Google Hit With $593 Million Fine In France For Failing To Ink Deal With News Publishers

FRANCE-ECONOMY-TECHNOLOGY-VIVATECH

Google was hit with a $593 million (€500 Million) fine by antitrust regulators in France on Monday after the company failed to offer a fair deal to local publishers for hosting their news content on its platform, adding to the list of several large fines the U.S. tech giant has copped in Europe in the past few years.

The ruling comes after Google failed to comply with an April 2020 decision by the French regulators to negotiate a deal “in good faith” with publishers to carry snippets of their content on its Google News platform. As part of the ruling, the French Competition Authority has ordered Google to come up with an remuneration offer for its use of the news snippets within two months.

If the tech giant fails to meet the deadline, it will face penalty payments of up to $1 million (€900,000) per day of delay. In a statement shared with Forbes, Google said it was “very disappointed” with the ruling and it believes it had “acted in good faith throughout the entire process.” The company added that it is about to reach a global licensing agreement with the French news agency, Agence France-Presse (AFP), but did not provide a timeline.

Google will be able to appeal Tuesday’s fine, but it is unclear if it will choose to do so.

Crucial Quote

“The sanction of 500 million euros takes into account the exceptional seriousness of the breaches observed and how Google’s behavior has led to further delay of the proper application of the law…which aimed to better take into account the value of content from publishers and news agencies included on the platforms,” Isabelle de Silva, president of the French Competition Authority said in an official statement.

Surprising Fact

Tuesday’s fine is the second-biggest antitrust penalty a single company has faced in France. Last year, the competition regulator hit Apple with a $1.2 billion fine after the company was found to have signed anti-competitive agreements with two distributors over the sale of non-iPhone products such as Apple Mac computers. Apple has appealed the ruling.

Key Background

Publishers in Europe have clashed with Google multiple times in the past year, accusing the tech giant of luring away billions of euros in advertising money from the publishers while leveraging their content. Particularly contentious has been the company’s Google News platform which hosts snippets of news stories from publishers without paying them. On the flipside, publishers are unable to yank their content from Google’s platform as they rely on it heavily to drive traffic to their sites.

Earlier this year, Google managed to reach a $76 million deal to pay a group of 121 French Newspapers. But the AFP and other French publishers who were not part of the deal expressed anger and slammed Google for being opaque. De Silva has dismissed that deal and criticized Google for limiting the scope of the negotiations, excluding agency content like photos, and offering to pay the same amount for news content that it does for dictionary listings or weather information.

Further Reading

Google Fined $593 Million By French Antitrust Agency (Bloomberg)

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I am a Breaking News Reporter at Forbes, with a focus on covering important tech policy and business news. Graduated from Columbia University with an MA in Business and Economics Journalism in 2019. Worked as a journalist in New Delhi, India from 2014 to 2018. Have a news tip? DMs are open on Twitter @SiladityaRay or drop me an email at siladitya@protonmail.com.

Source: Google Hit With $593 Million Fine In France For Failing To Ink Deal With News Publishers

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Critics:

Google said it was very disappointed with the decision but would comply. “Our objective remains the same: we want to turn the page with a definitive agreement. We will take the French Competition Authority’s feedback into consideration and adapt our offers,” the U.S. tech giant said.

A Google spokesperson added: “We have acted in good faith throughout the entire process. The fine ignores our efforts to reach an agreement, and the reality of how news works on our platforms.”

The framework agreement, which many other French media outlets criticized, was one of the highest-profile deals under Google’s “News Showcase” programme to provide compensation for news snippets used in search results, and the first of its kind in Europe.

Google agreed to pay $76 million over three years to a group of 121 French news publishers to end the copyright row, documents seen by Reuters showed. It followed months of bargaining between Google, French publishers and news agencies over how to apply the revamped EU copyright rules, which allow publishers to demand a fee from online platforms showing extracts of their news. read more

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Google Maps Offensive Continues as Apple Begins Mapping New Regions

While Apple Maps is said to be a solid alternative to Google Maps, it’s not necessarily a secret that Apple’s app isn’t quite here yet. Especially outside of the United States, as Apple has often been extremely slow when it comes to rolling out new features for users who don’t live in the company’s home market.

Apple Maps, for example, has already received massive updates in the United States, including better maps and new features like traffic information with road signs and traffic light warnings, but this new experience continues to be available in limited markets.

But on the other hand, the iPhone maker is working tirelessly to expand Apple Maps to more markets, as the company itself knows it’s pretty much the only way to compete with Google Maps.

And more recently, Apple sent its fleet of Subaru Impreza used for data collection to Austria, with the mapping process due to start today. The company hasn’t shared any information on how long the entire process will take, but according to local media, Apple just wants to focus on vehicle-based data for now, so foot mapping wouldn’t take place. as part of this first step in the process.

This is probably a sign that Apple wants to improve the navigation component of its app, although time will tell how quickly the new data will be available to users in Austria.

The good news is that Apple is indeed making very good progress when it comes to expanding Apple Maps to more regions. Right now, this is one of the biggest shortcomings of using Apple Maps compared to alternatives like Google Maps, as the preloaded app on iPhones still lacks map data. updated and new features in many major markets.

Apple has yet to confirm Apple Maps’ expansion in Austria, but expect to see the company’s Subaru Imprezas on the streets of the country for several months.

After Apple hinted it was parting ways with Google Maps for its own proprietary system and application, Google is firing back, announcing it has new mapping technology ahead of Apple’s World Wide Developer Conference. In an invite sent to press last week, Google promised to “show off some of the newest technology and give a sneak peak at upcoming features,” according to CNET.

No word yet on whether the mapping technology will be for Google’s Chrome browser or for android phones or both, but mobile support seems likely. Will Google’s new application include something similar to Apple’s powerful new 3-D mode, which, according to 9-to-5 Mac, boasts “beautiful, realistic graphics”? Stay tuned as Map Wars 2012 continues.

Source: Google Maps offensive continues as Apple begins mapping new regions – OLTNEWS

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Critics:

The Google Maps apps for iOS and Android have many of the same features, including turn-by-turn navigation, street view, and public transit information.Turn-by-turn navigation was originally announced by Google as a separate beta testing app exclusive to Android 2.0 devices in October 2009. The original standalone iOS version did not support the iPad, but tablet support was added with version 2.0 in July 2013. An update in June 2012 for Android devices added support for offline access to downloaded maps of certain regions, a feature that was eventually released for iOS devices, and made more robust on Android, in May 2014.

At the end of 2015 Google Maps announced its new offline functionality, but with various limitations – downloaded area cannot exceed 120,000 square kilometres and require a considerable amount of storage space. In January 2017, Google added a feature exclusively to Android that will, in some U.S. cities, indicate the level of difficulty in finding available parking spots, and on both Android and iOS, the app can, as of an April 2017 update, remember where users parked. In August 2017, Google Maps for Android was updated with new functionality to actively help the user in finding parking lots and garages close to a destination.

In December 2017, Google added a new two-wheeler mode to its Android app, designed for users in India, allowing for more accessibility in traffic conditions. In 2019 the android version introduced the new feature called live view that allows to view directions directly on the road thanks to augmented reality Google Maps won the 2020 Webby Award for Best User Interface in the category Apps, Mobile & Voice. In March 2021, Google added a feature in which user can draw missing roads.

In 2005 the Australian Nuclear Science and Technology Organisation (ANSTO) complained about the potential for terrorists to use the satellite images in planning attacks, with specific reference to the Lucas Heights nuclear reactor; however, the Australian Federal government did not support the organization’s concern. At the time of the ANSTO complaint, Google had colored over some areas for security (mostly in the US), such as the rooftop of the White House and several other Washington, D.C., US buildings.

In October 2010, Nicaraguan military commander Edén Pastora stationed Nicaraguan troops on the Isla Calero (in the delta of the San Juan River), justifying his action on the border delineation given by Google Maps. Google has since updated its data which it found to be incorrect.

On January 27, 2014, documents leaked by Edward Snowden revealed that the NSA and the GCHQ intercepted Google Maps queries made on smartphones, and used them to locate the users making these queries. One leaked document, dating to 2008, stated that “[i]t effectively means that anyone using Google Maps on a smartphone is working in support of a GCHQ system.

References

Google Advertising Policy Opens Doors To Wider Bitcoin Community

The Google logo seen at the entrance to Google Cloud campus...

Google GOOG +1.5% is revising its advertising policy to let cryptocurrency wallets advertise with them, along with exchanges, starting August 3rd provided that they are either registered with the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN) or a federal or state chartered bank entity. The new policy will apply globally to Google search and its third-party sites, including YouTube, Gmail, or Blogger..

The expanded policy comes three years after Google banned all crypto-related advertising in March 2018. However, Google walked-back the policy five months later, allowing regulated cryptocurrency exchanges such as Coinbase to advertise in the United States and Japan in September 2018. While expanded to allow cryptocurrency exchanges and wallets to advertise, ads for initial coin offerings (ICOs), decentralized finance (DeFi) trading protocols, or promotions of specific cryptocurrencies are not permitted under the new policy.

It remains to be seen how this reversal in the policy will lead to a further loosening on other major advertising platforms that have placed restrictions on crypto firms. In 2018, Facebook banned all ads promoting cryptocurrencies, including bitcoin and initial coin offerings.

A few months later, Facebook edited the policy to introduce an eligibility review process for those looking to advertise certain cryptocurrency products or services; applicants should submit any licenses, listings on public stock exchanges, or other relevant public background.

Twitter, similarly to Facebook and Google, prohibits the advertisement of initial coin offerings or crypto token sales but allows exchanges or wallet services provided by a publicly traded crypto company to advertise with them provided as long as they comply with local laws.

BY: Emily Mason

Source: Google Advertising Policy Opens Doors To Wider Bitcoin Community

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Alphabet Inc.’s Google, the world’s largest digital advertising seller, will let companies offering cryptocurrency wallets run ads beginning in August.

In 2018, Google barred ads for cryptocurrencies and related products, following a similar move from Facebook Inc. But Google soon peeled back that restriction for digital currency exchanges. Starting in August, Google will let wallets run ads on search, YouTube and other properties as long as they go through the company’s certification process.

Google is making the change “in order to better match existing FinCEN regulations and requirements,” a spokesperson said Wednesday in a statement.

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5 Main Reasons for Targeting Long-Tail Keywords on Blog Posts

SEO professionals have known about the potential of long-tail keywords for some time now. Those who are good at what they do use them to drive traffic to their website and the websites of their clients. They also use them to increase leads and conversions.

In other words, it is possible to get real SEO results from long-tail keywords – results that are long-lasting and that can deliver for your business.

Plus, long-tail keywords are not the preserve of SEO professionals. There is nothing mysterious or particularly challenging about developing a strategy that targets long-tail keywords on your blog posts.

However, the reasons for doing so, and the results you can achieve, are compelling.

Easier to Get Good Rankings on Long-Tail Keywords

Long-tail keywords are longer and more specific than standard keywords.

While it is true that standard keywords often have a higher number of monthly searches, most keywords typed into Google are long-tail keywords. This is because people are used to searching with a phrase, plus they have confidence in Google’s increasing ability to understand what they are asking.

These are reasons in themselves to target long-tail keywords on blog posts, but there is an even more important one – as there is less competition, it is easier to rank for long-tail keywords than it is to rank for short and single-word keywords. 

Furthermore, the longer and more specific the keyword, the easier it will be to get a good ranking.

As Long-Tail Keywords Are More Specific, They Have a Higher Conversion Value

In general, people use long-tail keywords as they get closer to a buying decision. After all, long-tail keywords often indicate a search that is narrowing as a potential customer moves from broad research to focus on the specific product or service they want to buy.

This results in better conversion rates.

You Can Beat the Competition, Including Big Competition

Trying to rank for competitive keywords, particularly against big competition, is an unrewarding uphill battle. Long-tail keywords provide you with an alternative solution.

So, instead of trying to compete on popular single-word or short phrases, you instead focus on blog topics that target long-tail keywords, i.e., keywords your competition is not necessarily targeting.

Even if your competitors have content on a long-tail keyword you want to target, it might still be possible to improve your rankings if you can create a better blog post. So, it’s a worthwhile strategy.

Long-Tail Keywords Provide You with New Blog Topics

One of the big challenges when writing regular blog posts is coming up with new topics. Long-tail keywords provide a solution.

In fact, using long-tail keywords is one of the fastest methods you can use to generate new blog topic ideas. For example, you can look at your Google Analytics search data and any other data that shows you the keywords used by the people looking for your business, services, or products. The long-tail keywords in this list are a starting point for multiple blog topic ideas.

The above method of finding new blog ideas also increases the relevancy of your blog posts, as you will be writing about topics that people are searching for.

Give Google More Context on Your Overall Website

Website context is a hot topic among SEO professionals at the moment as Google gets better at understanding search intent. Google’s ability to understand context is also making previously beneficial SEO strategies less effective. Therefore, the focus is increasingly on giving Google as much context as possible.

There are lots of ways you can do this, but one of the most effective is by targeting long-tail keywords in your blog posts.

When you target long-tail keywords, there will be content on your site that will show the extent of your expertise and the range of services that you offer. It is difficult to achieve the same level of context if your blog topics are more narrowly focused.

Why is this beneficial, though? Firstly, your website will appear on the search results pages of more keywords when Google understands the context of your pages and overall site.

In addition, Google’s enhanced understanding of your site can result in improvements in the rankings of other pages, including for single-word keywords and short keywords.

Final Thoughts

If traffic from Google is important to your business, you need an effective SEO strategy. You can transform your strategy by targeting long-tail keywords on your blog posts. By doing so, you will rank in high positions for keywords that have a good conversion rate. You will also get ahead of your competition for many search phrases, and you will improve the overall position of your website in Google.

Add all this together, and you get an improved return on investment on your SEO strategy.

As a result, it makes sense to target long-tail keywords on your blogs.

Source: axadra

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Isi Dixon

Even though relevant content is king when it comes to Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) these days, keywords are still very important. People use them to find you. They are what people type in when they search for your content. You need to make sure these people find your blog posts. Here is the blog post I’m talking about in the video: http://www.wellorganised.org/the-impo… If you would like some help with setting up your business blog, why not download my free 10 Step Guide. You can find it here: http://www.wellorganised.org/10-step-… For more information about Well Organised Marketing, please visit my website http://www.wellorganised.org If you are looking for tips and advice on business blogging you can either visit my Facebook page http://www.facebook.com/WellOrganised… or read some articles on my blog http://www.wellorganised.org/blog .

Windows 10 Users Beware New Hacker Attack Confirmed By Google, Microsoft

As Microsoft confirms a Google-disclosed and unpatched zero-day vulnerability is being targeted by attackers right now, here’s what you need to know.

Microsoft has confirmed that an unpatched ‘zero-day’ vulnerability in the Windows operating system, affecting every version from Windows 7 through to Windows 10, is being actively targeted. Microsoft was first informed of the vulnerability by Google’s Project Zero team, a dedicated unit comprised of leading vulnerability hunters, which tracks down these so-called zero-day security bugs.

Because Project Zero had identified that the security problem was being actively exploited in the wild by attackers, it gave Microsoft a deadline of just seven days to fix it before disclosure. Microsoft failed to issue a security patch within that hugely restrictive timeframe, and Google went ahead and published details of the zero-day vulnerability, which is tracked as CVE-2020-17087.

The bug itself sits within the Windows Kernel Cryptography Driver, known as cng.sys, and could allow an attacker to escalate the privileges they have when accessing a Windows machine. The full technical detail can be found within the Google Project Zero disclosure, but slightly more simply put, it’s a memory buffer-overflow problem that could give an attacker admin-level control of the targeted Windows computer. Recommended For You

While attackers are known to be actively targeting Windows systems right now, that doesn’t mean your system is going down. Firstly, I should point out that, according to a confirmation from Shane Huntley, director of Google’s Threat Analysis Group, the attackers spotted exploiting the vulnerability are not targeting any U.S. election-related systems at this point. That’s good news, and there’s more.

While Microsoft has confirmed that the reported attack is real, it also suggests that it is limited in scope being targeted in nature. This is not, at least as of yet, a widespread broad-sweep exploit. Microsoft says that it has no evidence of any indication of widespread exploits.

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Then there’s the attack itself which requires two vulnerabilities to be chained together for a successful exploit to happen. One of them has already been patched. That was a browser-based vulnerability, CVE-2020-15999, in Chrome browsers, including Microsoft Edge. As long as your browser is up to date, you are protected. Microsoft Edge was updated on October 22 while Google Chrome was updated on October 20.

There are no known other attack chains for the Windows vulnerability at this point. Which doesn’t mean your machine is 100% safe, as an attacker with access to an already compromised system could still exploit it. However, it does mean there’s no need to hit the panic button, truth be told. Microsoft has also confirmed that the vulnerability cannot be exploited to affect cryptographic functionality.

I reached out to Microsoft, and a spokesperson told me that “Microsoft has a customer commitment to investigate reported security issues and update impacted devices to protect customers.”

As for that seven-day disclosure deadline from the Google Project Zero team, the Microsoft spokesperson said that “while we work to meet all researchers’ deadlines for disclosures, including short-term deadlines like in this scenario, developing a security update is a balance between timeliness and quality, and our ultimate goal is to help ensure maximum customer protection with minimal customer disruption.”

Although Microsoft has not commented on the likely timing of a security patch to prevent exploitation of this Windows vulnerability, the Project Zero technical lead, Ben Hawkes, has tweeted that it is expected as part of the Patch Tuesday updates on November 10.

How big a threat is this to your average Windows user? That remains to be seen, but currently I’d classify it as a be aware but don’t panic situation. Hang-fire, ensure your web browsers are bang up to date, and you should be fine. There are far more significant risks to your data than this zero-day attack, in my never humble opinion. Risks such as phishing in all forms, password reuse, lack of two-factor authentication and software that isn’t kept up to date with security patches.

MORE FROM FORBESHacker Uploads Own Fingerprints To Crime Scene In Dumbest Cyber Attack EverBy Davey Winder Follow me on Twitter or LinkedIn. Check out my website

Davey Winder

Davey Winder

I’m a three-decade veteran technology journalist and have been a contributing editor at PC Pro magazine since the first issue in 1994. A three-time winner of the BT Security Journalist of the Year award (2006, 2008, 2010) I was also fortunate enough to be named BT Technology Journalist of the Year in 1996 for a forward-looking feature in PC Pro called ‘Threats to the Internet.’ In 2011 I was honored with the Enigma Award for a lifetime contribution to IT security journalism. Contact me in confidence at davey@happygeek.com if you have a story to reveal or research to share.

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Business News

As Microsoft confirms a Google-disclosed and unpatched zero-day vulnerability is being targeted by attackers right now, here’s what you need to know. Microsoft has confirmed that an unpatched ‘zero-day’ vulnerability in the Windows operating system, affecting every version from Windows 7 through to Windows 10, is being actively targeted. Microsoft was first informed of the vulnerability by Google’s Project Zero team, a dedicated unit comprised of leading vulnerability hunters, which tracks down these so-called zero-day security bugs. Because Project Zero had identified that the security problem was being actively exploited in the wild by attackers, it gave Microsoft a deadline of just seven days to fix it before disclosure.

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#vulnerability #newsupdate #newstodayheadlines #newsworldnow #newstodaybbc #newstodayoncnn #newstodayusa

Google’s Huge Market Share Doesn’t Automatically Make It a Monopoly

This week the United States Department of Justice (DoJ) filed a lawsuit accusing Google of using “anticompetitive tactics to maintain and extend its monopolies in the markets” for search and advertising.

It is the most significant antitrust case since the US government took on Microsoft in 1998 for using its dominant position as the provider of the Windows operating system to force PC makers to bundle its Internet Explorer web browser.

That case was fought out in US courts for years before Microsoft agreed to settle in 2001. This case will no doubt be heavily litigated, and likewise take years to conclude. But it’s not too soon to consider the basic economics.

The bottom line is more complicated than one might think. Yes, Google has a huge share of the search-engine market – 92% globally according to statcounter.com, compared with 2.8% for Microsoft’s Bing, 1.6% for Yahoo! and 0.5% for DuckDuckGo.

But does that give Google a lot of “market power” – the ability to charge high price or produce low-quality products? Probably not.

To judge if a company like Google is really a monopolist, it is crucial to understand the difference between ordinary markets (like those for clothes, cars, or breakfast cereal) and technology markets (like those for internet search, social media, or ride sharing).


Read more: The US is taking on Google in a huge antitrust case. It could change the face of online search


Markets with ‘network externalities’

Any introductory economics textbook will tell you a large market share is smoking-gun evidence of market power; and that with market power comes the ability to shut out competitors, charge high prices and even get away with producing low-quality products.

Economists of all stripes agree that regulating monopolies and making markets more competitive benefits consumers, through lower prices and better products.

Indeed, this was the motivation behind the so-called “trust-busting” movement in the US in the early 20th century. The most famous scalp was John D. Rockefeller’s Standard Oil, which the US Supreme Court ordered in 1911 be broken up into 34 separate companies. (The break-up made Rockefeller the world’s richest man).

But internet search isn’t like oil. Neither is social media, ride sharing or platforms like Amazon. These are what economists call “markets with network externalities”. That is, when more consumers use the product, it becomes more valuable for other consumers.


Read more: Lawmakers keen to break up ‘big tech’ like Amazon and Google need to realize the world has changed a lot since Microsoft and Standard Oil


Facebook is useful because it connects one with lots of other users. A thousand little, disconnected social media platforms would be much less useful. Amazon connects lots of sellers with million of consumers. This is hugely valuable for both. Google connects lots of consumers with advertisers and information. Again, this is valuable to both sides of the market.

Because network externalities mean — all else being equal — the bigger the market share the more valuable the company’s product is to consumers, we tend to see one dominant company and a few smaller ones in such markets.

Just because tech companies have a big share of the market now, however, doesn’t mean they are destined to keep it.

Remember Netscape? In the mid-1990s it had a 80% share in the browser market, before losing it to Microsoft’s Internet Explorer.

Netscape Navigator Version 1.11
Netscape Navigator version 1.11. OiMax/flickr, CC BY-NC-ND

But Internet Explorer’s dominance, peaking at 95% share in the early 2000s, didn’t last either. It now claims barely 1% of the browser market.

This is why companies in markets with network externalities are never asleep. Uber and Facebook are constantly running experiments to innovate their products, as are other companies like Amazon and, you guessed it, Google.

Influencers and defaults

An important part of the Department of Justice’s suit against Google is that it allegedly pays Apple as much as US$11 billion a year to be the default search engine on the Safari browser on every iPhone.

This is a bit like paying for a social media influencer to plug your product — with a twist. Making something the default doesn’t mean the user has to use it, but the small effort to choose an alternative means most don’t bother.

But if it really wasn’t a good product and didn’t deliver good search results, wouldn’t consumers (a) remove it and (b) be less likely to buy iPhones?

There’s a big difference between something being a default and there being no choice. Articulating this difference may end up being an important part of how the Google litigation plays out.

Indeed, Microsoft making Internet Explorer the default browser in Windows has been an ongoing source of back and forth with US and European competition authorities.


Read more: Twitter is banning political ads – but the real battle for democracy is with Facebook and Google


Ultimately misguided

As with the suits against Standard Oil and Microsoft, the case against Google will be decided by the courts, perhaps ending with the US Supreme Court. The outcome will be instructive as to whether other tech companies like Amazon, Facebook or Uber will also wind up in the firing line.

Ironically, at a time of extreme polarisation in US politics, breaking up big tech companies is popular on the left and the right.

But we should remember that consumers are huge beneficiaries from these tech companies. Think about how much it used to cost to take and print photographs. A 2018 International Monetary Fund report cites research suggesting US consumers would need more than US$25,000 a year to compensate for the loss of free services from tech companies.


International Monetary Fund, Measuring the Digital Economy, 2018

That’s a lot.

What is crucial for competition regulators around the world to note is that the markets in which big technology companies operate are not like other markets. Because of network externalities they tend to have big “in” firms (with a large market share) and smaller “out” firms (with small market shares but providing competitive discipline).

That doesn’t mean these markets aren’t competitive. It means the “in” companies have a lot to lose by being leapfrogged by a small competitor. Which is why they work so hard to innovate and keep prices low.

By: Richard Holden Professor of Economics, UNSW

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How Google’s ‘Hybrid’ Work Model Could Work For Your Business

According to CNBC, “Google is rethinking its long-term work options for employees, as most of them say they don’t want to come back to the office full-time.” According to a recent survey of Google employees, “sixty-two percent want to return to their offices at some point, but not every day”. For this reason, the company is working on “hybrid” models for future work. 

If you’re pondering the same in your organization, don’t be binary in your definition of hybrid.

It’s easy to assume a hybrid is a combination of only two things – a car engine with both internal combustion and electric power sources, plants and animals that are cross breeds of two different species, and golf clubs that combine the characteristics of both a wood and an iron.  But hybrids aren’t necessarily limited to combinations of two. According to Merriem-Webster, it can also mean: “having or produced by a combination of two or more distinct elements” and “of mixed character; composed of mixed parts”.

This is great news, because when it comes to hybrid work models, we’re going to need to think much more broadly than just two modes of work – in the office and at home. In fact, there’s a law from the systems sciences that applies.

Ashby’s Law and Hybrid Work Models Recommended For You

We love Ross Ashby’s Law of Requisite Variety, which states: “Only variety can destroy variety.”  We usually apply it to problem-solving, and specifically the need to seek out a variety of solvers to match the variety of the problem they’re trying to solve. In their new book Humanocracy,  Gary Hamel and Michele Zanini apply Ashby’s Law to organizations needing “a relentless pace of experimentation” to protect them “from a relentless pace of change”. 

And now, here’s another important implication of the very same law: Only a variety of work options can satisfy a variety of work preferences. That means leaders must work hard to offer a  variety of work models in order to attract and retain top talent.

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The Pandemic Has Changed Preferences and Habits

Why are there so many work preferences among workers? In short: our habits changed almost overnight. Prior to the pandemic, some companies already offered flexible work options – both work-from-home and work-in-the-office – and others were exploring the possibility. Then, starting in March, if people could work from home, they had to work from home. New habits were formed. Daily commuters got used to not commuting. Office-dwellers got used to staying home. Face-to-face believers (like us) adapted to face-to-screen. And across the board, as Airbnb Advisor Chip Conley put it in our interview with him, “IRL (in real life)” was replaced by “URL (digital)”.

As top management thinker Roger L. Martin explained it to us: “Covid-19 has forced us to break our habits, and where they were habits we hated, we won’t be going back. For example, we won’t go back to commuting to work five days per week.” David Musto, president and CEO of Ascensus, told us that leaders will need to think very differently about ”what coming back to the office looks like, now that people have acquired new habits and a new willingness to engage virtually.” 

BBC’s former head of Corporate Real Estate, Chris Kane, told us that it’s premature to declare the death of the office, explaining that:  “For employers and employees, we’ve been stuck in a very traditional bipolar debate between office and home, whereas there’s lots of choice and it’s not just about physical space. Work is moving from being process work performed in an office, to knowledge work, which can be done in a whole raft of settings.” 

This isn’t the end of the office, merely the end of the days when working at the office is the only option, at least in jobs that allow for it and companies that need to compete for talent.

A Two-Option Hybrid Model Isn’t Flexible Enough

As schools have reopened, some have offered a two-option hybrid education model – parents can choose to send their children to school, or they can choose to keep them at home. Others have offered a rigid two-mode hybrid education model, where students attend school during designated hours in a classroom, and in other designated hours, attend school remotely. While these models simplify things for education systems, the limited variety can’t match the variety of parental or student needs. What if I can’t be home all day to be with my kids and don’t feel safe sending them to school? What if my child can’t learn effectively unless they’re in a classroom under the supervision of a teacher, but they’ve got a pre-existing condition that makes them vulnerable to Covid-19? What if conditions change and we need to switch from one mode to the other? What if there aren’t enough teachers or my child’s teacher gets sick? 

Binary thinking when it comes to in-person vs. virtual creates high-consequence, high-anxiety, and sometimes impossible choices for people, as we’ve seen with schools. In the same way, a two-option model that isn’t flexible won’t work for people who are unable to make either option work, or for those who can easily go work for someone else.  

If a hybrid work model is limited to two elements, most people won’t be able to (or won’t want to) pick one or the other. Some people might be okay commuting, for example, but only in the summer when traffic is lighter. Strict policies around how and where people are allowed to work when they’re not in the office will turn people off, as most strict policies do, but especially now that people have experienced a prolonged period of flexibility. Heavily regimented “collaboration hours”, when everyone on a team is expected to be assembled together in one place, can’t reflect the natural ebbs and flows of teams and their projects. 

To limit choice is to defy the Law of Requisite Variety, and doing so will create a number of consequences – instability, dissatisfaction and resistance – that will ultimately drive some people away to better opportunities and push others out. And when it comes to the continuing struggle for diversity and parity in your organization, those with diverse needs are the most likely to be left out of your variety equation. 

Instead, Apply Ashby’s Law Over and Over Again

The answer lies in embracing the notion of requisite variety in three dimensions:

  • Offer the necessary and sufficient variety of work options to match the variety of work preferences so that you’re balancing the needs of the organization and the needs of its people. 
  • Find that balance by asking your people – a requisite variety of them who genuinely represent everyone in the organization – to participate in co-creating those options.
  • Be relentless about experimenting with those models and keeping people involved in re-evaluating them over time, so that you and they can keep up with the relentless pace of change.

If you’re approaching the development of hybrid work models any other way, you’re at risk of getting it wrong, and at the same time, missing an incredible opportunity to unlock significant latent passion and talent across your organization Follow me on Twitter. Check out my website or some of my other work here

David Benjamin and David Komlos

David Benjamin and David Komlos

We are the CEO and Chief Architect of Syntegrity and co-authors of Cracking Complexity: The Breakthrough Formula for Solving Just About Anything Fast. Global leaders and their teams apply the complexity formula to their top challenges, getting to decisions and action in days instead of months or years. From transformation to taking out cost, digitization to improving access to life-saving products, we have equipped leaders to dramatically accelerate solutions and execution on their defining challenges. We frequently speak on topics related to complexity, fast problem-solving and mobilization, and unleashing organizations’ latent talent to bring about controlled explosions of progress.

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Google CEO Sundar Pichai said the company is ”reconfiguring” its offices amid a more permanent shift to working from home. Pichai discussed the future of work at Google during an interview for Time 100 this week. While he doesn’t see working in the office going away altogether, he described the office as a space for ”on-sites” — presumably, days where employees, who mostly work from home, gather in the office.

Pichai also said he made the decision to have employees work from home until next summer in order to boost productivity and give workers a sense of certainty during an uncertain time. Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories. Google’s famous offices may look a bit different for employees once it’s safe for them to begin returning to work. Google CEO Sundar Pichai said this week that the company is making changes to its physical spaces to better support employees in the future — a future that Pichai says will include ”hybrid models” of work.”I see the future as definitely being more flexible,” Pichai said during a video interview for Time 100.

Pichai was an honoree on this year’s list of the most influential people in the world.”We firmly believe that in-person, being together, having that sense of community, is super important for whenever you have to solve hard problems, you have to create something new. So we don’t see that changing, so we don’t think the future is just 100% remote or something,” he said. Pichai said that Google is ”reconfiguring” its office spaces to accommodate what he called ”on-sites” — presumably, days where employees, who mostly work from home, gather in the office.

Katie Canales/Business InsiderGoogle was one of the first major tech companies to announce that employees may continue working from home until July 2021. At the time, The Wall Street Journal reported that the decision was made in part to help working parents whose children might be learning partially or totally remotely this school year. Pichai said there were several factors that went into the decision.”Early on as this started, I realized it was going to be a period of tremendous uncertainty, so we wanted to lean in and give certainty where we could,” Pichai said. ”The reason we made the decision to do work from home until mid of next year is we realized people were trying hard to plan … and it was affecting productivity.”

Pichai said making such a long-term decision forced the company to embrace their new reality: that working from home is here to stay, at least in some capacity. And employees seem to agree: a recent internal survey at the company found that 62% employees believe they only need to be in the office ”some days” in order to do their work well, while 20% don’t feel like they need to come to the office at all. Pichai also touched upon a larger issue for those who live in the San Francisco Bay Area: affordability. All data is taken from the source: http://businessinsider.com Article Link: https://www.businessinsider.com/googl…#Google#newsbloopers#newstodaybbc#usanewstoday#newstodayworld#newsworldabc #

Google Employees Demand End To Police Contracts In Letter To CEO

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The letter calls out Google’s cloud business, as well as work with police and military through Gradient Ventures, the company’s venture capital arm. Google employees have sent a letter to CEO Sundar Pichai demanding that the search giant stop selling its technology to police forces, a call that comes as people around the world urge for police reform as part of efforts to end systemic racism. As of publication, more than 1,600 Google workers had signed the letter, which was viewed by CNET.

The letter calls out Google’s work with police and military through Gradient Ventures, a venture capital arm of the search giant that was founded in 2017 and focuses on artificial intelligence. The employees also criticize Google’s cloud division for touting its relationship with the Clarkstown Police Department in New York. Using Google’s G Suite productivity apps, the search giant said it’s helped the department save $20,000 to $30,000 on IT licensing costs. Google also said its software “accelerates evidence gathering and processing.”

The call Google to end police contracts comes as the US has been swept by protests following the death of George Floyd, an unarmed Black man who was killed in police custody. The killing has spurred calls to defund police departments across the country. “We’re disappointed to know that Google is still selling to police forces, and advertises its connection with police forces as somehow progressive, and seeks more expansive sales rather than severing ties with police and joining the millions who want to defang and defund these institutions,” the letter reads. “Why help the institutions responsible for the knee on George Floyd’s neck to be more effective organizationally?”

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In a statement, Google said it has policies that guide how it deploys artificial intelligence, but said it won’t stop selling its technology to law enforcement. “We have longstanding terms of use for generally available computing platforms like Gmail, GSuite and Google Cloud Platform, and these products will remain available for Governments and local authorities, including police departments, to use,” a spokeswoman said.

This isn’t the first time Google employees have protested against the company’s work with military and law enforcement. Two years ago, workers at the search giant protested Google’s contract with the Pentagon for Project Maven, an initiative that uses artificial intelligence to improve analysis of drone footage. Thousands of workers signed a petition opposing the contract, and a handful of employees resigned in protest.

The letter about police contracts criticizes Google’s business dealings while it publicly supports the Black Lives Matter movement. Google last week announced a $175 million package to support Black business owners, startup founders and developers. Days after Floyd’s killing, Google displayed a black ribbon on its homepage, with the caption: “We stand in support of racial equality, and all those who search for it.” In a tweet announcing the homepage tweak, Pichai said the company stands with the Black community.

“We have a long way to go to address the full legacy of racism but to begin with — we should not be in the business of profiting from racist policing,” Monday’s letter to Pichai says. “We should not be in the business of criminalizing Black existence while we chant Black Lives Matter.”

 

Police are getting warrants to obtain tracking data from Google that locates every device near a crime scene. The system is called Sensorvault within the company, but a Google user might know it as Location Services. The New York Times’ Jennifer Valentino-DeVries reported on how the data can ensnare innocent people, and she joins CBSN with more.

 

 

Google Issues Serious Warning For Google Photos Users

Google Photos Logo

Google has issued a serious warning to a number of Google Photos users, stating that their private videos have been accidentally sent to strangers.

The warning will come as a shock to users who have used the service to store videos they don’t wish to be made public, precisely because of Google’s promise to protect their data and keep unshared Photos private.

According to the warning, sent directly via email to all affected users, the blunder caused Google’s ‘Download your data’ service to incorrectly export some stored videos to the wrong user’s archive when bundling them up for download.

This resulted in some users downloading archives with missing videos and, more worryingly, videos that belong to other users.

You can read the text of the email in the tweet from @jonoberheide below:

View image on Twitter

Google hasn’t revealed the number of accounts affected, but it appears to be relatively small as it’s restricted to those who used ‘Download your data’ within a specific five-day time period of November 21 to November 25 2019. However, even only a small proportion of Google Photos’ over one billion users will likely result in a significant total number of people affected. The wording of the email suggests that Google is confident that it has identified all occurrences of the bug and warned all those affected.

What to do about it

Google’s preferred solution to this predicament is for users to create new data archives and download them again. While this will help anyone with missing videos to retrieve them, it offers no comfort to those who now have no way of knowing which, if any, of their videos have been downloaded and viewed by strangers. Furthermore, we can only hope that there are no other instances of the bug which remain undetected.

I have reached out to Google for comment.

OnePlus Confirms Massive Camera Upgrades

Forbes Paul Monckton

I’ve been working as a technology journalist since the early nineties. My passion is photography and the ever-changing hardware and software that creates it, be it traditional cameras and Photoshop or smartphones and tablets with their numerous apps. I have also worked extensively on computing titles such as PC Magazine and Personal Computer World and managed the PCW hardware testing labs. This has seen me testing and reviewing all manner of technologies in print and on line. I take on both written and photographic assignments and you can get in touch with questions, tips or pitches via email. Find me on Instagram @paul_monckton.

Source: Google Issues Serious Warning For Google Photos Users

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Google Says Chrome Will End Support for Third-Party Cookies That Track You. Here’s Why That’s Not All Good News

On Tuesday, Google announced what appears, at least at first, to be a fairly monumental change to its Chrome browser: Over the next two years, it plans to “phase out support for third-party cookies in Chrome.” Third-party cookies are little pieces of code used by advertisers to track what you do online so they can serve you targeted ads on sites you visit based on where you’ve previously visited.

So, for example, if you browse Pottery Barn’s website, and start seeing ads everywhere for the coffee table you were looking at, it’s usually because of third-party cookies. In reality, while most of us would say it’s kind of creepy, targeted ads are effective. At the same time, they’re also a very real invasion of your privacy–which is a problem. In fact, those privacy concerns are why browsers like Brave and Safari have already ended support for this type of tracking.

Back in August, I wrote about Google’s new “Privacy Sandbox,” which the company said was a way to introduce privacy protections for users online while still allowing digital advertisers to serve up targeted ads. The problem, at the time, was that Google said that it couldn’t eliminate support for third-party cookies because it would have a detrimental effect on the web at large.

Now it seems that’s changing, and there are huge implications for users as well as advertisers. Google’s blog post announcing the change puts it this way:

We are confident that with continued iteration and feedback, privacy-preserving and open-standard mechanisms like the Privacy Sandbox can sustain a healthy, ad-supported web in a way that will render third-party cookies obsolete.

So, let’s look at the good news and the bad news. If you’re a user, there’s mostly good news, because ending third-party cookies is generally good for privacy. The caveat here is that it’s not yet entirely clear how Google plans to have it both ways. Meaning, it’s not clear how Google thinks it can provide a privacy-protected browsing experience that also provides targeted ads.

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There’s also the fact that some less ethical advertisers will no doubt resort to other types of more nefarious tracking, like browser and device fingerprinting. Those technologies create a profile of you based on information sent by your browser about your device, the operating system, your location, and other unique identifiers. Safari has introduced protection against that, and it will be interesting if Google takes a similar approach with Chrome.

This leads us to more good news, this time for Google. Google has arguably the most to gain from this change, because its advertising model doesn’t depend on the same type of tracking technology. In effect, by eliminating third-party cookies, Google is edging out any of its digital advertising competitors. Since Chrome is the most popular browser in the world, all of your web traffic is already going through Chrome. It doesn’t need cookies for that.

If you’re a digital advertiser, on the other hand, this could be very bad news. That’s especially true if you’re a smaller business or startup, since both tend to rely more heavily on digital advertising. Larger brands are able to better absorb changes like this, but if you’re bootstrapping a new company and count on PPC advertising to reach your customers, this is going to hurt.

That said, while I’m generally sympathetic to the overall challenge facing entrepreneurs in this regard, I still have to lean in the direction that it’s a good thing whenever tech companies start respecting our privacy. In fact, the headline of my column back in August was that “Google Could Make the Internet Respect Your Privacy.” At the time, I was pretty sure it wouldn’t.

In this case, I’m happy to be proved wrong.

By Jason Aten Tech columnist @jasonaten

Source: Google Says Chrome Will End Support for Third-Party Cookies That Track You. Here’s Why That’s Not All Good News

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