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Entries in Google (127)

Thursday
Mar142013

Google to Shut Down Google Reader RSS Service

KIMIHIRO HOSHINO/AFP/Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- Google’s doing some spring cleaning, again.  The company, as it has in years past, is killing some of its services, most notably its RSS Web application Google Reader.

The service, for those who never used it, allows you to view all your RSS feeds -- headlines and articles from news organizations -- in one central spot.  Come July 1, though, you won’t be able to read anything using the application; you won’t be able to use it at all.

While the 7-year-old service is one of the most popular RSS services on the Web, Google says the number of users has declined.  It also says it would prefer to focus on fewer products.

“We think that kind of focus will make for a better user experience,” Google’s Alan Green wrote on Google’s blog late Wednesday night.

When reached by ABC News, Google would not divulge the number of Google Reader users, but it does acknowledge on its blog that its users are “devoted.”

“Google Reader” trended on both Twitter and Google Wednesday night.  Others took to signing a Change.org petition, which has more than 12,000 signatures.

Still, while there are those impassioned fans, many never used RSS and now get their news through social media service like Twitter or Facebook.

“RSS never caught on as mainstream consumer experience but Google Reader provided a powerful resource as a back-end aggregator that could sync content across applications and platforms,” Michael Gartenberg, Gartner research director, told ABC News.

The Next Web has reported that Google decided to pull the plug on Reader and devote those resources to Google+, the company’s social network.

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio

Monday
Mar112013

Forget Typing, Google Says Search Is Going to Be Like "Star Trek"

NICHOLAS KAMM/AFP/Getty Images(AUSTIN, Texas) -- In the future, the experience of searching the web is going to be like something out of Star Trek.  Or at least, that’s what Google’s vision is.

“The destiny of search is to become that Star Trek computer and that’s what we are building,” Google’s Search Head Amit Singhal said at SXSW Interactive on Sunday.

Singhal shared that computers will know what people want and users won’t have to type their queries into a small box on a clean white page.

“You can walk up to a computer and say, hey, computer,” Singhal explained.

Of course, that is dependent on other technologies, including improved voice control, touch and sensory tech, he said.  Singhal told ABC News something similar a few months ago.

Google has already started showing that sort of capability with Glass.  One of the main ways of controlling the glasses, which project digital information over your eyes, is through voice.

“OK, Glass.  Google Jellyfish,” a woman says to her glasses in a teaser video released last month.  The results appear right in front of her eyes.

“These are some of the best times in search,” Singhal said.  “All the technology is coming together: speak recognition, knowledge graph, natural language understanding -- there are new devices coming out, so when you marry all this, tomorrow is looking bright.”

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio

Tuesday
Mar052013

Google Updates iPhone Maps So You Can Find Places, Friends

Google(NEW YORK) -- Have you ever gone to a new city and had trouble finding your way around, cursing as you look at pages upon pages of search results to find a restaurant for dinner or just a quick place to grab a cup of coffee and a Danish?

Google hopes to lend a helping hand.

On Tuesday, Google announced an update for its Google Maps app for iPhone to include new search icons that, the company said, will make it easier to find places and look up saved friends’ addresses. Released Tuesday morning, it can now be downloaded from the Apple App Store.

These features have been available already for Android, but iPhone users had to look up the address of a specific destination, and type it into the search bar. Now, users will be presented with icons for restaurants, coffee shops, bars and gas stations, which they can tap to search quickly for nearby locations.

In total, there are 13 different types of places users can search by, including hotels, hospitals and ATMs.

“So if you’re in a rush and need a quick coffee, just tap the search box, then the coffee cup icon, to see the cafes closest to you,” Google said in a blog post.

The new update also makes it possible for users to look up their friends’ addresses by typing their names in the search box. If users have saved their friends’ addresses in Google Contacts, the app will show them in the search results.

The update also integrated Google Contacts into the Google Maps app. This means users who have their friends’ addresses saved in their Google Contacts can now look up where their friends live by simply typing a friend’s name in the app’s search box. The address will then pop up on the map, making it easy to get to that Saturday night house party.

This is the first major update to the Google Maps app since it was released in December.  The road to a user-friendly maps feature has been far from smooth for iPhone and other iOS devices.

When Apple released the iPhone 5 and its iOS operating system in September, it replaced Google Maps with its own Maps app. However, widespread criticism over glitches, including misplaced historic places of interest and jumbled locations, forced the company to bring back Google’s mapping service.

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio

Tuesday
Feb192013

Google Stock Passes $800

KIMIHIRO HOSHINO/AFP/Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- Shares of Google passed a milestone of $800 Tuesday morning, the morning after a report of possible Google retail stores in the works.

Google stock rose to $803 at 10:15 a.m. EST.  It reached $803.58 earlier on Tuesday, the first day of trading after the long Presidents’ Day weekend.

The technology company, based in Mountain View, Calif., reached $700 a share more than five years ago.

Late Monday night, the Wall Street Journal reported that Google Inc. had plans to launch retail stores to display its consumer electronics products in direct competition with Apple Inc.’s widely popular Apple stores.  The newspaper cited people familiar with the matter.

Apple has about 400 stores in 14 countries.  Tech competitor Microsoft has 64 stores, including 31 permanent retail locations plus 33 pop-up locations.

Google’s smartphones with its Android operating system are currently sold on its Google Play website, through cellphone carriers and retail stores like Best Buy.

Last year, Google introduced its first Nexus tablet with the Nexus 7 and affordable Chromebook laptops.  Months later, it introduced its second, the Nexus 10.  It has already released a few versions of an affordable Chromebook laptop built by Samsung.

Google trades at about 20 times its 2013 earnings estimates, versus rival Apple, which trades at 10 times this year’s profit estimates.

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio

Friday
Feb152013

Google Tops List of Best Internships for Second Consecutive Year

KIMIHIRO HOSHINO/AFP/Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- This summer, Vince Vaughn and Owen Wilson star in a new movie in which they play Google interns. According to a new survey of current interns by job website Glassdoor, Google was rated the best company currently hiring interns.

According to Glassdoor's Scott Dobrowski, "Interns are talking about great experiences. Really making a difference. Doing work that matters."

In fact, Google was also the top-rated company in Glassdoor's first such survey in May 2012. In both surveys, Google edged out fellow tech giant Microsoft for top honors.

According to the survey, some of Google's interns earn over $6,000 per month. Dobrowski adds that "a research Microsoft intern earns upwards of $7,000 per month," meaning interns no longer have to absorb the potential costs of an internship on their own.

In the new survey, Google received an average rating of 4.6 out of 5, up from their 4.3 in last year's survey. Microsoft's rating held steady at 4.2.

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio

Thursday
Feb072013

Google Ad Delivery Can Show 'Racial Bias,' Says Harvard Study

NICHOLAS KAMM/AFP/Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- A Google search for a "racially associated name" is more likely to trigger advertisements suggesting the person has a criminal background, according to a study by a Harvard professor.

Latanya Sweeney, a professor of government and technology at Harvard University and a specialist in online privacy, found that queries for a "black identifying" name were more likely to trigger an advertisement suggesting an arrest record than names traditionally given to white babies.

The study involved searches for 2,184 racially associated names as determined by prior workplace discrimination studies.  Sweeney focused her analysis on Google.com and a highly trafficked news website that displays the widely used Google AdWords advertisements.

Names often given to black babies, such as DeShawn, Darnell and Jermaine, generated ads suggesting an arrest record in 81 to 86 percent of the searches on one website and 92 to 95 percent on the other, Sweeney wrote.

By comparison, names "predominantly given to white babies," such as Geoffrey, Jill and Emma, tended to trigger ads with more neutral copy, such as "Looking for Emma Jones?"

Of the searches involving the primarily white names, advertisements containing the word "arrest" appeared in 23 to 29 percent of the searches on one site and a range of 0 to 60 percent on the other, the study said.

Sweeney wrote that the statistical difference could have an impact on job seekers.  However, she said more work would need to be done in order to determine whether it is Google's algorithm, advertisers, or an inherent bias in society that explains her findings.

"There is discrimination in delivery of these ads," Sweeney concluded, though she said the study also "raises more questions than it answers."

Google AdWords determines which advertisements appear based on keywords, advertiser bids and user behavior.

In a statement, Google said, "AdWords does not conduct any racial profiling.  We also have a policy which states that we will not allow ads that advocate against an organization, person or group of people.  It is up to individual advertisers to decide which keywords they want to choose to trigger their ads."

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio

Wednesday
Jan232013

PSY’s "Gangnam Style" Is $8M Blockbuster Hit on YouTube

Andreas Rentz/Getty Images for MTV(NEW YORK) -- PSY’s “Gangnam Style” video already holds the title as the most watched YouTube video of all time.  Now, Google’s revealing how those numbers translated into advertising revenue.

“It generated over $8 million in online advertising deals,” Nikesh Arora, the senior vice president and chief business officer at Google, said on Google’s earnings call Tuesday evening.  

The video broke a billion views late last year and as of Wednesday has 1.23 billion views.  Google said in November that “Gangnam Style” was still being watched between seven to ten million times every day.

According to Quartz, the video generates an average of 65 cents every time someone hits the play button.  The YouTube creator keeps half the money, which suggests PSY and his record company have made at least $4 million from YouTube so far.  

Of course, the South Korean rapper earned a lot more than that with revenue from downloads and other music distribution and, of course, now, his advertising deals.

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio

Thursday
Jan172013

Google Is Still the Best Place to Work

KIMIHIRO HOSHINO/AFP/Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- Fortune's annual list of the 100 best companies to work for is out. There's a familiar name at the top of the list, and many are hiring.  
 
For the second year in a row, Google is America's best place to work, according to Fortune. This the fourth time overall Google's been at the top of the list.  

Number two is the software developer, SAS Institute, in North Carolina. Followed by Utah's CHG Healthcare at number three, the highest ranking ever for a healthcare provider.  

Sixteen of the top 100 companies, including Google, are based in California. Texas has 13. And altogether, the companies on Fortune's list say they're looking to fill nearly 67,000 jobs.  

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio

Thursday
Jan032013

FTC Settles Antitrust Investigation of Google

KIMIHIRO HOSHINO/AFP/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- After a high-profile 20-month investigation, the federal government announced Thursday it's dropping an "exhaustive" antitrust probe into Google, the world's largest search engine.

The Federal Trade Commission said it found no evidence the tech giant used unfair tactics to thwart competing sites. Google escaped the investigation without paying a fine, but it will voluntarily change some of its practices to be more open to competitors, the FTC said.

"The changes Google has agreed to make will ensure that consumers continue to reap the benefits of competition in the online marketplace and in the market for innovative wireless devices they enjoy," FTC Chairman Jon Leibowitz said. "This was an incredibly thorough and careful investigation by the commission, and the outcome is a strong and enforceable set of agreements."

The FTC's investigation focused on two main allegations from rival companies: first, that Google favored its own Internet search results while burying links to competing sites; and second, that the company stifled competition by not allowing access to its mobile device patents.

Competitors have accused Google of scraping content and posting it on search results to make it appear as if it were Google's own content. For example, Leibowitz said, Google was accused of posting restaurant reviews from Yelp on Internet searches without prompting the user to click Yelp's site directly -- a claim that, if proved true, would have been "clearly problematic."

As part of the settlement, Google agreed to "refrain from misappropriating online content" this way while also offering online advertisers more flexibility to opt out of showing up in search results.

The company also agreed not to seek injunctions to block rivals from accessing patents that are "essential to key technologies," like smartphones, tablets and other mobile devices. Google shelled out nearly $12.5 billion last year to acquire Motorola Mobility and its 24,000 lucrative patents and applications, according to the FTC.

"We've always accepted that with success comes regulatory scrutiny," wrote Dave Drummond, Google's chief legal officer, in a blog statement. "The conclusion is clear: Google's services are good for users and good for competition."

The commission will continue to monitor Google's business practices, but critics say the FTC findings don't have any teeth: The FTC can't fine Google or jail its executives for future violations. The most the commission says it has authority to do is open another investigation if further concerns arise.

The settlement comes as a win for Google, whose competitors have been pushing for a more stringent antitrust suit.

This is not the first time the tech giant has been under federal scrutiny. In August, the commission said Google violated user privacy agreements by tracking "cookies" for Apple Safari users and sending targeted ads to consumers. Google was forced to pay a $22.5 million fine -- the largest ever from a violation of FTC rules.

The company still faces a similar antitrust investigation in the European Union, which launched its probe in 2010.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Thursday
Jan032013

Microsoft Fuels Antitrust Battle with Google

ABC News(NEW YORK) -- Microsoft is making a last-ditch effort to get government regulators to crack down on Google.  

The Windows company claims Google is abusing its dominance of online search, online video and the lucrative smartphone market. Microsoft also says Google has been unfairly squashing competition to the detriment of consumers.  

Microsoft's claims come as regulators in the U.S. and Europe wrap up several probes into Google's business practices.  Microsoft is worried Google will settle with the governments without having to make any major changes.  

Microsoft Deputy General Counsel Dave Heiner wrote Wednesday in a blog post about Google's potential deal to ward off a lawsuit by the Federal Trade Commission.

"You might think that Google would be on its best behavior given it’s under the bright lights of regulatory scrutiny on two continents, particularly as it seeks to assure antitrust enforcers in the U.S. and Europe that it can be trusted on the basis of non-binding assurances that it will not abuse its market position further," Heiner wrote. "However, as we enter 2013, that is not the case."

One example, Heiner highlights, is that Google still has not allowed Microsoft to offer a fully featured YouTube app for the Windows Phone.  Microsoft has taken issue with Google's refusal to allow YouTube on the company's smartphone since at least 2011, according to the Wall Street Journal.

If Google can agree to make "'voluntary commitments' to reform its behavior," Heiner wrote, "the FTC may close its investigation," an outcome Microsoft hopes it won't see.

According to Heiner, any agreement between Google and the antitrust authorities "appears to be less demanding than the pledge the U.S. Department of Justice received from Apple and Microsoft nearly a year ago."

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio







ABC News Radio