This round of layoffs affects Google’s parent company, Alphabet’s lab known as X, and is being done in a bid to secure external funding. News 

Google’s Parent Company’s ‘X Lab’ to Experience Job Losses as Chief Addresses Staff

The year 2024 has begun with numerous job cuts affecting the tech industry, as several tech giants such as Google, Amazon, YouTube and others have announced significant layoffs. It has now become clear that this trend is likely to continue as Google continues to lay off workers. However, this round of layoffs particularly affects Google’s parent company, Alphabet’s lab, known as the “X – Moonshot factory.” This has been branded as an attempt to secure external funding for the company’s various projects. As Bloomberg reports, “Alphabet Inc.’s pioneering technology lab…

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Apple Inc., Alphabet Inc., Meta Platforms Inc. and Tesla Inc. all gave investors reason to fret about growth. (AFP) News 

Tech Titans’ Future Uncertain: Sales Struggles Loom Large

Big Tech companies have exceeded Wall Street’s expectations with their earnings, reporting even higher profits. However, the outlook for the fourth quarter suggests that achieving similar results may be more challenging. Apple Inc., Alphabet Inc., Meta Platforms Inc. and Tesla Inc. gave investors reason to worry about growth. From Apple’s muted holiday outlook to Google parent Alphabet’s lackluster cloud sales results, a recurring theme among the cohort was caution. Meta warned that the coming year looks less predictable, while Tesla expressed concern that demand for electric cars is starting to…

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Meta, which said its ads viewed in the quarter increased by 31% from a year earlier, indicated plans to invest heavily in AI next year. (REUTERS) News 

Alphabet and Meta Indicate Advertising Market Recovery is in Progress

The advertising divisions of Google, Meta, and Snap experienced a resurgence, indicating that the increasing use of artificial intelligence was attracting marketers to digital platforms, despite an uncertain economy. Three companies beat quarterly revenue expectations this week and each posted positive metrics for their advertising businesses. “Artificial intelligence helps advertisers find as many people as possible and their ideal audience at the lowest possible cost,” said Philipp Schindler, Alphabet’s Google business director. The company has doubled down on technology, using tools like Performance Max, which uses artificial intelligence to decide…

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Pichai and Epic’s CEO Tim Sweeney have been listed as witnesses in a trial scheduled to start Nov. 6 in San Francisco federal court ( AFP) News 

Sundar Pichai to Appear in Court for Google Play Antitrust Case

Epic Games Inc. plans to summon Sundar Pichai, the CEO of Alphabet Inc., to testify in an antitrust lawsuit regarding Google Play policies. This trial has the potential to jeopardize the substantial revenue generated by the app marketplace, amounting to billions of dollars. Pichai and Epic CEO Tim Sweeney are listed as witnesses in the trial, which is scheduled to begin Nov. 6 in federal court in San Francisco. The lawsuit will determine whether Google Play’s practices are illegal and prevent competition, according to court filings. The high-stakes battle began…

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“X, former Twitter, who is not under the code any more, is the platform with the largest ratio of mis- or disinformation posts,” Jourova said. (REUTERS) News 

EU Report Finds Elon Musk’s X to Be Major Source of Russian Disinformation

European Commission Vice President Vera Jourova has called on Silicon Valley platforms, including Elon Musk’s X, to increase their efforts in combating Russia’s “war of ideas” and the spread of disinformation. Jourova emphasized the need for action ahead of upcoming national and European elections, stating that these platforms are powerful tools for manipulation, targeting both Russians and Europeans, as well as the global population. “The very big platforms have to address this risk. Especially as we have to wait for the Kremlin and others to be active before our European…

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Former Google executive John Giannandrea, now at Apple, testified at the Department of Justice’s trial against the search giant. (Bloomberg) AI 

Google Trial Witnesses Testimony from Apple’s AI Chief on Private Browsing

John Giannandrea, previously a high-ranking Google executive who joined Apple Inc. to oversee its artificial intelligence division, highlighted a subtle modification in the most recent iPhone software update. This alteration grants users the ability to choose a search engine other than Google’s while browsing the internet in private mode. iOS 17, released on Monday, added “another setting so you can choose two different” search engines, Giannandrea said in federal court in Washington as part of the Justice Department’s antitrust lawsuit against Alphabet Inc’s Google. The change means iPhone users can…

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Earlier, Google argued that it couldn’t be expected to treat its competitors the same as it does its own businesses. (AP) News 

Google Challenges EU’s €2.4 Billion Penalty for Shopping Service Alleged Violation

The legal team of the European Union responded to Google’s attempt to dismiss a €2.4 billion ($2.6 billion) fine for showing bias towards its own shopping services. They argued before the top court of the bloc that the crux of the case revolves around determining whom to place greater trust in. A unit of Alphabet Inc. is appealing a 2021 ruling by a lower EU court that upheld a European Commission ruling that the company violated competition rules by favoring its own shopping service over its rivals. It was forced…

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With the updates, Google also said it was adding a feature for people to “double-check” Bard’s responses. (AFP) AI 

Google Introduces ChatGPT Competitor Bard to its Suite of Services

Google has revealed its latest strategy to assert dominance in generative artificial intelligence by integrating the technology into numerous highly popular products. The Alphabet Inc. division announced Tuesday that it will equip services such as Gmail, Maps, Docs and YouTube with its Bard chatbot. Google’s Bard, first released in February, has lagged behind OpenAI’s ChatGPT. Google executives, who are scrutinized by regulators around the world, have said they are in no rush to release AI services. Google said in a blog post on Tuesday that the new features will allow…

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A Google logo is seen at the Google offices in the Chelsea section of New York City, U.S., January 20, 2023. (REUTERS) News 

Google Agrees to Pay $155 Million to Resolve Location Tracking Dispute

In order to resolve allegations made by California and private plaintiffs regarding deceptive practices in tracking user locations and unauthorized use of their data, Google has agreed to a settlement of $155 million. Both settlements resolve claims that the Alphabet Inc unit misled people into believing they controlled how Google collected and used their personal data. The company was accused of being able to “profile” people and target them with advertising, even if they had turned off their Location History settings, and to cheat people about their ability to block…

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Google parent Alphabet is laying off employees from its global recruiting team as the tech giant continues to slow hiring, it said on Wednesday. News 

Alphabet Cuts Hundreds of Jobs From Recruitment Division

Google parent Alphabet is laying off employees from its global recruiting team as the tech giant continues to slow hiring, it said on Wednesday. The company’s decision to shed a few hundred employees is not part of a large-scale layoff, and it will retain a significant majority of the team for hiring in critical positions. It also helps employees find roles within the company and elsewhere. Alphabet is the first “Big Tech” company to lay off workers this quarter after the likes of Meta, Microsoft and Amazon cut aggressively earlier…

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U.S. government to trail against Google’s search engine. REUTERS/Arnd Wiegmann/File Photo/File Photo (REUTERS) News 

US Antitrust Trial Focuses on Google’s Search Engine Supremacy

The U.S. government is targeting Google’s all-pervasive search engine, which has established itself as the primary access point to the internet, despite its seemingly invincible status. The legal onslaught will go into full effect Tuesday in a Washington, DC, federal courtroom, the battleground for the biggest US antitrust trial since regulators went after Microsoft and its dominance of personal computer software a quarter-century ago. U.S. District Judge Amit Mehta’s 10-week trial is expected to include potentially revealing testimony from top executives at Google and its parent company, Alphabet, as well…

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A review of LinkedIn posts made by former Grindr employees show departures at various roles in iOS app development, data engineering and product strategy. (Bloomberg) News 

Grindr Cuts Workforce by Almost Half Due to RTO Regulations

Following the announcement of a unionization plan by a majority of its employees, Grindr Inc. has implemented a stringent return-to-office policy, resulting in a significant reduction of approximately 45% of its workforce. About 80 of the LGBTQ dating app company’s 178 employees were forced to resign after the company in August mandated employees return to work in person at designated “hubs” two days a week or be fired, the Communications Workers of America said in a statement. statement on Wednesday. The West Hollywood, Calif.-based company also issued a severance package…

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The company sees a bright future manufacturing low-power chips. News 

Intel Becomes Latest Investor in Arm Holdings Alongside Apple, Alphabet, and Samsung

According to Tom’s Hardware, Intel has recently joined the list of companies investing in Arm, which already includes Samsung, Alphabet, Nvidia, and others. This decision coincides with Softbank’s preparations for Arm’s initial public offering (IPO), where they plan to offer 95.5 million shares at a price range of $47 to $51 per share. Arm is currently valued at $52 billion, surpassing the failed deal in 2022 to sell Arm to Nvidia for $40 billion, which faced obstacles such as a lawsuit from the Federal Trade Commission seeking to prevent it.…

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The bloc will compel Apple to let iPhone owners access alternative app stores, for instance. News 

EU Announces Six Tech Companies to be Regulated Under New Competition Rules

The European Union has officially identified the initial six tech “gatekeepers” that will be required to comply with stringent regulations outlined in the Digital Markets Act (DMA). These companies are well-known and include Alphabet, Amazon, Apple, ByteDance, Meta, and Microsoft. The European Commission (EC), the executive body of the EU, has clarified that Samsung has not yet been classified as a gatekeeper after evaluating criteria such as revenue, valuation, and user base. The EC stipulates that digital platforms can be designated as gatekeepers “if they provide an important gateway between…

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Attorneys general and consumers from 37 states alleged that Google held an unfair monopoly on Android devices. Gaming 

US Antitrust Investigation of Google’s Play Store Dominance Concludes with Tentative Settlement

Google has reached a preliminary agreement with a group of attorneys general who filed a lawsuit in 2021 accusing the company of abusing its control over Android app distribution through the Google Play store. The officials alleged that Google was using its monopoly power to unlawfully maintain its dominance, citing that 90 percent of app sales occurred through Google Play. Bloomberg has reported that the case has been referred to a judge who, if satisfied, can approve the settlement and dismiss the ongoing legal battle. This is a strategic move…

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SynthID will launch on Google’s Imagen, but it could roll out to third parties later. AI 

Google Seeks to Increase Transparency in AI Art with Invisible Digital Watermark

Google DeepMind has introduced SynthID, a tool designed to enhance transparency in AI-generated images. SynthID, a watermarking and identification tool for generative art, enables the embedding of a digital watermark onto an image’s pixels, which remains invisible to the human eye. Initially, SynthID will be made available to a select group of customers utilizing Imagen, Google’s cloud-based AI art generator. One of the many problems with generative art – in addition to the ethical implications of the training of artists involved in their work – is the potential for deep…

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The program will cover 60,000 area homes. News 

Wing and Walmart to Provide Drone Deliveries Within Six Miles of Dallas

Wing, the aviation subsidiary of Alphabet, has joined forces with Walmart to initiate drone deliveries from the retail chain in the Dallas-Fort Worth (DFW) metro area. The commencement of flights is expected to occur “in the coming weeks” from a Walmart Supercenter in Frisco, TX. Additionally, the companies have intentions to extend their operations to a second DFW location by the end of this year. The combined coverage area from both stores is projected to encompass 60,000 households. The service is available to homes within a radius of about six…

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A boom in deepfake porn is outpacing US and European efforts to regulate the technology. (AFP) AI 

Google and Microsoft Take Steps to Enhance AI-Generated Fake Porn

Fans of Kaitlyn Siragusa, a well-known internet personality called Amouranth, can choose to subscribe to her channel on Inc.’s Twitch for $5 per month to watch her play video games. Alternatively, if they wish to view her adult content, they can subscribe to her explicit OnlyFans page for $15 per month. And when they want to watch him do things he doesn’t and has never done for free, they search Google for so-called “deepfakes” — videos made with artificial intelligence that create a realistic simulation of a sexual act.…

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Alphabet Inc.’s Google said Thursday that it’s making several changes to comply with the EU’s Digital Services Act. (Pexels) AI 

EU Investigates Google, Twitter, and Facebook as New Regulations Take Effect

Starting from Friday, Meta Platforms Inc., Google, and X (previously known as Twitter) will be required to comply with stringent content moderation regulations in the European Union. These regulations will be legally enforceable under a new law that governs social media platforms. Alphabet Inc’s Google said on Thursday it is making several changes to comply with EU digital services laws, including expanding access to online ad targeting data and disclosing more about its content monitoring practices on services such as Google Search. It also adds risk analysis to its largest…

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Despite its efforts, Google is unable to halt a $5 billion consumer privacy lawsuit. (Reuters) News 

Lawsuit Against Google for Violating Consumer Privacy Continues Despite Attempts to Settle

Google’s attempt to have a lawsuit dismissed, which accuses the company of invading the privacy of numerous individuals by covertly monitoring their internet activity, was denied by a judge in the United States. U.S. District Judge Yvonne Gonzalez Rogers said Monday that she did not find that users gave Google permission to collect data about what they viewed online because the Alphabet unit never specifically said it would. David Boies, an attorney for the plaintiffs in the proposed $5 billion class action, called the decision “an important step to protect…

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