- Here is a demo of the Cloud Natural Language API evaluating text from The New York Times and Harry Potter.
- Cloud Speech API will enable speech-to-text rendering in 80+ languages, citing IoT devices and apps as use cases for the service. The technology the API is built on has already enabled voice recognition in Google Now and Google Search.
- Beta version includes new feature allowing recognition of custom phrases used to command an action within a specific context (i.e "rewind", "fast-forward" while a movie is playing). Additional enhancements to simplify development of apps using the API also noted.
- The beta release of these APIs adds to the company's growing portfolio of machine learning powered services with Google Translate API and Cloud Vision API among those already available.
Wed, Jul. 20, 5:34 PM
- Needham & Company forecasts Apple (AAPL) could see $3B in revenue over the next 12-24 months generated exclusively by Pokémon Go.
- Laura Martin, Needham's Managing Director, cites the mobile phenomenon's surge in U.S. popularity and factors expected international expansion into her projection.
- More notably, the success of Pokémon Go indicates a potential bonus for both Apple and Google (GOOG, GOOGL). The App Store and Google Play are the base of any successful games running on the companies' respective platforms and money made through in-app purchases is subject to 30% cuts on both. However, revenues generated from App Store and Google Play are famously incongruous and so are the dollar amounts spent by users of iPhone vs. Android. It is misguided to assume what occurs on one platform will occur on the other. Until actual numbers and monetary breakdown of the game as it relates to either App Store or Google Play revenues is unveiled, it is only worth noting the potential such a momentum generating piece of software can have on these platforms.
- Apple and Google are squarely in the middle of any existing and subsequent hits housed on their respective app marketplaces. A success like Pokémon Go was a big time effort from those involved in its creation and Apple and Google are in positions to immediately share in its prosperity. Going forward, apps can fail with little effect on these companies' bottom lines, but when a knockout comes around, they only stand to gain.
Wed, Jul. 20, 3:08 AM
- Depending on whom you ask, Google (NASDAQ:GOOG) is or isn't abandoning its plans to create a high-end standalone virtual reality headset to compete with Facebook’s (NASDAQ:FB) Oculus and HTC's Vive.
- According to recode, Google recently shut down an internal project to create a high-end standalone virtual reality headset. "The decision likely stems from Google’s effort to streamline its more ambitious projects, an ongoing slog at the company. In this instance, Google is shifting more resources behind mobile VR - tools for companies to build apps, games and services on smartphones that use the nascent media - rather than expensive hardware."
- But Engadget says that while Google may have shuttered a specific project, a Google team is still working on a dedicated headset that blurs the line between virtual reality and augmented reality.
Tue, Jul. 19, 10:25 AM
- The European Commission last week announced antitrust charges to be brought against Google (GOOG, GOOGL) related to its advertising and online shopping service operations.
- These charges marked the third time since 2015 Margrethe Vestager, the European Commissioner for Competition, has aimed at the company. Today, CNBC reports Vestager may bring charges separately instead of consolidating them into a single case.
- Some of the charges so far involve Google's AdSense, shopping and Android products.
- While an official filing has not yet been made, the EC has made them known through "statements of objection" sent to the company.
- Google has several weeks to respond to the charges.
- According to CNBC's report, Google could potentially face significant fines, quantifying a figure of up to 10% of global turnover for each individual case if found guilty.
- From Google: "We believe that our innovations and product improvements have increased choice for European consumers and promote competition. We'll examine the commission's renewed cases and provide a detailed response in the coming weeks."
Mon, Jul. 18, 12:41 PM
- Like it or not the huge success of Pokémon Go is likely to unleash a huge pop in mobile games designed around augmented reality.
- There is already an online petition asking for a similar Harry Potter Go game to be designed and many more mainstream characters are sure to start showing up in games linked to the cameras on smartphones and tablets.
- Companies stocked with an arsenal of appealing characters that could be brought into augmented reality games include Disney (NYSE:DIS), Time Warner (NYSE:TWX), Mattel (NASDAQ:MAT), and Hasbro (NASDAQ:HAS). Movie studios (LGF, SNE, VIA, VIAB) could also benefit as AR games tied around plot lines from old movies are developed (The Godfather, Star Wars, Blade Runner, Hunger Games, etc.) and used to promote new features.
- Many retailers and restaurant chains have already been active in trying to latch on to the Pokémon Go buzz (see What's McDonald's doing inside the Pokémon code?), while GameStop (NYSE:GME) thinks it has an angle on the collectibles and accessories side. As the retail sector works out the science of in-game marketing opportunities, even more opportunities could arise.
- Technology firms with a stake in augmented reality include Google (GOOGL, GOOG) , Himax (NASDAQ:HIMX), Nvidia (NASDAQ:NVDA), and Intel (NASDAQ:INTC).
- Nintendo ADRs (OTCPK:NTDOY) are up 8.6% today and have doubled in value during the week following Pokémon Go's introduction.
Fri, Jul. 15, 11:12 AM
- Stephen Ju of Credit Suisse reiterates an Outperform rating on Alphabet (GOOG, GOOGL), with $920 price target suggesting 28% upside.
- Attributes conservative expectations and a close in disparity among international mobile and desktop monetization initiatives and improved context contributing to higher CPC pricing.
- Additionally asserts Google's non-search business will contribute at a greater than expected rate, specifically citing YouTube, Google Play and Google Cloud Platform.
- Google reports Q2 results on July 28.
Thu, Jul. 14, 9:34 AM
- Niantic Labs appears set to allow businesses to officially sponsor locations for in-game activities for Nintendo's (OTCPK:NTDOY, OTCPK:NTDOF) Pokémon, according to media reports.
- That's not news to followers of Reddit posts which dug deep into the Pokémon code to discover bits with "McDonald's" already in it (see code here)
- Though the monetization of the Pokémon phenomenon was widely expected, it also has deeper implications for retailers even beyond trying to scrap for foot traffic through establishing Lure modules, PokeStops, and Pokemon Gyms. Pokémon may come and go. The intersection of real-world shopping and augmented reality games is probably here to stay.
- Companies with an eye on augmented reality and location-based entertainment as it relates to increasing traffic run far and wide. Restaurants (QSR, SBUX, MCD, CMG, WEN, NDLS, PNRA, DNKN), store chains (GPS, AEO, ANF, TGT, ROST, DG, DLTR), and movie theaters (AMC, CKEC, IMAX, CNK, RGC) come to mind.
- Google (GOOGL, GOOG) is also keeping track of all the Pokémon developments as it served as an incubator for Niantic Labs up until the Alphabet creation. Recode says it's unclear what stake that Google still has in the software developer.
- Pokémon news on Seeking Alpha
Thu, Jul. 14, 3:45 AM
- The European Commission is slated to file additional formal charges today against Google (GOOG, GOOGL), WSJ reports, cranking up pressure on the Silicon Valley firm to change the way it operates in a range of services.
- A statement of objections accusing the company of breaching EU antitrust rules through its advertising business is expected, as well as a supplementary charge sheet for conduct relating to its shopping service.
- Update: EU antitrust chief Margrethe Vestager has announced a new round of charges against some of the tech giant's online advertising tools and parts of the company's search business linked to online shopping. Google says it will respond to the cases in the coming weeks.
Wed, Jul. 13, 6:43 PM
- Level 3 Communications (NYSE:LVLT) closed today up 3.5% after touching a 52-week high on news that it's looking into strategic alternatives -- which could include a buyer from outside telecom.
- Comcast (NASDAQ:CMCSA) is speculated to be a possibility among suitors, but so is Google (GOOG, GOOGL), with whom Level 3 signed an interconnection agreement earlier this year.
- Citigroup analysts Michael Rollins and Neth Wiedemann can't confirm the reports, but they love the stock ("top pick within our coverage group given its growth, financial flexibility, valuation, and strategic optionality") and float another candidate: rival Zayo Group (NYSE:ZAYO).
- Zayo could itself be an attractive target for a cableco, but "We also would not dismiss the possibility that Level 3 and Zayo could consider a merger scenario to become a larger competitor for the enterprise market against the incumbents AT&T and Verizon Communications."
Fri, Jul. 8, 7:10 PM
- Continuing a move toward actual company status, Google's (GOOG +1.5%, GOOGL +1.5%) self-driving car project has hired a dedicated general counsel.
- Kevin Vosen has been tapped for the role and will begin late this month, Recode reports. He's chief legal officer with environmental data analysis firm The Climate Corp. (started by ex-Googlers).
- The project is still part of skunk-works lab X, but has hinted that it is heading toward separate company status under the Alphabet umbrella.
Thu, Jul. 7, 5:12 PM
- Google (GOOG, GOOGL) has acquired video-processing company Anvato, a supplier firm to over-the-top video providers.
- The tech giant will integrate Anvato's team and technology into its Google Cloud Platform group.
- Anvato, founded in 2007, delivers services around Internet video (encoding, editing, publishing and distribution) for customers that include a number of TV content/station owners (NBCUniversal, Fox Sports, Scripps Networks, Media General, Univision), and it helped deliver the live stream of Super Bowl XLVIII in 2014.
Thu, Jul. 7, 4:23 AM
- Google (GOOG, GOOGL) is working on two Android Wear smartwatches, according to a new report from Android Police.
- The two devices - one codenamed Angelfish, the other Swordfish - are said to place a heavy focus on the Google assistant artificial intelligence "bot" that headlined the company's recent I/O keynote.
- The watches may arrive after the new Nexus phones are introduced, but could very well be branded as Nexus watches.
Wed, Jul. 6, 4:32 AM
- Google Glass (GOOG, GOOGL) failed to catch on with the broader mainstream market when it debuted to select consumers in 2013, but the old technology is taking on a new function - serving as a telemedicine tool for doctors in emergency situations.
- For example, if a patient overdoses or is poisoned, Glass allows a bedside doctor to transmit data and video in real time to a toxicology specialist in a different location.
Sun, Jul. 3, 8:49 AM
- Rumor has it the LA Times will release a front page article today about Google's (GOOG, GOOGL) self-driving cars and how they will be "human proof."
- No gas pedals? No more steering wheels? Other ideas?
- Update: Google is tinkering with its algorithms to focus on fully autonomous vehicles - cars that drive on their own without any human intervention.
Thu, Jun. 30, 9:30 AM
- Officials have raided Google's (GOOG, GOOGL) Madrid offices barely a month after the internet company had its headquarters in France searched on suspicion of tax evasion.
- A spokeswoman for Google said the company complied with fiscal legislation in Spain just as it did in all countries where it operated and was working with authorities to answer questions.
Thu, Jun. 30, 9:18 AM
- Vestas Wind Systems (OTCPK:VWDRY) says it received an order for 22 turbines to be installed at the Lyrestad wind park in Mariestad, Sweden, with power produced from the development sold to Google as part of the tech company's drive to power its entire operations on clean energy.
- Combined with a similar agreement with a new 50-turbine project in Stavanger, Norway, Google says the two new wind farms will provide 236 MW of energy and that it has signed long-term contracts to purchase all energy produced from both projects.
- Google says it now has seven wind power purchase agreements in Europe, totaling more than 500 MW, and 18 such deals globally.
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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