Google slams News Corp, The Wall Street Journal for ‘inaccuracies’

GOOG FTC

Google is no stranger to publicly responding to News Corp after the media company issued a letter last year claiming Google was engaged in unfair business practices, and today Google is once again slamming News Corp for what it’s calling inaccuracies in a recent article about the company.

In a blog post on its Public Policy blog, Google’s SVP Communications and Policy Rachel Whetstone takes apart a recent article in The Wall Street Journal profiling Google’s antitrust probe by the FTC and provides counterpoints to what she says are inaccuracies in the report: Read more

YouTube experimenting with 4K at 60 FPS, and you can watch a few demo videos now

How Paintballs Are Made at G.I. Sportz - YouTube 2015-03-27 10-45-36

YouTube has been beefing up the capabilities of its video player for quite some time now, and it first introduced 60 FPS support in June of last year. Now, some videos on the site seem to be able to play back not just at 60 FPS, but at 60 FPS in super high-def 4K resolution. It looks to be an experiment that Google is slowly introducing, as only a handful of hand picked videos are capable of this at the moment…

Read more

Millions of British Apple users able to sue Google over secretly-dropped cookies

cookies

UK Apple users have been given the go-ahead to sue Google for continuing to drop cookies on their devices even after they had refused permission through their Safari browser settings.

It was revealed in 2012 that Google bypassed the setting in Safari which instructed sites not to drop cookies, enabling it to deliver personalized ads. The FTC in the US fined the company $22.5M for the practice, with millions more in additional fines levied by 38 US states. There was no government action in the UK, but a group of British iPhone users took Google to court, seeking compensation for breaching their privacy.

Google had attempted to have the case dismissed, claiming that there was no case to answer as the plaintiffs had not suffered any financial harm, but the UK’s Court of Appeal has rejected this argument, allowing the case to proceed …

Read more

FTC denies that decision to clear Google of antitrust charges was “a close call”

Federal-Trade-Commission

The Federal Trade Commission has issued a statement denying the WSJ‘s suggestion that the decision to clear Google of anti-competitive behavior was “a close call.”

The WSJ yesterday obtained part of one of the investigative reports, which included a sentence reading “Although it is a close call, we do not recommend that the Commission issue a complaint against Google for this conduct.”

As we stated when the investigation was closed, the Commission concluded that Google’s search practices were not, “on balance, demonstrably anticompetitive.”

Contrary to recent press reports, the Commission’s decision on the search allegations was in accord with the recommendations of the FTC’s Bureau of Competition, Bureau of Economics, and Office of General Counsel.

The FTC describes the WSJ story as “misleading” …  Read more

Leaked FTC report on Google’s business practices provides fascinating look behind the scenes

File photo shows people walking by a YouTube sign at the new Google office in Toronto

Half of a 2012 FTC report on Google’s business practices has been “inadvertently disclosed” in an open records request by the WSJ. Bizarrely, what was leaked was every other page of the report. MarketingLand’s Danny Sullivan has been busy reading the report and tweeting some of the things revealed by it.

The FTC eventually concluded that Google had not violated antitrust laws by favoring its own services over that of rivals, but found it was “a close call.”

Google did, for example, promote its own services in search results …  Read more

WSJ: Google spent $16.8 million on lobbying in 2014, has almost weekly meetings at the White House

google-shop

The Wall Street Journal has published a new report highlighting the reach that Google has in the United States government. According to the report, Google employees have visited the White House 230 times since President Obama took office. That comes out to an average of roughly once a week. For comparison’s sake, Comcast employees have met at the White House just 20 times since Obama’s inauguration.

Read more

Google reportedly working on new service that lets users receive & pay bills directly in Gmail

screen-shot-2015-03-24-at-11-34-44-am

According to a new report from Re/code, Google is soon planning to launch a service that will allow Gmail users to manage, pay, and receive all their bills directly within Gmail. The service is dubbed Pony Express right now, although it’s unclear if that’s a codename or what Google actually plans to call the service.

Read more

Lasting impact: 5 groups that are still doing important things with Google Glass

IMG_4833

The Google Glass Explorer program ended somewhat abruptly in January, and this didn’t come as much surprise to the Glass-bashing media nor those who tried the device for their own consumer use. In these situations, where Glass was a privacy nightmare and an underpowered gadget, the head-mounted wearable display would appear to be a failed piece of consumer technology (and Google’s Astro Teller believes that allowing this mindset to spread was one of the project’s biggest failures).

And it’s true. The first-generation of Google Glass might not really bring much value to the daily lives of most people, and it’s definitely not close to being socially acceptable quite yet. But many companies and organizations that adopted the experimental $1,500 spectacles for specific use cases weren’t so quick to dismiss the device. In fact, there are many groups—even now, after the Explorer program has ended—who are still doing some exciting things with it.

Read more

Google hires Morgan Stanley’s Ruth Porat as new CFO

Ruth Porat

Google announced this morning that the company will soon have a new person filling the CFO role. Ruth Porat, who currently serves as chief financial officer at the finance firm Morgan Stanley, will take over for Patrick Pichette starting May 26th. “I look forward to learning from Ruth as we continue to innovate in our core–from search and ads, to Android, Chrome and YouTube–as well as invest in a thoughtful, disciplined way in our next generation of big bets,” Google CEO Larry Page said in the announcement. Read more

Talking Schmidt: Google Glass is a long-term project, too important to scrap

Eric Schmidt

If you’ve been following the facts behind the situation with Glass, you know that the project is not seen as even close to being dead within the Mountain View company. Despite the Explorer Program being shut down earlier this year, Google clearly sees potential in the platform. And according to comments recently made by Google’s Eric Schmidt, Glass is just far too important to scrap… Read more

Google rolling out new on-body detection security feature to Android 5.0+ devices

Google appears to have started rolling out a new device security feature called on-body detection. Basically, this feature uses your device’s accelerometer to figure out if your phone is in your hand or in your pocket. If the feature detects that your phone is not in one of those two locations, it will automatically lock. Ideally, this means that if you forget your phone or leave it sitting on a table somewhere, it will lock and prevent nefarious thieves from gaining access (via Android Police).

Read more