Google faces FTC complaint over display advertising

According to Bloomberg, the FTC is now investigating Google over its Display ad business which it picked up originally in its purchase of DoubleClick almost a decade ago.

The fresh inquiry, which follows the FTC’s decision to close a review of Google’s search business in January without taking action, is in the preliminary stages and may not expand into a larger probe, said the people, who asked not to be named because the matter hasn’t been made public.

FTC investigators are examining whether Google is using its position in U.S. display ads — a $17.7 billion industry that includes the sale of banner ads on websites — to push companies to use more of its other services, a practice that can be illegal under antitrust laws, the people said.

Out of the FTC Frying Pan, into the Fire. Read more

gMusic app unofficially brings Google’s new “All Access” subscription music service to iOS

gMusic-All-Access-iOSWhen Google unveiled its brand new $9.99/month “All Access” Google Play music streaming service earlier this month at its I/O keynote, we quickly learned that the service would not be coming to iOS initially. Google didn’t get into why, but today developers of the popular gMusic iOS app has unofficially brought support for the service to iPhone and iPad.

The app previously acted as client for songs stored in your Google Music library, but with an update to version 6.0 today the All Access subscription service is now officially available to iOS users. The changelog on iTunes also lists the ability to “Create/play Radio Stations” and “Search, listen, and add music to your library from inside the app.”

As for why Google didn’t make it’s own All Access app for iOS, we’ve heard from sources close to the situation that Google wants to submit an app but is currently in a holding pattern with Apple regarding what they will accept.

gMusic: Google Music Player is available on the App Store now for $1.99. The updated app will require users to have a Google Play All Access subscription to access the new features.  Read more

Galaxy S4 shipments hit ten million, ahead of Samsung’s forecast

s4

Samsung, which recently said it expected to his 10m shipments of the Galaxy S4 by the end of May, has announced that it has now hit this figure – with a week to spare.

Whilst the number is extremely impressive, contrasted with 50 days for the S3 and five months for the S2, it’s important to note that Samsung is quoting shipments rather than sales. As The Verge observes: Read more

Talking Schmidt: “Google is a capitalist country … company”

Google's Eric Schmidt in Burma

In the fifth installment of our continuing series Talking Schmidt we bring you the most insightful lines from Google Chairman Eric Schmidt.

Schmidt, who is promoting his new book The New Digital Age with his coauthor Jared Cohen, responded to UK politician Ed Miliband’s call for “responsible capitalism” earlier this week.

He reminded Miliband that Google is a country… ahem, company powered by profit and projects like wearable computing and self-driving cars better serve Google than forfeiting more of its profits to various governments.

“Google is a capitalist country … company,” he corrected himself, to laughter from the audience. “It’s easy to say you would like us to have to have less profits and have that somewhere else. We will comply with the letter of the law, but we’re trying to avoid being doubly and triply taxes, which would prevent us investing in some of the wilder things we do.”

Read more

Sprint/Boost/Virgin announces Waterproof Kyocera, Galaxy S3 and new Wallet

Sprint has made a few announcements today for new devices and services coming to its customers on its Boost Mobile and Virgin Mobile USA prepaid brands. The company announced today that the Samsung Galaxy S III will be landing on both Boost and Virgin beginning in June. Both devices will be available on the two carriers’ no contract plans but Sprint didn’t make any details available for pricing on the device yet.

Also announced today is the waterproof Kyocera Hydro Edge smartphone, a 4.1-inch Android 4.1 device that’s capable of submersion up to 3.28 feet. No exact launch date or pricing as of yet, but Sprint will be making it available through both its Sprint and Boost Mobile brands later this summer.

Sprint also announced today that it is launching a new ‘Boost Mobile Wallet’ service powered by technology from mobile payments company Wipit. The service is available for Boost customers starting today through a free app on Google Play, but for now is only available to users in Los Angeles, San Diego and parts of New Jersey.

The app allows users to load cash into their wallet at Boost Mobile stores, send money to 135 countries, and Sprint will also be giving out reloadable Visa prepaid cards for ATM access: Read more

Google Checkout is checking out

Yet another Google service bites the dust.  This one’s not as cut and dry as Google Reader, for instance, because some of the Google Checkout functionality will transfer to Google Wallet.

Merchants can continue to accept payments using Google Checkout until November 20, 2013.

  • If you don’t have your own payment processing, you will need to transition to a different solution within six months. To make things easier, we’ve partnered with BraintreeShopify and Freshbooks to offer you discounted migration options.

  • If you are a U.S. merchant that does have payment processing, you can apply for Google Wallet Instant Buy, which offers a fast buying experience to Google Wallet shoppers.

At some point, Google’s brand is going to get tarnished by these closures. How am I going to feel comfortable getting behind a new Google product if I know there’s a more than 50% chance it will close?  Read more

Google confirms voice calling will return to Gmail, says Hangouts is “the future of Google Voice”

Hangouts-in-Gmail

Some of you might have noticed that updating to Google’s new unified Hangouts chat service in Gmail meant giving up the Google Voice calling capabilities that were previously available to users in the US and Canada. We suspected Google had plans to bring the feature back and users currently have the option of reverting back to the old Gmail chat in order to access the feature. Now Google has responded to concerns by promising that “Hangouts is designed to be the future of Google Voice, and making/receiving phone calls” will return in a future update.

Google’s Nikhyl Singhal had this to say about Voice integration in Hangouts: Read more

Google ‘welcomes international tax reform debate’, says Eric Schmidt

eric-schmidt

Update: A report on Yahoo! Finance claims that Google paid just 2.6 percent tax on its $6b of overseas profits in 2012.

Google, one of a number of companies to come under fire for alleged tax-avoidance practices, says that it welcomes debate on how international tax treaties can be reformed so that multinational companies pay the right amount of tax in each of the countries in which they operate.

In a comment piece on the Observer UK newspaper website, Google Chairman Eric Schmidt says he understands the controversy.

At a time when families are having to tighten their belts and funding for vital public services is under pressure, corporate taxation is rightly a hot topic. And as a company that has always aspired to do the right thing, we understand why Google is at the centre of that debate. In the interests of moving the argument forward – away from accusation and toward action – here are three principles we hope most people can agree upon … Read more

Google Play, Verizon launch could boost Samsung Galaxy S4 sales past already high expectations

Samsung Galaxy S4

Samsung has proven almost effortlessly that the 5-inch smartphone has its place in the hands of the masses as it is on track to selling 10 million handsets in its first month, The Korea Times reports.

The company has plenty of room for sales to exponentially grow upward, possibly past their own already high expectations, as the smartphone that has taken the Android world by storm has yet to actually launch on Verizon in the States.

Verizon seems readily positioned to launch the Galaxy S4 as it announced earlier this week that it plans to sell the Samsung smartphone a week sooner than expected.

Samsung’s co-CEO Shin John-Kyun says the company expects the Galaxy S4 to be the fastest selling smartphone in the company’s history.

“We are confident that we will pass more than 10 million sales of the S4 next week. It is selling much faster than the previous model S3,” Samsung Electronics co-CEO Shin Jong-Kyun told reporters at an industry forum in Seoul, Thursday.

We got our hands on the Galaxy S4 last month for a review and gave it flying colors. Read more